Kelme - An Uprooted Tree
(Kelmė, Lithuania)

55°38' / 22°56'

Translation of  Kelm – ’Ets Karut

Edited and Published by:

Idah Markus-Kerbelnik and Bat-Sheva Levitan Kerbelnik

Published in Tel Aviv, 1993


Project Coordinator

Jack Weinstein


Robert Levine
Jack L. Weinstein
Josef Weinstein

Our sincere appreciation to Idah Markus-Kerbelnik and Bat-Sheva Levitan Kerbelnik,
for permission to put this material on the JewishGen web site.

This is a translation from: Kelm – ’Ets Karut; Kelme – An Uprooted Tree, edited and published by
Idah Markus-Kerbelnik and Bat-Sheva Levitan Kerbelnik, Tel Aviv, 1993 (H, 215 pages)

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So said the Lord God unto these bones “And He said unto me,
son of man, can these bones live?
And I will put my spirit in you and you shall live
And I will place you in your own land”
Ezekiel 37

The privilege of being the forerunner among the group who planned this book of remembrance for the Holy Jews of Kelem belongs to Nissan Isserlis, of blessed memory. He gathered a great deal of material and photographs on the subject for tens of years. His great desire to memorialize the Jewish community of Kelem did not materialize because of his untimely death.

I, myself, tried my hand at that purpose. I discovered additional material among articles that were in the National Library in Jerusalem. I also received from Professor Dov Levin, the researcher of the Lithuanian Jews' destruction, material whose value is priceless. This is the testimony of four Jewish Kelmers that was collected from them by Mr. Koniochovsky in 1946-7. It is an authentic description of the destruction of our dear ones by the hands of the Lithuanian Fascist murderers. The exact names of those murderers are given.

And, lastly, the two sisters Karabelnik, children of Kelem, saved from the slaughter, who had decided to materialize the high idea of memorializing the Kelem Jewish community. In their work on this project, they based themselves on the material that was collected by Nissan Isserlis and primarily on their own recollections and those of other Kelmer survivors.

I would like to emphasize how important the publishing of this book is for the perpetuation of our Kelmer community's memory. In another ten to fifteen years, there will not remain, any longer, witnesses from the Kelmer Jews to the tragedy that happened.

I hope that the remnants of Kelem's dear Jews will pass on to the coming generations the story of the life of this precious shtetl and its terrible end.

I hereby express my gratitude and the gratitude of all Kelmer Jews to the authors of the book. May they go on to greater strength.

Elchanan Stern
Chairman of the Kelmer Association

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Updated 22 Aug 2003 by LA