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Mikhail Rivkin, Arkady Shulman
RELATED BY WAR

Memories of Larisa Kaim

Memories of Yelena Zibert

Memories of Inessa Ivanova

Memories of Igor Baranov

Arkady Shulman
I HAVE GONE THROUGH HELL…

Ludmila Khmelnitskaya
FROM THE HISTORY OF VITEBSK SYNAGOGUES

Vera Shufel
ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED…

Irina Levikova
IT SEEMED THAT THIS KIND OF LIFE IS FOREVER

Eduard Menakhin
THE MENAKHINS

Pavel Mogilevsky
MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER

Arkady Shulman
THE KEEPER OF FAMILY MEMORIES

Arkady Shulman
THE LIOZNIANSKYS

Mikhail Matlin
THE MATLINS

Lev Polykovsky
STORY OF A FAMILY FROM VITEBSK

Vladimir Kostukevich
GIRL FROM GHETTO

Polina Falikova
STORY OF A FAMILY

Memories of Raisa Yalova

Vera Knorring
FOLKLORE RESEARCHER FROM VITEBSK

Arkady Shulman
UNUSUAL BIOGRAPHY

Arkady Shulman
MEMORIES OF CHILDHOOD IN THE WAR

Vladimir Kostukevich

GIRL FROM GHETTO

This blue notebook once belonged to Dina Khotianova, a girl from Vitebsk. Being already incurably ill she began writing a diary about living in the occupied Vitebsk and looking for her parents there. Through the eyes of the 12-year-old girl we can see the destroyed city and the ghetto surrounded by barbed wire. Dina survived only because she was give shelter by different people.

“I came to the city on July 17, 1941, - she writes. – The city was hard to recognize – completely destroyed. I will never forget those horrible days – the demolished Vitebsk. Next to the building of the town hall there were gallows with the hanged”…

From their neighbor she found out that the parents had evacuated and that the only relative who stayed in Vitebsk was her uncle. He was in the Jewish ghetto. Since the neighbor did not allow the girl to stay with her, she headed for the ghetto. The day she came there, the ghetto still was not guarded.

In the ghetto Dina managed to find a woman she knew. “The woman let me stay in one of the shelves of a big bookshelf. Those were terrible days… Every ghetto resident had to attach a yellow star to their clothes. If Nazis saw people with such marks in town, they invented ways to torture them. I personally witnessed how they stopped an old Jew and made him crawl on his knees across the bridge and back. Then they threw the man into the river. After that day I knew I would never wear “the mark” again. I spent every day trying to find my uncle Grisha. I also visited my neighbors who gave me food. I shared the food with the family that gave me shelter.”

The neighbor's name was Elena Ivanovna. Dina had often helped her before the war and brought her food. Now the woman was helping her. Later it turned out that Elena Ivanovna helped to save Jewish people. There was a secret committee she belonged to, which saved the young people from the ghetto. Dina also found out that her uncle also belonged to the committee. They did manage to save a lot of people. However, at some point, Nazis were informed about it and four committee members were hanged.

There was no food left in the ghetto and its residents began dying of hunger. “The woman who gave me shelter went to the river and killed her three children. Then she committed suicide… The people, sick and starving, were stealing the last pieces of food from each other. No one could go outside because the ghetto had been surrounded by barbed wire.”

On August 22 Dina heard some noises. Then she saw prisoners-of-war – they were being taken to be murdered. She realized that it was the last chance for her to save her life. She thought it would be better to be murdered than to die of hunger.

She left the ghetto through one of the holes in the fence and decided to walk to Zhlobin. On the way she met a boy she knew, who helped her to leave the city safely. This was the end of her life in the occupied Vitebsk.

In June 1945 Dina returned to Vitebsk willing to find the people who had been helping her during the war. She found out that Elena Ivanovna and the boy that had helped Dina, had been shot by fascists. Her uncle Grisha had also been killed in battles…

The newspaper “Vitsebsky rabochy”
September 28, 2001

Еврейское местечко под Минском


Jewish settlements in Vitebsk region

Vitebsk Albrehtovo Babinovichi Baran Bayevo Begoml Beshenkovichi Bocheikovo Bogushevsk Borkovichi Braslav Bychiha Chashniki Disna Dobromysli Dokshitsy Druya Dubrovno Glubokoye Gorodok Kamen Kohanovo Kolyshki Kopys Krasnopolie Kublichi Lepel Liady Liozno Lukoml Luzhki Lyntupy Miory Obol Oboltsy Orsha Osintorf Ostrovno Parafianovo Plissa Polotsk Prozorki Senno Sharkovshina Shumilino Sirotino Slaveni Smolyany Surazh Tolochin Ulla Verhnedvinsk Vidzy Volyntsy Yanovichi Yezerishe Zhary Ziabki

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