Mordechai Jewnin (Yevnin) was born in 1880 in Lunna. He was a
flourmill owner. He married Yocheved ("Yacha") Sandler and they had
two sons: Chaim (b. 1908) and Yaakov (b. 1909). Chaim was a merchant
in Lunna and he married Etel, daughter of Tanchum Rochkin from Lunna.
Yaakov was an active member of Ha'Chalutz youth movement. In 1934 he
left Poland for Eretz Israel. He married Sarah Saravalska, (born in
Plonsk in 1911), whom he met at the first time at Ha'Chalutz Center in
Warsaw. Yaakov and Sarah Yevnin were among the founders of Kibbutz
Givat Chaim Meuchad. Yaakov changed his family name to Yavin. They
have family in Israel. Mordechai and Yocheved Yevnin and their son
Chaim Yevnin and his family perished in the Holocaust.
From the collection of Yaakov (Yevnin) Yavin
Pictures submitted by Yaakov Yavin's children
Yaakov Yevnin and his friends
Members of Ha'Chalutz youth movement (Lunna, 1926)
Berachowicz was born in 1880 to Israel and Ita-Feigel Berachowicz. He
married Rajca, born 1882 to Yekhiel and Rachel-Liebe Vizhansi. Zeev
Berachowicz was one of highly respected residents in town and a wealthy
wood merchant. Zeev and Rajca had three daughters, born in Lunna: Liza,
Etel and Fanya (see
Liza (Berachowitz), born in 1906, married to Shmuel Podorowski. Liza was
a teacher at "Torah Ve'daat" Hebrew School in Lunna. They had two sons:
Tzvi and Yechiel. Before the Second World War they resided in Bialystok.
Etel (Berachowicz), born in 1909, married to Aaron, son of Shlomo
Kosowski. They had a son named Shlomo. Before the Second World War they
resided in Bialystok (see note 2).
Fanya Berachowicz was born in 1911. Before the Second World War, Fanya
left Lunna for Palestine. However, she missed her family and returned to
Zeev and Rajca Berachowicz, their daughters Liza (and her family) and
Fanya perished in the Holocaust. Etel (Berachowicz) Kosowska survived
the Holocaust. Her husband, Aaron, and her son, Shlomo, perished in the
Holocaust. Testimony pages for the memory Berachowicz family members
were submitted to Yad Vashem by Etel Berachowicz.
Three Berachowicz sisters and Rotberg family members
An article entitled "The Destruction of Lune-Volie" by Etel
Berachowicz-Kosowska was published in 1948 (in Yiddish, Grodner Aplangen,
no. 2). The translation from Yiddish to English was done by Rabbi
Yeshaya Metal of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City
and is posted below. In 1949 Etel came to Israel and remarried to Zinger
(first name currently unknown).
The Destruction of Lune-Wolie
The suffering and the destruction of my close ones and my dear ones
From my shtetl Lune-Wolie
By means of Oral Testimony
By Etel Berachowicz-Kosowska
I am one of the Holocaust survivors of Lune. I will now add a bloody
page to our history in order to eternalize the memory of our martyrs and
the tragic destruction of our homeland.
I was able to survive in a heroic manner via the Bialystoker Ghetto. I
survive the seven chambers of hell: The Bialystoker Ghetto; Bialystoker
Jail; Concentration camps: Shtuthof, Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen.
According to the news I received, the Germans attacked the Russians on
the night of the 22nd of June 1941. Also Lune and other towns and
villages were heavily bombarded by the Germans. The panic that ensued in
the middle of the night, of a sudden falling of bombs, is easily
understood. Even without the fear that manifested itself due to the
bombardment, the Jews already felt foreboding of destruction about move
in on them. The reason was the arrival of the evil Nazis.
The people were overtaken with immense fear and despair had hid in
cellars. One could see people who were half-naked and frightened and
some with a small child on the arms. The cries and wailing from the
small children spread to the immediate environs. A bomb made a direct
hit a Feivel the Milner's gate. The basement [where people were hiding]
was over flowing with people. There were also the mortally wounded
there. The first fatality was Shifra Yankelewicz. There were also
wounded among the people: the Rebitsen [Rasha-Mina Rotberg] and Blumele
and Frumele who were her two daughters. There were others who were
killed but I cannot identify them.
The Germans already arrived in the shtetl in the night of 24th of June.
As they entered the shtetl they began with all types of dramatic
plundering and harsh actions. The Jews found themselves in an unenviable
and terrible situation; it was caused by the Germans and their immediate
neighbors, the so-called friends, the Poles and the Belarusians. They
immediately treated the Jews to unfriendly stares. This was the
beginning of the suffering and pain of the Lune Jews.
