Survivor Experiences

These are true personal accounts of strength, courage, persistence and faith.

Betiy (Small)As a small child of five, Betiy was in a Ghetto in the Ukraine with her mother. Betiy’s father was at the front fighting with the Red Army.  She remembers being closed in a room, hiding, when the Germans were rounding everyone up.

“My mother hid me in a closet and I had to be very quiet.  When the soldiers came into the room where we were she deliberately led them away.  They didn’t look in the closet and missed me, but they got her.  She was killed.

“After the soldiers were gone I lived in the cellar with the rats and mice.  I remember them climbing on me and how awful it was to be down there.  Even though I was five years old I had to find my own food and keep hiding.”

Her grandparents, whom she remembers always did good things for other people, were also killed in the Holocaust.  Her whole family was Orthodox.

After the war she lived in Tashkent.  While she was there they had an earthquake in 1964. She moved to the Ukraine and right after she arrived, they experienced an earthquake.  Every place where she has moved, an earthquake took place soon afterward, including Israel. She is very frightened when she speaks of the earthquakes.

She and her husband moved to Israel in 1992.  After ten years her husband died.  She has two sons, one in Jerusalem and one in her hometown and has grandchildren.

“Ever since my husband died I have great trouble sleeping at night.  I have many bad memories and cry when I think of my husband.”

Betiy is very hospitable and is a gracious hostess.  She always had great concern about the “old” people in her neighborhood and tried to assist them whenever she can.   At one point, in 2005, she asked us if [AHI] could help the “old” people get to the store for their groceries. Since we did not have a vehicle at that time we told her we would pray to find a way.

The following week the main grocery announced they would begin offering free van rides, pick-up and drop-off. We went and gave her all the information and phone numbers and she was pleased to be able to help her neighbors!

Betiy has recorded her personal war account on tape with the Shoah Foundation Holocaust Memorial project.  She continues to live in Israel with her family nearby.