Jack Sutin

years spent hiding

When the Germans invaded Stolpce, Jack’s mother, father and entire family of 27 were murdered. He escaped to hide in the forest. One night he had a dream that his girlfriend Rochelle would find him and that they would have a long happy life together.

He was so sure that they would be reunited, that he even made a place for her in his forest bunker. It seemed unlikely that they would meet again as Jews were being murdered, sent to concentration camps, or just disappearing. Jack didn’t give up hope. “I didn’t know how this could happen, but I knew it would.” His friends thought he was crazy, but he still believed that she would find him. In October 1942 Rochelle miraculously found Jack and his group hiding in the woods.

That New Year’s Eve, they married among the partisans in the forest. Together they hid for three years. “When we got together we didn’t have anyone else. She lost her family, I lost my family. We took care of each other.” And so they continued to do for 68 years of marriage until Rochelle’s death.

Today Jack’s loving family — children, grandchildren and even two great-grandchildren, surround him. Reflecting on his experiences, Jack’s message is, “Be happy when you have a mother and father. Take good care of them.”