Long-time member of the Vilnius Jewish Community Galina Krivonosova passed away January 23. She was born October 4, 1937. We send our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones.
In profound sorrow we report the loss of Vilnius Jewish Community member Vladimir Doskal, who passed away on January 17. He was born November 12, 1985.
Vladimir worked at the Community for a time and was a long-time volunteer in the LJC Social Department. We will always remember him as a very sincere, warm and caring person whose smile and laughter infected everyone in his proximity.
Our sincere condolences to his loving wife and his mother on the loss of husband and only son.
A wake for the departed began at 1:00 P.M. on January 19 at the St. Jurgis Matulaitis Church. The funeral is to be held at 12 noon on January 21 at the Karveliškės cemetery in the village of Karveliškės in the aldermanship of Zujūnai in the Vilnius region.
January 27 marks the day in 1945 when the victims of the Auschwitz death camp were liberated. Auschwitz was the largest concentration camp set up by Nazi Germany where about 1.5 million people were murdered, including children, and approximately 1 million of the victims were Jews, according to the best estimates.
The Panevėžys Jewish Community will observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 26 at the “Sad Jewish Mother” statue on Memory Square at Vasario 16 street next to the Vyturis Pre-Gymnasium.
2:00 P.M. Assembly, wreath-laying ceremony, speeches;
2:45 P.M. Wreath-laying ceremony at the statue “Ghetto Gate” (at the intersection of Klaipėdos and Krekenavos streets);
3:00 P.M. Forum dedicated to International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Panevėžys Jewish Community (Ramygalos street no. 18). Documentary film about the Holocaust.
Let’s remember the heroic rescuers.
Liubovė Pranskūnienė of Pasvalys passed away January 15. She was born on May 27, 1951. Our deepest condolences to chairman Moshe Shapiro on the loss of his beloved cousin.
Polish philosopher Zygmunt Bauman passed away at the age of 91 surrounded by family at his home in Leeds Monday following illness. Bauman was born in 1925 in Poznan (Posen) and in 1939 fled Nazi-occupied Poland for Soviet-occupied Poland. In the Communist Polish military Bauman did political education, took part in the battles for Kolberg (Kołobrzeg) and Berlin and worked in Communist security and espionage institutions.
Bauman took up sociology at the Warsaw Social Sciences Academy after the war and then transferred to philosophy at Warsaw University. He published his first book in 1960. Born to a non-observant Jewish family, Bauman left Poland during the anti-Semitic wave of 1968 and moved to Israel, teaching at Tel Aviv University. He soon moved from there to Leeds where he taught at Leeds University. Since the move to Leeds he wrote in English.
Bauman authored about 50 books and more than 100 articles on the topics of globalization, modernity, post-modernism, consumerism, morality and the Holocaust. His views concerning the Holocaust were extremely nuanced and included at times denouncements of Western Holocaust commemoration as a culture of death and a new religion with its own list of martyrs, “the Names,” intended to act as a sort of surrogate Judaism for the non-observant and Gentiles, or as a completely new religion but offering nothing of value to the human soul. Bauman’s most famous book, Modernity and the Holocaust (1989), draws upon Hannah Arendt and Theodor Adorno’s books on totalitarianism and the Enlightenment. Bauman argues he Holocaust should not be considered exclusively an event in Jewish history nor a regression to pre-modern barbarism. Instead, the Holocaust is deeply connected to modernity and its attempts to impose order. Procedural rationality, the division of labor into smaller and ever more specialized tasks, ever more refined taxa for species and seeing obedience as morally good all played a role in making the Holocaust possible. He said for this reason modern societies have not fully grasped the lessons of the Holocaust. It is viewed, according to Bauman’s metaphor, like a picture hanging on a wall, static, without utterance or meaning.
The late Lithuanian philosopher Leonidas Donskis counted Zygmunt Bauman among his friends and greatly respected his work. In 2007 Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas conferred an honorary doctoral degree upon Bauman.
Our condolences to his many friends and surviving family members.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community reports with deep sadness the death of Rav Moshe Shapiro, the Petirah of Hagaon, the Litvak ultra-Orthodox community’s spiritual leader in Israel. The author of numerous seforim and the noted rosh yeshiva of Jerusalem’s Yeshiva Pischei Olam passed away January 6 at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital at the age of 82 following a lengthy illness.
