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Russian Troops Free Tarnopol Jews Who Lived in Sealed Brick Kiln for Nine Months

The story of how five Jews in the city of Tarnopol escaped execution by the Germans by remaining walled-up in an abandoned brick kiln for nine months, is told in the Moscow press.

When a detachment of Russian troops fought its way into a brick yard on the outskirts of Tarnopol, it heard muffled voices appealing for aid coming from within a sealed brick kiln, which had only a small opening at one side. When the wall has broken down, five emaciated Jews emerged. They were dressed in rags and had difficulty in keeping their eyes open in the unaccustomed light, Their names, the soldiers, were wolf and Rose koffler and Abraham, Irene and Clare Ochs.

When the Germans began taking groups of Jews from the Tarnopol ghetto daily shooting them on the outskirts of the city, the Koffler and Wolf families decided they would attempt to flee before their turn came. With the aid of a Ukrainian youth, they reached the brick yard and decided to remain hidden there, because it was too dangerous to go on. The boy bricked up the opening of the kiln and promised to bring them assistance. For nine months, friendly peasants kept them supplied with food and water until the Red Army stormed the town.

Other Russian troops found groups of Jews hidden in cleverly concealed bunkers caves and cellars, the newspapers report. Like the Koffler and Ochs families, they were kept supplied with food and water by friendly Ukrainians and Poles, many of them risked their lives to conceal Jews in their homes.

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