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[Page 375]

The Liquidation of the Postov Ghetto

The bloody day of the inhalation of the ghetto occurred on Dec. 25, 1942, 3rd of Teveth, 5703. About 1,500 Jews were still alive in the Ghetto at the time. At 3:00 A.M. of that night, the Jews heard muffled voices. Immediately there was an order from the police for everybody to vacate the Ghetto. Children were awakened. Everyone became extremely frightened. They knew what it meant. They were ordered to line up in rows of 4. This time old and young,

 

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A street in Postavy

[Pages 376]

men, women and children were lined up. The Germans ordered everyone to march to the railway line. While crossing the railroad trucks, it was clear to everyone that they were being led to the slaughter. A few Jews used the darkness, they began to run to different directions. Others Jews followed them. The Germans began firing at everyone from all sides. The weak ones amongst the Jews, who couldn't keep up the speed, were instantly shot.

Very few Jews arrived alive to the huge pit, which had been prepared earlier by the Germans and their local assistants. This mass grave was filled later with the corpses, which were spread all about. This common grave of all the murdered Postov Jews is to be found on the other side of the railway line at the end of Bazielan Street.

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Streets in Postavy

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The Survivors of the Postov Ghetto

Motel Katzavitsh – in Postavv
Moshe Katzavitsh – in Postavv
Abraham Roichman and wife in Israel
Moshe Roichman and wife in Israel
Raya Roichman (now Eisenman) in Israel
Abraham Friedman in Israel
The child, Tzipora Golomb (parents perished) in Israel
Fanye Tzepliovitsh and 3 children - In Postov.
Devora Friedman - in North America.
Rivke Friedman in Postov.
Tzipe Friedman in Postov
Pese Friedman in Postov
Yitzhok Barkman in Postov
Yaakov Foigl in Postov
Yoel Veksler and his wife Nechama - in North America.
Chaim-Ber Veksler & wife in North America'
Rivke Veksler in North America

 

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A street in Postavy

[Pages 378]

Partisans of the Postiv Ghetto

Zalman Roichman tells:

Abraham-Mitze Friedman, a Postov partisan, was in Dolhinov, a shtetl not far from Vilejka, when most of the Dolhinov Ghetto was annihilated. He and another, Shimon Shapiro, managed to escape from the Dolhinov Ghetto and attached themselves to a Soviet partisan group in the forest led by Tymzok. (For more information go to the Dolhinov Yizkor book to Avraham Friedman Story). Shortly afterwards they began to search for ways to save Jews from the Postov Ghetto. After 3 days of steady wandering he arrived in Postov Ghetto. The news that he and other partisans were in the Ghetto spread promptly. They simply could not believe such an accomplishment, until it was ascertained that this hero was in contact with the Judenrat, and had asked them to let all able-bodied, fighting Jews out, so that they could go to the partisans and carry on the fight against the German murderers. The Judenrat refused. They argued that it must be either the entire Ghetto or no one. Since he couldn't take all, he left the Ghetto, taking only his sister, Leah Shapiro, and her 3 year old child, Shlomele, and his brothers, Moshe and Henech Friedman.

But Abraham-Mitze did not stop there. He undertook a difficult journey of hundreds of kilometers till he reached a Christian acquaintance, who had connections with partisans. He asked him to take a letter to his friends in the Postov Ghetto. This Christian, named Naumtship, who lived in a village between Postov and Kabilnik, carried out his request.

When we got the letter, we organized a group and sent them into the forest. In this group were: Michall-It;ze, Zalman and Abraham Friedman., Milke Zaslavsky, Chaya Ruchman, Devora Friedman (Gordon) and Abraham Ruchman. They met at the designated spot and from there went into the forest to the partisans. Abraham Ruchman went back into the Ghetto to await news from the group.

 

hly378a.jpg Leib and Moshe Katzovitz with their mother Rachel [18 KB]
Leib and Moshe Katzovitz with their mother Rachel

 

hly378b.jpg Chaim Zalman Izikson with his family in Postavy [12 KB]
Chaim Zalman Izikson with his family in Postavy
- they all perished

 

In this way several weeks passed. Once this same Christian came running and asked that I hide him so that no one would meet him. I worked for Rache Estrin, outside the Ghetto, where there had once been a bakery. I hid him away there and he gave me a letter from Abraham-Mitze Friedman. The letter

[Pages 380]

read as follows: “I await you a week from Wednesday at the same spot as previously. This was 6 km. from Postov and you had to pass through the Jewish cemetery. The partisans received word that they are ready to liquidate the Postov Ghetto, so come immediately since you may be too late to save your lives if you wait.”

