Translated by Sara Mages After a lot of wanderings a strong desire stirred in our hearts to see what remained of our town, and visit the graves of our martyrs. We entered the town through the road leading to the village of Ioviche and walked by a mound of a burnt building. At first this building was used as a hospital and later, during the days of the Nazis, as Lenin's military headquarters. We cast a glance at the old cemetery on the left side of the road. It stood naked, its trees were cut down, the gravestones were scattered, many were missing and the fence was destroyed. The narrow minded murderers also disturbed the dead sleeping in the earth. The Nazis cut down the trees and used them to fortify their military headquarters, for shelter and protection against the partisans' attacks.
We arrived to the outskirts of the town. Our eyes explored and searched for the tower, the first buildings and the trees on both sides of the street but there was no a sign of them.
The silence of death prevails wherever you turn. You can only hear the sound of frogs croaking in the Polotza swamp, like the old days you feel discomfort in your heart and endless grief attacks you. Our eyes can see now what we couldn't describe in our imagination.
I close my eyes for a moment, and it seems to me that I see the streets, the houses, and the faces of my townspeople, the faces of my friends and acquaintances, and the faces my family members - just for a moment and everything disappears - where are you?
Weeds and shrubs cover both sides of the street. Some rise to a height of a meter and a half, and inside those weeds you see, piles of bricks, scrap iron, rusty cans, scraps of clothing and scorched shoes everything is covered with moss.
And the streets aren't streets at all. They became very narrow, just like a path in the weeds.
We arrive to the lake. Something survived from the bridge. We cross it to the other side and see the foundations of Bressler's big house. Here and there a charred tree is rising. And again, here are the foundations of the pharmacy and the pharmacist's apartment, wild plants and weeds, endless weeds.
In Lachwa Street only the foundations of Gelenson's store and the brick houses survived, and also the foundations of the building on the way to Agrekov's farm.
And you want to run away, to hurry and run. You can no longer stand and see the devastation and destruction. As if the ground is burning and scalding the soles of your feet
And I'm running away ... where to? To my father, my mother, my brothers and sisters, my relatives and friends, they are all there in the martyrs' mound. It is the mound on the way to the village of Herizinivich, the mound in front of the fruit garden. There, old and young, women and children, brothers and sisters, relatives, friends and beloved parents, found their rest in two pits a mass grave for one thousand souls, our beloved souls.
And here we stand still next to the grave, we only see the two long pits that have sunk to the ground and we can't believe there is room for a large number of people in such a narrow strip of land
We are very sorry to leave this place. But we leave the town after we saw
with our own eyes that this terrible thing really happened and it wasn't just a nightmare. No. This terrible tragedy really happened to us! - - -
In 1946, a number of young partisans from Lenin, led by our friend Shlomo Gelenson came and erected a temporary fence around the graves. The mass grave is still waiting for a proper fence and a memorial monument.
Recently, the surviving farmers built a few small wooden huts in each street, and returned to work their land.
|Near the mass grave|
Translated by Sara Mages
|Inside the forests,|
between fields, meadows,
a dirt mound is rising
on our beloved brothers.
Long is the mound,
Isolated and desolated,
There is no one to pray on their grave
They will be mourned from a distance
Rest in peace,
Translated by Sara Mages
A. On 15 March 1941, I was drafted to the Red Army and served to the day when the German army attacked the Red Army. I was worried about the welfare my family members and their fate, and fled to my house without receiving permission from my superiors. A few days later, our town was taken by Hitler's soldiers. I was among those who were sent by the Nazis to work in the town of Hantsavichy.
And here came the bitter news about the slaughter of our community, about the loss of our loved ones, for whom we worked in hard labor that shattered our bodies and souls. Our vicious employers deceived us. They told us that as long as we submit to them in the labor camp, nothing bad would happen to our loved ones that we left in town. We saw ourselves as hostages in the hands of the murderers, pawns for the lives of the helpless souls in our town. All the time, during the many hours of work and the few hours of rest, we envisioned our children, our women and elderly, spreading their arms towards us begging: continue to work, any kind of work, don't rise against them so you won't bring our demise! and we continued to suffer the torments of body and mind.
Suddenly everything was lost! We were lonely and we had nothing in this evil world. None of us shattered his head against the wall and no one lost his mind. The lust for revenge attacked all of us, and turned into a burning fire in our bones. It united us. We were three hundred and fifty men, and we decided to unload the burden of our vicious employers, to escape to the forests and wander on the roads leading to the partisans' detachments.
We didn't argue a lot because we were pressed for time. Only a few remained in the camp because they didn't find the courage in their hearts to take the dangerous step. We decided to organize in groups, which would run in different directions to make it harder for our enemy to chase us. There wasn't an informer among us. According to the agreed signal we broke into the forest, each group in its assigned direction.
Many of us were caught by the soldiers who were summoned to chase us. They were executed together with those who remained in the camp. Many were caught after wandering days and nights in the woods. They were caught hungry and thirsty by Russian and Polish farmers, and handed over to the Germans. Around sixty men were able to escape and joined various partisans' detachments.
My friend Zev Zevin and I were lost in the forests for several days. We crossed the lakes of Polesie's swamps until we arrived to the village of Herizinivich. One night, we arrived to a camping location of a partisan detachment, and met a number of young farmers that we knew from our village. The company's commander, Pavel Tekovitch, who was a farmer from the village of Zlozin and knew my late father well, said that he was willing to accept us to his company provided that we will carry out the following task: to derail a train. If we accept the task we would be equal members in his company, if not He would send us on the road that our Jewish brothers took This farmer didn't know and didn't sense that we waited and wished for such a mission.
We answered him: - we will do it because we can.
The commander taught us in a nutshell all the theory of using explosives, complimenting us at the same time: The Jewish brain is a smart brain, and you're quick learners! ---
We left for the location of the mission with several soldiers from his company. The soldiers were ordered to show us the way and make sure that we will carry out the mission that was imposed on us.
This commander knew how to spare the lives of his subordinates, and was pleased with the opportunity that fell into his hands - two Jews, tortured and feeble, hungry and thirsty, after they tramped days and nights in the toxic swamps. It was better to sacrifice their lives than the lives of his loyal troops.
He walked with us for some distance and never stopped talking and explaining the great value of the sabotage mission that was assigned to us.
We tramped in the Polesie's swamps, crossed lakes, and got closer to the railroad tracks. I won't describe the details of the operation, but the point is that we were able to derail a large freight train, and as we were told, there were forty-three cars in it. From there, we ran back to the location were the company was based. The commander expressed his gratitude and informed us that from now on we were members of his group.
We were very pleased that we were given to opportunity to hurt our enemy, but so far we haven't satisfied our revenge.
It wasn't easy to entice him: being cautious he didn't hurry to risk his company. But I didn't leave him alone. I talked, and continued to talk, until I convinced him. He contacted other detachments, and a military force of one hundred and twenty men was established.
Our weapons' inventory was low: we were short of guns and had a few bullets. Days passed until we filled in the shortage. And I I couldn't wait. Impatiently I looked forward to the day when I will be able to avenge those who robbed our bereaved town of her sons and daughters.
One evening, I was summoned to the partisans' commander. This time I was introduced to a man that I haven't seen before. Later learned that he was given the command of the united brigade. He turned to me and said: I found out from your commander Pavel, that you initiated the military action that we are preparing for now. Therefore, you will also start it. I order you and your friend to go, explore the town, and bring us detailed information on everything that is happening there. No one besides you knows how to do it.
Zevin and I left for the road where death stalked us at every step. At midnight we reached a small hut that was standing a distant of about a kilometer and a half from Lenin. We knocked on the door. A Christian woman, about 40 years old, opened the door. We entered quickly before the woman changed her mind and closed the door in our faces. We found another person in the hut, an old man lying on his bed, sick or feigning sickness. The woman was shocked at the sight of her two guests who were armed from head to toe. Apparently she knew
that we were Jewish, and this knowledge increased her amazement and confusion. The old man crossed himself in his bed and his lips whispered a prayer or maybe - a curse ... The woman stood frozen in her place and her speech was taken from her.
We had to take an advantage of her confusion before she was able to recover, and turned to her with the question:
- Where is your husband? Serving the Germans?The woman took a deep breath and began to talk in a weeping voice:
- No, no! We don't serve the Germans.She told us and it was clear that her words were words of truth, and as she continued to speak also her fear started to fade. When she realized that we were listening to her and trusting her words, she started to talk animatedly. From her words we found out that the number of Nazi murderers isn't very small, and we needed to prepare ourselves for quite a serious fight.
- Where is your husband?
- I don't have a husband. I had a husband, but he died many years ago.
- And the Germans visit you?
- Why should they visit? Why visit? After they took everything from us, the pigs and the chickens.
- But we know that you visit the Germans in the city, that you serve them.
- No, No, shouted the woman. I don't like them I hate them.
- Let's see if you are telling us the truth. Tell us how many of them are in town and in which houses do they camp.
They were housed in the section of the street between the houses of Baruchin and Yakov Kravetz. Their headquarters and storeroom were in Rodinzki's house next to Yisrael Gelenson's house.
I returned to the brigade commander gave him everything that we learned. He warned me for the second time, and said: you know that you are responsible for the news that you brought me, and also to the results of the military operation. If you lead us into a trap I would behead you the way I behead a dog and you would die like a dog. I answered him: I'm in your hands and I will do all that I could. I know the outskirts of the town and I believe in our success. He shook my hand, put ten soldiers under my command, and we were assigned to be the company's advance team. We moved in the darkness and arrived to the center of our town. I posted the soldiers in their positions as I was ordered by the commander. He ordered us to begin the attack at four in the morning when we see the red flare signal. At three o'clock in the morning everyone stood at his post and at his aim. All of that was done in absolute silence, and the murderers didn't feel and didn't notice all the preparations. We waited impatiently for the zero hour.
Finally the red flare was shot and we started to shell the town from all sides. The shelling continued unabated until eight o'clock in the morning, but the murderers barricaded themselves in the house and it was difficult to break into it. And here we found a barrel of gasoline. Crawling, we rolled it under the house of Yosef Zaretzky of blessed memory, and ignited it. A moment later the house was engulfed in flames and the murderers started to flee. I was given another mission, to break into the storeroom in Rodnizki's house. I threw two grenades through the windows. We entered the house after the sound of the explosion ended, and saw that all of the town's property was piled there,
including gold and silver. Our brothers and sister brought all this to the murderers who assured them that by doing so they will redeem their lives and lives of their family members.
The Nazis fled for their lives from the burning town leaving more than ten dead.
- I've done everything that was assigned to me give me a few hours off!The commander saw the excitement in my words, understood me and answered:
- Time off?! The commander wondered - why do you need time off?
- I want to wander in the town's streets a little. Maybe I'll find some Jewish survivors.
- And why do you think that there are survivors after the robbers' death actions?
- I heard that a number of people are still alive, the woman who gave us all the information told me and her information was true and accurate.
- Well, go and may God help you, but be careful, the town is burning and here and there you can encounter a Nazi murderer or even several of them.I took off and ran to the ghetto between burning embers and suffocating smoke plumes. Next to Kosha Gelenson's house I met a young man wearing a policeman's uniform. He lived the village of Plostevich and was a Nazi employee. When he saw me, he remained in his place like he was nailed to the ground. Without thinking much, I shot the Nazi employee with the modern weapon that I obtained from his employer. Wonderful weapon! The evil employee fell before he could speak. I continued to run. I crossed the bridge over the lake and came to our house at the edge of town. And here I stand in front of our house and I don't hear anything. A deathly silence prevails in the house which was emptied from its inhabitants. I remembered that this was the house where I spent my childhood, where I grew up, where a loving mother hugged me and a father's hand stroked me. I stood in front of the house and my heart moaned inside me. I made an effort to walk away. And here came the priest's wife, whose house was next to our house, and told me that there are over twenty Jewish survivors in Avraham-Yitzchak Chinitz's house. I quickly rushed over there, and a few minutes later I saw myself surrounded by people from our community. Yehudah Shuster and his family, Nuska's daughter with her twin babies in her arms, and her husband.
I was surrounded by all the survivors of our community. Their eyes were upon me as if I was their savior. Nuska's daughter kissed me crying: What should I do? Where should I go and how could I save my babies?
My heart was bleeding, I comforted them and encouraged them saying: He who saved you will also rescue you in the days to come.
What else could I do for them when I only had one loaf bread and a packet of butter? I gave them to babies' mother.
While I was talking to them Moshe Rabinowitch and his family arrived. He threw himself on my neck crying and kissing. He also asked me where they should go and what they could do.
I gave them instructions on how to get to our company's assembly point, but immediately changed
my mind and accompanied them all the way to the assembly point because I was afraid that our soldiers will hurt them.
At the assembly point I was ordered to burn the town.
The first house that I set on fire was Hillel Epstein's house, where half of the town's property was piled up. Walking away, Herman, Henka's brother, came towards me. The killer's sons had a hand in the massacre of our community. I killed him and avenged the blood of our pure and holy the member of our community.
After that, Zev and I went to the graves of our martyrs, the member of our community. The graves rose just above the area around them and the blood streams were not erased. Next to one of the graves we found a pile of women's hair. Both of us stood there crying.
Meanwhile, the Nazi murderers recovered a little after their hurried flight, and started to attack us.
We were forced to depart from our loved ones for eternity, and returned to wander in the forests and in the swamps.
Zev and I promised each other, that if one of us survived he would tell his friends about his friend. Therefore, I'm asking that his name will be written in our town's book.
I only wrote about a few of things that I saw and experienced. I can't write any more because it shocks me to the depths of my soul. I remembered them, and my heart is crushed in unbearable grief and depression.
Editor's Note: All references to Polesie and Polotza swamps probably refer to the Pripyat River and Marshes. Polesie was the name of the Polish Province that existed between WW1 and WW2 and encompassed what is now SW Belarus including Pinsk and Lenin. Partisans conducted much of their activity from the relative safety of the swamps.
Translated by Sara Mages
In memory of my mother, sister and brother,
who were killed by the murderers.
One day, after the German invasion, I sat next to my house in the hours before noon. Suddenly I heard aircraft noise from the east. They flew at high altitude, but I noticed the swastikas on their wings. I thought to myself: "They are flying to destroy Russian's cities", but they changed direction and started to drop bombs along the railway. Out of panic I slid off the bench, ran passed the dining room and the kitchen, and fled to the adjacent forest through the back door.
After I ran a few hundred meters, I remembered my wife and my child. I retraced my steps, helped my wife to dress our child, and we fled to the forest. I waited until the all-clear signal was given, and we returned home.
This was the first - and the only - bombing on Mikaevičy since the war broke out on 22 June, 1941. Immediately after, people started to leave their homes around the railway and the factory, and came to seek refuge with Getzel Kravetz and his sister Alta Weisblat because their 12 room house stood at the edge of town near the forest.
Among the arrivals were Yosef Ben-Chaim and Yehudit Slutsky with his family and his father; Berel Shuets from the village of Sinkavich with his wife and his son Sender ,who came from the Polish army which was defeated and dispersed by the Germans. A number of families came after them, and the house was filled with noise and weeping. Getzel and his wife ran between the refugees and tried to fulfill their needs as much as possible.
The elderly Dr. Gitler, who was respected and loved by all who knew him, also arrived with his wife, but there wasn't an empty room for them. Alta Weisblat invited him to her house. Dr. Gitler's roommate was Lipa Rubinstein whose wife and daughter found a place with Gina, the wife of Sender Weisblat who was at that time in the Red Army.
I found Lipa lying on a bench, turning, out of nervousness, an old newspaper with his hands. By the look in his eyes and the movements of his hands I immediately noticed that this person, who was quiet by nature, was struggling with the question: Should he leave everything and wander, or stay put It seemed, that he decided to stay.
The days were days of inaction because of the state of the war, and this argument took place: Should we travel east with nothing, or stay and wait for the mercy of the Germans. Lisa Rubinstein said: We won't go anywhere, especially to Russia, to starve there for a slice of bread, and what will I be able to give my daughter to eat there? . Feiwel Shuster, the tailor, said something like that: I sewed clothes for the Tsar, later I dressed Pi³sudski, some time ago Stalin, now it would be necessary to sew for Hitler. Feiwel Ben-Nachum from Lenin said: The demon isn't so bad; the Jews may even do good business with the Germans. Dr. Gitler expressed his opinion: I'm old. Why should I be afraid? I'm just a doctor. I was never interested in politics. What would the Germans do to me?. The fatal mistake was that they compared the new Germans to those from the days of the First World War
It happened on a Saturday morning. The factory manager ordered to load the train with everything that could be loaded. Getzel Kravetz entered his home a bit panicked, walked from to room and began to arouse those who were asleep. All that night, a sleepless night, he oversaw the dismantling of the machines in the factory. At dawn, the manager told him that all the clerks, who weren't residents of the town, were leaving the place. Any worker, who wants to join them, can take his belongings with him. He also made up his mind to leave.
