Darkness and Desolation;
In Memory of the Communities of Braslaw,
Dubene, Jaisi, Jod, Kislowszczizna, Okmienic,
Opsa, Plusy, Rimszan, Slobodka, Zamosz, Zaracz

55°38' / 27°03'

Translation of
Emesh shoa; yad le-kehilot/gevidmet di kehiles Braslaw...

Edited by Machnes Ariel, Klinov Rina

Published by Association of Braslaw and Surroundings in Israel and America;
Ghetto Fighters House and Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House

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Project Coordinator

Eilat Gordin Levitan


This is a translation from Emesh shoa; yad le-kehilot/gevidmet di kehiles Braslaw...,
(Darkness and desolation; in memory of the communities of Braslaw, Dubene, Jaisi, Jod,
Kislowszczizna, Okmienic, Opsa, Plusy, Rimszan, Slobodka, Zamosz, Zaracz),
Editors: Machnes Ariel, Klinov Rina, Israel, Association of Braslaw and Surroundings in Israel and America;
Ghetto Fighters House and Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House, 1986 (H,Y,E, 636 pages).

Note: The original book can be seen online at the NY Public Library site: Braslaw

This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
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Translated by Eilat Gordin Levitan

Notes from the Editors 10
Braslaw- Chapters from Her Story
Braslaw, Historical NotesYa’acov Levin 15
For the Memory of Yerachmiel Mendel Meirson Miryam Rothenberg (Marishka, daughter of Gitel and Velvel Rajchel) 35
As Told by Perke FisherPerl Mina (daughter of Ben Zion and Chaia Golda Charmac) 37
As Told by Yehuda Cepelewicz, son of Zvia and Leiba  43
As Told by Ziska ( Reuven) Szmuszkowic, son of Gitl and Leib  59
The Community of Braslaw During the Shoah
Poem; Deep Deep Pits, and Red Red Loam - Shmuel Halkin   65
For the Memory of My Father, Rabbi Zvi Hirsh (Reb Hirszl Valin) Z”LYisrael Valin 66
For the Memory of the Rabbi Avraham Abba Ya’acov Zahorie Z”LTuvia 68
About Chayim Munitz (Munic) Z”L, born in 1911 to Shaitel and Rafael YaacovRan Leiser 70
Masha and Mendel Maron Tell Their Story Masha (Masza, daughter of Brine Malka and Chayim) and Mendel Maron (son of Sofia and Chayim Isaac) 72
The Story of Chayim BandChayim, son of Chaia Chana and Avraham Leib 80
A Common Story; Imprisonment, Exile and FightYa’acov Lewin, son of Chaia Sheine and Leib Meir 86
The Story of Motel Hirsh Fiszer Motel, son of Beile Zelda and Baruch 90
The Story of Yerachmiel Bielak Yerachmiel, son of Sara Gitel and Chayim Leib 96
The Story of Tuvia FiszerTuvia, son of Beile Zelda and Baruch 108
The Story of Henka (Chana) FiszerChana Fiszer, daughter of Leib and Rachel Gurevitz 111
The Story of Yeta WishkinYeta, daughter of Fania and Rafael Fiszer 117
Like Arrows at the Hands of the Hero So were the Youth - Poems and Notes written during the ShoahAssorted Authors 120
The Story of Anna (Nuita) ZelikmanAnna, daughter of Rachel and Ya’acov Kantor 124
From the Hall of the Courthouse; the Indictment of Stanislav Jasinski  134
The Infamous Stanislav Jasinski: The Murderer of the Braslaw Jews  136
How I SurvivedBoris Ulman, son of Leah and Zelig 143
The Story of Moshe WishkinMoshe, son of Sarah Leah and Tuvia 145
A Survivor StoryEliezer Fiszer, son of Chaia and Feibush 155
The Story of Young Girl who SurvivedZipora Toker (nee Feige Tsippe, daughter of Gisia and Chonzka Bielak) 159
The Story of Sarah MowszensonSarah, widow of Yehuda Moshe and daughter of Riva and Mendel Katz 164
The Story of Chana and Zusman LubowiczChana (daughter of Sheitel and Rafael Yaacov Munic) and Zusman (son of Chaia Leah and Avraham) 217
The Story of Moshe MilutinMosze, son of Sonia and Ber Leib 227
Rafael Charatthe son of Isel and Avraham-Baruch 234
The Story of Avraham BielakAvraham, born in 1924 to Henia Riva and Natan 239
The Story of Chayim Eliahu DejczChayim, son of Malka Reiza and Yitzchak Daitch 245
The Story of Yerachmiel MilutinYerachmiel, son of Sima and Avraham Yitzchak 254
The Story of Yitzchak RajchelYizchak, son of Batia and Ya’acov 258
The Story of Lyuba SmidtLydia, born in 1919 to Minda Peya and Eliezer Yitzchak Bik. Widow of Leib Gamusz and Moshe Kagan 264
The Story of Ester Emma Milutin-KornerEster, daughter of Nechama and Yaacov Rosonik, widow of Yerachmiel Milutin 274
A 1946 letter from the Soviet Union to his sister; Monka Shmutzer in Kibbutz Ein Yam Chayim, (son of Rachel and Levi Yitzchak) 280
