DESCRIPTION OF EVENTS
|In 1527, Vilna was granted the privilege de non tolerandis Judaeis, forbidding Jews from settling there. Despite these restrictions, in the mid-sixteenth century, Jews were active in Vilna , and many Jewish customs collectors, money-lenders and merchants even lived there. In 1551, Jews were granted the right to live on property belonging to the boyars, which led to the quick growth of Jewish settlements.|
|The first mention of an organized Jewish Community. Shortly thereafter, a synagogue was established.|
|On the basis of the privilege granted by Wladyslaw IV in 1633, Jews could be engaged in all fields of trade, and were allowed to work as publicans and craftsmen. They were granted permission to build a new masonry synagogue. 3,000 Jews. Vilna total population 15,000.|
|20,646 Jews. Vilna total population 35,922.|
64,000 Jews . Vilna total population 154,000.
|Vilna was a part of Russian Empire.|
|Vilna occupied by Germany in WW I.|
|Lithuanian Council in Vilnius proclaimed an independent Lithuanian Republic however Germany maintained its occupation of Lithuania until the end of 1918. Pogroms started soon after their withdrawal.|
POLISH POGROM IN VILNA .
The pogrom in Vilna lasted three days, during Pesach , 1919. The Polish Army entered Vilna on April 19 and two days later, on the seventh day of Pesach, the army entered the neighborhood of the talented writer Isaac-Mayer Devenishsky (1878-1919), who published under the psudonym A. Vayter. He was staying at the home of the literary-historian and critic Shmuel Niger (1883-1955) and the poet Leib Yaffeh (1876-1948). Soldiers burst into the building, violently dragged Vayter out in the street and shot him. Niger and Yaffeh survived amongst hundreds of other Jews who were arrested in Vilna and were driven out under a hail of bullets to Lida. The number of Vilna Jews murdered during that pogrom has never been firmly established. According to the Vilna registry of the WW I years , in the suburb of Lopuvka alone 67 victims died; the English-Yiddish encyclopedia discloses that 80 Jews were murdered in the pogrom. The pogrom was marked by barbaric murders and terrifying violence; several victims were forced to dig their own graves prior to execution, while others were buried alive. The number of people taken during the mass arrests filled up two prisons, the railway station, the post-office courtyard, several private houses, and the local bank. According to a Vilna community report, between January 1, 1919 and August 15, 1920 , hundreds of Jews, irrespective of age and gender, were viciously beaten either in their homes or on the streets and they were then thrown in jail. They were held without food or drink and were submitted to gross humiliation, physical and mental.
|46,500 Jews. Vilna total population 129,000.|
|6,000 - 7,000 Jews emigrated from Lithuania.|
|13,898 Jews emigrated from Lithuania, of whom 4,860 went to South Africa; 3,541 to Palestine; 2,548 to Latin America; 1,499 to the United States; 648 to Canada; and 602 elsewhere.|
|54,600 - 56,500 Jews. Vilna total population 195,100.|
|Poland issues an ultimatum at Lithuania , demanding the recognition of Vilna‘s being part of Poland. Lithuania’s government , with no ally to back it up , reluctantly accepts the ultimatum.|
Germany - USSR Non-Aggression Pact.
In a secret memorandum to which both governments decided to partition the girdle of independent republics created after WW I Lithuania was allocated to the German sphere.
Article I. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement in the areas belonging to the Baltic States (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), the northern boundary of Lithuania shall represent the boundary of the spheres of influence of Germany and U.S.S.R. In this connection the interest of Lithuania in the Vilna area is recognized by each party.
Article II. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement of the areas belonging to the Polish State, the spheres of influence of Germany and the U.S.S.R. shall be bounded approximately by the line of the rivers Narev, Vistula and San.
The question of whether the interests of both parties make desirable the maintenance of an independent Polish State and how such a state should be bounded can only be definitely determined in the course of further political developments.
|German - Polish War starts. 57,000 - 60,000 Jews in Vilna.|
|USSR invaded Poland and claimed Lithuania ( Vilna ).|
|The Red Army occupied Vilna.|
|Lithuania permitted 20,000 Soviet troops being stationed on her territory; the USSR agreed to the Vilna region being annexed into Lithuania.|
Lithuanian Pogroms in Vilna.
Meanwhile, 14,000 Polish Jews fled to Vilna to escape Nazi or Soviet rule. Among them were Menachem Begin, Moshe Sneh, Zorah Warhaftig, 2 ,000 members of Halutsim, rabbis and students of 20 Polish Yeshivas , including those from Mir , Kletsk , Radin, Kamenetsk - Podolski and Baranovichi.
|60,000 - 70,000 Jews in Vilna according to the data of the Lithuanian Statistics Board.|
|Under USSR pressure Lithuania's Communists included in the Government.|
|The USSR issued an ultimatum which included the demand for the government to step down; president SMETANA went into exile.|
|Soviet troops crossed the Lithuanian border and a "people's government" was established on June 17, which included two Jews, L. Kogan, minister of health, and H. Alperovitch, minister of commerce.|
|"Elections" to the People's Sejm ("parliament") took place. Five Jews were among the deputies elected.|
On August 3 the Supreme Soviet acceded to the Sejm's "request" to become the 16th Soviet Republic. Shortly afterward, the provisional Lithuanian government was replaced by a soviet of people's commissars. All industrial and commercial enterprises, private capital, and larger dwelling houses were nationalized, and a new agrarian reform carried out. All social groups and organizations, general as well as Jewish, had to cease their activities, with the exception of those belonging to the Communists (who had been illegal until the Russian invasion), and the press (again excepting the Communist newspapers) was closed down. A wave of arrests swept over the country. At the same time a considerable number of Soviet officials entered Lithuania. Many of the former owners of the nationalized houses, firms, and factories were forced to settle in the provinces. The effect of the introduction of Soviet rule upon the Jewish population was particularly strong. The new Communist regime was in urgent need of experience and abilities possessed by the Jewish intelligentsia, so that Jews were given prominent positions in the economic, legal, and administrative apparatus. At the same time, although nationalization of all important branches of the economy applied equally to all citizens, irrespective of their ethnic origin, large segments of the Jewish population were affected with special harshness. A total of 986 industrial enterprises were nationalized, of which about 560 (57%) belonged to Jews; of 1,593 commercial firms nationalized, no less than 1,320 (83%) were owned by Jews. Jews were also strongly hit by the nationalization of houses and bank accounts.
From September 1939 onward, Polish Jews fled from German-occupied Poland into Lithuania , 6,000-8,000 of them were given visas for Japan, China and the Dutch possessions in the Caribbean.
|In March 1941 the LAF - Lithuanian Activists Front ( abroad ) , issued a leaflet addressed to its sympathizers in Lithuania calling for subversive acts against Soviet installations to prepare for “the hour of Lithuania’s liberation” and warning Jews that “their fate has been sealed.” On the eve of the German attack, the LAF published another statement according to which “the crucial day of reckoning has come for the Jews at last. Lithuania must be liberated not only from the Asiatic Bolshevik slavery but also from the Jewish yoke of long standing”.|
NKVD deported to Siberia ( from Lithuania ) 35,000 people among them 7,000 Jews.
The phase before the German attack on Lithuania was marked by deportations to Siberia. In the spring of 1941 the Soviet security services compiled lists of "counter-revolutionary elements" and submitted secret reports on those listed, which also included Jews in the following categories: leaders and journalists of various Zionist political groups; leaders of the Bund and Bundist journalists; leaders of Jewish military and "fascist" formations-e.g., of the Jewish veterans of Lithuania's war of independence, of the Jewish war veterans, of Betar, the Revisionists, and their affiliated bodies. In mid-June 1941, one week before the German-Soviet war, many people, including Jews, were hastily deported as politically unreliable to Siberia and other parts of Soviet Asia. They were interned in forced labor camps and set to work in coal mines, wood cutting, and other heavy labor. Some of those deported were tried for "crimes" committed prior to the Soviet occupation. Although large numbers of Jews were also among the deportees, Lithuanian anti-Semites alleged that the deportations were the result of Jewish revenge on the local non-Jewish majority, carried out by "Jewish" security officers in charge of the deportations.
80,000 Jews in Vilna.
Thousands of Jews began to flee Monday morning .
They still had no idea of the German's plan for the "Final Solution," their only fear was Nazi rule, not death. Many chose to stay in Vilna with their families while many went of on foot, by vehicle, or by train. Many were cut off and forced to go back, some were turned in by peasants on the road and met an early demise, and some were impeded by German air attacks. In the evening a train of 50 cars and another train of 6 cars and thousands of people including Red Army officer’s families and refugees left the city. That were the only 2 trains that left the city. Only people with Soviet passports were let through at the Polish-Soviet border. NKVD stopped the large train close to Radoshkowitch not far from the border and took off the train everyone without a passport. The majority of fleeing Jews had to return back to Vilna already occupied by Germans.
Approximately 3,000 Jews escaped into the Soviet interior on 6/23/41.
77,000 Jews in Vilna.
Germans entered Vilna at dawn and were welcomed by the Lithuanian population with flowers and cheers . Motorcycle troops, 3 soldiers in ea, appeared first, then for several days German troops were moving through the city day and night. Mostly motorized infantry.
