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[Pages 360-363]

The Earth Moved and Trembled for Three Days …

Translated by Judy Grossman

 

The way from Dusiat to the slaughter pits

 

Zarasai-Utian Road

“That day they also drove the Jews from Zarasai, Salok, Rimse, Turmantas and other shtetls, first to the lakeshore of Deguciai [on the right side of the road] and then to the slaughter pits in the Deguciai forest [on the left].

 

 
Deguciai Lakeshore
[Courtesy Arye-Leibele Slovo]

 

Arye-Leibele Slovo: The local Gentiles showed us this place on the lakeshore of Deguciai from which our siblings from Salakas and its environs were led, dozen by dozen, to the slaughter pits…
Malka Gilinsky:

And one day –
The men were led to the forest, and there they were told to dig a pit…

And then -
One morning, at four o'clock in the morning - - -
All the Jews of the shtetl were taken out of the ghetto, and taken to work …
“That's what they told them” – the maid told me - - -
The children and the old people were brought in wagons,
and the others went on foot - - -
“Your grandfather sat on a wagon, holding your little brother in his arms, and when he passed by the house I saw him waving his hand” - - -
And they were all naked - - -

Afterwards - - -
They were all brought to the forest - - -
They stood them all at the edge of the pit - - -
And shot them - - -
And they all fell into the pit - - -
And they poured lime on the bodies - - -
And covered them with soil - - -
And the slaughtering and murder continued until six in the evening - - -
The groaning could be heard,
and the earth moved and trembled for three days - - -

On Tuesday, August 26, 1941 – the hand of the executioner fell upon the Jews of the shtetl.

Baruch Krut: At the edge of the pit stood a long line of old people, young people and children …
And only Sonia Epstein, a dentist, was allowed to remain in her robe …
The Nazi gave the order to shoot, the Lithuanian murderers fired, and the victims fell into the pit …

Zelig Yoffe: Kuzmis, member of the Sauliu Sajunga, walked past and inspected the victims, to see whether someone was still moving, and then he fired …

Baruch Krut: And the Germans stood and took pictures …

The killing, slaughtering and murdering went on until six in the evening …
They poured lime on the bodies …
They covered them with earth …
And the groans continued for three nights, and the earth trembled …

Shayke Glick: “ And the earth trembled for three days” – that is also what the Lithuanian Yozukas, whose parents had a restaurant and with whom I had played as a child, told me.

Baruch Krut: But the Gentiles, may their names be wiped out, did not let our dear ones rest in peace even after their death …

Every once in a while they would come to the forest, dig and root in the soil and search for gold among the bodies …

When we came there, we found signs of digging everywhere…

Leib Slovo: I stood in the forest beside the pit with Strabran (?) the fisherman, and he told me that my father had asked that he be killed first, so as not to witness the death of his loved ones. Children surrounded Father, screened him with their bodies, and the murderer fired his machine gun.

“Here, in this place, lies your family …”

Shayke Glick: In Dusiat I met the priest, who was a young impressive-looking man. When I asked him why he had not prevented the slaughter, he answered dispassionately: “By their death the Jews atoned for the sin of Jesus' murder, and in this way were saved from their suffering …”

Tzila Gudelsky: I was told that my youngest sister Hene-Liebale shouted at the murderers: “Wait, the day will come when we will be avenged!”

Yaacov Charit: When visiting the graves of our fallen martyrs, who were murdered, were annihilated by the murderers, may their names be wiped out, we said Kaddish and “El Male Rahamim” (“Oh Merciful G-d”) [prayers for the dead].

We stood beside the gigantic graves with bowed heads and grieving hearts, filled with deep sorrow for what we beheld.

I ended my eulogy with the words: our greatest revenge against the murderers of our people is our existence!


The Slaughter Pit

“Two hundred meters long and eight meters wide…”
Dug by the victims themselves …


 

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