Birzai /Birzh/ Birz , Lithuania Latitude: 56.20 Longitude: 24.75
94 kilometers east of Siauliai

Jewishgen shtetl page: http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/birzai
Information on Birzai today: http://www.tourism.lt/region/panevez/birzai.htm

Click on Photos to Enlarge


Pioneers training program (hachshara) in Birzai in 1924.

#birz-3: Members of the He - Chaluts movement's local chapter in Birzai wikth members of the "Bialik" pioneering training program in that city. Photographed on February 15, 1935, Batia and Dov leave to Eretz Israel.
#birz-9: From photos were taken by Shmuel Evin in Birzhai, rare depictions of daily life. c. 1936-38. ( Arbiter of Cultural Traditions.) for the rest go to; http://www.arbiterrecords.com/judaica/birzhphotos.html


The memorial where the Jews were buried in a mass grave. My wife Riva and I are next to the memorial. This stone was put up by the ( few surviving) Jews of Birze when they returned to Birze after the war.    Basil Sandler


Rueven and wife at the grave of Asna
in cemetery in Birze ( submited by Basil Sandler)


Meyer and Asna Chait with family taken in Birze around 1910 submited by Basil Sandler


The shoemakers synagogue in Birze
The photo is from the Jewish Encyclopedia. My grandfather Michael Sandler was the Shamash. His house can be seen on the right side. He shared the house with Meyer ben Abraham Chait who was his wifes Basia Chait Sandlers brother. Submitted by Basil Sandler


Winter 1938 Birzai
View of the crowded snow-covered market-place: peasants display wares on horse-drawn sleds; people carry baskets.


Winter 1938 Birzai
people walk between rows of horse-drawn sleds loaded with wares.


Winter 1938 Birzai
Two peasants holding pigs on a horse-drawn sled and a crowd pose in the snow; (foreground) the blanket-covered hindquarters of the horse.


View of the market-place: horse-drawn wagons and crowds of people in a square bordered by shops and dwellings.


Winter 1938 Birzai
The caretaker of the Jewish cemetery reads a newspaper and poses with
his wife at the entrance to their home, a log cabin. (Right) chickens
peck the snowy ground for grain near a bench.


Yechezcial Melamed, the only Jew still in Birze and Basil Sandler at the memorial


My son Ami, Yechezcial, Riva , me and my niece Iveta [from Riga]
Basil Sandler


The picture is taken sometime before the war. The building on the
right has a stone at the top dated 1912. It housed the business of my
maternal grandfather's family (Levin) - the name is legible in the
original but not in the scanned version. It appears to be exactly the
same site as the picture labelled #birz-18 on your site showing the
market scene.
The other branch of my family from Birzai (maternal grandmother) was
Zundelewitz (or Zundelowitz).
Stephen Wainer
Calgary, Canada


This is a picture of the Zundelowitz family taken sometime in 1908 or 1909.

The infant is my maternal grandmother Rochel (born 1908). She is seated on the lap of her mother Rivke. Her father (with the beard) was called Zvi but in the Birzai birth records is listed as Itzik Berke.

The child at the front left we think is Mary (born 1899) – she lived in Baltimore (married name Rom). The child between Zvi and Rivke is another daughter who we knew as “Tiny” (moved to South Africa) but may have been named Tanya or Khane (sp?).

Unfortunately do not know the names of the others.


My grandmother and her children made a trip from South Africa to visit the family in Lithuania just before the war.

This photo is of the Levin family (my grandmother’s in-laws) taken in Birzai sometime in 1938 (approx). The two children are my mother (Lily) and uncle (Robert). My maternal grandmother Rochel is sitting behind and between them.

The two older individuals are my grandfather’s (Chona Levin) parents: Zorach and Golda. The other individuals are unnamed unfortunately but would likely include their children: Mina, Ruska, Israel, Mendel and Rivka.

Mina went to live in the USA (Portland, Maine) – I think the others stayed behind.


Chana Kier (born in Birzai to Leibe Freedman and Asna nee Even )
standing by her car in Chicago with her cousin, my father Dave Kempner
in 1937.
Marlene Dobrin
Family names Kempner, PoKempner, PaKempner, Mirvis, Rief, Melman,
Krechmer, Litt, Lunch, Meyerson, Marovich, Shanker, Hillman, Zox,
Sachs, Fleischman, Segall, Friedman, Dobrin, Schuman, Fuxman


On the left; Jack, right; Dave Kempner (my father) and their
grandfather Yitzhak Iche Zvi Nafthali Hirsch PoKempner. I do believe
it is in Radviliskis ( Jack or Birzai) Lithuania.

