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[Page 89]

The Holocaust

 

 

[Page 107]

Dniepropetrovsk

by David Bergelson hy”d

Translated by Sara Mages

Free again! On October 25, the Red Army extracted, with mighty force and astounding balance, this important industrial and cultural city from the murderous hands of the fascists, and brought it back to life.

Another stone was lifted from the heart of the Soviet country, the Ukrainian nation and all the Jews of the Soviet Union - a heavy stone.

Dniepropetrovsk wasn't just a city for us, but a metropolis among other cities.

The city grew before our eyes and became an industrial and cultural center. It's nourished to satiety by the wealth of the Donbas [Donets Basin], the quarries of the Krivoy Rog region, and the rich black soil around it.

It bloomed especially during the days of the Soviets. In the first three years of Stalin's “First Five-Year Plan,” the number of its workers has increased, all at once, from 37 thousand to over 94 thousand. Newspapers and three periodicals appeared in Dniepropetrovsk. About 11 thousand students visited the universities there. About 50 thousand students studied in Dniepropetrovsk's technical colleges and in schools of seven and ten years. About 2000 loudspeakers transferred the news, in the country and in the world, in the beautiful wide streets. Every evening, the five theaters, clubs, and the magnificent cultural center were filled to capacity. The city of laborers breathed a youthful Soviet air, and the entire Soviet Union drew satisfaction from it.

What's new in Dniepropetrovsk?

In this manner they asked those, who came from the young Dnieper-city, out of confidence to hear something good.

The city is growing! - was the answer, and therefore they sensed that they deal here with a live and young matter.

And we don't have a nation in the Soviet Union, who wasn't happy to send its sons to build, not far from this city, the country's genius factory - Dnieper G.A.S. And there isn't a Soviet person, who, on the day of the activation of this mighty plant, didn't feel in his heart that it was a good day of labor for the victorious country. We'll never forget the joyous smile which appeared on every face in the country. It was like the joy of a father on the day of his offspring's wedding: - well, Dniepropetrovsk, Donbas, Krivoy Rog, Zaporizhia, you've won! And since then, the city grew more rapidly, and its value was more important for the Ukraine and the Soviet Union.

The city also had an important role in the life of the Jews. Around it are the largest and oldest agricultural areas. Even before, when the Jews were pushed into the “Pale ofSettlement,” the city was a refuge for Jewish youth who wanted to save itself from the wilderness of provincialism. Already in 1897 there were 1613 Jewish metal workers, 109 Jewish miners, 109 Jews in the chemical industry, and additional 806 Jews in other industrial jobs. The Jews of “Katerynoslav” even

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managed to penetrate, as laborers, the industry that was “absolutely forbidden” to the Jews at that time - the train.

In Ekaterinoslav, the Jews of the south-west tasted, for the first time, the flavor of using muscle power. Nice young men, aged 16, abandoned without mercy the “sitting” professions - tailoring, furrier, cobbling, watchmaking, etc. - came from the towns to Ekaterinoslav, and stayed there until they were recruited. Aligned, healthy, with muscular hands, they “darkened” the High Holidays for their mothers, who cried unceasingly in the synagogue: “My son was a nebach [weakling], totally weak - now he comes to enlist, he's so healthy, an oak, oy vey to his mother.”

Dniepropetrovsk has become more important after October Days. In 1932, there were thousands of Jews, young and old, among the 34 thousand workers in the metrology factories named after Lenin, Molotov and Petrovsky. The children, of the thousands of members of the Jewish kolkhozy in the environs, weren't absent from the schools near the factories, and from the technological institutes of Dniepropetrovsk. This youth was full of energy and joy of life. After every performance (in Yiddish) at the Jewish institute in Dniepropetrovsk, every Jewish writer felt as if the healthy youth, who was in need of his creation, filled him with new flesh and blood.

Now the city is in ruins, the city which was full with the joy of young workforce - the German ruled it for over two years (August, 25, 1941 - October 25, 1943). He lay on it with all the force of his murderous loathing, robbed it, persecuted, raped, and murdered.

