Friday 5 April 2013



ED Noor: Das is un miracle! Another holocaust miracle ladies and gentlemen! Step right up and listen to the soulful stermer saga, promoted just days before the big reminder of Shoah business coming on Sunday. Truly g-d moves in wonderful ways when it comes to His chosen ones. Read on and wonder, dear readers. Do you think He saves them because He is into that chicken swinging thing they do?

But I digress; please read on and marvel at this latest of truly unbelievable tales of the bravery of our dear friends and their amazing drive to survive against all odds, even the evil Nazis. 

This story is not quite on the level of the magical poopy diamonds or the fake eternal love stories or even Elie Wiesel's geysers of blood, but it is quite ... well... I will let you, dear Readers, decide for yourselves just what you are reading.

The above photo is of a Syrian woman driven from her home currently living in a cave with her family. Many Palestinians are also forced to live in caves. Do we hear about them or see movies being made about their bravery? 

Interestingly, a little research shows this Stermer saga to not be a new story. It seems even last year there were gatherings held to greet and listen to this family speaking in Montreal, their home city now. I am posting the Jewish announcement made in Canada regarding this story. It is even closer to a Weisel style account than this one.
Esther and Zaida Stermer and their six children lived underground to surviveThey were among six Jewish families who avoided being sent to their deathsTheir astonishing story will be told in new documentary No Place On Earth  

By Harriet Arkell    
April 5, 2013
A Jewish matriarch was so determined to protect her family from Nazi persecution, she hid herself and them in an underground cave until their country was liberated ~ eighteen months later.  Esther Stermer lived a peaceful, rural existence in a small Ukrainian village with her six children until the Germans invaded in late 1941. Hellbent on annihilating the Jewish people, the soldiers rounded up more than a thousand Jews and sent them to their deaths.    
Several Jewish families escaped the Holocaust thanks to the courage of Esther Stermer, front row, second from left 


Sam Stermer, in green, and his brother Saul Stermer, with yellow kneepads, revisited the cave nearly 70 years later  But Mrs. Stermer and her husband Zaida were determined that their innocent family would survive, whatever it took.  So, she and five other Jewish families from the area packed up their belongings one cold October night in 1942 and fled, in the dark, to a sinkhole masking the entrance to an underground cave, five miles north of their home in Korolowka.  A new documentary, No Place On Earth, tells the story of Mrs Stermer's courage more than 70 years ago.    

ED Noor: I pray that Stephen Spielberg hears of this amazing saga and … well, we all know just what a great filmmaker he is. Only such a man could do this story true justice.   

She and her family had already survived one year of German occupation, but knew that the shadow of death was creeping ever closer.  Her son Sam Stermer, now 86, told ABC News that the family's secret was their utter determination never to give in.  The cave they settled in was pitch black, damp, and lay beneath ground that Nazi soldiers would march over, deep in the Ukrainian countryside.   


Sam and Saul Stermer said that their underground home was 'paradise' because they were free  The six families, with 38 people in total, ended up hiding there for 18 months, until it was safe to go above ground in their own land again.  During that time, the families lived in complete darkness, digging out toilets and showers and more living space as they concentrated on surviving until they could come out again.  At night they foraged for food, and in the day time they hid deep in the darkness.  Mr. Stermer's older brother Saul Stermer, now 92, said: 'You went to sleep and you had a pillow and you covered up with good blankets ~ what else you want?' 
ED Noor: What a plucky trooper! 


Saul Stermer, his nieces Sima and Sonia Dodyk, and his brother Sam Stermer play themselves in the documentary  What the family had and prized above anything was their freedom ~ they had escaped the invading forces, and they would continue to do so for more than 500 days.  During that time, Esther Stermer had to defend her family once, when German SS soldiers raided the first cave.  Coming face-to-face with the men they had lived in fear of for so long, Mrs. Stermer held her ground, despite the fact they were pointing guns at her.  Sam Stermer said: 'And she says "What are you afraid of here?  The Fuhrer is gonna lose the war because we live here?"'   

ED Noor: Have you stopped gasping in laughter yet, dear Reader? 


