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[Page 256]

In the market on the day of the slaughter

By Avraham Bergstein

Translated by Eilat Gordin Levitan

I was new in Kurenets. I wasn't a Kurenets native, I recently arrived in the area and lived in the house of Shabtai Gordon, the baker, and worked in his bakery. With me were my wife Rachel Leah, and daughter Fruma. 9/9/1942 was a very foggy morning. At five in the morning we heard shots and pandemonium. We immediately realized that this would be the day of our slaughter, so we decided to put all the families who lived there in the hideout. Its entrance was through the closet. Since this hideout could not keep all the people who lived there, Aharon Gordon (shaptai's son) and I stayed outside and continued the baking.

kur256a.jpg [20 KB]
Shabtai Gordon and family
Only oldest daughters, Michle (wife of the son of Alter Zimerman)
and Riva (wife of Shimon Zimerman) survived.

At six o'clock we heard many more shots and also screams. We decided to escape. In the yard, the head of the police, Adamovich was standing. Aharon said he would go home and get his pistol before leaving, and then we'd decide what to do. He didn't return. The Germans saw him and ordered him to halt. When he didn't stop, they shot him and killed him.

The windows of the house faced the windows of the pharmacy. I spoke with Lunia Schneiorson, the son of the pharmacist. He was the one who told me how they shot Aharon. He also told me that in the market they were taking all the Jews they could find, and it must be today that they would slaughter them.

kur256b.jpg [25 KB]
The Shneirson (related to the Chabad Rabbis) pharmacy
  Only one of the Shneirsons' kids survived. The Shneirsons were kept
alive for 10 months after the slaughter of the Jewish community since
the Germans needed pharmacists. They were used as contact between
the escaped Jews and the partisans and help many to survive and were
asked to stay in Kurenets for gathering information. They planed to
escape join the partisans but the Germans killed them before they had
a chance.

At eight in the morning, the manager of the bakery came to work. He was a Polish man from Vileyka. He didn't enter the bakery. He stood outside. When he saw me he greeted me.

At 8:30 the Germans entered and they asked me who I was. I told them I Was a Jew. They asked me if there were any other Jews, so I told them no. They took me out to the market. I was wearing an apron, and my white cook's hat. Many of the town's residents were already in the market. Many of them were taken out of the prayer house. There were also wounded people there. They kept bringing more Jews.

At nine o'clock they brought the family of Shabtai Gordon as well as my wife and daughter. I found out that the manager of the bakery from Vileyka showed the Germans our hiding place, and that is how they were found.

The head of the German SD, Grava , arrived and chose professional people and also strong people. Amongst them he chose me. He ordered us to go on the truck. For ten minutes the truck stood in the market, and I looked at the town's Jews. I heard them talking about running away. Leib Motosov said, “Let's organize and run. Maybe someone will survive. We have nothing to lose, anyway they're taking us to be killed.”

After ten minutes they shut the trucks, and they took us away. When we arrived we saw we were in the Vileyka jail.

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