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[Page 395]

Addendum – notes

  1. Zionist Activity in the Ghetto
  2. Samples of Ghetto Folklore

[Page 396]



Zionist Activity in the Ghetto

[Page 397]

The Zionist stream took up a very distinguished position and developed an active role among the individual social groupings in the Ghetto.

As we know, after the Soviets marched into Lithuania in June 1940, all the Zionist organizations were liquidated, and the majority of the Zionist party leaders were deported to the Asiatic areas of Russia. The deportations took place just before the outbreak of war between Germany and the Soviet Union. However, the Zionist activities carried on under illegal conditions during the Soviet times. In the confined space of the Ghetto, it had “unrestrained” possibilities for development.

In the Ghetto, in November 1941, they started forming the first and most significant Zionist youth organization, “A.B. Z.” (Organization of Alliance of Zion). Ideologically it stood between the general Zionists and Z.S. Leaders of the “A.B.Z.” were: Itzhak Shapira, Arieh Cohen, Abraham Melamed, Shlomo Frenkel, Rozenberg, and others.

At the same time, tests were made to renew the Hebrew newsletter “Nitzotz” [spark] which started to appear illegally in Kovno, even during the Soviet period. Aside from this pair of volumes of “Nitzotz” a few volumes from the newsletter “Shalhevet” [flame] also appeared in the Ghetto with an edition dedicated to resistance issues. These editions did not get out to a large readership.

In April 1942, “Matzok” (Zionist Center Viliampole, Kovno) was founded. Involved in this center, aside from the Chairman and Deputy-Chairman of the Elders Council, Dr. Elkes and Adv. Garfunkel, were also Chairmen of the General Zionists – A' (Dr. Ch. G. Shapira), General Zionists B' (A. Golub), Revisionists (Hirsh Levin), and Z.S. (Srebnitzki). The Chairmen of “Matzok” was Dr. Shapira.

[Page 398]

Already at the establishment of “Matzok,” the Zionist businessmen who had positions of responsibility in the ghetto hierarchy, tended to protect their former party members. This was evidenced in various ways, for example, by receiving “Jordan certificates,” better work positions, etc.

As was already mentioned, “Matzok” maintained an influence also on the activity of the Elders Council and its institutions. So, for example, all the most important decisions of the Elders Council in carrying out the orders of the regime, and by deciding and dismissing the officials of the ghetto hierarchy, went through the filter of “Matzok.”

In May 1942, “Eshel” (Organization for the Protection of Saplings) was established. The purpose of “Eshel” was a double one: guarding the Ghetto Gardens and organizing the Zionist youth. At the head of this youth organization were Dr. Shapira (from the Zionist side) and Dr. Yefim Rabinovitch (from the Economic Office). From those among the leaders of the youth leadership, we must mention: Itzhak Shapira (“A.B. Z.”) and Leib Ipp (Revisionists). “A.B. Z.” had the influence. “Eshel” had 300-400 youth from ages 14-18.

Aside from “A.B.Z.” which was the most distinguished Zionist youth group, there were also other active Zionist youth streams, like “Hashomer Hatzair” (leading members: Rauzuk, Vaskoboynik); “Beitar” (Ipp, Neishtot, Barishnik); “Hachalutz-Hazair;” “Dror” (Kaptshevski, and others).

The number of members in the youth organizations was comparatively small. So, for example in Summer, 1943 the largest youth organization “A.B.Z.” had about 150 active members and a few hundred in its periphery. “Beitar” mainly had active members. Its periphery was small.

“A.B.Z.” emphasized cultural educational activities for its members. For this purpose, they organized seminars for youth (led by Rozenberg) and for adults (Dr. Shapira). “Beitar,” by comparison, was engaged in social help for its members, taking up important positions in the ghetto hierarchy, especially in the Police. “The Young Guard, Hashomer Hazair” and “The Young Pioneer, Hechalutz Hazair” founded the only Kibbutz in the Ghetto.

[Page 399]

The older Zionists gathered around the following Zionist streams: a) Z.S. (Meshkotz, Srebnitzki, Engineer Sadovski, B. Cohen, S. Goldshtein, A. Cohen); b) Revisionists (H. Levin, m. Levin, Bukanz, Gotstein); c) Jewish statesmen (Chaitin, Sherkovitch, Engineer Goldberg); d) “Mizrachi” (Melamed, Shuv); General Zionists A' (Dr. Shapira, Ch. Kagan, Dr. Levitan, Alexandrovitch); General Zionist B' (Golob, Dr. Katz, B. Takatsh, Klotz). The last four Zionist streams educated toward a type of unified front, i.e., “Coordination.”

The leading persons of the “Coordination” were Ch. Kagan, and A. Golob. In the Summer of 1943, under the influence of the General Zionist A' and “Hapoel HaMizrachi,” they established the organization “B.Z.” (Zionist Union). The chairman of the “B.Z.” was Dr. Shapira. After his death this office was taken up by Ch. Kagan.

“B.Z.” postured to become the “United Zionist Organization” also after liberation. At this opportunity it is interesting to mention that even then, in the programs of these organizations, they predicted proclamations about a Jewish state in Eretz Israel (understandably, not knowing at all about similar decisions taken at the Biltmore Conference).

Also, “A.B.Z.” was ideologically close to “B.Z.”, and “A.B.Z.” was much more progressive. Its program was not strongly Socialist, but it had a distinct social color. A. Cohen published a brochure about the ideological essence of the “A.B.Z”. Thereafter, in February 1943, a platform was worked out from the “A.B.Z.” that on the 10th and 11th of April 1943, a special Board meeting would be convened which confirmed this platform.

In July 1943 the “A.B.Z.” and “The Young Guard” created the “Organizational Association of Zionist Youth.” “Beitar” did not join this “union.”

After the closing of the children's schools, they succeeded in creating Zionist youth circles near the Vocational School. Besides teaching various crafts, unofficially they were also learning general studies. From time to time, the youth groupings also organized cultural events and a large audience would attend.

At the end of 1942, many members of the former student organization became active, especially those from the civic groups.

[Page 400]

Aside from the cultural-social activity, the youth groups interested themselves in getting better workplaces for their members in the city brigades, in the ghetto workshops, and in the ghetto administration. During the time of recruitment for labor camps they would try to protect the interests of their own members.

Whatever was related to the conspiracy of the Zionist activity, we must say, that at first, they were very careful. Starting in the Summer of 1942, when the situation in the Ghetto became somewhat stabilized, the conspiracy returned to its earlier strong character.

In the Ghetto, whenever life was shaken-up, like for example, due to an Action or another decree, then social activities were temporarily paralyzed.

Also, as we know, in the movement to leave for the woods to join the partisans, the Zionist youth groups played an important role.

Zionist work was conducted not only in the ghetto settlement but also in the labor camps. For objective reasons, the work there was carried out on a much more restricted scale than in the Ghetto itself.

After the Children's Action, the “Matzok” itself became dissolved, but the youth groups did not halt their work. After the liquidation of the Elders Council, Dr. Elkes became nominated as “All Knowing.” Once again, contact was re-established between him and the Zionist groups. These connections were held until the deportations from the Ghetto.

The Jewish Police was liquidated and those leading the writings about ghetto events were killed at the 9th Fort. Thus, A. Cohen, on assignment from the Zionist groups, took over this work and did it during the last months of the Ghetto's existence.

Almost all leaders in the Zionist youth groups hid in the social-group hideouts during the deportation. But the largest portion died in the flames of the bombed and burned houses during the liquidation of the Ghetto.[a]


Original footnote:

  1. Most of the information for these notes was received from colleague, Sh. Frenkel. Return

[Page 401]

Samples of Ghetto Folklore

During the 3-year existence of the Kovno Ghetto creations of folklore arose, like folksongs, witticisms, and jokes, just like in every other ghetto settlement. These creations mirrored the various aspects of the relationship between the tragic ghetto reality and the Jewish people.

Occupying a place of honor in this folklore were the Ghetto songs which were created by poets with the intention of “memorializing” the most important phenomena in ghetto life. Many of these songs quickly became the property of the entire ghetto collective.

With simple, but heartfelt and touching words, the ghetto poet complained about the murderous measures of the occupation regime, about the helpless Jewish population, mass slaughters, relocations, forced labor, physical and moral humiliations, etc.

Very popular ghetto creations were those which criticized or “parodied” public ghetto life in a satirical or humoristic manner. For example, they referred to corruption, protectionism and other wail-provoking evils and inequities of the Jewish ghetto administration toward most ghetto Jews, the unique social differentiation in ghetto life, and the like. Because of that, we can often glean much more from a folk song or witticism than from lengthy writings in understanding the pain and “happiness” of the ghetto person.

The purpose of this information is not to give any viable evaluation about the folklore of the Kovno Ghetto. Rather, it is only to submit a few characteristic samples of its folkloric creation and show how well it complements the material which is being included in this book.

[Pages 402-403]

Folk Songs:
A year has already passed…



Author unknown. Created in 1942; it was one of the numerous original Holocaust songs, where the bloody fate of the ghetto Jew under the Nazi death-regime was lamented. The anonymous author ends his Lamentations-Song with words of comfort which call for perseverance and hope for better times.

A year has already passed
In days of pain and in days of fear
Soon another comes
And tells us that nothing better is coming
With coiled barbed wire
The patches are tightly sewn on us
So, they recognize you immediately
You are a Jew! You are a Jew!

They came from far
With sharp swords at their side
With hearts thirsty for blood
With murder, with fury
They soon mowed us down
Cut down young, cut down old
From women to children - no difference
You are a Jew! You will die!

The animal became satisfied
The swords sharpened and smooth
The world is in shambles from the huge catastrophe
The rest is worthless, entirely a horror
Separating us from people in the city
In chains, enslaved, pursued by all
Life abandoned and plagued…

A short time has indeed passed
They take people without end
They pull them by night, here and there
The 9th Fort is not far
They pluck and tear us apart limb by limb
The animal never gets tired
When will it ever end?
Thinking about it terrorizes us!…

We have no more strength
It is so difficult for us each hour
There should have already been time enough
To be freed from the Ghetto
Only bravery, brothers, not thoughts
This night will disappear
And the sun will shine for us
And call us: “come on, already, come on!” …

[Page 404]

Jewish Brigades…

Lyrics – Abraham Axelrod. Melody by Pilsodski-Marsh: “We the First Brigade.” Created at the end of 1941. This folklore creation described the humble Jewish “life” in the Ghetto and declared that the murderous Hitlerites must soon disappear.

A new time for us has come
A time of lament, need and pain
Away from us the sun and flowers
Remaining only a work-certificate

Jewish brigades dressed up in patches
Marching, day in and day out
And hold back the sorrows - be bold!

You have created ghettos for us
And conducted many Actions
You made slaves and servants of us
And annihilating us is your goal

Jewish brigades dressed up in patches
Marching, day in and day out
And hold back the sorrows - be bold!

