Part IV: Jewish Survivors escaped the Nazis by living in a cave for 18 months

Part IV
Sonia: When they’d found us the Germans said, “Get dressed.” My mother [Henia Dodyk] tried to dress me but it was March 1943 and we knew it was very, very cold outside. My mother figured if she looked under the bed they’re going to see Sima and the other people hiding there. Somehow, somebody managed to push the shoe out and the German was standing there with his machine gun and he said, “Why are you even dressing her I can shoot her right here.” My mother begged them not to shoot. They march us out; seven or eight of us. Some were very lucky; they managed to escape. My grandmother escaped, Uncle Sam escaped. Another man escaped but they caught five of us. They brought us to a prison and handed us over to the Ukrainian police and told him he has to shoot us. Somebody knew this Ukrainian police and of course they got in touch with my father and my grandfather and a Jewish doctor who was kept by the Germans and by…
Sam: The Ukrainians.
Sonia: The Ukrainians. He was kept alive because he used to treat them and he was a very good Jewish doctor. He was the intermediary and they got ahold of my father and grandfather and they tried to make a deal. Now, what was the deal? One of the men that was with us, he was a cousin of us. He was a very rich man. The deal was made. It was a bargain. They struck a bargain with the chief of police that they would pay him gold and they would let us go.
Sam: Not only gold.
Sonia: Not only gold. That was a promise. He said that in order to show the Germans he did what he was supposed to do, there have to be five bodies shown to the Germans, should they come back. So, my father and my grandfather and the other men who were trying to help my father they had to go to un-dig a mass grave where people were just shot not long ago and they had to find bodies to replace ours which is the most horrendous thing. This is like the worst nightmare that one would want to face but to save our lives, of course they did it. They took us out the next day…
Sam: To the cemetery.
Sonia: To the cemetery. They told us to lie down and the Ukrainian policeman said he was going to shoot at the air and after that we’re all going to run away. I was very young. I was extremely scared. My mother said, “Don’t be afraid. You’ll see, nothing will happen. They’ll just shoot in the air.” She had a black shawl and she covered up my head with the black shawl and we heard five shots, which is the way it was supposed to be. When we got up my mother started to scream, “Why did you kill my aunt? Why did you kill her son? We had a bargain; you promised you would let us all go.”
Sima: The Germans killed my great aunt.
Sonia: He said, “Run away, otherwise I’ll shoot you and your child.” So we had no choice; we had to run away and in the forest my Uncle Louis was waiting with my father and they took us away and we went to the second brother. In the movie you’ll see and we will give you a book so you can read the rest and we will sign it. You’ll know exactly what happened, how it happened, how they found the second cave. Everything is in this book by my grandmother Esther Stermer and it’s called, “We Fight to Survive.”
No Place on Earth” opens this week on Friday, April 5, 2013 at Film Society Lincoln Center, 144 West 65th Street. NYC. Rated PG-13. 83 minutes.