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Azriel Levy, Lithuania

Azriel Levi was born in Shkodvill, Lithuania, to a wealthy, traditional, and Zionist family. He studied in a Heder and local yeshiva, and was a member of Hanoar Hazioni youth movement. After his family moved to Kovno, Azriel continued his studies in a Hebrew gymnasium. In 1940 the Soviet Union gained control over Lithuania, and in June 1941 Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Azriel’s family returned to their hometown and was murdered. Azriel was imprisoned in the Kovno ghetto. He tried to escape with his friends to the forest and join the partisans, but was caught, tortured, and sent back to the ghetto. In 1944, the surviving Jews of Kovno were deported to the Shtutthof concentration camp, and from there the men were transferred to other camps. In the final days of the war Azriel jumped off a deportation train and managed to escape from the Germans. After the liberation he, together with several friends, walked them to the Displaced Persons’ camp in Landsberg, and after a short time was transferred to a convalescent home. From there he moved to Italy, to a large youth village founded by soldiers of the Jewish Brigade. He immigrated legally to Palestine in November 1945. (5:09)