The slaughter of the Jews of Stakiai
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).
Many governments, organizations and individuals have voiced their staunch disapproval of Lithuania’s Holocaust deceptions, including – the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the US State Department, the US Congress, Lithuania’s own Presidential Commission, Simon Wiesenthal Center, American Jewish Congress, the Lithuanian Jewish Community, the European Jewish Community, the World Jewish Congress and many more. Lithuania stands exposed in front of the world as Holocaust revisionists.
THE SLAUGHTER OF JEWS IN THE LITHUANIAN TOWN OF STAKIAI
The testimony of Yitskhok Feinshtein, born October 25, 1912 in Raseiniai. His father’s name was Binyomin. He was a miller by trade. He had completed elementary school in Raseiniai. Until 1936 he had lived in the nearby town of Shimkaitsiai. From 1936 until the war he lived in Stakiai, where more than thirty Jewish men, women and children lived. The majority of the Jews were occupied in commerce, and a small number were farmers. The town possessed a large mill owned by the Feinshtein brothers (Yitskhok and three others).
The town is located fifteen kilometers from the town of Raudone, where two Jewish families lived. Stakiai is thirty kilometers from Raseiniai, and ten kilometers from Shimkaitsiai. The attitude of the Lithuanian population toward the Jews was quite good.
The Outbreak of the War
The Germans entered the town one day after the war broke out, Monday morning, June 23, 1941. None of the Jews in town managed to escape to the Soviet Union. Local Lithuanians seized all power in town. They immediately announced their loyalty to the Germans, and called themselves “partisans.” No Germans remained in town. They all continued to the front.
The Jews continued living in their houses. They were not forced to work, except for individual instances when Jews worked for a few days, repairing the roads or doing various other small tasks. Most of the Jews stayed at home, consuming what they had stored up before the war. Jews were, permitted out into the street from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. There were virtually no actions taken against the Jews in particular, the entire month of July.
At the end of July, a libel was invented against a certain Jew. A peasant from town had kept his cow in a field, tied to a rope. The cow got the rope twisted, and strangled itself. Not far away, a cow belonging to the Jew from town Moyshe Vinik, was also grazing. The peasant who owned the cow assured all the peasants in town that the Jew Vinik had deliberately strangled his cow.
A Lithuanian from Jurbarkas came to town drunk, passing himself off as an agronomist. The drunken peasant got the local peasants aroused, insisting that as a “specialist” he was sure that the Jews had strangled the cow. At night the “agronomist” and an armed Lithuanian murderer from town drove all the younger men and women into one house. An armed Lithuanian was posted outside the house, and prevented anyone from going outside. The “agronomist” warned the interned Jews that if they didn’t admit which one of them had strangled the cow by the next day, ten Jews would be shot in exchange for the cow. The Jews were confined all night. The next morning, the “agronomist” returned drunk, with a large, thick stick in his hand. The guard went in with him. Once again he demanded that they tell him which Jew had strangled the cow. Of course, no one could respond by admitting his or her guilt, because the Jews didn’t know what to say. The “agronomist” drove all the Jews out into the street and lined them up in a row. With his large, thick stick he began beating the unfortunate Jews. No one admitted guilt in the strangulation of the cow. The “agronomist” drove the Jews down the street, and beat them again. Several times he grabbed the armed Lithuanian murderer’s rifle and threatened to shoot all the Jews. The local Lithuanians stood nearby glowing with happiness. Some of them gave the “agronomist” liquor to boost his courage. After this, the Jews were allowed to return home. All the Jews had to bring their cows to a certain spot, and the “agronomist” distributed the Jews’ cows among the peasants in town. The peasant whose cow had been strangled chose the best of the Jews‘ cows. Suddenly the Jews were deprived of their cows. The Lithuanian residents of the town, who had lived with the Jews for so many years, were not ashamed to look the unfortunate Jews in the eyes, and joyfully took the Jews’ cows.
Several days after the affair with the cows, an order was promulgated, stating that all the Jews had to wear a yellow patch on the left side of their chest. They all continued living in their homes. But the Jews no longer lived calmly in town. Terrible news about the slaughter of Jews arrived from everywhere. Every day the Jews in town waited for death. However, many of them could in no way accept the possibility of such mass murder.
