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[Page 80]

The Fate of Jewish Children during the
Years of Occupation in the Territory of Belorussia (cont'd)

Children from Mixed Marriages

Death threatened “half-breeds” -- the offspring of mixed marriages between Jews and non-Jews: The Nazis demanded that they be turned over to them. On July 1, 1941, the Borovsk Volost' [District] Administration reported to Minsk that Vera Zakrevskaya, a Belorussian widow, lived in the village of Bantserovshchina, Minsk Rayon. Before the war, she was married to a Jew. Her sons, Vilya and Leonid, born in 1939 and 1941 respectively, lived with her. After the liquidation of the ghetto in Uzda in October 1941 (1,740 people), the only survivor was 12-year old Edik Uel'skiy, born to a Jewish mother and a Belorussian father. The father managed to literally snatch his son from the hands of members of punitive squads at the moment when he lay undressed at the edge of a pit, awaiting his fate[48]. In 1942 the Trostin Volost' Administration reported on the arrest of A.V. Kalyuzhenin, deputy chairman of the administration, on the basis of the fact that his wife was a Jew who lived under false documents as a Belorussian. Together with the Kalyuzhenin couple, their children were also arrested[49]. Two families -- Jews and Tatars -- lived in Minsk on 19 Zelenyy Pereulok. The Tatar, Shura Aleksandrovich, worked in the construction administration, was a “chief,” and was driven in an “M” car. At the outset of the war, Shura was drafted into the Red Army. His wife, Rivka, and two small daughters remained at home. When the ghetto was formed, she asked her husband's sister, Sof'ya, to take her nieces, who looked like Tatar girls with narrow slanted eyes, into her home, but she refused. All of them perished in the ghetto. When Shura returned from the front, he did not forgive his sister for the death of Rivka and their children, breaking off relations with her forever[50]. During the years of the occupation, the wife of writer Mikhas' Lynkov, who was Jewish, and their son, Marik, hid with her husband's parents in the countryside. Local residents handed them over to the Germans[51].

Despite the threats, Belorussians saved Jewish and mixed-blood children. In August 1941, policeman Kukhtin from Nevel' wanted to arrest a Russian woman in the village of Topory, who was married to a Jew, and began to deal with the matter of her son who cried without stopping. Kukhtin asked the child: “Whose are you, papa's or mama's?”, which in itself was absurd. The child cried and did not answer. Then the policeman said: “Well, since you are mama's, I will take nothing from you”, and he went away. In Lukoml', during the liquidation of the ghetto, local residents persuaded those in charge to free a mixed-blood girl, whose father, a Jew, was on the front. She was already in the column of the doomed, her Jewish grandmother holding her in her arms. Belorussians began to request that the child be handed over to them, because she was the granddaughter of Ivan Ruzhinskiy, a respected physician in the town, and the policemen gave in[52]. During the liquidation of the ghetto in Parichi in November 1941, local residents started shouting that 12-year old Borya Gorelik was Russian. His grandmother, Musya Paperno, pushed the boy out of the column. He escaped into the forest and remained alive. At the same time, in Borisov in 1942, Zhenya, Lenya, and Inna Samtsevich -- 13-, 11-, and 7-year old children, who were hidden by relatives of their Belorussian father -- as a result of denunciation, were arrested, taken to prison, and shot[53].

In Orsha, the Germans executed children from mixed marriages and wives of Jews. Motya (Matvey) Pevzner's father, Rafail Yakovlevich, was a Jew, and his mother, Anna Savel'yeva, a Belorussian. In February 1942, the police came to them and wanted to take away the boy with his sister, Tamara. The mother said that she would call them, but, in fact, she hid the children with her neighbors, the Kislushchenko family. Tired of waiting, the policemen took away grandma Yefrosin'ya Kuz'minichna. At night, the children were taken to their relatives in the village of Antavil', Orshany Rayon. A day later, they were transferred to a new place in the village of Yurtsevo and three days later, to their relative Aksin'ya in the village of Bol'shoye Babino. There they lived for a few months until their neighbors learned about their stay. Then, at night, the three of them -- two children and their mother -- went to the village of Andreyevshchina. However, there, too, the Pevzners could not stay longer than one month and had to return to Orsha. For a bribe, Anna changed her passport, recording her last name as Grishan -- her maiden name. However, this did not help and, in the spring of 1944, she was taken to the SD. Motya and Tamara hid in the garden of their neighbors, the Kulakovs, but were soon found and taken to prison. In the cell, there were three children from the Raubal' family, whose mother was Jewish, and the Dolzhenikovs -- mother and three children (the father was a Jew). Two more mixed-blood children were brought from the town of Smolyany. Anna Pevzner-Grishan and Ol'ga Silitskaya were constantly summoned for interrogation and beaten up, but a month later the Pevzners were released. They hid in Yevdokiya Khitrova's dugout until July 1944[54].

The father of Polina Martsinkevich, Boris, was a Belorussian, and her mother, Mera Vitkina, a Jew. Immediately after the announcement that all Jews must assemble on Engels Street, Mera left Orsha, hid in the village of Temnyy Les, Goretsk Rayon, and then ran into partisans. Her children -- Polina and brothers Yura and Boris -- remained with Mariya Lukinichna, their grandmother on the father's side. In their birth certificates, all of them were recorded as Belorussians. In December 1942, they were arrested and brought to prison, where about 50 people -- women and children -- had already been assembled. During an outing, brother Boris used to run to his grandmother and neighbors, who gave him a full bag of food. Afterwards, the boy asked the guard: “Sir, let me go, I am one of you.” Then all three were sent by train to a concentration camp in Novo-Borisov, but the rest were shot. The Belorussian birth certificates saved the children[55].

