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The David Shinuk Story
I called David Shinuk in Rishon Lezion, Israel. David was born in Dolhinov in 1925.
Davids father was Yosef Shinuk from Vilna. During World War I Yosef was a "fortune soldier", he fought as an officer for the Austrian army and in 1917 was captured by the Russian. He was able to escape the prison camp and hide in the Muschcart house in Dolhinov.
Yosef promised that he would marry one of their three daughters for their kind help. Shortly after he arrived he married their daughter; Rosa Ester (Rachel?) and had four children Yidel was born in 1920, David 1925, Shmuel (Shmulik) 1928 and Yakov (Yankale) in 1932. The two other muschcart sisters moved away; Chaya Sora moved to the U.S (has family in Florida) and Bizka moved to a small place next to Globoki ((Zafka?).
During the Polish times (1921- 1939) Yosef Shinuk owned a very popular coffee house. Yosef was a tall, very good looking man who spoke perfect Polish (Per Chaya nee Katzovitz Barzam whose mother (Chana) was first cousin of his wife Rosa Ester) All the polish political leaders and official would come to the coffee house and many befriend him, he was also very capable of kicking the "drunks" out the stairs.
In 1939 when the Russian and the Germans divided Poland and Dolhinow was to turn to Russia, the Polish official escaped and they made Yosef Shinuk the head of the police just before they left. Yosef gathered some young people; amongst them his oldest son Eidel and Enshel Exelrod and took tools and weapons from the fire department to defend the area from the villagers who wanted to robe since the area was without rulers for a few days. When the Russians arrived they kept him in the job. After a short time they sent him for training and he received the rank of a Major and became the second to the head of the Police for the entire district. Yosef moved away with the family to near by Krivichi for the job.
Chaya nee Katzovitz remembered that one-day Yosefs wife came to her mother and told her that Yosef is about to leave his job. The mother was wandering "why should he leave such an important job at a time when jobs and money are so difficult to come by?"
Rosa Shinuk said; "They want him to make a list of the well to do polish people to be sent to Siberia and he befriended them and made money from them for many years and he does not want to do it!"
Yosef was able to get another job as the head of the bakery and the main food supplier in Krivichi.
In June of 1941 the Germans attacked the Soviet Union and all the official workers for the Soviets received an order to leave the area and also to send their families deep in to Russia.
David said that his mother refused to go with the family to Russia thinking that they (the Germans) would only harm communists not women and children. She arranged a meeting with her cousin Shimon Gitlitz, he arrived with a horse and carriage to Krivichi and transfer the family back to Dolhinov.
Yosef left with the Red Army and arrived to Globoky- Zavka area and decided that he could not go across the border without his family; He decided to return to Dolhinov. Since he knew that all who worked for the Soviets were now in danger, he grew a beard, wore a black beret and glasses and made himself a fake I. D as a political prisoner who is returning from the Soviet Union. He arrived by the river near Dolhinov and found that the Germans were patrolling the bridge. He had no choice but to cross in the water. He arrived all wet in the house of the Norman family. The Normans were afraid to keep him (It was punishable by death sentence to help escaped "Communists")
Members of the Norman family ran to the Shinuks home and told them about Yosefs arrival.
Once again Shimon Gitlitz came to the rescue and took Yosef to his house were he hid for a few weeks.
Eidel the oldest son was arrested by the Germans in July with a dozen other Jews but was able to escape when some Russian tanks came to the area and the Germans ran away.
Yosef knew that he could not stay in Dolhinow. He first made an unsuccessful attempt to get to Vilejka. Later on the same day he left for Kurenitz with Leibe Flant who was also in danger.
Yosef and Leibe Flant were living in Kurenitz for a few months and then someone recognized them and filed a complaint with the dolhinov policeman who was working for the Germans; Masolovski That Y. Shinuk is walking Freely in Kurenitz.
Masolvski who was in friendly relation with some of the Jews and the Russian partisans went to Shimon Gitlitz and said to let Y. Shinuk know that he must escape from Kurenitz at once.
