Municipal and Communal Public Library in Nasielsk


Greeting fall with the library
On September 23, the City-Municipal Public Library in Nasielsko began a series of library lessons about autumn. On the first day of the autumn calendar, class 3 a came to us with the teacher Mrs. Justyna Jankowska from Primary School No. 1 in Nasielsko. At the beginning of the meeting, we talked about the first signs of fall and changes happening in nature. Children also learned about how animals are preparing for fall and which ones are stocking up for winter. We also talked a lot about birds, those that fly away from us, those that stay with us for the winter, and those bird species that fly into our country to spend the winter with us. Students also learned the concepts: golden polish autumn, mushrooming and migratory birds.
During a library lesson, the librarian ladies read a poem titled to children. ′′ Babie summer ′′ by W ładadys ław Broniewski, Maria Konopnicka’s ′′ Autumn ′′ by J ózef Chechowicz, Dorota Gellner’s ′′ Autumn walk ′′ and also ′′ About Helena Bechlerowa’s hedge and chestnuts Next, it was time for puzzles and movement games in mimicking animals and atmospheric phenomena, which often accompany Polish golden autumn. Then our nice guests took part in the natural knowledge tournament. The answers to the questions asked didn’t give children much trouble. Each participant received a colorful lesson plan as a reward.
At the end of the meeting, students received an electronic library card, which turned out to be quite an attraction for them. We hope that with the books they rented that day, the autumn s’ rage, short and cloudy days will be warmer and happier.
Miejsko-Gminna Biblioteka Publiczna w Nasielsku

Miejsko-Gminna Biblioteka Publiczna w Nasielsku


Nasielsk KehilaLink

80th Anniversary of the Keidan Massacre

By Aryeh Leonard Shcherbakov
Dear friends,

Since a few of our Keidaners, who do not speak Hebrew, asked me to write this report, I’m writing it this time in English. I apologize in advance to my Hebrew readers. 

This year, a number of Keidan descendants – both from Israel and the USA – intended to come to Lithuania for the 80th anniversary (August 28, 1941) of the mass slaughter of our families and the whole Jewish community of Kėdainiai. For most of them, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this appeared to be too complicated. Nevertheless, the commemoration meeting by the mass grave in Daukšiai village is already a tradition in Kėdainiai, so it took place as usual in recent years. Like back in 1941, this year also, the day of August 28 fell on Saturday. For this reason, the commemoration meeting was moved to August 29.

The last time I was standing in this Valley of Slaughter[1], on this particular commemoration day, was August 29, 1971, exactly 50 years ago, a few months before leaving Lithuania to Israel. It was also Sunday – as our parents were coming to this place once a year, on the first Sunday following August 28 (in the Soviet Union you couldn’t take a day off on any other day). At that time, we were sure that if we ever manage to leave Lithuania, we will never come back to this place. But time passed, the world map and our minds have changed, and we came to Kėdainiai again.

Thanks to the efforts of Rimantas Žirgulis, a director of the Kėdainiai Regional Museum, who actually became our spokesman and representative versus Kėdainiai district municipality, and readiness of the municipality mayor, Valentinas Tamulis, to cooperate, a few changes were made at this mass murder site and the old Jewish cemetery of Kėdainiai:

  • the memorial erected in 1957 by the generation of our parents, Holocaust survivors, was renewed
  • a new memorial plaque was installed (the controversial number of victims was removed. It was added there by the local authorities at the end of the 70s, and was based on the infamous K. Jaeger’s report, disclosed by Soviets in 1963. Since there are other testimonies, and the actual number is difficult to prove now, 80 years after the massacre, it was decided to remove the number at all). The plaque was funded by the Association of the Keidan Jews in Israel
  • the whole site was cleared, a small area around the memorial was paved and a staircase leading to the memorial was constructed
  • the fallen and inclined tombstones at the old Jewish cemetery were raised to the upright position. So, the cemetery, cleaned from weeds and wild vegetation (and freshly mowed before the commemoration day) looks now completely different

