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Oral Histories and Memoirs

You can find a list of individuals who are named in several of these histories and memoirs by going to the Index of Individuals Mentioned on This Site page.


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  • "What Is a Pinkes?" told by Leybl Shiter from the 1951 "Pinkes Kovel." Shiter tells the story of his father's quest to become the trustee for the city's Pinkes, which was kept by Kovel's burial society, or "Society of the Concerned." He also relates his efforts as a child to get an explanation of what a Pinkes was.


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  • "Memories from the War Years" by Bronya Wasserman-Eckhaus from the Memorial Book of Ostrow-Lubelski. Wasserman-Eckhaus was one of the many refugees who arrived in Kovel in 1939. She tells her story of life under the Nazi occupation in Kovel, and how she was one of the few who managed to flee the city and survive, with her young child, just before Jews in the ghettos were to be put to death in 1942.


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  • Interview with Michal Friedman conducted in 2004, as part of oral histories collected by Centropa. org. Friedman was born in Kovel in 1913 and she tells of life there in the 20s and 30s.


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  • Interview with Mieczyslaw Weinryb conducted Dec. 2003 - Jan. 2004 for Centropa.org. Weinryb was from Zamosc, in southeastern Poland. As World War 2 approached, he was to be called up by the Polish army, but it had been smashed, and he found himself with crowds of other Jews fleeing the Germans. He went to Kovel in hopes that his family would be there, since his father had a sister who lived in the city. He gives a short account of those times.


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  • A Long Way Home: The Story of a Jewish Youth 1939-1941 by Bob Golan. Golan was born in 1927 in Chelm, Poland and ended up in Kovel with the other Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis.


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  • Memoirs of Roza Weintraub - Her Oral History Prepared at Kibbutz Nir David - 26.6.1985. Roza Weintraub was born in 1920 in the Lithuanian town of Kibart. She joined the Russian army in 1942 and came to Kovel in 1944 where she worked in communications.


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  • "Escape From the Nazis" by Benjamin Mandelkern. Mandelkern and his family fled Parczew in eastern Poland when Russian troops pulled out and the German Wehrmacht arrived. They went to Kovel where, he writes, "Life became harder by the hour." The Kovel material starts on page 4.


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  • Letter from Sergeant S.N. Grutman to Ilya Ehrenburg, December 2, 1944 Grutman visited Kovel in September, 1944 to look for his mother and mother-in-law. He wrote that he "already knew their fate, but I wanted to find at least something to remember them by." He found nothing, with all the houses in what had been the Jewish neighborhoods destroyed. Grutman's letter is on p.104 of "The Unknown Black Book: The Holocaust in the German-Occupied Soviet Territories"


Copyright © 2009 Bruce Drake

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