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[Page 325]

I Was Lucky . . .

By Elka Klug (Glezer)

Translated by Judy Grossman

Despite the many obstacles (the bombings by the Luftwaffe planes, arrests and acts of murder by the Fascist Lithuanian gangs), the journey eastward encompassed about 25,000 Lithuanian Jews, most of them young and of military age, from all the classes and political leanings of the Jewish public, and few of them were older men, women and children. Only about 15,000 of the Jews succeeded in overcoming the difficulties caused by the Soviet border guards and reaching the interior of the Soviet Union. The rest who remained alive were forced to turn back.[1]

I was born in Dusiat to my father, Kivye Glezer, and my mother Chaya-Sarah, née Simanowitz. My grandfather Zeev-Shlomo on my mother's side was a carpenter in Dusiat, who was called “der Ilgeshiler”, maybe because he came from the place nearby the forest Ilgaisilis.

One of my childhood memories that remains with me to this day is connected to Getzel [Binder]. I was a little girl at the time. My mother had gone out and I remained home alone. A tall and slightly stooped man came in, and I thought that he was poor and had come to ask for charity. I apologized that my mother wasn't at home and I had no money… On the bench lay a row of loaves of bread that my mother had baked, and the man asked me to slice him a piece of bread. When I handed him half a loaf, he grabbed me, laid me over his knee, smacked my bottom and said: “May you always have what to distribute to others.” These words still ring in my ears. Just then my mother walked in, and I heard her calling his name saying: “Getzel, hello!” I understood that the man was not a pauper who had come to ask for charity and I was embarrassed. Getzel told my mother what had happened, and warned her that I was liable to impoverish her because of my generosity, but he added: “If she had given me a whole loaf of bread, the mitzvah would have been whole.” “And you,” he said to me, “Now, in recompense for the ten smacks you received, you will receive ten kisses from me.” Getzel had a fabric store, and he gave my mother a piece of cloth to sew a dress, but only for me.

In 1935 we moved from Dusiat to Rakishok [Rakiskis]. When the war broke out and the Germans invaded Lithuania, we fled eastward from Rakishok, in the direction of Russia. I left home with my mother and father and my sisters Batka and Mashka, and my brother Zamke. My mother sewed a pocket inside my clothes, where I hid my birth certificate.

We reached Abel [Obeliai] and from there we continued on to the Lithuanian-Latvian border, but they didn't allow refugees to cross the border. There were wounded Russian soldiers there. They thrust a first aid kit into my hands and asked me to accompany one of the wounded who was being taken to a hospital across the border. When I returned I saw my family from a distance. My mother shouted to me: “Run away, to wherever your eyes take you!” I did as she said. That is how we were separated. I learned that the Lithuanians forced my family and many other refugees to go back, and they shot them without distinction. Many died in this way.

On the way a Lithuanian communist advised me to get rid of my identity documents. According to him, my appearance would not betray me as being Jewish. Military trucks passed by us, and I thought that I was getting into the last one.

The refugees, who were concentrated in a camp, were asked to present identity papers. The Russians feared that German spies had infiltrated among the refugees, and they immediately liquidated anyone suspicious. Many refugees who had no identity papers were executed, and I feared for my life, since I had destroyed my document. But a miracle happened to me: I was still sitting in the office when a hunchbacked man entered and took the red booklet of a party member out of his pocket. I immediately called to him: “Malasinskas!” He turned to me, looked at me and asked: “Who are you calling me by name?” For a moment I was amazed that I had gotten his name right, but immediately replied with the question: “Do you remember Chaya- Sore, the Ilgeshiler's daughter?” “Do you mean Musel's sister?” he asked. I confirmed this, and said that I was her daughter. To this day I find it hard to believe from where I drew the courage to approach him, and how I remembered his name. From my mother I knew that her sister Musel had a Lithuanian friend in Dusiat, a hunchbacked communist, and that his name was Malasinskas. With the Sovietization, the Russians appointed him to be a member of the Lithuanian seimas [Constituent Assembly], and he resided in Kovno [Kaunas]. In reply to the Russian officer's question, Malasinskas related that he had been imprisoned by the Lithuanians together with my aunt Musel, for the crime of being communists. The officer agreed to release me. “On your responsibility,” he said to the Lithuanian, and gave me a long leather coat. When the two of us left in the direction of the gate, I carefully rummaged through the pockets, in fear that the officer had laid a trap for me, and I found a pair of socks – and to my consternation, identity papers in German! I immediately tore them into pieces and offered the socks to Malasinskas. He refused to take them, and asked me to keep them until we met again.

At the end of 1945 – it was already after the war – while I was in Rakishok, Malasinskas showed up at my house one day. He had learned that I had survived and had come to see me. When I handed him the socks he burst into tears, hugged me, took money out of his pocket and paid me for them.

He returned to live in Dusiat, and before he died he asked his wife to call me. His daughter was working in Vilna [Vilnius] at the time in a department store, and she came to inform me of his request. I was pregnant at the time and was sorry that I couldn't fulfill his request.

At the height of the war I encountered my sister Batya's husband, Berl-Leibke Pores, and from him I learned that my mother and brother were in Kazan, in the Republic of Tatarstan. I found my mother in Andizhan, Uzbekistan, and we lived together for two years, until she passed away.


Elka Klug (Glezer) (left) and Masha Trotsky (Hamburg)
At the Launch of the Yizkor Book
Tel Aviv, October 15 1989


At the Dusiat Cemetery, 1991
Zalmen-Zamke Glezer
(from Dusiat, left), Feivel Treger
(from Zarasai) and Salomon Katz (from Dukstas)



  1. [20] Levin, Dov. Fighting Back: Lithuanian Jewry's Armed Resistance to the Nazis, 1941-1945, in Yahadut Lita, Vol. 4, p. 31. Return


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