In December 1941, the Jews of Dobrushino, Ukraine, were ordered to report with their belongings to the village marketplace. One mother, Tsilya, separated herself and her three children from the group and went to the two-room house where her neighbor, Daria Striletska, lived with her own three children.
For two weeks, both mothers and all six children lived in the small house. Tsilya built an earthen bunker in a field. Depending on the season, Tsilya’s family moved from the house to the bunker to a haystack near the house. For more than three years, they were hungry, exhausted and cold. The children learned to be unnaturally quiet. There were a number of close calls, but they survived.
In April 1944, the Soviet Army liberated the village. Tsilya and her children returned to their home, which had not been destroyed during the war. Tsilya died many years ago. In 2006, Daria was in her late 80’s and living in Dobrushino.