|Catalog No.||6397||Similar Items|
|Brief Description||Saukenai: an essay by Israel Kaplan||Similar Items|
|Registry No.||20796ר"מ||Similar Items|
|Donor||Eilati Shalom||Similar Items|
|File name||חיבור שכתב קפלן על שוקיאן||Similar Items|
|Collection||Kaplan Israel||Similar Items|
|Period||During World War II||Similar Items|
|Author||Kaplan Israel||Similar Items|
|databank||Collections Section||Similar Items|
From the Israel Kaplan collection:
An essay written by Kaplan about Saukenai, Lithuania, based on the testimonies of Arje Schneider and Frida Niselevic - Strom. Undated; seven pages, typewritten, in Hebrew.
Upon the outbreak of the war, Jews from Saukenai fled to villages in the vicinity, but returned to their homes on June 26, 1941, with the Germans’ conquest of the town. With the returnees came some 30 Jewish families from Kelme whose homes burned down. The following day, the local administration passed to Lithuanian hands, and Dr. Girdvainis was appointed mayor. On one of the early days of the occupation, Lithuanians broke into the prayer hall [Beit ha -Midrash] during the dawn prayer service, dragged out Jews wrapped in their prayer shawls, beat them and forced them to clear away broken - down vehicles left behind by the Russians. By request of the Jews to the mayor, a Jewish committee headed by Eliahu Niselevic was formed. Some ten Jews, most of them young [men], were taken to a jail [or prison] in Siauliai, and only one of them, Moshe Isaac, remained alive. The Lithuanians imposed various edicts on the Jews and ordered them to evict the Kelme Jews from their homes, but this the Saukenai Jews refused. On July 25, 1941, the Jews were required to amass 50,000 rubles, and if not, all the Jews would be banished from the town. A great panic arose among the Jews, and some (among them Arje Schneider) approached influential Lithuanians, among them the forester Gaudosas, in an attempt to mitigate the harshness of the decrees, but to no avail. The money was collected and transmitted to the Lithuanians. Despite this, on July 28, 1941, Lithuanians broke into Jews’ homes and took them out to the synagogue. At the entrance they demanded that every Jew hand over his money and any valuables in their possession. From there the Jews were taken to the Sukiskis estate, to the farm of the Rozental brothers.* At Sukiskis, the Jews of Saukenai were joined by some ten families from locales in the vicinity. For two days the Lithuanians abused the Jews, and on July 30. 1941, the latter were all herded into a barn. From the barn 89 children, mothers, teenage girls, and four men -- altogether 128 people, according to a list that had been prepared in advance. They were locked into a farmhouse, under guard. Among those taken out: Arje Schneider and three of his relatives, Chaim - Shlomo Kremer and all his family (seven altogether), 17 - year - old Shmuel Kalmanovic, and a tanner. The list had been prepared by Lithuanians who for various reasons wanted these particular Jews kept alive. The remainder of the Jews were taken away from the farm, in their underwear. The next morning Schneider heard from Ignas Kaminskas, a Lithuanian known to be fair and honest, that all those who had been taken away were shot in the Dulkiskis Forest by Lithuanians. Among the killers were the tailor Joazas Arbatauskas, the brothers Jotsas from the village of Kartokliai, and the laborer Brazas. Schneider told the adults among those who remained with him about what he had heard, but they refused to believe him.
The Lithuanian mayor distributed the Jews among five farms near Saukenai. The largest group (some 50 children and 15 women and teenage girls) were brought to a flour mill at Svile that had been owned by Czesler, a Jew from Kelme. Schneider, who was among those sent there, went out secretly in mid - August to Siauliai to consult with Shmuel Leibovic but returned no wiser than when he had gone.
On Aug. 29, 1941, Jews from the five farms gathered and were brought to Zagare. There they met with Jews from various towns, mostly women and children. Only from Bazilionai did men come to Zagare too, and this because the Lithuanian population of B. hadn’t listened to German incitement and refused to participate in the murder of Jews. On the day they arrived, 16 Jews from Saukenai escaped from Zagare. They dispersed in the forests near Saukenai and were aided by Lithuanian peasants with whom they were previously acquainted. The priest of Saukenai suggested to these Jews to convert to Christianity to save their lives, and after many misgivings they agreed to accept his suggestion. Only Schneider remained steadfast in his refusal. He found refuge with Andrejuska, a peasant in the village of Juodle, until another peasant, Pileckas, with whom he had hidden earlier, came to warn him that Kuloksa, a lawyer from Uzventis, and his followers, who had been responsible for the murder of many Jews, were searching for escapees. Schneider left the place and found refuge with Katkus, a forest ranger. The next day Katkus went to town, and when he returned he told Schneider that some of the escapees who had converted to Christianity had alredy been caught. Schneider fled to Siauliai and remained there until the liberation. Besides him, Sonia Kaminicki and Ahuva Klor also fled to Siauliai, but Kaminicki did not survive.
* One brother had been deported by the Russians to Siberia; the second brother, Arje - Leon, remained on the farm, fled from the Lithuanians, and survived. Close