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[Pages 187-190]

The Day of the Slaughter


by Khaya-Lube Svintelsky (Tchernatzky), Brooklyn

Translated by Janie Respitz

Edited by Toby Bird

Danger Hangs Overhead…

Yom Kippur morning, 1942. My three brothers, my mother and I are at home. We move like silent shadows on the wall; none of us dare to open our mouths and destroy the dead silence, which is sitting like a stone on our hearts. Even our mother, who is very pious, doesn't make reference to the fact that today is Yom Kippur. She doesn't speak about fasting or going to synagogue.

Perhaps because it seems silly, to ask for a good year, when every day is borrowed. Since the Germans occupied Kobylnik, our lives have become chaotic, hanging on a hair. It is the antithesis of the meaning of Yom Kippur when it is decided and sealed who will live and who will die. We already had quite a different. This decision could be made by every Nazi criminal, whenever he wants and whenever his heart desires.

But today, more than ever, we felt the danger that hung over our heads. The air was electrifying, knowing that any moment the cruelest thing can happen; this can decide our fate forever. We awaited bloody guests from the town of Myadel – the German S.S. We knew they would not bring us good tidings. And that is how it really was.


The Devil's Orders

Nevertheless, like every other day, I went to work. This was in the nobleman's estate of Kobylnik, a few kilometres from town. Our work was to dry tobacco. I remember it as if it was today: my mother looked me over before I left the house; she accompanied me part of the way, and asked me to return as quickly as possible after work because she will be very anxious about me. Today she was different than always – her heart was telling her that we will be separated forever and never see each other again. With slow steps she returned home and I stood for a while and watched her walk away.,

A while later, when I arrived at work, I learned the Germans had given an order – all the Jews must leave work and return to town, each to his own home, because they were about to create a Ghetto for the Jews; everyone had to be in place. When I heard this, it was as if I felt a jab in my heart: I understood, the Germans were trying to fool us as before.

I didn't think for long and quickly ran to hide, not far from the estate. Meanwhile I noticed many Jews who worked in the wheat storehouse, were walking back to town obeying the German's order. I ran towards them and with all the commotion grabbed the hand of my cousin Aryeh-Leyb Naratzky, and asked him to escape with me. He didn't even look at me. He shook his head – and continued walking.

I remained alone; I did not know what to do. In the end I decided to go home and see what was happening to my family. I ripped off my yellow patch so I would not be recognized as a Jew, and ran home. While running I noticed how Germans and local police were gathering around a barn in the middle of a field, and looking for, most probably, Jews; I almost fell into their hands. I quickly orientated myself and began running back, but one of the Kobylnik Police – Kola Yanines was his name – noticed me and began to chase after me.

Out of breath, I barely made it to the palace and shouted that they were going to shoot me. Luckily I met the wife of the estate manager, who knew me from before – she quickly took me in and hid me in her bedroom. The bandit came running with great fury, searched everywhere and didn't find me.

A little later, the Christian woman, frightened from what had happened, led me from her room and told me to quickly climb up to the attic. Tired and distressed, I threw myself onto a pile of tobacco leaves that were there. Suddenly I noticed another person was hiding there in another corner; it was Reyzele Naratzky from Kobylnik. She told me her sister and other girls from our town were with her but no one wanted to hide and escape like she did.


In a Predicament of Death

Late at night the gardener of the estate came up to the attic with his friend. They knew we were there and came to tell us the sad news that they confined everyone to the Folk-House (Dam Ludavi), near the church, and the following morning they will shoot everyone, except the few that will be sent to Myadel to work.

Hearing this, Reyzele wrung her hands and cried. I asked the gardener to go to town to find out what happened to my family. When he returned he brought me a sad answer: no one remained in our house; the neighbours robbed us of everything. The doors and windows were open; the furniture was already removed. The bandits captured my two brothers Yankele and Dovid-Leyzerke and, together with our mother, were led to the slaughter. The only one who was saved was my older brother Feyvl, who was hiding in a neighbour's attic and witnessed everything.

For a long time we wandered from place to place in great danger, perpetually wandering, on the way to Myadel in the direction of Svir and in the Mikhalishok Ghetto. The further experiences of suffering and danger I endured with my uncle Khone Dimentshteyn who more than once was prepared to sacrifice himself to save my life. I was also with him in the Vilna Ghetto. Everywhere we went we faced great danger, until we returned to the forests where there were Russian partisans. This is where we lived to see liberation.

