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[Page 28]

The World Became Poorer

by Esther Miller

With the Nazis' annihilation of a third or our Jewish population, the World became poorer. The Nazi murderers destroyed cities and towns in Europe including our Telekhany. This was not only a Jewish, but also a general disaster.

Our History for the last 2000 years is full of catastrophes. But the Jewish people never experienced such horrendous, inconceivable disaster as they did the last 25 years, since the rise of Nazism in Germany. During the Nazi-German plague, 5 million adult Jews and 1,200,000 children were killed. Who were they? What were their names? It is too long a list for the world to know. The majority were plain, hardworking people, who because of poverty and pressure, didn't have the time and finances to develop their natural intellect and talent that Nature gave them. But there were also many names well known to the world. They shone like a beacon at night: scientists, inventors, teachers, writers, poets, educators, artists, musicians, historians – great intellectuals that the world needs so much. With their destruction the world became poorer.

Not in every generation are people born who are able to rise above the time and circumstances they are living in. "The Nazi murderers killed the body before they managed to kill the spirit." We read in the archive of Dr. Emmanuel Ringelblum, and other diaries found in the ground of the ghettos and other "holding places."

A mother died blowing her last breath into the mouth of her dead child. Lovers died in each other's embrace. A grandfather dying of illness and starvation, blessed his 14 year old grandson and encouraged him to get out alive and fight the Nazi murderers. (The grandson bore witness in Israel, at the Eichmann trial.)

Also my brother Shmuel Godiner from Telekhany, a Soviet Yiddish writer, a partisan, with a broken body, died with intellectual greatness, declaring to the Nazi face, "We will win".

"Avenge our deaths against the bloody enemy!" sounds my brother Aaron's voice in the Warsaw ghetto. You hear the voices of his children and children's children. Also among the children were some with enough spiritual strength to fight empty handed against the heavy equipped enemy, against its newest tools of destruction. The heroism of the little Jewish children, has yet to be evaluated.

"The goal of the Nazis was to kill the Jewish children first. The brutal limitless savagery against little children, was supposed to uproot the Jews, one couldn't spare a new generation, who eventually could secure the renewal of the Jewish people." This was said by the Prosecutors in Israel, who found Eichmann guilty of crimes against humanity.

The scientific work of Dr. Dvorszetsky of 400 pages was published in Yiddish and Hebrew. Dr. Dvorszetzky estimates the Nazis murdered 1,200,000 children. He says: When the ghetto's liquidation neared, "children aktsias" began. In the Vilna ghetto on March 27, 1944; Kovno, March 27-28, 1944; Shavel, November 5, 1943; Cracow, March 13, 1943; Lodz, August 1942; Bialystok, August 1943; Tarnow, November 7, 1942; Warsaw, July-September 1942 and many more not mentioned. That's how we count "scientifically" our loss, our great misfortune, our children, for whom the Jew always lived.

The first led to be killed were children from the orphanages. The killing was done in the most gruesome manner, using specially trained dogs, crushing their heads on poles, cutting heads with an axe, throwing them alive into wells, burning them alive, often before their mother's eyes.

Dr. Dvorszetsky tells further, that after the war it became known from the trials, and other archives documents and diaries, that the German doctors performed the most heinous experiments and sex operations on Jewish women and small children. Finishing his book, he says: ... most of those children who survived after the experiments were brought to the concentration camps. Not many survived.

Among the children brought to Auschwitz and then Bergen-Belsen, was the 15 years old Anne Frank, who left us the high spirited Diary of Anne Frank.

In the Therezin ghetto in Czechoslovakia the Nazis killed 15,000 children, mostly Jewish. In Riga they slaughtered 40,000 children. They were under 15 years old.

Some 12 to 15 year old children left us a huge legacy of spirited literature; literature of pain, fear, sadness, but also hope and dreams, hopes embodied in many diaries. They left 4,000 drawings and songs about their life in ghetto, kept in the Jewish State Museum in Prague.

