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Rivka's Account
The Horrors
The Survival
An Eyewitness
The SS Officer
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"Finally my turn came. There was my younger sister - and she wanted to leave. She prayed with the Germans, she asked to run - naked, she went up to the Germans with one of her friends, they were embracing each other. He looked into her eyes and shot the two of them. They fell together in their embrace, the two young girls - my sister and her young friend.

Then my second sister was shot and then my turn did come. We turned towards the grave and then he turned around and asked, "Whom shall I shoot first?" We were already facing the grave. The Germans asked, "Who do you want me to shot first?"

I did not answer. I felt him take the child from my arms. The child cried out and was shot immediately. And then he aimed at me. First, he held onto my hair and turned my head around. I stayed standing. I heard a shot, but I continued to stand and then he turned my head again and he aimed the revolver at me and ordered me to watch and then turned my head around and shot at me. Then I fell to the ground into the pit amongst the bodies - but I felt nothing. The moment I did feel, I felt a sort of heaviness .. and then I thought "maybe I'm not alive anymore - but I feel something after I've died".

I thought I was dead, that this was the feeling that comes after death. Then I felt that I was choking; people falling over me. I tried to move, and felt that I was alive and that I could rise. I was strangling. I heard the shots and I was praying for another bullet to put an end to my suffering, but I continued to move about. I felt that I was choking, strangling, but I tried to save myself - to find some air to breathe, and then I felt that I was climbing towards the top of the grave above the bodies.

I rose and I felt bodies pulling at me with their hands, biting at my legs, pulling me down, down. And yet, with my last strength, I came up on top of the grave, and when I did, I did not know the place, so many dead bodies were lying all over, dead people; I wanted to see the end of this stretch of dead bodies, but I could not. It was impossible.

They were lying, all dying, suffering; not all of them dead, but in their last sufferings, naked; shot, but not dead. Children crying "Mother" and "Father"; I could not stand on my feet .. the Germans were gone. There was nobody there. No one standing up.

I was naked, covered with blood, dirty from the other bodies - with the excrement from other bodies which was poured on me .. I was wounded in the head .. I have a scar to this day from the shot by the Germans .. and yet somehow, I did come out of the grave.

This was something I thought I would never live to recount. I was searching among the dead for my little girl and I cried for her - Merkele was her name - "Merkele!"





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