Monia Levinski

Born 1931 - Kazlu-Ruda, Lithuania

Monia, the son of Leon and Chaja Levinski, lived along with his parents and his older sister Assia in a small village in Lithuania. Monia's father was a lumber dealer. Monia was a member of a large, loving, close-knit extended family. His grandparents lived on a large farm a few miles outside of town. Both of his parents had attended high school in Marijampole, the closest city. Marijampole's 2,545 Jews earned their livelihood from trading in agricultural produce and from small industry. The Jews of Marijampole established the first Hebrew high school in Lithuania. A small farm which trained youth interested in pioneering in Palestine was established outside the city.

Monia was a ten year-old schoolboy in the summer of 1941, when the Germans invaded Lithuania. Monia and his family were forced to leave their home. Along with all the Jews of the surrounding area, they were confined to an overcrowded, sealed-off ghetto in Marijampole. Over 7,000 people endured great hardship. There was inadequate food, medicine, and sanitation.

At the beginning of September 1941, the ghetto was emptied. Jews, in groups of 500, were marched a few miles out of the city by members of German mobile killing squads, the Einsatzgruppen, and their Lithuanian collaborators. Anyone trying to escape was immediately shot. Forced to stand along already prepared ditches, they were massacred. Monia was ten years old.

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