Edit Grinsphun

Edit Grinsphun

Born: March 2, 1922

Chisinau, Romania

Edit, the eldest of two children born to a Jewish family, was raised in Bulboaca, a Romanian village of 2,000 people. Her father was a farmer, and he also worked in the town's railway office. Edit attended public school for four years and then, at age 11, went to the nearby town of Bendery for high school.

1933-39: In Bendery, Edit's parents rented a room for her near the school. At school she studied several foreign languages, but she wasn't taught politics--the teachers said that politics was bad for their minds. In 1937 a fascist government came to power in Romania and pogroms against Jews broke out. At school, a list of Jewish students was made in preparation for purging the school of Jews. But King Carol II ousted the fascists before they could be expelled.

1940-45: When Germany invaded the USSR in 1941, Edit fled east, but the Germans overtook her in Pervomaysk. For months she hid, and then crossed a frozen river to the Romanian-occupied side. Barefoot, she traversed the ice on her hands and knees. Several more months passed, and she began to feel that she couldn't go on running and hiding. Edit approached a Romanian policeman: "Do what you want. I don't have the guts to kill myself." He replied coldly, "There's a death camp at Otmechetka, but it's not finished. I can't send you yet."

Edit was deported to a forced-labor camp in Transnistria. She was liberated by the Red Army in 1944. After the war, Edit lived in Odessa. She immigrated to America in 1990.