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Chapter 6

In the Jewish Underground Movement
Among the Ghetto Fighters

Shlomo (Solomon) Entin

His brother Shimon Arnin-Entin (Ramat Gan) relates:

[3 KB] Click here to extend the picture Solomon (that is how we called him at home) was born in 1916. He was a student at the Tarbuth High School in Pinsk. As the son of a family immersed in a Jewish way of life and a Zionist atmosphere, at the age of twelve he joined the Hashomer Haleumi movement, which was then established in Pinsk, and remained a member of the movement ( Hanoar Hazioni ) until his last day. Already at a young age his main attributes were obvious: dedication to his friends, persistence in achieving his goals, bravery and daring.

These qualities dictated his development in the troop and in the youth movement – from a young recruit in the “Wolves” to a leader and a member of the staff of the movement for the whole region of Polesia. While still a young trainee he invested of his good taste in development of a Keren Kayemet (Jewish National Fund) Corner in the troop's clubhouse; and together with the other children they made this into a warm part of the “home” of the group – in the old wooden building, in an alley behind the old cemetery in Pinsk.

At an early age he was forced to quit his studies and to begin working at Lurie's lumber factory, where he worked until he left Pinsk at the time of the Russian invasion toward the end of 1939.

He divided his time between the hours at work and the hours of help around the house, and in the evening hours he was active in the movement. As a meticulous person regarding his schedule, he knew how to find time to engage in sports and especially he loved the Pina River. The family resided at 12 Zamkova Street, in a house rented from a Christian peasant family of fishermen. As a child this Christian family were attached to him and especially appreciated his love of the river.

And now to the problem of aliyah [immigration] to Israel, on which he had been educated and had educated others: this was understood and obvious to him – that he must achieve this goal – but when? At the end of 1934 he had lost his mother. At home remained his father and younger brother, who was still a pupil at Tarbut High School, and the older brother was planning to leave for Israel. This dilemma bothered Solomon incessantly. It was in the year 1939 that he returned to this subject in a most critical manner. Mara – his younger brother – (who fell in the Israeli War of Independence at Nitzanim) was on the way to Israel on an illegal immigrants' boat.

“What about my own immigration?” Solomon asked himself over and over. “I'm left with just my father, and I can't just up and leave him. Mara is on his way to Palestine. I'll just have to wait” he seemed to answer himself.

When the unspeakable war broke out and Pinsk was invaded by the Russians, a mass emigration by Polish Jews in an easterly direction took place. Thousands came through Pinsk, and many found a “night's stay” with Solomon. Then the problem presented itself with greater intensity: to remain in Pinsk under the Russian occupation meant abandoning immigration to Palestine, and abandoning any possibility of realizing his great Zionist dream! Leaving Pinsk meant leaving Father alone against an unknown and threatening future. A conversation with Father was convincing and decisive. Solomon and some of his friends from the movement in Pinsk joined the flow of people to Vilna. From there, from Lithuania of those days still existed the great opportunity of immigration to Israel…

A new chapter opened in the life of Solomon. His group of friends began to settle into Vilna, and to seek a way to make a living, like thousands of other refugees in those days. An effort was made to renew the Zionist Youth movement's activities. It transpired that in Vilna it was impossible to ensure a living to so great a number of transient people, and the decision was taken to break up into small groups and to settle in various Lithuanian shtetls. Solomon and his former friend from school and friend from the youth movement, Nissan Reznik, left for Shavli. There began to be problems with these small groups in small places – who became woodcutters and water carriers – awaiting the possibility of leaving for Israel. With the Russian invasion of Vilna, opportunities arose at first to leave for Israel or for the Far East. Therefore the dispersed young people decided to return to Vilna. Solomon and Nissan were among the returnees. Meanwhile, members of the top leadership of the movement began to leave for Israel, and some of the active members as well. Once again there were changes in the leadership of the movement, and Solomon, Nissan and others took charge of matters. Efforts were made to organize the activities in Vilna and to maintain contact with the groups and the refugees in the region. Ties were established to other youth movements and cooperation was established in the struggle for human living conditions and maintenance of a Zionist existence. Members were sent on missions toward Russia, and others succeeded in reaching the Far East.

And meanwhile the 22nd of June 1941 arrived. The Nazi invasion of Russia commenced. Vilna was invaded by the Nazis; many Jews escaped with the retreating Red Army, among them members of the youth movement. Solomon Entin stayed behind in Vilna with his coworkers. Events under the Nazis developed quickly.

To the Pinskers in the Vilna group came news of the events in Pinsk and of the Nazi atrocities there. Solomon, who had false Aryan papers, tried to reach Pinsk. He went as far as Luninetz and discovered that Pinsk was under Nazi siege – no one was allowed out or in. He returned to Vilna. A second attempt to reach Pinsk was made by his friend Nissan Reznik, but this was also unsuccessful. Nissan had reached Baranowicz – and returned.

And in Vilna there were persecution of the Jews, measures against them and rumors of the ghetto, about to be built. The Zionist activists met and debated whether to stay within the walls which were about to rise, enclosing all of the Jews, including the refugees, or to go out to the forests and save what could be saved. The decision was made: to remain in the ghetto and not to leave the Jews of Vilna to their own fate.

Solomon was chosen to manage the central public kitchen on 2 Shterson Street, which turned into a Zionist center in the ghetto and to a center of the Jewish underground.

It was on the eve of Yom Kippur of 1941 – the first period of the ghetto. The young members of the movement guarded the homes of the Jews against attacks by riotous Lithuanians, who gladly cooperated with their Nazi masters. Solomon was standing guard at a house on Rudnitzka Street, when a group of Lithuanian thugs entered the ghetto. His cool head and bravery stood against the thugs, and the residents of the house were spared. However, it was common knowledge that this was only the beginning. The insane mind of the Nazi beasts would taunt and threaten the residents of the ghetto. Discussions took place among the Zionist youth groups over how to act in the face of the ever-present dangers. Solomon was among the first to raise the possibility of organizing an armed struggle in the ghetto.

His friend from the Vilna ghetto recalled: “I knew Solomon from childhood: together we had been through a lot; I knew of his dedication and courage. However, not all that well… for suddenly appeared before me a new Solomon – a brave leader, who sparked others to action; who said what was difficult and painful – but the horrible truth – and called for daring action.”

The debate among the various movements was serious and penetrating. This was no longer a debate over Zionism, or the range of ideologies. This time the concern was whether to stay in the ghetto and to organize active resistance to the Nazis or to find a way beyond the walls, to leave Vilna and try to make their way to other ghettos, where life was more “organized”. The leaders of Dror (“Freedom”), led by Mordechai Tenenbaum (Tamarof), were in favor of transferring the Zionist activity to the turf of the “General Government”, especially to Bialystok; the activists of the “Zionist Youth” ( Hanoar Hatsioni ) (Solomon, Nissan Reznik and others) and “The Young Guard” (Hashomer Hatsair), argued in favor of staying in the ghetto and organizing resistance. Meanwhile the older leadership was destroyed by the Nazis; the younger Vilna leadership was not yet mature enough for the mighty tasks which they faced. Therefore the activists of the movements decided to take matters in their own hands. The central kitchen, managed by Solomon Entin, became the center for the Zionist underground.

