Seduva Jewish Ceremonies

IMG_3874

I was privileged to attend the Seduva Jewish Cemetery Restoration and the two Holocaust Memorial ceremonies.

[gss type=”slideshow” size=”large” options=”timeout=4000″ name=”boland3″ ids=”175289251,175289253,175289254,175289255,175289256,175289257,175289258,175289259,175289260,175289261,175289262,175289263,175289264,175289265,175289266,175289267,175289268,175289269,175289270,175289271,175289272,175289273,175289274,175289275,175289276,175289277,175289278,175289279,175289280,175289281,175289282,175289283,175289284,175289285,175289289″ carousel=”fx=carousel”]

This is what Sergey Kanovich, who led the project, said at the first Holocaust Memorial ceremony:

Most probably it was a sunny and bright morning of August 25th 1941. That was the last morning that Seduva Jews gazed at the Lithuanian sky and seen the sun. Supervised by German nazi officers local neighbours of Seduva Jews became their executioners here and in other places.

Seventy years, even more needed in order to become a witness of little miracle of the victory of the humanity. We are here because we will never forget our sisters and brothers. We will never forget nor the way how they lived neither the way they were brutally murdered. It is the duty of all of us – of Jews and Lithuanians alike – to remember and respect the memory in order to avoid the catastrophe which Lithuanian Jews went through would never come back. To remember and respect – it is our common duty. No matter where litvaks would live – in Australia or South Africa, Israel or Switzerland, Belgium or Canada – we always remember where we came from, we remember our forefathers and we will never forget or allow to forget them. Murderers could not kill our memory. We are back, because our memory is stronger than their bullets. And memory will always prevail.

We wish to thank everyone who made this project a reality

We wish to extend our gratituted to every worker who makes these stones become a memory.

We are here in order to remember the life and death of those innocent who have been murdered. God bless their memory. Yhie zichram Baruch.Amen

Today is a second day of Jewish Holiday Shavuot. Since there are more than ten Jewish men we are obliged to say Kaddish for those who perished. I kindly ask Mr. Simas Levinas to start the prayer..

The photos before and at the cemetery:

DSC_0693 DSC_0708

 

Video:

Rute Anu

The two Holocaust Memorials

DSC_0772 DSC_0762 DSC_0811 DSC_0816

Video:

Part of Ed Glasenberg’s Address

Video:

Kaddish – Sung By Rafailas Karpis

Kaddish – Continued

Lost-Shtetl

Lost_Shtetl Brochure

 

Šeduva

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Šeduva
Coat of arms of Šeduva
Coat of arms

Location of Šeduva

Coordinates: 55°46′0″N 23°45′0″ECoordinates55°46′0″N 23°45′0″E
Country  Lithuania
Ethnographic region Aukštaitija
County Šiauliai County
Municipality Radviliškis district municipality
Eldership Šeduva eldership
Capital of Šeduva eldership
First mentioned 1539
Granted city rights 1654
Population (2005)
 • Total 3,270
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)

Šeduva (About this sound pronunciation ) is a city in the Radviliškis district municipalityLithuania. It is located 18 km (11 mi) east of Radviliškis.

Shadova-Šeduva was an agricultural town dealing in cereals, flax and linseed, pigs and geese and horses, at the site of a royal estate and beside a road from Kaunas to Riga. The population from the fifteenth century was Catholic and Jewish. Until then, Lithuania had been the last pagan kingdom in Europe and allowed freedom of worship and toleration of Jews and other religions.[1] The first Catholic shrine of Šeduva, the Church of the Invention of the Holy Cross, was built and the parish founded between 1512 and 1529. The present brick church Cross was built in Šeduva in 1643 with a donation from Bishop Jerzy Tyszkiewicz of Vilnius. During the 18th century the bell tower was added to the structure, with further renovations and extensions in 1905. Baroque and renaissance architectural styles characterise both the exterior and interior of the church. It has a cruciform plan with an apse, low sacristy and five altars.

