Tag Archives: Kovno Ghetto

Thanks to Danutė Selčinskaja and Stanislovas Stasiulis, We found Families who Saved My Parents During the Lithuanian Holocaust



Lithuania  |  History  |  Persons of the Year  |  Litvak Affairs

 

By Miriam Kagan (Kahn) Lieber (New York)

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My family was delighted to learn that Defending History 2022 Persons of the Year are the inspirationally courageous Lithuanians who risked all to save my parents and a small group of their friends from certain death in Kovno by hiding them in the forests near their rural homes.  This is our amazing tale of discovery, in brief.

In the summer of 2019, my cousin traveled to Lithuania to visit the country where much of our family originated, home to my parents, Berl and Raya Kagan, and aunt, Nechama Ilman Himmel. It was our good fortune that he met Stanislovas Stasiulis of the Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History, who introduced us to his colleague Danutė Selčinskaja, long time head of the museum‘s department for discovering, recording and acknowledging Rescuers of Holocaust-era Lithuania.

Danutė knew the story of six heroic Lithuanian peasants from the hamlet of Karilagaris who rescued eight Jews from the Kovno Ghetto. She was very familiar with the story that had been published in post-war newspapers in Lithuania and in the book, Unarmed Fighers (Ir be ginklo kariai), but despite several attempts, lacked the documentation to confirm the accuracy of the story.

She was not yet familiar with my father’s diary, published in 1955 in Yiddish in New York by the Congress for Jewish Culture, entitled A yid in vald (A Jew in the Woods). The entries in the diary would confirm what was written in several post-war publications about this rescue, including the first names of each of the rescuers. She, along with Stanislovas, quickly grasped the historical value of the published Yiddish diary as it provided an in-depth picture of the rescuers of the Holocaust period in Lithuania. And due to Danutė‘s hard work and dedication she brought to fruition the long overdue recognition of these righteous Lithuanians this past September.

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Translation of a Yiddish Correspondence: The Vilna Holocaust Survivor and the Director of Yivo



D O C U M E N T S

Editor’s note: The following is a translation of the open letter by Professor Pinchos Fridberg, a Holocaust survivor in Vilnius, and the reply by Yivo’s director, Dr. Jonathan Brent. Both were published in the Yiddish Forward (Forverts) on 1 March 2015. Prof. Fridberg has also posted an audio file of his reading his letter aloud in his native Vilna Yiddish. In the case of any issue arising, the Yiddish text is authoritative. For readers’ reference, hyperlinks have been added (by Defending History) to various of the documents and topics cited. See also the Pinchos Fridberg page and section in Defending History, page and section on the state-sponsored commission discussed, and section on Yivo issues.

September 2014 at Ponár, the mass muder site of Vilna Jewry: Three representatives of the controversial state sponsored commission on Nazi and Soviet crimes pay respects in unison: (from left): Dr. Jonathan Brent, Emanuelis Zingeris, Ronaldas Račinskas. Photo: Defending History.


 

D

ear Dr. Jonathan Brent,

 

I appeal to you in Yiddish. Do you know why? Because I believe, that a person who is the leader of the Yivo institute will understand me. My name is Pinchos Fridberg. I was born in Vilna before the war and am a survivor of the Holocaust. My grandmother and grandfather, and all our relatives on my mother’s side — 28 people — lie [at the mass murder site] Ponár.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, "Red-Brown Commission", Documents, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Pinchos Fridberg, Politics of Memory, United States, Views of Mr. Ronaldas Račinskas and the State-Sponsored "International Commission" (ICECNSORL), Yiddish Affairs, Yivo Manipulated? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Translation of a Yiddish Correspondence: The Vilna Holocaust Survivor and the Director of Yivo

State Prosecutors ‘Visit’ Jewish Community on Holocaust Remembrance Day to ask Questions about ALJ chief Joseph Melamed


Officials from Lithuania’s state prosecution service came to the Jewish Community’s premises at Pylimo Street 4 in Vilnius today — during a Holocaust Remembrance Day event — to ask community officials for information about Joseph Melamed, 85, a Tel Aviv resident. The news spread rapidly and caused disquiet among the small remnant community.

Attorney Joseph Melamed, a Holocaust survivor, with his Hebrew book ‘Lita’ (Lithuania) in his office at the Association of Lithuanian Jews on King David Boulevard in Tel Aviv

Mr. Melamed, head of the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel, possibly the world’s last active Litvak survivor organization, is himself a Holocaust (Kovno Ghetto) survivor, a veteran of the anti-Nazi partisans, veteran of the Israeli war of independence in 1948, a retired Israeli diplomat and a prominent attorney. He is the author and editor of various works about the Lithuanian Holocaust.

Prosecutors told the Lithuanian Jewish Community that they are ‘investigating’ Mr. Melamed in relation to his organization’s publication of lists of alleged local war criminals who are alleged to have participated in the annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry. A few of the people on these lists are considered ‘national heroes’ by various nationalist elements, especially those who joined the anti-Soviet resistance in and after 1944.

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