In December 1941 the Pioneer Coordination decided to send a delegation to the Warsaw Ghetto. This had two main goals: to inform the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto of the actions to destroy the Jews of Vilna, and to spur the Jews of Warsaw to organize physical resistance; and to raise money to help the resistance in Vilna. Solomon, carrying false identity papers in the name of Jan Stankievich, together with Adek Warks from Hashomer Hatsair, Israel Kempner and Yehuda Pinchevsky of the Revisionists, set off for Warsaw. On this mission, they were captured by the Nazis. However, with daring and bravery, they were able to escape and make their way to Warsaw. Feverish talks began, arguments with activists of the Warsaw Ghetto, meetings with the Manager of the Joint [Joint Distribution Committee] in Warsaw Mr. Giterman – regarding finance for the Vilna Ghetto. The supposition was that the delegates would remain in Warsaw and would attempt to transfer money through various organs of the underground. Solomon and Adek volunteered to return to Vilna with a million zlotys, which they had received from Mr. Gitelman. Together with them went Frumka Plotnitzki.

Meanwhile – while in Warsaw Solomon learned that among the leaders of the Zionist Youth there was not enough activity, considering the current situation. Similar echoes were heard regarding Bialystok. Solomon decided a couple of weeks after his return to Warsaw to return there in order to assist in the organization of resistance and to encourage activity. The activists in Vilna, including his own personal friends, his friends from the movement, and friends from other movements, all tried to dissuade him from this plan. They described the dangers to be expected on the long journey. But Solomon had decided and stuck to his decision.

Solomon returned to Warsaw and opened in activity among the members of his movement and tried to bring something of the spirit of war and resistance of Vilna to the activists of the Warsaw Ghetto. Following a period in Warsaw he decided to go the Bialystok Ghetto. His Aryan appearance – almost blond – with his hair combed back – and his courage had planted in him self-confidence. He spent some time among his comrades in Bialystok and decided to return to Warsaw, the place he had intended for more lengthy activity.

In her book Underground People Chaike Grossman writes (pages 133, 134): “In Ghetto Bialystok I met Solomon Entin, who was about to leave for Warsaw. I asked him to wait for me, because in a few days' time I was scheduled to return there myself.”

“There is no time, they are waiting for me in Warsaw,” he replied.

Solomon was what they call “an excellent man”. He was tall, broad shouldered, a sportsman, blond, and had a mustache which he grew because of his job. His eyes were blue. He was a handsome and healthy shaygitz [Yiddish for mischief maker]. He moved about between Warsaw, Bialystok and Vilna. As he was born in Pinsk, he was not fluent in the Polish language. What use had he for the Polish language in Jewish Pinsk?

En route he chose to keep silent. But his Aryan looks were on his face.

Solomon left. Two days later Sarah Zilber and her sister Rozhka, members of Hashomer Hatsair , laden with paper and reports, left in the same direction.

Two days before my journey a telegram arrived: “Don't come. Lunia and Solomon are ill.” Explanations were superfluous, they had been captured at the border.

Raizel (Rozhka) Korchak in her book Flames in the Dust (page 77) adds:

“…Shlomo (Solomon) Entin came to Vilna for a discussion on the work ahead and the coordination with Hanoar Hazioni in Vilna and Warsaw. He wanted to return there and organize the work with zeal and to bring them the news of the existence of the F. P. O. ( Fareinikta Partisaner Organizatsia ), Yiddish for The United Partisans' Organization, which was the Jewish fighters' organization in the Vilna Ghetto. This meant the unification of all Jewish fighters for one common idea.”

“In those days I met him often. He had become so serious as to be hardly recognizable, with his eyes sunken, their blue like steel.”

“In April he set out with the Zilber sisters on a mission from the headquarters of F. P. O. to maintain contact and further the idea of self-defense. They carried with them posters of the Jewish fighting organization and testimony from the escapees from Ponar (the place of destruction of the Jews of Vilna).”

At the train station of Malkinia he was caught together with the Zilber sisters. The Nazis discovered that he was a Jew and brought him to Warsaw – to the Paviak jail. Friends tried to ransom him and invested great efforts in trying to save him, but for naught. The Nazis murdered him.

One friend among the survivors of the Vilna Ghetto said: “I recall when the news reached Vilna, that Solomon had been captured near Malkinia. It was appalling. From what I had known of him (this friend had known him only in the ghetto), he was energetic, the personification of strong will, a man who knew what he wanted and who did without hesitation a great deal.”

The Sisters Hanche and Frumke Plotnitzki
In the literature of the ghetto fighters during the Holocaust there is a special place for two daughters of Pinsk: Frumke and Hanche Plotnitzki.

[3 KB] Click here to extend the picture In order to properly assess the personalities of Frumke and Hanche one must read the original material, and first of all what they themselves wrote. Their writings were collected in the book Hanche and Frumke – Letters and Words in Memorium , Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publications, 1945. The book contains forty-three letters and writings of Hanche, thirty-two letters from Frumke and ten writings in memorium, by friends and comrades in the resistance.

Regarding the childhood home of Hanche and Frumke writes their brother Eliahu, who resides in Tel Aviv:

“Frumke was born on 2 Elul, (1914). Our family lived for generations in the town of Plotnitza near Pinsk. Members of the family were strong of body and mind. They had dealt in trade in bulls. All the members of the family were Stollin Chassids. Father studied in a yeshiva until the age of eighteen and was ordained as a Rabbi. Immediately after their wedding, as was the practice in those days, my parents went to the Rabbi to ask for advice on how to start out in life as a young family. The Rabbi said, “Be a merchant, and don't explore the Torah to dig with.” Without any doubts or hesitation Father accepted the advice of the Rabbi, but he was not blessed by the work of his hands. Following the pogrom of Bulak-Balachovitz in Plotnitza, during the Succoth holiday in 1920, we moved to Pinsk totally penniless. Hanche, who was then two, Father carried in his arms.

“I had three sisters: the oldest, Zlatke, managed in the better days to study at a private high school, and was one of its top students. With her quick mind and winning disposition, she resembled Father.

“Frumke, the second daughter, never attended school, because of the financial difficulties at home. She learned from her older sister. She was modest, quiet and bore much of the burden of running the house. She was dedicated without limits – like our mother.

“The youngest, Hanche, was different from her older sisters: gay, full of charm and love of life. Father used to call her 'a groyser shaygitz' [Yiddish, fondly, for a great mischief-maker]. Neither was she able to attend school. Like Frumke, her teacher was Zlatke.

