Kaufman survived the Krakow Ghetto

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"If we just learn about it," Kaufman said, "it will be like a diamond with many facets. Each one has something to learn about it."

Kaufman, then known as Luna Fuss, was just 12 years old when the Nazis invaded Poland. When the Nazis came, they froze all Jewish assets held in banks. Kaufman and her family were forced to sell their belongings in order to have money for food.

Eventually, Kaufman found herself and her family held prisoner in the Krakow ghetto. Every member of her family was forced to get meager-paying jobs in order to have enough to survive. But those jobs offered more than just income. When the Nazis came to liquidate the ghettos, those with work assignments were sent to work camps, Kaufman said - those without jobs were killed.

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While in the ghetto, Kaufman remembers a trolley line that cut through the center of the ghetto for people outside to travel across the city. One woman, a Christian, would travel the trolley, and when the guards were not looking, she would toss money out the window to Kaufman and her sister. The good Samaritan would be caught, beaten and warned, but would continue to ride the trolley, tossing money to the Jews of the ghetto.

Eventually, Kaufman found herself in the first of three concentration camps she would be held in. She was forced to work in a factory, where any sign of protest or displeasure would be met with death. One time, she watched passively as the wife of a man scheduled to be beaten began to cry. The Nazi officer who responded shot the man instead.

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After the war, Kaufman and her mother made their way back to Krakow, to the broken family they had known when they left. While much of her extended family had survived, her father and older sister did not. Her father was gassed at Auschwitz and her sister was drowned when the boat she and other prisoners were being held on was deliberately scuttled just before the war's end.

Through all this, Kaufman holds no ill will to the people who perpetrated the Holocaust.

"I never did," Kaufman said. "It will poison my life and they would not care, they wouldn't even know about it. My vengeance on them was to live a good life. I feel that I won the war."

Sorry, this is the Sentinel story, and cannot be displayed in full on CracowOnline.com.
Source: www.ems.gmnews.com