Cloth wall decoration found in an abandoned Jewish home in Lithuania

Moshe Domb, Red Army, Lithuanian Division

Cloth wall decoration found in an abandoned Jewish home in Lithuania

Moshe Domb in uniform during his service in the Red ArmyBorn in Warsaw, Moshe Domb enlisted in the Lithuanian division of the Red Army, where one third of the soldiers were Jewish. Domb later recalled how, despite the antisemitic sentiment of the other soldiers and officers, "when the fighting commenced, the Jews proved their mettle." During the war, Domb was wounded and hospitalized. On return to his unit, he passed through many Lithuanian villages. "In bunkers we found the burnt bodies of Jews," he later wrote. "We found remnants of photographs, kitchen utensils, broken furniture… [here and there] we found a Jewish child or woman who had miraculously survived."

In one of the villages the soldiers passed through, Domb entered the empty home of a Jewish family. On the kitchen wall was a cloth decoration embroidered with an image of a woman in a kitchen and beneath it in Yiddish the saying "die Reinkeit liegt in Scheinkeit" (Purity lies in Cleanliness).

As the Jewish soldiers marched through the villages and towns, they began to understand the magnitude of the disaster that had befallen their people. They presumed that the fate of the rest of European Jewry was the same, and felt that they had arrived too late. In a letter that Domb wrote after witnessing the scenes of destruction of Jewish life he says:

"We have already lost the war, no Jews are left in Europe, there is no hope of finding any of our family."

Yad Vashem Artifacts Collection
Donated by Moshe and Regina Domb, Kibbutz Kfar Menachem, Israel