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Yevgeny Itkin

A. Litin, I. Shenderovich

Yevgeny Itkin


Recently I have again visited the website "Mein shtetle" and was pleasantly surprised to see a short story on Naprasnovka. Of course, I would like to write a more detailed story about this place but I have little information. A part of my letter that you have used is just a tiny part of my family history but, nevertheless, it's pleasant.

I also wrote to Vladimir Livshitz, a historian and a literary man. Most probably, he contacted L.I. Shilova and she visited the place. Thus we have a small story.

I also tried to find some photographs among my relatives and former neighbors, the Kagans from Orsha, who also had ancestors from Naprasnovka. My relatives, who are living in the USA, also sent me several photos.

Vladimir Livshitz wrote me about the executions in Naprasnovka. This is an extract from his book:

"In 1942 the extermination of the Jewish population in Goretsky region continued. "The Act of Goretsky regional committee on investigation of crimes, committed by Germans in the years of the Great Patriotic War" states: "Mass murders were carried out by Nazis in the village of Naprasnovka, where eight graves have been found. The mass execution was organized on March 22, 1942 with 250 Jews shot. Before the execution they had been mercilessly beaten… The children were thrown into the graves while still alive, while the killed adults were thrown on top."

L. Shilova managed to reconstruct that day, relying on the stories of the local residents. "On that day Germans arrived. One part of them surrounded the village. The second group went from house to house, forcing the residents to go outside. Nobody was "forgotten" - neither the children, nor the old people. First they were made to wait in two houses until noon. Then they were taken to the forest…

One person escaped the execution – Yesel Stambler, a young man of about 20. While the victims were being taken to the forest, he dashed towards the village of Shepelevka. He reached the house of and old woman, Matrena, who hid him. Two Germans were searching for him in every house in the village but he was lucky. Later he joined the partisan movement. After the war, every year he visited the woman that had saved him, bringing her presents. Another boy tried to escape but was immediately shot."

Vladimir wrote the name of the man, who got saved as Yesel Stambler. However, when I talked to our former neighbors, the Kagans, I was told his name actually was Iosif Stambler.

This is all the information that I currently have.

Sincerely yours,

Yevgeny Itkin

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