Lisa Derman and Aron Derman escaped the Vilna ghetto in 1941 to join the partisans. Fifteen and eighteen at the time, they fought and survived in the forests of Lithuania until the war was over. Few in their families survived, and their dream was to go to Palestine.

For weeks they traveled, making their way across mountains and borders. Finally they they reached Italy, and there they met the Jewish Brigade.

"We saw some trucks in the distance. As we got closer, we noticed they had the Star of David on their sides.

"Our group got so excited. We started kissing one another. We knew that these must be our liberators.

"Can you imagine, from the ghettos and the fires? To see Jewish soldiers? We cried! We screamed!"

Lisa Derman now lives in Chicago.

LISA DERMAN

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