The Last Week of the Ghetto

A Daily Chronology

( see: Crossing The River, pp.217- 218 )

An attempt to summarize the last week of the Ghetto, according to Ghetto records.


Friday, July 7, 1944: Goecke informs Dr. Elkes that the ghetto will be evacuated the next day. They will all be marched on foot to Tilzit (250 kilometers away). For the weaker ones, a river boat will be arranged. Panic in the ghetto, suicides.

[The Luria family’s attempted suicide fails; only their young son dies from the poison they take. They request and receive special permission to bury him, accompanied by a Lithuanian  policeman. On their return from the burial, they implore him to kill them; he pulls his pistol and shoots them. The end of Luria,  the “Heuchermann”  )

Sabbath eve between July 7 and 8 : Heavy bombing over the city. Widespread rumors that the Germans will leave the city by 11:00 A.M. the next day. A strong hope arises. A panic rush to the shelters, with violent struggles for a place in them.

Saturday and Sunday, July 8 and 9 : Air activity ceases, but there are no acts of evacuation. It is known that the Red Army changed the direction of invasion, turning toward Grodno-Bialistok-Warsaw.

[The weekend of Pečkyte’s visit to me in the country?.]

Monday, July 10, to Wednesday, July 12 : Brutal evacuation of all residents from their houses, concentrating them in the large apartment blocks in preparation for removal—this time apparently using transport vehicles.

Wednesday evening, between July 11 and 12: Heavy rains pour onto the people, who have already been kept outside under open skies for two days already. They are wet to the bone and very dirty; the only question that matters to them is whether they will be moved. Everyone hopes that Goecke will fail to obtain transportation.

Wednesday, July 12: The order to move comes at 9:00 A.M. Goecke has found transportation after all. Five in a row, they are all marched to the main railway station of the city or to  a side line in the suburb of Aleksotu. In crowded railcars new captives are added until noon. All are transported in crowded railcars to Stutthof in Prussia. The men are sent, after selection, to the eleven concentration camps associated with the Dachau camp system in Bavaria, near Kaufering and Landsberg, not far from Munich.

Among the women remaining, mothers with children were sent to the gas chambers (built there a month before).  The rest were distributed among several concentration camps in the vicinity, for hard labor.

From Wednesday, July 12 at noon, to Friday, July 14 at noon: Thorough searches for those in hiding; they are 4,000 people short. About a thousand people are cruelly flushed out of malinas, using guns, grenades, and smoke bombs.

[The period between the night of July 13 and July 14, Thursday night, the 22nd day of Tammuz, 5704, is possibly the date frame of my mother’s death.]

Friday, July 14, at noon: The last transport for the one thousand additional captives leaves to Germany. From this point on there is systematic burning and blasting of all the ghetto houses and structures, along with the people who remain hidden in and under them, until nothing is left standing.

[Sixteen days later—Sunday, July 30: The Red Army enters the city]

Our local Holocaust – in total: 

160 weeks x 7 days + 4 more days = 1,124 days. Sixteen days between destruction of the ghetto and the arrival of  the Red Army.

Total: 1,140 days of Nazi rule in our city.



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