Holocaust survivor meets Ti students

"I wanted to do something; I wanted to help my parents," Jaros said. "But I couldn't move. My feet were stuck to the floor. I'll never forget the cries, the painful screams. They tore out my father's toe nails."

When the SS gave up their pursuit of gold, the Jaros family was placed in a truck and taken to the local school. There they found the town's Jews, all locked in the building. They were held several days without food or water.

During that time a local priest was allowed to visit. A friend of Jaros family, he smuggled in bread and water. He became a central figure in the family's survival.

The Jews were then taken to a ghetto built by the Nazis to contain them. Enclosed by barbed wire and guarded by Nazi soldiers, the ghetto became home to hundreds of people who struggled to find medicine, food and water.

Before the war Jaros' mother, Belka, operated a general store. She was known for her compassion and kindness, allowing people to buy on credit and giving a little extra when people made purchases.

Realizing the plight of the Jaros family and others in the ghetto, the friendly priest visited area farmers asking them to provide food for the Jews. "Belka was good to you," the priest would tell farmers. "Now, you must be good to Belka." The plea worked and the priest was able to smuggle food and water into the ghetto for a year.

One night in 1942 a few men snuck into the ghetto with alarming news. All the Jews in a nearby ghetto - hundreds - had been executed. The Germans were systematically working their way toward the Jaros family.

"A plan was made to escape," Jaros recalled.

The priest who had smuggled in food, helped arrange an attack by partisans away from the ghetto as a diversion. When the German guards responded to the attack, about half the Jews escaped into the nearby woods.

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment