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Flight from the Ghetto

by Leon (Levi) Koton

Transcript of Tapes as Told to Cyril Levine

Translated from the Yiddish by Donald Levine


Dolhinof (also known as Dalhinev)


I remember my father when he came back from America. I was very young but I remember his telling stories of America.

Dolhinof was a small Jewish settlement , like hundreds of others around, full of Jews. Those days in Poland there were 3 1/2 million Jews. In our town there were 7,000 people, 3,000 non Jews. It was a large town, with five large Shuls (synagogues) and a Bet Knesset (school). All around, there were beautiful Shuls. My grandfather, on my mother’s side, was one of the grandest of men - most beautiful - he was the head of the Yeshiva. He was a Rabbi, he was a Rabbi and he davened (prayed) beautifully. He was already 70 when I remembered him. I’m named after my father’s side, Levitche. It is the same person that Lester (Kramer?) was named after, as well as me, my father’s father.

Dolhinof was a beautiful town. It was, as such, every Friday and Saturday there was a quietness and observances -- the spirit was with all. Everywhere beauty-- everyone went to Shul. Friday night, the table was set beautifully for the Sabbath. The songs were beautiful. I can [still] sing all the Sabbath songs. I went to the Shul with my father and sat next to my Zadie(grandfather). On Saturday night, we made Havadallah.

There were many Hebrew organizations in town. There was Migdal, Chalutz, Mishrachi, all Hebrew parties with beautiful, young, observant people.

We had a school up to class eight. After Grade eight, we went to Vilna (about 180 Km away) for seminar, to learn Yiddish Hebrew and Polish. Many from our town went to Vilna because of the teachers for Hebrew. We had a private school. There was also a town school where just Polish was taught. All the poor people went there to learn. We had money. I went to school with another younger sister, two years younger than me. We were not rich, but there was money for learning. There were seven children in the family: Shoshana, Tamar (they are now 70), then a brother, Isshar. He is gone. The Germans murdered him, his wife and three children, -- all gone. Then there was a girl of 24 that fell in the snow, from a sleigh and died within two weeks. There was a doctor, but to no avail. I was young at that time, it was in the 30’s. Then another sister, then me, then another sister. The two eldest sisters went to Israel in 1932 and 1933.

The made a Kibbutz in Poland. The Zionist organization prepared strong, healthy children for emigration to Israel. The children were sent 200 Km for Dolhinof to a camp. There they worked 2 and a half years without pay. They worked for rich Poles (non-Jews) who owned much of the forest land and mills. The paid the Zionist organization the money and the organization gave food to the workers. They worked from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Shoshana and Tamar went there and were good workers. Not everyone received tickets from the English for emigration to Israel. There were a thousand young people.

There were half a million Jews with no work. The Polish government was not concerned about work or living. Their position was live-- if you can. Tamar went to Israel with a certificate - the first. Shoshana did not receive a certificate but [it] was illegally sent. By night, they lowered her from a small boat and smuggled her into Israel. [Leon told me that Shoshona was a strong swimmer and she swan into Israel from the boat in her undergarments.]

I wrote to Tamar and Shoshana in 1938 or 1939. When I came to Israel, Shoshana showed me the letter. It was written in Hebrew. I wrote them, there is a fire burning - if not today, then tomorrow. There is a war, you must help us get to Israel. Shoshana and Tamar worked to send papers to bring us to Israel, but it took a year or more to get the papers. Everything I wrote was the truth--everything happened. I had much insight in those years. I saw it all, everything that happened -- the war came.

To speak of the war is very difficult because I saw so much. There were those that were dead beneath me and over me. Everything was burning. In our house, there were 50 people. Our house and street were made into a ghetto. They surrounded it with a fence. Every day we went to work. Each German had a pistol with which to shoot you. I was like a dog, but worse. A dog they gave food to eat, to the Jew, nothing to eat.

The Jew was no longer a man (he was dehumanized), but we worked.

