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Testimony of Zvi - Hirsch Griliches
Testimony of Zvi - Hirsch Griliches.
On June 15, 1940, the Soviets conquered Lithuania. The factory was nationalized, but Zvi's father continued to work there. When the Germans came, Zvi's uncle -- who had been the manager of the family's factory and was a personal friend of Antanas Smetona, Lithuania's president -- was arrested for possessing a weapon (that was used for hunting). He was taken to the Ninth Fort and ordered to dig his own grave, but in the end was released thanks to his connections. When he returned home, he committed suicide.
From mid - August, the Jews were ordered to move to the ghetto. In the first "aktion" (roundup for deportation), 500 people, mostly of the intelligentsia, were taken to the Ninth Fort. Afterwards there were several smaller "aktions." During the "Great Aktion," 11,000 people were taken and killed on the spot.
When the ghetto's dimensions were reduced, additional relatives came to live in Zvi's family's apartment. In 1942, two transports left the ghetto: one to Riga, Latvia, and the other to the Palemonas camp in Lithuania.
As the Soviet Red Army approached, there was disquiet in the ghetto. It was now called the Kovno Concentration Camp. The workers of "Herresbau" (Herresbau Leitung, the military construction administration), HKP (Heereskraftwagenpark; installation for repairing military vehicles), and HPL were moved to quarters in the Sanciai (Shanchiai) neighborhood.
In January 1945, Zvi's father died of starvation, lice and beatings. His mother died a month later of typhus.
Zvi joined the "Ma'apilim" kibbutz (communal group) and went to the Feldafing DP camp.
Note: Beno Liptzer was the head of the Jews' work brigade who performed various functions in the Gestapo headquarters building in Kaunas.