THE MURDER OF TOIBA AND RACHEL NOAR IN THE 1919 POGROM
the spring of 1919, Rachel Noar was visiting her family in Oshmiany for
Passover. Oshmiany is now part of Belarus. Rachel was newly
engaged and had a job in St. Petersburg with the Russian government.
Russian prisoners of war had recently been freed and were roaming the town.
one morning, around 5:00 am, there was a banging on the door of their
little brick home. That morning, a group of the Russian soldiers
were going door to door in the Jewish neighborhood robbing the people.
When Toiba Noar, the mother, asked what they wanted a voice demanded "Papirosa"
(cigarettes). Toiba was outside arguing with the soldiers and
then a loud noise, like an explosion or shooting, rang out.
When Rachel rushed out she saw her mother, face covered in blood, lying
on the ground. Rachel called out, "Ma, are you alive?" At that
point one of the soldiers shot Rachel as she stood on the steps of the
The soldiers then came into the house. Leizer shouted "What, I'm still in bed, I'm still in bed." One soldier came into the bedroom where they were and was waving his gun. He was threatening to shoot the rest of the family. Leizer said "Chto ve khotite?" (What do you want?). The leader said gruffly, "Davat Dengi!" (Give your money!) Leizer took out his wallet and handed it to the soldier. When they ventured outside the mother and sister were lying dead in front of the house.
Before leaving for the funeral the next day, Leizer dug a hole in the fireplace and hid his remaining money and valuables. When they returned, someone had broken into the house and stolen the valuables from their hiding spot.
With his wife and daughter murdered, all his valuables stolen, Leizer decided it was time to leave Oshmiany. Loading all that he could into a small cart, the 4 survivors walked 40 miles to the family property in Vilnius. Being only 8 years old, Julius (Yudel) rode on top of the load.
The family in Vilnius made room for them in a small storeroom. When an apartment became available on the 2nd floor of a building they owned, Leizer was able to move in.
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