One child by the name of Teddy writes in a song

        To a new arrived child
        Everything seems so strange to him
        Life in Therezin is like hell
        And when I go home
        I won't be able to tell.

The 13 year old Hanush Hochenberg from Prague, killed December 18, 1943 in Auschwitz expressed the change he had undergone, what happened to him:

        I was once a small child
        Just three years ago
        The child dreamed of other places
        But here I am no longer a child
        Because I learned how to hate
        Now I'm a grown man
        And know the taste of fear

An unidentified child tried in 1943 to encourage himself and other children, and wrote poems entitled "Homesickness". The child wrote:

        But nobody should give in,
        The world turns and times will change.
        We all hope that time will come,
        When we will return home.
        Now I realize how dear home is
        And I remember it often.

The belief that there are other people in this world whom one can live with together and befriend is expressed in seven short lines, by the young Alena Sinkova, who survived. She wrote:

        I will take off and go alone
        Where other people are, better people,
        To an unknown place
        Where nobody kills each other
        Maybe many of us
        a thousand, will reach the goal
        Pretty soon.

Under the title "Fear" 12 year old Eva Pikova describes the horror in the Therezin ghetto and cries out:

        No, no my God, we want to live,
        Not see how our number shrinks,
        We want to have a better world,
        We will work --- we shouldn't have to die.

Another child killed in Auschwitz in October 28, 1944 wrote in the Thereszin ghetto, a little poem, "The Garden"

        A small garden
        Filled with unusual fragrance and roses,
        A narrow path
        And a little boy walks on it
        A little boy, a sweet boy
        Like the blossoming flowers.
        When the flowers will wilt
        The little boy will not be anymore ....

Like Anne Frank in her hiding, and other children who wrote diaries, the children from the Therezin ghetto also had the awareness and courage to praise life and live bravely. An unidentified child from Therezin, verbalized it in the following lines:

        Hey, try to open your heart,
        Make a garland of beautiful memories.
        Go sometimes to the woods,
        And if tears block your way,
        You will know how wonderful it is ----
        To be alive.

A boy named Friedman from Prague, killed September 29, 1944 in Auschwitz, expressed pain and heroism when he said Goodbye to the last butterfly. He ends his song with these words:

        .... butterflies don't live
        in the ghetto.

In the resistance movement in the Riga ghetto, 12-13 year old children took part. A little boy, Avremke, was killed by the Gestapo after his interrogation, but he did not utter a word! Heroic episodes of carrying guns to the Riga ghetto writes a boy named Hoffman. One episode when Rene, a boy not even ten years old, hid from an aktsia. When caught by the Nazis, threw himself out from the fifth floor, shouting: "Alive I don't give myself up to my murderers".

These Jewish child-heroes who carried out the most risky actions, spilled their blood on the battlefields against Hitler's hordes. These promising, talented children, were killed by the Nazi beasts, and the world became poorer. The world became poorer, but the Jewish roots are still here.

In my motherly mind and heart an image there is engraved the picture that a writer painted of a small 7 year old boy killed by the Nazis in September 1943 in the Plashev camp. Before the execution he asked his mother: "Mama, is dying painful? No, just a little."

The wounds of Jews from Telekhany and the world are yet too fresh (only 21 years old) to be evaluated properly by our generation of writers, artists and playwrights to be able to assess and describe the world's great tragedy. A new generation needs to objectively assess the Nazis' horrors, and assess the colossal loss of human life and worldly value that the Nazi murderers, the beasts in human form brought to the world.

These are the children of Galicia that the Nazi murderers killed, and the world thus became poorer. However, the root remained, that the Jewish people live.

