This book was written by former Jewish residents and survivors of Yurburg to help preserve the memory and knowledge of their beloved destroyed community. It was published in 1991 in Israel by the Organization of Former Residents of Yurburg, chairman: Shimon Shimonov (Shderot David Ha'Melech 1, Tel Aviv, Israel; cost was $30 in 1993). The book is mostly in Hebrew, with a five page English summary. Consequently, until now most of the contents have not been available to the English speaking community. Here we are attempting to provide translations to the public. Translated pages are reproduced here with permission from the Organization of Former Residents of Yurburg.
Copyright © 1997 by Joel Alpert
Those of us who lost relatives from the town of Yurburg never knew what happened to them; now fifty years later, we learn the horrible truths.Click here to find our how to view the Yurburg Yizkor (Memorial) Book at the U.S. Holocaust Museum Library and the Hebrew College in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Are you interested in any of the untranslated material, willing to help in the translation, or want to contribute to having material translated? Here's how to help. Any help or interest is appreciated to accomplish this task.
The book of Remembrance for the Jewish Community of Yurburg is presented with great respect for the survivors of the community and for their children and grandchildren to the last generation.
The Book of Remembrance is not a historical documentary of the Jewish people in Yurburg, but a collection of authentic testimonies of the survivors of this special community, which arose from the smoke of the Holocaust. The experiences and impressions of the life of the community have been kept alive in the memory of the writers since their youth, and constitute the nucleus of the book.
None of the authors, once residents of Yurburg, are professional writers, yet in their own styles and best individual efforts they have presented personal impressions of the modest lives of their fathers in the community's time of prosperity. Only very few managed to escape from the snare of the Nazis, and from these survivors we learned of the desperate position, and the despair brought on by the hopelessness of their situation, as hell's torment opened before their eyes.
The story of Yurburg is striking, yet very sad. For more than three months of cold- blooded murder, the sadistic beasts annihilated the community, cutting it back to the very roots. These visual memories are horrifying. This Jewish community, hundreds of years old, was blotted out by demonic cruelty under the skies of Lithuania. The "civilized" world calmly watched and condoned this horrible persecution, not only by not rising against, not crying out against and not protesting against it, but added to the crime, pouring salt on the wound by actually giving assistance to the murderers. The burden of shame on the whole world and on the neighbouring Christian-Lithuanians will last forever because of their hypocrisy and lack of conscience.
The frightening horror of Holocaust shakes every cord of heart and soul. As long as the earth stands it will not cease telling the story of these terrible deeds. How women and children were taken to death chambers ... how numerous groups of men died in mass graves in the old Jewish cemetery . . . how aged, weak and infirm people were buried anonymously somewhere between Yurburg and Rassen. Why ? Why ? Why ? Women were beaten, mothers humiliated, they and their innocent children on their last journey to the Schwentshani forest, were shot to death while their babies wept in their arms, and then were dumped into their last resting places ... These terrible Holocaust stories bring hatred to the eyes of the survivors of the community and do not give peace to their souls.
In the Book of Remembrance the only personal testimony of the days of the Holocaust is that of a young woman and a man, who escaped from the grip of these human scum, and they tell us their awful story. A story of hell, is written in the book. >From the history of these two survivors we learn of the people of the community, who were cruelly persecuted by these savage people.
We will remember the terrible stories of our beloved ones forever and revere the memory of these unfortunates as long as their descendants live. How desperately the unfortunate mother of the escaped girl cried out in the last moments of her life: "Revenge, mein Tochter, revenge! But is revenge possible?" Our poet Haim Nachman Bialik said:
We will not forget, will remember the victims of the Nazi German murderers and their Lithuanian helpers. The blood of our beloved ones cries out from the earth and demands remembrance forever.
With thanks and appreciation we thus acknowledge the help of our dear friends who kindly made possible the publishing of the Book of Remembrance - and most of all that of our brother and beloved friend Shlomo (Sol) Goldstein, resident of Yurburg, a survivor of the Holocaust and only survivor of his family, who lives in the U. S. A., but whose heart and soul are in Zion. His great contribution made this publication possible.
It is our pleasure to express our thanks to Dr Alexander Ullman, a true Zionist and friend of Israel, the director of the Rochester Hospital, the husband of Feia (Feigele) - Faye Schrage Ullman, the daughter of Hannah Feinberg-Shraga (Helen Schrage) from Yurburg, who contributed handsomely toward the publication of the Book of Remembrance.
Also we want to thank former residents of Yurburg in the U. S. A., especially Diana (Daniella) from the Berezanar family, and her husband Morton Tobin for their contribution toward the publication of the book.
And finally our dear friends of The Society of Yurburg in Israel especially our friend Shoshanah Pullerewich - who together helped with the material of the Book of Remembrance, thus enabling it to be published for our community - the community of Yurburg, not forgotten.
Shimon Schimonov (Schim'onov) Zevulun Poran Chairman of the Society of Yurburg Editor of the book
The Book of Remembrance, is presented to its readers, by the community of Yurburg, in Israel and abroad, and contains a wide range of testimonies describing the city and its surroundings, its family homes, its Jewish citizens, its important people and images, their material and spiritual culture, their way of life and their everyday experiences.
Therefore, in order to help the reader get a clear picture of the book, and a better understanding of the main events in it, we thought it right to divide the book into seven chapters or subjects ; each chapter emphasizes part of the image and life of the community. All the chapters together compliment one another and give a complete picture of the city and its Jewish community.
THE FIRST CHAPTER - the city and its environment on the shores of the Neiman river - is made up of articles and written records of the city of Yurburg, its history, its pastoral view and the life of its Jewish residents there. Within the text, the reader feels the great love of those who were raised in the city, for the countryside, for the exceptionally beautiful views - the forests, the rivers, the parks, the bridges and particularly the great river Neiman, which was the source of life and the channel which linked the residents of the city with the rest of Lithuania. Also the city itself - Kovna Street, and the busy trade centre.
