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[Page 339]

[photo:] Mordechai and Sarah Buder. Left: Yitzchak and Sarah-Itka Buder-Holtzman, Feigel and Yehudit. All perished. May G-d avenge their blood!

         We wandered and rambled along in the dark, cold world. On or off the road, as long as our feet could move, we just hoped we'd get somewhere. We fell and walked, and fell and walked again. We helped each other get up again and continue crawling. We hoped we'd come across someone, anyone. Suddenly we came to a place we recognized, the place where we were being shot at. We just stood there for a while, amazed and not knowing what to do. However, we soon mustered up more courage and started going faster. It wasn't far from there to our earth house – we were on our way back “home” and hoped that no one would find us there. We were ready for anything and had nothing to lose.

         Our hearts were pounding, and our minds were filled with all sorts of thoughts. Another hour, and then we were back “home” again at our ditch. I went in through the secret entrance in the ditch and suddenly heard a scream in Russian, “Who's there?” I recognized the voice of Yisrael Eliezer Charsel's grandson Paltiel from Drohitchin, and fainted.

         When I came to, I found our “home” surrounded by the whole group, and told them everything that happened to us. The group to rest and eat something, after which we would all go out to save the five girls at the haystack. Asna, a girl from Drohitchin, ran outside, made a fire and cooked me some soup. She also baked a couple of potatoes to take along for the dying girls. In the meantime, my friends told me that David and my cousin Shepsel were also missing.

         As I ate the potato soup that Asna cooked up for me, I felt that my boot was wet. My friends removed the boot, but they took off the boot together with some skin off my foot. My big toe on the right foot also came off. Ten minutes later I was lying there unconscious.

[photo:] From right: David Yudelevsky, Pelta Mazursky, Liba and brother Kir, Moshe Lasovsky (above) and others. All perished except for Pelta. May G-d avenge their blood!

Will you ever forget it? No, never!

Later on, when I came to, my friends told me that I was talking with a fever, telling them to go save the girls, and even describing their location. My friends spent a whole week searching – every single night they covered the entire area but didn't find the girls.

[Page 340]

[photo:] Top: Esther Shushanov, Schwartzberg. Below: Epstein, Lev (Leizer's), Ukrainetz (Yeshaya's). They all perished. May G-d avenge their blood!

[under second photo:] [Well, will you ever forget it? Can you forget the tears and blood of our Jewish children? Will you forget the Jewish murderers? No! Never! Never! Never! D.W.]

        Esther, who survived together with me, suffering swelling all over her body, and she couldn't go off to help save the other girls. In any event, she didn't know the way, but she later recovered. I stayed in the ditch and was very ill. The aches and pains I suffered from in my feet are indescribable. The fact that I remained alive is thanks to a Christian, a “Subbotnik” (a Christian belonging to a sect that kept the Sabbath). He did a lot for all of us, especially for me. For an entire month, day and night, he brought me a bottle of milk, some bread, and pork fat to rub on to my feet until I could put my feet on the ground.

        That same winter, thanks to two Christian partisans, we made contact with a second group of Jews from Yanova, among whom was also Shmuel Eppelbaum of Drohitchin. The Yanova group took us with them, and we remained with them until the liberation. Six months before the liberation the Germans retreated as far as the Lechovitch Canal. The partisans received orders to move on to Kamin-Kashirsk, and we went along with the partisans.

        After the liberation I found out that my two lost friends, David and Shepsel, wanted to get to Ogdemer, near Drohitchin, and the Germans captured them at the train station. David suffered a heart attack from fear and died on the spot. The Germans killed Shepsel and threw his body in a ditch near the train station, where all the Drohitchin martyrs are buried.

        I also found out that the five girls were found dead in a haystack in the Lechovitch mud. They were all lying next to each other, having died in great suffering from hunger and cold.

        (The names of the girls were: Freidel Zohn (Lechovitch), Mindel (Davidgrudok), Chayaleh (13) and Rivka (18) Tint – sisters from Drohitichin – as well as a few others who died at the hay stack: Zadok, 16, was from Yolitch (?) near Drohitchin. Esther was from Voldava. Asna worked for Averbuch. Moshe Mendel Gershenhaus [is] a grandchild of Chaim-Ber and Malka Kravetz. A gentile woman reported to Zvia Tennenbaum that she had passed by the haystack, and Rivka had asked her to save them, but the gentile was scared. The next day, the gentile and her husband arrived at the haystack, but it was too late. See pp. 333-335. W.)

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