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[Page 165]

The Germans Swallow Jewish Victims

Translated by Eilat Gordin Levitan

We are unable to elaborate on the details of each and every carnage that transpired in the Ghetto. We will still make an effort to record a sample of the killings.
1. We already mentioned in a prior chapter how according to the Germans, it was a crime to help the suffering prisoners of war, who in our area were brought to Berezvetsh. The Kazliners, who lived not far from the “ prisoner of war camp,” ignored the decree. They couldn't withstand the temptation to help. The Kazliner family would bring bread for the prisoners. They would do it secretly, thinking that no one would find out about it. The Germans did notice it, and they took all of them into the nearby wood and shot them. The common grave of eight martyrs of the family is found near the graves of the prisoners in Berezvetsh Forest not far from the monastery.

2. Rumors spread that the engineer Max Ostrovsky was arrested. The Jews were already in the Ghetto at that point. His wife and brother in-law, the dentist Yash, ran about seeking advice and strategies how to rescue him. Nothing helped. A few days later it became known that Ostrovsky is no longer amongst the living. They searched for reasons or some crimes he committed as the reason he was killed, and none could be found. By nature he was a quiet, calm man. Some tried to explain it by the fact that he had held a position as an engineer with the Soviets and had worked in Berezvetsh, near Glubokie. Only later did we become aware of the fact that a certain Lablanka, a White Russian neighbor, was responsible for his murder. Later Labanka was a policeman. Lablanka was angry with him, and in this way he got even. This had taken place early on. The Jews were still “ naïve,” they didn't understand yet that people could kill someone for no reasons whatsoever. To spill innocent human blood was incomprehensible for them. They were very upset by the events, until a new carnage occurred and the fresh victims made them forget the “ old one” .

3. The “ Leshnitzi” (forest overseer) Shell rode through the city on April of 1943. He was a tall, healthy looking, broad shouldered German, with a full reddish face, wearing a green hat with long feathers. He was riding along the street and shooting to the right and left and to all sides. This episode of the wild German beast cost some Jewish victims. One of them was the young boy, Mishal Chavkin. He stood in the courtyard of Nathan Gitelson talking to an acquaintance. A stray bullet of Shell's hit and critically wound him. He suffered for six weeks and died with frightful pains. He was an only son to his parents. Also wounded by Shell was Haberkorn, the former teacher in the Jewish Trade School in Glubokie; a Jew from Beldyuke and others.

4. During Passover of 1943 the spilling of Jewish blood occurred again. It happened in this way: Zalman Fleisher had served as a guard in the local White Russian compound. He used to meet there with his Christian acquaintances, and with some of them he conducted “ business” - exchanging things for food products. The Gendarmerie found out that Fleisher bought a piece of butter from a Christian, and wanted to arrest him for it. The chief of the Gendarmes, Kern, sent the Gendarmes into the Ghetto and Fleisher became aware of it and hid. They decided to take three other Jews in his place. This was during one of the Passover nights. According to Drisviatzky, a young man and great scholar, and his 16 year old son, Chloine, the escapee was being escorted in the evening by Lipa Landau, who had fled from a slaughter pit in June of 1942, when his wife and children were killed. Landau, a Jew who was ordained and had a higher education, was having dinner with Drisviatzky. As mentioned, he was a deep Talmudist, mathematician and linguist. After dinner he left the house with his son to accompany Landau, and engaged his guest in Torah conversation and wisdom. At that moment the Gendarmes came into the Ghetto and seized the three of them and took them away. Mrs. Drisviatsky and her other son, Moshe, waited in vain, thinking that they would soon return. They never returned… Feeling that a great tragedy had occurred, all night Moshe quietly watched the ghetto. When it began to dawn a bit, he saw through the fence how the three victims were being escorted by the Germans to the “ Barak”, a wooded area in which they would regularly carry out their murders.

The policemen told how the arrested Jews cried and prayed the entire night, (saying the final confession). Prophetically they were saying goodbye to each other, in such a manner that it even made an impression upon the policemen… the murderers, who bathe themselves in Jewish blood, couldn't come to themselves and talked about it for a long while. (Drisviatzky's oldest son, Yehoshua, was murdered before Passover, 1942.)

5. A large number of people in the Ghetto were executed in the months of April and May, 1943, for “ speculation”. They caught them with products, which they used to bring with them into the Ghetto, when they returned from their labor. Their sentence had been sealed beforehand. In this way, at the beginning of May, there were shot, the butcher, Shalom Tzentziper, by whom they found a hen clutched to his bosom. A few weeks later, his son Shepsel was shot without cause. (In the Ghetto they had already stopped asking for “ reasons”, because they had become used to such happenings. They became so used to it that they cease looking for excuses….

6. Police came into the tricot factory at the end of May 1943. In the middle of the day they took out Libe Krapivnik, who, naked and barefoot had barely escaped from the slaughters in Vilna in 1942.. Her mother and other relatives ran to the Judenrat, to the Jewish Police, crying and pleading, shaking the world, but nothing helped. She and other “ criminals” were taken to the “ Barak” and shot.

7. The bloody German, Heinliat, (a young shkotz) found out in May that the blacksmith, Shlomo Kreines of 71 Vilna Street, had shoed a horse belonging to a peasant he was acquainted with. He ordered that Kreines be immediately arrested, and he was also taken to the “ Barak” and shot. He was not the only victim that this Heinliat murdered. During the summer of 1943, he noticed the 10-year-old boy, the son of the tailor Zelik Glassman, carrying in a kerchief some berries. In general berries and green vegetables were forbidden to Jews. Heinliat chased the boy. The boy was swift and managed to escape and hide. Heinliat ordered the Jews to search for the “ criminal” threatening that he would shoot dozens of Jews in place of the boy. By a miracle we escaped only with a scare at the time, and with a nice “gift” of beating. There were no victims as a result of this incident.

8. At the same time the wife of Zalman-Velvel Ruderman was shot. Once when she returned from her labor, at the Ghetto gate they found that she was carrying two concealed eggs, which she wanted to “ smuggle” into the Ghetto.