THE SECOND CHAPTER - families in Yurburg - contains exciting small articles of the authors' families. We look into the intimacy of family life, and sense the security and happiness of the individual. From this we learn of the family, of their relationship toward one another, of their ordinary lives during weekdays, and particularly of the Sabbath and holidays. Within the frame of the family, destinies were sometimes decided - days of happiness and joy of life merge with the days of suffering and mourning. All within the family ...
THE THIRD CHAPTER - dignitaries and personalities - offers some interesting descriptions of important people, residents of Yurburg, whose work was influential in the community. A great number of them established the community, everyone according to his ability working for its good. Included were rabbis, writers, doctors, philanthropists, teachers, artists and others. They deserve that we remember their work. We are very sorry that this list is not complete. The one presented in the book was only found with great difficulty. All those others who would have been able to tell about the work of the notable people and the visionaries of the community, have passed away.
THE FOURTH CHAPTER - culture and the formation of the community - expresses the spiritual life of the Jews, "for man does not live by bread alone . . . " The struggle of the physical existence does not preclude the concern for the spiritual life. Education and the passing on of experience was a prime concern of the community. Synagogues were open for prayer and for learning the Torah. Public life was active and colourful, and many were accomplished in the cultural arts.
IN THE FIFTH CHAPTER - the youth and their activity in Yurburg pride in the youth of the community is expressed. Sports and scouting played an important role in the young people's lives. The Zionist atmosphere had a great influence in establishing the image of the young generation, so much so that the majority of them joined the Pioneer Youth movements. The aspiration of going on to the pioneer training programme in order to receive the Certificate of Aliyah to Israel was the driving force of the young generation. Love for Eretz Israel was great and the Zionist ideal occupied the mind of almost every member of the community.
THE SIXTH CHAPTER - destruction of the Jewish Yurburg - is an hair raising chapter of the great tragedy which took place in the last days of the Jewish Yurburg. As the Nazi commandos broke through to Yurburg, the sun went down on the community. During three months of great horror all Jews of Yurburg were viciously persecuted and most of them killed. Out of the whole wonderful community, only one or two managed to survive. The Jews of Yurburg were the first to be annihilated because they lived near the German border. The glory of men's lives were trodden into the dust under the boots of the murderous Nazi barbarians and their Lithuanian helpers, who lacked human decency and conscience. The blood which was spilled in the streets of the city and in the surrounding forests, the blood of these tortured and violated people, cries out to us -
THE SEVENTH AND LAST CHAPTER of the book - survivors of Yurburg perpetuate their community - tells of all that was left of the people, those who survived this bell, of the escape to Israel and abroad, and of those who are now fulfilling the will of those holy souls, through the documentation of their heritage and the story of their disaster told to future generations. The survivors of Yurburg, who found deliverance in our country, remember also that their fathers prayed and awaited redemption, full of faith and hope, but did not see it. Therefore, in order to perpetuate their memory, the Yurburg survivors established memorials in the land of their dreams, and they are :
In the holocaust Museum which is on Mount Zion in Jerusalem we printed on the memory board the atrocities which the Nazi attackers did to our community. We also planted a memorial forest for the members of our community in the area of Modi'in, a forest which is a living monument forever ; and there in the shade of the trees fathers will tell their sons the story of calamity, of torture, of the days of slaughter and the destruction of the community of Yurburg.
At the conclusion of this book, it is my pleasure to thank Professor Dov Levin, who contributed from his expert knowledge of the Holocaust and provided me with important archival material.
My appreciation goes to my dear wife Zipporah who has faithfully assisted me during all the drafts and revisions of this book.
Zevulun Poran The Editor
Translated by Surko
[photo caption -- 1940 - The great fire in Yurburg. Among the streets is standing the Hess family]
Our house was consumed by smoke and flames and was totally destroyed. Not only our house, but also those of all our neighbors was burnt, and many others in the neighborhood, all of which housed Jews ...
Ours was one of the first houses to catch fire -- we couldn't rescue a thing. Then the fire spread from house to house and devoured them all, there was no stopping it.
Jews tell that the fire was set, starting in the Feinberg's mill and then spread to the Israelite dwellings in our city. Since we lived near the Feinberg's I could hear (and it continues to resound in my ears) the shouts and horrid cries for help [Yiddish] "Feinberg's mill is burning". By the time people realized the enormity of the magnitude of the tragedy, the fire had already taken hold of many houses, including ours.
All in Yurburg knew that this shameful deed was done by the Germans of Semelninkan(?) together with the Lithuanians in response to the Russian decision, in 1940, to annex Lithuania as part of the USSR. The arson was also directed at the Jews to warn them not to cooperate with the Soviet government. We, the Jews, were the scapegoats, sacrificed for hatred ...
The result was very destructive and sad. Our family and others were completely homeless. We were forced to camp outside in the Zarda(?) near the Neiman.
After that we lodged in one room of the Naviajaski house on Kovno St. Housing conditions were very difficult; there was a great shortage of housing for the victims of the fire. In the end -- we were forced, after a few days, to leave Yurburg and move to Kovno.
It was hard to leave Yurburg. The images of our burnt houses were always present with us. This saddened us greatly. I loved Yurburg, the beautiful and pleasant town. It seems to me that there are none like Yurburg, like its flowing rivers -- the Neiman, the Mituva, the Imstara(?), that created the freshness and unique lush environment.
As I remember there was in Yurburg thriving communal life. Its inhabitants lived in a feeling of unity and friendship and helped each other out.
Our city Yurburg, is engraved in our memory, while I still breathe I will not forget it. I will always imagine it as it was before the fire, broad and beautiful.
[star in the page]
Once the Nazis attacked Lithuania and till today, it is difficult to forget my family members that perished in the awful Holocaust. Each time I think of them I suffer the loss. An entire family lost and is gone.
