Alexander Savranskiy was born in Tomashpol, Ukraine, a Jewish town.
Alexander’s father died from an illness; he was not given medication because he was Jewish.
Alexander’s mother moved to Odessa for a better job while Alexander stayed with his grandmother who continued to raise him.
As Jewish schools all over Ukraine were closed, Jewish students could transfer to Ukrainian schools. However, due to the language barrier, they were demoted in grade level. Jewish teachers also became unemployed.
July 22: The city of Tomashpol was occupied by the Russian and German Armies. The Russians and the Germans organized a volunteer army from the local people. They began taking young people to work, including Alexander’s 15- and 16-year-old cousins. They were not taken to camps; instead they and many other Jews were shot and placed in one mass grave. The Tomashpol Ghetto was formed. Wired fences were erected and anyone attempting to leave the area was shot.
Alexander’s babushka (grandmother) died. He then lived with cousins and other relatives in another house. There were 8 to 10 people per room.
March 19: As the Russian army advanced into the city, they heard gunfire. It was a relief because they discovered that they were being liberated. Nonetheless, the Russians still called them “dirty Jews”. Soon afterward, Alexander’s mother returned to find him. Even as she raised him, guilt haunted her for having left him alone.