The Extermination of the Jews of Kovno
(Kaunas, Lithuania)

54°54' / 23°54'

Translation of
Umkum fun der Yidisher Kovne

Edited by: Joseph Gar

Published in Munich 1948


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

 

Note: The original book can be seen online or purchased at the Yiddish Book Center site: Umkum fun der Yidisher Kovne


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TOC translated by Yocheved Klausner

 

* * *
Reuven Rubinstein 7
* * *
Dr. Phillip Friedman 9
Preface I. G. 12
 
I. Remarks on the Situation of the Lithuanian Jews in the Years 1918-1940 17
On 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 in 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 in the Lithuanian radio. - Attacks against Jews in Kovno. - The horrible pogrom in Slobodka. - Bestial murders in the garages.  
 
V. Horrible Killing 40
Murderous crimes by the Lithuanian Partisans against the 10,000-12,000 Jews caught and gathered in one place. - Shaming and shooting Jewish women. - Murder of about 8,000 Jews.  
 
VI. The Establishment of the Slobodka Ghetto 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 Aktzia on the “infamous Thursday”. - Over one thousand Jewish men perished. - Shooting Jews while they were buying food products.  
 
VIII. Aktzia on the Intelligentsia Right after Locking the Ghetto 53
Locking the ghetto. - Order from the authorities to deliver 500 Jews for “intelligent” work in town. - Registering several hundred Jews for work. - Capturing Jews in the ghetto. - Tragic fate of the 534 captured young Jews.  
 
IX. Robbing Jewish property 57
Systematic house-searching in the ghetto with the purpose to rob the Jewish property. - Terror and victims during the search. - “Voluntary” delivery of money and valuables.  
 
X. “Test-Aktzia” 61
Distribution of 5,000 “certificates”. - Mass-Aktzia in the Little-Ghetto, whose establishment was stopped, for unknown reasons, after the first “selection.”  
 
XI. The First “Organized” Mass Aktzia 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-Aktzia in the ghetto.  
 
XII. The Aktzia and the liquidation of the Little-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 Aktzia 72
Disturbing rumors before the Big Aktzia. - The order to the population to assemble in the Democracy-Square, without giving the reason for the assembly. - Increasing panic in the ghetto. - The gathering of over 26 thousand Jews in the Democracy-Square. The course of the selection, from morning to evening - the sorted-out 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 Aktzia” (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-Aktzia”. - Guarding the ghettto by a NSKK unit.  
 
XV. The First Relocation-Aktzia to Riga 91
On the eve of the relocation Aktzia. - Early recruiting of people for the relocation. - The failure of the recruiting act from the part of the Jewish authorities. - Means taken by the rulers to perform the recruiting. - End of the relocation Aktzia. - The fate of the relocated Jews.  
 
XVI. Life in the Ghetto in the Period Between the Two Relocation Aktzias (February-October 1942) 98
“Aktzia” on 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 the social life. - The struggle between Kaspi-Serebrowitz and Liptzern about the influence on the ghetto-life. - Remarks about Liptzer's role in the life of the ghetto population. - Problems of nutrition in the ghetto. Smuggling of food produce . - A few words about ghetto-livelihoods. - Again decrees and more decrees: a. cleaning the ghetto neighborhoods; b. prohibition of pregnancy; c. closing of Batei-Midrash (religious schools) and schools for young children; d. establishment of a “no-money” economy; e. Prohibition to import food produce; f. recruiting for labor in camps.  
 
XVII. Second Relocation-Aktzia 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 occurrence of the young Jewish man Meck, who shot a German, member of the Ghetto-Command. - Immediate Gestapo investigation. - Arrest of the Council Elder and his release. The public hanging of Meck.  
 
XIX. The Stalingrad Aktzia 134
The measures taken by the Nazis to prevent Jewish satisfaction and joy over the German defeat at Stalingrad. - The course of the Aktzia, which cost the ghetto 50 victims.  
 
XX. Important Events in the Ghetto in the Spring and Summer of 1943  
The project of relocating some 4 -5 thousand Jews from the Vilna region to the Kovno ghetto. - Also bringing to the Kovno ghetto some 800 Jews, who worked in the Zhezhmer area. - The Gestapo accusation, that the Ghetto Jews were sending “signals” to the Soviet aircraft. - Vague rumors about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. - Attempts of the first Jews in the ghetto to join the partisans in the forest.  
 
