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[Page 208]

After We Separated

Translated and donated by Anita Frishman Gabbay

Edited by Jerrold Landau

When I, Zvi, got out of the pit, an indescribable image unfolded before my eyes. Remnants of buildings were burning all around me. From a distance, the Germans in their autos and motorcycles lit up the landscape with projectors. Patrols with electric lamps were in certain areas surveying for any escapees. Shots from machine guns and pistols continued for 43 hours during this slaughter, making certain any hidden or escaping Jews were shot as well.

The air was filled with smoke. Next to me was my sister in law; my brother and nephew were further away. I thought about what to do with the first aid kit that my sister–in–law had taken into the pit. I took it and crawled out of there.

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I am holding my brother's Tallit. My sister in law moves away and I don't see anyone. No one is here? I am confused, I don't know what to do. I don't know where to look for them, and I don't know where to go. Death is lingering on all sides. I must be very careful that no one sees me. The entire area around me is covered with tall grass (former gardens). I crawled out and lay down between the overgrown grass to consider my options. My heart is racing, almost leaving my body! What happened to the others? (As I found out later, they were only two meters from me, and neither knew). I completely lost my orientation. I left behind the first aid kit. I threw off my overcoat, took off my boots, and started crawling on all fours through the “Mashiachs” colony. I crawled like this to Kasriel Katz's house on Wilner Street. Crossing this way, a few hundred meters in fire and smoke, I saw everything on Wilner Street burnt – the houses, the ghetto fence. No patrol was seen. I cut through Wilner Street, came into the garden of Sara Kremer (wife of teacher Zalman Kravietz). My thoughts became clearer. I began to think, the worst is over and a have a chance to survive… Standing there I heard groaning and moaning coming from the grass, the potatoes, and the garden. Perhaps some wounded people were lying there. The shooting hadn't stopped, the rockets were still flying from all sides, I must be decisive… The only thing troubling me and not leaving my mind – where are my loved ones? Oh, how lucky I would now be if they were with me? I can't forget that I left the ghetto. I feel an inner turmoil, what shall I do? Shall I continue? Shall I cross the fields and meadows or return to look for them, my dearest. This would mean I would certainly fall into the hands of the murderers, so I think again, if they saved themselves, they would feel sorry for my unnecessary death. Therefore, I decided to leave the city. I left through the gardens of Wilner Street, walking over dead corpses which lay in the potatoes, cabbages and other such things. Many times, I lost my footing and fell. In the pale light of the moon, I tried to

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look into the faces of the bodies in the gardens. Perhaps I would recognize someone, but I didn't. I felt like I was going to faint. The instinct to save myself overwhelmed me. I gathered speed, ran through the barbed wire, and leapt over wooden planks. I tore my clothing. My body was wet. I thought it was sweat, but I soon noticed the blood dripping from my body. I didn't feel any pain… I ran without shoes, in my socks. I took off the bloody socks and wanted to use them to bandage the wounds, but I couldn't do so. My thoughts were too preoccupied with using the cover of night to run away as far as possible, to the forests.

The shooting in town still was continuing – guns, rockets, etc. which even reached close to me as I was running. The shine of the moon scared me, a murderous eye should not spot me now! I dragged myself to Glavnitzki's garden, which was very familiar to me, for our school building was located there for 12 years. I glanced at the building from a distance, the place where the children played, and the once–happy memories flashed before my eyes, now disappeared forever…

At number 77 Wilner Street, next to the school building, I noticed a patrol. I was frightened, I didn't want to be seen so I hid in the potatoes. He soon left. As I was lying there I began to ponder where to go. I was inclined to go south, in the direction of Krulevschchina. I thought perhaps my beloved ones went there, so I got up and set out in that direction. I had to cross the railway about half a kilometer away. After 50 meters I heard machine guns coming from that direction, so I took another route. Meanwhile days dragged by. I decided to go back to the Baraker woods. In a period of two years the Germans learned the area so well, and they murdered thousands of Jews. I needed to pass through the territory that goes from Dunilovitch to Postov. It was frightful. I arrived at the road and I noticed a patrol. I thought everything is now over! I must not run!

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I continued along the road, holding my breath and believing I would be stopped or shot from behind. To my great relief, nothing happened. I turned my head slightly and noticed his rifle was not drawn and he didn't move. I didn't see very well, my soul was blackened not only by the dark sky, but perhaps also by my thoughts, so I increased my speed. Bent over, I continued shuffling by, and he still was not moving. A thought occurred to me, perhaps someone murdered him on this spot. If so, why is his rifle still at his side? I wanted to take the gun… Should I turn back? I stared again and noticed him stirring, getting up from his sleep. I saw that he was still alive and understood that he was drunk or just sleeping. This miracle was a clear sign for me. I crept safely in the northward direction, to the bloody Baraker woods. It was already light when I got there. Now again the question, where shall I go? Where shall I hide during those 16–17 hours until nighttime? I found some bushes and hid. I didn't like this place, but to look for another place was too risky. I heard German voices. The laughter and amusement of the German voices filled the air. I don't know if I was covered by the bush, but I looked through a small opening, and if the enemy would see me, this would be the end.

The terrible pain of not knowing where my beloved ones were weighed heavily on me. My memories, even in these dark moments, didn't leave me. I was paralyzed by fright, this nightmare! I even forgot where I was in this world…

The hell–fire from Glubokie didn't ease. It is now the third day of the slaughter, and there are still people to shoot…

Thirst started to overtake me. I didn't wet my lips for two and a half days, let alone have food. I wanted to get up and lick the dew off the leaves of the bushes, but they were dry. I soon forgot about my thirst…

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I heard the Germans and their Christian helpers making a commotion, shouting orders, and screaming. Trucks were passing by and stopping. Where are they going? Later I found out the corpses were brought not far from me for burial. How many of my fellow Jews are gone? I thought to myself, as a Gluboker, one who has survived, I may be the only one who witnessed these atrocities! It can't be…there must be more saved ones! Where are they wandering? In the fields, in the woods, in the bushes, or in other places? Perhaps they are lying not far from me, perhaps the others from my family, how happy I would be! To look for them is not an option. Even to peek out of my hiding place puts me at risk. Deep in my thoughts about my unfortunate circumstances, when I found out some of our people are still alive, I noticed a young Christian boy running with a shovel. It seems he was not a “black worker”(common labourer). He was here to bury the corpses. Suddenly the unknown Christian cast a glance at me. It was as if an electric shock with great force passed through me! He signalled to me with his hands, no words were spoken, that I am safe (that is what I understood). He continued on his way. I cried for the first time. This went on for about half an hour. A small weight was lifted, my thoughts became clearer. I began to have my doubts about this Christian, can I rely on him? Perhaps he will mislead me, with this false sense of security, regarding what happened to other Jews. Other Christians fooled other fellow Jews and later reported them to the police or murdered them on the spot themselves! Seldom was there a Christian who remained passive and didn't react… I soon changed my hiding place. This wasn't easy, the forest was crawling with German Patrols and police.

I want to stress again, my life was not my most important preoccupation, it was important just so the others could find me and for those who remained alive.

After an hour in this new hiding place, I felt somewhat relieved. The shootings and explosions that were taking place in Glubokie

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for two and a half days were lessening, it became “normal” and soon there was a moment of silence. I began to get used to it. My thirst bothered me, worse than before. I couldn't continue, I began to lick the leaves, but they were dry. It was a hot day, I was parched, there was no saliva left with which to wet my lips. No food, three days passed like this! Three days ago, I shared my last meal with my loved ones. I didn't want to remember! But to have a drink now, oh God! I will never forget this moment! If there was any place to find a drink, I would sacrifice my safety. This was a heavy weight which I had to endure. I almost forgot about my situation, the day seemed endless. It seemed longer than the entire Jewish exile. I lay close to the place where Germanavitch, the wagon driver who brings peasant men and women from Glubokie to Shtaravtzina in their festive clothing, lived. Usually, one was drunk. It seems odd, as earlier it seemed to me that the entire world has disappeared! As it was sunny, perhaps I made a mistake, the world was alive. It was no more, the world is black for me, for us Jews! I envy them! I bit my lips with great heartache. The sun was slowly setting. That long, black summer day found its end! The forest became still, and nobody could be seen on the roads. I had a wild idea. Across the road I saw the house where the Gluboker Jews came to every summer to vacation. I thought to myself, the Christians who live there now are certainly merciful. They certainly feel bad about the great Jewish misfortune. They lived once amongst us in harmony. My wild thirst brought me quickly to my feet, I looked around, and with the speed of lightning ran across the road to the house. It was locked. They probably saw me running towards them and locked the door. I did not let up, and started tearing at the door. I ran to the back door, which I opened. A group of Christians, young and old, descended upon me with sticks, screaming wildly! I couldn't even speak. I couldn't ask them anything. Understandably, the reception I received drove me away, so I sprinted back to my hideout. I don't know how I did not break my neck.

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This picture is exactly such as when wild children pounce upon a homeless and helpless dog. They chase him away with sticks and stones, and he runs for his life, until he runs behind the mountains of darkness. I ran back to the bushes. Somehow another set of strange miracles took place: the Christians let me live (for my head, they would have received rewards from the Germans, money and other concessions) and amongst the group there were no policemen or Germans or any other of the “good” people who wanted to murder me! No one had seen me on the road.

