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Testimony of Pola Dawidson
Written in Polish.
Pola Dawidson was born in Vilnius (Vilna) on May 9, 1930, the daughter of Chaim and Jodyta (Judith; nee Rudnik).
In September 1939, the Soviets entered the city. After some time they retreated and Lithuanians came in their place. They carried out pogroms that lasted three days, and whoever went out on the streets risked his life. Many Jews were murdered. After the pogroms, the Poles cut the water supply, and the polluted water in use then caused a typhus epidemic. The hospitals were overfilled and lacked room for the sick. There were not a few incidents of hospital food being poisoned by Polish and Lithuanian staff. Pola's father fell ill at that time. At first it was thought that he had contracted typhus, but by the time he was properly diagnosed with pneumonia, it was too late. He died on May 27, 1941.
On June 19, 1941, Pola and her mother set out to travel to where Pola's sister was living as a guest in a village, but on the way they were caught under German bombardment [at the outset of Operation Barbarossa]. As they could neither continue on their way to Pola's sister or nor return home, they went to the interior of the USSR. They reached a kolkhoz in Uzbekistan, where they worked picking cotton. Afterwards they went to Kzyl - Orda in Kazakhstan. On September 24, 1942, Pola's mother died after an illness. Pola was placed in an orphanage where she stayed until the end of the war.
On May 20, 1946, Pola arrived in Poland. She went to Wroclaw (Breslau) and from there to Bielawa Dolna (Langenbielau) where she joined a "children's kibbutz" of the Dror youth movement. At that time, she discovered that her sister and all her family had burned to death in the ghetto in 1942, except one girl cousin who had managed to escape to the partisans, and a boy cousin who fled to the Soviet Red Army.
On July 3, 1946, Pola's kibbutz went to the Rosenheim DP camp in Germany.
Note: A "children's kibbutz" was a children's home belonging to one of the Zionist pioneering youth movements, operating along the communal lines of the kibbutz model in Israel.