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This book contains the history of the small Jewish town
Called Eishishok (Yiddish) Ejszyszki (Polish) Eisiskes (Russian)
Located approximately 35 miles south-southwest of Vilna, Lithuania
and destroyed by the Nazis and their collaborators
During World War II

Translated in 1980 from the Hebrew by Shoshanna Gavish

Translation commissioned by Kenneth Juris
Who donated the translation to JewishGen

Copy editing and proofreading by Judy Baston

Photograph captions translated by Sara Mages


Its history and its destruction
Documentaries, memoirs and illustrations
Compiled and edited by Peretz Alufi and Dr. Shaul Barkali
Published through the Committee of Survivors of Eishishok
in Israel, Jerusalem, Israel 1950


Memorial Prayer

May the people of Israel and their G-d remember the 4,000 souls of the sons and daughters of the community of Eishishok as well as the souls of those that were brought from neighboring communities and which includes infants and children, men and women who were all holy and pure and among them great scholars of the Torah and people of good deeds, people who followed the path of G-d, honestly and righteously, that were murdered by the hands of the Nazis and their Lithuanian and Polish assistants on the fourth and fifth day of the Hebrew month of Tishre in the year 5702. Their hearts cry towards the heavens and demand that their lives which were cut short before their time be remembered, “Earth, don't cover their blood, and let their cries forever be heard and not forgotten May their souls be bound in the land of the ever- lasting life. Rest in Peace.”

[Page V]


When the terrible news of the tragic deaths of the Jews of the city of Eishishok by the hands of the impure Nazis was verified by the refugees who survived the destruction and arrived in Israel, a Committee was formed in Jerusalem under the initiative of Naphtali Berkowitz, Moshe Kaganowicz and Uri Rozovsky to commemorate the pain and suffering felt by the destruction of their community.

A convention was held on the 23rd of Chesvan 5706, shortly after the first refugees of Eishishok arrived in Israel. Among those attending were those from Eishishok but already residing in Israel and including Rabbi Meir Stalitz, Dov Dechasalvitz, the chief of Zichron Moshe in Jerusalem, the great scholar Rabbi Chaim Paltiel and others. After a memorial prayer and eulogy, a committee was formed whose headquarters would be in Jerusalem, which was the residence of most of the survivors. The main function of the committee was to support and aid the survivors of the city who would immigrate to Israel after their many hard- ships that had befallen them.

Uri Rozovsky, Naphtali Berkowitz, Zessel Chensky, Yosef Goldstein, Rivka Shenzer, Chaim Levyatan, Avram Schmuel Gross, Nachum Radunsky ( Petach Tikvah) and Chaya Reznik (Tel Aviv) were elected to work on the committee. From this group, an executive committee was formed A. Rozovsky-Chairman , Z. Chensky-Secretary, N. Berkowitz-Treasurer, Y. Goldstein-Associate. Sholom Sonenson was added to the committee when he arrived in Israel.

The committee collected monthly dues, the sum of which was distributed among the refugees of Eishishok who arrived in Israel. It was at this time the committee corresponded with the “Natives of Eishishok in Boston” and with the “Committee to aid Citizens of Eishishok in New York” from whom they received large amounts of money and distributed to the needy refugees.

During the second convention which was held on the fourth of Tishre, 5707 in Jerusalem, it was decided to follow the suggestion of Dr. Saul Barkali , a native of our city, to publish a compilation to commemorate the community of Eishishok. A committee was formed to take care of all the matters which would be involved in the publishing to this compilation. The members of the committee were: Dr. Saul Barkali (Kaleko) , S. Sonenson,and Perez Alufi (Kaleko). Dr. Barkali and P. Alufi volunteered to gather all the material and do the compilation.

A letter was sent to all the natives of Eishishok in Israel and the Diaspora which requested their participation in the compilation by writing memoirs, testimonials, notes, etc. about their city from its past to its last day. Also, they were requested to aid the committee by sending donations to pay for the publishing of the compilation. The decision to publish the compilation was accepted with goodwill and sympathy by all the natives of Eishishok in the Diaspora and Israel and as a result much material was accumulated.

It is appropriate to make special mention of the “ Natives of Eishishok in Boston” and the “ Committee to aid Citizens of Eishishok in New York” for their generous contributions for making publishing of this compilation possible and for raising funds for a memorial tablet to commemorate our dearly beloved holy ones for us and for the forthcoming generations.

  Committee For The Aiding of Survivors of Eishishok
Uri Rozovsky, Chairman
Zessel Chensky, Secretary
Naphtali Berkowitz. Treasurer
Yosef Goldstein, Member of Committee

[Page VII]


Recognizing the great responsibility we took upon our-selves to edit this compilation in the memory of the Eishishok community, so dear to our hearts. Our desire was to set up a memorial and monument in Israel's community even though the com-munity of Eishishok was not considered one of the larger com-munities according to the number of Jews living there. However, it was famous in Lithuania and Russia as one of the great 11 cities of learning in the previous country

We split the material available to us into two main parts: A. Eishishok in the past and B. Eishishok in its last years up to the day of its complete destruction on the 4th and 5th days of Tishre, 5702. All the records, books and documents of the various organizations that were active in the city, and which could provide a clear and complete picture of the Jews in Eishishok in the past were destroyed along with its residents. We therefore gathered information for the compilation from old newspaper articles and books which date back as far as 80-100 years ago. We also gathered information from Polish and German encyclopedias. We also received important information from the few elder survivors of the city who are still alive in Israel.

From these sources we succeeded to obtain a picture of the cultural, economic and religious life of our community in the previous generations. As for the second part, the complete information was obtained from the survivors of the city who arrived in Israel and who are living witness to the destruction of our city and and who saw the suffering of our brothers and sisters under the bloody rule of the Nazis and their Lithuanian helpers up to the very last tragic days. The information obtained was recorded as told without adding any literary style. The words will speak for themselves. In order to enable the people who do not understand Hebrew to read the material a translation into Yiddish is also provided.

We regret very much not including all the material provided to us, but the space in the compilation was limited. To all those who provided information we thank you your help and support in this work.

May the memory of Reb Meir Stalitz and Reb Mordechai Kaleko be blessed, two of the natives of Eishishok who lived in Israel and died before this compilation was completed.

Last, but not least, we are greatly thankful to the members of the Committee of the Survivors of Eishishok in Jerusalem and to Mr. Naphtali Berkowitz, one of the community members who aided us unselfishly and made this publication possible.

The Publishers


The Great Synagogue in Eishishok (1911)


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