Invisible Jews

This is the cover of our book entitled "Invisible Jews" (2017)

Surviving the Holocaust in Poland

Here is the preface of the book written by Eddie Bielawski:

No one who wasnít there can understand what it was like. No-one who hasnít experienced gnawing hunger, not for hours or days but for months, can understand what it was like to survive under those conditions. Nor to survive a Polish winter in a barn or in an underground bunker with no heat with only straw and a few rags to keep you from freezing to death. No-one who hasnít sat for days in the same position, not able to move for fear of making a noise, the tiniest of noises. No-one who hasnít experienced it can know what it was like as a child not to be able to play or even to cry. Throughout the whole three years, from the time in 1941 when the Nazis started the deportations and the mass killings, when we began to hide, until 1944 when we were liberated by the Russians, no one can understand what it was like to become invisible, to become invisible Jews.

We were in a totally hostile environment. No-one could be trusted. There were Poles who would kill us, would steal all that we had, or turn us over to the Germans for a reward and to see us dead. The Germans themselves or their Ukrainian helpers would torture and humiliate us and would murder us without any hesitation or flicker of humanity. Everyone was starving, food was scarce, but for us, food was rare, we lived on a starvation diet. Donít ask me how we survived, it seems impossible, but we did. We could only survive by bribery and sheer persistence and luck.

There was the occasional Pole who showed human feelings towards us, who fed us and risked his life and that of his family to help us for a time. But, they were few and far between. The only way we could in fact survive without being shot, murdered, or captured and deported to Treblinka was to become invisible. It is a tribute to my father and his brothers that we did manage to do this. We were treated like vermin. And for what? What had we done to them that was so bad that they should treat us this way?

Why did it take me all these years to write these memoirs? There are many reasons. Canadian Jews in 1948 (when we first came to Canada) were reluctant to hear Holocaust stories, so we stopped telling them. Secondly, I didn't want our past to destroy my future so I sublimated my feelings - sort of, "let sleeping dogs lie" but the "dogs" were not sleeping, they were only dozing, so as time went by I began to think that at least my wife, children, and grandchildren should know our story.

At first I thought that there were so many Holocaust stories out there that one more would not make much difference but I slowly began to change my mind. Every story is unique and must be preserved for future generations especially since the generation which experienced our near annihilation is almost gone and the number of Holocaust deniers is on the rise.

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