Part 1 of testimony by Malke Gilis was released here:
Alongside her testimony was that of Khane Pelts. This was posted as Part 2: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/what-khane-pelts-witnessed/
Part 3 was posted here: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/3-what-malke-gilis-and-khane-pelts-witnessed/
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 onto Germans. 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).
Lithuania customarily identifies testimony inconvenient to them as “unreliable” and dismisses it from consideration. Truly “unreliable” data is manufactured to falsify the historical record.
Following is what Khane Pelts and Malke Gilis testified. Lithuania has not punished a single Holocaust perpetrator. Instead, they identify many of them as their national heroes. Bear that in mind as you read the victims words.
In the Telzh Ghetto. Testimony of Malke Gilis:
On Saturday, August 30 the five hundred young women who had been selected were brought into a ghetto on the Bathhouse Street, in the worst part of Telzh, on the edge of Lake Mastas. The ghetto was surrounded on three sides by a high wooden fence. On the fence were several rows of barbed wire. The fourth side of the ghetto was bounded by Lake Mastas. A gate had been built into the ghetto fence, through which women were let out to go to work. The ghetto consisted of small, low, old wooden houses, with neither windows nor doors. There were no stoves. These were ruins; the roofs were old and full of holes. In the middle of the ghetto was an old study house. There was constantly knee-deep mud in the ghetto street.
The next day, Sunday, August 31, four women accompanied by Lithuanian bandits rode on wagons back to the Geruliai camp to bring produce and some of the cheaper possessions back to the ghetto. The four women were: the mother of the Telzh Beitar group, Esther Bloch; Ruta Gurvitz (aged 20); Roza Ziv (17); and Leye Kopel. When the four women returned to the ghetto they related that many female bodies were scattered around the pit, because the pit was not large enough for all the women who had been shot. In the barns lay murdered women who had not been able to walk the short distance to the pit. There in the barn lay murdered old, sick women, and women who had begun to go into labor. The following pregnant women were thus shot: Taybe Kaplan (aged 25); Sore Tsvik (aged 28); Mrs. Elfant, born in Yelok, daughter of the rabbi in Yelok. As Mery Shlomovitz relates, Mrs. Heni Bloch (nee Blekhman) had begun to give birth at the pit. The Lithuanian murderers threw the unfortunate mother into the pit while she was still alive. The little, half-born child was dragged along after its mother as she was thrown into the pit. The Lithuanian murderers were doubled over with laughter at this tragic scene. Mery saw this incident with her own eyes, while she was standing not far from the pit.
The four women who went to Geruliai on Sunday for produce and possessions returned to the ghetto half crazed from terror and anguish. They told everyone in the ghetto what they had seen near the pit and in the barns.
The women brought with them the cheapest possessions, which the Lithuanian murderers did not want. The Lithuanian murderers distributed the better things immediately after they completed shooting the women on Saturday, August 30, 1941. After the Jew murderers had distributed the better things, peasants from the city and the countryside came running. They pulled the better underwear off of the dead women and also robbed the better things that remained in the yard near the barracks. There was nothing left for the four women to bring into the ghetto.
Everything that they did bring was useless. It was only good as a memento for the mothers, sisters and children of the women still living in the ghetto. The possessions of the murdered people drove the women in the ghetto mad with pain and sorrow. Each of them sought a scrap of something which could serve as a memento. The women in the ghetto had nothing to eat. They sewed and repaired the bits of junk and exchanged them with Lithuanian peasants for bread. The women in the ghetto slept on the floor, on the cold earth. There was nothing they could use as bedding. There were no beds, no candles, nor any wood. Nor was there anything to eat. The autumn of 1941 was very cold and wet. The women went about barefoot, naked, discouraged, weeping, without a bit of hope of remaining alive. The women began tearing apart the old huts. They tore off boards with their hands, broke them with their foot and used them to make fires to warm themselves. There was absolutely nothing to cook. They were given nothing. A week later they received 100 grams of bread daily per person, but the 100 grams of bread were not given every day. Sometimes it was given only a few times each week.
After they had been in the ghetto a week, the county head Ramanauskas, named as director of the ghetto Cepauskas, had come from Memel to Telzh in the year 1939. Until the war he had worked in the Telzh post office as an employee. The director’s task was to take care of the ghetto. He allowed thirty women to go out into the city every day, but they had to wear two yellow stars, one in front and one in back. The thirty women went out into the street with packs on their backs, taking along things to exchange for bread. But since most of them no longer even had any junk left, they simply went from house to house begging food from the Lithuanian townspeople. The women in the ghetto called this means of obtaining food shnorite (begging). When the gates of the ghetto were opened, many women crowded together and pushed their way through the gate into the town.
Peasants in the countryside requested that they be given Jewish women as workers. The director Cepauskas assigned Jewish girls to work for the peasants. Every peasant could take as many women as he wanted to. But he had to guarantee that he would bring the women back to the ghetto after work. The peasants had to give their precise addresses and first and last names. For each woman, the peasants paid the director three marks a day. The peasants made the girls do the hardest kinds of work. Not all the women even received enough to eat from the peasants. Most of the women in the ghetto were still young, between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. They had to do the hardest kinds of work for the peasants. They went about barefoot all autumn. When they were digging potatoes, it was already quite cold in the morning. At times the water was covered with ice. The young girls had to work barefoot and half-naked on such cold mornings. The peasants would not let them into their houses to sleep after work. The girls had to sleep in the barns.
