Pages From The Zabludow Yiskor Book:

Zabludow; Dapim Mi-tokh Yisker-Bukh , editor: Nehama Shavli-Shimush, Published by Former Residents of Zabludow in Israel, 1987 (Hebrew) Translation from Hebrew by Ziva Rosenhand
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The Old Synagogue of Zabludow: 1635-1939, a Model by Moshe Verbin, Kibbutz Yakum

Holocaust Chapter

 My Experience From The Days Of The War,
Iím Returning To The Burnt Zabludow

By Nechama Yachnok-Loshitzky

The eruption of the war and the invasion of Hitlerís Germany to Poland on the first of September, 1939 brought sadness on Polandís citizens as well as on our town- our house- Zabludow. Immediately all the men were drafted, the government of Moshchechski, Baak, Riides- Shmigli didnít differentiate any more between Jews and non-Jews, as it did before. Everyone was sent to the war, to the frontlines that were organized quickly, without pre planning.

Sons were uprooted from their parents, men from their wives. Everyone was sent to be cannon meat. After a few weeks, the Red army invaded the town and Zabludow was revived. In the days of the Fascist Poland, young Jews were unable to get jobs, now they easily found jobs in big merchandise warehouses, cultural institutes, and in sports organizations. Everyone had the opportunity to study without taking into consideration his background or his economic situation; the workerís could make the decisions.

But the celebration didnít last for long. On the 22nd of June 1941, on Sunday, 4 am, at the time that people were soundly asleep Hitlerís Germany attacked the Soviet Russians. The sound of bombs exploding startled the people of Zabludow from their sleep. There was great panic, from that day started the account of our suffering.

Since there was chaos and an atmosphere of lawlessness the Jewish youngsters organized self-defense and prevented violence against the Jewish citizens.

In the first days of the war I continued working in my job at Yoshkiíís store. On the 23rd of June the Polish still acted with respect and politeness toward us, but not for a long time were they able to withhold the hatred that they got from the anti-Semitic government. They were eager to plunder. On the third day when fire was all around and the market turned into a heap of ruins from the bombings. Polish gangs were spread among the stores and started to rob. I didnít abandon my job in the store; I was scared and helpless. Suddenly a tall Soviet clerk accompanied by a group of youngsters appeared and the robbers ran away. We came to a decision that we have to run away; in our car was my family members and Yosele Zabludovsky.

There was blood on every piece of landÖ flame was on every corner; we didnít know where to run. We drove to Shedna. Flames all around, in front and backÖ there are no ways.

In Volcovisk our car shattered from being hit by a bomb, to our fortune we didnít get hurt. We were able to run and hide ahead of time, but we were left with nothing. All of our belongings were burnt along with the car. We started to wander from town to town, tired broken and hungry. Again we had to go back form where we came because the Germans were approaching; we came to Baranowicze, and near Minsk we were trapped in a battle zone; we all scattered. I was left alone, lonely as a rockÖ without my beloved loved ones, and worst of all I didnít know where to look for them. There was no hope to find them. I was afraid that I would fall in the Germansí hands.

I continued walking by myself, I passed 600 kilometers by foot in dangerous ways; my feet couldnít carry me anymoreÖ but after a week of wandering, exhausted I arrived to the Soviet Russia, I worked in all kind of different field work, in hospitals and in preschools. In my heart I had a strong urge to revenge the damn Germans, I thought in my heart: I canít be weak.

In my mind I had the repeated thought "why did I survive, what makes me better than others, from hundred of thousands of other people who were killed?" In April 1942, when all the youngsters volunteered to help the men in the war for the country and for human pride I joined them and was drafted to the Red army in order to revenge our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, our innocent children, and all the people that were murdered by the Nazi animals.

During my 3 years service in the army I had many difficulties. I stood in them with pride and honor. I was in different fronts, we didnít get supplies for weeks and weeks, but the desire to fight and get revenge didnít weaken. I suffered with love because I felt no difference than the others; I was not put down because of my Judaism.

I have a sharp memory of one of the experiences during inspection. The officer who was notified that the unit has a Jewish woman from Poland came to me and started talking with me in Yiddish.

We marched through villages and cities, there were terrible ruins everywhere, the Jews were killed and the Jewish towns vanished. I doubted if Iíd see anyone from my family. In spite of that there was still a glimmer of hope- maybe? Maybe the cruel fate passed over our town Zabludow. Maybe it was saved from the horrible destruction that the Nazi Satan plotted.

After Poland was released I wrote letters to all my acquaintances and neighbors in Zabludow, I couldnít deal with the thought that everyone had vanished in such a horrible way.

The unforgettable day arrived, the Red army, crowned with victory entered Berlin, on the 9th of May, 1945 the Soviet forces and the allies finally destroyed the Naziís headquarters. That day will be kept in my memory forever! The victory day on the Nazism, the murderers of mankindÖ

When the war was over they immediately released the women from the army and sent them home, I was among those who were released. They asked me if I had family, home? ...If I have where to go? And what I was thinking of doing now?

The day of parting arrived; for one it brought happiness, and to the other it brought sadness. In my mind I saw the experiences I went through in the last few years; what should I expect now?

I was called to the officersí office. He asked me where do I want to go? Do I want to stay in the Soviet Russia or go to Poland? I stood mesmerized, stone faced, without knowing what to do, and in the end I decided to travel to Zabludow. Perhaps someone, in spite of everything, survived; that thought did not give me peace of mind.

I took my army suitcase and inside I put 10 kilograms of white flour and some other stuff, supplies for my family so that they wont be hungry in the first few days. In addition to this a food coupon for an entire month. I started my journey wearing an army uniform. The train traveled to Bialystok, we passed Vilna, Gerodno, Sokolky, I hope to meet someone in ZabludowÖ to share with them all my experiencesÖ however that was just a false hope, an illusion, since I did not find a soul, everyone perished.

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