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Yad Vashem The Story of the Jewish Community in Mir


The Empty Market Square

  • Meeting of "Hashomer Hatzair" members, Bitom, Silesia, 1945. In the center, in the light-colored sweater, Chaika Grossman. The group consisted of many ex-residents of Mir: Left – Shlomo Charchas. Charchas was a partisan, where he was wounded. After the war, he sat on the leadership of "Hashomer Hatzair" in Munich. Second from left - Aron Koch. Third from left – Yerachmiel Dworkin
  • Members of an aliya training group in Rovno. Right – Fruma Levin, Moshe and Henya Niborski. Munich, 1946
  • The Reznik Family – Dov (Baretzke), Pessia and their son Avraham Zeev before their immigration to Eretz Israel. Ostia, Italy, 1946. Pessia and Dov were partisans during the war
  • Pesia Reznik-Szklar and her son Avraham, Ostia, Italy, 1945. Pesia and Dov (Beretzke) Reznik were partisans during the war
  • Group of ex-Mir residents, Holocaust survivors, Mir, 1945. After the war ended, the survivors returned from the forests to Mir, where they spent a few months before they left for Poland on their way to Eretz Israel or other destinations
  • Parade at the DP camp in Ostia, near Rome, 1946-1947. Pessia Reznik marches with her son Avraham Zeev in a baby carriage in the first row, left
  • Chana-Miriam Shmuelowicz and her daughter Gita (left) on the deck of the Marshal Joffre sailing from Shanghai to Marseille, December 1946. The family of Rabbi Chaim Leib Shmuelowicz spent time with the yeshiva students in Shanghai during the war
  • Israel Piernikow(right) and friends. Lodz, Poland, 1945
  • New Year greetings card, Cyprus, 1948. Sent by brothers David (right) and Yosef (left) Sinder
  • The Slutcki Family in Germany, before their immigration to Eretz Israel. Left to right: Shmuel, Shlomo, Shulamit, David
“Like a wounded man I flew to Vilna Street, where I was born and where my mother [may she rest in peace] sang me lullabies by my crib. …How many times had I run along this street and called "Mother," and each time she would come out with a glowing smile! This time I found Vilna Street with grass buds pushing through and animals wandering around. Today Vilna Street is an open field.” Zalman Leib Hoffman, "I Saw Mir in Ruins", Mir, pp. 356-357

At the end of the war, the few individuals that had survived began to return to Mir. They found only a few dozen Jews in their town. Scenes of destruction and ruin were visible from every angle. The market in Mir that had been surrounded by Jewish shops – was no longer. On the right side of the market only three houses with storefronts remained, in which non-Jews had taken up residence. None of the traders, shopkeepers or their stores had survived. The synagogues had been destroyed.

“The remaining ones returned to Mir, and found a destroyed city. The non-Jews, it seemed, took pity upon us after they had inherited all our possessions. We met non-Jews in the street wearing the clothes belonging to we knew exactly which victim. … and we couldn't stay any longer in that place. We began to move west, to Poland. We knew we had a better chance of reaching Eretz Israel from there.” Dov Reznik, "Rescue and Rebellion of the Jews of Mir", Mir, p. 345

Survivors from Mir came to Eretz Israel, built new lives and contributed to all spheres of society, including building new neighborhoods, defense, trade and industry, and education. "The Mir Immigrants Association" was established at the end of WWII. At the association's core were pioneers from Mir that had arrived in Eretz Israel from the beginning of the 20th century. The first chairman of the organization was Nissan Gardi (Gorodiejski). It took care of the welfare of the survivors while they were still in the DP camps, and helped the new immigrants acclimatize in Israel. In 1950, ex-Mir residents in Israel established a fund to provide the needy with loans, as well as to receive generous donations from ex-Mir residents in the US, South Africa and other countries.

Two ex-Mir residents fell in battle in the underground and IDF during the War of Independence:

Moshe Shmukler, son of Hanan and Sarah-Itka, born in Mir, fled east on the eve of Nazi Germany's invasion of the USSR in June 1941. In 1945 he returned to Mir, and found that none of his family had survived. He emigrated to Israel in June 1948 with the Gahal unit, and fell in the ambush next to Beit Guvrin on 31 March 1949.

Zvi Schuster, son of Pessel and Israel-Shimon, born in Mir, joined the partisans at the age of 14. He emigrated to Eretz Israel in March 1948, went to live on Kibbutz Mesilot and joined the Haganah. He fell on 10 July 1948 in battles in the Jenin area.

This exhibition was made possible through the generous support of:

Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany works to secure compensation and restitution for survivors of the Holocaust.

Since 1951, the Claims Conference - working in partnership with the State of Israel - has negotiated for and distributed payments from Germany, Austria, other governments, and certain industry; recovered unclaimed German Jewish property; and funded programs to assist the neediest Jewish victims of Nazism.

To learn more about the Claims Conference, click here.

Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany

The Foundation in Memory of Mir Jewry in Belarus