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[Page 386]

Shaki
(Šakiai, Lithuania)

54°57' 23°03'

The town Shaki – this being its Yiddish pronunciation – is situated in the south–western part of Lithuania near the river Siesartis, one of the tributaries of the river Sesupe, about 24 km east of the Prussian border (now part of the Russian), and about 58 km to the west of Kovno. This is one of the oldest settlements of Lithuania, already mentioned in old chronicles of the 14th and 15th centuries on the occasion of a visit of the head of the German crusader order in 1352. Another source maintained that in 1405 German crusaders had already built a wooden fortress in Shaki.

During the second half of the 16th century five families named Sakaiciai lived there and the small village was named after them, which is also mentioned in documents dating from 1599. The town named Sakiai was mentioned for the first time in 1719. In the 18th century it was owned by a family of princes named Chartorisky, one of whose sons, Mikolai, granted the town the rights of a city (the so–called Megdeburg Rights) in 1776.

Until 1795 Shaki was part of the Polish–Lithuanian Kingdom. The same year the third division of Poland by the three superpowers of those times – Russia, Prussia and Austria – caused Lithuania to become partly Russian and partly Prussian. The part of the state which lay on the left side of the Nieman river (Nemunas), including Shaki, was handed over to Prussia who ruled there during the years 1795–1807.

In 1800 there were 574 inhabitants in Shaki, most of them Jews, living in 65 houses.

According to the Tilzit agreement of 1807, Polish territories occupied by Prussia were transferred to what became known as the “The Great Dukedom of Warsaw”, which was established at that time. The king of Saxony, Friedrich–August, was appointed duke, and the Napoleonic code became the constitution of the dukedom, according to which everybody was equal before the law, except for the Jews who were not granted any civil rights.

During the years 1807–1813 Shaki belonged to the “Great Dukedom of Warsaw” and was included in the Bialystok district. In 1813, after the defeat of Napoleon, all of Lithuania was annexed to Russia, as a result of which Shaki was included in the Augustowa Province (Gubernia), and in 1866 it became a part of the Suwalk Gubernia.

During Russian rule (1813–1915) the town started to develop, and before World War I about 4,000 people lived there and it became a district administrative capitol. Shaki was surrounded by woods and most of its inhabitants made their living from them.

When the First World War began many of Shaki's inhabitants left the town. In 1915 the town was occupied by the German army, who then erected a barbed wire fence surrounding it. Many men from Shaki were taken to work in Germany, the town suffered from a shortage of food and epidemics broke out.

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The Germans left the town in 1919, at which time it was handed over to the newly created independent Lithuanian State, becoming a district administrative capitol, where new streets were built and government institutions established. There were elementary schools, a Catholic High–School, a Regional Court, a Post Office, a regional Hospital, branches of the State and other banks, 3 doctors, 2 dentists, one veterinary surgeon, 2 pharmacies, several tens of shops, several restaurants and pubs, a power station, a workshop for agricultural machines, 3 flour mills, 2 saw mills, a slaughter house, a dairy, a plant for producing bricks and several workshops for processing flax and wool.

In the summer of 1940 Lithuania became a part of the Soviet Union and Shaki continued to serve as a district administrative capitol. On the 22nd of June 1941 the German army invaded Lithuania and Shaki was occupied on the first day of the war, the Germans ruling there till the end of 1944, when the Red Army reconquered Lithuania.

 

The Jewish Settlement until World War I and Afterwards

Jews had apparently settled in the village Sakaiciai by the beginning of the 18th century, and dealt in timber. In 1765 Prince Chartorisky allowed Jews to settle in Shaki and to open taverns, so that by the middle of the 18th century Jews numbered more than 80% of the total population. In 1856 out of 1,764 residents 1,473 were Jews (83%), in 1862 there were 3,038 Jews (88%) out of a total population of 3,443, and in 1885 – 3,000 Jews (81%) out of a total population of 3,700. The Jews made their living from commerce and crafts, among them small peddlers, carters, horse traders, one blacksmith, two tailors, one watchmaker and of course merchants and shop owners. The Jewish shops were concentrated around the market square in the center of the town, so that every Sunday the peasants from the surroundings would come to pray in the church, bringing with them products for sale and use this opportunity to buy all they needed in the Jewish shops. Several of the Jewish merchants would export agricultural products to Germany, mainly grain. Several Jews were landowners near the town, growing vegetables and fruit, and many families had a plot of land near their houses, on which they would grow vegetables and fruit for their own personal use and even for sale.

We can learn about the public activities of Shaki's Jews during this period from the “Pinkas haKehilah” (The Community Book) from the years 1768–1776, which consisted of 248 pages of which 132 pages were filled out, and according to which the community had seven leaders who also represented it officially. Several sub–committees were responsible for the evaluation of taxes, for education, caring for the “Yeshivoth”, for the elementary schools (the “Kheder”), the “Talmud Torah”, the maintenance of the community's property, “Tsedakah Gedolah” which dealt with welfare issues and the “Khevrah Kadishah” who cared for the cemetery. There were also committees for the issues of the “Korobka” (meat taxes), for the synagogues and for Eretz Yisrael, for Yeshivoth and their students who were studying in the Holy Cities in Eretz

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Yisrael. In a list of donors for the settlement of Eretz Yisrael from 1899 several names of Shaki Jews appeared, the fund raiser being Shimon Shmuelovitz.

During the famine in Lithuania, at the end of the 1860s, the Shaki community received help from the Help Committee in Memel – 30 Ruble.

Later the Jewish community of Shaki became strong enough themselves to donate money to the hungry in Lithuanian towns. There are three lists from 1871 in which names of Shaki donors appear, the fund raisers being Zeev Glasberg, Feivush–Mordehai Shor, Yitshak Segal. There are also two lists of donors from 1872 for the hungry in Lithuania, in which the fund raisers in the first list were Kalman Blokh, Yitshak Epelbaum, and in the second list Z.J.Blumgarten, Yekhiel–Ya'akov Etelzon.

In a list published in Hebrew newspaper “HaMagid” from 1871 and 1872 there are 185 names of Shaki Jews who donated money for the Famine in Persia.

In a list published in the Hebrew newspaper: “HaMeilitz” from the years 1897 and 1898 are 47 names of Shaki Jews who donated money for the Settlement of Eretz–Yisrael (see Jewshgen.Org.– Database–Lithuania–by Jeffrey Maynard)

During those years, matters of marriage and birth, also of Jews, were within the authority of the local Catholic priest. A Jewish couple, before going to the “Khupah” with the Rabbi, was obliged to register with the priest, and children born to Jewish families had also to be registered in the same way.

During the years 1890 to 1894 the Lithuanian writer Dr. Vincas Kudirka, who wrote the text of the Lithuanian anthem, lived in Shaki. He recalled that he could neither find a flat nor patients in the town, because most of its inhabitants were Jews who had their own doctors. Finally he found a place to live in, it being the old house of the local priest, and named the town “The Jews' Fortress” (Zydpile in Lithuanian).

The educational institutions where Shaki's Jewish children studied were mainly the traditional ones: the “Kheder” and the “Talmud Torah”. In 1869 a government school for Jewish children opened, whose budget was covered mainly by the Jewish community and by a small government grant, extending to 175 Ruble per year. Its teacher was Yavarovsky, who also established the library in town. A letter to “The Society for Spreading Knowledge among the Jews” in St.Petersburg, signed by 12 people from Shaki, was sent asking for support for the library.

In 1877 this school amalgamated with the Evangelic school, 94 out of 126 pupils were Jewish. For many years Avraham Duber HaCohen Aizendorf, who also wrote the Shaki news in the Hebrew newspaper “HaMeilitz” which was published in St.Petersburg, was the inspector of the school on behalf of the government.

In “Hameilitz” dated the 22nd of June 1880, a letter to the “Society for Spreading Knowledge among the Jews” in St.Petersburg, signed by Shimon Gral from Shaki, acknowledged the 100 Ruble the society had sent to support the school which was in danger of being closed.

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At the beginning of the 20th century a “Kheder Metukan” (an improved Kheder) was established in Shaki, where Hebrew and Talmud were taught as well. Religious fanaticism, boorishness and superstitious beliefs still dominated the community, with only a few reading books other than religious ones and very few studying in the Russian High School in Vilkavishk (Vilkaviskis), about 50 kms away. Only one Jewish family in Shaki subscribed to a newspaper. The Jewish youth of Shaki did not see their future in this backward place and many of them emigrated to America, England and South Africa, whilst others moved to other places in Lithuania.

In a list of Shaki immigrants to America in 1869/70 the following names appear: M.Gitelman, Roize Levin, B.Edelman, M.Kahn, S.Shneider.

In Manchester (England) there were already several tens of former Shaki Jews in 1879, who would send 100 Ruble every year for the “Talmud–Torah”, the leader of this group being Gershon Shapir.

Some Shaki Jews emigrated to Eretz Yisrael during the second half of the 19th century, probably being elderly people who wanted to die there in order to be close to the place where the “Mashiakh” (Messiah) would come and the revival of the dead would take place. At the old cemetery in Jerusalem there are at least two tombstones with the inscriptions: Basha Reizel daughter of Eliyahu from Shaki 5653 (1893), Ya'akov Tsevi son of Mosheh from Shaki 5655 (1895).

When World War I broke out in 1914 there were about 4,000 Jews in Shaki, but most left the town after the retreating Russian army instigated pogroms against them. Torah scrolls were burnt, Jews were mistreated and Jewish property looted. During the German occupation (1915–1919) some of the refugees returned to the town, others returned after the war.

 

The Period of Independent Lithuania (1918–1940)

Society and Economy

With the proclamation of the establishment of the Lithuanian state on the 16th of February 1918 and the evacuation of the German army from Shaki at the beginning of 1919, the Jewish community in town started to organize again.

According to the autonomy law regarding minorities in Lithuania, elections for the Jewish community committee in Shaki were held, when 11 members were elected: 1 from the General Zionists list, 2 from Tseirei Zion, 2–Mizrakhi, 6–undefined. The committee acted till the end of 1925, at which time the autonomy was annulled. During the years of its existence the committee collected taxes according to law, sometimes even with the help of the police, and was in charge of all aspects of community life.

According to the first census conducted by the Lithuanian government in 1923 there were then 2,044 people in Shaki, among them 1,267 Jews (62%).

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During the 1920s and 1930s, Jews were in the majority in Shaki and played an important role in the economic and municipal life of the town. In the 1920s 7 out of the 12 members of the municipal council were Jews, and in the elections of 1931 5 Jews were elected out of 9 council members (David Rabinov, Leizer Rubinstein, B.Papishker, Feivel Kotler, Sh.Kaspar). In the 1934 elections the Jews still kept their strength in the council, 5 Jewish members being elected: B.Papishker, J.Mosezon, J.Flaxman, M.Fainzilber and L.Rubinstein. The same happened in the elections of 1936 when 5 Jewish members were elected. During those years 4 Jews served alternately as Mayor: Altfeld, Igdelsky, Lubotzky and Ya'akov Flaxman.

Shaki Jews made a living from commerce, crafts, industry and from growing vegetables and trading with them. Market day, every Tuesday and Friday and the fair once in two weeks, played an important role in the economy.

According to the 1931 Lithuanian government survey there were 82 shops in Shaki, of which 68 belonged to Jews (83%), according to the following table:

 

Type of Business Total Owned by Jews
Groceries 10 9
Grains and Flax 11 11
Butcher Shops and Cattle Trade 7 6
Restaurants and Taverns 7 4
Food Products 9 9
Drinks 2 2
Textiles and Furs 9 7
Leather and Shoes 4 3
Haberdashery and House Utensils 2 2
Medicines and Cosmetics 3 0
Watches and Jewels 2 2
Bicycles and Sewing Machines 1 1
Tools and Iron Products 7 7
Heating Materials 3 3
Overland Transportation 2 2
Books and Stationery 2 0
Miscellaneous 1 0

According to the same survey of the 16 factories and workshops in Shaki, 12 belonged to Jews (75%). The data is presented in the following table:

 

Type of Establishment Total Owned by Jews
Metal Works, Power Stations 2 1
Wool, Coloring, Knitting 4 3
Flour Mills, Bakeries, Candies, Chocolate 3 1
Bristle Processing, Jewelers Photo Shops 7 7

Additionally there were tens of artisans working in their crafts. In 1938 there were still 60 Jewish artisans in Shaki: 12 tailors, 12 butchers, 6 bakers, 6 hairdressers, 5 hatters, 4 stitchers, 2 tinsmiths, 2 shoemakers, 2 painters, 2

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watchmakers, 1 oven builder, 1 electrician, 1 book binder, 1 blacksmith, 1 photographer, 1 carpenter and 1 unknown.

The Jewish “Folksbank” occupied a central role in the economic life of the town, and in 1927 had 137 members and by 1932 this had increased to 170 members. During Soviet rule in Lithuania in 1940 the bank was closed down. Among its directors Froman and Lax should be mentioned. There was also a branch of “The United Company for Financial Credit for Jewish Agrarians.”

 

lit4_391.jpg
The market square in Shaki (1927). The house opposite belonged to the Anakhovitz family
(Picture supplied by Gita Anakhovitz–Shmulovitz)

 

In the mid–1930sthe economic situation of Jews in Shaki began to deteriorate, one of the reasons being the open propaganda led by the “Association of Lithuanian Merchants (Verslas)” against buying in Jewish stores. During those years many Jewish youths emigrated to America and South Africa and some of them to Eretz Israel. Because of “Aliyah” (immigration) restrictions only a few managed to immigrate to Eretz Yisrael as “Khalutzim” (pioneers), whilst many moved to other towns in Lithuania. In 1937 a fire burnt down 6 Jewish houses, including flats and shops. (The houses of K.Kelzon, P.Kruk, L.Ushpitz, Goldart etc.).

