Golda Szachter was born in Bodzentyn, Poland in 1932. She grew up with her parents and two sisters and two brothers. The war came to Poland in September 1939 when Golda was only seven years old. The Nazis ultimately occupied Bodzentyn. In order to avoid deportation, Golda’s father in 1942 arranged for the family to relocate to Starachowice, a munitions labor camp nearby. Because Golda was too young to work, her father asked Sofia Surowiecka, a Christian woman from the nearby village of Swietomarz, to house her. Golda lived as Sofia’s niece, Halinka Bertosuwna from Krakow, Poland until community members realized Golda’s true identity. The Surowiecka family and Golda were in danger of being discovered by the Nazis, so Golda joined her family in Starachowice in fall of 1943. Aware of the approaching Soviet army, the Nazis sent the prisoners to Auschwitz in 1944 and abandoned Starachowice. Though Golda and her mother were sent to the gas chambers in Auschwitz, the fast approach of war’s end halted those plans. In January of 1945, the Nazis sent Golda and her family on death marches before moving them to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The British army liberated Bergen-Belsen on April 15, 1945. Golda’s only surviving family members were her mother, sisters, uncle, and cousin. In 1990, Golda published The Last Selection: A Child’s Journey Through the Holocaust, a book detailing her experiences in the Holocaust.
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