Russia: New downloadable tourist guide to Jewish Kaliningrad (Königsberg) — a walking tour

My dear friends Ruth and Michael Leiserowitz have done incredible work in restoring the Jewish History of Königsberg and indeed the Jewish heritage of what used to be East Prussia.Kaliningrad2

Today read about their walking tour of Jewish Königsberg  at https://jewish-heritage-europe.eu/2019/11/07/russia-new-tourist-guide-to-jewish-kaliningrad-konigsberg/?fbclid=IwAR3tXKEEuajM4k60cus6Slh5bxRttXP9rsHpqmbyX8RAeyzfWF32eK86g9o

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          Please visit their site https://jewsineastprussia.dehttps://www.facebook.com/Jewsineastprussia/

and their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Jewsineastprussia/

 

 

 

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Commemorating Holocaust Day in Vilkaviskis September 2019

Below is the English text of the composition created by the Vilkaviskis teacher Mrs. Vaida Kriščiūnienė. I trust that like me you will find this a very moving document.

Composition “Counted Stars”

Commemoration Day of Victims of Genocide in Lithuania (September 23)

Composer Vaida Kriščiūnienė

Background music  : Introduction; SCHINDLER’S LIST

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWrt0m-cOkU

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At this point, the students step forward.

Two young people are talking

?- What’s next

– Then we buy a dog and get married

–           ? And after

– Let’s build a house and have children

–           ?And after

– I know what will happen to after  sooner or later. Then there will be a pogrom. Then the barber will shave the men, the women will be raped and the children will be killed the. Here’s such a traditionally inevitable European pogrom]]

?- So why did we come back, why did we voluntarily go under the knife, , under the boot

– For one reason: we just had nowhere to go except for that PASSPORT, PASSPORT, PASSPORT …

The sounds of gunshots in the distance are heard. The girl and the boy move away from each other, waving  a hand, waving goodbye.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWrt0m-cOkU

There are 2 girls (daughter and mother) coming to the front. They chat, collect the dolls, Rachel, lay down in the stroller and close your eyes.

The city has not yet woken. We will still be able to leave. No one will see us

Morning is coming  the blue bluebells are flowering  and a dog is leaping . Gather me, Rachel, from the horns of the bridle,

Right now, I didn’t wake up – you stayed asleep, baby

,You stayed, only you stayed ……….

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWrt0m-cOkU

..Students come to the front.

Why did you sell me for 30 silver? (together)

Didn’t we eat one slice?

Didn’t we drink from one pitcher?

We were just ordinary people and now we are just numbers!

SELL, SELL, SELL … (all together)

Why did you sell me for thirty pieces of silver? (together)

Is your heart black like tar?

Do the stinging snakes on your lips burn?

Are your hands colder than everlasting ice?

Why did you sell me for thirty pieces of silver? (together)

And standing you are not like a man

Desperate to lay on the ground and fire

And the words fall – dark as the earth,

And heavy as earth…

Why did you sell me for thirty pieces of silver? (together)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWrt0m-cOkU

Reading deleted from the book “Saved in a Potato Bag”

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Smuggled in Potato Sacks
Edited by Solomon Abramovich and Yakov Zilberg
Smuggled in Potato Sacks is a collection of stories compiled by Holocaust survivors Ariela Abramovich Sef and Ilana Kamber-Ash, both born in the Kovno Ghetto and hidden during the Holocaust. Inspired to preserve their own stories as well as those of other children who had been rescued, they collected as many testimonies as they could find, and in the end, put together this book with fifty stories of hidden children from the Kovno Ghetto.

 

I’m Kama Ginko. I remember my mom saying that when I was six weeks old, Hitler came to kill me.