[Pages 191-194]

How did we burn Kobylnik?


by Meir Khadash

Translated by Rivka Augenfeld

Edited by Toby Bird

In the ranks of the partisans

Spring 1943, several months after the last liquidation in Kobylnik, not one Jew could be found in the town; everyone was murdered and there was no remnant left. The few who were able to save themselves had run away to wherever they could. Each person tried to save himself and survive until liberation.

I, like the others, went through a lot during that period, wandered from one place to the next – until I arrived in the Vilna ghetto; but I didn't stay there for too long. I and two friends from Kobylnik, Kayim-Osher Gilman and Herzl Gordon, and along with two more friends from Svir, reached the forests of Zanarocz, in the district of Kobylnik. There we met Russian partisans and they agreed to accept us into their ranks as fighters. In this way I very quickly participated in combat which the partisans conducted against the Germans: in several diversionary actions, like blowing up bridges and railway lines, and other attacks which we carried out against the enemy.


Destroying Kobylnik as a military base

Once, while I was resting in the partisan base after a successful action which we had carried out against the Germans, I was suddenly called to his headquarters by Commander Zhukov. First he asked me if I was familiar with Kobylnik and her roads. Naturally, I answered 'yes'; I was born in Kobylnik and I know every pathway. Then he told me that our assignment was to burn down Kobylnik, and to blow up the entire military base which was located there and was being used by the enemy. Then he added that this must be done immediately and very precisely.

I left the headquarters very upset, and impatiently I began preparing for the action. I couldn't tell anyone how much this news surprised me, and my blood was boiling in me. I wanted to get to the town as quickly as possible in order to get revenge against our bloody neighbours who had murdered everyone and robbed their property. I was one of the first to grab my gun with aching hands, quickly pack my knapsack and report to carry out my duty. And thus, with other partisans, we started on our way.


On the road to Kobylnik

For security reasons the whole action took place in secret; even the partisans who were with me did not know what their assignment was until we reached the outskirts of town. I was assigned to the leaders who were responsible for the action. After I informed them about all the roads around Kobylnik, they decided that we would arrive through Sirmezh on the Myadel Road.

It was still light outside when we arrived in Khotovizh, not far from Myadel. There we rested a bit and mobilized horses and wagons in the village, and in the evening we all left in full force directly to Kobylnik. The horses dragged along slowly and various thoughts and memories of past times swirled in my head. Near the road the Narach lake gleamed like a mirror in the moonlight, and the beauty of nature awakened various episodes in me that I now remembered. I remembered the hundreds of Jews, merchants, tradesmen and youth who, before the war, traveled on this road to Kobylnik on a daily basis – and now not one of them remains; I am the only witness who knows the sad truth.

We reached the village of Kupa, three kilometers from Kobylnik. The convoy which came behind us stopped moving; only I and two other scouts went to learn what was being said in town. Slowly we rode through side roads until we reached Lesnietshuvka Street, about a kilometer from town. We knocked on a window and a gentile we knew opened the door. This was the former agronomist Lvov and his son, with whom I had studied together in school. We asked them all about what was happening in Kobylnik, and at the same time warned them that, if they gave us false information, they would pay with their heads. They told us that during the day there were Germans as well as Belorussian police in the market.

Understandably, this information was not enough, and we decided to sneak into town and find out what was happening.


The thirst for revenge

Without much thought I left my horse with my comrades, grabbed my weapon and started walking to the town. Dead silence all around, except for the barking of dogs and the croaking of frogs in the mud. First I came to Klemantovich's house on Myadel Street. The man quickly recognized me and was frightened to see me. They told me the same news about the Germans, but added that in the evening the Germans left on the Postov Road; it was also possible that some Germans from the Luftwaffe were to be found in Dubovski's house.

Very pleased with the news I had received, I ran back to my comrades and from there quickly to the convoy. After conferring briefly, we made a detailed plan for attacking the town. A group of riders went first, and we reached the center of the market. I looked around again, and it was hard to believe where I found myself. I saw all the Jewish homes around the market, but without any Jews. I told myself that now was not the time for feelings, since the action had to be carried out carefully and quickly.

From the market we spread out around the town at several points where we prepared for the arrival of the Germans; we took all the necessary precautions. A larger group of us went quickly to the train station as well as to Dubovski's house where, according to our information, there were Germans inside.

