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Transcript of Alicia Appleman-Jurman
When Alicia was 9 years old, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. From this day, September 1, 1939, her life would be changed forever. Her Story Begins The invasion of Poland had begun, and her brother
was the first in her family to die. He was captured by the Nazis and worked to death in a prison. Her father was 2nd to die. In June 1941, her father was captured and killed in a firing squad along with 600 other local Jewish leaders. Soon after their deaths, the Nazis announced that Alicia, her mother, and 3 brothers would have to move from their beautiful home into the ghetto where they could never escape. It was a very crowded place where there was a great shortage of food. Alicia's remaining family had to undergo a very dramatic change in their way of life. Security around the ghetto was very strict. Any jew that entered a synagogue or was caught not wearing their armband with a star of David wias immediately shot. Life was extremely hard and depressing. One day, Alicia's brother, Bunio, was sent out to gather some wood to build a fire. He was never seen or heard of again. A few days after that tragedy, they were loaded on a very packed train. The adults wanted the children to survive, so they lifted the bars over the window of the train car and pushed them out the window. Alicia, along with her family, were pushed out of the train and followed the tracks back home. Days later, her older brother was hanged when he joined a group trying to fight back against Nazi's. Her Story Continues It seems like Alicia's tragedies were not going to stop anytime soon. A few days after she returned home, she was sent to Chortkov prison where she was beaten badly after calling an SS officer the "devil". The officers thought she was dead after being beaten, so they threw her in the pile with many other dead bodies. A prisoner was in charge of burying all of the bodies, but then he stumbled across Alicia who was, however, not dead. He buried her under some hay and put her in a wagon that led back to her ghetto. She had survived the prison. Her Story Continues When she returned to the ghetto, a german couple found her and were determined to save her. They smuggled her back into her family. She found her brother and her mother sick and almost dead in their house. Her and her close friend saved them. Soon after she returned to the ghetto, she was lined up by a trench and almost shot in a firing squad. But, she ran sneakily and quickly into the woods and avoided the shooting. At the beginning of the holocaust, her, her mother, and her brother made a pact. If they were ever to be separated, they would return to Buczacz, no matter how risky the journey may be. After the shooting when she was stranded in the woods, she was separated from her mother and brother, so she made the journey back to Buczacz. Her Story Continues Her Story Continues As Alicia was traveling back to Buczaz (her mother and brother separated from her), her mother was unable to find her brother. She looked for days, but felt hope that maybe he was back in Buczaz with Alicia. She found Alicia in Buczaz, but there was no sign of her last remaining son. Alicia and her mother went to go live in the countryside and survived off of food that they gathered or killed in the woods. Though it was very risky, they were never caught and lived by themselves in the woods for about a year. One day, they pondered upon a man named Wujciu and convinced him to let them live in his little house on the hilltop, a perfect place to hide. Alicia also convinced the man to hide another Jewish mother and her two children. Her Survival The Russian's were now winning the war against Germany! This was very exciting news to Alicia and her mother. The Russian's had liberated Alicia and her mother in the spring of 1944! They then returned to Buczaz. Unfortunately, the Germans had brought the holocaust back and reoccupied Buczaz. The German's came and found Alicia and her mother, and shot her mother immediately. Alicia was taken to prison where she (was supposed) to be shot the next day. As many jews from the town were gathered together, they formed a big clump of people and Alicia stood towards the back. At just the right moment, she escaped the clump of people and ran down a hill, where she hid in a hollow tree by the riverbank. At night she escaped the woods. Eventually, the Russian's liberated eastern Poland. Alicia Now Alicia had done a wonderful job educating young people about the holocaust. She says, "I wish to reach out, not only to survivors like myself, but to all people. I hope that my book will strengthen today's youth by imparting a better understanding of the true story of my entire generation". She also said, "My book can teach young people what enormous reserves of strength they process within themselves. Jews, adults, teenagers, and even small children did fight the German murderers, some actively, others by saving lives. I fight hatred, bigotry, and anti-semitism." Why I Honor Her The victims of the Holocaust did not deserve to be treated this way, they did nothing wrong. Just because of the way you believe doesn't determine the way you should be treated. Alicia was a strong girl to have survive the extremely harsh conditions of the holocaust. I love that she didn't give up and kept going. Her life should be honored and celebrated, especially with her ways of educating others on the holocaust. She is a truly remarkable person. Sources http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alicia_Appleman-Jurman
Alicia many years later with her book