KOVNO STREETRabbi Arie Leibzig Gut Freyman Eliezer Minzer Avraham Hamenski, non-Jewish Jasonski Haim Natan Yosifer Hasneh Shapira Heselkovitz Shachne Pollak's tavern Israel Mazur Menuha Goldstein Gutstein family Heishel der Tepaer (potmaker) Rabbi Arzik Yosifer Hasloviz Ephraim Frank Malka Patrikanski Yehuda-Leih (Alter) Bernstein Leib (Leon) Lipinski Hersh pastry store Tilla Weizman Fiedler Mordehai, barber's shop Golden Rubinstein Judge Bishko, candy factory Pulovin Soloviechik Eliashevitz Meir - (Grocery) Grinberg Mordehai Grinberg Yosef Commerce Bank (Shmerel Bernstein) Perlman Mordehai (store) Lipinski (store for drinks) Fin Hershel Fin Pharmacy Frank Yoel Weinberg Krelitz Moshe(Bagel Bakery & lived upstairs) Mordehai Kommel's house Hotel Aharonson Shachnovitz Pinhas - Book store # Jaswonski (variety store) # Zarnitzky (hat & cap shop & lived upstairs) # Hana - Itse Mayer's Sausage shop Shmulovitz (butcher shop) Yudel Koshlevski (leather shop) Peer David Raizel Levin Beker brothers Israel Mazur (leather shop) Meir Krelitz Beyle Bernstein (Shmerel Bernstein's sister) Yehiel Bernstein Yente Bernstein (Shmerel Bernstein's sister) Blumental # Pictured on lower photo of page 33 of Yizkor Book
TRANSLATION OF PAGE 498Berman (soda factory) Leshets Yakov-Moshe Zalman Neviaszki Yakov Pulerevitz Natan Pulerevitz Leizer Pulerevitz Natan Valdislevovski Zaider Moshe Berkover Eliezer Abramovitz Zussa Bader Mordehai Pina der Staller (carpenter) Barchik Malchik Furcht Yakov Margolis Mersh Beyleh Kagan Yakel Meirovitz Hina Beylis Rassel Gamler Zelig Baiman HaParosh Rabbi Akiva Hina Telzek Natan Verbelovski Baiman family Temke Hasselson Shlomo Pulerevitch grocery Eisenstatt Liba Kantor Glazer Hershel Eliyahu Naividel Leah Ravel Christian house of prayer Chertok (the tailor) Beker Zvi Kobelkowski Yekutiel Kobelkowski Pazrintski Zalman Pazrintski David and Baruh Tene Levinson Rabinovitz Yudel Shmulovitz Yereahmiel Pollak Tuvia Meras Telzek (sausage shop) Weinstein Mendelovitch Mordehai Kobelkovski Gershon Kobelkovski Zeev Portnoy Yehuda Aharon Minzer Aharon Yehuda Hotel Hershel Fein The Main Synagogue Bible school Moshe Eliezer Beker (the attendant) Hostel for the poor Yizhak Kobelkovski Yehuda Berkover Zundelevitz Shmariyahu Hasselson family Benjamin Feinberg Lipski's store (Gut) Shimonov Alter, dentist Koplov - Shugam Koplov, dentist Rikler, pharmacy Tarshish (Rosa Birger's brother) Purva (textile store) - Tarshish's brother-in-law Niviaski Zvi
TRANSLATION OF PAGE 499Bernstein (hardware store) Levitan Meir-Zusha (textile store) Rochzo Shimon (grocery store) Pulerevitz (bicycle & jewelry stores) Simna (stationary store) Kopelovitch (barber) Vitko Yakov Dov (store) Ruven Olshwenger (hardware store) National Yiddish Bank Haim Yosef Kobelkowski Goldstein Moshe Haim Putnoisheitel Henia Feinberg Leizer dem Deins (store) Naividel Ruven (bicycle shop) Naividel Rivka (Puckale) Feinberg Meir (George Feinberg's father) Yosepovitz Haim Zvi Brezner Mordehai Sara Verbelovski Greibski (leather store) Meierovitz Shmuel Lubin Dov (barber) Eliashav (grocery) Yoslit Tzadok Leiba Popkaimer Plier Akiva Berkover Shimon Rozen Hillel Appelboim (leather store) Rabbi Shlomo Gershon the Zadik Berman the tinsmith Zvikis store Arpachsander Spetel Kratsmer Moshe Machel the ironer Polak Avraham Gery's tavern - non-Jewish Feinberg Gavriel Feinberg family Hesselkovitz Yizhak Hassel cinema Leiba Hesselkovitz Baiman David Yizhak Tuvia Ess Salmon (tailor) Apriaski Haim Mintser family Liepziger Izhak Ess Meirovitch house (Hershele Klein) Levin Mordehai - on the other side of the bridge
UGNAGISIO (fire brigade) STREETMichelovski Haim Peisabson Dvora Karabelnik David (Cheka's father) Michelson Mordehai Haim Siger (the teacher) Rizman Shma-riyahu Zalman (der Wollkratzer-cleans wool) Yozopovitz (the policeman) fire brigade Hillel Skirstmonski
KLISHU (Klisher) STREETRabinovitz Ossip Doctor Gerstein Natan Abramson (photographer) Bilman's tavern Post Office
TRANSLATION OF PAGE 500Kalman Fridland Moshe Levin Zeev Levin Milkreit (non-Jew) Meirovitz Eliezer Aba Silver Peres Moshe Minvitz Haim Zusman Levitan Aba Verblonski Shvadis tavern Sara Posk Yarovski Moshe family Leizer Meirovitz (Dem Dajan) Liba Elchanan Levinsohn (the watchmaker)## Koplov Zalman Zecher family Kizell family ##(Jack Cossid' s great-uncle)
USIMSTRE (beyond the river) STREETBerkover Shlomo Berkover Jona Yakov The Lithuanian Gymnasium Hillel Danilevitz Michelson Graivski Altman Berkover Yudel
HAMECHES (customs) STREETNatan Kaplan Zilberman Haim Levinson Shraga Zofras Kushner Aba