The forest was empty, no talking, no movement, no singing. When a bird flew by, a squirrel sprinted from tree to tree, or the field mice were running around, I instinctively trembled … even they wanted to know what I am doing here. They understand I am hiding from my species, from my “people”, in their forest where they live with other creatures. I knew this territory belonged to them. I knew they meant me no harm, they will not tell anyone. I looked at them with caution … they also made me feel uncomfortable … why are they flying and jumping in front of me? I was glad that night arrived. The day was endless, but even such a day comes to an end. It has been three days. Remember, three days of slaughter and burning in Glubokie. The Jews are murdered and burnt. Those three days seemed like a lifetime that I had been separated from my beloved ones – without whom I cannot live! It ended, the night arrived and spread its “wings” over everything. It was easier to endure in the nighttime. Security is more certain, but the pain grows worse. Emotions begin to stir; my insides begin to growl – what happened here? Is my life worth living? It is still not certain that I will continue to live. Is it a joke that I still want to live? Why am I better than the others? What will I do all alone in the world? Soon my thoughts change. The night is short. I must do something. Last night I survived by some miracle.

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And after that day I can endure everything… except, why do I have to wait here? Yes, I must continue my flight. In which direction shall I go? The world has four corners, which one is safer? The main question, where can I meet up with the other survivors from Glubokie? It is clear, I have to continue “blind” and have luck. There is no amount of calculating, no logic remains. I was drawn to the west. But where is the west? I knew where Glubokie was situated, and orientated myself accordingly. I crept out of the forest to the field. It was lighter in the field, but one could still not see far. The moon hadn't appeared yet (it was the 22nd of Av), I needed to distance myself from Glubokie during those four hours. My thirst bogged me down, I cannot control it any longer. Food was of no importance to me, although I hadn't eaten in three days. Like the bushes, the fields and meadows were dried up, there was no stream, no well, no leaves to contain any water. I moved in a westward direction through the fields and meadows. I became frightened when I approached the main road as it was dangerous. As I was walking and thinking, it grew lighter outside. A rocket came in my direction followed by shooting. It was bright outside and they were still looking for escaped Jews from the ghetto. I lay down again and soon the shooting stopped. I began my journey with great fear, my fate was not a certain one. Patrols were everywhere. Shall I continue my journey? What shall I do? I am in the open field and cannot see the forest. Its been awhile since I left the Baraker forest and to turn back could be risky. A second rocket falls, then a third and a fourth and so on. If someone sees me, I would have “no way out”. I continued while looking back in the direction of the rockets, I lay down again waiting. The rockets “chased” me like this for three quarter of an hour. One rocket fell close by, where there was no grass, no flower, no hill, and miraculously on the other side I noticed a well.

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I jumped into this well. I was completely immersed, except for my nose, so I could breathe. Even here they could spot me. I trembled from fear. Finally, when it got dark, I pulled out my head. The shooting stopped so I got out of the well (careful not to make any noise). The water poured off my body, I felt the pain from my wounds. My soaked, torn clothing made it difficult to walk, but the momentum spurred me on. Lying in this water, being so thirsty, I don't know why I didn't satisfy my thirst. I realized this much later when I had left the well. The rockets stopped, and I calmed down. Along the way I came across some troughs with water. I drank from here…this was the first time in four days. I drank and drank this swampy water. I continued with my soaked clothes, rubbing and swishing, making noise; I was afraid someone might hear the sounds. What shall I do? Undress? Go naked? I don't allow myself to undress, take off these torn “schmates”(rags) which were falling apart, at least they covered my body! I sat down to rest. I got very cold. I started to convulse and again my thoughts began. Why am I struggling to survive? But perhaps someone saved the others. How happy will they be if I survive as well! And for this reason, for them alone, I must struggle to survive. I went further, I ran, to distance myself a bit. Days passed. I had to again figure out how to endure the days.

Another night passed wandering around aimlessly, until I first arrived at the Zawisker Forest – four or five kilometers from Glubokie. I cannot understand to this day how I made the journey so quickly. I do not even sense the entire night as I wandered about or was delayed for kilometers, but, thank God, I was kilometers further away from the hell of Glubokie.

Another terrifying night was behind me. I had more chances of surviving. I went into the forest. I do not know how I found my direction.

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It is better and “homier” here than in the Baraker forest. I wandered for an hour, the sun had already set. Everything around me was quiet, still! Birds were chirping, frogs were croaking, flies buzzing; the water must be close by. Oh, I feel at home here! Not a single voice, no ridicule, no laughter! I can breathe normally here. The taste of “solitude” … I find an open space, not blocked by the sun, where I undressed and spread my clothes to dry. I noticed the marks on my body from the barbed wire, not only on my hands and feet, also on my chest, stomach and neck. They were somewhat dried up. I now saw my watch, the prized possession that I carefully tied around my arm and hid in the ghetto; amazing, it is still working. After the flight from the rockets and hiding in the well, it was still working, it was now 5 in the morning. It was very dear to me, a friend had exchanged this watch, his whole life! He should be here with my other loved ones. This watch is ticking! Odd! Guns should be “ticking”… all seems quiet here in the forest. What existence lays before me? My clothes dried … I put them on and begin to pray. I don't remember all the prayers, I will say only part, just the Shema. I was thinking, as I was reciting “and you shall teach them to your children” [Deuteronomy 1:19] that my brother was fulfilling this commandment. He raised his only child Aharon Yitzchak in the spirit of Judaism, and studied with him from the age of five years and onward. At the time of the misfortune, he had already systematically studied all the way to the Torah portion of Emor (Leviticus 21–23), and he had studied the books of Joshua, Judges, and Samuel from the Prophets. I recall how once he came to pray with us during the morning service in the ghetto. At that time, we were reciting Kaddish for our deceased mother of blessed memory. The Torah reader made an error during the reading of the Torah. He mixed up the letter shin with sin. Aharon Yitzchak called out that the Torah reader must be from the tribe of Ephraim [translator's note: see story in Judges 12]. Who else cannot pronounce a shin, and says Sibolet instead of Shibolet. (Judges). All those gathered, especially the Maskil Reb Shalom Weinstein of blessed memory, were charmed by the child's understanding. At that time, I understood that the “veshinantam” [and you shall teach]

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would certainly protect the child with his parents, and they would survive…

I continued my “walk” in the forest. My watch indicates 7 in the morning. I notice three open pits where farmers hide potatoes in the winter. I understood that some sort of a settlement – a village or hamlet – must be nearby. Instead of being happy with such an understanding, I was uncomfortable. I realized that I was not completely isolated from “people” here. The beast can catch me here as well…

Suddenly… something was not right…how did I get here? I was wandering about in the potato pits. What happened to me? I am confused. Where is everyone? My head is aching like I was wounded, something on my conscience is nagging at me. I felt my head, my hand is covered in blood… I looked at my watch, it is 2 in the afternoon. What happened, first it was 7 a.m., now it is 2? God in heaven, what is happening to me? The watch is working, what did I do in these 7 hours? My wound in the head hurts! Blood was tricking, but not a lot. I touched my head and remember, where is my hat? I looked, but could not find it. Now it is bothering me. Why did I come here? Where are the others? Suddenly, I turn around… there in the ditch is my hat rolled up in the sand. I still don't understand, I am not feeling very well… I am all alone, where are the others? Something was wrong. I lay down on the ground and cried uncontrollably. Two or three hours passed. I think the crying brought me back to reality! It was like a strange dream!

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I started to remember. Friday morning in Glubokie, the slaughter started, we lay in the pit for 2 days and I don't know how I got separated from the others, how I reached this forest alone… I felt somewhat relieved, but the days seemed like long years had passed… A time where the slaughter took place Glubokie! Saving my watch, Leaping into the well, my hat in the sand… I realized that it was Monday, August 23 in the morning… After these few days I must have fallen into this pit and passed out! I probably fainted and hit my head. I must have come to. It is still blurry, crawling out of the pit without help. I don't know how I did it. Fate was on my side. I felt that it was in the merit of my mother of blessed memory. I pulled the hat out with a long stick. I cleaned it a bit, put it on my head, and recited the blessing “He who brings to life the dead”… I cried again, but not as much as before. For the first time, I felt very weak. Perhaps it was from surviving the past few hours, or perhaps it was a reaction to the entire time. Until this time, I was in a daze. I sat down. The clock showed it was after 4. It was a nice day. No human soul was seen or heard. I thought that I must eat something, for in two hours, it will have been an entire day since I drank a bit of dirty water, and my mouth was dry. I felt that if I had survived Hitler's troops to this time, I could

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continue in the forest. I was so weak that I couldn't move from this spot… My motivation which brought me here will eventually disappear. I have to sustain my body, but how? How do I get a piece of bread? I need companionship… before I thought this solitude would sustain me! It is impossible to find a person who will not demand our blood… If I am near a village, I cannot crawl out of the forest, for appearing in a village would mean certain death. I would have to wander about that day until the next morning. I thought that I would find a stream within 15 hours. Perhaps another miracle would happen. I began to wander aimlessly in the forest. I thought that maybe this time I would meet some of the saved Jews. Am I the only one who survived from the city? There must be somebody else who crawled out… Who knows through which forests and fields they found themselves? I came upon a stream, both sides covered by tall grass and bushes. I stood in the reeds and looked to the other side, without any purpose or aim. Suddenly, not far, I noticed a Christian not completely dressed like a peasant, but a bit city–like. He did not see me. What shall I do? Shall I ask him for food? Who knows, he may inform on me. He may tell his entire village about my hiding in the forest. It was good on the other side, for he was alone, and I would be able to escape if something was out of sorts. I made a sound, mouthed some words and he understood who I was and from where I came. He did not think for a long time. He told me to wait and he will return shortly with some food. I remained apprehensive. I was not sure whether to wait for him or to escape from him. I hid in the bushes and watched to see if he would come alone and

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whether he indeed had brought bread. I had to risk it… There was no other choice, for dying of hunger is no better than being shot. Half an hour later he returned to the opposite bank. It seemed like a year to me. He was indeed alone, but I didn't notice any bread. He looked for me with his eyes. I came out from the bushes a bit and he noticed me. Like a thief, he pulled some bread from his coat and threw it over. It was a kilo of bread. This moved me greatly, and I cried again. He then muttered something to me, which I did not understand. Was this a warning? Was he frightened not to be seen? Soon he disappeared.