9. At the beginning of June the coachman, Abraham Budav went out in the evening after curfew, to close the shutters of the shoemakers workshop on Vilna Street (Minushkin's house), where he served as a watchman. By chance a policeman noticed this. Budav wanted to bribe the policeman and gave him his gold watch. The policeman took the gold watch and took Budav to the Police Station, from where he was taken to the grave in the “ Barak”…

10., Nathan Kraut, the former official of Bir-Zavod, was carrying a sack with a bit of salt on a day at the end of June, 1943. Goldberg, a German who was responsible for inspections, noticed this and stopped him. Kraut began to run and Goldberg shot and wounded him. Policemen came immediately, dragged him away to the station, where they finished him off.

11. A man named Katz, from Sventzian, was murdered at the same time,. He was a chauffeur for the Germans and was close to them. He was envied in the Ghetto, since his family's safety was secure, or so everyone thought. He was a sort of official by the Germans, people deluded themselves that as long as he still kept his family in the Ghetto, then perhaps the situation is not so terrible. or better still, Jews wanted to delude themselves, deep down they knew the gravity of their situation. One day Katz drove into the Ghetto at night and quietly removed his wife, children and mother-in-law. Shultz, a German chauffeur acquaintance of his, , told him secretly that something was going to “ happen” in the Ghetto, some mass slaughter. When it was discovered in the morning that he was gone, a terrible fright seized everyone in the Ghetto. This was because Katz was considered an insider and must know what was to happen. This was a repetition of the Lederman affair, only with greater confusion. Again people ran to hide, and whosoever was able to, fled from the Ghetto. (True, even outside the Ghetto there was no safe place to go, but that wasn't even considered…). There was no way out. As always the Judenrat blindly believed in the good promises of the German officials, that there would be no slaughters in Glubokie. Immediately, in the morning they went to Headquarters, told about the fear and the panic which had been created and asked what was going to happened. The messenger was calmed and told to calm all the Jews. “ The-rumors are but a provocation, for which those responsible will be pursued”. They kept their word. A punishment was carried out. But not against the German, Shultz, who had fabricated the rumor, but against Katz. The latter was immediately arrested. They found where his wife, children and mother-in-law were hidden and took them to the “ Barak” to be shot.

12. Approximately the same time, they arrested the Genda-Yaakov Krashnevsky, who according to the ploy (see above) would stand guard at night to see to it that no Jew should, God forbid, sneak out of the ghetto. The Judenrat immediately intervened on his behalf and vigorously explained his “ important mission” that he carried out, and they freed him. A few days later he was seized again, sent to the “ Barak” and shot.

13. They also shot Salye Brown, because they had found out that she was on friendly terms with a Christian young man by the name of Vitye Sharaveika.

14. Not a single day passed without some victims. On a July day the local Police caught someone named Salye (or Beryl) Sverdlin, who was leading a cow. People who never lived in a “Ghetto world” cannot imagine how great a crime this appeared to be. This wasn't a hen, or a pair of eggs, or a beet. This was a whole cow… The Germans with their great refinement, with their entire “ Kultur” of torturing people, were unable in the case of Sverdlin, to think up a suitable punishment. Shooting him or hanging him could be done only once. That's what was done for a hen, for a pair of eggs, as had been done to Tzentziper and Ruderman. They tortured him until he lost his senses and afterwards shot him. They couldn't do any more. The impression remained, however, that Sverdlin had not been punished enough for his “ crime”.

15. At the same time they also murdered the 60 year old Mote Gurvitsh (Mote Yude-Itshes of Kisheleike). His crime? He was driven out to clean the street, and from the distance he greeted a peasant acquaintance of his.

16. At the beginning of July, 1943 a Michael Alperovitsh and his wife, Bertha (refugees from Kurenets?) arranged with a railroad official, that he should lead them into the forest to the Partisans. They went to the agreed upon place on the road to Konstantinova. There, awaited them “ scouts” to show them the way. They led them into the forest, but instead of taking them to the Partisans they took them to the Germans, who murdered them on the spot.

17. At the same time, Shimon Godin, without any reason at all, was taken from his labor at the electric station. The young man was first taken to the Police, and a few days later to the “ Barak' where he was shot.

18. A few weeks later, Velvel Godin, his father, was killed. His death came about in a completely “ original” fashion. In the middle of the day Velvel Godin walked to his labor on Vilna Street (not far from the former synagogue of the Raiak brothers). Yaremek, a local baker, drove up in his truck and on purpose drove fast into Godin and crushed him to death. If Yaremek had done it “ playfully” or he had a grudge against Godin - is not known. The fact was that Godin was left lying dead on the road in a puddle of blood and Yaremek rode merrily away with a smile on his lips. The face of that local bandit expressed his true pleasure. A former neighbors of Jews, and “friend of Jews”, had felt such joys from his deed. (In the city he knew all of the Jews and all of the Jews knew him.)

Over and above the fact that everyone was already used to the senseless murder of the Glubokie Jews, the incident with Godin made an especially strong impression. First; because of the fact that a local inhabitant committed this, someone who lived together with the Jews for many long years, and secondly because the dead man's crushed body was brought to his home, and his large family began to eulogize him. The cries could be heard over the entire Ghetto, and everyone's bloody wounds were reopened. And the entire Ghetto was engulfed in one great wailing - and the wailing and crying multiplied…

19. Yoshke Feigelson (a flour and grain merchant from Rain's family on Vilna Street) was taken away in the middle of June, 1943. The Germans took him for the crime that his two sons, Zalman and Don, had joined the Partisans. Their mother and younger brother, Labele, the sons took out of the Ghetto into the forest, but the father refused to go, so he paid for it with his life in the Ghetto. (Later the mother died in the forest. The circumstances aren't known). The Germans were not satisfied with only one victim. At night They took from their beds, his sister, Sarah, and her daughter, Nechama Ram. They kept them overnight in Police Headquarters, and at dawn, took them to the “ Barok” and murdered them. A few weeks later, Christians saw the dug up corpse of Nechama Ram at the grave, that had been attacked by dogs. The brothers, Zalman and Don Feigelson, were active Partisans in the “ Panamarenka” Brigade, in the forests of West-Belarus. They distinguished themselves in their fighting against the Germans.

