Meir’s Story

On May 21, 1942, the eve of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, the sudden sound of gunshots woke the Kransnostawski family just before dawn. Soldiers broke into Meir’s house and forced everyone out onto the street and marched them, along with many neighbors, to a nearby gathering point.

“They didn’t let us even get dressed.”
—Meir Kransnostawski

While everyone waited in the courtyard, the Nazis slowly removed the young people and the elderly people from the crowd. Meir watched the Nazis take his mother, grandmother, and siblings. He feared that they would soon be murdered. Finally, with all his relatives gone except his father, Meir wondered whether it was worth trying to stay alive.

After 12 grueling hours, those who remained alive in the courtyard were allowed to leave, but they were not allowed to go back to their homes. They were forced to live in an even smaller area of the town, and had to find shelter among a few run down buildings. Even if they had been able to return to their own homes, by this time their houses had been ransacked and their belongings stolen.

Meir felt numb, but nonetheless made the decision that he must continue. After several months, when he heard that some people were organizing groups of Jews to flee to the forest to join the partisans, he decided to go with them.

“Before dawn, there was already shooting in the town.”
—Meir Kransnostawski

Immediately after Meir’s escape to the forest with the help of Sergeant Kurt, the murder of the remaining Jews of Korets began. It was the eve of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Alone now, Mr. Kransnostawski closed himself in his room. Keeping his promise, Mr. Kransnostawski did not fall into the hands of the Nazis. In defiance, he decided to light the building on fire and commit suicide.