I could not calm myself for a long time. The bread got soaked with my tears which were salty and wet.

It was already 7 p.m., four days since I last ate dinner with my family. I remember my last meal together with my nearest and dearest. I shuddered again, and could not calm myself for a long time.

Darkness settled in the forest. Through my tears, I broke off a piece of bread and put it in my mouth. I held it for a long time without being able to swallow. It got stuck in my throat. I took some water and tried to get the bite down. I succeeded, but it was not easy. I swallowed three or four, or perhaps five bites, but could not swallow any more. It was completely dark in the forest. I could see the horizon through the branches of the trees. In the silence of the night, I heard the playing of a harmonica, as well as some shots from the other side. I did not know from where the shots had come. I had lost my orientation after the earlier events. I had the impression that they were still shooting in Glubokie, and

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the area. As I later found out, I was not mistaken. They were still searching for escaped Jews in their hideouts and in the fields and forests, and killing them. The sound of the harmonica tormented me. How can this world be two separate places – ours and theirs?

I found a spot under a tree and began to pray the Ma'ariv service During the recital of the Shema, I again thought of the section “and you shall teach your children”… I lay down. It is interesting that being alone in the forest at night did not scare me at all. I slept well that night.

Tuesday, August 24: the day was bright and quiet. The forest calmed a bit. I decided to remain here another day. Perhaps I will find some of the escaped Jews. I noticed some gentile youths with fishing rods going to fish. They stopped me. I was not comfortable with this encounter, but they understood what I was doing here and who I was. They questioned me and I answered in a pleasant manner. I excused my appearance, asking them for pity. I was not one of those rich Jews, just a living “corpse” and as they left, I asked, in a broken voice, that they not tell anyone… They gave me their promise… I did not trust them, though, and I moved on from there. I entered another forest. I did not find any Jews there. While wandering about in my new place, I encountered several Christians, young and old. They were well dressed. The younger ones started to run when they saw me. They were probably afraid of my appearance. The older ones went along on their way and did not bother me. The encounter made me even more uncomfortable than the previous one, and I set out in a different direction. The entire time, I looked back to ensure that they were not following me. As it turned out, I did not get away from them completely. The entire day, I hid and searched for saved Jews in the forest. I did not find anyone… I did not know from where I would get my

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energy. The bread I had saved from yesterday was dry and I couldn't eat it. I wasn't hungry, I only wanted to drink. For once I had a lot of water. I didn't know exactly where I was in the forest, later I found out I was still in the vicinity of Glebokie. I don't remember anything else that happened to me that day. There was only one thing that I remembered: I was beside myself that I had not found any Jews. I hoped greatly to find at least one Jew… I lay down under a tree but did not sleep. I was consumed with my thoughts, which were stronger than every terror, than every fear. They paralyzed me. The fear of death by the Germans during the previous days had the “benefit” that it drove out the nightmare from the survivors, and provided the impetus…

Wednesday, August 25: I began to think of a “purpose”. I did not know what happened with my family. This is what drove my further struggle for life… I did not encounter any Jews. I did not know whether they had “finished off” everyone in Glubokie. I wandered around the edge of the forest. From afar, I could see peasants working in the fields. I did not know whether or not to approach them. I continued to wander around the edge of the forest. More peasants were working, but a distance away from the forest. Approaching them in an open place is risky. I continued a bit and noticed a peasant going back into the forest. I quietly called out to him. He stopped his horse with the plow, looked around to see if anyone was watching, and approached me. I did not have to explain to him who I was and what I was doing there. Everything was clear to him. I did not learn any special things from him. He explained to me that “Zhidkes” had fled through that area on Friday, Saturday, and even Sunday. He saw them. One butcher had dragged a person wounded in the stomach to their village, and he wallowed there in a barn. He did not get any help. He did not know what had happened to him. I could not figure out who that person was. I found out from him further that I am now closer to Glubokie, to the hell, than I had been yesterday. The Christians from his village were not in Glubokie on that bloody day. They were afraid…

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He didn't know of any saved Jews. He only knew that peasants from the neighbouring villages came with their wagons to collect the bodies and bring them to the Baraker forest. It had been a lot of work… There would have been fewer bodies had they been burnt, but there were many more since they had been shot. The Christian left. He refused to give me food, for his village was far and he didn't have anything with him. I went into another nearby forest and asked a second peasant. I felt I could trust him. I asked for some milk, a cucumber, and salt; it was seven days since I last saw these. He brought me a flask of milk and a piece of bread and asked me for a “finferl” (a 5 dollar piece) – a gold “finferl”. His appetite for gold left me unsettled. I regretted this encounter, I had some coins in my pocket and would have given him some, but I was afraid to reach into my pocket and show him…. I assured him I didn't have any gold, I had never been a merchant, only a simple teacher, and I lived from the fruits of my labor. I took out 90 Soviet rubles and gave it to him. He wasn't very happy, he thought he encountered something useful – a Jew running away from the knife, how could he not have any gold? Is it possible? Certainly, many of the peasants amassed gold and other valuables from the victims, as well as from those fleeing and giving away all their possessions in order to save themselves. As I was later told, after the slaughter, the Christians in Glubokie, paid for their liquor with gold coins! They carried them in their pockets like small change. He finally took the 90 rubles and left with a sour expression. I was very unsettled. I was afraid to approach a Christian. I began to seek a place to hide in the forest. I sipped a bit of milk, which literally restored my soul. I began to wander further. I reached such a place that seemed to me like a human foot had never trod there. There, I was calmed… I lay down again under a bush in my new place. I again had a difficult night. My thoughts about my dear ones troubled me as usual… The effect of the entire misfortune upon my mind cannot be described…

The next day, Thursday, August 26, I wandered through the forest and thought… there is no trace of Glubokie Jews. What was going on there?

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I did not know anything. I was wandering around like an Arab in the desert. I went in search of another peasant closer to the edge of the forest. Peasants were working in the fields. I called to one in the grove. He stopped to talk to me. When he realized that I had been a teacher, he related to me with a special respect. He opened up to me a bit, and explained that he had already read for a long time about the current terrible times and against the world situation in general. He showed me with signs that everything had taken place exactly as he had read. His “philosophy” did not penetrate my head at all. I consented to everything he said, not caring that I had not even heard what he had said to me. He was no wild beast, from which one must hide. This comforted me. I was happy that a peasant was standing and talking to me for a while, and considered me as a human being… According to his remarks, he considered me to be an intelligent person. Nothing was practical, however; what I was most interested in I did not receive from him; he did not know what was happening in Glubokie, and who had survived. He remarked that he did not belong to the band of robbers who were taking advantage of the misfortune of the Jews to enrich themselves. Just the opposite, he sympathized with the Jews. I had the impression that he was indeed one of the better Christians. He belonged to the few who still possessed a bit of conscience. With a good wish, he parted from me and returned to his hut, to his normal work, to his home, to his family… And me?… Like a fox I went back into the forest, where I must watch out that anyone does not find me.

I could not calm myself. I wanted to find out what was going on in Glubokie, whether anyone had survived, and where were they? Where was I? Is this place safe? The Christian told me that they had heard that the Germans and the police, may their names be blotted out, are wandering around the forests in the vicinity of Glubokie searching for Jews in hiding.

I made contact with another Christian, named Yevgeni. He was about 35–40 years old, with blond hair. He talked calmly for a long time, with sweet talk. He made the impression of someone like Laban the Aramean [i.e. a trickster]. He was talking to me, and at the same time, plotting in the background… He explained to me that young Jews and children had fled through their village (near Zawiski – I do not remember the name) to the fields and meadows. They had attempted to evade the villages and people. He suggested that I go to the neighbors in his village to find out what was happening in

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Glubokie. Incidentally, he would also be in the city the next day, and would try to find out something. I asked if I could spend the night. I wanted to test him, to see whether he was trustworthy or bloody and deceitful. Some showed another side of their unfortunate “friendship”, inviting them in and then delivering them to the devil. He told me that taking me in would be a danger for us both. The best he could do would be to leave open the door of the shed, which was located at the edge of the village, and would be dark. I could stay there. However, I must leave the shed in the morning before the villagers awaken from their sleep and the herders go out to the fields with their animals. For him, an open shed is not suspicious, and there is no danger, but couldn't assure me if nosey neighbours or prying eyes might notice me. I must take care that I not be seen by a human eye. It was risky, and I decided to remain in the forest under a bush that night.

Yevgeni brought me bread, a cucumber and milk at night and told me the aktion in Glubokie was still not finished (it had been over a week). They are still looking for Jews, more murders are taking place. Tomorrow, Friday, he will go to Glubokie to find out more. He parted from me, saying that he would come to me again the next day. He would come riding on a horse, so that the village would not suspect that he has some sort of a contact in the forest. If he rides a horse, it would appear that he was returning from foraging for food at night. He would come to me in the evening in the same manner and bring me information about what he had found out and seen in Glubokie during the day.