All this caused the decline of the Jewish population in Shaki, so that by 1939 only about 600 Jews lived there, about 20% of the total population. According to the official telephone book of 1939, Shaki had 60 phone subscribers, 11 of them being Jews (18%).

 

Education and Culture

The Jewish children of Shaki studied in schools of the “Kheder” type and in the elementary Hebrew school from the “Tarbuth” chain, which had 4 regular and 2 preparatory classes. Hebrew was taught with “Ashkenazi” pronunciation, and 200 to 400 pupils studied simultaneously. Among the teachers were: Yerakhmiel Goldberg, Broido, Kanovitz, Shor, Cohen, Smilg, A.Yerushalmi, the brothers Tsevi and Eliezer Hanin, Shemuel Golbort, Bukhbinder, Varshavsky, Tsevi Vizhansky, Hamer.

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lit4_392a.jpg
The pupils and teachers of the government high school in 1931/32 with 20 Jewish pupils
(Picture supplied by Bela Marshak–Shadkhanovitz)

 

lit4_392b.jpg
The graduation class 1939 with 3 Jewish girls

Sitting in the first line, from right: fourth–Bela Marshak sixth–Gita Anachovitz ninth–Leah Levinstein
(All the three: Bela Marshak–Shadkhanovitz, Eng.Chemistry Gita Anakhovitz–Shmulovitz, Dr. (Medical) Leah Levinstein–Palunsky with their families are living in Israel)

 

The large Yiddish library sponsored by the society “Libhober fun Vissen” (Lovers of Knowledge) and a smaller Hebrew library played an important cultural role.

Jewish children received their higher education in the government High School in town, with only very few studying in Hebrew high schools in nearby cities.

In 1931/32 20 Jewish pupils studied in the local High School while in 1939/40 only 3 Jewish girls graduated. (See pictures above).

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lit4_393.jpg
The drama circle in Shaki (1919)

Standing first from right: Mosheh Kopilovitz, next to him Leib–Hirsh Anakhovitz
Standing first from left: Dr. Sonia Levin–Anakhovitz
(Picture supplied by Gita Anakhovitz– Shmulovitz)

 

A local amateur group arranged theatrical plays from time to time, with great success. The Kovno Jewish theater would also visit Shaki sometimes and perform plays in the local cinema hall.

 

Zionist Activity

There were branches of most Zionist parties and youth organizations: “Tseirei Zion”, Z”S, “HeKhalutz” (from 1922), “HaShomer HaTsair”, “HeKhalutz HaTzair” (from 1932), “Betar” and at the beginning of the twenties also “Poalei Zion–Smol” (Leftist Zion workers). This party participated with a separate list in the elections for the “Nationalrat” (The National Committee of Lithuanian Jews) and for the municipalities. Despite the persecutions and arrests of members of this party by the Lithuanian security forces, a member of this party, Yudl Altfeld, was elected Mayor of Shaki.

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We can learn about the comparative strength among the different Zionist parties represented in Shaki branches by looking at the election results for Zionist congresses:

 

Congress
No.
Year Total
Shekalim
Total Voters Labor Party
Z”S Z”Z
Revisionists General Zionists
A B
Grosmanists Mizrahi
14 1925 28
15 1927 41 40 1 7 3 19 10
16 1929 94 46 1 6 2 28 9
17 1931
18 1933 289 222 49 13 2 3
19 1935 488 462 319 78 14 41

At the end of 1934 a combined club of the Z”S party, “HeKhalutz” and “HaOved” opened up in Shaki at a festive celebration with the participation of about 100 members and friends of these organizations (see Appendix 1). The main Zionist activities in town took place in this club, and included lectures, shows etc.

There were also fund raising activities for the National Funds: Keren haYesod and Keren Kayemeth (KKL). In December 1934 a new committee of the Keren Kayemeth (KKL) was elected in Shaki : M.Shohet, Z.Oleisky, A.Marshak, Hamer, H.Gefen, Sh.Kruk, Sh.Golbort, M.Vilensky and Z.Mazinter.

An urban Kibbutz Hakhshara (urban training kibbutz) existed, where some members trained in the local agricultural machinery factory.

Sport activities were performed in the local branch of “Maccabi” with its 48 members.

 

Religion and Welfare

There were two prayer houses in Shaki: the Beth–Midrash where prayers were held every day, and the grandiose Synagogue (Di Shul), famous in Lithuania for its internal ornaments, where prayers were held on Saturdays and Holidays only.

In 1928 a heated controversy erupted between the two Rabbis who served in Shaki – Rabbi Anakhovitz and Rabbi Fridman – on the issue of the “Beth–Midrash”, as a result of which the congregation divided into two parties as well. This controversy brought about the intervention of the law enforcement authorities, so that 3 men were detained for 7 days, one man expelled from the town for 6 months, and the prayer houses were closed on and off for some time. The problem was eventually solved after the law officer passed the issue on to the “Association of Lithuanian Rabbis”, who decided that a new Rabbi be elected. Later the punishments were annulled.

