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Sara Gelfand Memoir
The Bolsheviks Arrive
We lived a quiet, almost normal life and we thought that it will be always this way, but it didn't last long. New rulers came to power: The Germans left and the Bolsheviks arrived. Some people thought that the Bolsheviks would help everybody. A large number of soldiers lived in local barracks. Once a day they came to town to fetch milk from the cows. Again, people thought that this situation was temporary, only until other forces came to power.
The presence of the Bolshevik soldiers gave us a sense of security, raising hopes that we will be able to continue with our normal daily lives. However, the soldiers seemed to fear the bandits, who during the nights took advantage of the soldiers’ fears and continued perpetrating all kinds of outrages. The unfortunate fact was that the Bolshevik soldiers did not respond against the pogroms committed by the bandits every night against the Jews of the village.
This situation lasted through the whole winter. An especially tragic event occurred two weeks before Pesach. An aunt of ours, mother of two small children who at night slept with a non-Jewish maid while the aunt and her husband spent nights at the home of non-Jewish friends. One morning the aunt woke up, left her husband sleeping and returned home to look after the children. When she entered the house a group of bandits discovered and attacked her. There were four bandits. They did not use firearms so as not to wake up the neighbors, and they beat our aunt brutally. She got hold of an ax to defend herself and succeeded in hitting one of the bandits, but the other three pounced on her and practically cut her to pieces. The scene was too horrible to be described. I remember the moment when we received the terrible news.
We were on a beautiful street of the village, close to the gardens and the sown fields. It was the beginning of spring, yet it was still cold. Our house was at the far end of a big yard, close to the gardens and the non-Jewish owner of the property lived facing the street. He and his wife cared for us in many ways. Our mother went to the funeral; the neighbor did not want us children to stay alone in our house and took us to his house.