Brenda Betel

"Stay Jewish. Be good people, help people. I helped so many people in my life. I like to do Mitzvahs, good deeds to help others."

Name at birth
Bracha Krug
Date of birth
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
Radymno, Poland
Name of father, occupation
Yitzchak Krug, Businessman/farmer
Maiden name of mother, occupation
Chena Fiedler, Homemaker
Immediate family (names, birth order)
Parents and seven children: Israel, Hersh, Chaim (died in Siberia), Bracha, Meyer, Malach
How many in entire extended family?
Large extended family
Who survived the Holocaust?
Israel, Hersh, Bracha, Meyer, Malach
I lost my parents, grandfather, and my brother Chaim in Siberia.  Meyer and Malach went to Teheran, Iran from Siberia via governmental diplomatic arrangements.

Before the war, I went to school, was an A student.  I had a happy childhood.  The three Jewish students excelled in the class of mostly Gentile children.  

In 1935 or 1937, the Polish government issued anti Jewish decrees.  Anyone who had a loan from a Jew did not have to pay it back.  

When the Germans came to our town, they took all of the Jews to a synagogue.  They took away all of the older Jews, we didn’t know what happened to them.  Later we learned that they killed all of them.  

On erev (eve of) Yom Kippur 1940, the Germans took all of the Jews to the other side of the San River into Russian territory.  I remember the Germans took pictures of the religious men including my grandfather.  A friend of my father’s on the other side of the river recognized us and took us in. 

I was my father’s favorite.  He didn’t want me to suffer.  He sent me to Przemysl where my aunt lived so that she could take care of me.  She was a very religious woman.  She wore a sheitel, a wig worn by married religious Jewish women for modesty.  She had a kosher restaurant.  

After a while, I wanted to go home.  I came home on Passover, back to my city.  

The Russians and Germans had divided Poland in two.  We were on the Russian side of the San River.  The Russians asked us what did we want to do?  We all wanted to go home.  In 1942, one night, they loaded all of us into a train, in cattle cars, and took us to Siberia to the east instead of to the west where our homes were.  This actually saved our lives going away from the Germans.  

My father was a sick man.  I was with my sister.  My sister married an older man.  We went to Kazakhstan.  I lost my father, mother, brother, and grandfather there.  

I was part of a Zionist group.  After the war, we went to Israel.  In 1948, I married Yitzchak Betel who was with Ander’s Army, which was the Polish armed forces in Russia.  My brother Malach was also in Israel.

Where did you go after being liberated?
After the war, I went to Marseilles, France from Germany. In 1947, an Israeli delegation arranged for us to go by ship to Israel, then Palestine. Our ship was the Mapil Almonah. We could see Haifa but the British intercepted us. They took us to Cyprus. We threw empty water bottles at them; they threw tear gas at us. When they were taking us, we shouted, “Palestine, Palestine, Palestine!” There were about 800 of us kids on that ship.
Occupation after the war
Yitzchak Betel, Had a cleaners
Yitzchak, Dalia, and Aaron
What do you think helped you to survive?
My belief in G-d. Before I go to sleep, I kiss the mezuzah, I say a prayer: “G-d, hear me, and help me from all bad.”
What message would you like to leave for future generations?
Stay Jewish. Be good people, help people. I helped so many people in my life. I like to do Mitzvahs, good deeds to help others.
Charles Silow
Interview date:


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