Paula Meister

escape to the east

Paula was 19 years old when the Germans invaded Poland. Like many others she chose an escape route east to Russia. With no family or money, Paula found work on a Kolkhoz, a collective farm

Most of the work available for the peasant laborers was the backbreaking work of a field hand. Paula was lucky and found herself a job in the collective’s office. Did she speak Russian? Her answer “Very little, but the Muslim Tartars working the farm knew even less.”

When the war ended in 1945, Paula was in the Ukraine. “I didn’t want to be alone anymore so I married and had a son.” Unfortunately her husband died and she was a young widow left in Russia with her child. Paula remarried and when the Allies granted permission, Paula, her husband, son and the infant daughter returned to Poland where they remained until they were able to immigrate to the U.S.

Paula suffered for her heritage, but her wish for the future is clear. “Stay Jewish because many others are turning the other way”