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Among the Rabbis who served in Shaki during the years were: Shemuel Mohliver (in Shaki 1854–1860) one of the pioneers of “Khibath–Zion” (Lovers of Zion) and one of the fathers of religious Zionism; Mosheh–Betsalel Lurie (in Shaki 1868–1875); Zvi Palterovitz; Shimon–Dov Anolik; Yirmiyahu Flensberg (in Shaki 1889 – till his death in 1914); Avraham–Leib Shor (1922–1926); Aharon Fridman (1926 till his death in 1934); Yosef Anakhovitz (died in 1940); Yosef Goldin was murdered in 1941.

Most of these Rabbis published books on religious topics and recommended books written by other Rabbis.

All the customary welfare societies of the Jewish communities in Lithuania were active in Shaki as well.

 

lit4_395.jpg
A welfare volunteer collecting “Khaloth” for Shabath for distributing among the poor (1937)

 

For a partial list of personalities born in Shaki see Appendix 2.

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The Period of World War II and Thereafter

After the German army had occupied Poland in September 1939 and in agreement with the Ribbentrop–Molotov treaty, the Russians occupied the Suvalk region, but after the delineation of exact borders between Poland, Russia and Germany, this region fell into German hands. The retreating Russians allowed anyone who wanted to join them to move into their occupied territory, and indeed many young Jewish people left the area together with the Russians. The Germans expelled the remaining Jews from their homes, robbed them of their possessions, then directed them to the Lithuanian border, where they were left in dire poverty. The Lithuanians did not allow them to enter Lithuania and the Germans did not allow them back. Thus they stayed in this swampy area in cold and rain for several weeks, until Jewish youths from the border villages in Lithuania smuggled them into Lithuania by various routes, at much risk to themselves. Altogether about 2,400 refugees crossed through or infiltrated on their own, and were then dispersed in Lithuania. In Shaki alone 100 refugees were accommodated and given a warm welcome and loyal assistance for which Lithuanian Jews were famous.

In June 1940 Lithuania was annexed to the Soviet Union and became a Soviet Republic. According to Soviet economic policy some factories and 7 Jewish shops were nationalized and commissars were appointed to run them. Supply of goods was restricted, as a result of which prices soared, and the middle class, mostly Jewish, was badly hit with its living standard dropping gradually. The Zionist parties and youth organizations were dispersed and some of its members were absorbed in the Comsomol – the Communist Youth Organization. The Hebrew school was closed and in its stead a Yiddish school opened.

In the middle of June 1941 five Jewish families whose shops had been nationalized, were exiled deep into Russia (Hirshl Rubinstein, Shemuel Rubinstein, Aharon Marshak, Abramovitz, Shemuel Goldoft)

The German army entered Shaki on the first day of war between Germany and the Soviet Union, on the 22nd of June 1941 at 11 o'clock. Many Jews tried to escape eastwards, but only 50 managed to arrive in Russia. Many were killed on the roads and most of the escapees returned home.

With the entry of the Germans, the Lithuanian nationalists took over the rule of the town. They immediately started to plot against the Jews, and every day new orders were published restricting their civil rights: they were forbidden to maintain any contacts with non–Jews, not allowed to walk on the sidewalks or to buy food products from non–Jews, could not visit public institutions, were forced to wear yellow patches on their garments, had to hand over their radios and more. In addition, a curfew was imposed from 6 o'clock in the evening until 6 o'clock in the morning. Later all Jewish men from 15 years of age and up were ordered to present themselves for work, where they were concentrated in a big barn outside the town, near a field where the Jews used to put their cows out to pasture and thus this field was called “the Jewish pasture”

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(Zydlaukas). The barn was heavily guarded by armed Lithuanians, and from there groups of men were taken every day to the nearby forest in order to dig long and wide trenches.

On Saturday, the 5th of July 1941 (the 10th of Tamuz 5701), group after group of men was taken out of the barn and led to the trenches. There they were forced to pull off their garments and jump into the trenches. Men who did not hurry to obey the order were pushed into the trench by force. Then all were shot by the Lithuanians.

Some of the victims tried to resist the murderers. Benjamin Rotshild, the son of the old blacksmith Yisrael–Yitshak, when already in the trench, caught the leg of one of the murderers, dragged him into the trench and hit him badly. The Lithuanian friends of the murderer jumped into the trench, killed Benjamin and took out the badly hurt Lithuanian from the trench and transferred him to the Vilkaviskis hospital. The “crazy one of the town” Motele, who tried to escape from the massacre, was also shot by the guards.

