Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Stefa (Sarah) Sprecher Kupfer - July 24, 1987

The Russians

You were liberated in this village. What happened when the Russians came?

When the Russians came, Momma said to me, now this time, I have nobody to consider, we are going out, we are joining them, if they stay, they stay, if they move back again, because the front was moving back and forth constantly, we'll go with them. So she went out and she met, a soldier or an officer or what, and she told him in Polish who she is and what she is and he said I am a Jew, too. And he said, stay right here I'll be back I have something to bring you. He said that he found a Sefer Torah. What happened to him, I don't know. He never came back. So this was the end of the encounter with the Russians. Then we went back to Krosno. And there were a lot of Czech soldiers in the Russian army, too. And we actually got food from them, because at that point there was no food available except that I remember that the children were sent into the streets and the grownups too, and we were going around saying, "amhu", meaning brother, a Hebrew word for brother, and they knew who ever was Jewish answered and this is how they supplied us with food. There was no food at all. Then after we couldn't go to Mrs. Orlewska, we couldn't be in touch with her, there was no point in staying in Krosno anymore, so my mother decided to go back to Sanok to see what happened. She left her parents, she left her sister and husband with two children, a brother and wife and a few children, and cousins, distant cousins, close cousins...so when we came back, we found out what happened. But the reception we got was, "oh, so many of you are still alive..." we thought everybody was gone. This was the reaction of the Polish people. "So many of you still alive." There were still too many Jews. Of course, nobody was alive anymore, we found out that they, prior to erecting the ghetto, a lot of people went into a hiding place which was a large cut out ice cellar, there were 40 people in that cellar, and they were hoping to wait out the time in the cellar until the ghettos closed so they could come up. But there were two old women living nearby and they saw what was going on and they just pointed their finger and they came and got them. After we came back, we had people say, oh your uncle, the pious one, he sang all the way to the cemetery, Sh'ma Yisrael, he was leading them, they were all saying, over and over and over, and they were singing some songs, I don't know what they were singing.

They were shot?

They were all shot in the cemetery, all forty of them. Women, children, men, old, young, everybody...He was such a pious man. Even after they didn't let him have...he had a myayau in his house, so they arrested him. So we paid a lot of money so they let him out, so for Yom Kippur here there another mynyau, so they arrested him again. They beat him, but they paid money again, they let him out again, and if you asked him, what's going to be, he says, God will help us. It's gonna be okay.

What are your feelings about that?

A waste. Sadness. Loss. I don't know my feelings anymore. Bewilderment. Why? What a loss. Look at the contribution the Jewish people made to society, to culture. Who knows what geniuses went down. Who knows what these people would have grown up to be. Just wiped us out.

And yourself, you said, you were ten years old when it happened?


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