In Klimovichi in April 1943, Russian and Belorussian mothers with children from mixed marriages were assembled in the prison. The only way to save a child was to prove that he was not from a Jewish husband. The Nazis demanded the signature of 20 witnesses. Komsomol member Berlinskiy had a Russian wife and two children: A seven-year old girl, the image of her mother, and a six-year old boy who resembled his father. Signatures certifying that the children were not his were collected, but this did not help. The boy was taken anyway, but the girl was not. Belorussian relatives persuaded policeman Ageyev to claim as his own one of the two daughters of the Jew Boris Chemodanov (Galina, who resembled her mother), but the dark-haired Tamara, who resembled Boris, perished. Policeman Yefimov adopted Raya Shkol'nikova. Nina Vinokurova was saved by passing herself off as a Russian and was sent to work in Germany. She ended up in the American occupation zone, married a soldier, and went to America[56].

[Page 82]

Conduct of Non-Jewish Spouses

Most spouses saved their Jewish husbands or wives. When the Germans arrived in Minsk, accountant Kastus' Gerzhidovich hid his wife, Sof'ya, in a cellar and a shed. He could not get a German-type passport in the city administration. A neighbor, Mariya Khrolovich, gave away Sof'ya. She brought the police and yelled all over the street: “Here she is, a Jew. Her husband is hiding her from the ghetto. Take away both of them!” In the house register and the marriage certificate, Kastus' erased the word “Jew” with chlorine and wrote “Ukrainian”. In the city police on Internatsional'naya Street, he convinced the guard that Sof'ya was beaten and, therefore, she admitted to doing things that she did not do. After that the Petrukevich family, who lived on Kamennyy Pereulok in Minsk, hid the woman, and later, Kastus' sister, Mariya and her husband, Iosif Kirvel, chief engineer at the Minsk Telephone Station, did the same. In the winter of 1942, Kastus' took Sof'ya to the village of Vynistsa near Slutsk, to the home of a casual acquaintance, Yadviga Skurskaya, whom he paid for her services with money and food products[57]. At the beginning of the war, Revekka Yakubovich, from Polotsk was in occupied Borisov. She was suspected of her Jewish origin and was arrested. In order to get a confession out of her husband, Ivan Mikhaylov, he was subjected to harassment, but he displayed tenacity, which saved Revekka's life[58].

Vasiliy Utevskiy also doctored the documents of his wife, Sara. While he was a serviceman in the Red Army, he was encircled, returned home, and got a job as an accountant in the city administration. By that time, his wife had already been imprisoned in the Osipovichi ghetto. Taking advantage of his official position, Vasiliy changed his wife's nationality and name from Sara to Aleksandra. For three years, the Utevskiys lived under pain of being exposed. When Osipovichi was liberated, a Soviet officer approached Sara-Aleksandra and asked whether she was Jewish, but she continued to assert that she was Russian. “Don't worry,” the officer answered, “I am also a Jew.” In Borisov, Ivan Mikhaylov hid the Jewish origin of his wife, Revekka Yakubovich, and managed to free her from prison. Aleksandr Yevdokimchik saved his wife, Pesya, Maksim Rusetskiy, his wife, Zlata, and Fedor Mazurkevich, a resident of the village of Chernevichi, Borisov Rayon, his wife, Guta[59].

At the same time, there were also opposite examples. In Borisov, neighbors gave away physician Revekka Edel', whom her Russian husband tried to save. Surgeon Anna Tatarskaya, who worked in the hospital under an assumed name, was shot as a result of denunciation by a patient. Engineer Aleksey Razin begged for mercy from the German commandant for his Jewish wife and two small children, but in response all three were shot[60]. In Yurovichi, Kalinkovichi Rayon, Vasiliy Prishchepa married seamstress Sima, who had a daughter from her first marriage. Healthy and beautiful twin girls were born to them. When the Germans arrived, Prishchepa went to serve in the police. During the liquidation of the local ghetto, he hid his wife and children, but in return he began to urge his stepdaughter to live with him. When Sima became outraged, he took her together with his stepdaughter out of the shelter and shot them. Then he got drunk, ran home, grabbed his own children, and began shouting: “Follow me, Jew kids, I will also finish you off!” Vasiliy's mother, Akulina, saved her granddaughters. Vasiliy buried the bodies of Sima and her daughter only under the threats of the villagers. After the liberation, Prishchepa was tried and imprisoned. He died in the Mozyr' prison, where, according to some information, the prisoners themselves killed him. Freydl Nisman married, Ivan Ments (Parichi), a Belorussian), and they had two small children. Ivan became a policeman and, in order to demonstrate his devotion to the new authorities, killed his wife and children. After the war, he was tried and hung himself in prison. The war found Sara Afanas'yeva and her husband in Brest, to where they were assigned after graduation from a higher educational institution in Leningrad. The young couple tried to get out of the city and to get back to their hometown -- Gomel'. When they were 20 km away from Pinsk, Sara's husband announced that he could no longer live with her, because she was a Jew and he, a Slav. He took away the documents, abandoning the young woman with a two-month old baby in her arms. Miriam Paperno, a teacher from the village of Davydovka, married a Belorussian, who left for the front in the summer of 1941. Miriam lived with her mother-in-law who denounced her daughter-in-law to the police. The woman and two small children were shot. When the husband returned from the front, he found out about the tragedy and killed his mother[61].