On day an auto [full of] Germans came in [and] all the town was sealed off. They sealed off an area 15 to 20 kilometers. You could not travel, no telephones, no radio, nothing. We were hungry. This was in the 1940’s. The Poles were just like the Germans, with sticks. (However, there was a Pole that hid me for three days) The second night...no it was the first night...it was Pesach 1942. The Germans came with three autos. Five to seven went into a house to catch Jews or [catch them] on the street and bring them to the main square. They drove them like animals. They captured my mother [and] rounded her up with a thousand others. In our town [there] was a rich Pole that had three corrals of wood, 1,000 meters long. They put the thousand Jews within. They shot them, poured gasoline on them and burned them. My mother went up to a German, hit him so that he fell. They shot her - they shot them all.

Only one person remained, a pastry baker. The Germans took him back. We all went away, those they didn’t pick up at that moment. It was enough, a thousand killed, that was enough. They were satisfied that day, they killed their thousand. The following day the young Jews went to dig graves. In the corral were charred, burned bodies --smaltz (rendered fat)-- a foot, a hand -- the earth was heavy. They dug for days-- a trench two meters long -- dragging legs -- looking -- looking for parts of know bodies. We buried. After this, the Poles sent their pigs out to eat the remains. This was the end-- my mother was gone. She exists no longer. My father was strong - but we knew in a day or so it is the end of all of us. I knew -- today or tomorrow in a day or two it is the end of it all.

My older brother lived in a town 120 to 150 kilometers away. We sent him a letter by a non-Jew -- special. We paid with gold for him to deliver it. Everything was regulated. If one went one kilometer out of town, they would shoot you.

A month went by, the Germans surrounded the town again. A number of Germans came again, stationed themselves around town --- about noon. They prepared waiting for tomorrow to kill all. At our house there was a small shed near the kitchen. I dug a room in this shed to hide. All the Jews did a similar thing, but it was for nothing. The Poles helped in pulling out all of the Jews. On the first night they surrounded the ghetto. All the Jews were in the ghetto. Our house was in the ghetto. I said to a young boy, "come with me." I was full of determination. I now knew what it was, but I knew I must live -- I must live I cannot be killed.

Germans were standing around and from time to time [and they] shot [off] a flare, so that it is all light in the ghetto. There is already a barbed wire barricade .. everyone ... everyone waiting to see what will happen in the morning. The Germans said that nothing will happen -- do not fear. Everything was lies. Everything to deceive. Earlier they said to the Jews, anyone who has gold , rings, etc., bring them in, have no fear.

They are needed for the war effort. You must give them up, but you must also work. But killing? That they will not do. Anyone who has furs or warm coats must give them up-- everything must be given up. So, on this night, I put on a warm sweater, one that cannot be closed here and put on felt boots on my feet, then overshoes on them. It was cold. There was snow and it was freezing and, as such, I went from the house. I kissed my father and sister and said " I am going to find a way to save us." So my father said to be careful and even in the ghetto one must watch out. Be careful, come back and tell me what is doing out there.

I went away and came to a place where my grandfather had lived. Grandfather Smerial, my zadie, the Rabbi from my mother’s side. I came to the yard and there was a house by the side. The ghetto was over here and the house was over there. I came to the house by a side and there I noticed in a small corner, two men. It was one o’clock at night. Who are these men? Two healthy strong, big men, 30 or 35 years old. These hiding men were Communists. When the Germans came into town, they immediately hung official notices that all Communists should appear at such and such an hour. They immediately shot them all. These two had hidden [and] they didn’t know where they were. I could see they were terrified and afraid to run away. I noticed that where they were standing, a board was torn and loosened. It was attached above and unattached below. You could pull it this way and that. The two were terrified to leave. I took the kid by the hand, pushed the board aside and crawled out. I listened. It was quiet and I pulled him toward me and we took off. In the town we had to cross a garden 30 meters and then a house and then more houses. We began running and they began shooting. They shot off a rocket. It became light. We dropped. It became dark and we started running again. We ran the course and away we went.