Hitler killed 6 million Jews. 35,000 of them are buried at Kaunas IX Fort. Hitler killed grandmother Lizzie, grandfather Abraham, uncle Chess. But he failed to kill me even though I was only six weeks old. I live so far … grateful to the people who saved me …

I’m Yakov Taft. I remember my parents telling them that my grandparents were burnt alive in front of the Great Campaign. My parents saw that horror and couldn’t help. I was very sick. We did not expect help from anywhere.

The Great Campaign began – we were sent to die, and then my mother turned to a German officer to beg her to take care of the dying child. Apparently, the prayers affected the German and he pushed his mother towards the survivors. It’s hard to understand, but a German who condemned us to death gave us a second chance to live.

I’m Ada Feldstein. My parents told me I was a baby when World War II began. Only later, while living in the ghetto, do I remember how poor our lives were, I barely died from pneumonia. During the Children’s Action, I was asleep and hidden in a hiding place. I was cared for by the nuns of Pažaislis Monastery. So I got a second chance to survive …

I’m Volodia Kac. I was secretly taken out of the ghetto suitcase. I was accepted by the priest. When I was in danger, I was handed over to Doctor Baubli, who rescued many Jewish children under the direction of an orphanage. I bow my head against this wonderful man …

History is history –

Not dry yellows, not marbles,

History is inscribed in the human heart-

Her memory, her hope,

All betrayals, triumphs, crowns, echoes, conclaves, hangman’s arm tag –

Everything in the tiny, infinite human heart,

To the heart that beats under your palm.

pray the names of the people who hid and rescued Jewish children during the fascist occupation.

As a prayer, I speak the names of those people, familiar or unfamiliar, ever seen or never seen, who, in all of Lithuania, cities and towns, villages and churches, in spite of brutal terror, saved the condemned to die.

As a prayer, I repeat the names of the people who, in various European countries affected by the brown plague, have extended the hand of help and friendship, the life and bread-carrying hand of those who were to be destroyed spiritually and physically.

We will never forget. Not only out of gratitude, but also out of responsibility

1940 Russian Confiscation and Nationalization of Jewish property in Vilkaviskis

We discovered more records about Jewish Vilkaviskis – 1940 the confiscation and nationalization of Jewish property.

Print screen nationalizationsThere are several pages but I am enclosing my interpretations below