As soon as we heard the explosion at the train station we began to set fire to the town. First we ran to Vantskovich's house where we hoped to capture him. He was the mayor of the town and also the one who initiated the destruction of the Jews. Unfortunately, he had already escaped. We set fire to his house and ran to burn down others. The fire surrounded the town from all sides. The Gentiles (goyim?) ran around like poisoned mice wanting to save their property, but the fire was stronger than them. We also opened fire on those trying to escape, and that only increased their panic.

Watching the raging flames, my heart rejoiced and felt revenge against the Gentiles for the spilled Jewish blood. The rocket shot into the air was the signal for the partisans to pull back into the forest, and as I looked back at Kobylnik, completely engulfed in flames, I did not have the slightest feeling of compassion for our neighbours and their suffering.

[Pages 195-198]

We Survived in the Forest


by Yosef Blinder, Haifa

Translated by Janie Respitz

Edited by Toby Bird

After the murder of the last Kobylnik Jews Yom Kippur, 1942; after we, the removed Jews, useful due to our professions, had to bury our dead – we were sent , approximately 30 men (among whom there were a few families), to Myadel Ghetto. We were under the supervision of the S.S Gendarmerie whose commander was Kyle Brosh. Every day, he took roll call and frightened us. A few weeks later, they sent half the Jews from Myadel to Old-Vilayke to the regional commissariat; they soon killed them there.

In Myadel Ghetto we remained 70 people from four towns. In September we received news from our friends in the forest that they were preparing for an attack on the Gendarmerie, to free us from the Ghetto where we were confined.

The partisan group in the area was called “Narodni Meshchichel”. From our side our contact was Sholem Yavnovitch from Kobylnik and the tooth technician Kusevitsky from Ashmene. The attack was carried out on the Germans November 5, 1942. The result: 2 Germans, 3 Poles and 2 Lithuanian Gendarmes were killed.

The partisans set the Ghetto on fire and all of us, with the small children, escaped to the forest. While running, one woman was injured; we took her with us. The only one who remained in Myadel was Raitze, Sholem Yavonovitch's wife. She was very weak and could not escape with us.

Bare naked, we entered the forest. At that moment we began our new chapter of a difficult life in the forest. It's important to point out that each of the families that escaped had to rely on their own initiatives and strength.

I was helpless with no means to live. Day and night we lay under the open sky. At night we slept by the fire. When winter came we were covered with snow, my weak wife and 2 small children. We were in a situation of hunger and death. The hunger tortured us so much that we faced the greatest dangers just to obtain food. At night I wrapped my feet in rags, said goodbye to my wife and kids and went to the village in search of food. I knocked on the windows of Gentiles' homes and asked pitifully for a piece of bread. Often, others paid for going on such a walk with their lives.

We found ourselves in this sad situation until February 2, 1943, when the Germans made a blockade and attacked the partisans in the forest. Many Jews hiding in the forest were killed. They fell like flies because they had no weapons to fight with. My family and I fled deeper into the forest where the Germans could not find us. A few days later, we returned to the old place, frozen, hungry and barefoot. Our hut had been burnt. Not noticing how dangerous the forest had become, there was no choice but to remain until Passover 1943.

During that time my wife and children got sick with typhus. Despite great danger, I had to go looking for food. One day, upon my return I found my wife with a burnt foot. Because of weakness, she fell into the campfire and the children managed to save her; she suffers from that pain until today.

I remember once on my way back from the village I fell asleep on the road because I was so tired. My little daughter came running and shouted: “Daddy, they're shooting!” She woke me up. I ran quickly, grabbed my sick wife on my shoulders and ran to where my eyes led me. The small children followed me until we crawled into a marsh up to our knees and waited there for the shooting to stop. We couldn't move from the place and take another step. We lay in the mud hiding and trembling hoping the murderers would not capture us. It was simply a miracle that we were not noticed and we were saved from death.

When the shooting began, all my friends who were with us ran away. My family and I were forced to remain because my wife was sick.

When it got quiet, we crawled out of the mud and returned to the small forest where we had previously been. Arriving we saw a horrible sight. All around us were Jewish corpses. I buried a few of them. We remained in that forest until August 25, 1943. On that day, the German bandits once again made a big blockade of the forest, the Jews and the partisans. The blockade lasted for two weeks. They persecuted us like animals, if not worse. We couldn't manage to get any food; our only nourishment was raw mushrooms and grass that we found in the forest and in the mud. We no longer appeared human; we wandered around like shadows the wind could have knocked down.

