|Kovno Home Page|
|Kovno Stories Links|
The Levitan Family of Kovno
Click on Photos to Enlarge
Picture of Zvi Hirsh Eliezer Levitan
Our Levitan family story could be traced back to 1840; information about members of the family is found in ŌYahadut LitaĶ(Hebrew for ŌJews of LithuaniaĶ), a 3-volume book of history of the Lithuanian Jews. A book about the Musar movement (a faction of Judaism, started by rabbi Salanter, which emphasized ethical study and conduct) contains a more detailed account of the family. The first person in the family of whom we know of is RÕ Tzvi Hirsch Eliezer Levitan, also known as Rabbi Hirshel from Slobodka.
RÕ Tzvi was born in Kovno in 1840, and studied in the yeshiva of Yakov-Yosef in Vilon, later transferring to Slobodka. He married Rivka. In another account it is told that he studied with the elder from Kelm ( RÕ Simcha Zishl). He was much influenced by Israel Slanter*(1810-1883), whom he knew personally. He was a good friend of other prominent personalities of the Musar movement as; Rabbi Yitzhak Belzer (1837- 1907), Rabbi Naftali Amsterdam (1832- 1916), Rabbi Avraham Shenker (1846- 1884), and Rabbi Eliezer Shilevich. In the year 1863, he founded a yeshiva in Slobodka (a suburb of Kovno). The name of the yeshiva was Or- HaChaim, meaning Ōthe light of lifeĶ. He was very devoted to the needs of the yeshiva and its students and carefully watched over the young boys (adolescents) who came to study there from far away regions of the Russian Empire.
From the old book which is devoted to the Musar movement, a few anecdotes are told about how he would, during the night, constantly check on the sleeping students under his care, to make sure that they were covered with blankets, during the cold winter nights. If he found that one was sleeping on top of his blanket, instead of waking him up he would take his jacket off and cover the boy with it. After attending his Slobodka Or- HaChaim yeshiva the young boys transferred to the renowned Yeshiva; ŌKnesset-IsraelĶ, where older students studied. He established other institutions in Kovno, as well as in many small towns of the Russian Empire. Tzvi Hirsh founded a society for Torah studies for laborers and craftsmen in Slobodka, where he taught. He was much loved and respected by the entire community and was known for his extreme modesty. Shying away from public recognition, he was very generous and pious, and he diligently took care of orphaned, abandoned children, teaching them the Torah. He was known as a father to orphans and supported and educated hundreds of them. Because of all this help, he had very little money remaining for his family, which led a very modest lifestyle.
A story told about him says that he once came home wearing only his top coat, with no pants on. When asked, he said that he gave his pants to a poor man who had no clothes. The book about the Musar movement features an anecdote about Tzvi HirshsÕ son-in-law (Avigdor Mankevitz), who came to study with him from Vilna. The young man came from a very well-to-do family (Mankevitz), and when he expressed his wish to marry Rachel Liba, the daughter of Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Levitan, his family members were very upset. . Despite her fatherÕs high standing in the community, they saw the marriage as being beneath their son, because the girl was not known for her beauty, was not sufficiently Ōlady likeĶ for the parents taste and her family was poor. By contrast, the suitor was handsome, wealthy, and well educated. Nevertheless, the young man married her, and for some years his family disinherited him.
In 1894, when Rabbi Moshe Danishevski was appointed as rabbi in Slobodka, he came to Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Levitan to sign for him. In 1902, Tzvi Hirsh immigrated to the land of Israel and settled in Jerusalem. He gave his son-in-law, Avigdor Mankevic, power to replace him as head of the little Slobodka yeshiva. RÕ Levitan settled in Jerusalem. He established a school in the Musar system, a religious practice entailing a very strict moral code. He also gave lessons in the school in the yard of Strauss, always being very careful not to waste a moment away from Torah studies. He often walked to distant and isolated neighborhoods to teach young men. In addition, RÕ Tzvi helped in the funding of a synagogue in Givat Shaul and instituted their kolel for young men. He also established a kolel in Moza near Jerusalem. He did not neglect Jews who came from the eastern countries, establishing for them places for torah studies in Jerusalem. RÕ Tzvi Hirsch Levitan died in Jerusalem in 1915.
As far as we know RÕ Tsvi had two children: a daughter; Rachel Liba Mankevic born 1877
( perished in the holocaust in 1941) and a son; Moshe Yosef. We find in the newspaper Hamelitz an announcement of his son; Moshe YosefÕs marriage to Judith nee Gerstein in 1899:
Yehudit and Moshe Yosef had four children. The oldest was Nachum, born circa 1900, followed by Chyena, Ben Zion, and their youngest, Batya. RÕ Moshe Yosef was a rabbi, and, circa 1927, received a job in Brooklyn. He immediately moved there with his wife Judith and youngest daughter Batya. We find this record of them in the New York census of 1930:
Database: 1930 United States Federal Census
Name Home in 1930
(City,County,State) Age in 1930 Estimated Birth Year Birthplace Race Relation to head-of-house
Maris Levitan Manhattan, New York, NY 45 BirthYear( 1930, '45') ; 1884 Lithuania White Head
Judith Levitan Manhattan, New York, NY 44 BirthYear (1930, '44') ; 1885 Wife
Bessie Levitan Manhattan, New York, NY 19 BirthYear (1930, '19') ; 1910 Daughter
According to the census, Maris (Moshe Yosef) married at 21, his wife at 20. All of them were born in Lithuania to Lithuanian parents, and spoke Yiddish. They came to America in 1928. He was a rabbi and taught in a Hebrew school. They lived at 233 East Broadway.
They paid 40 dollars rent. In 1930, he is stated as being 45, she is 44, and their daughter is 19. [Except for the daughter, this information does not match other records found, and their ages here appear to be false: they must have been older if Nachum was born in 1900 and they married at age 21 and 20]
At one point, according to the family myth, RÕ Moshe Yosef became very sick with a fatal illness, and vowed that if he survived, he would immigrate to the land of Israel. He did indeed survive and immigrated to Israel before the war, settling near his son Ben Zion.
Ben Zion came to Israel as a pioneer, and married a girl from Kovno by the name of Gita nee Kriger. She was born in 1910 to Leib Kriger and Sheina nee Levin Luria (both of Vashki). She was born in Paneveziai. In Israel, they settled in Raanana and had four children: Avi, a physician, who married Edna and had two children, Ariela, who married Ami Yaakoby and had three children, Nava, who married Uri Rosenthal (Tal), and had two daughters, and Ofra, who married Gadi Levi and had a daughter and a son.
Judit nee Gerstein Levitan had a family in Vilna and there is a site created by a descendant of one of her relatives (http://hometown.aol.com/michaeldg/page3.html). Judit died some time in the late forties and Moshe died in the 50s in Israel.
Chyena, daughter of Moshe Yosef, was a very smart and ambitious girl. She studied in Austria and then Germany, earning a PhD in psychology. Chyena married a man by the name of Shmuel Zaidel Sherešhevski, who was a well-to-do owner of a textile factory. Chyena had two children: Muki ( Menachem) born in 1930 and Tsvi born in 1933. ( both perished in Auschwitz)
The youngest daughter, Batyah, also came to Israel from the US with her parents. She married Shapiro and had two sons, both doctors. One of the children was named Yair Shapiro and lives in Israel, the other Ami Shapiro, who lives in Philadelphia.
Dr. Nachum and Dr. Ada Yeta Levitan
Nachum Levitan attended the university in Kaunas, Lithuania, and married Yeta Ada nee Rabinovich, who was born in Šiauliai. A lawyer for ChyenaÕs textile factory, Nachum also often wrote for a local newspaper. Ada had a brother who went to South Africa and died there in an accident. Yeta Ada was an obstetrician who had gone to medical school in Russia, Estonia, and then again in Lithuania when she had to retake her exams. She worked in a Jewish hospital and was a very skilled doctor, treating mostly gentiles. She took care of everybody - rich and poor alike - and the house (before the war) had often been filled with people.