During the 15th century the region was redefined as the Voivodeship of Trakai and Vilnius. Later it became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania until the Union of Lublin in 1569 created the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

The Seduva coat of arms were granted on June 25, 1654 by John II Casimir Vasa, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania and at the same time the city was granted burger rights at the request of Maria Ludvika, Queen of Poland. She descended from the Princes of Gonzaga, from Mantua in Italy. The arms of the family showed a black eagle. The small breastshield shows the French fleur-de-lis, because the Gonzaga family was related to the French Royal family. The eagle was made white in reference to the white eagle of Poland.

Evil mill

1792 Stanislaw II August Poniatowski, the last royal proprietor of Šeduva, concluded an agreement with the town’s citizens, giving them rights to be excused from labour on the estate for a fee. In 1795, the year of a terrible fire in Seduva, Lithuania became part of Russia when Poland was partitioned. From 1798, Baron Theodore von Ropp did not acknowledge the rights of Seduva citizens and required of the citizens to perform labour in the town’s manor. The citizens petitioned for their rights to the Russian Senate. In 1812, the Senate passed the decision to recognise the former charters of Šeduva.

Between 1696 to1762, a Jesuit mission, connected with their college at Pasiause, was active in the town, operating a lower school with 96 pupils up until 1828. After an insurrection in 1863 (the January Uprising), all parish schools in Seduva were closed and replaced by public Russian language schools. In the same year a Russian Orthodox Church, designed by the architect Ustinas Golinevicius, was built and in 1866 a wooden Synagogue was added near the central market square.

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Nazi Germany and Communist Russia in August 1939 and the German-Soviet Boundary and Friendship Treaty a month later placed Lithuania under Soviet control. By June 1940 the Soviets had set up a pro-Soviet government and stationed many Red Army troops in Lithuania as part of the Mutual Assistance Pact between the countries. President Antanas Smetona was forced to leave as 15 Red Army divisions came in.

The pro-Soviet puppet government was controlled by Vladimir Dekanozov and Justas Paleckis, and Lithuania was made part of the Soviet Union. A Sovietisation programme began immediately. Land, banks and large businesses were nationalised. All religious, cultural, and political organizations were abolished except the Communist party. 17000 people were deported to Siberia, where many would perish.

The German army invaded Lithuania on 22 June 1941, taking Shadova – Šeduva a few days later as part of Operation Barbarossa. At first the Lithuanian population considered the Nazis to be liberators saving them from the Red Army. The new pro-German Government organized a Lithuanian militia which then became the Nazi’s manpower for genocide. Five hundred years of Jewish life in Shadova – Šeduva ended in just two days of slaughter. Shadova’s Jews attempted to flee east to Russia but were badly treated by Lithuanian nationalists and most returned to their homes. The German forces entered Shadova – Šeduva on 25 June 1941 and were received with flowers by many locals. By the beginning of July, Jews had to wear the yellow Star of David. Jews who had participated in the Soviet rule were immediately arrested and executed. Jews were taken to dismantle the remnants of the munitions factory in Linkaičiai, and were then accused of stealing and executed. Others were forced into labour gangs. They were set to work cleaning the streets and at the warehouses of the rail station. All the work was guarded by armed Lithuanian militi . Next all the Jews of Shadova – Šeduva had to gather in the market place with no more than a small package each, and to hand over the keys to their houses to the police. Under guard. they were escorted at night to the village of Pavartyčiai, five kilometres north-west of Shadova – Šeduva, where they were crowded into two unfinished Soviet barracks surrounded with barbed wire. The Jews were ordered to hand over all their valuables and cash. Some were shot in the next few days.

