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From Litman Mor' story

From Litman Mor' story
...The joy of liberation vaporized very quickly, when I found myself
as a lone stranger without my family. Incidentally, I met an
acquaintance that I had known in the ghetto, a civil engineer. He,
too, fought together with the partisans, during the war period, and
after liberation, he found a job in a construction company that was
managed by a Jew, one of his commanders in the partisan regiments. He
told me that I could easily find a job, because my profession is
needed. Indeed, I was sent to Vileika to organize and manage the
district food industry. (Later, when I immigrated in Eretz Isroel, in
1946, I continued to specialize in this field, first with a laboratory
and oil company and, when the State of Israel was established, with
the government civil service).

The town of Vileika was stricken in the war and it was empty of Jews.
But, anti-Semitism didn't lessen, on the contrary - it strengthened. I
searched for a place to stay, but being a Jew there was no chance that
the locals will rent me a flat. Until I found a corner where I could
sleep, I slept on the desk in the office where I worked. Only after I
introduced myself as Polish, one of the local women agreed to rent me
a sofa in her house. It became evident to me that, during the Nazi
occupation period, not only were Jews exterminated, but the Nazis also
poisoned with ant-Semitic propaganda, the local population, which even
before, didn't specially sympathize Jews, to put it in an
understatement. This resulted in a situation that even those who
succeeded in surviving hell, had nowhere to return to.

In course of the war, we believed that if we are rescued from the
inferno and are privileged to live, the world will change and will be
liberal and better. And alas, we learnt that reality had changed, but
to the worse. I found myself in a new reality in which the Jew is more
than just not wanted; he is, practically, unbearable. Many among the
local population feared that the survivors will return, and they will
be forced to give back the Jewish property that they looted during the
war. Indeed, very many surviving Jews did not present themselves as
Jews and preferred to conceal their origin.

The Soviet establishment was very suspicious towards holocaust
survivors. Everyone was suspected of collaborating with the Germans. A
routine question that survivors were asked was: "how did you survive?"
in paraphrase we used to say: "why didn't the Cholera take you?" I,
personally, did not feel this, since I had my partisan certificate
with me, but the general atmosphere towards survivors was of suspicion
and hostility, and it was obvious to me, that here is not the place
where I will be able to start a new life. I did not want and could not
hide my being Jewish. The Russian custom is to state your private name
together with your father's name; and my father's name was Yehudah. As
Litman son of Yehuda, it was obvious that I am Jewish. There was no
doubt in my mind that we didn't reach the end of the road, and of
course not the safe haven.

During my stay in Vileika, I heard nothing from my family, and after a
few months of work, the need to travel home began, again, burning in
me. My working place granted me the privilege not to be mobilized for
military service, as I was needed for the civic-war effort and I got a
release for economic reasons.

Because of my work, I visited the area for organizing the food
industry, which was then at its first steps. I had a chance to visit
places in which we were active during the partisan period. The things
that give pleasure to a human are relative. For example, I derived a
lot of satisfaction from my being allowed to travel in daylight on the
roads, even if it was in a cart. When the Germans ruled, main roads
were off limits for us, and it never occurred to me that I would ever
be able to travel on these roads openly, in daylight. Vilna had been
liberated on July 13, 1944. I wanted to reach Vilna and meet my
friends from the movement and underground. Many of my friends at the
F.P.O, who managed to exit the ghetto, through the sewage system, and
arrive at the Rudniki forest, near Vilna, and organized in a partisan
regiment, within the Lithuanian brigade. As far as the attitude
towards Jews, their situation was far better than ours in Naroch. They
participated in the liberation of Vilna, and, immediately afterwards,
begun to get organized in a nucleus of the Zionist movement, secretly
of course, with the aim of advancing toward the Land of Israel.

In November, I got leave from work and traveled to Vilna, hoping that
from there I will be able to reach home. In Vilna, I met the friends
of F.P.O, who survived and returned to the city. I met there Nissan
Reznik, my friend at the "Zionist Youth" and the underground. In 1944,
Reznik and other activists of the youth movements, Abba Kovner, Ruzka
Korchak and more, begun organizing the escape from Vilna to Poland and
Rumania, with the aim of advancing towards the coasts of Eretz Isroel.