20. Pinye Yungelson and his nephew, Leibl Yungelson had worked for several months for the official in charge of national interests, Habel. At first everything went “ well”. They served the Germans, worked with all their might, even though their masters tired them as much as possible.

In July, 1943 one early morning, they were seized at work. Habel's wife thundered that the Jews had stolen butter from her. This was a slander. The truth was entirely different. Leib Yungelson had taken a revolver, with the intention of fleeing at night, from the Ghetto into the woods. Label's wife saw this and tried to hide the truth. When the Gendarmes came to arrest the Yungelsons, Leibl fell upon them with the revolver. The Gendarmes quickly disarmed him and took them both away.

[label's wife wanted the Jews to suffer a horrible death. She wanted them to set up, in the middle of the Ghetto, two posts with hooks in them so that the two be hanged by the neck on the hooks. When this became known in the Ghetto, it made life so unpleasant, that everyone was envious of those who were lying in the “ Barok”, murdered. These two Jews were relatives of the Commandant of the Jewish Police, Yude Blant, and he turned worlds to assure that they wouldn't be killed in such a way. The Jews gathered up a great deal of gold and jewelry and delivered it to the German, Habel, and barely managed to convince him that the Jews be punished in the “ normal fashion”. The Yungelsons were taken to the “ Barok”, where they were murdered, as usual, by being shot… It may sound strange, but as a result of this outcome the Jews of the Ghetto could “ breathe easier”…

21. The Germans learned that Fleisher's wife and her two grown daughters were in the Ghetto. Even though, for Fleisher's “ crime”, there had already been victims (see above), the Germans came into the Ghetto at night. They broke the fence at the point where it was opposite the Fleisher home, and did not come in through the gate. They dragged from their beds the naked Mrs. Fleisher and her two daughters (very beautiful girls), took them to the “ Barak” and shot them. On the morrow it was told in the Ghetto how the women had pleaded with their murderers; from their crying stones could have come apart. On these hangmen it made no impression, and they carried on their work calmly and completely.

22. A week after murdering the Fleishers, policemen came into the Ghetto at night. They used the same way as they had come, when they came for the Fleishers. They took Chanan Pintov, his wife, Kayle and their 16 year old daughter. They were taken to prison, and from there to the “ Barak” where all three were shot. Mrs Pintov had been a cook for the Justice Minister's secretary, Guzava. Guzava considered herself a folks German, her husband had been taken out by the Soviets. To this Guzava would often come the Chief of the Gendarmerie, Kern, to while away time. Later Guzava exchanged “ lover”. She abandoned Kern for the regional commandant. Seeking to avoid encounters with German, Kern Guzava told her cook, Kayle Pintov, that in case chief Kern should come, she should tell him that her mistress isn't home. And so it was. Kern came into the kitchen and Kayle Pintov told him that Guzava isn't at home. The German, however, found out that this wasn't so, and at night he drove his Gendarmes into the Ghetto. They broke a hole in the fence right where the Pintovs lived and unexpectedly they seized the Pintovs from their beds, took them to the “ Barak” and there murdered them.

23. a German officer gave a Mr. Chadshan, from Krulevshtzine In July 1943, a few cans of sardines to sell in the Ghetto. In general it was the practice that the Germans would steal products and then “ do business” with the Jews. They would give the Jews who worked for them, items to sell in the Ghetto, and have them bring the proceeds to them. The Judenrat was afraid that the higher German officials (the biggest crooks) would catch those Germans, the thieves, and they would indicate that they were disposing of their stolen goods in the Ghetto. This would put the entire Ghetto in great danger. When Chadash began bringing the sardines into the Ghetto, the Jewish Ghetto Police warned him not to do it. The German officer, taking the example from similar incidents between Germans and Jews, forced Chadash to sell his sardines in the Ghetto. The Jewish Police once confiscated from Chadash several cans of sardines. He told his officer that he couldn't sell his merchandise because the Jewish Police are frightened and warned him not to bring products into the Ghetto, contrary to German decrees. The Jewish Police told the Justice Minister and he assured them that because of this officer no harm would befall anyone. This officer came to the Judenrat, and there he met Chaim-Ber Gordon (a member of the Judenrat who was responsible for the Jewish Police) and asked that the policeman, Isaac Weinstein be surrendered, because he was the one who had taken the sardines from Chadash. Weinstein hid and Gordon refused to give him up (He trusted the promise of the Justice Minister). The next day Gordon was arrested and turned over to the S. 1). The Judenrat understood that they had been deceived by the promises of the Justice Minister, who, during the entire time of this disagreement with the German, had promised that the officer did not have the authority to do any harm. Gordon thought; that he, as a Police official was untouchable. The Judenrat began to seek ways to approach this officer in order to appease him and still his anger. They sent community leaders and messengers to him, who gave him gold, in order for him to free Gordon. Naturally he took the money, but he did not free Gordon. He was murdered with horrible tortures. First they broke his fingers in a door, pulled the teeth out of his mouth, and tore the limbs from his body, until he perished.

24. A few days later, Issac Weinstein was seized by the Germans. Also here all means were tried to save him from the murderers. Again the German officer (the merchant of these products) was given money and jewels which he took with the promise that he would free him. Weinstein's fate was the same as that of Gordon. They murdered him in a horrible way, with frightful tortures.

25. Rachel Pildas, a daughter of Beryl Pildas (Beryl Makar), had in the time of the Soviet occupation, married a Christian, had children by him, and was sure that she was no longer Jewish and would be free of the German troubles. All of the time she had lived outside of the Ghetto. The Germans, had a different opinion about this situation. According to them she was truly Jewish. She was once arrested and her husband managed to ransom her. He would bribe the Police, and they would ignore the facts. This situation continued this way until July. 1943. In July the Police came and arrested Rachel and her children, took them into the “ Barok” and shot them.

