The Betty Gold Story
Publication Year: 2014
Few are familiar with one of the Holocaust’s most monstrous acts, the systematic murder of about 5,000 Jewish residents in a Nazioccupied Polish town, Trochenbrod, on August 11, 1942. Of the 33 who escaped death, only one person remains to describe these events—Betty Gold. Twelve-year-old Betty and her family hid inside a secret wall built by her father and, when it seemed safe, crept toward the forest, which became their home.
In part one of Beyond Trochenbrod, Gold provides a brief history of Trochenbrod, the only all-Jewish town to exist outside of biblical Israel, and describes a series of cherished childhood experiences before the arrival of Soviet and, later, Nazi occupiers. Part two centers on the family’s struggles against hunger, pain, despair, and the constant fear of being discovered while living in the forest. How the family survived against these and other threats is nothing short of miraculous. Their unlikely rescue, stay at a displaced persons camp, and journey to America are the subjects of part three. In the fourth and final part of her memoir, Gold recounts her difficult adjustment to her new home in Cleveland and discusses how her Trochenbrod experiences have transformed her life and the lives of others.
Man’s inhumanity is undeniable in Beyond Trochenbrod, but so is humanity’s capacity to prevail in spite of unimaginable odds.
Published by: The Kent State University Press
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Near Nobel Peace Prize recipient, author, and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, sat a petite woman whose dark eyes and pensive expression devoured the guest speaker’s every word. Wiesel, addressing the Saint Ignatius High School student body, was...
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Nothing remains of Trochenbrod. A prosperous Polish town of five thousand exists only in memory. The shopkeepers, craftspeople, teachers, factory workers, and farmers are all silent. Synagogues, Hebrew school, leather factories, and retail shops...
Chapter One. Trochenbrod
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As often happened in villages throughout Poland in 1921, my mother, Riva Tepper, was quite young, only seventeen, when she married my father, Eli Potash, who was himself just nineteen. Riva and Eli became parents soon after their marriage...
Chapter Two. The Forest
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In 1939, Poland fell into Soviet hands, and life in Trochenbrod abruptly changed. All businesses, including my father’s leather shop, were confiscated. Shop owners now became managers, sacrificing income and profits to the shared wealth of...
Chapter Three: Exodus
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On a warm late summer morning in 1943, while living in the marsh, Father said he was going to take us on a “field trip.” We just rolled our eyes. What kind of field trip could he be talking about here in this dreary place? He said, “On this beautiful...
Chapter Four. My Testimony
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I didn’t want to forget. I refused to forget. Before falling asleep each night in the forest and later in Cleveland, I would try to remember each person’s name and house from Trochenbrod. I did this for years and years, and then little by little the...
Epilogue. Other Voices
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Speaking to young people as a docent at the Maltz Museum or at schools has inspired me to continue telling my story. I’m lucky to have been a positive influence on numerous young lives for so many years. the kids have been so interested in...
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The following are gratefully recognized for their assistance and inspiration: Nancy Wilhelm for encouraging Betty to have someone write her memoir and for persuading me to be that writer; Avrom Bendavid-Val, author of...
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Page Count: 144
Publication Year: 2014
Series Title: Jewish Studies