All the Jews from Stakiai and Raudone Shot
On Thursday, August 8, 1941, when Yitskhok Feinshtein was returning to work at the mill from lunch, he noticed a number of armed Lithuanians who weren’t from town. He understood that something bad was going to happen to the Jews of the town. But he didn’t think of the worst, and went to work at the mill. At 2:00 p.m. one of the workers in the mill, Jonas Petraitis, came to Yitskhok. He warned Yitskhok that the Jews in town, including Yitskhok, were threatened with possible death. The worker logically explained to Yitskhok that he would do better to leave the mill and hide at the Stakiai compound until the next morning. He explained to Feinshtein that if nothing happened until the next day, Feinshtein could return to work. But if there were shootings, then Feinshtein would escape them.
Yitskhok went away and hid in some straw in a barn at the Stakiai compound. In the evening Yitskhok’s brother Hirshl Feinshtein came running from town. That same day Moyshe Vinik, with his two sisters Sore and Yokhe, escaped from town and hid in a village near Stakiai. Later the two Feinshtein brothers met Moyshe Vinik and his two sisters. They also found out that another Jew from Stakiai, Ayzik Kremer, had also escaped.
On the evening of Thursday, August 8, there was a great commotion in the compound. The two brothers in hiding became very afraid. They thought they were being searched for. It turned out that armed Lithuanians had come to force the peasants to dig graves. The two brothers saw the peasants being taken away with shovels.
On Friday, August 9, 1941, at 5:00 a.m., automatic fire could be heard. The two brothers understood that the Jews in town, including their families, were being shot. The two brothers covered their ears with their hands so they wouldn’t hear the shooting.
Jonas Petraitis was among the twenty peasants who dug the graves. When he returned he conveyed to the two brothers the tragic news that all the Jews in town had been shot one kilometer from town, on the slope ten meters from the stream Matuva. After digging the pit, Petraitis had to leave the spot. He went a short distance, and saw the Jews being forced to undress. Stark naked, they were driven to the pit. Peasants who had dug the pits stood nearby and saw everything. After the Jews from town were shot, the peasants shared the clothes of the people who were murdered. More than forty people from Stakiai and the nearby town of Raudone, where two Jewish families lived, were shot that day.
The following Lithuanians from the town of Stakiai were active in taking the Jews from the houses to the pits, and later during the shooting:
- Viktorius Kordushas;
- Leonas Dubinskas;
- Tolushis (whose sister was a teacher)
- Klimaitis (a musician);
and others whose names Yitskhok does not recall. There were also several from Raudone, among them the Raudone police chief Juosas Pozherackas, and Viktorius Kordushas, who had worked at Feinshtein’s mill for a full seven years.
THE TRAGIC DEATH OF JEWISH SURVIVORS FROM SURROUNDING TOWNS AND OF JEWISH ESCAPEES FROM THE KAUNAS GHETTO
HOW DID THE FEINSHTEIN BROTHERS SURVIVE?
Yitskhok and his brother Hirshl Feinshtein stayed in the Stakiai compound for a week. The location was not safe, because there were too many people in the compound. It was hard to avoid being observed. The next place the two brothers went to was the home of a peasant whom they knew in the Shimkaitsiai area. Neither he nor other peasants whom they knew were willing to let the brothers in even for a rest. They were forced to return to the barn they had left. They were there for four days, and then they went to the home of the peasant Benatas Sendikaitis, just half a kilometer from Stakiai. It was at this peasant’s home that the two brothers found out where the Jewish survivor from Stakiai Moyshe Vinik was with his two sisters Sore and Yokhe. All five Jews met together, and hid at the peasant’s home for a few months. During that time, some of them left for a while to stay with other peasants, and then returned. Village peasants gave the Jews food; the peasant Sendikaitis himself gave them some food. The Jews lay in a barn among the hay for the entire two months. It was impossible for them to stay at his home any longer, because Lithuanian murderers from town began searching for hidden Jews at the peasant’s home.
