For six seemingly endless weeks in the summer of 1942, Gerda Krebs-Seifer lay hidden in the tiny apartment cellar in southeastern Poland.

The four-by-six-foot cellar, which was used to store vegetables and coal for the winter, was pitch dark. The 14-year-old Jewish girl was not allowed to step outside. She could not make any noise. She was forbidden even to light a candle.

One day, after weeks of living in complete darkness, the teen defiantly emerged into the daylight, her eyes, unaccustomed, stung from the brightness of the sun.

“I thought I was going to go nuts,” she recalled in an interview this week.