Nusia Gotlib

March 26, 1930. Lwow, Poland - Buenos Aires, Argentina


Nusia was born in Poland, in a village inhabited in equal parts by Poles, Jews, and Ukrainians. Raised in a Jewish family aristocrat lived with her father, mother, and older sister Fridzia.


Gotlib enjoyed daily life together, shared various activities and free time. Nusia's sister was a companion of pranks and promises. Her mother dedicated to her daughters and her sewing workshop. With her father, Nusia had a relationship of admiration and deep love. In his spare time, he was in charge of transmitting to his daughters his political reflections, which were quite changing according to the time. Nusia remembers especially the communist stage where her father came to place a portrait of Stalin in the room.


With the typical curiosity of a girl, Nusia hid to listen to the conversations of adults. One day, without waiting for it, they were gathered in front of the radio. Their faces were different from the usual ones and they just listened, they did not speak. That's how he heard about the news from Germany. Scary tales that spoke of persecution of the Jews. Later came the news of the German invasion, the partition of Poland in two leaving Lwow under the Soviet mandate. In a few days, it was filled with Jews who were persecuted in Germany or in Nazi Poland. They were crammed into precarious homes. Suddenly half of the population was Jewish.


The war was advancing and the Gotlib could maintain their customs. Through the friendships that the family kept, they managed to keep their jobs, their homes, and other services. One day, Nusia went on a trip with his father to a luxurious hotel located between the mountains. There, they managed to rest until a bomb burst into the area. In a short time, the surrounding fire was incessant. They decided to return home to meet the rest. On the way, they already checked what they imagined. The German troops were entering, it was June 30, 1941.


During the first three days of the Nazi occupation, Ukrainians and Germans murdered more than four thousand Jews. On July 8 the Jews were forced to wear a bracelet with the Star of David. The behavior of the Ukrainians was catastrophic, there were killings between neighbors, reaching to shoot 2,000 more Jews. The nightmares were repeated night after night and the scream of his mother did not let her sleep "They will kill us all".


Jewish quarter

At the end of 1941, the Jews were ordered to concentrate in the Jewish quarter. There were no fences or walls but there was surveillance all day. It was a dramatic order since the Jews occupied a third of the population of Lwow. Impossible to imagine how life would continue from then on. In spite of the father's contacts, they had to move there where they found a part of the family. They spent a long season locked up. Things got worse, bribes with the Nazis were common and hunger was felt everywhere. The deportations began to be constant and the rumors of the implementation of the Final Solution was incomprehensible to the Jews.



The parents of Nusia and Fridzia decided to find a way to get their daughters out of the ghetto since they would not survive if they did not have an age to work. They contacted a village teacher and in exchange for money, they negotiated that would lead Nusia to live with the teacher's brother. The last slogan that her parents gave him was: "Pray, shut up and lie". The farewell was quick but fatal. So Nusia was renamed Stanislawa Jendrus.  


From then on the name Nusia and its true history began to be buried little by little. Their habits changed and their thoughts revolved around their new life as Catholics and their lies are connected. She spent some time with the teacher's brother, but since the life of anyone hiding a Jew was in danger, the family decided not to protect her anymore and refer her to an orphanage.


Once moved there, her disguise began to be tattooed on the skin. She made several friends and became more attached to her new religion. The days there ended when a lady decided to adopt her. Slawka called her and ordered her to call her aunt.



Claudia and General Marko Bezruchko became their new home. Claudia was warm, friendly and sensitive to the story of little Slawka. Marko was cold and spent his days locked in his office looking at the maps that had helped him become such an important and remembered Ukrainian general. From her new home, she could observe the walls of the Warsaw Ghetto while living with a man who in his time of glory had killed thousands of Jews.



Claudia treated Slawka like a daughter, combed her, took care of her and gave her a sincere mother's affection. Nusia, on the other hand, did not manage to surrender completely. Her double identity sometimes consumed her and she had to go for a walk so she could get clear. That was how every so often she managed to visit her cousin and her husband who lived a few train stations from home. She brought them food, newspapers and a new air since they could not go out. With these visits also came her first communion. Without knowing what it is, wrapped in her lies, I pray, I shut up and she fulfilled.



