Horodok Home Page
Horodok Stories Menu
Horodok Stories

The Story of Avraham Reckin of Horodok 
From a phone conversation with Eilat Gordin Levitan in Los Angeles and Avraham in Haifa on June 4, 2003
Avraham told me that his son recorded nine videos of him talking about his life.
Avrohom-Aizik RECKIN (a dentist, like many members of his family) was born in 1924 in HORODOK 
Mother; Feyga-Sora nee GELPERYN RECKIN (pronounced RETZKIN) died in 1929 in HORODOK Feyga Sarah nee Galperin had many brothers and cousins who settled in Maine, and hardly any of the Galperin family remained in the area. She died when Avraham was five. The father never remarried.  
Father: Efroyim RECKIN born in 1879 in Sosenka. His father was the rabbi of Sosenka (near Ilia, about 30 kilometers from Horodok) and later the rabbi of Vileyka. The original last name of the family was MOHOLIVER and they were brothers of the well known R who was born in Globoki in 1804, the son of Yehuda Leib. Shmuel MOHOLIVE was such a talented boy that by the age of 12 he was already studying at the Volozhin Yeshiva. He was a rabbi in Globoki, Shaki, Radam, and Bialystock. He established the first committee of Hovovei Zion (the Lovers of Zion) in Warsaw, and influenced many of the most famous rabbis to buy land in Israel. He even influenced Baron Edmond Rothschild to buy land in Israel. There was a place established in Israel by the name of Gan Shmuel in his honor. He was a rabbi in Bialystock where he died in 1898.  
The three original brothers Moholiver changed their last name to RECKIN to avoid army service. He had brothers in the town of Gomel, which in the 1920s was part of the Soviet Union, and Efroyim would send them packages of food since the situation was so grave in the Soviet Union at that time. Since it was politically dangerous for the receivers to be connected with Poland (in 1921 Horodok became part of Poland, and the border between Poland and the Soviet Union was about 1 km from Rakov, which was on the way to Minsk), Avarham’s father was told by his brothers to not send packages anymore and all relations with the family were lost. Efroyim RECKIN studied in the Volozhin yeshiva during the time of Biyalik. In Horodok he was the head of the Jewish bank and he also had permission to run a liquor distribution business.  
He was Rosh HaKahall [leader of Jewish community] in HORODOK 
Other children of Feyga-Sora nee GELPERYN and Efroyim RECKIN 
Yaakov was born in 1908 died. age 14 in HORODOK from typhus 
TWIN of Yaakov (Chava?) died very young) 
Esther (d. in Holocaust in KRASNE w. family) Esther Bloch, who was born in 1912, had four children. In August of 1942 the Germans surrounded the ghetto and the children that they found were thrown in a well and killed in a most horrific way. Amongst them were Esther’s twin daughters, and another daughter and a son. She and her husband also perished, but one of her husband’s brothers survived the war and his family settled in Israel 
Rachel (perished in Holocaust in KRASNE) Rachel was born in 1914. She was in the Hachshara, which was a preparation for an agricultural life for members of the Ha’Chalutz who would get ready to immigrate to Eretz Israel.  
Devorah OKUN (b. 1915; d. 3/86 in ISRAEL) Devorah was born in 1915 in Horodok. She was the only sister of Avraham that survived the war. She was very attractive and Menachem Begin, who would visit the area of Horodok in the 1930s as the leader of Bitar in the area, usually stayed at their house and was very charmed by her. 
Then there was Rivka, who was born in 1916. She was married to Elisha Kopelovich from Radishkovich 
Chayim (perished. in Holocaust in KRASNE with son) Chaim was born in 1918. He was married to Bela Litzki (?) from Horodok 
TWIN of Chayim || (d. very young) 
Leah (perished. in Holocaust w. family) Leah was married in Molodetszno to Moshe. 
In September of 1939, after the partition of Poland, when the area was annexed by the Soviet Union.
The family worried about being classified in the wrong class since they were well off, so they moved to Molodetszno, where Devorah received a good position in the bank there. She was then able to bring the whole family to Molodetszno except for Rachel and the father, who stayed in Horodok. Some of the leaders of Bitar in the area (right wing Zionists) were deported to Siberia soon after the Soviets arrived. Amongst them was David Flechtman (Shazar ) who was later the head of Solel Bone in Tel Aviv. Before the arrival of the Soviets Avraham was in a course to become a leader of Etzel (Begin’s organization. A non-socialist Zionist organization). He also studied to become a dental technician. 
In June of 1941 As soon as they heard of the German invasion, the family took their horse and buggy and went to Horodok to collect their father and sister en route to Rakov, where they would try to cross into the Soviet Union. But they were not allowed to go, and at the same time, Avraham and his friend took their bicycles and also tried to cross at a few places, but they did not succeed either.  