All five went to the home of the peasant Stravinskiene, in the village of Palsis, five kilometers from Stakiai. She was a widow with two grown sons and a daughter. The peasant woman took four of the Jews. Yokhe Vinik went to work as a servant in another village. The four Jews stayed with the peasant woman for six months. Night and day they were all in a barn, which had only a partial roof. The wonderful peasant woman nourished the Jews very well. She took nothing in return. However, the Jews voluntarily gave her everything they possessed. There were no surprises during that time. Nor did anyone suspect that Jews were hiding there. During those six months, the Jews would leave for several weeks, and then return as if to their own home. Before she said goodbye to the Jews, the good woman would give them food and clean clothes to take along, just as if she were their own mother.
The Village of Mishku
In the spring of 1942 all four went into the forest, four kilometers from the home of the good peasant woman. The four Jews made a tent out of brush and branches. During the day they all slept. At night the men went far across the countryside in search of the necessities of life. Sore Vinik stayed alone in the forest – on occasion for several days. Sore Vinik was about thirty years old at the time. The Jews washed their clothes and cooked in the forest. The peasants who lived at the edge of the forest knew Feinshtein well, and often came to visit the Jews, conveying the important news from the front and around the world. The names of these peasants were Pranas Sebeckis and Jonas Zaksas, from the village of Pavidaujo. They also brought the Jews food, and informed them about what the peasants nearby and in town were saying about the Jews who had run away. The Jews in the forest did not live through any particular dangers. The Jews were in the forest for about three months. After that they went into a second, larger forest, two or three kilometers from the town of Stakiai.
There the Jews selected a heavily overgrown spot in the middle of the forest. It was a very large forest. It was possible to walk all the way to Taurage through these woods. At the edge of the forest, the Jews had peasant acquaintances – Povilas Gudrunas and his father Pranas, both from the village of Stakiai. In the middle of the forest was a village populated by about ten Lithuanian families. They were all good peasants, who supported Jews who escaped and came to them throughout the entire war. The name of the village is Mishku; it is in Raudonas Township. The ten families in the village took care of the four Jews in the forest the whole time, giving them food, clothing, and sharing with them everything the hidden Jews could use.
The Jews were in the forest near the village until Christmas 1942. There was snow in the forest by then. It was impossible to spend the winter in the forest, because their footprints would have placed the Jews in danger of being discovered. Sore Vinik went to work for a Polish peasant as a servant. Her sister had found the place and taken her out of the forest.
The Feinshtein brothers and Moyshe Vinik left the forest and went to the village of Stakiai, very close to town, to the home of the peasant Vladas Adamavitsius. The Jews quickly prepared a place for themselves in the attic of the stall. They received bedding from the peasant, and settled in. The Jews were also well fed by the peasant. They were there for two months. The Jews lost patience with lying in the barn, and went to the peasant Antanas Masiulis’, in the village of Pamituvio, seven kilometers from Stakiai, in the township of Vilon, Kaunas County. This peasant told them about a Jew named Moyshe Veber, who had been in Borok (Shiline). Moyshe had escaped from the slaughter of the Jews in Borok. A week later the Jews returned to the peasant Masiulis and met Moyshe Veber. When Moyshe met the three Jews, he burst into tears. During the entire time, the three Jews from Stakiai were the only other survivors he had met. Moyshe Veber joined the three Jews and accompanied them. The three Jews from Stakiai had acquired arms by this time. They had two automatics, a rifle and two revolvers. The four Jews stayed with the peasant Masiulis for three days, and then they went to a peasant whom Veber knew in the area near the Nieman river.
When they arrived at the home of the peasant Antanas Endrijaitis in the village of Shvendrishkiai, the four Jews discovered that the ritual slaughterer from Skirsnemune, a small town twelve kilometers from Jurbarkas, was alive and wandering through the region. His name was Berl Gertner. He had his wife and six-year-old son Ruvele with him.
The four Jews were very happy to find out that the slaughterer and his family were alive. Sometime earlier peasants in the countryside had told them that all the Jews from the town of Skirsnemune had been shot, and that not a single one survived. The four Jews spent a single, night with the peasant Endrijaitis. Before they left, the peasant arranged with them that in a week they would come back and meet Berl Gertner.
