Survivors of the Holocaust: Chaim and Mera

Chaim K, Belarus

Age 94 and a decorated war veteran, he is almost totally blind and lives with his wife, also a decorated veteran. The oldest member of the iny community, he is the only one who was actually born there and not relocated after the war. He remembers life before the war and can show you the streets and building in which the massacres of his people took place. He can describe the once vibrant Jewish community that he knew as a young man.

A sole survivor, Chaim’s entire family, every single person, from Grandparents to new-born babies, was murdered by the Nazis in 1942, after first being beaten, tortured and starved.

Years ago he filled out papers to receive reparations from the German government.

He is still awaiting a reply.


Mera A., Lithuania.

Mera A., 88, is one of only six Jews still residing in the small Lithuanian village of Mariampol and the only one who was raised there. She lives with her severely retarded adult daughter, who receives no social service assistance. Her husband died of liver cancer in 1992. Mera suffers from lung and heart problems and walks unsteadily, rarely venturing outside.

Teenage hooligans frequently target Mera and her family in anti-Semitic attacks. They destroyed the front door of her first-floor apartment.

When Mera was 8, her mother died. At the start of World War II, her brothers were immediately shot by the Lithuanian Death Head squads. Mera escaped by running into Russia. The Jews who didn’t escape, 8,000 in total, were massacred and thrown into one mass grave. Mera wrote, “Those who did not save themselves were all shot. Everybody was undressed, naked, and shot. Then the hole was covered with lime. And were all put in one grave. All together, children, men, women and elders. Those who witnessed this told us that after that, for three days, the earth in this grave was raising up and down and there was moaning coming out of the grave.”

Mera desperately needs money for food, heat and medications.

“We wait for the winter with horror,” she said.

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