Welcome to the Zak and Rubinstein Family of Vilna Home Page

Shirley Flaum

The Zak and Rubinstein families were from Vilnius, Lithuania, also known as Wilno and Vilna as part of the Russian Pale of Settlement and later, as part of Poland between WWI and WWII. Vilnius was known as the "Jerusalem of Europe" and Jews made up nearly half of its population prior to 1939. Surnames associated with this family are Dworcan (Dwortsin, Dworkin), Kowarski (from Svencionys), Laufer (from Moletai), Milner, Burstein and others. Branches of this family may be found in the US, Israel and possibly South Africa. I am attempting to locate all branches.

The use of the surname, ZAK*, arose with an Eastern European family in the 17th century. It was first used by three sons of Rabbi Israel from Ruzhany, near Slonim (near Warsaw), who were martyred in 1659 following a blood libel. The surname is an acronym for "Zera Qodesh", or "holy seed", taken from Isaiah 6:13 denoting the saving remnant of the Jewish people.

This page will be updated as new information is discovered. Last update: 18 December 2000

Descendants of Szlojme Iccok and Judiyta Hadas Zak

{Szlojme Iccok Zak owned a crystal and lamp shop in Vilnius}

I. ZAK, Lipman, b. 1895 d. 1943 Voivera, Estonia, m. 1920 to RUBINSTEIN, Ella, b. 1895 d. 1943 Voivera, Estonia
(Her parents: RUBINSTEIN, Mendel and KOWARSKI, Chaja Reiza)
{Lipman ZAK owned a wholesale produce import business}
..........ZAK, Judyta, b. 1922 Vilnius (Holocaust survivor)
..........ZAK, Mendel, b. 1924 Vilnius (Holocaust survivor)

II. ZAK, Frieda, b. 1897 Vilnius, d. 1941 Vilnius, m. to BURSTEIN, Shlomo, d. 1941 Vilnius
..........BURSTEIN, Chaim, b. 1915 Vilnius, d. Holocaust
..........BURSTEIN, Yechiel,** b. 1921 Vilnius (Holocaust survivor)
..........BURSTEIN, Sara, b. ~1919 Vilnius, d. ~1932
..........BURSTEIN, Judyta, b. 1913 Vilnius, d. Holocaust

III. ZAK, Yosef, b. Vilnius, d. Holocaust
{theatrical director}

IV. ZAK, Mayer, b. Vilnius, d. Holocaust

V. ZAK, Golda, b. Vilnius, d. Holocaust, m. to ?

VI. ZAK, Leibe, b. Vilnius, d. Holocaust

VII. ZAK, Gitel, b. Vilnius, d. Holocaust, m. LAUFER, Feivel, of Moletai, Lithuania
..........LAUFER, ?

Descendants of Mendel Rubinstein

First marriage:
RUBINSTEIN, Mendel, b. ~ 1868 Vilnius, d. 1910-1920 Vilnius, m. to unknown female, d. before 1898
{Owned a produce store in Vilnius)
..........RUBINSTEIN, Chana (Anna), b.~1895, immigrated to the USA as a teenager before W.W.I

Second marriage:
RUBINSTEIN, Mendel, m. ~1898 to KOWARSKI, Chaja Reiza, b.~1876 in Svencionys, Lithuania, d. 1941 Vilna Ghetto or Ponary

I. RUBINSTEIN, Ella, m. to ZAK, Lipman
(Their descendants, see above)

II. RUBINSTEIN, Freida, m. to MILNER, (or MIL), Mofsha, d. 1930s of pnuemonia
{Owned a large section of land north of Vilna; large supplier of vegetables}
..........MILNER, Mina
..........MILNER, Pera
(Frieda, Mina and Pera disappeared during the German invasion in 1941)

III. RUBINSTEIN, Abba (Leib ?) b. ~1904 Vilnius, d. Holocaust, m. to Sonia, b. ~1904, d. Holocaust
{Owned a produce store in Vilnius}
..........RUBINSTEIN, Moinka (Monish), b. Feb. 3, 1927 ?
..........RUBINSTEIN, Siomka (Josefas?), b. April 20, 1936 ?

IV. RUBINSTEIN, Fania, m. to

*ZAK surname. The most researched Zak family is that of George Sackheim, who traced his family to the 16th century in the book, "Scattered Seeds". Rabbi Yaakov Zak of Vilna in the early 1800s was a descendant of a branch of the Katzenellebogen rabbinical family in Italy, descended from the French rabbinical family Treves', which claims descent from Rashi, who lived in France in the11th century.
**BURSTEIN, Yechiel, featured in the 1985 documentary film, "Partisans of Vilna"

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