The buildings in the streets are still smoldering, and the smoke penetrates the eyes of the soldier - the man of the Red Army, who liberated the city not long ago. He grits his teeth and gathers his strength so he could leap to the next battle.

The Jewish soldier is grinding his teeth not less than him. He knows very well the special “methods” that the Germans use to spill the blood of the Jews. They arrive to all their settlements, big and small, and don't leave a single Jew alive there. And all this commands the Jewish soldier: don't leave a single German fascist alive on the land of the Soviet Union.

His duty, to his country and his nation, requires him:

– Remember what the Germans did to you, to your country and your nation!

– Each shot that our soldiers are firing at the German fascists is sacred and their work, for the benefit of the battlefront, should be appreciated by every Jew in the rear. Please remember, that when our soldier increases his work quota, he kills another German fascist.

And every Jew should take comfort in the fact, that the fascist murderers didn't have the time to kill all the Jews of Dniepropetrovsk. An important part of Dniepropetrovsk's Jews were taken at that time from the city, together with the rest of the population and the industrial plants. Those who were saved are located in the battlefront and in the rear, and they fulfill their obligation to their country and their people with honor. Alive and working is Haim Rivkin, the respected metal worker who for decades didn't separate from his metallurgical factory. When he was forced to move his factory to the foot of the Ural, he turned it there into a giant industrial plant. Alive is Miriam (Mary) Sheydwasser, the Jewish woman who worked since 1930 in one of the sewing workshops in Dniepropetrovsk. Far in the rear, she carried bricks and materials to rebuild the workshop, and excelled in her work quota. And now, she has the joy of life and a creative spirit to write poems in the spirit of the nation:

One child holds her dress, the other in her arms,
the woman fled from her burning home.
Thousands of “Haimim” and “Miriamot” from Dniepropetrovsk are still alive. Many of them will return to their hometown, and they'll build it anew.

They left Dniepropetrovsk in tears, and they'll build it with exultation…

So wrote the author David Bergelson, member of the Anti-Fascist Committee, who, a short time later, was one of the people who were executed by order of the authorities. The flattery to Stalin and all the display of Soviet patriotism - didn't help. The article was translated in its entirety, as is.- Z.H.
From Yiddish - Z.H.

[Page 109]

The City on the Dnieper

by S. Ortenberg

Translated by Sara Mages

Life of tension, wealth and creativity is the lot of Dniepropetrovsk. The smoky chimneys of the steamboats, which sail back and forth, are reflected in the broad waters of the Dnieper River. They are loaded with iron products and other metals, anthracite and building materials. The broad building of first car plant in the Ukraine is located at the outskirts of the city. From a distance, in addition to the lines of the buildings, you can also see the beautiful new housing project that is being built.

On the left bank of the Dnieper River stand the metallurgy factories named after Karl Liebknecht and the “Comintern[Communist International]. 12 furnaces and 19 rolling machines (waltzy) are already operating at full power. There are two dikes in the factory for chemical products with purification (coxes). The factory for work tools, named after Kahanowitch, is already operating. One wing, in the metallurgical forging factory, is operating again at full force.

“We would beautify our city, and it will be more glorious than before! With this slogan the residents of Dniepropetrovsk approached the rehabilitation work. This is the second year of the socialist competition between the two industrial centers in the Ukraine - Dniepropetrovsk and Kharkov - to rehabilitate the two cities better and faster. Here are several summaries. In a short period of time about a quarter of a million square meters of residential space was built and renovated. Seventy kilometers of tram tracks were paved (11 lines, approximately 100 cars). Many trees were planted in the streets, etc.

And here is a short list of restoration projects that were set for this year: open the movement of trolleybuses and buses, establish a bathhouse for 1,000 bathers per day, build a 250 room hotel, finish the project of supplying gas in pipes to the buildings in the city, establish a physiotherapy institute, open a convalescent home for children, and build a new clinic in the area of the car plant.

Today, there are over 100 medical institutes and healing centers in Dniepropetrovsk. There are almost 10,000 students in the 12 universities and scientific research institutes. There are 22 secondary technical schools (9,000 students) and over 60 high schools.

