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Street scene in the Kovno ghetto.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 05237

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    Street scene in the Kovno ghetto.
    Street scene in the Kovno ghetto.  

Pictured first on the right is Chaim Yellin. To his left is his friend, Pesach Shater.


    Street scene in the Kovno ghetto.

    Pictured first on the right is Chaim Yellin. To his left is his friend, Pesach Shater.
    George Kadish/Zvi Kadushin
    Kaunas, Lithuania
    Variant Locale
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of George Kadish/Zvi Kadushin

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    USHMM (Restricted)
    Copyright: Exclusively with provenance
    Provenance: George Kadish/Zvi Kadushin
    Beit Hatfutsot
    Copyright: Exclusively with source
    Published Source
    Hidden History of the Kovno Ghetto - United States Holocaust Memorial Museum - Little, Brown and Company - p.59

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Chaim Yellin (1913-1944), Yiddish writer and underground leader in the Kovno ghetto. Yellin was born in Vikija, Lithuania, a small town near Kovno. Though educated at a Hebrew gymnasium, Chaim joined a circle of young Yiddish writers. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, he wrote stories and articles for various Yiddish journals, especially the daily "Folksblat". His father Eliezer (Lazar) founded and directed the "Lovers of Knowledge" library. Chaim and his brother Meir worked in this library, a gathering place for Kovno's leading Jewish intellectuals. In 1937 Chaim served as a delegate to a conference on Jewish culture in Paris. Following the incorporation of Lithuania into the Soviet Union in 1940, Chaim got a job in the government printing office in Kovno. In the summer of 1941 after the German invasion, he was forced into the ghetto, where he continued his literary pursuits by writing short vignettes on ghetto life. Soon after the establishment of the ghetto Chaim and a small circle of friends formed an underground movement called the Activists Union or Anti-Fascist Organization. In the summer of 1943, this group joined forces with the various Zionist factions to form a united ghetto underground, the "Jewish General Fighting Organization." Yellin played a key role in reconciling the various ideological factions and became the de facto leader of the new organization. In early fall 1943 he received a mysterious note addressed to "the Jewish author Chaim Yellin" and signed G. The note came from Gessia Glezer, alias Albina, a Soviet Jewish paratrooper. She proposed sending fighters from the ghetto to join partisans in the Augustowa Forest. Though this plan was unsuccessful, it set in place the mechanism for the escape of approximately 350 ghetto partisans to the Rudninkai Forest, where they joined up with pro-Soviet units. Chaim was the chief liaison with pro-Soviet partisans and from them obtained arms and transportation for the ghetto fighters. In April, 1944 Chaim left the ghetto to find transport for a final group of partisans. Discovered on a downtown street corner, a shoot-out ensued with Lithuanian and German police. Chaim was captured on April 6, 1944 and sent to a Gestapo prison. Throughout his month-long imprisonment he refused to divulge his true identity. In May 1944 Chaim was executed. The Kovno ghetto underground never recovered from his arrest and ceased to be an effective resistance force.
    Record last modified:
    2003-03-18 00:00:00
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