Preserving Our Litvak Heritage
(Volume I)

by Josef Rosin z”l

A History of 31 Jewish Communities in Lithuania

Published by the JewishGen Press
part of Yizkor Books Project of JewishGen, Inc.

736 pages with illustrations in hard cover

Available from JewishGen for $40.00


Josef Rosin's Preserving Our Litvak Heritage Volume I is a monumental work documenting the history of 31 Jewish communities in Lithuania from their inception to the indescribable annihilations of nearly all of Lithuanian Jewry in 1941 at the hands of the Nazis and their Lithuania helpers. The entry for each community has been enhanced with personal memoirs and contributions from widely dispersed survivors who opened family albums and shared treasured photographs of family and friends. Included are the important town personalities, the glorious Hebrew educational system of the Tarbuth elementary schools and the Yavneh high schools, in short the entire record of cultural richness.

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About the author:

Josef Rosin, born in Kibart Lithuania is a 1939 graduate of the Hebrew High School in Mariampol. During the Nazi rule in Lithuania he was imprisoned for two and a half years in the Kovno ghetto until he escaped in February 1944 to fight as a partisan against the German and Lithuanian Nazis in the woods of eastern Lithuania and Belarus. After the liberation by the Red Army he returned to Kovno where he was employed until March 1945; at that time he joined a group of Jewish young adults whose goal it was to go to Eretz-Yisrael. In August 1944 he left Lithuania and in October of the same year he arrived in his new homeland as an illegal immigrant together with his bride, Peninah.

In 1950 he earned a Civil Engineering degree and eight years later an M.S. in Agricultural Engineering from the Technion Institute of Technology in Haifa. In 1987 he retired after 37 years in the firm “Water Planning for Israel” (TAHAL) where for more than twenty years he was head of the Drainage and Development Department.

After his retirement he devoted himself to immortalizing the Jewish communities of Lithuania totally destroyed by the Nazis and their local helpers. First, he wrote in Hebrew about his hometown The Remembrance Book of Kibart, and later translated it into English. It appears in this book.

For over six years he worked as assistant editor contributing nearly 80% of the entries in the Pinkas HaKehiloth-Lita (Encyclopedia of the Jewish Communities in Lithuania) edited by professor Dov Levin from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and published in 1996 by Yad Vashem.

Josef Rosin's current book contains the expanded history of 31 Jewish communities in Lithuania:

Lithuanian Name Yiddish Name
Alytus Alite
Biržai Birzh
Jurbarkas Yurburg
Kaišiadorys Koshedar
Kapčiamiestis Kopcheve
Klaipėda Memel
Kudirkos Naumiestis Naishtot
Kybartai Kibart
Lazdijai Lazdey
Lygumai Ligum
Marijampolė Mariampol
Merkinė Meretch
Panevėžys Ponevezh
Pilviškiai Pilvishok
Prienai Pren
Šakiai Shaki
Salantai Salant
Seirijai Serey
Šėta Shat
Stakliškės Stoklishok
Sudargas Sudarg
Tauragė Tavrig
Tauragnai Taragin
Telšiai Telzh
Utena Utyan
Varėna Aran
Veisiejai Vishey
Vilkaviškis Vilkovishk
Virbalis Virbaln
Žeimelis Zheimel
Žemaičių Naumiestis Naishtot-Tavrig

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