Lithuanian “activists” started to execute caught Bolsheviks and Jews from the early morning at the Franciscan Church inner court on the Trocka St. The first murdered person was a young Jewish girl . Several dozen killed people attracted a lot of local attention, mostly from well dressed Polish and Lithuanian women. The “spectacle” left them pleased.
Germans took 60 Jews and 30 Poles as hostages . Only 6 Jews have returned back.
SNATCHING begins. Groups of Lithuanian and Polish youths wearing white armbands appear in the streets and snatch the Jews, whom they lead off to the police stations or prison. Some of them break into the houses and haul out the Jewish males. People call them hapunes [abductors] ... It was said that the price paid to the abductor for a kidnapped Jew was 10 rubles.
The arrests and convoy were executed by the German Gestapo, Lithuanian public police, self-defense units and the special squad members.
|Dead ( shot ) bodies are found on Legionowa St., under railroad bridge , on Piwna, in the park near the Cathedral and other places. Bread lines form on Chopin St.|
|Beginning of Nuremberg Laws. Lithuanian Police introduce Aryan and Semitic lines. Jews pose as Christians. Forced Labor Teams ( FLT ) organized.|
EG B, SK 7a - commander SS-Standartenführer Walter Blume ( joined with 9th Army ) enter Vilna.
At the beginning there was some confusion in the power structure , for example , Walter Blume , while tarrying in the town of Vilna with SK 7a, instructed the local commander to arrest all Jews and confine them to a ghetto. Since the local commander of Vilna was not Blume's subordinate, Blume was not called upon to issue the order for the incarceration of the Jews …
|FLT finds two dead men on the Green Bridge , toward Snipiszki direction.|
EG B, EK 9 - commander Dr. Alfred Filbert enter Vilna and “ relieve “ SK 7a .
EK 9 - HQ - Wilenska St. 12.
A Sonderkommando of EK 9 under the command of the SS men Horst Schweineberger and Martin Weiss is located here. Also here was Ypatingas Buris under the command of Martin Weiss.
Einsatzgruppe B, operating mainly in the area towards Moscow, included Sonderkommandos 7a and 7b, Einsatzkommandos 8 and 9, and special units named Vorkommando Moscow (also known as Sonderkommando 7c and Trupp Smolensk ).
EG B - SS Brigadefuhrer Artur Nebe ( Naumann ) - EG B joined Army Group Center in Malo Yaroslavets .
EK 9 - Dr. Alfred Filbert ( commander ) , Schafer , Wiebens , F. Konrad , Schneider , Gerhard Oskar Paul , Alfred Karl Wilhelm , Wilhelm Greiffenberger , Heinrich Tunnat . In Pretschin, companies from the Waffen SS Battalion for Special Duties set up from the First SS Infantry Battalion were attached to Einsatzkommando 9 and Sonderkommando 4a.
SK 7a - Blume ( Steimle, Rapp ) and SK 7b - Rausch ( Ott Rabe )
Lithuanian squads snatch whole streets. People stay home. People are taken out at night out of their apartments and disappear.
The arrested would be first taken to Lukiszki Prison and then to Ponary ( The Soviets had dug deep pits for fuel tank storage, surrounded by embankments created from the excavated earth.) for execution by German police units (SS and SD), Lithuanian police units, and Lithuanian "self-defense" units.
Judenrat established. HQ - Strashun 6
It consisted of
1. Rabbi Yosef Shub
2. Eliezer Kruk
3. Avrom Zaydshnur - Secretary
4. Pinkhes Kon ( attorney )
5. Shoel Trocki Saul Trotsky - Chairman
6. Anatol Fried ( eng ) - Vice- Chairman
7. Dr. Rosa Szabad - Gawronska
8. Elye Sedlis
9. Ysroel Werblinski
10. Yosef Szabad
Judenrat ( Jewish Council ) was intended to control the Jewish ghetto police and various departments of: work, health service, social welfare, food, housing, etc.
MR. K.KALENDRA - Lithuanian in charge of Jewish affairs.
Only Jewish men are snatched. Families left alone.
54 Jews shot.
Lithuanians take people away in groups toward Legionowa St. that leads to Ponary. Regular Wehrmacht WH seem to know nothing about snatching , they just want some workers.
93 Jews shot today.
Star of David patch/armband
Order Issued. Since Hitler never set the standard , those orders were left to the discretion of the German local governments and were different in many cities. The ambiguity exist about Vilna order as well .
Some say that
Others say that
2. Patches only.
3.Patches front and back.
Operational Situation Report USSR No.17
A search was also started for hidden weapons of the Polish secret military organizations, of which the Lithuanian police has yet not made an accurate estimate. The establishment of a Jewish quarter is being prepared. Upon suggestion of the EK, the Jewish quarter will be declared to be out of bounds to military personnel by order of the Field Command HQ.”
YPATINGAS BURIS - HQ - Wilenska 12 . YB was subordinate to EK 9 at this point. The longest serving commander of YB was SS man Martin Weiss . Ypatingasis burys (YB) started as police squad founded in the outbreak of war. Initially squad had 100 civilian dressed men. From 7/23/41 commanding officer was Juozas Šidlauskas. Squad members were issued Russian weapons and white armbands. In November 1941, commander of squad became Second Lieutenant Balys Norvaiša, his deputy became lieutenants Balys Lukošius. Size of squad was reduced to 40-50 men. Some of the squad members were wearing uniforms of Lithuanian Army until in 1942 they were issued green SD uniforms with Swastika and skulls on caps.
Jews may still stay with Christians. Judenrat issues coupons for apartments for homeless people.
NEW ORDER - Jews should wear Special patch on the back , signed by the commandant of Vilna, ZEHNPFENNIG.
Jews may not appear on every street for example Wielka, Niemiecka, Trocka, Zawalna, Mickiewicz etc.
Sonderkommando 7a SK 7a and above all Einsatzkommando 9 EK 9 in Vilna shot 321 Jews by July 8, 1941.
Operational Situation Report USSR No. 21, July 13, 1941
“In Vilnius by July 8th the local Einsatzkommando liquidated 321 Jews. The Lithuanian Ordnungsdienst which was placed under the Einsatzkommando after the Lithuanian political police had been dissolved was instructed to take part in the liquidation of he Jews. 150 Lithuanian officials were assigned to this task. They arrested the Jews and put them into concentration camps where they were subjected the same day to Special Treatment. This work has now begun, and thus about 500 Jews, saboteurs amongst them, are liquidated daily. About 460,000 rubles in cash, as well as many valuables belonging to Jews who were subject to Special Treatment, were confiscated as property belonging to enemies of the Reich. The former Trade Union building in Vilnius was secured for the German Labor Front (DAF) at their request, as well as the money in trade union bank accounts, totaling 1.5 million rubles. The arrest of several repeatedly convicted armed robbers indicated that in the future we shall have to reckon with such bandits. The Einsatzkommando was informed by Lithuanians that the Poles residing in Vilnius at the time of Bolshevik rule had formed armed cadres with a total strength of 12,000 men who had amassed considerable ammunition supplies. A search for these hordes of ammunition has been started.”
Lithuanians snatch - Germans (WH) release!
According to research by Arunas Bubnys, this unit YPATINGAS BURYS killed some 40,000 Jews by November 1941.
NEW ORDER! - NOT special patches! but Jews should wear a Yellow Star of David!
MELINAS are being organized . One can see no Jewish men on the streets. People run and hide. Hunting by Lithuanians continues.
“168 persons taken to works ( shooting )”, writes a prison warden in Lukizski
|Please see to it that three thousand ( 3.000 ) battle cartridges for Russian military rifles be handed out for the police necessities ” , the city police chief wrote to military commandant of the city and district of Vilnius of the Lithuanian Army. He asks for 3,000 more on 7/16/41 for the use by the Special Squad.|
|Einsatzkommando 2 - Commander R. Batz (Strauch , Lange) - in Vilnius has confiscated vast documentary materials in the local Jewish museum which was a branch of the central Moscow Institute for Jewish Culture.”|
Snatching in the middle of the day! Nowogrodzka St. 28 . All men were ordered out and they could take only MONEY , HANDKERCHIEF and SOAP.
EK 9 in Vileyka murders 4,243 Jews.
|Zarzecze Quarter - 400 Jewish men of all ages are taken out from Poplawy St., Safjaniki St., Bakszt St. etc|
|K. Kalendra, reports to Vilnuis Town Committee about plans for the establishment of the ghetto for 20,000 Jews|
EK 9 kills an additional 3,386 Jews
|EK 9 advanced from Vilna to the area north of the Minsk- Moscow highway.|
Order issued that Judenrat should be expanded to 24 persons.
|20 Local Lithuanian Schutzmannschaft Police Battalions (Schuma) were formed under the supervision of Major Franz Lechthaler , commander of the 11th Battalion of the German reserve police, about 8,400 Lithuanian volunteers were charged with the murder of local Jews. On the 1st of August they received green armbands with the designation Schutzmannschaft . By the end of 1941 those Lithuanian volunteers have been “ working “ in Warsaw ghetto ,Treblinka and Majdanek. It is estimated that local militias have killed more Jews than German Einsatzkommandos.|
|Order issued that Judenrat should be reduced to 10 persons.|
2. Don’t walk on a sidewalk.
3.Walk in single file.
