When the World War II began, my grandfather, Leo Heiman, was only a child – 12 years old. He and his family lived in Warsaw, Poland. The German aircrafts flew over the city and bombed it. His father, Dov (Boris) Heiman, who owned a pharmacy in the main street of Warsaw – Tlomackie, felt that a bad thing was going to happen to his family and understood that the war would be horrible. They left their home quickly, left behind all their belongings and memories and went out of the city to the Russian border. The way was very hard and frightening to all of them. They paid a bribe to a farmer who took them by a wagon to my great-grand mother’s pitch factory in Baranowicze. The whole family got together. The hoped that the Germans would not hurt them because the German needed the pitch which was made by our family. One day, while the children were playing in the forest nearby the factory, the Germans came because somebody informed the Germans about them. They had luck because every morning they went to hide in the forest and late in the evening they returned. When they heard that the German soldiers came, the family decided to leave the factory and to run away deep into the forest. They joined a Partisans’ group after few days without sleeping and eating. The Russian partisans’ condition for joining their group was – if they steal food from the farmers and steal weapons. Since my grand-grand father, Dov, was a leader and a special man, he succeeded in gathering many Jews to the group. They went in the night on ambushes to the German soldiers. The partisans killed many Germans. One night in 1942 shots were heard and Dov the leader decided to take responsibility and went out from his hiding place, deep in the ground. The German soldiers killed him by gun and ran away. My grand-grand mother, Elka, and my grandfather Leo, found Dov’s dead body. The entire group started running into the forest frightened. Leo, who was only 15, didn’t stop crying and decided not to leave his father’s body in the snow, so he came back at night and buried his father deep in the snow. Before he did it, he took two buttons from Dov’s pocket, a piece of mirror, a spoon and a handkerchief full with blood (all of these objects are in my house in Petach Tikva, Israel.) When the war ended, my grandfather and his mother came to Israel and lived in Haifa. Leo was an Israel soldier – he was an officer in the intelligence Israeli army. After the army period, Leo became a reporter and a writer. He wrote a book which is called “I was a soviet guerilla” and other books and articles. He had a special and hard experience when he was chosen to be one of the reporters who were witnesses to the execution of Eichmann. Leo felt that he owed it to his family. He died when my mother was only 6 years old from a heart attack. I am dedicating this story to him and to my beloved grandmother – Nana Heiman who lives in Haifa and I am sorry that I don’t have the opportunity to know such a special person like him.

 

Amity Waisel, grade 9
Gail and Omer Waisel
Petach Tikva, Israel