We work for you and build
And you pay us with beatings
Strongly guarded by enemy convoys
We have no right to protest

Jewish brigades dressed up in patches
Marching, day in and day out
And hold back the sorrows - be bold!

We don't ask you for mercy
Not your pity, you hold no word
We know your hounds very well
The “nice events” at the 9th Fort

Jewish brigades dressed up in patches
Marching, day in and day out
And hold back the sorrows - be bold!

We don't complain and cry to you
Even when you hit and whip us
Therefore, you shouldn't think
That you will break our spirit

Jewish brigades dressed up in patches
Marching, day in and day out
And hold back the sorrows - be bold!

We will survive it, brothers
Our spring, our victory
Then we will straighten out our limbs
And sing a new freedom song.

Jewish brigades, dressed up in patches
Marching, the time is near
The Spring is coming, it is not far!

[Page 405]

Song: The Aerodrome Guy



Lyrics – Abraham Tzipkin. Created in 1942. The Aerodrome worker, the “slave” of the Kovno Ghetto settlement, was described many times in his book “The Aerodrome Worker,” which illustrated the inhumane conditions of this slave labor, through which thousands of Jews worked day and night.

Friends, I want to sing a song for you
A song which cries out from my heart
Telling you everything, like I see it,
Telling, telling the entire thing…

The early morning is gray, it is dark and wet
Our bones are broken from yesterday
The clothes are torn; they are hanging, still wet,
Soaked from the terrible weather.

Soft little hands knead the lime
Pure souls are suffering
Enough of this hell, we want to go home
This calamity cuts like knives…
Little boys carry gravel
Their strength is already disappearing
The master gives another swipe with his rod
And even adds a curse to the devil.

And food? – what food, when do they give food?
Water with cabbage, only to sip
And searching hard for a grain pellet in the middle
We need to call it out of the pot…
Hands already thinned out and bodies already tired.

Life has already become ugly,
We don't want and can no longer sing any song
It seems that everything is lost
Just hold yourself, just strengthen yourself, you eternal Jew
Don't lose hope and belief
It won't be bad forever nor will the slavery last forever
You will not be in pain forever!

[Page 406]

At the Little Ghetto Gate

Lyrics– A. Axelrod. Melody “Oifn Pripitzhok Brent a Fayerl” [A little fire is burning on the hearth]

This little song depicts the checkpoint at the Ghetto Gate, while Jews were returning from work in the city.

At the little ghetto gate
A fire is burning
And the terror is great
Jews are coming
From the brigades
And they are dripping with sweat

Should I continue going further?
Or should I remain in place?
I don't know when or where
The little commandant
In the little green coat
Takes everything away

A chunk of wood
Money from the little purse
Oy, horror, he's taking it:
Milk from the saucepan
Bacon from the scoop
Jews, we're burned!

Hey, pal with the armband[a]
I am completely “illegal”
Help me get through the check point
For this, I will give you
A kilogram of bacon today
And tomorrow – once again.

Stand confidently
You stay right near me
Don't run to the side!
Go to the non-Jew on the right
“This guy is already O.K.” [In Lithuanian]
He gets a loaf of bread…

[Page 407]

Song: The Committee Guy



Lyrics – Natan Markovski. Created in 1942. A list of privileges flowed for the colleagues from the Jewish administration. This caused social antagonism between the “Committee guys” and most of the ghetto-Jews. The reader can get a picture of this situation from this song.

Something strange about how you speak
Why am I in the Committee?
If I weren't in the Committee-
I would not be here or there…

Here, for example, there is a queue
At the “bread bakery” they stand for hours
That, however, is not for me
They take me through the back door…

Potatoes are given, alas and alack
Wet, rotten, and full of straw
However, I am not an idiot
They give me from a different sack…

Or wood is distributed by the river
Wet and few – this for you
For me it is a different thing-
For me it is dry and a lot…

To the airport we must go
This you understand, yourself
When you mention the fact
That you are not in the Committee

One would be lucky to be in the brigade
Where they work at the “green bridge,”[b]
This is however only for “them”
For me it is the “Service-Police.”[c]

Six persons in a kitchen
At least near a cooking stove are sleeping crowded.
For me it does not happen
For me the room is just for one

Now you will finally understand
What was mine was mine
“If I were not in the Committee,
I would be neither here nor there” …

Indeed, I am telling you the truth
In the Committee it is also not equitable
One gets whatever he wants,
The other – remains a Don Quixote…

[Page 408]

Song: Big Shots



Lyrics– A. Axelrod. Created in 1942. This folk song is also a social critique about the same privileged elements in the Ghetto – the Big Shots [Yales]

Tell me, tell me you little ghetto Jew,
Who plays the first violin in the Ghetto?
Who among the big shots, some more, some less
Wants to reign here just like a king.

Cymbal, cymbal, play little ghetto-Jew
Play a little song about the Jewish big shots-

From all the “chiefs” and “inspectors”
Who became important people in the Ghetto…
Who from among the big shots can give out a work card
And a certificate to remain alive?
And how much does one have to pay,
To get into a good brigade?

Cymbal, cymbal, play little ghetto-Jew
Play a little song about the Jewish big shots-

Why do the big shots eat white baked goods
Warm little bagels, rolls and biscuits?
And enjoy music and playing cards,
And celebrate “holidays” with real cakes?