After the murder of the men, 40 wealthy women were expelled from their houses. They were then ordered to take all their belongings with them and in particular their valuables. They were brought into the same barn and there were robbed of everything they possessed. They were forced to undress, then led to the trenches and cruelly murdered.

The remaining women were concentrated in the most pitiable alleys of Shaki, which was proclaimed an open Ghetto, because it was not fenced off. Despite this non–Jews were forbidden to bring in any food products, so the women had to look for food elsewhere and thus endanger themselves.

On the first day that the women were concentrated into the Ghetto, Lithuanian youngsters stormed into the Ghetto, chose 6 beautiful young girls and took them out. These girls never came back. This abduction of young women continued later too, they would be kidnapped and disappear.

Saturday, the 13th of September 1941 (21st of Elul 5701), marked the end of the Jewish community of Shaki. On this day all the women and children were put on carts and brought to the barn. From there group after group was led to the trenches, where they were ordered to undress and then pushed into the trenches and shot. Their belongings were loaded on carts, brought into the town and divided among the Lithuanians. Together with the Jews of Shaki, Jews from the neighboring towns of Kruki (Kriukai), Lukshi (Luksiai), Sintovta (Sintautai), Grishkabud (Griskabudis), Sudarg (Sudargas) and others, were also murdered.

Among the victims of Sudarg were the author's aunt Mina Rosin–Hilelson, his cousin Shelomoh Hilelson, his cousin Elka Hilelson–Goldberg, her husband Yehudah Goldberg and their little daughter Leah'le

After the war a monument was erected on the mass graves, with an inscription in Yiddish: “In these mass graves four thousand innocent inhabitants of Shaki and its surroundings were buried in 1941–1944 by German fascists and

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Lithuanian bourgeoisie nationalists. Let the bright memory of the perished live forever in the hearts of all patriots of our homeland”.

 

lit4_398a.jpg

 

lit4_398b.jpg
Entrance gate to the site of the mass graves.
The inscription in Yiddish, Lithuanian and Russian says:
“At this place the Hitler murderers and their local helpers in 1941–1944 murdered about 4000 Jews, men. Women, children.”

(Picture supplied by Nathan Gershowitz)

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lit4_399.jpg
A group of survivors of the Shaki Jewish community on a memorial meeting near the monument at the mass graves at the end of the sixties

Standing in the first line, from right: Shemuel Bluman, –––, Mrs. Viliosesky, Riva Altfeld, Lila Shlomovitz, Rita Shlomovitz, Gita Anakhovitz–Shmulovitz, Bela Froman, Vilionsky
Second line, from right:––––, ––––, Eige Kuperman, Kuperman, Altfeld (half face), ––––, Khiene Vilionsky, Betsalel Rotshild, ––––(with the hat), Sarah Gershovitz, ––––, Nathan Gershovitz, Tuviyah Goldoft, –––––, ––––, Yonah Iser––––
Third line, from right: Mordehai Kuperman, –––––, Roche–Basia Zilber, –––––, Zilber, Moti Gershovitz

 

Almost all of these people were in the USSR during the war. Many of them died in Lithuania and a part of them in Israel.

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lit4_400.jpg
Monument in memory of the murdered Jewish community of Shaki erected in the Holon cemetery
The inscription in Hebrew: “In memory of the martyrs of Shaki Lithuania who perished in the Holocaust in year 5701–1941.”
Memorial day of the men the 10th of Tamuz, of the women and children the 21st of Elul.

 

In 1959 there were 2,944 people in Shaki, but not one Jew.

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Bibliography:

Yad–Vashem Archives: M–1/Q–1791/358; M–1/E–1275/1241; M–9/15(6);
Koniukhovsky collection 0–71, Files151, 152, 153.
The Ya'akov Oleisky Book (Hebrew)–published by “ORT” Israel and “The Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel”. Tel–Aviv 1986.
Dos Vort (Yiddish Daily)– Kovno, 11.11.1934, 30.11.1934, 23.12.1934.
Di Yiddishe Shtime (Daily)– Kovno, 30.1.1928, 3.2.1928, 14.3.1928, 26.2.1928, 27.2.1928, 5.6.1928, 26.6.1928, 26.5.1931, 9.9.1937.
HaMeilitz (Hebrew)–St. Petersburg, 20.5.1879, 10.6.1879, 22.6.1880, 1.8.1882, 19.2.1883, 16.3.1883, 16.4.1883, 10.6.1883, 4.12.1886, 8.12.1886.
Yiddisher Hantverker (Yiddish)–Kovno, Nr. 7, 15.12.1938.
Folksblat (daily) (Yiddish)–Kovno,14.2.1935, 1.5.1936, 9.9.1937, 29.10.1940.

