Lucy Baras

Lucy Baras


My name is Lucy Baras. I was born in a small city in eastern Poland which is now western Ukraine. I come from a middle class family. We were neither rich nor poor. Our city had only a seven-grade school. At the age of 13 I left home to attend high school in a larger city and at the age of 18 I went to another city to enroll in law school. (There were no pre-law or pre-med schools.) After two years I dropped out from the four-year course because of anti-Semitism.

Then I took a tailoring course and opened my own shop in my home town. In September 1939 Hitler attacked Poland from the west and the Soviets crossed the Polish border from the east. I lived under Soviet occupation until June 1941 when the Nazis attacked Stalin.

This was the beginning of the Holocaust. My father, together with a few hundred Jewish men, was killed on the first day of the German occupation. We were herded into a ghetto and went through five "resettlement actions" when Jews were loaded into trains for death camps. In Spring 1943 the city was declared "free of Jews'' and only those in the labor camp on the outskirts of the city were still allowed to work and live. The camp was only for the young but my brother and I smuggled our mother in.

In Summer 1943 the camp was annihilated in two massacres. The Jews had to dig their own graves. Mother was killed during the second camp "action." My brother and I survived the last nine month in the forests. We were freed by the Russians March 1944.

My brother was inducted into the Polish-Russian army and was killed March 1945.

The long recovery road brought us through Poland and Germany to the United States in May 1949.