The massacre at koniuchy



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41 Wiktor Noskowski, “Koniuchy—stygmat męczeństwa,” Rozmaitości Wileńskie (Bydgoszcz), 2002.

42 Malewski, “Masakra w Koniuchach,” Nasza Gazeta, March 8, 2001.

43 Noskowski, Koniuchy—stygmat męczeństwa,” Rozmaitości Wileńskie, 2002.

44 Malewski, “Masakra w Koniuchach,” Nasza Gazeta, March 8, 2001.

45 Liliana Narkowicz, “Siła w cierpieniu (z zeznań naocznego świadka),” Nasza Gazeta (Vilnius), March 29–April 4, 2001.

46 A.K., “Krzyż pamięci—w miejscu zbrodni,” Tygodnik Wileńszczyzny (Vilnius), May 27–June 2, 2004.

47 Jerzy Danilewicz, “Zbrodnia bez kary,” Newsweek (Warsaw), May 15, 2005.

48 Andrzej Kumor, interview with Edward Tubin, “Nie przepuścili nikomu…: Z naocznym świadkiem pacyfikacji wsi Koniuchy rozmawia Andrzej Kumor,” Gazeta (Toronto), May 4–6, 2001.

49 Lazar, Destruction and Revenge, 174–75. Chaim Lazar’s description of the massacre of this village, which he concedes was obliterated “in a short while,” with virtually no resistance being offered and no casualties incurred by the attackers, belies his extravagant claims that it was a well-armed fortress.

50 Kowalski, A Secret Press in Nazi Europe, 333–34; also reproduced in Kowalski, ed., Anthology on Armed Jewish Resistance, 1939–1945, vol. 4 (1991), 390–91. Kowalski assisted Senia Rindziunski in producing an underground bulletin. According to Kowalski, Koniuchy was located about ten kilometres from the periphery of the partisan base, but there is no mention by him that the residents were going out of their way to hunt down Jewish or Soviet partisans. (Indeed, such conduct would have been suicidal.) Rather, whenever the partisans “crossed” or “passed” the village on their way to “important and dangerous missions” of an unspecified nature, they “were met by sniper fire.” Since there was no compelling reason for the partisans having to pass repeatedly through a village ten kilometers from their base, it is apparent that these confrontations occurred during “economic” actions, i.e., raids on this village. Polish historian Kazimierz Krajewski disputes the Jewish versions. The village was not the “fortress” it is made out to be and its entire “arsenal” consisted of several rusted rifles. The sole cause of the villagers’ misfortune was that they attempted to fend off relentless partisan raids. See Krajewski, Na Ziemi Nowogródzkiej, 511–12. We now know, as well, that the nearest German garrison or police post was six kilometres away in Rakliszki, and that there were no policemen—German, Lithuanian or any other—in the village of Koniuchy. See Malewski, “Masakra w Koniuchach,” Nasza Gazeta, March 8, 2001; Malewski, “Masakra w Koniuchach (II),” Nasza Gazeta, March 29, 2001.

51 Interview with Isaac Kowalski, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, September 21, 1991.

52 Abraham Zeleznikow, “Danke and Imke Lubotzki,” in Kowalski, ed., Anthology on Armed Jewish Resistance 1939–1945, vol. 2 (1985), 416–17.

53 Abram Z. Holocaust Testimony (HVT–1972), interviewed March 29, 1993, Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library. From another source, we learn that Zeleznikow became a Soviet “intelligence officer” before leaving for central Poland in 1945. See Richard Peterson, A Place of Sensuous Resort: Buildings of St Kilda and Their People (Melbourne: St Kilda Historical Society, 2005), chapter 5.

54 Testimony of Israel Weiss, in Kaplinsky, ed., Pinkas Hrubieshov, xiii. It appears likely that the village referred to as being “burned down completely” was Koniuchy. Both Israel Weiss and Shlomo Brand are mentioned in the list of Jewish partisans in Rudniki forest who were responsible for the massacre. See Kowalski, A Secret Press in Nazi Europe, 405–407.

55 Testimony of Zalman Wylozni, December 24, 1960, and January 11 and 15, 1961, Yad Vashem Archives, 032272 (formerly 1503/80–01). See also Janusz Gołota, “Losy Żydów ostrołęckich w czasie II wojny światowej,” Biuletyn Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, no. 187 (1998): 32, based on Yad Vashem Archives, 1503–80–1. The name “Zalman Wolozni” appears in the list of Jewish partisans in Rudniki forest. See Kowalski, A Secret Press in Nazi Europe, 405–407.

56 Rakhil Margolis, Nemnogo sveta vo mrake: Vospominaniia (Vilnius: Gosudarstvennyi Evreiskii muzei imeni Vilniusskogo Gaona, 2006), 411, as translated in Rachel Margolis, A Partisan from Vilna (Brighton, Massachusetts: Academic Studies Press, 2010), 484. The Polish translation of this memoir—Rachela Margolis, Wspomnienia wileńskie (Warsaw: Żydowski Instytut Historyczny, 2005)—is a considerably truncated version of the Russian edition and reads: “One day a large number of partisans were directed to the garrison in Koniuchy where Germans were stationed. The battle lasted a long time and there were wounded, but the boys returned as victors. The Germans left the garrison.” See Margolis, Wspomnienia wileńskie, 195. In an interview with Dovid Katz on December 22, 2009, Margolis speaks of a “battle” that ensued after the villagers, who were allegedly armed by the Armia Krajowa, shot at Jewish partisans who had come around “asking” for some food. See . Some of these characters were later transformed into phantoms. According to BBC news story aired on July 21, 2008 (Tim Whewell, “Reopening Lithuania’s Old Wounds,” BBC Radio 4’s Crossing Continents), “Brantsovskaya insists she was not present during the raid.” According to a recent article, “Margolis says [Fania Brantsovsky] was not even in Lithuania at the time of the attack, and was active in another partisan unit in White Russia.” See Yossi Melman, “Nazi Hunter: Lithuania Hunts Ex-partisans, Lets War Criminals Roam Free,” Haaretz, August 7, 2008. However, in her own account published in a collective memoir under the name Fania Brantsovskaya-Jocheles, she writes: “I fought in the ‘Keršytojas’ (Avenger), a squad of Soviet partisans of the Vilnius brigade, and took part in carrying out various tasks: destroying telephone lines, blowing up bridges and railways; I was also a signaller. There I met my future husband, Mikhail Brantsovsky.” Curiously the assault on Koniuchy, a source of pride for that detachment and its largest “military action,” is not mentioned. See Dulkinienė and Keys, eds., Su adata širdyje; With a Needle in the Heart, 53. In yet another version, Brantsovsky was supposedly recovering from an operation at the time of the massacre. See Nick Bravin, “In Other Words: Baltic Ghosts,” Foreign Policy, May/June 2009. However, there is mention of an illness, but no operation in the extensive interview she gave to Zhanna Litinskaya in February 2005, posted under “Biographies: Fania Brantsovskaya” at

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