Our Telekhany also had talented children, creative idealistic youth who would have contributed much to human progress. They fought bravely in the underground movement against the bloody German enemy as partisans in the thick White Russian forests. Their memory will live forever in our hearts. Very few survived Hitler's hell. Some left in time for Israel. Some joined the Russian Army. The brothers Leibl and Efraim Klitenick (who survived to contribute much to the cause of peace), Eliyahu Senders, Berl Zuskin, Feivel Lemel, Aaron Shmuel (Rivka's son, was killed defending Leningrad), Leizer Lutsky, Shlomo Landman and many others. Many young children left with the Partisans, among them my cousin, the energetic, talented Dinah Godiner. She survived and lives now in Lodz.

There was no ghetto in Telekhany, no holding places, crematoria or special "children's aktsias." The date of our tragedy was August 4, 1941. The Nazi murderers herded the entire Jewish community – men, women, children of various parents, and the elderly, and told them to dig three long graves along the broad Glass Factory street. They ordered local gentiles (including those of surrounding villages who committed a pogrom against the Jews six weeks earlier) to shoot them. The ignorant gentiles, poisoned with hatred of Jews, shot them all – to the last Jew, the last child. Some didn't die and were set afire.

The former Red Army soldier and partisan, Ephraim Klitenick, who was shaped and hardened by the horrible war, broke down and cried like a child, when he visited his hometown of Telekhany several years later. Sol Landman, who now lives in the United States, was also there. It sends a shudder up your spine to read Ephraim's letter and listen to Sol tell what the sadistic beasts in human form – the Nazis – did to the Jews. Even now, 21 years after the great tragedy, Telekhany still remains deadly silent. Jewish homes, that were more or less closed up were taken over by peasants, who boarded up the doors and windows because of fear from others (or living Jews?). "No one sees any people on the street or hears the sounds of children's laughter" writes Ephraim. "The healthy peasant shook like a leaf when he showed me what he took over in our house" recounts Sol Landman.

The horrors committed by Nazis (and local gentiles who were afraid not to follow Nazi orders) against Jews that the peasant told Sol about, were so dreadful, so hard to believe, that they are inconceivable by the human mind. The question arises whether this is possible. What century are we living in? When we realize that all these horrors took place in our times in the civilized 20 th century, we are frightened and ashamed of mankind – not only for humans of our generation, but for those of future generations as well.

There are reasons to feel shame and fear. If human beings (biologically the Nazis were human) could sink so low and commit acts that only wild animals could commit, what makes the world so sure it couldn't happen again? This is not only a question regarding the destruction of a third of the Jewish People at the bloody hands of the Nazis, it is a question for the entire world. The entire world stands in danger of becoming poisoned by anti-Semitism and participating in racism.

Simon Dubnow, the great Jewish historian who was shot by the Nazi executioners on Sunday morning, November 30, 1941 in the Riga ghetto, was correct. In discussions with children in the ghetto, he said, "Everything written about Jewish history until now is nothing. Jewish history begins now." We can say that human history is beginning now.

It would be an intellectual relief for us Jews, and for the world at large, to know that the German people lost their minds – that something in their brains had broken down, that the Nazis were different from other people. Then civilization would take measures to make sure that the Nazi epidemic didn't spread. Mankind could then heal or quarantine them. However, the danger is greater, since the Germans were clear-thinking, organized, scientists and inventors who put their talents to use, and invented killing machines for the total extermination of the Jewish People. Their professors and doctors experimented on the bodies of women and children. Their "ladies" made lampshades from human skin. The Germans practiced inhumane experiments in various death camps. Dr. Mengele, the head doctor in Auschwitz was the greatest sadist of all. He is still alive, hiding out somewhere in the western hemisphere.

Dr. Mengele isn't the only murderer alive and in hiding. There are other former outright and covert mass murderers who are alive and in hiding (we don't want to contaminate our Yizkor book with their names). The world must be alert to the deadly Nazi microbes.

