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Chapter 9

This webpage reproduces a chapter of

Abyss of Despair

Rabbi Nathan Hanover

Bloch Publishing Company
New York, 5710‑1950

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please
let me know!


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Chapter 11

 p78  X

The massacre of the Kingdom of Lithuania

The people of Lithuania1 fled to Wilno and to Great Grodno, where the enemies did not appear. Many communities, however, where thousands of Jews had taken refuge, were destroyed and the Jews therein were killed. Thus, in the city of Homel countless thousands were martyred for the glorification of the Name. Similar slaughters were perpetrated in Czernigow, in Brahin, and in Wlodawa, where many Jews had assembled. Approximately ten thousand persons perished there by all sorts of terrible deaths. In the remaining large Lithuanian communities Jews were killed in thousands and tens of thousands. May the Lord avenge their blood.

Of the people in the cities of Sluck, Pinsk, Brest-Litovsk, some escaped to greater Poland, and others by waterway, to Danzig, on the river Vistula. The hapless ones who remained in Brest-Litovsk, and in Pinsk were martyred in the hundreds, for the glorification of His Name. The enemies pursued many hundreds of wagons of fleeing Jews on the open field near Pinsk  p79 overtaking them in the narrow paths, and killing large numbers of them.

The Polish troops, however, avenged themselves on the Ukrainians of Pinsk. When the general, Duke Radziwil, in charge of the Kingdom of Lithuania, heard that the people of Pinsk rebelled and permitted the scoundrels to enter the city, he and several thousand Polish troops besieged the city and set fire to it on its four sides. The scoundrels within the city tried to escape in boats and all of them were drowned. Some were burned and killed. Thus the Jews were avenged.

The people of the city of Sluck were also avenged. The inhabitants of the city notified the scoundrels to hasten to come, assuring them that many Jews and nobles were hiding there and they would deliver them to the Ukrainians. But there were no Jews in Sluck; they had already fled. They did not trust the local people to fight the foe. When the scoundrels approached the city they were met with cannon fire from the wall and from the gate. They suffered heavy losses. As they fled, the local people pursued them, and they smote them to utter destruction.2

The Editor's Notes:

1 White Russia was included in Lithuania.

2 Numbers 14:45.

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Page updated: 12 Dec 22