Saul and Sam Stermer, seen here in the film, say they would not have survived without their determined mother  The soldiers left, never to return, and finally, in April 1944, the Russians liberated the area and the hidden families were able to climb out of the cave into the light. 
ED Noor: The RUSSIANS? THE BOLSHEVIKS “liberated” the area? OMG……but then, this whole thing is a fantasy anyhow so… yeah, sure, the Russians were the heroes. Only in this fable, folks, only in this fable.  

Last year the Stermer brothers returned to the cave for the first time, for the film.  They told how after the war, they traveled to Canada and set up a business, which they still run there.  Today the survivors and offspring of those who hid in the Ukrainian caves number more than 125, and the film, which will be on limited release in the U.S. today and will be released in Germany next month, tells the story of their courage.  Their survival is the longest uninterrupted underground survival in recorded human history.  

ED Noor: WOW! I am so impressed to hear this!  Real recorded record. Impresssssive. 

Now below from the Jewish Federation of Ottawa LAST September, 2012. The article is undated but since it refers to a speaking date in October, no year given, I can only assume it was 2012. Interesting that this fable is brought to light just in time for the annual big Shoah... er Holoco$t Memorial Day.


Light was scorching their eyes.  
They cried out. 
They stumbled blindly 
and one fainted.
Darkness was all these 38 Jews had known before emerging after two years of hiding in caves deep underneath the Ukrainian countryside. 

Among them was the Stermer family, now of Montreal. Family members will be in Ottawa on Sunday, October 26, 7:00 pm, to share their remarkable story of grit and endurance at the opening event of the 2008 Holocaust Education Program at the Soloway JCC.

The story begins 69 years ago on Rosh Hashanah 1939. It was not a joyous, reflective time in Korolowka, Poland, but the start of the nightmare that would lower the family into a starving existence deep underground.

Smartly sensing danger early, the Stermers applied and had been accepted for immigration to Canada. However, a mere week before they were set to leave in September 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland.

Poland was divided and the Soviet Union and Germany occupied the country. The Nazis removed the Soviets in the summer 1941.

The Nazi repression of Polish Jewry soon began. First was the demand to don white armbands with a blue Star of David. This soon progressed to groups of Jews being executed in cemeteries or packed into cattle cars for transport to the death camps where murderous gas awaited them.

“Those who were as yet spared found it difficult at first to believe that human beings ~ and cultured Germans at that ~ could really perpetrate such horrors,” the matriarch of the family, Esther Stermer, wrote in her memoirs.

Afraid of atrocious Nazi activities, the Stermers built bunkers beneath their farm. It was a prelude to the caves they would soon have to move into.

The Stermers purchased badges that allowed three men in the family to travel with a horse and wagon to collect scrap metal. The work kept them nourished as they were able to trade with the local peasants for food. Later on, it became their lifeline as the means through which they gathered supplies in the caves.

As darkness washed over 1942, the Stermers and 30 other Jews began their new existence alongside bats and foxes in a cave previously popular with tourists.

Their steely determination was guided by the goal to survive. They were willing to do anything to stay alive. “Anything rather than go like sheep to slaughter,” Esther wrote.

Still, it was not enough, and in the spring the Gestapo arrived.

All were trembling in fear, except for Esther, who demanded that everyone else hide under their beds while she alone faced the Germans.

She boldly addressed them: “Very well, so you have found us … Look at how we live here, like rats. All we want is to live, to survive the war years. Leave us here.”  She recalls in her writing.

Somehow, the Stermers managed to return to their bunkers under their barn. It wasn’t safe in the town though. The Nazis were everywhere.

Thanks to the advice of a friendly forester, they explored a hole on a priest’s ravine and found a giant cavern, where the children would be able to shout as loud as they wanted and where lice could not multiply.

Thirty-eight Jews descended into the cavern on May 5, 1943, the night after the announcement that every Jew had to leave or had to be shot.

They made unleavened bread, but barely had enough to keep from starvation.

After 344 days underground came the news they’d been longing for. A message in a bottle, dropped into the mouth of the cave by the friendly forester, gave them the joyous news that the Nazis were gone.

Preparing their eyes for daylight, the family set out to leave the cave and their suffering behind. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    I'm from Poland so just a few words. Yeah, really disgusting story about "brave jews". We, Polish, know very well "courage and bravness and all other jewish stuff". Piece for mentally-handicapped.


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