Sorela, the daughter of Basia and Leon Goldsobel, was almost five years old when the Germans occupied Warsaw in September 1939. Warsaw was a large, cosmopolitan city, home to Europe's largest Jewish community. Mr. Goldsobel worked as a business representative.
In October 1940, Sorela, her older sister Liliana and her parents, along with all the other Jewish residents of the city, were forced to leave their homes and live in a run-down area of the city. On November 15, 1940, after the construction of an eight-foot wall to surround it, the ghetto was sealed. Over 275,000 people were packed into apartments on 73 streets.
Lacking money and the means to earn it, most residents were quickly impoverished. Food, medicine, and heating were inadequate and thousands died of starvation, exposure, and disease. Children risked their lives to smuggle food into the ghetto so that their families could eat. But amidst all the horrors of the ghetto, underground schools and other cultural events flourished.
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 nearby Treblinka death camp, where they were immediately taken to the gas chambers and murdered.
Sorela and her parents were caught in a raid in September 1942, They, too, were sent to Treblinka and murdered in the gas chambers. Sorela had not yet turned eight.