Searching for family among Holocaust victims
'The Nazis murdered my entire family. And left me with just mass graves to remember them,' says Paula Slier, the reporter who set out to Belarus in search of records of her family who had been Holocaust victims.
Paula wanted to retrace her grandmother’s steps, so she came from the Belarusan city of Brest. At the end of World War One, Brest was almost destroyed. Just like other children at that time, Paula’s grandmother was orphaned and had to sleep in the street or a synagogue, scavenging for scraps and prowling for crumbs in the city straddling the Belarus/Polish border. And nearly half a million freezing orphans like her and her siblings roamed the streets of Poland, Ukraine and Belarus.
Reports from the 1920s say the people who lived in the synagogues went to the toilet inside the building because they simply didn't have clothes to go outside. Families had to live cooped up in 30 by 40 cubit rooms, which housed 45 people; they died of typhus and other contagious diseases.
Paula’s grandmother was lucky to escape the Nazi ghetto set up in 1941, but other family weren’t so lucky. What happened to them?