The beginning of organized criminal behavior against the Jews in Germany

Two months after Hitler came to power in 1933, the Nazis began persecuting Jews. They were robbed of their citizenship and property, and were placed outside of German law that was applicable to everyone else. They weren't allowed to work with or for gentiles; they were prohibited from entering stores, cafés, restaurants, public transportation, factories or theaters. The synagogues were desecrated and burned; Jewish musicians were prohibited from performing Bach or Brahms; Mendelsohn's music was prohibited. Later, the Nazis burned their compositions together with works of the finest Jewish writers, including Heinrich Heine. Mobs danced around fires, screaming " Heraus mit die jüdische Werm!" [Out with the Jewish vermin!]; " Araus von reinem Superman" [ Get away from the pure Aryan supermen!]; "Jews should be thrown out of Germany or be exterminated!"

Many of the robbed and persecuted Jews committed suicide, while others desperately looked for some other country to go to. The Jews ran up against the closed doors of neutral countries. The Germans saw the indifference of the democratic countries to the homeless and persecuted people, and assumed that no one wanted the Jews. The Jews were a burden to the country and worthless on the "market" – it made no difference what happened to them.

Part of the guilt lies with the western countries, especially the United States. From 1933-1943, the United States opened a crack in the "golden door" to European Jews, allowing in 190,000 out of millions of Jews doomed at the bloody hands of the Germans. If hearts and doors had been open wider to the hapless Jews in their desperate situation, a couple of more million could have been saved from the gas chambers, deportation camps and crematoria.

The Nazis soon began their bloody work, and they worked with precision, devilish efficiency and wickedness against the Jews. Jews were compelled to wear a yellow star on their chests, and were treated like livestock in the overcrowded ghettos, where disease, hunger, filth and typhus raged. The Nazi cannibals were still not satisfied. This way of dying was too slow, so every day Jews in the tens of thousands were sent in death trains to the crematoria of Auschwitz, Maidanek, Treblinka and other gas chambers.

Those who were still able to work were used for slave labor in the ghettos. Their deaths were temporarily suspended until they became useless due to the difficult and inhumane work. They were then sent off to the crematoria, and on the way were beaten. Anyone unable to go on fell to the bullets of the murderers. There were more beatings and lashings, and their bodies were broken. Their spirits, however, maintained their humanity: the dead bodies of mothers were founding holding on to their children, trying to protect them until the last minute; the young and the elderly affectionately held on to each other.

The Nazis, meanwhile, were enjoying themselves. No one worked on Sundays in Chelmno, and the Nazis wanted to have some fun on that day. They put the Jews into long lines, placed bottles on their heads, and shot the bottles. If the bullet hit the bottle, the Jew wasn't hit, but if the bullet landed a little lower, he was finished. The lucky survivors of this game were forced to clear away the dead.

Chelmno was a primitive extermination camp. Prior to when mass murder experiments were made using Cyclon B, lethal cyanide crystals were used in the gas chambers. People were fooled into thinking they were going to be taking showers. In Chelmno the Nazis used heavy trucks for transportation. They gave the Jews towels and soap, and told them they were going to have a shower, see a doctor and get fresh clothes. The sealed trucks were taken into a forest, where carbon monoxide was pumped into them. This was a long death, but killed too few people; the death machines had to be improved.

Until 1943, large cars of gas victims were put directly into mass graves using shovels or lifts. After Himmler's visit, it was decided to employ more precise and efficient methods, and this resulted in the use of pyre bonfires to burn the bodies. In Treblinka there were 13 gas chambers, and 10,000 Jews were killed every 35 minutes. Every week, eight to ten kilos of gold (removed from the dead) were taken out of the gas chambers and put into suitcases to be sent to Berlin; the gold was used to enrich the Third Reich.

One man testified at Eichmann's trial in Israel as follows: "I grew up in the Treblinka death camp. At 14 years of age I was torn away from my mother. The Nazis sent her to the crematorium with thousands of other Jews. The Germans called it 'Heaven's Street.' I wanted to commit suicide, but my grandfather wouldn't let me. He blessed me and said that I would survive to help others. Since I was still young, he thought I would survive Hitler's hell, and I could tell the world what the Nazis did to the Jews. I went through various experiences in Treblinka, from shaving the heads of dead women to stuffing mattresses with the hair. One day I found my dead sister's body in a heap of dead corpses." The man looked around with wide-open eyes, as if he was horrified by his own voice.

