I was born Rywka Ruchla Berkowitz in Zdunska-Vola, Poland, in 1929 and lived with my parents and younger sister. My father was an accountant and my mother a housewife. We had a very comfortable lifestyle. Ours was a very large, well-known family, as my father was one of eight children and my mother one of four.
We observed all the festivals but my father was not a regular synagogue goer. I attended school from the age of six, and we had a large family of uncles, aunts, and cousins, who we visited and spent holidays with. But on 1st September 1939 life changed drastically for us. The Nazi invasion started with the bombing of Polish towns.
At the beginning of the war Harry was nine years old, and on the first day the Germans came in dishing out sweets to the children. Within a day or two restrictions began for the Jewish community. Life became progressively harsher until at 2am on the night of 30 November 1939, the Nazis burst into his lovely home, yelling, shooting and screaming at the family that they had two hours to get out or be shot.