Ruven was born in 1928. He had a sister Rivka born several years after him. She became sick, and a brain tumor was found. Although they traveled everywhere with her in search of a cure, no cure was found, and she died at a young age, three or four. Ruven went to school in Kaunas. His family lived in Kaunas, Sešiolikto Vasario Gatve 3, and he attended the Gymnasium Reait, taught in Hebrew. He had learned German from a traditional German nanny, named Gretchen,. Although she had been born in Lithuania, she left in the late 30Ís as a Volksdeutscher when Hitler came to power, Ruven also spoke Russian.
Picture of Nachum and Yeta Ada Levitan
Here is RuvenÕs account, taken from a phone conversation on July of 2004:
By the year 1939, there was a flood of Jewish refugees who came to Lithuania from Germany and Poland. As my father Nachum was a successful lawyer with many connections, he and other Jewish leaders of Kovno procured visas for the refugees enabling them to settle in Shanghai, from where they could get visas to go elsewhere. I recall that on one occasion I asked my father why he was dressed in such fancy clothes, and he told me he was going to meet Smetona, the Lithuanian president during the interwar years, to plead on behalf of the refugees. There was a feeling of urgency in the air in those days. There was an ominous feeling of greater troubles ahead.
In 1940, the Soviets invaded Lithuania, putting my father in jail for being a capitalist, as indicated by his high-paying job as lawyer of the textile factory. It is ironic that the Soviets, when they came, accused Jews of being capitalists, while the Nazis who succeeded them accused Jews of being communists. The family had been attempting to immigrate to Israel. The outbreak of war now rendered this impossible. When the war started, ChyenaÕs husband was in England, buying merchandise for their textile factory. He was thus trapped in England during the war. The Soviets wanted to send Chyena to Siberia, but the night that they searched the house for her she happened to not be at home. In this way it was only by accident that she did not end up in a Siberian gulag with her children. My mother was taking care of the wife of a Soviet colonel, who had difficulties getting pregnant, and so the two families became close.
On June 22, 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union, and immediately there was an evacuation, staged by the Soviets. The Lithuanian Jews now became hostages of war. The colonel wanted to take our family with him deep into the Soviet Union, away from the war zone. Tragically, I was sick with scarlet fever and the family chose to stay on my behalf.
Even before the Germans arrived, the killings of the Jews started. For instance, in Kovno on June 27th, 1941, pro-German Lithuanian nationalists killed sixty Jewish men. Their victims were beaten, hosed, and then murdered with iron bars. One of my teachers was killed in the massacre.
On July 10, 1941, the German orders came that all Jews must be moved into ghettos. This was only a pit-stop on the way to the mass murder of the Jews that the Germans had planned. When our family moved into the big Kovno ghetto, Lithuanians moved into our old house. In the ghetto we were assigned only two small rooms for the five adults and numerous children that our extended family was made of.
Some of our relatives also lived near by in the ghetto, and amongst them was Doctor Leib Gerstein, a very handsome man who came originally from Vilna. He was related to my grandmother Yehudit. In the ghetto I saw him a few times; he had a daughter that was a few years younger than I. I later learned from LeibÕs sister, Ida nee Gerstein Estervoski, who survived the Vilna ghetto, that the family had perished. There were other relatives in the ghetto, amongst them the family of my cousin Leah Mankevitz , granddaughter of Tsvi Hirsch LevitanÕs daughter; Rivka Mankevitz.