We were then out of town. We arrived at a little stream. If it were in Israel, it would be called a big river. It was a stream of 10, 15, 20 meters in

width -- but [full of] water. We went into the water and on the other side there was a grove of trees - a forest. We were wet, cold and terrified.

What do we do? Where are we going? This was 1942 and I was perhaps 17 years old. We went into the woods. In the woods were storage areas,

which were locked but we moved a board, crawled in and hid. We rested a couple of hours. It became light. I thought we can’t stay here [because]

they will catch us. We must do something. We re-closed the shed and went to a known non-Jew. The other kid knew the woman who knew his

father and might know him. We went and went until we came to the non-Jew. When she saw us she became frightened because no one was

allowed to help Jews under penalty of death. As we sat by the non-Jew, she gave us each some bread and a glass of milk. We are sitting and we

hear the kids gathering and hollering "Zhid"! "Zhid"! (Jew! Jew!). They knew we where there. Quick, we must run. We went out of the house and ran and ran and ran to the woods. All the Gentiles were running after us with stones and sticks. If they caught us, they would kill us.

We again crawled into an enclosure and hid until dark. During this time, we noticed the town was burning. We heard gunfire and saw burning. We knew it was the end there. At night we went to a known Gentile. We had no other choice. I knew him. Perhaps he’ll help us. He was connected with my folks, business wise. We had to go over to get water. We came to the Non Jew about nine at night. He had a big yard, a big house and a big silo. We went slowly -- slowly looking into the windows to see who was in the house. We saw his wife and him going around in the house. We waited on the outside. Later, the owner came out of the house to look around and see that everything was okay.

We went up to him. When he saw us he asked who we were. I told him who I was. He said "Yes...yes." He thought and thought and said, "come with me." "He took us to the silo and said, "No one knows that you are here. My wife doesn’t know. If someone calls or speaks, you will answer no one but me. Crawl in the straw and cover yourselves. I will bring food and something to cover yourselves with. In the town they have killed all the Jews and [they] are burning everything." This he told us. Later, in awhile, he came back and brought us warm potatoes, a piece of bread and milk, also a fur cover as a blanket and said that tomorrow he would go to see what was doing in town. He came the following day and said, "Children, all is ended. The Germans are there... They are killing and burning and one can’t go into town. I will check again tomorrow -- stay another day. On the third day he came to us and said that of all the Jews, there are perhaps fifty people left. People they have use for -- of yours, there are none left.

At night, one o’clock, we went back into town. I went to our house at once and found the house broken down -- no doors, no windows -- all broken. I had enough sense when I found a familiar picture to put it into my pocket. I found my certificate from school and put it in my pocket. I didn’t understand. I saw mother’s clothing torn, father’s clothing torn, my sister’s torn, everything torn. I knew which houses to find the Jews that were left. I went there and they are all crying and telling me that everything is ended. The following morning those Jews that remained living were allowed to go and bury those that were killed. They we went from house to house gathering those killed with dum-dum bullets. Heads torn off, shot in the back of the head -- all ended. We took off pieces of people from the walls and we laid all in a wagon and took them all to a communal grave. As to my folks, I didn’t find any. I couldn’t comprehend what happened. Perhaps others buried them, but I sought and sought and could find nothing. Then they shot a friend of mine.

The Germans came to see and photograph what they did. How accomplished they were in their destruction. How fine and wonderful was their destruction! They killed about 2,000 people and buried them.

When my friend saw the Germans coming, he became frightened and ran. The Germans shot after him. "Jew come back --- Jew come back." He came back and a German went up to him, put a pistol to his forehead and shot him. A second German photographed the happening. They gave him a twist on the nose and I caught him in my hands. The hot blood spilled over my hands and me. I buried him myself off to a side. We ended the burial work and I started on plans to escape to visit my brother in another town. I figured I might meet them. I didn’t know. We banded together, five of us, four boys and a girl.. two youths and two older people. The older ones knew the way. We had to go by night -- only by night. It came out that I had to go first, to seek out the way, otherwise they wouldn’t take me. We went on our way until we came by night upon some Germans. With packets, they didn’t know who we were. They spoke with the girl, then allowed us to leave. We arrived at a river. It took about one or two weeks. Again, we hid by day and traveled by night. In one place they nearly caught us. Non Jewim suspected we were Jews and ran after us. We hid in the forest and saved ourselves from them. We then came to the town. It is a story to tell.