Jews were not aloud to leave their hometowns. If found on the roads they would be immediately killed. Rosa Shinyuk dressed like a local Belarus farmer and walked 35 kilometers to Kurenitz to warn her husband.
On the same day that Rosa arrived in Kurenitz as soon as they were told, Yosef Shinuk and Libel Flant went to Soly and Rosa returned to Dolhinov.
Yosef Shinuk became the head of the Jewish professional ghetto in Soly. Flant
Eventually Left the Ghetto but Yosef Shinuk was there until the bitter end.
Life was difficult for the family. The local Belurssian and Polish population complained to the Germans about the Shinuk family being Communist. Also the family left most of their possessions in Krivichi. Now they were practically starving.
Eidel was sent to Vileyka, He studied in the Technion in Vilna engineering before the war. He was transferred to Vileyka to build a mansion for the German rulers
David was left as the only person who could support the family. He worked for the local farmers, cleaning and cutting treesin exchange for food.
The first massacre in Dolhinov took place in 3.28.1942. Many of the Jews hid. The Germans took the Jews that they captured to the market in Dolhinov. When they arrived in the market the Germans made a selection. Most of the Jews were taken to be killed.
A few of the Jews who could be useful were spared; David pretended to be his older brother and signed himself as a professional engineer.
The local non-Jews who came to watch the killings kept telling the Germans that David was a son of a communist officer but they could not speak German and the Germans did not understand them. The Germans took David with the professional people. The rest of the Jews who were captured that day were taken across the river and shot and burned.
Rosa Shinuk with the younger children were hiding and were not found out.
After the first actzia the family was moved to the Ghetto. Eidel returned from Vileyka as his job was done. Shortly after he escaped Dolhinov and joined the Russian partisans. During the time of the Communist control Eidel worked with Timzok in the Sobkhos and now that Timzok was a leader of a partisan brigade he took Eidel and Avraham Fridman as well as other young Jews from Dolhinov who escaped to be members of his fighting partisans troop.
Eidel was used as a link between the partisans of " the Mastitel Brigade" and the policeman from Dolhinov; Maslovsky, who was working for them undercover.
One night Eidel came to dolhinov the get some booths for the partisans. It was the day the Germans had the second actzia in Dolhinov. Months before Eidel and Yitzhak Norman build a hiding place in the house of the Gurevitz family were the family now lived since they had to move to the ghetto. Rosa, the children and the Eisenberg family hid there and they were not found out.
Eidel and David made an attempt to escape from the ghetto but could not find a way out.
David hid with some Jewish refugees from Plashntzitz and begged them to let his brother in the hiding place but they refused saying that there was no air in the place for one more..(It was true- David left the hiding place after a short time)
Eidel hid under a pile of cut wood and was found by some locals and was killed on the spot. David found his hat and his head all splattered when he came out of hiding three days later; his body was not there. He was buried in the common grave.
Once again the Germans promised that there would be no more killings. David did not trust them and a week later escaped with two young guys from Plashntzitz . Before he escaped his mother prepared a package for him to take on the road. Three days they walked in the woods in the Kriesk-Plashentzitz area. On the third night the two guys left David and took with them his package when he was asleep. David was very distressed the next morning but he decided that he must find the partisans. David walked in the forests for another three days until he smelled some smoke. In his heart he felt that it was a partisans camp. He walked toward the direction of the smoke.
David kept walking and then he heard an order "Stop!" the partisans jumped down from the treetops and ordered him to lie on the ground facing the earth. They then covered his eyes and took him somewhere for investigation. After an hour of investigation they brought some Jewish partisans from Dolhinov and they told them that David was fine.
David was too young to be a fighter and they made him a cook.
David told me that in the same troop with him were the beautiful and brave sisters from Dolhinov; Chana and Ela Shulkin. The leaders of the partisan were in love with them and were fighting over them. The sisters were used to spy in the Villages.
Eventually there were to many Jewish refugees in the forest and the Russians decided to transfer them across the front to the Russian side since they endangered the partisans.
