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Holocaust Survivor Testimony: Chasia Bornstein (Bielicka)

Chasia was born in 1921 in Grodno, Poland, to a traditional family.
When she was 12, she joined the Hashomer Hatza'ir youth movement,
later becoming a leader.
In June 1941, Chasia enlisted with the Grodno Underground. When the
ghetto was established in November, she kept the youth occupied,
preventing them from roaming the streets with nothing to do. She read
them stories and talked about emigrating to Israel, thus planting hope
and strength in the hearts of her young charges. At the same time, the
underground helped the numerous refugees arriving from Western Poland.
Chasia was also part of the attempts to organize a ghetto uprising.

As part of her underground activities, Chasia was sent to Bialystock,
where she worked on the "Aryan" side under the alias of a young Polish
woman -- Helena Stasziwak. With the failure of the uprising in
Bialystok, she joined another of her comrades as a courier for the
partisan brigade hiding in the forests. During the day, she worked as
"Helena" for the family of an SS officer, and at night she smuggled
weapons, armaments, food and medicines, and gathered intelligence for
the partisans. Together with other couriers, she also organized a cell
of Germans who helped the partisans. Thanks to a map of Bialystok
Chasia prepared for the Red Army Command, the city was captured
without losses. For this, she and her fellow couriers were awarded the
highest commendation given to civilians.

At the end of the war, Chasia opened the first orphanage for Jewish
children in Lodz. For the next 18 months, she wandered through Germany
and France with the children. In 1947, she boarded the ship "Theodore
Herzl" with more than 500 children in her charge. The ship was caught
by the British and sent to Cyprus, where Chasia continued to run
educational activities in the youth camp. After six months, the group
managed to reach Israel. To this day, she maintains warm relationships
with many of the group's members.

Chasia married and made her home on Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan. She
worked as an educator and an art teacher at Tel Hai College. She has
three daughters, 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

For more details, click here:

-- http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=gIhf5BePn88

Holocaust Survivor Testimony: Chasia Bornstein (Bielicka)