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Kelly Atkinson

9 September 2015
Wertz-Orbaugh
UWRT 1102-003
Testimony Response
Reva Kibort was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1933 and never would have
expected the hardships she was soon to face as a young child. She vividly
remembers her childhood from her parents, the death of her father, the
aromas in her childhood home, and her siblings. As a little girl she enjoyed
collecting stones and celebrating holidays with her family. Although she
lived in a lower income home, Reva lived a very normal life in Warsaw. Her
parents did their best to create a good life for their family, and keep the
negative aspects of the Jewish life in Germany hidden from the children.
Revas father was a shoe maker and her mother stayed home to tend for the
house and children. One of Revas most vivid memories is her shoes, that
she kept with her the first two years in the Warsaw ghetto.
It is unimaginable the pain she felt as she learned about the death of
her father, as well as trying to cope with the separation of her daily life.
When Reva was about six or seven years old she was forced into the ghetto
in Warsaw with her mother and five siblings. The toughest thing I
experienced at about age six was our house being broken into; which does
not compare to the Holocaust on any scale. The youth of a child is such a
developmental time for their mental and physical health. The first memory

Reva has of the Germans was the only positive one for the rest of her life.
The soldiers were handing out soup and bread when they first made an
appearance in her town. A couple of her relatives noticed something was
wrong and fled to Russia, and her family declined the offer to come along. It
is horrifying to me to realize, the events that took place could have been
avoided by her family. The uncertainty about the future of Germany is what
kept the Kibort family in Warsaw. I cannot imagine going through life with
the idea of what if. What if they had gone with Revas uncles to Russia;
would they too have been killed? Or would they have made it to safety and
not experienced the horror of the Holocaust.
A quote that caught my attention was from Revas mother when she
said go out to play, sing a song and you will forget about your hunger. Her
mother had no resources to help Reva and I cannot imagine the devastation
both Reva and her mother felt. I have always had a warm meal on the table
and I have never once gone hungry; so on this topic I consider myself very
lucky. Occasionally when referring to myself and not eating for only a few
hours, I will say I am starving. This saying could not be more inaccurate
compared to the endless pain in young Revas stomach. The way she
described the pain and the extent to which her sisters would try to gather
food astonishes me. I know that if I was in their place during the time of the
Holocaust I would have felt the same way. I am a firm believer in fighting for
what is right, and I want to believe I would have tried to smuggle food as
well.

If I begin to analyze the behaviors of the sisters, I know that I would


have wanted to do the same as they did and smuggle food, but the courage
and bravery they portrayed is nothing I could ever come close to. Reva later
saw her mother and sister be taken away by the German soldiers. If my
mother was taken out of my life at a young age, I would be dumbfounded
and clueless. I could not take on, such an easy life compared to Reva,
without the support of my mother. An event that shocked me was when she
was chased by a man with a hatchet and she escaped to a cornfield. The
only relation I have to her experience is the concept of a horror movie. Her
experiences are horrifying but were even harder to cope with due to her
young age.
The strength that Reva portrays amazes me. At times during the video
she struggles with talking about certain events but she talks about it with so
much dignity. It is ironic because she states all of [her] dignity was taken
away from [her]. But she can talk about these events and shows true power
in surviving. Her song she sings really touches my heart because I could feel
her emotion in this moment more than any words could describe. The
passion for life Reva has is also portrayed in this song. She also says that
her destiny was to survive and I believe those words. I strongly believe in
the concept of destiny, acquired and predetermined. I believe there is a
general plan for everyone and also like to think about how every little action
one chooses to do or not to do sculpts the path their life takes.

I really enjoyed watching Revas testimony because it gave me a


different perspective of life and the Holocaust. A childs development is
heavily reliant upon their family, experiences, and surroundings. As a child,
and even my current age, I cannot imagine fighting for my life and having
such strong survival instincts that Reva had. The way she describes how cut
up her body got walking from place to place shows how powerful the instinct
of survival can be. She pushed on and her mindset of I know I will survive
kept her alive through the Holocaust. Her testimony was very detailed and
heartfelt and I enjoyed listening to her speak about her past.

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