Yevgeni kept his promise. In my situation, such a contact was a great thing for me. It reassured me a bit, even though I did not trust Yevgeni completely. I had to hide in a certain bush when he came to me in the morning and evening. From there I could see if he was coming alone, or with someone else…

Friday, August 27, a week from when

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the terrible slaughter in Glubokie started. A week in which the sounds of weapons of destruction did not cease. It has been a week and still no news of my nearest. A week of wandering day and night alone in the forest. A week that was an entire era of exceptional experiences. A week of not more than seven days during which I began to turn grey and older, and aged decades. A week in which each hour, each minute, was an eternity. It continued….time, as bad as it was, it is still passing me by.

On that very Friday, the “fortunate week–day” of my survival, I got up from under the tree and looked at my watch. It was 4:30 a.m. I couldn't believe my eyes, it was exactly at this time one week ago that the Jews of Glubokie met their final hour – the shooting in the streets of the ghetto and the rioting had begun. The hour in which there had already been several tens and hundreds of Jewish victims. The hour in which I, my sister–in–law, Dr. Vilkomirska–Rajak, my nephew Ahron–Yitzhakl, my brother and our neighbours, ran quickly to our hideout in the pit, not knowing if we would ever crawl out of there and see the sun shine again….

(Incidentally, Dovid and Sonia Hazan (Chazan) lived with us in one house in the ghetto. They saved themselves from the SharkevtzItzke Ghetto as soon as the shooting started, by running away as soon as the shooting in the ghetto started. They chose to run instead of hiding in the pit and being shot by the bullets.) I was deeply immersed in my thoughts about all the events of the past week in Glubokie, and hadn't noticed Yevgeni on his white horse. He approached, took me by the hand, and asked “What's up with you? What are you thinking about?”

I was so shaken up that I had no power to answer him. He understood this and was not offended. On the contrary, he tried to figure out my thoughts and cheer me up. He said that today, Friday, he will be in Glubokie. I requested that he find out something about our people. I told him that my sister–in–law, who had been a popular pediatrician, was known not only in Glubokie, but also in the entire area. I asked if he could find out

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something even from a small gentile boy or girl. He left, and I waited for him the entire day. During the day, I thought about every moment, every event that had taken place in such a such an hour or minute one week earlier, where were still all lying in the pit. They day passed quickly, and Yevgeni came to me riding on a white horse. I was disappointed, for he didn't tell me too much. He only told me that Chaim–Leib Schulheifer, wandered into Mrs. Ortoyav's garden (on Wilner Street) begging for cold water. She turned him over to the police or the Germans, who came and killed him… As per the rumour in the city, Schulheifer was found with a large sum of gold and valuables. This implicated Mrs. Ortoyav, as it was found on her property. He didn't report about my family. I suspected that he was withholding information, but he assured me that he held back nothing.

I spent Shabbos in the forest. My thoughts lured me to those Sabbaths in my house and so on… We would tell the children stories about “The Sabbath in the Forest” and other such ones. I searched for some meaning to Shabbos in the forest, I didn't find any solace, no “magnificent lit–up palace” with a beautifully arranged Shabbos–table. Neither Abraham our Forefather, Elijah the Prophet, or other such sages appeared to me. I didn't hear any sweet singing, such as “Lechu Neranena.” My blood–filled heart did not allow for any fantasies in the dark forest, and a stream of tears poured forth from my eyes. This well–deserved cry calmed me. I recited the Kiddush… was it appropriate in such a dismal situation to bring in the Shabbos? Was I desecrating the Sabbath with my Kiddush? It states explicitly that “one must call the Sabbath a delight.” I prepared the first “seudah” (meal) with a piece of bread and some milk.

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I recalled that, at the same time one week previously, when the slaughter in Glubokie had already been gong on for 16–17 hours, I was still together with my dear ones, lying in the pit in the ghetto, and we extinguished the smoldering remains of our bunker…

We did not know how this would end, and whether we would emerge alive.

As the custom after the meal, I lay down under a bush and fell asleep. I slept on the Sabbath night in the forest… It was “a bit” terrifying. Various thoughts were weaving around me…. Finally, I fell asleep. A thunder the next morning awakened me! This time it was not from a wild human beast, but from nature. Dark clouds had been gathering all night. A terrible storm arrived, the trees were swaying from side to side. Some broke and fell. The nature was frightful, the darkness unforgiving. Lightening bolts pierced and lit up the sky, then darkness again. Everything was pouring down on me, as if from a pail over my head. I got up quickly, again thinking that I am all alone, and went under a tree. I don't have any other options… The trees were swaying around and around. I have no other place to go. I tell myself its much better than last week, when my situation was much worse.

The pouring rain, accompanied by strong thunder and lightening, lasted for several hours. I was soaked to my bones. I had very little clothing, a few torn rags. The rain began to let up. Nature took its course. I couldn't sit down, and certainly couldn't lie down. Everything was wet and muddy. I remained standing. I got cold and began to tremble… I anxiously waited for the sun to warm my body. But who knows what type of a day it will be! I am waiting for my Christian. Time passes, and he had not come. During the few days, he would come regularly

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in the morning and the evening. Perhaps he was delayed due to the weather. Soon the sun rose, and I warmed up a bit. Yevgeni arrived several hours later with news. He said that Germans and the police were preparing to perpetrate searches for Jews in the fields, forests, and village. The nearby region around Glubokie had already been cleansed of Jews. They had captured many Jews on the way, and now wanted to “cleanse” the more distant area… He meant that I must move from the area and seek a further area in which to protect myself. I did not know whether this was the truth, or whether Yevgeni simply did not want me near his village for some reason. Even according to the second hypothesis, it was clear to me that I must leave my “new home.” He told me the quicker the better, for every hour could bring more surprises. I told him that it was impossible for me to go during the day, and therefore I must wait until the night to set out on my way… He agreed. Yevgeni came to me again the evening. He brought me food for the journey and showed me the direction in which I should go. First, I should go about 2 kilometers to the Merecki huts. From there, another 5–7 kilometers, to a larger town of Udelo, then another 4–5 kilometers till I meet up with the partisans. The Germans were afraid to venture in this area. According to his calculations, I would be going through forest and fields for 15–18 kilometers in the specified direction. I gave Yevgeni 1,000 Soviet rubles and said my heartfelt goodbye. There were tears in my eyes, and I noticed that the Christian was not indifferent. He wished that I go on my way in peace, find my family, and it will be good. He was afraid to leave the forest together with me, so that we not be noticed together. He left, and I remained in the forest with my thoughts about my journey.

I left when it got dark. I concentrated on my directions, passing villages, huts, horses grazing in the pastures, and young gentile lads building a fire. I overheard them talking about me: “Someone is going to Merecki.” It didn't bother me, for they assumed I am a peasant from a village. This

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spurred me on, and I continued along my way. I passed a hut on a hill. It was festive in his courtyard. Many young people were there, singing and laughing. One was playing a harmonica, there was dancing… I stopped for a few seconds. It was dark outside, and I was stand behind a wall… how far away was this sort of life? How long has it been since I was in my home, in my environment, among my family! Now they are “above” and I am “below”. We are in two separate worlds!

The joyous laughter, singing, and enjoyment of the Christians pained me. I haven't seen the world for over three years; I forgot that such a world still existed. I thought the skies fell down and choked everyone, not only the unfortunate Jews. I wandered through the dark night, and the thoughts tormented me. It has been eight days since I have left the pit and snuck out of the ghetto. It has already been a week since I parted with my dear ones. One week since I left Glubokie – the Glubokie in which I had taught hundreds and thousands of students for over a decade. My thoughts were interrupted. I came to a wide ditch, with young trees and bushes on both sides. How do I cross? I wandered around for an hour and a half, and barely found a way to cross. I lost my orientation and couldn't figure out how to continue. I noticed a hut in the distance. It was calm and quiet. The residents were certainly sleeping. After a bit of thought, I decided to knock at the window to ask directions to Merecki. I saw a woman, then a man. They were polite to me and did not seem to wonder why I had disturbed their sleep. They seemed to know who I was, for it has already been a week that Jews had come knocking at night; some to ask for a bit of bread, a drink of water, directions, etc. The unfortunate Jews were fleeing from Glubokie. I now realized that while wandering around the ditch, I had not gotten farther from Glubokie, but rather closer to it. I was

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openhearted with them and was not disturbed. They showed me the direction. It took four or five hours until I reached the Merecki huts, which were no more than four kilometers from my place of the previous day. I was very tired, so I lay down to rest. Not far away, I noticed straw under a canopy, and I lay down on the straw. After ten days of being away from my bed, this new night lodging felt like a palace to me. I was no longer in the forest, and for some reason I felt that I was not so alone… Houses in which people live were not far away… In truth, I understood very well that the householders would not be very happy with their “guest” who “set up” his night lodging. However, I felt at home there. I lay in the straw in that manner until day began. I hastened to leave there before people would awaken. I went further along my way. I passed through forests, bushes, and fields. I made sure to avoid being noticed. I succeeded, as it was Sunday, and nobody was working in the fields. I did not have anyone whom I could ask for directions. I stumbled about.

I felt that there must be partisans somewhere in this region. However, what would I, a broken, oppressed person without a drop of energy, do with the partisans? They require people who are strong, mighty, with a firm spirit, who would be useful… However, maybe some of my relatives were here with the partisans? My sister–in–law is a doctor, and the partisans certainly require doctors! A bit later I encountered simple, village women, and went with them along the way a bit. They knew the region very well. They did not ask me who and what I was. Everyone already knew who we fleeing Jews were, and from whom and for what reason we were fleeing… They told me that the Germans and police were no longer traveling around individually, but rather in large groups, for they were afraid of the partisans. I felt a bit more comfortable… I came to a village (the name of which I do not recall), and the peasants in that village assured me that there is no one in the village of whom we need be afraid. I entered a house. There, it was light, happy, and festive. They had baked “blines,” cooked and fried. The house was full of adults and children. Everything was normal, as if nothing had happened. Before my eyes the depths of oblivion into which we had rolled again opened up. I entered several other houses. Almost every one appeared the same.

