Judita Wassermanova and Veronika Kosikova

Judita Wassermanova and Veronika Kosikova

That's my maternal grandmother, Judita Wassermanova, and me. The photo was taken in Dolne Slazany in 1940.

I was the only child in our family. I was born on 18th February 1940 in Zlate Moravce. My memories of this region are very vague because I only lived there for a few years because of the war.

My grandmother Judita, my mother's mother, was shot dead on 16th January 1945 near Donovaly, in a village called Buly, where another 16 people are buried. They were all shot dead and buried in one grave. I have miraculously survived. Several Jews were hiding in Buly and its neighborhood. Children, the elderly and people who weren't able to fight or hide in shelters were left there. That's why I was there with my grandmother. Somebody denounced us and there was an attack. This, as I mentioned before, happened on 16th January 1945. I was the only one to survive. It was by mere chance. Although my hair is now dark, as a child I was blonde, I was almost five years old, a child in a peasant dress, and they didn't recognize me as a Jew.

It's interesting that I don't remember the shooting because I do remember the German. I went on his horse. I remember that, nothing else. My grandmother wasn't in the same house as me, for protection reasons. I didn't know she didn't live any more. I was the only one who survived in Buly. There is a mass grave. After the war my father, Alexander Reitman, along with the local municipality, built a common memorial on that spot. It's still there and we are in contact with those people. In remembrance of my survival, my father bought a cottage at that place and we still own it. Local people call the place 'At the Jews'. That's how it goes there.

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