Sonya Dumskaya from Minsk married Boris, a Russian, who was a plasterer. Her parents were outraged at her choice. She was educated, while he was a simple laborer. But love prevailed, her parents acquiesced, took them in, and gave them a room in their house. A son was born to them. At the outset of the war, Boris and his son moved to the Russian region, while his wife remained in the ghetto. Sonya's parents gave him their best things, hoping that he would exchange them for food products, but Boris no longer remembered his Jewish relatives. The entire Dumskiy family -- (aged parents and their daughter and four sons), with the exception of one brother who joined the partisans just in time -- perished. The plasterer became a traitor, pointed out where Jews, from whom one could profit, lived, and he himself robbed and killed. When Boris' son grew up and learned about his father's history, he renounced him[62].

Non-Jewish mothers acted in different ways. Everyone knew that Tat'yana Nemkina's husband was Jewish. She asked policeman Gomolko to save her children, saying: “What are the children guilty of?” Gomolko answered: No, we don't leave Jews for breeding purposes, all of them, including you, must be annihilated.” According to Galina Gvozderova's testimony, one of the village women herself brought a small child to the police, saying that he was from a Jew and she did not need him. For this, she was not sent to forced labor in Germany. Anna Baranova had one child from a Russian husband and another, from a Jew. When he was being taken away, she said: “No! Who gave birth to them? I did. If they die, I will die with them.” All three were taken away and shot[63].

[Page 84]

Difference in the Status of Jewish and Non-Jewish Children

Jewish children were not the only victims of Nazi genocide. Some Belorussian, Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish children of the same age shared this fate. To carry out Aktionen, members of punitive squads were enlisted from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Ukraine[64]. The murders of children were noted for special cruelty, of which sufficient testimonies remain. Children were buried alive, killed in front of their mothers' eyes, tossed into the air and shot at for effect, stabbed with bayonets, hounded by dogs, thrown alive into fire, and so forth. In March 1944, 65th Army troops of the First Belorussian Front liberated 33,480 people, including 15,960 children under the age of 13, from Ozarichi concentration camps. Soldiers carried the debilitated and the sick on stretchers and in their arms and moved them out on sleighs. Not everyone managed to survive. Some of them died in hospitals, and some, when they returned home[65].

At the same time, with the permission of the occupation authorities, schools, cultural and educational institutions, theaters, movie houses, museums, exhibitions, libraries and even a circus were opened for the needs of the local population. The isolation of Jews was an indispensable condition for their operation. On September 10, 1941, Wilhelm Kube, who assumed the post of Gauleiter of Belorussia, issued a directive on the “cultural revival of the region”, in accordance with which all the children from the age of 7 to 14, with the exception of Jewish children, had to go to school. A year after the beginning of the war, under the control of the German Civilian Administration, educational districts operated in Minsk, Baranovichi, Borisov, Vileyka, Gantsevichi, Glubokoye, Lida, Novogrudok, Slutsk, and Slonim[66]. In Belorussia at the end of 1942, there were 3,485 schools and progymnasiums, with 346,000 students and 9,716 teachers[67]. In addition, Belorussian schools operated in the Baltic states and Ukraine. In Lithuania alone during the war years, 350 Belorussian people's schools, gymnasiums, and a teachers' seminary in Vilnius operated. Vocational-technical and secondary specialized educational institutions supplemented the general educational school. In Baranovichi, medical, road, and administrative trade schools, as well as an art school for painting and wood carving, began to function. In Gorodeya, a school for tailors was opened and in Lyakhovichi, Novogrudok, Koshelevo, Kozlovshchina, and Kosovo, craft schools with departments for 11 specialized fields. In Radoshkovichi, training in a forestry school began and agricultural schools were opened in Myadel' and Vyazyn'; in Krivichi, peat reclamation courses, in Mar'ina Gorka, an agricultural school, and in Gorki, an agricultural college. A trade school operated in Smorgon' and a music school, in Bobruysk. A teachers' seminary was opened in Molodechno and plans were made to organize a medical institute in Mogilev. The Main School Inspectorate began to publish the journal Belorusskaya shkola in two series for students and teachers. In Berlin, textbooks, manuals, and literature on methods were printed. In order to raise the professional level of teachers in Belorussian schools, rayon and city conferences, courses, and seminars were held in the occupied territory. Rayon teachers' conferences were held in Molodechno (130 people) and six-month courses for teachers, in Baranovichi, Glubokoye, Nesvizh, and Novogrudok (335 people). Teachers' conferences took place in Begoml', Vasilishki, Zheludok, Iv'ye, Lida, Shchuchino, and Yuratishki. In Slutsk, there were volost' teachers' associations, which met twice a month, and so forth[68].

The Nazis never killed Belorussians and their children only because they were Belorussians. The plans for the Aryanization of Belorussia presupposed the liberation of most of its territory for German colonization. Twenty-five percent of the native population was to be Germanized and 75 percent, deported to other regions of the Soviet Union to serve as manpower for the needs of the Third Reich. During the war years, 380,000 Belorussians, including 24,000 children, were transported as forced labor to Germany. After the liberation, only 120,000 people returned to Belorussia. A memorandum of May 12, 1944, stating that the transportation of thousands of children and teenagers aged 10 to 14 to Germany was aimed at preventing the strengthening of the enemy's military power and decreasing his biological potential for the future, was promulgated at the Nuremberg Trials[69].

At the same time, the practice of genocide with respect to Belorussians was applied, mainly, as a preventive measure of intimidation, or as a response to the actions of partisans. Annihilation was carried out with the same cruelty and consistency as against Jews. During the occupation, 9,200 settlements -- 5,295 of them with all their residents or part of them -- were destroyed in the republic. The total population losses ranged from 2.5 million[70] to 3 million[71]. How many children were among them? It is extremely difficult to clarify this. Documents, materials, and testimonies collected in 1943-1945 by the Extraordinary State Commission (ChGK SSSR) make it possible to present only an approximate picture of this crime.

