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© Douglas Hykle
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This page includes links to a selection of memoirs of people associated with Tluste/Tovste, or other towns in its vicinity, which I have found compelling on a number of levels. They open a window on, and help to contextualise, circumstances during a time that relatively few people alive today can even begin to imagine. Some of the accounts are moving, disturbing, and even shocking in their graphic realism. They serve to inform, enlighten and hopefully educate.

Sally Fishbach Gertz

Portraits of Survival

"I was born into a traditional Jewish family on May 3, 1932 in Tluste, a shtetl in Poland. I am the sole survivor of my immediate family of four. Most of my relations, including two grandmothers, a great-grandfather and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins died in the Holocaust. Until the outbreak of World War II, Jewish life flourished in Tluste. ... I was nine years old when the Nazis invaded Poland and captured our city. ... Walking through the desolate streets of Tluste, once brimming with life, we realized our lives would never be the same...."  

External link to full memoir »


Stanislaw J. Kowalski


" The small Polish town of Jazlowiec, where I was born ... never made it into the history books. .... In the early spring of 1940 my parents and my youngest brother, loaded onto a horse wagon, were taken to the nearest railway station to start a long journey to Siberia as deportees and forced agricultural labor in the vast territory of Kazakhstan. I escaped their fate, because I slept that night in the house of a poor relative outside the town. I became a fugitive from law and two months later ... the Soviet police instantly put an end to my hopes of legal freedom. Thus began my prison odyssey. That day was the beginning of a nearly two-year trek through the prison system in the land of 'Gulag Archipelago' while carrying the appellation of slave laborer."  

External link to Jazlowiec - The Town Lost in History »

Marcus Lecker

I Remember: Odyssey of a Jewish Teenager in Eastern Europe

Memoirs of Holocaust Survivors in Canada

"For a very long time I felt that I owed it to myself, to my family and to the world to put down on paper the events that I lived through during the years 1939-1946 ... These events, leading up to and including World War II, were so unusual, so historically significant, and so all encompassing, that never in the history of the human race have there been developments of that intensity ... Even though my story fits into the general subject of the Holocaust, I feel that it is different from most others that I have read, and therefore is worth preserving...."  

External link to full memoir »


Baruch Milch

Can Heaven be Void?

  "From time to time, the Czortkow Gestapo would pull into [Tluste] in the black vehicle that we all knew. We felt as though they brought death with them. With each visit, they arrested some Jews, searched houses, administered beatings, and committed several murders. ... One day, all surviving Jews in Tluste were ordered to leave their homes and were herded onto two streets that the Germans called the Judenviertel (Jewish Quarter), which, unlike a true ghetto, was not surrounded by a fence. With that, the Germans set abou their task of finally exterminating the Jews systematically and deliberately, using local Ukrainian and Jewish police and the Judenrat. ..."

Link to Baruch Milch page »

Abraham Morgenstern

Chortkov remembered: the annihilation of a Jewish community

  "...there were many rumors that the Germans would force the Jews into ghettos in many cities and towns... By the middle of March, they put up posters announcing the creation of a ghetto in Chortkov with detailed maps and street defining its borders. The deadline would be April 1st, 1942, and whoever (was) not in there by that date would be punished by death. ...Many people in the ghetto had that empty feeling of something bad happening, and started to prepare hiding places in the attics and cellars. ... Somehow the Germans tried to take out all their wrath on our parts of the country, where Jewish life and customs were deeply rooted."

External link to full memoir »

Reuben Priffer

My Walk Through Seven Levels of Hell

The Book of Horodenka

"With a great deal of effort I succeeded in making my way to Tluste, where the ghetto still stood and where my parents lived with my aunt, Hannah Toybe. The Tluste ghetto was one of the last remaining ghettos and there Jews from the surrounding towns and villages were gathered. .... One morning, on the road to Tluste, there appeared several vehicles with Gestapo and Ukrainian militia from the Tluste district. We knew that they would soon begin the work of liquidation. An hour later we heard a volley of shots coming from Tluste. The shooting lasted an entire day."  

External link to full memoir »

Tosia Szechter Schneider

A Horodenka Holocaust Memoir


Full memoir published in 2007 (translated into French in 2010) as "Someone Must Survive to Tell the World" - available from

"My mother, my brother, and I found ourselves in the ghetto of Tluste. The winter of 1942 took a terrible toll from starvation and typhus. That winter my mother made a last attempt to save me. She met a Ukrainian man who said that he would be willing to get for me false papers and to take me to a far-away village to his cousin. My mother was overjoyed, we knew we were all doomed. She spent two days teaching me the catechism and how to behave in church. Every time my resolve weakened but she kept repeating "someone must survive to tell the world". Our greatest fear was that we will all be killed and no one will know of the evil deeds. ...."

Sefer Tluste

The Tluste Memorial Volume (New York Public Library website)

"The Tluste Organisation in Israel and the "Landsmannschaft" in U.S.A. have resolved to set up a memorial to the city of their birth by publishing a memorial volume describing the past of the city, life there during the last generation, and its tragic end at the hands of the twentieth century Vandals. ... More than fifty of our townsfolk have participated in it. ...."  

Link to list of subjects/titles and authors »