Search > Search Results > Avraham Leibovich: his testimony about the town of Zhetl (Dy ...
|Catalog No.||6387||Similar Items|
|Brief Description||Avraham Leibovich: his testimony about the town of Zhetl (Dyatlovo)||Similar Items|
|Registry No.||20787ר"מ||Similar Items|
|Donor||Eilati Shalom||Similar Items|
|File name||עדותו של אברהם לייבוביץ' מהעיירה ז'טל||Similar Items|
|Collection||Kaplan Israel||Similar Items|
|Period||During World War II||Similar Items|
|From Date||28/06/1941||Similar Items|
|Author||לייבוביץ' אברהם||Similar Items|
|databank||Collections Section||Similar Items|
From the Israel Kaplan collection:
Avraham Leibovich, born in 1932 in the town of Zhetl, Novogrudok (Novogrudek) district of what was then Poland: his testimony about his experiences during the war period. 15 pages, handwritten, in Yiddish.*
On June 28, 1941, the Germans invaded Zhetl. Following information from locals, the Germans arrested seven Jews on suspicion of having collaborated with the Soviet regime; they were tortured and shot to death. Several weeks later, the Jews were herded into the market square. The educated and wealthy among them, including A.L.’s father, were separated from their brethren and sent to Novogrudok, where they were tortured and shot. From that group the Germans left alive only one Jew, a man of particularly short stature. After they amused themselves with him and photographed him, they sent him back to the town. Upon returning he was mute and dumfounded, drank two liters of ethanol, and died. A.L. and a friend attempted to save him, but to no avail.
There were a Judenrat and Jewish police force operating in the town. In January 1942 a ghetto was set up. 4,500 local Jews were interned there and an additional 1,500 Jews from elsewhere. In May 1942, all the Jews, including the sick, were taken to the old cemetery. There, those who were fit for work were separated from them. Those who remained began to riot and attempt to escape, but they were herded into another street, where A.L. met up with his mother’s brother and sisters. When they requested of a Polish policeman whom they knew that he rescue A.L.’s brother, the policeman beat the brother. The Jews were sent out to the Kopesh [?] forest and slaughtered into pits, in groups of twenty. The infants were taken by the feet and their heads bashed against a tree, then thrown alive into the pit. During this Aktion, the head of the gendarmerie arrived from Novogrudok and conducted a Selektion. A.L., his mother, his brother Eliezer, age 16, and their sister Dvora age 4 [?] were among those who remained alive. They were made to stand aside, and saw how other Jews were shot. After the shooting the pit was doused with chlorine and hand grenades thrown into it in order to assure there would be no survivors. The remaining Jews were sent back into the ghetto.
[In August 1942] energetic Jews began to organize people for going out to the woods and joining the partisans. Among the organizers were Alter Dworecki and Hirsl Koplinski [sic; Hirsz Kaplinski]. ** The two were killed in late 1942 by antisemitic partisans.
Four of A.L.’s relatives, knowing there would be another slaughter, prepared for themselves underground hideouts. In Sept. 1942, an Aktion was conducted in the ghetto: for four days A.L. and his family hide in the hideout along with other Jews [60 altogether]. During this Aktion, 150 Jews with skilled occupations were taken to Novogrudok; all the rest were taken to the cemetery and shot there. After the troops left the ghetto, those in hiding left their hideouts and went to hide with gentiles. Many of them were evacuated to the town of Dvorets, where there was a labor camp.
After four weeks, A.L. and his family went to the forest, where they met up with his mother’s brother and his family. A.L.’s brother joined the partisans and provided for the family. In December 1942 the partisans were surrounded by Germans*** for over a month. Many died of starvation, exposure, and illnesses, among them his mother’s brother, who died of typhus. In May 1943, the partisans were again surrounded by the Germans. Many of the partisans contracted typhus, among them A.L.’s brother. Many Germans were killed in their attempt to overrun a tank that was in the hands of the partisans; also several partisans were killed. In July 1944 the Germans again surrounded the forest. A.L. and his family hid in underground hideouts and heard Germans and Ukrainians walking above their heads.
In August 1944 they were liberated by the Russians. A.L.’s brother [enlisted or was conscripted into] the Soviet Red Army and was killed near Warsaw (Warszawa). At the time of the writing, A.L., his mother and sister were in a [DP] camp in the city of Ulm, Germany.
*This man’s name and bio details were added to his testimony after the fact, with an explanatory note in Yiddish: “children’s work.”
**The two fought in the ranks of the partisans, in the Orlianski Brigade. Kaplinski commanded a unit that bore his name.
*** The testimony specifies numbers: 25,000 Germans against 3,000 partisans. Close