They returned to their homes and soon after the Germans entered the area and implemented rules that restricted the Jews in every aspect of their life (curfews during night hours. No travels out of town, no communication with non Jews, no gatherings of more then three Jews at the time, no Jew could walk on the side walk, yellow tags and hard labor became a must for survival. ) 
The wealthiest Jewish people of the community of Horodok were immediately killed, amongst them; Meisel, Zukerman and Palik. The wife of the feldsher (medic) of Horodok blamed the Jews for the deportation of her son during the Soviet times and now she gave the Nazis names of local Jews to be killed.  
Efroyim Reckin was forced to be part of the Judenrat, committee of Jews that became the go between the Jews and the Germans. They implemented the orders and wishes of the German rulers and their local collaborators. Believing that if they will serve the Germans and make the community useful to the invaders the Germans will keep them alive.
A ghetto was established. In the summer of 1942 Fruma Lifshitz was in the Horodok ghetto … “The bitter end of the Horodok ghetto arrived at the Shabbat that Yakov spent with us, on July 11th 1942.  
The Jews of Horodok and the vicinity did not sense the oncoming danger. Their last sleep had been a sleep of the just. Tha next morning at an early day break hour the Gestapo and its local assistants intruded the Ghetto to take out the Jews. five persons lodged at our home (The Reckin home). 
There were three hiding places. The hideout in which I concealed myself with my little girls was discovered by the local police after the action had already passed.  
Mr. Reckin, who was an elderly man, could not sustain the strangling atmosphere in the small hiding place. We assumed that the action had already passed and he was obliged to go outside. His going out had provoked our hiding disclosure. They shot at Yakov and killed him on the spot. Afterward the murderers gathered all the Jews they found into the square to be selected. Those they found able to work were transferred to the Krasne camp. The old ones, invalids and children were sent to death. Among the sentenced to die was also Fruma, Tsivya Tsart's mother. She had been beat bestially, until she was covered with blood. The Germans enclosed all of them inside a barn, shot them and burned it.  
In this barn, 900 Horodok Jews found their tragic fate…., “
Most of the adults of the Reckin family were transferred to Krasne. Avraham was in the camp in Molodeczno building a radio station for the German army. His father was able to arrange with the German Gvint kommisar to transfer by trucks Avraham and other young Jews from Molodeczno shortly before the community was annihilated. 
Two days after Avraham arrived to Krasne he was able to escape to the forests and join the Russian partisans.  
After some time with the Soviet partisans he received permission to bring his family to the forest. When the farmer he sent arrived in Krasne the entire family other then his sister Dvora was sick with typhus. The farmer only took Dvora to the forest. Two days after Dvora arrived she became sick with typhus and some of the partisans wanted to kill Dvora fearing that the typhus will spread. Avraham pointed to the leader how unjust it would be that her “Russian saviors” should now kill Dvora who received permission to escape a death sentence by the Nazis. Dvora was let go and Yakov Sigalzik and others helped her. Dvora recovered and eventually married Yechiel Ukun from Sventzian. About fifty natives of Horodok survived the holocaust. Amongst them; Avraham Kagnovitz, Yitzhak Lavit, Yakov Eidelman, Shepsel Shpringer, Moshe Baran with his brother and sister, Eizik Noll, Bronia nee Kur, her husband Rabinovitz and her sister Leyka, Shaposhnik Eliyahu who was able to join his brother; Zemach in Israel (his brother Feibe perished) 
Yafa Sheine Litzki (sister of Raphael and Shaul) 
When the war ended Avraham married Sima LASKOW (LASKOV) from Smorgon a relative of Rav Aluf Chaim LASKOW.they had two sons; 
Other relatives from Jason Alpert tree; 
Efroyim (b. 1945; l. SVENCIAN,BYELORUSSIA) 
Rivka (Mrs Elyosha) KOPILEWICZ (d. in Holocaust w. children) 
------------------------- (husband Elyosha died in Russian army near KONIGSBERG [KALININGRAD]) --  
Yitzchok GELPERYN (l. HORODOK; d. in Holocaust in KRASNE)  
Peninah || (d. in Holocaust in KRASNE) 
Devorah || (d. in Holocaust in KRASNE) . There was also Tzipora Galperin, who was a member of Hashomer Ha’Zair, and in 1930 was able to immigrate to Israel, where she lives still (now aged 98) at Kibbutz Mesilot. One of her sons was killed during the Yom Kippur war, and a second son died shortly after from leukemia. There is a daughter who lives near her and some grandchildren.