Olkeniki in Flames;
A Memorial Book to the
Community of Olkenik in the Vilna District
(Valkininkai, Lithuania)

54°21' / 24°50'

Translation of
Ha-ayara be-lehavot; sefer zikaron le-kehilat Olkenik pelekh Vilna

Editor: Shlomo Farber

Published in Tel Aviv 1962



Project Coordinator

Ernest G. Fine


Our thanks to Sondra Ettlinger for extracting the pictures
from the original book, enabling their addition to the project.


This is a translation from: Ha-ayara be-lehavot; sefer zikaron le-kehilat Olkenik pelekh Vilna
(Olkeniki in flames; a memorial book to the community of Olkenik in the Vilna district),
Editor: Shlomo Farber, Tel Aviv 1962, Association of Former Residents of Olkeniki and Surroundings (H, Y 287 pages)

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Hebrew translated by Sara Mages
Yiddish translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund


The Hebrew section
Editorial   7
Map of Olkeniki and the surrounding area   7
Words to be said in the Memorial Ceremony S. P-R 9
Introduction S. P. 10
Chapters in history
The origin of the name Olkeniki S.P-R 13
The town and its daughters S. P-R 19
Olkeniki from the beginning of the century until the Holocaust S.P-R 21
Paths (Poem) Avraham Menachemi 32
Institutions, organizations, societies and personalities   33
Public institutions S.P-R 39
Institutions for Torah study K.P-R 40
Community elections in 1921   41
The town, its landscape and stories of the cultural pattern
Topography, landscape, transportation, residents' businesses S.P-R 45
Chapters of the way of life of the previous generation S.P-R 52
Hadarim[1] in the town Shlomo Karpowich 54
R' Zelig the melamed and his heder[1] S.P-R 55
Gas installation in the House of Study[2] Sh. P. 56
My Birthplace Olkeniki Yakov Agami 57
Aliya to Israel Zahava Menachmi Tanel 57
Matzos' baking (From Mina Bank-Goldberg) Sh. P. 58
The Bus Appears in the Town Y. M-N 60
The Fire in the Town; Delay in Reading in Olkeniki Sh. P. 60
The Weddings of the Yeshiva Members; The City is my Small Temple K. P-R 62
The old synagogue
A Fire {Poem} Avraham Farber 67
The old synagogue Shlomo Ferber 68
Personalities, Houses, Images
A man of vision in the Olkeniki forests (Poem, translated by N. Ginton)) H. Grada 87
Rabbi Shmuel, the Son of Rabbi Chaim, Rabbi Yaakov Ben Shmariahu HaCohen Levin, The Rabbi's House, The Last Rabbi of Olkeniki K. P-R 88
Bnei Torah in the Last Generation – the commentator R' Zev S. P-R 89
Reb Avraham Mende (Greenzweig) S. P-R 91
Rabbis and Yeshiva Members (Bnei Yeshiva) S. P-R 94
The Gaon Rav, Rabbi Avraham Mendel Greenzweig K. P-R 95
Rabbi Tobi Rothberg. May God Avenge Him HaRav Zalman Rotberg  
Long-Established Families in the Town Emma Dvortzen Farber 96
The First to Immigrate to the Land of Israel S.P-R 97
My Family House Simcha Polachek 99
A Home that was Ruined Yosef Karpovitz 99
A House in the Town S. P-R 100
Three Families Chaim Z-Ki 102
A Mother in the Town S. P-R 104
A Pioneer; In Memory of a Friend Yosef K-Vitz 104
One of the Activists; The Greengrocer K. P-R 106
The Town in Recent Generations K. P-R 106
The Folklore of the Town S. P-R 106
A Legendary Man Zehava Tanal Menachemi 107
The Power of a Handshake Yosef Karpovitz 107
The “Parbelistan” (cheap woman) Binyamin Farber, may God avenge him 108
Napoleon and the Bookseller Balon 108
The Holocaust
The arrival of the Holocaust YYosef Meltzman 111
The imprisonment of the first five S. P-R 117
Trader and dealing with public affairs Lazer Worman, may God avenge him S. P-R 119
My best friend Binyamin Farber, may God avenge him Haim Z-Ki 120
To the young (Poem) Binyamin Farber, May the Lord avenge his blood 120
From the Strait K. P-R 121
From bad to worse (told by David Rybeck) S. P-Bar 128
From the Brink of Doom to the Land of Resurrection Chaim Beit Yosef - Zubiski 131
In the Forests Among the Partisans and in Siberia (photos)   152
The Survivors of the Atrocities (Recorded from Avraham Taiken) S. P-R 153
Holocaust survivors (photos)   157
With the arrival of the holocaust HaRav Kalman Farber 158
Days of Horror (told by Meir Kinbrom) K. P-R 194
Meetings with the townspeople in the Soviet army Y. M-Man 195
These are Your Sons, Olkeniki K.P-R 197
The Two Sisters K. P-R 200
The Memorial Candle K. P-R 202
On the Ponary Hills K. P-R (translated by S.P-R) 203
And these are the Names of the Townspeople who Survived the Holocaust   206
Important Dates in the Life of the Town S.P-R 206
Closure of the Book S. P-R 208
The Yiddish section
From the Editor   212
The Shtetl [town] Until the Holocaust
The History of Olkeniki [Valkininkai] Sh. P–R 215
Olkeniki, a Shtetl [town] of Legends Cheikl Lunski 215
Olkeniker Youth (poem) Chaim Grade 221
On the Way to Eretz Yisroel (photographs)   223
Wedding of the Rabbi's Daughter (poem) Chaim Grade 224
The Old Synagogue Shlomo Farber 225
The Legend of the Philantrophist, Reb Yosef Kh. L-Ki 228
The Old Synagogue at the Merczanke [Merkys] River (poem) Chaim Grade 229
A Family in Olkeniki Ruchl Sarduf-Dvortsan 233
Pain and Sorrow
The Death of Olkenik Layzer Shtrof 237
Where a Day, Where a Night Miriam Ben-Shamas-Ribak 238
From School into the Red Army Khonan Berenshtein 241
In the Storm (Told by Berl Lipszic) Recorded by Khaver-Paver N. Einbinder 243
How I Survived (Told by Levi Lipszic) Recorded by Khaver-Paver 256
On the Mountain of Ponar Kalman Farber 259
A Memorial Candle K. F__R 262
Graves of Parents and Children   265
Pictures of the Martyrs   266
The Names of the Martyrs   279
At the Close of the Book Sh. F. – R 287
Corrections   288
The English section
In Conclusion   289
A short history of Olkeniki Shlomo Faber 290
Editor's Foreword   291
List of photographs from the Memorial Section
List of names extracted from Memorial Section

  1. Heder - an elementary Jewish School in which children are taught to read the Torah and other books in Hebrew. Return
  2. Beit Hamidrash – house of study. Return


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