In general such murders took place without pause during the time of the German occupation. With these many victims it impossible to make a list of all the deliberate murders which could be estimated in the thousands.

We've only verified a few of the incidents, in order to show how cheap Jewish blood was; that for a bit of salt, for a few eggs, for not properly greeting a German soldier, or for no reason at all, they would immediately murder. We will mention one more characteristic incident of murder for not wearing the “ yellow badge”. This happened to a 17 year old boy (we don't remember his name), who worked for the Gendarmes in Moshe Kraut's courtyard on Zamkove Street. On a summer morning in 1943, the boy came to work and was met on the street by a Gendarme, who noticed that his “ badge” was not sewn on properly to his overcoat (Germans loved order and neatness…). The Gendarme did not think about it for a long while, but, in cold blood drew his revolver and shot the boy. The victim lay in a puddle of blood in the middle of the street until other Jews came by, who were ordered to carry him off and wash away the puddle of blood, so it would be clean. (This made a strong impression even on the Christians and they avoided that street. They no longer made remarks among themselves about Jews.)

We also want to mention a few incidents when Jews were released from arrest, because the Germans needed them. One incident - in June, 1943, when Vitvitzki, the “ Tzirkovetz” arrested Alte Gelman (previously the manicurist), by whom he had found her instruments. Thanks to the fact that she had served the Folk German, Guzave, she made the effort and they freed her. In this way Gelman's life was extended by two months. (Alte Gelman and her sister Sonye, perished during the liquidation of the Glubokie Ghetto).

It is worthwhile mentioning, that the Germans, who would arrest someone and knew that other Germans needed him for some purpose and would make the effort to free him, would murder themselves the one arrested abruptly. This is what happened to the family of Hanan Pinkov, with Pesye Gordon and others.

Another incident reminds us of the teacher, David Pliskin, who worked for Commandant Rosentreter as a translator. Pliskin was able to court the favor of the German, and got along with him quite well. The Commandant would give him food from time to time and treated him somewhat better. The German headquarters, where Pliskin worked, was on Zamkove Street, in the former casino. There in the courtyard there grew several blueberry bushes. Once, in June, 1943, Pliskin went over to a bush and picked several blueberries. A German engineer noticed it through a small window of a neighboring house, where he was sitting. He was not too lazy to run down to Pliskin, shout at and taunt him with the worst language. At the questions of the engineer, “ how come a Jew, allowed himself to pick blueberries”, Pliskin, out of fear, answered that Heit, the orderly of the Commandant, allowed him to do so. Heit really wanted to take the blame upon himself and clear Pliskin. The engineer then fell upon Heit, called him a bad German, a truly cultured and intelligent German would never allow a Jew to eat blueberries, and so forth. The “ cultured and intelligent” engineer beat Pliskin severely and in a great fit ran into his house to fetch his revolver. During this time the Commandant ran to the Chief of the Gendarmerie, Kern, told him the entire story, and asked that this time his Jew be forgiven for his transgression, since he was very useful to him. Kern could riot forgive such a “ crime”, but, on the other hand, it was difficult to completely ignore the request of the Commandant, and so he agreed substitute a stiff fine in place of the death penalty.

Kern, at this time, strictly warned that if it should occur again that a Jew eat blueberries, fruit, fat, vegetables and other such delicacies, he would not escape death, which is the punishment for it. This Germans carried out to the letter of the law.

Many Jewish lives were swallowed up by the graves of the “ Barok” because of a bit of strawberries, a bit of milk, cream, for not greeting Germans, or for greeting non Germans, for this and for that… because the destroyer had the right… because the “ intelligent” Germans, and their local “ cultured” cronies couldn't live without spilling blood.


[Page 176]

The Radianovtzes Join the Partisans
and Fight the Glubokie' German Gendarmes

Translated by Eilat Gordin Levitan

Daily a portion of the Jews of Glubokie, used to go to Krulevhtzina, for forced labor. In the morning they would go about 14 kilometers from the city and would come back in the evening. This daily parting involved very nerve wracking experiences for the relatives, because until their near and dear ones returned, they didn't know what to think. They were always at the mercy of the beast, which could at any moment swallow them alive.

On the 17th of August 1943, the regularly employed Jews went off to Krulevshtzine to their labor and did not return at night. The relatives became very worried, they cried and wailed but had to “ limit” themselves to hysteria, because going out of the Ghetto to look for them was absolutely forbidden. The reason for the Jews not returning to the Ghetto was as follows:

A specific group of Ukrainians and Russians, who had organized themselves under the leadership of a certain Polkovnik Radianov to help the Germans against the Soviets, finally decided to join up with the Soviet Partisans and take revenge on their former allies, the Germans. The Radanovtzes, well armed, were sent by the Germans to the Dokshitzer Region to clear the Partisans out of the woods, where they ( the Partisans) were strongly harassing the Germans. The Radianovtzes, after making their secret agreement to join up with the Partisans, fooled the Glubokie German Garrison into coming to Krulevshtzine on the 17th of August, in order to “jointly clear the woods and once and for all rid themselves of the plague of the Partisans in that region”. The Glubokie Germans accepted this happily. On the 17th of August and the Gendarmerie and other Germans, approximately 150-200 men, , armed to the teeth in armored vehicles, drove off to Krulevshitzine. The Radianovizes were already waiting for them there. They surrounded the Germans and greeted them with heavy fire with their own weapons, which was given to the Radianovizes. There was an intense battle, which lasted for several hours. The result of the battle was fatal for the Germans. There were dozens of casualties and wounded Germans were left on the battlefield. The Chief of the Radianovizes Gendarmerie, the bloody Kern, may his name be blotted out, was also killed there. They also sabotaged the railroad station (a large hub terminal), the water pump and other installations. After the victory, the Radianovtzis withdrew from Krulevshtzine into the surrounding woods, and took with them the Glubokie Jews, who had been working there for the Germans. Among them was Chaim Hertz, Sragavitsh (a grandson of Itshe Sragavitsh), Siame Shrira (Padnas' son-in-law) and others.
The next day, the 18th of August, the Germans brought their casualties from Krulevshtzine into Glubokie, where they had to be buried with great honor as heroes who had fallen for the “ Fuhrer” and Fatherland.
The task of burying the Germans, who had been killed in Krulevshtzine, had to be carried out also by the Jews. They had to wash the “ heroic” corpses, clean off their unclean blood, make coffins for them, dig their graves and so on. We must admit that the Jews carried out this work diligently, quickly and happily as no other work before. The hangman of the Jews, Kern, who had bathed in Jewish blood, the Jews buried with a special satisfaction and wished such a fate upon all murderers, so may they he destroyed. They wished such work for themselves always, even though it was difficult and dirty, but even so they got some justice at last …unfortunately, these were to be the concluding days of the Glubokie Ghetto, the final Hours of the Jewish community of Glubokie……