LeahÕs father ; Simcha Zisl Mankevic was killed in the infamous Lietukis Garage massacre. One time, Leah came to visit us in the ghetto. At that point, her other family members were taken away in one of the actions marking the liquidation of the small ghetto. In the three months following the sealing off of the ghettos in August 1941, 3000 Jews men, women, and children were killed. On October 4th, starting with the burning of the hospital for contagious disease, the small ghetto was annihilated; 1845 Jews, among them 818 children were taken to fort nine to be killed the next day. October 28th saw the Big Action, during which more than 9000 Jews, roughly half of them children. were taken to ninth fort and murdered there. As I said before, during the action that was to take away her family, Leah was visiting us on an errand. When she learned that her family had been killed, she stayed with us and was treated like a daughter of the family. Today Leah lives in New York. After the war she came to Israel and lived with her relatives from the Shapiro family, who were very religious.
While we lived in the ghetto, my parents engaged in forced labor in designated work places outside of it in the Aryan area. I myself worked in a ghetto workshop. There was almost no food in the ghetto, and the meager rations we received at work put us on a starvation diet. We exchanged clothes and money for food secretly obtained outside of the ghetto. Although he had the opportunity, my father chose not to get involved with the Judenrat or obtain any other such positions in the ghetto.
In the winter of 1941, I became sick with diphtheria. The only way for me to survive was to obtain an antitoxin that was impossible to get in the ghetto. So, my aunt Chyena risked her life and jumped the ghetto fence, secretly escaped the ghetto, obtained the antitoxin, and brought it back for me at the last possible moment. I received the required shot at a very late stage of the disease, but although I had complications from diphtheria, I recovered. Without the antitoxin I would surely have died. Even after the administration of the medicine, I was sick for six weeks and my survival at the time was very uncertain.
My family knew Doctor Elchanan Elkes (1879- 1944), the chairman of the Jewish Council (altestenrat), from before the war; he had always been well known in Kovno. During the war, Elkes helped the Jews in any way he could, he was a good man, and ultimately he put his best into helping improve Jews living conditions. There were also Jewish policemen in the ghetto, and while some were friendly, some were reputedly cruel. While I myself never encountered a bad policemen, stories of them abounded. Understandably, the policemenÕs job was unusually difficult. They were in a no-win situation, trapped, as they were, between aiding the Jews and obeying the Germans.
My mother became pregnant in the ghetto, and my sister, Yonina, was born in the summer of 1942. My mother almost died because the placenta would not come out. When my mother realized how precarious her situation was, she told me to run with a note that she had written to another Jewish doctor in the ghetto. When I arrived and showed him the note, he immediately realized the seriousness of the situation, and dropped all of his food he was eating when I arrived to run to her aid. He cut the placenta out with his bare hands, and my mother barely survived.
Soon after, my parents, using their pre-war connections, began secretly evacuating the family from the ghetto, one by one. My father, in particular, had friends in high places that were able to help him in this predicament. It was very difficult to leave the ghetto; many were caught and killed trying to flee. In order to successfully escape the ghetto one had to have a specific place to go and hide and Lithuanians ( non Jews) who would risk their life and take one in. My mother and father left the ghetto only after they had made sure that their children as well as some children of their friends and relatives had gotten out before them. Many people had to be bribed to get the entire family out of the ghetto one by one. A priest named Paukštys got my parents out, sending them to two separate farms. Father was sent to a farmer called Tamuleitis, who of course knew of my fatherÕs escape and that he was a Jew. He worked as a pusbernis, a type of farm hand. Tamuleitis wife had a brother in Chicago, and when we arrived in Chicago years later we kept up our family friendship.