Jewish Properties Nationalized in Vilkaviskis 1940
Nationalized Properties
Name Address Square meters
Chmelveskis H and Kabakeris C Basanaviciaus 2 268,69
Furmanovskis Vulfas Darius -Gireno 14 172,07
Lipsteino Darius -Gireno 5 208,50
Smilgas Samuelis Darius -Gireno 15 262,70
Starkovskio Darius -Gireno 2 307,40
Bercas Zachras Eimucio 3 326,85
Jappu L Gedimino 4 266,65
Fainbergas F.D. Gedimino 5 295,00
Pustapedskio E.M. Gedimino 9 296,63
Etenzonas Salvadoras Gedimino 14 414,79
Jappaite Mera Gedimino 6 204,60
Landiene ir Kravelskaite Kestucio 13 192,50
Grodzenskis Chackelis Kestucio 23a 181,00
Frenkelio Simono Kestucio 10 178,51
Freidbergiene Dora Kestucio 11 253,42
Liudvinoskis Chackelis Kestucio 28 203,60
Sideris Mozes Kestucio 9 202,28
Lozmanas Aronas Kestucio 30 215,00
Aronbergiene Sora Kestucio 16 230,00
Aronbergas Falkus Kestucio 1 327,28
Gaskelis Rubinas Kestucio 22 368,98
Zaidmanas Borisas Kestucio 3,5 459,20
Abramzohnaite Leja Kapu 4 174,06
Uliamperline Beille Kapu 11 172,93
Aprilute Eta Kapu 8 236,00
Jakobsonas Gersonas V. Kudirkos 11 204,70
Zeibergas Abelis V. Kudirkos 15 239,70
Sifrovicius Joelis V. Kudirkos 13 216,07
Feltensteinas Ida V. Kudirkos 4 348,00
Taborisakiai B. ir M. Laisves 10 184,17
Taborisakiai B. ir M. Laisves 12 193,92
Taborisakiai B. ir M. Laisves 14 489,72
Taborisakiai B. ir M. Laisves 14 268,00
Kaganskis ir Vilkozerkis Maironio 23 187,95
Jarovskis Joselis Maironio 21 216,70
Franckabuckis Smuelis Pirties 2 176,00
Trivasas Aronas Turgaviete 18 178,70
Zimanskis Mordchelis Turgaviete 9 232,25
Sapiriene Rocha Turgaviete 17 220,11
Safovicius Leibus Turgaviete 2 262,84
Goldbergas Mausius Turgaviete 5 258,77
Krautuviu Eilies Turgaviete 5 480,00
Uliamperliene Ch. Turgaviete 8 394,29
Gerdzevskis Abromas Vytauto 7 400,55
Smolenskis Abelis Vytauto 8 193,68
Litoviciene Golda Vytauto 22 186,84
Volkovisekis Abramas Vytauto 16 273,52
Abramsonas S. ir A. Vytauto 18 217,00
Rrozentalis Girsas Vytauto 15 222,25
Fainbergiene Dveira Vytauto 27 237,02
Levitas Leibus Vilniaus 10 182
Albamo Mejerio ir Gurviciene Necha Vytauto 19 185,00
Zaidmanienes Rebekos ir Uliamperlio Berelio Turgaviete 14 220,00
Perstunskiai Mausius Ovsiejus ir Perle Vytauto 1 242,06
Urizonienes Hindos ir Sapiro Borises Turgaviete 18 230,00
Confiscated Properties
Davidiskiai M.. Ir K. Basanaviciaus 6
Levitas Leiba Vilniaus 10
Peltsteiniene Ida ir Volovickis Simonas V. Kudirkos 2,4
Altmanas Moze+A1:C64sas Vytauto 20

Always searching Jewish records from Vilkaviskis

Jewish records from Vilkaviskis are so few and far between – here are a few that have been discovered by Dr. Ruth Leiserowitz from archives in Poland This give us a brief glimpse into life whilst Vilkaviskis was part of New East Prussia 1795 -1805.

Thank you Ruth for everything you are doing !  You can see their web site about Jews in East Prussia at https://jewsineastprussia.de/

AGAD Warschau, Acta den Häuserverkauf der Juden in der Stadt Willkowischken betr. 1801, Gen. Dir. Neuostpreussen, Abt. III, Nr. 462.

 p.1

“The Jewish married couple Hanschel Aron zu Wilkowischken in the Kallwaryschen county, wanted to sell their house there sub No. 277 occupied, which contains a parlour and to which only a garden, 42 feet long and 40 feet wide, belongs and on which also no civil justice is liable, for 133 Rp 30 gr. to the Jewish merchant Israel Herz zu Wilkowischken and he was wanted by the intended contractors of the Consens to this sale with us.

We dare to support this motion with Your Royal Majesty, since the property to be sold is already in Jewish hands, and no civil justice is liable on it, and we submish the very highest with the same question as to whether the Consensus cannot be granted in these circumstances.”

pic 1

p.2

Permission was given in Berlin

AGAD Warschau, Acta die Klagen der jüdischen Brauer und Brenner zu Wilkowischken gegen den Fiscus betr. 1799-1805, Gen. Dir. Neuostpreussen, Abt. III, Nr. 458.

p.34

The New East Prussian War and Domain Cammer,

Bialystok, admonished the Jewish beer brewers and distillers on February 1, 1800:

“that the complainant is guilty of paying 20 Polish groschen from each Prussian bushel of grain and malt to brandy and 15 Polish groschen from each Prussian bushel of malt to beer to the Domaine Amt zu Wolkowischken.”