We chanced upon some Jews from the town who were working in the woods. They took us into town. There I came together with my brother. In this town, they brought Jew from the surrounding towns and area. There were very many Jews not in this town. I was with the family and the director of the Jewish committee had us eating ... one day here, one day there. My brother also came from another town. Everyone was hungry, but the people from this town still has some stuff. In the meanwhile, I did not go to work. Everyone had work details, everyone must work. However, I started organizing the young people for escaping. I told them all what happened to us, but they didn’t believe. Man is an animal -- when he sits in a warm house, why should he go? Where do you go? Into the woods with children? They didn’t believe [that] the Germans would come and kill them. They were working. It is nothing. A couple of weeks went by.

The Judenrat (The Governing Jewish Council) knew that in this town at one time felt boots were made. In our area, the winters were very hard and cold. The Poles wore them on their feet when driving wagons. We made these in our house. We took wool from the sheep and made these. Shoshana and Tamar made these until they left for Israel. They and my other sisters made them -- my father also. I saw this. I was a learned child and would help sometimes. I had a good head and understood how to make them. The specialty was done by my mother, who laid out the work. Later it was worked with hot water and irons. I used to enjoy sitting with my mother while she did this work.

In this town the Jundenrat set up a factory for the Germans to make these felt boots. I was going to tell Eleazar the story once, but I could tell it was frightening to him, so I no longer told the story but closed it up in part of my mind. It is very difficult to talk of it. Speaking of it is very hard. One must speak from the heart , one’s self. I speak little of Dolhinof today, because it is difficult even to think of it is hard, but I want to do it for you, to remain for you a reminder of Dolhinof. In this town where my brother and his family were brought, the Jews were a bit set. I told them they must run and save themselves. My brother had a wife and three small children, seven, five and three. All were working, nobody wanted to talk. The Germans fooled the Jews with stories and lies. Jews are smart and also not so smart. In the whole world Jews are considered smart. In Israel they are fools. The Germans fooled them. "You have nothing to worry about, you have a trade, you work. It is different with the others. And the Jews believed them.

As it was at the same time, I was a leader of a group of young people. I didn’t know them, I just came. But, I organized the group, about fifteen boys, older than me, all of this in the ghetto Some people had money, some with gold. With this we bought pistols from the Poles. With gold, you could buy them. It cost a great deal. It cost twenty or thirty gold rubles. We went from the ghetto to the woods, one evening. We were gone two nights until we came to a big forest. This was in 1942. We took food with us, each one had a packet. We walked and walked in the woods for a week to ten days. We heard from people that here and there in the woods were partisans .. Russians. We sought them.

One day, about noon, we were halted by a group a saw they were Russians. They had overgrown shabby beards. "Who are you , who are you?"

"We are Jews looking for you. We want to be with you!" They took us with them. We sat with them in the woods at a fire and talked. We talked together for about two or three days. I was with a friend of mine, a buddy of my age. After this talking, they talked among themselves, with the elders and the Russian partisans. They said that they couldn’t take all. They could take the older ones, but the younger ones were too young for them to take. However, one was a barber. They needed him. One was a tailor. They needed him. We two, they wanted us to go back to the ghetto, to bring back a typewriter and tobacco, as they had none to smoke and then return. To us, we saw it was the end. We went back. It was far. We went by night. Once we hid the whole day in low bushes by the side of the road. We could see convoys of German trucks going by all day long. At night we went slowly, slowly until we arrived back at night.