On 25 August 1941 the remaining Jews of Shadova – Šeduva were loaded on trucks and taken to Liaudiškiai, ten kilometres south-west of the town where the Rollcommando Hamann of Einsatzcommando 3 and Lithuanian collaborators of the 3rd company of the Tautinio Darbo Apsaugos Batalionas were waiting for them. Over the coming two days the entire Jewish community of Shadova was shot and buried in two pre-prepared mass graves. One site was located 400 meters north of the Shadova – Šeduva road and a second 900 meters north west of the same road, close to a path in the forest. The local killers of their Jewish neighbours from Shadova – Šeduva were Ramnauskes, Valavičius, Jonas Tomkus and Klemensas Rožėnas. The lists of mass graves in the book The Popular Massacres of Lithuania, Part II, include the following: Liaudiskiai forest about 10 km southwest of Seduva, one site 400 meters north of the Seduva road and a second site 900 meters northwest of the same road, close to a path in the forest.[2] The Jäger report concludes that Einsatzcommando 3 registered the murder in Šeduva on the 25 and 26 August 1941 of 230 Jews, 275 Jewesses and 159 Jewish children, a total of 664 people.

 

 

Plunge, Salantai & Plateliai, Lithuania

Getting to Plunge

 

Plunge Map

Plungė

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Plungė
City
Plungė Manor
Plungė Manor
Flag of Plungė
Flag
Coat of arms of Plungė
Coat of arms

Plungė (About this sound pronunciation SamogitianPlongė) is a city in Lithuania with 23,246 inhabitants. It has a crab stick factory which exports to many countries in Europe.

Before World War II, Plunge had a large Jewish population (see The Holocaust). Known as Plungyan

History

Sculpture of St. Florian

It is thought that the territory in which Plungė is situated was inhabited in 5th–1st centuries BC. After the Treaty of Melno country seats were started establishing in the forests of Samogitia. From the 14th century to the middle of the 16th century, Plungė was a part of Gandinga volost as an ordinary settlement. Later, the population of Plungė started to grow faster and surpassed the population of Gandinga. In 1567 Plungė was mentioned as a town.

On January 13, 1792, Plungė granted Magdeburg rights. From 1806 to 1873 Plungė belonged to Platon Zubov, and later – to Oginskiai, who built a palacehere in 1879.

During the interwar period there was established gymnasium in 1925 and built railway branch-line in 1932. In 1933 current Catholic Church was consecrated. Since the private hospital was founded in 1939, maternity, surgical sections started their activities. Jewish community composed about 44% of inhabitants whereas about 55% of inhabitants were Lithuanians. According to that Jewish were active participants governing the city. However in events of 1941 almost all Jewish community was destroyed by Nazis.

During the years of the independence of Lithuania Plungė’s economic was based on the factory of fibre flax and cotton Kučiskis – Pabedinskiai and also on the activities of Jewish businessmen and agricultural products made by Samogitian farmers.

After the World War II and soviet occupation, Plungė started to grow rapidly – if the city had 7,400 inhabitants in 1950, in 1990 it had already had 23,300 inhabitants. During the years of soviet occupation, Lithuanians became the majority of city’s inhabitants. According to Government’s Resolution of 1963, Plungė should have become regional centre with a strong industry. However these plans were ruined when it became obvious that the city doesn’t have enough water resources although some high level companies representing various branches of industry were established in Plungė. Most of these companies however bankrupted after the Independence of Lithuania was announced.[1]

The coat of arms of Plungė was affirmed by the decree of the President on June 6, 1997.[2] In 2009 Plungė was elected Lithuanian Capital of Culture.[3] Nowadays Plungė is the sixteenth largest city of Lithuania having 22,287 inhabitants.

 

Gintare at the Tourist Info and Zita at the Public Library were most helpful. Note that Tourist Info is near the railway station and library and not the town square. Zita showed me an Jewish exhibit she had previously run at the library.

Eugene, is the son of Yaakov Bunka, the wood carver and The Last Jew of Plungyan. Eugene gave me an excellent tour of Plunge and surrounding areas.

DSC_5601

IMG_4753

Tombstones representing the cemetery

 Holocaust Memorial

Yaakov’s house which will become a museum

A Holocaust Site on the way to Salantai

 

Salantai

Holocaust Site in Salantai

Plateliai

Eugene’s house with Yaakov’s carvings and medals

Resort and restaurant

Lita Shtetls Memory Garden

www.jbfund.lt

IMG_5229

Watch the video

[wpvideo 5qpFRi8Z]

Heading Back East – Alsedziai

Alsedziai

Telsiai, Lithuania

Telšiai

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Telšiai
City
Telšiai centre
Telšiai centre
Flag of Telšiai
Flag
Coat of arms of Telšiai
Coat of arms

Telšiai (About this sound pronunciation , known also by several alternative names), is a city in Lithuania with about 30,000 inhabitants. It is the capital of Telšiai County and Samogitia region, and it is located on the shores of Lake Mastis.

