by Simon Malkes (Paris)
I was born in 1927 in the city whose official name was then Wilno, Poland (historically Vilna, today’s Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania). When I was fourteen, the Nazis took over the city, began murdering its Jewish population and set up the Vilna Ghetto. My own survival is due to my having been taken as a teenage repairman of German military vehicles at the plant known as HKP (Heereskraftfahrpark or Army Motor Vehicle Repair Park) on Subotsh Street (today’s Subačiaus). That one enterprise was under the directorship of Major Karl Plagge (1897–1957), a righteous gentile who did everything he could to protect as many Jewish workers as possible from the huge murder machine. Famously, shortly before the Nazi flight from the Soviet army in the summer of 1944, he gave a coded warning to his workers about a need for imminent escape.
Posted in Books, France, History, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Memoirs, News & Views
Tagged HKP Camp, Holocaust memoirs, Major Karl Plagge, Simon Malkes, The Righteous of the Wehrmacht
B O O K S
by Ira Gold
Waltzing with the Enemy: A Mother and Daughter Confront the Aftermath of the Holocaust by Rasia Kilot and Helen Mitsios. Urim Publications: Jerusalem 2011, 288 pp. Amazon.com. Kindle.
In Waltzing with the Enemy: A Mother and Daughter Confront the Aftermath of the Holocaust by Rasia Kliot and Helen Mitsios, the authors write a dual memoir of survival and healing. The mother, Rasia, was born into upper class comfort in Vilna (today Vilnius, Lithuania). Her daughter, Helen Mitsios, was born in Montreal, Canada. The dual structure – the first half is titled “Rasia’s Story” and the second half is labeled “Helen’s Story” – works very well.
Posted in Books, Ira Gold, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion
Tagged "Waltzing with the Enemy", books on the Holocaust, Helen Mitsios, Holocaust in Lithuania, Holocaust memoirs, Ira Gold (Touro College), Rasia Kilot
M E M O I R S
by Yehiel Zilberman
Translated from Russian by Olga Gorelik
This is a chapter from the memoirs written by Yehiel Zilberman, translated from Russian by Olga Gorelik (© Yehiel Zilberman & Olga Gorelik). The chapter appears in Defending History by permission of the copyright holders, with thanks to the good offices of Victor Shifrin (Los Angeles).
Yehiel (Yekhíel) Zilberman was born in Lithuania in 1922. In 1940 he graduated from the H. N. Bialik Hebrew High School in Shavl (Šiauliai) and was admitted to the Institute of Commerce in the same city. In June of 1941, one year after Lithuania fell under Soviet rule, Yehiel along with his parents and brother Moshe (Mikhail) was exiled to the Altai Region in Russia where he lived until 1945. In 1949 he graduated with Honors from Gorky Industrial Institute and became a chemical engineer. Yehiel worked in both manufacturing and scientific research. In 1954 he received his PhD from the Moscow Institute of Chemical Technology. In 1965 Dr. Zilberman received the title of Professor. From 1970 to 1990 he taught at Gorky Polytechnic Institute.
Dr. Yehiel Zilberman has been resident in Haifa, Israel, since 1990.