World War II Breaks Out

Returning Early from Vacation

"If the war starts like this it can’t be terribly bad."

"In 1939, I was eleven years old, and our family happened to be vacationing in the Carpathian Mountains... Life seemed absolutely beautiful. I splashed in a brook, and I just thought the future was full of promise. Somehow in the middle of August a telegram arrived from my father, urging us to return home immediately, that war was imminent. So my mother woke us up., As we were walking to the railroad station, she found a tiny little store open, a grocery store. He didn’t have very much there to purchase, but she bought all the candy and the cookies that he had. And I said to myself, 'If the war starts like this it can’t be terribly bad.' So I sat down on the train and munched on my sweets and looked at their very worried faces of my family and wondered why they were so concerned. Yet at every station we began to see Polish troops moving west to the German border. But we did not know that at the same time, German armies were moving east. And on the trains they had graffiti 'We are off to Poland to thrash the Jews.' Hundreds of miles from my little town of Horodenka they were setting off to destroy our people."