Destruction of Jewish Kovno
(Kaunas, Lithuania)

54°54' / 23°54'

Translation of
Umkum fun der Yidisher Kovne

Edited by: Joseph Gar

Published in Munich 1948



Project Coordinator and Translator

Dr. Ettie Zilber


This is a translation from: Umkum fun der Yidisher Kovne
Destruction of Jewish Kovno
Editor: Joseph Gar, Munich 1948 (424 pages, Y)


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Translator's Introduction
Dedication & Acknowledgements
Preface Reuven Rubinstein 7
Preface Dr. Phillip Friedman 9
Forward Y.G. 12
I. Remarks about the Situation of Lithuanian Jewry during the Years 1918-1940 17
- Some characteristics of the political, socio-economic, and cultural situation of the Lithuanian Jews in the period between the two World Wars. - Outbreak of WWII - Important events in the country until the entrance of the Red Army into Lithuania.  
II. One year of Soviet Rule in Lithuania (June 1940-June 1941) 26
-Radical changes in the life of the Jewish population in Lithuania, with the establishment of the Soviet regime in the country. -Hasty deportation of politically non-loyal elements right before the outbreak of the war between Germany and Russia. -Increase of the anti-Soviet and anti-Semitic feelings among the Lithuanians.  
III. Outbreak of the German-Soviet War and the Panicked Evacuation 30
-Armed fights between the Lithuanian “5th Column” against the retreating Red Army. -Partial evacuation of Jews to the far regions of the Soviet Union. -First Jewish victims of the war.  
IV. First Mass-Actions Against the Jewish Population in Kovno 33
-The situation in Kovno on the eve of the German occupation. -Anti-Jewish incitement on the Lithuanian radio. -Attacks against Jews in Kovno. - The horrible pogrom in Slobodka. - Bestial murders in the garages  
V. Horrible Killing at the Seventh Fort 40
-Murderous crimes by the Lithuanian Partisans against the 10,000-12,000 Jews caught and gathered in one place. -Shaming, raping, and shooting Jewish women. -Murder of about 8,000 Jews.  
VI. The establishment of the Ghetto in Slabodka 44
-The Creation of a Jewish Committee. -The Jewish population of Kovno and surrounding towns forced to relocate to the newly founded ghetto. - A flood of anti-Jewish orders. -The first Action of the Jewish Committee moving the population into the Ghetto.  
VII. Jewish Victims Before Locking the Ghetto 50
- The Action on the “infamous Thursday.” - Death of over one thousand Jewish men. - Shooting of Jews while they were buying food products.  
VIII. Action of the Intellectuals Right After the Lock up of the Ghetto 53
- Locking up of the Ghetto. - Order from the authorities to deliver 500 Jews for “academic” work in town. - Registering several hundred Jews for work. - Capturing Jews in the Ghetto. - Tragic fate of the 534 captured young Jews.  
IX. The Robbery of Jewish Belongings 57
- Systematic house-searching in the Ghetto with the purpose of robbing Jewish property. - Terror and victims during the house searches. - “Voluntary” delivery of money and all other valuables.  
X. Test Action 61
- Distribution of 5,000 “certificates”. - Mass-Action in the Small Ghetto, whose process was stopped for unknown reasons after the first “selection.”  
XI. The first “organized” mass Action in the Ghetto 64
- Provocation concerning the “attempted murder” of the Commander of the Ghetto Guard by a Jew. - The closing of an entire ghetto neighborhood and the first mass Action in the Ghetto.  
XII. Action and Liquidation of the Small ghetto 67
Unexpected Aktzia in the Little-Ghetto. - The course of the Aktzia. - Burning alive of the sick and the medical personnel in the Jewish Hospital. - Liquidation of the Little-Ghetto and transfer of the surviving Jews to the other part of the ghetto.  
XIII. The Big Action 72
- Disturbing rumors before the Big Action. - The order to the population to assemble in Democracy Square, without giving the reason for the assembly. - Increasing panic in the Ghetto. - The gathering of over 26 thousand Jews in Democracy Square. -The course of the selection, from morning to evening. - The selected Jews were taken to the 9th Fort. - Agitation in the Ghetto. - The horrible fate of over 10 thousand Jews.  
XIV. The situation in the Ghetto during the first few months after the Big Action (November 1941-January 1942) 83
- Depressed atmosphere among the ghetto Jews. - “Reassuring” announcements from the Ghetto Command and the Gestapo. Assembly of foreign Jews at the 9th Fort for their murder. - Hunger, cold and hard labor. - Good news from the Soviet front. - “The Fur-Action” - Guarding of the Ghetto by a N.S.K.K. unit.  