The whole thing is about the “Kapczyzna” (tax on beverages)

p.62

1805: It is about the complainants Hirsch Arno and Baruch Hirschel

pic 2

AGAD (Warsaw), Acta die verschiedenen Beschwerden der Juden Gemeinde der Stadt Willkowischken betr. 1798, 1799, Gen. Dir. Neuostpreussen, Abt. III, Nr. 461,

p.1–6

(June 8, 1798) Jewish community complains about the transfer of the District Justice Commission to Neustadt

  1. 11–15

Bialystok 2 January 1799, Thr Prussia administration describes

here p. 12

“…In the course of the investigation, it was determined ad 1 that the Jewish Kahal in Willkowischken borrowed a capital of 1060 Reichsthaler from the monasteries in Wirballen and Neustadt about 100 years ago. At that time the Jewish communities in the cities of Wirballen, Neustadt, Pilwiszken and Kalvary were also supposed to belong to this Kahal, but about 40 years ago other Kahal had formed and since then refused to contribute to the interest of the capital borrowed from the monasteries.

Initially this capital was to bear interest at ro. per cent, but several years ago a decree of the Pohln courts determined that the overpaid [p. 13] interest would be compensated by the capital debt in response to their action. According to a calculation made for this reason the debtors do not only want to pay the capital by the excess of the interest, but also to have to demand 333 Reichsthaler of surplus from the named monasteries. Meanwhile the debtors admit that as a result, as this decree was not observed, they entered into a settlement with the monasteries, according to which they renounced their rights under the decree and undertook to pay interest on the capital at a rate of 5 per cent, in which way the interest must also not now be paid…”.

Have sued before…

p.17–20

Letter of complaint of 1 June 1798 from the Jews in Wilkowischken to the Prussian king,

on p. 20 signed by Baruch Chesekel and Joszel Szimszel

pic 3

Inside the C 18th Synagogue in Kalvarija !

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Looking into the C18th Synagogue in Kalvarija !

In Kalvarija there is a devoted team – dedicated to preserving the historical heritage of their town.

Giedre Guzaviciene [eguzavicius@gmail.com] ,  Arūnė Vaičiūnaitė-Lev Puškinienė [kgpuarune@gmail.com ]   and Mr. Alvydas Totoris.  Alvydas has written an excellent book ” The Cultural Heritage of Kalvarija and Suchowola” . Its in 3 languages, Lithuanian and Polish and English. Pages 137 -174 are a mine of information !

These 3 wonderful people have also established in the town – using the building that was once part of the old Russian Post Station.

 

Continue reading

Trying to catch up !

2019 has been an amazing year for this project and I would like to begin to take this opportunity to bring you up to date.

Although I post to the Facebook page Jewish Vilkaviskis https://www.facebook.com/Jewish-Vilkaviskis-

I assume there are many people who do not use Facebook and thus I do not want to loose the connection with you.

I visited Vilkaviskis 3 times this year – the first visit was in the spring to receive the “Santaka” Ambassador of the Year award.

Santaka is the local newspaper and they have always given our activities wonderful coverage. I felt that it was a long way to go but it was important for me to show my appreciation

Santaka picture

They wrote

In Vilkaviškis region, Israel still has many plans

 

Kristina ŽALNIERUKYNAITĖ

In the city, a friend of our country, an honorary citizen of Vilkaviškis district, an Israeli Ralph Selinger, visited the city. The guest visited the friends of Vilkaviškis who became friends and turned to the newspaper “Santaka”, where he was served in 2018. The nomination mark for journalists is a glass angel.

Let us remind you that by the end of 2018 R. Selinger won the “Ambassador of the Year” nomination. Since Israel could not come to the symbolic celebration of celebration on February 16th, the man’s friend, historian Antanas Žilinskas, who was also honored with this nomination in the previous years, received and received his award.

The researcher of Vilkaviškis Jewish history, R. Selinger, communicated with the editorial team and shared his future plans related to Vilkaviškis. In July, he plans to return to our area and contribute to the management of the Vištytis Jewish cemetery.

