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Written Accounts

YVA O.33/4076.80 Acciunts of Rayak brothers Acciunts of Rayak brothers YVA O.33/4076.80

Description by the brothers Mikhail and Hirsh Rayak of the mass murder of the Jews in Varėna:
... 150 Jews were rounded up in the town and locked into the synagogue, where they were beaten mercilessly and forced to strip naked. Their clothes and shoes were taken from them. They were held for three days, with new groups of people from the town and from the railway station [area] being constantly added to their number. After five days there were 1,500 [sic] Jews imprisoned in the synagogue without any food. Then they were taken to a forest, where two pits, 25 meters x 2 meters, had been dug. All these miserable people were then forced to enter the pits and to lie down in them. The Germans photographed everything and the police, who were locals, killed all of them [the Jews]. Some tried to escape on the way to the forest but they were shot to death....
After this murder the belongings of those who had been killed were collected and sold to local residents at a public auction. Of those Jews who had not been killed about 40 later joined the partisans....
YVA, O.33/4076.80

Joint testimony of Lipe Skolsky, Avraham Vidilansky, Yehuda Levo, and Shmuel Ingel Joint testimony of Lipe Skolsky, Avraham Vidilansky, Yehuda Levo, and Shmuel Ingel YVA 0.71/117

Joint testimony of Lipe Skolsky, Avraham Vidilansky, Yehuda Levo, and Shmuel Ingel:
… On Wednesday morning September 10, 1941 the Jews were taken from the synagogue, ordered to take off their outer clothing and put it into a pile. After that, they were arranged in three rows, with their hands behind their backs, and then forced to run toward the military training ground. They were forbidden to speak on the way. They had to bow their heads low toward the ground. Those who were weak or sick were taken in carts and, while they were being transported, they were brutally beaten. They were taken 1.5 kilometers from the town to a grove of trees beside the road to Eserekiai. About 200 meters from the road to the village the Jews were made to turn left, where two large pits had been dug, one for the women and one for the men. Near the pits the shooters held their weapons ready to fire. At this point the Lithuanians pushed the Jews toward the pits. First the men were shot, then the women and children. The heart-rending cries of the women and children could be heard throughout the vicinity. After the shooting was over the Lithuanians returned to the town in carts. They were drunk and happy and were singing nationalistic Lithuanian songs.
After the war those who had given testimony visited the pits. The Jewish victims were found in two pits close to the road....
YVA, O.71/117