Almost 50 people participated in the commemoration.  Among them:

  • a group of people from the Kėdainiai municipality, including the vice mayor Paulius Aukštikalnis
  • a group of fellow workers from the Kėdainiai Regional museum, including its director, Rimantas Žirgulis, and a head of its Multicultural Center, Audronė Pečiulytė
  • a group of teachers and students from the Kėdainiai Atžalynas gymnasium, among them the teachers, Laima Ardavičienė and Aušra Aksomaitytė-Ščiukienė 
  • I‘m sorry not to mention all those whom I do not know yet personally, but must note, that not only people connected to the museum or municipality came to the meeting, but apparently not related people arrived as well. Thus, a young couple, Loreta and Linas Pankūnai with their teenage sons arrived with two national flags of Israel.
  • because of COVID, the Jewish representation at the commemoration was more limited: David Kagan with his daughter Talia arrived from New York, another representative of the Kagan family, Aryeh Leonard Shcherbakov with his wife Mila, came from Israel, Sender Girshovich came from Klaipeda and two representatives of Shneider family – Vitaly David and his son Igor came from Vilnius. Last, but most important, a leading singer of the Lithuanian National Opera, Rafailas Karpis, arrived from Vilnius to take part in the meeting.
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As the vast majority of participants were Lithuanians, the meeting was held – except for the prayers recited in Hebrew – in the Lithuanian language. 

Because of this, I try to translate (not literally, but so as to preserve the essence of the talks) and present here a summary of things being said.

The commemoration meeting was opened at 15:00 by Rimantas Žirgulis. He told that Kėdainiai had seen many tragedies in its history, but this mass murder which happened here 80 years ago, was undoubtedly the most horrible, bloody and brutal event in its history – when a few dozens of Kėdainiai townsmen murdered from two to more than three thousands of Kėdainiai, Šėta and Žeimiai Jews only because they were Jews. „Those people, who lived in our town for more than three hundred years, who were our neighbors, who created this town with us, built it, traded in it, bought in the same shops, who were an integral part ofKėdainiai, Šėta, and Žeimiai communities and their economic life. Because of a crazy idea of some madmen that these people have no right to live, on one single day in the course of a few hours, a few dozen of our Lithuanian fellow citizens guided by several German Nazis drove all those people to this pit – 100 meters long, 3 meters wide and 2.5 meters deep.“ 

To honor the martyrs, Rimantas declared a few minutes of silence. We knew that at that moment, other Keidaners joined us in different parts of the world.

Flowers were put on the memorial and candles were lit. 

Rimantas continued by telling that 10 years ago, on the 70th anniversary of this tragedy, when the memorial iron boards holding the names of the murdered, were erected here, a Jewish Keidan descendant, prof. Mira Sklarew from the USA participated in the commemoration.  A singer Vilma Merkytė performed then „The Songs of Orphans“. Hearing the song, Rimantas felt, that Kėdainiai became orphaned after the war. “Fortunately, out of thousands murdered, a handful of Kėdainiai Jews survived the Holocaust. Therefore today we have a possibility to be with our guests, their descendants, who came from Israel and the USA[2]. Their visit and relations we keep with them are very important for us” – said Rimantas. “Despite all the horrible things that happened here – following which some people totally cut off their ties with Lithuania and Kėdainiai – they came to participate in this commemoration together with us. Moreover, the Israel Association of Keidan Jews brought a present – a new memorial plaque, funded by them and now installed on the memorial. This memorial was erected here by Kėdainiai Holocaust survivors in 1957. It was recently renewed by the Kėdainiai municipality and the whole place around the memorial was ordered and reorganized, looking today completely different, more decent and civilized than it looked for dozens of years, and I want to thank the municipality for this.” 

 On behalf of the Israel Association of Keidaners, I tried to talk in Lithuanian, which I didn’t use for the last 50 years. Because of this and because I didn’t want to repeat things that were already said, I changed my introduction, so the talk went stumbling, but it can be approximately summarized as follows. I told that I’m glad to see that so many people gathered here. “When I came to Lithuania for the first time, 15 years ago, I saw that nothing changed here from the time I left. Nobody took care of Jewish heritage, there were almost no signs that Jews ever lived in Kėdainiai. But about 10 years ago, I’ve discovered two new friends here – Rimantas and Laima, and today, looking at the people who gathered here, I see that we have many more friends in Kėdainiai.  And this is exciting.”

“Each time, when this day approaches (and in recent years we commemorate it simultaneously in Israel and Lithuania), I recall the Hebrew saying of Passover: ‘On this day each of us must see himself as if he came out of Egypt, from slavery to freedom’. On such a day as this, on the contrary, I see myself standing among my family members and other Keidan Jews in this death pit, and with time this feeling becomes more painful. Sometimes people wonder – why to be occupied with these old memories, with those people who are dead for so many years, and nobody can help them today? Then I always recall a book, which I received as a present on my 10th birthday. The book was named ‘The Legend about Till Ulenspiegel and his Adventures’ [3]. It was written in an easy-going manner, as if for the children, and published in the children’s publishing house. But it talked also about hard things, and among others, about Till’s father, who was burnt at stake following a false denunciation by his neighbor. At night, Till sneaked to the execution place, picked up a handful of ashes of his father, and filled with it a small bag, which from that time he always carried on his chest, like a medallion. Whenever anybody started talking to him, Till’s first words were: ‘My father’s ashes are pounding on my heart’, irrelevant of the circumstances and the topic of the conversation. And this is exactly what I want to say here: ‘All these years the ashes of the murdered are pounding on my heart’, and I‘m unable to forget them.”

“I want to add that in all those years after the war, Jewish pain was totally denied by Soviet authorities. It wasdiscarded to such an extent, that the word ‘Jew’ wasn’t allowed to be written on memorials at the mass graves all over Lithuania and the Soviet Union. The same happened in Kėdainiai – ‘To the Victims of Fascist Terror’ was written there for many years. Only by the end of the 70s, a new inscription appeared, saying that Jews were murdered here.”

“Two things are important to us: acknowledgment of the Jewish suffering and pain, and preservation of Jewish memory in Kėdainiai.

Coming in recent years to Kėdainiai, I see more signs of the former Jewish presence in the city, and I want to thank all Kėdainiai people who are responsible for this. First of all – Rimantas Žirgulis from the Kėdainiai Regional Museum, then – Valentinas Tamulis, the Kėdainiai district mayor, Audrone Pečiulytė from theKėdainiai Regional Museum and Laima Ardavičienė from the Kėdainiai Atžalynas gymnasium for their most important educational activity – so that the young Kėdainiai generation knew that other people also lived once in this town, that they were innocently murdered, and that such atrocities should never happen again in the future.“

Finally, according to the old Jewish tradition, I recited psalms and El Male Rachamim to those lying in the common grave.  

The vice mayor of Kėdainai, Paulius Aukštikalnis, greeted all those who came for the commemoration. He told that it is very difficult to talk on such occasions, to find proper words for such tragedy. “This is mainly done by historians. The birch tree by the memorial with an iron rod of the fence passing through its trunk symbolizes brothers and sisters who fell into this pit when lead bullets pierced their hearts. Such tragedy is like a severe burn for a human being. We must always remember this. The second tragedy would be to forget such events. So, we must thank people like Rimantas, Audrone, and other members of this community who do not allow us to forget, who each year remind us of what had happened here, and who organize such commemorations. We will not have proper knowledge of how to create a future without remembering the painful events that burnt us. Forgetting history can lead us to great errors. Although 80 years passed and the blood is soaked deep in this ground, remembering this event is very important to all of us. Politicians should be brought to such places and shown that such things should not happen. Such gatherings and sincere discussions will only strengthen us as a society and allow us to proceed further into the future. You, Rimantas, don’t have to thank the municipality for upgrading this place, but we must thank you for telling us what should be done – so that the history will not disappear. I wish all of us to leave this place remembering what had happened here and reminding the young generation what shouldn’t be done. Only in this way, we will not destroy ourselves.”

