Living in the Priest's Grotto Caves

Dangers of Resistance Fighting

"My mother was very badly wounded in a skirmish one evening."

"[The German invasion] forced most of the young Jews into hiding, into groups of resistance fighters living in the caves. Living in the forest. Coming out at night trying to get food. Or do whatever damage they could to the Germans. The Nazis. Basically shooting, you know. I mean just regular battles. And then going back into hiding.

My father said that a lot of what they did is they tried to derail a lot of the transportation aspects of the Nazis coming into Germany. They would blow up some bridges. They would blow up train tracks. They would start fires. Forest fires in front of them. Again, coming out at night with whatever weapons and ammunition that they had.

For two and a half years they-- my parents-- did live in the caves [and] come out at night. My mother was very badly wounded in a skirmish one evening. This I believe happened in September of 1941 where she was wounded in the upper right leg. And my father felt that she was about to lose her leg, and wanted to get her medical attention. At that point he actually left me with his friends. I mean this was a very, very close knit group. A lot of them actually escaped together out of Russia after the war.

This group of friends took care of me for about nine weeks, while my father took my mother for medical attention. Where he took her, he never did tell me, but he came back. I was still there. I was, according to them, very, very ill. I had bad dysentery…diphtheria, but I was still alive, and I survived all my illnesses. But, we lived in the caves of Ukraine."