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From Dovid Katz
June 22 ·2013


HAPPY BIRTHDAY to dear MEILACH STALEVICH in Vilnius, who turns 90 this Friday. Born on June 28th 1923 in the city (then Wilno, Poland; forever in Yiddish: Vílne), Meilach grew up on Kíyever gás (now: Kauno gatv?), opposite the Mishmères-Khéylim hospital which had a kloyz (prayer-house) where his grandfather Avigdor was gábe (gabbai). Afterwards his family lived in a flat rented to them by a friendly priest on the grounds of nearby All Saints Church (Vis? švent?j?; in local Yiddish: Kolanshómes [from: kol haneshómes 'all souls']). Meilach studied at the Yiddish secular Reál-gimnàzye. He is a hero of the war against Hitler (the only Jew in a unit of Cossacks). Most of his relatives were murdered at Ponár (Paneriai). He had received letters in 1944 (he was still at the front, but after Vilna had been taken) that nobody survived.