4.Don’t use transportation.
5. Don’t greet each other.
Between end of July and early August 1941 Lithuania was transferred from military rule to the Reichskommissariat Ostland , comprising Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus and occupied NW Russia .
Hingst appoints Murer to supervise Jewish affairs in Vilna. One of Murer's first actions as Hingst's delegate was the summoning of all the members of the Judenrat to his office - it was situated on the Georgyi Prospect ( Mickiewicza St ) in the pre World War I building of the Government Bank. Murer in a brutal speech, full of unbridled hatred and contempt, demanded from the Jewish community 5 Millions Rubles within 24-hr period as a "contribution". Murer threatened that 5,000 Jewish heads would roll unless they delivered what he demanded. His speech, especially its unbridled brutality, was so horrifying that Saul Trotsky had a heart attack and lost his consciousness right there. Only 2 Million Rubles were collected. As a result Murer abolished Judenrat and executed 2 of its members.
In Austria after the war the despicable decree of a jury which found Murer innocent was met by thundering applause and, according to eye-witnesses, Murer, the chief organizer of the bestial murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children was triumphantly carried out of the courthouse in the arms of his compatriots…
Hinrich Lohse ………The Reich Commissar of Ostland with HQ in Riga.
Adrian von Renteln ……. The Commissar General in Lithuania .
Hans Christian Hingst … The Regional Commissar of Vilna.
Ditfurt ……………………………….......Commandant of Vilna.
EG A - EK 3 ( about 30 members ) enter the Vilna area and replaces EK 9 . YP is under EK 3 now.
Einsatzgruppe A ………………………Franz W. Stahlecker
Einsatzkommando 3 …………………..Karl Jager
EK 3a and Polizei Sipo in Vilna………Martin Weiss and August Hering.
From a comprehensive report on the activities of Einsatzgruppe A from June 22 to October 15 1941, prepared by Dr. Franz W. Stahlecker -
“The active anti-Semitism which flared up quickly after the German occupation did not falter. Lithuanians are voluntarily and untiringly at our disposal for all measures against Jews, sometimes they even execute such measures on their own. “
|Lithuanians come to see Ponary executions , passenger car NV-370.|
|J. CIUBERKIS , the municipality advisor for Jewish Affairs , reminded Vilna Judenrat that it is necessary to present data on Jews .|
On Aug. 13, 1941, H. Lohse issued secret "provisional regulations" to the general commissioners of Ostland specifying how to deal with Jews pending the application of the "final solution" of the "Jewish question" in Ostland. These orders applied to all the Jews in Ostland-former citizens of Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, the Baltic states, and other parts of the Soviet Union. There were special instructions for the treatment of foreign Jews and persons of mixed parentage. The commissioners general were required to register all the Jews under their regional jurisdiction and to issue compulsory orders to them to wear two yellow badges (one on the chest and one on the back).
Jews were prohibited from moving from their house or place of residence without permission from the district or city commissioner; using the sidewalks; using public transportation; residing in spas; visiting parks and playgrounds, theaters, cinemas, libraries, museums, or schools; owning cars or radios. Ritual slaughter was also prohibited. Jewish doctors were permitted to treat only Jewish patients; pharmacies owned by Jews were turned over to Aryan pharmacists; Jews were not permitted to function as veterinarians, lawyers, notaries, bank officials, or commercial agents, nor could they deal in real estate or freight forwarding. All Jewish property was confiscated. Persons holding Jewish property had to report to the German administration which dealt with its confiscation. Only the bare necessities of furniture, clothing, and linen were left in Jewish possession, and an allowance of no more than 20 pfennig (about $0.05) per day per person was permitted to the Jews. Finally, the regulations provided for the concentration of the Jews in ghettos, where food and other necessities were supplied to them only insofar as no shortage resulted for supplying the general population. Inside the ghettos, the Jews were permitted "autonomy" in their affairs, subject to the supervision of the regional commissioner, and had their own Ordnungsdienst ("police force"). The ghettos were sealed off from the outside world and put under the guard of auxiliary police recruited from among the local population. Able-bodied Jews were put on forced labor, inside or outside the ghetto. Private persons or enterprises utilizing Jews in forced labor paid the regional commissioner directly. The commissars general were authorized to issue orders based on these regulations.
|Now Jewish women are being snatched.|
|F. BURAKAS appointed Commissioner for Jewish Affairs in Vilna.|
|In late August 1941 the Gestapo, led by Schweinberger, suddenly appeared at 6 Strashuna Street during a meeting of our Judenrat, seized its chairman Saul Trotsky and the sixteen other members present and sent them all to be executed…|
|“ The Great Provocation “ .This Sunday afternoon, two Lithuanians in civilian clothes entered the house on Glezer St. from which they fired on a group of German soldiers standing outside the Pan Cinema.|
RETALIATION AKTION “
5000 Jews shot in this 1st Large Action after being expelled from Glezer , Gaon , Szawelska , Strashun and Niemiecka Streets and are taken to Ponary “ in retaliation “
After “ The Great Provocation “ on Glezer St. #29 , where German was shot , a Notice was distributed , signed by HINGST - “ German was shot by a Jew. “
"That night the Germans stormed into each house, into all the attics and into each cellar, and dragged everyone out: women, men, and children. The streets were coated with blood, and corpses lay everywhere." S. Rabinovici .
Then Vilna Jews were herded together by the Germans. An endless column walked through the nocturnal streets. Nearly nobody knew what would happen to them. “The wailing reached the sky.” H. Kruk.
3,700 Jews - 864 Jews, 2,019 Jewesses, 817 Jewish children according to EK3 chief SS - Standartenführer Karl Jager .
TODT ( OT - Organization Todt ) arrived in town. FLT work on the railroad. Beards cut off.
3,700 Jews: 864 Jews 2,019 Jewesses, 817 Jewish children
|All Jews arrested a day before were exterminated , the witness Sakowicz saw them arriving at the Ponary killing site. Only two girls survived this massacre by crawling out of the pits: the 16 years-old Pesia Szlos and the 11 years-old Judyta Trojak.|
Notice issued for Jews to hand over all their property immediately to the police precinct : money, gold, silver, valuables.
FIRST WRITTEN MESSAGE FROM PONARY. Eyewitnesses, survivors from Ponary ( 6 are known , all women and girls ) , now returned to the ghetto. A Jewish woman spoke to a doctor, Meir Mark Dvorjetsky. Wounded, she had escaped from Ponary. He discovered that it was not a labor camp but an extermination site...
|GHETTO formation orders!|
Ghetto Aktions Start. All Jews start to move to the ghetto at 6:00 am and complete next day at 7 o‘clock. Christians move out. The streets are thick with Aryan onlookers. Jews are not allowed to use transportation … At first, people were assigned to whichever ghetto was closest to their former residence but there was no authority within the ghetto to direct incoming Jews to their new dwellings and there was not enough room for the amount of inhabitants. Many Jews found space in attics, basements, hallways, or even open yards. Many families lost contact during the transfer.
3,000 Jews of those unable to find shelter in the ghetto were taken to Ponary and shot. ( Kruk estimated that on the night of Sept 6 6,000 Jews were killed )
German soldiers hunt with Leica cameras and photograph it all.
21,000 Jews either vanished or were murdered before the establishment of the ghetto in Vilna ( total count to date ).
Ghetto I Administration consisting of 5 persons was created by F. MURER.
Ghetto I. 1. F. MURER!
2. Fried - Engineer
5. Gukhman - Engineer
( Rudnicka - Rudninku - Rudniku- Rudnitske - Rudnicki - Rudnitsker ),
( Dzisnienski - Dysnos - Dzisnienska - Disner ),
( Jatkowa - Mesiniu - Yatkever - Butcher ),
( Szpitalna - Ligonines - Shpitol = Hedges = Hospital ),
( Oszmianska - Asmenos - Oshmener ),
( Zmudzka - Szawelska - Siauliu - Shavler ),
( Strashun - Strasuno - Straszuna - Zemaitijos ) and
small part of one side of Arkliu ( Konska ), Karmelitu and Pylimo ( Zawalna ) Streets
The Judenrat for Ghetto 2 was appointed by SD and Security Police in Vilna and was led by Eisik Lejbowicz.
( Zydowska - Zydu - Yidishe - Jewish ) ,
( Antokolska - Antokolskio - Antakalnio - part of Jatkowa ),
( Gaon - Gaona - Gaono - Goen ),
( Glezer - Stikliu - Glazier - Szklana - Szklanna - Steklyanaya - Glassmakers ) ,
Klaczko Ln and
side streets and passages at the Synagogue Yard.
9,000 - 11,000 Jews
Two ghettos were separated by Niemiecka ( Vokieciu ) St. that was outside the limits of both ghettos and served as a barrier between them. A wooden fence enclosed each ghetto, and the entrances of houses facing the outside were blocked off. Each ghetto had only one gate for exit and entry, placed at opposite ends of the enclosed area, so that it would be impossible for those entering and leaving to cross paths. 1 sq. m / person.
|Kailis’ ( Fur Factory , Etmonu St.1 ) Jews receive special housing arrangements in the Ghetto I and outside of it - Lydos St. 3 and 13 , Strasuno st. 8 and 10.|
Post Office initiated. First Bread Cards distributed.
