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Jewish Grodno Guberniya
The Electronic Newsletter of Grodno Genealogy Group

Board Members:

President:  Judith Deutsch Bennett

Treasurer:  Mike Poznick

Vice-President:  Joanne Saltman


December 1998, Vol. 2

December Table of Contents


Editorial staff:

Editors and Readers: Amy Levinson

Makeup and transmission: Linda D. Epstein

Copy editing & Final Review: Naomi Kasssabian, Ellen Sadove Renck

Formatting for Print Copy: Ellen Sadove Renck


Published twice yearly by Grodno Genealogy Group, Inc.


COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Grodno Genealogy Group, Inc copyrights this bulletin as a whole. No part of it may be distributed by forwarding, copying or any other form of reproduction without permission of the copyright holder. Their respective authors copyright individual articles. Opinions stated in any article are those of the author, not necessarily those of the editors or Grodno Genealogy Group, Inc.



by Eric Adler <>

November, 1998: I have just returned from a four-day trip to Belarus focused primarily on genealogical research in Grodno. It was an absolutely wonderful trip; and I do recommend travel there. Special

thanks to Ellen Sadove Renck, who helped me greatly. Here's a run-down on the trip.

Getting There: Americans, and probably people from a lot of other countries, must have visas to travel to Belarus. A visa application requires an "invitation" from Belarus (e.g., from a hotel, business,

friend, etc.). I requested my visa in Germany, where it may have been easier to get than from a country such as the U.S. I requested an "express," single-entry visa, which the consulate processed in less than

an hour but which cost me DM 200 (about $120). Normal visa processing time takes longer (depending on type of visa) and costs less. I took the train to Belarus from Warsaw, Poland. Also, one can fly into Minsk and take the train from there; however, the train ride from Minsk to Grodno takes around eight or nine hours and requires a change-over in Vilnius, Lithuania (which also requires a double-entry visa) or in Maladzyechna, Belarus (runs only every fourth day). Return trips from Grodno to Minsk take between eight and twenty hours. Two non-stop trains run from Warsaw to Grodno each day, averaging six and a half hours in duration. The trip from Grodno to Warsaw takes between four and six hours. Many people warned me of the threat of "Russian bandits" on the train, so I paid an extra $30 for a sleeping compartment which I locked. It is not possible to rent a car in Belarus.

Surviving: The bottom line is you either need to know Russian or have a guide. A guide is probably the best option. Prices for everything (except goods from the West such as razors, toothpaste, fancy

beer, etc.) are dirt-cheap but the rate of inflation is also high. The official exchange rate at the time of my trip was about 70,000 rubles to the dollar. I could get at least double that and even as much as 160,000 rubles to the dollar on the black market, but black market exchanges also risk confiscation of money and additional fines. The dollar rules Belarus (with the Deutschmark becoming more important), but exchanges on the black market require small notes ($20 or less.) Rubles from the banks using credit cards are another method of exchange. Belarus has no ATM machines.

The Cemetery: There were once three Jewish cemeteries in Grodno. The main cemetery, closest to the city center, was destroyed by the Soviets in the early 1960s:leveled, dug up, and replaced by a sports complex

that is still in use. A second cemetery also was destroyed by the Soviets. One cemetery remains, located directly across the Neman River from Grodno in a forest on the riverbank below the New Bridge (Nowy

Most). I estimate that there are at least 1500 stones there. The oldest is dated 1758 (still readable) and the latest from 1970. The government has not allowed burials there since. My friend and I wrote down and/or

photographed most of the readable stones. I will put the information into a spreadsheet. The cemetery is in awful condition. The gates are left open; and several sections of the wall are missing. It is overgrown

with vegetation. Many stones are missing, toppled, or broken. A lot of the old stones are very worn and submerged in the ground. The main exception is the grave of a famous man named Suesskind, restored recently via money from donors in Israel. A couple actually lives in the cemetery, in a house that forms part of the cemetery wall. In the past, they have been paid to take care of the cemetery. (They do a poor job.) Their chickens roam throughout the cemetery. Their two old cars lie abandoned within the walls of the cemetery; and their laundry hangs on tombstones. In the past, the couple received about one million rubles per months (about $7) for the upkeep but they have not been paid recently. I gave them a few dollars, which made them happy.

While in the cemetery, we met a few interesting people. One was Michael Kemerov. He is a very nice man in his early 30s, a Jew active in the Jewish community. He is writing a book on the history of Jews in

Grodno. He asked for any information or pictures of Jews in Grodno. I have his mailing address. We also saw a man who was cleaning two gravestones and painting them gold. He explained that the stones were

the graves of his grandparents. The following day, we saw him there with his wife and small daughter. We also met two Jewish men in their seventies who bemoaned the state of the cemetery. Everyone we talked with supported the idea of restoring the cemetery and agreed that it would be relatively easy to fund because of the relative strength of the dollar.