Marlene Kempner Dobrin
Family names Kempner, PoKempner, PaKempner, Mirvis, Rief, Westerman,
Melman, Zox, Sachs, Krechmer, Litt, Lunch, Meyerson, Marovich, Shanker,
Herzog, Hillman, Fleischman, Segall, Friedman, Dobrin, Schuman, Fuxman


The Shanken (Scheinker) family standing in front of (I presume) their
dental office in Birzai probably 1923-1914. My father Dave Kempner
told me that Scheinker stood for a canker sore hence last name
referring to the occupation. My father Dave is the young man in the
back row in the middle of the picture
and he is standing with his cousins behind two young girls who I
believe is Tirtza with her arms folded and Ruchel.

Marlene Kempner Dobrin


Fin Iudes Abramovna born in 1910 Female Litva from Birzhoi

Card of a Jewish
Refugees in Tashkent 1941


Fin Zindel' Abramovich 1918 Male Litva from Birzhoi

Card of a Jewish Refugees
in Tashkent 1941


Stolik Menakhen Gershovich born in 1919 Male Litov SSR from Birzhai

Card of a Jewish
Refugees in Tashkent 1941


Family by the grave of Emuna daughter of Matot who passed away in 1925
From: Baruch Sendler


Birzai Parade. Picture was sent to the Kempner family from Gershon
Marlene Kempner Dobrin


A Yad Vashem report for Schneider Elchanan who was born in Birzai,
Lithuania in 1902 to Israel and Leah ( pictured also). Elchanan
perished in 1941 in Birzai, at the age of 39. Page of Testimony
(displayed ) submitted on 04/05/1999 by his nephew; Marvin (Menachem)
Schneider he also gave a report for his grandmother; Schneider Leah
nee Winer born in Birzaiin 1868 to
Berl and Reize. A widow of Yisrael she had 5 children. Leah perished
in 1941 in Birzai,Lithuania at the age of 73.


Back of postcard of a parade in Birzai
It was sent by Gershon Shneider to Bess and Dave Kempner in the U.S.
Marlene Kempner Dobrin


Dr. Levin Avraham

Dr. Avraham Levin was born in Sebis in 1889 to Yitzkhak. He was a
physician and married to Sara nee Dorfan. Prior to WWII he lived in
Birzai, Lithuania. During the war he was in Birzai, Lithuania Wartime
.Dr. Levin perished in June, 1941 in Birzai, Lithuania at the age of
52 ( he was shot by 2 Lithuanians who asked him to come out of his
house and give them medical care). This information is based on a Page
of Testimony submitted on 17-Apr-1999 by his daughter, Ester Steiman,
a Shoah survivor. ( Sara Bidor is her daughter)


The 10th of July 1919 in Birzai. We are being photographed standing before the moat of the fortress.
Dov Aryeh PoKempner" . My dad Dave (Dov Aria PoKempner) Kempner is third from the left and my uncle Jack (Yonathon PoKempner) Kempner is third from the right.

Marlene Kempner Dobrin


A pictures of my great great grandparents: Luis ( Tevia Labe?) Chait and Tame HANNA Atkin. Both born in Birzai
Michael Bien


My great grandparents: Isaac Chait and Rose nee Dishler.
Michael Bien


Yoshua Hessel Kretchmer
~1845 in Birzai
1925 in Jerusalem
--( ancestry.com)



a picture of Moisey and Rachil Luria Ponevezh Feb 6, 1921. According
to my father Dave Kempner, Rachil was a sister-in-law to Leba Friedman
father of Chana Peer Slavin and Batia Friedman of Birzai.

Marlene Kempner


Pinkhas Liman was born in Birz in 1927 to David and Etel. He was a
child. Prior to WWII he lived in Birz, Lithuania. During the war he
was in Birz, Lithuania. Pinkhas perished in the Shoah. This
information is based on a Page of Testimony submitted on 20-Jun-1999 by his brother Israel Liman of Tel Aviv ( who served in the Red Army during the war)


Etel Liman was a housewife and married to David. Prior to WWII she
lived in Birzh, Lithuania. During the war she was in Birzh, Lithuania.
Etel perished in the Shoah. This information is based on a Page of
Testimony (displayed on left) submitted on 20-Jun-1999 by her son
Israel of Tel Aviv, a Shoah survivor


David Liman was born in Birdz to Yaakov. Prior to WWII he lived in Birdz, Lithuania. During the war he was in Birdz, Lithuania. David perished in the Shoah. This information is based on a Page of
Testimony (displayed on left) submitted on 20-Jun-1999 by his son Israel

birz, birzai


Frieda Levin, Shulamit Viner, John Lurie, Mina Lurie, Moshe Lurie, Aron Lurie
From the album of Asaf Lurie.


Birzai, Lithuania, A drama group


Birzai, Lithuania 06/ 29,/1939?, A Jewish kindergarten.



Birzai, Lithuania, 1939, The pupils & staff of the Hebrew school.


Birzai, Lithuania, A street, Prewar.


