Monday, December 9, 2013

Holocaust Survivor Misha Defonseca

This story is from Readers Digest: Incredible Journeys.  This is an incredible story in survival and perseverance about Mila Defonseca who was a six year old Jewish girl in Nazi occupied Belgium.  When the Nazis occupied Belgium in 1940, the family went into hiding.  While she was at school, her parents were taken by the Nazis, to the "East" she was told.  She was one of 5000 Belgium children rescued by the underground.  Initially she was able to see relatives, but as Nazi control increased this was harder.  Rather than stay with a caretaker who was mean to her, she decided to go and find her parents, after all, they didn't look very far away on the map.  And so she ran away, and headed east.  She had a compass, and a knapsack with a little food.  What are the chances of a six-year-old Jewish girl surviving in Nazi occupied territory with little or nothing to eat. She at worms, berries, leaves, dirt, whatever she could.  She also relied on carcasses of animals she would find by watching the crows fly around.  She made it to Poland (over 800 miles), having traveled through Germany.  Sometimes she would join with other children in a street gang, but mostly she traveled by herself, keeping to the woods.  She was surprised while raiding a home, and someone threw a brick at her, hitting her in the back, breaking a vertebrae.  She was in pain, and a wolf took care of her.  The wolf was shot by a man, and then she lived with a pack of wolves for a time.  She eventually walked back to Belgium, thinking perhaps her parents had returned.  They never returned as they were Hitler Holocaust victims.  For some time she was weary of people, preferring isolation or animals.  She had difficulty reintegrating into society, but eventually did, marrying and coming to America. 

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