The Books of Doom, II:
Last Days of Byten
In slonim, in March 1942, six hundred people were hustled into the market place, deprived of all their possessions, beaten, and told to get out of town fast. It was freezing weather. About four hundred of them managed to reach Byten half-dead. Byten’s harassed Jews took care of them as best they could, and through influence (yes, marked for death, they still knew someone who—) won permission for half the Slonimers to return home.
At the beginning of June 1942 all the Jews of Byten were forced to leave their homes and take up quarters in thirty-nine small houses in the center of town, with twenty to twenty-five persons to a house. A bribe, of two suits of clothing and a gold watch, brought the community nine more houses and the big synagogue, which accommodated seventy persons. Hundreds of Jews were now set to work chopping down trees for the barbed-wire stockade that was to be put up around this ghetto. As they themselves were well aware, the Jews of Byten now formed a more compact mass that was very easy for the enemy to handle.
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