Telšiai is one of the oldest cities in Lithuania, probably dating earlier than the 14th century. Between the 15th and 20th centuries, Telšiai became a district capital and between 1795 and 1802 it was included in the Vilnius region. In 1873, Telšiai was transferred to the Kaunas region.

Names

The name of Telšiai has been recorded in different forms and different languages throughout its history. Most of them are derived from Telšē in Samogitian dialect. Some foreign names for the city include GermanTelsche, TelschiPolishTelsze;RussianТельшяй, Тельши, Тяльшяй.

IMG_5222

IMG_5224

The Yeshiva

 

Former Synagogues and Other Jewish Buildings

The Jewish Cemetery

 

Telshe Yeshiva

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Telshe Yeshiva
Telshe Yeshiva 1.jpg
Old photo of Telshe Yeshiva, Telšiai, Lithuania
Address
28400 Euclid Avenue
WickliffeOhio(Lake County)44092
United States
Coordinates 41°35′39″N 81°29′0″WCoordinates41°35′39″N 81°29′0″W
Information
Type Privatehigh school
Grades 912

Telshe Yeshiva was a famous Eastern European yeshiva founded in the Lithuanian town of Telšiai. After World War IIthe yeshiva relocated to Wickliffe, Ohio, in the United States and is now known as the Rabbinical College of Telshe, (commonly referred to as Telz Yeshiva or Telz in short.) Telshe in Ohio is one of the most prominent Haredi institutions of Torah study, and is experiencing an influx of students from across the United States

 History

The yeshiva was founded in 1875 in the town of Telšiai (“Telshe” in Russian or “Telz” in Yiddish) to provide for the religious educational needs of young Jewish men in Telshe and its surrounding towns.

The yeshiva was established by three important Orthodox rabbis and Talmudists—Rabbi Meir Atlas, later the Rabbi of Shavel (the Yiddish name for Šiauliai) and the father-in-law of Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman and Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzensky; Rabbi Zvi Yaakov Oppenheim and, who later became the Rabbi of Kelm; and RabbiShlomo Zalman Abel, the brother-in-law of Rabbi Shimon Shkop. They received financial assistance from a Jewish banker in Berlin, Mr. Ovadyah Lachman.

Rabbi Eliezer Gordon

Rabbi Eliezer Gordon

In 1884, Rabbi Eliezer Gordon was appointed as both the rav (head rabbi) of Telz and its rosh yeshiva (“dean/head of the yeshiva”). Rabbi Gordon was a brilliant Talmudist and expert in Torah law. A student of Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, Rabbi Gordon had been appointed by Rabbi Salanter as a maggid shiur (lecturer) in Rabbi Salanter’s yeshiva at a young age. He also served as rabbi in Kelm, and for a brief time inSlabodka (a suburb of Kaunas/Kovno known in Lithuanian as Viliampole). Although Rabbi Salanter strongly held that everyone required mussar study, he made an exception for Rav Laizer.

Rabbi Gordon was not satisfied with a yeshiva that served only the younger students in Telz and the vicinity, and set himself to the task of expanding it.

In 1884 Rabbi Gordon added his son-in-law, Rabbi Yosef Leib Bloch to the faculty and in 1885 he acquired the talents of Rabbi Shimon Shkop.

Both Rabbi Bloch and Rabbi Shkop were innovators in the field of Jewish education, each pioneering new methods and approaches to the study of the Torah (Hebrew Bible), Talmud and Halakha (Jewish law). Together, their methodical formulae set down the foundation for what became known in the world of Torah study as the Telzer Derekh ( the “Telzer approach”).