[Page 86]

Number of Victims among Children

The number of those who perished was established immediately after the liberation of a settlement, a rayon, or an oblast. For this, lists of victims' names, indicating their age, sex, occupation, and place of residence, were compiled. For a number of reasons, this information could not be complete. Jews were often moved from one ghetto or concentration camp to another. From neighboring villages, they were rounded up in the ghettos of rayon cities and the largest of the small towns. When Aktionen were carried out, by no means could local residents state all the first and last names. At best, it was possible to establish an approximate number of those who perished. The Smorgon' ghetto, where the Germans rounded up 3,280 Jews from neighboring villages, is an example. Prisoners were forced to work, were starved, and were not given medical aid. Those who got typhus or dysentery were shot. However, a mass Aktion was not carried out in Smorgon'. In December 1941, the prisoners were taken to Oshmyany and then in the direction of Vilnius[72]. The following children were among them: Fishel' Kustin, Naum and Zakhariya Arotsker, Yasha Melikovskiy, Kopel' Rapoport, and Iosif Karpel'. At first they were sent to the Zhizhmory concentration camp, then to the Kaunas ghetto and the Kaunas gefangenlager [prison camp], and later to the camp in the city of Kozlov-Ruda (Lithuania). The fate of other Smorgon' Jews is not known, but it is obvious that most of them died in various places in Belorussia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Germany. After the war, only a few returned to their native cities[73]. The following table, based on the data of the ChGK SSSR, gives some idea of the scale of human losses among the peaceful population in Belorussia:

Table
Number of Victims Among the Peaceful Population in 10 BSSR Oblasts in 1941-1944

Name of OblastTotal Number KilledWomenChildrenChildren as %
Minsk418,89912,4838,4132.0
Baranovichi181,01147,7621,1698.1
Bobruysk26,1349,8516,61325.3
Vitebsk18,0956,6983,21717.8
Grodno111,1088,7692,7962.5
Mogilev16,3526,0902,82617.2
Molodechno32,8378,7543,56911.0
Poles'ye40,90012,7487,74618.9
Polotsk105,21115,2966,2235.9
Pinsk53,50115,07313,82525.8
Total1,004,048143,52456,3975.6

(The author compiled the table on the basis of the materials of the ChGK SSSR, the copies of which are kept in the Archive of the Yad Vashem Memorial Institute in Jerusalem: M-33/428, 453, 455, 704, 1135-1149, 1150, 1159, and 1178).

According to the territorial division as of September 1944, the Belorussian SSR consisted of 12 oblasts: Baranovichi, Bobruysk, Brest, Gomel', Grodno, Vitebsk, Minsk, Molodechno, Mogilev, Pinsk, Poles'ye, and Polotsk. The table data are presented for 10 of them, with the exception of Brest and Gomel' oblasts. However, this information cannot be considered complete. For example, according to the ChGK data, in Bobruysk and Bobruysk Rayon in 1945, a total of 439 people of all nationalities perished, whereas according to Yitschak Arad's data, the number of Jews alone who perished in Bobruysk was 5,281[74]. According to the ChGK data, in Baranovichi alone, 52,510 people of all nationalities died, but the number of women and children was not indicated. In Minsk, of the 325,837 who perished, only 494 women and 408 children (0.13 percent) were mentioned; in Borisov, of the 23,598 people who perished, only 245 women and 63 children (0.3 percent); in Cherven' Rayon, of the 6,321 who perished, 142 women and 82 children (1.3 percent), and so forth. In Grodno Oblast, there is no information on the number of children who perished in Berestovets, Grodno, Zel'va, Lida, and Skidel' rayons. At the same time, according to the report of uyezd Commissar von Peltz, 43,999 people should be added to the grand total of the annihilated population in this oblast (111,108 people). However, information on women and children was not cited in the report. Consequently, in the consolidated report of the ChGK SSSR, the total percent of the children who died in Belorussia's occupied territory is greatly understated.

Rayon reports of the ChGK give a more accurate picture of Nazi crimes. In Minsk Oblast, the largest number of children were killed in Begoml' Rayon -- 45 percent of all the victims; in Pleshchenitsy Rayon -- 26.8 percent; in Smolevichi Rayon -- 25.7 percent; in Berezino Rayon -- 21.1 percent; in Baranovichi Oblast -- in Lyubchansk, Ivenets, and Gorodishche rayons (38.4, 25.4, and 24 percent) respectively; in Bobruysk Oblast -- in Parichi, Osipovichi, and Starobin rayons (34.1, 30.6, and 28.7 percent) respectively. In Vitebsk Oblast -- in Gorodok and Lepel' rayons (34 and 19.6 percent); in Poles'ye Oblast -- in Turov, Khoyniki, and Vasilevichi rayons (36.7, 35.9, and 29.6 percent); in Mogilev Oblast -- in Khotimsk, Dribinsk, and Kruglyansk rayons (33, 27.9, and 20.8 percent); in Molodechno Oblast -- in Ilyansk, Iv'ye, and Krivichi rayons (24.9, 23.9, and 17.6 percent)[75]. It has not been clarified how many Jewish children were among them, but it can be assumed that their number makes up no less than 50 percent of the total number of victims among children.