However, this time we were on the opposite side of town from the ghetto. It is something to write about how we arrived into the town. I picked out and we came to a small wooden house, so old and decrepit. I wondered how it remained standing. I knocked on the window. A woman asked "Who is there? I say "a Jew." "What do you want?" I want to know how to get to the ghetto. She said that at the fifth or sixth house is a two story house. Jews live there. Go there. It was in the middle of the night, two or three o’clock in the morning. We came to the two story house and think what to do. I saw an outhouse. We went in until morning. We sat there waiting for someone to come in. We couldn’t knock on the door at that hour. They would not answer. They would be afraid. So we sat until morning. Then in the morning, a man came, opened the door, saw us standing there. We are dirty. "Who are you ... who are you?" We are Jews. We want to get to the ghetto. He took us into the house. We seen an elderly Jewish woman. He is a Jew. What transpired I don’t know, he told me. These are the richer Jews that were allowed to live here. They have a mill. Each day Jews come to work for him and make paper. Stay here in the room. He hid us for the day and when the workers go back at night, you can go with them. That’s the way it was.

Excuse me for pausing a moment, but while I was gone to the woods, my brother and his family, in this town, were slaughtered. Most of the Jews were killed. They shot and slaughtered them. Those who survived continued to work. This was Glaboke. I made a vow in this town to run. My brother and all were drowned. They drove them into the woods to a big river. Th[ey] [w]ere shooting many in the river. I went to hide in another house. Later I went into the woods. When I came back to the ghetto the second time, I worked in a factory. I knew when I left this town, in another area, I had a cousin on my mother’s side. This cousin left Dolhinof when I did. He went into the woods. He made contact with the partisans, with other buddies from Dolhinof. One brother was in the ghetto with me. He told me his brother was close by in another town. We decided we would leave at night to seek him out. It all passed in a month’s time, a week here, a week there. We went out of town a different way to the woods. That’s what happened to all the Jews in that town.

We became soldiers with the partisans. Many citizens died fighting with the partisans. With the Russians in that time, men were expendable. It was common to send them on a mission when 100 percent would not return, but they sent them! When you think of what we went through and what we survived, it is really a Godley happening (a miracle). I remember when I was small, my mother would say you were born a child with a silk shirt. One cannot write what I have been through, a hard time. All Jews who have survived have a packet of stories all their own which they carry with them.

From 1942 to 1945, I was with the partisans. Then [I went] to Russia. I had to be good, because when it came to Jews, those that didn’t perform outstandingly were simply shot. The Russians shot two small Jewish kids for nothing ... they found any excuse. We went in a group of forward scouts, we’d lie in water or near tracks. I blew up tracks. Five times I blew up tracks. People saw that and it was recorded. I even received a medal for it. A high award. I felt and saw that I had to be tops, for there were five Russians and I was one Jew. I always went first, they followed. If it were any different, it would not have been good. "You’re a good boy ... you my buddy. Come with me." I understood how it was.

In 1944, when the Russians were in Minsk, I was with them. There we joined up with the Army. We arrived in Minsk, excuse me, under fire. I went into a house, into the cellar. The door was open. In the house it was so... a high ceiling. The whole cellar was a wall of iron hooks that hold meat, all with people hanging on them. A half a man, under tables of meat, pieces of cut meat. There was an oven. They were rendering their fat. It was a long room, perhaps 50 meters, a big room with bodies. There were rooms filled with ladies hair, shoes [and] glasses. This was Minsk. When I went to camp, the Russians quickly closed this so not much would be seen. I was one of the last to see it. Then came high Russian officials. They felt this should not be known by many, so they closed it!

They were times in those days that I lay in water with Germans around.. with ice. My feet wouldn’t work. I walked like on sticks, but my head told me [that] I must keep going. There were no doctors. I must do these things myself. I must keep going for two or three days. There was a time when I was completely covered with boils. They healed, there were no [medications.] There was time of lice. Everyone was covered with lice.

Now I speak of Russia, our time in Russia. Winter was with us. We were hungry. There was much snow. There was a horse that was frozen in the snow. We broke off some meat and ate it...grass we ate. It rained for months. I lived in the woods for three months in a bog. Water was beneath and water [was] pouring down. It pours and pours. What to do? Man [has a ] will to live... so that he can overcome the greatest difficulties. Pine trees grow in Russia. We cut off two meters of wood, make poles and greens to lie on, a small hut for one man. The only thing that helped us was a little fire [a] slowly, slowly, built fire. In the snow, one watched the fire as the other slept. I had rags and strings on my feet. That was a difficult year. I have never spoken of this, believe me it is difficult for me to think of it. It was like a nightmare, a bad dream. It was a difficult time. Even today we have worries, so these worries are gone by.