Getzel's wife, Hannah, didn't like to hear about it. She expressed her unwillingness with a number of claims: She will not travel during the war - they will bomb us on the road; in addition to that - no one is traveling; and the most important thing - today is Saturday how will she get to the station!? Getzel had one answer to all these claims:I will not stay. When the Germans enter, they will hang me first because I was the foreman who dismantled the machines in the factory. His wife gave up and began to pack what she could. In the meantime, Getzel brought a horse and cart, and started to load it.
On the way he grabbed a liter mug, which was used for hand washing, and muttered
while walking: We'll have something to draw water for drinking on the way. Slammed the door, and left without saying goodbye to those who stayed.
At first, I decided not to travel since it was necessary to prepare fresh food for our nine months old son, something that we couldn't do in a train car. I went to say goodbye to those who left, and saw that a lot of families were leaving in addition to the Kravetz family. Apparently, they decided to follow him. I was worried that the station will be bombed with so many people in it, but everything went smoothly and the train moved off.
Meanwhile, the factory workers started to rob the food warehouses and the abandoned food shops that were left unattended. There was also fear of pogroms against the Jews. Everyone locked himself at home, closed the blinds, and waited for things to come.
Late in the afternoon we heard a number of great blasts from the direction of the factory. As we learned later, Russian soldiers blew up the large steam boilers. This caused fear, and everyone began to worry about his fate and the fate of his relatives. I already regretted that I stayed. I should have traveled together with my in-laws, or go to Lenin to be with my brother and my relatives. I decided to leave on the next day, at the first opportunity. In the morning I went to the station. A locomotive with two small freight cars stood on the rails. I asked the stoker where he was going, when, and if I could join him. He replied that he was heading to Zaskevichi in an hour, and to contact the officer in charge of the train for travel authorization. The officer, a young Russian, told me that he needed to take care of some matters, and take with him the entire garrison. If there is space left he would take me with him. I went home and told my wife. She started to pack a few things. I told those who stayed that we were leaving. A few tried to persuade me and prevent me from leaving, but I made up my mind. It seemed to me that earth was burning under my feet, and that every moment that I stay might seal my fate. In the yard, Dr. Gitler turned in Russian: I'm too old. I won't be able to travel in a freight car. If one of my sons was with me I wouldn't have stayed here. My heart predicts trouble - - - and indeed, he knew what he had predicted.
We parted from the people and left.
When I arrived to the station I saw the locomotive and the freight cars. Soldiers were lying around holding bayoneted rifles in their hands. A soldier lit a pile of straw and set fire to the petroleum that spilled from the tanks. Beams of fire broke out and smoke billowed up. Suddenly, there was a terrifying explosion - it turns out that the great boiler was detonated in the power station. There was noise in town and cries were heard from every side. The soldiers added to the commotion and started to shoot in the air. In all of this, I saw Mendel Ben Hillel Zaytchik whipping his horse` which was harnessed to cart loaded with belongings. Heleina Topchik (the nephew of Shlomo Topchik from Lenin) was holding two children and a baby on his arms. His wife ran after him with their three other children. When he reached the car, he pushed
the children inside and then raised his wife and the children that were with her. Also Arke Temkin and his son Herzl crawled inside. A few more people and children managed to enter the car. Schatz, the baker, threw his three sons and hurried to get his wife and daughter, but he was too late. When the officer saw the confusion that aroused in the town, and the havoc around the cars, he ordered the driver to move fast.