In Salonika, Greece, the Germans gave permission to the non-Jews to seize Jewish stores and as much merchandise as they wanted. They would cynically tell the Jews that they would pay them back for the merchandise. The robbed Jews were put into ghettos, where typhus soon spread (the Nazis were scared of typhus, and quickly deported all the Jews, including the healthy ones).

As usual, the Nazis spread lies to give the Greek Jews the false hope that they would be traveling to Poland, where they would begin new lives. With their last bit of money, they bought worthless Polish zlotys. The Nazis then packed 78 people into a freight car that was built only to hold 40. The Jews started suspecting what was in store for them. They spent long days and nights together with what the Germans called transport equipment. Children choked from thirst, dirt and sickness. The freight cars always arrived with a large number of dead. The Jewish population of Greece was 56,000, and after the war, only 1,950 remained alive.

The Jews were not sheep who let themselves be driven to the slaughterhouse. They were civilized people for whom it was hard to believe that the Germans, a high cultured world renowned nation was capable of such barbarous savagery. The Nazis took advantage of the Jewish naivety. They lied, spread false hopes and calming news; they then fooled people and murdered them, wherever the bloody Nazi beast stepped. The soap in Auschwitz gas chambers, supposedly showers, were made of stone. On the trains transporting the Jews to their death, illustrated postcards were given out with the imaginary "Waldsee;" the victims were forced to send cheery postcards back to the remaining Jews in the ghetto (from where they were transported to the crematoria).

The Nazis did everything to prevent possible riots and resistance. And yet, the starving, physically broken, tortured Jews stood up to the heavily equipped enemy, the Nazis. The historical heroism of the Warsaw, Bialystok, Auschwitz, Treblinka, Solibar, Riga, and other ghettoes has yet to be told.

The uprising of the Warsaw ghetto will remain for generations, a monument of courage, and a warning to murderers and despots, that the Jewish people are strong and will overcome victoriously -- Nazism, fascism and anti-Semitism.

Some people make a mistake in believing that the scope of Yizkor books and Holocaust literature is limited. The truth is to the contrary. Keep in mind the extremely valuable informative books and documents that have been written about Hitlerism and his extermination of the Jewish People: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer; Hilllberg's The Extermination of Jews in Europe; Rotlinger's book, On Jewish Extermination ; Hersh's The Wall, Mila 18 and many others. All of the books have been warmly received by readers, discussed and read. Critics have given positive reviews, showing that we aren't alone in our pain and sorrow. The whole world is starting to understand how poor it became by virtue of the murder of six million Jews – one third of the Jewish People – including famous Jews in the literary world such as Yitzchak Katznelson, Yisrael Stern, Hillel Zeitlin, K. Liss, S. Gilbert, Y. Prager and Zalman Sokolov; Hebrew writers such as Yakir Warshavsky and H. A. Kaplan; columnists such as Aharon Einhorn, Benzion, Khilinovitch and Yanosz Kortchuk; historians such as Shimon Dubnow, Shimon Huberband, Lipman Zamber, Yechiel Lehrer, Natan Eibeschitz, N. Sternberg, Yitzchak Bernstein, Mordechai Gebirtick and other promising talents. Two generations (parents and children) of builders and creators of Jewish literature died in the death camps – people representing the Jewish press, scientists, teachers and performers. The world has been shamed and has become poorer because of it.

The mass murder of millions of innocent people at the bloody hands of the Nazis just because those people were Jews took place in our lifetimes – in the educated 20 th century. We have to know everything about it. This knowledge has to be our ammunition to be used in the struggle against Nazism and fascism. We must be alert and learn how to recognize all the signs of public or hidden anti-Semitism, racism, genocide (extermination of peoples), no matter what mask it hides behind, in order to assure that this never happens again, no matter where and to whom.

