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[Col. 1217]

The Destruction of Kaltinian – In Those Dark Days

(Kaltinėnai, Lithuania)


By Rachel Milontchik

Translation by Anita Frishman Gabbay

June 22, 1941 the Germans attacked the Lithuanian–Soviet territories. The panic in our shtetl was great, many refugees from Lithuania began to arrive in order to save themselves in Russia, but to arrange this was already too late. The Germans encircled the shtetl on all sides, and life grew more difficult from day to day. The Lithuanians took over and began to target the Jewish people: they attacked them in the streets, they robbed their shops, and dragged Jews to various work details.

Several days later we learned that the Jews of Lingmian suffered a terrible fate and the entire shtetl was murdered in a gruesome manner. Things got worse for us. On July 8, without reason, they arrested Mashe Rochin(Yitzhak Yosef's daughter), Yoel's wife, z”l with her niece, Chana Beila Kharmatz (Charmatz). They brought them to the edge of town and shot them. These were the first casualties in our shtetl. Friday July 11, 1 o'clock at night, they surrounded the shtetl, gathered several families, took them to the edge of town near the lake and shot them.

Those murdered were: my father Avraham–Leiba Milontchik, Rochel and Yitzhak Milontchik's children, Shasel Volovitch and her children, Chasia, Shloime and Esther. Esther married A Sventzianer lad, she was pregnant and after the slaughter, they found her alive with her dead child.

That same night, those that were murdered were Ruben Trak with his wife, he attempted to resist and struck a policeman with a knife. Aidel Kovalski with her children, Laia and Benyamin Rufeitz, Chana Eidel Guterman with her children.

[Col. 1218]

Abraham Yitzhak Guterman, her husband remained alive. Later he was murdered in Poligon. As it was told, he was a man of 80 years old, he swam across the river and escaped to New Sventzian, but from there he was later sent to Poligon.

In the second week, those murdered were: Yacov Moishe Tabacovitch, Berel Tabacovitch, and Dovid Rufeitz.

The remaining Jews stayed in Kaltinian until the deportation to Poligon, where they were murdered with all the other Jews from the Sventzian region.

In Svir, I met up with Berel Volovitch and his wife and Berel Guterman's family. Chaia, Berel Gutermans wife, and her daughters were murdered on the way to Sventzian. Berel died in a lager (work camp) in Estonia. Chana Rufeitz died in the liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto. Berel Volovitch and his wife returned to check on their daughter they left behind with a Christian in Nemencine. The gentiles sold them out and they were shot. They were buried next to the house of the Christian.

Dovid Guterman, at the outbreak of the war, was serving in the Polish army and from there was fortunate to escape to Russia. In 1943 they sent him into the Kazian forests by parachute. There he was appointed commander of a special division. In the division “Spartak” he fell in battle when the Germans blockaded the Kazian forests.

Those that were saved were: Neche Tabacovitch, Beila Garshein, Yosef Abrahmovitch, Yoel Rachin, Shmuel Katz, Gershon Katz and wife and child, and Chana Portnoy.

This is all that remained from the Jewish community of Kaltinian.

[Col. 1219]

Those who died in Poligon: Motel Movish with his wife Rochel Katz and their children, Devoirele and Hirshele. Alter Tabacovitch and his wife Baila. Sheina Tabacovitch, Binyamin Volovitch and his family, Ben–Zion Volovitch and his family, Shifra Rufeitz–Rudnitzki and her child. Garshein's family Motel and Mera. Chloine Gavenda and his wife Batia Raiza and daughter Eitel. Abraham Yitzhak Guterman,

[Col. 1220]

Eitel Gavenda, Shalom Tuvia's daughter, Rafael Katz and his wife Dina and daughter, married to Yacov Tabacovitch , and her child Yitzhak–Elia. Eliahu Kurapatkin's family, his daughter Rivka and her husband Natan Beigel and their child, Leia'le. Henia came to Kaltinian with her husband where she gave birth to a child and they all perished in Poligon.

[Col. 1219]

The Mass Graves in Ponar and Poligon

by Neche Tabakhowitz–Bakaltchuk

Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay

Two mass executions swallowed up thousands of Jews: Ponar and Poligon. Ponar wiped out the community of “the Jerusalem of Lithuania” and Poligon, the community of the Sventzian region.

In the years prior to the war, in the “good” times Ponar was a train station with many trains passing through. Passengers were not in any danger, as many Jews, on those fields and even the fields of Poligon, used these as meeting places, where thousands of Jews passed through (vacationed).

Often the Russian and Polish soldiers gathered here, where they set up tents in the town and carried out their yearly military manoeuvres.

The Hitlerite beasts used these fields as mass graves for thousands of living Jews. In the fall of 1941, thousands from Sventzian, New–Sventzian, Podbrodz, Kaltinian, Ligmian, Ignalina, Haydutishok, Gaviken, New–Daugelishak, Old Daugelishak, Stayatishok, and Maligan were either shot or buried alive here.