A wealthy landowner took ten young girls to work in the fields. He kept them for a certain time, until the work in the fields was finished. The wealthy peasant only brought five girls back to the ghetto. He explained that the other five had been taken away to do field work for a brother of his near the town of Trishkiai. A lengthy time passed, and the five girls did not return to the ghetto. The sisters who remained in the ghetto rode to the village to look for the five girls, but returned to the ghetto having learned nothing. Later it was discovered that the five girls had been raped, exploited for a while, and finally murdered in a horrible manner. (Those were the rumors among the women in the ghetto.) In general everyone knew that all the women in the countryside were forced to sleep with the peasants or their sons. Many women escaped from the countryside back into the ghetto. As Malke relates, most of those who were with the peasants in the villages were young girls, still children.
Several hundred women were working for peasants at that time. It was even worse in the ghetto. Every night drunken partisans (Lithuanian murderers) came into the houses in the ghetto, and terrified the women in the middle of the night. There were many young pregnant women in the ghetto then. Many were weak and hungry.
The Clinic in the Ghetto
After the director came to the ghetto, he set up an office in one of the better houses. He spent the entire day there. At night the director left the ghetto.
After the director had been appointed, Dr Dovid Kaplan was brought to the ghetto from Varniai. He had remained in the small town after all the Jews of Varniai were slaughtered. His mother had been shot in Geruliai together with other women from Varniai. Also in the ghetto were Dr Moyshe Blat and his wife, Dr Mine Blat, together with their child and mother. Moyshe Blat was brought to the ghetto from Geruliai with the five hundred women.
Dr Dovid Kaplan, Dr Moyshe Blat, Dr Mrs. Blat and Dr Miss Shapiro, along with the dentist Dr Shrolovitz from Kretinga, set up a clinic for the ghetto, in the unfinished home of the Jewish shoemaker from Telzh, Fayn. There was a room for women in labor, a room for heart sufferers and for those with lung diseases. There were many births in the clinic at that time. But the children lived for a short time, and then died. There were more than a few cases of mothers dying in childbirth then. The mortality among the children, and to some degree of the mothers, was explained by the constant fear of death each day in the ghetto, the constant hunger and cold, and the tragic experiences in the Rainiai camp and then in the Geruliai camp.
- Miriam Vaserman, nee Rabinovitz, from Masheikiai, who had graduated from the Yavne Gymnasium in Telzh, gave birth to a girl in the ghetto, and contracted blood poisoning after her labor. Malke requested that Dr. Plechavitzius from the municipal hospital take Miriam into the hospital and examine her. A peasant’s horse and wagon were rented, and Miriam was taken to Dr. Plechavitsius (the brother of General Plechavitsius). The doctor examined her, and decided that he could do nothing more for Miriam, and that she would soon die. A few day later Miriam died in the ghetto clinic. She was taken to the old ghetto synagogue. Miriam was still young, just nineteen. In death she was beautiful as an angel. Malke and a group of women received permission from the director to bury Miriam at the Jewish cemetery.
- Several days later Hadasa Levin (nee Gershovitz) gave birth to a boy. In the ghetto everyone marveled at the child. He was handsome, healthy and large. The child lived for about ten days, and then died.
- Several days later the child of Khasye Ortman (nee Bloch in Telzh) died.
- A few days later the child of Leye Shapiro died. (She is now Leye Rudnik; see the testimony about the towns of Laukuva and Shilale — L.K. )
Many small children died at that time. All of them were buried at the Jewish cemetery.
Rosh Hashana 1941
All of the women in the ghetto gathered in the synagogue to pray and pour out their sorrows and pain before the Jewish God in heaven. A young woman, aged twenty, led the prayers. She prayed well and beautifully, just like a cantor. There was not a single man in the synagogue. The women prayed in the place of all the men who had been shot. On the morning of the second day of Rosh Hashana, the peasants in the villages had to bring all the women who were working for them into the ghetto. Thus on the second day of Rosh Hashana all of the women who were still living and who belonged in the Telzh ghetto were in the synagogue. The Lithuanian murderers’ order to bring all the Jewish women into the ghetto caused a panic among all the women. They were certain that their moment of death had arrived. Everyone was certain of it. Seas of tears poured from the eyes of the surviving women that Rosh Hashana. They all pleaded with God for forgiveness, and repented of the sins that they had never even committed. It was a day for moral reckoning with God, and a moment of eternal parting with the world.
Dr Blat came to the synagogue for the afternoon service on the second day of Rosh Hashana. He was the only man in the synagogue on Rosh Hashana. Once again the young girl stood at the lectern and prayed instead of a cantor, instead of a man. Her sweet voice and prayer to God to save them from death called forth rivers of tears from all the women present. After Rosh Hashana each woman went back to her dark “home,” waiting for death at every moment. After Rosh Hashana all of the women were forced to ride back to the peasants‘ homes.
Yom Kippur in the Synagogue in the Telzh Ghetto
All of the women gathered together quite early. Miss Golde Hamerlan stood at the lectern instead of a cantor. Everyone without exception was fasting. Miss Hamerlan’s voice threatened, demanded and tore its way into the dead heavens. In the afternoon many women lay on the floor in a faint. The stronger and healthier ones continued praying until nightfall. There was not a single man in the synagogue that Yom Kippur. It was a Yom Kippur with no-one but women and small children. Just like men they swayed back and forth, begging God for forgiveness, for a good year of life and livelihood, and so forth. In the back of their minds, all the women thought this Yom Kippur would be the last for all the Jewish women in the Telzh ghetto. And because of this their weeping was so heart-rending. They wept and complained and begged God to have mercy on them and on the children, and they wept when they remembered previous Yom Kippur days together with their families. The world had never seen a Yom Kippur like this, never! Who knew if the world would ever understand it, and remember, and recall it? Who knew?
To be continued…..