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Recollections of Wartime Childhood

in the Shadow of the Holocaust

JEWISH REFUGEES

  • Русский
  • English
  • Deutsch
  • עברית

Recollections of Wartime Childhood

in the Shadow of the Holocaust

JEWISH REFUGEES

  • Русский
  • English
  • Deutsch
  • עברית

Recollections of Wartime Childhood

in the Shadow of the Holocaust

JEWISH REFUGEES

From memories

  • "The following members of our family perished in the war: my father and my brother, Boris; Uncle Mulya… Aunt Etka and her husband did not manage to leave Vitebsk in time and were killed in the ghetto, along with their four sons. Leib, the son of Chaim-Gershon, died, as did Lenya Mintz, the son of my father’s brother Dovid. His brother, Grisha, was also killed. Chaim Beilinson died. Then the Germans took Nevel, and he was shot in the village of Golubaya Dacha, along with all the other Jews who were still in town…"
    Minz Joseph
  • "I will never forget the day I was walking to see my mother at the hospital. A group of boys caught me on the bridge, twisted my arms behind my back, tied a noose around my neck and started to lead me away, telling any adult passer-by who cared to know that “We’re going to hang the yid.” And the adults grunted sympathetically..."
    Heifetz Michael
  • "Harassed by gunfire and bombing from German airplanes, spurred on by the advancing German troops, we moved east. … In another village, an old man agreed to sell us a chicken. He said: “I’ll sell it to you, dear people, but I would never sell it to Jews.”"
    Lebedev Lev
  • "I could not understand it: it made no sense to me that the Germans hated the Jews – and yet our own side, the Russians, who were fighting a bloody battle against the Germans, hated the Jews too."
    Saxonov Lev
  • "It was very frightening. It was a Jewish fear, the fear of being Jewish – and it was this fear which impelled us along the paths of privation."
    Shachmurova Lucia
  • "One thing was clear: we needed to flee from the Germans... Without guidance, assistance, or clarifications from the government, or from rear-front command…"
    Shachmurova Lucia
  • "I squeaked uncertainly a couple of times: “Daddy!” My mouth was dry, and I could hardly breathe from fear, and my voice was drowned out by the stomping of feet and squeaking of wheels. I was afraid to call him by name: my father’s very Jewish last name, Kleiman, might attract the wrong kind of attention, and even a beating."
    Kleiman Victor
  • "Sometimes they taunted me, and one of them would grab me by the collar and call me a “kike,” drawing it out with such exquisite hatred that it gave me goose bumps. I could not understand it: it made no sense to me that the Germans hated the Jews – and yet our own side, the Russians, who were fighting a bloody battle against the Germans, hated the Jews too."
    Saxonov Lev
  • "I doubt that I have had to endure that much more than other people – although it was not every child who had to see his mother taking bread from a dead man’s hand before his very eyes in order to save her children from starvation, or throwing her kids, screaming in horror, down the slope from a burning train car."
    Shustin Isaac

FOR MANY YEARS IT WAS TABOO…

The word “Jew” used to be almost obscene in Soviet periodicals. Nothing was said about the tragedy of the Jews at the beginning of the war, a tragedy, which was much graver than that of the other peoples of the Soviet Union.

The government of the country hid the truth about the evacuation and flight of the Jewish population from the fascist horde, and about the fact, that the soviet government left its Jewish citizens to the mercy of fate and left them alone to save their own lives.

But even those Jews, who were lucky enough to be evacuated or to be saved by escaping from the Nazis, fell into an oppressive atmosphere of anti-Semitism back home.

Now we have the opportunity to know how it really was.

The truth is told by eyewitnesses, whose childhood was scorched by the war. Here are some recollections of those “war children” which were told through the prism of seven decades.

Read. Watch. Remember.

Evacuation, the Soviet Union, and the Jews: An International Online Conference

On December 21-22, 2021, an international online conference was held entitled Evacuation, the Soviet Union, and the Jews. Problems, Assessments and Evidence. The conference was organized by the Hazit HaKavod Association and the Ben-Zvi Institute for the Study of Jewish Communities of the East (Jerusalem, Israel), and its participants were greeted by Mr. Shlomo Gur, Vice President of the Claims Conference, and Dr. Andrzej Gasiorovsky, President of the Global Forum [...]

15/05/2022|

The present English section of this site contains dozens of testimonies by Holocaust refugees in USSR during World War II.

Most of them have been published in 2017 book In the Shadow of the Holocaust: The Refugees (press here for the PDF version).

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