Devenishki Book: Memorial for a Village

Translation of
Sefer Divenishok; yad vashem le-ayara yehudit
(Dieveniškės, Lithuania)

Published by the Yizkor Books in Print Project
part of Yizkor Books Project of JewishGen, Inc.
Original Yizkor Book Published by
Divenishok Societies of Israel and the United States: 1977 Israel
Original Yizkor Book Editor: David Shtokfish
Translation Coordinator and Editor: Adam Cherson
Translation Layout, Cover Design, and Indexing: Adam Cherson
Hard Cover, 11” by 8.5”, 660 pages with all original illustrations and photographs


Around 1650, Jews fleeing Podolian and Ukrainian pogroms began populating the Vilna area, including Divenishok. After the Russian Empire assumed control of the region in 1795, Jews were prohibited from living in small villages, forcing more Jews to move into Divenishok. By the time the Germans arrived in 1941, there were about 1,200 Jews living in the town, but by mid-1942, after a presence of 300 years, the Jews of Divenishok were gone, many having been murdered in mass graves or gas chambers. How did this happen?

One descendant of the town explains things this way:

…we must attempt to explain and answer the question plaguing every Jew who was not in the valley of death; “How was an entire nation led as lambs to the slaughter?

” Well, it must be said once and for all in a loud voice to our brethren, the People of Zion, and the Sons of Ishmael should hear and listen: our loved ones did not go as lambs to slaughter!

The heroic acts by individuals, uprisings in the ghettos and death camps, the thousands of Jewish partisans who served the resistance movement across occupied Europe, 1.5 million volunteers, soldiers and officers on all fronts serving the Allied Forces are the answer to the big and terrible lie!

Our nation had a significant role in ending the Third Reich.

We have sinned an unforgivable sin against ourselves by overemphasizing the events of the Holocaust over the bravery in WWII. (MY Itskovitsh, p. 207)

This Divenishok Memorial Book is a passionately written multi-author testament to the courage and suffering of a people out-numbered, out-gunned, and out-supplied, who put up a fierce fight, and continued fighting until eventually finding homes in Israel, the Americas, South Africa, and Australia.

Alternate names for the town: Dieveniškės [Lith], Devenishki [Rus], Dziewieniszki [Pol], Divenishok [Yid], Dzievianiški [Bel], Dzevenishki, Dewenishki

Dieveniškės, Lithuania is located at 54°12' N 25°37' E 36 miles SSE of Vilnius


Nearby Jewish Communities:

Byenyakoni, Belarus 11 miles WNW
Šalčininkai 12 miles NW
Voranava, Belarus 12 miles WSW
Traby, Belarus 13 miles ESE
Lipnishki, Belarus 14 miles S
Halshany, Belarus 17 miles ENE
Iwye, Belarus 19 miles SSE
Ashmyany, Belarus 20 miles NE
Laibiškės 20 miles N
Jašiunai 21 miles NW
Gav'ya, Belarus 24 miles S
Eišiškes 25 miles W
Vishneva, Belarus 25 miles E
Lida, Belarus 25 miles SSW
Zhuprany, Belarus 26 miles NE
Radun, Belarus 27 miles WSW
Krevo, Belarus 28 miles ENE
Rudamina 29 miles NNW
Bakshty, Belarus 29 miles SE


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