A couple of weeks after the Germans had marched into Poland from the west, the Soviets invaded from the east, seizing the rest of the country. The Communists and the Nazis had made a secret pact to do just this. As the Russians invaded, Przemysl suffered shelling, and the sisters escaped. When they returned, the city was under Soviet control.
And now the two girls were separated from their mother. Roza was stuck in Warsaw, in the German sector. Nazi-controlled Warsaw was an extremely perilous place for a Jew. Shortly after invading western Poland, the Nazis set about persecuting the Jews in earnest as they would do throughout the European territories they controlled.
Especially in the cities, the Nazis began to herd the Jews into ghettos as well as stealing their property and belongings. Conditions in the ghettos were appalling, with starvation and disease commonplace. The Germans established the Warsaw ghetto in October 1939. Conditions were so cramped that an average of more than nine people lived in each room there.