Horst Schweineberger - 23 year old sadistic and bloody Ruler of the Ghettos Gestapo officer, drives through the narrow streets of ghettos at top speed and kills people.
Ghetto II - designated for those without permits, the sick, orphans and the elderly
Ghetto police published a notice stating that those without work-permits would have to move to Ghetto 2 to alleviate congestion. Germans take out 3,550 Jews from Ghetto I to Ghetto II , but only 600 arrived there. The rest are taken and murdered in Ponary.
2,950 Jews killed.
Christians can still come and see their friends in the Ghettos.
In the period from 15 September to 21 October, families in which neither parent was employed were transferred into Ghetto II.
2,950 Jews killed.
Jakob Gens and Yosef Muszat set up a Jewish Police Force for the Ghettos. HQ - Szpitalna St. 11.
“ Hereby it is ordered that all residents of the ghetto must wear on chest and back a yellow Star of David , at such time as they be in the city.
|30, 147 Jews were registered in Vilna.|
|Jewish Criminal Police is added to the ghetto police.|
Operational Situation Report USSR No. 94 25 September 1941
“I. Political survey.
II. The Jewish problem in the Eastland Territory [Gebiet Ostland]: The first actions against the Jews in the Reich Commissariat Eastland, also in the field of the administrative police, were undertaken by the Security Police. After the civil administration had taken over, the Einsatzkommandos transferred all anti-Jewish actions in the administrative police field whether completed or only initiated, to the civil administration agencies. The establishment of ghettos had already been prepared everywhere and is being continued by the civil administration. Only at Wilno [Vylna] which was taken over by Einsatzgruppe A at a later date, preparations for the confinement in a ghetto of the 60000 Jews living there had not yet been made. Einsatzkommando has now suggested the establishment of a ghetto and will at the same time initiate the necessary pacification actions against the political activity of the Jews.”
Sanitary inspectors visited Vilna Ghetto.
People make furniture.
Barbers cut hair.
Janitors …. Have a degree from the Sorbonne.
Drunks in the ghetto.
Post offices and address offices in both ghettos.
|Yom Kippur. On the Gate of the Ghetto Germans have hung a sign SEUCHENGEFAHR - danger of epidemic.|
YOM KIPPUR AKTION 1 and 2
Gestapo boss demands Jews … Judenrat cooperates … hunt … chase … snatching.
800 JEWS dragged out of Ghetto II at 1:30 pm
900 JEWS dragged out of Ghetto II at 6:30 pm
1,700 Jews killed.
YOM KIPPUR AKTION 3
2,200 JEWS taken out of Ghetto I at night under the pretext of stamping their permits.
2,200 Jews killed.
YOM KIPPUR AKTION 4
2,000 Jews taken out of Ghetto II
2,000 Jews killed.
|1000 Kailis Factory workers move from ghetto to Mindaugienes St. 16a , into two large buildings , former radio factory Elektrit designated for Wehrmacht needs now. All thanks to the ingenuity and efforts of Oscar Glick 1,000 Jews were saved from Aktions.|
Ghettos are hermetically sealed. Jews flee the Ghetto.
3,000 Jews killed.
|Judenrat has now 1,440 employees. Permits issued.|
|25,300 Bread Cards have been issued.|
German Arbeitsamt (Employment Office)
F. MURER distributed 3,000 Yellow Colored Schein (certificates / permits), among the Jews in Ghetto I , of which 400 were given to the Judenrat for distribution in the ghetto. They were valid until March 31, 1942. A Gelbschein enabled its bearer to register three additional family members, who carried blue permits. This presented the holder of the Schein with an agonizing dilemma. Who was to be saved? Every Schein holder tried to save those closest to him. He might have to choose between his parents, his wife and children or his brothers and sisters. If he was unmarried, widowed or childless, he entered the next closest members of his family as wife and children. Nephews were entered as sons, fathers as husbands, wives as children, mothers as wives. Those without the protection of a Schein were doomed. 12,000 Jews were protected by the Schein.
GELBSCHEIN AKTION #1
More than 5,000 Jews taken out of Ghetto II plus 140 old and paralyzed.
5,500 Jews killed.
GELBSCHEIN AKTION #2
2,500 Jews taken out of Ghetto II.
2,500 Jews killed.
GELBSCHEIN AKTION #3
1,200 Jews taken out of from Ghetto I
“A troubled evening approaches. The streets are full of people. The owners of the yellow craftsmen certificates are registering. Whoever can’t do so, hides. The word MALINE has become relevant. To hide, to bury oneself: in a basement, in an attic, to save one’s life...
We are like animals surrounded by the hunter. The hunter on all sides: beneath us, above us, from the sides. Broken locks snap, doors creak, axes, saws. I feel the enemy under the boards on which I am standing. The light of an electric bulb seeps through the cracks. They pound, tear, break. Soon the attack is heard from another side. Suddenly, somewhere upstairs, a child bursts into tears. A desperate groan breaks forth from everyone’s lips. We are lost. A desperate attempt to shove sugar into the child’s mouth is of no avail. They stop up the child’s mouth with pillows. The mother of the child is weeping. People shout in wild terror that the child should be strangled. The child is shouting more loudly, the Lithuanians are pounding more strongly against the walls. However, slowly everything calmed down of itself. We understand that they have left. Later we heard a voice from the other side of the hide-out. You are liberated. My heart beat with such joy! I have remained alive!”
1,200 Jews killed.
|By now the population of Vilna Jews has been reduced to 17,000.|
|12,000 Bread Cards have been issued.|
By now EK 3 had raided Vilnius no less than 15 times.
The winter slows down the killings … The SS Standartenfuhrer Karl Jaeger writes his report to the chief of Einsatzgruppe A, SS-Standartenführer Franz Walter Stahlecker .
Extract From a Report by Karl Jaeger , Commander Of Einsatzkommando 3, on the Extermination Of Lithuanian Jews, 1941
“Reich Secret Document
Final Summary of Executions carried out in the operating area of EK [Einsatzkommando] 3 up to December 1, 1941
...I can confirm today that Einsatzkommando 3 has achieved the goal of solving the Jewish problem in Lithuania. There are no more Jews in Lithuania, apart from working Jews and their families.
in Shavli, about 4,500
in Kovno, about 15,000
in Vilna, about 15,000
I wanted to eliminate the working Jews and their families as well, but the Civil Administration (Reichskommissar) and the Wehrmacht attacked me most sharply and issued a prohibition against having these Jews and their families shot.
The goal of clearing Lithuania of Jews could only be achieved through the establishment of a specially selected Mobile Commando under the command of SS Obersturmfuehrer Hamann, who adopted my aims fully and who was able to ensure the cooperation of the Lithuanian Partisans and the Civil Authorities concerned.
The carrying out of such Aktionen is first of all an organizational problem. The decision to clear each sub-district systematically of Jews called for a thorough preparation for each Aktion and the study of local conditions. The Jews had to be concentrated in one or more localities and, in accordance with their numbers, a site had to be selected and pits dug. The marching distance from the concentration points to the pits averaged 4 to 5 kms. The Jews were brought to the place of execution in groups of 500, with at least 2 kms. distance between groups... All the officers and men of my command in Kovno took an active part in the Grossaktionen in Kovno. Only one official of the intelligence corps was released from participation on account of illness.
I consider the Aktionen against the Jews of EK 3 to be virtually completed. The remaining working Jews and Jewesses are urgently needed, and I can imagine that this manpower will continue to be needed urgently after the winter has ended. I am of the opinion that the male working Jews should be sterilized immediately to prevent reproduction. Should any Jewess nevertheless become pregnant, she is to be liquidated.…”
67 JEWS killed from “underworld”
90 JEWS killed from “underworld”
AKTION in Ponary, from Kagan’s testimony. Snatched Jews, “Gestapo” Jews ( 800 Jewish workers for the Gestapo and their families ), 80 Poles loaded in the trucks and taken to Ponary . Minus 25 degrees, Schweineberger and 6 Lithuanians with rifles did the killing and dividing the clothes afterwards.
800 JEWS killed
300 Jews killed from the “Gestapo” block
400 Jews killed by Lithuanians
Judenrat is de facto “dead’ , all power is the hands of the police - Gens , Oberhardt and Glazman
13,000 Bread cards issued.
The official "legal" population of the ghetto was now 12,000. In reality there were at least a further 3,000 "illegals" in hiding in Melinas , in the ghetto or on the "Aryan" side .
In the whole of Lithuania there are only 34,500 Jews left alive , this number is presented in the protocol of the Wannsee Conference in January 1942.
|" Voluntary" collections of Fur Coats … or will be shot. The winter is harsh , WH is freezing. The population of ghetto lives on what is sold.|
By now approximately 50,000 Jews have been murdered in Ponary.
Relative quiet starts and lasts until summer of 1943. Vilna Ghetto becomes a working ghetto
|PINK SCHEIN AKTIONS
Smaller numerous AKTIONS.
Minus -23 Degrees Celsius! . 26 train cars of frozen WH troops brought to Vilna.
