My Jewish parents, my Polish parents
My small sister was born in a bunker dug in the earth. She died suffocated with a pillow
I was born at the end of 1939, my name was Esther Goldynsztajn, diminutively — Tusia. I was two when I found myself in the ghetto in Brody. There was extreme hunger. In autumn the Germans started to transport people to the Bełżec camp, some were murdered on the spot. That was how my father died. My mother, wanting to save me, sent me to be kept on the Aryan side. She hid herself in a bunker. It was there that she gave birth to a child. The people who were in the bunker, afraid that the newborn’s wailings will betray their presence, suffocated it. My mother lived to see liberation and she started to search for me, but she did not know where I was. The man who took me out of the ghetto and placed me with a Polish family, was murdered by the Germans. With him the track ended. Mother wandered around Wołyń for a year and a half, searching in towns and villages, while I was then in the Recovered Territories. I had new personal data, I did not figure on any list of recovered people, therefore my mother could not find me. Certain that I had perished, she decided to leave for Israel. On the way she got to know her second husband. She had two sons with him. After many years, in 1989, I managed to find them thanks to genetic tests. Unfortunately, my mother did not live to witness that. It was not given for us to meet.
Mary and Mikołaj became my parents. I was a blonde with blue eyes, could pass for their daughter without raising suspicions
I got to the Titarenko home in Christmas of 1943. All my clothes, hair and whole body were teeming with lice. I was frightfully ashamed of that. I was all covered with ulcers caused by these insects. After a bath and delousing I was set at a table full of Christmas dishes. I was so famished that I had to be held by my hands, otherwise I would I would have thrown myself on the food. I was baptised in the Równe church — I received a new name, surname and date of birth. After the war mynew parents repatriated back to Poland. My early childhood experiences caused me to wet myself at night for a long time. This irritated my mother, she could not overcome her anger and I got a beating. Probably she was aware that the methods she used for raising me were not adequate, but she was unable to change that. The less love she showed me, the more withdrawn I became. I was not without fault either. I think that one treats differently one’s own child and an adopted one. My mother taught me that one should do one’s duty whatever the circumstances. When I married and moved over to Toruń, I took her with me and took care of her until she died. I repaid the debt I owed her. My mother’s relationship with to me influenced my whole life for the worse. I am extremely cold, I do not know how to show my feelings towards people who are close to me. That is how I was raised, and that has stayed in me.
Romualda Mansfeld-Booth
She finished high school, worked as a clerk in a bank and as a director’s secretary in a Toruń company. She is a member of Association of “Children of the Holocaust” in Poland. She has a daughter and five grandchildren.
Maria Titarenko
née Kucharska
Mother stored my blouse for decades. She wanted me to have something which had belonged to my family.
Helena Goldynsztajn
née Böhm
(1919 –1977)
My mother Helen, called by near ones Lena, died when she was 58. She never knew that I had survived the war.
My father was a baker. He always treated me well, talked and played with me.
(zm. 1942)
He died in the Bełżec concentration camp, together with half a million other Jews from Europe.