“I remember our house in difficult times, very difficult times. Till this day I do not understand why Frumke and Hanke didn't follow in the footsteps of their older sister the Communist, their first teacher, rather than mine – the way of the Land of Israel Labor movement.

“I enrolled Hanche in the Freiheit (the youth movement of the Rightist Poalei Zion, the right-wing Laborers of Zion movement) months before my immigration to Israel, when she was fourteen. Although the language she was fluent in was Polish, the language she had studied in, she immediately found a common language with our young people, and became one of them. She was an emotional person. She knew how to absorb all the good that surrounded her, and to avoid the bad.

“A few years later, when I began to receive news from our movement abroad, I was surprised to learn of the activities of my sisters, and especially surprised me Frumke, the modest and shy sister. How did she come out of her shell to become a central member of the movement?”

“Hanche wrote: “You remember a different Frumke, obedient, quiet, introverted. She was then preparing reserves of energy, dedication and readiness – and look what a beautiful composition resulted: Frumke and the Movement!”

Also outside the house Frumke made her way modestly. Her public work at the beginning of the 1930s was with the youth organization Freiheit , and as the group's representative on the Chalutz Committee in Pinsk.

When her turn came to participate in Hachshara [Hebrew for a place and period of preparing for life on a kibbutz, prior to immigrating to Israel] she joined Kibbutz Tel-Chai in Bialystok. This was a time of formation in the social life of the Hachshara kibbutzim, and Frumke found an anvil for her activity. Her first appearances in her lively Yiddish deviated from the norm, and were deep but simple.

During the crisis years, when there was no immigration, in 1936-7, Frumke began to visit the branches in the region of Bialystok. In 1938 she went to work in the Central Office of the movement, but did not agree to live in Warsaw, rather continued her travels among the various regions, and ran seminars and summer camps. In May 1939 she led a regional seminar of forty young people from town of Polesia, which was held in the town of Telchani, adjacent to Pinsk. In June of that year she spent two weeks in her parents' home in Pinsk.

“It is as if I fell upon my parents” – she wrote in one of her letters – “and perhaps the fact that I have lost my home in my wanderings, augmented my yearnings for my family. How I enjoyed growing up in the local branch of the United Youth Movement [Freiheit – Hechalutz Hatsair; The Young Pioneer] in our city.”

Yudke Helman, from Pinsk and today a member of Kibbutz Gvat, who was on a mission for Hechalutz in Poland, also recorded his description of the sisters. He writes:
“My meetings with Frumke were incidental and often short. I had heard that she had been on the brink of moving to Israel, but that the movement had delayed her aliyah (immigration to Israel). The leaders of the movement found it hard to believe that any wide-ranging actions – as were then being planned – would take place without Frumke.

On September 1st the fear of war overtook Poland. On the sixth of the month the last meeting of the leadership of Hechalutz convened, in which tasks were assigned in case of emergency. Frumke was scheduled to go to Kibbutz Borochov near Warsaw, whose vicinity had been devastated by bombs. We parted with feelings of sorrow and a heavy oppression, and planned to meet the next day. The next day found each of us wandering the roads of bombed-out Poland.

Once again I met Frumke before she left on an important mission to the region of Nazi domination. This was in Pinsk. I had been sent there in order to rebuild the Polesian kibbutz and to gather together the scattered pioneers.”
How and why did Frumke arrive in Pinsk?

In another publication In Days of Holocaust (B'y'mei Shoah), Voices of Delegates of the Hechalutz Movement, published by the Kibbutz Hameuchad in 1940, Yudke Helman relates:
“At the meeting of the nomadic Central Committee in Kovel we heard of the fate of the movement in the German-dominated areas. The idea was raised that someone among the members of the Committee returns to Warsaw. What? To that hell? Not very likely! We'd better go on to the 'business at hand.' A persistent silence. Frumke rises and offers to go on this mission. A moment of cruel anguish. Is it possible to decide here? Frumke declares that no one will move her from her decision. How much simplicity there was in her leave-taking.

From Kovel she made her way to Pinsk, to say good-by to members of her family, before entering the lions' den. On this occasion she met with members of the kibbutz in Pinsk, and imbued them with a feeling of security.

When I accompanied her to the train station” – continues Yudke – “on her way to the German border, German bombers passed overhead. Frumke hesitated momentarily, looking up at the sky, and said: «If only that destructive bomber would carry me upwards and would take me from the distance of time to look down, even for a fleeting glance at my Mother Country, in my lifetime, I would forgive the monster its bitterness and its horrors.»”

In the darkness of night the train left for Bialystok.

Of Frumke in Bialystok of those days Chaike Grossman writes in her book Underground People (published by Sifriat Hapoalim, 1950):

Upon my arrival in Bialystok I met Frumke. She was engaged in organizing her meeting place. I met her by the bridge over the polluted river Bialka, which crossed the ghetto. I recognized her from afar by her somewhat bent-over back and her head which rested heavily on her shoulders. Frumke was busy on an important job, organizing the Chalutz in a new place” (page 101). And on another meeting there, she writes (page 61), “I recall Frumke of those days in Vilna. With her dark blond hair, with her long nose and pleasant eyes, she resembled a Jewess of noble bearing, whose love of Israel and suffering for Israel were apparent in all her gestures, in everything she said. Another reminiscence was of her seated in the grey and empty room of Nissan Reznik's restaurant in Vilna. The restaurant was a soup kitchen for the poor, and he, Nissan, managed it.”

Of Frumke's stay in Vilna of those days, Raizel Korchak (Rozhke) writes in her book Flames in the Dust (published by Sifriat Hapoalim in 1946):

“This wasn't the first time that I had seen Frumke. She made an impression on all of us with her personality, in the unassuming quiet for which she was known. Her facial features were not Aryan, her Jewish nose revealed her and about her. Only a person of strength of soul and reserves of self-confidence could carry out, in spite of all the dangers inherent in her appearance, all of the missions which were assigned to her.

She remained in Vilna only a few days. Her travels led her to Bialystok. Her plans included the region of Volhynia and a series of small ghettos” (page 77).

Of her visit in the town of Radomsk of that time we read in a notation from the estate of Tuvia Bozhikovsky (one of the Ghetto Warsaw fighters) in the publication M'bifnim ( From Inside ) numbers 2-3, volume 25, June 1963, page 205. Among other things he writes:

“For six hours, which Frumke spent at my house, I completely forgot the daily problems of the ghetto. The knowledge that powers-that-be among the Jewish underground movements had decided to serve as a voice for persecuted Jews and to stick by them in their troubles, had the power of providing consolation.

Her hours in the town were measured, as she had much work ahead of her. She passed through the country on back roads, and everywhere, where there had been a branch or small group of her movement before the war, and even one single active member who still survived, she brought the message of her organization of the movement in the underground. On her missions for the movement she reached all corners of greater Poland, crossing borders carved out by the Germans. She was like an engine climbing mountains. She was aware of what awaited a Jewish woman with forged Aryan documents and in her luggage was “not so kosher” material, however she did not refrain from any travels because of the danger lurking.”

