"First, we had to find someone to give us fabricated
birth certificates," she recalls. "Then, under false names, we applied for IDs, which were hard to get because the
Nazis were very strict. And also we didn't have the money to pay for them. We were not native to the part of the country we
were in, so we didn't know anyone or have any contacts."
dark hair was a threat. Ilona and Berta dyed their hair blond, to match their assumed identities. (Eva refused.) Obtaining
peroxide was a constant challenge; the Nazis didn't want Jews masquerading as Aryans.
Throughout her exile, Berta suffered from what was later diagnosed as a stress-induced pre-ulcerous condition: "I
walked around in pain. The one thing that you could not show was weakness. You had to be strong. But the pain -- I was in
The Weissbergers did have one big advantage: they were female. "If
you were male, you didn't have a chance," she says. "I saw the Nazis pull people into doorways and order them to
pull down their pants. If they were circumcised, they were taken away immediately."
The family was forced to move repeatedly. Each time, they had to establish false identities, find a place to live,
and find work. "The tension was continuous -- on the street, in our home. The Nazis had supreme power, and there were
collaborators in Poland." She adds that there were also Poles who were helpful to the Jews, to the point of risking their
Eva was lost in the fall of 1942. "I last saw her a day or two before her birthday, which was September 12th,"
she says, her smile fading, her voice cracking. "She wanted to go out. My mother discouraged her, but she wanted to go.
I never saw her again. We don't know what happened to her." The search didn't officially end until a few years ago, when
the International Red Cross closed Eva's file.