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The Story of Minna Aspler

The story of Minna Aspler, The granddaughter of Yoyne Swirsky. Yoyne was the employ of a wealthy Pole named Bushevsky, who owned land in Lyntupy
....Minna's parents Fanya (Feige) Swirsky of Lyntupy and Max Friedland were married in 1917. Minna was born in Yekatarinaslav or Dniepropietrosk (Russia names and renames cities to suit its politics) where her father was a successful textile merchant. However times were turbulent, Red Russians fighting Whites. Father had already had his experience with the Revolution when he and a group of others were taken from a train, made to undress and hand over their belongings. Then they were lined up in a field and the soldiers began their executions when suddenly they were overwhelmed by opponents. Max fled, naked, to a peasant cottage. The owners fed and clothed him and allowed him to escape. With this background and the fact that he was considered a "bourgeois", flight was the obvious decision. The couple, smuggling Minna in a pillow case, ran away to Vilna where Fanya had family, and where soon afterwards her brother Boris was born. There is evidence that a settlement existed there as far back as 1128. In 1323 it became the capital of Lithuania. In the Middle Ages Lithuania and Poland united. After many occupations by Russia, France, Germany and again Russia, it became the capital of independent Lithuania. For 150 years, in the 19th and 20th centuries, its Jewish community was the center of Eastern European cultural life and a focus of the Zionist movement. In 1941 there was a Jewish population of 80,000. In 1945 all but 6,000 remained after the murderous policies of Nazi Germany.
Minna's grandfather Yoyne Swirsky was a forester in the employ of a wealthy Pole named Bushevsky who lived most of the time in Berlin. It was his job to buy and sell orchards, look after machinery that Bushevsky bought as a hobby and which was stored in warehouses on the large country estate which he had to supervise as well. Grandfather owned a small hotel which his daughters helped to manage. Bracha, the oldest, eventually married and moved to the U.S.A.; Rachel, who suffered from a slight palsy and never married; Leah, whose husband was dubbed "The Playboy" for his penchant for cards rather than hard work, their two children Chaim and Sheinele. Now the fourth daughter, Fanya Friedland, also lent a hand while her husband, unsuccessfully, tried to establish himself in Vilna. Grandfather was an Orthodox Jew, well-respected in the community. He was always formally dressed in a suit and tie, and wore a hard hat when he went out. He looked formidable to Minna and she adored him. To her, he appeared very tall, although, in truth, he was of average height. The highlights of her stay in Vilna were the occasions when he allowed her to go along on buying or selling trips to the orchards and the visit to Bushevsky's Lyntupy estate next to a shtetl by the same name.
Her mother and aunts were brought up on this estate with its miles and miles of forests, a lake and a white palace, partially destroyed by fire and abandoned. There were acres and acres of gardens and a large modern house, the replacement of the palace, which was run by a housekeeper and many servants. There were stables for the horses and small cottages which housed the farm workers and in two of which they lived in the summer--grandfather in one, Fanya, Minna, Boris and little Chaim in the other.....
For the entire story go to http://migs.concordia.ca/memoirs/aspler/aspler_1.html