Operation Barbarossa - Holocaust Survivors Remember
Bronya Khalfina (neé Kats) was born in 1928 in Medzhbozh in Ukraine. After the Germans occupied her town, along with the other Jews, her family were forced into the ghetto.
On September 22, 1941 she, together with her family, was among the Jews taken to the Rusanovtsy murder site, from which she succeeded in escaping. After wanderings in the vicinity, she settled in the village of Staraya Sinava under a false identity. There she worked in the fields and was witness to the murder of many Jews and Gypsies (Roma) that took place nearby.
After her Jewish identity revealed, she was reported to the authorities, handed over to the Gestapo and subjected to severe torture. She fainted during one of her interrogations. The Gestapo men thought that she had died so they threw her into a pit containing the bodies of partisans who had been killed. She survived only due to the help she received from a local woman named Mariya Gnevush, who pulled her out of the mass grave.
Bronya was the only one in her extended family to survive the Holocaust.