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Hela Rufeisen-Schuepper, Poland


Hela Shifer-Rufeisen was born in Cracow, Poland, in 1921 to a religious family of five children. Her mother died when she was ten years old, and she went to live with her aunt in Cracow. During the war she participated as a member of the Akiva youth movement in underground activity, serving as a liaison between the Cracow and Warsaw ghettos. Her activities comprised issuing forged identity cards for the fighters in the forests, obtaining weapons and papers, transferring messages, and coordinating between the groups. In her testimony she talks about the early deportations from Warsaw, and the decision of members of the youth movement to resist and join the uprising. She also talks about the way in which her friend managed to temporarily foil the deportation of the girls in the orphanage run by her mother. When she left Warsaw for the last time she was stopped for interrogation, but managed to avoid imprisonment during the uprising. Hela moved from one hiding place to another, but was ultimately sent to Bergen-Belsen, which she survived for almost two years until the camp was liberated on April 15, 1945. Hela came to Palestine, married, and was among the founding members of Bustan Hagalil. Later she testified in the Eichmann trial. (4:12)

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