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Irina Bainova

Alexander Litin

Vladimir Kogan

Svetlana Karneyeva

Victor Martinkov

Victor Artemiev

Lora Denisova

We are sending you the memories of Clara Mariasina-Kagan, saved by the residents of Chernoruchie, in Shklov region, during the war. Clara is living in Israel, while her memories were sent to us by Svetlana Karneyeva, a resident of this village. When a child, Svetlana heard about the saved girl and three years ago she recalled that story. So, she found Clara in Israel though her acquaintances and asked her to send her memories and photographs.

Ida Shenderovich.


Before the war, until 1941, my family lived in Slutsk. There were four children in the family: elder sister Shura aged 14, sister Rosa aged 11 and brother Gena aged 3. I was six back then.

Clara Mariasina.
Clara Mariasina.
Photograph was made in 1946
when my father found me
and took me away
from the orphanage.

In May 1941 my father took Rosa to the Caucasus to a health resort. In 1943 the Northern Caucasus was occupied by Nazis. Later we found out that she had been killed by gestapo together with all the other Jewish children.

From the first days of the war my father was sent to the battle front. Mother first took us to Smolensk but then decided to return to Belarus to her father in Gorky. Soon the town was occupied by Germans and a ghetto was established there. One day grandfather did not return home. On the same day a lot of armed Germans could be observed walking around town with dogs. There were a lot of tanks at the end of the street. We were so scared and mother explained that it was just training. Early in the morning, before we woke up, she left to search for grandfather. I did not see her again. Soon our neighbor ran into the house shouting to us to run for our lives. She told us the town had been surrounded by Nazis and Jews were being executed. My elder sister put a scarf onto my head so that no one would see my curly hair. We dashed out of the house. Suddenly we saw a bi group of people and a German with a gun. He asked us whether we were Jewish or Russian. Sister said we were Russian. He shouted to us: "Schnell!" and we left the house.

We walked along a road for a long time, eating wheat and rye ears. We spent nights in bush – it was already cold in autumn 1941. Sometimes we would go into houses and ask for food. Sometimes we were allowed to stay for the night. It was the road from Mogilev to Orsha. On the way we got lost and I never saw my sister and brother again.

I did not know where I was going. Soon I reached the village of Klimovichi. On the way I saw Germans. I began running towards them and shouting: "Save me!" but I was too small and they did not notice me. People started coming out of the houses when they heard my voice. They stopped me, calmed me down and promised to buy me a big doll, new boots and a big ball.

Yelizaveta and Zot Chaikov took me to their house, fed me, gave me clothes and a bed to sleep in. In the evening of the same day Yefim Lapenkov, a local resident, gathered all the village residents in one house. There they put me on a table so that everyone could see me. Yefim asked everyone: "What are we going to do with this child?" Immediately people began asking me whether I was Russian or Jewish and what my name was. In kindergarten I had a friend, Lora Denisova, so I mentioned her name and said I was Russian, hoping that it would save me. Yefim said that if someone took me home, the local collective farm would help that family with food and give them a cow. However, everyone was too scared. Everyone understood I was a Jewish girl. So a decision was wade that every week I would move from house to house. Yefim said that all the Klimovichi residents had to make an effort to save me. This is how I stayed in that village during the whole occupation period until 1944.

Lora Denisova (Clara Mariasina-Kagan).
Lora Denisova
(Clara Mariasina-Kagan).

Every time gestapo came to town, Yefim would come and make me hide somewhere. In every house I found understanding and care. When I fell ill with scabies Yelizaveta and Zot secretly took me to Chernoruchi to a nurse who treated me.

When I recovered I continued moving from house to house. Once, when I was staying with the Chaikovs, some people knocked on the door at night, saying they were partisans. However, they turned out to be thugs. They began shouting and demanding food, then one of them whipped Yelizaveta on the head and she lost her eye.

Nevertheless, whenever partisans came at nights she always helped them as much as she could, and so did other Klimovichi residents.

I cannot remember all the names of Klimovichi residents but these are the families I remember:

The family of Vera Georgievna Gavrilenko;

The family of Yelizaveta and Zot Chaikov;

The family of Yefim Lapenkov;

The family of Anna Fedosievna Dovydova;

The family of Anna Trofimovna Lafitskaya;

The Gusakovs;

The family of Fedora Artemovna Volkova;

The family of Anastasia Grigorievna Maikova;

The family of Pelageya Artemovna Dudkina;

The family of Ivan Chaikov;

The family of Arina Krotova;

The Vashenkovs;

The family of Anastasia Yeliseyeva;

The family of Aleksandra Rodnaya, the Kupreyevs,

Matrena (who lived in the forest).

Yelizaveta Chaikova.

The residents of Klimovichi had very loving hearts. Despite the danger they hid me, the Jewish girl and for four years gave me their love, care and attention as if I were their own child. I admire the unselfishness and the courage of these people and for me they deserve the highest ranks that exist in this world!

Lora Denisova (Clara Mariasina-Kagan)
April, 2010, Tel Aviv, Israel

Jewish settlements in Mogilev region

MogilevAntonovkaBatsevichiBelynichiBelynkovichiBobruiskByhovChausyCherikov Dashkovka DribinEsmonyGluskGolovchinGorki GoryGrozdianka Hotimsk KirovskKlichev KonohovkaKostukovichi KrichevKruchaKrugloye Lenino LubonichiMartinovka MoliatichiMstislavlNaprasnovkaOsipovichi RodniaRudkovschina SamotevichiSapezhinkaSeletsShamovoShepelevichiShklovSlavgorodStaroselieSukhariSvislochVereschaki ZaverezhieZhilichi

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