Cymbal, cymbal, play little ghetto-Jew
Play a little song about the Jewish big shots-

Have the big shots ever worked at the Aerodrome
With an ax, with a shovel, or with a disability?
Maybe our big shots would have understood
Why the poor masses are asking such questions.

Cymbal, cymbal, play little ghetto-Jew
Play a little song about the Jewish big shots-

Who needs the concerts when the sadness is great
And the hunger wails in the poor man's home?
Better get them a bowl of “pig swill”
And stop carrying on with the big shots' parties…

Cymbal, cymbal, play little ghetto-Jew
Play a little song about the Jewish big shots-

[Pages 409-410]

Not your luck…



Lyrics and music – Shaul Shenker. A fragment from a song about “equity” among the Jewish officials and how they distributed passes to a working woman, the so-called ghetto-madam…

Little Deborah goes in to see the doctor
Her nose is covered with a lovely little handkerchief
My dear Sir Doctor, give me a day's pass
That guy with the little white hat[d] - he should go to hell
I rested a little while on the grass,
So, he came running and broke my nose…”

“Not your luck to be free,
We must do forced labor, guys, we must go.
There is no pass, don't delude yourself
Tomorrow there must be the full demanded number.”[e]

To the same little table, a madam comes by
She has no idea about working at the airport
Her eyes are shining, her lips – like blood,
She courageously speaks to the inspector in Russian
“Today I demand of you again, give me a pass for 25 days.”

“You are lucky, you are free,
You'll receive a new pass again
With such eyes, lips, and teeth
Of course, you won't go to the airport…”

[Page 411]

Song: Tall Man!



Lyrics- N. Markowski. Created in 1942. V. Lurie described the brutal attitude towards the ghetto-people by the people from the Aerodrome-division of the Jewish Labor Office. In his folk song (this is only a fragment from the song) the writer depicts the “dictatorial” manner of this angry Jewish ghetto ruler.

In the Ghetto there was
A really big man
Who became a tyrant here.
Every early morning
He chased people, like livestock
Thinking that he will live forever.
Always wild, screaming and cursing
At the people with a wild animal roar.

Tall man, big man, give a smile.
Don't make yourself out to be a hero in the Ghetto
Tall man, big man, be smart
Know that there will yet be a different world.

I don't understand what he thinks
What brought him to this
What did it take that he alone would have the power
Screams, like he is the only honest one
Except for him – no one else.
Only we know indeed, that to be honest is difficult
One is brought salt
One is brought fat
But for him they indeed bring him everything.

Tall man, big man, give a smile.
Here there is no place for dictators
Tall man, big man, be smart
Know that this is not the last word…

[Pages 412-413]

Yiddish Tango



Lyrics by Reuven Tzarfat. In pre-war Jewish Lithuania this author was a familiar writer, who received notoriety with his fourteen successful pamphlets. “Jewish Tango” which was much more than an ordinary folklore-creation and was really popular far beyond the borders of the Jewish Kovno settlement. The writer was killed in the Dachau labor camps.

Play a tango for me in Yiddish
It could be Misnagdish or Chasidish
So that grandmother herself
Should be able to understand it
And, indeed, dance to it a while!

Play, play orchestra, play
Like a Jewish heart with feelings
Play, with soul, with feeling, I beg you,
Play a little dance for me, oh, play

Play me a tango about refugees
About people separated and dispersed
So that big and small children
Should be able to understand it
And, indeed, dance to it a while!

Play, play orchestra, play
Like a Jewish heart with feelings
Play, I beg you, with soul, with feeling.
Play a little dance for me, oh, play

Play for me a tango, not at all Aryan
It shouldn't be Aryan, nor barbarian
So, the enemies should see
That I can still dance
A little dance, still with fire!

Play, play orchestra, play
Like a Jewish heart with feelings
Play, I beg you, with soul, with feeling.
Play for me a little dance, oh, play

Play for me a tango about peace
It should be peace, not a dream
That Hitler with his Reich
Oy, the direct atonement
Oh, will that be a little dance for you!

Play, play orchestra, play
Like a Jewish heart with feelings
Play, I beg you, with soul, with feeling.
Play for me a little dance, oh, play

[Page 414]

Folk Witticisms, Jokes, and the like

YALEH: the following is the “story” about this ghetto word: In Autumn, 1941, thousands of Jews were engaged in forced labor at the Kovno Aerodrome. The relations of the masters and guards to the Jewish workers was quite harsh. When a guard or a master stepped away from the workplace for a while, the Jews could catch their breath and not work. However, they would have to watch carefully in case a supervisor returned unexpectedly. They would get deathly beatings for such “violations.” One day, during a moment of rest among the workers, the Carmelite Rabbi Broido,[f] saw a German guard approaching. He started shouting: “Yaleh v'yavo.” [from a Hebrew blessing]. With that he meant to warn the Jews that a German is coming. From then on, the word “Yaleh” became a code word at the workplace, signifying that a supervisor is approaching. Later the word “Yaleh” became a synonym not only for a non-Jewish tyrant, but also for a Jewish ghetto “official.” The word “Yales” referred to the higher functionaries of the Jewish ghetto administration.

VITAMIN “P”: the plague of protectionism, among others which ensnared all areas of public ghetto life, was touched upon in the description of the activities of the Jewish ghetto institutions. Efforts by the simple Jews to get something from a ghetto institution was almost always unsuccessful if they didn't have any acquaintances or introduction to someone from the leading Jewish ghetto officials. In ghetto life, the ruling “principle” was, take care of me and I will take care of you. That meant, you do me a favor and I will serve you with something. This protectionism reigned especially in the Jewish Labor Office, which would distribute the better workplaces mainly to persons who were protected by a “Yaleh.” In such a case it was said that the Jew has Vitamin “P” (a vitamin of Protectionism). For short, they would call it “vitamin.” For example, “he has a vitamin from this one or that one”; “he is a person with vitamins;” “there is a spot for those who have vitamins,” and the like.

