|Catalog No.||6378||Similar Items|
|Brief Description||A testimony and letter about Birzai||Similar Items|
|Registry No.||20777ר"מ||Similar Items|
|Donor||Eilati Shalom||Similar Items|
|File name||עדות ומכתב על בירז'||Similar Items|
|Collection||Kaplan Israel||Similar Items|
|Period||During World War II||Similar Items|
|Period||After World War II||Similar Items|
|Author||רפייקו אריה||Similar Items|
|Author||פונר רחל||Similar Items|
|Date of event||01/06/1955||Similar Items|
|databank||Collections Section||Similar Items|
From the Israel Kaplan collection:
1) Arie Rapeikas: his testimony about Birzai, Lithuania. Testimony taken on June 1, 1955. Two pages, Hebrew, in Kaplan’s handwriting.*
2) A partial copy of a letter sent by Rachel Poner in Vilnius (Vilna) to his sister Frida Levin in Israel, in 1957. One page, Yiddish, in Kaplan’s handwriting.
* See Collections file No. 6445 in the GFH Archives for the testimony of his brother, Abram Rapeikas, as a “questionnaire for fighters in the forests and army.”
1) Rapeikas was deported from the Kaunas (Kovno) ghetto to the Kedainiai camp. On May 12, 1944, he escaped with a group of 12 men and women to the Kedainiai Woods, where they hed until the area was liberated by the Russians. After the war he visited Birzai and heard about what happened to the Jews of the city. He also heard about this from Lithuanians he met in Kovno.
Rabbi Bernstein was taken to the Jewish cemetery and shot. The town’s elderly Kosher slaughterer, Evin, was tied to the tail of a horse and driven through the streets until dead.
About a month after the Germans’ invasion of the city, the Jews were herded into a ghetto on Vilna Street. Several days later they were taken (first the men, then the women) to the Astrava Forest where they were shot. The majority of the murderers were Lithuanians. When the Russians liberated the city, most of its houses went up in flames.
In Birzai, Rapeikas met only one Jew, a man from elsewhere who had married the daughter of Peisachovicz from Birzai. During the war he fled Birzai and was hidden by gentiles.
2) Poner writes to her sister about her postwar visit to Birzai. Most of the houses were burned down and ruined. Only three or four Jewish families were living in Birzai. As she was visiting alone, she was worried about going the distance to the mass grave in Astrava. She visited the home of Sara Peisachovicz’s brother - in - law, identified three photos of the family home in an album, and received them from him. Close