Moyshe Veber had stayed with this peasant for a few months immediately after the Jews from Borok (Shiline) were shot near Raseiniai in Zhuvilishkiai. Moyshe Veber had been in the monastery camp near Raseiniai. When he escaped from there, he had gone directly to the peasant Endrijaitis.
When they left his home, the four Jews went to the village of Palsio in Shumkaitsiai Township, to the peasant Antanas Bendzhius. This peasant was a forester. They were at his home for several days, and then they went back to Endrijaitis. They found the slaughterer waiting for them in the house. When the slaughterer saw the four Jews, he burst into heavy weeping. The four Jews had known the slaughterer well before the war. He had been tall, heavy and healthy. Now it was hard for the Jews to recognize him. He was very thin and pale, exhausted and hopeless. He wept so bitterly that he could not even open his mouth to speak. The four Jews comforted him and encouraged him to keep struggling for life. Berl Gertner finally told them his secret: he, his wife and son had been hiding at that very peasant’s home for two months. Berl begged the four Jews to have mercy on him and find him someplace else, because it was too hard for the peasant to keep him any longer. Furthermore, it was winter, and it was hard to stay in the barn with the child any longer.
The four Jews found out that two kilometers away there was a peasant woman from Shumkaitsiai who had recently married a peasant named Antanas Maksaitis. The four Jews took their guns and went to the peasant’s home at night. The peasant received them warmly. The peasant woman recognized Bine Feinshtein’s two sons and was very friendly to them. The four Jews convinced the couple to take in the slaughterer with his wife and child.. After some resistance, the peasant and his wife agreed, and the slaughterer went to their house. He stayed in a warm spot behind the oven. The slaughterer wept for joy and kissed the four Jews. He and his family stayed at the peasants’ home through the winter of 1942 until the spring of 1943.
The four Jews had no steady hiding place, and wandered continuously from peasant to peasant, from village to village. They wandered well-armed through an alien world full of dangers and difficulties. For now their biggest worry was the difficulties they faced getting food and shelter. They also had to struggle against nature, against the cold, and snow of winter, against the mud and rain.
The Jews did have one stable place to return to after their wanderings from village to village. This was the home of the forester Antanas Bendzhius. The Jews used to go to this peasant’s home to rest, and he always received them warmly. The Jews also went frequently to the home of the peasant Antanas Maksaitis, bringing produce for the slaughterer and his family. The Jews lived this wandering life until the summer of 1943.
Internment of Jews in the Kaunas Ghetto; Their Escape
The four Jews returned to the Paslauskis Forest. They left the forest to get food from peasants they knew. The slaughterer also came to visit them sometimes in the forest. Nothing of particular note took place during that time. Starting in midsummer, the slaughterer wanted very badly to stay with the four Jews in the forest. He brought his wife and son, and settled in the forest. All the Jews were in the forest until the fall of 1943, full of hope to survive until the happy moment they would be free. That summer Lithuanians in the villages became friendlier to the Jews. They already foresaw clearly how the war would turn out. The great German defeat and the battle of Stalingrad opened everyone’s eyes to the approaching end of German militarism.
In the fall the slaughterer, his wife and child once again went to the peasant Antanas Maksaitis. The peasant warmly accepted the slaughterer and his family. The rest of the Jews remained in the forest.
That fall the brothers received a letter from their brother Berl Feinshtein, who was in the Kaunas ghetto. The internment of Jews from Kaunas in concentration camps was beginning at that time. Berl wanted to escape and join his brothers. They sent a peasant to Kaunas, and brought Zelde Kadushin and Berl’s wife Miriam. The peasant who brought the women in his wagon was Antanas Lukauskos, from the village of Palsio. The peasant brought the two women to his house. The Feinshtein brothers placed the two women with the forester Antanas Bendzhius. Two days later Berl Feinshtein arrived from the ghetto on a bicycle. He, too, had been brought by the peasant Antanas, Lukauskos.
A week later the family Yeshayohu Krom, with his wife and daughter, arrived from the ghetto by car. With them was Nakhman Krakenovsky, who had been born and lived in Vilon until the war. This group also went to Antanas Bendzhius. Krakenovsky was Moyshe Veber’s cousin. All of the surviving Jews from the region stayed with Bendzhius at that time.