His father Rav Meir Shapiro with his brother Rav Simkha Ziselom left Lithuania for Israel to study Torah at the Hebron yeshiva. Rav Moshe Shapiro studied both in Panevėžys and at the Hebron yeshiva. His mentors were the Rav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler and Rav Yitzchok Hutner.
By the age of 18 Shapiro already new the entire Babylonian Talmud by heart. The Rav Avrohom Yeshaya Karelitz recommended he intensify his study of the Talmud.
Rav Moshe Shapiro is one of the first contemporary rabbis who performed Jewish outreach, returning Jews to the faith of their fathers and teaching Judaism.
Rav Shapiro visited Lithuania last year and spent some time in towns and cities connected with his family history. When he and Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky met then, he told her the Lithuanian Jewish Community has a great future ahead.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community is deeply saddened by the death of Rav Moshe Shapiro and express our deepest condolences to his family, friends and students.
Baruch dayan ha’emet.
News of the unexpected death of Ruvinas Taicas has reached the Lithuanian Jewish Community. He was born May 19, 1950, and passed away January 4. Our deepest condolences to his family and many friends.
Ruvinas Taicas, a Litvak with deep family roots in Ukmergė (Vilkomir), was one of the last native Jews in his hometown where he spent his entire life, working for many years in a furniture factory.
The entire Community mourn his loss and send our condolences to his widow Fausta, sons Artūras and Mantas, his brothers and all his relatives, friends and colleagues. We wish you strength and fortitude in overcoming the pain of our shared loss.
Executive board of Association of Biržai Firefighters, 1936. First person sitting on left: Boruch Michelson. Third seated from left: G. Belickas. First standing from left: S. Chaitas. Fifth from left standing: I. Masas. Photo courtesy Sėla Museum.
by Borisas Januševičius
This is a greeting among Jews. It is the wish for peace, spiritual peace and security. Lithuanian “sveikas” corresponds to “shalom aleichem,” peace to you [sic]. I heard these types of greetings often in my childhood. Parents—neighbors, Jews—of my friends (in Jewish jargon khebra: meydal and bakhur) used to use them. We also used this jargon, Kučinskų Aliukas, Kėkštų Zenka, Karpuškų Liolė and others, including me. Our chebra, our friends of darker extraction have been lying in the ground in Pakamponys for 75 years now. Their memory is fading fast into the past.
Conflicted Thoughts against the Backdrop of Noble Action
For some time now I have been watching the burgeoning interest in the Jews who lived so numerously in Biržai between the wars. Their mysterious codes are deciphered, projects are planned and carried out and the attempt is made to provide a background of international significance to this activity. The Israeli ambassador, the deputy US ambassador, Lithuania’s chief rabbi [sic], the chairwoman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, the president of the Brooklyn Synagogue, Lithuanian members of parliament, Kaunas archbishop Lionginas Virbalas, representatives of the Jewish communities of certain cities and many others all rushed to Biržai. The men of Biržai donned Jewish “yarmulkes.” The sorrowful hymn of the cantor rang out across the Jewish cemetery. Some of the guests only then learned that there is a place called Biržai in this world with its unique Jewish and Karaite cemetery.
Unfortunately, Sheftel Melamed was not among those who turned, who used to call himself the only surviving Jew in Biržai. Melamed died more than a year ago. Sheftel and his brother went to Russia in June of 1941 and that’s how they survived. When he came to his hometown in 1945 he didn’t find his parents’ home on Vytauto street, it had burned down. Neither did he find the relatives he had left here four years earlieir. His mother Paya, his father Peisach and his brother Hirsh were shot in Pakamponys.
Full story in Lithuanian here.
EJC stands in deepest solidarity with the people of Europe after night of terror
Please find below EJC’s statement following the barbaric attacks that occurred yesterday in Berlin, Zurich and Ankara.
The EJC team
European Jewish Congress (EJC)
EJC stands in deepest solidarity with the people of Europe after night of terror
(Tuesday, December 20, 2016) – The European Jewish Congress (EJC) has expressed its sympathy and solidarity with the nations of those who suffered terror attacks last night which saw the Russian Ambassador to Turkey murdered, a ramming car attack at a Christmas market in Berlin and a shooting in Zurich.