[Page 178]

The Criminals liquidate the Glubokie Ghetto

Translated by Eilat Gordin Levitan

…Sheol (Hell) widened her soul and expanded her mouth criminally and the multitude went down with great noise, and she was happy with it…(Isaiah.,V, 14)

The Germans tortured the Jews and murdered them one after another with ferocious bestial cruelty. The tears of mothers had no effect on them. Nither the cries of the little ones, nor the pleading of the old. They did their carnage diligently. With demented passion they scoffed at the unfortunate, the helpless Jews. We still today become excited when we remind ourselves of the frightful scenes;

A woman from whom they had just torn away her children, runs with tousled hair broken hands, and staring eyes and screams, not with her own strength: “ My children, children mine, where are you?!”

A man goes to the woman and faints in the middle of the street and there is no one even who can look upon them and so on and so forth…. People in general walked around like shadows, not grasping what was happening to them. One thing they did see, that the sword hovers and is being lowered upon everyone - on one a little sooner, and on another a little later…. They could sense it in the air that this was not yet all ……that the ultimate doom was still to come. They sensed that a most tragic day would soon arrive…. The Germans will gather everyone together and liquidate them all at once, they would erase the entire Jewish community of Glubokie of the face of the earth. And when an S. D. unit settled itself in Glubokie at the beginning of the summer of 1943, they were looked upon as angels of destruction, who had come here for a special mission of eradication, of liquidation, of annihilation.

The frightful day of calamity approached. All sorts of changes, which were previously introduced into Ghetto life, bore witness to this.

There came a strict order from the civil administration during the closing days of July 1943. No Jew may remain outside of the Ghetto after 4:00 P. M. !! Since many Jews worked in various places for the Germans until 7:00 or 8:00 P. M. the Commissar ordered that the Germans for whom the Jews worked, must release their Jews before 4:00 and they must return to and remain in the Ghetto from that hour on. There also came an order to eliminate the evening shifts in the various workshops and enterprises which were outside of the Ghetto, since these Jews had often stayed outside of the Ghetto overnight.

And a remarkable change occurred: at the beginning of August the individual murders were actually lessened, and almost nonexistent. This temporary relief was perceived by the Jews of Glubokie with even more suspicion, and the nervousness reached the point of categorical insanity. All of this easing of the situation was looked upon as the calm before the earthquake, quietness before the storm. These were all preparations for a general liquidation of the entire Ghetto. The heaven over the Ghetto of Glubokie became blacker from day to day and the Jews simply couldn't see before them any brightening. The so called Sufficiently abbreviated area of the Ghetto, was, during the last few days, cut down even more. They carried (Jews themselves, at the order of the authorities) the barrier which bordered behind Lomzer Street, thereby putting that street out of the Ghetto area, and the Jews from there were shoved into Legianov (Old Kisheleike) and other side streets. All of this was carried out for “ strategic” reasons. The more the Jews were pressed together, it would be speedier and easier to murder them. Also the night-guard around the Ghetto was reinforced. The Jews in the Ghetto did not sleep, and in the dark they would spy on the movements of the Germans on the other side of the Ghetto wall.

When Rubashkin (The Jewish Elder, who had replaced Lederman) told the Justice Minister, who actually considered himself a protector of the Jews of Glubokie, that the Jews are extremely frightened because of the reinforcement of the night-guard, the Justice Minister calmed him down and “ assured” him that it had nothing to do with the Jews, but it is simply connected with the “ overall war plan”. Understandably, no one was so naive, and the assurance did not calm anyone. Almost every one of the August days, the German S. D. men would enter the Ghetto; also Gendarmes and others, and they would steal, rummage and not be particular. None of the refined items were to be found among Jews for a long while already, so they took whatsoever came into their hands. It is typical to mention how a German Officer, an engineer, took from Manve Friedman old patched children's clothing. A second officer, who had been a teacher, took from Chana Abramovitsh a patched nightgown.

The method of stealing was also an indication that the days of the Glubokie Ghetto were numbered. There was no way out. Fleeing from the Ghetto was now impossible. (Previously it had also been difficult enough.) The Germans and their lackeys watched every movement. The Jews, who had prepared bunkers in the Ghetto, carried bread and water into them and prepared themselves to crawl into them at any moment. These had been kept secret, one from the other, since they were afraid that it would become known…

The situation was a hopeless one. On the 18th of August, in the morning, the day after the battles in Krulevshtzine, when the fear of death among the Jews was indescribable, a few souls fled to the Ghetto boundary. The Germans on the other side of the barrier opened fire, the Jews died in the field. Among those who perished were Yerachmiel Verch, Zud and others. Thursday, the 19th of August, in the evening, the SS men came to the Judenrat and took away everything that was there….        Clothing, footwear, linens and so forth, which the Judenrat had assembled in order to bribe the Germans and the Police. They also took away the safe from the Judenrat.


[Page 180]

The Last Night

Translated by Eilat Gordin Levitan

The night of the 19th and 20th of August (18-19th of the Hebrew month of Av, 5703) the Jews noticed that the watch around the Ghetto was intensify even more than it had been the night before. There was a steady stream of all sorts of guards. From midnight on, every 20-30 minutes there came fresh units of green clad soldiers, gendarmes, police and also civilian clad elements. All were armed from head to toe. All of them, as we later found out, were brought from some other place to Glubokie in special trains, and from the train station the came directly to the Ghetto.

