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Memories of L. Buyansky

Olga Fomina

Memories of Leiba Buyansky

I was born in a town called Senno and lived there until the age of 17.

Senno had four synagogues and two churches. One of them was a Big Orthodox church in the center of town near the militia department.

The church was destroyed in the 30’s, and a monument to Lenin was erected in that place instead. A wooden church was located on the town outskirts (Karl Marx Street). Schools in Senno were in the suburbs and there were several school buildings in the center. There was a gymnasium at the end of Proletarskaya Street and a Jewish school in Karl Marx Street.

I want to mention a catholic church – a well-composed giant located not far from Bazaar square. It’s noteworthy that that church had an organ.

In summer we, kids, would sit on a stone fence surrounding the church and with great excitement listen to the organ music, coming through the church doors.

In the 70’s a man came to my apartment, I did not recognize him at once. When he mentioned his name, Anatoly Notkin, I remembered that I had known him as a boy in Senno. He said that he had lived in Senno during the German occupation. At that time he saw my relatives and was willing to tell me about them. Unfortunately, I didn’t ask him for many details. He mentioned that he lived in Cheboksary and was working for a transport company. A lot of time has passed since then and I have a wish to find him.

Anatoly told me about what had happened. Once, during the occupation, people from Senno were standing around a fire and suddenly his small brother started singing a Soviet song. A Nazi soldier standing nearby threw the boy into the fire. After that Anatoly’s mother dressed as a Gypsy and took Anatoly away from Senno. It turned out that despite Germans were also persecuting Gypsies, she managed to pass the frontal line and reach the Soviet territory.

Before writing about what Anatoly told me, I want to talk about the fate of my family. There was only one family of Buyansky in Senno. Grandfather Abraham had a big family – four sons. One of them was my father Abel. Apart from the four sons there were also four daughters. All of them had their own families and lived in Senno and in a place called Turovo located nearby. All of them and their families were killed in Senno. There were also victims from my mother’s side. Her maiden name was Buz. Grandfather Yakov Buz was a blacksmith and lived in a village called Mashony, 12 km away from Senno.

So, here is Anatoly Notkin’s story.

Senno had a pharmacy, run by a man whose last name was Lozovsky. Before Germans invaded, he was saying that Germans were cultured people and that locals should not be afraid. That summer his son’s family from Minsk visited him: the son, his wife and their two children. He had a daughter, Veta. In 1941 she was in the 8th or 9th grade. The Germans raped and murdered her. His son did not go to the ghetto, explaining that his wife was Russian. Policemen came to his house to force him to go to the ghetto and his wife stood between him and the policemen and shouted: “No, this will not happen!” It was clear how it would finish. Of course, he was taken to the ghetto. The neighbors said: “Save the children – it’s too late to try and save him.” Anatoly did not know whether they managed to save the children.

There was a separate category of people that suffered from the Nazi invasion – the refugees from Poland that arrived in 1939. As a result of collusion between Hitler and Stalin Poland was divided between Germany and the Soviet Union. Jewish families from Poland started arriving in Senno. In 1940 I personally knew a man, who moved to Senno from Warsaw. These people preferred the USSR instead of fascist Germany. It should be mentioned that the perception of Polish people of the situation in the USSR was better than it was in reality. In any case, Senno had Jewish refugees. I saw them and talked to some of them. Most probably they shared the fate of the local Jews.

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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