Although Ann lived under Stalin and communism, she was not sheltered from the anti-Semitism of the German force throughout Europe. The government in the Soviet Union encouraged anti-Semitism and Jews were subject to name-calling and other forms of discrimination. Anti-Semitism was a mainstay of pre-Soviet czarist Russia and communism was considered an antidote to state-sanctioned bias. In fact, anti-Semitism was cited as an excuse for the disagreements between Stalin and Trotsky.
During the German invasion of 1939, people were leaving Warsaw, Poland and heading for Mosheska, where Ann, her husband Henry and their baby, Beverly, lived with his family. During the war, Ann, Henry and their baby kept moving south – towards Turkmenistan, into Uzbekistan and finally into Tashkent.
Because of the state censorship of the news, Ann and Henry were largely unaware of the Holocaust. They were on the run and scared, had little to eat and few comforts of life. Henry’s family were killed – his parents and younger brother. Henry and Ann were not liberated in Turkmenistan, but made their way back to Kiev to try to find surviving relatives after the war. Unfortunately they found no relatives among the survivors but only a few family friends.
Leaving for Kiev and the promise of a job in Chelm, Ann passed Lublin where, inside a liberated concentration camp, Soviet troops were executing German soldiers by hanging. They eventually reached a Displaced Person’s camp and awaited an uncle’s letter to obtain permission to emigrate to the US.
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