My name today is Haviva. Haviva is the name they gave me when I came to Israel.
I was born in Poland and my family was a native of Poland, where we lived in a rural area near Lublin. My father was born in a large village. He was a wheat merchant and dealt with many people, Poles and Jews alike, he knew many non-Jews and this helped us later when we needed them.
The war broke out in '39. We stayed where we lived, hoping that nothing would happen. Then we had no choice, we were persecuted and had to leave our home, take whatever we could, and start wandering from village to village, from barn to barn, and hide, and beg for favors, and seek contact with people our parents knew. Came the time when we had to dig during the day. Only at night could we come out to look for food and beg for charity. Some days, many days, we lived on snow. We lived like that from the beginning of the war until we were forced to go our separate ways. My parents realized that, of course, and we were faced with the fact that we wouldn't be able to stay together.
My parents decided to look for a place for me so that I could survive. My father contacted a farmer who lived in a village not far from our bunker. They had one child who was handicapped, an only child, and they needed someone to work and to keep their son company. So this family agreed to take me on and I parted with them, hoping to see them again. But it was not to be.
One day I decided to go and visit my parents. I took the cows... to the field in order to visit. When I got to the bunker, which was our last home where we were together, I approached the place... There were many children who were shepherds like me, and they recognized me as a member of the family and shouted to me form afar: "Get away from there!" "Run away quick! They took you parents! Get away!"
I went home. And later the gentile farmer met me and he took me to the stable so the neighbors would not hear us, and said: Look, this is the way things are. You must promise me to keep quiet, not to cry, not to scream, only to listen to me. And remember I have a pitchfork right here. I had no choice.
In order to stay alive, for the future was uncertain I had to keep quite, not to cry, wait to be alone at night in order to cry. At the end of '44 or the beginning of '45 the Russians entered our area. Among them was an officer who was Jewish and took upon himself to ask in every village whether there were any Jewish children to save. The officer tried to make friends with me, spoke to me Polish and in Yiddish, gave me sweets, tried to befriend me. His intentions were good but I was suspicious. He promised he would help em look for my family. After many hardships we came to Lublin. Life went on. From Lublin I went to Lodz where I lived in an orphanage. Then through youth movement coordinators I found the Dror group. In April 1946 I arrived in Israel, to Kibbutz Yagour, to the children's group, and started living again.