Meanwhile, winter 1943-44 was approaching and our situation was unbearable. We dug caves underground in order to survive the difficult winter. From time to time new people arrived in the forest escaping German bullets. Our group grew to 160 people; we were suffering from hunger and pain. This continued until the month of May.

Despite all the difficulties there was already an air of hope, that the days of the enemy were numbered due to the big defeats they suffered at the hands of the Red Army; with this hope we survived to see the day of liberation.

[Page 199]

My Time with the Partisans

Hertzka Gordon (1922-2006)

Translated by Hassida Shmoelevitz

After escaping from the Vilna Ghetto and recovering from sickness, I decided to join the partisans to fight the Nazis. Unfortunately, because they knew I was a Jew, my first encounters with them were not warm meetings between friends, but were cold and calculating. After a short time, though, I managed to get accepted as a fighter.

I was assigned to a commando unit. My job was one of the most dangerous-- to sabotage and bomb the railroads that carried ammunition and supplies to the Nazi army fighting at the front. To carry out this task, I had to first find the materials to make a bomb and fuse. Often, it involved stealing from non-Jewish peasants or forcing them to give them to me by threatening to kill them.

I remember my first mission. As I put the bomb in place on the rails, my hands and feet trembled with fear and excitement. I lit the fuse and quickly ran away as far as I could.

After the explosion, I realized that I had been left alone. The partisans who had been with me had fled in all directions. But since the surviving Germans were coming out of the train, I immediately regained my composure and started moving towards the nearest village. When I got there, I forced a non-Jew to show me the way I wanted to go by pointing a gun at him. He had no choice but to help me.

As time passed, I got good at carrying out the tasks assigned to me. When bombing trains, the safest way was to put the bomb on the track and leave the area long before the blast. But that method only blew up the engine and the troops and supplies would remain. It was more effective to bomb the middle of the train because the blast would kill more Nazi soldiers and if lucky, destroy their supplies. The problem was that to bomb the middle of the train, I had to hide next to the tracks and wait to light the fuse when the bomb was below the middle of the train. That meant I was very close to any Nazis who survived the blast who came out like hornets and began shooting and I was lucky to escape a number of times.

In spite the considerable improvement in my performance, the partisan commander's attitude toward me did not change. He knew I was a Jew and made no attempt to hide his hatred of me. It had an effect on me. One night, we were drinking vodka in my village we had stolen from some peasants and decided to visit an anti-Semitic Polish priest who was a Nazi collaborator. As a joke, we tied him up and put a glass of water on his head, telling him it was nitroglycerine and would explode if he moved. Then we laughed and left him. The commander heard about it and decided to execute me. I was led before a firing squad but at the last minute, someone convinced the commander that I was valuable to the mission. Instead of killing me, the commander took away my boots, my gun and food and told me I had to blow up a train to be allowed back in the group.

Losing my boots and food was the worst because it was a cold winter. Starvation and cold were to the two main killers of those who survived the first wave of Nazi murders. Hunger, cold and fear were always with me. I was lucky enough to quickly obtain boots, food and bomb materials. I blew up a troop transport using the middle of the train method which destroyed supplies and many Nazis. I was accepted back in the unit. But the commander's attitude did not change and he decided which missions I would be assigned to. This was too dangerous for me.

After a number of attempts, I was fortunate enough to join a partisan company under the command of Major Podolny. When he saw how I could ride a horse, he assigned me to be a tracker.

At this time, I heard that some of my cousins and my younger brother had survived the Nazi murders in my village and were hiding in a place I knew in the swamp with others. I had thought they had all been killed and I received permission from my commander to ride my horse there. I took some potatoes in a sack for them. I was just in time. The other Jewish survivors had given my cousins a choice-- to kill their youngest child, Zundel, who was 18 months old, or leave the hiding place that day. These Jews were afraid that Zundel would cry and the Nazis would find them and kill them all. Moving to another “safe” area in the forest with a child was very dangerous. I gave them the potatoes, put Zundel in the potato sack and kept him until my cousins moved to another safe area of the swamp, returned him and rejoined my unit. I heard later that the Nazis had found the place where my cousins had left and killed all the Jews.

Even with Major Podolny's group, my situation as a partisan was not so simple. I had to protect myself not only from the Nazi soldiers, but also from the Polish partisans who were organized under the name of A.K. Army who sometimes fought with Major Podolny's group. These Poles had been Nazi collaborators until they realized that the Nazis were losing the war. Then, they formed groups that fought against the Nazis but also against Jews. Many of them were guilty of the murder or betrayal of hundreds of Jews and wanted to destroy evidence of their crimes-- by murdering the surviving Jews.

