Search > Search Results > The fate of the Jews of Rietavas, Lithuania: two testimonies ...
|Catalog No.||6342||Similar Items|
|Brief Description||The fate of the Jews of Rietavas, Lithuania: two testimonies||Similar Items|
|Registry No.||20738ר"מ||Similar Items|
|Donor||Eilati Shalom||Similar Items|
|File name||שתי עדויות על גורל קהילת ריטווה, ליטא||Similar Items|
|Collection||Kaplan Israel||Similar Items|
|Period||During World War II||Similar Items|
|From Date||22/06/1941||Similar Items|
|To Date||02/05/1945||Similar Items|
|Author||Kaplan Israel||Similar Items|
|Author||Friedman Etel (now Eta Fajbus)||Similar Items|
|Author||Druzin Mordechai||Similar Items|
|Author||Druzin - Katz - Zucker Jona - Taube||Similar Items|
|Date of event||22/10/1945||Similar Items|
|Date of event||14/09/1953||Similar Items|
|Date of event||19/04/1957||Similar Items|
|databank||Collections Section||Similar Items|
From the Israel Kaplan collection:
Testimony and texts about the fate of the Jews of Rietavas (Yiddish: Riteve), during the Holocaust:
1) Extermination and annihilation" – testimony of Etel Friedman, Oct. 22, 1945.
23 pages, in Kaplan's handwriting, in Yiddish.
2) Addenda to Friedman's testimony, Oct. 22, 1945.
One, in Kaplan's handwriting (illegible), in Yiddish.
3) Clarification queries prepared by Kaplan for Etel Friedman to complete details in her testimony.
Two pages, handwritten, in Hebrew and Yiddish.
4) A letter to Israel Kaplan from Etel Friedman (known as Eta Fajbus], with answers to several of his questions. Sept. 14, 1953.
Three pages, handwritten, in Yiddish.
5) The testimonies of Jona [Taube] Druzin, formerly Katz -Zucker, and Mordechai Druzin who was in both Rietavas and Kvedarna. Dated: April 19, 1957.
One page, in Kaplan's poorly legible handwriting and signed by the testifiers, in Yiddish.
The following is a synopsis of Etel Friedman's testimony (from 1, 2, and 4):
With the German invasion of Lithuania on June 22, 1941, Etel's family fled to the neighboring village. Upon returning to the town they found their house destroyed, along with the homes of other Jews. The local Lithuanians, including friends of the family, changed their relations to the Jews and were estranged from them. Lacking shelter, E.F.'s family wandered in forests and among villages, and having no alternative, returned to the town. The local Jews were subjected to abuses and were put to forced labor at humiliating tasks. On June 26, the Jews were arrested and concentrated in the camp under crowded conditions, abused, and deliberately starved for three days. After ten days they were forced to hand over their jewelry. Etel's wedding ring was taken by a Lithuanian villager from Pelaiciai, a man who previously had delivered the cholent [Sabbath stew, baked in a communal oven - ed.] in her village. Then they were sent out on an exhausting march, 40 km in two days, to Telsiai via Tverai, Nevarenai, and Zarenai. During this forced transfer to Telsiai, Elchanan Babus was the Jews' representative to the authorities, but his influence was minimal. In Telsiai they were interned in a camp where there already were Jews. On July 14, 1941, SS troops came in two trucks, took all the men out to a courtyard, and subjected them to abuse. Three Jews lost their lives. Fifty strong men, Etel's husband David among them, were taken and slaughtered after [being made to ] digging their own graves. Two days later the SS troops returned to the camp, took all the men out to the adjacent forest, and slaughtered them. A woman Communist who delivered a caustic speech against the Germans was murdered along with her baby. After the men were killed, a committee of women was set up. Four days after the men were killed, one of the women of the committee managed to bring Etel's 10-year-old son [who had survived the slaughter of the men] to her. After working for five weks, she was sent with her two children to the Geruliai camp, where four thousand women and children were packed together. The crowding resulted in the outbreak of diseases, as a result of which there was a high mortality (especially among the children). Also in this camp were Etel's mother, her only sister, her sister – in – law, their children, and other relatives. During an Aktion, women fit for work were taken away, including Etel and her daughter. Etel understood that the fate of those who remained (including her son) was sealed, and after 10 km she broke away from the convoy of female prisoners and was conveyed in the wagon of a sympathetic peasant [m.], who promised to help rescue her son. [During her escape] she encountered an old friend, a Russian Jewish lieutenant named Leibel Shefchek, who had come to the town during the year of Soviet occupation. Being a veterinarian, he now traveled with the peasant in order to rescue the man's cow. Etel begged him to save her son, and he promised to do so on his return, but [in the event] did not. It turned out that he was a collaborator with the Germans. Eventually, by impossible means, Etel and her daughter returned to the ghetto [not stated when – ed.]. Her family had been murdered on Aug. 30, 1941. In the ghetto, Etel and her daughter lacked everything. Her daughter contracted mumps but recovered on her own [i.e. without medical attention]. With the worsening economic situation, they were required to work for peasants in the vicinity. They worked for a peasant in a village some 7 km from Alsedziai. Etel was updated about what was going on in the ghetto. Many women fled Telsiai to Siauliai aided by Lithuanian smugglers, and Etel found out that her brother, her brother - in - law, and their children were in the Siauliai ghetto. Accordingly she requested of the peasant [at whose farm she worked] to return her to the ghetto, and he agreed. They [f., i.e. Etel and her daughter] didn’t enter the ghetto immediately; they first stayed with a Lithuanian woman of E’s acquaintance who promised to take them to Siauliai, and then went to another Lithuanian woman acquaintance, but there too matters didn’t work out, and at the same time the ghetto was about to be liquidated. Towards evening they went out with another woman (and her little daughter) in the same circumstances, heading for Siauliai. A passing peasant agreed to convey them, and in the end took them to his home. Due to the presence of many collaborators, they were obliged to flee to the village where they had worked previously. The man there was sympathetic, but after several days asked them to leave. Even so, he continued to keep them for two more weeks and then conveyed them to Siauliai.
Kaplan notes in addition to the testimony: Etel Friedman and her daughter were in the Stutthof camp, from which they [traveled] to Bavaria, from there to [the] Kaufering [camp] – near Landsberg am Lech – Camp No. 1. They were liberated on May 2, 1945. Close