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I found city furniture: finely constructed beds, closets, Trumo mirrors, tables, stools, wall clocks. In one house there were two fine buffets… This was completely out of character with the poor, peasant huts. It seemed somewhat strange. I did not wonder about it. It was known that a large portion of this was Jewish owned furniture that had been taken to the villages after the murder of their owners.

Near the village of Udele, I had to pass over an area that was fraught with danger, for Germans and police used to traverse that area. Blessed be G–d, I traversed that area securely and peacefully. I must have walked ten kilometers that Sunday, and this was a great thing. I spent the night of Sunday going on to Monday in an open barn near a hut. In general, I did not hurry anywhere… My “day” was anywhere where I was wandered, sat, lay down – the entire land was mine… One only had to hide from the Germans and non–trustworthy Christians devoid of conscience.

I set out on my way again on Monday August 30. I again went only on tortuous routes. There, the journey was less dangerous. I had earlier encountered a Christian there. The Christians were more forthcoming, for they were afraid of the partisans. I wandered about freely through the fields and meadows without a defined objective. Where and to whom must I go… I went through a “punka” where Christians arrange hay and lay down there in the middle of a bright day and fell asleep. The owners soon arrived and did not wonder at all about my presence there. They permitted me to remain longer. However, I wanted to go and search for Jews. Everyone had said that Jews had fled through that village.

When I asked anyone if they had noticed a lot of fleeing Jews, I received the answer of “Yes, many Jews were through here.” One had seen four, another had seen another two (probably the same ones as the first one). Another Christian had seen two Jews women with a child. In this manner, I counted eight or nine people…. I waited until the Christians got worn out, and I left my “resting place.” I wandered further – where and for what, I did not know. I knew only that I was getting further away from Glubokie. A Christian was working in the fields. I approached him. He explained to me that partisans often come to his hut. A few partisans were with him the previous day, including Itzke Blatt (a former student of ours, a very good lad, and an excellent partisan).

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He said that had I come the previous day, I would have met them all in his home. Here I felt free. My heart was heavy, however, and tears flooded my eyes. No words came out. The Christian offered to feed me and let me sleep in his barn. He tried again to reassure me the escaped Jews of Glubokie will pass this way to Ushike, a farm five kilometers from his hut [Barsuki]. There were already many partisans in there in Ushike, and the situation was more secure from the Germans. He talked a great deal about the situation, about the partisans… In truth, this concerned me very little at that moment. I was in a completely different situation. It was very fine with me that the situation was more secure, and I had more chances of survival. I was afraid of becoming completely calm, because then my wounds would open… I ate with my host in Barsuki. His name was Stankevitch. It was the first time during my wanderings that I ate at a table, with a spoon and on a plate, like a human being. I was in no hurry to go to Ushike. I was exhausted, and nothing was urging me on. My thoughts still focused on my nearest and dearest, perhaps I didn't want to confront the truth about them. I returned to Stankevitch's barn and fell asleep there. This was the first time during the entire time that I was able to could sleep soundly.

The next morning, Stankevitch again invited me to eat. His son was sick with dysentery, so I was afraid to eat there. I couldn't refuse his hospitality, so I ate with him. Stankevitch showed me how to go to Ushike, and I departed. I felt as if I were in a dream, crossing the fields and meadows, stopping to speak with the peasants who were working in the fields. They were all telling me the same thing, that the escaped Jews were in Ushike. I described my brother, sister–in–law, and their child, asking if anyone had seen them? I could not find out anything, however. I arrived in Zalnitze, two kilometers from Ushike and was informed that a German division had just passed through. This disturbed my false sense of security. I thought no Germans ventured here. I was still a few kilometers from Ushike. I had to pass through deep swamps.

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I wasn't anxious to go, but I had no choice. Who knows what I could find out about my relatives here? I drag myself onwards until I encounter partisans. At first, my encounter with them was not very friendly. I thought, who knew if I would be welcome? Would they not be suspicious of an unknown wanderer…? The first partisans whom I met near Ushike were a group of men and women riding in peasant wagons well disguised. When they saw me, they stopped and inspected me from head to toe. I evidently made the impression that I had suffered greatly. One said something to the other with compassion that I had evidently not eaten. They asked me from where I had come and who was with me, and allowed me to continue. I felt more comfortable and somewhat lighter. This encounter with armed people, who meant me no harm, and on the contrary, showed a certain degree of empathy, cheered me up. I did not believe that this could happen…

I finally arrived in Ushike on Tuesday, August 31 at sundown. I arrived at a large house of a small squatter, from which the owners must have fled, or the partisans murdered them on account of their collaboration with the Germans. Here I met three refugees from Glubokie: Feigel from Vilna, more than lightly wounded; and Mrs. Kurak with her 14–year–old daughter, also seriously wounded in the Glubokie slaughter of August 20, (the mother carried her on her back in this condition all the way to Ushike). Feigel managed to come on his own, and made her own bandages for her wounds, from straw and rags. However, the young Kurak was lying there almost dead. She did not speak. She lay there, groaning, on a floor with a bit of straw, but this was also good.

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There was no news about my sister–in–law and nephew. Perhaps they didn't want me to know.

One kilometer from Ushike was Zukov's Brigade of partisans, with those from Glubokie who fled, who were: Arke Birsh, Itzke the Cukernick, and Mindel–Dina Fidelholtz (a nurse). They came to us in Ushike often and brought help. Dina Fidelholtz brought bandages and medicine for the wounded Kurak and the elderly Feigel. The others brought food. The armed Glubokie youths also told me that Glubokie Jews who had escaped, including my brother, had been in Ushike and had spent several days there.

My situation changed completely. I had two opposite feelings. On the one hand, the good news about my brother evoked great joy. On the other hand, I was pained and unsettled that I did not know anything about my sister–in–law and nephew, who would have been with my brother, but whom nobody had seen. This dampened my joy. I was also pained that my brother knew nothing about me, and would be completely broken. I regretted not coming here sooner, wasting time in the potato fields. Had I come earlier, I would have met him here. The partisans brought me potatoes, but I couldn't get anything down my throat. The others wondered why I was so unsettled. They calmed me, saying I should be grateful; they didn't understand my inner feelings. My appearance was terrible. I had turned grey and become unrecognizable. I looked at myself in the mirror for the first time, and could not recognize myself…

After I calmed down a bit, I became involved with the sick people. They told me that they had been wounded on Friday, the first day of the slaughter, as they were fleeing from the ghetto. Mrs. Kurak had left her husband, four sons, and two daughters in the city of slaughter. They had fallen dead before her eyes from the bullets of the murderers. She carried only one daughter, wounded with a bullet in the abdomen, through the fire of the ghetto, and barely managed to get her here. Feigel, more than 50 years old, had also lost everyone as she was escaping from the slaughter. Wounded in a narrow place, she

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ran through the fire and barely dragged herself here. I gave the woman some money which I had with me. She had left the ghetto completely without anything. She told me that I saved her help with my assistance, and she would never forget this. She set out to the village and purchased eggs, butter, milk, etc. for her sick daughter. I also gave money to the sick Feigel – she did not take it as she did not need it.

My thoughts consumed me, how to meet up with my brother? Nobody knew when he had left. They only said that one group had left in the direction Mior, another in the direction of Kazian, and some to the Myadel [Myadzel] region. According to their estimation, my brother was in the latter group.

At night, I lay down in a second room on a long table. It was cold and hard, but I did not feel it. I couldn't fall asleep. I felt more nervous energy than before, with simultaneous feelings of joy and agony in my heart. I was weaving plans in my mind how to reach my brother and how to avoid another disaster. Now my life has meaning, not for myself alone… My situation was more secure than before, but the Germans were still lurking. They hadn't disappeared from the face of the earth. Not to mention that I had to set out on an unknown journey. I did not yet know in which direction I must set out to get to my brother. Nobody knows for sure where he went. And what would happen if I set out on the dangerous route, and found that I made an error with the directions? And had I known that he left to the Myadel region, how would I get there – as it is 70 kilometers away, and one would have to cross many railway lines, where the danger is very great. I had nobody to accompany me. As I was sitting there immersed in my thoughts, there suddenly was an explosion, which threw us all in the air. We ran like frightened mice, not knowing to which direction. It was clear that the Germans had attacked us. Then it was quiet, with no more banging. It was dark, and we looked around carefully. A window had fallen, and

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shattered into pieces. No one could sleep after that. We spoke about our survival stories and the entire situation until it got light outside.

On Wednesday, September 1, I left for Barsuki (or Barsutczyne) to Stankevitch. I hoped to encounter Itzke Blatt or other partisan acquaintances. I was looking for advice on how to contact my brother as quickly as possible and tell him about me. They all discouraged me from travelling alone on such a dangerous journey. I asked if anyone would accompany me on the journey to the Myadel region, but nobody agreed. During the day, Falke Lewin arrived, then a nephew of Zundel Musins (a student of ours), and a brother–in–law of Fishke Satnowik (I do not remember the family). They told us how they saved themselves from the slaughter in a chimney (see chapter Liquidation of the Ghetto) on that terrible August 20th in the ghetto. At first, they wanted to go with me to Myadel, then changed their minds and left for Kazian.

