Max Farber, told by Bernie Farber

The first years of war passed in relative calm for the 1,800 residents of Botchki, a village south of Bialystok in Soviet Poland. That changed when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 and eastern Poland fell to the Nazis.

As they did across the Reich, the new rulers corralled Jews into ghettos. Just under half the population of Botchki was removed to Sokolow Podlaski, a fenced-in plot with decrepit housing, and without sewers or running water. Jews caught outside the ghetto were shot on sight, but their lives depended on sneaking out and supplementing their food rations beyond the barbed wire.