Isidore Karten was born in an idyllic shtetl in Świrz, Eastern Galicia. He experienced the hardship of the Soviet occupation, and witnessed the German troops marching into town in July 1941. The Germans established the ghetto in Bóbrka, and the remainder of the Jews were ordered into the ghetto. Isidore and his brother joined the Jewish partisans in the Świrz Forest, and Isidore went from ghetto to ghetto calling upon young people to come to the forest to fight. It was on a visit to the Bóbrka ghetto that he met his wife-to-be, Julia, and they were married in the forest.