Memorial Book of Rokiskis

(Rokiškis, Lithuania)

Translation of
Yisker-bukh fun Rakishok un umgegnt
(Yizkor book of Rakishok and environs)

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

Original Yizkor Book Edited by: M. Bakalczuk-Felin,
Originally Published in Johannesburg, 1952 (Yiddish 626 pages)
Translation Project Coordinators: Tim Baker assisted by David Sandler
Additional Material: Phil and Aldona Shapiro Hard Cover, 11” by 8.5”, 866 pages with all illustrations.

Available from JewishGen for $50.00

Click here to see the index containing the family names in this book. If you already have purchased the book, please print out and insert into the back of the book.



Translation of the Memorial (Yizkor) Book of the town of Rokiškis, Lithuania, originally written in 1952 in Yiddish in Johannesburg by the former residents and survivors of the town.

Jews began settling in Rokiškis in the late 17th century. During the 19th century, the town's importance as a regional commercial center increased with the completion of a railway line that connected it to the Baltic ports of Riga and Libau / Liepaja and to the interior of the Russian Empire. By 1897, the Jewish population had grown to 2,067, 75% of the town's population. There was a strong Chasidic presence in the Rokiškis area, which was unique to Lithuania.

Prior to the Holocaust, about 3,500 Jews lived in Rokiškis. By the end of August 1941 nearly all were murdered. In 1952, Jews from the area who had emigrated to South Africa before the war published a collection of Yiddish-language articles and related images under the title Yisker-bukh fun Rakishok un umgegnt (Memorial Book for Rokiskis and Environs). Countless hours of volunteer effort have been devoted to translating that work into English and recently to gathering additional materials that were not available when the original book was published. Together, these translations, images, and new material provide English-speaking readers a composite picture of the history, culture, institutions, and daily lives of the Jews of the Rokiškis area and will be a lasting memorial to them.

Rokiškis, Lithuania is located at 55°58' North Latitude and 25°35' East Longitude

Alternate names for the town are: Rokiškis [Lithuanian], Rakishki [Russian], Rakishok [Yiddish], Rakiszki [Polish], Rokišk¸


Nearby Jewish Communities:

    Panemunėlis 5 miles SW
    Obeliai 9 miles ESE
    Kamajai 11 miles SSW
    Onuškis 12 miles N
    Subate, Latvia 13 miles ENE
    Jūžintai 13 miles SSE
    Pandėlys 15 miles WNW
    Neciuniskiai 15 miles S
    Aknīste, Latvia 15 miles NNE

Article about the book in the “The Rokiskis Siren”

Muziejininkai džiaugiasi: daugiau detalių apie Rokiškio krašto žydų gyvenimą

Publikuota: 2017-10-26 Kategorija: Kultūra

Rokiškio krašto muziejaus nuotr. / Knyga apie Rokiškio žydų istoriją

„Rokiškio Sirena“ informacija


Išeivių iš Rokiškio krašto litvakų prisiminimai, 1952 m. Johanesburge (Pietų Afrikos Respublika) iš jų iniciatyva ir lėšomis buvo išleisti knyga „Ysker-bukh fun Rakishok un umgegnt“ („Atsiminimų knyga apie Rokiškį ir apylinkes“). Knyga išleista jidiš kalba ir iki šių dienų tik fragmentiškai buvo verčiama į anglų kalbą. Tačiau dabar Rokiškio krašto muziejus džiaugiasi šios knygos angliškuoju vertimu, vos prieš kelis mėnesius išleistu Niujorke (JAV).

Muziejininkai neslepia: ši knyga svarus indėlis į Rokiškio krašto žydų bendruomenės istoriją. Iki tol ji buvo versta tik fragmentiškai, publikuota projekto JewishGen puslapyje. Vertimai autoritetingi ne tik kalbine prasme: prie jų daug darbo įdėjo ir istorikai, geneologai. 2011 m. buvo pradėtas „Yizkor-Books in Print“ projektas. Prie šio projekto dirbo daugybė savanorių. Šiai knygai straipsnius rašė bei knygos redakcinėje kolegijoje dirbo ilgamečiai Rokiškio krašto muziejaus draugai ir rėmėjai Philas ir Aldona Šapiro.
 2017 m. Niujorko žydų paveldo muziejaus Gyvojo holokausto memorialo filialas išleido šios knygos vertimą į anglų kalbą, papildytą ir nauja medžiaga.  Šioje knygoje gausu iki šiol niekur nepublikuotų fotografijų, amžininkų atsiminimų ir kitos istorinės medžiagos apie litvakų bendruomenės gyvenimą Rokiškio krašte. Dabar ji prieinama ir rokiškėnams, branginantiems savo krašto istoriją.

The Rokiskis Siren

Museum coordinators are delighted: more details about the life of the Jews of Rokiškis

Publication Date: 2017-10-26    Category:  Culture

Photo provided by the Rokiškis Regional Museum / A Book About The History of Rokiškis’ Jews

Upon their initiative and at their expense, in 1952 emigrants in Johannesburg (South Africa) published a memorial book dedicated to the Litvaks of the Rokiškis region entitled, “Yizkor-Buch fun Rokishok un Umgegnt” (A Memorial Book for Rokiskis and its Environs”) The book was published in Yiddish and has previously been translated into English only in parts. Now, however, the Rokiškis Regional Museum has welcomed the English translation of the book, which has just arrived from New York (USA).

The museum coordinators cannot hide their joy: This book is a significant contribution to the history of the Jewish community of Rokiškis.  Until now, only portions of the English translation were available on the website of JewishGen. The translations are authoritative not only in the linguistic sense: historians and genealogists have put a lot of work into the translations. In 2011, the Yizkor-Books-in-Print project was launched. Many volunteers worked on this project. The editors of this [printed] book include Phil and Aldona Shapiro, who for many years have been friends and sponsors of the Rokiskis Museum.

The English translation of this book, supplemented with new material, was published in 2017 by the New-York-based Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, and contains many unpublished photographs, memoirs of contemporaries, and other historical materials about the life of the Litvak community in the Rokiskis region. Now it is also accessible to the people of the Rokiskis region who cherish the history of their land.

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.
This material may not be copied, sold or bartered without JewishGen, Inc.'s permission. Rights may be reserved by the copyright holder.

JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material for verification.
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.

  JewishGen Press     Yizkor Book Project     JewishGen Home Page

Yizkor Book Director, Lance Ackerfeld
This web page created by Lance Ackerfeld

Copyright © 1999-2023 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 17 Oct 2022 by LA