In 1939 first the Germans came in and occupied the city. The Russians took over later. The Germans returned again. I had become a member of the Komsomols, the youth wing of the Communist party. I was not a Communist but joined the organization as I thought it might help me advance in my career. Later when the Germans returned, I figured I would be first on the list of people the Germans, I was Jewish and I was also a member of the Komsomols. I decided to leave when the Germans returned. My plan was to travel by foot to Kiev, Ukraine. My family tried to leave also. My father had one foot that was shorter than the other and could not travel well. He was a prominent member of the community doing legal work. He thought he would be safe. My sisters and a brother went into hiding with a non-Jewish friend of our family. Eventually, my whole family was caught and killed by the Germans.
In Saratov in southern Russia, I took a train to Tashkent. It was very hard to buy tickets there were so many people trying to flee to the East. I had a beautiful satchel that I gave to the ticket clerk in exchange for a ticket. When I arrived in Tashkent, they said it was too overcrowded with refugees. They gave me a ticket instead to go to Samerkand, Uzbekistan. I spent the rest of the war there working on a labor detail, building roads. I had a Russian registration and had to stay there. The Polish army was mobilizing there as well. Jewish refugees under Ander’s Army were going to Iran, Palestine, Egypt and then to London. They were afraid however that the Jewish soldiers would not leave Palestine once they got there.