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Sara Galperin

Karchai, Lithuania

Sara, born Sara Bernstein, was one of six children in a Jewish family in the Lithuanian village of Karchai. Her father was a farmer. Sara attended secondary school in Jonava and in 1920 she moved to Siauliai, where she met and married Pinchas Galperin. The couple owned and ran a dairy store, selling butter, milk and cheese. They had three children--two sons and a daughter.

1933-39: In addition to running the family store and rising early every morning to buy dairy products from the local farmers, Sara was also involved in several women's organizations that aided the sick and poor. They sent packages to the families of the sick and provided food to widows and orphans. In 1939 Germany invaded Poland. Lithuania, at the time, was still a free nation.

1940-44: In 1940 the Soviets annexed Lithuania, and a year later German troops took Siauliai and moved the city's Jews into a ghetto. On November 5, 1943, the Germans issued conflicting orders on reporting to work. Confusion reigned. The Jewish police warned people it would be safer to find a work brigade that day, telling Sara workers were needed at a nearby factory. But Sara did not have a Jewish star required to leave the ghetto. Pinchas gave her his saying, "I'm a strong, big man; they won't take me."

When Sara returned, Pinchas had been deported. In early 1945 Sara was liberated on the Baltic coast by Soviet troops. She learned Pinchas had been gassed at Auschwitz.


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