Not far from our house I met an old woman, Soshe from Glubokie. She came to Ushike and made arrangements with a Christian to work as a seamstress. She gave me news about my brother. She assured me that she had spoken to him, and he was very worried about me, but she wasn't sure where he went. She was saved in a miraculous fashion. On Friday morning when the slaughter started in the ghetto she escaped to the gardens of the “Messianic Colony” and lay in the tall grass. She placed all her hopes on her talisman booklet… She saw how the Germans close to her dragged their victims and beat them. She witnessed the last young girls begging for mercy from the Germans to spare their lives and not kill them. The cruel ones responded with laughter, beatings and abuse. (this was done by our own Christian policemen). She overheard how they were planning to extort gold and other valuables in exchange for their lives, so to speak. Hundreds of bullets flew over her head, but nothing scathed her. She lay motionless in the tall grass. On Friday night, she had great regret

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that she couldn't light the candles and greet the Shabbat, as she always did. She did so in her thoughts… She witnessed the Germans torching the Jewish houses in the ghetto and people struggling with death. She witnessed before her eyes the horror of the slaughter. She lay the frozen the entire night and the next day. The ghetto was burning from all sides. She saw everything, laying there in the grass. The 75–year–old Soshe, clenching her teeth, didn't break down. Saturday night she crept away from the ghetto and the city, and changed into peasant clothing. An old Christian friend gave her a shawl, and she started her journey. No one paid attention to this old village “peasant” woman with the shawl over her shoulders. When she noticed a vehicle with Germans or policeman, she knelt down on the roadside and began to cut grass. She got up and continued her journey when the bandits disappeared. This is how she arrived to Ushike, got work as a village seamstress, and “settled in”. She had a house and food to eat.

She told me she has a son in the partisans, around Dolhinov [Dolginov, Dołhinów] and Plestzhinetz, and that she wanted to go there. But how? She wants to join me, if I want to take her along. Honestly, this 75–year–old Soshe was more heroic than I, the 30 something year old man. She had more strength and was very successful. But I still needed someone else, I told her as soon as I find another person, I would take her along. Indeed, we needed to leave here as well, for the Germans had probably smelled that there was a small nest of Jews here, and they would attack Ushike. For the same reason, the partisans were not happy that Jews were congregating in a single point. I decided to leave there on Sunday, the 5th. I did not want to go on the Sabbath. Itzke the Tzukernik, Arke Birsz, and Dina Fidelholtz came to me. I told them about my plan, and they prepared to look for a Christian who would take us. They went, and I remained waiting until Sunday.

Suddenly on Friday, September 3, Itzke the Tzukernik ran to me, not dead and not alive, and told us that we must flee as soon as possible, for they Germans are attacking that place and the partisan forces here were too weak to drive them out. This

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confused all our minds… What should we do with the wounded ones? There was shooting from the patrols. We took the wounded out of the house to the bushes, for the hiding place was very poor there. Old Soshe and a wounded 16 or 17–year–old girl from Sharkovshchina came running to us. The girl was wounded in the mouth (the bullet entered her mouth through a cheek). She was able to move freely. She had escaped from Glubokie where she lost her entire family. We brought the wounded Kurak and Feigel from bush to bush. Soon the shooting stopped, but it was not yet clear whether the situation was calm. We didn't know what to do. It was difficult to look after ourselves because of the sick ones. After 5–6 kilometers we stopped for the night. We slept in various huts. We took care of the sick.

Next morning, Shabbos, September 4, Soshe and the young girl from Sharkovshchina proposed we divide into groups of three. I did not know what to do. I surmised that we must distance ourselves from there, but we couldn't leave behind the sick people, who could not come with us. Feigel and Mrs. Kurak had set themselves up well in the hut, and told me to not tarry there. The three of us left. We found out from the peasants in the fields that we were going in the direction of the Kazian forest, another 18 kilometers away. Honestly, this was not where I wanted to go. I wanted to go to Myadel region, where my brother was. However, the situation was that we were going to the Kazian forests, where we might find out something about my sister–in–law and nephew from the escaped Glubokers. Perhaps my brother had changed his plan, and was also there? In general, I wanted to know which of the Glubokie Jews survived. We left the village on Saturday morning and “set ourselves up” in the field… We did not want to travel on the Sabbath… However, we also did not want to remain in the village. We wandered through the fields that day. In the evening, we snuck into a barn near a hut and spent the night there. Very early Sunday morning, when everyone was sleeping, we set out on our “way.” We passed by burnt villages with no buildings still standing. The Germans often broke into the partisan

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zones and burned and destroyed everything, so that the partisans would not have resources. The elderly Soshe helped me a great deal on the way. She found it easy to obtain food from the peasants (I was ashamed to beg…) She often brought me food from a peasant house, whereas I found it difficult to enter a house. I could not lift my eyes or look people in the face. I could not tolerate it when young peasant gentiles looked at us as if we were some sort of curiosity. I have to admit that the elderly Soshe managed far better that I. She wasn't as broken. This amazed me greatly. She wore on her breast her booklet of omens for times of danger, illness, etc. I do not recall the name of the booklet. She told me that it saved her life and that she puts her faith in her survival by wearing this booklet.

We finally arrived in the Kazian forests on the evening of Tuesday the 7th, after a long journey. A few kilometers away, we met some Glubokers, Brudna and a young girl (I do not recall the family) who lived on kernels of corn that were not yet taken to the barn. Closer to the forest, we met Jews in “lapzies” that they got from the peasants. Some were barefoot. Their gloomy faces and gait left a heavy impression on me! Perhaps I didn't look better, but I couldn't see myself. The woman accompanying us took us into the forests one by one, where we met other Gluboker Jews,as well as from Dokshitz, Mior, Sharkovshchina Lozki and other places. Almost all the people knew who I was, even though I knew only the Glubokers, who came to greet me while looking at me strangely, inspecting me from head to toe. Shrugging my shoulders and wondering, I didn't know what they were looking at. At first, I did not understand what type of portent they saw in me. A girl (Korman), who had studied in our school for a year, quietly asked those around who I was. Now, everything became clear. I asked for a mirror. I looked into the mirror, and it was now clear – my long–time student didn't recognize me,

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nor did I recognize myself… I had become grey, overgrown, aged by decades, and everything was completely dark… They recognized me only by my voice. My student approached me, and I could not talk then. I was overcome with tears, but I controlled myself so nobody would notice, for we were all in the same predicament.

Mrs. Pinczow from Pohost, who left to the forest with her family before the slaughter, brought me some dairy farfel, which I ate only for appearances, as I could not eat in this situation. The Jews there were somewhat “in order.” They had food, for the partisans brought them. They all looked after me. The older “residents” concerned themselves with a bed for me. They question of a dwelling was very serious there. Cabins were only available for those who built them, but they still provided me with a cabin. Soshe didn't like this way of life in the forest. She left for a nearby village that hadn't been burnt, and made arrangements with a peasant.

It was 60–70 kilometers from Kazian to Myadler forest. The roads were difficult and dangerous. There were many railway lines, large open roads, and highways to cross, where it was quite probable to encounter the enemy. What do I do? I need to reach my brother. If I find some one to accompany me…

I spent the night there. In the morning, there was movement. Itzke Blatt arrived with other partisans from the Chapayev Otriad, which was stationed in the Kazian forests. Blatt was an exceptional partisan, and everyone there knew him. He quickly ran to me when he saw me (he had been a student of ours for eight years). There were tears in our eyes, and we could not speak… He said to me: “Enough, enough…” I understood that he did not want the gentile partisans to notice this. I could not control myself, and I turned to a side…

Soon more Jewish partisans came. They were well armed, free, strong, brave, and battle ready. They made an impression on me. They were not the sorrowful figures of bent, beaten, worn out Jews. This brought me satisfaction, and simultaneously my

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heart jumped. I was encouraged that so many Jews of Glubokie could have saved themselves. There were always ways, true, not always easy, nevertheless easier than being burnt alive or being buried alive in the earth…strange! As if no one saw the warning signs! We had become frozen, hardened, detached, as if it was a natural phenomenon… Itzke Blatt and his group left on a “Zadanie” [task or mission] in the Myadel region and told me he will reunite me with my brother. This calmed me a bit. I felt life here in the forest much like in my own community. Everyone drew closed and comforted me. Yankel the Kazianer, old but steadfast, managed to escape with his family from the Glubokie ghetto in time. He had two sons and a son–in–law in the partisans, so he was quite at home here. He insisted that I eat and drink at his place. The Jews prayed here with a minyan three times a day. Yankel was the only one who put on tallis and tefillin. In the evening, we recited the blessing on the New Moon, as it was the beginning of Elul. Suddenly Berel Shapiro arrived, son of Chavel Shapiro of Vilna Gasse. He had been a ghetto policeman and the Jews didn't receive any favors from him. Now there were several who wanted revenge and turn him over to the Partisan police for his past. He was liable to the death penalty. With great courage I had to intervene to calm the enraged moods and rescue him. In the current situation, I couldn't reconcile with Jews killing Jews, even if they were guilty… (I had never heard of anyone being killed directly by Shapiro in the ghetto.) Shapiro was later killed because of things that he had hidden with a Christian, but I do not know the details.

Here there were also people who were lightly wounded, whose wounds had been bandaged with straw and rope. Itzke, the son of Chaim Hershel Gilewicz, was among them. Fear overtook me when I saw the tattered, barefoot images in the forest, who were more shadows than people. Later, Yoshke Shapiro from Dokshitz arrived – the kilo of gold (as they called him), for the Germans had paid a kilo of Gold for him when he was arrested in the Glubokie Ghetto. Shlomke the Loszkier, Hershel Slobodkin, and Tzalke Kremer also arrived.