Appendix 1

The festive opening celebration of the club of the Z”S party, “HeKhalutz” and “HaOved”
(excerpts from a description from the Yiddish daily newspaper “Dos Vort”, the 11th of November 1934)

The chairman of the evening was Alter Pakeltzik. Speeches were held by Shakhne Kruk on behalf of the Z”S party, by Shelomoh Shapira on behalf of “haOved”, by Tsevi Gefen on behalf of Keren haYesod, by Yisrael Bluman on behalf of “Keren Kayemeth (KKL)”, by Havivah Kovensky on behalf of “HaKhalutz HaTsair”, byYosef Ziman on behalf of the Neishtot branch of “HeKhalutz” and by Shifrah and Zusman on behalf of the Kibbutz “HaMetsaref”. Mordehai Vilionsky held a speech in which he asked the members of the party to strengthen activities for it and the National Funds.

Appendix 2

A Partial List of Personalities born in Shaki

Yitshak–Leib Goldberg (1860–1935), one of the pioneers of “Khovevei Zion” (Lovers of Zion) in Vilna, from 1890 and for 25 years the representative of the “Odessa Committee”, delegate on behalf of Vilna to the first Zionist congress, supported the Hebrew press in Russia and in Eretz Yisrael, The Hebrew University in Jerusalem was built on his land.
Boris Goldberg (1866–1921), one of the leaders of the Zionists in Russia, journalist and member of many editorial boards of newspapers in Russia and London, from 1920 in Eretz Yisrael.
Yehudah Fin (1866–1945), workers leader in England and America.
Nakhman–Ber Etelzon (1828–1920), one of the first Jewish journalists in Chicago and New–York, published the first Yiddish newspaper in Chicago in

[Page 402]

1870: “Di Israelitishe Presse” with a supplement in Hebrew “Heichal HaIvriyah”, later moving it to New York.
Yosef Even–Odem (1907–1962), M.D. son of Rabbi and Senator Yitshak Rubinstein from Vilna, from 1933 in Eretz Yisrael, published many books on Hebrew terminology of medicine and nature.
Aharon Fridman (1855–1932), cantor in Berlin 1882–1932, was awarded a special title by the German authorities.
Yosef–Irving Pascal (1890–?), M.D.,immigrated to America, developed some inventions in Ophthalmology, published a several books on this issue.
Ya'akov Oleisky (1901–1981), agronomist, director of “ORT' in Lithuania and later in Israel, for many years the chairman of “The Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel”
Hanah Vurtzel (1872–?), from 1902 in America, published poems in the Jewish newspapers “Forverts”, “Togeblat”, “Morgen Jurnal” etc.
Hayim Saks (1887–1941), journalist, published articles in the Jewish press in Kovno, murdered in 1941.
Aryeh–David Berezovsky, a known cantor.

[Pages 403-405]

