Women of Valor: Partisans and Resistance Fighters
When World War II began, the Soviet Union occupied the town of Pruzhany, Poland, where Aida Brydbord (Chaja Czerczewska) was born and raised. The Russians confiscated her father's small grocery store, and the family subsisted on their savings and on the proceeds of clandestine sales. Aida was the youngest, the only one of six children still living at home in this religious family. With the German occupation, the Czerczewska family was living in Livono, a small town near Pruzhany. Two sisters were living in Palestine, two in the U.S.; another, Esther, was married and living with the family in Linovo.
Aida became a teacher of Russian in village school near Pruzhany. The Jews in Pruzhany were fairly isolated from the growing cataclysm engulfing European Jewry.
Radios were scarce, newspapers reflected the political agenda of the occupying power, and although Jewish refugees who passed through the town told frightening stories of their experience with Nazism, they did not influence the opinions of Pruzhany's traditional Jews. Aida remembers her father describing his impression of the Germans as "the same Germans (as in) the first World War."