The Synagogue: The main synagogue in Grodno is a very important building, an architectural masterpiece built in the 16th century, I believe. A smaller, newer, and less-famous synagogue is also used as a commercial type of building. There were once about thirty-seven synagogues in the city. The main synagogue is apparently the largest in Belarus. Unfortunately, it is in a disgraceful state of disrepair. It

was handed over to the Jewish community in 1991, and a Jew named Yuri Chaimovich Boyarski took responsibility for the project. The local prosecutor is investigating him for corruption in the project such as

misuse of donations (there was an investigator there both times I visited).

I saw no work being done. The inside of the synagogue has great potential; and they have done some work, mainly on the bimah. The outside of the building remains untouched, in awful condition. The

entire building is generally dirty. Mr. Boyarski talks frequently about the new roof he put on the synagogue, but that was five years ago. People say they see no progress at all, no work being done. Several people (Jews) told me that Mr. Boyarski had rejected offers by a man named Felix Sandman to restore the synagogue, and that he will not let anyone else restore the building. This is an awful pity because buildings are being restored throughout the city. The cost of labor and supplies is so low that it seems incredulous that the synagogue could not be restored with proper funding. [EDITOR'S NOTE: As of this printing, Yuri Boyarski was found guilty. Due to his advanced age and past military service, he escaped prison.]

The Jewish Community Center: The Hesed Nachum Jewish Welfare/Community Center is located at Bogdanovich Street #6 in Grodno. I got a great feeling there. It is clean, friendly, and alive. When we visited, people were practicing songs. There was a full schedule of events posted. At the cemetery on Friday, Michael Kemerov invited us to join a youth group there on Friday evening. A very important person in the community is named Grisha Chosid. He is 74 years old, a retired physics teacher who escaped from the Nazis by jumping through a window in a boxcar headed for Treblinka in the middle of the winter. He later fought as a partisan during the war. He speaks English. He showed us the cemetery near Nowy Most the first time.

Grodno and Belarus in General: Belarus is flabbergasting, vastly different from Western Europe or even countries like Poland and the Czech Republic. The country is very poor, although people there say that they are better off than those in other former Soviet republics like Russia and Uzbekistan. At the market, people sell things like used light switches and used plumbing. The buses (trolley cars) are jam-packed (!) with

people who do not pay the 2000 ruble fare (about 1.5 cents) to ride; and no-one checks. We often sat in line from anywhere between ten and thirty minutes in order to get rationed gas. Drivers may get only twenty liters at a time. The cars are old, with fifteen to twenty year-old Ladas a very common sight. Some automobiles are only a few years old, but those are few and far between.

The country is very militarized, with mostly unarmed police in gray camouflage uniforms conducting foot patrols throughout the cities. I witnessed one bomb threat in a department store; bomb threats are apparently common, a ploy to hassle the police. Military vehicles frequently drive throughout the cities.

Much of Grodno survived the War and is very old. Grodno has two noble castles, one "old" and one "new," as well as a beautiful theater and an Old Town. Much of the former Grodno ghetto is either preserved or being renovated. The gate to the ghetto has been vandalized and only one candle on its large iron menorah remains. The Catholic and Orthodox churches in the city are pristine. One dominant feature in the city is Lenin Square. A large open area with a huge statue of Lenin, Lenin Square also is the location of the Grodno Regional Historical Archives. Earlier statues of Lenin and Stalin in Grodno apparently stood on bases made of gravestones from the Jewish cemeteries.

While Grodno has a lot of beauty in its antiquity, the capital of Minsk was largely rebuilt after World War II. We drove to Minsk on a Saturday, hoping not to be stopped at "milicja" (police checkpoints

every 50 kilometers or so.) In Minsk, at a place called Victory Square, four teenagers (both boys and girls) in Scout-type uniforms stand on low wooden boxes guarding the monument for several hours a day. Their routine included a break for lunch, as well as several "changing of the guard." My friends said that these children belong to an organization similar to the Soviet Komsomol; Hitler Youth came to my mind. When I took a picture of the U.S. Embassy, two antsy embassy guards and a Belarussian soldier jumped out of their respective guard shacks. I showed the guards my U.S. passport but they still said that photographing the embassy was not allowed. Minsk was more prosperous than Grodno and was an entirely different world from the farms with horse-drawn plows and wagons that we saw between Grodno and Minsk. The farms reminded me of the television show Little House on the Prairie. In Minsk, there are even six McDonald's and a decent--but packed--subway. One bar we visited sold Guinness beer. Saturday, the day of the week for marriages. Traditionally, newly married couples visit war monuments. We must have seen a dozen couples visit the monument to Afghan war heroes in a thirty-minute period. I drove the car the entire way and actually received a speeding ticket on the way back for doing 18 km/h over the speed limit of 60 km/h just inside the Grodno city limit. Luckily, the ticket cost only 178,000 rubles (about $1.20) and did not affect insurance rates.

