Eighty percent (80%) of Jews in Lithuania had been murdered (almost entirely by Lithuanians not Nazis) prior to the formulation of the “Final Solution of the Jewish People” by the Nazis.
Lithuania has an entire government department dedicated to falsifying the history of the Holocaust in Lithuania, exonerating Lithuanian Holocaust perpetrators, and shifting all blame elsewhere. Those opposing Lithuanian government fraud are identified as “Russian agents” and are subjected to Soviet style, government intimidation.
Leyb Koniuchowsky collected 121 testimonies from Holocaust victims, which were made public in: The Lithuanian Slaughter of its Jews: The Testimonies of 121 Jewish survivors of the Holocaust in Lithuanian, recorded by Leyb Koniuchowsky, in Displaced Persons’ Camps (1946-48).
It is customary for Lithuania to dismiss and discard “inconvenient” testimony, declaring it “unreliable”. The actual “unreliable data” comes from the bowels of Lithuania’s revisionist history.
When the quoted testimony refers to “partisans”, they mean Lithuanian partisans only. Every single Holocaust testimony in this series is well known to be in direct conflict to the position of the Government of Lithuania.
Can it be that all the Survivors were delusional or mendacious?
Or, is the Government of Lithuania lying?
Lithuania has not punished a single Holocaust perpetrator. Instead, they identify many of them as their national heroes. Following is what Khane Golemba testified.
SLAUGHTER OF JEWS IN THE FOLLOWING LITHUANIAN TOWNS IN TELZH COUNTY
The eyewitness testimony of Khane Golemba, who was born in the town of Varnai on May 4, 1907. She completed five grades of elementary school in Varnai.
In 1931 Khane and her husband Mikhe-Yosl Golembo settled in Telzh. They lived there until the outbreak of the war, June 22, 1941. Her father’s name was Borukh Gandz. Her mother’s name was Hinde, born Eydelovitz, from Kvedarna. Until the war, Khane’s mother, her sister Mashe Katz with her husband Zalmen-Meir and three children, and a brother named Ayzik, his wife Meyte and four children, all lived in Varnai.
Navaraenai was a small town sixteen kilometers from Telzh. Ten or twelve Jewish families lived there, among a large number of Lithuanians. The Jews were occupied in trade and agriculture. All of the Jews in town owned land, kept cattle and lived like rural peasants. The town had a synagogue, a rabbi and a slaughterer. Some time before the war, many more Jewish families lived in town. They had dispersed to larger towns in Northern Lithuania.
The Outbreak of War Between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, June 22, 1941
On Monday, June 23, 1941 German aviation bombarded Telzh. The Jews hurriedly began to leave the city, and hid in the surrounding villages and towns. A few managed to evacuate to the Soviet Union.
Khane and her family escaped from Telzh to the nearby town of Navarenai together with Sheyne Mayzl (nee Grinker), the daughter of Reb Abraham, the rabbi of Navarenai.
When they arrived in the town, Khane and her family found all of the Jews prepared to evacuate temporarily into the surrounding villages. The peasants in town assured the Jews that immediately after the German army marched in, all of the Jews would be sent away to Lublin. The next day the town Jews left their homes and rode into the countryside around the town. The town rabbi’s family and Khane‘s family left town and settled into a barn a few kilometers from town, at the rabbi’s farm. The Jews stayed at the barn until Wednesday, July 2, 1941. During that time partisans (in civilian clothing and bearing rifles) appeared in the countryside and began robbing from the Jews. Peasants came into the barn together with the partisans and began taking all of the Jews’ better possessions. They acted as if everything belonged to them. The prayers and tears of the helpless Jews were of no avail.
Then the partisans announced to all the Jews in the barn that there was an order for everyone to leave the countryside and settle in town once again. On Wednesday, July 2 all the Jews returned to town and settled in their own homes.
The Soviets had already left the town. Nor were the Germans there. All power in town was in the hands of the partisans. The leader of the partisans in town was a local farmer named Brentzys, about 25 years old.
