|Catalog No.||6398||Similar Items|
|Brief Description||Szmuel Kalmanowicz: his testimony on Mikhaliski||Similar Items|
|Registry No.||20790ר"מ||Similar Items|
|Donor||Eilati Shalom||Similar Items|
|File name||עדותו של שמידל קלמנוביץ' על מיכלישקי||Similar Items|
|Collection||Kaplan Israel||Similar Items|
|Period||During World War II||Similar Items|
|Author||קלמנוביץ' שמידל||Similar Items|
|Date of event||13/02/1947||Similar Items|
|databank||Collections Section||Similar Items|
From the Israel Kaplan collection:
Szmuel Kalmanowicz, born in 1900: his testimony about Mikhalishki (Michaliszki) in the Vilnius (Vilna) district. The testimony was taken in Stuttgart on Feb. 13, 1947. 13 pages, handwritten, in Yiddish.
Some 2,000 Jews lived in prewar Mikhalishki. They had an extensive cultural life and good economic conditions. Kotawicz, formerly the Polish nobleman of Mikhalishki, helped the Jews to the best of his ability. On June 21, 1941, the Germans invaded territories that were under Soviet control, and within two days conquered the town. The abuse of Jews began immediately. Some 30 Jews were taken to the cemetery and beaten with whips (fifty lashes each). Some couldn’t withstand the suffering and died. Others were taken for forced labor. The peasants sold foodstuffs to the Jews at inflated prices. When the governing of the town changed hands, policies worsened: two adult Jewish men -- Berl - Yenkel the blacksmith and Hirszl the baker -- were shot in front of everyone when they were caught with food in their utensils. Several days later, the Jews of Mikhailishki were told that in Worniany ten civic leaders were executed, among them the town’s head rabbi. Another man who succeeded in escaping from a killing pit told of how the murderers offered to spare the rabbi but he refused to part from his comrades. In Mikhailishki there was a great panic among the Jews, and many sought places of refuge for themselves. At the same time Lithuanians looted the Jews’ abandoned houses. SS troops who entered the town found it emptied of Jews. They announced that in six hours a ghetto would be set up in the city and anyone found outside it would be shot on the spot. With no alternative the Jews returned and entered the ghetto, Kalmanowicz among them. The ghetto had little territory and the crowding there was terrible. That same night the Jews were required to pay a high ransom, but with the intervention of Judenrat members Icchak Swirski and Zisel Lewin, the sum was reduced. Many Jews were taken to the Kuny camp near Ostrowiec (Sotrowiec Swietokrzyski) and put to work at laying railroad track on the Vileyka - Molodechno line. After three months they were murdered, and new workers were taken from the ghetto. The number of ghetto dwellers was shrinking, but newcomers were brought in, Jews from the ghettos of Worniany, Kamelishki (Kiemieliszki), Svir, and Bystrzyca.
[On March 25, 1943] some  Jews from Mikhailishki were transferred to the Vilnius (Vilna) ghetto. [In April 1943], some  Jews were deported to the Ziezmariai camp and the Vievis camp. A third group was to have been sent to Kaunas (Kovno) and many Jews hoped to be on that transport. The first two transports arrived at their destination, but the third, in which were also Jews from Oshmyany, [Svencionys; Swieciany], and Soly, stopped at Ponary,* and most of the Jews in it were slaughtered. Some 30 Jews of Mikhailishki remained alive.
* See Collections file No. 6352 in the GFH Archives about the uprising that took place upon hearing of the deception. Close