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The story of the tombstone

This part was dictated in 1996 by Motke Taburiski and Lisa Levinson now living in Hadera , Israel. In 1942, when the Ghettoes in Smorgon where liquidated, the Jews of Smorgon were sent to Oshmiane. The youngsters were sent to work in Germany and Littuenia. In Oct 21, 1942 - 750 people were killed. among them were the Jews of Oshmiane, Smorgon, Krevo, Olshan.The killing took place in Zelonka (between Smorgon and Oshmiane)After the war, in 1952, the Jews from Vilna made the first tombstone. They collected the human bones under the tall grass. A kerchief that was found in the grass was recognized by relatives. The tombstone deteriorated in 1967. The government in Belarus created a new one, but Wrote on it "in memory of the victims of WW II. They never mentioned That they were Jews. In 1995 we contacted the director of the museum of Smorgon. Mrs. Maria Leonidovna Moiseyev. She was very cooperative and efficient. Some money and a script in memory of the Jews of Smorgon were transferred, She created a board with the script. This board was fixed on the wall of what used to be the great synagogue and is now a bank.

On one a regular day, that was formally made a complete day of rest in Smorgon, together with the mayor - the pupils of the local high school gave a performance, and a new tombstone was erected in Zelonka.


Tombstone in Zelonka


Memory board in Smorgon
1- Museum director, 2- Mayor of Smorgon, 3- Mrs. Lisa Levinson, 4- Mr. Motke Taburiski


The Nazis Next Door[1]

….How America Became a Safe Haven For Hitler's Men

By Eric Lichtblau

The Road To Ponary [Ponar]

The bastard [Lilekis] must have signed his name somewhere. A scrap of paper, a death warrant, an order rounding up the Jews—there must have been something with that name scrawled at the bottom. Alexandras Lileikis. But if it was there MacQueen wasn't finding it. MacQueen, a race car driver turned historian for the Justice Department's Nazi team, had spent days rummaging through the dog-eared war files at the archives in Lithuania, but he was coming up empty.

This was the fourth trip to Lithuania in the last few years for MacQueen, who had taught himself Lithuanian for the job. The secrets held in the Lithuanian archives, opened up to American researchers after the fall of the Soviet Union two years earlier, had turned up plenty of grim, eye popping details about the Nazi massacres in the Baltics, but nothing on the man MacQueen most wanted to nail: Lileikis, the onetime chief of Lithuania's security police and a proud Massachusetts resident for the last thirty-five years.

The old man practically dared the Justice Department's Nazi hunters to find something on him when Eli Rosenbaum had first come knocking on his door in Boston years earlier Sure, his men in Vilnius might have rounded up Jews, Lileikis had scoffed, but that didn't mean he had ordered it. He knew nothing about any executions, he told Rosenbaum. “Show me something that I signed,” he said in a cool, defiant manner of his. He was taunting them. He knew if the prosecutors couldn't find evidence that he played an active role in the massacres in Lithuania all those years ago, they had no case. MacQueen figured that unless he could find something on him, Lileikis would live out his days in America.

As he scoured the records, MacQueen was growing frustrated. In Vilnius, the Nazis had wiped out one of the great meccas of Jewish civilization in all of Europe, machine-gunning to death nearly all the city's sixty thousand Jewish men, women, and children at a notorious pit outside town. It was inconceivable to him that the chief of the special security police-the dreaded Saugumas force-wasn't involved. Could there be nothing with his John Hancock on it? Impossible, MacQueen thought. The Nazis wrote down everything, a macabre testament to their own brutality. He knew the Germans had burned many of their records as they fled Vilnius but still, there must be something that survived with Lileikis's stamp of approval on it.

That's when MacQueen realized that he had been going at his search backwards. Instead of looking for the files on the murderers, he began looking for the files on their victims. He searched the record for a prison in Vilnius where he knew many Jews were jailed before they were killed. In the prison records, he discovered a canvas-bound book with the names of nearly twenty-nine hundred wartime prisoners typed in Russian. He pulled the files on the ones with Jewish-sounding names. There were hundreds. Some of the documents were lightly signed; it looked like the Nazis had started burning the records on their way out of town, but ran out of time.

In the batch, after some digging, he found a red file with the record for a young Jewish man named Rachmiel Alperovicius who was arrested by the Lithuanian security police on September 4, 1941, and executed two weeks later. Like farmers advertising their livestock, the security police described the young Jew's physical attributes: big, flattened ears; strong body; broad shoulders; small teeth. And there at the bottom of the page, in thick, black ink, was the signature MacQueen had been struggling to find for more than three years now.: Alexsandras Lileikis, chief of the security police in Vilnius.