Birzai, Lithuania, Prewar, A Jewish man.



Birzai, Lithuania, Prewar, A Jewish school


A kindergart?en class in 1940


Birzai, A group of local youth, before the war

Birz, Birzai


Birzai, Lithuania, Pupils and teachers of a Jewish school


Birzai, A Hashomer Hatzair group, 1928


The Friedman sisters ( Batya Koblentz, Chana Peer and the oldest sister Rachel Vesterman, Rachel perished with her family in Birzai in 1941.

Birz, Birzai
Birz, Birzai
Birz, Birzai


Fourth grade pupils in a Hebrew day school in Birzai, 1925.
In the photo: Batya Friedman.
 a memento for their teacher, Cila Senkar, who was about to emigrate to Mandate Palestine.


Members of the Zionist movement He - Chaluts in Birzai.
 Batya Friedman (front row, second from the right).  A memento for Rivka (surname unknown), about to emigrate to Mandate Palestine. Photographed on Oct. 25, 1932.


Pupils of the Hebrew Pro - Gymnasiya (academic middle school) in Birzai, with their teacher.
In the photo: Batya Friedman.
Photographed in August 1929.

taken in 1929, a photo of a group from the Hebrew Pro-Gymnasia, it says that Batya Friedman is in the photo. I just want to add that my mother, Rachel Vainer is also in that photo. She is on the left sitting on the floor. Do you have any other names of people in the photo. I have some similar photos but can only identify my mother.


Doris Winer Greenberg


Birz, Birzai


Female members of the Friedman family in Birzai, 1924.
Among them: Batya Friedman ( the youngest girl), later a member of Kibbutz Yagur. Next to her is her sister Chana and mother Asna nee Even.


Members of Hachalutz in Birzai,amongst them is Batya (nee Friedman) Koblentz (Birzai 1913- 2011 Yagur)


Birzai front right away
Sonia Propis top right,19.11.1929



Dr Merenka Propis (X), anatomy lesson 1939
She is the sister I would like to trace, and her brother David.



Jewish youth summer camp. Sonia 4th from the right in
first row on the grass. Is Batya on the right end?


Sonia Propis age 13- an actress in a Play in Birzai.
Birzai 1926







Rabbi Isaac Benzion Isaacson
Born: 1860 (Ponevezh, Lithuania)
Was the rabbi of Birzai.
Died: August 2, 1931 , Baltimore, MD


Birzai 1940 Shmuel Kaplan ( top)
below are Moshe and Nehama Kaplan.



Sam Chait Stone
April 16, 1893
Birze, Lithuania
1987 (94)
Los Angeles, Ca, USA


Harry Chait
circa 1882
Birze, Lithuania
1979 (97)
Los Angeles


Musia Liman 1914- 1941 perished in the holocaust.



?Etel Liman perished in the holocaust.


Mina Liman 1910- 1942 perished in the holocaust


David Liman



?Marishka Liman 1923- 1941 perished in the holocaust.


Pinchas Liman 1927- 1941 perished in the holocaust.


A bagel seller with his wares, Biržai, Lithuania, 1938. (YIVO)t Gordin Levitan



The Kagans



Birzai 1950. By the memorial for the Jews who perished



Mary Dworetz


Mary Dworetz, Jehoshua Zelik Goldin, Shora-Rivka (Sarah) Goldin, Minnie Diamond, Chaya Goldin, Chaikel Goldin


Mendel Dorfan was born in 1865. He was an insurance agent. Prior to WWII he lived in Birzai, Lithuania.

Mendel was murdered in the Shoah. The report is by his granddaughter Dr. Esther Shteiman Levin





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I am pleased to announce the next release in the genealogy project.

A then and now pictorial review of Birzai, Lithuania the hometown of
many of our ancestors.  The YouTube version includes transitions
(morphs) of some of our relatives and many of the views of the town.
There was a Lithuanian photographer that took many shots from a church
tower back in the 1930s and then someone went back to the exact
locations and took the same shots, making it a remarkable then and

My goal was to "re-create" the shtetl when our family lived in Birzai
to really get a feel of not only what it looked like, but also what
life was like.  This "side" research project, in conjunction with the
early pages of the Berl-David Magid book, hopefully gives you a good
flavor of that.  I also was able to recreate the surrounding streets
of the Jewish shtetl area and research the family names that were
living in Birzai prior to the Nazi invasion (page 11)  and destruction
of the Jewish population in August 1941.

The two links are as follows:
1. A movie uploaded to YouTube: http://youtu.be/aBoYyTKBtJs
2. A PDF file of the movie with the transitions removed so all the
before and after pictures can be viewed:

Next Up:  DRAFT versions of the genealogy family picture book, the
spiral bound book that many have already viewed, will be uploaded for
comments and QA.

Michael R Bien


The Jews of Birzai: The Last Sabbath