Naftali Bernstein

Naftali Bernstein

Born: 1909

Karchai, Lithuania

Naftali was one of six children born to a Jewish family in the small Lithuanian village of Karchai. When he was a young boy, a tutor would come to Karchai to teach the Jewish children in the village. Naftali later began public school in Janova and after graduating he went to an agricultural school. In 1929 Naftali moved to Siauliai, where he worked grading beets in a sugar beet factory.

1933-39: In Siauliai, Naftali lived with his sister, Sara, and her family who ran a dairy store. Naftali was a religious man and together with his sister's family, he attended Siauliai's Landkremer synagogue--kremer meaning "small businessmen" in German. In 1939 Germany invaded Poland. Lithuania, at the time, was still a free nation.

1940-44: In 1940 the Soviets occupied Lithuania. Then in June 1941, German troops, invading Soviet territory, took Siauliai. Naftali was among the thousands of Jews who were relocated to a ghetto established by the Nazis. Beginning in September 1941, groups of Jews in the ghetto were put to work in and around Siauliai. Naftali was put to work in a sheepskin tanning factory. Three years later, Naftali was deported. He was sent to several camps, and finally to Waldlager, a subcamp of Muhldorf in Bavaria.

In Waldlager Naftali died of sickness brought on by hunger and exposure. He was 35 years old.

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