(Minna speaks: "He came to Vilna, I came to Vilna, we met and married.) Minna was from Russia. She too has a bundle she carries. Eleazer was born in Vilna. He was [there] until he was six.

I was a strong person, a Zionist. I wanted to get out of Russia. I was a man without friends in Russia. There was a time in 1946 to 1947 [when] they allowed Jews to go to Poland and from there Jews were able to go on to Israel. I needed a paper from a man in the military, but they wouldn’t give the paper. I was back in Vilna. I told an official I had sisters in Israel. I wanted to get out! I had no fear of them. They said "you’re not going." Later, Gromnolko helped the Jews a bit. I was the first to go for papers to get back to Poland and within two weeks [I went] to Warsaw and quickly [went] to the Israeli Embassy ... and then to Israel.

That is a bit of the story. Now I wish to tell a bit of my father and my mother. My father, your uncle... they were a very good father and mother. It is difficult to speak of them, for they gave so much love. First, I must say my father had a great feeling for his sister, your mother. Remember there were other people. The grandfather married a second time and had other children. From them, none are left. I remember father writing to his sister and receiving letters. When he received a letter it was a simcah.. a special day. He carried it around in his pocket. My father was a very beautiful man, a smart, good man. He had a gold chain and gold watch and would wind the watch as such and in his pocket [was] the letter. One time, he held and read the letter with tears streaming down his cheek and my mother made a joke of it. This I remember. I remember packages of Donald’s clothing. All my clothes were Donald’s clothes. He was a year older than me. I was born in 1925 and he was born in 1923. My aunt always sent packages and I, in return, sent pictures. I was good at drawing pictures. I remember it as if it just happened. We had bonds [in] our family. Thank God [that] some way we have survived. There were higher born, more important people than me, who were in the Polish army and died like flies. God gave me luck. It was hell and I survived. Those who did not live through it, in their wildest imagination, cannot know what a hell it was.

I saw a dog walking free in the street and the Germans were walking around and not shooting the dog and I remember thinking, "Why wasn’t I born a dog, instead of a Jew?" I was hiding and the Germans were searching out all the hiding places with guns. I was hidden on the roof, under the eaves. I crawled in and the Germans were above, searching. There was the street and I could peek out. There was a small child and with the butt of the guns, they hit the child in the head. Then I saw a venerable old Jew with a long white beard. He was about 70. They hit him with boards on the head until he fell. I was here and they were there.

Also, we are all well and we hope we will all meet again to remember better times, but we must not forget this. Much has been written of this, but the world doesn’t want to know of it. The world is again ... Christians and Moslems against Israel. Why? Only because we are Jews ... no other reason. Do they need territory? They have it.

There is a very smart Rabbi (Avigdor) on radio Friday night. He gives a lecture from the portion of the Torah. He speaks beautifully and is smart. Even those far from religion listen to him. Yesterday he spoke of 5,000 years ago.

We must hope and care for the land.

I must go to Haifa ... slowly, I mustn’t speak.

Come to Israel ... why go to Japan, Italy ... come to Israel.

All of Israel is history. Everything that is written in the Bible, we are finding. We just found a town that was written in the Bible, on the Golan Heights. It is all written there. Isshar is now in Lebanon.


The End


Typist’s notes: June 1996


I re-typed this manuscript from the handwritten original that was given to me by my cousin, Cy Levine, of Wethersfield, Connecticut. Cy and his brother Donald transcribed and translated the original manuscript from Leon. I met Leon Koton, the narrator of this manuscript, at Cy’s house in May of this year. I went with my cousin Ed Cantor. Leon is now a burly, robust looking man of 72 who still lives in Israel in a suburb outside of Tel-Aviv. He does not understand English but he does speak Yiddish, Hebrew, Polish and Russian. We had a long conversation that day with Cy acting as translator from the Yiddish. Leon told us many other details of this story including how when he first came to Israel, he had no money and no working papers. Cy’s family here in Connecticut "saved his life" by sending him some money for an apartment in Israel and after that he was finally able to get his working papers.