I only told the men about this letter. On the 2nd Wednesday, I also told the women about the contents of the letter, and told them to prepare to leave. In a half-hour we were all finished with our preparations, and armed, we left the Ghetto. First we tore off the yellow Shields of David, which the German murderers had ordered us to wear, sewn to our clothes on both sides. Afterwards we cut the barbed wire fences, removed three boards from the barrier, and carefully, with great difficulty, we managed to save ourselves, only a few days before the Postov Ghetto was completely annihilated.

The following were in the group: Zalman the tinsmith and his wife, Reizel from Heidutzishok (now in America). Zalman, Nachman, Abraham, Fanye and Rachel Roichman; Tzvia and Feigele ( One year old old) Golomb; Dobe Shapiro; Sonia, Leah and Gese Zaslavsky; Chaval, 'Czipe and Fechke Friedman; Chaim-Eliyahu Katzovitsh; Nehama, Zlatke, Esther and Mindel Gordon. With this, the work in Postavy of the heroic partisan, Abraham-Mitze Friedman, ended. There simply were no more Jews left in Postovy. There was no one left to save. Abraham-Mitze Friedman died a heroic death during the unequal battle against the German murderers. This occurred in September, (I don't remember the day) 1943. May his name be remembered forever.

Nachman

When the young partisan,-Nachman, (His father was the gravedigger in the Postovy cemetery.) came to me to request that we take him along to the forest. I asked Zalman, the tinsmith, about it. Zalman agreed to take him only on condition that he brings arms with him. Nachman answered that he had arms, and with this statement he told the following story: “At the start of the War, as soon as the Germans entered the shtetl, I noticed a German lying near our house. The German was still breathing. I immediately took an axe and killed him. I buried him in the Jewish

[Pages 381]

cemetery together with the arms which he carried.” He told no one about this, not even his parents. I went with him to the cemetery and saw with my own eyes what this young Nachman had actually done.
after prolonged effort, we arrived to partisans camp in the forest. Nachman allowed me no rest, asking that we return close to Postov to search for escapees from the Ghetto. We went in groups of threes: Nachman, one Kopel from Baranovitsh (who died in the forest) and I. When we came to a village, 10 km. from Postov, we went into the house of a Christian to warm ourselves a bit. Warming ourselves and having something to eat, we asked the peasant if he knew something about the Postovy Ghetto. He didn't answer. To the question as to whether he knows anything about where to obtain arms, he also didn't answer. When we assured him that no harm would come to him he told us about a non-Jew who had hidden arms in a well. When we came to that peasant's house, we first asked if all that were present were with us. Afterwards we began to talk about the arms. At first he denied everything. But when we took him outside, tied him and lowered him into the well near his home, he begged that we spare his life and he would give us the arms. As this was happening, he told us that a stranger was among those in his house, whom he didn't know, and that he couldn't be sure that that one wouldn't inform the Germans in Postov that he had had partisans in his home.

Right off we went back into the house and asked the stranger to get out of bed and show us his documents. When he dressed himself and put a large cross around his neck, Nachman recognized him. He was a Postov priest as well as a German spy who used to look for partisans as well as Jews in the villages, he looked for Jews who had fled from the Ghettoes. He had a revolver as well as documents proving he was a spy. We took him with us. Riding out a few kilometers., we promised to let him live and return everything to him, provided he told us something about his “good deeds”. This person began telling us about how he had had no small part in the murder of the Postov martyrs, as well as in other Ghettoes. Of course we quickly felt the urge to take at least a small bit of revenge on him. But we disagreed among ourselves as to who should have the privilege to kill such a disgusting priest-spy-murderer.

[Pages 382]

We drew lots and it was young Nachman who was actually able to taste some sweet revenge.

Nachman was not satisfied with this alone. He still wanted us to go to Postov. Perhaps we would still find someone there. But when we came to our liaison officer, Naumtshik, he warned us not to take the risk because the danger was great and the entire area filled with many German murderers. There was suddenly a banging on the window of the peasant's house in which we were sitting. The peasant led us out the back door to the bath-house, thinking it was Germans. It was a groundless fright. It turned out to be an escaping Jew, Clendl Tzepelovitsh (son of Zalman), who had saved himself from the Postov slaughter and banged on the window searching for a haven. He told us in detail about the destruction of the Postov Ghetto. He said that his mother and sister, PJylime, had also saved themselves. They were about 20 kilometers away. Nachman went with him immediately to the place and brought them back to us. All of us then went further. On the way we met three other survivors: Leibke Einhorn (later killed as a partisan); Yaakov Foigl (a tar dealer now in Postov); Yitzhok Barkan (also in Postov for a while and later in Israel). A11 were naked, barefoot and hungry. In a nearby village we were able to get clothing and food for them. In this way we brought them into the forest to the partisans. There, the heroic young Nachman fell courageously, after a prolonged battle with the Nazi murderers. This occurred October 25, 1943.

 

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