The “long train to their deaths” were carried out by the Lithuanian bandits. Their hands are stained with Jewish blood, just like those of the Germans.

Until today I cannot forget the caravans with thousands of Jews, dragged around, terror stricken, crammed as “glued” together with hopelessness in their eyes.

Most of them were innocent and pure, and for all that had already happened to them; they wished for only one last thing: that death should come quickly…

Everyone wanted to become the first victim, in order not to see their nearest and dearest meet their end in front of their eyes.

[Col. 1220]

It took 10 days for those animals to complete their gruesome acts of terror. For 10 days the 8000 Jewish people lived in the most horrible conditions in the barracks of Poligon, until their turn finally came for their deaths. They willed the end should come quickly.

Over 400 Lithuanian bandits helped the Hitlerite beasts with this extermination. The day of the murder the Rabbi Kimkhi of New Sventzian wrote: “Shema Israel, Jews”, it is God's will and I will be the first to go to “Kiddush Hashem”! (I will finally meet my maker).

Right after those words the beast–like slaughter began. The murderers didn't want to waste bullets so they threw the young children, still alive, into the pits. The execution was too horrendous to watch. Everyone stood in his row anxiously awaiting his turn which was not soon enough.

For two days, October 8 and 9, 1941, this devastation lasted. Long after covering the pits, movement and sounds were coming from them, the earth of this mass brother's–grave was still moving. Christian recounted the story that the earth moved for several hours after the mass execution.

There, in that mass grave, I lost my nearest and dearest, my beloved young children: Devoreh'le and Yosel'le. The well of tears in my eyes are all dried up and there are no more tears! My heart is wounded and will never heal!

Their memory should not be forgotten by Jews, and each generation should pass on to the next generation what the Nazis have done!

[Col. 1221]

A List of the Jewish Families
in Kaltinian Before the Holocaust

by Ada Katz

Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay

  1. Rudnitski, Gershon, a well known forest merchant his wife Sura, children: Eliahu, Zlata, Leizer, Leib, Yitzhak, Berel, Shifra, Rivka, Ezriel
  2. Kremer, Hirsh, a well known forest merchant his wife Devorah, chidren: Yosel, Zlata, Eliahu, Roze, Rochel, Liza, Rivka, Gitel, Yitzhak
  3. Katz, Shloime Yose, an innkeeper with a beer shop(factory) his wife, Devoreh, children: Zlate, Alter, Rochel
  4. Faive Yitzhak Popiski, a forest merchant his wife Yocheved, Chaim, Aharon, Shloime Mordechai Hertz
  5. Katz, Abraham Yitzhak, post office his wife Gitel, children: Feige, Beila, Ida, Mirta, Eliahu
  6. Kurapatkin, Eliahu, a peddlar his wife Chana Aidel, children: Zale, Berel, Eliahu, Hinda, Baila
  7. (8 in book) Rudnitzki, Chone, forest merchant and owner of a grocery store his wife Chana Rive, children: Zlate, Sure, Raizel, Shifra, Eliahu, Motel, Yitzhak Meir
  8. Mabacovitch, Natan, a miller and merchant his wife Hinda, children: Rivka, Sheina, Itel, Chaia Laia, Baila, Alter, Yacov, Berel, Hirsh
  9. Mabacovitch, Yacov (Hirsh), forest merchant and farm worker His wife Reizel, children: Berel, Shimon, Yosel, Neche, Teibe
  10. Itze Yacov the Shamash his wife Mashe
  11. Volovitch, Faive Yitzhak, a butcher and farm worker his wife Teibe, children: Ben–Zion, Berel, Moshe, Rivka, Benyamin, Baila
  12. Portnoy, Dovid, a tailor his wife Raizel, children: Nechame Tobe, Reichel, Chane, Zalke
  13. Rufeitz, Yehoushe, a wagon driver of wood his wife Laia, children: Ruchel, Zalmen, Binyamin, Dovid, Chana
  14. Movish, Motel, a bookkeeper in the wood trade his wife, Rochel, children: Eliahu, Leib, Shloime Yosef, Shimon, Hirsh, Devorah
  15. Gavenda, Sholem Tuvia, a fisherman
  16. Zak, Itze Ber, a blacksmith his wife Sura, children: Yacov, Henoch
  17. Milontchik, Shmuel, a tar shop Gitel, Yitzhak
  18. Milontchik, Leib, worked in forestry his wife, Hiena, children: Iser, Rochel, Braine
  19. Gavenda, Chloine, a chimney sweep his wife Beitye–Raize, children: Feige, Chaia–Sura, Itel
  20. Volovitch, Bentze, butcher and wood trade his wife Sose, children: Shloime
  21. Garhin(Garshein), Motel, manufacturing and watcher–maker his wife Riva Mera, chidren: Dovid, Rochel, Beila
  22. Katz, Rafael, the bath attendant his wife Dina, children: Shmuel, Rochel, Gershon
  23. Henia Munia, a daughter Riva
  24. Ruditzki, Yechiel, a shopkeeper his wife Rochel, children: Laia, Ahroine


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