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
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), Avarhams 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 Esthers twin
daughters, and another daughter and a son. She and her husband also
perished, but one of her husbands 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 HaChalutz 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
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 (Begins 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
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
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)
Sonya RUDERMAN (l. ISRAEL)
Rita PILDZHIN (l. ISRAEL)
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)
Tziporah HORVITZ (b. 1915; l. KIBBUTZ MESILOT,ISRAEL)
Peninah || (d. in Holocaust in KRASNE)
Devorah || (d. in Holocaust in KRASNE) . There was also Tzipora Galperin,
who was a member of Hashomer HaZair, 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.