“We are appalled at these senseless and despicable murder across Europe,” Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the EJC, said. “Our hearts are with the victims and their families, our deepest solidarity with the people and our strongest wishes for a full recovery to those injured in these barbaric attacks.”
“Once again we have seen the bloody face of Islamist terrorism in our capitals and in our streets. Let us not just hope that 2017 will be a better year, but let us join together to defeat this scourge and rid it from our societies.”
Dov Levin, scholar and Jewish historian, passed away December 3. The Lithuanian Jewish Community mourns the loss of the great Litvak scholar and extends our condolences to his loved ones. May his memory shine on.
Professor Levin was one of the most accomplished researchers working in Eastern European Jewish community history. Born in Kaunas in 1925, he attended a Zionist school with instruction in Hebrew and was a member of the Youth Zionist movement. He and his family were imprisoned in the Kaunas ghetto. His father Tzvi Hirsh, his mother Bluma Wigoder and his nine sisters all perished and Dov was the only survivor. In 1943 he fled the ghetto and joined the partisans. After Soviet liberation his partisan group, Death to the Occupiers, was moved to Vilnius, and Levin resolved to go to Palestine. He left Vilnius on foot for Israel in 1945. He was part of the founding of the State of Israel and fought in battles for independence. He completed his education and Hebrew University in Jerusalem and received a doctorate in history. He was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Chicago and became director of the Oral History Division of the Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at Hebrew University. Over 50 years he recorded more than 610 interviews with Holocaust survivors from the Baltic states. In 1960 he spearheaded efforts to record the testimonies of survivors in Israel and elsewhere. He is the author of over 520 academic articles and 16 books in Hebrew and English, including Lithuanian Jewry’s Armed Resistance to the Nazis 1941-1945 (1985); Baltic Jews under the Soviets (1994); Lesser of Two Evils: 1939-1941 (1995) and Litvaks: A Short History of the Jews in Lithuania (2000). Most of his work is dedicated to preserving the memory of the murdered communities, the history of the Holocaust and Holocaust denial in the Baltic states.
With sadness we announce the death of Jewish rescuer Antanas Poniškaitis.
Antanas Poniškaitis and members of his family have been recognized as Righteous Gentiles by the Yad Vashem Holocaust authority in Israel. Let his memory shine on. Let gratitude and honor always be upon his name.
Vilnius Jewish Community member Elena Lobanova passed away December 14. She was born February 8, 1935.
We mourn her loss together with her family and loved ones.
Vilnius Jewish Community member Marija Furmanskaja passed away December 12. She was born December 6, 1923. Our condolences to her family and loved ones in this time of grief.
Vilnius Jewish Community member Nadežda Mirskaja passed away December 10. She was born January 21, 1941. Our sincere condolences to her friends and family in this time of shared sorrow.
Word has reached the Lithuanian Jewish Community Dov Levin passed away December 3. Levin was born in Kaunas January 27, 1925. He joined the partisans and left Lithuania on foot for Jerusalem on January 17, 1945. He is the author of numerous groundbreaking works about the Holocaust in Lithuania and about Litvak culture. Our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones on the death of a man who meant so much to so many.
Nadežda Mirskaja, a member of the Vilnius Jewish Community, passed away December 10. She was born January 21, 1941. Our sincere condolences to her loved ones during this time of sadness.
Ana Brodskaja, a member of the Vilnius Jewish Community, passed away on November 27. She was born October 14, 1934. We send our condolences to her friends and family.
We extend our sincere condolences to the deputy head of mission of the Israeli embassy to Lithuania, Efrat Hochstetler, and her family on the loss of her beloved father.
Canadians, Israelis and fans around the world continue to mourn the loss of one of the world’s great songwriters and singers, novelist and poet Leonard Cohen, born in Montreal in 1934 to Litvak mother Masha Klonitsky, daughter of Talmudic writer Rabbi Solomon Klonitsky-Kline, and father Nathan Cohen, whose father came from Lithuania.
Cohen passed away at his home in Los Angeles on the night of November 7, 2016. He was buried in the family plot before his death was announced publicly.
Cohen’s fourteenth and final album, You Want It Darker, was released just two weeks before his death, on October 21, 2016.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community extends our deepest condolences to his family during this time of grief.