As soon as the Jews came into town the partisans arrested all of the Jewish men over the age of fourteen, and herded them into a stall belonging to a peasant, near the police station. It was extremely crowded. A guard was posted around the stall. The women ran to Brentzys to plead with him to free their husbands and fathers from the stall, Brencys told the women that this was nothing that the most important thing was yet to come. An order was issued that all the Jews were to prepare to evacuate to Lublin, a city in Poland. The men were freed from the stall that day.
Peasants received papers permitting them to confiscate cows, horses and agricultural inventory belonging to Jews. Peasants with whom the Jews were acquainted came into their stalls and led away the Jewish farm animals. They happily promised that they would return everything to the Jews after the war. Nor were the peasants ashamed to take the better possessions from the Jews’ homes.
The Jews spent one night in town, after they returned from the villages. The next day they were all herded together near the police station. There the better possessions the Jews still had were taken from them. They were permitted to pack their poorer things onto wagons. Under a heavy partisan guard, all of the Jews from Navarenai, men, women and children, were brought into the compound of Vieshvenai, seven kilometers from Telzh. The compound contained large barns, into which the Jews of Navarenai were herded. Before the Jews were taken from town the partisans arrested two Jewish girls who had been Young Communists during the period of Soviet rule. One of them was named Leye Fritzal, aged 19. The two girls were taken to the Telzh prison, where both of them probably died.
Dozens of Lithuanians from town and from the surrounding villages took part in the murderous looting of Jewish possessions in Navarenai. Khane only remembers the two infamous murderers Brentzys and Shudent, both farmers from the town of Navarenai. While the Jews were being taken from town, the priest stood and laughed with the partisans. Brentzys assured the priest that he was cleaning up the Jewish garbage from the streets of the town. The priest was very pleased with this explanation, and burst out laughing.
Khane asks that it be emphasized, that while her family and all of the Jews were being driven out of Navarenai, there were no Germans in town yet. On the way from Navarenai to Vieshvenai, they saw armed Germans for the first time, riding towards them on bicycles and motorcycles.
The town is located 31 kilometers from Telzh, not far from Lake Lukshio. The majority of the population was Jewish. About two hundred Jewish families lived in town. The majority of the Jewish population was engaged in trade and artisanry. A very small number were occupied in agriculture. There were a number of Jewish peddlers.
Until 1940 Varnai had a Jewish national bank, a Hebrew-Yiddish library, a Hebrew elementary school, a study house, a small prayer house and an old synagogue. After completing Hebrew elementary school, some of the Jewish youth studied in the Hebrew Yavne high school in Telzh, or in the teachers’ seminary. Most of the Jewish youth were involved in Zionist organizations.
The attitude of the Lithuanians in town and in the countryside was anti-Semitic. When the Red Army arrived in Lithuania in the summer of 1940, the anti-Semitism grew even greater, but it was forced to hide in the background, owing to the Soviet laws, which punished anti-Semitism.
While Khane and her family and the rest of the Jews of Navarenai arrived in the Vieshvenai compound, they found all the Jewish men, women and children of Varnai already assembled. In the compound Khane found her mother, sister and brother, and their families. Her mother, sister and brother related the following to Khane: The German artillery had bombarded the barracks in Varnai. The Red Army had retreated from the town in a hurry. Before they left the town, they smeared many houses with pitch and ignited them. The population barely managed to get out the most important items out of their houses and escape from town. The Jews settled in surrounding villages at the homes of peasants with whom they were acquainted, and on Jewish farms in the countryside. (There were Jewish farmers living in several villages around Varnai — L.K.)
Armed Lithuanian peasants appeared in the town. They calmed the Jews, and forced them to return to Varnai. The town had been completely burned down. The returning Jews settled into the intact houses near the edge of town. Many moved in with the Jewish farmer Leyb Krengl, in his house, in his stalls, in barns and in the yard.
But the Jews were not in town long. The partisans ordered all the Jews to prepare to evacuate to the Vieshvenai compound. From there they were to be transported to Lublin together with other Jews. The partisans placed all the Jews in wagons and brought them into the Vieshvenai compound.