A manifesto composed by Abba Kovner, "Let us not be led like sheep to the slaughter" was read aloud for the first time to members of several Zionist Youth movements. It proclaimed: "Brethren! Better fall as free fighters then to live at the mercy of murders. Rise up! Rise up until your last breath!"
Between November, 1941 and January 1942, a nucleus of activists came together to organize the resistance. The goal was to oppose the Germans militarily. A man named Itsik Wittenberg would emerge as the commander for such a battalion. The nucleus formed the United Partisan Organization (UPO) and divided into two battalions, each consisting of 6-8 units.
There were also groups and individuals in the ghetto who did not join the UPO, and resisted on their own. These groups included the Yehiel Sheinbaum group and the Kvuzath Ha-Mavak group.
150 Jewish workers who worked in 5th Regiment were sent to Grodno?
Today it was noted that people could come in and go out of the ghetto freely! Where is the guard?
Part of the ghetto have no electricity.
Czech and Belgian Jews brought to Kovno. Jews live outside the ghetto there. The rumor is that there are absolutely no Jews in the surrounding little towns.
Strashun Library is completely abandoned.
TWO GUESTS TODAY!
1. General von Pensel , District Commissar of Orel District
2. General von Hils , District Commissar of Smolensk District.
Most railroad RAD workers have been sent out of Vilna, only 40 left.
Fried became Obmann of the Judenrat. Is he a Chairman too? He presides over the meetings.
Post Office - letters are allowed only in German. ( Other ghettos - in Polish and German ) . Judenrat collects coming in letters , no one to give it to …
THREE COOPERATIVES IN THE GHETTO.
1. Police coop
2. Jewish Hospital coop
3. Judenrat Employees coop … delegation went to Judenrat’s Fried to ask for raise !!! Answer was NO.
WORKING UNITS .
2.HKP - Heereskraftfahrpark/Ost/562. At HKP, the men worked in the German vehicle repair shops and the women, in the kitchen or sewing shops.
People start to trade - meat , bread , cigars, cigarette paper matches, saccharine , onions
Franz Murer is at the gates of the ghetto checking those returning to the ghetto. 27 permits taken away for returning alone or with “extra” food.
In Ruzele ( Vilna’s suburb ) 30 Jews were arrested in the homes of different peasants AND not killed by Lithuanians BUT taken to … the ghetto.
The average salary of the worker is 300 Rubles.
Rent 30 Rubles per Person
For a family of 3 …
3 bread cards…………9R
Water and Block tax….9R
JEWISH GHETTO SNATCHERS! Called Khapunes in the ghetto. Special group of 10 that belongs to the ghetto police. Jews SNATCH Jews, DENOUNCE melinas, GUARD , SEARCH and RUMMAGE.
GHETTO JEWISH STRONGMEN! Called SHLEGERS , they beat and interrogate the Jews. One is Seidel , Vilna butcher.
Ghetto II area is designated as a residential area for Aryans. BY WHOM??!!
Trade in the ghetto lively. Aryans sneak IN as well! Hole in the wall at Strashun 3 , Christians bring stuff .. Jews pay for it. Some Jews make thousands of Rubles a day and can afford to eat duck, others - thin soup.
|Wood , cakes, chocolate … it will stop soon. The sign was posted at the ghetto gates that bringing food and wood was forbidden … Murer.|
|Murer is back at the gates.|
Operational Situation Report USSR No. 155 January 11, 1942
“ The Jews were particularly active in Zagare. There, on October 2, 1941, 50 Jews escaped from the ghetto which had already been cordoned off. Most of them were recaptured and shot in the course of a large-scale action which was carried out immediately. In course of subsequent preparations for the wholesale execution of the Zagare Jews, at a prearranged signal, they attacked the guards and the men of the Security Police Einsatzkommando while being transported to the place of execution. Several Jews who had not been searched thoroughly enough by the Lithuanian guards drew knives and pistols and, uttering cries like "Long live Stalin!" and "Down with Hitler!" they rushed the police force, seven of whom were wounded. Resistance was broken at once. After 150 Jews were shot on the spot, the transport of the remaining Jews to the place of execution was carried through without further incident. “
|Germans and Lithuanians are snatching Poles now . Young man are needed for slave labor.|
13,600 Bread cards have been distributed.
In the area around Porubanek Lithuanians surround 20 Jews and when they try to run away they shoot killing one , the rest are taken to Lukiszki.
First Concert in the Ghetto! The poster at the entrance, “ There must be no hungry person in the ghetto.”
Fire at Kailis, fur factory. Act of sabotage suspected.
The holders of all sorts of permits now must register with a police to legitimize themselves.
Fire at HKP, sabotage suspected.
Association of Jewish Writers, Authors and Artists was created.
Electricity can be used only 6:30 - 9:00 am and after 9:00 pm.
Zionists and Communists replace practically all founding members of Judenrat. Snatching for work continues for several days.
The FPO was formally established. Yizhak Witenberg, a former member of the Communist Party, was appointed chief Commander of the FPO . He, Abba Kovner and Joseph Glazman comprised the resistance group's Staff Command. "Witenberg's personality, aptitudes and experience in the Communist underground in Poland ... served to recommend him to command the organization." In the course of interrogating a prisoner about activities of the Communist Party, the German Security Police discovered the Party's contacts with Witenberg and demanded that Witenberg be surrendered. Witenberg went into hiding, but went out to a meeting at the home of Jacob Gens, not suspecting that the meeting was a ruse to lure him into the hands of the Germans. As Witenberg was arrested by Dessler and led towards the ghetto gate, FPO fighters attached, wrenched him away and escaped to their own quarters. Gens threatened to begin the liquidation of the entire ghetto if Witenberg was not turned over to the Security Police. (Arad, p.387-395.) Witenberg committed suicide rather than surrender.
The partisan staff had a command post on Oszmiana 8.
The resistance consisted of people from all shades of political inclinations: Zionists, Revisionists, Beitar, HaShomer HaTzair, Communists, Bundists; everybody was in FPO.
Jewish Police fines Jews for everything! Business is good!
2nd Concert! German and Lithuanian guests : Burakas - head of German Labor Exchange and the leader of Ipatingas; also Hering.
Estimated number of Jews in the ghetto - 17,200 Jews ( Bread cards - 14,200 + White Permits - 3,000 )
|Jews from the Peat Bogs ( 700 -800 ) return to the Ghetto . There is no wood in the ghetto …|
Artist SHER … painting old ghetto … Germans can’t have enough of his paintings. Germans just TAKE them as soon as they are finished.
F. Murer , the deputy for Jewish Affairs in the Vilna Commissariat , wants to organize a furniture factory. Jews should work …
Again , ghetto has everything … “Restaurant “… they drink brandy , eat goose . Bordello … with 3 women.
10,000 Jews were brought to Riga from Germany. 14,000 Jews there now.
|Murer at the gates , confiscates food. Jews have it too good … Levas becomes a commander at the gates. He searches everyone and everything now.|
|New order came from Gestapo - “ No children may be born among Jews .”|
|There is a court in the ghetto now! Judenrat got permission. Judges ( Srolowicz, A. Chwojnik, Y. Notes, Deul ) , prosecutors , attorneys . TRIAL - Khayim Rayman, Holts, Glezer for gangsterism … needed money to buy a permit … they went to prison from where they were taken away by HINGST , now Gestapo is searching for their families…|
Oberhardt , commissar of Jewish Police , resigned.
Weiskopf, local benefactor , Jew, head of Tailor Establishment , giver and an interesting person in the ghetto.
No dogs in the ghetto.
“ If you can survive in Vilna, don’t move from there” - wrote one who escaped from Vilna to Warsaw.
Vilna looks dead in February 1942 , says Kruk. Meanwhile , children in the ghetto made a sledding airstrip at Szpitalna 11 and Szawelska 8 and have fun.
Rosenberg Task Force, Zygmuntowska 18, continues to collect Jewish documents for the coming Empire Without Jews. Very friendly, seek advice of Jews.
News comes in about execution of Jews in Ukmefge, Lida, Baranovitshi… Vilna Lithuanian Snatchers have been sent to Byelorussia.
Iron semaphores from Vilna railroad replaced with wooden ones.
|14,746 Bread cards have been distributed.|
Lots of arrests in the city among Polish actors , clergymen , monks, converted Jews.
|Child criminals gang in the ghetto , 13 in the jail.|
|Germans search for Christians hiding from being taken away to Germany for slave labor.|
|Zawalna 60 is boarded up , big and noisy house is desolate.|
2,000 Austrian ( mostly Vienna ) Jews were brought to Subocz St. Cheap Houses .
2 Schools , attendance 700 children. Police become less rude and violent. Things are better in ghetto but worse in surrounding areas, people come in (to ghetto) now .
There are 18.000 Jews in Vilna
|The murderer of Russian Orthodox priest of Lida was caught. 35 y o Yankl Avidon. Also stabbed a Jewish policeman in Vilna. In jail now.|
Trade returns to the ghetto. Little shops were opened. Cigarettes, paper, candles, soap, cakes, bagels, meat , lemon , sugar ! Life is great!! Peasants come in with poultry , fish . Outside the ghetto , they say that Jews in the ghetto live better than the residents of the city.
