Esther Raab, a survivor of the Holocaust, tells about the night before she and 300 of her fellow inmates at the Sobibor death camp in Poland mounted a daring escape. Her mother came to her in a dream. Like so many European Jews, they had been separated during World War II, not knowing each other’s fate. Esther explains; In the dream “I said, tomorrow we are escaping, and she said, ‘I know.’ And then she took me by the hand, out of the camp, and showed me the barn that she said I should hide in.”
It took Esther two weeks to find the barn because she could only move about at night. When she finally found it she made a startling discovery. Her brother, whom she had believed had been shot to death during a Nazi execution of young Jewish men, emerged from a shadowy corner of the building. He had heard her speak a few Yiddish words. The siblings, each thinking the other had died, were incredulous.” Esther’s brother had been in the barn for nine months and cared for by a farmer who regularly brought him bread, milk, and newspapers.” She said the man was thrilled to see her, and kept them alive for nine and a half more months, until it was safe for them to emerge. “That man had seven children, and his entire family was in danger if he had been caught helping us,” she said in a phone interview. “They would have all been killed.”
Esther’s story is featured in Stuart Lutz’s book The Last Leaf: Voices of History’s Last-Known Survivors.