In a document which was sent in the spring of 1944 through Polish underground channels to London, it was written that in January 1942 Frumke had arrived in Volhynia and determined that in all the towns the Jews had been murdered, and that only in Kovel remained a large community (The Book of the War of the Ghettos , published by the Kibbutz Hameuchad, 1954, page 102).”

On May 19th , 1942, the ghetto historian, Dr. Emanuel Ringlebloom wrote in his diary: “The subject of these heroic women, Chaike, Frumke and others, is worthy of a great writer; a beautiful page the Hebrew woman has written in the annals of the Jews in the Second World War, and the Chaikes and the Frumkes will take first place in these annals. These women will not know peace; they have just arrived from Tchenstochov, to the place where they have brought 'the unkosher', and now it is imperative that they sail within the hour, which they do without hesitation and without an hour's rest” (see above, page 43).

In the above document, which reached London on July 28 th , 1942, it is reported that Frumke was selected by the Jewish Fighters Organization for a mission to the Aryan side of town (together with Tusia Altman, Leah Perlstein, and Aryeh Vilner). In the face of the destruction of the ghettos of Poland, the Central Committee of Hechalutz decided to send delegations to all of the larger towns in the interest of organizing defense of those ghettos still remaining.

“To Bendin we sent Zvi Brandes and Frumke Plotnitzki (above, page 107).

“In December 1942 Frumke came to us, to Kibbutz Bendin, relates Renia K., in the book Hanche and Frumke , pages 145-8.

“Exhausted and solemn, she arrived. Her experiences had implanted their effects on her face. There, were etched regions of horror, which she had seen on her way. In the kibbutz meetings Frumke told us of what her own eyes had seen and she aroused in her listeners the desire to die differently: she called for organizing defense, rather than going as a herd led to the slaughterhouse.

“Frumke returned somewhat to herself. She offered her shoulder to the concerns of the kibbutz and organized important and responsible activities in the town. With dawn she would disappear to reappear at a late hour after midnight. She did not talk much about her activities, but they were felt: she helped those imprisoned in the ghetto. She succeeded in establishing contact with places abroad. She was as happy as a child with every good piece of news and she affected us all with her joy.

“The whole town knew her. All hearts were full of love and gratitude for her. 'Di Mama' (the mother in Yiddish) she was called by everyone. Every moment was dedicated to helping others; and she was able at times to save people from the claws of death. The members of the movement in Warsaw sent letter after letter asking her to leave. She may still escape. She mustn't miss the chance! But Frumke decided to stay. How can she save herself when her brothers are falling in front of her eyes? She rejected every possibility of escape. Even the chance to escape to a neutral country she did not accept.”

In the publication Yad Vashem News number thirty, Jerusalem, March 1963, there appeared a photograph of a Paraguayan passport which had been prepared and sent by Dr. Zilberstein from Geneva to Frumke in 1943. At that time many believed that these passports might save their recipients. About 3000 holders of these “lifesaving passports” were transferred to camps for foreign citizens – however from there all were eventually sent to die in Auschwitz. Frumke did not even use her passport and remained in Bendin.

“In March 1943” – continues Renia K. – “Frumke receive[d] the news of the brutal murder of the Jews of Warsaw. Afterwards the news reache[d] us of the battles in the ghetto and the death of most of our friends there. Nothing was mentioned of the fate of Hanche. We already knew the truth, but we hid this news from Frumke. When she eventually found out, she hit her chest with her fist, shouting that she herself was guilty of [Hanche's] death, for sending her to Warsaw.

“Nonetheless a man is like steel – hardship will temper him. She revived from the cruel blows of fate. She decided to take revenge, to die with the murderers! And to this end she dedicated the remainder of her life. We must prepare for defense, she demanded again and again. And one day she said to us: people are not people and life is not life – life is not worth living – defense is the only answer and the only release! And then she began her exacting work toward the battle! The happiest news in those days was: of the heroic death of Jews. Frumke encouraged her comrades to prepare for battle, and miraculously she received funds to buy weapons and means of defense.”

On July 17th a German arrived in Bendin from Prague, on a mission from the Jewish Relief Committee in Istanbul, Turkey. After he had wandered around the town for two days without meeting any Jews, he had thought of returning on his heels, without accomplishing his mission. Then he ran into a man wearing a blue-and-white hat with a metal Star of David. But this Jewish policeman did not wish to, or was afraid to, hold a conversation with the man. Therefore the German followed the man until they reached a shop where Jewish tailors were employed. There he spoke with the policeman and asked to be brought to the head of the Judenrat. Upon his arrival there, he declined to give the man the money and letter he had brought with him – intended only for those included in a list he had, who were all members of pioneering movements. Since the kibbutz home was nearby, they called to Frumke and two others to come to the Judenrat, and also to members of other pioneer movements, so that all would be present upon receipt of the money and the letter.

The messenger awaited their response. Frumke composed an answer orally, which a member of the kibbutz, Markus Phoryla, translated and wrote in German.

And below are some paragraphs from this letter:
Dear Friends,

Following a long period of expectation, we have received today, with great joy, the messenger and your letter. To our sorrow, your messenger is somewhat late in arriving. We have waited years to tell you about our lives and our war.”
(Here Frumke goes into the facts regarding the extermination in the various regions of Poland; the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the end of the last remnants of the community there; the last Jewish settlement in the region of Bendin and its condition; and the annihilation in Auschwitz, including of those who had managed to receive foreign passports.)
…”In all of the regions, of which I have written to you, I have myself visited and witnessed all of the atrocities.

…Do what you can. I am doubtful, as to whether you will be able to help us, as we are facing our last days.

…When you read this letter, none of us will still be alive.

…Our hope of seeing our homeland will not be realized, to our great sorrow. Warm regards to Latben [Tabenkin], Eliezer [Grabitzky], Bendaresky [P. Bendori], Yaari [Meir], Kolodny [Moshe], Goldstein [Yitzhak], Pinchas [Lubianker] and all the family.

We are writing this letter with great haste, for the messenger's time is limited. We have neither the strength nor the patience to write you at length, which is what should have been and what we should have done.

You have our warm blessings.”
[from The Partisans' Wars , pages 358-9]

Early on August 1st , 1943, the actions of destruction and deportation from the Bendin Ghetto began. “Frumke and six friends, who were with her in the same room in the kibbutz” – according to Renia K. – “grabbed their weapons and ran to their prepared bunker. The sudden attack of the Gestapo foiled their plans of self-defense: they had no time to contact the rest of their friends; however the spirit of the defenders did not fall.

