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Polish Catholic Holocaust Survivor Speaks
I, Bozenna Urbanowicz Gilbride, a Polish Catholic Holocaust Survivor, was invited to speak to a group of students/young men at The Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch in Riverhead, Long Island, N.Y. It is “a place for troubled kids where they could live, be loved, feel safe, and have wide open spaces to ride horses.” It is an unbelievable place run by Fern and Jerry Hill in honor of their 14 year old son Timothy who was accidentally killed many years ago.
In photo on right: Mr. Jerry Hill, Bozenna Gilbride and Mrs. Fern Hill
I met Mr. Hill at a restaurant where there was a large group of students and young men all dressed up in shirts and ties who were having a very good time. They were there for their annual lunch given by Paul’s Italian Restaurant in Southampton. He asked me if I would come and speak at the Ranch so that the young men could hear about my sad life and compare it to their own lives. I said yes and a few days later I was picked up at my house in a very large car and driven to the Ranch.
The young men were waiting for me when I entered the room. It was full of people. Some sat on the floor. Some leaned against the walls, some crowded by the door. They listened to my story of survival and had so many questions.
There was a little girl, Ellie, with her sister and their mother, who sat on the floor. When I mentioned that I was nine years old when I was deported to Germany for slave labor, the mother said that Ellie is nine years old and I asked Ellie to stand next to me so that everyone can see how little I was at that point in my life. Ellie’s mother started to cry. Ellie just stood there, motionless because I was holding on to her so tight (not realizing it) that she could not move.
It was a very emotional day for me, but satisfying, because they asked me so many questions. I autographed many books and afterwards the Hills invited me for dinner at their home on the premises of the Ranch, and more young men and students to meet. After dinner Mr. Hill drove me home and asked if I would come back and speak to another group next year. Of course I will, I told him.
– Bozenna Urbanowicz Gilbride