Once, on my way to my town of Kobylnik, I met a group belonging to the A.K. Army. Before long, they asked if any of us were Jews. We said there were none but made up an excuse to quickly separate from them.

In 1943, in parallel with the German defeats at the battle level, the areas of partisan activity expanded. We began to attack the Nazis far from the security of our battalion's normal meeting place.

One day we learned that in the area of Schwintzien, German craftsmen were staying in bunkers and repairing broken telephone lines. I was now assigned to a navigational unit and joined a group of partisans on intelligence mission. Our task was to report on the roads surrounding the base and to mark the entrances and exits from the bunkers where the craftsmen were working. After walking for a few days in the forests, we approached the base and performed our task. We passed the information to headquarters. On the basis of our information, the plan was set.

Our forces numbered about three hundred fighters, commanded by Colonel Tserkov. He divided the forces into three groups. The first group was stationed at the entrance to the camp. The other 2 groups dug in to set up an ambush at the rear of the camp. The first group opened fire. The Germans returned fire with all of their weapons. As planned, the first group of partisans fled to the positions of the other 2 groups and most of the German fighters left their bunkers and chased them. When our first group passed our ambush point, the other two groups of partisans came out of hiding and began firing at the Nazis. During the battle, an order came for us to return to the bunkers. Only few Germans remained and we easily finished them off.

I was involved in number of operations like this. Not all of them were as successful. Once we set up an ambush by hiding under the snow on the side of a road. We had to wait for more than a day under the snow before the Nazis came. During this time, we could not move. I was freezing and hungry and was hoping my feet would work when the time came. I also had to keep my rifle dry. When our commander finally saw the Nazis approaching, he saw that they had a tank. He ordered us not to attack because we had no way to stop the tank. We were forced to lie there silently under the snow, hoping we would not be discovered.

Another time, we were waiting to attack a Nazi unit at the top of a densely forested hill. The Nazis must have been informed by villagers that we were waiting there for them and began to surround the hill to ambush us. The commander saw from the numbers of Nazi troops that we had no chance if we stayed there. Instead of retreating behind us where the Nazis were waiting in ambush, he ordered us to charge forward at their main force and we ran down the hill shooting with everything we had, hoping to kill as many Nazis as we could. Luckily, the Nazis were not expecting this attack and in their confusion, we broke through their lines and most of us survived. But I lost some good friends in this battle, and in others.

Our partisan regiment was called “The Destroyer” (Instrubital in Russian). Late in the war, our regiment was attached to the Red Army.

[Page 205]

We Lived to See the Liberation


by Tzvi Dimenshtein

Translated by Janie Respitz

Edited by Toby Bird

On the day of the slaughter, Yom Kippur 1942, I was working in the Kobylnik yards. I was warned by Herzke Gordon, who escaped while the police were chasing him, that they were capturing Jews in the Shtetl. I hid at the yard manager's all afternoon and evening. The manager later brought me a fur hooded cape, a piece of bread and some tobacco. He helped me, despite the fact that the police were in the yard, to sneak through the fence and escape into the forest.

I was out and heading toward the forest. I came across a Christian acquaintance named Boris, near the small village Nanas, about 10 kilometers from Kobylnik. For 2 full days I lay in the forest, not far from his house, and the Goy, from time to time, brought me some food. At night I would climb into Boris' cabin and spend the night. I would light a bit of kindling to see.

From Boris, I left toward the Stakhovtsy houses and went to another Christian acquaintance. He advised me to hide in the sand dunes near the Narach swamp that the Russians had built for artillery during the First World War. He said no one would come to look there.

I listened to him, but I hoped that, nevertheless, I would make it to Myadel where the Germans had sent the last workers from Kobylnik. I hoped to join them and work together.

I knew a Christian in Skok who worked in the Carp ponds. I went to him and stayed with him for a few nights. I asked him to go to Myadel and speak to Sholem Yavnovich from Kobylnik and ask him to add me to the remaining Jews. He replied that not only should I not go to Myadel, I should not be found in any part of the region.

Having no choice, after a few days I returned to Stakhovtsy. Once again, at night, I knocked on the door of a Christian acquaintance. When the Goy saw me, he crossed himself. Apparently, I looked like a ghost. He woke up his wife and his eldest son – he had a lot of kids – boiled two pots of water, brought a large washtub into the house, and told me to wash. The son cut my hair and beard, took away my dirty clothes, threw them away, and gave me different clothes.

