Jocheved Kuzda Kasher

Born: January 30, 1930

Lodz, Poland

Jocheved, or Jadza as she was called at home, was born in the industrial city of Lodz, Poland's second-largest city. Before the war, one-third of Lodz's inhabitants were Jewish. The Kuzdas kept a traditional Jewish home and placed importance on their children's education. Jocheved had two older sisters, Sarah and Regina.

1933-39: I was 9 when the war broke out in September 1939. Instead of starting school, I stayed at home listening to the bombs exploding. My father and sister tried to get to Warsaw, hoping that it would be safer than Lodz. But Warsaw was also being bombed, so they returned home. I was happy that at least our family was reunited.

1940-45: In 1940 the Nazis set up a ghetto in Lodz. After four years there, Regina and I were deported, via Auschwitz, to a munitions factory in Germany. Then we were force-marched to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where Regina died. On liberation day I was sitting on my bunk. With Allied troops near, the Nazis began shooting in the air. A stray bullet hit me in the foot. I was so exhausted that all I could think of was getting something to drink, but there were rumors that the Nazis had poisoned the water.

Jocheved was 15 years old when the war ended. She immigrated to Palestine with a group of orphans from Bergen-Belsen.