Shulamit Musia Perlmutter, called Musia, was part of a family who loved learning. Her father was a professor at the university in Lvov. Her parents were both civic leaders in their town of Horochow, in eastern Poland. Private tutors taught Shulamit when she was just 4 years old.
Three weeks after the Germans invaded Poland in September 1939, the Soviet Union took over eastern Poland. Many people who were trying to escape the Germans passed through Horochow. But Shulamit's life didn't change much. Her father continued to teach at the university. Shulamit was now taught in Russian.
Two years later, the Germans invaded the Soviet Union. They set up a ghetto, a part of the city where Jewish people were forced to live, in Horochow. Shulamit and her mother fled the ghetto when they heard rumors that the town was about to be destroyed. They hid at the river's edge, and soon heard shots. They stayed in the water all night, listening to the sound of machine guns blasting through the ghetto. In the morning, they saw that they were not the only ones hiding. Shulamit heard a guard scream, "I see you there Jews: come out!" Many people did, but she and her mother stayed hidden in the water for days. One day, Shulamit dozed off. When she woke up, her mother was gone. Shulamit never saw her mother again. She never found out what happened to her. She hid in the forests near Horochow until the war was over. She is the only member of her family to have survived.