After I ate and drank, the Goy said to me:

“Now go hide where you want, but don't tell me where, because if the Germans come and beat me, I'll have to tell them where you are; If I don't know, I won't be able to tell them. And something else. It is now Fall; the holes are still open. Take as much food as you can. Later, when the peasants close the holes they won't give you any food.
I left him and began to search the fields. To my good fortune, I found an old German trench in a corn field from World War I. The trench was made of cement. One couldn't stand up in it, but it was not difficult to sit or lie. I went to another close Christian acquaintance and asked if he would, from time to time, bring me some food. He agreed, but asked me not to go to another Goy because he believed his son was a German spy and he was afraid of him.

So every week, Saturday night, I went to him and he left for me a jug of milk, a piece of bread, kindling, matches and clean clothes. I would leave the dirty clothes, eat and drink. This continued all winter.

One day, in the middle of the week, I cleared the snow covering my head, and saw the surrounding villages burning. I quickly closed my hole and lay for a few days. A few days later I emerged from my hole and ran to my friend and asked what had happened. Seeing me, he crossed himself and told me there had been large movements of Germans and Partisans. As punishment, the Germans set fire to the villages. He was sure the Germans found and killed me, because they searched all the fields. He actually sent his son to search for my corpse so he could bury me. They searched, but didn't find me. Erev Pesach, when the snow melted, I left my hole and went to another place. Together with a Friedman, a Jew from Kobylnik who I met accidentally, we returned to Kobylnik, and went to see a friend of the Jews, Tunkevich. There we found many Kobylnik Jews, among them, my brother Khone. I didn't want to remain there. It was now summer, and I wanted to return to the forest. A group of us went to the forest and joined the Partisans in the Narach forest. I survived there until liberation.

[Page 208]

A Hiding Place in the Pig and Chicken Pen


by Efraim Krobchinsky of Petach Tikva

Translated by Jerrold Landau

At the end of 1942, during the time of the great slaughter in Kobylnik, I lived with my relatives – Frydman. They built a secret hiding place on the property of a gentile in the town, but they did not tell me about it. I saw that they maintained good relations with the Polish neighbor Jan Walaj. I once asked him, “If they come to capture me, where can I escape?” He answered me, “Go along with your relatives.”

When the great slaughter began, and they began to hunt for the people of the town, I ran together with the Frydman family and did not separate from them. They went to that gentile's property, and entered the hiding place under the floor of the storehouse. We could not sit down there due to the low ceiling, so we lay down. The farmer brought us food only at the time that he brought food for the fowl and the sheep.

We were there for about two months, in October and November. Then I felt as if I was imposing on my relatives. Since I had a large sum of money that I had received from Yitzchak Javonovich, which he had taken from my grandmother's clothing when they transported her body to burial along with other bodies – I approached the farmer when he brought us food, and asked him to find me another hiding place. In exchange for money, he transferred me to the sheep and pig pen in the same yard. He dug a pit under the tree, and placed the chicken coop on top of it. I lay down there without moving. I got air through a hole in the base of the pit with the diameter of a nail. Once I did not feel well and permitted myself to open the pit, which had been sealed completely to that point. At that time, the farmer's father entered the pen. He was an old man, who did not know of my existence until that time. He noticed human excrement in the sheep pen, which I removed from the hiding place. He began to search in all the corners, for he felt that somebody was there. He indeed found me as I was hiding in a corner to get

[Page 210]

some air. Then he fainted from fright! As I saw this I too fell to the ground from weakness. The farmer came by later, lifted his father, calmed him down, and told him the entire bitter truth about me.


After a few failures, the farmer searched for a different, more secure, hiding place for me. In the meantime, the partisans came to Kobylnik and burnt it down. The fire literally reached the pit in which I was lying. I escaped then, as I was still breathing, and went to another gentile whose name was Tunkewicz. I found a few Jews with him, including Dimentsztajn and others. They transferred me to the forest, where I remained until the liberation.


From the City of Death

In great wrath of the stormy winter
And in the grief, between the walls
Listen O stubborn children
To ancient legends.

There is a different daily discussion:
When will the end come, when?
How was there a gas chamber, a killing field?
And regarding revenge – we are still alive! – –

{Herman Adler, from the Book of Ghetto Fighters)


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