[Page 88]

The Effect of the Holocaust on Children's Fates

The echo of the Holocaust reverberated after the war. The years of the occupation forever left a trace in children's consciousness. With the passage of time, the perception of the Holocaust was increasingly more painful. The psychological trauma sustained in childhood became more aggravated. No one was able to free himself of past experiences. The years of hunger, diseases, and emotional overstrain, and the loss of parents and relatives, became the reason for a premature loss of vitality, nervous disorder, and depression. Even when people were not directly in the occupied territory, at times, this had a tragic effect on their fate. In 1946 Khasya Khanina (Vaynblat), who was eight months pregnant, found out the details of the death of Jews in her native Turov. During Aktsionen, children were grabbed from their mothers and thrown into a well. Khasya prematurely gave birth to a boy, who was beautiful and intelligent, but had a congenital heart disease. In 1967 she buried him at the age of 11[76].

Despite this, some young witnesses of the Holocaust, after some time, found the strength to head anti-fascist organizations and societies of former prisoners of ghettos and concentration camps. Others tried to express their experiences in the form of memoirs, essays, speeches, lectures, and films. Writer Leonid Koval' from Bobruysk proposes the compilation of Antologiya Kholokosta [Anthology of the Holocaust], a large international publication, which would include the most valuable testimonies. In Israel (Ashkelon), Anna Kremyanskaya became the secretary of a creative group for the preparation of the collection Yevreyskiye deti v bor'be s natsizmom [Jewish Children in the Fight Against Nazism][77].

Yakov Lipskiy and Mikhail Treyster from the Minsk ghetto became the organizers and leaders of the Belorussian Association of Jewish Prisoners of Ghettos and Nazi Concentration Camps. Roman Levin from the Brest ghetto wrote a script, on the basis of which a documentary on the life and destruction of the ghetto was made in Russia. His book was published in France[78]. Frida Reyzman became director of the charitable GILF Society; Maya Krapina, chief of the Humanitarian Aid Department of Hesed Rachamim; and Mikhail Novodvorskiy, coordinator of the Jewish Charitable Fund. All three were among the 40 Jewish children from the Minsk ghetto who were saved in the village of Porech'ye, Pukhovichi Rayon[79].

Yasha Etinger, who was born in 1929 in the family of Professor of Medicine Lazar Siterman, had an unusual fate. During the war years, he was in the Minsk ghetto, where he stayed for 10 months. Mariya Petrovna Kharetskaya, who was a nanny in their family for many years, saved him. In 1944 Soviet forces liberated the city and Yakov left for Moscow. Professor Yakov Etinger, a cardiologist, who in 1950 was arrested in connection with the “doctors' plot”, became his foster father. Yakov and his foster mother were sentenced to 10 years in prison. The young man spent more than four years in a camp. After Stalin's death, he was rehabilitated, graduated from the Faculty of History at Moscow State University, and began working at the Institute of World Economics and International Relations. In 1988 Yakov Etinger became one of the founders of the Memorial Society, published dozens of articles on fascism and anti-Semitism, and is now a member of the Council of the Moscow Association of Prisoners of Ghettos and Fascist Concentration Camps[80].

Conclusion

Thus, the fate of Jewish children in the occupied territory is an integral part of the history of the Holocaust and has its specific features. Children, in contrast to adults, were in the most dire straits. The lack of life experience, accumulated contacts, profession, and, finally, physical strength made them defenseless and decreased their chances to survive. They were the first to die. At the same time, children possessed indisputable advantages over adults. The Jewish appearance of many children was less pronounced, which often was a decisive factor in a critical situation. It was easier for them to blunt the enemy's vigilance and to pass off as paupers and beggars. The war forced all of them to mature quickly. Examples of the treatment of their parents, relatives, and acquaintances by the Nazis and their collaborators from the local population made them quickly realize the danger of their Jewish origin. Children adapted themselves to the circumstances more quickly and reacted to the change in a specific situation more sharply. At a moment of danger, it was easier for them to hide and the lack of life experience protected them from paralyzing fear. Among children, the urge to survive often was much greater than among adults. The skills of conduct, which they learned from life around them, were more effective. It was no accident that partisans often used children as guides, scouts, and messengers who penetrated the ghetto and led adults out into the forest. After the end of the war, they adapted more easily to their new life. When they entered maturity, they found the strength to study, to start families, and to bring children into the world. The experience in the study of children's situation in the occupied territory should be continued, which will greatly enrich the history of the Holocaust.


Footnotes

  1. The following can serve as an example: Nikogda ne zabudem. Rasskazy belorusskikh rebyat o dnyakh Velikoy Otechestvennoy voyny [We will Never Forget. Belorussian Children's Stories about the Days of the Great Patriotic War], (Minsk, 1965); Vsegda gotovy [Always Ready], (Kishinev, 1972]; Davidzon, Ya., Orlyata partizanskikh lesov [Young Eagles in Partisan Forests], (Kiev, 1979); Rodichev, N., Podrostki [Teenagers], (Moscow, 1984); Maksimova, E., Deti voyennoy pory [War- Time Children], Politizdat (Moscow, 1988). Return

  2. Nikogda bolshe [Never Again](St. Petersburg, 1993); Levin, R., Mal'chik iz getto [A Boy from the Ghetto], Rossiyskaya biblioteka Kholokosta [Russian Library of the Holocaust], (Moscow, 1996); Khedva Fridboym, To, chto pomnyu [What I Remember], (Yaroslavl', 1997); Margolina, S., Ostat'sya zhit' [To Stay Alive], Minsk, 1997]; Ryzhik, R., Spasi I pomiluy [Save Me and Have Mercy Upon Me], (Vitebsk, 1997). Return

