Holocaust Teacher Resource Center

HOLOCAUST TEACHER RESOURCE CENTER
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Part One, Page Four

SECTION 1: (00:00-16:57)

“I was devastated, because here I was in Philadelphia,in the City of Brotherly Love, and it was like Kristallnacht in 1938 on November 9th, when the world sat and looked at what was happening in Germany, and nobody did anything about it.”

A view of the foot-bridge over Paneriu Street, which connected one part of the Kovno ghetto to another
A view of the foot-bridge over Paneriu Street, which connected one part of the Kovno ghetto to another

Such collaboration between citizens of an occupied country and the Germans was not unusual. In Part III of Tak for Alt, for example, we hear about Mrs. Arenstein, who runs a Wehrmacht Station in Poland for German troops. Collaboration could be economic, as it was in Mrs. Arenstein’s case, military, or administrative. By August of 1941, most of the Jews in Lithuania’s provinces had been killed by the Einsatzgruppen and their Lithuanian collaborators. Among the dead were 146 members of Judy’s family. Monuments commemorating the dead, such as the one Judy visits in Ariogala in Part IV of Tak for Alt, can be found in other Eastern European communities and are often paid for and erected by Jewish survivors of the Holocaust.

An elderly Jewish man stands among a group of children in a ghetto
An elderly Jewish man stands among a group of children in a ghetto

Kovno was among the first Lithuanian cities to be occupied by the Nazis in their campaign against the Soviet Union. Prior to World War II, more than 30,000 Jews lived in the city. At the time of the Nazi invasion, an additional 5,000 Jews had fled to the city when the war reached Poland. As was their practice in all Eastern European cities in the occupied territories, the German occupying forces first segregated the town’s Jews in a ghetto and used them for slave labor. Prior to the establishment of the Kovno ghetto on August 18, 1941, anti-Semitic Lithuanians rounded up and massacred thousands of the city’s Jewish inhabitants. The massacres were executed in several forts that ring the city; such forts were built by the Russians in the nineteenth century to defend Kovno from attack. Once the German army controlled Kovno, they also used the forts to kill large numbers of Jews. The 3,000 Jews who remained in camps around Kovno in 1944 were sent to Stutthof and Dachau concentration camps. Fewer than 2,000 of Kovno’s Jewish residents survived the war.