The Girl With the Apples

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August 1942. Piotrkow, Poland

The sky was gloomy that morning as we waited anxiously.
All the men, women and children of Piotrkow’s Jewish ghetto had been herded into a square.

Word had got around that we were being moved. My father had only recently died from typhus, which had run rampant through the crowded ghetto. My greatest fear was that our family would be separated.

‘Whatever you do,’ Isidore, my eldest brother, whispered to me, ‘don’t tell them your age. Say you’re 16.’ I was tall for a boy of 11, so I could get away with it and that way I might be deemed valuable as a worker.

An SS man approached me, boots clicking against the cobblestones. He looked me up and down, and then asked my age. ‘Sixteen,’ I said. He directed me to the left, where my three brothers and other healthy young men already stood.

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