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Written Testimonies

Chaim Khaiat Chaim Khaiat Yad Vashem Photo Collection 5027/618

From the testimony of Chaim Khaiat, who was born in 1934 in Ołyka and was living there during the German occupation
… On a Sabbath in July 1942, in the morning, my brother Nachman and I planned to sneak out of the ghetto in order to obtain some food [for their family in the ghetto].… But when we approached the barbed wire, we noticed that there was an increased guard [around the ghetto] … of [Ukrainian auxiliary] policemen and members of the Gendarmerie. [Therefore], we had no alternative but to return home empty-handed. On our way back we didn't see a single person on the streets of the ghetto. We sensed that something was going to happen within the next hours. The following day, it was a Sunday, a vehicle with a loudspeaker passed [through the ghetto], calling all the Jews of the town to gather at the central square and that each person was allowed to take with him 20 kilograms [of belongings or food]. Besides … the Jewish policemen went from house to house and called on [the Jews] to gather quickly at the square. People began to move toward the square from all parts of the ghetto. A debate was conducted between the residents of our house – whether to go [to the collection point] with the rest of the Jews or to hide [inside the house], in the hiding place that had been prepared by my Uncle Yaakov. Some people said that that we should go together with all the other Jews and that there was no reason to hide since they [the Germans and Ukrainian policemen] would find us and kill us on the spot; [they thought it would be better] to go to the collection point since from there we would be taken to another place and, thus, be saved and not murdered. I was sent as a scout to the main street to see what was going on there.… [Upon arriving there] I saw groups of people being pushed by the Nazis towards the collection point with automatic weapons and dogs. When I saw this sad sight, I quickly ran home and told them what I had seen. Without saying a word, all of them went down to the bunker [hiding place], hoping to stay [there] for the next fateful hours [of the murder operation]. After several hours we again heard words from the loudspeaker ordering the Jews to leave their hiding places since they were going to be taken to another ghetto; those who didn't come out would be killed. We understood that this was deliberate deception and didn't believe it.…
YVA O.3/3064

Michael Grinshtein Michael Grinshtein Yad Vashem Photo Collection 3883/2392

From the testimony of Michael Grinshtein, who was born in 1927 in Ołyka and was living in the town during the German occupation
… on July 15 [sic for July 25], 1942 at 5 a.m., they [Ukrainian and German policemen] woke us up and we learned that the ghetto had been surrounded. [That time] by chance a Ukrainian policeman who was a classmate of my brother Asher… was standing near our house. We asked him to let us go but he didn't listen to us…. The [Ukrainian auxiliary] policemen were shooting into the air from time to time in order to intimidate those who might try to escape. [Some] Jews tried in vain to bribe the [Ukrainian] policemen. Even the seriously ill, including many who had typhus, were taken from their homes. Many were weak from hunger. Most of the Jews accepted this situation with complete indifference as if it were a divine edict that one should not resist. There were some [among the Jews] who were optimistic, believing that they would be taken to other places; there were even some who said that they would be taken to Eretz Yisrael [Palestine]. My brother Asher, who at that moment became seized with religious devotion, began to recite chapters from Psalms. My sister Khava said that she didn't want to remain alive if her family were killed. I said that each of us should try his luck and try to succeed in saving himself.… but I didn't find any way out. At the last minute I decided to go down to the cellar. I knew that they [Ukrainian policemen] would look for me there too, but I didn't have any other shelter. My father noticed that I was missing. Some other people were hiding [in the cellar as well]. My father went down to the cellar and asked about me. He was told that I was there and was advised to remain with the rest of us in the cellar. Meanwhile all the Jews had been collected in the courtyard of the Radziwiłł Fortress so, even if he had wanted to, my father could not join the other family members, who had been already taken to the fortress. We stayed in the cellar for two days and nights. On the third night we ran away… to Bobren village since we had some peasant acquaintances there.…
YVA O.3/1819
Video
Mordekhai  Aizenberg was born in Ołyka (until September 1939 Poland) in 1930 and was living there during the war years
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Mordekhai Aizenberg was born in Ołyka (until September 1939 Poland) in 1930 and was living there during the war years