Rabbi Gordon instituted various innovations, which were cause for a rapid increase in the student body. Among them were designating lectures for specific student levels. Whereas other contemporary yeshivas provided one level of study for all students, Telz provided students with lectures commensurate with a student’s age and understanding. When a student’s standard had advanced, he would advance to the next shiur (class-level). The benefits of such a system are self-explanatory and this system was soon integrated into the structure of almost all yeshivas and remains the accepted structure in most yeshivas worldwide. There were five different shiurim at Telz; Rabbi Gordon delivered the highest shiur. Telz was especially noted for its ability to develop its talmidim in lomdus. Rabbi Laizer Yudel Finkel once stated that every talmud student would be best off studying at Telz, where he can develop his learning skills, for two years, and then studying in another yeshiva.

The yeshiva was originally housed in a building provided by the Telz community; however, student numbers increased so dramatically that larger premises were called for. Subsequently, in 1894 the yeshiva moved into a new purpose-built building. In the same year, the yeshiva added a new subject of study – mussar (“Jewish ethics”). Prior to this, the study of mussar had been a students’ personal prerogative; now, it was a part of the yeshiva curriculum. A new faculty position was created: mussar mashgiach(teacher of ethics). The yeshiva’s first mussar mashgiach was Rabbi Ben Zion Kranitz, a student of Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv. Rabbi Kranitz was very mild mannered, and did not force his students to accept the mussar approach. In 1897, however, Rabbi Gordon engaged a new mussar mashgiach – the dynamic Rabbi Leib Chasman, who instituted a very strict mussar regime in the yeshiva. Many of the students opposed this approach, which caused dissent among the student body. Rabbi Chasman later achieved world renown as the senior mussar mashgiach at the Hebron Yeshiva in Jerusalem.[1]

In 1902, Rabbi Shimon Shkop left the yeshiva to fill the position of rabbi to the community of Breinsk, Lithuania. In 1905 Rabbi Chaim Rabinowitz joined the yeshiva to fill the void left by Rabbi Shkop’s departure. Prior to his appointment at Telz, Rabbi Rabinowitz had served as rabbi to the town of Meishad, and later as a maggid shiur(“lecturer”) at the Knesses Beis Yitzchak yeshiva in Kovno, Lithuania. As with his predecessor, Rabbi Rabinowitz innovated a unique style of Talmudic analysis, which further added to the yeshiva’s reputation.

In 1910, whilst fundraising for the yeshiva in London, Rabbi Gordon suffered a heart attack and died. His twenty-nine years as head of the yeshiva had seen a small town institution grow into a world famous center of Talmudic study. He had stamped his imprint onto the lives of hundreds of young men, many of whom were great Talmudists in their own right. Among his students were: Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman, Rabbi Zvi Pesach Frank and Rabbi Yehezkel Abramsky and others who in turn left their imprint on Jewish society and culture.

Rabbi Yosef Leib Bloch

Following Rabbi Gordon’s passing, his son-in-law, Rabbi Yosef Leib Bloch assumed the mantle of leadership as both rabbi to the community and rosh yeshiva.

Not only was Rabbi Bloch an innovator in the realms of Talmudic analysis, he also possessed a unique approach to Torah study and Jewish philosophy. During Rabbi Gordon’s lifetime, Rabbi Bloch had left the yeshiva’s direction to him, however, with his elevation to dean of the yeshiva, Rabbi Bloch was free to guide the school in the direction and manner of his choice.

Rabbi Bloch did not regard his obligation to enhance educational standards as being limited to the yeshiva itself, and in 1920, he established in Telz primary schools for both boys and girls. In the same year, Rabbi Bloch added a mechina (“preparatory school” ) to the yeshiva. Previously, older students would tutor younger students who entered the yeshiva but were not up to the standard of the lowest class. The mechina was structured in the same fashion as the yeshiva itself with four levels of classes commensurate with the different levels of student advancement. At the time, the notion of a yeshiva possessing its own preparatory school was novel. Today, however, it has become an accepted norm, something Rabbi Bloch pioneered.

