The Association of "Children of the Holocaust" in Poland

Karolina Heumann

       The text that follows was published in the first volume of "Children of the Holocaust Speak".

Karolina Heumann
(born in 1928)

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†I was born in the town of Nowy SńÖcz, where my grandmother lived. My father, Zygmunt Salo Heuman, was a¬†doctor. Mother ŇĀucja Heuman, nee Degen had completed studies in philosophy. I¬†have lived in Krakow since my birth, except for the war years. During that period, because of persecutions by the Nazi occupiers, my entire family, i.e., Father. Mother, and my younger brother, Henryk (born in 1936), and I¬†bred in various communities, one after another, around Lw√≥w.

       The war found us in Truskawiec, where Father had a medical practice from June to the beginning of September. We wanted to go abroad through Romania, but because there was a shortage of gasoline, we remained in the town of Horodenka. After the Germans entered. Father worked in a hospital for infectious diseases and he hid our family on the ward where typhus was treated. in the winter of 1941

       42, we were deported to the ghetto in Drohobycz. My faulty memory has retained little from being: there. Some fragments, images. For example, one time, Father was called to the home of some patient but I don't know why we all found ourselves there, the entire family. Suddenly, we saw Germans coming in the direction of this house. We were hurriedly hidden in the attic. We heard the house being searched. They did not discover as. After a few months of staying in the ghetto, we managed to escape. At that point, our entire family split up. Mother, under an assumed name, left for Lwow. and my brother and I were placed by Father in the cloister of the Sisters of Charity in Czerwonogrod. I how we were driven by night in a horse drawn wagon to the cloister and how Father bade us farewell. Pointing at the sky. he said, "We shall meet there." He then paid for our stay with money he kept bidden in a bottle, and be left. From that moment on, I never saw him again. In the cloister, I used the name Marta Regusz I worked in the field. Whenever Germans showed up in the cloister, I would die of fright (after all, my brother was circumcised!). After placing us in the cloister. Father went into hiding in Horodenka, where he was shot at the beginning of 1943.I heard from people who used to come to the cloister that Father was taken to a cemetery and ordered to dig his own grave. 1 don't know where Mama perished. I heard that she was caught because her origins had been discovered. My brother perished during a raid on the cloister by the followers of Bandera. He was then nine years old. Here is bow, at the time, I described the events of this horrible day:

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†"It was the second of February 1945, at eleven o'clock. The night was dark and terrifying, filled with some inhuman menacing mystery. I¬†was in the cloister of the Sisters of Charity in Czerwonogrod. There were three of us young girls and my beloved brother, JńôdruŇõ.1I I¬†woke up with a¬†start during the night and heard terrible shooting all around the cloister. There was often shooting going on at night, but it never made the same impression on me as then. I¬†got up and walked up to the window. It seemed to me that it was strangely bright outside. I¬†lay down again, but some inner voice would not let me lie. I¬†started to get dressed, and I¬†dressed my brother. All of us girls were already dressed when Sister WladysŇāawa walked in and said that Czerwonogrod was in flames and that we were surrounded by Bandera's followers. We were terrified.

       Right away, we went over to the bedroom of the Sisters, and there, by the window, we stood for three hours, watching the terrible tortures of people who were fleeing in panic from the flames. The inhuman barbarians ran around furiously with flares in their hands and set fires to one hut after another, and wherever they saw someone, if they could, they grabbed him alive, and if not, then they would shoot him on the spot. They captured one family in our village and all that was later round of the children were fragments of burned up bones, and the fathers skin had been ripped off from his stomach all the way to his head. We. the girls, stood all the time by the window, waiting for what would happen next. We felt that our own lives, too, were hanging by a thread. We said that they are leaving us for dessert.

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†"Soon, our suppositions came to pass. At three o'clock in the morning, we heard terrible knocking on the front gate, which seemed to foretell our approaching end. Sister WladysŇāawa called us into the chapel and began to pray and prepare us for death. We knelt in front of the altar for perhaps ten minutes. During that brief moment, my life as it had been, and the life to which I¬†thought I¬†was soon to pass, stood before my eyes.

       "I had no regrets about dying, because until then I had not experienced contentment on earth. I just felt very sorry for my brother. I knew that he was still but a child and that one day he would forget about everything. I wanted him to grow up into a good human being, and it was really for him that I lived. However, unfortunately, it did not happen as I had thought. All my hopes faded into nothingness. In the last moment, when the glass of the windows in the lower corridor started falling onto the floor with a loud crash. Sister Superior hid us under the altar."

       Those who survived repatriated to Poland.

       After the war, I started to attend school, matriculated, and then completed studies of law at Jagiellonian University. I then went through an apprenticeship with a judge and with an attorney. In 1955.I married. In 1956, I gave birth to a child.

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