All of this was carried out silently, calmly, with unusual security, in order to deceive and cover-up the preparations for the coming mass carnage.

The nervousness among the Jews of the Ghetto grew in the same measure that the enemy's preparations, grew. Almost no one slept that night. The children weren't undressed for their sleep. All were out on the street, just like the Germans were at the perimeter of the Ghetto, so were the Jews inside the Ghetto. All were careful not to disturb the quiet. The situation can be compared to a place where a critically ill person is to be found and everyone is careful about speaking softly, avoiding a creaking door. There hovered in the air the feeling that everything must be quiet, that no sign of being awake was to be revealed to the other side. It was as if everyone's breath was being held, and all heads were filled with lead. People whispered among themselves, consulted about what to do, but there seem to be no way out of the situation. It was all too clear, that it wasn't a matter of days, but one of hours and minutes, which were moving along and bringing the end ever closer.

Some who possessed stronger nerves, who were capable of keeping their heads even when the slaughterer's knife was already at their throats, attempted under the cover of the night to hurl themselves against the Ghetto barrier. They searched for a hole, a crevice, and some way to sneak out. But no matter where they hurled themselves, they found someone on the alert on the other side. Those on guard were so calm, lay so quietly, sat. stood or patrolled, so that it gave the impression that a blood thirsty animal was lurking and waiting for its victim to come out into the open, in order to easily spring upon it. The Jews at the barrier also moved quietly, on tiptoe, and conversed only with eye movements. The Germans and police outside of the Ghetto noticed that the Jews were moving about near the barrier and are looking for places to get out. They did not react, did not call out, but just waited for the condemned to come through the barrier, that the victim should himself jump into their mouths… It was a situation whereby “ He who flees loses his staff, the strong his courage, the hero and fleet of foot cannot escape and he who seizes the bow cannot stand” (Amos, II, 14) - No one here could save himself.

The children shivered like leaves and the parents could find no way to console them. Some mothers tried to convince their little ones that the Germans had encircled the Ghetto only in order to frighten the populance. Large number of mothers had fallen into such apathy, that they couldn't react to the terrible situation of their children - Parents couldn't tend to their children because of their own helplessness. (Jeremiah, XLVII) Death itself was really much easier, than this waiting for it…


[Page 181]

Friday, August 20, 1943;
A Day of Pandemonium and carnage

Translated by Eilat Gordin Levitan

When light arrived we were able to clearly see that the Ghetto was encircled on all sides with armed Police and Germans of all sorts. We could clearly distinguish their brown, black, yellow and green outfits, and also the civilian dressed noxious angels of death. The appearance of the crimson, bloated faces of the murderers with the broad boned rounded bodies were in contrast to the living dead inmates, who by the time of their murder were made into a pile of bones…

Before dawn, at 4:00 A.M., a German Officer arrived in the Judenrat and announced that in 2 hours all Jews are to assemble at the Judenrat, from where they will be sent to work in Lublin ! And the Glubokie Jews at that time did not know the meaning of the word “ Lublin”. They hadn't heard of the infamous “ Maidenek” and its smoking gas-ovens…. They did know perfectly well the meaning of the term “ to go to work” when the Germans used it as collective term… But there was no way to save oneself. The Ghetto was all enclosed, one couldn't even speak of escaping. And in place of pondering about saving themselves, the Glubokie Jews all wished that they would quickly he shot and not fall a live into the clutches of the Germans, which was considered more difficult than death. There was a most frightful confusion. Women ran about with bulging eyes, disheveled hair and queer cries. Following them - barefoot children who were naked and confused with frightened faces… The air was quickly filled with sobbing, pleading and the cries of men, women and children: “ My child, son, little daughter…” Children, searching for their parents ran about crying wildly: “ Father, mother, grandpa” and so on and so forth….

The unfortunates threw themselves towards the Ghetto barrier as if by a special command, in an attempt to break out. As was to be expected the Germans opened a heavy fire. From all sides guns were being fired, grenades were thrown, machineguns firing and bombs exploding. The noise of the shooting mixed in the air with the cries and pleading of the victims. People fell like flies, like grass under a mower and in a very short time the streets of the Ghetto as well as the surrounding area were sown with corpses. The strange cries and groans of the wounded now drowned out the earlier sounds, they were suffering terrible tortures as they expelled their last breath. The bullets of the enemy cut off their calling for their mothers and father the screams and crying of the children who with their fingers and their little hands groveled in the earth, throwing themselves convulsively, and calling for a last time: “ Ma-ma, ma-ma!”.. - A frost envelops the heart as we recall these scenes, as the prophets cry rings out “ My intestines squirm, the walls of my heart pound” (Jeremiah). From this, so it seems, the wildest of animals would bend and shrivel. But this shiver did not reach the European, “ cultured” Germans, the “ supermen of thinkers and poets”, whom we cannot compare to any other strange creature on this earth.

The fallen were the lucky ones… Those, who were still alive, were envious of them. The wounded who were rolling in the streets, on top of and under the dead, pleaded for mercy from the murderers,. Requesting that they end their misery, so that their suffering would cease. Not all of them had the good fortune to meet up with “ good” Germans, who showed pity arid put them out of their misery with a bullet…The vast majority of the murderers, with wild sarcasm, laughed. “ It's a pity to waste a bullet” came the abrupt answer, - “ In a few hours, you, Jew, will die on your on…”

Sonye Ozshinsky, the wife of the bookkeeper, Michael, who was critically wounded, rolled through the refuse, through the sewage, slid herself in terrible convulsions, and only at night, on the 20th of August, a German displayed “ pity” and shot her. This also happened to a woman named Dora, a sister of Shmuel Nissan Gelman, and many others. The bitter words of the prophet: “ The martyrs of the Lord stretched from one end of the earth to the other; they weren't eulogized, they were not gathered and not buried; they were as dung on the face of the earth” (Jeremiah, XXV, 33) – were fulfilled here in their broadest meaning. The most unfortunate were those who had fallen into German hands alive. This was much worse than being murdered out in the open.