Joke in the ghetto.
A. It is SSSR - Szawelska, Szpitalna, Strashun, Rudnicka.
|First Children Recital in the Ghetto.|
Climate Change. Yesterday was minus 25 degrees , today water runs off the roofs, snow melts .The sun is warm, spring has come to the ghetto. Permits extended for another month.
NEWS. One can leave ghetto ONLY from 6 to 9 am and from 6 to 9 pm.
Air Raid on Vilna! Many happy Jews.
No sun today. Between winter and spring.
|Murer in the ghetto again. Food taken from hundreds of Jews, Jews beaten by Levas.|
|Concerts continue. Ghetto bleeds but with a music. 2,500 Jews in Baranovitsch shot. Execution took place right after selection, right in front of everybody.|
|15,850 Bread cards have been distributed.|
German Sergeant Anton Schmid who saved 250 Jews , executed by Nazis.
Auctions of Jewish property - 14 lots - Zygmuntowska 16, second floor.
|Two choirs in the ghetto, Hebrew and Yiddish.|
|Hunger grows in the ghetto, bread is expensive and hard to get.|
Observation - Ghetto has no lunatics. No madness cases among 20,000 people …
Strashun 6 - tearing down several destroyed buildings to make a sports field.
|Opening of a new Ghetto Theater.|
5th Vilna Regiment … what division?
|At the gates they search for food and confiscate even the smallest quantities. But the trade inside is flourishing.|
18,500 Bread cards have been distributed.
|Hunger in the ghetto. No bread , just carrots. You can’t leave ghetto on days you don’t work.|
From Vilna and the whole area, masses of young people are driven to Germany for slave labor. One such group , led through Szawelska St. , when approached the ghetto started to shout slogans , “ Long live the Jews! .”
The reading room is opened again.
Markus Stove invented by Markus , works on saw dust and sheet metal , good and cheap! Only 50 Rubles. Ghetto is happy.
Still raining and snowing outside.
Ghetto area is 34,500 sq. m with 23,000 sq. m livable.
BEFORE the ghetto time there were 4,000 people who lived there . That’s 7 sq. m / person.
When ghetto was established there were 29,000 people there. That’s 1 sq. m / person.
Before the ghetto ............... 21,000 Jews murdered
During the ghetto ............... 26,447 Jews murdered
TOTAL as of May, 42 ............... 47,447 Jews murdered
General Order by Lithuanians - Mobilization of labor Force. For Males born between 1919 and 1922 only. Bread becomes more expensive.
400 Jews sent to Podbrodzie to labor . They send very good regards to the ghetto.
Lida- 300 Jews shot. Woronow - no Jews any more, all killed on May 8, Beniakony -no more Jews , Radun - same… Widze, Oszmiana. In fact , thousands of Jews shot in all those shtetls.
Weiskopf dethroned , arrested and removed from the tailor shop. Ghetto police responsible.
|Vilna Gebietskommissar (Area Governor) issued regulations concerning Jewish ghettos and labor camps. It was required to list all the ghettos and camps existing in the Vilna Region, with their location, number of inmates (separately for men, women, and children under ten), the ghetto conditions, the inmates' professions, and their places of work. All important events which had taken place in the ghettos, such as births, admission of new inmates, deaths, escapes, etc., had to be mentioned.|
|Jewish Firefighters in the ghetto.|
Three Jewish women fell under the train. Rive Feinstein, 22, died instantly, another had a hand amputated, the third wounded.
Three soldiers from the 5th Regiment shot for refusing to go to the front.
A German letter to a Jewish girl.
KRUK: “I read a letter from a German to a Jewish girl: in the “unit” he can’t talk to her. He wants to help her as much as possible. He asks her not to treat him as a German. “ Write to me . I am at your service.” At the end a signature: “ Vernichten Sie den Brief sofort, Herbert “ ( destroy the letter immediately, Herbert )
Hunger in the ghetto. People cook potato skins.
New mobilization orders - those born 1910-1918. Both Poles and Lithuanians run to the forests of Landwarowo and Podbrodzie.
Aktions in Polish Vilna. For days , whole districts have been closed, the dead and the living are taken off. The arrested groups are taken to Lukiszki prison. Larger groups are seen being taken to Ponary. Also raid on Zarzecze, Zwierzyniec.
Clothing is being sold in Ponary…
Another air raid , bombs dropped on Vilna.
Contemporary ghetto curse, “ May you live to be buried in a Jewish grave …” ( Schtob tebe pomeret vo rvu )
Children are taken into the work force. Not hard work.
|Hering left for front. Martin Weiss came back to replace him.|
The SEUCHENGEFAHR sign is still on the entrance gate.
Jews are required to pay head tax now - 10-15 Marks.
|In honor of killed the leaflet was posted all over ghetto “ Honor the fallen.” … for that 4 Jewish policemen are in the jail now.|
|Murder in the ghetto. Yeshiva student , Yosef Gerstein was killed and robbed by 5 criminals. Turns out it was not the first murder for them ( Yankl pelicans, Yitshok and Elye Gejwusz, Hirsh Wituchowski and Leyb Grodzenski ) , for they have already killed and robbed Hertsl Lides and buried him at Strashun 9.|
The ghetto court sentenced them to death by hanging. The execution took place on Jatkova St in the courtyard. Yankl Avidon was also hanged for stabbing a policeman.
In his speech , Gens said that 16,000 Jews remain alive.
|37 Jews released from prison and … return to the ghetto. Ghetto is happy and welcomes the Jews.|
|Ghetto restaurant was opened. Surreal …The furniture was decorated with patches. The ghetto obtains an emblem.|
Opened in the ghetto … bakeries, restaurants, teahouses , nightclubs ,secondhand shops, newspaper stands , cigarette stands, saccharine factory, seltzer water factory and some are doing very well.
400 Jews men ordered to work in the forest by Murer.
Murer was at the gates again.
First 100 Jews go to work in the forest.
Judenrat closes restaurants. Gate guard is vigilant again. Food prices rise.
The war is 1 year old. Polish newspaper Goniec Codzienny (Daily Express 6/21/42) compliments itself on its achievement, “ The first year without Jews! “
The Holiday is declared today - The Day Of Liberation.
|At about 10 pm , a ghetto gate at Rudnicka 7 , leading to Niemiecka and Wielka Streets , was seen burning. The people on the outside put out the fire.|
News about ghetto being enlarged.
Another 140 Jews was taken away for forest work.
Ghetto police continues to beat people at the gates for the smallest infractions. Levas knocked out Mrs. Trocka’s eye. Dr. Rucznik operated on her.
Lodz … one can obtain almost no information about Lodz. Rumors are crazy and wild, most say it is Judenrein.
Dr, Steinman refused to go to the forest for medical work. Gens personally beat him horribly for that for 15 minutes. Beaten bloody and flogged until he fainted …
Yankev Sher, a painter , discovered that all his pictures were burned by Germans. But they want his pictures and when he revolts and stop painting , they get him oil paint.
Kruk writes , "We are not allowed to photograph". A council of young artists led by Sher decided to draw pictures of the ghetto. One works on “ Holes ‘ , another on “ Fences “, third works on “ Internal life “.
|The sport field was built at the courtyard of Strashun 6. Official opening today. Everyone attending , speeches , flowers.|
The Putsch in the ghetto.
Glazman left police.
Dessler - rich Jew, big , tall, fat , dolt , nutzjude, good-for-nothing , now Gestapo follower.
The sport was visited by Murer , who when he saw some Jewish women in the shower said that Jewish women were too fat and needed to be sent to work.
Out there … partisans blow up trains.
Y. Portnoy while working on the railroad in Nowa Wilejka fell asleep , was caught by German soldier who shot him three times. Another Jew was killed.
People are getting weaker and more depressed. Spring came but no major Russian offensive or deliverance . Russians retreat.
For summer 42 only , ghetto was awarded a beach on Wilija. It was near Zakret Forest, outside ghetto. People could swim and lie in the sun.
First Elders Aktion again.
At 6 am ghetto was closed by Jewish police. Policemen , holding lists went around taking 84 old people , the chronically ill, and the crippled to Prospieszki, TOZ children ‘s colony . Later, on 7/26/42 they were all turned over to Weiss and Lithuanians by Jewish police and killed.
New Yellow Patch Order! Of Cloth ONLY! And not of leather, tin or other materials. The cost is 3 Rubles.
Second Elders Aktion.
50 Jews arrested but most let go . ???
In the Christian Old People’s Home it was discovered that Teresa Kochanska , was a convert since the age of 15. Christian woman was turned over to ghetto authorities … and taken to Prospieszki.
Old people finished in Ponary today. Ghetto swallowed it. Serebrovich is in the ghetto again.
86 Jews killed.
|Race in the ghetto. 3 groups, 3 prizes. 1st prize - 1 kilo of sugar.|
They make walls around the ghetto.
Partisans come in contact with Jews from ghetto several hundred of whom work in the forests. Usually they ( partisans ) demand some things.
Ghetto is ordered to make a big map of Vilna with all prayer houses and institutions as well as a map of the ghetto.