My baby sister Yonina was taken out by a woman named Ona, who had been a patient of my motherÕs. My mother also arranged a hiding place for Ester, the daughter of Rabbi Mordechai Shulman with another of her patients. Ona kept Yonina and took care of her. My father also arranged for Leah to leave. Her escape was perhaps the easiest to execute for she was a redhead and did not look Jewish. Chyena escaped to Austria during the war; she could speak perfect German, which helped in the escape.**
I myself was able to escape with help from a Jesuit priest from Kaunas, named Smilgevičius, who saved the lives of many Jews during the war (amongst them Rabbi Natan Zvi Shulman who was a 12 years old child at the time). His brother was the ambassador to Sweden and had gone to college with my father. The connection to Smilegevicius was therefore arranged by my father. In December 1942, I joined a working group traveling out of the ghetto. Once we were outside, the German guard, who had been bribed, said to me "Berlin aufsteigen" (get off at Berlin, in German). I changed clothes, and walked through Kaunas to the monastery. To get there, I had to walk through Rotušes Aikšte, the town square, at night. This was difficult as I was only 14 years old and would be suspected as an escapee if seen by anyone. I crossed the street to get to the monastery by joining and blending in with some kids that had left the priestsÕ seminary and were crossing the street. From there, I knew exactly where to go: I knocked on the monastery door, for a long time nobody answered, then finally someone came and I had to say a code word. This was recognized and I was let in; a man told me to stay in a room and not go anywhere. I waited for a long time; it was a very cold night. Finally, the priest came and took me in. I stayed here for a couple of weeks.
Next, a farmer took me to his farm near Panemune by horse & buggy. I had to pretend to be deaf and dumb. Although I spoke good Lithuanian, I was frightened that I might betray an accent and that people would suspect me of being Jewish. I wanted to take no chances. On the way to Panemune, the farmer gave me something to cover my head with, saying "cover your [dark] hair and shut up, do not say anything". As I had blue eyes, when my dark hair was covered I resembled the Lithuanians. The farmer then went to pick up a Lithuanian troop battalion commander who lived near the farmer and was getting a ride back home with him. There were now three of us in the buggy. The Colonel, a German collaborator, had no idea that I was Jewish, although this entire setup had been prearranged. When the colonel asked the farmer why I was here, the farmer said that although I was deaf and dumb I could work with horses at the farm. We soon reached checkpoints manned by Lithuanians. The colonel immediately saluted, and the guards, upon seeing him, let us all right through. This was a clever plan intended to get me, a Jewish boy, past the checkpoint without any questions asked.
I stayed at the farm until Christmas, when one of the farmer's daughters returned with her husband. I worked very hard for the farmer and he and his family were very kind to me. His daughter's husband, upon coming, however, was suspicious of me, taking me for either a Russian or a Jew - somehow not belonging in the farm. He warned his father-in-law, the farmer, to get rid of me. Although his wife, the farmer's daughter, told her husband it was nonsense, the farmer nevertheless feared some sort of information would leak out and took me back to the priest.
Helped by the priest Smilegevicius, I made arrangements with a blond Jewish woman Tekerenia to travel to Šiauliai together. This perilous journey of around 150 kilometers took a couple of days. Guards diligently checked the papers and passes of all people on the train repeatedly, asking questions. The woman passed by the checkpoints easily, as she was blond and blue-eyed and spoke Lithuanian fluently. We pretended to be related and ultimately we both got through. Somebody was supposed to meet us at the Šiauliai train station but nobody came. So, after waiting for over an hour, we started walking away from the station on our own. About one mile into our walk, the man who was supposed to meet us started discreetly following us, staying with us. He had been too scared to come out into the open and pick us up at the train station. After we had walked for a long time and were alone, the man finally openly joined us.
The priest I was now taken to was called Broliukas [editors note: the diminutive form of brother in Lithuanian, suggesting that this was not his actual name]. This man was not literate and had no education, and yet he saved the lives of many Jews during the war. Broliukas, the priest, arranged a fake ID for me in the name of Josefas Gintautas, a common Lithuanian name.
I then worked in Šiauliai chopping wood for a very old monk, who had a lame brother and a sister with tuberculosis and was taking care of them. I slept on a bench in a shack, and wherever we traveled, I chopped wood. I worked like this for several months. The woman - Tekerenia - was sent somewhere else, and she too survived the war.