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Thursday, September 9, I decided to embark on my dangerous journey to Myadel forest. With me were: Aidele Shperber ( Zalman Shperber's daughter), Chana Kutchak, someone from Gelsan, and a tailor's daughter from Kisheleika, Nechama the tailor from Zamkova Street near the bridge with her young nephew boy Pipik (his father, a shoemaker, lived on Zamkova Street near the bridge), and Hilie the wigmaker (I don't remember his family name). No one knew the way. We had just “crawled out from underneath our mother's apron”, but off we went. I felt that our group was too large and easy to be spotted, but it was impossible to split up, since they all wanted to go with me. Soon I became the “leader” of the group. My praying calmed them. They said that it gave them hope and pleasure…

I went barefoot and my feet swelled. They got rags for my feet, and this literally saved me. We wandered aimlessly, and frequently had to retrace our steps, adding many extra kilometers to the journey. We ran into a light German–machine on the way, so we hid under a small hill. We were very afraid, but it passed without incident. The German bandits didn't see us. In the evening, we arrived at a railroad track. We walked along it for several hours, not knowing where to cross in a way that we would not fall encounter a patrol. Finally we decided to separate. I went first with Aidele, Zalman Shperber's daughter. We noticed a hut on the other side of the tracks. We snuck into a barn and spent the night there, and continued our journey the next morning, Wednesday, very early, before the peasants awoke. At Volazhin we were stopped by a group of “Manachovche” Partisans, who detained us for a half day in an open field. During our “arrest” we were well treated. They brought us food. A Jewish partisan watched us and told us we will soon be released. In our situation, this was a scant comfort. We would have certainly preferred at that time to remain under that “arrest”, or, more accurately, under

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their guard… The young girl was uncomfortable, however, as she could not believe that armed men could mean no harm. Finally, an older partisan with two of his comrades came to question us. After some time, they released us and warned us not to be fall into the hands of the enemy. They sent us to a hut to spend the night under the protection of a partisan, who ordered the peasants to give us food and treat us well. We were calm and felt good. The next morning, a partisan arrived to bring us food and sent us on our way.

On Thursday, September 9, we travelled the entire day, almost without stop. We often met partisans along the way, who reassured us. We arrived at another village late. A woman peasant called Michlia Feigelson gave us all apples. We spent the night in the village.

The next morning, Friday, September 10, we had the serious problem of crossing a highway through which German automobiles often travel. The highway was guarded by Germans, and it was dangerous to cross it. We were not bold enough to cross it ourselves. We decided to find a scout who knew the side roads, this was difficult since we didn't know who to trust. We were afraid that someone would give us over to the enemy instead of protecting us. Eventually we were approached by a Christian woman who had to go to that region via the highway, and offered to take us along. To win our trust, he told us that her husband was a teacher and freedom fighter who was killed by the Germans. Having no choice, we set out on the journey with her. She went so fast that there was no way that any of us could keep up with her. She told us that we must go through that way as fast as possible. Our hearts fell, but we followed her with our last energy. When we came within a half a kilometer of the highway, we started to go slowly and more securely. We noticed the tips of the telegraph poles rising from the highway. Our teeth were chattering, and our hearts were heavy. We were silent, not calling out

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a word to each other. We all had the same thoughts: Will cross the highway safely? The highway marked the border between one partisan group and another. We hid in bushes. Our leader was running about to “scout out” the region… She told us that she hopes that we could cross safely, however, she didn't want to accompany us. She would go in advance, and wait for us on the other side. We weren't convinced, but we didn't have a choice. We waited until the Christian woman was on the other side, and then immediately began to run after her across the highway. She was very unhappy about this, as she was afraid that she might fall into German hands due to this. After running 200 meters, and already on the other side of the highway, we noticed several German autos hurrying from behind. We quickly fell flat into the fields. They didn't notice us. This was another miracle for us, that we crossed the highway at a fortuitous moment…

We rested a bit and then continued further. Our scout drove us hard again, and we couldn't keep up. Furthermore, it started to rain, and the roads became slippery, swampy, and difficult to pass. Our bare feet kneaded the wet, cold lime. We didn't eat the whole day. We could not give up. In the evening, we arrived in the village of Kalinovke, in the Univerer region of the Myadel district. Our Christian scout left us about a kilometer from the village, as she didn't want the partisans to find out that she had brought us (why?) She was afraid because she took money from us, even though we paid willingly. On the way, the partisans indeed asked her whether she was taking gold from us to transport us.

We were so exhausted that we were barely able to remain on our feet. Even speaking was beyond our strength. We had one focus, to rest as soon as possible. The local partisans awaited our arrival in Kalinovke. There were anti–Semitic sentiments there so they told us to go another kilometer and a half from the village, where there were some other houses in a hamlet. For us, this was more difficult than the 35 kilometers we had walked during the day. We became desperate. If there was a German blockade around us, we would have been unable

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to escape. We sat down in the soggy grass near the village, ourselves soaked from the rain and our own sweat. We could not move our feet.

It got dark and wished for an eleventh miracle from the ten miracles that were created on the eve of the Sabbath at sundown (It was indeed Friday evening) [Translator's note: see Pirkei Avot 5:6]. The partisans from Kalinovke would certainly come to us soon… Soon a person arrived from the village with an order from the elder that we couldn't remain there. I don't know where we found the strength to get up and continue, but we did so. Infuriating an unknown partisan was also impossible to do. What should have been a half hour walk took hours. There as well, we received a cold reception from the Christians. This must have stemmed from the bad relations between the partisans and the Jews. We told them that the partisans had sent us there. We had no energy left to plead with them. They were well–rested and sated in their own home, and who were we… We pleaded with them to allow us to spend the night. We were assigned to two in a house. I could not eat due to weariness. I also could not sleep. I lay down like a log of wood. Even the thoughts…

The next morning, Saturday, September 11, most of us couldn't even get up. The exhaustion and hardship from the previous day had not dissipated. Not only me, but all of us lay down that night like blocks of wood, and could not even move an eye. Indeed, first thing in the morning, we felt that we were aching, some our hands, some our feet, and some our shoulders. It was a difficult effort to hold our heads up. Our option to remain and rest longer was not good, for, as noted, we had not received a warm welcome… We again had the question, to where? Where should we go from here? Earlier, our destination had been the Myadeler region. We had already come this far, but what was further? After a few hours of collecting our desperate thoughts, we divided into two groups. The larger one went to the Misuner and Uzler region. I, with Nechama the dressmaker (wearing eyeglasses) and her small niece went to Univier, a large group of large huts where partisans are situated, and where individual refugees from various towns have found

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a bit of refuge. As we said our goodbyes, we cried a bit and wished each other good fortune… Nobody knew where they were going, to whom they were going, and what awaited them in the next hour. My goal was to find my brother, but where? I had given Itzke Blatt a letter when I saw him in the Kazian forest, telling him I was alive. But did he receive it? Nechama and I remained in Kalinovke a while longer. There, partisans lived in almost every house. They ate, drank, and got drunk. A drunk partisan, apparently an elder one, came to our house and questioned us about who we were, what we were doing there, and how we got there. I explained to him all the details in brief, about our experiences and tribulations, and that I want to go to search for my brother in Univier, where there are Jews. He got angry, went on a drunken tirade, and talked about Jews in the most disgusting way, in German style. This frightened us! We wanted to distance ourselves, but we waited for him to end his tirades. He did not leave us alone, and threatened us with his gun… Finally he told us not to go to Univier. He would soon be setting out in that direction on his bicycle, and if he would find us on the road he will shoot us. He showed us the loaded gun and pointed it at us to show us what he would do… We assured him that we would not be going to Univier, and we quickly rid ourselves of him. Even the Christian from the village couldn't believe what she heard. The peasants behaved better toward the Jews out of fear of the partisans, and if this is how a partisan behaves, what good could come of things here? He and two other drunken friends left on their bicycles in the direction of Univier. We remained in a great dilemma and did not know what to do. It was not possible to remain in the village, for our relations with the villagers were poor. If we went to Univier, where there are Jews, we would be in fear of the partisan. Indeed, we set out in the direction of Univier. We were afraid to ask the Christians about Jews, lest there were Jews hiding there about whom the Christians did not know. We encountered an elderly female peasant, and cautiously asked her if there had been Jews there. She answered, “About Jews you need to ask Stephan.” Stephan was a known personality in that region… First, he was the go–between

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the partisan units. Second, he was involved with the “Jewish question”. He even collected a significant sum of “fives” and “tens”, but Jews who had such found refuge and salvation with him. As we went along the way to Stepan's, I noticed a Jewish woman and child picking berries in the field. I was happy, as they would certainly know everything. However the woman, upon noticing us from afar, turned in the opposite direction – that is, she did not want to encounter us. I was pained and confounded. However, I quickly realized that she was probably disguised as an Aryan and was afraid to speak to any Jew. I did not want to cause her any distress, so I decided to leave her alone. But Nechama the seamstress didn't back off. She approached the woman. At first, she did not recognize us and acted like she did not know anything. I barely trusted her. Nechama soon recognized her as a woman from Glubokie, Tzipe Rudstein (I didn't know her from Glubokie, but I later realized her son studied at our school). Then Nechama spoke to her in a “womanly manner”, complaining and asking: how can you hide from your own Jews under such circumstances, not being willing to show your face, acting like you do not care? In the middle of that discussion, the aforementioned Stepan's wife came running by. She was no less involved than her husband in the local “Jewish question.” She was indeed a driven, intelligent, practical peasant's wife, and certainly valued the satisfaction and income that she received lately from Jews. She strongly scolded Tzipe for wanting to ignore us and not tell us anything. (To this day, I do not understand why Tzipe wanted to hide from us.) Stepan's wife told us the Jews were close by, in the forest, on the “high island”, about 3–4 kilometers away. The Jews come to the village from time to time to collect their provisions. She then called for Jurke, a young shepherd who was close by, to lead us to Kriszanevka, a place of a few huts a few kilometers from Uniever, from where it