A train with Oszmiana Jews passes Vilna … letters were thrown out of the train. There was an aktion there.
|Jews run away from Lida, Nowogrodek, Zdzieciol … again.|
A home for abandoned children is opened ( Muszkat was a guardian ) Strashun 4.
Partisan Organization in the Ghetto installed a radio on Karmelicka 3.
|Technical school in the ghetto graduated 19 people with degrees in blacksmithing and electric engineering.|
|9,000 Jews work in the city now every day.|
|News from Warsaw. Non-stop Aktions. People are taken toward Malkinia (train station, not far from Treblinka).|
Ghetto enlarged by 4,000 sq. m - back parts of courtyards on Niemiecka St 21, 23, 25,27, 29 and 31, Oszmianska and part of Jatkowa.
About The Wall - passages from Strashun to Zawalna and from Niemiecka to Rudnika are walled in.
Second Jazz Concert.
German soldiers are executed a few times a week.
Colonization of Lithuania started. Poles and Lithuanians are sent out of Lithuania, Germans move in. Vilna will be Lithuanianized. Kovno Germanized.
Total working in the ghetto - 8,808 Jews. 5,759 Jewish men and 3,049 Jewish women.
Gens warns about Jews attracting attention of the enemies by wearing fancy clothing, by being friendly with Germans or by spending time with them. So far , ghetto turned in a few women for Rassenschande. Shame indeed.
Announcement #83 of Ghetto Administration.
Women go to work too richly and elegantly attired, with modern hairdos, hats and lipstick. In the future such women will be detained by the gate guard and punished.
16 teams registered for basketball,
The best teams are from Kailis, Ghetto Administration, Gasoline Camp and Military Clothing. 1,200 people exercise.
Another girl was taken out by Weiss for Rassenschande.
2nd laundry is planned in the ghetto.
7th tea room opened.
Vitamin laboratory start to produce Vitamin D.
Tailor shop takes in orders for women suits.
Tailor shop for the field command employ 243. Winter clogs are produced.
Military uniforms for the Luftwaffe. This is the biggest unit of Jews working outside the ghetto numbering about 350 persons. 147 work in the workshop , the rest in the warehouses and transport department. Both men and women. The brigadier was Hugo Gronner.
Going to trade along the railroad to Biala Waka , 6 Jewish women were shot.
Hingst , Murer and 4 Germans from the press in the ghetto.
Jewish Police are getting a uniform. 20 policemen received leather coats and a military caps with a Star of David on them.
Weiss has this BIG truck …
People move in the new part of the ghetto.
There is a music school for children. A pawn fro small loans, knit shop, tailor shop,…
The end of Oszmiana Jews, Vilna Jewish police participated in the aktion , short of shooting people. Jews destroy Jews to save themselves
Demand for skilled workers is high.
Walled ghetto gate is the works.
Workshops : A new stitching workshop, barber shops.
Ink, chalk, washing fluids are produced in the ghetto.
Schlossberg, Jewish policeman, is dead , killed by partisans for behaving badly toward Jews. He was shot at Sorok Tatary.
Aktion in Kiemieliszki, 30 km from Vilna 800 Jews were murdered there.
Drezin , Vilna policemen , becomes a Governor in Oszmiana.
Aktions all around Vilna. Baptized Jews in the 3rd generation were taken out.
|11/28/42||Kruk writes, "The world 'is dealing with' us. It sounds like a mockery. We’re expiring in blood, and there , there in the big world, there’re constantly 'dealing with' us …"|
They dig and burn in Ponary.
Hanukkah celebrated. Judenrat employees got extra rations .
Working outside ghetto - 8,958 Jews.
Jatkowa 4 will ghetto hostel.
New quotas for forest workers - 1.5 cubic meters a day. Paid 50 rubles/m3.
|12/13/42||Partisans blow things up all around. They are in complete control in some places.
Many little shops are closed in the ghetto.
Life is not bad lately. Wood , flour, potatoes, bread , veggies, , no clothes thou… bearable. Seldom anyone die of hunger.
But all have melinas!
Norwegian Jews are taken to Warsaw.
Warning about wearing jewelry, for the second time!
Department of Ghetto Industry is reorganized.
Gestapo work unit - the oldest , since 7/01/41, 130 workers, including 20 women. Shoemakers, auto mechanics, tailors, cabinetmakers, masons, locksmiths, tanners. Good reputation.
Slave labor saves lives… so far.
Lithuanian newspaper writes that all Lithuanian soldiers from the execution battalions of the Jews were sent to the front.
Jewish Demonstration in Britain in “honor of the poor persecuted Jews.”
Britain , USSR, USA issue The Declaration about annihilation of the Jews of Europe.
An “ El Male Rahamim” was broadcast on London radio.
Jews in Kiena are dying , driven by TODT, no bread , hard labor.
Foreign Jews , mostly from surrounding areas , are brought to Vilna ghetto.
Campaign against pregnancy.
|12/23/42||Aktions all around Vilna.|
Statistics for the ghetto - Administration total - 1791, Police - 244.
Opening of a Youth Club.
Murer in the ghetto. He stopped and ordered some workers to do exercises on the ground in the snow. They didn’t greet him.
|1/10/43||Aktion / assault in Kailis|
|1/13/43||82 Jews arrested|
|1/17/43||More than 100 people snatched for work. Gloves were confiscated from people on the street.|
|1/19/43||Contraband in the ghetto , Levas was responsible.|
New Gestapo boss - Neugebauer!
Jews in the ghetto help Jewish Police catching Jews in the ghetto for avoiding work.
40 Poles and 7 Jews shot at Ponary , some for stealing one kilo of beans.
Passports are introduced with numbers.
Giessler Building Group of the TODT org., 810 Jews strong, all from provinces. New unit.
Lithuanian uniforms were changed to SS uniforms with a Lithuanian emblem.
Fried have been thrown out the government and now his new job is Chief Accountant , he was the last from the early Judenrats.
Ghetto is sealed after the shooting . Another 68 Jews shot.
Ghetto is drowning in mud, snow is melting.
Ghetto panicky about purges in Bialystok and Grodno. Gens goes to SS and Gestapo and they assured him that Vilna was safe. People only laugh now.
Whipping by the police become common.
Murer is back and whipping people again.
Full School System in the ghetto!
3 Grammar schools - 1245 children,
High school- 129 kids and 113 children in Kailis.
Day care center- 114 children registered,
Orphanage with 72 kids,
Children’s Psychological Clinic,
Children’s kitchen and a dairy kitchen,
Technical courses for 60 students,
Music school for children,
Boys’ and girls’ Boarding schools,
The Yeladim Transport Brigade,
The Youth Club.
Mobilization of Poles and Lithuanians. Nobody wants to shows up ,and they flee instead to villages and forests. For every 100 Poles , 3 Lithuanians show up.
|3/08/43||Murer searches in the ghetto again.|
|3/18/43||The governor of Lithuania, Dr.von Rentlen has resigned.|
|3/20/43||Veivirzenai ( between Taurage and Kretinga ) is a camp for Jewish women who work the agricultural fields . No one knows if it is i still in existence.|
Ghetto registers again, like at the end of 1941... adding relatives … pay the price …6000 rubles only …
The exhibition is prepared with paintings by Rachel Sutzkever , sculptures by Yudl Mut, pictures by Yanked Sher, caricatures by G.Dresin, drawings by the 9 y o S. Bak and the 14 y o S. Volmark.
Fallen Liza Magun of FPO memorialized
Ghetto acquires 4 horses.
Giessler Building Group of the TODT org. takes people from the ghetto for big projects, 1000 Jews a day mostly for railroad station and tracks, unskilled workers.
The Vilna columns leave the ghetto at 5:30 am and immediately taken by TODT people. On Kwaszelna St the workers are counted. They work with spades and pickaxes until 5pm . Soup and bread at midday.
The ghetto is expecting 1800 Jews from the surrounding liquidated ghettos.
Oszmiana Jews move in with a lot of food, flour , meat , honey, bread , potatoes. Murer took all flour away .105 wagons …350 people.
Another 250 wagons arrive, then 400 more from Michaliszki, Swieciany.
Ghetto swells … they are mostly women , masses of children, old people, hardly any young men , only middle age men. Young men ran away to the forests . People brought in the food that ghetto have not seen for months, many have been robbed by some ghetto characters in no time.
Most Jews say "We will not be taken like sheep ".
Murer and Hingst in the ghetto. They left some orders … what orders?
15,295 food cards were issued in March.
Aktion is in the air , people believe it is coming. Gestapo prepared 200 lunches for Ukrainians. ?? Four small ghettos are liquidated Swieciany, Michalishki, Oszmiany, and Soly.
Ghetto suddenly in turmoil - 340 people were driven to the train which is supposed to take people to Kovno.
Families are punished for the “ crimes “ of one. 14 Jews belonging to 5 families were killed , also 2 Jewish girls in Biala Waka were shot on the spot on April 1 … they were reported for trading several months ago.
Young Jews keep running away to the forest.
Ghetto expects 700 Jews from Biala waka and Rzesza who will be quartered at Zawalna 4.
News that Jews were murdered in Byelorussia from polish illegal newspaper Niepodleglosc.