In addition to studying an easier version of the yeshiva curriculum, the mechina also featured secular studies, another innovation at the time. This was cause for opposition from the ranks of many rabbis, who were unaccustomed to the idea of secular studies occupying a position in any form of yeshiva. In 1924, however, the Lithuanian government announced its decision to accredit only those rabbinical colleges that possessed a secular studies department. The Rabbinical College of Telshe was the only such institute. It is to be stressed, though, that secular studies did not occupy a place in the yeshiva itself, but only in its mechina.

1922 saw the founding of a kollel (“postgraduate institute”), the aim of which was to train graduates for the rabbinate. Admission was not easy; a student had to display great promise and the institute soon became known as an exclusive school for higher studies. Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Katz, a son-in-law of Rabbi Bloch served as dean (rosh hakollel).

In 1918, a teachers training institute had been established in Kovno; however, the seminary did not achieve much success. The faculty of the academy turned to Rabbi Bloch, renowned for his pedagogical prowess, to take it over, and, in 1925 The Yavneh School for the Training of Teachers reopened in Telz under the auspices of The Rabbinical College of Telshe. This served as a postgraduate institute, with the charter of producing teachers for Jewish schools. The curriculum at the teacher’s institute included educational skills, Hebrew Bible, Talmud, the Hebrew language and literature and mathematics. The school succeeded in supplying qualified and trained teachers of a high caliber not only to the communities of Lithuania, but also to those of greater Europe.

Yavneh Girls High School Building in Telz, Lithuania.

For many years the Jewish community in Lithuania had lacked a structured educational system for teenage girls. Rabbi Bloch felt that such a concept was called for and in 1927 a high school department for girls was established in Telshe. The school found immediate praise and support from many rabbis and community leaders who saw the immense value that such an institute had to offer.

In 1930, a sister institute to The Yavneh Teacher’s Training Institute was opened, offering a two year course to young women who wished to enter the field of education. Like its counterpart, the female division of the school succeeded in producing many high quality teachers who branched out across Europe.

These various schools were all incorporated as a part of The Rabbinical College of Telshe. Thus, under Rabbi Bloch’s leadership, the yeshiva grew to include young primary school students through to qualified professionals, ready to embark on careers in the rabbinate and Jewish education.

A committee was established for the publication of the lectures (shiurim) delivered in the yeshiva and subsequently, the lectures of Rabbi Bloch and Rabbi Rabinowitz were circulated and studied in other yeshivas. The popular acceptance of their novellae in the yeshiva world today, is due much to their circulation in the pre-Holocaust yeshiva world.

In October 1930, Rabbi Yosef Leib Bloch died, and his second oldest son, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Bloch succeeded him as both Rabbi to the community and rosh yeshiva.

Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Bloch

Students of Telshe on Purim 1936.

At the time of Rabbi Yosef Leib Bloch’s passing, his son Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Bloch was only thirty eight years old; however, he had been lecturing in the yeshiva since 1926 and had already acquired a name as one of the greatest minds in the rabbinic world.

Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Bloch’s two brothers: Rabbi Zalman Bloch and Rabbi Eliyahu Meir Bloch also occupied positions within the yeshiva. All remained dedicated to continuing with their father’s educational methods and approach.

In 1931, a committee was established in the yeshiva for the furtherance of Jewish education. The committee’s goal was to ensure that traditional Jewish education was available to as many Jewish children as possible. The committee saw the organization of schools in small towns where there had previously been little or no structured system of schooling. Older students in the yeshiva were selected to teach for periods of time at these schools, following which, they would return to continue their studies at the yeshiva. In addition to providing many communities at large with new educational options, these schools also gave Telzer students another opportunity for self-development and growth.

Exactly one year and a day after the passing of Rabbi Yosef Leib Bloch, Rabbi Chaim Rabinowitz died. Following Rabbi Rabinowitz’s death, his son, Rabbi Azriel Rabinowitz was appointed as a rosh yeshiva. Rabbi Azriel Rabinowitz was only twenty-six years old and was already an acclaimed illui (“genius”).