After finally receiving his working papers, Leon worked for many years as a crane operator and construction manager. He also spoke about his time as a Partisan for the Russians. As a partisan, he had to find the Germans and Russian sympathizers who had fled into the woods where he had previously hidden.

Leon has two sons who both live in Israel and a number of grandchildren. One son works in the insurance industry and the other in the finance business. Leon’s sister Shoshana, who is mentioned in the manuscript, is the mother of Eton and Giyorrah, the two Israeli’s who have visited us here in the U.S. and came to my daughter Anna’s Bat Mitzvah. They live on a Kibbutz in Northern Israel.

Family Ties

Leon is my second cousin, once removed. Leon’s grandmother was Nechama Draiza Kramer. She was the sister of my great-grandfather Gabriel Kramer. She married Levitche Koton. Levitche Koton and Nechema were also Cy’s grandparents. Their daughter, Lotte Koton was Cy’s mother.

This chart shows that relationship:







Dalhinev Geography

Excerpted from the book:

Dalhinev, a town in Balika county located on the Northeastern section of the Polish Kingdom which in the past belonged to Lithuania after the First World War. Under a peace treaty reached in Riga in 1921, Dalhinev came under the jurisdiction of independent Poland until the second world War. This town was already included on the Lithuanian map during the years 1569 -1667. Its location is a bit east of the postal railroad tracks which connects Vilejka? with Disna and is 42.5 km Southeast of Velika, 125 unknown units of measure southwest of Disna and 127.5 km from Vilna (Vilnius).

(On my contemporary map it is referred to as Dolginovo.)

Harold Kramer

Cheshire, Connecticut

June 1996

From: Edward Cantor


Dear Eilat-
I am a cousin of Harold Kramer, who was in touch with you on an
earlier date. My mother was Sophie Kramer Cantor, her father was
Abraham Kramer, her grand father was Lazar Reuven Kramer and we think
that her great grandfather was Yosef Kramer, a Dolhinov rabbi. he
would have been born around 1820. Abraham came to America around

I just returned from Israel where I spent a great deal of time with
Eytan Shamir, born in Israel , and the son of Shoshana (maiden name
Koton), nephew of Leo (Levi) Koton-who has some Printed material in
your web site, the grandson of Eliezar Koton and great grandson of
Nechama Kramer Koton, who was the daughter of Yosef Kramer.

your web site is wonderful. i have two questions: is there any
information on rabbi Yosef Kramer and are there any planned gatherings
in israel of descendants of dolhinov?

