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elvira kohn

Today people say that the Italians didn't really kill anyone directly in the camp. My answer to that is: the Italians did and didn't kill in the camp. They killed indirectly. They killed by forcing us to work, by giving us small amounts of food, by giving us orders, by treating us like a lower race. They were cruel.

Often the inmates who had small children were given half a liter of milk for a child. The commandant of the camp who was among the worst, saw a mother with her child in one hand and a bottle of milk in the other, approached the mother, took the bottle from her and spilled the milk. They were cruel in these ways: starving us, mistreating us, scaring us, forcing us to work.
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baby pisetskaya

In 1905 my grandfather, grandmother and their three children moved to Uman, a small provincial town in the west of Ukraine, escaping from the terrible Odessa pogrom [2] that year.
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Jankiel Kulawiec

That was at the time of that famous law in the Sejm about the ban on ritual slaughter [8]. So the Jews started killing their animals on the quiet. And there were these 'confidants' [people who collaborated with police in searching for underground slaughterers], who went around looking out for that. One of them came upon a butcher who was actually in the middle of slaughtering like that. And the butcher knifed him, which set off an incredible pogrom.

There was a similar event in Losice, only I don't remember in which year. [Editor's note: this pogrom, provoked by a butcher named Kabrilok and his gang in 1938, was averted at the last moment by Russian military troops, invited from Siedlce by two Jews. The story below is an exaggerated version of the facts.] The Jews in our town had all sorts of dairies and similar businesses, and in connection with that they used to go round the villages to buy up milk or livestock. Two Jews had gone to one of these villages, and it was at the same time as a recruitment drive for the army. So the recruits attacked them and hacked them into pieces, and their horses dragged their bodies back to Losice. I vaguely remember that they put all the pieces together in the synagogue and they lay like that for about two days [the aninut usually lasts a day or two], I think. The police even came and investigated the case.

Another time some students studying in Warsaw and Siedlce came for their vacation, and set up anti-Semitic pickets outside Jewish shops. If a Pole went in, they would stick a paper pig to his back. And it even escalated into a running battle between those lads and the farmers who'd come to buy things from the shops.
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To go back to pre-war Losice, I remember that we heard rumors of intensifying anti-Semitism. I remember when we heard about the pogrom in Minsk Mazowiecki [7], that was sometime around 1935-36. Minsk wasn't far from Losice, about 40 km - so word got around. It was a hot topic; Jews were fleeing from there to Losice, and people talked about it. Or the pogrom in Brest [now Belarus]. Brest was still Polish then.
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Mico Alvo

My brother went down to Athens to take his exams for the Polytechnic in June 1942. They called us all to gather at Eleutherias Square [70] on 1st or 11th July, I don't remember the exact date. There many things happened... It was the first call for forced labor: to go and be drafted for labor. And the Germans transformed it into a feast. They had people photographing all around the balconies of the buildings that they had occupied. They would make you do gymnastic exercises; they would beat you up, two or three died from the beating. And they also had the women soldiers that were called 'Blitzmädchen.' This is a compound word: 'Mädchen' means lady and 'Blitz' means thunder. When we saw this happening we called my brother and told him, 'Don't come back to Thessaloniki.' And from that time on he stayed in Athens.
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Rafael Genis

There were about 14 places out of town where Jews were executed. I don't know exactly where my kin perished. Father's sisters Chaya Riva and Channa also perished. And my brother Dovid, who was studying at Telsiai yeshivah, was shot in Rainai along with 300 rabbis. My mother and sister Tsilya lived a bit longer. One lady, who crept out from the pile of corpses told me about it later. They were in the ghetto in Telsiai. Lithuanians often went there to hire people. One of them wanted to take Tsilya and save her that way, but my sister clung on to my mother and didn't agree to part with her. Then a furious Fascist shot both Tsilya and my mother.
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On the day when the war broke out, my brother Liber and his wife Ida with their baby daughter - about two months old - came to see my parents. The lady said that she noticed the tail of the column, where Liber and Ida with the stroller, were walking. The Fascists took the stroller away and it was rolling on the curb. My brother darted after the stroller and the German shot him right away, then they shot the baby.
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Janina Duda