Kovno Aktion! Under the pretense resettlement to Kovno , 83 train cars with 3,800 Jews left for Kovno accompanied by Gens , Dressler and Jewish police. Under the supervision of Weiss the cars were sealed with barbed wire. The train went only as far as Ponary. Germans and Lithuanians started the massacre. . Gens and Dressler thought they were to be slaughtered too but Gestapo let them go to the ghetto.
Kruk writes, "Four thousand, taken in a horrible way and deceived, lulled by promises, let themselves to be taken to the sacrifice."
There are almost 20,000 Jews in he ghetto now.
Murer is in the ghetto as if nothing had happened … Vilna ghetto is not under consideration , he said .
9 escapees from Ponary arrived in the ghetto, 6 children between 8 and 11 years old among them.
Weiss demanded 25 Jewish policemen to bury the dead in Ponary, especially those who tried to run away and now scattered all around . Policemen later said they had to bury 400 Jews.
Then the chief of Gestapo, Neugebauer went to Rudnicka 6 to see Gens , wanted to know the mood in the ghetto … "As a German, I had to do it ; as a man I regret it very much"… is aktion coming?
2 year old child from Ponary is brought in the ghetto. He was found by a Lithuanian peasant , sitting next to the dead bodies , crying …
9 wagons full of murdered Jews’ foodstuffs and clothing were brought back to the ghetto. A young man wounded 9 times was found among all that stuff.
26 wagons of foodstuff went to Lietukis.
People think the liquidation is coming.
The rumor that Gestapo is taking over the ghetto. People sleep in the melinas again.
The FPO is fully prepared.
Murer is going on vacation.
Mayer ( Gestapo ) - the deputy of Neugebauer , visits ghetto and leaves.
Gens said that Germans exploited him, but he thinks that not all Germans knew about the plan. Kovno got an order to take in 5,000 Jews but both Muller ( Kovno’s Murer) and Lipiec ( Kovno’s Gens ) refused at the last moment to accept them. So someone made a decision to murder all those Jews. However, the railroad worker revealed the secret ( before the train left ) that the train could go only as far as Ponary , because he was given only so much oil .
The Pale of Settlement in the Vilna area established in the letter from the Vilna German Security Police and SD. Under penalty of death Jews are forbidden to enter areas around Vilna from now on.
Another 12 young people left the ghetto to the forest.
Jews getting ready for the struggle, they will not let themselves be killed as before. The Kovno Aktion was carried out for the first time in the open and without concealment . Gestapo made Ponary an open matter.
Passover. The Vilna ghetto has lost all illusions.
Battles between Jews and Germans in Warsaw.
Gens said he didn’t believe Weiss any more.
Ghetto population is 20,192 Jews.
8,149 of whom are men , 11,343 are women. And children.
Ghetto working population is 10,115 Jews.
6,139 of whom are men , 3,976 are women.
Warsaw ghetto is fighting but dying.
Literary competitions continue in the ghetto…in comedy , tragedy , grotesque etc.
Carloads filled with goods from the Dutch Jews are in the Vilna railroad station.
Murer is back from vacation , he still insist that the ghetto is safe nut no one believes him.
People escape from the ghetto en masse. The ones who are left try to prepare, they carry weapons, make bombs, dig melinas…
News about Treblinka operation . Jews know now it is an extermination camp.
The ghetto doesn’t sleep, people buy weapons, death is in the air.
Weiss vacation is interrupted ??!!
Neugebauer is back from vacation .
News about coming aktion of 1500-2000 people.
Jewish snatcher team is prepared - Levas, Seidel, Smulikowski, Zubak, Shapirke among others.
Jewish police keeps delivering old Jews to Germans.
Recently the gates of the houses bordering the ghetto have been walled up.
the pottery shop is opened
Rudnicka st will become the main business center, ground floors are being emptied for the workshops.
Warsaw is still fighting.
News about liquidation of the Cracow and Stanislawow ghettos.
Murer at the gates again … checking patches , whipping people, amusing himself.
People think that an action will take place and only 15,000 Jews will be left in the ghetto.
Warsaw still alive … 10 kilos of sugar for pointing out a Jew
Jewish Police will be in uniform soon - dark blue military costume trimmed with blue bands. Leather belt, hat.
Ghetto workshops are built and developed. Rudnicka Street turned into workshops only , no private apartments , almost 14,000 Jews in ghetto workforce and they work in 3 shifts.
Incident at the gates. The gate guard detained the fellow with weapons. He opened fire and shot policemen , Gens killed the fellow.
Meanwhile , Young Jews have been arming and going to the forest.
Search for weapons raids are common now.
Hingst and Murer visit, left satisfied.
New mobilization of those born 1919-1024, 1912-1918 and 1925
Almost two years of occupation.
Himmler signed the order to dissolve all the ghettos in Ostland and to concentrate the male Jews in camps, mainly for the mines of bituminous shale.
People keep leaving ghetto including some policemen
Ponar killing again, several people killed
Incident with Glazman arrested but freed by ghetto activists!
19,989 Jews in the ghetto.
Murer is send to the front. Replaced by Lakner
Jewish expert of Gestapo, Mayer is send to the front.
Massacre in Biala Waka - 67 Jews shot because 6 Jews escaped. AKtion by German SD.
Poles, Lithuanians, Byelorussians, Ukranians, young Jews - try to save themselves in the forest
Partisans become more active.
Ghetto to be enlarged, maybe all the way to Niemiecka Street
Gestapo arrests Averbukh, an hour later demands Wittenberg.
Liquidation by Kittel of Kiena ( 240 Jews ) and Bezdany ( 240 Jews ) camps.
Bruno Kittel - born in Austria, was a member of the Security Police. He was called "The Liquidator of the Vilna Ghetto."
Hingst assures Gens that nothing is planned for the ghetto
|7/16/43||Wittenberg was taken to the Security Police Headquarters. The next morning he was found in his cell, dead of cyanide poisoning. From other interviews with survivors, Arad concludes that it was Gens who gave the poison to Wittenberg. Before Wittenberg parted from his FPO comrades, he named Abba Kovner his successor as FPO commander.|
The entrapment of FPO group at Szpitalna Street 6.
|8/06/43, 8/24/43||Round Up Aktions for shipping to concentration camps.
Totally 7,130 Jews were taken to Estonia in August.
|9/01/43 - 9/04/43||
Aktion of September 1-4, clash between the FPO and German and Estonian police forces.
Vaivara camp dissolved to O.T. and Narva and Soski
|9/23/43 - 9/24/43||
Final Days of the liquidation of Vilna Ghetto.
On September 23, the day of the Vilna ghetto's liquidation, 8,000 of the 10,000 surviving Jews were taken to Rossa Square. There, a selection took place. Those able to work were sent to labor camps, men to Estonia and women to Latvia. Some were eventually transferred to the Stutthof concentration camp. Between 4,300 and 5,000 elderly women and children were sent to Sobibor. None survived. Several hundred children and elderly men and women were sent to Ponary.
Only approximately 2,000 people from the entire Vilna community remained in hiding within the ghetto. Among them were members of the FPO, who continued to filter out to the forest, and an additional 2,300 people (men, women and families) who worked in factories in the city (``Keilis'' and ``Heeres Kraft Park'' --- HKP 562).
|End of September 1943||
Arrival of EK 4a under Paul Blobel command for the purpose of destroying the evidence. Code name Operation 1005 or Sonderkommando 1005.
Murder at Ponary continues. A truck N28693 transport the Jews, followed by a limousine N72621-Pol.
|3/27/44||Children's Aktion in Keilis and HKP 562.|
Mass escape from Sonderkommando pit in Ponary. 40 escaped , of which 15 got away. To replace them the Germans brought 70 men from the Kailis camp to continue the work of burning corpses. All were shot at the end.
Workers Aktion in Keilis and HKP 562. Immediately after the retreat of the Wehrmacht from Vilnius and the abandonment by them of the HKP workshops on 2 July 1944 the SS took 1,800 of the prisoners to Ponary and shot them. A small number of the workers remained in hiding until the Red Army entered Vilnius on 13 July 1944.
Most Jews in the following Jewish Labor Camps have been exterminated before the liberation by the Red Army.
List of Vilna and vicinity Jewish Labor Camps.
1. Kailis Fur Factory
2. HKP 562 Workshops - Car Repair
3. Peatbogs at Baltoji Voke ( Byala Waka ) which existed even before the creation of Vilna ghetto, at Bezdonys ( Besdany ), Riese ( Reshe ) , Kena , Uztrakis, Parudaminys, Pabrade, Naujoji Vilnia ( Novo- Vilnya ), Ignalina, Velkopolye, Sorok Tatar, Vievis, Ziezmariai etc.
4. Labor camp in Novo-Vilnya for work on railroad.
5. Giesler Camp in Pabrade- construction and repair work on railroads.
6. Petesa Camp for the extraction of pine resin.
7. Lumbering labor camps in Sorok Tatar, Vakariskes, Velkopolye , Rudamina Area etc.
8. Uztrakis labor camp , belonging to German Agricultural Society “Ostland”, farm work.
9. Traku Voke Farm Camp?
10.Zachepka Tree-Felling Jewish Labor camp.
11. Ziezmariai Labor Camp , Vilnius-Kaunas Highway work.
|7/13/44||Russian Army enters Vilna.|