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Memories of Alexander Gelfond

Alexander Avramenko


Minia Haimovna Blumkina.
Minia Haimovna Blumkina.

My grandmother, Minia Haimovna Blumkina, came from the village of Slaven. I went to visit the village and see what the place looks like these days. I found the mass grave where the local Jews were buried during the war. I was accompanied there by Leonid Pashkevich, a local resident.

There are no Jews living today in Slaven. Leonid showed us the memorial stone on the grave and said he had witnessed those tragic events. In 1942 he was still a boy. Before the execution Nazis locked all the local Jews in two houses on the outskirts of the village. One building was for the women and children, the other – for men. First the fascists executed the men and then the women.

Stone on the Jewish mass grave. Stone on the Jewish mass grave.
Stone on the Jewish mass grave.

According to Leonid’s words, children were thrown into the grave while still alive. The wounded were left to die in torture. Then the bodies were burnt.

In the local museum we also found a copy of a letter written by a certain Leonid Gurevich. Below is the text of the letter:

… In October 1989 I was visited by my former classmate Sholom Haimovich Goldov. We graduated from school in 1935 and were not in contact for more than 50 years. This time we remembered the tragic days of the war and those who died in it. It was difficult now to remember all the names, so we drew a map of Slaven and drew all the houses. Thus we remembered the following families:

Ilya Wolf – 2 people;

Nison Korotenky – 4 people;

Reznik – 1 person;

Honia’s family – 4 people;

The Margoles – 5 people;

The Cherniak – 4 people;

Simka Chudny – 4 people;

Riva and Nison Kazhdan – 2 people;

Simha Aronin (David Aronin’s father) – 2 people;

Menzel Rutkin – 2 people;

Shmuil – 2 people;

The Sirotkin – 3 people;

Total: 35 people.

Alexander Avramenko,

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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