Notes from Donna Plen visit to Telechan August 2016
Saw the Jewish area of Telekhany including the synagogue. Many houses still pre-WWII era without much updating on the outside. Many have been updated and/or from Soviet-style reconstruction. Nice pastoral town with people riding old bikes. Felt very much like Hadera or a moshav.
Was introduced to mayor (an older woman) who spent time looking up the list of victims of the massacre. (I didn't ask. It just happened). Then a man and woman from the town hall joined us (me and Victor, my impromptu guide) and drove to the two monuments in memory of those who were murdered - one for the 500 men and one for the 1400 women and children. :(
I asked them where the massacres were done. They showed me where the Jews were herded and I asked about the wall with barbed wire beside what they were showing me. Turns out that rather than being a prison as I surmised, it was a factory that makes cross-country skis! With the others, I had a tour from the president (again, a woman) and got to see various stages of ski manufacturing!
What an interesting and crazy day! Then had a speedy car trip arranged for me to get me to the train to Brest from a city called Ivatsevichy. Brest is a city in Belarus that will be my last stop before Warsaw, from where I fly home.
I took lots of pictures for the cousins' club and they copied the list, which includes members of the Ajzenberg family:(
P. S. It was a challenge communicating. Couldn't understand the answer to my question about how and when other people took over the properties owned by the murdered Jews. Now of course they are all occupied. The synagogue has 3 families, I was told.
Arthur, when I got there and asked about the Jewish area, the lady at the bus station escorted me to a house right near the station. There, I met Victor Victorovich (!) who guided me around and would not accept a tip later. It seems that his knowledge of the Jewish community was handed down by his father.
Telekhany was interesting. Lovely little town that reminded me of Hadera or a moshav. Lot of people on old bikes. A man my age, Victor Victorovich (really?), was drafted from his house next to the bus station to be my guide, even though he doesn't speak English. Showed me the Jewish area with many houses still of pre-WWII vintage with many others that have been updated. Also saw the building that was the Synagogue and seems now to be the community center. He me to the town's administrative offices, and introduced me to the mayor, an older woman. She looked through a memorial book and had them copy the pages of the people massacred in 1941, including David's relatives. Two people from the office drove us to the two memorial sites - one for the 500 men and the other for the 1400 women and children.