 

  1. Selinger said that while browsing the Internet, he found information that one Christian German organization was organizing a camp to handle Jewish tombs in various parts of the world, including in Vištytis. He wrote a letter to the camp organizers. “I admit that I am only” 72 years old, that I know these countries, I have been involved in handling such objects and have expressed my desire to go together. I was pleasantly surprised when the Germans confirmed my candidacy, and I look forward to the camp, ”Ralf smiled. He said he had warned the Germans that, on arrival, they would have many means to defend themselves against mosquitoes.

 

The guest told reporters about plans to commemorate the Lithuanian Jewish Holocaust this September. R. Selinger said that last year he was very impressed by the commemoration of Vilkaviškis Aušra Gymnasium teacher Vida Kriščiūnienė, which was simply unique. This year, Ralf would like to introduce villagers to the history of the Jews who lived here, to show how they were when they lived among our grandparents and grandparents. As a result, the Israelis met with the employees of Vilkaviškis Cultural Center Aksana Laskevičienė and Ingrida Bunikiene. Vita Girdauskas, Director of Vilkaviškis Tourism and Business Information Center, also took part in the conversation. Many interesting thoughts have been generated, which we hope will be appreciated by the residents of our district in the autumn.

 

During this stay R. Selinger visited the Jewish graves in Vištytis himself. Irma Maurienė, a Vilkaviškis woman, who accompanied her to make the guest’s visit to Vilkaviškis as interesting and comfortable as possible, as well as the Vištytis firewall officer Audrius Balanda.

 

The farewell guest said he was the happiest Jew in Lithuania because he had received the help and support of local people as much as he could not. But for those who know Ralph, it does not cause any surprise, because he himself is a person who emits light around himself, pulling people to himself.

 

From Vilkaviškis, R. Selinger went to visit Aurimas Mockas, a participant of the expedition From Baltic to Bengal, who, together with journalist Rim Bruze, had previously stayed with Ralph in kibbutz. During that couple of days, men became good friends.

Thanks to the kindest of Mr. Hiam Ghiuzeli Director of the Databases Department Beit Hatfutsot new pictures of Jewish Vilkaviskis are now available.

By the monument for the Holocaust victims which was built on the site of the mass grave, Vilkaviskis, Lithuania (USSR), 1959 (

By the monument for the Holocaust victims which was built on the site of the mass grave, Vilkaviskis, Lithuania (USSR), 1959

4th Grade Students of the Hebrew Gymnasium, Vilkaviskis, Lithuania, 1924

4th Grade Students of the Hebrew Gymnasium, Vilkaviskis, Lithuania, 1924

Jewish Engineer at the Electricity Company. Vilkaviskis, Lithuania, 1922.jpg

Jewish Engineer at the Electricity Company. Vilkaviskis, Lithuania, 1922Elchanan Bar Yosef Ha-Cohen Katz, the town Rabbi,

Elchanan Bar Yosef Ha-Cohen Katz, the town Rabbi,

 

Courtesy of the Oster Visual Documentation Center at Beit Hatfutsot

באדיבות המרכז לתיעוד חזותי ע”ש אוסטר בבית התפוצות

Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot

מוזיאון העם היהודי בבית התפוצות

 

 

July 25-30th 2018 My visit to Vilkaviskis

After a long period of sillence I thought it was timme to bring you up to date. 18 months ago Kristina [the local newspaper reporter from Vilkaviskis told me that she and some of her friends were planing a 3 day “event” “Vilkaviskis yesterday, today and tomorrow” and  would I be prepared to come along and talk – I was delighted at the prospect of being able to tell our story to the citizens of Vilkaviskis

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I met many many wonderful, kind and generous people who were most interested in “our story”

To my surprise on the last day of the event I was presented with the Honary Citizenship of Vilkaviskis by the Mayor

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Now begins the planning for my next project !

Ralph