There Was a Shtetl in Lithuania
Dusiat Reflected in Reminiscences


55°45' / 25°51'

Translation of Ayara Hayeta B'Lita;
Dusiat B'Rei Hazichronot

Compiled and edited by Sara Weiss-Slep

Published in Tel Aviv, 1989

Slep Plaque



Project Coordinator

Hedva Scop


Our sincere appreciation to Sara Weiss-Slep for permission
to put this material on the JewishGen web site.

This is a translation from: Ayara Hayeta B'Lita; Dusiat B'Rei Hazichronot,
There Was a Shtetl in Lithuania; Dusiat Reflected in Reminiscences
Compiled and edited by Sara Weiss-Slep, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1989, S. Segal & Co. Copyrighted by Sara Weiss-Slep.

Purchase details for a printed copy of this translation can be found at

This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
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“Dor L'dor Yabia Omer”
“Let further generations pass on the knowledge”

Dedicated with love
To my parents Avraham and Esther (Orgel)
To my husband Shmuel
To our children and grandchildren -
Yaacov and Elisheva Weiss: Ahinoam, Esther, Reut, Emuna, Maayan-Rina, Avital-Nava, Tamar, Shmuel, David, Hillel;
Tzofit and Micha Weitzner: Guy, Ziv, Idan;
Ronit and Menahem Krinski: Nitzan, Inbal, Liran-Shmuel, Yuval;
To my siblings Dvora Guttmacher (Slep) and Emanuel Sela (Slep) and their families;
To my aunt Miryam Slep and my uncle Yosef Yavnai (Slep) and his family;
To all Dusiater and their descendants wherever they may be …

Click here to extend the picture This is not an ordinary Yizkor Book prepared by former members of a Jewish community that was destroyed. It is a living book, an act of grace to the survivors of the Dusiat community, a treasure for the scholar and everyone interested in the Jewish communities that once were, and no longer exist.

In searching for her roots, Sara Weiss has delved into the history of her family. With the ability of a scholar, the devotion of a loving daughter, and with utmost dedication, she collected every grain, every crumb of information, and strung them together like precious stones, like costly pearls on the thread running through the life of a Jewish community in Lithuania. The book breathes the life of this small community – the way of life of its Jews, their language and speech at times of celebration and mourning, their struggle for their daily bread, and their longing for Zion.

Like links in a chain, the people of Dusiat, parents and children, members of the pioneering youth movements, set out for Hachshara and Aliya to Eretz Yisrael, to do their part in the building of the homeland.

Until the annihilator appeared and severed the chain of generations…

Sara Neshamit-Shner
Beit Lohamei Haghetaot

Translated by Judy Grossman


Edited and compiled by Sara Weiss-Slep
Israel, 1989


Original translation by Nahum Sneh (Skikne)

  FOREWORD Sara Weiss-Slep 7
  LITHUANIAN JEWRY IN MINIATURE Daniel Ben-Nahum (Prochovnik) 10



