Feiga Malnik

Feiga Malnik

Born: 1905


Raised in a Jewish family, Feiga lived with her husband, Josef, in Kovno, a city with a large Jewish community of 38,000. Kovno was situated at the confluence of two rivers, and with its opera company, chic stores and lively nightclubs, it was often called "Little Paris." Feiga was a beautician and Josef was a barber, and together they ran a shop in downtown Kovno.

1933-39: Every day Josef and I walk to our shop, which is near our house. It's hard work, being a beautician--I'm on my feet most of the day and my fingers are swollen from the harsh chemicals I use to give permanents. It'll all seem worth it, though, if I can help my son, Abe, have a better life as a doctor or a lawyer. He's a good boy. He works hard at school and helps us out at the shop sometimes, sweeping the floor.

1940-44: The Nazis have occupied Kovno. They've forced all the Jews to wear a Star of David and to relocate to a fenced-in ghetto. Every day the guards take people away, never to return. This morning--a cold, drizzly autumn day--everyone in the ghetto has to report to Democracy Plaza for an inspection. We have to comply or risk being killed. Where will they take us? What will happen to us? We march to the plaza over streets lightly dusted with snow--Josef, Abe and I, my 66-year-old mother and my sister, Yenta.

That October 28, 1941, Lithuanian guards under Nazi orders killed 10,000 Jews. Feiga escaped. In 1944 she was deported to the Stutthof concentration camp, where she perished.