many thanks for all you have done....
Dear Ed,
Thank you for writhing....
You asked about: Yosef Kramer, a Dolhinov rabbi born around 1820, who
was the father of Lazar Reuven Kramer
Checking the Dolhinov revision list for 1850, family 238 44 seem to
be your family, Srol son of Lazar/ Leizer must be your Yosef ( maybe
had 2 names) his son ( must be named for both of his
grandfathers;Lezer and Ruvin) ; Some details; Leizer who passed away
by 1844 had 2 sons; Srol ( born c 1820) and Zelik ( born c 1826) ,
Srol married Marka, the daughter of Ruvin, Their children by 1850:
Khaia, Seina, and Leizer ( born in 1844) Zelik child; Elka. More
SURNAME Given Name Father Relationship to Head of Household Age at
last revision Age
KREMER Srol son of Leizer Head of the household 14 30 6
November 1850 Dolginovo Vileika Vilnius 238 44
KREMER Mirka daughter of Ruvin Wife 29 6 November 1850
Dolginovo Vileika Vilnius 238 44
KREMER Khaia Daughter of Srol 8 6 November 1850 Dolginovo
Vileika Vilnius 238 44
KREMER Seina Daughter of Srol 10 6 November 1850 Dolginovo
Vileika Vilnius 238 44
KREMER Leizer Son of Srol newborn 6 6 November 1850 Dolginovo
Vileika Vilnius 238 44
KREMER Zelik Brother Leizer 10 26 6 November 1850 Dolginovo
Vileika Vilnius 238 44
KREMER Zlata daughter of Nakhum Sister-in-law ( wife of Zelik) 24
6 November 1850 Dolginovo Vileika Vilnius 238 44
-KREMER Elka Niece daughter of Zelik 2 6 November 1850
Dolginovo Vileika Vilnius 238 44
other Kremer families: Family 249 124( head of family Itsko, son
Shmuilo, grandsons Berko and Kalman)
KREMER GUTMAN Itsko son of Zaikin Head of the household Zaikin 49
died 1846 6 November 1850 Dolginovo Vileika Vilnius 249 124
KREMER GUTMAN Gita Daughter-in-law Shmuilo 43 wife of Movsha 6
November 1850 Dolginovo Vileika Vilnius 249 124
KREMER/ GUTMAN Berko Grandson Movsha 6 22 6 November 1850
Dolginovo Vileika Vilnius 249 124
KREMER GUTMAN Elka Grand-daughter-in-law David 21 wife of
Berko 6 November 1850 Dolginovo Vileika Vilnius 249 124
KREMER GUTMAN Kalman Grandson Movsha was missing 26 6 November
1850 Dolginovo Vileika Vilnius 249 124
KREMER GUTMAN Khaia Grand-daughter-in-law Nakhman 19 6
November 1850 Dolginovo Vileika Vilnius 249 124
KREMER GUTMAN Mordukh Son Itsko 16 died 1842 6 November 1850
Dolginovo Vileika Vilnius 249 124
KREMER Ruvin son of GabrieL Head of the household l 1834 - 40 died
1848 6 November 1850 Dolginovo Vileika Vilnius 265 250
KREMER Movsha Brother Gabriel 1834 - 10 died 1843 6 November
1850 Dolginovo Vileika Vilnius 255 168
KREMER Gabriel son of Zelik Father k 1834 - 42 died 1843 6
November 1850 Dolginovo Vileika Vilnius 255 168
KREMER Roda Wife Meier 34 6 November 1850 Dolginovo Vileika
Vilnius 255 168
KREMER Tsirlia Daughter of Abram 3 6 November 1850 Dolginovo
Vileika Vilnius 255 168

check the list at;
-Once a year (around June) the survivors and others of Dolhinov
ancestry meet in Israel. Ask Leon Rubin for information. "Leon Rubin"
thank you very much for the prompt response. certainly, you can ad the
information i provided to you. i am not sure if we have identified the
correct ancestor. i am not even sure that his name was yosef. we do
that his children included lazar reuven kramer (kremer), gabriel kramer
nechama kramer and elka pesha, elka pesha married a meier driesenstock
nechama married levitka (levi) koton. my guess is that they were all
between 1830 and 1850, if that gives you any more leads.thanks...ed
From ancestry.com:
Name: Samuel Dreisenstock
Home in 1930: Schodack, Rensselaer, New York
Age: 52
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1878
Birthplace: Russia
Relation to Head of House: Head
Spouse's Name: Anna
Race: White


Military service:

Rent/home value:

Age at first marriage:

Parents' birthplace: View Image
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members: Name Age
Samuel Dreisenstock 52
Anna Dreisenstock 49
Abraham Dreisenstock 21
Irasel Dreisenstock 18
Sam Dreisenstock]
Age in 1910: 33
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1877
Birthplace: Russia
Relation to Head of House: Head
Father's Birth Place: Russia
Mother's Birth Place: Russia
Spouse's Name: Conone
Home in 1910: Schodack, Rensselaer, New York
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Gender: Male
Year of Immigration: 1904
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members: Name Age
Sam 33
Conone 29
Walliam 7
Abraham 19
Losie 32