It is difficult to describe what happened later in the car. Arke Temkin hugged his son and both of them cried and shouted:We no longer have a mother! It turned out that he sent his wife to a sanatorium in the vicinity of Baranavichy. When the war broke out he tried to reach her a number of times, but each time he was forced to return. Heleina Topchik also hugged his children and cried: How they left naked and with nothing! Schatz's sons also cried Father, mother and wanted to jump from the car, but we didn't let them. And so we arrived to the bridge over the Sluch River. Here, the officer ordered us to get off. He returned two hours later and the two cars were filled with officers and soldiers, wars refugees from the Brisk battlefront. We piled up and pushed between them. Later, the bridge was blown behind us, and we continued to travel.
When we arrived to Zaskevichi I boarded another train. About half way between Homyel [Gomel] and Kijów [Kiev] I entered a third train where I met Getzel Kravetz and his family.
Translated by Sara Mages I was born in Lenin in 1883 to my father Yehudah and my mother Henya. In 1903, when I turned twenty, I was called to serve in the Russian Army. A group of twenty-one young men traveled to Turov to report before the medical review board. Nineteen were released, and only Elyakim Migdalovich from the village of Herizinovich and I were accepted to the army. From there I was sent to Baranovichi.
The five months of basic training were difficult and bitter, as it is known to all who endured this period of hell in the Russian Army during the days of the Tsar. We rested a little after we were sworn in and promoted to the rank of Veteran Soldier, but not for many days. In February 1904, the Russo-Japanese War broke out. A battalion from our regiment was sent to the battlefield in the Far East, and I, a soldier in that battalion walked to Minsk. From there we were transferred in crowded rail cars that were designed for horses. The trip from Minsk to the Far East lasted forty six days. We arrived to Magadan during the days of Passover. There were seven Jews in my company, and all of us received Matzot from the city's small Jewish community. From there we left by foot for the battlefield. We walked for nine days, more than forty kilometers a day, loaded with weapons and food. We were fed up with our lives. Ten days after leaving Magadan we came into contact with the enemy - the Japanese. The boasting,We have only to throw our hats at them, was proven to be wrong very quickly. The reception was so warm that we fled with the skin of our teeth. We relaxed when we were a distance away from the enemy. I suffered for six months. After I was wounded in my right leg and in my arm, the heavens took pity on me and rewarded me with a release. Meanwhile, my parents and the members of my family were rewarded with a greeting from the next world. This is the story: My friend, a Christian who knew my parents' address, informed them in a letter
that I was lost. My parents turned to the town's rabbi, and he ruled that they should sit on the ground for seven days, according to the custom of mourners, and read Kaddish in memory of my soul. My parents have done as they were ordered. They mourned me for more than two months and they would have continued, but I wrote my parents many letters and I never forgot to write the date. And this is how they found out that I was still alive.
After I recovered from my wounds I was sent to one of the convalescence companies in Harbin [China]. From there, I was sent to serve in a sanitary train that traveled for many months. This time I was lucky, I had food and money. When I learned about the great fire that broke out in Lenin in 1904, I sent my parents six hundred Rubles, and the builder, Reb Eliyahu Dulgin, built them a wooden house.
Additional events and accidents happened to me until I returned home. In one train collision I was thrown from the carriage and landed a distant of twelve meters. I was saved thanks to the sandy soil on which I was thrown. Many cars were crushed, and many people were killed and injured. Four months before I was released, I was seriously burnt in a sauna from the steam that rose from the hot stones after a bucket of water was poured on them. The doctors told me that my end was near, but continued to take care of me with dedication, and with God's help I recovered. In 1906 I finally returned to my parents' home. From Vladivostok I traveled for thirty two days in a fast passenger train!
When I came home my situation was good. Surely, I didn't have a lot of money with me, but on the other hand I was given a permit to settle outside the Pale area. The value of this permit was greater than the value of money. A short time later, I got married and had three daughters. My father passed away in 1914.
When the First World War broke out, I was among the first recruits and was sent immediately to the battlefront. I spent sixteen months in this hell. I was buried in dilapidated foxholes under a barrage of German fire, until I was wounded in my left arm.
Four years after I was recruited I returned home alive and well - to my elderly mother and my wife and children. I also found eight additional children in my house. These abandoned children were my sister's children. Her husband was in the United States and she died young in our home during the war, and left us her eight children.
