In Hiding

On September 1942, Meyer went to go see one of the landowners with whom the family had done business for many years, Mr. Ropelewska. Mr. Ropelewska had two of his own children but had recently married a younger wife whom he had no children with. Meyer and Sylka begged Mr. Ropelewska to take Marion and offered money and furniture. Mr. Ropelewska was not keen on the idea of taking a Jew under his wing as helping Jews during this time was extremely dangerous. Anyone caught helping a Jew could lose all of their possessions or be killed. Mrs. Ropelewska, however, was curious and wanted to see Marion in person. At this time, Marion was a 20-month-old beautiful and bubbly toddler. Mr. Ropelewska was crazy about his new wife and had a hard time saying no to her. The next day, Mrs. Ropelewska and her sister were driven by their 16-year-old carriage driver named Pan Jan to the ghetto. upon arrival and after a nervous greeting with the exchange conversation all eyes were on Marion. As if by instinct, Marion waddled towards Mrs. Ropelewska. Mrs. Ropelewska couldn't resist after watching her waddle with a big smile and huge dimples. The Ropelewskas would take care of Marion until it was safe for Marion’s parents to take her back. The next day, Meyer and Sylka snuck out of the ghetto with Marion to meet Pan Jan at the main center of Opatów. Before Marion’s departure, Marion’s mother, Sylka, kissed and hugged Marion relentlessly until Marion’s father, Meyer, had to take her away. Meyer held Marion close to himself before handing Marion back over to Mrs. Ropelewska in the carriage while Sylka silently wept in the background. This was the last time Marian would be with her mother. Marion was given a false name for her and Ropelewskas’ protection, “Marisha Ropelewska.” The Ropelewskas were wealthy landowners with a large estate in Byszow, a few miles from Opatów. They had no neighbors within close proximity to their estate. The Ropelewska’s came up with a lie by telling their neighbors that Marion was their young niece visiting from out of town. This explanation was accepted, however, after a while, the Ropelewskas’ neighbors grew suspicious when they realized Marion was staying too long. They started to become suspicious that the Ropelewska’s were harboring a Jew. One day, German Gestapo agents came to the Ropelewska’s house to see if Marion was a Jew. They get stop booze specialize in determining is someone was a Jew. Young Jewish boys were easy to identify because all male Jews were circumcised as a child due to religious beliefs. All a German Gestapo agent would have to do is check the young boys penis. Marion was at an advantage as she looked more Aryan than a typical Jew and did not understand Yiddish. The German Gestapo tested Marion by speaking Yiddish to her since Yiddish was the common tongue of the Jews. If Marion reacted to the language in any way the German Gestapo would know if she was Jewish. Luckily for Marion, she was raised listening to Polish language. Marion tricked the gestapo into believing that she was Polish. However, the Germans had a tight rope attached to the Opatów ghetto by not allowing anyone in or out of the ghetto.