“Suddenly they heard the sound of approaching footsteps. Baruch Gaptek, who was in charge of guard duty, ran from his position, and Frumke ran after him. 'The Germans are coming! We can already hear their voices. They have discovered our hiding place!' Baruch shoots and so does Frumke. Two S.S. men are bleeding to death. One dies immediately, the second is severely wounded and begins to shout. A gang of the Gestapo storms the bunker. But the friends decide not to surrender. Shots are fired from all directions. The Germans throw a firebomb into the bunker and flames engulf it. The bunker burns with its defenders. The shooting stops. The Germans call the fire fighters, who fill the bunker with water. The fire is extinguished. On the sooty floor are lying the half-burnt people writhing in their torture. Frumke squeezes the gun, raises her head with her last remaining strength, with some life force. She wants to say something, and her hand does not leave the gun; at once a German jumps up and crushes her with his boots, trying to remove the pistol from her fist.

For a long time the Nazis tortured the dying martyrs. In the end they shot them many times and ordered members of the Jewish militia to put their remains on a freight vehicle.

“That was the end of Frumke.”

Following her older sister, Frumke, Hanche too comes to the preparatory kibbutz early in 1936. She too, like Frumke, is unable to sit quietly, and from the kibbutz, becomes active in the region, in the Freiheit – Young Pioneer movement.

In one of her letters, from October 9th, 1938, to her friend Bracha Richter, which was published in the book Hanche and Frumke , she seems to be apologizing for this: “We live in perpetual dissonance. Among most of us there is no natural inclination to public service. Each one would prefer to work in physical labor of his choosing, to study and to love. But there are internal obligations, there is the pressure of reality, and social problems, which demand constant interference on our part.”

The image of Hanche, emotionally sensitive, assertive and accomplished, is mirrored in these letters of hers. We also find among them expression of her relationship to her home town:

“I have a special feeling for Pinsk, the town of my birth,” she writes on November 8th , 1938.

“I love Polesia despite its poverty and its sadness” (January 16th , 1939)

“Our Pinsker language is like balm on wounds. It tickles me well and lights in me the Chassidic flash. Hurray for the swamps of Pinsk!” (February 17th , 1939)

In September 1938 Hanche goes to work for the movement in the region of Lodz and stays in a kibbutz there. In one of her letters from Lodz she writes to her brother Eliahu in Tel Aviv:
…”Frumke is now a member of the Central Committee. She refused to work at a desk job in Warsaw; therefore she works in the regions, at the moment she is running a regional seminar. She has gone to Polesia so that she can go home to prepare documents for both of us. She has been thinking of aliyah for a long time. She is going through a very difficult time.”

…”I have regrets for Frumke – I don't want her to leave the work with the feeling of 'running away from the front.' And she knows how to work well and with extraordinary dedication. She is a beautiful person. Her life is not easy. A person like that cannot be easy. You will see her at the end of the summer. I repress my own yearning for aliyah. I want to live the moment as it is, to be satisfied with the work; however the 'towards' in our lives here sucks our strength. I want life seven times more difficult, but permanent life in my homeland.”

…”I have changed. You recall me noisy, cheeky, somewhat bitter and over all this, a veneer of Polish culture. A long time ago this veneer was shed and the Jewish spark (in each of us is this spark) burns. And here is the Hebrew. I didn't even pray for this! And even though I still write with mistakes – I have begun to get control of the flow of the language….”
In those days Rachel Katznelson-Shazar (wife of the future president of Israel) met her, and afterward recalled the memory of their meeting in the book Hanche and Frumke (page 153).

“I am not sure whether I am able to convey the impression that Hanche made upon me. But I do not recall in recent years so moving a meeting with any person, as that meeting was. This was in Warsaw before the War. Hanche was then blossoming – beyond the first bloom of youth, and she would have been willing to go to prison, in order to give happiness. The magic in her face, in her laugh, in the movement of her two braids – made one's heart tremble. But beauty of a woman – alone – couldn't affect one so strongly. There was something beyond that and close to eternity, that made one loves her, in her stand against the world: openhearted, earnest and ready to give and to receive. And the fact that our meeting was in the Diaspora, and that she was born in a Jewish town, a nearby town, awoke with the power of magic the memories and hinted at renewal, at a generation going and a generation coming.

“And it was obvious: to her very hands one must entrust the sacred values. She will carry on.” Yudke Helman, who met with her at the meeting of the Council of Kibbutzim in Lodz in July 1939, notes after a long conversation with Hanche:

“Some of the outlines of Hanche's character suddenly became clear to me: her passion and pathos, her emotion and innocence, her faith and devotion, her yearning…a Chassidishe [Yiddish for Chassidic] soul” (above, page 160).

When war broke out, Hanche participated in the final meeting of the Hechalutz Central Committee and that very day returned to Kibbutz Lodz, even though public transportation had broken down. But she seldom stayed in one place for long.

“Two months later, in the stormy days of November 1939” – writes Yudke Helman: “I met Hanche in Lvov, where I'd gone on movement business. We were then under horrible pressure of life underground in the new Soviet region, and in our innocence we thought that there could be no oppression greater than that we suffered from. Seeing us in this way, Hanche said, 'How great is the difference between your lives here and the terror there!' – and it is not difficult to imagine – it is harder to suffer the insult and degradation of their lives: the yellow star [they had to wear], the prohibition of Jews going to the movies, or taking the tram, or taking a walk on the sidewalk; whereas here, Jewish life is in place, without extermination and humiliation. And if here too the suffering is great, it is true for the population at large, and not just for the Jews for being Jewish.

“At the committee meeting, which took place at that time in Lvov, Frumke clamored to send emissaries to the German area. It was decided that Hanche return to Warsaw. We accompanied her to the train station as if she were leaving on any routine trip, we joked about the laws of the country and its customs. Two days later we were certain that she had crossed the border. The next night, a dark and stormy night, we heard a light knock on our door. We were shocked to find Hanche on our doorstep. She appeared weary, worried and crushed. We sensed that she had experienced something terrible and painful. We did not dare ask what. The next morning she told us what had happened to her: all had proceeded as planned. Her border transferor, who was an honest and harmless Christian, had prepared everything with caution, and at the appointed hour – at night she was to have crossed to the other side of the river – when her feet stood in the cold water, a freezing, piercing, torturing cold overcame her. She withdrew and turned back. Before dawn she was seated on the train for Lvov. She could not forgive herself this weakness, and felt that she must make amends. She wanted to go back and try again in the same way. We would not agree, and it was decided that she remain in the area of Soviet dominance. I don't think that this decision had anything to do with the above incident. A few days later Hanche set out for Bialystok to give a messenger some material and news for Frumke in Warsaw. At the end of this errand she was to return to Lvov. She did not return from Bialystok. Later we found out that she had crossed the border and reached Warsaw” ( Hanche and Frumke , pages 166-168).

With her return to the General Government [Nazi controlled part of former Poland] she assisted in the renewal of devastated branches of the movement.

