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Ida Szczupakiewicz

Malkinia, Poland

Ida was the oldest of three children born to a Jewish family in northeastern Poland in Malkinia, a town situated on the right bank of the Bug River. Ida's father was a grain merchant and her family lived in the same house that her grandfather had owned.

1933-39: I was 9 when Germany invaded Poland. At once my family hid on some nearby farms but a few weeks later we returned home. When our neighbor, my father's best friend, became a Nazi informant, my father had us each pack a small bag--we were going to my uncle's house in the Soviet zone. My father felt it would be better to got to the Soviet side. Luckily our town was on the border between German- and Soviet-controlled Poland.

1940-44: We stayed with my uncle for a few months but it was so crowded we had to leave. We decided to go east. The Soviets packed us in cattle cars and for 16 days we rode in the freezing cold. We were given water, but when we asked for food we were always told, "Next station." Finally we arrived in Sverdlovsk, in the Urals. We were herded into large halls and given food and told that things would be like "heaven." Later, we were sent to a logging camp with one-room shacks and no fuel. My parents were put to work at the logging camp.

Ida and her family spent the rest of the war in the Soviet Union, where her sister Bessie and brother Josef were born. In 1951 Ida emigrated to the United States.

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