Crossing Back to Poland: On the way back from Grodno, two young, friendly women approached me in the Grodno train station. They spoke only Russian; and I had no idea what they were saying. I thought they were asking me if I had any cigarettes. I handed them my Russian phrase book; and they explained, after a few minutes, that they wanted to put cigarettes in my bag to take out in Poland (i.e., smuggle them into Poland). I told them to go ahead. They returned a few minutes later with several cartons that they had bought at the duty-free shop in the train station. One of them stuck the shopping bag in my small


When the train arrived, there was a mad rush from the station to the train. After hoisting my large backpack, I was the last to make it out of the station but the girls had saved me a good seat. They also

had an older lady with them. We had a very broken conversation using the phrase book as a medium. Once we made it across the border, they started pulling cigarettes out from everywhere--their bras, their hats, their coats--and sticking them into once-empty "Marlboro Miles" Marlboro bags. One girl even had packs of cigarettes stuffed individually into a pair of pantyhose and wrapped around her waist. They explained that they made the trip every other day from Grodno just over the border to Kuznica, Poland, to sell cigarettes, wine, and vodka. The prices in Poland are higher than the prices in Belarus. When I explain this to people here in Germany, they are astounded because the prices in Poland, relative to those in Germany, are so low.

Another Incident on the Trains: On the way back to Germany, approaching Krakow, Poland, I was in a train compartment with three unruly teenagers, each about seventeen years old, and young man in his twenties. The teenagers were obviously rebellious, much like gang members in the U.S. They all had tattoos; one had "L-O-V-E" tattooed on four of his fingers. They hit each other from time to time and were

drinking a mixture of vodka and juice. They threw their trash straight out the window of the train. At one point in the ride, one of them returned to the compartment, followed by an irate man whom the boys

threatened to beat up.

As we approached Krakow, one of the boys asked me if I knew the time. I looked at my watch and showed it to them, not knowing how to say the time in Polish. The "leader" of the three then asked me if I would give him my watch "out of the goodness of my heart." My watch isn't anything special--a Timex Ironman--but I didn't feel like giving it to a cocky punk. I said "no," but he was pretty insistent (and inebriated.) At first, we were translating things using a Polish-English dictionary, but he began to get very insistent about me giving him the watch. He told me that he would beat me up if I did not give him the watch. I knew what he was saying, but started saying "nie rozumiem" ("I don't understand.") The kids were not that big or strong but there were three of them and one of me. This also was not exactly a good time for me to get in a fight because I did not want to risk losing some of the more valuable things I had in my bag such as paintings I had bought.

The train began to slow, arriving at Krakow. The leader got really frustrated with my saying "nie rozumiem," and actually placed his closed fist against my cheek to show me that he would hit me if I did

not give him the watch. At the same time, one of the other kids unzipped the outer pocket of my small bag (containing nothing important) and stuck his hand inside. I quickly zipped it back up and sort of hunkered down on my bag, cussed at them, and told them in English that they weren't getting anything. I finally threatened to call for the police. The leader, standing up, motioned that he would put his knee in my face and that the police would not do me any good. Luckily, the train stopped; and they exited. The guy sitting next to me had done nothing. He spoke a little German and explained that he was in the Polish army, on his way to visit his grandmother in Germany. He said that such behavior was unheard of in Poland.

Archives: The official--and proper--way to request records from any archive in Belarus (or permission to research in them) is through something called "Belkom Archive" at Kollektornaya Street #10 in Minsk.

The director of one archive in Grodno also recommended sending a request through one’s local consulate.

{Editor’s Note: Going through your local consulate can save the wire transfer fee.] Individual archives are not allowed to provide information on the contents of their holdings, but Belkom Archive supposedly provides information on any archive. The basic initial cost for any research request is $50; Belkom Archive supposedly has a fund transfer account with the Banker's Trust of New York. [Editor's Note: Wire-transfers through Bankers Trust are costly but GGG, Inc has correct wire transfer instructions.] I did not know about Belkom Archive prior to my trip, so I sent requests (through a friend) to each of the two regional archives in Grodno. These archives apparently have varying amounts of information on all towns in the Grodno Region.

The first archive I visited was the Grodno Regional ZAGS Archives. The director is Ms. Irina Bolbat. This archive has records of births, deaths, and marriages after about 1900. (Ms. Bolbat was not allowed to tell me exact contents of the archives.) Unfortunately, my ancestors left Grodno in 1891. Ms. Bolbat explained that a person at another archive had recently been fired for giving out too much information (and too freely) possibly to people from Israel. Because of this, she was very formal with me. The other archive in Grodno is the Grodno Regional Historical Archives. The director is Mrs. Karina Batrakova. Based on the conversation at ZAGS two days prior, I understood her constraints. She explained, as soon as I got there, that she would have her people do the research that I had requested. She seemed sincerely proud of her research abilities and even explained that she felt it was something of a personal failure if she could not find the information. Anyhow, I will have to wait on the information and will have to pay at least $50. With extra time the following day, I had my friend call her to ask if it was possible for me just to see the revision lists but Mrs. Batrakova said it was not. I have a feeling that it could be possible under the right circumstances. Should you wish to view the entire revision list for a town or region, the best way might be to write Mrs. Batrakova directly and ask for specific permission to do so.

Eric Adler

Hanau, Germany


VISIT TO SLONIM, Friday, May 30, 1998

by Joan Krotenberg

After breakfasting on omelets, we left for Slonim, about 50 kilometers away. Joan was bubbling over, in her own inimitable style, with enthusiasm and joy. The countryside was heavily wooded; and it was still intermittently drizzling. We crossed a bridge over the River Shara and entered Slonim. We stopped at the large Town Hall. Vitaly went in to see when the Mayor could meet with us. He told Vitaly that he would meet us at the Slonim Town Museum as soon as he could get away. The town¹s museum, in several rooms of exhibits, illustrated the history of Slonim and the surrounding area from the Mesozoic era through WW II. A lovely young girl explained the exhibits to us.

