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September 23, 1988


Author Affiliations

Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn, NY

JAMA. 1988;260(12):1776. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410120122041

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The telephone rang when I opened the door. I had just returned home from the hospital after a long operation: "They are calling me again." With a deep sigh I reached for the receiver. A voice with a characteristic rolling r asked in Polish, "It is you, Sally?" "Yes, Tola." Her name slipped off my tongue. "What are you doing in New York?"

My heart was pounding. My mouth was dry. On the other end of the telephone my past was eyeing me.

Tola was my high school classmate in Lodz ghetto. She was a star student, a bookworm, a 14-year-old girl who never lost hope. Our teachers tried very hard to enrich our lives, but they were losing their physical as well as mental strength. In 1941 the school was closed, the students went to slave work, and our teachers died later of starvation.

Tola lived in the ghetto