Moishe was born to a Jewish family in the village of Komarovo, which until 1918 was part of the Russian Empire. At 18, he was drafted into the Russian army and fought in World War I. He was captured by the Germans, and while a POW, learned German. After the war he returned to Komarovo, which by then was part of Poland. He supported his family by farming and managing an estate for a Pole from Warsaw.
1933-39: The few Jews of Komarovo got along well with the Ukrainians. Moishe even played the fiddle at Ukrainian weddings. Germany invaded western Poland in 1939 and the Soviet Union occupied the eastern section of Poland [as a result of the German-Soviet Pact]. Moishe heard stories of German atrocities against the Jews but found it hard to believe. The Germans had treated him decently during the year he was their prisoner in World War I. The Menyuks decided to stay in Komarovo.
1940-44: Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941. Komarovo's Jews heard awful rumors and fled to the forest. Returning for food, Moishe found he'd been robbed. SS guards rounded up Komarovo's Jews, putting them in a ghetto in the nearby town, Kolki, where they were forced to do hard labor. One night in 1942, Moishe and his son were among 40 men locked in a storeroom. The next day they found that everyone in the ghetto had been shot, including Moishe's wife and daughter. The men buried all the bodies. More Jews were brought into the ghetto.
The Germans liquidated the Kolki ghetto in 1942. Moishe was among 600 Jews loaded onto trucks, driven five miles into the forest, shot, and dumped into mass graves.