Biography by Sofka Scwartz as told to Doubi (Israel):

 

Gutka was an only child living in a large house with her parents, Joseph and Dora, who loved her so much, and with Aunt Tonya that lived with them.  They lived in Kovel, then Poland, now part of Ukraine.

 

Gutka was very gifted, especially in music (she was a pianist), and a very good pupil in school. When the War started in 1939, their house was filled with many people, family members who fled Warsaw to the west of Poland, they were all welcome to stay in the Zyskind house. Danny’s grandparents (Zosia and Mietek), father Ron (Kazik) and Yanek were among them. They stayed at the house, I believe almost a year, until the Russians sent them to Siberia. Gutka was still in school until 1940 when the Germans came to Kovel.

 

They stayed at their house for more than a year, we had to leave our house and we came to live with them. Uncle Joseph, Gutka's father, was among the first Jews to be captured by the Germans. We hoped that he was sent away somewhere, but we discovered later that he was killed immediately outside of Kovel. It was 1942, spring 1942. It was a big shock for the whole family.

 

Then the Germans organized 2 Ghettos in Kovel. We all moved to a Polish neighbor's house (who received Gutka's house instead), with many more members of the family who then came to live with us. A month later one Ghetto was liquidated. Gutka was with us at the other Ghetto. She had some Polish friends who hid her at times. Then, I escaped from Kovel, it was still 1942. I (Sofka) was 17 years old.  My friend Vala, a polish woman, who helped me escape, got Gutka fake papers, and sent her to her sister in Warsaw. Gutka's mother, my parents, all the people in Kovel were killed by then.

 

Gutka told me later that she worked there as a baby sitter. She was around 12 years old at the time. She was in Warsaw during the Polish revolt. After that, she was sent to work in Germany, as a Polish worker, hiding the fact that she was Jewish. The first time that I heard about her since I last saw her in Kovel was when I was already in Palestine in 1944, the war was still on. Via relatives who came from Russia, I heard that Tonya somehow found Gutka, and took her to live with her in Moscow. She survived.

The first time that I saw her after the war, was I think, in Paris in 1952. I wanted her to come live in Israel, become a music teacher, but she refused.  

 

When I think of Gutka I think that she had a hard life, that she was a very gifted person with many dreams, and that she just wasn't born at the right time. We all wanted so much to help her, but she refused and insisted of being independent. I loved her very much, so did my sister Fira.