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The Fate of the Thirteen Jewish Orphans Left in the Care
of the Zionist Youth Group in the Ghetto of Horodenka 1941-1942

By Reuven Prifer

Translated from Hebrew and donated by Tosia Schneider


One day, the authorities decided to remove the Jewish children from the general orphanage which was established during the Soviet regime. In accordance with their racial laws, they threw out the 13 Jewish orphans, ranging in age from two to five years. The Judenrat asked the Zionist youth group to provide for the care of these children in our homes. We did not know how to begin, we had no experience of taking care of children, but we had to make the necessary arrangements

With the help of  Dr. CHARASCH, the son-in-law of Simcha SCHNITZER, the children were housed briefly in his house, until we succeeded in collecting beds and linens and even toys and moved them to the second floor in the house of Mr. KAMIL, where a soup kitchen had already been established by a group of Zionist youth managed by Tovia KORN. Thus, adding to our other duties, we undertook the additional work of caring for these children. We were also helped by a few refugee women. In a few days, we overcame all the difficulties connected with the care of the children, as well as running the kitchen, it simply became a daily routine. It is fitting to note that the operation of the kitchen, as well as the education of the children, were all conducted in Hebrew. All members of our working group were well versed in the Hebrew language (all had completed the "Tarbut" Hebrew School).

We all undertook this difficult and gloomy work voluntarily, without pay, but we found our reward in the progress and the development of the children. Unfortunately, this lasted only a very short time. In the first "AKCIA" on December 4, 1941, the Gestapo captured 2500 Jews in our city, among them the thirteen orphans, together with those of our staff who were on duty at that time. They all found their death in the village of Michalcze-Siemakowcze and lie there in the mass grave of our people.

Among the friends of the Zionist youth group who helped in the orphanage and the soup kitchen were the following people:

Tovia KORN, Shlomo KORN, Joseph KOCH, Minio SCHECHTER, Joseph REIS, Berl HOFMAN, Nin AUERBACH, Klara HARTENSTEIN, Mania KUGLER, Sara FRENKEL, Salka FRIEDMAN. The only survivors of that group are: Savka ZAUDERER, Nusia WACHER, Zvi REIS and Reuven PRIFER.
Considering the age of the people, the task they undertook was, indeed, a very difficult one.

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