When someone mentions szmalcownicy [42], criminals from Jedwabne [43] or others, I understand that, I know, but you can’t look at any nation from the point of view of perversions, which exist in every society.
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Margarita Kamiyenovskaya

22nd June 1941 was a Sunday. It was an ordinary weekend morning, when people could stay longer in bed and then start the day. At noon Molotov's [25] speech was broadcast on the radio, where he announced that fascists had attacked [the USSR] without declaring war and he added, 'Our cause is just and we will win.'

Soon the Germans started air raids. Trains heading for the rear of Russia departed from Tallinn railway station. Authorized employees of Estonia were evacuated and my father was among them as he was a doctor. Thus, our family had no choice but to leave. My father tried convincing three of his sisters to get evacuated with him, but they flatly refused. They thought that three elderly political ladies, fluent in German, had nothing to fear. If the Soviet regime didn't exile them, the Germans would do no harm to them. People say that they were murdered by the Germans in 1941, but I think they were merely killed by Estonians. It might have happened before the Germans' arrival. There were cases like that.
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My mother went to a private Realschule [2] in Kiev. She did well and finished a full course there. This is all I know about my mother's childhood. Her family lived in Kiev. She told me about the Jewish pogroms [see Pogroms in Ukraine] [3], which had taken place in Ukraine before the revolution [see Russian Revolution of 1917] [4] and during the Civil War [5].Once my maternal grandfather was chased by pogrom-makers. He barely reached his friend's house. He even lost his rubber boots on the way. He spent the night at his friend's place after having called home. There were a lot of Jews in that district. There was a military unit in the vicinity. The Jews collected money and paid the soldiers monthly so that they maintained order. After that no pogroms took place in that district.
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Isroel Lempertas

In 1938-39 pro-Nazi public opinion was streamlined in Lithuania. The teacher of arts, a Lithuanian, called upon fascism among youth. I do not know who of them did it, but each morning there were anti-Semitist posters in the lobby of lyceum, namely a Jew with a 'snoot', plaits, distorted appearance and clothes, with a humped back. Those posters were removed, but next morning they appeared again. I know for sure that two guys from that circle shot Jews, including their classmates in 1941 during one of Hitler's actions. There was a very beautiful girl in our class, the daughter of the director of Jewish bank, Kock Glikman. Many guys wooed her, including one of those guys. She did not want to go with him and he shot her with his own hands during one of the actions in 1941. Many people, at least our family, understood, that fascism would bring calamity to our country and many people looked up to USSR. I am not sure if my father knew about political processes and repressions carried out by Stalin in USSR [Great Terror] [13]. He had never talked to me about it.
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The fate of my mother's youngest sister, born in 1910, can be called tragic. Rahil married a pampered loitering Jew Jacob Rier from Riga. When WW2 began, Rahil's daughter Rosa turned 3. Rahil, Jacob and their daughter fled Mazeikiai on the second day of war. When our family got to Riga, Jacob insisted that his family should go to his relatives in the town of Salaspils 'to take a rest' in his words. We moved on, but Rahil's family was in occupation. In accordance with archival data, which I found after war, Rahil's family died in one of the most dreadful extermination camps in Salaspils. [6].
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bella zeldovich

I don't know who arranged the pogroms, but my parents said that they took away everything they could lay their hands on. White Guards [7] came and there was a pogrom and when the power switched to red troops [Reds] [8] there were also pogroms and it was difficult to make a difference between these gangs [9].
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During the Civil War [6], when pogroms began, a nice German family helped my grandfather's family to move to Nikolaev.
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My father told me that there were Jewish self- defense [1] units during the 1905 pogroms [2] in some streets in Nikolaev and those neighborhoods didn't suffer that much. In my grandfather's neighborhood there was also a self-defense unit and their Russian neighbors also helped them. My grandfather's property didn't suffer from pogroms.
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