A tailor named Shmuel Sher lived in Varnai with his family. One of the partisans who had a grudge against him shot him. The Jews buried him at the Jewish cemetery in Varnai. Sher’s wife Ete tried to commit suicide several times at Vieshvenai by drowning herself. Her children guarded her constantly.
Three Jewish families were permitted to remain in the town of Varnai by the partisans. They were “useful Jews.” The three families were: Dr Dovid Kaplan (a graduate of the Jewish Real-Gymnasium in Wilkomir — L.K.); the family Nayerman, Khayem, his wife, children and father, owner of a beer bottling plant, a tanner and his family. One day before the Jews in the camp at Geruliai were slaughtered, the family Nayerman and the tanner’s family were brought there by the partisans. They were slaughtered as well. (Concerning the liquidation of the Geruliai camp, see the report of Malke Gilis — L.K.) After the ghetto was set up in Telzh for the five hundred surviving women, Dr Kaplan was brought to the ghetto from Varnai. His mother was brought with all the Jews from Varnai to Vieshvenai.
Several Jewish families brought their animals to Vieshvenai. Peasants living near the compound received permission to confiscate the cattle from the Jews. Khane still remembers well that her brother had brought a horse and a goat from Varnai. A peasant woman received permission to take the goat. Khane1s brother wouldn’t give it up. She came a second time. Khane’s brother was working in Telzh then. The peasant woman wanted to take the goat. Khane’s brother’s children tore the rope out of the peasant woman’s hands. The peasant woman struck them. The children stood weeping bitterly, seeing the peasant woman taking away their beloved goat.
A small town not far from Varnai. Exactly twenty Jewish families lived there. They were occupied in trade and agriculture. In every respect the life of the Jews in town was similar to the life of the Jews in Navarenai.
The Jews did not run away from town. Four days after the Jews of Navarenai were brought to Vieshvenai, the Jews from Tverai were brought to the compound as well. Before the Jews were brought from town, all of their possessions were confiscated. Peasants took the Jews’ animals, promising to return them after the war ended.
A small town 21 kilometers south of Telzh, A few dozen Jewish families lived there. They were occupied in trade, artisanry and agriculture. At the outbreak of the war, they did not run away from town. At the same time as the Jews of Varnai were taken to Vieshvenai, the Jews of Zarenai were also brought to the compound. The Jews of Zarenai and Navarenai “settled in” to an attic in one of the barns.
Among the women from Zarenai were the wife of the town rabbi and Mrs Esther Shnayder, whose husband ran a guest home. The two women told Khane everything that had taken place in the town of Zarenai.
The rabbi’s wife related that her husband, the rabbi of Zarenai, had been shot by a partisan near the rabbi’s stall. He was buried in the stall. One young man was shot by the partisans because peasants had a grudge against him. Apparently he hadn’t wanted to sell them liquor on credit. His name was Ruven Shnayder. His wife Esther was left with her two small children. All of the Jewish men, women and children were brought to Vieshvenai.
A monastery compound, not far from Telzh. Five Jewish families lived there. Everyone was brought to the camp at Rainiai, near Telzh.
This is a small town northwest of Telzh. Some 25 Jewish families lived there. There was a study house, a rabbi and a slaughterer. The Jews were occupied in trade, artisanry and agriculture.
The priest of Alsedzhiai treated the unfortunate Jews of the town very well. He gave a speech in the church, saying that no innocent Jewish blood should be spilled. A group of partisans from town, among them Olesys Vagdaris, took a group of Jews out of town at night and shot them right on the town priest’s field. This was their way of responding to the priest’s moral admonition not to shoot Jews.
After the men in the camp at Rainiai and Vieshvenai were shot, and after the men who had been brought from peat work at Geruliai had been shot, the Jews of Alsedzhiai, men, women and children, were brought to the camp at Geruliai. (See the testimony of Dvoyre Zif — L.K.)