[Page 415]

NOT YOUR LUCK: if a common Jew wanted to aspire to some better workplace or get something which was accessible only to the “higher” classes in the Ghetto, and his efforts did not bring any positive results, it would be said: “not your luck to get it”; “it is not your luck to access it,” etc.

MAKING A PACKAGE: one of the most painful issues in ghetto life (aside from extermination Actions, captures, and other decrees) was the question of something to eat. The Jew had to risk his life and often also the lives of his family members to acquire a bit of bread and something along with it for the family. The Gestapo would punish them very harshly for this illegal buying of food products, oftentimes also with death. However, the drive to quell their hunger did not hold anyone back from getting a bit of food through work. “Making a package” meant buying food products from Christians at affordable prices and thereafter smuggling it into the Ghetto.

COMPRESS: to illegally smuggle purchased food products in through the checkpoint at the Ghetto Gate, they would have to hide the food in various ways. One of the numerous types of disguises was “making a compress.” This meant binding up the little bit of flour, the piece of meat, butter, etc. on the body around oneself like a compress. Mainly women would do this. The checkpoint guards did not always manage to check every Jew so thoroughly each time. In this way, the majority would succeed in fooling the gate officials with a compress.

[Page 416]

BURNED UP: if the gatekeepers did find some food product on a Jew, they would confiscate it and, in addition, often punish him with a slap or a beating. In the case of confiscation, it was said that they were “burned up” at the gate. During a very strict control, the Jews would warn each other at the gate with the codeword: “we're burning!”

ORGANIZING: this meant simply swiping something from one's workplace, like for example, grain, vegetables, factory products, and the like. Several ghetto Jews paid with their lives for unsuccessful attempts at “organizing” something. For such sins they were transferred to the Gestapo. It must be said that the inhumane living conditions in the Ghetto and especially in the concentration camps would loosen people's moral inhibitions. So, with a light heart they would allow themselves various “permissions” …

MALINA: this little word had many meanings: a) a bunker or a hiding place where one could hide himself until the fury passed during an Action or some other ghetto calamity; b) a good workplace, where work conditions were favorable, and c) a place where one could buy food at inexpensive prices. In such cases they might say: I caught a real malina;” “this is a one-time malina,” and the like.

YOSHNIK: a cooked dish without meat or fat. A soup which consisted of water with some cabbage leaves and a few potatoes. The Jews would receive such “soup” at lunch at the Aerodrome and other labor sites as well as in the kitchen of the Social Office. The very word “yoshnik” means feed which is given to pigs.

[Page 417]

MALACH: someone who has a good workplace, could also be assigned to work at the Aerodrome or at another hard labor site for one or two days. A materially enabled Jew could rent a non-duty youth or older person to substitute for him. Such a substitute was called a “malach.” [angel]

STEPPING, BOTHERING: this meant working, carrying the heavy yoke of forced labor or hard labor at the Aerodrome or in a difficult city brigade.

THE TYPE OF NOURISHMENT DICTATES THE MOVEMENT: the Nazis, as we know, designated hunger-based nourishment for the Jews and, in parallel, required that the Jews do the most difficult forced labor. When a German master or guard started to force the Jews to work harder and screamed: “move!” So, the Jews murmured, more to themselves than to the Germans: “The type of nourishment dictates the movement…”

EVERY BIG SHOT HAS HIS BRIDE: it was already emphasized that certain higher functionaries in the Jewish ghetto hierarchy, from time to time, allowed themselves to have “parties” and other forms of entertainment for “their own people.” Aside from that, these elements would strongly violate the [commandment] Thou Shalt Not Covet and, also other prohibitions. Many of them had “lovers” who would exercise strong influence on their “admirers”. These “festivities in the time of an epidemic” and other outbreaks of lawlessness reached such lengths that the ghetto people responded in its fashion with a witticism or with a little folk song: “Every Yaleh has his bride, and the police… have two.”

[Page 418]

THE BROWN HOUSE: the building on Varniu Street 49, where the Elders Council, the Jewish Labor Office, and other important ghetto institutions were located, happened to be painted brown. Bolstered by the Jewish ghetto “kingdom,” Jews would sarcastically call the quarters of the Elders Council “the brown house” – a reference to Hitler's brown house…

JEWS ARE FORT PEOPLE: various German commissions and inspectors often came into the Ghetto and held conferences about the fate of the ghetto population. Understandably, Jews would truly gobble up even the smallest sound regarding decisions of the commission. In Spring 1944, when the Ghetto was already on the eve of liquidation, a commission of high Nazis came to the Ghetto. The rumor that spread among the Jews about the commission's decision regarding the Ghetto, was the following: the Commission realized that the Jews are Fort People. That meant, people who must be killed at the Fort… (the opposite possible interpretation, in this sense, was that Jews are “obviously” people).

THE MEANING OF ANOTHER THING: one ghetto Jew asks the other: “Tell me, what is the meaning of the word “another thing?” The second Jew answers: “as a matter of fact, the word “another thing” has more meanings; but the best meaning is a pig…”

SALVATION ON THE NOSE, SLAUGHTER KNIFE ON THE NECK: in July 1944, with the approach of the front line, deportation and liquidation of the Ghetto became likely. The Jews characterized that situation with the sharp minded witticism: “salvation lies on the nose, and the slaughter knife lies on the neck.” That meant, on the one hand, liberation was very close, and on the other, the danger that the Nazis would kill the rest of the surviving Jews remained.