YATKAVER (Butcher's) STREETReuven Ess Moshe Yosef Ess Stuck Arie-Leib (bakery) Aba Kaplan Appelboim Reuven Hersh, bakery The butcher (Shohet) Arie Shlomovitz Wilenski Shimon Shimshon Avraham Kovelkovski, bakery Die Bulverlech (potatoes) Synagogue on the name of Feinberg Yakov Mintser Haim Eliyahu Eliashov Rochzo Shimon Rochzo Israel Kaplan Ita Dov Brezky (bathing house) Eliezer Chosid (Jack Cossid's father & family) Moshe Kropinski Synagouge Eliyahu Shmulovski Zvia die Zuchne (the clean one) Moshe Ess Zvi Kobelkovski Moshe Kaplan Ess Nachman Hasselson family Berski family Abermovitz David Kobelkovski Izhak Avraham Pollak Fruchter Daniel Megidovitch Zelig
TRANSLATION OF PAGE 501Tova die Huchzige (happy-go-lucky) Vassiliov tavern Stern Wolf Avraham Bar Abramson Eliashevitz Meir Megidovitz Hana Fruma Kreid (bakery) Yudel Frank Tova Tirtsa Michelson Zvi Michelson Baruch Michelovski Rachel Kaplan (butcher shop) Shimon Nacha Kaplan Aharon Arie Kaplan Mordehai Kaplan Sheina-Lea (the caring) Yakov Ess (butcher shop) Dov Mar (butcher shop) Zelig Kopelkovski Shia der turk (the Turk) Miasnik family Moshe Shmulovitz Yosef Ess Dov Ess The Chasan Alperovitz Mordehai Ess Moshe Beer (the tehilim sayer) Aba (the coachman) Yakov Stern Arie (Liba) Shtuk Peer family Eliezer Eliashov Jonatan (the Melamed) Yeheskel Vilonski Haim Ruven Danilevitz Dr. Krolinski Daniel Ess Friedlander (bakery) Shlomo Levin Zvi (Hersh) Ess Shulamit (Shlomo) Moskover Hertz (grocery) Shmerl Pollak Shlomo Pollak
RASSEINIV STREETGoldstein Yossi Hemia Eliyahu Miasnik Talmud Tora (school) Mendelevitch Natan Michal Lashetz Israel Markovitz Zusa Danilevitz Tova Pollak Dertvin Shmuel Dertvin Zalman Ita Saks Yudel Koshlevski Bershtenski Bezalel Berkover Shimon Berkover Tuvia Asher Zaider Yerachmiel Shmulovski (tailor) Melech Kaplan Sara Hana Koshlevski Shmuel Piva Weizman Liba Portnoy
TRANSLATION OF PAGE 502Aba Zilber Yosef Bokar Mina Glazer Moshe Ordel Gabronnski Yodkovski Yisrael Levenberg Yisrael Kovlkovski Yakov-Shlama Weinberg Eliezer Miklovski Moshe Feldman Leah Kovlkovski Yehezkal Yaffa Alchanan Vladislvovski Neskala Photographer (?) Goy Zedov Beit (house) Arzik Nachmis Aharon Varbalovski Gavriel Levin Beit Hamtvchaim (Zamski Nz'lnik) Beit Hkrovot Chaim Dovid Rosenberg Hillel Fiedler Mordechai Most Rabbi Avraham Dimant Eta Fagen Leeba Fras Chaim Kzav Natan Aronovski Dov Luvovski Eliahu Yokovizer Yisrael Zilber Rebecca Most Yosef Melnik Gittelson Simna Family Anzel Family Varbalovski Yeker Lobeen Hershel Weinberg Sodak Shlama Arnian Yacov Arnshtein Zdtah De Kachen (Maged) Eta Feekin
SODU GATVA (GARDEN STREET)Moshe Kaplan Amnoal Koplov Beit (house) Yekeial Bernstein Aharon Smolniks Chana Frank Herzel Gymnasia (Hebrew High School) Alchesendrovitz
GERMAN STREETBrogovski Drugstore Shimon Zandelovitz Mordechai-Arye Mazur Meegal Kruger Mordechai Freedman Tzvi Stock Kopel Guttman Sharmiahu Bernstein, Head Commerce Bank
My family lived in Kovna street, (Kaunas). Following are the names of the members of my family:
Reuven - grandfather on my father's side.
Moshe - grandfather on my mother's side. Bila - grandmother on my mother's side.
Harry - father Chaim; mother Cheina(?)
Brothers - Yerachmiel(?), Michael, Yaacov, Yehezkial, and Reuven.
Sisters - Ethel, Batsheva, Rachel, Chana.
Fate of my family, the fate of all of the families in our community was bitter. Almost all of them were murdered by the Nazis, and the cruelty and assistance of the Lithuanians.Members of my family who were murdered in the holocaust are:
Harry - Chaim and Cheina;The few that survived are:
My brothers Yerachmiel, Yehezkial, Reuven and their families
My sister Batsheva and her family - her husband Eliezer and her son Moshe.
My sister Ethel Aronovski and her husband Alter (rest in peace);My family is gone and I live with pleasant memories of the past. I remember everyone. My father, the head of the family, that was busy all his days in trade, and my mother the housewife. The way of life in the house was religious-traditional. Father prayed in the Great Synagogue.
My brother Yaacov who lives in Tel Aviv.
The inclination to Zionism was contributing to the national funds, Keren Hayesod (Foundation Fund) and Keren Hakayemet. And of course my parents also donated to funds to help the religious, in particular for the needs of the poor. The children respected the parents and kept the traditions. In the house we talked Yiddish. It was a pleasant and lovable house.
I was born in 1910. I studied in the Hebrew Gymnasium in Yorburg .I was a member of Hashomer Hatzair (Young Watchmen). In agricultural training (hacshara). I was in the Yarkenheim of Memmel. I made aliyah in 1932. I was a member of Kibbutz and participated in its activities. Currently I am a housewife, and live with my family in Givatayim.
My family - who survived the holocaust - my brother Yaacov (druggist); Rachel - housewife. Ethel in an old age home.