Rafailas Karpis concluded the meeting with a breathtaking performance of Kaddish.  


An hour later, being accompanied by Darius Mažintas (piano), he gave a beautiful concert of Yiddish songs in the Town Hall of Kėdainiai. This was one of the best performances of Yiddish songs (in clear Lithuanian Yiddish) I ever heard. 

To get an impression of the event, here’s a link to a set of photographs:

The following report was broadcast the same day during the evening news on Balticum TV – the cable channel covering the whole Kėdainiai district: 

It includes excerpts of short interviews, given separately by Rimantas and me before the event. Although, for those who do not speak Lithuanian, there is a problem…

As a continuation of this memorable day, on September 17, 2021, another event took place in Kėdainiai: “The Road of the Memory 1941-2021”. It was a part of the similar commemoration events in several other small and large towns of Lithuania – marking the beginning of the Holocaust in Lithuania in 1941, when almost the whole Lithuanian Jewish population was brutally annihilated in the course of a few summer and autumn months.

It included a memory march, starting in the park (the former estate, where Jews were kept for almost two weeks before their bitter end) and walking to the slaughter place at Daukšiai village, where the commemoration meeting took place.

In addition to our Kėdainiai friends, who already participated in the commemoration of August 29, Tomas Bičiūnas a member of the Lithuanian parliament from Kėdainiai, Ronaldas Račinskas, from Vilnius, a chairman of the international commission for evaluation of crimes of the Nazi and Soviet occupation regimes in Lithuania, Gercas Žakas, a chairman of the Kaunas Jewish community, and several new other people joined the march. Children from the six Kėdainiai schools (one class from each school) were invited as well. The weather was cold and very windy. It was raining the night before, so part of the road was muddy and slippery. Still nobody complaint. Somebody said: “our inconvenience because of the weather is nothing compared to what suffered Jews walking their last road”. One of the large posters had the following text: “We love the Jewish people. We are in pain because of the Holocaust”.

The commemoration meeting took place by the mass grave. Borisas Kiržneris played violin. Israel ambassador to Lithuania, Yossi Levy, and a cultural attaché of the Federal Republic of Germany, Anja Luther, came from Vilnius to take part in the event: 


A few days ago we received a new present from Laima Ardavičienė and her students.  

In recent years, the Lithuanian Radio and Television (LRT) authority created a series of documentaries about Lithuanian towns and shtetls and their lost Jewish communities.  

The layout of all these documentaries is similar – two young people are walking around the town, discussing various aspects of its Jewish history. 

One of these documentaries was about Kėdainiai.  Unfortunately, there were no English subtitles. In the last months, Laima and her students worked hard to dub this documentary into English. Here you have a result of their work: 

With best regards,
Aryeh Leonard Shcherbakov
a secretary of the Association of the Keidan Jews in Israel

[1] Jeremiah 7:32 

[2] In fact, a few descendants from Lithuania participated in the meeting as well, but we didn’t know that at that moment. 

[3] More precisely: “The Legend about Till Ulespiegel and Lamme Goedzak and their Adventures Heroical, Joyous and Glorious in the Land of Flanders and Elsewhere” was authored by a Flemish writer, Charles de Coster in 1867. Published in Russian in 1956, the book described the Flemish struggle against Spanish oppressors in the 16th century. The atmosphere in the country (Holland) strikingly resembled the one in the Soviet Union under the iron fist of the KGB. It’s a miracle that the book was published there at that time.  