Original footnotes:

  1. a Jewish functionary at the Gate. Return
  2. A very difficult workplace where the simple Jews worked renovating the Kovno railroad bridge. Return
  3. One of the best city brigades where the “aristocratic” men and women of the Ghetto. worked. Return
  4. A German Aerodrome supervisor who would beat the Jews. Return
  5. Means the demanded number of Jewish workers for forced labor. Return
  6. He was taken to Riga during the first relocation Action in February 1942 and was killed in a labor camp. Return

[Pages 419-423]

Index of Names

Abramovich, Adv. Yakov, 311, 390
Abramovich, Dr., 370
Abramovich, 392
Acabas, Dentist, 369
Alexandrovich, 342, 399
Aloiz, Monach, 170
Altman, 332
Aranovski, 252, 311, 342
Arbeter, Dora, 259
Arliuck, 281
Arnshtam, T., 218, 293, 311, 340, 342
Auer, S. S. Staff Sergeant, 346
Axelrod, Abraham, 404, 406, 408
Aylberg, 332
Kadushin, Mrs., 350
Kagan, Ch., 110, 281, 379, 399
Kagan, Dr., 369
Kagan, Dentist, Mrs., 369
Kagan, Elchanan, 193
Kagan, 394,
Kagan, 332
Kalvariski, 308v Kamber, Mrs., Dr., 369
Kaminskas Ghetto spokesperson, 45, 54, 61, 285, 375
Kantorovich, 353
Kaptshevski, 326, 398
Kapit, 386
Kaplan, Mrs. Dr., 369
Kaplan, 353
Kariski, 309
Karetchinski, 311
Karpus, 332
Kaufman, Dr., 369
Kavarski, 357
Kazial, Adv., 374
Kazlovski, Chef of Ghetto guard, 64, 131,
Kelzon, Agronomist, 110, 351
[von] Kepen, Ghetto spokesperson, 124, 285
Katz, Dr., 369, 399
Katz, 364
Kittel, Jewish spokesperson in Gestapo, 117, 161, 192, 196, 205, 211, 216, 218, 222, 227, 228
Kirkila, Lithuanian Officer, 42
Kizel, 100, 386
Klebanov, Dr., 369
Klibanski, Dr., 369
Klompus, 332
Klotz, 399
Koniuchovski, 332
Kopelman, 281, 311
Krak, 370
Krakinovski, Pine, 182
Krakinovski, 320
Kramer, Hans, Kovno City Commissar, 45, 68, 70, 94, 149, 309
Kram, 351
Kreve-Mitzkevicius, Professor, 24
Kubilionas, General, 34
Kupritz, 310
Baal-Machshavot, 21
Baicovitz, 357
Bargman, Engineers, 320, 338
Bar-Kupritz, 310
Bar-Vishtanetzki, Dr., 369
Barishnik, 398
Belatzkin, Prof. Shimon, 368, 390
Bentzko, Camp leader, 178, 224, 240
Beregovski, 356
Berkman, 332
Berman, R., 143, 191
Berman, Dr., 281, 369
Berniker, F., 379
Bernstein, Adv. Israel, 298, 346, 377
Bernstein Fritz, 329
Bernstein, 356
Birger, 311
Blatt, 332
Bliacher, 358
Bloch, Sh., 352
Bliasberg, Dr. 369
Blumberg, Dr., 369
Blumental, Eng., T., 252, 332
Bonim, 347
Borstein, brothers, 309
Bobialis, Polkovnik, 34, 41
Borochovitz, Alte, 193
Braunz, Dr., 369
Braz, 332
Brakaytiteh, Ana, Monachin, 170
Bramson, M., 193, 252, 311, 348
Brick, H., 110
Broude, Rabbi, 414
Buch, Adv., 390
Bukantz, 311, 319
Burstein,Michal, 247, 252, 379
Burstein, Daniel, 247
Burstein, 251
Lapidus, 356
Lazerson, Professor, 369
Leibowich-Goldshmidt, Dentist, Mrs., 370
h, Ch., 370
Leibzon, 332
Leibenzon, I., 379
Lemchen, 100
Levin, Hirsh, 192, 266, 298, 346, 398, 399
Levin, Mogie, 196
Levin, 205
Levin, Moshe, 156, 192, 206, 311, 399,
Levin, Rafael, 266, 323
Levin, 350
Levin, 370
Levin-Abramovitch, 266
Levin, 386,
Levin, Mrs. Dr., 244
Levitan, 309
Levitan, Dr., 337, 399
Levner, 205
Levenshtein, 342
Lint, 309, 332
Lipman, 385
Liptzer, Benno, 89, 114, 115, 116, 117, 143, 211, 216, 286, 311, 370
Lipshitz, 332, 334
Lipshitz, R., 370
Lipshitz-Veiner, 370
Lipshitz, 392
Lubetzki, 332
Luntz, Mrs. Adv., 390
Lurieh, Adv., Volf, 293, 328, 340
Lurieh, 332
Lurieh, I., 342
Lurieh, 347
Lurieh, Dentist, 369
Caspi-Serebrovitch, 113, 114, 286
Chatzkels, Helene, 266
Charashtenishok, 332
Chaikin, Adv., 377, 379
Cheitin, 399
Chvales, 311, 342
Cohen, Arieh, 397, 399, 400
Cohen, Berl, 266, 399
Makovski, Av., 332
Mapu, Abraham, 21
Margolis, P., 156, 293, 325, 340
Margolis, Dentist, Mrs. 370
Markovski, N., 156, 338, 340, 411
Markovski, 326
Matematik, Chaim, 117
Mattis, Dr., Moshe, 369
Mattis, Dr. (son), 369