  3. Irena Grudzinska Gross (ed.), War Through Children's Eyes, Hoover Institute Press (Stanford, 1981); Izrail' Segel, Lesnoy skitalets [Forest Wanderer], (Tel Aviv, 1994); Marie Brandstetter, Mania's Angel: My Life Story (Burlingam, California, 1995); Rubenchik, Abram, Pravda o Minskom getto [The Truth About the Minsk Ghetto], (Tel Aviv, 1999). Return

  4. Theresa Campbell, A Review of Multicultural Literature for Children Focusing on Racial Oppression of Jewish People and the Holocaust, (New York, 1997); Anita Lobel, No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War, Greenwillow Books (New York, 1998); Claire Rudin, Children's Book About Holocaust: A Selected Annotated Bibliography (Bayside, NY, 1998); Tamar Fox, Inherited Memories: Israeli Children of Holocaust Survivors, Cassell (Washington, D.C., 1998); Judith Kestenberg, Charlotte Kahn (eds.), Children Surviving Persecution: An International Study of Trauma and Healing, Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998; Ted Gottfried, The Holocaust Children, Springfield, NJ: Enslow, 1998. Return

  5. Prestupleniya nemetsko-fashistskikh okkupantov v Belorussii, 1941-1944 gg., Sbornik materialov I dokumentov [Crimes of German-Fascist Occupiers in Belorussia, 1941-1944. A Collection of Materials and Documents], (Minsk, 1963); Natsistskaya politika genotsida i vyzhzhennoy zemli v Belorussii, 1941-1944 gg. Dokumenty i materialy [The Nazi Genocide and Scorched Earth Policy in Belorussia, 1941-1944. Documents and Materials], (Minsk, 1984); Savonyako, M. Ya., Nemetsko-fashistskiye lagerya na territorii Belorussii v gody Velikoy Otechestvennoy voyny, 1941- 1944 gg. [German-Fascist Camps in the Territory of Belorussia during the Years of the Great Patriotic War, 1941-1944]. Author's abstract of a dissertation for the degree of candidate of historical sciences, (Minsk, 1933); Nyametska-fashystski genatsyd na Belarusi, 1941- 1944 [German-Fascist Genocide in Belarus, 1941-1944]. Edited by Professor W. Mikhnyuk, (Minsk, 1995); Belarus' v gady drugoy susvetnay vayny: uroki gistoryi I suchasnasts' [Belarus during the Years of World War II: Lessons in History and Present Times], (Minsk, 1995); Mesta prinuditel'nogo soderzhaniya grazhdanskogo naseleniya na vremenno okkupirovannoy territorii Belorussii v gody Velikoy Otechestvennoy voyny [Places of Forced Detention of the Civilian Population in the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Belorussia during the Years of the Great Patriotic War]. A Handbook, (Minsk, 1996); Ozarichi -- lager' smerti. Dokumenty i materialy [Ozarichi -- A Death Camp. Documents and Materials], (Minsk, 1997), and so forth. Return

  6. Altshuler, M., “Escape and Evacuation of Soviet Jews at the Time of the Nazi Invasion: Policies and Realities”. In: Lucjan Dobroszycki, Jeffrey S. Gurock (eds.), The Destruction of the Jews in the Nazi-Occupied Territories of the USSR, 1941-1945, Armonk (New York, 1993), pp. 77-104. Return

  7. Mishpokha (Vitebsk), No. 3, 1997, p. 3. Return

  8. Yevreyskiy kamerton (Tel Aviv), December 5, 1997. Return

  9. The boy took part in the underground struggle and survived. After the liberation of Minsk, his mother and brother returned to their native city and his father, an officer in the Red Army, returned from the front. Vladimir Semenovich Rubezhin lives in Minsk and works as a design engineer. See: Aviv, No. 6/1998. Return

  10. Through Borisov, bypassing burning Minsk, the train headed for Mordovia, where a Belorussian children's home was organized in the Ichalka Rayon Center. Pioneer leaders began to be called teachers. The fate of children and teenagers from the pioneer camp near Naroch turned out differently. Mikhail Burshteyn volunteered to serve at the front and became a paratrooper. In 1942 he was seriously wounded and landed in a hospital. He recovered and fought until the end of the war. In May 1943, Zoya Lyubavina completed courses for nurses and in January 1945 was killed. Leva Maron also left for the army, was wounded, married the nurse who brought him back to health, and lives in Voronezh. Asya Khramova was killed during the assault on Warsaw. Lena Lagatskaya graduated from Belorussian State University, which during the war years was located at the Skhodnya station near Moscow, and was named Honored Teacher of Belarus. Riva Berman is now working as a volunteer for “Hesed Rachamim” in Minsk. Yakov Kremer ran away from the children's home in Mordovia to the front. Before the war, he appeared with his parents in a circus as a masterful knife thrower. A regiment adopted him. His subsequent fate is unknown. See: “Posledniy eshelon” [The Last Train], Aviv, No. 4, 1999. Return

  11. Neizvestnaya chernaya kniga. Svidetel'stva ochevidtsev o Katastrofe Sovetskikh yevreyev, 1941-1944 [Unknown Black Book. Eyewitness Testimonies on the Holocaust of Soviet Jews, 1941-1944], Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1933), pp. 244-245. Return

  12. Knat'ko, G., Gibel' Minskogo getto [Destruction of the Minsk Ghetto], (Minsk, 1999), p. 14. Return

  13. Natsistskoye zoloto iz Belarusi. Dokumenty i materialy [Nazi Gold from Belarus. Documents and Materials]. Compilers: V.I. Adamushko, G.D. Knat'ko, N.A. Redkozubova, and V.D. Selemenev. National Archive of the Republic of Belarus (Minsk, 1998). Return

