Twersky Family Tree- Forward Podcast

The on-line version of The Forward has an article and podcast on the Twersky Family Tree.

The Twersky family tree has more than 25,000 names on it, and stretches back to the early 1700s, in the town of Chernobyl. The family not only boasts a legacy as a Hasidic dynasty - with the exception of a handful of Hasidic groups from Hungary, almost all Hasidic sects can trace their lineage to Twersky rabbis in Chernobyl

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

JGS Conejo Valley and Ventura County January 9 Meeting Features 5 Authors- All Members of of JGSCV

The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV) will be meeting on January 9, 2010-Sunday, 1:30-3:30 pm at Temple Adat Elohim, 2420 E Hillcrest Drive in Thousand Oaks, CA.

The Topic: Authors! Authors! Authors!

JGSCV is privileged to have five published authors as members-all books have a genealogical interest-learn from the techniques used by the authors.

Warren Blatt one of the original authors who wrote a book on techniques and resources for doing Jewish Genealogy, Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy;

Werner Frank researched his multi-generational family history on the German-Jewish experience going back 800 years including the impact of the holocaust.
Legacy: The Saga of a German-Jewish Family Over Time and Circumstance;

Erica Miller, Ph.D. takes us from her childhood in Romania, to her life under a brutal Nazi regime, her emigration to Israel, to her eventual emergence as a dedicated mental health professional in America: The Dr.Erica Miller Story:From Trauma to Triumph;

Helene Rosen created a family book for her children with copies of family photographs. Any one can use this technique for their family photographs!Our Family in Pictures

Mark Abbott Stern wrote a biography of a US colonial Jewish businessman, David Franks, from his beginnings in a prominent Jewish family to his trials for treason and his exile in the post revolutionary period David Franks; Colonial Merchant;

Dr. Miller will be having a book signing at the end of the meeting. Cash and checks only.

Warren Blatt, managing director of and a JGSCV board member will facilitate the schmoozing corner before the meeting begins.

Our rotating traveling library will have Categories A and C. Starting with this meeting we have recategorized our library into 4 categories. To see which books are listed under which category,
please go to our website, and look under traveling library. The books are available starting 30 minutes before the program to shortly after the program.

We have started our 2011 membership renewal drive and anyone interested in membership may find an application on our website.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County is dedicated to sharing genealogical information, techniques and research tools with anyone interested in Jewish genealogy and family history. There is no charge to attend the meeting.

The meeting is open to all and there is no charge. The meeting is co-sponsored with and held at Temple Adat Elohim, Thousand Oaks, CA For more information including directions to the meeting, see our website for directions and more information:

Jan Meisels Allen
President, JGSCV

National Archives I, II (USA) Require Locked Bags

For those who will using the National Archives I, II in the Washington DC area, all researchers are now required to use locking bags for removing reproductions, personal notes and other papers. This new policy began December 27, 2010. For the announcement go to:
For information on the locked bags go to:
National Archives I is located at 700 Pennsylvania Ave Washington DC.
NARA II is located at 8601 Adelphi Road College Park Maryland

This is important for those who reside in the area, plan to visit the Greater Washington area and to do research at the National Archives during the 31st IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy hosted by the JGS of Greater Washington August 14-19, 2011. Be prepared for a mandatory search of your papers...this new policy is an effort to tighten records security procedures. Previous postings have mentioned the problem with documents being taken illegally from the National Archives

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

JOWBR Update

Posted by Nolan Altman

JewishGen is very proud to announce its 2010 year-end update to the JOWBR (JewishGen’s Online Worldwide Burial Registry) database. The JOWBR database can be accessed by clicking here. If you are new to JOWBR, we recommend that you take a look at the first two explanatory screencasts at

This update is our largest to date and includes 171,000 new records and 32,700 new photos. The database is adding 360 new cemeteries along with updates or additions to an additional 213 cemeteries from 21 countries. This brings JOWBR’s holdings in excess of 1.57 million records from more than 3,050 cemeteries / cemetery sections from 47 countries!

Once again, you will see that the donors for this update include a mix of individuals, Jewish genealogical societies, historical societies and museums. We appreciate all our donor’s submissions and the transliteration work done by a faithful group of JewishGen volunteers. Of particular note in this update are the following additions:

Lodz, Poland
Thanks to a dedicated team of data entry and validation volunteers, we are adding approximately 39,000 records to those that went live in June. JOWBR now includes approximately 50,000 records from the “Organization of Former Residents of Lodz in Israel” burial registers. The final set of records for surnames starting with the letters K, P, R, and S will be added in our next update. These records will also be added to the JRI-Poland database.