Those, who had prepared hiding places, bunkers, or any kind of hole, crawled into them. People ran to hide themselves in trenches, in ovens, in furnaces - “ went up in thick clouds and ascended by the palms of their hands” (Jeremiah, IV, 29). But even this, to our great misfortune, helped very little. “ Not one of the fleers could flee, nor any of the escapees escape” (Amos, IX). The fate of those hidden ones was even worse. They “lived” for a few hours and even some for an entire day, but because of it their later death was a lot worse. They were, in their hiding places, in their trenches, cellars, etc. finally choked, or burned alive, or their hiding places were discovered and they fell into German hands alive. Some remained in their own houses and did not even attempt to hide. The murderers drove them into a courtyard near the former cinema “ Karsa” (Podnos' house). There they also brought those who had been caught in the streets and those found in their hiding places. They numbered about 1,000 persons. Two of them saved themselves. They were Raphael Levin (a grandson of Hirshel Moosin) and Pesarh Masnavick's brother-in-law. (Levin's father, David Levin, is in Israel.) They had stolen themselves away from the courtyard and crawled into an old dwelling, where they hid in the stove. From the stove they crawled up the chimney and after a great effort they managed to reach the roof. From there they were later able to save themselves. (According to gathered information the two of them later perished in the forest.) It was also told that after them a girl had squeezed herself into the chimney, where she got stuck in the middle, not being able to move either forwards or backwards. It is all too clear what the fate of someone like that was. We later heard that her feet were cut off and she was Left stuck like that…

The 1000 Jews assembled in that courtyard were not shot, but instead, tortured. They were to die all sorts of strange deaths: Stomachs cut open, teeth torn out, ears cut off, noses sliced off, flayed, fingers, hands and feet, chopped off with a hatchet. Women had their hair pulled out and their breasts cut off. Men with beards had the beards pulled out together with the flesh on their faces. (Moshe Abrarnovitsh, Mendel Cohen and others.)


[Page 184]

The Ghetto is Burning

Translated by Eilat Gordin Levitan

A storm and a gale and the fire devoured… (Isaiah, XXIX)

Planes began to encircle over the Ghetto during the 20th of August, Sabbath eve. It started at about midday. They approached downward very low, actually right over our head, and began firing. Jews were fired at from all sides as well as from above. From the planes they also released a flaming material upon the buildings and almost instantly several hundred homes, the entire Ghetto, was in flames.Certainly the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah, who perished in a moment, did not endure so many evils. Hundreds of people, embracing their little children in the bunkers, dugouts, cellars, pits and other such hiding places, were suffocated or burned alive. If some ran from their hiding places and try to flee, they immediately fell into the hands of the enemy. This scene reminds us of the terrible depiction of the prophet Amos- “ He who fled from the frightful sound fell into the abyss, and he who came up from the abyss, fell into the trap.” Or - “ As if a man were to flee from a lion, and a bear should meet him; and he enter into the house, and lean his hand against the wall, and a serpent should bite him. Behold, the day of the Lord is one of darkness, and not of light; it is obscure and has no brightness (Amos, V, 19,20). There was no place to hide; there was no escape. The absolutely worse outcome, was to fall into the hands of the enemy. The Germans attempted to catch live Jews, to take tortures vengeance upon the Jews, while they were still alive, was an exceptional amusement for them.

Each and every corner of the Ghetto, was carefully patrolled by the Germans and the Police, as soon as the inferno commence to ignite the buildings. They expected that the Jews would flee from their burning homes. Many victims, adults and children, were captured while fleeing from the burning houses. A few of the many hundreds were successful in escaping through the fire and smoke as well as the bullets of the enemy. The pharmacist, Chaim-Leib Shulheifer, Mina Kasovska, Gildin (the Luzshkier pharmacist) and others were hiding in a well camouflaged room in the house of Chaim-Hanan Fidelholtz on Lomza Street. They had hoped to remain there until the danger passed, until the slaughter was over, and then they would flee to the forest. When the flames penetrated into their room, they ran to Kantorovitsh's “ dugout” on Vilna Street. The “ dugout” was made for 5o people, and there were already over 100 in it, so it was already very suffocating atmosphere. The will to survive was stronger than any reasoning. Those who had fled the fire and found a hiding place, did not consider any of the difficulties involved. They pushed themselves in with their remaining strength.

Not only did they not save themselves, they also brought tragedy upon those who were hidden there from the start. From a distance, the Police watched where they had fled to, and they immediately understood that other Jews were hidden there. But they still unable to find the “ dugout”. It was very well camouflaged. They threw bombs, and grenades and did not hit the target. Then they warned the Jews that they had better come out at once. If not then they'll blow up the entire enclosed area. The warnings did not have to be considered by anyone, because they were already lost. In spite of knowing those facts, instinctively, the majority ran out of the “ dugout”. All of the people who ran out, perished. Pinye Azshinsky relates that several of them fell upon the Germans and the Police, and that Mottke Lederman killed three Germans. This could not be confirmed from any other sources . Thinking that no one else remained in the “ dugout”, The Germans left that area and lifted the siege around Kantorovitsh's brick house. The few who remained there were safe and some of them survived. (Minne Kasovska, Pinye Azshinsky and others).

Approximately an hour after this (it was already evening), the ones who remained in the “ dugout”, heard someone using the well, which had been specially built for the “ dugout”, in order to provide water. They understood that one of the unfortunates must be there, and they let a rope down. From the well they pulled up, on the rope, the 12 year old Yashe Mazavetzky (Yerachmiel Alperovitsh's grandson). He was searching for the “ dugout” and fell into the well

Alter Cohen's nephew, in his undershirt, came running a few hours later. He was looking for a way to commit suicide. He decided to drown himself in the well. He came running to this place from David Munbez's “ bunker” on Lomza Street. He fled from there during the time that shop under which the bunker was located, was already in flames. It had also been packed tight with people. He explained that all of them were choking and suffering terribly from the smoke, and that the heat was unbearable. Everyone removed their outer garments, and were sitting almost naked. When he had left that “ bunker” many were already unconscious. He had undressed , and barely managed to get himself over here in his undershirt. He considered drowning to be an easy death, rather than to be burned alive. Those who had fainted there were treated with cold water. The water quickly disappeared and people actually choked. He told us that no water had remained for his father, who passed out, and they had to treat him with urine.

