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Sheva's Promise

A Chronicle of Escape from a Nazi Ghetto

by Sylvia Lederman

Publication Year: 2013

A remarkable story of a young Jewish girl’s Holocaust survival outside of the Ghetto in Poland and Germany through sheer determination, resourcefulness, luck and the assistance of a few non-Jewish “helpers.”

Published by: Syracuse University Press


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pp. 1-2

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 3-8


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pp. vii-10


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pp. ix-14

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1 The Gathering Storm

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pp. 1-20

It was a warm, summer day—July 6, 1941. The town of Rohatyn was suffused with bright sunlight. At this time of year nature could fi ll human hearts with happiness; people could be out in the fresh air, taking advantage of those lovely days and feeling full of courage and hope for a good tomorrow. The streets were alive with people. Some appeared to be in a holiday mood, expecting something...

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2 The First Akcja

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pp. 21-35

The morning of March 20, 1942, dawned cold and icy. The people in the ghetto were still abed when, at about six o’clock, we were awakened by loud shouting. At fi rst the voices seemed quite distant, but soon they came nearer; we could hear the crying of children amid the noise of pistol shots. Mamma, Rosie, and I jumped out of bed and ran to the windows. I saw a helmeted German soldier with a gun in his hand, leading one”...

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3 The Face of Hate

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pp. 36-50

With this terrible experience still fresh in their minds, those who were left alive in the ghetto—there were over two thousand—had sufficient reason to dwell in mortal fear of repercussions. Most of the people did not undress to go to bed and were afraid to fall asleep, sitting instead in readiness for any emergency, all night, night after night. How long could one go on like...

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4 The Second Akcja

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pp. 51-65

With all our troubles, we did not even realize that the holy days were approaching, and before we knew it Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, was only a few days away. Several families in our house decided to gather in the home of a neighbor to say their prayers. We had no right to pray in public, and the synagogues were on the Aryan side of the city, ...

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5 A Counterfeit Life

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pp. 66-110

Already I had passed the ghetto and was near the post office. I looked around to see if anyone was near, but the street was empty and still. My heart began to pound wildly. I could hardly believe that I had actually taken this step . . . Now I was near the monastery, where we had agreed to meet. In the distance I saw a truck—it was waiting for me. A wave of relief ...


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pp. 119-124

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6 Into the Unknown, Alone

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pp. 111-138

Now the shots rang out loudly as we approached the railway station. From time to time, Gestapo passed us as we rode along unfamiliar streets. But the town of Brody had always been strange to me, and I a stranger within its boundaries. All I left behind were my tears and my fears; a poor legacy, indeed! The town was quiet except for the ghetto, where even during the darkness of the...

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7 A Perilous Refuge

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pp. 139-160

For a few minutes I remained standing in a state of utter confusion and shock. I could only wonder why Dr. Jagoda was risking his life for me. I was a total stranger—yet he had inexplicably decided to help me. I sat down on the cot and folded my hands tightly, trying to steady my shaking body. Would I be able to live through this war? How I longed for my dear ones—my home—...

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8 From the Jaws of Death

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pp. 161-192

We formed a double file. The girl at my side was sighing deeply, and from time to time a curse escaped her lips. “Devil take it,” she muttered. “Who knows where they will take me, or for how long. Who knows if I’ll ever even return home!” She set her valise down on the floor with The sudden gesture drew my attention to her luggage. It was more ...

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9 Hanka, the Nurse’s Aide

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pp. 193-230

The work was hard, requiring a great deal of physical strength and energy. I was not used to scrubbing, waxing, and polishing fl oors until they shone like glass. This had to be done day after day. Then, there was a routine of making up beds and going from room to room to see what the patients needed. Frequently they would throw up when recovering from ...

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10 At Last—The Liberation!

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pp. 231-250

...near dawn, but it was always dark in our bunker. The entrance door was closed and no one had the courage to look out. Suddenly, we heard a knocking on the door of our shelter and the sound of heavy steps—military steps. Such a sound had often brought fear to my heart. The door flew open and we saw the figures of four soldiers in French helmets and ...

Back Cover

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pp. 265-266

E-ISBN-13: 9780815652175
E-ISBN-10: 0815652178
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815610182
Print-ISBN-10: 0815610181

Page Count: 230
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 867739986
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Sheva's Promise

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Lederman, Sylvia.
  • Jews -- Poland -- Biography.
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Poland -- Personal narratives.
  • Poland -- Biography.
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