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Sara Gelfand Memoir
A Narrow Escape
The night before we left, we heard noises of soldiers knocking on the doors and windows of the house. We were very frightened and wondered if our neighbor also heard these noises. We did not answer the knocking and heard our neighbor talking with the soldiers trying to distract them and have them go away. We heard the soldiers saying: “We know that an American lives here. We will not hurt her. We only want her to give us her dollars.”
The neighbor answered, “She has no dollars. Since the beginning of the war, she has received no money from America. She has three little daughters, have mercy. Better come to my house, I will give you food and something to drink.”
The soldiers asked: “Do you have vodka? Could you make us some blintzes?" Our good neighbor promised to feed them and did so. Later we were told that the soldiers ate and got drunk and stayed at the neighbor's house until 5 in the morning.
Meanwhile, the loud knocks on our door and windows frightened us very much. I took the little money and gold we had and hid it in a jar that was filled with potato peels. We dressed and embraced and thought we would certainly be killed. Yet we were saved. The bandits left at six in the morning. To make sure that they were really going away, our neighbor went with them until he was sure that they would not return. The bandits found another Jewish house, whose owner was returning after having slept at a non-Jewish family. When he arrived at the door of his house, the bandits attacked and beheaded him. Then they fled into the forest.