Difficult days arrived to our townspeople, and twice as difficult to our home. I had to support my children and the orphans, and I was powerless. We only had bread to eat. Hunger controlled us until the heavens took pity on us, and a good angel appeared in the form of a messenger from America. He took the orphans from us and brought them to their father across the ocean. With love and blessings we took them out of our house. We accompanied them to Warsaw, they arrived safely to their father, and forgot us.
From 1920 to 1946 we didn't receive a letter or a greeting from them. Only twenty six years later, after I lost everything that was precious to me, and after I arrived lonely and lonesome to Italy, I received a letter of condolence from my niece, Dvora Kolton. My beloved uncle she wrote me, I'm glad that you survived, don't despair and don't loose your mind. You're not the only one in trouble. You're one of the survivors of the six million Jews that the enemies put an end to their lives. Don't worry. We'll take care of you and provide you with all your needs .I was very happy with this letter and I wrote her something like this: My dear sister's children, your letter brought me comfort and encouragement and I was happy in my grief. The heavens will bless you. I don't need any material help. I just ask you for one thing - encourage me in my loneliness, support me and delighted me with your letters.
Write me often about your life and about everything that is happening with you. They answered my letter immediately, and it was their last letter. I continued to write them week after week but never received an answer. To my last letter, in which I poured my bitterness and anger that they weren't answering my letters, I received a short answer: We don't want to know anything about you. With this they parted from me, and I I asked about their well being, and got information from sources unknown to them. I know they are alive and well and wealthy. In short they have a good life.
Now I live in a nursing home in Tel-Aviv. It wasn't easy to find a place in this home.
After much trouble I found peace in this house.
Woe is me, that in my old age I don't have a grandson or a granddaughter to sit on my lap and warm my heart with feelings of love, because I'm lonely and lonesome like the heath in the desert.
In 1941, when the German murderers arrived we saw ourselves on death row. On the first night they murdered seven young people in our town and raided the town to rob, loot and rape. They took me and my oldest son out of the house and ordered us to load a wagon with hay. Feivel Strigatch and Eizel Behom worked with us. The pile of hay was close to the wagon, and we didn't do a sloppy job. Two Nazis, armed with heavy wooden clubs, stood next to us and hit our legs with heavy blows when we passed them. I don't have the strength to describe what happened to us.
I lived in our town's ghetto together with my family and children until Passover eve 1942. On Passover I parted from my loved ones. I wouldn't forget this parting to my last day. On that day, they sent me together with my two sons and my son-in-law to the labor camp in Hantsavichy. Two hundred and thirty people from our town were in that labor camp. Our daily food ration was 200 grams of bread and half a liter of soup. We worked for a whole camp. Death stalked us at every turn. We worked in hard labor out of hunger. The anguish and fear of death lasted from Passover to the first of Elul until the bitter fatal day - when we learned that our beloved family members children, women, and elderly - were killed in a brutal way. We learned about the brutal massacre in our town early Friday morning, and immediately broke through the camp's fences and fled to the forests.
For four months I wandered lost in the forests together with my two sons and my son-in-law. During the day we hid in the forests lying sprawled out with our faces pressed to the ground. At night we wandered lost holding hands. We followed the stars and ate mushrooms and berries. We wandered until we came across a partisan detachment. We joined it and stayed with it for two and a half years, until the arrival of the Red Army. My two sons joined the Russian Army to avenge the killers of our nation. My young son fell in the Battle of Warsaw, and I don't know the fate of my oldest son. I was left childless- - -
It's hard for me to bring to light what I went through during my seventy years of life, I only wrote very little....