No one was suspicious of her, at school she made good friends while strengthening her relationship with Claudia. At night he remembered all his lies that were already part of her, while the allies left their lives to defeat the Nazi troops. On visits to his cousins, he found out about his family. All he cared about was being able to touch his parents again.



"Sometimes I do not know who I am ..." Nusia, Slawka, Jewish, Catholic. It was all the same or all different. The days passed and already all her situation seemed natural to her. After the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto and its consequent liquidation, Nusia felt lost. The general fell ill and after a few months, he died. Claudia was disconsolate and her only support was Slawka, unknowingly they became companions of their own absences.


When she turned 14, Nusia became braver. Through acquaintances of her cousins, she was in charge of bringing grenades to the Jewish resistance. While the Nazis loaded their things and escaped from the city. The German and Ukrainian withdrawal not only signaled the end of the war but also that Nusia had managed to survive. She was alone in the world, she was not afraid of anyone anymore. Her cousins ​​had escaped from Warsaw, her mother had no news and the end of her sister and father was already part of what she did not want to remember. "I only had Claudia".



Germany withdraws from the occupied places and, unable to defend its own borders, surrenders. Nusia felt great relief. They had not managed to kill all the Jews, hope revived her. On the other hand Claudia, as Ukrainian, was in danger there. Both escaped and began to turn around different cities until they were safe in Vienna. At times he blamed himself for being without war markings and for seeing survivors who almost did not look like human beings. She had simply fulfilled what she had promised her father four years ago.



While still studying in Vienna, he found a Refugee camp there where there were long lists of survivors. She frequented the place once a day without finding a record of her mother. One day she got up confused, she did not know who she was. Claudia came over to say good morning and she made her revelation: "I'm Jewish". Her adoptive mother never questioned or questioned her. She understood that she was alone in the world and that was what they understood. Nusia sharpened the search for her mother, wrote a letter so that in the best of cases it would be delivered to her. In return, she received the personal message of some men who were dedicated to track survivors and unite them with their family. Nusia's mother was alive. Soon she would meet her. After a few weeks, the meeting approached, the hunters helped her prepare their things. The farewell with Claudia was not easy, hugs and tears. Slawka was gone forever. Nusia came back inside.



On the train trip, to see again Helena, her mother, Nusia could see over the ruins in which Europe was. She had gone from being under the wing of Simon Wiesenthal, a Nazi hunter because many Ukrainians were looking for her because of the things she knew about her stepfather, they wanted to kill her. The meeting was hopeful but difficult. The marks were under the skin. Rebuilding the link was not easy, many losses and sadness.



They meeting with their cousins ​​and an aunt. She felt again what it was like to have a family. She still kept quiet. She did not ask and they did not ask her about what had happened. On Sundays she would sit in front of the church, enter, pray and leave. Still, Slawka was in it.


Through the Joint, his family received a visa to go to Argentina. Helena and Nusia embarked on a journey towards the construction of a new future. Before leaving the news about the death of Claudia moved both Nusia and her mother. They had maintained a relationship by letter after the farewell. Leaving was her best option. Having an escape safe was as important as having survived the Nazis.



The ship arrived in Buenos Aires in 1948. Nusia returned to study and met with groups of young Jews with whom he could speak Polish. In one of those meetings a handsome man, named Julio, appeared before her. He had also survived the Nazis after escaping from a camp and living in the Russian resistance in his native Poland. Everyone around Julio felt comfortable with him. Nusia marveled at their humor every time they met. That's how love completed them and in 1950 they got married. In 1951 his first daughter Betty arrived, which was succeeded by two other men, Rodolfo and Federico. They managed to settle in Argentina. They became great merchants having a prosperous present and future.



Julio never asked Nusia about the war and she never counted. She was ashamed of her own story but especially her baptism. Years later, her mother and aunt died. The children grew up, they got married and when she wanted to give an account she was already surrounded by grandchildren. Slawka sometimes returned to her life but Nusia managed to defeat her. One day, she decided to confront her reality and confess her secret. At a family dinner, she got up and said: - "I have to tell you a secret, in 1946 I was baptized" - That is your secret mom? asked her son. - "Yes" said Nusia. - "The important thing is that you survived," Julio said kissing his hand. Nusia relaxed and Slawka left.