Matz, Dr., Shmuel, 36
Meizel, Olia, 193
Melamed, Abraham, 386, 397, 399
Melamdovich, 308, 326, 344
Mendelson, 326
Mek, 130, 132, 133
Meris, 344
Meshkotz, 364, 399
Mia, Camp Commander, 176, 177
Mizrach, 332
Mihles, brothers, 110
Mil, Engineer, 316, 332
Miller, Ghetto Spokesperson, 133, 285
Milshtein, 349
Mishelski, Engineer, 394
Mudrik, 351
Davidovich, Mrs., 323
Davidovich, 329
Davidovich, 335
Deitsch, A., 323
Diner, Adv., 266
Dukshtulski, Mrs., 309
Dvoretzki, 353
Nabriski, Dr., 370
Nachumovski, Dr., 337
Nachumzon, 332
Naftal, 332
Nakan, Dr., 369
Natkin, 342
Neividel, 348
Neishtot, 398
Nechmod, 310
Nementshik, Dentist, Mrs., 370
Nissenbaum, 332
Edelshtein, 357
Eizenshtat, Dr., 370
Elkes, Dr., Elchanan, 47, 53, 73, 80, 106, 131, 158, 166, 202, 218, 219, 233, 283, 284, 286, 294, 295, 296, 297, 370, 397, 400
Elkes, Dr., G., 369
Elshtein, 299
Epshtein, 349,
Epshtein, R., 370
Ogoz, 323
Olayski, Agronomist, Yakov, 334
Olitzki, Dentist, 370
Oretshkin, Boris, 136, 332
Orlianski, Dr., 369
Oshry, Rabbi, 384
Osovski, Rabbi, 38
Ozhinsky, Eng., 392
Fin, 357
Finkel, 309
Finkelshtein, Dr., Ch., 337
Finkelshtein, 392
Fleishman, S=Chef from Ghetto guard, 130, 132
Flink-Yoselevich, 370
Flier, 329
Feldshtein, Dr., 369
Felman, 334
Fentzter, 357
Friedman, B., 110
Friedman, Benyamin, 266
Freidman, brothers, 332
Friedman, Dr., 337
Freidman, 332
Frenkel, Engineer, 319
Frenkel, Herman, 320
Frenkel, Shlomo, 397, 400
Frenkel, V., 332
Frenkel, Sh., 334
Padison, 311
Paletzskis, Justas, 25
Panemunski, 311
Paukshtis, Galach, 170
Pertzikovich, Dr., 369
Perkol, 342
Pilovnik, Aydl, 193
Pilovnik, Tuvia, 193
Pilgram, S.S. Staff Sergeant, 198, 234, 244
Pikert, 332
Potroch, 346
Pol, General, 279
Pomerantz, 309
Portnoy, Dr., 182
Prisman, 326
Gadiel, 394
Gottstein, 399
Golach, Professor, Dr., 369
Goldberg, Adv. Yakov, 47, 219, 279, 284, 297, 298, 320
Goldberg, Eng., 329
Goldstein, Sh., 374, 399
Goldschmidt, Engineer, F., 266, 347
Golub, Adv. Abraham, 284, 299, 385, 397, 399
Gotz, Fr., 370
Gar, Yosef, 266, 332
Garber, Sonia, 266
Gordon, 332
Garfunkel, Av. Leib, 47, 219, 252, 279, 284, 296, 297, 397
Gutman, 100
Gurvitch, L., 357
Gurvitch-Eliashkevitch, Dr., 369
Gurvitch, Dr., 369
Gurvitch, Mrs. Dr., 266
Gurvitch, 386
Gurvitch, Miss., 394
Gershovitch, Adv., N., 332, 364, 374,
Gershovitch, Agronomist, 351
Glagovski, R., 370
Gladstein, 309
Glazman, Yosef, 114
Glatt, Sh., 374
Glickman, 332
Glickman, Dentist, 369
Gemelitzki, 110, 281, 346
Gempel, 90
Goecke, S.S, Lt. Colonel, 100, 116, 150, 151, 152, 153, 155, 157, 158, 161, 166, 173, 180, 181, 185, 186, 187, 189, 200, 201, 203, 204, 205, 212, 213, 218, 219, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 228,232, 233, 234, 237, 238, 241, 286, 294, 295, 309, 344, 355, 356,
Gerber, Dr., 90
Gerstein, Dr., 369
Gerstein, 384
Grossman, 311
Griliches, 323
Griliches, Dentist, 369
Grinberg, Dr., 332, 369
Grinberg, 334
Grinberg, Yitzhak, 99, 192, 206, 311
Grinhouse, Dr., Shmuel, 252, 320
Grinfeld, 251
Rabinovich, Dr., Yefim, 47, 279, 398
Rabinovich, Dr., Itzhak, 106, 344
Rabinovich, Mrs., 344
Rabinovich, B., 335
Rabinovich, 348
Rapaport, 356
Ratner, Engineer, Sh., 156, 190, 334
Ratner, David, 156, 191
Ratnikas, Lithuanian Police officer, 135
Rauca, Gestapo-official, 55, 72, 73, 76, 77, 78, 84, 163, 294
Rauzuk, 398
Razin, Dr., 349
Razin, 394
Rebelski, Professor, 266
Rein, 333
Reiness, Engineer, 332
Reznik, 358
Richman, Dr., 370
Ring, S.S. Captain, 110
Rochelzon, 357
Roginski, Engineer, 281
Rostowski, 299
Rozmarin, 309
Rozenberg, Alfred, Reich person, 100
Rozenberg, 397-398
Rozental, Sh, 384
Rozenblat, 386
Rozenbaum, 394
Rozenblum, Mrs. Dr., 369
Rubinson, 311
Rutenberg, Adv., 390
Hauer, George, 111
Haid, Percy, 309
Halpern, Dimeh, 190
Hofmekler, Misha, 309
Hirsh, 332
Herman, S.A. Captain, 105, 106, 141, 343, 344

