I am Martha Rakofsky. I live in Kibbutz Ein Hashofet with my husband, Baruch and my two children Gadi and Hagit, and 3 grandchildren.
During the war, many years ago, I was 7. My family lived in a picturesque health resort full of gardens and flowers. My parents had a large department store with many employees. When the war broke out, my brother was a year old. He was a fully baby, I guess he sensed by mother's fears. When the Germans came they took my father to work, that's what they told him. After a while he cam back, and my mother wanted him to go into hiding and not work any more. But he was an honest man and he said: "If they said it's work, it's work." So he went back, and we never saw him again.
My mother said the Germans may have taken her husband but they will not take her children. She went to the evangelic pastor of a nearby village and he proposed that she place me, for at the time they did not admit smaller children, in an orphanage. The procedure was supposed to take 2 months so he agreed to hide me in his house. I lived there for a while and then I moved into my aunt's attic. She was protected by the government, because my uncle was a railway engineer. I hid in the attic for two weeks and I remember that as the hardest time of the war. I was alone, no toys, no company, I didn't know what was going on, no one took the time to explain things to me. One day my aunt came and said: "We're going away." Where to? She doesn't know.
We went to a large city, where she brought me to the evangelic orphanage, we went into a large hall. I was 8, wearing a pretty dress with a white ribbon in my hair, and all the girls flocked around me to touch my dress. They haven't seen anything like it for many years. I was the first Jewish child admitted to the orphanage. On the first night they put me to sleep by an open window. It was a three-story house with the bedrooms on the top floor. The children told me that each night, a man comes through the window, grabs the child closest to the window and he's never heard of again. It was a frightening reception. I didn't sleep all night, waiting for the man to come, but no one came until the morning. The girls, for the children were separated by gender, came and hugged me and told me I passed the test bravely.
But this thing of the war... I think that at that age, I was nine by then, we simply didn't realize what was going on. We didn't have any bombings at the time the Germans used to give us chocolate and bonbons and hug us and play with us and we didn't feel the war. We started feeling it when the Russians came near and the Germans got very nervous.
After the war, my mother came to get us. A year before the end of the war my brother, too, was admitted to the orphanage at the age of four. He didn't recognize our mother and refused to go with this woman, and ran. So we talked to him and explained to him and then we went back home.