To ignore it, and close our eyes to anti-Semitism and racism is as dangerous as to ignore cancer. To say: What is there to do? It's a punishment and must end with death. Anti-Semitism is cancer. It befalls the weakest members of mankind who have criminal instincts. The earlier it is recognized, the more chances for a cure. We have seen what has happened in Germany where the cancer cells spread and took control over the political, social and economic body. People turned into wild beasts. Not only Jews die, everything human dies. Justice, truth, decency, mercy, sympathy, tolerance and civilization itself dies.

We are obligated to learn from the worst tragedy, the most disastrous catastrophe happened to us at the bloodstained hands of the Nazis. We owe it to our conscience, to our people, to fight the Nazi cancer, to clean the world of Nazism so that we can live in peace, security and integrity, and to be able to deserve to be called -- a Mensch.

It would be impossible for us Jews as a nation, to maintain our balance, faith in humanity, if it wasn't for some shining exceptions (regrettably they are the exception rather than the rule) of human goodness against Nazi wickedness, shown to us by a part of the gentile world during the Hitler era. Many times they endangered their own lives to rescue a Jew, a Jewish child from the bloody fingers of the Nazis. Not only will our generation remember our non-Jewish friends with affection and reverence, they also will be remembered by future generations as well.

A noble human example was demonstrated by Denmark. The Danes, led by King Christian, rescued their Jews in spite of the wild anger of the Nazis. "If you will force my citizens to wear 'yellow stars' I will be the first to wear it", he said. The Jews of Denmark never wore the yellow star and were never driven into ghettoes.

The Nazis, as usual, tried in many ways to slander the Jews, with dirty implications spread in leaflets, to scare the Danish people. But the Danes didn't give in to those provocations. They transferred Jews to Sweden. They hid elderly Jews in their hospitals under Christian names. They concealed religious articles from the Synagogues in the Lutheran churches. Not one Dane lowered himself or his people by denouncing Jews to the Gestapo. Many Danes paid with their lives for this act of humanity.

A couple of hundred Jews, out of seven thousand living in Denmark, were caught by the Gestapo and sent to Theresienstadt, the mildest of all camps. When the Danes learned that the people were starving there, everyone, from the King to the cobbler sent money to sustain them.

Sweden was neutral in the war, but not so concerning humanity. They gave shelter to anyone who reached their shores, and even warmly offered citizenship to the Jews. This fact motivated the Nazis to issue a special order: "Jews with neutral citizenship have to be sent to the East to the gas chambers." It was found after the war, Sweden also produced a great warmhearted, conscientious man -- Raul Wallenberg, a counselor to the Swedish Ambassador in Budapest. The Nazis daily sent 12,000 Hungarian Jews to death. It was in the summer and fall of 1944, and the Germans were obviously losing the war. Raul Wallenberg rented houses in Budapest, displayed the Swedish flag, and filled the houses with Jews who then called themselves Swedes. Although there were no more wagons, Auschwitz was closed, the Red Army was on the offensive, but the SS continued their mission to destroy the last Jews. They ordered a winter death march for Jews from Hungary to Austria. It was such an outrageous public act of murder that Himmler ultimately ordered it stopped. Raoul Wallenberg rode along the walking and falling Jews and gave them food, blankets and medicine.

The gates of Luxemburg were open for all hunted Jews. In that small defenseless country, they could think of themselves as persons, not tormented animals. The friendliness of the people gave them hope and encouragement. After some time, many received visas to neutral territories. Under the moral guidance of Elisabeth the Queen mother of Belgium, the Archbishop and the Belgian underground helped Jews to derail the death wagons and to escape death. The punishment for helping Jews was death!