In about three months, the order was given that the Jews must be driven
into a ghetto. The Jews must be separated from the rest of the
population. The ghetto, Der Shtayg (cage), was put into force. In Wolie
the boundaries were as follows: Both sides of the street, beginning from
the water mill until Galinsky's mill. The street in the middle was
considered inside the ghetto. The houses on both sides, from the street
side and to the field and the second side of the street to the river,
were encircled with high fences made of boards (see
note 3). In order to
cross from one side of the Ghetto to the other side, they constructed a
bridge from above. When crossing the bridge one felt in danger of
falling because the bridge was shaking and hanging in the air. The Jews
of Lune-Wolie, as well as the Jews of Volpe [Wolpa], were placed in a
few village huts. Volpe was completely destroyed because of the
bombardment. We can only imagine in what type of narrow quarters they
were forced to reside in. The entrance to the ghetto, which was situated
by the water mill, was guarded by the Polish police. The Polish police
was a cause of great pain to the Jews. As in all ghettos, the Lune
Ghetto was ordered by the Nazis to establish a Judenrat. The Germans
appointed the heads of the Judenrat. They were: Rabbi Rotberg (see
4), Yaakov Welbel; Avremil Ywdwab; and others that I am not familiar in
order to identify them. Unfortunately, the Judenrat of the smaller towns
were even incompetent than the larger towns because they could not
provide forced labor for the evil beasts as were able the larger cities.
In the large cities they were able to provide life support and a greater
amount of food for the Jews. Therefore the Judenrat of Lune could not do
anything for its people but to stand watch and fulfill the evil decrees
of the murderers. The Lune-Wolyer Ghetto was often shaken because of the
frequent inspections of the Skidler commandant. His treacherous deeds
inflicted a fear upon the Jewish population. The first words of the
murderer would be: if the Judenrat will not bring me gold, Silver, [?],
different types of wines, coffee, etc., the Judenrat will be immediately
shot, as well as the remaining Jews.
In the beginning the Judenrat were able to meet the murderers' demands.
As time went on, and they the Jews became poverty stricken, therefore
they could not deliver the goods that the murderers required of them.
The Nazis were ready to devour them. At these times the Judenrat would
hide in the cellars in order to avoid the claws of the devil. It then
became the duty of the Jewish community to fulfill the decrees of the
I was told that there was a time when the Jews were unable to fulfill
the demands of the Skidler commandant, thereby inflaming his anger and
he then considered destroying all the Jews. Dr. Roznatowski became aware
of his vicious plans and sent to the ghetto many items that the murderer
demanded of the Jews. In this way, it quieted the anger of the murderer,
thereby withholding his desire for their destruction. Not only
withstanding the Skidler murderer, but the Jews had also to cope with
their internal "Haman", the Polish policeman. The Polish policeman would
sneak into the ghetto and cause havoc and pain to the Jews and always
threaten them that their destruction was imminent.
Everything that I am revealing has been told to me by the Jews of Lune.
The Jews would come in those times, to the Bialystoker Ghetto and inform
us of what was occurring in Lune. In the early times, they would be
given supplies for special occasions: for example if someone was very
sick. The Jews traveled by wagons since they were forbidden to use the
About life and death matters they had internal struggles and were able
to manage their difficult circumstances by obtaining supplies from their
Christian neighbors in exchange for their household items. There were
times when the Christians helped them in their time of need but only on
rare occasions. The Christians would throw packages of different types
of produce, over the ghetto walls.
In this way our close ones and dear ones would labor in a steady stream
of fear and worry of what tomorrow will being. Hoping that they will be
able to survive the next day and the day of liberation will come, and
then will be saved from death. Hitler's Nazis were bent on our
destruction and nobody realized it. The Nazis wanted to destroy us
completely; then came the gruesome moment of 1 December 1942 (see
5). In an ugly and dark night, the Jews of the Lune-Wolie Ghetto were
ripped away from their accommodations. The sick and the young children
were placed on old Christian wagons. The remaining Jews were forced to
travel on foot (see note 6). They were broken, beaten and were carrying
small packages. They were brought to Kelbasin Camp, which was located
close to Grodno. Those were awful times. They would live in underground
habitations (Zimlanki) covered with twigs. They encountered a dirty
environment accompanied with hunger and cold ruled by animals. Six week
they endured suffering with Jews from other towns, until the day came
when they were taken to the death camps of Auschwitz and Treblinka (see
In such a tragic period, the golden chain of generations of Lune-Wolie
was cut from the flowers of the previous generations.
HONOR TO THEI MEMORY!
Paris, May 1948
Note 1:: Liza (Welbel) Shwetz recalls that Zeev and Rajca Berachowicz had
four daughters. Their oldest daughter was named Rachel. She left Lunna
for another town. However, later she returned and was a dentist in Lunna.
Nothing is known about Rachel's fate. No testimony page is available for
her memory. >back
Note 2: According to a family relative Aaron, son of Shlomo Kosowski,
was related to the Kosowski family posted on this site. However, it is
currently unknown how he is related to this family.
Notes 3- 7 were submitted by Eliezer Eisenshmidt (who was in the
Note 3: The Germans surrounded each side of the Ghetto with barbed wire
Note 4: The Germans originally named Rabbi Tuvia Rotberg to act as
Chairman. Rabbi Rotberg, however, asked the German mayor, whom he knew,
as well as the leaders of the Jewish community, to release him from this
duty. Rabbi Rotberg's request was accepted, and Yaakov Welbel was
nominated to be Chairman of the Judenrat.
Note 5: The correct date is: November 2, 1942.
Note 6: All Jews were placed on Christian wagons, usually one family per
wagon. The men, however, went on foot when it was required to push the
wagon (e.g. along up or down a hill).
Note 7: The Lune-Wolie Jews were taken to the Auschwitz Death Camp