Cover

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pp. C-C

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-ix

Because my childhood was so different from that of my children and grandchildren, I decided to write down my story. I wrote it just as if I were telling it to them in person, without any literary aspirations.
When some of my friends and relatives found out about this project, they asked to read it, and I lent them a copy of the manuscript. Much to my surprise,....

Map

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pp. x-xii

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Prologue

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pp. 1-2

I was startled by thunderous banging on the door. Father jumped out of bed, hurriedly turned on the light, and rushed into the hallway. Mother also got out of bed.
“It’s three o’clock, who could that be?” she said haltingly, and there was fear in her voice.....

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Chapter 1: 1928-1938

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pp. 3-45

I was born on April 24, 1928, in a small Ukrainian town called Volochisk. The town is split in two by the River Zbruch, which between 1918 and September 1939 formed the border between Poland and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. From 1815 after the defeat of Napoleon until 1918, this...

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Chapter 2: 1938-1941

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pp. 46-80

In August we received the order to move out of the border zone. It did not leave any room for interpretation: we were given two weeks to disappear. If we did not, we would be forcibly resettled in an unspecified distant region, which to us meant Siberia. Our building was being confiscated and would become state property. I remember overhearing Mother telling some-...

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Chapter 3: 1941

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pp. 81-101

On a quiet and sunny Sunday afternoon of June 22, 1941, I came home from a long hike in the Black Forest, where my friend Dima and I had gathered a basketful of mushrooms that we gave to his grandmother to inspect to make sure none were poisonous....

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Chapter 4: 1942

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pp. 102-132

We sailed all night and all day without seeing or hearing any airplanes. This was very fortunate because there was no place to hide. The ship was not equipped to carry passengers and there was no food for us. We were given only water, which had a metallic taste and was tepid. This may have been for the better because many passengers were seasick. Even though the waves were not...

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Chapter 5: 1943

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pp. 133-163

After groping in the dark for a couple of hours, we came to Lougovaya.I knew the area around the railroad station and the delousing bathhouse,but we turned onto an unpaved side street and Mother went from house to house trying to find the right place in the dark. She finally found a sort of double kibitka and knocked on the window to the right of the door....

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Chapter 6: 1944-1945

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pp. 164-186

We rode into Khmelnik on a cobblestone road, and except for the area around the station everything looked almost the same as it had three years earlier. There were, however, some signs of neglect. There were huge pot-holes in the road, and many of the houses were pockmarked with bullet holes. But when we entered the old section of town, we saw that the once...

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Chapter 7: 1945-1946

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pp. 187-211

Our first stop in Poland was Lublin, the seat of the government that had been set up by the Soviets in violation of the agreement struck with Roosevelt and Churchill, who insisted that Poland already had a government-in-exile in London. The Soviets had initially recognized this government,but after it protested the execution by the NKVD of thousands of captured...

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Chapter 8: 1946-1949

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pp. 212-248

Not wanting to disclose our destination, we bought tickets to Munich.There we would take the train for Landsberg, where Itche’s wife and son lived in a camp for Displaced Persons (called DPs). The train was not due for a couple of hours, and because we did not want to attract the attention of the policemen who patrolled the station, we tried to be as inconspicuous...