These are my family members:
My grandfather, Berl-Feivel and my grandmother Sarah BerlovitzRelatives of my family:
My father, Yitzhak and my mother Devorah-Leah (1871) Leiptziger
My sister Rachel (1994) and her husband Moshe Hess
My sister Chana (1899) and her husband Menachem Gittelsohn
My brother Tzvi Leiptziger (1896) who emigrated to the United States
My brother Eliezer Leiptziger (1903), a lawyer and is wife Fania (nee Kretchmer)
Members of the Kretchmer Family: Sonia, sister of FaniaMy Family Members and Relatives Killed in the Holocaust:
My aunt Menucha Goldstein, My cousin Shlomo Goldstein (1914)
My Uncle Hirshel Leiptzigerv
My Mother, Sisters Rachel and Chana, my Aunt Menucha GoldsteinFamily Members Who Survived:
My uncle Hirshel Leiptzer
My Brother Eliezer Leiptzer, his wife Fania and their children Tuvia and Ezer, may their memory be a blessing (they were killed in Ponivzh [Panevezys]). Eliezer was the principal of the Hebrew Gymnasia there.
The parents of Fania and her sister Sonia
Shlomo Goldstein - the son of my aunt Menuchah Goldstein - today in the United States in Chicago, an industrialist, Zionist leader, benefactor and important donor to the Jewish National Fund.
Among the survivors I must add myself as well. I survived by emigrating to Israel. I was born in Yurburg (1909). I studied in the elementary school and in the Hebrew gynasium. I completed my high school studies in Vilkomir, because at that time there were not yet higher grades in the Hebrew gynasium in Yurburg. With the completion of my high school education I studied in the "Tarbut" Teacher's College (Tarbut was a network of schools emphasizing modern Hebrew culture). Ideologically, I belonged to the Zionist Socialists. The way of life in our home was traditional. My family members were active Zionists. I use to converse with my brother Eliezer in Hebrew. My family spoke amonst themselves in Yiddish.
I loved my home, where friendship and mutual devotion reigned supreme. I shall never forget the holidays at home and their lovely atmosphere.
Yurburg, our city, will never be gone from my memory - the hikes within the bosom of nature, the wonderful scenery, boating in the rivers and bathing in the Neiman River. That was a wonderful world, which was and is no more.
I made Aliyah to the Land of Israel in the year 1936. There I joined Kibbutz Afikim in the Jordan Valley. I worked in agriculture, in child-care, in instruction and education. My husband, Yitzhak Porat (Poritz), may his memory be a blessing, worked in agriculture, managed the accounts, and instructed the young kibbutz members in the founding of the local school. As for my family, there is my daughter, Raziah, a member of Kibbutz Yotvatah, a teacher in the high school; and two twin sons, David and Yonatan. David is a biology teacher and is involved in the farm's activities. Yonatan is a physical education teacher. And these are what constitute my portion from labors in this land.
March 18, 1982
Pinchas Shachnovitz's home was situated in the center of Yorburg, in a big stone building. He and his family lived on the top floor of the building, and on the first floor was his stationery and book store. This store was the center for Hebrew and Yiddish book lovers, and at that place sort of a committee was formed for the prominent Jewish citizens of Yorburg, who used to gather and discuss worldly subjects, especially news from Eretz-Yisrael (the Land of Israel) - and eventually of course discussions about the new book...
Pinchas Shachnovitz, an intelligent man and impressive looking, was in the center of the discussions; he talked slowly and in a relaxed way, as if divinely inspired. And at that "shrine of the book" one could also look at a Zionist Yiddish newspaper as well as books written by Hebrew writers, and natives of Lithuania. Pinchas Shachnovitz, who came from a family of writers (see page 231 of the Yurburg Memorial Book for an article on Pinchas's brother Zelig Sachnovitz), was also interested in the Hebrew revived literature which was different in its style and contents from the Enlightment literature, which he felt close to in his youth.
At that time, during the 1920s, when we met Pinchas Shachnovitz, he was already well known as a writer. And as we found out in "Hamelitz" (the first Hebrew periodical of the Enlightment and the "Hovevei Zion [Lovers of Zion] " in Odessa Russia 1860-1904), he was a fast correspondent who sent his writings for publishing on Lithuanian Jews, including Yorburg. His Hebrew was a bit flowery and his style was that of the period. During the editing of the Memorial Book we read a few of the articles sent by Pinchas Shachnovitz to "Hamelitz", which were mostly up-to-date. From the articles it seems that in his youth he was a trustworthy correspondent involved in the life and happening of the Jewish community in Yurburg and Lithuania in general.
During our studies in high school we knew Pinchas Shachnovitz to be a modest man, one of the prominent Jewish citizens of Yorburg, a public person sensitive to people's pains, always ready to assist and help to solve problems. As a Zionist, according to his views, his main interest was Eretz-Yisrael, its development, problems and needs. He was involved in every Zionist enterprise, which could contribute to the developement and construction of Israel.
Pinchas Shachnovitz did his utmost for the Hebrew High School which needed encouragement and financial assistance, as it was difficult to keep up such an institution in a relatively small town like Yurburg. Nevertheless the Jewish Zionist community took upon themselves this heavy burden, with the understanding of the importance and value of this national-cultural institution for the Jews of Yorburg. The high school was kind of a mini-university, which contributed to the entire Jewish population, and was the pride of the Jews of Yurburg. Pinchas Shachnovitz was also interested in the activities of the Zionist youth. While his daughter, Frieda, as a member and a counselor in the Jewish Scouting movement - Hashomer Hatzair (literally: Young Watchmen), he learned to know this movment and identified with its pioneering goals. Frieda went through all the stages of the pioneer training leading to her immigration to Eretz-Yisrael, to which her father gave his consent, encouragement and praise. [ a photo of Frieda and her father Pinchas Shachnovitz appears on page 254 of the Memorial Book]. And indeed, one day Frieda immigrates to Eretz Yisrael and joins the nucleus of Hashomer Hatzair movement of Lithuania, which is the nucleus of the kibbutz (group) founding Mishmar Zvulun, later becoming Kfar Massarik. Frieda adjusted very well to the kibbitz, marrying her friend David and adopting a very symbolic last name - Zvuluni. When their son was born he was named Ilan, Ilan Zvuluni, grandson of Pinchas Shachnovitz of Yurburg. Pinchas Shachnovitz who followed his daughter's life in the kibbutz was extremely happy. He was very pleased to receive letters from his daughter and had great satisfaction on hearing any news and developments of the kibbutz. But the happiness did not last for a long time. One morning the skies of Yorburg were covered with the darkest clouds. Hitler invaded Yurburg, which was located 9 km (5 miles) from the German border. And within three months, in the summer of 1941, the entire Jewish community was completely destroyed. People who read the article "The Old Synagogue Tells" by Pinchas Shachnovitz may learn that as soon as Hitler came to power, Pinchas Shachnovitz had the feeling that this would be the end of the Yurburg Jewish community, even before it happened...and with this feeling he joined the departed.
