Astrinsky Family
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Maks explains what happened in Slonim

A family document of historical significance.  It is written in Ukrainian  with English translation.  The author was the partisan, Maks Astrinsky, who survived the Slonim massacres and liquidation of the Slonim ghetto.  The letter is his eyewitness account to my grandmother, the purpose of which was to tell her of her sister Raizel nee Yakimovsky's and Raizel's husband; Shmuel Zelig  ["Zelig"] Astrynski's murders, along with the murder of Maks' other family members. Maks' account is consistent with the exact historically established dates, events,  and  numbers.  Maks is one of the comparatively few people who survived the final liquidation and  burning of the Slonim ghetto.    Maks was the nephew of Raizel and Zelik Astrinsky. Maks survived as a partisan, emigrating to America after liberation. The original letters were donated by my mother to the Holocaust Museum. 

You have  my permission to use the letter on your site, if you wish.  

Andrea  Leavitt


In Slonim in the early 1900s,  there was a well known place  called the Red Roof Inn [ "Royt Dahk Kretschme" ].  It  might  sometimes be identified in translations as the   Red Roof Tavern, Red Tavern or  Red Bar, as in #25 on the legend for the Slonim translated map.    The Red Roof Inn had rooms for travelers and a restaurant/pub which even had entertainment.    There is a wonderful story connected to the Red Roof Inn.    It had very humble and charitable beginnings.   The owners of the Red Roof Inn were the married Yakimovsky couple.  They were very kind and hospitable,  with a very humble home.  Word got out that this kind couple would not turn away into the often bitterly cold nights stranded travelers who were often on their way to Warsaw, Kiev and Minsk, and that the kind couple would house and feed for free, and that the wife was a good cook.   Before too long, the couple  were inundated  with travelers.  Not being affluent, they could not afford to feed the constant stream of people.  Ultimately, they had to charge for food, which did not cut down the stream of people. More and more people continued to come, and there was not enough room for them all to stay overnight.    This morphed into the family business, the opening of an inn with restaurant/pub which were called taverns in olden times.  And, it became known as the  "Red Roof Inn".   They eventually even grew their  own hops, and brewed their own beer. Locals frequented the restaurant/pub  as well.   The couple had 3 daughters.  Out of kindness, the Yakimovsky couple, on every weekend,   took in a yeshiva boarding student,  whose family lived far away in  Mozyr.  The Yakimovsys did not know the boys family, but the Yakimovskys  wanted the  boy who was far from home to have the warmth of a family life.  So he stayed with the Yakimovskys every weekend.  .  They treated him like a son. The student, Samuel  Komisarczyk, married one of the Yakimovsky daughters [Chaya/Chaszya].  They   had six children born in Slonim, and  emigrated to the U.S.    Another of the three   One of the 3 Yakimovsky daughers,  Reizl Yakimovsky, married one of the wealthiest men in Slonim-- Shmuel Zelig  ["Zelig"] Astrynski, who had a forestry/lumber business, tannery operations, and owned the  bus company in Slonim.   Reizl and Zelig Astrynski  had a large home with gardens at the edge of Slonim.  The Astrynski  home and all of its contents and art were confiscated in World War II and the couple was massacred in the forest.  A partisan nephew witnessed their massacre.  The last Yakimovsky daughter, Frume, or Fruma, and her husband and daughter also perished  in World War II. "