At this point the Gestapo found out that Broliukas, the monk, had been helping Jews to escape the ghettos. Broliukas was bald and had a very long beard, so as soon as he learned that the Gestapo were searching for him he went to the barbershop to chop his distinct beard away. The Gestapo came to the barbershop looking for him but it was already too late, he had left and escaped by this point. He had very nearly been caught by the Gestapo another time, but had managed just in time to escape from Šiauliai. I was warned at the time that the Gestapo were after Broliukas and told that it was best to leave in case any contacts to me could be found through the investigations on Broliukas. So I applied to work as a farm hand and was employed by a simple farmer and his wife from Linkuva.
In spring, I went to work scything the fields. I worked here for a few months and nobody , including my employers, knew or even suspected that I was Jewish. While working in Linkuva, I once had to take an armed Lithuanian man, a German collaborator - back to his village. I couldnÕt refuse the job because the farmers at Linkuva, not knowing I was Jewish, had assigned me take a thirteen-year old horse and a buggy and to travel with the man. So I took him to his village, which was more than a day journey going east. The Lithuanian was in uniform and was a very cruel man, specialized in killing people and boastful of all the Jews he had murdered with his bare hands. He was now returning to his village in order to hide from the Soviets, who were swiftly approaching the area. At one point in the journey, I went to get water for the horse, and when I came back I found the man lying on the ground across the road, his rifle aimed at me, wanting to kill me so that I couldnÕt betray his hiding place in the village to the Soviets when they reached this part of Lithuania. His wife was begging him not to shoot because she wanted to be brought to the village. I thought it would be safest to ignore him and continue walking as if I didnÕt notice. To stop would be to ask for the shooting and to keep walking seemed better. I was correct, and the man did not shoot me. Nevertheless, I had to bring him all the way to his house in the village. After staying there for two hours, and feeding and watering the horse, I left right away with the old horse. Many people were at the officerÕs house, and the manÕs family was very happy that I had brought him, giving me food and asking me to stay.
A few weeks later, in June 1944, the Red Army troops invaded. I left the Linkuva farm, telling the farmer I wanted to go see what was happening in the town of Šiauliai, which I pretended to come from. From the farm, we could see in the distance that the city of Šiauliai was burning, and I said I wanted to go and see for myself. I never saw the farmer again, and to the end he never suspected that I was a Jew.
I walked by foot to Kaunas, taking almost a week in getting there. I ate whatever was available, often getting free scraps of food from farmers. I had no money because the farmer with whom I had worked in Linkuva was supposed to pay me in crops, not money. I never claimed these crops when leaving, so the farmer must have been glad that all my work had been for free. On the way to town, I met one of my high school teachers. He told me that Jewish war survivors were gathering at a certain address in Kaunas where they could get some soup and look for relatives who survived the war.
At the house, I found my father was already there, and he told me that my mother had survived the war as well. She joined us in Kaunas a week or ten days later. We went to our old house in Kaunas, but somebody was living there. Fortunately, we were given a few rooms there. After having returned to the house, we started looking for my baby sister, who had gone to jail with Ona. We found out that a Lithuanian policeman in the jail had liked Ona and managed to let her leave the jail, but we could find no news of my baby sister. We looked for her for a long time, staying in Lithuania, in hopes that somebody had found her. As the records from the Kaunas jail were inconclusive, and the jail was notoriously bad, we were forced to give up the search for a missing two-year old. Years later, a woman told me that she had been with my baby sister three days before the end of the war. To this day nobody knows if she survived, and we could find no trace of her.
In the search for my baby sister, my father found the man who had informed on OnaÕs secret caretaking of a Jewish baby and caused her imprisonment and the lost of my sister; Yonina. The man was old and sick and his death was imminent, so to take him to court seemed futile for he would have died before a verdict was reached, anyway. We ultimately did nothing in the way of retribution toward this man. We stayed in Lithuania looking for my sister for a year. That year, I learned that only two of my forty or fifty Jewish classmates had survived the war. Upon further investigation, I also found out that Broliukas, the kind monk, had survived the war as well and had moved to West Germany. He died in 1972..During that whole year, we received food from the hospital where my mother soon started working. In 1945, we finally left Lithuania without finding the whereabouts of my sister, going first to Poland, then to Czechoslovakia, then France, and finally Israel. In Lodz, Poland, we met with relatives of my grandmother from the Gerstein family. They were relatives of Lova Gerstein who perished in Dachau. In Paris, I went back to school and when we arrived in Israel I went to medical school in Jerusalem. After becoming a doctor, I worked in Belinson hospital. After marrying Ilana nee Rosenblum, from Raanana, a physics student in the Hebrew university, we had our first son, Daniel, in 1952. Our entire surviving family ultimately moved to Israel. In 1956, we traveled to the US: first to New York, then to Boston, where we had our second and third son, Edwin and Arnold. We finally settled in Chicago.
