"I Remember" poem

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 1987.A.0028
  • RG-24.003.01
1 Jan 1985 - 31 Dec 1985
Level of Description
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium




Biographical History

Ms. Schiff was born in 1930 as Shulamit (Musia) Perlmutter in Horochów in Wolyn, Poland. Her father, Simcha Perlmutter, was a professor of philosophy at the Lvov University and an ardent Zionist. Both of her parents were civic leaders in the town. Before the war and during the Soviet occupation, the family led a quite comfortable life. In June 1941, right after the German invasion, Ms. Schiff's father was arrested by the Germans and never heard from again (he was probably arrested with all of the other professors of Lvov University who were all executed immediately after their arrest). Ms. Schiff, her sister (four years older) Tchiya, and mother Fruma lived in Horochów Ghetto. Their mother and Tchiya were working in a knitting factory as slave labor for the Nazis. Ms. Schiff, being too young, did not work. Ms. Schiff's mother established a clandestine school for children in the ghetto which Ms. Schiff attended. Close to the time of the liquidation of the ghetto, her mother was able to secure two hiding places outside of the ghetto in the neighboring village of Skobelka for the family. One place had room for two people and the other had room for one person. Her sister, who was supposed to be alone, left first and was never heard of again. After the war, Ms. Schiff found out that Tchiya was reported to the Nazis and paraded naked through the entire ghetto, tortured and killed. Her body was left exposed for a few days days as a warning to the people. Ms. Schiff and her mother left the ghetto for the other hiding place but unfortunately they did it on the night of the big deportation/liquidation of the ghetto. Because the Nazi and Ukrainian guards were shooting everywhere, Ms. Schiff and her mother had to remain in the water of a river which bordered the ghetto, for approximately five days. They had to sleep and eat the remaining food while in the water. In the end, Ms. Schiff (age 12) woke up and found no trace of her mother. To this day, she does not know if her mother was killed or drowned during her sleep. Ms. Schiff made her way to the paid for hiding place, but the peasant farmer who was supposed to provide the hiding place for her only gave her food and some warm clothing. He refused to hide her and threatened to report her. For the next two years, from August 1942 to late June 1944 (Soviet Liberation), Ms. Schiff spent her life living like a wild animal in the forest. She had an encounter with Partisans, barely survived a pogrom prepared by the Ukrainian peasants and was finally found by the Soviet Red Army soldiers totally exhausted and barely living on the bottom of what was in her words, "her grave." After this, she was taken to the Soviet Army hospital where she spent two months. Then she spent some time in Luck trying unsuccessfully to find any surviving family members. When the rest of the Polish territories were liberated, she went to Krakow, and then through Bratislava and Vienna, she got to Germany where she spent some time in Fernwald D.P. Camp and Bensheim D.P. Camp. Finally, in 1948 she arrived in the United States.

Archival History

Schiff, Mrs. Charlene Perlmutter


The poem was written by Charlene Schiff on 20 Apr. 1985 and later read by her at a Holocaust memorial service at Fort Belvoir, Va. The poem was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives in June 1987 by Bea Kleier.

Scope and Content

Consists of a poem entitled "I remember" written by Holocaust survivor Charlene Schiff on 20 Apr. 1985 and later read by her at a Holocaust memorial service at Fort Belvoir, Va.




This description is derived directly from structured data provided to EHRI by a partner institution. This collection holding institution considers this description as an accurate reflection of the archival holdings to which it refers at the moment of data transfer.