XV. The First Relocation Action to Riga 91
- On the eve of the relocation Action. - Early recruiting of people for the relocation. - The failure of the Jewish authorities in recruiting. - Means taken by the rulers to perform the recruiting. - End of the relocation Action. -The fate of the relocated Jews.  
XVI. Life in the Ghetto in the Period Between the Two Relocation Actions to Riga (February-October 1942) 98
- “Action” of books and holy books. - Partial stabilization of the situation in the Ghetto. - The problem of using the Jewish labor-force. - Large Ghetto Workshops. - Signs of intensification of social life. - The struggle between Kaspi-Serebrowitz and Liptzer about the management of ghetto life. - Remarks about Liptzer's role in the life of the Ghetto. - Problems of nutrition in the Ghetto. - Smuggling of food produce. - A few words about ghetto livelihoods. - Decrees and more decrees: a. clearing up of ghetto neighborhoods, b. prohibition of pregnancy, c. closing of religious schools and schools for young children d. establishment of a “no-money” economy, e. prohibition to import food produce, f. recruitment for labor camps.  
XVII. The Second Relocation Action to Riga 126
- Measures taken by the Jewish Ghetto administration to recruit the required number of people to be sent to Riga. -Tense course of events at the end of the recruiting period.  
XVIII. A Hanging in the ghetto 130
- The doomed young Jewish man, Mek, who shot a German member of the Ghetto-Command. - Immediate Gestapo investigation. - Arrest of the Council Elder and his release. - The public hanging of Mek.  
XIX. “The Stalingrad Action” 134
- The measures taken by the Nazis to prevent Jewish satisfaction and joy over the German defeat at Stalingrad. - The course of the Action, which claimed 50 victims from the Ghetto.  
XX. Important Events in the Ghetto in the Spring and Summer of 1943  
- Conflict between the S.A.[a] and S.S.[b] concerning the management of the Ghetto. - S.S. - the new ghetto “owners”. - The first steps of dividing up the Ghetto into separate labor camps. - How they recruited for the first small labor camps in the provinces. - Founding a Jewish authority to select the people for the camps (the “Kazernirungs Commission”).  
XXI. Preparations to Turn the Ghetto into a Series of Separate Labor Camps 148
- Conflict between the S.A. and S.S concerning the managing of the ghetto. - S.S. - the new “owners”. - The first steps of changing the ghetto into separate labor-camps. - How the first small labor-camps were first recruited in the Province. - Founding a Jewish authority to select the people for the camps (the “recruiting committee").  
XXII. Relocation Action to Estonia 157
- Preparations for recruiting 3000 Jews for the labor camp in Ezsheretshai. [now: Ezerelis] - The mood in the Ghetto on the eve of the relocation. - The arrest of the Jewish “wood-brigade.” - The first day of the Relocation Action. - The situation in the Ghetto when they began catching Jews. - The fate of the people who were taken out. - The day after the events of October 26th.  
XXIII. From the Relocation Action to Estonia until the eve of the Action on the children, the old and the sick (November 1943-March 1944) 168
- Movement in the Ghetto to give the children to Christians. - Establishment of the first Jewish labor-camp in Alexot. - Jewish “life” in the labor-camp. - Founding the second labor camp in Shantz. - Clearing of the old ghetto region. - Further recruiting for Jewish labor camps. - Legendary escape of the Jewish labor brigade which worked in the 9th Fort burning Jewish corpses. - The situation in the Ghetto during the first few months of 1944: a. good news from the front, b. favorable economic situation, c. new obligatory registration, d. less recruiting, e. joining the partisans. f. Jewish fight against informers, g. Intensive building, h. Sending German “Kapos” to the Ghetto, i. Rumors, denials, etc., - More persons involved in connection with the Partisan Movement. - Individual and collective contact with private Christians.  
XXIV. Children, Old and Sick People Action 203
- Calm mood in the Ghetto on the eve of the Action. - “Innocent” organization of the Jewish Police to gather and learn how to protect themselves from attacks from the air. - Unexpected deportation of Jews to the camp in the 9th Fort. - The Action in the Ghetto and in the labor camps. - The situation in the Ghetto after the Action  
