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nisim navon

The first Germans arrived in April 1941. The Albanians liked the Germans.
They came down from villages to welcome them and kiss their boots. Right
after the Germans came, the Jews were ordered to wear a yellow band with
the word Jude, and form a brigade of 200 adults from Kosovo to work at the
stone pit. When the Nazis first rounded up the Jews in Pristina, they came
with a truck to our house and took away everything from us, 10 kilos of
gold, family jewelry which we had had for four generations. Five bags were
all that were left, one each for my father, mother, sister, grandfather and
me. They made our father carry all of the family's belongings out of the
house onto trucks, the whole time beating him on the spine. His back never
recovered from these beatings and he never regained his strength. Rukula
and our mother were both operated on in 1946 for respiratory problems that
developed during the war.

We thought that the Germans wouldn't take my grandfather as he was old, so
we gave him everything we had. But my grandfather was taken to prison
immediately and killed. Soon after grandfather was murdered, my grandmother
died of sorrow and lack of medicine. My two uncles and I were put in labor
camp where we worked at the stone-pit 12 hours a day. My sister, together
with another 40 Jewish women, had to clean streets and public buildings
that belonged to German organizations in the city. They worked 12 hours as
well.

Six months later, two policemen, one Italian and the other Albanian, took
me to be shot in the village of Milesevo, 6 km away from Pristina. A
Gestapo chief asked me if I was a communist. I answered that my family was
capitalist. He thought for some time and released me. When I came back, the
Italian police put me and my cousin in prison in Pristina. I was in prison
from October to December. I was in the room with 40 prisoners, mostly Serbs
expelled from villages by the Albanians. We had to work and we were beaten.
I still have a scar on my arm. In December the Germans transferred me into
a prison in Tirana, where the living conditions were better. I stayed there
till January. In the meantime I didn't have any information about my
family. While I was in Pristina they were moved to Elbasan, Albania. In
February I was removed to Elbasan, but still didn't know that my family was
there, as I was in another part of the prison together with thieves and
criminals. My family was with six other Jewish families. Later I found out
that we were in the same prison. We were there until the end of August
1943.
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Magdalena Berger

My stepmother and I were deported
to Austria, were we were held in a labor camp. In 1944, while in the camp,
my stepmother gave birth to a baby girl. I was given the honor of naming
the baby and I called her Mira Ruth Grossberger. As an infant she was quite
ill and my stepmother wanted her to have two names to protect her from
death.
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Margarita Kamiyenovskaya

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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rena michalowska

My father was the chair of the local Jewish Committee in Walbrzych [in the years 1946-49]. It was an organization in which Jews gathered to help other Jews [25]. At the same time my father made many enemies, because he tried to persuade Jews not to leave Poland. He argued they should stay, because Poland is going to be a different place. After the Kielce pogrom in 1946, however, I'm not sure how many there were whom this argument would stop from leaving [26]. Everybody who could, who had some family, who found sponsors, thought about emigrating.
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tili solomon

On Monday, 30th June 1941, the Jews who survived the pogrom of the previous day were forced to board cattle cars and were taken to Ialomita. Most of the bodies were unloaded and buried in mass graves in Podul Iloaiei and Targu Frumos. Few of them managed to stay alive: this is why they called them the death trains. My poor uncle never came back. My cousin asked me to light two candles for him; she is sure he ended up in the mass grave.
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I think my husband Aurel told me that he had been at the prefecture 'that Sunday.' Jews were being shot there. Aurel and some others were forced to wash the pavement with a hose. There were so many bodies in the courtyard that Sunday that the water flowed to the gutters on the street mixed with blood. On Monday morning two of my uncles who lived there went to their workplaces together. One of them was a watchmaker and had a workshop on Stefan Cel Mare Boulevard. When he got there and saw what was going on in the street, instead of opening the store he entered the courtyard, where some horrified relatives of his asked him, 'How did you get here? There's big trouble in Iasi.' The other one went further away. He was a clerk and worked for another Jew named Kratenstein who owned a small factory. He was supposed to get to I. C. Bratianu Street. Nobody knows whether he made it or not. But his wife and my cousin, who are now in Israel, claim that he was murdered on the street that Monday morning; he didn't get to the train.
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Rahela Perisic

n the meantime, my parents along with Judita and Moric were supposed to be
transferred from the reception camp to Jasenovac. However, my father was
clever and while they were in the cattle cars waiting for the train tracks
at the Prijedor station to be fixed he told my brother and sister to ask to
the officers if they could use the toilet. Since there was not a normal
toilet, they went a little behind the wagon and they managed to cross over
the narrow-gauge railroad tracks. Shortly afterwards my parents managed to
escape unnoticed and caught up with them. All four of them got on a train
for Sanski Most. In Sanski Most they hid for some time; they wanted to
reach Drvar because the Italians were there and they did not practice the
same abuse the Germans did. With a lot of hardship they finally reached
Drvar.
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War broke out in 1941 and a German unit entered Drvar. Not much time passed
before my father, mother and younger sister Judita, and my younger brother
Moric, who was eleven, were taken to what was called a reception camp in
Bosanski Petrovac by the Ustashe [Before and during WWII Ustashe were an
extreme right wing political and military organization of Croatian
nationalists on the German's side. They ruled Croatia from 1941-1945]. When
this happened I was at my aunt's house. The Ustashe told her that she must
send me to the camp but I did not go and I ran away instead. I hid in
surrounding villages, however in the end I fell into the hands of the
Ustashe and I suffered terribly when they took me to prison. But something
happened to save me. Serbs, who were also mistreated by the Ustashe,
attacked Drvar. I was liberated at that time. I immediately registered to
help at the Drvar hospital. Salomon Levi, who I knew from before, worked
there as a doctor. I contacted him and told him that I wanted to help in
the hospital since before the war I had learned first aid in school. From
that day I became a fighter against fascism.
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Arnold Fabrikant

