Shulamit Perlmutter (Charlene Schiff)

Shulamit Perlmutter (Charlene Schiff)

Born: December 16, 1929

Horochow, Poland

Shulamit, known as Musia, was the youngest of two daughters born to a Jewish family in the town of Horochow, 50 miles northeast of Lvov. Her father was a philosophy professor who taught at the university in Lvov, and both of her parents were civic leaders in Horochow. Shulamit began her education with private tutors at the age of 4.

1933-39: In September 1939 Germany invaded Poland, and three weeks later the Soviet Union occupied eastern Poland, where Shulamit's town was located. Hordes of refugees fleeing the Germans streamed through their town. Soviet rule didn't change Shulamit and her family's lives very much. They remained in their home and her father continued to teach in Lvov. The most important change for Shulamit was at school; she was now taught in Russian.

1940-45: In 1941 the Germans invaded the USSR and set up a ghetto in Horochow. In 1942, with rumors that the ghetto was about to be destroyed, Shulamit and her mother fled. They had just hidden in the underbrush at the river's edge when they heard shots. They hid, submerged in the water, all night as machine guns blazed in the ghetto. By morning others were hiding in the brush and Shulamit heard a Ukrainian guard scream, "I see you there Jews; come out!" Most obeyed, but Shulamit and her mother hid in the water for several more days as the gunfire continued. Sometimes they would doze; once she woke to find her mother had vanished.

Shulamit never saw her mother again and never found out what happened to her. Shulamit spent the rest of the war living in the forests near Horochow. She is the only survivor of her family.

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