In June 1942, in the days of the transports of Jews from Warsaw, to 'an unknown fate' – writes Renia K. in the book Hanche and Frumke page 100 – the Center of the Chalutz movement predicted the evil approaching with all its horror. It was then decided to close the last organized preparatory kibbutz at Gruchov, and to transfer the people from there to Warsaw. Hanche, who had also been at Gruchov, was sent to Bendin. After dangerous adventures, she came to us. Hanche's good spirits did not leave her even in those bitter days. She brought us up from our depression: let's not lose our grip, friends, she repeatedly told us. She knew all the members of the kibbutz. She knew how to uncover the special part of each of us, to recognize the positive, and to courageously root out the negative. She did not reconcile herself to the break in cultural activity of our branch of the movement. After a long, tiring day of work she would gather the branch members for a talk. And when she spoke of the Land of Israel, of kibbutz life and of the members settled in the farms, her face shone with a warm light.

She repeatedly asked the members of the movement to prepare themselves for battle and defense. She was one of the first to take her own advice. She never stopped maintaining ties with the scattered members of the movement in the region, with the remnants of the branch in Warsaw and with her sister Frumke.

One day she arrived in Bendin with Frumke. That must have been the happiest day in the lives of the two sisters! I recall how both of them sat together and shared with each other for hours, all that they had experienced.

Frumke had been sent by the Central Committee from Warsaw to Bendin, in order to find her way to the land of Israel. Hanche urged her to make haste, but Frumke did not respond to her pleas; instead she decided to remain in Poland!

Meanwhile the bad events increased. Hanche, who had until then borne all her sufferings heroically, took to bed, sick. Nightmares tortured her by day and by night, and in her fever the horrible scenes of what she had seen in Gruchov and on the roads, passed over and over again in front of her eyes.

In the kibbutz there was hunger. And even before she had recuperated, she was forced to stand on her failing legs by the water heater and do laundry. We had no choice.

In March 1943 Hanche was called to come immediately to Warsaw: the Central Committee had decided to send her abroad, in order to alarm world Jewry.

It appeared to Hanche that the idea was to force her to save her own life, and she refused to hear of saving only her own life. But we all urged her to agree to the offer and go. And especially Frumke urged her to go. In the face of her sister's request she couldn't resist, she couldn't cause her sorrow. With deep sadness she began to prepare her knapsack; after finding a suitable dress, she dressed up as an Aryan and left for Warsaw. And she succeeded! A short time later we received a letter. Frumke was delighted: in a few days the group of foreign nationals which she was supposed to join, was scheduled to go to the prison camp – Hanche will be saved!”

“However events turned out otherwise.”

In The Book of Ghetto Wars , pages 176 and 744, is the following account:

“After weeks of searching, all of the routes for Hanche's travel abroad are found to be unrealistic, and on the 18 th of April she plans to leave for Bendin. Lacking a place to stay for the night on the Aryan part of Warsaw, she returns to the ghetto, and the very next day the uprising breaks out. On the 20 th , together with the fighters Adek Himmelfarb, Heniak Klinweis and Meir Schwarz, she tries to break through to the Aryan part of the city. On their way to Kremlitzka Street, where there was a tunnel, which led outside the ghetto walls, they ran into a German patrol. Hanche fell in an armed confrontation.”

Nissan Reznik
Chaim Lazar, one of the active members of the resistance in Ghetto Vilna, writes of him:

[2 KB] Click here to extend the picture “Nissan Reznik was born in Pinsk in 1919. He studied at the Tarbuth Elementary School and at the technical high school. From early on he was a member of the Shomer Leumi [National Guard], later known as Hanoar Hazioni [The Zionist Youth].

When the war began on September 1st, 1939 Nissan was in Pinsk. On the 17th of September the Russian Army invaded Poland from the East, and Pinsk became part of the area of Russian domination.

Two streams of refugees flooded the former Polish lands at that time: one flowed from the areas of German occupation eastward, to the areas of Russian occupation. Here, under Russian government, they at least hoped to find shelter for their bodies. The second stream of refugees flowed toward Lithuania, which in those days was still independent and flourishing, and it appeared that the storms of war would pass her by.

In the large river of refugees, which streamed toward Lithuania, the part of the Zionist youth movements was transcendent. They hoped that Lithuania would serve as point of departure from Europe, which was subjected to a devastating bloody maelstrom. Vilna, the capital of Lithuania, was the gathering place for hundreds and thousands of young refugees, and in the city they reorganized under the leadership of the youth movements, which had left the territories invaded by both the Germans and the Russians. In Vilna the Breicha [Escape] Organization was established; crossing points of borders were planned; and messengers and guides were sent to greet the newcomers, who at that time were arriving in organized groups. In addition, the foundations were built for emigration to the Land of Israel in regular and irregular ways, with forged papers, via Russia, Turkey and China, which were at that time the only countries of passage.

Among the first groups to reach Vilna was one group of forty young people from the Young Zionists of Pinsk, led by two talented young people, with initiative, energy and a rich background in the movement: Solomon Entin and Nissan Reznik.

Some of these young people reached the town during the short period during which it was under Soviet domination, before they gave Vilna to the Lithuanians. Because Pinsk was also under Soviet government, their trip was simple and legal. They simply purchased tickets, took seats on the train, and traveled to Vilna. Others reached Vilna after borders were demarcated, and experienced hardship and dangers on their passage across the 'Green Border.'

Lithuanian and Vilna Jewry received their fellow Jews warmly and with opened arms. Before long the newcomers found their place in the social life of Lithuanian Jewry. To the newcomers was extended, together with the fundamental physical assistance, moral support. And if this was true of 'regular' Jews, it was certainly true of members of the youth movements. The movements saw in those who came the potential for renewed vigor, and organizational, administrational and educational strength, to promote their movements and enhance their strength.

Nissan Reznik found many essential areas of activity for himself and for his movement. He represented his organization before the Joint [JDC – Joint Distribution Committee] and did his best to obtain maximum support from this organization. For almost a year he managed his movement's branch in Kovno, where he enjoyed the fruits of his work and activities. He spent days and nights at his diverse political and public work.

The work became more difficult and more complicated when the Lithuanians forced the kibbutzim to leave Vilna and to disperse over Lithuania's towns and forests. Nissan's kibbutz went partly to Shavli and partly to Zeimelis – now the area of Nissan's influence included Vilna, Kovno and also Shavli and Zeimelis.

The good days of the Lithuanian government soon passed. Moscow accused Lithuania of provocations and without pause to enable the Lithuanians to disprove these accusations, the Red Army proceeded to march on Lithuania, and by June 1940 (the end of the month of Tamuz) the Soviets had taken control.