Charles Tabakin (husband of Pinchas's grand-daughter Feiga) related on May 6, 1995, that he and Feiga were married in the Kovno Ghetto during the war. She was also called Fanny. During an action in the ghetto she was taken and sent by train to the Stutthoff concentration camp near Danzig. Charles found out from her mother, who survived the war, that Feiga did survive until the liberation of the camp but died a few days later. Charles was in Dachau for ten months, and was very sick at liberation; he was taken to a hospital by a doctor from Kovno. Charles also related that he was an officer in the Lithuanian army and saved Pinchas Sachnovitz (Feiga's gransfather) from an action by the Nazis and he later died a "normal death" in the ghetto (taken it to mean that a "normal death" means that he was not murdered outright).
I was born in Yurburg (1904)  to my parents Meir and Tova. We lived on Kovno Street. My father had a store and was a salesman.
I remember about my family - my grandfather Meir Naividel and my grandmother Rachael. My brother Hillel Naividel (1905) - a lawyer. My stepmother Fania and her children - Reuven, Shalom, Chaia, and Fruma.
My relatives - aunts: Rivka Litmanand Pola Gurvitch.
All members of my family were killed during the Holocaust in Yurburg. My wife Cherna in Stutthof and my daughter Elinka in the Kovno Ghetto.
Saved: My brother Hillel ( died in 1969), my niece Rachel Naividel-Gershovitz, a doctor, who lives in Kfar Sava.
The way of life in our home was traditional. My parents used to go to services in the Old Synagogue. My father was a member of the "Poalei Zion" (Workers of Zion). We donated to the Karen Kayamet (Jewish National Fund). At home we spoke Yiddish and Russian. After the death of my mother, I was raised in my grandmother's home.
I studied law in the U.S.S.R. I was an attorney. Today I an retired as well as my wife. Our son David is a student. I live in Beer Sheva.
(Note added: Mordechai Naividel died in Israel in 1993)
March 28, 1982 Mordechai Naividel
Notes added by Regina Borenstein Naividel: (It is resumed that these mistakes were made in the intrepretation of Motel's handwriting or in the editing of the book.)
1. Motel was born in 1903.
2. Motel's grandfather was Shalom.
3. Fania and Meyerelia had only 3 children: Chaia, Reuven and Fruma. (Possibly Shalom died young and was not remembered by others in the family.)
4. Gita and Bella advise that the name of Motel's aunt was Chaia Rivka Lipman (not Litman).
5. Motel was raised by his aunt Pola, not his grandmother.
6. Motel's son's name is Benjamin, not David.
It is almost the sole remnant of the rights solemnly promised to the Jews of Lithuania ten years ago: An autonomous network of schools subsidized by the state. All the other rights and privileges were aimed at improving the economic and spiritual conditions of the Lithuanian Jews. The Jewish community councils that were to operate autonomously were appointed according to the old Russian pattern; the Rabbis were again appointed to administer the population registration, and once again, there is no nationwide Jewish council and no minister of Jewish affairs.
What remains is what already existed before: reminders of past good times, memorials to folk art and community life. In Yurburg, the Old Synagogue, a wooden structure, remains the main point of attraction for the Jewish traveler. No reliable data exist on the "age" of this house of prayer. Based on its architectural style and its location, it probably was built towards the end of the 18th century. The unique cupola above the dais in the center of the sanctuary and the Holy Ark deserve special mention.
The aged Rabbi Dimant serves as head of the community. He is famous far beyond the borders of Lithuania.
(Free translation by Joseph Valk, son of the late Matatyahu Valk, a native of Yurburg)
When evidence was taken in Vilna in the year 5353 (1593), the book "Questions and Answers" reports, it was told that her husband was killed in the customs house of Jurberg - Yurburg - a town southeast of Memel and northwest of Kovno.
Following is the story on "hearing the evidence," which was written in the Yiddish language which then was in its infancy...
This shows that a Jewish community existed in Yurburg as early as in 1593.
... The third session of taking evidence, in the Rabbi of Lublin's Q&A (chapter 7), also refers to an "agunah" [deserted wife], "the wife of Yehuda son of Cathriel, brother of Nathan, Kerpel," and mentions the evidence taken in Vilna in the year 5353, which is 1593 ("... as stated in said evidence taken in the Holy Community of Vilna on Tuesday, the 20th of Tamuz, 5393"). The agunah did not receive the "get" [divorce] very quickly, because four years later, in 5397 (1597) we learn more details about this case from evidence given by one Reuben son of Shmuel, who tells that he had heard about the deceased "at the customs house in Jurberg, which is none other than the Lithuanian town of Yurburg, southeast of Memel and northwest of Kovno: "And so, the evidence given on Monday, the 15th of Shvat, 5357 , by the witness Reuben son of the late Shmuel [in his language, German] was: It is now three years when at the customs house at Jurberg T had heard from several non-Jews who blurted out that Feivel (Pavel) was killed (may God revenge his spilled blood); his own son-in-law told me several times that Feivel was killed at Jurberg and that is the place where he was killed."(Edited by - Paz)
From the history of these rabbis we learn that some of them, who left Yurburg, were appointed rabbis of large and esteemed communities. Among the Yurburg rabbis were heads of yeshivas and gifted writers who left behind valuable books in field of Jewish learning. The chief rabbi of Yurburg was always a luminary, steeped in the halakha [the part of the Talmud dealing with religious laws], esteemed and honored by the public. One must not overlook that a good number of learned Jews lived in Yurburg, who were Torah scholars and not just any rabbi could be the first among them. In addition to the rabbi, the Yurburg community had a Dayan' [judge under Jewish law], who also performed administrative duties, such as keeping the community register, etc. He, too, was expected to be well versed in Jewish learning.
