A Mother's Diary: Surviving the Holocaust in Ukraine, 1941-1944 by Sosia Gottesfeld Zimmerman

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It is now a little over seventy years since our mother, Sosia Gottesfeld, finished her diary which describes how she, her husband and small child survived the holocaust in Ukraine from 1941 through 1944. The handwritten Yiddish notebook was translated into English shortly after her death in 1990, and the original is now in the Yad Vashem Archives in Jerusalem, in record group 033/1224. The diary describes the conditions under which Jews lived in after the German occupation in 1941 in Skala, a town then on the Eastern border of Poland. Initially, though harassed, brutalized, and systematically degraded with many murdered by the Germans, they still were a community. That changed with the first pogrom in September 1942, when the Germans swept into town and in collaboration with the Ukrainian militia seized all the Jews they could catch. After numerous killings in the streets, the captive Jews were sent to labor or extermination camps. Those who escaped had hid in bunkers, dug outs, and forests. Shortly thereafter, Skala was declared Judenrein (free of Jews). The diary vividly describes going into hiding and the daily torments, hunger, and fear of being discovered by the neighboring Ukrainian villagers, the Ukrainian militia, or German patrols. Every day was filled with apprehension. My sister and I are publishing this diary to honor our parents' memory but also to inform their descendants of what happened not so long ago. -- Daniel Zimmerman and Vivian Zimmerman Furman-Rubin

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