Alinka, the daughter of Lilka (Cukierman), was five years old when the Germans occupied her city in September 1939. Warsaw was a large, cosmopolitan city, home to Europe's largest Jewish community. Her grandfather was highly involved in the community. The family lived in an affluent area. Alinka loved to play with her dolls and stuffed animals. Part of a large, loving, highly educated family, Alinka had a comfortable early childhood.
In October 1940, Alinka and her family, along with all the other Jewish residents of Warsaw, were forced to leave their homes and live in a run-down area of the city. On November 15, walls were built around the ghetto, cutting it off from the rest of the world. Over 265,000 people were packed into apartments on 73 streets.
Lacking money and forbidden to work, most residents were quickly impoverished. Food, medicine and heat were inadequate, and thousands died of starvation, exposure and disease. Children risked their lives to smuggle food into the ghetto for their families. Amidst all the horrors of the ghetto, underground schools and other cultural events were organized.
In July 1942, the Germans began rounding up and deporting ghetto residents in massive raids. Few were exempt. Packed like cattle into freight cars, they were sent to the Treblinka death camp, where they were immediately taken to the gas chambers and murdered.
By September, only 60,000 Jews, mostly young men and women, were left. The last remnants of their families, they resolved to fight the Germans. On Passover eve, April 19, 1943, the Germans began what they believed to be the final round up and deportation. Instead, they were met with organized, armed resistance. The Germans began systematically burning buildings, trying to force people out of hiding. Armed mostly with home-made grenades and other incendiary devices, the young Jewish fighters fought the Germans, house by house, for almost a month. The ghetto was turned into one great burning torch. On May 16 it was over.
Nothing is known about Alinka or her family after they were forced into the ghetto and cut off from the world. No trace has ever been found.