Fulton residents who knew her feisty nature were saddened when Anna Price of Fulton, a survivor of Nazi slave labor camps during World War II, died Monday at age 86.
One of her friends was Sue Crane, a Fulton attorney who helped Price in recent years with legal matters.
Price worked as a housekeeper at Fulton State Hospital and lived on Jefferson Street in Fulton. Her funeral will be Friday at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Fulton.
"When I met Anna," Crane said, "I had no idea she would change my life the same way she did with so many other people who came to know her."
Anna was a short, stout woman with a thick Polish accent.
"I thought," Crane said, "I could keep the upper hand when Anna became insistent. But little did I know I was dealing with a woman who as a child had stood defiant to Stalin's minions and negotiated with Hitler's henchmen. I had no chance."
Anna was born in Ravarusha, Poland. On a Sunday morning, then 13-year-old Anna headed off to church by herself. The path around the hill led to a one-lane bridge and there the Nazi soldiers lurked. They captured everyone who came their way. Those who tried to run were shot dead.
Anna never saw her mother and father again. She never slept again in her own bed in Poland. Anna and others were hauled off in trucks. First they performed medical experiments on some of them. Then all of the strong and sturdy were shipped off to forced hard labor in Nazi-run camps.
Anna and others survived on a steady diet of spinach soup laced with iron filings.
Anna's brush with the Nazis was the most violent and inhumane treatment she had endured during the war. But she also encountered Russian Communist oppression when she attended school.
On her first day of school, the communist had set a bowl of fruit out for the Polish school children. As each child bit into the crisp apple, the communist would say that Joe Stalin, the Russian Communist dictator, had made that apple.
But Anna knew better and stood firm in her faith that only God could have made the apple. Silently, she recalls thinking to herself: "Who does this Stalin think he is, God?"