The Ghetto of Slonim, Belarus
The ghetto was in the middle of the town of Slonim, surrounded by the River Shchara from both side. It was, I remember, a road going to ghetto, but it was all barbed wire and so you cannot communicate with anybody there in ghetto. So they decided to liquidate ghetto, and these noises of explosions and the fire wake me and my mother and we are looking through the window on a big fire over the ghetto. It was like half of the town in flames. I said, “Where are the fire trucks?” Nobody heard the fire trucks. The answer came in the morning. My mother and I were looking through the windows, and here in the front of our house, who was located only about two blocks from the prison, start marching columns after columns of Jews bringing out from ghetto. Some of them have been wounded, in blood, barely able to walk. These who followed had been bayoneted or shot by the guard, and behind them there were like carrying carts, some people with yellow Star of David. And everybody who died, they were loaded, loaded, and all this moving. And the Germans screaming, “Schnell, Schnell! Nicht zurück sein. No looking backwards. Further, further.”
And here came this picture what I never forget; every time when I see this in my mind I have tears in my whole eyes. It was a woman carrying a small little baby and holding a hand of a four year old boy. Boy have a bandage over his head full of blood, and he was limping; he was, like, making this moving of this convoy slower. Then the guard in black uniform—I assume that this was Byelorussian police because they cooperated very well with German, because liquidation of the ghetto was done by Latvian SS troops and Lithuanian SS troops. And this woman was walking slowly, and then guard in black uniforms jump to her, grab the boy away from her and bayoneted him. The mother, trying to rescue the son, he shot her right in the mouth; and after, when she fall down with the baby, he took this baby, small little baby, lift up in the air, and he insert this on the iron fence who was surrounding this mini park across our house. My mother took me away from the windows and said, “This is the most horrible thing we’re witnessing, and we should never forget this.”
Next days—this is from my relation, not from my father—these Jewish people who have been brought to the prison, they have been searched there, whatever. In the beginning, they was not even searched. They loaded them on the trucks. They told them to take all the clothes off, so the people were laying down in the trucks half naked in underwear or something, this was out underwear. How I know? I climbed on the roof with my friend Frank, and we are watching, because watching from the windows was forbidden because they will shoot anybody who was watching from the window. And we saw on the corner of each truck was sitting the guard in black uniform, and the people laying flat half naked on the platform of the truck. And these trucks were driving just in front of our house from the prison, and they were going about two kilometers outside of the perimeter of the town. Over there were digged [sic] graves already, massive graves, and all day you can—I can heard (makes machine gun noise) machine guns, and after single pistol shots. My mother forbid me to go on the street because of the safety, and I have to watch my small little sister. And she was trying to go before the prison with other women to find out if their husbands are alive, or maybe they accept some food for them.