You must live!
You must remember!
You must tell the world!
These are the repeated words of Domna Broucha, Leah’s mother, of blessed memory, on the death march to Transnistria, the place that has come to be known as the “Romanian Auschwitz.”
Leah Kaufman was nine years old when the Romanian Jews were driven on a death march to Transnistria, a freezing area with hardly any food, shelter, or human decency. Somehow, she lived – and lived with her Judaism intact! As a young orphan, all alone, she kept Pesach and Yom Kippur, and remained faithful to her parent’s faith in Hashem and love of Judaism. She retained her humanity after a series of harrowing experiences and miraculous rescues that would have destroyed a less resourceful, less pure person.
When the War was over, the memories of her past lay dormant inside her for fifty years, while she put together a new life in Canada and raised a fine Jewish family. But then she remembered her legacy, her mother’s constant charge to her during the last weeks of her life: “Leah, you must live! You must remember! You must tell the world!”
She has been telling it ever since. She speaks for those who are forever silenced. Her message of triumph, hope, and continuity brings pride to her audiences and inspires them to return to the Judaism of their grandparents. It’s a gripping story, an uplifting story, a story that makes us marvel at the greatness of the Jewish spirit that enabled a young girl all alone in the world to persevere and triumph.