Auerbach, Miriam

Auerbach, Miriam

Bukovina (Romania)

Auerbach was born in a region in Romania known as Bukovina in 1926. She emphasizes not only the rampant anti-Semitism of the Nazis but also of the Ukrainians. The Ukrainians eagerly volunteered to become Nazis. She recalls Ukrainians breaking the windows of her family’s house during the winter. In addition, Auerbach remembers her father being summoned to the city hall in 1941 where he was beaten by Ukrainians.

In June 1941 all the Jews were rounded up. As they crossed the border into Poland, Auerbach and her mother were raped and forced to give up their possessions. She recalls how they were treated and that she ate grass and drank dirty water to survive. Auerbach lost both her mother and her brother during this march to Poland.

She and the remaining members of her family stayed in an abandoned house guarded by Romanian gendarmes for three months. She recalls how they were never provided with either food or water and were forced to trade with farmers on their way to the city.

In 1942 she went to an orphanage and witnessed several instances of dehumanization. She recalls how the Nazis had raped two young girls from the orphanage, killing them afterward. Auerbach slept on top of the roof, out of view, to avoid the same fate.

After liberation Auerbach returned to her home but found no one alive. Auerbach lost two brothers, one sister, her father, mother, uncle, and a cousin and his three daughters. She recalls the Nazis’ retreat during which they shot the men of every household they encountered.

After the war, she sat alone in a transit camp awaiting permission from the British government to go to Palestine. Auerbach remained in Palestine from 1947 until 1957 before coming to the United States.

Interview Information:
Date: July 1, 1987
Interviewer: Rabbi Charles Rosenzveig
Length: 1 hour
Format: Video recording