Melbourne, Australia
Thanks to the Melbourne Chevra Kadisha which has submitted over 29,000 records from 49 cemeteries in Melbourne and surrounding towns. We are especially grateful to the Chevra Kadisha since this is JOWBR’s first significant data collection from Australia.

Wisconsin, USA
Thanks to the Jewish Museum Milwaukee for their submission of approximately 27,000 records from 50 cemeteries throughout Wisconsin.

South Africa
Thanks to Stan Hart for his work to submit close to 17,000 records from over 135 cemeteries throughout South Africa. Stan hopes to add photos to these records in future JOWBR updates.

Virginia / Maryland, USA
Thanks to the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington, Inc. (DC) and a team of volunteers coordinated by Marlene Bishow, Ernie Fine and Harvey Kabaker for their submission of 5,000 records and 4,800 photos from Arlington National Cemetery and more than 1,500 records from the B'nai Israel Congregation Cemetery in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

Ontario, Canada
Thanks to Allen Halberstadt, lead contributor to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Canada, Toronto’ Cemetery Project, for submitting and updating approximately 120 cemeteries with 5,000 records from Bathurst Memorial, Lambton Mills, and Mount Sinai cemeteries. In addition to the records, over 4,000 photos from Dawes Road Cemetery are included in this update thanks to the efforts of Robert Lubinski.

Georgia, USA
Thanks to Ruth Einstein, Special Projects Coordinator for The Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum in Atlanta, Georgia for her submission of 4,000 new and updated records from 17 Atlanta area cemeteries.

California, USA
Thanks to Peggy Hooper at California Genealogy and History Archives for submitting 3,400 records with photos from sections of Eden Memorial Park, Temple Beth Israel, Home of Peace (LA), and Home of Peace (San Diego) cemeteries. Eden Memorial photos were taken by Dr. William A. Mann.

Czeladz – Będzin, Poland
Thanks to Jeff Cymbler for his submission of over 3,200 records with 3,100 accompanying photos from this town’s cemetery.

Florida, USA
  • Thanks to Susan Steinfeld, Cemetery Project Coordinator for the Jewish Genealogy Society of Broward County, and her team for their submission of more than 3,000 record and photos from selected sections in the Star of David Cemetery in Miami.
  • Thanks to Ina Getzoff, JOWBR Coordinator for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County, for her submission of 150 new records and 450 photos from the South Florida National Cemetery.
Petach Tikvah / Segulah, Israel
Thanks to Gilda Kurtzman for her ongoing record refinement and 3,000 new photos. In total, JOWBR includes close to 60,000 records and 17,000 photos from this cemetery.

Sighetu Marmaţiei, Romania
Thanks to Vivian Kahn, H-SIG Coordinator, for her first installment of 2,950 records from the Sighetu Marmaţiei cemetery register. Additional records are being worked on for the next update.

Roman, Romania
Thanks to Claudia Greif and Rosanne Leeson for 2,100 records from the Roman cemetery register from Roman in the Moldavia region of Romania.

El Paso, Texas, USA
Thanks to Sandy Aaronson for her work to update and photograph B’nai Zion and Temple Mt. Sinai cemeteries in El Paso. Sandy has added 450 records and 2,100 photos.

Ferndale, Michigan, USA
Thanks to Stuart Farber for his submission of 2,000 records from the Beth Abraham Cemetery Association in Ferndale, Michigan.

St. Joseph, Missouri, USA
Thanks to Deena Sandusky for submitting more than 1,700 records from the Adath Joseph and Shaare Sholem Roches cemeteries in St. Joseph, Missouri.

Latvia / Lithuania / Ukraine
Thanks to Christine Usdine for permitting JOWBR to include various Latvian, Lithuanian and Ukrainian cemetery records and photos from her site. Translations of those stones were provided by Sarah Mages.

St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
A special thanks to Eileen Wegge, 8th grade public school teacher who during her Holocaust history curriculum coordinated a cemetery indexing project with her students at Chesed Shel Emes Cemetery in St. Paul.

Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
Thanks to Gene Baruch for indexing and photographing 1,000 stones at the Greensboro Hebrew Cemetery.

South Carolina Cemeteries
Thanks to Ann Hellman, president of the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina for her most recent submission of 1,000 additional records from various South Carolina cemeteries.

Whether your name or records are listed above, we appreciate all your submissions! Thank you to all the donors that submitted information for this update.