[According to information given by the only surviving member of the generation of Chyena and Nachum, Rachel Broide, the sister of Gita Levitan, (an in-law to the Levitan family who spent many evenings with the family):
children of Chyena and Shmuel Zaidel Shershevski;
Tzvi and Muki (
Menachem) were sneaked out of the ghetto and put by one of the priests
into an orphanage for disadvantaged Lithuanian children. Once, the
priest who was running the place had a visit from German officers.
When the youngest child ( Tzvi, who was less then 10 years old) heard
the officers speak German, he spoke back to them fluently, having
had a German nanny and a good education. The Germans were very surprised
by his fluency in the language, to find such well-educated kid in
an orphanage! The priest was very worried that the officers would
realize that the boys were Jewish, so they sent the two brothers back
to the ghetto, where they perished in the ChildrenÕs Action. During
the infamous Children Action in the March of 1944, 1300 children and
elderly were forcibly removed from their families in the Kovno ghetto
and taken to be killed in Fort 9 and Auschwitz.]
Gerstein Icchak Yaakov
Gerstein Nachum Meir
Gerstein Lieb Arie
Hirsh Levitan born c 1841 Kovno died 1915 Jerusalem married Rivka
Zvi Sharshevski born 1933 perished c 1944 in Auschwitz
|Menkevitz Rachel nee Levitan
Rachel Liba Menkevitz nee Levitan was born in Slobodke in 1870 to
Rabbi Eliezer Zvi Levitan
and Ryvka. She was a housewife and married to Avigdor ( widow). Prior
to WWII she lived in Kowna, Lithuania. During the war was in Kowna,
Lithuania she had five children (Chaia married Dzikanski lived in the
U.S, Rivka married Goldsmith lived in London,
Chana Teybe married Yisrael Shapiro lived in Israel, Moshe Eliezer
lived in Jerusalem
and Simcha Zisel born 1899 married Mina nee Zwik children; Hinda
Krashe perished at age 14, Avigdor perished at age 3 and Lea Barski
born in Kovno in 1932 now lives in New York.Rachel died in the Shoah
at the age of 71. This information is based on a Page of
Testimony submitted on 11/03/1962 by her son Moshe Eliezer Menkevitzin
Givaat Shaul, Jerusalem
Menkewic Symcha Zisl
Rabbi Symcha Menkewic was born in Slobodka, Lithuania in 1899 to
Avigdor and Rachel liba nee Levitan. He was a manager of yeshiva and
married. Prior to WWII he lived in Kowna, Lithuania with wife Mina
Zwik and 3 children, daughter Lea who survived and lives in New York,
Avigdor who perished at age 3 and Hilda Krashe who perished in the
small Kovno Ghetto at age 14. Symcha died in the Shoah. This
information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted on 14/03/1962 by
his brother Moshe Eliezer Menkevitz in Givaat Shaul, Jerusalem
Myna Menkewic nee Zvik was born in Telsiai, Lithuania in 1908 to
Szmuel. She was a housewife and married to Simcha Zisl. Prior to WWII
she lived in Rowne, Poland. During the war was in Rowne, Poland. Myna
died in the Shoah at the age of 33. This information is based on a
Page of Testimony submitted on 11/03/1962 by her brother-in-law Moshe
Eliezer Menkevitz in Givaat Shaul, Jerusalem