The situation in the Kaunas ghetto grew worse from day to day. At that time there were no good lines of communication with the partisans in the Rudnicky Forests. The internment went on at a rapid pace. The Jews of Kaunas clearly saw their fate. Many of them left the ghetto, and went to look for protection in the villages. Many died on the roads. Many of them were betrayed by peasants, after the latter had taken all their possessions.
It was at that time that Jews began escaping from the ghettos in Raseiniai County, where the Feinshtein brothers and the others were hiding.
A Lithuanian engineer from Shants, near Kaunas, helped the Jews escape from the Kaunas ghetto to Raseiniai County. This engineer had an automobile, in which he personally brought Yeshayohu Krom’s family. After that, he also brought out Ete Gayman and her mother from Kaunas, Ayzik Bak and Khone Fum (a butcher from Kaunas). All these Jews were brought to the peasant Milushius in the village of Anulinos (see “The Slaughter of the Jews of Raseiniai.”) The Feinshtein brothers found out about Jews who were brought, and took everyone to the peasant Jonas Bakshys in the village of Patalupu. From there the Feinshtein brothers brought the two women to the village of Knetziu in Shimkaitsiai Township, to the home of peasant Antanas Birgidos. Khone Fum and Ayzik Bak were taken to the village of Mishku, which the peasants had begun calling “Palestine.” They went to the home of the peasant Pranas Danikauskas. This group arrived at the beginning of December 1943. Three weeks later, just before Christmas, the peasant Antanas Lukauskas brought Ayzik Bak’s wife Genye from Kaunas. The Feinshtein brothers took her to join her husband.
The Heroine Hene Frank
In the village of Pubkaimis, not far from the town of Raudone and. sixteen kilometers from Jurbarkas, a Jewish family named Frank lived before the war. They were a father, a mother, a brother and Hene, the sister. While her family were being taken to be shot, Hene escaped, and she hid with peasant acquaintances in the countryside. At the beginning of 1943 the Feinshtein’s and their friends met Hene Rank. She had a Lithuanian appearance and a good Lithuanian accent. She lived openly among peasants, but often met with the wandering Jews.
Hene Frank was very friendly with a peasant named Eidikis, who lived one kilometer from the Nieman, not far from the town of Raudone. When the Jews escaping from the Kaunas ghetto began arriving in the Raseiniai area, Hene Frank accepted a very important and self-sacrificing task. She often rode to Kaunas. She was in the Kaunas ghetto a few times, and brought news and greetings for the Jews in the villages from those whom they knew in the ghetto. With the help of the peasant Eidikis, Hene began bringing transports of Jews from the Kaunas ghetto. With the help of Eidikis, Hene brought about forty Jews out of the Kaunas ghetto.
One time Hene and the peasant brought twelve Jews on two wagons. In the middle of the night they drove through the town of Vilki. There they were stopped by a Lithuanian guard. It was strictly forbidden to drive through town after midnight. But Eidikis didn’t lose his composure. He produced an old document – a travel pass from Vilna. The Lithuanian murderers freed him on the strength of the document, and he saved himself and his Jewish passengers from certain death. The peasant brought all the Jews to the village of Mishku (“Palestine”), to the peasant Pranas Danikauskas. But the two peasants did not know about each other.
Hene also brought a number of Jews from the Kaunas ghetto by way of the steamboat on the Nieman. Each time she rode to Kaunas by herself, bought tickets on the steamboat, and brought the Jews to the peasant Danikauskas in the village of Mishku. From there the Jews were placed in various locations. All told, Hene brought more than fifty Jews from the Kaunas ghetto. Some more arrived later from the ghetto on their own. In the area around Raseiniai about eighty Jews were gathered.
Some were from the Kaunas ghetto, and some who had survived Raseiniai and nearby towns, such as Stakiai, Borok, Skirsnemune. There were also a man and a woman from Jurbarkas. On Passover 1944 in Mishku, twenty Jews met at the home of Danikauskas. There was challah, meat was brought, and the Jews celebrated for a few days.
