I was honoured to be invited as a documentary photographer to take part in the Lonka Project organised by Rina Castelnuovo among 250 world documentary photographers. Each of us should find and photograph one Holocaust survivor. I found the lady in Nuremberg, Germany, living in a very small flat, alone.

Asya Levit (Yasya Rothenberg)

“Rothenberg Yasya Jakovna, born 1936 in Slavuta, Ukraine. Jew, school pupil. Executed by fashists 27.06.42. Buried in a mass grave in the town Slavuta, Khmelnytskyi district”.

There is such a record in the Book of Sorrow, Ukraine. That day in a town Slavuta happened the bloody massacre, thousands of Jews were executed. The local Jews and those from the towns near-by were rounded up to the square of ghetto to be shot.

“All members of my family, including my 8 y.o. brother, have been shot and their bodies were dumped in a ditch. According to the order of the fascist officer not to waste the ammunition, the jewish children were dumped into a mass grave alive”. 6 years old Yasya Rothenberg has been dumped in a ditch as well, but by some miracle she managed to escape and survive. She was saved by guerrillas and transferred to Yaroslavl (Russia) into an orphanage. She has no memory about this tragic day. She discovered all these facts many years later coming to her hometown Slavuta to get more information about her roots.

Asya Levit (Rothenberg) emigrated to Germany with her husband a long time ago. After death of her spouse she lives in Nuremberg city, sings in the choir of local Synagogue which performs concerts in different countries.

Based on materials of the newspaper “Jewish News” (Ukraine) No. 7 (418) 2009, and according to the narrated story of Asya Rothenberg.

Photos and text by Natalya Reznik www.natalyareznik.com.

The Lonka Project has been inaugurated on January 27, 2020 at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.