But somehow . . . unbelievably . . . the bomb did not explode! This left us even more dazed and bewildered than before. What had happened? What would happen next? We were completely helpless.
Eventually, when the bombing seemed to have stopped, two brave young men, undoubtedly with their hearts beating wildly, set out to see what had happened. Imagine their surprise when they slowly opened a door into a bathroom on an upper floor—that no longer had a ceiling or a roof—and saw the fat, unexploded bomb sitting calmly in a water-filled bathtub!
Seventy-five years later, whenever I see a bathtub, I think about that day, and how lucky we were.
The Germans Bomb Soviet Poland
On June 22, 1941, when I was just six years old, our relatively happy days came to an explosive end. We didn’t know it then, but this was the day that the Germans broke their treaty with the Soviet Union and attacked them. Since we lived in what was at the time the Soviet Union, we once again were targets for the Nazis. Once again we heard the roars of low-flying planes as they circled above us before dropping hundreds of bombs. My barely forgotten memories of the terror of Warsaw came flooding back. And now I had another day I would never forget. It was very early on a lovely warm, sunshiny morning, and while the men had already left for work, we “women” still hadn’t gotten out of bed. I was jolted out of a warm snuggle with Mama by the deafening roar of what I already knew were bomber planes flying directly overhead. “Mama, are we being attacked again?”
Shaken, Mama and I huddled closely together, drawing strength from each other’s presence. I choked back tears as Mama explained that the Germans had attacked the Russians, and that we were once again in the middle of a war zone. Mama tried to reassure me, saying, “Don’t worry, Mirele, darling, we will be all right. Remember the bombing in Warsaw when you had to follow my orders immediately and without question? You’re a big girl now, and I know you’ll be brave. I nodded solemnly. “We came out all right then, and we will this time, too. Just remember to do what I tell you—without any questions.” I wasn’t as sure as she was that we’d be ok, but I knew that this wasn’t the time or place to argue.