Slonim was burned after WW I, but Ruchel Chesak Merer, my Grandmother and Mayer Merer, my Grandfather and their children Ben, Harry and Sam, my father had left by 1911. Slonim had a population of 30,000 people prior to WW II, a majority of whom were Jewish. Today there are 55,000 people. The Slonimer Rabbi led an important Hasidic dynasty here. WW II was a period that saw the complete destruction of Slonim¹s Jewish community.

After our tour, we went to the Museum¹s office. Just as we met the group of ladies who staff and run the museum, the Mayor Ugrinovich Eduardovich Vadim arrived and took us back to his office where we had an extended conversation. We talked about the city, the school system, the medical and dental systems, and economic conditions. Sandy asked him about the local governmental structure. He told us that the Chief of the Grodno Oblast (province) appointed him Mayor as he did the three deputies. The term of office is indefinite. There are no municipal elections in Belarus!! Our conversation, as they say diplomatically, was full and frank. He gave us two machine embroidered cloth emblems with the town’s name and symbol. He, then, insisted on showing us the town. We went to the site of the Jewish cemetery. There is a reconstructed memorial gate put there by the Israeli Slonimer society but no existing gravestones, only symbolic ones for the 30,000 Jews of the area who perished in WW II. He showed us the new housing and textile and paper factories and the old scaffolded synagogue. During this period, we had two passing hail storms and heavy rain. The Mayor, in a suit and tie, was drenched.

Then, we proceeded to the outskirts of town, down a dirt road, and into the woods. There, the Germans, during several Aktions, had taken Jews and some others to be shot. As the rain fell, we contemplated the fenced in mass graves, the memorial markers with flowers at their feet. We knew

and were deeply moved that Chesaks had died here. A great-granddaughter (me) of Shmuel and Sima Esther Chesak had come to this spot to honor and grieve for the Chesaks who lie here. I rejoice that their genes live on in their great-great grandchildren. We, then, went to another area of the forest with additional mass graves and memorials. The rain continued; to us it was Hashem, crying for his slaughtered people.

We invited the Mayor to lunch at a restaurant of his choosing. There, we discussed such subjects as American voluntarism, Belarus¹s poverty, racism and poverty in the United States, and his plans for Slonim¹s future. We gave the Mayor a token gift of a calculator and pictures of NYC, which Lisa had obtained, for our trip. After lunch the Mayor left for his office; and we returned to the museum.

The lady in charge gave us a book written in Hebrew to look at. There were fabulous photographs of Old Slonim. Vitaly took pictures of the pictures. (It was the Slonim Yizkor Book published by the Slonimer Society in Israel; and now, I indeed obtained a copy). While Joan and Vitaly were engaged with the book, the staff asked me to examine some Judaica they had acquired. They had a green metallic Tzadukka sign from the synagogue, an old Shulchan Aruch without a cover. (This is a codification of Jewish law written in the 16th century by Joseph Caro and used by orthodox Jewry to this day). They, also, had a very small torn portion of a Torah scroll and one-half of a daily siddur (prayer book). They also had letters written in Yiddish. They want to start a specifically Jewish section in the museum. Meantime, Joan had found what appears to be a picture of her grandfather Mayer Merer in the Yiskor book. The picture was dated 1941. This is a mystery because he left Slonim in 1909. Either the picture was misdated or he had a twin or other relative who was a dead ringer for him. We bade them goodbye soon after. We gave the older ladies crayons for their grandchildren and make-up for the young docent who escorted us through the museum. Vitaly gave them a small admission fee plus something additional for their personal services.

The Mayor and Vitaly had arranged for us to meet Rosa and Yehuda Israelovitch, an elderly Jewish couple. We spoke to them directly in a gehockte Yiddish and through Vitaly in Belarussian (Russian?) The apartment was in a seedy apartment building. The rooms, especially the kitchen and bathroom with their broken, rusty fixtures, were small. Her daughter lives in Slonim and her granddaughter is in school in Israel. She gave us a letter to mail in the US to her brother in San Francisco. We asked her about anti-Semitism. Rosa did all the talking (which is to be expected of a Jewish wife.) She told us that it certainly exists.

We were lucky because everyone we met on this trip has been kind, and hospitable and gone out of his or her way to be helpful, even though we are obviously Jewish. We drove back to our hotel in Baranovichi. We had tuna fish from cans we brought from the USA on bread remaining from our Lutowiska picnic, slathered with mayo from packets given to us by Helene. Tomorrow, we drive through Pinsk to David Gorodok.



Amy Levinson <>

Businesses listed in 1903 Vsya Rossia (business directory)
?Rin-Rosentzveig, Elia-Yossel Khaimovich,  Moskovski Tsver., own home Groceries & Imported (Colonial) Goods
Anekshteyn, Shimen-Yossel Mordukhovich,  Bazarnaia, own home Dishes
Averbukh, Abr. Tevelovich see Kunitza Tobacco (Product) Manufacturer 
Berelshteyn, Itzko-Shmuel Leibovich,  Slonim station Turpentine & Tar
Berman, Tedres Yankelovich, Gostin.  riad 13 * Haberdashery
Berman, Wolf Mendelovich.  Studenskaya St., own home Woolens
Burshteyn, Khaim Naftolovich Laquered Goods
Chepelevskaya, Liba Zuselovna,  Torgovaya, Berzisa home Shoes
Daikhes, Hersh Beniaminovich, Books
Dayun, Yankel-Nissel son of Evnov,  Mostovskaya, Minsker's home Gold & Silver Articles
Derechinskaya, Henia-Leah,  Moskovskaya Tobacco (retail)
Dubinbaum, Tzodig Simkhavich,  Mostovskaya St., own home, 19 workers Sawmill
Edel, Sholoma Mikhelovich,  Torgovaya Groceries & Imported (Colonial) Goods
Edelman, Khaim Itzkovich,  Gostin. riad 46 Hardware
Eletskaya, Leah Nokimovna,  Bazarnaia Leather
Ezerski, Nison-Yankel Leizerovich,  Gostin. riad * Hardware
Ginsburg, David Shevelovich (see Perlis) Afanasevskaya St., in Arkin's house Bank Office
Ginzburg,Benz[ion] Yosselovich,  Bazarnaia St., own home Pharmacy Goods 
Gluschevskaya, Dveira Abramovna, Dry Goods
Gozhanski, Shmuel Eliashovich,  Moskovskaya, Kagan home Eggs
Graiver, Hirsh Leizerovich,  Shkolni Dvor, own home Flour
Grodnenski, Gendel  Pharmacy Goods 
Grodnenski, Gendel Isaacovich,  Putenskaya St. Pharmacy 
Gurvich, Shlioma Sruelovich,  Puteiskaya, Strebeiski home Furniture
Gurvich, Sholom Turpentine & Tar
Israelit, Isaac-Shlioma Shimenovich,  Torgovaya
Itskovich, Hirsh Mordukhovich lumber
Kazen. Vinnie Skl. (Wine shop) Wine
Khamin, Ivan Al-evovich,  Bazarnaia St. Groceries & Imported (Colonial) Goods
Kinstitskaya ?, Kreina Tonkhilovich,  Bazarnaya St. Haberdashery
Klebanski, Getzel Yosselovich,  Bazarnaia Dry Goods
Kopelovich, Shmuel Aronovich,  Bazarnaia Dry Goods
Kostelyanskaya,Minda daughter of Sasha,  Paradnaya Dry Goods
Kunitza, Israel Mordukhovich 

& Averbukh, Abr. Tevelovich

Predm Zamoste Tobacco (Product) Manufacturer 
Kurkhin, Shalom Abramovich,  Torgovaya Dry Goods
Kuznitsa, Isaak Movshevich,  Bazarnaia, own home
Levenbukh, Kreina Itzkovich,  Torgovaya Groceries & Imported (Colonial) Goods
Levin, Berko Nevakhovich,  Zhirovitskaya, own home, 14 workers Miller
Levin, Mark Typography
Lider, Sheina Abramovich,  Gostin. riad* Haberdashery
Lozhinskaya, Mnuka Kushelovna,  Zamosle, 25 workers Vintner
Lozhinski, Menakhem-Nakhum Evseiovich,  Zamosle Laquered Goods
Meshel, Meir Srulovich, Paradnaya, Levinshteyna home Groceries & Imported (Colonial) Goods
Milikovsky, Movsha Leibovich,  Paradnaya, Rizhina home Dry Goods
Milikovsky, Shlioma Leibovich,  Paradnaya, Rizhina home Dry Goods
Minsker, Mendl-Movsha Shimelovich,  Mostovskaya, own home Groceries & Imported (Colonial) Goods
Minsker, Movsha Mendelovich  Predm. Zamoste, 42 workers Straw Hats
Notkovich, Berka Photographer
Paretzki , Abr. Movshevich,  Torgovaya, Tizhina home Furniture
Perlis, Wolf Sruelovich & Ginsburg, David Shevelovich,  Afanasevskaya St., in Arkin's house Bank Office
Ring (?), Elia-Yossel Khaimovich,  Rozhanskaya St. Kerosene
Schmidt,Beinos Khemnovich,  Paradnaya St., Banikova home Pharmacy Goods 
Shachners, Abel son of Shakhi,  Torgovaya Dry Goods
Shapir, David Eliavich,  Paradnaya, Grinberg home Gold & Silver Articles
Shapir, Movsha Eliavich,  Paradnaya, Grinberg home Gold & Silver Articles
Shapiro, Shmuel Davidovich,  Paradnaya Dry Goods
Shelbovski, Shlema Hilerovich Books
Shereshevsky, Abr. Itzkovich Torgovaya, Grinberg home Groceries & Imported (Colonial) Goods
Shereshevsky, Berko Meirovich,  Mostovskaya, own home Mead Brewer 
Shitzgal, Zelman Hershovich,  Torgovaya, own home Groceries & Imported (Colonial) Goods
Shumakh, Rubin Typography
Shvif, Khaia-Ester Davidovna,  Torgovaya, Perlshteyn home Dry Goods
Slutzki (?), Vigdor Eliashevich Kerosene
Solodovnik, Berko Movshavich,  Mostovskaya St. Mead Brewer 
Stetskevich, Os[ip]  son of Ad.(?) Pharmacy 
Strebenko, Valer[ian] Kaz[imirovich],  Bazarnaia St. Pharmacy 
Svi __ ?, Genia Abramovich,  Gostin.riad * Hardware
Talkovski, Mikhel Itzkovich,  Rubatskaya, 14 workers Woolens
Tsinershtein, David Khaimovich,  Torgovaya, Grinberg home Groceries & Imported (Colonial) Goods
Vainshteyn, Itzko Eliavich Kerosene
Vainshteyn, Itzko Elievich,  Zhirovitskaya St., own home Herring & salt (also kerosene)
Vigderovich, Abr. Meirovich,  Bazarnaia, Yakimov home Dry Goods
Vilenchik, Itzko Khaimovich.  Shkolyaya, own home Groceries & Imported (Colonial) Goods
Yakimovsky, Itzko Abramovich,  Gostin. riad 108* Dry Goods
Yudkovskaya, Masha Karpelovich,  Shkolnaya Dry Goods
Yurinovski, Gdal[ia] Benyeminovich (?), Pozhanskaya Sugar
Zackeim, Evel Itzkovich,  Mostovskaya St. Mead Brewer 
Zaiyuntz, Sora Yakelovna,  Paradnaya Readymade Clothes
Zorfinkel. Mordko-Shmuel Yosselovich,  Bazarnaia, Kostelyanski home Dry Goods


"Colonial" good means staples excluding dairy and bakery goods. ESR

This is all the information given in the directory. It usually gives surname, first name and abbreviated patronymic, type of business and business address. If there is no address listed, none is given.

A very small percentage of businesses must have been included, judging from the population figures for the guberniya. The largest number of listings are for Brest, Bialystok and Grodno. The number of workers is stated only for the "factories" (which included vintners.) A many as five businesses operated out of one home. Asterisks mark the businesses giving addresses in "Gostinitsi Riad", the courtyard of the inn, sometimes with numbers. There are photos of long buildings with many stalls; this may have been the location referred to as Gostinitsi Riad.

Patronymics are given in Russian form (Srulovich means son of Sruel) except where it was difficult to form a Russian patronymic from the names provided. The suffix "-ovna" is used for females' patronymics. In most cases the surname also is written "-ovna".

Some relationships between business operators can be determined: i.e., Perlis and Ginsberg were partners as indicated by the ampersand between their two entries; Movsha and Shlioma Milikovsky were probably brothers as indicated by their common patronymic.

Transliterations are given as-is except where it was obvious that "G" would be "H" in English, i.e., Hirsh instead of "Girsh". If there is any doubt as to a transliteration or translation of the business name, I would be happy to answer questions.


by Amy Levinson <>

A town in Slonim district called Ruzhany (not to be confused with Pruzhany) has a web page with business listings. See Grodno web directory, this issue. Pruzhany town and district listings are on the Pruzhany web page; see web directory. Part of the directory for Grodno town was published on Jewishgen; and I get inquiries about it occasionally from those who find it in the Jewishgen archives. Also a list of businesses on Sobornaia Street in Grodno is included in the final bulletin published by Jim Yarin.


WEB PAGE DIRECTORY for Grodno gubernia

Most of these pages can be found by typing the subject into a search engine or through their links to <Jewishgen.>

Use of a search engine such as Metacrawler <>, which picks up from six other engines, is most efficient.

GGG Inc. webpage: <>

Pages for towns:

There are non-Jewish web pages for many Belarus towns at: but many for Jewish Lida uezd (district), Vilna then Grodno guberniya are under construction

Ruzhany maintained by Amy Levinson:

Skidel maintained by Linda Hugle:

Slonim maintained by Joanne Saltman:

Lida District maintained by Ellen Sadove Renck:

Surname pages:

Shereshevsky page:

My genealogy page by Bobby Jacobs:

Dan Jacobs:


A LITTLE HISTORY—Amy Levinson <>

History of Boundary Changes After World War I

or Why Your Relatives Claimed to be Polish…and Russian…and Litvak

Source: Encyclopedia Americana, 1964, vol. 27, p. 407.

The recent period of Polish ownership in Grodno lasted only from 1918 to August 1939, the date of the Hitler-Stalin Pact. Grodno territories were then added back to the USSR. Only two years later, in June 1941, the German army occupied these territories. Is it any wonder that our ancestors were confused ?

There were major changes under Polish rule. Many Jewish businesses thrived but there were exceptions. The Grodno cigarette factory (Shereshevsky Papparazin) was closed down. After Russia regained control, business owners had to show that they were members of the proletariat. Many who could not do so were sent to Siberia. Conditions there were severe but some Jewish families survived World War II due to their exile.

