This week's Yizkor book excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page #ukraine #yizkorbooks

Bruce Drake

The stories in most Yizkor book chapters are resurrected from memories of survivors that were written in the years after the Holocaust. But there are also contemporaneous accounts of events that occurred in the form of letters written at the time.

“A Letter from Hell,” from the book of Podhajce in Ukraine, was written by Yehoshua Weiss to his brother in New York. He used the pseudonym Bin-Nun, a biblical reference to Joshua (Yehoshua) the son of Nun.In the letter, he recounts a pogrom that occurred on Yom Kippur. His father, wearing his tallis, was shot in his bed. His mother and other Jews were rounded up and sent to Belzec.

He reserved particular bitterness towards the Judenrat who were seen by many as Nazi collaborator and by others as a necessary evil which permitted Jewish leadership a forum to negotiate for better treatment for those taken captive by the Germans. To Weiss, “The Judenrat was an institution that had a bloodthirsty spirit for Jewish blood.”

Bruce Drake
Silver Spring, MD

Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel