Edited by Eilat Gordin Levitan With a sacred trembling, we commemorate our beloved and dearest, who perished at the hand of the German murderers and the local Christian population. They were banded in life, and likewise in their deaths. We allude to the communities of the towns of Gluboke, Sharkoystzene, Dunilovitch, Postav, Druya and Kazan. They are all part of Belarus (Reisn). They are considered to be in the Province of Vilna. The Jews of all of these towns are called Litvaks, even though they didn't know a word of the Lithuanian language. The language that was commonly spoken in our area was Russian.
The major portion of this book is devoted to recounting the destruction of Gluboke, which the two siblings, Michael and Tzvi Reiyak, who were Gluboke teachers, wrote. Glubokeites had the privilege of having, among their survivors, those who had talent, and the will to pass on to future generations, that which they saw in the Valley of Death. They recorded this pages after the destruction of Gluboke, while they wandered, famished and destitute, through forests, fields and swamps, and while death lurked about them, on all corners. Their recounting has the distinction of maintaining but limited rhetoric. They've compiled only actual events, which are authenticated with hundreds of names and endless data. They have relied, not only on what their own memory and experience dictate, but also on the testimony of others. Thus, a detailed description of the life, struggle and destruction of the Jews of Gluboke. We see them from within. For us, they Live! The Gluboke Ghetto was destined to be a temporary shelter for the surviving remnant of the encompassing, slaughtered towns. The Jews, who saved themselves from the slaughter in their own towns, could find no place of refuge. At the time, there were revolts yet no organized partisans, so there was nowhere to flee. They lay scattered, starved and exposed in the forests, fields and swamps. When the deceitful call came from the Judenrat, that the remnant of survivors come to the Gluboke Ghetto, most of the Jews consented. They had no alternative, for death lurked on all sides. Tens of victims fell daily, so they latched on to this call. The brothers Reiyak also tell about these Jews. They left no corner unturned. Afterwards, they describe their own wanderings and recovery. But that is a chapter by itself!
The narrations about the other towns, that are included in this book, have an entirely different character. These are the jottings that the Jews from the stetetlach (small towns) related. That's how it is with the information that was relayed about the towns, before their destruction, and, at the time of their destruction. Most of the narration was done collectively. We assembled fellow townsmen (landsleit), and from them, elicited the important information. We also made use of letters. Our chairman, who is the editor of this book, is the one who wrote up all of the information about the towns. The annihilation of these towns, that we here recall, began somewhat sooner than elsewhere, at the beginning of 1942. Also the uprising, or resistance against the murderers, began a lot sooner then in other places. On the 18th of July, 1942, a full blown uprising took place in the Sharkoystzener Ghetto. Thirty minutes before the heavily armed German police pounced on the Ghetto, the Judenrat succeeded in breaking down the Ghetto fence and setting fire to the town. The Judenrat was arming those few who did not let themselves be fooled by the murderers. That's how about 80% of the Jews of the town were able to save themselves. However most perished later from hunger, hardship, and the murderers' bullets. The remnant perished when the Gluboker Ghetto was annihilated.
The monstrous enemy could not condone such a rebellion. Ironicly, at the time, many Jews considered this uprising as a tragedy for the Jews of the entire area. They maintained that it had inflamed the enemy!
We hope that chapters of the Memorial Book will be read by our landsleit (fellow townsfolk), at the very least, on the annual memorial day of the annihilation of each of our beloved shtetlach. Let everyone read it to his family!
Let this Memorial Book serve as an eternal reminder to bind us to our beloved and dearest ones, who were robbed of their human rights and dignity, and whose blood was wantonly spilled, and whose lives were so cruelly cut short! Almost all of the landsleit contributed to the publication of this book. We must give credit to our prominent landsman (townsman), Noah Katzovitch, who covered half of the costs.
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