The Zionist movements were now prohibited by law. All work took place underground. Coordination among all of the Zionist youth movements was initiated, regarding allocation of the infinitesimal number of Certificates to Palestine; but mostly its task was with illegal immigration, in seeking ways out of the country, in forging documents, such as passports, visas, etc.; and in maintaining the Zionist spirit and its teachings among the young people. Nissan represented his organization in this Coordinatsia [Coordination]. As usual and as always he was one of the main speakers and doers and took care of the needs of his movement with the dedication and the loyalty that characterized him.

Nissan became a permanent resident of Vilna, in one room with two other Pinskers – Entin and Grushko, but this was only a pretense. In truth Nissan divided his time between Kovno and Vilna. On a daily basis he traveled back and forth on matters of aliyah and other business of his movement. His activity increased with time, which became ever more pressing. Since the arrival of the Russians in Lithuania, everyone felt that this was the beginning of the end. No one knew what the future had in store for them, but many hearts were full of dread; therefore it was important to extricate as many people as possible from the country. This required immeasurable efforts.”

On June 22nd 1941 the German Army began its march toward Russia and first to fall were the borders of Lithuania. The Jewish public was surprised and shocked, overcome by fear and helplessness.

In the general confusion, consultations were held, over whether to retreat with the defeated Russian Army eastward or not.

Nissan and Entin resisted joining the tide of escapees. They could not desert their comrades who had remained behind. They had to remain with them and guide their steps.

During the first period following the German occupation, the activities to extend assistance to the people and to ensure their well being decreased. It was not possible to organize large-scale activities. All that was done under these extraordinary conditions was done privately and individually. But the activists still had their value. Nissan did not sit with his arms folded. Now too, and perhaps especially now, he felt the weight of the responsibility on his shoulders, and the possibilities to help were so few, so limited, and the needs were so great and numerous!

With the construction of the ghetto, the Judenrat opened soup kitchens for the needy. One of these kitchens was opened at 2 Shtrashun Street, and Solomon Entin was chosen to manage it. This kitchen became the seat of all of the Zionist youth groups. In this kitchen were held the discussions and arguments leading to the formation of the United Partisans' Organization, F. P. O. (Fareinikat Partisaner Organizatsia) in Ghetto Vilna. Here, in this kitchen, the Zionist Youth decided that Nissan Reznik would be their representative on the board of the F. P. O., which was established on January 21st , 1942. His underground name was “Chaim” [a name meaning life], and that is how he appears in the battle articles of the organization (the original was brought to Israel and may be found in the “Moreshet” Archives). One of the F. P. O.'s first activities was sending a delegation to Warsaw, to find out about the extermination and to spread the news of the establishment of the resistance movement (see above – in the section on Solomon Entin).

Upon Entin's departure for Warsaw, Nissan Reznik was assigned to head the soup kitchen and immediately he became one of the best-known personalities in the ghetto, as one of the dedicated and loyal people who were willing to help others at any and all times.

Following the establishment of the F. P. O., the underground movement captured the hearts of the young people, who joined it, giving it much of their energy, strength and time. Furious efforts to enlist more people and obtain weapons began. Lessons, exercises and meetings were held. Means to resist had to be appropriated, and caution was required.

In the conditions of the ghetto this work was extremely difficult. It was difficult to trust unknown people, and purchase of weapons was especially complicated, but without means of defense there was no point or justification of the existence of an organization teaching the ways of resistance.

In spite of the monumental difficulties – the organization rapidly developed. Its membership grew, and there was an atmosphere of mutual trust among the members, despite differences of viewpoint. All understood that in the hour of danger to the whole people, the hour in which the demon was carrying out his destruction, it was necessary to form a unified front. And one of the leaders of those directing this holy work was Nissan Reznik.

Following the major actions there was quiet in the ghetto for a few months. The Jews adjusted to the conditions. New hopes arose in the hearts of the men. The ideology of pacification, maintained by the leadership of all the ghettos, overtook the Vilna Ghetto too.

Meanwhile, in the very hours when the ghetto leadership was promising quiet and peace, the Gestapo was finalizing its plans for the next step in the extermination. The work of the underground became more difficult and more dangerous. At this time there was need of additional efforts to warn the people: to awake them from their lethargy, to admonish them over their complacency, and to convey to them the fate that awaits them, to instill in them awareness of the total extermination awaiting, and to call them to resistance and uprising – as the only path, and the only possible way to die with dignity and perhaps even to survive. Nissan was one of the leaders of this school of thought and of those bringing proof of the atrocities.

In Summer 1943 the ghetto suffered a severe crisis. The Commander of the fighters' organization Itsik Vitenburg was turned over to the Germans. Everyone felt that this was the beginning of the end. The Germans began sending thousands of people to work camps in Estonia. The F. P. O. decided to send its members out to the forests.

Nissan headed the second group to leave for the forest of Naroch (Belarus). They had to pass through some 200 kilometers of enemy territory, a route laden with German patrols, dangers and fears.

Already on its first night outside the ghetto the group encountered a group of enemy soldiers. The group then broke up into two parts and with extreme difficulty reached the forest.

In the forest they were received with hostility. A short time after their arrival in the forest the Jewish unit was disbanded, the weapons which they had collected through great hardship and danger, and had brought with them to the forest, were confiscated, and the Russian Partisan Units under Markov refused to accept the Jews to their ranks.

They had not recovered from this reception, when the Oblawa – the massive German offensive on these forests, began. All of the partisan battalions broke up into smaller groups and left to seek shelter until the danger passed. No one cared for the Jews; not one peasant in the area offered shelter. Hence many were the Jews who perished in this German attack.

Nissan and some of his men were able to make their way beyond the siege and to hide out in the area of swamps, where access was difficult. Gradually the partisans began returning to their bases, life in the forests returned to their former routine, still the Jews were not accepted to the ranks of the fighting units. Their losses were heavy, but this brazen insult was an extremely hard blow. The Commander of the Brigade recommended that the Jews organize as productive platoons, that is as “tree-cutters and water carriers” for the Christian partisans.

Nissan was not prepared for this. He had not come to the forests to save his own life and to become a protected Jew. In his bones burned the fever of the fire of revenge, he must fight the enemy whatever else! He carried on a long and wearying bargaining process with the officer of the Lithuanian Brigade Kazimir over the establishment of a Jewish fighting unit or of inclusion of the group of Jewish men in the fighting units. The officer understood Nissan's feelings, but was not willing to respond. However Nissan would not desist, he took advantage of every proper and improper opportunity to exert pressure on the officer, until in the end the latter consented to accept a few Jewish men to the battle units.

Nissan was now in charge of a Lithuanian partisan unit which numbered 120 men and was active in the vicinity of the Kazian forest. Until the invasion of the region by the Russians, Nissan spent days and nights at battle against the German enemy. He did not neglect any opportunity to meet them on the battlefield.