By Aryeh Leonard Shcherbakov

POLIN Museum – Orla Cemetery Marking

Presentations of new markings of Jewish cemeteries in Poland

Prezentacje nowych oznakowań cmentarzy żydowskich w Polsce | Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich POLIN w Warszawie

Click on link below


Orla KehilaLink

Warsaw KehilaLink Is Now Active

For immediate release

I am pleased to advise that we have added my 88th Jewishgen KehilaLink:
We have launched the site somewhat modestly, and trust we will receive many articles including family stories, photos, trees and newsletters.
The Warsaw KehilaLink address is:
If you would like to add your contribution to the site, or have any queries, please email me at
For the list of and links to my 88 KehilaLinks, please visit:
If you are looking for examples of excellent family stories and newsletters, please visit these two links:
The Kimberley site is a successful collaboration between Geraldine Auerbach MBE in London, and myself in Perth Australia, as well as the many individual contributors all around the globe. Your story will be secure on Jewishgen’s server, and can be easily accessed by over 500000 Jewishgen members.
I am also adding a Google Search app within each KehilaLink, making this function more powerful.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Finally, I would like to wish you Shana Tova U’metukah.
Best regards
Eli Rabinowitz
KehilaLink Definition:

Living Memorials

From Tamara Vershitskaya
Novogrudok, Belarus

Dear Friends,

I’m happy to tell you that we are heading towards our Living Memorial project and would like to invite you to join us. I know some of you would have gladly come and here is an opportunity for you to be with us in the Bielski camp again.
Please, see the attachment. You’ll find a short description of the project in the Call and instructions how to participate in the Annex.
My partners and I will be grateful for everything you can share with us. We, in our turn, promise to update you in the course of the project and provide the effect of presence, if the Internet works in the forest:) Otherwise, there will be a 26 min. movie available which will give you an idea about what we do in the forest.
Warm regards from Novogrudok
Tamara Vershitskaya
Call for digital Participation_International exchange project LIVING MEMORIALS_Germany_Belarus_2021_2022 (2)

The Annex

ANNEX_Your contribution_ LIVING MEMORIALS_2021

Naliboki KehilaLink

Ray’s 20th Yahrzeit

Ray (Raele) Zeldin Rabinowitz’s 20th Yahrzeit tonight, 4th Av

To play Mamele on Facebook, click here:

Momele by Cantor Yanky Lemmer – 2 July 2015

Ray was born on 11 May 1919 in Dvinsk, now Daugavpils, Latvia.

She passed away on 24 July 2001 in Cape Town, South Africa

Ray passed away on 24 July 2001.

The last photo

Zoom – The Bielski Partisans Reunion

Travel Series 3 of 5 Hosted by Rabbi Ryan Newfield

Travel Series 3 of 5 Hosted by Rabbi Ryan Newfield

Travel stories shared by Paul Kahanowitz and Eli Rabinowitz with input from others.

Also featuring Eli’s cousin Ferenc Koszeg from Budapest, Hungary and Tamara Vershitskaya from Navarudak, Belarus


Video of Eli’s presentation starts at 18:50 min mark
Eli’s Resources:
Previous Posts:

Academic Article on Orla by Wojciech Konończuk

Author: Wojciech Konończuk — political scientist and historian, deputy director of the Centre for Eastern Studies in Warsaw; specializes in problems of contemporary Eastern European countries, the history of Jews in the Russian Empire and the Second Polish Republic, and deportations of Polish citizens to Siberia during the Second World War. Contact:

Heinrich, Marek, Ray, Eli, Jill & Wojciech at the Orla Synagogue in 2012
Wykazuja_najwyzsza_sklonnosc_do_emigrac (1)

English Translation (Google)

Wojciech Article Adademia Eng Trans
Extract from the above article

Page 7


“They show the highest tendency to emigrate” thousands of other migrants from Lithuania. According to the census of 1911, 47 thousand Jews lived in South Africa, many of whom were Lithuanians, although there were also Jews from Podlasie.

Nachum Mendel Skaryszewski (Rabinowitz) & his brother,  Moshe Zalman Rabinowitz from Orla

An example is Nachum Mendel Skaryszewski from Orla, who first emigrated to Palestine, from where in 1911  he moved to South Africa. After a few years, he was joined by his brother, sister and several other residents of his native shtetl (20) .

Migration level of Jews was so significant that already in 1895,  there were voices calling until the border is closed to them, and South Africa playfully was called the “colony of Lithuania” 21 .