The Germans and the Police searched all of the dwellings, before setting fire to the Ghetto. They looked everywhere, every corner was searched: In the attics, in storerooms, stalls, ovens, woodpiles, closets, and they even looked inside every chimney. Those whom the hangmen couldn't find, lay in their hiding places holding their breath. They could hear the conversations and to their laughter. They heard how they tapped on the ground with their lances, the sounds of searching and barks: “ Jew, out, out!” The screams of the Germans sometimes affected the Jews more than their bullets. Some of the frail women would roll on the ground and became essentially mentally unstable by all of this horrors.

There were some incidents where little children who cried, were choked with the bare hands of adults in the hideouts, it was feared that their cries would give away the hiding place. (Yehoshua Weinstein, Gordon and others). In the larger, well camouflaged and organized “ hideouts”, belonging to Yaakov Alter, Yehoshua teller, David Munkaz, Kantorovitsh and others, hundreds of people were found. From one such “ dugout”, a policeman pulled out the young beautiful Itkin girl, trembling she pleaded with the policeman to save her life…He demanded a reward, such as gold, diamonds a good watch-, and other such things. The girl took out a large gold ring, which she had specially hidden for this “ black unhappy hour” and also all the money she had, and gave it all to the policeman. But the girl's “ life”, it seems, was worth more, as far as the policeman was concerned, and this “ modest” ransom, this bribe, did not satisfy him… This shameless, bloodthirsty wild animal, for saving the rife of the girl, wanted something more from her… He wanted her virginity, her modesty… But in this the bandit made a mistake - for this decent, upright Jewish daughter, her virginity came before her life and was more dear to her. Hearing his words, she ran… So fast that neither the policeman, nor his friends, who had quickly come to his aid, were able to overtake her and take her alive. They opened fire on the helpless victim, with automatic weapons, and from a great distance shot her dead. Not everyone in a similar situation was so “ lucky”. Not too many such decent, kosher, Jewish daughters were successful in not falling live into the clutches of the Germans and their local cronies. Not a few women were tortured by these outcasts with the most dreadful of tortures: the tearing out of their hair, cutting open their stomachs, cutting off their breasts, and so on.

The machine guns did not conclude their rattling the entire day of the 20th of August . Bombs, grenades and other explosives, blasted all over. They threw explosives wherever there was some suspicion that a Jew were hidden. As was mentioned, many dozens and hundreds of people met a terrible death in the “ dugouts” and pits, slowly choking under the burning pasture and earth.

The 19th of Av, the eve of the Sabbath, on which the weekly portion was Eykev (In the Book of Deuteronomy), 5703 (20th of August, 1943), on this frightening day of misfortune, on this day of trouble and reprehensions, more than 3,000 Jews perished in Glubokie, at the hands of the Germans and their helpers - local Police - They perished in all sorts of unspeakably horrendous ways.

Several hundred Jews succeeded, in spite of the searches and efforts of the murderers during that bloody Friday, to remain in their hiding places. The fires and smoke did not reach them and the bombs did not hit their hideouts. But the Germans did not cease looking for them. They carried on with their work for several days without pause…

The Germans incessantly searched they went about poking around and observing and on the days of the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of August they caught many hidden Jews. It was enough if someone just stuck his head up to steal a glance to see what was going on, the lurkers would uncover the entire hiding place.

There were cases when those in hiding couldn't hold out any longer in the pits and “ dugouts” for days on end, and they came out of their own accord, choosing death as the lesser of two evils…

Therefore the obliteration of the last Jews of Glubokie, took several days and in just that short period the streets of the Ghetto became thickly spread with dead bodies and the injured. meanwhile, The Germans and their lackeys - local Christians - marched around with special tools and tore the gold teeth out of the mouths of the corpses, the earrings from their ears, the rings from their fingers and so on and so forth. These wild animals chopped off the fingers with an ax to get the rings, in order to lighten their task, … Distinguished “ in this task” from among the local Christians, were a certain Ivan Niedzieletz, Ivan the cripple - Trilop, and others whose names could not be confirmed.

Everything turned to ashes and dust, the Ghetto burned for several days. Corpses, parts of limbs, hands, feet and other portions of human bodies were found in the fields and meadows, in a perimeter of dozen kilometers around the city, there were to be seen severed bodies . Their efficiency in the carnage of Jews was not limited to the city alone. They searched for Jews in the entire surrounding area. They would set “ ambushes” in the bushes, forests or on the roads, riding in their vehicles, lurking for every refugee, who had somehow managed to escape from the city, from the fire, and they would murder him there on the road, in the field, etc.

From the surrounding villages, the Germans drove peasants with their carts. They were forced to be responsible for picking up the corpses from the fields and bringing them to the pits in the Barok forest. Besides the mass graves in the Barok Forest, there were many smaller graves scattered over the fields and meadows around the city. A significant number of the dead remained unburied and their corpses were found eaten by dogs - they became food for wild animals and birds of prey. (The corpses of your servants are food for birds, the flesh of your followers for the wild animals of the forest…)

The engineer, Russkevitsh - a Pole, an old inhabitant of Glubokie, whom the Germans had ordered to clean up the area of the former Ghetto of the Jewish victims, -later informed us that they had pulled out from the cellars and pits, with stakes and shovels, half and completely burned bodies. The bodies that weren't burned were swollen, and he could recognize only very few of them. By and large, Russekevitsh knew almost every Jew in the city. He only recognized the body of Abraham-Yehoshua Fidelholtz, the son of Chaim Hannah's, who remained sitting in the cellar, embracing his wife and son so tightly, that even in death it was extremely difficult to separate them… He also recognized Moshe Shulheifer and his two daughters. He also recognized a few other Jews, but he had forgotten their names.

All of them had been taken out of the hiding and were buried in a pit in the Barok.

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