Eva Galler

Eva Galler: Refugee from Terror


The first thing they did was to make a Judenrat. A few Jews became responsible for the entire Jewish community. To these people they gave orders which they had to pass on to us. Everyday there was a different decree. We had to put on armbands so we would be recognized as Jews. Our armbands were white with blue Stars of David sewn on.  Everyday orders came for people to go to work at hard labor or to do work like cleaning toilets. The Judenrat had to deliver the number of people they required.

When we arrived at the city square, we saw a fire in the middle of it. The whole inventory from the synagogue was burning, the prayer books, the torah scrolls, everything was burning. The German soldiers pushed the young girls up to the old men and made them dance around the bonfire. When we looked up we saw that each of our town’s three synagogues was on fire.

All around us our neighbors and friends were watching and laughing at us like they were at a show. This hurt us more than what the Germans did. After the fire burned down they told us to line up and parade through the whole town so everyone could see us. This I will never forget.

Henry Galler, Eva’s husband, as an officer in the Polish Army.

Henry Galler, Eva’s husband, as an officer in the Polish Army.

In Cracow I spent two days and two nights living in the train station. There was a curfew at night because of the war. People who came into the city late had to stay in the train station until morning, so there were always a lot of people there. I moved around a lot so people would not recognize me, from one bench to another, from one room to another. It was a big station, but I did not have any money, and I did not have any bread. I had never been to Cracow before and I did not see anybody with an armband. I did not know where the ghetto was and I was scared to ask where it was.

I walked and walked, I was hungry and I figured the only thing to do was to jump in the river. I came to a marketplace, a farmers’ market. I could hear running. They closed up the marketplace and took all the young people aside. I could hear the girls and boys talking. They were catching boys and girls and sending them to work in Germany. Nobody would go work freely in Germany so they had to use force. This was how they rounded up the people. I was very glad that I was caught with those people because I was caught as a Gentile and not as a Jew.

“We were a big family. We were eight children; I am the oldest of eight. When they took us to the trains to take [us] to the death camp, I was seventeen years old and my youngest brother was three years old and I still hear him scream.” ‘I WANT TO LIVE TOO’

Eva was the only survivor of all eight children in her family.

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