Soon MacQueen found the records for another Jewish prisoner with Lileikis's signature at the bottom, then another, then another. Suddenly, Lileikis long-elusive name was everywhere. MacQueen worked through lunch, taking photos of the documents and typing notes on his laptop as he dug deeper into the file. He had been at the Justice Department for five years since he first answered an ad for a war historian on the Nazi team Nothing topped this moment……

A handwriting expert compared the signatures to another one on file for Lileikis in Germany. It was a match. To MacQueen, the signatures were a smoking gun-evidence that Lileikis had ordered Jews in town to be rounded up and turned over to the Gestapo for certain death. Lileikis, he was convinced, was a Schreibtischtater-a desk murderer. He gave the orders….

He had directed the carnage in concert with the Gestapo. The distinguished looking gentleman from Boston, he believed, had been the Nazi's henchman in Vilnius, the man with the blood of many thousands on his hands.

MacQueen studied the names of the victims, reading the stories of their unmourned murders in the long-buried files: Beila Levinson, Danielius-Antanas Konas, Chaja Lapyda[2]…….

  1. Here is an excerpt from the book The Nazis Next Door: I chose to include this in the Smorgon Addendum as it should be a constant reminder to future generations, that the Holocaust was real! Never forget!
    Anita Frishman Gabbay [grand-niece of Yehuda-Leib Gilinski, husband of Elka ?, teacher in the Smorgon Tarbut school-father of Benjamin Gilinski (Hadera), Michal (Brooklyn), Miriam(Mexico ?)] return
  2. Chaja Lapyda (Lapida/Lapidus) was the grandmother of Frieda Levin Dym, mother of Ida Levin of Smorgon. Chaja Lapidus [nee Katzkovitch] was murdered together with other members of her family in Ponar. return

Mollie Feldman's Family
Smorgon, Belarus

Submitted by Marjorie Greenspan Kaufman

My maternal grandmother Mollie Feldman lived in Smorgon before emigrating to the United States. Born in 1911, Mollie (Margalit) Feldman was one of 11 children. Her family worked in the leather tanning business, fashioning gloves. At the time, Smorgon belonged to the Russian Pale of Settlement. Following WW1, Smorgon became part of Poland. My grandmother told us when she was young girl, she and her friends would walk up to the top of a nearby hill to watch the soldiers fighting. She didn't convey much more about her family and life in Smorgon as her parents and most of her siblings were murdered by local pogroms, antisemitic riots and eventually the Holocaust, and the subject was simply too painful.  Mollie was sent to the U.S. as a teenager in the early 1920's. In New York, she reunited with a cousin from Smorgon, Abe Gordon, and they married and settled in White Plains, NY. Abe had been conscripted by the Russian army but managed to escape and make his way to New York after an unexpected two year hiatus in Havana. Years after my grandparents passed away, I found a box of postcards and letters sent to Mollie from her family in Smorgon in the mid 1920's. The collection included beautiful Rosh Hashana greeting cards, studio pictures of her sisters and their families and souvenir postcards from nearby towns, with Yiddish or Ukrainian writing on the back. Thanks to the wonderful people at Jewish Gen, particularly Anita Gabbay, I was able to obtain translations of the inscriptions. The postcards and letters form a rich, warm and fleeting snapshot of Jewish life in Smorgon in the 1920's, of Jewish holidays and family gatherings, of tales from a best friend who stayed in Smorgon and was finding her way through life with her new husband and baby, of a sister and a male cousin who were among the early Zionists who emigrated to Israel.  When I look at them now, I feel a strong connection with my ancestors from Smorgon and I thank God that my great grandparents had the means and foresight to send my grandmother to America. I can only imagine how difficult and painful it was for her to leave her entire family behind, to receive an initial smattering of postcards and letters, and then, silence.

Dedicated with love to my grandparents, Mollie and Abe Gordon, z”l, may their memory be a blessing.


Figure 1. Mollie Feldman age 14 (middle) and sisters 1925 Smorgon
Figure 2. Feldman sisters
1926 Smorgon


Figure 3.
Figure 4. Older Feldman sister with husband and two sons, date unknown


Figure 5. Sister, 1927
Figure 6. Reverse of Image 5. Yiddish


Figure 7. Sister. Undated
Figure 8. Sister? Smorgon 1928


Figure 9. Reverse of Image 7
Figure 10. Sister?


Figure 11. Brother? Smorgon 1927
Figure 12. Reverse of Image 9. Yiddish. “Dear ......Margalit (Mollie) Smorgon 1927.
Shana m'touka (Sweet New Year)”


Figure 13. Letter to Mollie from her best friend, 1928
Figure 14. Letter to Mollie from her best friend, 1928.


Figure 15. Letter to Mollie from her best friend, 1928


Jewish Life in Smorgon 1920s

















Feldman Relatives in Israel 1920's 






Tel Aviv, 1929 







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