In 1938, the Hungarians took over the Carpathian-Russ area including Uzhgorod. In 1941, the Hungarians deported the Jews in the area to Kammience-Podolsk in the Ukraine. My family was taken to a ghetto in the city of Kolomyja, Ukraine/Galicia. On August 26, 1941, the 15,000 residents of the ghetto were taken out to a valley to be executed. A German general flew in to witness the massacre. The Zionist organization urged people to run away. My mother, who grew up in Vienna, Austria, spoke fluent German told the Germans that there was a misunderstanding, that we were Christians.
I was 13 years old at that time. My family received a document stamped by the German authorities that “proved” that they were non-resident aryans. This document was made out in the family’s new name, “Fajowicz”. This is the name my wife, daughter and I used until we became U.S. citizens. Our family moved from place to place so as not be gotten too well known. We spoke German and Hungarian to each other, being careful not to speak Yiddish or Hebrew. We never knew who might be listening; it was a struggle for life.
In 1944, the Soviets came in. Our family was suffering; there was no work, no food. The plan was, one by one, for the family to return to Uzhgorod. My oldest sister, Ruchel, was taken back to Hungary by a smuggler. She was later captured by the Germans and taken to the now established, Uzhgorod Ghetto. She was later taken to Auschwitz but survived the Holocaust. My father attempted to return to Uzhgorod. The Germans stopped him and he was shot trying to escape.
I lived in Kolomyja, Ukraine until 1959. During the time I lived in the Ukraine, my brother Yaakov, who lived with the family, was arrested by the KGB on suspicion of spying. He became ill with tuberculosis and died. We did not advertise our Jewish-ness. I lived in Walbrzych, Poland, then Wroclaw, Poland. I emigrated to the United States 1965 with my wife Anna, and daughter, Renetta.