Alicia was a 9 year old Jewish girl living in Buczacz(1)
(boo-chach(2)), Poland when the Holocaust began.
Approximately one third of the town were Jews.
Alicia, her mother, her father and four older brothers had lived harmless lives, that is until Germany invaded Poland. (1)
Moshe, one of Alicia's older brothers was the first person in Alicia's family to die. Germany and Stalin made a deal and divided Poland between themselves. Buczacz was taken over by the Russian army. Moshe went to a school that was offered to all children. While he was away his family received letters from him that made them suspect that something was wrong. One day Moshe returned home. He told his family that he was forced to write those letters and that he was treated very bad. He had to do hard labor every day after school. In a couple of weeks the Russians came looking for him. They did not want anyone to know how bad it was in
Russia. They captured Moshe and put him in prison. Because of doing hard labor and living in prison Moshe died. Alicia had lost the first member of her family, she had no clue that she would be losing many more. (1)
In June of 1941 the Germans broke their deal with the Soviets.
The Germans (led by Adolf Hitler) had a plan for the Jews.
They wanted to kill all of the Jewish people. All Jewish men had to go to a central place where they were supposed to
“register”. What actually happened is the Germans killed all of these men. They did this so the remaining Jews had no leaders.(1) Alicia spent days searching for her father.(3) The
Germans pretended that all of the men were still alive and demanded ransom payments for their release. Alicia’s mother gave all of the money and the jewelry that she had. Alicia and her family were now in the middle of the Holocaust. (1)
Alicia’s family was forced to move to the ghetto. All of the
Jews had to where the star of David. If a Jew entered the synagogue they would be killed. Anyone who tried to leave the ghetto would be shot. If a Jew was not wearing the star of David they would be arrested and eventually killed. Alicia could no longer go to school so everyday she climbed a tree just outside of her old school and tried to hear the lessons. Her teacher saw her but didn’t say anything. One day Alicia fell out of the tree and her old teacher told her to not climb the tree anymore. This made Alicia very sad.
One day Bunio (Alicia’s older brother) was getting wood and never came back. He was taken to a slave camp called Borki Wielki that was 100 miles away.
One of the boys at the camp had tried to escape so the Germans lined up all of the boys and pulled every tenth boy out of line. The choosen boys were executed. Bunio was among the boys that were executed. Alicia had lost two brothers and a father because of the Holocaust. (1)
In the winter of 1941 Alicia was visiting a Jewish family when Germans knocked down the door and loaded everyone onto a train. After several hours on the train, adults guessed the truth, the were going to an extermination camp. The adults opened a window and threw all of the children out, hoping that they will survive. Alicia was injured from her fall but made it home.
Zachary was Alicia’s last older brother left. He was very mad about his losses (1)and joined a resistance group because he wanted to kill the nazis.(3) One day he was betrayed by a
Polish friend. The police caught and hung him in front of the police building. That night Alicia cut him down and buried him.
Alicia was overwhelmed with devastation, she had lost her father and three of her brothers. She only had her mother and nine year old brother left. Alicia swore on her brothers grave to protect her mother and brother, even if it she dies doing it.
The Germans had decided it was time to kill all of the mothers. One day the police came to Alicia’s house and asked for Frieda Jurman.
Alicia told the police that she was Frieda Jurman. She was taken to prison. There she was beaten badly because she had called a SS man a
“devil”. Everyone in prison was beaten, attacked by dogs and starved.
Alicia became very sick with typhoid. One morning a SS man came to take away all the dead bodies and had thrown Alicia's unconscious body with all of the corpses. A man from the local ghetto came to bury all the bodies and found Alicia still alive he brought her back to his ghetto. She became healthy and was brought back to her city. When
Alicia came back to her house she found her mother and brother nearly dead from typhoid. Alicia and her friend made them healthy again.
The Germans decided that there weren’t enough Jews to keep the ghetto running so all Jews were transferred to the ghetto in Kopechince. Buczacz was supposed to be judenrein(Jew free). In a couple of weeks the Germans came to clear out the ghetto where Alicia lived. Everyone went to the bunker
(they used bunkers for hiding during times like this) not everyone could fit.
Alicia was climbing up to the attic when she heard a baby crying. She went to silence the baby when two SS men came in and killed the babies. Alicia was taken away to be shot. Alicia was in a group on a death march to the outskirts of the city. They were lined up in front of a trench that they would fall into when they were dead. Suddenly Milek, a boy who helped Alicia care for her mother and brother grabbed a gun and shot at the soldiers who were preparing to kill all of the group. Milek yelled at Alicia to run. She made it to safety when she decided to venture her way back to her ghetto. (1)
Alicia’s only remaining brother, Herzl went out to find news about what happened to everyone who was rounded up in the sweep. He came back with the news that they were shot. Alicia’s mother felt that her daughter was still alive and made a plan to go to Buczacz to meet her daughter. The day before she was going to leave Herzl went missing. She looked several days for Herzl before she decided to go. When she arrived in Buczacz she found Alicia. They decided to go out to the country side and live there. In the woods they found a man named Wujcui. He let them stay with him and work. They lived there for around a year. Alicia sent a note to a non-Jew friend.
She got a reply and a couple gifts. She found out that Herzl was dead. (1)
The Russians were winning the war! In the spring of 1944 Jewish people were liberated by the Russians. Hundreds of Jews came out of hiding. Alicia and her mother went back to Buczacz.
Suddenly the five divisions of the German army appeared and took over Buczacz. The superintendent of Alicia’s building tells the Germans that Alicia and her mother live there. The Germans come and shoot Alicia's mother. Alicia is taken to prison to be shot the next day. Alicia was taken to the woods to be shot along with the rest of her group. She hung in the back of the group and ran down the hill without getting caught. Alicia has survived once again.(1)
Alicia may have had a horrible childhood, but her story has a happy ending. Alicia met and married a man named Gabriel Appleman. Today Alicia memorializes what happened to the Jews. She also gives lectures. Alicia wrote a book about her experiences in the Holocaust and World War II. (1)
1) Graham, David. “Alicia Appleman-Jurman: Survival and Heroism of a Young Girl
During the Holocaust.” [Online] Available. http://www.datasync.com/~davidg59/alicia.html
Alicia Appleman-Jurman”. [Online] Available. http://www.annefrsnkwall.org/holocaustspeakers/profliealicia.html
December 10 2012
3) Rosenzveig, Charles. “Appleman-Jurman, Alicia
Bucazacz”. [Online] Available. http://www.holocaustcenter.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view