My grandfather worked as a legal adviser for him at his mill. Anatra valued my grandfather so much that when pogroms happened in Odessa, he provided security to guard his home and family.
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Isroel Lempertas

I know hardly anything about my father's family. I remember grandfather David Lempert lived in Latvia, in the town Daugavpils, but I do not know if he was born there. In my father's words David was born in the middle of 19th century. Father said that grandfather David dealt with timber trade and was a rather well-off. Judging by the portrait hanging in our house, where David is with beard, with a kippah on his head and from the scares tales of my father I can say that grandfather was a religious Jew. During World War One, father's family was also exiled. In my father's words grandfather refused to live in Kharkov [Ukraine, 440 km from Kiev], where he worked in some offices of the Soviet Army. When the war was over, the family returned to Lithuania. I cannot say when grandfather David died. I think it happened before the family came back to the Baltic country. Maternal grandmother, petite lean woman, with her head always covered, lived with us. I do not remember even her name. Her health was very poor and she mostly stayed in her room in bed. We just called her grandmother. I remember her lighting candles on the Sabbath eve. She read her thick shabby prayer book while she was able to see. When I was five, i.e. in 1930, grandmother died. She was buried in accordance with the Jewish tradition in the Mazeikiai Jewish cemetery. I do not know anything about father's siblings. I think he was an only son. At least I do not remember any talks about siblings.
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I do not know anything about my maternal grandmother. She died long before I was born. I do not remember any tales about her. I do not even know her name. When the World War One was unleashed, Jews from frontier territories, namely Kaunas province, including Mazeikiai which was part of that province during Tsarist times, were exiled to the remote districts of Russia. Anti- Semitistic tsarist military authorities deemed that propinquity of Yiddish and German and vast difference of Jewish appearance and mode of life from the rest of peoples, inhabiting that territory, would incline Jews to the espionage. Many Jewish families from Baltic countries turned out be exiled. My mother's family was exiled to Berdyansk, warm Ukrainian town on the coast of the Sea of Azov [1000 km to the south from Kiev]. When Lithuania gained independence [1] almost all Jews came back to the motherland. The family of Faivush Levinson also returned. I cannot say whether my grandmother was alive. As far as I remember grandfather Faivush lived in the house of one of my aunts. He died in 1933. He was buried in Mazeikiai Jewish cemetery in accordance with the Jewish rite. I was not present at the funeral. It was not customary for Jews to take children to the funerals of the relatives.
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Nachman Elencwajg

Styczynski had been arrested by the militia, which was made up chiefly by Jews. The reason was that he shouted he had a gun and would shoot at the Russians. And the Poles were silently preparing for a pogrom in revenge for Styczynski's arrest.
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Renée Molho

My father's partner was my uncle Avran who had a very rich father-in-law and didn't care about anything. His father-in-law was Mr. Angel. My uncle Avran married my aunt Regina who was his cousin, Regina Angel, the daughter of one of my grandfather's sisters. It was not just my father's shop that burned down, it was the whole neighborhood, but unfortunately his was the last one for them to put out the fire. In this neighborhood were all the shops that sold construction wood, on Santaroza Street.

I have the impression that everybody was a Jew there, all the construction wood was sold by Jews; because my uncle Sinto, was also there, and my uncle Daniel, and my uncle Avran. Only my uncle Mentesh and uncle Sabetai were in the glass business. They sold widow glasses, mirrors etc.

I don't know any kind of job that was not done by Jews. No. They did everything and when we had a riot here and they burned down the houses in the Campbell district [12] - well, if you can call them houses, they were tin-huts, really - all the people who lived there and worked mainly in the port of Thessaloniki, decided, after the riot, to leave for Israel. They went to Haifa and built the port there, and the reason the port of Haifa exists, is because of them.

What I remember from Campbell is that my father had to take two buses to go to work, because his shop was very far away, compared to our house, and it was very early in the morning, and my mother stood on the balcony watching him going away, until he disappeared, and I felt something odd, a fear in my heart, without realizing what exactly was going on. I didn't ask any questions but everybody was scared. Proof of this fear is that they left. We didn't talk about it at home, not at all.
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Albert Eskenazi

World War II arrived. The Germans came to Croatia. They created and
installed their own authorities, and with them came the Ustashe. Laws
against the Jews were enacted. First they had to register, then that they
had to hand over, their stores and property. Everyone who lived in a better
apartment was evicted and slowly they were taken to camps. Once my
grandfather was widowed he spent one month with one daughter and another
month with one son, etc. He had two remaining daughters: one in Zagreb and
one in Nova Gradiska. In November 1941 he went to stay with his daughter in
Nova Gradiska because she still had not been deported. They said that those
that lived in smaller towns might be saved. However, one day the Ustashe
came and took my aunt Mirjam; Merjama, my mother's sister; her husband,
Bernard Kraus; their children, Zlata and Jelena; and her elderly father.
Zlata was older than me and Jelena was my age. They were all taken to the
Stara Gradiska camp. From there, the women and children were taken to
Djakovo. None of them returned.
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Matilda Cerge

This was in 1942. It was the last transport of Jews from Belgrade. I don't remember when I saw Father the last time at home before Mother took us away. [Editor's note: By the end of May 1942 the last phase of the 'removal' of Jews was completed. In a correspondence from 29th August 1942 a German officer boasted: 'The Jewish question as well as the Gypsy question are totally liquidated. Serbia is the only country in which the Jewish and Gypsy question have been solved.
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