  Map of Lithuania; Landscape of Dusiat (Phot.)   15
  History of the Shtetl - Sources   16
  The Face of the Shtetl (Plan; List)   18
Chapter 1: Reflections of the Past   20
  Our Shtetl Dusiat Miryam Slep 20
  Scenes from the Past (Phot.)   22
  I Dreamt of Being a Farmer in Eretz Yisrael Yosef Yavnai (Slep) 27
  To the Land of Our Dreams … Avraham Slep 45
  Excerpts from Avraham Slep's diary – 1925, 1927   50
  Those Rocks Aroused Our Imagination Miryam Slep 59
  My Shtetl in Remembrance Henia Sneh (Blacher) 61
Chapter 2: Among the Gentiles …   65
  Echoes from the Pogrom   65
  Pozhar !!! Fire !!!   67
  With Unbent Heads …   68
  Jews in a Foreign Army   69
  “Beyond the Pale”   71
Chapter 3: Scenes of Nature …   72
  The Shtetl in Winter   72
  Di Ozere (The Lake)   73
  In the Thick of the Forest   75
  Rise O' Well …   77
  Under the Beams of the House   79
  Three Streets …   82
Chapter 4: Between Holy and Profane   86
  Beth Hamidrash (The Synagogue)   86
  Holy Services   86
  On Taxes and “Honors” Shayke Glick 88
  “Secret Almsgiving”   89
  “Charity Saves from Death”   89
  In the Bathhouse   91
  A Wedding in the Shtetl   92
  Shabbes and Yomtov   95
  “Honor Thy Elders”   99
  Reb. Shaul-Dovid Der Doss Mordechai Yoffe 100
  Reminiscences from Home Shub Sisters 101
Chapter 5: Many Are the Needs of Thy People…   105
  The First Bus Baruch Krut 105
  Market Day   107
  I Won't Be a Shopkeeper in the Diaspora! Batya Aviel (Levitt) 108
  Ziv's Inn   109
  Cupping Glasses for Healing …   110
  Leather Workers   112
  Needle Workers   113
  Other Occupations …   115
  Der Milner and the Flourmill   116
  Jack of All Trades Shmuel Levitt 119
  Jewish Folksbank   121
Chapter 6: New Times - New Tunes   122
  Melamdim   122
  Tarbut - Elementary School   123
  The Young Teacher Yitzchak Porat (Poritz) 125
  Speak Only Hebrew !   125
  In the Lithuanian School   130
  Pupils from Other Shtetls   132
  Between Antaliept and Dusiat… Shimon Toker 134
  I Was a Teacher in Antaliept Esther Ben-Ari (Shapira) 135
  About Avraham Barron Shayke Glick 137
  Small Town Boy Goes into Big Town Shmuel Levitt 138
  Amateur Theater   141
  Bar Kochba” on the Dusiat Stage Yaacov Charit 143
Chapter 7: Those Who Preceded the Rest   149
  Hechalutz (The Pioneer)   149
  Hashomer Hatzair in Dusiat Yoel Zeif 153
  The “Kibbutzim Tzila Gudelsky (Shub) 154
  Three Proficiency Tests Daniel Ben-Nahum (Prochovnik) 155
  The Shekel Campaign   156
  In the “Ken” (A Letter) Chana Fisherman (Pores) 157
  Summer Camps Yoel Zeif 158
  Shlichim from Eretz Yisrael Yoel Zeif 161
  I Traversed the Shtetls of Lithuania … Levi Ron (Rosenzweig) 161
  “The Split Came!” Yoel Zeif 163
  The Netzach Movement Yitzchak Porat (Poritz) 164
  The Truth about the Hachshara Rivka Shoham (Melamed) 165
  The “Ken” Is Being Liquidated (A Letter) Sonya Gayde (Slovo) 166



  The Bag Full of Cushions Yaacov Charit 169
Chapter 1: Chalutzim Go to Eretz Yisrael   170
  We Were Chalutzim Chaim Levitt 174
  Are Jews Capable of Hard Work? Dov (Berke) Zeligson 177
  The Jews Did Not Restrain Themselves Yitzchak Toker 180
  I Lost All My Capital … Chasya Milun (Zimmerman) 183
  The Capmaker of the Armed Forces Faivish Milun 184
  “You Know Hebrew, Why Don't You Go to Eretz Yisrael?” Yitzchak Orez (Aires) 186
  People of Dusiat Who Went to Eretz Yisrael and Returned   190
  Jidauka, You Have Nothing To Do Here!” Batya Aviel (Levitt) 193
  Moral Values from Home Rivka Levitt 198
  Reminiscences … Bracha Brumberg (Karanowitz) 204
  With My Own Hands Micha Baron 206
  A Jewish Woman and Mother Rivka Shoham (Melamed) 212
  A Jewish Ghaffir (Watchman) Yoel Zeif 218
  Family Devotion Masha Gershuni (Slep) 221
  Mein Kind (My Child) Slovka Sarver (Segal) 223
  The Spirits Were High Rachel Vitkin (Shub) 226
  They All Stand before My Eyes Rasya Tal (Kagan) 229
  In the Field of Education Dov Caspi (Berl Zilber) 233
  The Source of My Origins Yitzchak Porat (Poritz) 238
  To Remember and To Shed a Tear Elka Slovo (Melamed) 243
  I Made a Vow Esther Pomus (Orlin) 246
  Jewish Pupils in a Lithuanian Gymnasium Rivka Shteinman (Shub) 252
Chapter 2: From Diaspora to Diaspora …   257
  Reminiscences… Ben-Zion Chait (Bentzke Chaitowitz) 258
  The Mind Remembers and the Heart Yearns… Sheinke Zeidel (Chaitowitz) 259
  My Heart Is in Israel Nechama Yudelowitz 260
  Here I Feel at Home Dovid-Leib Silberstein 261
  Everyone is Mishpoche   263
  Litvaks at the Family Table Sybil Herbst (Berman) 264
  Combined Family Branches (On the Charit Family)   266
  Stone Throwing Has Begun … Rivka Friedman (Orlin) 268
  Our Children Are Already Real Sabras Yehuda Friedman 270
  I Realised the Dream of My Youth Reuven Milun 271
Chapter 3: Letters from the Diaspora (1935 - 1939)   275