Ukrainians and Latvians Join the Jews in the Forest
The peasants always found out from each other how many Jews each was hiding. The peasant’s small children knew just what to do, and when to warn the Jews about possible danger. By day the Jews lay in hiding. At night they went out to the nearby villages for food. The Jews had connections amongst themselves.
The brothers Feinshtein, Moyshe Vinik and Moyshe Veber directed everything, got people quartered and made sure they had food. They had considerable problems with the young people from town, who didn’t always know how to behave with peasants from the country.
The spring of 1944 came early and warm. All the Jews had good weapons by then. Each one had an automatic, a revolver and several hand grenades. The Jews had bought these weapons from peasants. Hene Frank had also brought weapons from Kaunas. Everything was in order. They had great hopes of remaining alive.
The Red Army quickly approached Lithuania that spring. The Jews soon found out that the Red Army had taken Vilna, followed a few weeks later by Kaunas, Yanov and Babtai. They were approaching the region where the Jews were in hiding. Not far from the spot – no more than three kilometers away – the front held steady.
The German field police issued an order stating that the entire Lithuanian civilian population had to evacuate away from the front. The peasants in the surrounding villages left their homes. All the Jews decided to move into the forest. The Jews lived in the forest for three weeks. During the day they lay in the forest. At night the men left to the forest to get food.
The Jews had taken a good deal of food along with them into the forest. While they were in the forest the Jews met four Ukrainian prisoners of war who had volunteered to serve with the Germans. When the front approached, the four had escaped with their arms, and even in their German uniforms. Later they had changed into civilian clothing. The Jews got along well with the Ukrainians, and waited for the liberation together with them. The four Ukrainian prisoners of war used to go with the Jews at night to get food.
Three weeks after the Ukrainians joined the Jews, a son of Moyshe Koniuchowsky’ s sister went to a peasant to get some things they had left with him. At the peasant’s home, the boy met two Latvians, who explained that they had escaped from the German army (they had been drafted in Latvia). The two Latvians were already in civilian clothing. They had no weapons. The peasant advised the boy to take the two Latvians along so that they could hide together with the Jews. The boy brought the two Latvians to the Jews in the forest. A number of the Jews thought about the possibility of being betrayed by the Latvians. There were two choices. One was to shoot the two Latvians, because the Jews were afraid to let them go back, since they might reveal where the Jews were. They chose the second option instead, taking the two Latvians in and remaining with them. The Jews were with the Ukrainians and Latvians for some three weeks.
The Betrayal by the Latvians, and the Death of the Jews
One evening the four Ukrainians and the two Latvians decided to leave the Jews and try to make it to the front. At daybreak they returned and said that they had been unable to reach the front that time. After waiting a few days, two Ukrainians and the two Latvians once again tried to get to the front. Two Ukrainians stayed in the bunker.
The next day Yitskhok and his brother went to the other Jews. They reported about the departure of the Ukrainians and Latvians and proposed that they immediately abandon their camp, and move into another forest, ten kilometers away. The brothers argued that if the Latvians were captured alive, the lives of all the Jews would be endangered. The Bak brothers from the Kaunas ghetto, and some of the others, laughed at the Feinshtein brothers.
Yitskhok and his brother went back to their bunker. Nothing happened that day. The next day one Ukrainian returned, wounded. He reported that while they were crossing the front, they had been fired at several times, and he had been lightly wounded in the leg. The Ukrainian didn’t know exactly whether the rest of his colleagues had been shot, or whether they had been captured. But the Ukrainian advised that everyone abandon the area.
Once again Yitskhok and his brother went and reported everything they had learned from the Ukrainian, and proposed going to another place. Once again the Jews from Kaunas refused to leave the spot. The two brothers brought a doctor named Tutl Aronson to their bunker. The doctor bandaged the wounded leg, and stayed in the forest with the Feinshtein brothers that night.