We have compiled the list of Yurburg rabbis from a variety of sources, including from the Book of Lithuanian Jewry. We hope that the following compilation of short articles on the Yurburg rabbis of last generations will give us some insight into their personalities, their esteem and the work they did for their community.
Among Yurburg's rabbis: Rabbi Aizik son of Rabbi Eliezer; Rabbi Aryeh- Yehuda-Leib; Rabbi Moshe son of Rabbi Shmuel Levinson (5621-5645 [1861-1885]); Assistant Rabbi Zetev-Wolf Shteinfeld (5639-5640 [1879-1880]); Rabbi Yehezkiel Lifshitz (5649 ); Rabbi Abraham Dimant; Rabbi Chayim-Reuben Rubinshtein, may God avenge his blood (the auther of "Divrei Reuben" [Sayings of Reuben].
In the name of this community I address myself to the rabbi sages, who may wish to come here to occupy the Rabbinate seat, that they should not hurry here, to our town, to prevent any disputes in this town; in particular since our community will not wish to make the appointment to the Rabbinate as if it were a piece of property. The rabbi who will be selected after careful consultation and is found to be worthy and the right choice to be the Rabbi, he will be given the honor and called to come here, and in this manner both the rabbi's and the community's honor will be enhanced.
From the "Hamelitz" newspaper, No. 92, of August 18, 1886
With the help of Prof. Dov Levin, who is currently editing "The Register of [Jewish] Communities in Lithuania" at "Yad Vashem," we obtained records important for documentating the functioning of the Yurburg community. These documentary materials have been brought to Israel from Jewish historical archives in the United States.
Now, copies are available to us of the minutes of meetings the Yurburg Community Council held during its early days of activity. After reviewing these minutes we deemed it appropriate to publish summaries from them dealing with the elections to the Yurburg Community Council and with the functioning of the council.
Following are the deliberations of the Council members, their considerations and resolutions. The deliberations were conducted in Yiddish. We are quoting the essential items in Yiddish and the explanations in Hebrew.
8 lists of candidates were submitted to the Community Council, namely:
1. Non-party list: Jacob Beiliss; Chayim Chatzkelevitch; Joseph Rabinowitz; Aba Silber.
2. Orthodox: Rabbi Abraham Dimant; Mordechai Kammel; Abba Kaplan; Israel Pulovin; Reuben Hirsh; David Dimant.
3. Butchers: Dov-Ber Mer; Shimon-Nachman Kaplan; Ephraim Telzak; Leib Shtock. 4. Bikur Cholim Society [Society to Aid the Sick]: Nathan Revel; Jacob Tumis; David Werblowski; Zalman Neviazhski; Shlomo Shneider; Moshe Kretchmer.
5. "Mizrachi:" Yitzhak-David Alperovitz; Leib GUt; Benjamin Feinberg; Ber-Leib Shtock; Eliezer-Baruch Frank.
6. "Tzetirei Zion" [Young Zion]: Chanan Lintupski; Ida Friedland; Shmaryahu Bernstein; Shachnovitz.
7. "Chevra Bachurim" [Men's Group]: Yitzhak Beiman; Tuvia Berkover.
8. Workers: Leib Portnoy; Motl Gut; Daniel Kuchter; Abraham Rechtza; Joseph Levitan; Tzadok Joffe; Bunim Portnoy; Moshe Shmulovitz; Leizer Chosid (Jack Cossid's father) ; Yudl Frakt; Yerachmiel Shmulovitz.
>From the minutes No. 1 of the Community Council we have learned that the first meeting was held at the Talmud-Torah [Religious School] building on July 16, 1924, at 9 p.m. 8 elected council members attended the meeting. 3 were absent Rabbi Dimant, Greenberg and Lintupski. Only one "item" was on the council's agenda - The structure of the Community Council, in other words, the council's organization-
1. Election of the Officers of the Council - Chairman, deputy chairman and general secretary.
2. Election of the chairman - the proposal is to elect Shimonov, who is not a member of the Community Council, but was elected by Jews to the Yurburg Municipal Council; Shimonov is known as a man active on behalf of the town's population.
Resolution: Alter-Mordechai Shimonov is elected unanimously to serve as chairman of the council. Election of the deputy chairman - the proposal is Alperovitz or Moth Gut. M. Gut (Workers) is elected deputy chairman by majority vote.
Election of the general secretary. The candidates are Pinchas Shachnovitz and Joseph Levitan. When a misunderstanding arose among council members - probably after a tie vote - no resolution was adopted. The council will again take up the election of the general secretary at the next meeting. The meeting was then adjourned. The minutes are signed by Shimonov, chairman of the council.
... Minutes No. 3
On the agenda - the elementary school. Chairman: Shimonov.
1.The members of the council discussed the claims of the elementary school's teachers that their salaries had not been paid in full last year
. Resolution: After discussion, it was resolved that in principle the council does not have to assume the debts of third parties, but from a moral point of view the council believes it has a duty to solve the problem, so that the teachers would not be treated unfairly. The council's arbitration committee will study the problem and will endeavor to satisfy the teachers, since the debt is not large.
2. Report on the instructional and educational activity of the school. Mr. Shlomovitz, member of the school board, was asked to give a review on the school's problems. This was done.
3. The language of instruction at the school. A sharp and lengthy debate ensued on this important subject. In the end, the following resolution was adopted, which we have copied verbatim from the minutes because of its importance. "The language of instruction shall be Yiddish. In addition, Hebrew shall be taught extensively, as well as religious studies. The teachers shall be impartial in the school."