XXV. Difficult Situation in the Ghetto between April - June 1944 216
- Liquidation of the Jewish Ghetto Police. - Founding the “Service Order”. - Arrest of the Elders Council. - Final liquidation of the ghetto “autonomy.” - New and more severe directives in the Ghetto regime: a. Increased guarding over the Jews, b. Systematic counting of the Jewish population c. Dressing the Jews in striped concentration camp uniforms d. Hasty measures to recruit the rest of the Jews in the Ghetto. - The arrest of the Partisan leader Chaim Yellin. - Gestapo attack on a Jewish Partisan group.  
XXVI. Deportation and Liquidation of the Ghetto 230
- Kovno becomes a front zone. - Tense situation in the Ghetto on the eve of the deportation. - The course of the first days of the deportation. - The Gestapo's murderous measures during the last days of the deportation. - Horrible destruction of the Ghetto. - Terrible end for 1,500 Jews who were hidden  
XXVII. Fate of the Deported Jews 244
-What happened to the deported Jews when they arrived in Germany? -The painful road of the men in the Dachau hell -The fate of the women taken to the East-Prussian labor camps  
XXVIII. After Liberation 264
-New problems and worries for the liberated men and women. -The life of the surviving Lithuanian Jews during the first years of the “remaining-remnants.”  
XXIX. Cruel Blood Reckoning 270
Over 90% of the Kovno Jews, who lived in Hitler's hell perished for being Jews
Jewish Institutions in the Kovno Ghetto
  Introductory Remarks   277
I. The Elder's Council   279
  - Establishment of the Jewish Committee in the first weeks of the occupation and its further development. - Some main elements about the activity of the Elders Council as the highest representatives of the ghetto settlement. - About the Jewish ghetto administration in general and the politics of the Elders Council, specifically. - Leading persons of the Elders Council.  
II. Jewish Ghetto Police   301
  - Founding of the Jewish Ghetto Police and its basic tasks. - The role of the police in the ghetto life. - The Ghetto Police and the “Service Order”. - The separate units of the police. - The Police Orchestra.  
III. Labor Office   312
  - The significance of labor in the life of the ghetto population. - Early forms of forced labor for the ghetto Jews. - Gradual formation of stable Jewish workplaces in town. - First concrete steps to regulate the problems of forced labor. The organizational structure and basic activity of the special labor offices sections. - Important periods in the history of the Jewish Labor Office.  
IV. Economics Office  
  - Founding of the Economics Office -Appointments and activities of the Economics Office and its functions at organizing economic life.   345
V. Provisions Office   354
  - Official provisions for the ghetto population. - Institutions of the Provisions Office.  
VI. Housing Office   359
  - Painful question about living space in the Ghetto. - Extermination Action “to clear out” needed apartments. - Larger clear out of the ghetto areas. - Activities of the Housing Office.  
VII. Health Office   365
  - Problems of the state of health in the early months of the ghetto's existence - Medical institutions in the Health Office and their significance in ghetto life.  
VIII. Social Welfare Office   371
  - Necessary resources for large portions of the ghetto population. - Establishment of the Social Welfare Office and its activities.  
IX. Statistics Office   375
  - Representation in the Statistics Office and Address Bureau. - Establishment of the “Estates Office”. - Attempt at creating an illegal mail connection between Kovno and other ghettos. - Use of the materials of the Statistics Office.  
X. School Office   380
  - Educational issues in the early ghetto months. – Founding and character of the children's schools. - Liquidation of the schools and the School Office. - Activity of the Vocational School. – Attempts to alleviate the cultural needs of the ghetto population.  
XI. Ghetto Court   387
  - Origins of the Jewish court entity in the Ghetto. - Activity of the Ghetto Court and its liquidation. - Police Court.  
XII. Ghetto Firefighters   391
  - Firefighters Commando and its additional duties.  
XIII. Drawing and Painting Workshop   393
  - Completion of various graphic works
  Zionist Activity in the Ghetto 397
  Samples of Ghetto Folklore 401
  Index of Names 419


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