b. Skudvil, Lithuania, 1922
Esther Levy used to live on our street. She hadn't changed much in the years of hiding, except that she was pale and her countenance had hardened. We talked for several hours; she told me what had happened to the Jews of Skudvil, Lithuania.
I went to see her right after I heard that a Lithuanian man who lived near Skudvil was hiding a young woman from our town. At the time, I was with a Jewish partisan group moving about in the Lithuanian countryside. I went to my Lithuanian friend, Praniukas, and asked him to take me there. As always, he readily agreed.
I felt safe in his wagon—two peasant boys going to market. We timed it to approach the vicinity of the town when it got dark.
The Germans had occupied Skudvil the day in 1941 when the war between Russia and Germany started. At my father's insistence, I had fled east.
The Lithuanians immediately had begun to terrorize the Jews. My father was one of the first victims, Esther Levy told me. Petras Staniunas came to our house looking for me. Because my father said that he did not know where I was, Petras slapped him and tore his beard. “I can still see the blood running down his face, ” Esther said.
I vaguely remembered Staniunas. He was a teacher. He was always well dressed, in gray suits. He once said that he liked gray suits because that's what the American president, Roosevelt, wore.
On the 23rd day of the month of Tamuz, all men were ordered to assemble at the market place. Staniunas was in charge and gave orders to his Lithuanian helpers. Our teacher, Oshrin, approached the German who seemed to oversee everything and asked him why only Jewish men were ordered to assemble here. Without any hesitation, the German shot him. He then asked if anyone else had any questions. Obviously no one did. He promptly motioned to the Lithuanians and they marched all men to a wooded area several miles away and killed them. “Your sister's husband, Meir Sherf, also died that day, ” Esther Levy said.
For some reason my father wasn't there. But three days later, he and the rabbi from the neighboring village of Upine were taken away and forced to dig their own graves.
Several weeks later all women and children were taken away and put in bar