Memories from the Past

My name is Mina (Safier) Jaroslawicz and I was born in Lizhensk, Poland.  We lived in a private home belonging to my mother’s father. The house was divided into apartments which housed my zeidy, my mother’s married sister and her family and my parents, older brother, younger sister and myself. I spent half the day in Polish school and the other half in Bais Yaakov. We were treated okay by the gentile Polish girls, but my brother was taunted and tormented by the local Polish boys.

The great Rebbe, R’ Elimelech of Lizhensk, born in 1717 and nifter on 21 Adar, 1781, was buried in the town’s cemetery. On his yartzeit, Jews from all over came to daven at his kever. Even today, when people visit Europe, his kever is an important destination.

When war broke out in 1939, my father was in Cracow. We had no means to communicate with him and never saw or heard from him again. The Germans came into our town and immediately burned down all the shuls. All the Jews were forced to leave without any advance warning and we did not have time to prepare clothes, food etc. While leaving our home, my mother managed to grab some marmalade, with the thought that it would provide us with energy-giving sustenance.

On the outskirts of town was a lake with a bridge over it. All the town’s Jews were forced to cross the bridge and continue walking on foot until we came to Lvov, which was a large town. My mother and we children spent the war years wandering from place to place while suffering through many hardships and tribulations.

After the war ended, we returned to Poland and saw that nothing remained from our idyllic past. We attempted to find out exactly what had happened to our father, but to no avail.

We were then sent to a DP camp in Germany. My father’s brother had settled in the United States before the war. Unbeknownst to us, as soon as the war broke out and until communication stopped between countries, my father had sent numerous letters imploring his brother to save us. Once we were able to communicate with him, he sent us papers and we arrived on these shores in 1949.

I was married in 1951 to Nathan Jaroslawicz, who had grown up together with his family in Lizhensk, and we moved to Boro Park. I still live here now, as do my children, Baruch Hashem.

I was introduced to Club Nissim by a few of my friends and I am so grateful that I joined this wonderful group of women. Simonne Hirschhorn, the dynamic Director, and her marvelous staff have put together a superb program with interesting trips, films and other activities.

I am grateful to the Eibishter for all the chasadim He has done for me and for the nachas He has granted me. I am thankful also, to be part of the Club Nissim Family!


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