Return to Munkacs

Mukachevo, Ukraine

Mechel had arranged a plan for the entire family to escape to Hungary. To do so, he had bribed a coal-truck driver to add a false bottom to his truck, which could smuggle them out in small groups (Lesser, 92). Lola and Mechel chose to go first, offering themselves as the test run for the potentially fatal mission. Ben knew there was a possibility he would never see his sister again (Lesser, 93).

The following day, the driver returned with confirmation they had made it safely. Ben and Tuli were in the second group to leave (Lesser, 95). They were only 14 and 7 years old. They went with another group of eight escapees. During their journey, a group of German soldiers had called for the driver to stop. Soon after, Ben realized that Nazis were now actually inside of the truck. At this point, Ben assumed they had been turned in. Fortunately, the German soldiers were not aware that there were ten people hidden below their feet. As it turned out, they were only hitchhiking (Lesser, 96). Although they were not caught, the possibility of becoming exposed made Ben’s journey in that secret compartment feel much longer than it already was.

After the truck had dropped them off on a deserted road at the border of Poland and Czechoslovakia, Ben had to go through several other challenges with his young brother in order to get to Munkács. This included climbing up an unknown mountain, sneaking over two borders, and even hiding within a ravine (Lesser, 97).

Eventually, Ben and Tuli had made it to Munkács. It was a joyous reunion between Ben and his family there. Ben and Tuli moved in with their Uncle Hershel (Lesser, 99). After months of waiting for the arrival of his parents and older brother Moishe, Ben learned the heartbreaking news of their deaths (Lesser, 101).

Ben had advised his Uncle to convert his assets into diamonds knowing the possibility of a drastic change coming soon. His uncle took it a step further by having the diamonds hidden with pairs of shoes he got for the entire family (Lesser, 104). Not long after, Germany had invaded Hungary. The Nazis systematic take over had become well rehearsed by this time around (Lesser, 106). Everything that happened within Krakow was happening again. Only this time, the Nazis told them they were being sent to a labor camp (Lesser, 107).