Torment, Looting and Murder in the Compound Camp Vieshvenai
The compound of Vieshvenai is seven kilometers from Telzh. There were stalls and barns at the compound. All of the Jews were brought together there. The barns and stalls were full of animal droppings.
The Jews had to “settle in” on this refuse with their small children. Some of them “settled in” in the attics. The partisans who guarded the Jews lived in a house. There was no fence around the compound. Partisans guarded the compound day and night. They were careful to see that none of the Jews left the compound to seek food in the village.
A military kitchen was also set up in the compound. In the morning the Jews received black coffee without sugar and a piece of bread. During the day they received groats and potatoes. Supper was once again black coffee. Everyone was constantly terribly hungry in the camp. There was nothing at all to give the small children to eat. There were cases in which Jews went out to get something to eat for their children in the village. They were, caught and murderously beaten so badly that everyone trembled at the thought of leaving the camp. Even children were viciously beaten if they were caught going out into the village.
A small number of Jewish men and women were taken to Telzh to work every day. At work the Jews were tortured and beaten. More than one returned from work so badly beaten that he had to lie down immediately. Nor did the partisans spare women. Peasants from the countryside also took Jews to work. All of the Jews eagerly sought agricultural work in the countryside, hoping that they would be able to eat better themselves and also bring food to their wives and children.
The Vieshvenai camp was under the control of the commandant of the Rainiai camp, where the Jews from Telzh had been assembled. (See “The Slaughter of the Jews of Telzh,” by Malke Gilis — L.K. )
A group of Jews would receive a paper from the partisans at Vieshvenai permitting them to bring produce from Telzh. But the paper had to be signed by the commandant of the Rainiai camp, a Lithuanian. A partisan accompanied the group both ways when they went to pick up the produce.
After the Jews had been in the Vieshvenai camp for exactly two weeks, the Lithuanian commandant of the Rainiai camp came and ordered all the Jews to come out into the yard. He stood up on the porch of a granary and announced that all the Jews had to surrender their gold, silver, money, valuables, watches, rings and so forth. He warned in a strict tone that anyone still found in possession of these items would be shot on the spot. The Jews obeyed the order partially, and brought everything to the office of the partisans in the yard. The commandant drove away contented.
Around the middle of the month of July 1941, in the morning, the partisans drove all the men out of the stalls and barns. They chose twenty-odd healthy, strong men. The rest were permitted to return to the barn. The twenty-odd who had been chosen were led off, supposedly to work in Telzh. But on the way, they were directed to turn off the main road, and taken into a small forest not far from Vieshvenai. The men did not return to the Vieshvenai camp any more. Among the twenty- odd who had been taken away was Khane‘s father-in-law Zalmen-Meyer Katz, Yitskhok Khananye, Hirshe Magid, and Shapiro, all from the town of Varnai. Khane does not remember the first or last names of the rest.
Khane’s sister Mashe Katz sneaked away to a peasant in a nearby village to get milk for her child. The peasant woman told Mashe that the twenty-odd men who had been taken away had been forced to dig pits not far from the compound in a wood. After the pits had been dug the Jewish men were immediately shot. Khane herself went to the peasant woman to confirm this. She took along a bit of material to trade for potatoes. The peasant woman declared: “It isn’t worthwhile to buy from you anymore, because it’s going to be left behind anyway. A law was already issued that all the Jews are to be shot. A group of Jewish men dug long, deep pits, and then they were immediately shot.” She related this to Khane with an incomprehensible indifference. Khane and her sister told all the Jews in the barns and stalls about this.
Khane’s brother Ayzik Gandz had their mother summoned her. When Khane came to him, he declared to Khane in desperation: “My dear sister, forgive me! Perhaps I offended you often. I know that my moments are numbered. You are very energetic. Help my wife to take care of the children.”
Khane comforted him, saying that he would survive and be a father for his children. He embraced Khane, kissed her and added that he knew everything, and there was nothing to hope for. Khane left weeping.
Groups of men stood in her brother’s barn, whispering among themselves. They did not allow the women to hear. “Women don’t have to know what men say to each other,” the men explained, asking the women to go way.
To be continued……..