Two Sisters in Warsaw Ghetto
“And I remember my father saying that when he saw us he was afraid to touch us. He was afraid to touch us because we looked so frail.”
– Anne Levy
The sisters Anne Levy and Lila Millen were in two ghettos. They were in the Lodz ghetto for several months and in the Warsaw ghetto for two and a half years. When the gates of the Warsaw ghetto swung closed on November 14, 1940, sealing the fate of so many, Anne was 6 years old, and Lila turned 3 the next day. For 18 months their mother Ruth was the sole guardian. Their father Mark was trapped on the Soviet side of the new border. Even with the packages of food he sent them, Ruth and the girls were on the verge of starvation.
Anne and Lila have vivid memories of the ghetto, and certainly of the fateful Saturday in December 1941 when Mark knocked on the door and re-entered their lives. They hadn’t seen him since September 1939. The deportations to Treblinka began 7 months later, on July 23, 1942. Anne turned 7 earlier that month. Lila would be 5 in November. Both the sisters give us accounts of hiding in the “vegetable bin,” under a stack of wooden soles, and in a basement. Ruth and girls were smuggled out of the ghetto in January 1943, beginning a life “passing” on the Aryan side. Mark followed eight days later.