  14. Rubenchik, A., op. cit., p. 49. Return

  15. Reykhman, G., “Moshe Tsimkind, beytarovets iz Plissy” [Moshe Tsimkind, a Beitar Member from Plissa], Yevreyskiy kamerton, March 18, 1999. Return

  16. Sherman, B.P. Baranovichskoye getto. Koldychevskiy lager' smerti [Baranovichi Ghetto. The Koldychevo Death Camp], (Baranovichi, 1997), pp. 7 and 9. Return

  17. Margolina, S., op. cit., (Minsk, 1997), p. 60. Return

  18. Author's archive. Return

  19. Rosenbloom, A., Pamyat' na krovi [Memory Sealed in Blood], (Petakh Tikva, 1998), p. 61. Return

  20. Levin, R., op. cit., (Moscow, 1996), p. 26. Return

  21. Romanovskiy, D., “Kholokost glazami yevreyev -- yego zhertv: na primere Vostochnoy Belorussii i Severo-zapadnoy Rossii' [The Holocaust in the Eyes of the Jews -- Its Victims: The Case of Eastern Belorussia and Northwestern Russia], Vestnik yevreyskogo universiteta v Moskve, No. 1 (17), 1998, pp. 101-102. Return

  22. GARF [State Archive of the Russian Federation], f. 8114, op. 1, d. 958, ll. 203-204; Navadvorski, M., “My bayalisya tsishyni” [We Were Afraid of Silence], Zvyazda, October 27, 1993. Return

  23. Rosenbloom, Spasaya obrechennykh [Rescuing The Doomed], Svet menory, (Borisov, 1994). Return

  24. Kniga spaseniya [The Book of Rescue]. Compiler: Koval', L., Gol'fstrim (Yurmala, 1993), Part 2, pp. 339-344. Return

  25. Gay, D., Desyatyy krug [The Tenth Circle], (Moscow, 1991), p. 243. Return

  26. Neizvestnaya chernaya kniga, p. 257; GARF, f. 8114, op. 1, d., 960, ll. 293-295. Return

  27. Gurevich, Anna, “Pravedniki i zlodei” [The Righteous and the Evildoers], Mezuza (Minsk), No. 3, 1997. Return

  28. Narodnaya gazeta, October 26-28, 1996. Return

  29. State Archive of Brest Oblast (GABO), f. 2135, op. 2, . 186, l. 1. Return

  30. GA [State Archive] of Minsk Oblast, f. 322, op. 6, d. 1, ll. 45 and 64. Return

  31. KGB Archive of the Republic of Belarus, inv. No. 35625, d. 1919. Return

  32. Basin, Ya. and Mikalaychanka, A., “Rakhunak vyaznyaw shtandartkamisaryyata” [Accounting of the Prisoners of the Locally Based Administration], Dzetsi i my, 1994, No. 8; Basin, Ya., “Sirotstva w pakutsinni svastyki” [Orphanages during the Suffering Under the Swastika], Dobry vechar, May 19, 1994. Return

  33. Gurevich, A., “Priznana ne zhidovkoy” [Declared To Be a Non-Jewish Woman], Aviv (Minsk), No. 2, 1994; Gay, David, op. cit., p. 226. Return

  34. Shkol'nik, L., “Minsk-Ierusalim-Minneapolis: vozvrashcheniye k sebe” [Minsk-Jerusalem-Minneapolis: A Return to Oneself], Yevreyskiy kamerton (Tel Aviv), September 6, 1996. Return

  35. Romanovskiy, D., “Otnosheniya mezhdu yevreyami i neyevreyami na okkupirovannykh sovetsikh territoriyakh glazami yevreyev na primere Severo-vostochnoy Belorussii i Zapadnoy Rossii” [Relations Between Jews nd Non-Jews in Occupied Soviet Territories in the Eyes of Jews: The Case of Northeastern Belorussia and Western Russia], Vestnik yevreyskogo universiteta v Moskve, No. 1 (18), 1998, pp. 89-122. Return

  36. Aviv, No. 6, 1998. Return

  37. Narodnaya gazeta, October 26-28, 1996; Ryvkin M. and Shul'man, A., Porodnennyye voynoy [Related Through War], (Vitebsk, 1997), p. 54. Return

  38. Rubin, A., “Stranitsy perezhitogo” [Pages of the Past]. In the book: “Moy put' v Izrail” [My Path to Israel], (Jerusalem, 1977), p. 100. Return

  39. Ryvkin, M. and Shul'man, A., op. cit., p. 30. Return

  40. Ibid, p. 41. Return

  41. Levin, R., op. cit., p. 27. Return

  42. Shibalis, M., “Kogda sedeyut deti” [When Children Turn Gray], Mishpokha, 1998, No. 4, pp. 70-71. Return

  43. Author's archive. Return

  44. Vinnitsa, G., “Tragediya yevreyev Shklova” [Tragedy of the Jews of Shklov], Yevrei Belorussii. Istoriya I kul'tura, Issue III-IV, (Minsk, 1998), p. 134. Return

  45. Gay, D., op. cit., p. 250. Return

  46. Tragediya yevreyev Belorussii v 1941-1944 gg. [Tragedy of the Jews of Belorussia in 1941-1944], second edition, (Minsk, 1997), pp. 187-188. Return

