Oral History

Sarah (Sheila) Peretz Etons describes her experiences as a child in hiding

Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. After the German occupation, Sarah (then just three years old) and her mother were forced into a ghetto. One day, a Polish Catholic policeman warned them that the ghetto was about to be liquidated. He sheltered Sarah and her mother first in his house, then in a potato storage bunker, and then in a chicken coop on his property. Sarah hid there for more than two years, until the area was liberated by Soviet forces. After the war, Sarah emigrated from Europe—first to Israel in 1947 and then to the United States in 1963.


I was in that shack hiding for over two years. Never went outside. Uh, in the winter it was very cold; in the summer it was hot. And, um, he used to bring us, uh, usually, uh, a loaf of bread for both of us every day and a bottle of water. Once in a blue moon for a special occasion he would bring a little soup. And, uh, sometimes he had, if he had to go away on business where they send him to another town for a day, or some other, he would, his wife or his daughter will never give us anything so we starved for a day or two until he came back. And my mother and I been in that, uh, uh, shack for--at night sometimes, my mother used to sneak out to clean up the [chamber] pot, and, uh, I never went out. Uh, she wouldn't let me out, and I was afraid to. She was, uh, I, we didn't have anything to do. I didn't have anything to play. I was at that time six years old, and I didn't know...I used to play with the chickens and play with the straws on the, there was a lot of straw on the floor and he used to, he put up, uh, a kind of a mattress or something where we slept in a corner with blankets, and that was where we stayed.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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