Phyllis Karmin Fogelman was born in Frankfurt, Germany.
As an infant she moved with her older sister and her parents, Markus and Jeanette Karmin, to Lvov, Poland (now Ukraine). Her parents wanted to live closer to their family and her father found a good opportunity to open a pharmacy.
As the political situation changed so did their lives. First there were a few incidents with the Russians who confiscated their pharmacy and threatened their lives. Within a relatively short time Lvov was taken over by the Nazis.
They were chased into the Lvov ghetto. It was around Rosh Hashanah time and they occupied a space with 5 more members of the family. In this ghetto approximately 82 members of the extended family were killed. Phyllis’ father sought a way to escape that fate for himself and his immediate family by escaping from the ghetto.
He found an impoverished farmer on the outskirts of town who was willing to hide the Karmins for money. The house was near the railroad tracks and trains regularly stopped there releasing Nazi soldiers who wanted to take a break and walk around. Often they leaned against its walls or passed by the windows. The Karmin family, with a few additional members, was hidden in a space between this house and the stables. The “room” was concealed by a rug and a tunnel was dug to the house for a pail to be passed for bathroom needs. They lived on food that the pigs wouldn’t eat.
• The family lived in this space for one and a half years. Their ”protectors” were tremendous anti-Semites and they were frequently threatened with the statement like “the next time I come back for money you are all dead”. A little girl who was with them died during this time. Markus was able to build a little radio and get news about the war. When the Russians came back to bomb and liberated Lvov, the family members had to be carried out from this hiding space.
• They tried to go back , to what turned out to be their non-existent former home, and eventually wound up in a DP camp.
• There they discovered that aunts and uncles in America were looking for them. They came to the U.S. in 1947.