Lida Uezd (District), Vilna Guberniya then Grodno guberniya Towns

-- by Ellen Sadove Renck -

Lida uezd research continues. Should you have interest in any of the following towns, please contact me to join the Lida District Researchers. Our website is currently at That website is undergoing reconstruction and will migrate to ShtetLinks shortly.

The Polish Business Directory (1929) currently is being translated into English, as are the entries for Lida uezd towns in the Slownik Geographiczny Krolestwa Polskiego. If you read either Polish or French and would like to assist, please contact me. The transliterated yizkor necrologies for the following towns have been donated to the Yizkor SIG: Lida, Nowy Dwor, Orlova, Ostrina, Rozanka, Scucyn, Vasilishki, Voronovo, Zaludok. These may be accessed through < >.  The translations of these books are in various stages. Rozanka is complete and has been donated.

Access to records in Grodno has been difficult; however, I have a listing of some of the documents probably available in the Grodno Archives for Lida District. Cooperation is building but progress is slow. Purchase of the documents held in the Lithuanian Archives is under discussion.

The towns and shtetls included in Lida district are as follows:
Astrina: see Ostryna 53 44 2432 E
Austrina: see Ostryna 53 44 2432 E
BAKSHTY: see Baksty 53 48 2441
BARTOSHI 53 35 2437
Belevtsy 53 37 2509
BELICE/Bielica/BELITSA/Bilice 53 39 2519
BELITSA/BELITSY: see Belice 53 39 2519
BELITSA/Bilice/Belice/Bielica 53 39 2519
BELITSY/Belitsa: see Belice 53 39 2519
BIELICA: see Belice 53 39 2519
Bilice: see Belice 53 39 2519
Bobra, village of Rozanka
BOLSI 54 07 2514
BOYARY/BolshiyeBoyary 53 38 2450
Ciejkowszczyzna, village of Rozanka
Dambrova 53 40 2321
DLUGA/DOLGAYA 53 33 2453
DOGI 53 37 2438
Dolina, village of Rozanka
DolinaZarzeczna, village of Rozanka
DolneIGorne, village of Rozanka
Dowklewszczyzna, village of Rozanka
DUBELI 53 36 2454
DUBROVO 53 33 2503
Dvineshok/DEVENISHKI/(DIEVENISKES) 5412 2537
Dyatlovo/Zhetl 53.28 25.24
DZEKHTSYARY 53 48 2454
Dziakowce, village of Rozanka
Eisheshok: see Eisiskes 54 10 250E
Eisiskes/Eshishuk/Ejszyzki/Eisheshok 54 10 250E
Ejszyzki: see Eisiskes 54 10 250E
Eshishuk: see Eisiskes 54 10 250E
FILEVICHI/Fileviche 53 47 2428
GERMANISHKI/Kreminshok 54 08 2522
Girziejowska, village of Rozanka
Goldovo/HOLDOW 53 42 2506
GROMKI 53 50 2440
ISHCHELNYANY: see Ishelin 53 40 2455
ISHCHOLYANY: see Ishelin 53 40 2455
ISZCZONA: see Ishelin 53 40 2455
Iwje/Ivye/EWJA/Evia 5356 2546
Jelawdik: see Zaludok 53 36 2459 E
KALECHYTSE 53 42 2442
Kaniava/Konev/Konyava 54 06 2442
Klimowszczyzna, village of Rozanka
KoloniaDubruva, village of Rozanka
Konev/KANIAVA/KONYAVA 54 06 2442
Konyava/Konev/Kaniava/Konvelishak 54 06 2442
KOSTENEVO: see Kleshnyaki 53 47 2444
KOSTSENEVO: see Kleshnyaki 53 47 2444
KRASNE 53 51 2432
Kreminshok/Germanishki 54 08 2522
KRONKI 53 47 2446
Krupava/KRUPOVO 53 56 2512
KRUPOVO/Krupava 53 56 2512
Kryszylki, village of Rozanka
KUKEN 53 37 2453
KULEVTSE 53 49 2432
Lebedi/Lopaty/Lebishok 53 33 2451
LEYKI 53 43 2438
Lida/Lyda 53 53 2518 E
Lipicanka/Lipichanka 53 32 2458
Lipichanka/Lipicanka 53 32 2458
Lopaty/Lebedi 53 33 2451
LYADSK/LYATSK 53 38 2437
LYATSK/Lyatski 53 38 2437
LYCHKOVTSE 53 45 2438
Lyda: see Lida 53 53 2518 E
MAKHOVICHI 53 49 2510
Makiowce, village of Rozanka
Malewicze, village of Rozanka
Minjty/MINOYTY 53 48 2522
Minoyty/Minjty 53 48 2522
Mocevicy: see MAKHOVICHI 53 49 2510