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 Aktzia to Estland 157
Preparations for recruiting 3000 Jews for the labor-camp in Ezeretchay. - The mood in the ghetto on the eve of the relocation. - The arrest of the Jewish “wood-brigade.” - The first day of the Relocation-Aktzia. - 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 the 26th October.  
 
XXIII. From the Relocation Aktzia to Estland to the eve of the children, the old and the sick Aktzia (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 the old ghetto region. - Further recruiting for Jewish labor-camps. - Legendary escape of the Jewish labor-brigade, which had 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 stuation. c. New obligatory registration. d. Less recruiting. e. Joining the partisans. - More persons involved in the connection with the Partisan Movement. - Individual and collective connection with private Christians. f. Jewish fight against informers. g. Intensive building. h. Sending German “Capo's” to the ghetto. h. Rumors, denials, etc.  
 
XXIV. Children, Old People and Sick Aktzia 203
Calm mood in the ghetto on the eve of the Aktzia. - “Innocent” organization of the Jewish police to gather and learn how to protect themsewlves from attacks from the air. - Unexpected deportation of Jews to the camp in the 9th Fort. - The Aktzia in the ghetto and in the labor camps. - The situation in the ghetto after the Aktzia.  
 
XXV. Difficult Situation in the Ghetto during April - June 1944 216
Liquidation of the Jewish Ghetto-Police. - Founding the “Order-Service”. - 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. Changing the Jewish clothes into striped 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 of 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 of 1,500 Jews who had been hidden.  
 
XXVII. The 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 of the liberated men and women. - The life of the surviving Lithuanian Jews during the first years of the “Last of the Remnants” [She'erit Hapleita] time.  
 
XXIX. The Horrible Blood-Balance 270
Over 90% of the Kovno Jews, who lived in the Hitler Hell, perished for the Santification of God's Name [Al Kidush Hashem]
 
Jewish Institutions in the Kovno Ghetto
(Monograph)
  Introductory Remarks   277
 
I. The Elders Council   279
  Establishment of a Jewish Committee during the first weeks of the occupation and its further development. - Some basic points about the activity of the Elders Council, as the highest authority of the ghetto population. - About the Jewish ghetto-administration in general and the policy of the Elders Council in particular. - Leaders in the Elders Council.  
 
II. The Jewish Ghetto Police   301
  Founding the Jewish Ghetto-police and its basic tasks - the role of the police in the ghetto-life. - the Ghetto Police and the “Order-Service”. - The separate units of the police. - The police orchestra.  
 
III. The Labor Office   312
  The significance of the work and life of the ghetto population. - Early forms of forced labor for the ghetto Jews. - Gradual formation of stable Jewish work-places in town. - First concrete steps to regulate the problems of forced labor. The organizational structure and basic activity of the special work-offices sections. Important periods in the history of the Jewish Work-Office.  
 
IV. The Economy Office  
  Founding the Economy Office. - Establishment and undertakings of the economy office and its functions at organizing the economic life.   345
 
V. Office of Social Care   354
  Official care for the ghetto population. - Institutions.  
 
VI. Housing Office   359
  The painful question of housing area in the ghetto. - Destruction actions somewhat “alleviate” the need for apartments. - Larger areas in the various sections of the ghetto. - The activity of the housing office.  
 
VII. Health Office   365
  Problems of health during the first few months of the existence of the ghetto. - Medical institutions of the Health Office and their significance in the life of the ghetto.  
 
VIII. The Social Office   371
  The material needs of a large part of the ghetto population. - Founding the Social Office and its activity.  
 
IX. The Statistic Office   375
  Establishment of the Statistic Office and the Addresses-Bureau. - Founding the “General State Office”. - Attempt at illegal correspondence between the Kovno and other ghettoes. - Use of the materials of the Statistic Office.  
 
X. The Education Office   380
  Pedagogic matters during the first months of the ghetto. - Founding elementary schools and their nature. - Liquidation of the schools and the Education Office. - Activity of the Vocational School. - Efforts to meet the cultural needs of the ghetto population.  
 
XI. The Ghetto Court of Justice   387
  Establishment of the Jewish Court in the ghetto. - Activity of the Court and its liquidation. - The Police-Court.  
 
XII. The Ghetto Fire Fighters   391
  Fire Fighters Commando and their side- duties.  
 
XIII. Sign-Posts and Painting Workshop   393
  Various graphic works.  
 
  Additional Remarks   397

 


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