Tovah Goldwaser
Tovah Goldwaser

Tovah Goldwaser

Below is an excerpt of the Ostrowiec youth mentioned in the book ‘LeDerech Lecherut' (The Way to Freedom)  written by Joseph Zvi Halperin. [Page:27]

 The Ostrovtzer youth who reached our group were sent to us by the local committee people who feared for the refugees’ lives. They arrived in two groups: The first group, five girls and a boy, arrived in the second half of May; the second group, four girls and three boys, around a month afterwards. Some of these youths belonged to Zionist youth groups before the war, mainly to Betar; others came without any Zionist motivation, at times even against their will. (From among the thirteen Ostrovtzers who came to us in Kielce, only six settled in the Land; one girl who remained in Kielce was murdered there on July 4, 1946; six girls left us along the way and settled in America.)

Tovah Goldwaser

Tovah Goldwaser was eleven when the war broke out. She also grew up in a religious household. Her father was one of Ostrowiec’s town leaders, esteemed even in the eyes of its Polish residents. He ran a business for transporting goods. Up to the 1929 economic depression, their situation was fine. Tovah was born that same year, the youngest of four siblings (she had two other brothers and a sister).

After the war broke out, her father worked under the aegis of the Jewish Committee to secure supplies of food for the community. In this capacity he also saw to the needs of the indigent and the thousands of refugees that had streamed into Ostrowiec. In August 1942, the family was slated to be sent to the extermination camp, but was saved from this fate through the help of friends. Instead, they were deported to the Pionki labor camp where they were put to work in a munitions factory. At the end of July 1944, the family was transferred to Auschwitz from where the men were sent to a labor camp in Germany and murdered just before the end of the war. Tovah and her mother were sent to a labor camp in the vicinity of Bergen-Belsen, where they also worked manufacturing munitions. In April 1945 they were both loaded on to freight cars. At one of the stations, the train was stalled for several days without the prisoners being allowed to exit the cars. The train was bombed from the air and many of those trapped in it were wounded. Among the wounded was Tovah’s mother, who sustained a severe injury to her leg. The German civilian authorities saw to burying the dead, hospitalizing the wounded in a local hospital, and sending the unharmed off on a march escorted by armed Germans. After a journey of some days, the marchers, Tovah amongst them, were liberated by the Soviet Army. Tovah traveled on to Poland and reached the city of Czestochowa, where she took shelter in the community house. She then continued to Ostrowiec, but did not find any of her relatives. She wasn’t even allowed to enter her family’s home due to the protestations of its new occupants. Having no other choice, she returned to Czestochowa where she met some acquaintances with whom she returned to Ostrowiec, taking shelter with them. When she heard that there was a group of Ostrovtzer youths organizing to join the “kibbutz” in Kielce, she decided to go with them.

-For page listing all members of the group see this page.

DERECH LECHERUT BOOK

Cover of book in Hebrew: "The Way to Freedom"