Jacob Volovelsky




 In a short time, the Germans decided to find a different way to deceive the Jewish people's opinion. They sent out notices that the town is surrounded in a circle of East Prussia as part of the German Reich, and that the Jewish population is working for the German military industry; like that it is a natural element, and nothing bad will happen.


The first of November, 1942, was the hardest day in the life of the Jews of the Ghetto. The ghetto was surrounded by the military SS, and they sealed up all exits. The atmosphere was extremely oppressive. One could feel the great danger. Part of the intelligentsia, who did not want to make peace with the fate of being completely annihilated in the hands of the Nazis, decided to kill themselves. Fate wanted them to be saved from the fingers of death, in order that, in a given time, they would die in the gas ovens. 


Then the young people started to organize to put up resistance and to go over to the side of the Partisans. The slogan was: "to defend oneself and die with honor and not to go like sheep to the slaughter." And they even made a resolution to cut the wire and escape from the ghetto. Hundreds of young men and women were waiting for a signal, and they brought in arms from the outside; two bazookas, 10 rifles and guns. They decided to concentrate then-strength under one command. But this was not possible. We were completely cut off from the rest of the world. We did not know what happened in other ghettos, in Warsaw, Lublin, Vilna, Bendin, Byalistok. We didn't know about any organized Jewish resistance. AARON GOLDSTEIN (who was shot when departing 4th. transport), LEIB BRAVERMAN, and BORIS NICHOMKIN were at the top of our resistance group.. 


At the end of November, a group went to the surrounding forest, and they started to prepare for the exit of a second group. Two members of the group returned to the Ghetto to receive groceries and clothes. During their permanency in Judenrat's house were caught by GESTAPO leaders. The following day Germans ordered the evacuation of the Ghetto. Then was presented for organized youth, the difficult dilemma: to share - close to parents-  the destination that awaited them, to abandon them and gather the partisans, or uprising the Ghetto. This last alternative, would put in danger all Ghetto inhabitants, mainly to old men and children. We could not give an answer to these difficult decisions, because we didn't know which was Nazi's strategy. Most of the youth decided to be faithful to parents,  siblings and young sisters, and go together with them.


Neither was very happy the destiny of the minority that was able to escape on time and to gather the partisans, but at least they fell as heroes, and retaliating of Nazi beasts, they fell as fighters, for their honor, and for the honor of their town. Among deceased we know that were ZELIG KLEINERMAN and lawyer JOSEF SHRAIBMAN.


I have the duty of remembering the leaders of Pruzhany's Ghetto. We listen about different irregularities in other Ghettos. Certainly, in other places were made incredible things , difficult to believe that they have truly happened. With great respect I give faith for the whole community of Pruzhany, and for Judenrat members; YTZHOK YANOVITSH, VELVEL SHRAIBMAN and SHLOIME YUDEVITSH that gave their soul for the life of Pruzhany's  Jews until the last moment. I want to highlight with pride that in our city were not cases of accusations or informers to the GESTAPO.




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[1] Este relato de Jacob Volovelsky, acerca de la preparación de levantamiento en el Guetto de Pruzhany, fue entregado durante el encuentro en Tel Aviv, Setember 11 1945