Motol/MOTYLE/Motyli 53 56 2438
MOTYLE/Motyli/Motol 53 56 2438
Motyli/Motol/MOTYLE 53 56 2438
Nacha 54 04 2450
NAROSHI/Naroshe 53 48 2430
NoviDvor: see NowyDwor 53 48 2434
Novradeker: see NowyDwor 53 48 2434
NovyDvor: see NowyDwor 53 48 2434
Nowo-Rozanka, village of Rozanka
NowyDwor/NovyDvor/NoviDvor/Novradeker/Naujadvaris 53 48 2434
Onichowszczyzna, village of Rozanka
Orla: see Orliany 53 30 2459
Orliany/Orlja/OrlyaOrla:  53 30 2459
Orlja: see Orliany 53 30 2459
Orlova/Orlowa/Alova: see Zaludok
Orlowa/Orlova/Alova: see Zaludok
Orlya: see Orliany 53 30 2459
Ostrin: see Ostryna 53 44 2432 E
Ostrina: see Ostryna 53 44 2432 E
Ostrino: see Ostryna 53 44 2432 E
Ostryna/Ostrino/Ostrina/Ostrin/Astrina/Austrina 53 44 2432 E
Paljackiski: see POLETSKISHKI/ 54 11 2511
Papernja 53 47 2459
Paracany: see Porechany 53 46 2510
PELESA/PELYASA/Peljassa 53 57 2458
PELEVTSY/Pelevtse 53 45 2435
Peljassa: see Pelesa 53 57 2458
PELYASA: see Pelesa 53 57 2458
PERVOMAYSKAYA: see Sobachentzy 53 54 2439
Petucky: see Potoka, village of Rozanka
Podbobra, village of Rozanka
Podrozanka, village of Rozanka
Podzamcze, village of Rozanka
PORECHANY 53 46 2510
Potoka,villageof Razanka
Pyaskovtsy/Pyaskovtse 53 50 2454
Radin/Radunj/Radun’/Raduny/Radunskaya 54 03 2500
Radun: see Radin 54 03 2500
Radunj: see Radin 54 03 2500
Raduny: see Radin 54 03 2500
RADZIWONISZKI/Radzvoniski 53 46 2506
Radzvoniski/RADZIWONISZKI 53 46 2506
RAKOVICHI: see Rakowica 53 31 2451
Rakowica, village of Rozanka: see Rakovichi 53 31 2451
Rakowica:  53 31 2451
Razanka: see Rozanka 53 32 2444
ROMANOVICHI 53 31 2452
Rozanka/Rozhanka/Ruzanka/Razanka/Rozhankov 53 32 2444
Rozankovskaya: see Rozanka 53 32 2444
Rozhanka: see Rozanka 53 32 2444
Rozhankov: see Rozanka 53 32 2444
RULEVICHI 53 52 2502
Rulevicy: see Rulevichi 53 52 2502
Ruzanka: see Rozanka 53 32 2444
RYLOVTSY 53 52 2506
Savovshchizna: see Savovshchina 53 34 2455
Scanec/SHCHENETS 53 42 2425
Scucyn: see Szczuczyn 53 36 2445
Shchenets/Scanec 53 42 2425
SHEYBAKPOL 53 45 2445
SHNIPKI 53 32 2438
Shtutchin: see Szczuczyn 53 36 2445
Shuchin: see Szczuczyn 53 36 2445
SKORZHIKI 53 33 2435
SOBAKENTSY: see Sobachentzy 53 54 2439
SOBAKINCE: see Sobachentzy 53 54 2439
SOBAKINTSE: see Sobachentzy 53 54 2439
Starodvortsy: see Starodvortsa 53 49 2448
Szczuczyn/Shtutchin/Scucyn/Suicin 53 36 2445
TANEVICHE/Tanjavicy/Tanevichy 53 51 2438
TANEVICHY/Tanjavicy/TANEVICHE 53 51 2438
Tanjavicy/TANEVICHE/TANEVICHY 53 51 2438
Turowka, village of Rozanka
Vasilishki/Wasiliski/Vasilishok/Vasiljkov 53 47 2451
Vasilishok: see Vasilishki 53 47 2451
Vasiliski: see Vasilishki 53 47 2451
Vasiljkov: see Vasilishki 53 47 2451
Vaverka/VAVYRKA/WAWIORKA 53 50 2458
VAVYRKA: see Vaverka 53 50 2458
VEZHBILKA: see Verbilka 53 34 2442
Voronova: see Voronovo 54 09 2519 E
VORONOVO/VORONOV/VORONUV/WERENOW/Warinowa/Varinova/Voranava/Woroniszki 5409 2519 E
Wasilishki: see Vasilishki 53 47 2451
Wasiliski: see Vasilishki 53 47 2451
WAWIORKA: see Vaverka 53 50 2458
Werenow: see Voronovo 54 09 2519 E
Wierzbilki, village of Rozanka
YELNA 53 34 2435
YEVLASHI 53 38 2434
Zabal/Zabalac/ 53 53 2509
Zaborze, village of Rozanka
Zaludok/Zheloudek/Zheludok/Zholodek/Zholudok/Zoludek/Jelawdik 53 36 2459
ZAPOLYE 53 33 2446
Zhelodok: see Zaludok 53 36 2459 E
Zheloudok: see Zaludok 53 36 2459 E
Zheludok: see Zaludok 53 36 2459 E
Zhirmuny: see Zyrmuny 54 01 2513
Zoludek: see Zaludok 53 36 2459 E
Zyrmuny/ZHIRMUNY 54 01 2513
Zhetl/Djatlavo 53.28 25.24

to continue-newletters from 1999