In 1933, the yeshiva built a new building to house the mechina (“preparatory school”). Until the onset of World War II, the yeshiva continued to offer traditional Jewish education to all ages. The establishment of schools outside of Telz had furthered this goal.

The Holocaust

In 1939 when the Russians enter Lithuania, they eventually closed down the yeshiva. Most of the students dispersed with only about a hundred students remaining there in Telshe. The learning was done in groups of 20-25 students studying in various batai medrashim (“small synagogues”) led by the rosh yeshivas.

During the early years of World War II, Rabbi Elya Meir Bloch and Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Katz were in the United States on a fund raising mission. As the war broke out, their only option to ensure the longevity of the Yeshiva was to transfer the whole yeshiva to American soil. In October 1940, a group of students led by Rabbi Chaim Steinescaped from war-ravaged Lithuania as it was overrun by the Nazis. This daring flight took place on the Sabbath. While travel is ordinarily prohibited on the Sabbath, one may transgress this prohibition in order to save lives and escape great peril. The original faculty, their families and most of the student body left behind in Europe, were killed in Lithuania by Nazi forces and Lithuanian collaborators. Escaping to Russia as the war ravaged Eastern Europe, another war was taking place in the Pacific- the very direction that the students led by Rabbi Chaim Stein were headed. The students achieved safe passage via the Trans-Siberian Railroad to the Far East. The group had somehow acquired visas from the renowned Chiune Sugihara, and became beneficiaries of his admirable action to risk his life so many persons from war-torn Europe were given the opportunity to seek refuge elsewhere in the world. Shortly after, the students traveled to Australia. Being that there were some students that were British subjects in possession of British passports- such as Rabbi Shlomo Davis, their visas were granted. Upon arrival in Australia, they were greeted by the small but vibrant Jewish community in Brisbane. As they planned out their next course of action, the group of students reached out to improve the Jewish quality of life amongst the native Australians. Amongst this group was Rabbi Chaim Stein, who later became Rosh Yeshiva in WickliffeOhio, Rabbi Shlomo Davis who became a teacher and later a senior administrator for the students registrar (retired and living in Lakewood, New Jersey), and Rabbi Nosson Meir Wachtfogel, who later became mashgiach ruchani of Beth Medrash Gevoha in LakewoodNew Jersey. This group found their way to the United States in early 1941. Once reunited with their Roshei Yeshiva, Rabbi Elya Meir Bloch and Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Katz, they eventually settled in Cleveland, Ohio.

From the Curonian Spit to Palanga

Overnight in Klaipeda and then on the car ferry to the Curonian Spit.

The picturesque drive to Juodkrante and Nida

Thanks to Robin Michaelson of London for suggesting I visit this area.

Essential are a smartphone i.e. iPhone, GPS and Google Maps.

My Google Map

IMG_4556

Curonian Spit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Curonian spit)
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Curonian Spit
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Pilkosios kopos1.jpg
Type Cultural
Criteria v
Reference 994
UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 2000 (24th Session)

The Curonian Spit (LithuanianKuršių nerijaRussianКуршская косаGermanKurische NehrungLatvianKuršu kāpas) is a 98 km long, thin, curved sand-dune spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast. Its southern portion lies within Kaliningrad OblastRussia and its northern within southwestern Lithuania. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site shared by the two countries.

Curonian_Spit_and_Lagoon

 

The Lutheran Church in Nida. Axel’s Hebrew is better than mine!

The Thomas Mann House in Nida

Thomas Mann

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thomas Mann
Thomas Mann 1937.jpg

Mann in 1937
Born Paul Thomas Mann
6 June 1875
Free City of LübeckGerman Empire
Died 12 August 1955 (aged 80)
Zürich, Switzerland
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, essayist
Period 1896–1954
Genres Novel, novella
Notable work(s) BuddenbrooksThe Magic MountainDeath in Venice,Joseph and his Brothers
Notable award(s) Nobel Prize in Literature (1929)
Goethe Prize (1949)