Ellis Island List of Jewish Residents
of Shaki Immigration to the US

Name Town Country Year
Beile Apelbaum Szaky   1906
Aron Alexandrowitz Schaki Russia 1917
Hirsch Alexandrowitz Schaki Russia 1917
Lina Alexandrowitz Schaki Russia 1917
Pesa Anachovic Sakiai Suwalki 1922
Sara Anchovic Sakiai Suwalki 1922
Bluma Anachovic Sakiai Suwalki 1922
Rochel Blumberg Schaky   1899
David Bibischkow Shakin   1902
Nissen Bajoracky Schaky   1903
Almen Bialistazky Sakilst…sk   1903
Chiel Berkman Schaki   1904
Ettel Berkman Schaki   1904
Feige Bak Szakz   1905
Ruwen Boyer Schakz   1907
Herschel Bjrabina Schakow   1907
Nottel Bernstein Szaki Rus. 1908
Samuel Bloch Schaky Russia 1909
Schimchov Bloch Schaki Russia 1911
Wolf Feldmann Szakat   1904
Abram Flaksman Szaky Russia 1907
Cecil Frumann Schaki Schuwalk Russia 1911
Israel Frumann Schaki Schuwalk Russia 1911
Mery Filtz Szaki Russia 1911
Isaac Frieman Sakiai Lithuania 1922
Braine Filz Saki Lithuan 1922
Roche Gutstein Shaky   1903
Salmen Goldman Saki   1904
Nachmen Gluck Schaky   1904
Schleime Grigorowitz Schaki   1905
Perl Grassmann Sakisch   1906
Schifre Grassmann Sakisch   1906
Hirsch Glick Saki Russia 1906
Abraham Gittle Szakasg   1906
Chinki Grenberg Szaka Russia 1907
Simon Gottn Szaky   1907
Chaim Ginsberg Szaki Russia 1909
Welwel Glasberg Saki Russia 1909
Majer Glasberg Schaky Russia 1910
Michla Ginzberg Szaka Russia 1911
Elia Ginzberg Szaka Russia 1911
…rael Ginzberg Szaka Russia 1911
Henie Ginzberg Szaka Russia 1911
Sarah Glaser Szaky Russia 1912
Mase Goldblatt Szaka Russia 1913
Bassewe Gordon Szakot Russia 1913
Nesche Ginsberg Saki Russia 1913
Hirsch Goldman Schaki Russia 1913
Taube Glassberg Schaki Russia 1914
Ester Glasberg Szaki Russia 1914
Lara Glasberg Szaki Russia 1914
Basey Gluck Saki Lithu. 1922
Sussel Holzmann Szaky   1904
Herman Holzmann Schaky   1904
Israel Holzmann Schaky   1904
Ester Hodes Schaki Russia 1910
Schifre Hillelson Szaki Russia 1912
Chaim Jacobsohn Szaki   1905
Elie Jacobson Sakin Russia 1910
Jawiel Jacobson Sakin Russia 1910
Breine Jacobson Sakin Russia 1910
Calmen Jorkshire Szaki Russia 1911
Sundel Kahn Szaki   1904
Beviach Kahn Szaki   1904
Chatzkel Kasper Schaky   1905
Feute Klischowski Schaki   1905
Chane Kurkolowsky Sakie Russia 1910
Lemach Keilson Schaki Suwalk Russia 1911
Motel Kagan Schaki Lithaua 1921
Motel Kogan Schaki Lithuanian 1921
Mandel Lichtmann Schaky   1904
Chaim Lichtmann Schaki   1905
Jankel Lichtmann Szaki Russia 1909
Schachat Leib Schaki Russia 1912
Golde Lichtmann Szaki Russia 1912
Gitel Lubowsky Saki Lithuan. 1922
Efroim Lubowsky Saki Lithuan. 1922
Sena Leja Lubowsky Saki Lithuan. 1922
Peisel Michan Szakiw Russia 1911
Freide Mariner Saki   1914
Icek Muskin Sakin Lithuania 1921
Lipa Muskin Sakin Lithuania 1921
Sora Muskin Sakin Lithuania 1921
Mottel Niselowicz Szaki Russia 1910
Schmul Nemenczik Schakie Luwalk Russia 1913
Blune Orlakewitz Schaky   1904
Chane Orlakwitz Schaky   1904
Neyer Odes Szaki Rus. 1908
Hirsch Odess Szaki Russia 1908
Judal Pabisker Saki   1904
Schmul Papusker Schaki   1905
Brinl Papusker Schaki   1905
Riwe Pafisher Saki Russia 1909
Sore Pittelman Schakwa Russia 1914
Schennel Resenowitz Schaky   1903
Leib Rosenthal Schaky   1904
Mnasche Runisn Schaket   1904
Rebeka Rosen Schaky   1906
Saml. Rubinstein Schaky   1906
Sunel Rubinstemizy Schaky   1906
Rochel Rubinstein Schaky   1906
Rochel M. Rubinstemizy Schaky   1906
Chaije Rosen Schaky   1906
Lea Rubin Schak   1907
Leib Razowsky Czak Russia 1907
Schloime Rothstein Schaky Russia 1907
Chaje Rubel Szakie Russia 1907
Judel Rubel Szakie Russia 1907
Rine Rockmacher Szaki Russia 1912
Flzig Sack Szaky   1904
Mendel Sack Szaky   1904
Schmed Sack Szaky   1904
Mendel Silver Szaki   1904
Simon Serou Sakier   1904
Chaze Silver Szako   1904
Berl Sctor Schaki   1904
Czerne Sack Szaky   1904
Schemann Siff Schaky   1904
Pesche Rael Schulgasser Schaki Russia 1907
Jacob Sam. Schulgasser Schaki Russia 1907
Efroim Starofolsky Schaki Suwalk Russia 1911
Rafael Spalter Schaki Russia 1912
Schmul Silberman Schakie Luwalk Russia 1913
Kasper Schmerl Schakin Russia 1913
Hirsch Starapolsky Schaki Russia 1913
Chaja Schajewitsch Schaksty Lithuania 1921
Schaie Tobolitzki Saki   1904
Tadeus Toluszno Schakelu   1907
Sore Wygonesky Szaki   1904
Jovel Wilanski Schaki   1904
Benjamin Werblowsky Schaki Russia 1908
Wulf Werblowsky Schaki Russia 1908
Sadie Werblowsky Schaki Russia 1908
Ite Lore Wiliansky Szaki Russia 1912
Rochel Welenska Saki Russia 1912
Chase Zecberg Szaki Russia 1911
Zalman Zelernik Szakot Russai 1913
Rochel Zeeberg Sakiai Lithuan. 1921

 

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