Grant Arthur Gochin

What Malke Gilis witnessed

(Courtesy of author)
(Courtesy of author)

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 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 Malke’s words…….


1) Eyewitness testimony of Malke Gilis (nee Rabinovitz), born on December 10, 1912. Her father1s name was Ruven, and her mother1s name was Sheva. Malke’s husband was Leyb Gilis. Their children were Ruvele, aged three and Reyzele, aged six months. Mrs Gilis was born in the town of Kul (Kuliai), near Gargzhdai. She lived in Telzh with her family from 1932 until the slaughter of the Jews of Telzh.

The Cultural and Economic Life of the Jews

Until the war 3,500 Jewish men, women and children lived in Telzh. The majority of the Jews were employed in trade and artisanry. Many of the young people of the town, along with others from all over Lithuania and even from overseas, studied at the great Telzher Yeshiva, famous throughout the Jewish world. The heads of the yeshiva were Rabbi Yitskhok Bloch and his brother, Reb Zalmen Bloch. In addition to the yeshiva there were also a strictly religious teachers’ seminary, a Yavne gymnasium, a cheder, an institute where young men prepared for rabbinical ordination, and a library. Most of the young people were involved in Zionist organizations. Until the war the attitude of the local Lithuanians toward the Jews was not bad. In the year 1939, when Hitler took Memel (Klaipeda), relations worsened daily.

The Outbreak of War between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, June 22, 1941

Malke Gilis reports:

The religious Jews in Telzh were far from Communism and believed that no harm would befall them when the Germans came. A very small number evacuated toward the Soviet Union. The great majority escaped and hid in the villages. Among those who did evacuate, only a very few arrived in the Soviet Union, the rest were stopped at the Latvian border and sent back. The Germans arrived in town on Thursday, June 26, 1941. The Jews immediately began travelling back to their homes in town. Before the Germans came, Lithuanian armed bands began calling themselves “partisans” and lorded it openly over the town. The Jews found their homes robbed and vandalized.

On Friday, June 27 armed partisans drove all the Jewish men, women and children out of their houses, and led them off to a lake called Mastas, not far from Telzh. On Friday afternoon two partisans and a German came to the home of Leyb Gilis. They drove Leyb Gilis, his wife Malke, their two small children and Malkes mother Sheva out of the house.

At that moment Leyb Gilis was half-dressed. The partisans didn’t even give him time to finish dressing.

While the Gilis family was being driven through the streets, local Lithuanians stood on the sidewalks enjoying themselves immensely. They threw stones, barbed wire and pieces of wood at the Gilises. The people who did this were Lithuanians from town with whom the Gilises were acquainted.

While they were being driven along, the Lithuanian murderers struck Malkes mother Sheva, aged 58, on her back with rifle butts; because she didn’t walk fast enough. They did the same thing to other Jews. When they left their homes, the Jews had to leave them open; they were forbidden to lock the houses. From early morning until Friday night, they drove all of the Jews out of their houses, and gathered them together next to Lake Mastas.

As an excuse for rounding up all the Jews, the Lithuanians used a lie which was quite common at that time: they told the Germans that the Jews had shot at the German army.

All the Jews of the town, large and small, were at the lake. They were guarded by Lithuanians bearing machine guns under the direction of the Germans. The Jews were sure that everyone would be either shot or drowned at the lake. People took their leave of each other. Women lay on the ground, fainting, with children in their arms. Every now and then the Lithuanian murderers aimed their machine guns at the innocent Jews and threatened to shoot them. Rabbi Bloch quietly ordered all of the Jews to say their final confession and take leave of each other. Quietly, so that none of the Lithuanians would hear, he comforted everyone, and ordered them to be calm and proud, as is appropriate for Jews who are about to die for the Sanctification of the Name. Until twelve noon the Jews were kept at Lake Mastas. Then they separated the women and children from the men and allowed them to go to their homes. The men stayed at the lake. Many of the women asked to be allowed to stay with their husbands. The partisans didn’t permit this, and even beat people for asking.

When they arrived home, the women found nothing left in their dwellings. Everything had been robbed and cleaned out. Nothing but the poorer furniture and the bare walls remained; the doors and windows were broken. The situation was the same at Malke Gilis’ home.

