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Description of Liquidation of Kaunas Ghetto Written by One of Victims is Unearthed

An eye-witness description of the extermination of the last remnants of 50,000 Jews in the Kaunas ghetto, written by one of the victims, has been unearthed from a cellar where scores of Jews perished.

The description is contained in a letter in Yiddish written by 37-year-old Hirsh Zedak on leafs torn out of a volume of poetry by Bermontov. It was found by Zedak’s brother Moisei, a member of the Lithuanian unit of the Red Army which helped free Kaunas. He was directed to the place where it was buried by a Jew who escaped death when the Nazis flung grenades into the cellar.

Declaring that “there were more than 50,000 of us and we, the last survivors, are waiting for the German executioners to come and finish us off,” the letter appeals for vengeance against the Germans. It describes how Zedak and his companions had been hiding in the celler for seven days without food and water as Nazi execution squads reamed the streets.

The lone survivor revealed that after writing the letter Zedak crept out into the street in an attempt to obtain water for the children in the cellar and was shot down by the Germans.