Amongst the people from Dolhinov were Davids cousins; Chana and her daughters; Chaya and Sara katzovitz.
The oldest girl Bushke was at that point in the kanahanina camp. After the war when the survivors were reunited Bushka told David that after he left Dolhinov to join the partisans his father arranged for his mother and the two younger boys to join him in the ghetto in Soly. He sent a farmer with a horse and buggy to bring them. They encountered some Germans on their way to Sole. They were shot at and little Yankale who was about ten years old was badly wounded. He was found by a farmer who took him to the Ghetto in Krivichi. The Jews took care of him and he recovered but a few months later he was killed with the rest of the Jews of Krivichi in the ghetto. David was never able to find out what had happened to the rest of his family.
The group from Dolhinov started walking more then 1000 kilometers to reach the border with Russia. They walked only during night times to avoid being seen by the Germans (there were hundreds of people including many children and old people divided to smaller units and led by partisan) during daytime they hid in the forests.
They were sometimes shot at and little Sara Katovitz who was under the guide of David was wounded. After walking more then two weeks they arrived in the area that was control by the Russian partisans. There they were able to walk more freely and some were able to get horses and buggies. Finally they reached the front sometimes during the night and the leader decided to rest here and cross the next day. When they finally crossed the Germans surrounded them and many were killed but most ran across the border and were saved.
They arrived into Paditzi and there we were attacked in the early morning hour and ran in all directions. Later they organized and walked across the line until they reached the train. Davids group went all the way to Oppa the capital of Shakeria. There they gave David and Dishkovitz, partisan papers. From there they continued on the train until they reached Sakolov. David joined a technical school. When the studies were finished, David who appeared strong and capable was appointed a supervisor of the same people who just finished their training with him. Despite his appearance, David could not take control of the people. David realized that he would get into trouble with the Soviet
Authority for the low productivity of their unit. Subsequently together with Mordick he enlisted for the red army. Before he joined the fighting he was sent for special training with the new "Katusha" rockets. David was then part of a secret elite unit that performed many dangerous tasks. One day he was called to the headquarters. A high officer started screaming at him that he was a traitor. Later on David found out that he was confused with his father and they think during World War I , he was in the Austrian Army ( the enemy of the Russians). It was easy to prove that David was not born at that time, but still he was verydamaged by the connection and they gave him two choices. Either go to prison or join the exiled Polish Army. David decided to join the Polish Army. He was in Army in Lodovov, that was established by Vanda Vistalovski and Suimi in the Ukraine. He fought with the division all through Europe until they reached Berlin. Twice he was wounded. Once from a grenade and fragments his my eye. The second time a bullet in is hand. One day when they reached the road Uddo Tanessa they heard an announcement that the German surrendered. After a few weeks they were sent to Lubine and fought against the Polish white Partisans. They fought them for many, many months. David achieved a rank of Major. In 1946, David decided to leave the army. At that point David was very distant from all that was Jewish. Since he was the only Jew with Polish soldiers and officers for three years and was very much liked by the high command that were mostly anti-smites. They kept pointing to him that the Jews were not "true fighters". After being with them for many years, he accepted their observations, and was ashamed of being Jewish. They convinced hime to register as a Catholic man named Tradiosh. One day while vacationing in Staton, he met Eli Meisel from Dolhinov. Eli was able to convince him that he must return to Judaism. Shortly after David entered a "Kibbutz" in preparation for immigration to Israel (Palestine at that point of time)
The name of the kibbutz was Galdonia and it was located in the town of Lodge (Poland). There he was sent for training with the Israeli Haganah. He taught how to use weapons at the Kibbutz. Later on he was a driver for the route of escape forf Jews in Eastern Europe who attempted to leave in order to get to Israel. Jews went from Eastern Europe to Germany to Austria and to Italy. In 1948 there was an order to close the camp in Insbruk Austria, together with the people of the camp, David was sent to Israel. He arrived to Camp Yonah and immediately, was drafted to the IDF and fought in the war of Independence.