The women and children spent the night there, until the morning of Saturday, June 28. On Saturday morning armed Lithuanian partisans appeared, and drove the women and children out of their homes into the compound at Rainiai. The women no longer had anything they could bring along to eat, and hungered along with their children. Many of the older women could not walk as fast as the Lithuanian partisans demanded, and were beaten. Many of them fainted as they walked. The women knew nothing about their children, fathers and husbands, who remained at the lake. During the day on Saturday, the women were taken to the Rainiai compound. The owner was Kipras Petrauskas, the well-known Lithuanian opera singer. There the women found their children, husbands and fathers, who had been brought from Lake Mastas to the Rainiai compound on Friday night. The compound was next to the Rainiai forest, four kilometres from the town of Telzh.

One bachelor, about 40 years old, had come from America to visit his brother and sister. His last name was Bay. His sister and brother had a bakery in Telzh.

While all the Jews were being taken to the lake he stayed at home, being sure that nothing would happen to him, since he had in his possession documents proving that he was an American citizen. Early Saturday morning, when the Lithuanian murderers drove the women out of their houses, he was reluctant to go, and displayed his American documents. The Lithuanian murderers shot him in his home. They also shot a 25-year-old student of the Telzh yeshiva at his home. Those were the first two victims in the town of Telzh.

In the Compound at Rainiai

At first the men weren’t allowed to go to their families. In the afternoon the murderers ordered everyone to find places in the cattle stalls. Everyone crowded into the stalls. Damp filth squelched underfoot. Everyone slept on this filth Saturday night. The next day, Sunday June 29, the Jews prepared places to sleep on top of the refuse.

A committee of representatives was created by the Jews in the compound. The committee included Hirshl Segal, a watchmaker; Rabinovitz, a pharmacist; Yitshok Blokh, a Zionist Revisionist; and a few others. They began to concern themselves with the improvement of living conditions in the compound. They took over a Russian military kitchen, and cooking began. But there was nothing to cook, except for rye meal boiled in water. In the morning everyone would receive 100 grains of black bread, twenty grams of butter and a few potatoes.

Eight or ten days later, the men began to be taken out to work.

Chicaneries, Torture and Bullying of the Men

Before the retreat of the Red Army, a group of Lithuanian Communists, together with representatives of the Soviet security agency, had taken all of the political prisoners out of the jail at Telzh. There were 72 of these all together. The 72 were taken out to the forest near Rainiai. There all 72 were shot and buried.

Now the Jews were made to pay for this deed as well. The Lithuanian partisans spread false rumours that the Jews as well had taken part in it. The Jewish men in the compound camp were forced to exhume the 72 dead bodies. The Jews had to do everything with their hands.

The Lithuanian partisans tormented the men and beat them with their bayonets. They also forced the Jewish men to kiss the corpses or lick them with their tongues. Next the same men were forced to dig a pit at the Lithuanian cemetery. While the pit was being dug the Lithuanian murderers again beat the Jews. There were thirty men in the group. Because of the beatings, all of them immediately became invalids, their arms, feet and sides swollen. Among the men was the husband of Mrs. Malke Gilis, who provided this testimony. More than once her husband Leyb Gilis came home from work with his arms and legs swollen.

While the 72 murdered people were being transported to the Christian cemetery, the Lithuanian murderers gave them a huge funeral, including a parade. Peasants from the villages and from nearby towns came as well. The thirty Jews who had worked at digging the pit were arranged in the middle of the street on their knees until the procession was over. Other groups of men and women were taken off to do various sorts of hard, dirty work. They were beaten and mocked. They were given nothing to eat in return; they had to bring their food from home. The Jews were forced to go to work on their knees with their hands high, four kilometres to Telzh.

The commandant of the compound camp was the Lithuanian resident of Telzh, Platakys. All of the guards around the camp were Lithuanians. Among them were the murderous brothers Yonas and Pranas Indzhileviciai and Jodeikys. At that time the head of the county was Romanauskas. Many of the murderers were still quite young men.

Threats and Looting

The men were forced to go to work until the day they were slaughtered. That was Monday, July 14th in the evening. When they had been at the Rainiai compound ten or twelve days, an order came from the town of Telzh. All the Jews had to surrender their money, gold and silver, and other valuables.

The Lithuanian murderers Platakys and Jodeikys sent word for the Jews Motl Levin (director of the Jewish national bank), Yisroel Talpus (a merchant), and others to come to them. They announced the order to the representatives. They promised that everything the Jews surrendered would be stored at the Lithuanian state bank until things calmed down. The Jews were forbidden to keep more than one thousand roubles per family. They threatened to shoot any family that did not carry out the order according to their instructions.

Several days later Germans and partisans drove into the compound. The Jews had to surrender their gold, silver and money. The partisans packed up the better items in the trucks and drove off. The Jews were left with nothing. They had no chance of getting anything to eat without their possessions or their money.