We salute every one of our nameless Christian friends. The brave, beautiful spirits, who didn't close their eyes to Jewish sufferings, who risked their lives in helping Jews instead of helping the Nazi barbarians or looking for somewhere to protect themselves or closing their eyes to Jewish suffering. They not only helped Jews survive, they helped to maintain our love and faith in mankind. The brought honor and hope to mankind that Man will overcome all evil connected with the sadistic cancerous Nazi ideology. These were isolated and exceptional cases. If millions more had behaved this way, the world would be totally different – richer and happier.

Norway also showed a noble example of human solidarity against cruelty. When the Nazis threw themselves like vultures to finish off the last remaining Jews, the Norwegians and their underground hurried with their rescue mission. They led a large number of Jews over snow-covered mountains in subzero temperatures to Sweden, through strictly guarded borders, under a shower of bullets. Many of the starved, emaciated Jews didn't make it. Yet the people of Norway, with their underground, did their best to save half of the Jews.

The people of Holland organized a general strike to protest the cruel treatment of their Jews. The strike was suppressed by a German "firing squad." Although the Nazis increased the reward for denouncing Jews, the Dutch preferred to hide them. "The Dutch refused to sympathize with the German tactics" complained a German document presented to the Eichmann trial.

Even Germany produced a "saint" named Foster Grober. He believed the teachings of his Lord, and openly helped Jews in Germany. For his faith he was incarcerated in the Dachau jail. His friends in Germany helped him quietly in his noble, human work. Their names must still remain secret.

In 1938 after the Nazi organized pogroms in Germany, Foster Grober went to Switzerland to appeal for more foreign visas for the oppressed Jews. At every official institution and embassy, everyone turned a deaf ear. Nowhere could he find understanding and sympathy for the dark misfortune of the Jews. He and his committee left filled with bitterness and shame. "Had the ministries of foreign affairs shown the slightest bit of interest toward the homeless, hunted immigrants, it would have been possible to rescue millions of Jews." (From Foster Grober's report.) All above are documented facts from authentic sources, brought out at the Eichmann trial.

Thousands of miles away from the murder machines and gas chambers, in the protected and well-fed USA, there lived other noble friends of the Jews in addition to the ones in Europe. One of them was John Williams, a minister. One day he knocked on my door: Look, read what they do to people, they make soap of them. And with dread in his eyes he handed me Life magazine. We were speechless. Pain and shame strengthened our friendship. In the evening we went to his church together and joined by his congregation, we prayed for the suffering and persecuted.

"What does all this have to do with the destruction of Telekhany, with the death of our families and countrymen?" some readers may ask. There is a strong connection. We are just a small segment of a bloody chain. The same Nazi murders who killed the other European Jews, also killed the Jews of Telekhany. But here the wound is more painful, if such a thing is possible, because the executioners were our own neighbors. Our native gentiles spurred on by the Nazis, accomplished their murderous job, and the beautiful little town with its nice Jewish community was reduced to a heap of corpses.

Time cannot heal, cannot release the enormous pain over the loss of our dear families, landsman, and martyrs whose lives were taken in such a horrible way at the hands of the Nazis. In their sacred memory, we open our wounds in the Telekhany Memorial Book. Through it we address our generation and generations to come. Again and again we repeat the message left by our martyrs: Remember the crimes committed upon the Jewish people! Remember and remain on guard. Do not let such a horror happen again! Fight racism, Nazism, anti-Semitism. We owe this to our deceased and to ourselves. It is our obligation to the exterminated Jews and to ourselves. This is the order of the day, and the reason for this Yizkor book.

As great and painful the agony and martyrdom of innocent Jewish people is, we must do it. We must all realize and face the horrible truth, and enter deeply into the wounds of the Jewish People and our destroyed hometown of Telekhany and its honest inhabitants and age-old way of life. We must remember and not be afraid of talking about our past. A people that has no past has no present and, of course, no future.

We hope that our Yizkor book will influence many people to be on guard and fight Nazism, racism, reaction and anti-Semitism, and to make sure that the horror of Nazism is never repeated for a world of freedom, peace and fraternity. Then our Memorial Book will have been worth all the effort we put into it.

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