Idelson, 332
Ingel, 370
Indurski, 349
Isserlis, 251, 342
Ipp, Dr., 370
Ipp, Leib, 398
Itzikovich, David, 385
Irena, 146
Sadovski, Engineer, 334, 399
Sapozshnikov, Menashe, 191
Segal, Dr., 369, 374
Segal, Mrs. Dr., 386
Segal, R., 349
Segalovski, 347
Segalson, M., 110
Segalson, Prov., 350
Seletzki, 350
Senior, Leah, 193
Shabashevich, 332
Shauchet, 374
Shachnovski, Engineer, 332
Shalit, 358
Shalitan, Z., 342
Shapiro, Rabbi, 73, 279, 294, 385,
Shapiro, Dr., Chaim-Nachman, 298, 385, 386, 397, 398, 399
Shapiro, R., 370
Shapiro, Itzchak, 386,397, 398 Shafranski, 332
Shevtz, 370
Shenker, Shaul, 410
Sherman, Moshe, 191, 266
Shinberg, Adv., 299, 357, 390
Shkirpa, Polkovnik, 34
Shtitz, Jewish spokesperson in Gestapo, 115, 117, 128, 136
Shtein, 332
Shtein, Dentist Mrs., 370
Shteinberg, 357
Shub, 399
Shvartz, Y., 110
Shvartz, Sh., 342
Shtreichman, 281
Shlopoberski, Dr., 344
Shmerkovich, 374, 399
Shmidt, Dr. 350
Shmidt, 394
Shmuckler, Rabbi, 47, 279, 298
Shmuckler, Mrs. Dr., 310
Shmuckler, 299
Shor, 309
Shpegel, 251
Slonimski, Engineer, 332
Slominski, 342
Slove, R., 370
Smetana, Antanas, 19, 24, 46
Snieg, Rabbi, 47, 279, 298
Snieg, Mrs., 386
Sobolevich, Mrs., 386
Solomin, 266
Srebnitzki, Prov., 350, 398, 399
Srebnitzki, 347
Srolovich, 332
Starovolski, A., 332
Stofel, Abrasha, 309
Stokol, 386
Strashon, Frida, 266
Strelitz, A., 370
Sudak-Katz, 370 Sukenik, 320
Svirski, 364
Tamshe, Dr., 332
Tankel, Mrs. Dr., 369
Tarko, I., 342
Telzak, brothers, 358
Tchatch, B., 308, 399
Tepper, David, 266
Tint, Z., 370
Tornbaum, Police Chief, 57, 76,
Tubialis, Lithuaian Prime Minister, 295
Treger, D., 347, 374

Tzarfat, Mrs., 386
Tzarfat, Reuven, 413
Tzeitel, Dr., 369
Tzindler, 335
Tzipin, 332
Tzipkin, Abraham, 332, 405
Tzitzes, 332
Ullman, 356
Valsonok, Dr., Rudolf, 191, 328, 379
Varantz, 347
Vashtshin, Dr., 370
Verbovski, Yankel, 171, 342
Volf, Dr., Gregory, 47, 281, 298
Volf, Dr., 332
Volfberg, 309
Volfe, 379
Volfert, 251
Volfovich, 386
Voskoboynik, 398
Videman, Ghetto spokesperson, 285
Viduchinski, Dr., 370
Veiner, 308
Veintroib, 364
Vilenski, 351
Vindsberg, Dr., 337
Vinik, 323, 332
Yasvon, 332
Yatkonski, Mordechai, 37
Yatkonski, Dentist, Mrs., 38
Yatzkan, 333
Yeglin, 374
Yeger, S.A.-Shtandartnfurer, 279,
Yellin, Chaim, 145, 190, 225, 226 227, 228
Yellin, L., 234, 358
Yellin, Engineer, 266, 332
Yellin, 309
Yellin, Mrs., 266
Yeshurin, 332
Yitzhak-Elhanan, Head Rabbi, 21, 106
Yochelson, I., 346
Yochelson, Mrs. Dr., 369
Yoels, 357
Yordan, Ghetto spokesperson, 46, 56, 59, 61, 62, 76, 78, 84, 94, 95, 96, 107, 121, 285
Yotkovski, 344
Zacharin, Dr., 249, 369
Zak, Adv., 311, 332, 390
Zaks, Yakov, 310
Zaks, 326
Zaltsberg, Dr., 369
Zeltzer, 311
Zhopovich, 342, 386
Zhopovich, Yudel, 206, 311
Zieman, H., 226
Zilberkveit, Adv., 205, 311
Zilberman, 377
Zundelevich, 323


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