dimanche 5 juillet 2009

two books to read

suganas.mosaique.jpg"Mosaïque" written by Odile Suganas, is the story of the Odile's search for the life of her family in Lituania.

Haunted by the memory of her grand mother, and other names from people who never escaped from Lituania. She has spent a lot of time there, looking for houses, graves, places where her family lived. This book is a beautiful description of her search to honor those who disapeared.

It will be soon translated in english. For those who read french you can buy it here :http://www.librairie-du-progres.com.


The real story of Moishe Rozenbaumas, born in 1922 in Lituania, Moishe grew up in a jewish environment in Lituania, and at the beginning of the war, escaped to russia alone with a bicycle, arrived in a kolkhoze in Ouzbekistan, came back to russia to join the red army, and ..... I really advise this book, to discover the incredible life of a man who survived to the worse and finally ended in France.

You can find this book at www.fnac.com

mercredi 10 juin 2009

Genealogy services

During my research at Yivo, I found two contacts specialised in jewish genealogy research.
1) Fast Genealogy services contact Boris Feldblyum boris@bfcollection.net    
2) Yakov Shadevitch yakov@inter.net
I don't know who they are, but might be very interesting.

Two other source of research in Lithuania :
1) Lithuanian State Historical Archives in Vilnius.
Gerosios Vilties 10
Vilnius 2015
2) Branch Archives in Kaunas

the center for jewish history in New York

Last week end I was in NY and went to the center for jewish history (http://www.cjh.org/). 

Inside this center there is the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research Founded in 1925 in Vilna, Poland (Wilno, Poland, now Vilnius, Lithuania), as the Yiddish Scientific Institute, the YIVO is dedicated to the history and culture of Ashkenazi Jewry. Headquartered in New York City since 1940, today YIVO is the world's preeminent resource center for East European Jewish Studies; Yiddish language, literature and folklore; and the American Jewish immigrant experience. The YIVO Library holds over 385,000 volumes in 12 major languages, and the Archives contains more than 24,000,000 pieces, including manuscripts, documents, photographs, sound recordings, art works, films, posters, sheet music, and other artifacts.

The team there was very helpful. You can make research on web databases (online research here) and ask for the books in the library.

I asked for the Yizkor book of Skuodas, The Yizkor books were written after the Holocaust as memorials to Jewish communities destroyed in the Holocaust.  They were usually put together by survivors from those communities and contain descriptions and histories of the shtetl, biographies of prominent people, lists of people who perished, etc.  They are often embellished with photos, maps, and other memorabilia.

I got mine in hebrew (lucky me :-) ) so it took me longer than expected to go through it. there is a lot of detailed stories about the day to day life in the skuodas community, from the open hours of the bank, to the organisation for children or detailed about schools. 

Good news : you can have access on the web to digitilized Yizkor books on the New York Public Library web site.

Here is the Skuodas Yizkor book

Thanks to Milla who works at Yivo and was so nice with me.

dimanche 24 mai 2009


The council of the Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC) has decided to organize a third World Litvak Congress in August 2009, as a natural continuation of the first (2001) and second (2004) world congresses.
The most important task of the Third World Litvak Congress is to develop and strengthen contact between Litvakes in the diaspora (Lithuania's Jewish emigrants and their descendants) and the Jews who live in Lithuania
More information can be found here http://www.litjews.org/Default.aspx?Element=ViewArticle&ArticleID=1673&TopicID=2&Lang=EN

I am going to Lituania in july, maybe I should go back in august ...

some pictures of Lituanian synagogues & of Skuodas

Here is a website with pictures of the jewish life of skuodas :
and another one with pictures of synagogues :

wooden synagogue of Vilkaviskis

In Vilkaviskis in 1941 lived around 3,500 Jewish men, women and children. Of these 3400 where murdered during the months of July to November 1941. Only 950 have any memorial - 2,450 Jewish men, women and children died and have no known memorial - they died without a trace !

jeudi 21 mai 2009

The incredible Jewish Gen Database

If you are looking for your jewish family history you can find a huge amount of information on the jewish gen web site. For example with the lithuanian databases, http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/#Lithuania, I found a list of "David"s paying tax in lithuania and I got some amazing information like : names, surnames, spouses, profession, age, but also the kind of house they had or some funny commentaries like :

- DAVID, Wulf , in 1855, Owners of large properties/qualified to vote, petit bourgeois
- DAVID, Movsha, in 1846 was a medium rich town dwellers

try it...