November 20, 2007

Almost Caught!

My father survived by hiding in the forests and barns in the surrounding area of Radziejow. He learned to open barn doors without the farmer being able to tell. He then would bury himself into the hay, trying to stay warm. He then would go to the shacks of peasants and beg for food. Often times he would go to the farmer himself begging. The farmer never knew that my father was hiding in his barn.
One winter day my father was hiding in a barn. He inadvertently moved some tobacco leaves drying on top of the hay. My father then buried himself into the hay and fell asleep. The next day the farmer entered the barn and noticed that the tobacco leaves were not in the same place. He understood that someone was hiding in the barn. The assumption was that it was an escaped Russian soldier. So the man called to all his neighbors to come to his aid and then called the Police.
The farmer and neighbors began to search the hay. They used pitchforks. My father didn’t know what to do. Eventually they approached his corner. He knew it was over. So he emerged from the haystack. The farmer and neighbors didn’t understand. They haven’t seen a Jew in well over a year. My father, with his beard, looked like a Rabbi.
My father decided that maybe he could bluff his way out. He began to shout that he was a partisan. And his commander knew where he was. My father said that if he was turned over to the Germans, the partisans would burn the farm down. The farmer was alarmed. He apologized and told my father to hide in a trench on the other side of the farm and he would get rid of the Police.
My father ran away and searched for a safer area to hide.

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