A New Begining

February 3, 2010
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The Russian soldier turned his head trying, to hide the many tears that were falling from his eyes. The soldier told us to get on the gray trains. I was relieved when he did not tell to make lines. I then closed my eyes, trying to image reuniting with my family and most of all, seeing my mother again. When I opened my eyes, I saw Karola signaling me to come with her,

“Riva, over here, I’m over here!” she shouted. I could sense the happiness in her voice.
“Were you daydreaming?” she asked cheerfully. Before she could say anything, the constructor yelled,


My heart nearly stopped. I did not want to go to another camp. Honestly, I was frightened. I told Karola to go ahead. I saw an officer standing by one of the trains.

“What is a Displaced Persons Camp?” I said with confusion.

Don’t worry, it’s a shelter were we take you so you may find your family and friends.” He said.

Many people have told me not to worry; the people that I really believed were my mother and brothers, now I believed someone new.

The officer told me to get on the train. I saw Karola’s hand waving at me, she had saved mea seat. Everyone was talking about the war ending and Adolf Hitler shooting himself in the head. Karola began talking about her brother, Berl and her mother being together again. I told her about the Displaced Persons Camp in Germany. She now knew that it would be easier to find her family. Both of us sat in silence. We knew what was on each others minds. We were both thinking of finding our families and beginning a new life.

The train arrived at The Displaced Persons camp about two hours later.

“We’ve been dreaming about this moment for a long time, Riva, we no
longer have to dream,” Karola said as we were getting off the train.

Her voice sounded as though she was holding back her tears, I didn’t want her to hold them back. When we went inside of the building, we saw crowds of Jews. Standing on a stool, was a woman short-pudgy woman. She had round glasses and her hair was redder than fire.

“I need you all to quiet down, please lower your voices.” The woman said.

Her voice was being drowned by screaming Jews. Finally, a Russian officer yelled,


The room was silent.

“Mrs. Rycultz is trying to tell you how you can locate your families, in order for her to do that; she needs your full attention.” He explained.

Mrs. Rycultz then said,

“There will be ten booths and in those booths will be a person who will ask you the names of the persons whom you are trying to locate. Their name will be on the list in alphabetical order. Next to there name will either say dead or alive. The list will verify whether or not if they have arrived at the shelter. If your family is either deceased or missing, you will be staying in our shelters until we are able to find you a home’’

When she was finished, people began rushing to the booths. I grabbed Karola’s hand so we wouldn’t get separated. We made to the fifth booth. I was the seventhteenth person in line and Karola was behind me. I saw people crying as they stepped out of the line. I hoped and prayed that my family was alive. I did the same for Karola. Before I knew it, it was my turn.

“Your name please,” the woman asked.

“Riva Minska,” I said.

“Who are your looking for,” she asked.

“I’m looking for Motele, Moishele, and Nacha Minska,” I said.

She shook her head side to side and said,


Warm tears slid down my face. My knees slowly hit the floor. I buried my face in my hands. I couldn’t control my sobs. I felt someone hug me. It was Karola. She said,

“I am so sorry Riva, I am so sorry.”

“ Wait, do you know of a Mala, Chanele, and Yankle?’’ the woman at the booth asked.

Karola and I slowly stood up. I wiped my eyes and said,

“ Yes, they are my sisters and brother.”

She gave me a slip. She told me to go up the stairs until I got to floor 4A. Then she said that I would see a man guarding the door. I was to hand him the slip and he would let me in. Karola followed me.

“Karola, stay here, you need to find your family, I will meet you here later.” I said.

I walked up four flights of steps. I was on floor 4A. I saw a man standing in front of a door. I handed him the slip. He signaled for me to go inside. I took a deep breathe and walked inside. I looked around and I saw them. Even though I hadn’t seen them since I was thirteen, I still reconizgned them. I ran yelling,

“Mala, Chanele, Yankle, its me, Riva!”

I hugged them all at once. I cried tears of joy.

“Do you know about Mama, Motele, Moishele, and Liabele?” I asked.

“ Yes, we know.” Mala said.

“What are the suit cases for,” I asked trying to change the subject.

We were just leaving to catch the train to the port, we’re going to New York, in America,” Chanele said.

“The people here were able to get us a house and jobs there, we would like you to come with us,” Yankle said.

“I’ll come, when are we leaving.” I asked.

“Were leaving in about ten minutes, so we should head out now,” Mala said.

I helped carry some suit cases, then we all headed for the main entrance. When we were at the main entrance, I saw Karola running toward me.

“Riva, I found my family, they’re arriving on the train tonight!” she yelled with joy.

“Karola, I am so happy for you,” I said while giving her a hug.

When I finished hugging her, I stepped back and looked at the floor. I was hesitating telling her.

“Yankle, Mala, and Chanele asked me if I would like to go to America with them, I said yes, we’re leaving in about five minutes,” I said in a whisper.

“I knew that you would be leaving, but I didn’t think you would be leaving for America. I am happy that you found your family though. I will miss you Riva.” Karola said while giving me a hug.”

“Thank you for being there for me and tell your family I said hello,’’ I said.

“ Come along Riva, the train is here,” Yankle said.

I grabbed my bags and headed for the door. As I was walking out, Karola said with glee,

“Hey Riva, maybe I can come to visit you in America.”

“Maybe so,” I said with a smile and then waving goodbye.

As I walked out of the building, I thought of everything that I had gone through and overcame. I thought about what life in America would be like. I thought about Moishele, Motele, Liabele, and my friends. Lastly, I thought about my Mama and her words, “ As long as there is life, there is hope.” That is when I knew that this was the start of a New Beginning.

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