The meaning of the resolution is that most subjects will be taught in the Yiddish language, but Hebrew and religious studies will also be taught extensively. The teachers in the school must be impartial.
It was resolved to elect a school committee which will deal with its problems. However, since time is short, it was decided that in the meantime the council's executive committee will deal with matters affecting the school and will confirm the hiring of teachers who will commit themselves to teach in the spirit of the Community Council's resolution.
With this the meeting was adjourned. The minutes are signed by Shimonov.
Actually, no resolution was passed on the language of instruction, either because there were no impartial teachers or because of the desire of the majority of parents to provide the school's students with a Hebrew and Zionist education as a preparatory stage for admission to the Herzl Hebrew High School in Yurburg. The elementary school indeed did join the network of "Tarbut" schools in Lithuania, which teach the subjects in Hebrew in a nationalist and Zionist spirit.
An additional document we received contained a notice sent to the council members of August 17, 1924, calling the councilmen to a meeting which was held in the Talmud Torah building at 8 p.m.
1. Election of the general secretaryFollowing is a list of members of community council, from which we get an idea of the names of its elected members
2. The elections to the Municipal Council
3. Election of the education committee
4. Election of the budget committee
5. Registry (of births, marriages, divorces, deaths,etc.)
6. Current matters
All members of the Community Council are requested to be punctual.
With courteous greetings - M. Shimonov, Chairman
1. Rabbi DimantWe are missing the minutes of the third meeting of the community council, just as the minutes of the following meetings are also regrettably missing. Still, we believe that even what little material has reached us allowed us to get an idea of the events involving the community in Yurburg and its problems during the period of Jewish-national autonomy in the state of Lithuania.
2. Mordechai Kammel
3. Dov-Ber Mer
4. Yitzhak-David Alperovitz
5. Chanoch Lintupski
6. Leib Portnoy
7. Mordechai (Motl) Gut
8. Daniel Kochman
9. Abraham Rechtz
10. Tzadock Joffe
11. Zusman Levitan
12. Pinchas Shachnovitz
13. J. Greenberg
Jewish autonomy in Lithuania and the activities of National Council were terminated at the end of the 1920s, when the Tauteninkai Party, an extreme nationalist party, came to power, suspended the rights of the national minorities and obstructed their economic, cultural and social progress.
Translated (into Hebrew), rewritten and edited - S. Poran
A report on the activities of the Yurburg Community Council, from "Yiddishe Shtimme" [Jewish Voice], Kovno, No. 1559 of November 11, 1924.
Our Community Council, finally established after a lot of pain, consists of 5 workers, 3 Zionist- businessmen, 2 orthodox, 2 Democrats, 1 Tzetirei-Zion, 1 Mizrachi, 1 butcher.
Since it was established, the Yurburg Community [Council] has held 5 meetings, all of which ended up in quarrels. Here, because of a seat on the executive committee, there, because of something else. But with the last 2 meetings the end has come to the "short term" Yurburg Community Council.
The entire actual work of the council consists in that it has taken control of the Yurburg elementary school (Talmud Torah), in order to support it, alongside the government subsidy, because 70% of the children attend free of charge. Yet no budget has been set up. There is not even an office and the civil registry books and the official stamp are kept by the chairman. And it is because of the budget that the council has broken up.
The budget amounted to Lit 1900 a month. And the high school has also asked the community for a monthly subsidy. But since the high school is a private institution (?), the subsidy was deleted. Outside persons were invited to one of the meetings at which the tax and the allocation of funds were to be discussed. A large number of councilmen, who felt insulted that the allocation to the high school had been deleted and with aid of the outsiders, caused a commotion, saying that the total budget is too much of a burden on the town and every item in it should be deleted. They claimed that the elementary school should not get such a large amount, because in reality it is not an elementary school, but a "Talmud Torah" and a Talmud Torah could raise money from synagogue attendance. Moreover, there is no need to have a school doctor. And the same applies to money for the library and "Maccabi" [sports club]. Wouldn't the children of the well-to-do be ashamed to take money from the community?..
Money for the community council office? A 'melamed' [religious studies teacher] could be hired who would do the work for a song. Social assistance? There is a "Bikur Cholim Society" (where you can get a pinch of tobacco as a remedy...) and with these and similar clever inventions they attempted to tear the entire budget apart, except for pocket money. The workers faction therefore found it was necessary to leave the community council.
This excerpted article supplements the preceding article on the "Yurburg Community," which was based on the minutes we had received just before we finished editing this Memorial Book. The articles supplement each other and give us some idea about the short-lived days of the Yurburg Community Council. As is wellknown, an extreme nationalistic party came to power in Lithuania at end of the 20s, which put an end to the autonomy and also to the Jewish community councils all over Lithuania.
With a heavy heart, I mourn the members of my family, my parents, brothers, sisters and relatives, who were murdered by the evil German Nazis and their Lithuanian henchman - with terrible cruelty.
We shall never forget the barbaric acts of horror and we shall not forgive the murderers. These are the members of my family; may they rest in peace:
My Father: Eliezer Chosid
My Mother: Golda (my step-mother)
My Sister: Miriam-Rivka, her husband Eliahu Miasnik and their children
My Sister: Chaya-Bila and her husband Pinchas Fields
My Sister: Batya (Basa) -Rachel
My Brothers: The twins - Zalman-Yitzhak and Moshe-Ze'ev
My Aunt: Daba Luria, her husband Yerachmiel and their son, Salman-Schnior
My Aunt: Tirza Kropinski and her children - Pinchas and his wife, Yehudit
My Aunt : Sarah Fasia, Yehuda and her little daughter Miriamele
My Uncle: Daniel Hess and his wife Mina, daughter Batya Eichman and their child Lucy
My Uncle:Aryeh Mailer, and his son Moshe-Aharon Hess
My Uncle: Zvi Hess, his sons Dovid-Lieb, Moshe-Yitzhak, Haim-Avraham and their children Hehama Eichman, Aharon Segal and their children
My only daughter: Fasia-Tsipa (Tziporelah), who was killed at age three and a half.
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