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|Catalog No.||6395||Similar Items|
|Brief Description||The fate of the Jews of Sveksna: an essay by Israel Kaplan||Similar Items|
|Registry No.||20795ר"מ||Similar Items|
|Donor||Eilati Shalom||Similar Items|
|File name||חיבור שכתב קפלן על גורל יהודי שווקשנה||Similar Items|
|Collection||Kaplan Israel||Similar Items|
|Period||During World War II||Similar Items|
|From Date||22/06/1941||Similar Items|
|Author||Kaplan Israel||Similar Items|
|databank||Collections Section||Similar Items|
From the Israel Kaplan collection:
An essay written by Kaplan on the fate of the Jews of Sveksna, Lithuania. Based on the testimonies of Meir Ladon and Ljuba Ziv. Undated; three pages (two copies: one draft of three pages in Kaplan’s handwriting, three typed pages), in Hebrew.
Some 80 Jewish families lived in Sveksna before the war. The town was conquered by the Germans on June 22, 1941. That same day Jews were abducted for forced labor and edicts were imposed upon them. On Friday, June 27, 1941, a group of SS troops headed by Dr. Schau, head of the Gestapo in Heidekrug. Aided by Lithuanians, the Germans took all the Jewish men from their homes, and also [male?] children ages ten and up, the elderly and sick, and brought them to the prayer hall [Beit ha - Midrash], abused them, cut off their beards and cut the hair on their heads in a humiliating way. The Lithuanian physician Biljunas examined each of them but wrote no remarks as he understood that the Germans had no need for sick people. The Jews were taken to the “Ezrat Nashim” [women’s section of the prayer hall] and cruelly tortured. The Germans particularly harassed the town’s elderly head rabbi, Rabbi Shalom - Yitzhak Levitan. Towards evening the Germans turned to various abuses: they sent Jews out to the courtyard and deliberately misfired in their direction. The abuses didn’t stop and night. The Lithuanians ordered Moshe Ment and other men to collect the hair that had piled up on the floor, lay it on the rabbi’s outstretched arms, and to set it afire. The rabbi refused to desecrate the Sabbath and the Germans beat him bloody. The next day some one hundred young people [m. pl.] were sent to a camp in the village of Versmininkai. All the rest, particularly the elderly, were transferred to the Heidekrug camp. Jews from other locales were also brought to the camps of Heidekrug and others in its vicinity. The first Aktion in these camps was carried out on Saturday, July 19, 1941; many of Sveksna’s Jews were brought to the village of Siaudvyciai and murdered. An additional Aktion was conducted two months later and the slaughter was carried out in the same place.
In their places of work near Heidekrug, Jews of Sveksna met Lithuanians from their town and its surroundings. From them they learned tht those who had remained (women, children, and a few adult men) had been taken from their homes and forced into a ghetto, suffered hunger, and worked at hard labor. Among the men who had remained in the town were: Hirsch Shajes, Josche Miches, Reb Moshe the ritual slaughterer and his son, and Natan Hirschovic. On Sunday of Rosh Hashana 5701 (Sept. 22, 1941), all the women, children, and men were taken from the ghetto and brought to a forest near the villages of Inkakliai and Raudiskiai, where they were slaughtered.
In late July 1943, all the Jews from the camps near Heidekrug were sent to Auschwitz. On Aug. 2, 1943, the day they arrived, some hundred of them were sent to the gas chambers, among them several dozen Jews from Sveksna. The remainder were sent some two months later to Warsaw (Warszawa) and put to work clearing rubble in what had been the ghetto. Some of them contracted epidemic typhus and died.
In the summer of 1944 the Jews from Warsaw were brought to the Dachau camp, and in the spring of 1945 were liberated by the Americans. Only a few of Sveksna’s Jews survived the war: Naftali Ziv, Yitzhak, Meir Ladon, Moshe and Zeev Ment, and Gutman Sajovic.
A few Jews succeeded in fleeing to the USSR back when the war broke out. After the liberation the following lived in Vilnius (Vilna): Baruch Gersonovic and his son, the Rivkin brothers and their sister, and Ljuba Ziv. Close