Bernard was one of five children born to a Jewish family in the southern Polish town of Rozwadow. His father, a World War I veteran incapacitated as a result of the war, supported his family on his military pension. In the early 1930s Bernard completed high school and worked on the family farm.
1933-39: In 1934 I was recruited into the Polish army and stationed in Lvov, where I ran a canteen. After three years there I returned to my family's farm outside Rozwadow to work. On September 24, 1939, the town was captured by the Germans. Some in Rozwadow were happy to see the Germans; soon afterwards some townspeople began looting Jewish stores, while the occupying forces looked on. The Germans even made films of the robberies.
1940-44: In 1942 I used false papers to get to the town of Stryj [Stry] where, posing as a gentile Pole, I got a job in a sawmill. While at work one day I heard gunfire. I watched trucks carry Jews to a nearby clearing bordered by bushes; German machine-gun nests were concealed in the brush. Jews were run off the trucks and onto bridges spanning a huge ditch. Then guns ripped, catching the people in the cross-fire. The shooting went on all day. After work, I saw the clearing's freshly-turned earth move. Were some still alive?
Bernard joined the Polish partisans in late 1943. After the war he remained in Poland until emigrating to Israel in 1957. He moved to the United States in 1960.