Two dramatic theatres - Ukrainian and Russian, 8 cinemas, 13 clubs and culture halls, serve the needs of the growing population.

In the city center - a park for culture and rest named after Chkalov. In the middle of the park, bright and clean rail cars (the smallest in the world) are moving swiftly on tracks. This is a train for toddlers named after Stalin - how much joy and satisfaction this train provides to its little passengers!

*

Wide perspectives are opened before Dniepropetrovsk in Stalin's “Five-Year Plan.” In 1950, the industry in the city will produce twice as much of its output before the war. The construction of the large factory for cars (one of the largest of its kind in Europe), will be completed. The plant will produce 60,000 cars per year. Auxiliary factories will be built around it, and each one of them will be an independent industrial factory. The new factory for radios will produce 20,000 radios per year. Two tremendous power stations and a large glass factory will be built.

The city will be restored thoroughly under the “New Five-Year Plan.” In 1950, the living space will reach 3 million square meters. The number of electric trams will reach 300. 60 trolleybuses and 200 taxis will sway in the streets. The construction of the monumental train station in Dniepropetrovsk already started (the plan was designed by architect Duskin, the recipient of Stalin's prize).

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We'll reveal the full details and the perspective lines of the rehabilitation program which was designed by talented architects.

…From both banks of the Dnieper extend streets and avenues, clean, wide, that greenery and flowers adorn them. In the center - a prospectus of Karl Marks - a magnificent theatre for opera and ballet for 1,500 spectators, a theater, operetta and a youth theater, the philharmonic building, a cinema with three halls, the regional library, a grand “Intourist” hotel, and a “club for Soviet civil servants.”

In the city center stands erect the tall “Soviet House” - an architectural pearl.

Around the car plant - a well planned new town for 30,000-40,000 residents. The planners and the manufacturers of the cars live there. A park, named after Shevchenko, is adorned with magnificent pillars, pavilions for various attractions, stages, etc.

*

Up to the war (the Second World War), Dniepropetrovsk was a distinguished Jewish center. About 150 thousand Jews lived there. Thousands of Jewish laborers worked in the heavy industry factories (metals and machinery).

At the beginning of the “Patriotic War”, a large part of the Jewish community in the city went to the rear or to the front. More than 20,000 Jews, who didn't manage to get out, were brutally murdered by the fascist murderers.

On the day that city of Dniepropetrovsk was liberated by the heroes of the Red Army, there were 10-15 Jewish inhabitants in the city. They were saved by chance, mostly with the help of their neighbors.

However, the Jewish community began to grow from day to day, especially after the war.

A large number of Jews, who were released from their service in the Red Army, returned to their homes in Dniepropetrovsk. Also a substantial number of those, who left the city, returned to it. Today, there are 50,000 Jews in the Jewish community of Dniepropetrovsk.

The Jews occupy a significant place in the metal industry as laborers, managers, engineers and technicians. Lipshitz, who is “certified for technical sciences,” is the director of the technical department of the factory named after Petrovskyn, and he greatly contributed to the renovation of the factory. The member Basel serves as a deputy in the same factory. The chief engineer in the factory named after the “Comintern” [Communist International] is the member Magidson, of the factory named after Liebknecht is the member Stopel. The chief engineer in the factory named after Lenin is the member Scheck, and so on.

There are quite a few Jews among the scientists in the universities and the technical institutes of Dniepropetrovsk. The scientific achievements of the professors and researchers - Gottlieb, Zeitlin, Taiz, Brock, Slutsky, and dozens of others in various sectors, especially in metallurgy - are well known in the scientific world.

The Jewish community contributes its share to the reconstruction and the development of the city of Dniepropetrovsk, in the economy, industry and culture.

(Aynikayt [Unity - a Yiddish periodical] 77 (327) - 27 June, 1946)

Due to the subject matter the article is given in its entirety, as is, with its exaggerations and the enthusiasm for Stalin's “Five-Year Plan.” Why a slaughtered nation should be happy with the Gentiles' rehabilitation program since many of them have collaborated in the slaughter?

From Yiddish - Z.H.

 

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