Margarita Intriligator, a member of the Vilnius Jewish Community, passed away March 11. She was born March 18, 1950. Our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones.


Liza Lukinskaya, a member of the Vilnius Jewish Community, passed away March 7. She was born May 13, 1920. Our sincere condolences to her family.


Feliksas Teitelman passed away March 5. He was born July 16, 1935 and was a member of the Vilnius Jewish Community. Our deepest condolences to the family of the departed.


Jelizaveta Kacnelson passed away February 15. She was born August 6, 1934. She was a member of the Vilnius Jewish Community. The entire Lithuanian Jewish Community mourns her passing and sends condolences to her surviving family members.


Our deepest condolences to Bagel Shop employee Valentina Kot-Osipian on the loss of her beloved father.


Howard Margol, 92, born in Jacksonville, Florida on February 22, 1924 to Morris and Sarah Margol, passed away on February 9, 2017. He was a veteran of World War II where he participated in the liberation of Dachau, a successful businessman and a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Howard Margol
Howard’s roots were in Lithuania found a true passion in the field of genealogy, becoming one of the foremost authorities on Lithuanian genealogical research. For 20 years he led Roots Tours to Lithuania and helped thousands research their heritage. He served as president of LitvakSIG, initiated and headed the Internal Passports Project and served as chair of Records Acquisitions and Translations. Howard and his wife Esther founded the American Fund for Lithuanian and Latvian Jews to support elderly Jews in Lithuania and Latvia.

May his memory be blessed.


Sara Kučkova, a member of the Vilnius Jewish Community, passed away February 6. She was born December 15, 1919. Our deepest condolences go to her relatives in this time of loss.


On February 3 Moisejus Fišmanas, a member of the Vilnius Jewish Community, passed away. He was born May 7, 1924. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

Architect Leonidas Merkinas Has Died

Leonidas Merkinas passed away February 7. The Vilnius Jewish Community mourns the loss of their long-time member born February 27, 1948. We mourn his loss with his surviving family members, his wife Tatjana and his sons and daughter. Our deepest condolences.

A wake will be held for him tomorrow, February 8, from 11:00 A.M. to 2:15 P.M. at the funeral home on Olandų street in Vilnius. He will be buried at the Jewish cemetery.

Righteous Gentile Gražbylė Venclauskaitė Has Died


On February 1 at the age of 105 attorney and honorary citizen of the city of Šiauliai Gražbylė Venclauskaitė passed away. She was born in 1912 to a notable and special family, each member of which individually and as a family became part of history and inseparable components of the life and growth of Šiauliai and Lithuania. In deepest sorrow the Lithuanian Jewish Community mourns her loss. The Community had been preparing a greeting to her on her birthday, noting all the accomplishments of her and her family rescuing both Jews and Lithuanians. The State of Israel recognized Venclauskaitė’s bravery in saving Holocaust victims, bestowing the title of Righteous Gentile.

Venclauskaitė had become a symbol of the city of Šiauliai, embodying optimism and quick wit, and was a living legend. She will likely be buried next to her father Kazimieras Venclauskis, the first mayor of Šiauliai in independent Lithuania before World War II.


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.


Panevėžys Jewish Community to Mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Dovydo žvaigždė

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.

Event supporters:

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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.

Zygmunt Bauman is Dead


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.

Rav Moshe Shapiro Has Died

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.

Shalom (from Birzh)

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.