On June 27, 1941 all of the Jews of Riga were organized to get on a train to Russia. During this time, there was bombing going on from German airplanes. We had only minutes to escape, and we were unable to take any belongings with us, only the clothes on our backs.
My mother and brothers and I were all on the train together, but my father did not get on the train, because he was working. A little while after we left the town, the train was hit by a bomb. Everyone ran off of the train and hid in a field nearby. I thought that I was safe, but then the planes came back and began to shoot in the fields.
When the planes left, I stood up and looked; there was blood everywhere, and so many people had died. They put the train back together, and continued on to Moscow where we found work on a farm near the town of Ivanova. We stayed there until fall, but it started to get cold and we did not have clothes for that weather.
We decided to go to Tashkent, Uzbekistan where it would be warmer. I worked very hard picking cotton, with very little food. The Russians also sent me to a vocational school, with other kids my age who were too young to go into the army.
My skill was in bricklaying, and I was sent to a metallurgy plant in Ural, Siberia. The conditions there were very bad, with hardly any food, maybe a small amount of bread and a little soup to last all day. We would try to find potatoes in the fields around us. I was so hungry that many times I did not have the energy to walk back to the barracks. I would sleep in the tunnels under the factory, near the heat pipes. I was very lucky to live because one of the balconies that I was working on collapsed. I was able to jump off while other workers fell and died. I worked there until the end of the war and returned to Riga to find my family.
I had three brothers. Ben was the oldest. He survived the war, fighting in the Russian Army and died in Riga in 1979. Hersch, the next oldest, was a pilot for the Russian army. He never returned after the war, so we think he was shot down and killed. I also had one younger brother, Max, who is still alive. He survived the war with my mother.