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[Col. 1597]


(Kozyany, Belarus)


Translation by Anita Frishman Gabbay

This small town had about 200 families, of which 50 families were Jewish. There were 17 Jewish shopkeepers and 13 Jewish handworkers. Market day was every Wednesday. Very little products were available, as many arrived bringing goods at cheaper prices. It is interesting, that even the Christian cooperative closed here. It was run by a weak woman and they couldn't afford to hire a supervisor.

The Jewish folk were very poor and barely survived. There are 5 warehouses in the shtetl and they were involved mainly to bartering, they traded combs, needles, soap, pins and pig–hair, flax and other things, the police tried to confiscate these goods (probably black–market dealing).

Several Jewish families went into the wood trade, but soon the regime went into the lumber business and this put an end to this Jewish livelihood.

The Jewish bakeries and butcher shops

[Col. 1598]

had to pay high taxes, which led to debt. From all sides our situation worsened, and all were left helpless. Our impoverished community wanted to start paving the roads, but this required money. Every day we run one to another for handouts. It is a sad state of affairs, as no one has the extra cent (groshen).

Half a year later, a terrible fright broke out in our shtetl. A great fire broke out the in the center of town, where the nicest homes and shops were found, all were destroyed by fire and smoke. Many of the merchandise was lost. Until this day the town could not rebuild itself. They took out loans and tried to build anew, however, they fell into debt.

All this led to very bad times for the shtetl and there was no hope for the future.

[Col. 1599]

From Vidz we were brought to Sventzian. When the Sventzian (ghetto) was liquidated in 1943, together with my parents and brother, we were brought to the Vilna Ghetto. We were a group of 12 people in the Vilna Ghetto, which were my brother; Israel Solitan, Shlomo Ichiltchik, Motl Feigl, Borke Ulman, and others. We all left the Ghetto to the forests led by a group of Sventianers that came to help us leave and join the others in the forests.

When we arrived in New Vileika we received the yellow badges. Not knowing the roads, we wandered around for about a month, travelling at night and hiding during the day. Finally, with much misery, we arrived at the Kazian forests, and here we joined the Partisan group.

YEKAPO 1931 register, Pinchas of Lita

In the Kazian Woods

by Israel Ichiltchik

Translation by Anita Frishman Gabbay




At the end of June 1941, the first part of the mobilized German army arrived in our shtetl. They were first met by an organized resistance of White–Russians and Poles, the commander was Solski, the priest Nachanowitch, and the doctor (barber surgeon) Koniascik.

In November 1941, 28 Jews were assembled and taken under the bridge on the way to Vashevitze, where they were ordered to dig ditches and then they were shot. A few ran away. The Jews dug their own graves. Those who survived were: Nate Esterovtch, Yehutiel Reichel, Israel Ichiltchik and Josef Swirski, who later had the idea that the order came from the leader Solski.

In March 1942 a group of Jews were sent to Vidz, but some were left in Kazian as they were considered useful workers.

I left Vidz for a small town Osierov and from there I went to the woods and met up with Russian groups. A Christian friend of mine helped me, not having any arms(revolver )he introduced me to an organized Otriad, “Sportok”. I became involved with this Christian Fufkevitch from Pletarova and sent him to bring my wife Chana Solitan and Asher Bitushunsky from Vidz. The Christian was captured and arrested, and the letter was found… He was shot, but Asher Bitushunsky managed to flee to the woods.

November 22, 1942, the Germans started to attack the woods. Most of the group of the Spartok Otriad managed to go in the direction of Polotsk. The ones that remained behind from the small surrounding towns were: Kazian, Yadi, Miori, and Zamashe, organized an attack with Leib Voliak from Stayatitshok. 500 Germans were then in Kazian. They shot into the woods and tried to capture the Partisans.

Not far from us were hundreds of Gypsies.

[Col. 1600]

The result was that the Gypsies and a small group of Jews from Sharkovtzina, Yadi, and Pohost were killed in these attacks.

May 3, 1943, Russian groups started to return to the Kazian woods and regrouped the Otriad Spartok and amongst them there were some Lithuanians from the Markov brigade from Sventzian. Our small Jewish group with Leib Voliak also fought with the other Otriads.

In the same month of May, the Russian group took out of their Lithuanian division all those that were born in our region and parachuted them into the Kazian forests with full military authority, to bring medical supplies and help, especially because the well known communist of New Svencionys, Afroim Guterman was amongst them. An attack against the Germans with these fighters was immediately organized. As I knew this area quite well, the military commander took me along as a scout to help navigate the forest.

During an offensive attack Afroim Guterman was caught by the Germans. We did not want to be caught alive by the Germans. I was on such an attack with very important Russian military against the Germans, when we came across a wagon. In this wagon we found the mutilated body of our dear Svencioner comrade Afroim Guterman.

In the summer of 1943 we fought a bitter battle against the Germans, were we lost our dear leader Leib Voliak, who was responsible for many German casualties as well. Together with him we lost the sick sister Braina Hochman from Kazian.

Together with others, I took part in many more important attacks against the German garrison in Kazian and Vosevitche. We killed many of them and destroyed and burned their trains and barracks.

In the month of August, a group of young people arrived from the Vilna Ghetto, brought by Sventzianer, New Sventzianer and Vidzer young fighters.


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