Nazi Pogrom in Occupied Jewish Colony in Russia Described by Eye-witness
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Nazi Pogrom in Occupied Jewish Colony in Russia Described by Eye-witness

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The first graphic report of the destruction and murder carried out by the Nazis in occupied Jewish colonies was brought here today by Lev Rubinchik, a Jewish settler who succeeded in escaping from the Jewish colony of Stalindorf in the Odessa district, after witnessing the mass-murder, by the German troops, of Jewish children, the raping of Jewish girls, the looting of Jewish property and the destruction of Jewish farm-houses and collective buildings.

“When the Jews in Stalindorf learned that the Germans had broken through the front and were on their way to the colony, they all gathered in the field awaiting instructions from Abraham Shlifstein, the chairman of the colony’s Council,” the eye-witness reported. “Shlifstein, one of the first settlers in Stalindorf, sped to the front in a motor car and soon returned with orders from the military authorities to energetically prepare for the evacuation of the collective farm. It was the most trying news for the colonists. They knew that they could not remove those splendidly cultivated blacksoil fields, those wonderful young orchards, those vineyards, that Palace of Culture, the schools and everything they built up by years of sweat and of toil. They felt like a sculptor who created a wonderful statue of granite only to have hooligans threaten his creation with destruction.

“But the hour of evacuation came, and fat cows, sheep, horses appeared on the road leading from the Jewish collective farm of Stalindorf. Behind the cattle came men and women. They did not walk. They ran. They ran like people running from a volcano spitting fire. Weeping and tearing their garments, they often looked back casting a last glance at the creation of their hands – the fields, the vineyards, the houses, the wine cellars. Parting with all these things was to them as horrible as parting with life.


“Four lorries pulled up in front of the school building where all children of the colony had been gathered to be evacuated with their teachers to a place far from the front. As the children were ready to climb into the trucks, the first Nazi bomb fell on Stalindorf. It exploded near the Palace of Culture tearing a piece out of the building. Soon other bombs were dropped and within a few minutes bombs began to shower upon every street, with Nazi planes flying low over the colony and machine-gunning everything in sight. Petrified by the horror, Esta Shlifstein, the daughter of the chairman of the Council, stood at the school entrance together with her father, who was carrying a heavy are having just completed the smashing of barrels of wine stored in the wine cellar.

“‘Run for your life !,’ the girl shouted to her father, ‘I cannot leave…I am the teacher and must stay with the children…The Nazis would not dare to touch us… But you must run…They are already on the outskirts of the town…’ But Abraham Shlifstein refused to leave. He did not want to leave his 21-year-old daughter just as he did not want to leave the trapped school children. He remained in the school building, withdrawing to the most remote classroom so as not to irritate the German soldiers by his presence. He hoped to remain concealed there.

“Then suddenly he heard the shouts of the Germans, the clanging of arms and the screams of children. He rushed to the hall and was stunned by what he saw. German soldiers were hacking, stabbing, strangling the children. They acted as if they were engaged in some customary occupation, calmly and without hurry. Blood streamed from the heap of massacred children, and in the pool of blood, with her arms spread out, lay his red-haired lifeless daughter. ‘Esta,’ shrieked Shlifstein as he rushed towards the body of his daughter. But a German soldier drove a bayonet into his breast and sent him sprawling into the blood alongside of the dead body of his child.”

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