Next began “visits” to the compound camp by the Lithuanian “intelligentsia”. High school and college boys and girls accompanied by partisans began to demand wallets, shoes, umbrellas and the like from the Jews. The “intelligentsia” even took baby carriages from the Jews’, throwing the Jewish children out onto the earth.

“The Devil’s Dance” — Slaughter of the Men

On Monday, July 14th during the day, partisans and Germans on motorcycles arrived in the camp. The Germans ordered the Jewish men to clear away all of the threshers and other machinery from the yard near the barns. Next they led everyone, men, women and children, out into the yard. The Lithuanians, accompanied by Germans, searched through the barns to make sure that no one had hid there. The sick and elderly were driven out of the barns – everyone, without exception. Those who couldn’t get out quickly were carried out.

The women and children, including boys up to the age of thirteen, were driven back into the barns, and the doors were locked.

All of the men remained. The men were placed in a circle. Lithuanians with spiked sticks and whips stood in the middle and forced the Jews to run in a circle. They beat everyone without exception. The Jews had to run in a circle for a few hours, falling whenever one of the Germans whistled. When they got up, they were beaten on the head and sides. Several elderly Jews fell dead during this “dance.” Among those who died were Avrom Itsikson, Meir Shav, his grandfather, and others.

A number of women and men among the Lithuanian population came from the city to watch the velniu shokis, the “Demon’s Dance,” as they called it. The Lithuanians from town came running to enjoy themselves, and applauded. After the “show” all the men – crippled, tortured, semi-invalid, with cracked heads, missing teeth and bleeding, swollen eyes – were driven back into the barns. Many of the wives and mothers began bandaging the wounds of their fathers, husbands and brothers. Other women did not recognize their husbands and fathers. The weeping in the barn was dreadful. Many mothers no longer saw their young children, because after the “Demon’s Dance” the Lithuanian and German murderers had chosen eighty young, healthy men, gave them buckets and spades and took them away from the compound. The murderers insisted that they were being taken to work. They were taken to a forest, no more than 100 meters from the camp. Graves had already been dug there. The men were forced to empty the water from the graves with the buckets.

On the evening of July 14, all eighty young men were shot in the forest and tossed into the graves. The Jews in the barns heard the shooting in the forest quite clearly from up close. Yet it did not occur to them that the eighty young men had been shot.

At 1:00 a.m. on July 15, Lithuanian partisans came to the Jews with their rifles aimed, and ordered 24 men “to go to work.” A short time later shooting was once again heard at the nearby forest. The Jews still did not understand what the shootings meant.

At six in the morning on Tuesday, July 15 1941, the partisans came once again and took away a large group of men “to work.” Shooting was once again heard from the nearby forest. The Jews realized that all the groups that were being taken out “to work” were being shot in the nearby Rainiai forest. The men began hiding wherever they could in the barn.

At eight in the morning on Tuesday, July 15 the murderers came back once again to take men “to work.” The men were already hidden wherever they could find a spot. The partisans threatened to shoot all the women and children if the men continued hiding and refused to go “to work.”

The men left their hiding places. At eight in the morning the fourth group of men were taken away and shot 100 meters from the compound in the Rainiai forest. The group included Leybl Gilis, the husband of Malka, who provided this eyewitness testimony.

At around 10 or 11 the same day the Lithuanian murderers took away the fifth group of men “to work” and shot them as well at the same place in the forest. The fifth group included all of the rabbis from the yeshiva and their students. The beards of the rabbis had already been cut off or torn out during the “Demon’s Dance.”

To be continued……

About the Author
Grant Arthur Gochin currently serves as the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Togo. He is the Emeritus Special Envoy for Diaspora Affairs for the African Union, which represents the fifty-five African nations, and Emeritus Vice Dean of the Los Angeles Consular Corps, the second largest Consular Corps in the world. Gochin is actively involved in Jewish affairs, focusing on historical justice. He has spent the past twenty five years documenting and restoring signs of Jewish life in Lithuania. He has served as the Chair of the Maceva Project in Lithuania, which mapped / inventoried / documented / restored over fifty abandoned and neglected Jewish cemeteries. Gochin is the author of “Malice, Murder and Manipulation”, published in 2013. His book documents his family history of oppression in Lithuania. He is presently working on a project to expose the current Holocaust revisionism within the Lithuanian government. He is Chief of the Village of Babade in Togo, an honor granted for his philanthropic work. Professionally, Gochin is a Certified Financial Planner and practices as a Wealth Advisor in California, where he lives with his family. Personal site:
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