A troubled evening approaches. The streets are full of
people. The owners of the yellow craftsmen certificates* are registering.
Whoever can do so, hides. The word "maline" has become
relevant. To hide, to bury oneself: in a basement, in an attic, to save
The tenants of the house go into a hide-out. We go with
them. Three floors of warehouses in the courtyard of Shavli 4. Stairs lead
from one story to the other. The stairs from the first to the second story
have been taken down and the opening has been closed up with boards. The
hide-out consists of two small warehouses. You enter the hide-out through a
hole in the wall of an apartment which borders on the uppermost story of
the hide-out. The hole is blocked ingeniously by a kitchen cupboard. One
wall of the cupboard serves at the same time as a little gate for the hole.
The hole is barricaded by stones. The flat through which you enter the
hide-out is located near our apartment. Little groups of people with
bundles go in. Soon we also crawl through the hole of the hide-out. Many
people have gathered in the two stories of the hide-out. They sneak along
like shadows by candlelight around the cold, dank, cellar walls. The whole
hide-out is filled with a restless murmuring. An imprisoned mass of people.
Everyone begins to settle down in the corners, on the stairs....
We are like animals surrounded by the hunter. The hunter
on all sides: beneath us, above us, from the sides. Broken locks snap,
doors creak, axes, saws. I feel the enemy under the boards on which I am
standing. The light of an electric bulb seeps through the cracks. They
pound, tear, break. Soon the attack is heard from another side. Suddenly,
somewhere upstairs, a child bursts into tears. A desperate groan breaks
forth from everyones lips. We are lost. A desperate attempt to shove
sugar into the childs mouth is of no avail. They stop up the childs
mouth with pillows. The mother of the child is weeping. People shout in
wild terror that the child should be strangled. The child is shouting more
loudly, the Lithuanians are pounding more strongly against the walls.
However, slowly everything calmed down of itself. We understand that they
have left. Later we heard a voice from the other side of the hide-out. You
are liberated. My heart beat with such joy! I have remained alive!
Y. Rudashevski, The Diary of the Vilna Ghetto,
Tel Aviv, 1973, pp. 36-37, 39.
* Certificates that were distributed to Jewish skilled
workers employed in places authorized by the Germans.