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[Page 300]


Last Destruction of Drohitchin

Massacre of Ghetto A – 3,000 Jews perished

Shortly after the death of the sixteen on October 15, 1942, Ukrainian police surrounded by Ukrainian police, and the entire community of Ghetto A were sent off to the train station not far from the old cemetery and shot. For several days thereafter, they searched for all Jews who were in hiding, and took them to the transport location near the train station.

Old Gedaliah Grossman, who in fact regained his health shortly before the aktsia after having been very ill for a long time, was staying in a cellar together with his daughter-in-law Dora and granddaughter Bluma, the country doctor Aharon Lasovsky and Alter Friedenberg (David Mordechai's [sic] Warshavsky's son-in-law). They were all taken away to the transport location and shot.

Tuvia Zbar, who had been in hiding in a forest, came alone back to town and raised his hands to the police, asking them to shoot him. His request was fulfilled. In the meantime the Germans let Doctors Lampel and Schechter remain alive so they could work in the hospital. However, they rejected the Germans' mercy and committed suicide.

[photo:] The Grossmans – R. Gedaliah (father), Zelig (right) and Bluma the grandchild perished. May G-d avenge their blood! Yirmiyahu (left) and Chaim Leib survived.


Germans incite gentiles to kill the fleeing Jews

        The local gentiles then received an order to bring any Jew they found to the police. They would receive 500 Ukrainian karbovantsys (50 German reichsmarks), a bottle of vodka and a package of tobacco. By contrast, anyone hiding a Jew would be shot. They gentiles zealously carried out the order, and they would turn over poor Jews to the police, while they would kill wealthy Jews and rob them. Jews had nowhere to hide; everyone was mobilized against them, and death awaited them everywhere. No one recognized a Jew in his time of trouble.

[photos:] Aharon Lasovsky and Alter Friedenberg, may G-d avenge their blood!

        Benzion Bezdzhezesky, a young community leader, fled to his father's gentile friend in the village of Poyasi during the aktsia. They tied him up and brought him to the police, who shot him. The Bilinka “good gentile friends” did the same thing to Rivka Sertchuk (wife of Fishel the butcher) and many others. They were hunted like wild animals and couldn't find shelter or help anywhere.

        Partisan groups, who at that time were staying in the forest around Drohitchin, were mostly Ukrainian nationalists or ordinary bandits who would killed any Jew they met. At that time the partisan group of Dzhenkovsky operated around Khomsk. Those bandits systematically killed any Jews they got their hands on, hoping to erase any trace of the massacres the bandits had committed in Khomsk before fleeing to the forest presumably out of fear of revenge, and becoming partisans.

[Page 301]

        Starting one year later, when Dzhenkovsky's unit – like the others units of the Soviet partisans – was under the control of Soviet commanders, it stopped hunting down Jews. Dzhenkovsky himself was shot for his “good acts” by a Soviet commissar. There was a partisan brigade called the Pinsk Unity operating around Lechevitch and Bilinka. The unit named for Kutuzov, which was part of the brigade, killed many Jewish refugees. Starting at the end of 1943 it was run by Soviet commanders, changed renamed itself the Suvorov Unit and ceased hunting Jews.

        Some Jews still experienced suffering and torment and joined partisan units, fighting the Germans and their Ukrainian and White Russian servants, thereby living through the hardships of Job that they faced from their “brothers in combat.” A few Jews from Ghetto A managed to escape to Pruzhany, where there was still a Judenstadt (where an entire town was turned into a Jewish ghetto, and the gentiles were transferred out of there), to Radostov, where there were still voluntary camps of lumber crews and partisan units.

        Those who fled to Pruzhany were Reuven Warshavsky, Chasya and Velvel Wisotsky, Yudel Schmid and Yosef Siderov. They came into contact with partisan groups that were operating tenaciously in the Bialoviezh forests around town. Yudel Schmid was a fighter in the partisan unit, excelled in the struggle against the Germans, and died heroically in battle. The partisans shot Yosef Siderov as soon as they found out that he had been a policeman in the ghetto.

        Avraham Adler (now in the United States), Zalman Orliansky (youngest son of Yudel of Lechevitch) and Sender Kravetz (youngest son of Avraham Kravetz) fled to the camp in Radostov. Isaac Lev (son of Eliezer Lev, grandson of Yaakov Rosenshein, known as Wise Yankel) went to Pinsk, where there was still a Jewish community, but gentiles captured him on the way and killed him.

        The following Drohitchin refugees got to the partisan units from Ghetto A: Yehoshua Kapelushnick (today in Argentina), Binyamin of Vartsevich (died in 1946 in Prague), and shoemaker Ezriel Pomerantz (who died at the end of 1943 in a battle with his unit against Germans in the village of Bilinok). Mordechai Milner (son of Shmuelik the butcher) hid out in Drohitchin in a cellar under the floor of his house for 6-7 months.
In the spring of 1943 thugs from the Polish school, which at that time was located in David Eisenstein's brick house, uncovered his hiding place and turned him voer to the police, who shot Mordechai on the spot.

        At the beginning of 1943 the select “worthwhile Jews” of the region living in Kobrin, were killed. These included many people from Drohitchin.

[photo:] From right: Y. Warshavsky, Sam Feldman, Sheinka Warshavsky-Baum and Reuven Warshavsky. The last two perished. May G-d avenge their blood! The photo was taken in 1932 on the Sand Street.
[photo:] Mordechai Milner, May G-d avenge his blood!


Germans kill the rest of the Jews in Radostov

After the destruction of Ghetto A the camp in Radostov lasted for another three weeks. The camp commander, Martin Jefreiter, the so-called friend of the Jews, visited the camp workers a day after the destruction of the ghetto, handed out cigars, and consoled the Jews. He said that a million Jews worked for “us” in the camps, were important manpower, and that they would not let them be turned over to the German forces or Gestapo.

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