Translated by: B. Forman 5714 
Translated by Jerrold Landau
|Yitzchak Reingold||(in Israel)|
|Yisrael the son of Nachum Slutski|||
|Shlomo Sadowski (his son)|||
|Yehuda the son of Chaim Shuster|||
|Masha (his wife)|||
|Golda (their daughter)|||
|Zelig (their son)|||
|China (there daughter)|||
|Mordechai the son of Aharon Leib Zaitchik|||
|Shlomo the son of Yisrael Gelinson|||
|Yaakov the son of Shlomo Topchik|||
|Yaakov the son of Moshe-Aharon Shusterman|||
|Yaakov the son of Chanan Epstein|||
|Yaakov the son of Nachum-Natan Yulovitch|||
|Yaakov the son of Eliahu Ginzberg|||
|Yitzchak the son of Eliahu Ginzberg|||
|Mordechai the son of Leibl Zaitchik|||
|Moshe Novik (the cantor)|||
|Yeshayahu (his son)|||
|Yehuda the son of Leib Ziklig|||
|Netayahu Natan the son of Mordechai Maykun|||
|David Shalom the son of Berl Zukerovitch|||
|Rachel the daughter of Meir Berl Shuster|||
|Shlomo Bauman (son-in-law of Aharon Shkliar)|||
|Chaya-Risha the daughter of Alter Gurvitch|||
|Shlomo the son of Izak Bihon|||
|Mordechai the son of Naftali Kravitz||(Russia)|
|Getzel (his son)|||
|Masha the wife of Elyakim Slutski|||
|Shimon Slutski (Bena)|||
|Ovadia the son of Yeshayahu Slutski|||
|Chaya the wife of Leizer Rabinovitch|||
|Lyuba Rabinovitch (her daughter)|||
|Yosef (Yossel) Rabinovitch (her son)|||
|Michael (his son)|||
|Alter the son of Yitzchak Varshel|||
|Yitzchak the son of Moshe Novik|||
|David the son of Yaakov Ziklig|||
|Baruch the son of Yaakov Ziklig||(Holland)|
|Nachman the son of Avraham Migdalovitch||(Russia)|
|Chaim-Dov the son of Mosheke Migdalovitch|||
|Avrahamke the son of Mosheke Migdalovitch|||
|Hershke the son of Mosheke Migdalovitch|||
|Moshe the son of Nachman Elianik|||
|Avraham Shusterman (his son)|||
|Yeshayahu Shusterman (his son)|||
|David (Dochke) the son of Zelig Ziklig|||
|Shlomo Ziklig (his son)|||
|Chaim the son of Gershon Slutski|||
|Shmuel the son of Chaim Berl Migdalovitch|||
|Hirsch Meir the son of Yisrael Aharon Issers|||
|Ben-Zion (Bunia) the son of Chanan Epstein|||
|Mordechai the son of Avraham Migdalovitch|||
|Buma (Avraham) Rappaport (the son-in-law of Zalman Bressler)|||
|Noach the son of Eliahu Ziklig|||
|Yeshayahu Riklin (his son)|||
|Aharon the son of Shaul Rubnitz|||
|Benia the son of Yitzchak Reingold|||
|Reichman (the son-in-law of Y. Reingold)|||
|Hershel the son of Yaakov Slutski||(Russia)|
|Shlomo the son of Tamara Kravitz|||
|Hershel the son of Tamara Kravitz|||
|Shmuel Holtzman (the son-in-law of Nachum)|||
|Chaim Aharon the son of Moshe Mishlov|||
|Yisrael Chinitz (from Breznik)|||
|Lipa Chinitz (his son)|||
|Chaim Chinitz (his son)|||
|Michel the son of Yaakov Kerzner|||
|Chaim Berl the son of Hershel Lipchik|||
|Berl the son of Yosef Ginzberg|||
|Zhama the son of Yisrael Gorodetzki|||
|Ben-Zion (Bunia) the son of Shlomo Topchik|||
|Chaim Shebrin||(New Zealand)|
|Freidel Shebrin (his son)|||
|Chanan the son of Yehuda Shuster||(Canada)|
|Sara the daughter of Baruch Slutski|||
|Dvora the daughter of Nachum-Natan Julovitch||(Argentina)|
|Yosef Hillel (her husband)|||
|Chaim (their son)|||
|Hershel the son of Meir Berl Shuster||(United States)|
|Grunem the son of Moshe Segalovitz|||
|Betzalel the son of Moshe Segalovitz|||
|Avraham the son of Moshe Segalovitz|||
|Feigel the daughter of Yaakov Lezbanik|||
|Grunem the son of Yaakov Lezbanik||(United States)|
|Lipa the son of Mordechai Mishlov|||
|Chaim the son of Alter Julovitch||?|
|Hershel Rubenstein||(United States)|
|Meir the son of Mendel Migdalovitch||(Russia)|
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