Writing this book was postponed for decades. There was always something that seemed more urgent: studies, a scientific paper, a chapter for a book, raising children. Almost everything had a deadline. The memories could wait. For the past 10 or 15 years my wife and children who have heard many episodes from my childhood and youth reminded me repeatedly that I should record at least my memories from the Holocaust; they insisted that this document cannot wait forever. To them are due the credit for its writing and my thanks.

        I have a good memory. I remember events, names, addresses, dates, telephone numbers. None of those mentioned here has been fabricated or changed. In a written document parts may fade away with time to the point of becoming illegible. But if the document is not tampered with, no parts are reconstructed or otherwise replaced, the residual document remains true.  Memories fade too. Many details, facts, persons, become forgotten and cannot be restored. Whatever faded away from my memory is not here.  But the remainder is true. I have not reconstructed anything. No gaps were filled.

        During the past few decades the concept of the Holocaust has suffered an incredible deprecation. For millions of people around the world the Holocaust means "just" six million Jews who were killed during the World War II. Those people are willing to argue not only about the exact number of victims of the Holocaust (after all, more Germans and Russians were killed during the World War II, so what is so special about killing Jews?), but even about the very existence of this phenomenon.

In order to understand the concept of the Holocaust, one should not think about "six million Jews" or "one-and-a-half million Jewish children," but about the single three-year-old girl who was taken by force from her parents and thrown into the gas chamber to suffocate. Or, about the one-year-old boy, torn out by an SS-man from his mother's arms, grasped by legs, his head smashed against wall in his mother's view. This was the Holocaust. Only after realizing these examples of sadism, can they be multiplied by six million. For the horror and bestiality lies in individual experiences, not in dry numbers.

      This book describes the experience of one boy and one family during the Holocaust. It is my experience and that of my family. It should be judged by the facts as described.

      Friends have suggested that I use the services of a ghost-writer, who could try to patch up missing details and produce a more complete, exhaustive picture. To this I object. This book is not intended to be a literary creation. But it is true to the facts. It is a true document.

        In writing names of persons, I use routinely the Polish spelling. To English speakers it may seem odd to see Jozef rather than Joseph, Lorenc rather than Lawrence, or Dawid spelled with a w instead of v. But this was the spelling used by the people described in this book.  These were real persons and real names.  Because this book is a true document, I decided to stick to documentary precision, which includes the proper spelling of names.

        During the Holocaust, while I was posing as an Aryan, many Poles helped me to hide, and saved my life while risking their own. Some of them did not expect, and never received, any reward. The names Stawowski, Bajer, Wieczorek became well engraved in my memory and appear on the pages of this book. There were others, whose names I never knew, or have forgotten, because my encounter with them was very short. To all these I express my thanks and deep appreciation of their characters and deeds.

        Finally, special thanks to my children: Yifat, Dorit, Limor, and Avishai for critical review of the manuscript and their exhaustive editorial help.

Rehovot, Israel
December, 1997