Relatively little popularity before the outbreak of World War I, Palestine, which was part of the Ottoman Empire, enjoyed this manski, where in the first (1882-1903) and second (1904-1914) aliji came over 40 thousand. Russian Jews, including 23,000 in years 1905–1914 22 . They came mainly from the Ukrainian lands, in the most more affected by pogroms at the beginning of the 20th century. Funds from numerous Zionist organizations were gathered to buy land in Palestine, and one of the largest was founded in 1912. Białystok Society Land purchase, supporting the departures of Białystok Jews 23 . As it follows, according to the findings of Gur Alroey, emigration to Palestine was caused by not only the idea of ​​Zionism, but this area was also seen as a potential attractive place to live, and thus the reasons for emigration did not differ from those related to going to the USA 24 . Interesting there is also the level of returns from Palestine, possibly emigration from there to the US or another country was very high and in the period before at the outbreak of World War I, it ranged from 50 to 75 percent. 25  It was from a difficult climate, poverty, limited possibilities of finding work, relative proximity to the migrants’ place of origin, but also disenchantment with Zionism 26 .

20  E. Rabinowitz, Personal Journeys. From One Photograph to Journeys of Research and Discovery , Avotayline Online, August 31, 2016, (access: February 17, 2020).

21  A. Żukowski, Konsekwencje , p. 128; HR Diner, Roads Taken , p. 36.

22  G. Alroey, An Unpromising Land , p. 110.

23  R. Kobrin, Żydowski Białystok and its diaspora , Sejny – Białystok 2014, pp. 67–68.

24  G. Alroey, An Unpromising Land , pp. 61, 233.

25  Ibid, pp. 211-217, 236.

Also further down in the article


Wojciech Konończuk

Table 2. Emigration of inhabitants of Bielsko and Orla to the USA in the years 1885–1914

It should be emphasized that the above calculations do not give the full picture Jewish emigration from both localities, and only provide information about confirmed newcomers to the United States. Uses- the scanned numbers are certainly far from complete for several reasons.

Firstly, as already mentioned, in relation to some of the migration documents, However, the record of a person’s place of origin is unclear or it was written distorted. Thus, it made it impossible the identification of all emigrants from both places.

Secondly, the data included in the table do not include migration from Bielsko and Orla to other countries, which – if data for departures of Jews from the Empire are accepted Russian – was 22 percent. -all migrants.

We have source confirmation of emigration in both surveyed towns Jews living there to Argentina, South Africa and Palestine 43 .

Third, many Jews from smaller towns were leaving, the most first to larger cities, then emigrate from there abroad nothing. As a result, American migration statistics often show their whereabouts, not of origin, appeared. In case of Bielsko and Orla, such a natural center was Białystok 44, 50 km away .

43  For example: in 1905, Aryeh Levin from Orla (1885-1969) emigrated to Palestine, in later years a famous rabbi and teacher; in 1907, Bielski left for Argentina Jew Dawid Abraham Gail (R. Gail, The Gail Family. From Bielsko to Argentina and the USA , “Bielski Hostineć “2019, 2, pp. 63–64); 

in 1911 the above-mentioned Nachum Mendel Skaryszewski, and shortly after him, several other Orla residents emigrated to South Africa                    (E. Rabinowitz, op. Cit.).

Rabinowitz Eli, Personal Journeys. From One Photograph to Journeys of Research and Disco- very, Avotayline Online, 31 VIII 2016, from-one-photograph-to-journeys-of-research-and-discovery (dostęp: 17 II 2020).

A Tragic Romance & Finding Mr Katz
by Eli rabinowitz

A Tragic Romance & Finding Mr Katz

This story is divided into: A Tragic Romance (From One Photograph to Journeys of Research & Discovery) and Finding Mr Katz   Finding Mr Katz by Eli Rabinowitz Finding Mr Katz is an importa…


Heinrich, Marek, Ray, Eli, Jill & Wojciech at the Orla Synagogue 2012