The next morning all the Jews ate breakfast. It was already 10:30 am. Suddenly they heard a revolver shot. They all became terrified. Most of them ran into the bunker. Five men stayed above: the two Feinshtein brothers, Moyshe Koniuchowsky, Yudl Tarshis and Khone Fum. The five men disguised the bunker well. Ten minutes later shots were heard, and countless bullets flew over the five men’s heads. They ran fifty meters away from the bunkers. Constant shooting was heard for about five minutes. The five tried to run out of the forest, but they could not. Everywhere they met armed Germans. In the evening it grew quiet. When it got dark the five Jews returned to their bunker.
At the entrance to the bunker, they saw the wounded Ukrainian lying dead. They found no one in the bunker. In the darkness the five men immediately went to see what had happened at the second bunker, where the largest number of Jews had been located. But they found no one there, either. Clothing, suitcases and various objects lay scattered around the bunkers. The situation became clear to the five surviving Jews. All the Jews in the bunkers had been discovered, and they had been taken in a direction which was impossible to determine. It will eternally remain a secret what happened next to the Jews, where they were taken. But it is certain that everyone was discovered and slaughtered.
Zelde Kadushin and Frida Friedman were in the Feinshtein’s bunker when it was discovered. As soon as Frida Friedman left the bunker, she ran away. The Germans shot at her, and hit her in the little finger but she kept running, and survived. Zelde Kadushin ran while the Jews were being taken through the forest. Both of them related that while they lay in the bunker, they heard the voice of the Latvian who had gone away. He told the Germans everything. The Latvian himself ordered everyone to leave the bunker, threatening to throw in a grenade. The Ukrainian came out first, and was shot. The rest were taken out of the forest alive.
A woman and her husband from the other bunker also survived. This was Mr Glastoft and his wife. They later reported that their bunker as well was betrayed by the Latvian. The five Jews left the forest and stayed in the straw in a barn belonging to the peasant Pranas Lakshas in the village of Painistro.
There the five Jews found a Jew from Juifbarkas by the name of Leyb Meigl hiding with his wife. This Jew and his wife had escaped from the slaughter of Jews in Jurbarkas, and stayed in the barn until the Red Army liberated them.
The five Jews were there for three weeks, and then they went to a brother-in-law of the peasant named Stasys Gudaitis, in the town of Skirsnemune. There the Jews hid in the hay of the barn. The five Jews lay there for three weeks, until they were liberated by the Red Army.
Zelde Kadushin escaped from the forest twelve days after the bunker was liquidated. Zelde opened up a hole in a tree stump with a knife. She lay in it and covered the opening with grass. She had nothing to eat. It was dangerous for her to leave the forest. She lay in the stump for three days, and went back into the bunker. The murdered Ukrainian still lay by the bunker. She didn’t find anything to eat in the bunker. She wandered there for twelve days, unable to leave the forest. She had nothing to eat or drink. In the morning Zelde would lick the dew.
Twelve days later Zelde left the forest and met a German. He asked her for a pass. Zelde ran away from him. Zelde ran for a few hours, until she arrived in the village of Mishku. There she met a peasant named Sabonaitis. The peasant took her to the village of Barzdzhiu, where the peasants from the village of Mishku had evacuated. In Barzdzhiu Zelde found out that Frida Friedman had escaped from the bunker and was at the home of the peasant Petras Minalgos in the same village. Frida lay hidden among the threshed straw in a field. Frieda and Zelde then went to the peasant Lukoshius in the village of Pauliu. The two women were with that peasant until the liberation. The Jew Glastoft and his wife also went to the same peasant. The women were liberated on October 7, 1944.
The five Jews in Skirsnemune were liberated October 8, 1944. A total of nine people survived out of all the Jews who had been in the bunkers: the two Feinshtein brothers, Moyshe Koniuchowsky, Yudl Tarshis, Rhone Fum, Frida Friedman, Zelde Kadushin (married to Yitskhok Feinshtein), and Glastoft and his wife. More than fifty Jewish men, women and children died in the bunkers, most of them escapees from the Kaunas ghetto. Moyshe, Sore and Yone Vinik and Moyshe Veber also died. Among those who died was Dr Tutl Aronson, the dental technician Luria, a man named Peysekh Gork with a degree in chemistry, a pharmacist named Ete Gayman with her mother, a lawyer named Shayn, the two Bak brothers and their wives, and others. The slaughterer Berl Gertner and his family died at the same time.