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Vilna Stories

By Rochelle Blackman Slivka

Born 1922 Vilna, Poland

The Formation of the Vilna Ghetto

  In '41...right before...they used to...the Jewish holidays.

They...the SS decided to make a ghetto in our town, in Vilna. And

there was a poor section where a lot of Jews used to live there. And,

uh, the Jewish home for the aged was there, and the biggest synagogue

of the city of Vilna was there. The orphanage. The Jewish hospital was

there. And a lot of poor Jews lived around this section. And one

night, the SS, with the help of the Ukrainian police with the

Lithuanians, they came in and took out all the Jews from there and

they drove them to a place, Ponary, outskirts of Vilna there, and they

shot them all there. We heard screaming and yelling and crying during

the night, but we weren't allowed to look out of the window, because

those who looked out were shot. We didn't know what was going on

anyway until the next day our neighbors told us what was going on. We

had a lot of relatives there. My mother's cousins lived...all of...all

of my mother's relatives lived there. And a couple of weeks later they

rounded up all the Jews from the city and the suburbs and they put us

all in this ghetto, in this...and surrounded us with walls, and with

guards, and we had to live in an apartment, two to three

families in a two-room apartment.