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would be easy for us to meet up with the Jews in the forest. Along the way, I found out that Jurke was a young man from Myadel, whose father Yoel (I don't remember his family name) gave him over to Stepan to serve as his shepherd. Stepan adopted him and gave him the name “Jurke”. After saving his only surviving child, Yoel went to join the partisans to fight the bloody enemy. He didn't see his son as he was stationed far from Univier, and could not meet up with his son. (Later, before the liberation, he returned, and we met him). I was somewhat envious of Jurke, roaming free amongst the cows and pigs in the fields, crossing roads, having what to eat and where to sleep. For me, having where to sleep was an exceptional situation! He also had “steady” employment! Along the way, I learned a few more things about Stepan, how he hid the Jews and other things. He would hold a Jew with him only for a few days, and would then direct them to the forest in a “different zone.” It was more difficult if someone was poor and did not have the money to pay – however even in such a case, he would not turn anyone over to the Germans or police – and naturally, that was the most important thing…

We arrived in Kriszanevka on Shabbos, September 11, in the evening. We spent the night there, for, after an exhausting journey, we didn't have the strength to look for the “Jewish settlement” in the dark. We went into a barn and collapsed from exhaustion. I couldn't fall asleep. It was already half dark when I suddenly heard two people sneaking into the barn and speaking. I very badly wanted to find out who they were, but I was afraid to call up. They did not know that someone else was there. Soon, the two started a conversation between themselves, and I recognized the voice of Moishe Mirman! He was Zinger's son–in–law. The Zinger and Mirman families left Glubokie in March 1943, and were all saved. The second was a Jew from Druya, Yankel, who was hiding in the forest with the Zingers. I called out to Mirman, but he didn't recognize my voice, for it had changed. I told him who I was. He was so overwhelmed with joy that it didn't have any boundaries. As veteran “residents” here, they lived in some village and it was too late to return to their “home” from the depths of the forest in “Goloducha”

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(as their “place of residence” was called). This was not far from the “high island” where the other Jews were living. It was difficult to reach either of those Jewish “settlements”, as they were surrounded by large bogs and deep swamps. Therefore, they were more secure from German attacks. The next morning, Sunday, September 12, we left Kriszanevka for the forest. We had to go through difficult bogs and swamps. The entire time, we thought we were lost. We couldn't understand how people lived in such a desolate place. Then we saw some people. We thought they were Germans and got frightened. To our good fortune, they were three partisans. They showed us the way. We found Jews after wandering around in the forest for a few hours: Eli Gordon and his family, Alia Padnos, Yosel Kasdan, who had been with me in the pit, Chaim–Meir Bipkin (a young boy). Later, Motke Genshteyn, Meir Bliachman, Motke Markman, and others arrived. Gordon's wife, Vichne, gave me a shirt. The Jews had built a primitive bath and heated it in honor of the “guests.” I washed up and put on my “new” shirt. I felt human again! They were well entrenched in Zemliankes and in Beidelech (primitive huts).

I found out that my brother was waiting for me in the village of Misun, seven kilometers from the forest. Three days previously, the partisan Itzke Blatt told him I was alive and heading in that direction. My brother thought I was going directly through the village of Misun, and was very anxious about why it was taking so long. I had gone through fields and forests in order to avoid human settlements, and thus did I evade the village where my brother was. I found out that Misun had a partisan house and asked around if anyone would accompany me. I didn't want to go on my own as I didn't know the region. Nobody wanted to go, however, and I decided to set out myself the next morning, Monday, September 13. Sunday dragged on for a long time. I spent the night in the bath house, on the “floor” made of cold, rounded stones rather than flat planks. The air was veritable bath air, saturated with sweat and mold. It had recently been used by 30–40 people. Nevertheless, I felt “good.”

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It was warmer… I spent the better part of the night sitting up. The pebbles under me were rounded and hard, and it was possible that I was also a burden for them… In the morning, I woke up to nice weather. I was immersed in my thoughts as I set out to go to my brother in Misun. I rose to recite my prayers before leaving when I suddenly saw my brother behind the trees. He came looking for me. He looked like from the other world, and made a frightening impression upon me. He had aged and greyed. His eyes were sunken. He walked hunched over with a stick in his hand, barely making his steps. I was very frightened for him.

I finished the Shmone Esrei prayer and we kissed, and did not say anything… I didn't even ask about his wife and child. My brother wept a few tears, and I couldn't bear it. I started to utter the Shehecheyanu blessing, and said: may G–d's name be blessed, etc. I should have felt salvation at that moment, when I started to cry. I was happy for my brother, and simultaneously filled with grief that my sister–in–law and nephew, Aharon–Yitzhakl, were no longer with us… I did not want my brother to notice my inner feelings. My immediate task was to support him so he doesn't go into a depression. I felt guilty that I had not endured the great misfortune. I had left our hideout on August 21. I had left everyone behind, and this brought great agitation upon my brother's thoughts. He thought that I had been killed and that he was therefore completely alone. I was further guilty in that he was not calm at that time, and he set out blindly to Yosel Kazdan, who clumsily wandered about the world. They then encountered the Germans, wo perpetrated the great misfortune. After remaining for a long time near the bath, we set out for the huts. My brother worried everyone with his appearance. It was had to image that a person could change so much within a few weeks – aging by decades.

We were welcomed by the other Jews. They comforted us that

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the others had been saved, and we would hear from them quickly… We let them convince us, and we wanted to believe in this miracle. We went about with piqued ears, listening and asking every partisan we encountered whether they had seen so and so… Many of them gave us various innuendoes that they had encountered them in some partisan base. We hoped and waited, for this was our entire aim in life.

We began our new life in the forest together with the other rescued Jews and partisans. Aside from rifles, we armed ourselves with the pen. We conducted first hand publicity work among the White Russian villagers regarding the importance of fighting against the bloody Germans. We continued with this work tirelessly until the liberation by the Red Army on April 7, 1944.


After the Liberation

Translated and donated by Anita Frishman Gabbay

Edited by Jerrold Landau

As I said, we were liberated by the Red Army, April 7, 1944. In the village of Univier, in the Myadel district, the few surviving Jews welcomed the first intelligence officers with open arms, calling them saviours, liberators, etc. The tears that had been quelled suddenly opened like a floodgate! I too was among the welcomers. When a major came riding in, he stopped near us. We greeted him with photos, and told him about our tribulations. He comforted us, assuring us that the German beast will be defeated its own den until the end… We were informed that an evacuation office was opened in Buguruslan, where we could search for evacuated people and refugees. Through the military post we made our inquiries to find our nearest and dearest.

We left the forest together after a few days, along with the Sverdlin, Dreizin, and Kaplan families with whom we had formed a bond. We set out for their town of, Krivitch, about 150 kilometers from Vilna. Our sole aim was to find out anything about our loved ones. We could not believe that they were no longer alive.

Several days later, we left for the liberated Glubokie. Our town lay completely in ruins. The Germans had burned the

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town before they retreated. Several tens of surviving Jews, terribly broken, had gathered there. They settled into the less burnt houses at the edge of town and didn't know what to do. The world was indeed freed from the Hitlerite beast, but the lonely, orphaned Jews felt more unfortunate in the free world than in the forest, where they at least had a goal in life – to fight the enemy and avenge the blood of their kin. Now what?

I started to wander about, still hoping to find someone. A woman doctor, the wife of the Glubokie official of the N.K.V.D., told us that she head heard in the White Russian Health Ministry in Minsk that a doctor Rajak was alive and must be brought back to her former medical position in Glubokie. We left for Minsk and to our great misfortune, no one knew of her in Minsk, even though she had worked in Glubokie until the war.

As former teachers, the representative of the Education committee, Kochanovski, acted very friendly to us. He comforted us and suggested that we remain in Minsk and continue with our teaching professions. However, we were not in a proper frame of mind to continue teaching. Kochanovski then sent us to the White Russian State Museum where they requested that we take a position in scientific work. We were restless and didn't want to remain in one place. We connected with the museum in a position in which we would collect historical material about the events that took place during the occupation in western White Russia.

We were drawn back to destroyed Glubokie. We hoped for miracles… Perhaps our dear ones would come back from somewhere. We wrote endless letters to the various offices in Russia, as well as to friends. To our misfortune, our search was fruitless. No miracles happened…

A short while later, we found out that they were killed by the Germans in the beginning when we were separated on the highway to Dunilovitch.

Now, our motivation to live was to tell the world, the whole world, about the catastrophe that befell the Jewish communities

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of western White–Russia and Lithuania – what we went through ourselves, and what the survivors would tell us. We understood that this would not be an easy task, as those that did not endure this would not be able to comprehend it. This didn't stop us and we embarked on our task with the full fire of our pain.

We began to accumulate material about the events in the Jewish communities during the time of the German occupation.

I wish to note that digging amongst bloody ash and ruins, we realized that human language does not have the necessary words to describe everything that happened, just as human comprehension is too small to grasp it. This didn't stop us however. With fortitude and determination, we continued our work, which we considered holy. We absorbed all the inhuman horrors through which the Jewish settlements were annihilated. If the world cannot comprehend this, then at least let them know, so they can transmit the knowledge of the atrocities that took place in the 20th century to future generations. Let it be engraved in their eternal memory that a strange creature descended to earth that murdered six million Jews – women, elderly, and children – in a modern fashion over the duration of a few years.

If humanity cannot understand this, then let them at least know about it!

 

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