Chapter 1: Within the Straits (September 1, 1939 - June 22, 1941)   287
  World War II Breaks Out   287
  I Hope We'll Still See Each Other (A Letter) Sheine-Mushe Melamed 288
  The Written Words Were “As Sweet As Honey” … Zelig Yoffe 289
  With Noah Poritz in the Underground Haviva Rozenberg (Mintz) 290
  Sovietization in Dusiat   291
  God Knows What the Future Will Bring (Postcards from Home: July 1940 - April 1941)   292
  Passive to Their Fate Shayke Glick 297
  Exile in the Far North Dovid-Leib Airesses (Aires) 298
Chapter 2: In the Holocaust   314
  Radio Announces Outbreak of War (June 22, 1941) Baruch Krut 314
  “Escape! They'll Kill Everybody!” Shimon Toker 317
  The Shaulists Armed Themselves Zelig Yoffe 318
  Let's Go to Russia… Leib Slovo 323
  I Was Lucky … Elka Klug (Glezer) 325
  Many Collapsed by the Roads Shayke Glick 326
  The Jews Excelled Themselves in Valor Shmuel Levitt 329
  A Nurse in the Red Army Lana Binder (Visakolsky) 333
  Wandering and Hunger in Russia Chana Fisherman (Pores) 336
  “If There's No Water It's Because the Jews Drank It” Tzila Gudelsky (Shub) 339
  Memoirs Masha Trotsky (Hamburg) 345
  Reminiscences Mingled with Pain Malka Gilinsky (Feldman) 347
  “Everybody Was Killed in the War. No Life” Luba Lustig (Napoleon) 352
  We Tried To Receive News Rivka Shteinman (Shub) 356
  The Whole World - One Field of Slaughter! (A Letter) Arye (Leibele) Slovo 357
  A Most Terrible Scene Was Revealed Before My Eyes …   358
  In the Ghetto Unter-Dem-Brik (“Beyond the Bridge”)   359
  The Earth Moved and Trembled for Three Days …   360
  Elke Baron, Hero of Dusiat   364
  Thus Were Annihilated the Jews from Salok and the Surrounds Yerachmiel Korb 368
  Al Kever Ahim (On Mass Graves) - Lamentation Dovid-Leib Airesses (Aires) 369
  In the Kovno Ghetto and Stutthof Extermination Camp Rachel Rabinowitz (Slovo) 370
  Yisrael Zhofer (Yoffe)   379
  “We Want To Go Home!” Shayke Glick 381
  Thanks to Our Dream Arye (Leibele) Slovo 384
  We Agreed To Meet in Kiryat Chaim Tzipora Zelinger (Krapivnik) 386
  I Begged Her To Escape Avraham Levitt 392
  My Grandmother's House Was Destroyed Rachel Friedman 397
  A Chance Meeting after Fifty Years Sara Weiss-Slep 400
  “Will there be anyone to tell my children about their roots?” (A Letter) Lillian (Lily) Adelman 401
  “Generation after generation will pass … and no one will remain to remember us and our forefathers …” Gershon (Gershke) Slep 402
SOURCES Bibliography   408
  Bibliography in Hebrew    
APPENDIXES Participants   410
  In the Footsteps of Seventy Dusiaters    
INDEXES Names and Places   411
  Subjects   421

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