We appreciate all the work our donors have done and encourage you to make additional submissions. Whether you work on a cemetery / cemetery section individually or consider a group project for your local Society, temple or other group, it’s your submissions that help grow the JOWBR database and make it possible for researchers and family members to find answers they otherwise might not. Please also consider other organizations you may be affiliated with that may already have done cemetery indexing that would consider having their records included in the JOWBR database.

Nolan Altman
JewishGen VP for Data Acquisition
JOWBR – Coordinator
December 2010

The flavors of the 'Island of Dreams'

From the Jerusalem Post

Tradition claims that Jews have lived on the Island of Djerba since the fall of the Second Temple( 70 C.E). Another, more popular tradition argues that a Jewish Community has existed there ever since the the fall of the First Temple (in 586 B.C.E). Now, which ever tradition may hold true, the fact of the matter is that the exotic island Djerba - off the coast of Tunisia - is home to one of the oldest Jewish Communities in the World. No small feat considering that it is located in the heart of Muslim North Africa.

But there is something very different about Djerba: Known to the the locals as the "Island of Dreams", Jews and Muslims live side by side in relative peace, as they have done for centuries. The cultures meld to a point, but remain distinct. The communities have come to rely on one another. If it were not for the Muslim bakers, there would be no ovens for the Jews to utilize in the preparation of their weekly Sabbath Meals. If it were not for the Jews, there would be no source for fine gold jewelry, or the tourist income generated by the large yearly Lag b’Omer pilgrimage.

Food styles and traditions are also shared, only diverging when dietary laws and religious observances come into play.

Click here for the entire article.

Jewish WikiLeaks

The National Library of Israel plans to scan and upload to internet hundreds of thousands of pages from Jewish newspapers from 19th century to present.

Click here for the complete article from Haaretz.

In saving Jewish remnants in Galicia, an effort to enlist Ukrainians

From the JTA

As part of efforts to recover the world that once was in these towns and shtetls, where some 1 million Jews lived before the Holocaust, the researchers are partnering with Ukrainian academics. The idea is not only to boost the level of scholarship but to highlight to Ukrainian locals a Jewish past that spanned centuries but is rarely remembered publicly in the country.

"Jewish history is not part of the agenda” in Ukraine, said Yaroslav Hrystak, director of graduate studies at the Ukrainian Catholic University, which has partnered with the Israeli researchers. “It's like a whole subject that disappeared.”

The project aims to collect oral testimony and document cemeteries and synagogues left derelict or used for such purposes as canning factories to storage space, and enlist young Ukrainian historians to do Jewish-related scholarship. An online database has been established on the project's website to make the research widely accessible. The project also has set up a scholarship for Ukrainian graduate students to spend a year at Hebrew University to learn Jewish history, Hebrew and Yiddish.

"Records are being lost in front of us, and so the goal is collection and preservation," said David Wallach, a professor of molecular biology at Israel’s Weizmann Institute who is among the group of families that helped establish a fund called the Ludmer Project to help pay for the research.

Click here for the entire article.

Announcement: JGS of Palm Beach County

Membership Meeting

January 12, 2011

South County Civic Center, 16700 Jog Road, Delray Beach, FL

12:30 pm – 3:00 pm
  • 12:30 pm-12:55 pm - Brick Wall
  • 1:00 pm-- brief business meeting followed by guest speaker
  • (Galicia Special Interest Group meets 11:30 am-12:15 pm with leader Mark Jacobson)
Non-members--$5 (guest fee may be applied toward membership dues)


Logan Kleinwaks

Kleinwaks, one of Jewish genealogy's brilliant young stars, will discuss his newly updated Genealogy Indexer website, a fully searchable tool for text databases from various printed sources, such as historical city directories, Yiskor books (memorial books of communities) and more. Over 70,000 Yiskor book pages are included. When all the Yiskor books are digitized, the total will be a quarter-million pages.

A hobbyist genealogist, with a research background in physics and mathematics, his other genealogical interests include the photographic documentation of Jewish cemeteries, improving Internet access to genealogical information, and privacy.

For further information, please contact:
Sylvia Nusinov -
Marilyn Newman -

The Jews of Belfast

Posted by Ann Rabinowitz

The Daniel Joseph Jaffe Fountain, Victoria Square, Belfast, Northern Ireland

One of the great additions to resources about the Jews of Belfast is the documentary “Odd Men In” which was brought to my attention by Marcus Shapiro, one of my British contacts who had relatives who lived in Belfast.

The documentary was produced in 1983 by the late Irish actor Harry Towb (1925-2009). As to Harry Towb, he was born in Larne, