Manya Brodeski-Titelman was an only child, born in 1932 in Zhabokrich, Ukraine.
In July 1941, the German army entered the town, followed by the Romanian army.
The Jews were ordered to gather in five cellars, where the Romanian soldiers proceeded to shoot them. Manya Brodeski-Titelman lost consciousness. When she awoke, she saw that her mother had been killed. Her father had survived.
Manya and her father hid in the cellar until nightfall. They then escaped to a forest but after a week, starving and cold, they returned. A few days later, they were herded into the town ghetto, where they lived under grueling conditions in an apartment with several other families.
One day, the police ordered both adults and children back to the cellars to remove the corpses from the massacre. The bodies were in a terrible state of decomposition, and the horrified prisoners were forced to bury them in a mass grave.
Manya identified her mother's body by the red boots she had been wearing. She and her father managed to bury her near their home.
During this period, thousands of Jews from Bessarabia were being herded to the nearby River Bug, where they were murdered. Manya's father would throw boiled potatoes to them across the ghetto fence, and bring survivors to their home.
Toward the end of the war, the Romanians gathered all the Jews in the main square of the town, planning to kill them. Suddenly, a group of German soldiers arrived and warned the Romanians that the Russian army had arrived. The Romanians fled. To the Jews' astonishment, the German soldiers turned out to be partisans in disguise.
In 1980, Manya and her family immigrated to Israel. In 2003, she was among a group that erected a memorial tombstone on the site of her hometown's mass grave.
In March 2007, Manya's husband, Boris, a Holocaust survivor and a veteran of the Red Army, passed away. She has two daughters, five grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>