  47. Yevrei Belarusi. Istoriya I kul'tura (Minsk, 1997), Issue I, pp. 137, 140, and 141. Return

  48. Margolina, S., op. cit., p. 16. Return

  49. Leyzerov, A., “Za stenami getto.” In the collection: Yevrei Belarusi. Istoriya I kul'tura, Issue II, Minsk, 1998), pp. 115-116; State Archive of Minsk Oblast, f. 623, op. 2, d. 8, l. 59; d. 10, l. 58. Return

  50. Rubenchik, A., op. cit., pp. 41 and 76. Return

  51. Zhitnitskaya, Basya, Zhizn' prozhitaya s nadezhdoy(Life Lived With Hope], (Ramat Gan, 1998), p. 51. Return

  52. Romanovskiy, D., “Kholokost v Vostochnoy Belorussii i Severo-zapadnoy Rossii glazami neyevreyev” [Holocaust in Eastern Belorussia and Northwestern Russia in the Eyes of Non-Jews], Vestnik yevreyskogo universiteta v Moskve, No. 2(9), 1995, pp. 93-103. Return

  53. Rosenbloom, A., “Sledy v trave zabveniya” [Traces in the Grass of Oblivion]. Yevrei v istorii Borisova [Jews in the History of Borisov], Svet menory (Borisov, 1996), p. 43; Romanovskiy, D., ibid, No. 2 (9), 1995. Return

  54. Archive of the City of Vinnitsa. Record of a talk with Matvey Rafailovich Pevzner of May 14, 1997. Return

  55. Ibid. Record of a talk with Polina Borisovna Martsinkevich of June 3, 1997. Return

  56. As a result of denunciation, Sof'ya Gerzhibovich was arrested in May 1942 by the police of the small town of Gresk and shot. Narodnaya gazeta, June 9-11, 1994. Return

  57. Jewish History and Literature: A Collection of Essays. Edited by Prof. Moshe S. Zhidovetsky-Rabinovich, Vol. 2, Part II, Rehovot (Israel), 1992, pp. 873 and 876. Return

  58. Rosenbloom, A., op. cit., p. 58. Return

  59. Author's archive. Return

  60. Rosenbloom, A., Pamyat' na krovi (Petakh Tikva, 1998), p. 61. Return

  61. GA Brestskoy oblasti [State Archive of Brest Oblast], f. 201, op. 2, d. 31, l. 5. Return

  62. Rubenchik, A., op. cit., pp. 45-46. Return

  63. Levin, V. and Mel'tser, D., Chernaya kniga s krasnymi stranitsami. Tragediya i geroizm yevreyev Belorussii [Black Book with Red Pages. Tragedy and Heroism of the Jews of Belorussia], (Baltimore, 1996), p. 247; Romanovskiy, D., op. cit., No. 2 (9), 1995. Return

  64. Yehoshua R. Buchler, “Local Police Force Participation in the Extermination of Jews in Occupied Soviet Territory,” Shvut, No. 4 (20), 1996, pp. 79-99. Return

  65. Ozarichi -- lager' smerti. Dokumenty i materialy, (Minsk, 1997), p. 6. Return

  66. Ranitsa (Berlin), December 25, 1942; Belaruskaya shkola (Minsk), April 5, 1942. Return

  67. Jerzy Turonek, Bialorus pod okupacja niemiecka [Belarus Under German Occupation], (Warszawa-Wroclaw, 1989), p. 67. Return

  68. Smilovitsky, L., “Nevyadomyye staronki belaruskay shkoly. Gady nyametskay akupatsyi” [Unexplored Pages of the Belorussian School. Years of German Occupation], No. 12, 1994, pp. 192-198. Return

  69. Belorusskiye ostarbaytery. Sbornik dokumentov ob ugone naseleniya Belorussii v Germaniyu [Belorussian Osterbeiters. A Collection of Documents on the Herding of the Belorussian Population into Germany], Parts 1 and 2, (Minsk, 1996-1997). Return

  70. Polski, S. and Matsyunin, S., “Tsana peramogi. Kol'ki akhvyar zabrala na Belarusi vayna?” [Price of Victory. How Many Victims Did the War Claim in Belarus?], Litaratura I mastatstva, 1990, July 6. Return

  71. Demograficheskiye poteri Belarusi v gody Velikoy otechestvennoy voyny [Demographic Losses of Belarus during the Years of the Great Patriotic War]. Rountable. Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Belarus, Minsk, December 17-18, 1998. Return

  72. NARB [National Archive of the Republic of Belarus], f. 845, op. 1, d. 63, l. 30. Return

  73. Yad Vashem Archive (YVA), collection 033/5278. Return

  74. Unichtozheniye yevreyev Sovetskogo Soyuza v gody nemetskoy okkupatsii, 1941-1944. Sbornik dokumentov i materialov [Destruction of the Jews of the Soviet Union during the Years of German Occupation, 1941-1944. A Collection of Documents and Materials]. Edited by Y. Arad (Jerusalem, 1992), p. 16. Return

  75. YVA, M/33-428, 453, 455, 1135-1150, 1159. Return

  76. Yevreyskiy mir (United States), No. 55, April 22, 1999. Return

  77. Yevreyskiy kamerton, June 17, 1999. Return

  78. Rem, mal'chik iz getto. Brest-Litovsk, 1941 -- Moskva 1996 [Rem, a Boy from the Ghetto. Brest-Litovsk, 1941 -- Moscow, 1996], Stok (1996). Return

  79. In August 1999, the charitable GILF Society provided humanitarian aid to needy residents of Pukhovichi Rayon, including the village of Porech'ye, in the form of 1.5 tons of food products, drugs, clothing, and footwear. See: Aviv, No. 5, 1999. Return

  80. Yevreyskiy kamerton, January 8, 1999. Return

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