About Tevale (Tuvia) Bielak, son of Henia Riva and NatanNotes from his friends in the partisans unit 283
About Moshe Baruch Bank and his two sonsY. Lewin 286
From the Ghetto to the Partisans and a Soldier of the I.D.F.Chayim Ben Arieh (nee Bort) 288
About Issar RabinowiczIssar, born in 1914 to Gita and Shlomo 293
The Story of Zalman CharmatzZalman, son of Chaia Golda and Ben Zion 297
Letters from Peretz Levin who fell as a Red Army soldier
on 2-8-1945
Peretz (son of Chaia Sheina and Leib Meir) 300
The Three Brothers Wajnsztein Join the CombatShmaryahu Z”L, Shmuel Z”L and Israel Yosef, sons of Gitl and Uri 302
About Gershon Jankelewicz, born in Braslaw in 1910, killed in combat; 9-9-1943Y. Levin 308
About Michael (Mendel) Sherman Z”L, A Shoah survivor who passed away in 1979Michael 309
Braslaw After the WarSarah Szmuszkowicz, daughter of Batia and Leizer Gamusz 310
On the Terrain of Braslaw (commemoration poem)Yoel Nimnov 312
As a Memorial to the Fallen
A Father; On the Passing of My Son I Lament (poem)  313
Amity Kort, born in 1936 to Ester and Arieh, fell in 1956 defending Israel  315
Chaim Robowitz, born in 1929 to Moshe and Shoshana fell in 1948 defending Israel  316
Zvi (Yehoshua Heshel) Zeif born in Braslaw in 1912 to Chayim Abba and Chasia fell in 1948 defending Israel  316
Arieh Levin, born in 1946 to Yaakov and Zoya Chasia fell in 1968 defending Israel   317
Shmuel Berkman born in 1948 to Halina and Boris fell in 1973 defending Israel  318
The Shtetl Opsa
Reminiscence of OpsaYa’acov Aviel, nee Abelewitz, son of Ester and Zvi 323
The Survival Story of Motke (Mordechai) RosenbergMotke, born in 1928 to Leib and Chaia Pesia 339
Opsa, the town and its JewsArieh Munic 353
Melekhkeh Ha'Groi (Melekh the Brave)Arieh Munic and his sister Zehava Biloguski 354
The Shtetl Okmienic
The Survival Story of Alexander (Shmaryahu) DagowiczAlexander, born in 1923 to the sole Jewish family in Okmienic 354
The Shtetl Dubene
The Survival Story of Sima MorzkiSima, born in 1926 to Ester (also survived) and Israel Yizhak Feigin 367
The Survival Story of Rivka RokszinRivka, daughter of Chaia and Meir Maron 377
The Story of Mira LotzMira, born in 1926 to Rachel Lea and David Shneider 381
After Dubene was Liberated…Zalman Lewin, son of Sterl and Motl 389
The Story of the Sole Survivor of a Large FamilyChana Fejge Berkman, born in 1915 to Ester and Hirsh Skopiec 390
The Shtetl Zamosz
The Survival Story of Chalvina PincowChalvina, son of Zvia and Menachem Mendel 393
The Shtetl Zaracz
The Story of Shlomo Rajchel, the sole survivor of the only Jewish family in ZarachShlomo, son of Reizel (nee Krasin) and Mendel. 397
The Shtetl Jajsi
The Survival story of Szne'er Munitz,Szne'er, son of Rivka and Avraham Ya’acov Munic 399
Chapters for the Shtetl Jod (Jody)
The Survival story of Slawa PincowSlawa, daughter of Sara and Chaim Shalom Bor 405
The Survival story of Zalman FisherZalman, son of Chaia Sara and Yitzhak 427
The Survival story of Luba JanowsskiLuba, born in 1925 to Miryam (nee Zilberman) and Moshe Wilkicki 433
Partisans in the Area of BraslawMaps and notes from the book Partisans in the Vileika Region by Kilmov and Grakov 440
Partisans Natives of Jod Pinchas JofeBinyamin Dobyonski, Avraham Wilkicki, Shimon Zilberman, Shalom Munitz, Piwel Taruk 441
The shtetl Slobodka
The Survival Story of Boris BerkmanBoris, son of Mira Leah and Shmuel Hillel 445
The shtetl Kislowszczyzna
The Survival Story of Masha KapitzaMasha, born in 1929 to Zvia and Ya’acov (also survived) Rakszin 451
To Our Perished CommunityPolia (Pesia) Kahat, daughter of Frida and Sander Weif 459
Facing the Memorial Stone (poem)Ya’acov Aviel 463
Those we'll commemorate....(Lists of Perished)
Braslaw (Belarus)  467
Opsa (Belarus) 481
Dubene (Dubinovo, Belarus)  483
Zamosz (Zamosh'ye, Belarus)  486
Jaisi (Jejse, Belarus)  487
Jod (Iody, Belarus)  488
Slobodka (Belarus)   492
Plusy Plyussy, Belarus  493
Kislowszczizna (Kozlovshchina, Belarus)  494
Rimszan (Rimšė, Lithuania)  495
My Perished Town; abridged version of the Hebrew text in Yiddish 497 - 573
Picture of Braslav survivors and their family members  572
List of gentiles who saved Jews in the Braslav area  572
Darkness and Desolation - abridged version of the Hebrew text in English (paged backward, Hebrew version.) 644 - 573
Map of the Braslaw region  646
Map of the Braslaw region  647

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