Stolen Victimhood
By NETTY C. GROSS

Cover story in Issue 7, July 21, 2008 of The Jerusalem Report.

Rochla Trachtman survived the Holocaust, but she isn’t a Holocaust survivor. The 88-year-old Yiddish-speaking woman, blind and wheel-chair bound, lives in a tenement in Jaffa with a 24-hour caretaker. Sitting in her neat, modest living room, she tells a visitor that she, her husband Haim and their infant daughter, Eta, fled from Kishinev, Moldava, on the eve of the German invasion of Soviet territory, in June 1941. They boarded a cattle wagon, which took them to Stalingrad (today Volgograd, Russia) on the west bank of the Volga River. Caught up in one of the bloodiest battles ever, they endured bombardment and starvation. The baby died in her arms. But they were among the very few people who survived the Battle of Stalingrad.

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