Faye Schulman (second from left) with partisan fighters.Faye Schulman
"I just was crying. And I, I lost my family. I'm alone. I'm a young girl. What shall I do now? Where shall I go? What shall I do?"
I was afraid of a rifle even. I remember when a Polish officer came to our house to take some pictures and he left the rifle in a corner. My mother used to say, “Don't go to this room, there is a rifle. It might fire.” Now the rifle is my pillow, and I had to learn how to take it apart because it was rust, so it has to be, at night it gets damp, it gets, it would get rusty. So every morning I had to take apart the rifle and to clean it and to make it dry. So now the rifle is my whole life. It changed.
This is the first picture that I took when I joined the partisans. I am here. This is me. And I'm the only girl here.
And they had huge barracks. So all 5,000 were taken away into the barracks, surrounded around the barrack with heavy artillery, and they put the barrack on fire. And all non-Jewish population or whoever was different religious, mostly, mostly Belarus [Belarussian], and they put the barrack on fire. And they burned them alive. 5,000 people.
This is the actual grave where my family was killed. And all the people, the Jewish people from our town were killed. The Nazis took the pictures and they [the partisans] gave me the film to develop. And I recognized this is when they killed in, the people, when they liquidated the Ghetto and they killed the people in our town. In three long trenches. And my family's here. My mother. My father. My sister with two children. My other sister with her husband and two brothers.
I saw who died last. It was a little girl that was my next door neighbour, a few houses were close to each other. And Hannah Schuh was her name. I still remember her name. And she was so beautiful. Whenever I have seen Elizabeth Taylor, I was thinking about Hannah Schuh. You see, I remember her name because whenever I saw Elizabeth Taylor, then her name came up to me. And after 70 years, that's why maybe I remember still her name. She was so beautiful. She was shot. In the last transport.
It was a shock. It was a shock. “This is it,” I say to myself, “here, I have it, I have it.” So that's why I have the picture because it was so close to me, so dear to me that I had to hide this. When I developed [the picture], I made an extra copy for myself so I will have a document. I will have something for me to see. I didn't think that I will have to show it to other people what happened at that time.
I just was crying. And I, I lost my family. I'm alone. I'm a young girl. What shall I do now? Where shall I go? What shall I do?
Two babies. They took two babies to have fun, walked in the backyard, three of them, three Nazis. I have seen it with my own eyes. They tore the babies apart. An arm out, an arm, a leg, or what, the head, and they threw high in the air and another Nazi was aiming to get the part if he will get it. Is this a way? Is this humane? Babies?
My family's already killed. And I am alive and I wanted to live. So how, in order to live, I have to help the army. I have to help the soldiers. I have to be a soldier.
I had an order with another guy, a partisan, to go to a special place to another group to deliver some messages. And it started to rain when we left, and it was pouring and before we left, my commander said it's safer to take a little boat and to go to the other place by boat because very close around are all the Nazis. And we might be attacked, or we might meet an ambush. So it would be safer in a boat.
A whole night and we were dripping with water. There is no cover, no nothing. And we made it. We came to the right place and we had to go out from the boat. So he says to me, “You know what Faye, I will go out first, and I'll pull in the little boat so you won't have to go into the water up to your waist.” He was a nice guy. So I said “Ok, whatever you said, ok.” I'm dripping with water anyways, I'm wet anyways. So, he walks out first. And as soon as he walks on the ground, he steps on a mine and the mine exploded and he was torn to pieces. I couldn't find his body. And I was left alone now in the woods. Nobody around. All, all by myself. Surrounded with Nazis all over.
By the way, I was told that if you want to sneeze and you're close to the Nazis, so the partisans teach me what to do. And if you will sneeze loud, they can hear you and they will know where you are, because we were, we were maybe only a few feet away. So rub your nose and you won't sneeze loud. You will only sneeze quietly.