The Doll “Lala” (“Ilana”) that Vera Lifschitz Received in the Transit Camp in Karachi, India (today Pakistan)
With the outbreak of war, Chaim and Regina Lifschitz fled east from their home in Bielsko, Poland to the vicinity of Lvov, then under Soviet control. Their daughter Vera was born in Lvov in May 1940. When she was barely three weeks old the family was deported to Siberia on a month-long train journey. The Lifschitz family arrived in Aldan in eastern Siberia where they were housed in huts outside the town. Only thanks to their own resourcefulness did they survive the harsh conditions.
Before leaving their home in Poland, Vera’s parents had exchanged their possessions for gold that they sewed into the linings of their clothes. Chaim even managed to load a cart with a sewing machine up onto the train. The gold and the possessions they managed to take with enabled them to make a living and even open a store in the town. For two years they were able to live this way.
In 1942 Chaim joined Anders’ Army. Vera stayed with her mother and aunt Luba. Towards the end of the year the three managed to make their way west following Anders’ Army: from Siberia to Kazahkstan, from there to Uzbekistan and in the beginning of 1943 they reached Teheran.
From Teheran, Vera and her mother, Regina, traveled with a group of children to Karachi, India where Vera received her doll “Lala” (doll in Polish) as a gift from an Indian soldier.
On February 18th 1943, Vera and Regina arrived in Eretz Israel. Chaim, who was stationed in Basra, Iraq with Anders’ Army, got word that his wife and daughter had arrived in Eretz Israel, and decided to desert the army and follow them.
Vera’s doll “Lala” received the name “Ilana” in Israel, and was kept faithfully by her through the years until she donated the doll to Yad Vashem for safekeeping.
Yad Vashem Artifacts Collection,
Gift of Vera Brand-Lifschitz, Haifa, Israel