The days of Liberation arrived. In ruined Vilna the survivors began to assemble; survivors of the partisans, survivors of the bunkers and the camps, and in the hearts of everyone was the desire to escape from this horrible place. No one wanted to rebuild his life on this land soaked with the blood of his brothers, relatives and friends. But where would they go? Nissan became one of the mainstays for the survivors, and one of the mainstays of the new underground organization whose goal was to extricate the Jews from the areas of Russian domination and lead them on the route to Palestine. And as if this were the continuation of the underground from the days of the ghettos, now too all of the Zionist political movements became partners in this new organization, but only the Zionists: thus the foundation for the Breicha [Escape] organization was laid.

As a scout for this group, Nissan set out to search for routes out and to organize border-crossing points. He reached Rovno and investigated the possibility of moving out via Chernowitz to Rumania where there were ports of embarkation for Palestine. On his way to Rovno, he stopped to see the devastated city of Pinsk, running away after half a day.

In Rovno Nissan met with local Jewish partisans and together with them established the essential points of transit. Nissan then returned to Vilna. Individuals and groups began to follow the route that he had paved for them. Tens of people went that way and reached Rumania until the day when a group was stopped by a border patrol and exit was forbidden.

Now the routes of escape led to Poland. Repatriation of Poles from the Russian areas began. The leaders of the escape operation, Nissan among them, saw in this repatriation the possibility of almost mass immigration of Jews from Vilna. Preparation of falsified papers began. Tens and hundreds of young people overnight became citizens of Poland and made their way to Lublin – where the survivors were now concentrated. In Lublin a Central Jewish Committee was set up, which located places to absorb the newcomers. Here the center of the Breicha organization was located and as one of its leaders, Nissan had to be there.

In his unsurpassable energy and tireless work, Nissan quickly became one of the central figures – one of the standout leaders of the survivors in Poland.

Together with his activities with the general Breicha organization, Nissan also reestablished his movement, the Zionist Youth, from its ruins, giving it organizational forms. He established kibbutzim, and gathered members from among the veteran and young survivors who had recently come under the wing of his movement. He served as their teacher, guide and educator, who saw to their food and dress and also gave them spiritual nurturing. He got them out of Poland and to the vicinity of the Mediterranean Sea, so that they could find their way to Palestine.

Thus Nissan passed through the lands of Europe together with the Central Committee of the Breicha from Poland to Rumania. In Bucharest there was a center where delegates from the Land of Israel were engaged in facilitating illegal immigration, and so that country naturally became a magnet for survivors.

From Rumania Nissan went to Italy. He worked in the framework of the Diaspora Center and became a member of Refugees and Pioneer Organization, managing the activities of his own movement, the Zionist Youth.

Nissan was not only a preacher – he himself also practiced what he preached. After a stay of over two years in Europe during which he was constantly active, he reached the Land of Israel. His way led directly to the kibbutz, to Nitzanim. These were the days of pre-state Israel, when security matters were the main concern. Nissan took upon himself the burden of security in his kibbutz, of military training, of preparing shelters, of organizing guard duty, etc. Arab armies invaded Israel; the Egyptian Army attacked the south of the nascent country, reaching as far as Nitzanim. The members of the kibbutz stood heroically against superior forces; some of the men fell at battle, the remainder ran out of ammunition, and the kibbutz fell into the hands of the Egyptians. Those who didn't manage to retreat on time, were taken as prisoners.

Apparently, the suffering and torture of Nissan were not over; after the agony of the ghetto and the forest, after he had witnessed the destruction of his people in Europe: it was his fate to suffer eleven months in an Egyptian prison camp, in Abasya, on the lines of a German concentration camp. As ever before, now too Nissan's spirit did not fall. Here too he found a field of activity for his public work. He assisted in organizing orderly camp life (considering the conditions), and in organizing various courses of learning and career training, with faith in their impending return to Israel.

Upon his return from his imprisonment he was chosen by his movement as a delegate to the countries of South America. During the three years he spent in these countries, he organized youth groups, established preparatory kibbutzim, and sent organized settlement groups to Israel, where they were absorbed by the kibbutzim of his movement and in the economy of the country.

When he returned from this mission, he was chosen to be the Chairman of the Ashkelon Regional Council. With the same dedication and loyalty which had characterized him in the past, he saw to the needs of the settlements of the region and succeeded in promoting their interests. His period as Chairman of the Regional Council is well remembered by all.

In the last few years Nissan has resided in Ramat Gan.

  1. How the Communities of Pinsk and Karlin were destroyed, by Aryeh Dolinko in Yiddish, (manuscript). Introduction and translation into Hebrew by Zeev Livneh. Published by the Society of Former Residents of Pinsk and Karlin in Eretz-Israel, Tel Aviv, Sept. 1946 (mimeograph).
  2. Evidence given by David Gleibman-Globe, New York, 1962.
  3. Evidence given by Yehoshua Neidich, Tel Aviv, 1955.
  4. Evidence given by Motl (Max) Shukhman, Montreal, 1961.
  5. Evidence given by Chayah Sherman, Tel Aviv, 1955.
  6. Evidence given by Golda Sherman Galetski, Tel Aviv, 1955.
  7. Evidence given by Tamar (Tema) Garbuz Kobrinchuk, Tel Aviv, 1955.
  8. Evidence given by Yehoshua (Shaya) Gurevich, Linz, 1945.
  9. Letter written by Dr. Elhanan Einbinder to his parents in Russia, Oct. 12, 1942
  10. Evidence given by Yosef Hofman, Yad Vashem Archives, No. 297/139.
  11. Evidence given by Hershl Turkan, Yad VaShem Archives, No. 1790.
  12. Minutes of evidence given in Tel Aviv District Court, March 1962.
  13. Minutes of evidence in Magistrate's Court, Haifa, March 1962.
  14. Leizer Levin –“The Destruction of Pinsk,” in the Collection “Life in our Branch” published by Pinsker Branch 210, New York, 1948.
  15. Records of the partisan Shalom Galetski.
  16. David Plotnik, My Way as a Partisan From Ural to Pinsk , Rome 1946 (manuscript).
  17. Answers to a questionnaire about partisan activities by Golda and Shalom Galetski.
  18. Evidence given by Fani Solomian Lotz.
  19. Memoirs of a Jewish Partisan by Melekh Bakalchuk Felin, (in Yiddish), published by the Association of Polish Jews in Argentina, Buenos Aires, 1958.
  20. The Summing Up (Abschlußbericht) of the Attorney for the Prosecution, Dr. Arzt, Ludwigsburg, Germany.
  21. Evidence recorded at Police Headquarters, Tel Aviv, April 1962.
  22. In the Small Ghetto, Tsila Dolinko.
  23. Twenty Years Later – Memoirs by Milya Ratnovski Cohen.
  24. Evidence given by Aharon Kalivach, Holon, 1964.
  25. Menashe Unger, “The Rabbi of Karlin Refused to be Saved,” article published in the Jewish daily Tog-Morgen Journal, New York, August 8, 1959.
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