Signature

Paul Thomas Mann ([paʊ̯l toːmas man]; 6 June 1875 – 12 August 1955) was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist and 1929 Nobel laureate. His highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas are noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intellectual. His analysis and critique of the European and German soul used modernized German and Biblical stories, as well as the ideas of GoetheNietzsche and Schopenhauer. Mann was a member of the Hanseatic Mann family and portrayed his family and class in the novel Buddenbrooks. His older brother was the radical writer Heinrich Mann and three of his six children, Erika MannKlaus Mann and Golo Mann, also became important German writers. When Hitler came to power in 1933, Mann fled to Switzerland. When World War II broke out in 1939, he emigrated to the United States, returning to Switzerland in 1952. Thomas Mann is one of the best-known exponents of the so-called Exilliteratur.

 IMG_4597

Nagliu Gamtos Sand Dunes

One can see the mainland and the Baltic sea from same spot

With Trisha

IMG_4579

Hill of Witches

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

One of the wooden sculptures in the park

The Hill of Witches (Lithuanian: Raganų Kalnas) is an outdoor sculpture gallery near JuodkrantėLithuania.

It is located on a forested sand dune about 0.5 kilometer west of the Curonian Lagoon, on the Lithuanian Seaside Cycle Route. Begun in 1979, it has been expanded several times, and now contains about 80 wooden sculptures along a series of trails. The artists drew on a long tradition of woodcarving in Samogitia, and on the equally long tradition of Midsummer Night’s Eve (Joninės) celebrations on the hill. The pieces depict characters from Lithuanian folklore and pagan traditions.

Woodcarving symposia are held at the park on a regular basis, and new works are added. Admission is free.

The Car Ferry back to the mainland.

Visit to the Jewish Centre and Cemetery in Klaipeda

Feliks Puzemskis, Chairman of the Klaipeda Jewish community and visiting chairman of the Kaliningrad Jewish community, Daniil Kofner were very helpful

Kaliningrad (RussianКалининградIPA: [kəlʲɪnʲɪnˈgrat]), formerly called Königsberg (GermanKönigsbergRussian:КёнигсбергOld PrussianTwangste, Kunnegsgarbs, KnigsbergLithuanianKaraliaučiusPolishKrólewiec), is a seaportcity and the administrative center of Kaliningrad Oblast, the Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea. The territory borders on NATO and European Union members Poland and Lithuania, and is geographically separated from the rest of Russia.

Kretinga

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kretinga (About this sound pronunciation GermanKrottingen) is a city in Klaipėda CountyLithuania. It is the capital of theKretinga district municipality. It is located 12 km (7.5 mi) east of the popular Baltic Sea resort town of Palanga, and about 25 km (16 mi) north of Lithuania’s 3rd largest city and principal seaport, Klaipėda.

The population was listed as 21,421 in the 2006 census. It is the 6th largest city in the ethnographic region of Samogitia and the 18th largest city in Lithuania.

I found the address of Lesley Abelsohn’s granny using my iPhone, Google Maps and Lesley’s email:

“My granny Toby Rostovsky Grupel

Rostovsky family lived at:  3 Birutes  g   (taken off the postcard that I have!!)  Kretingen!!”

 

I also found the cemetery using GPS and some detective work.

Please note that these are only a selection of my photos and videos.

Comment if you would like to see more on any topic.

IMG_4618

Palanga Holocaust Memorial – difficult to find in a massive park. Make sure of the right entrance.

IMG_4624

Palanga

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Palanga (About this sound pronunciation GermanPolangenPolishPołąga) is a seaside resort town in western Lithuania, on the shore of the Baltic Sea. It is the busiest summer resort in Lithuania and has beaches of sand (18 km long and up to 300 m wide) and sand dunes.[1] Officially Palanga has the status of a city municipality and includes ŠventojiNemirseta,Būtingė and other settlements, which are considered as part of the city of Palanga.

The Palanga Mall down to the beach

Some old images from Palanga

Palanga on Lithuanian coast.3

Palanga on Lithuanian coast.5

On the road to Liepaja, Latvia

And that was the end of a long day!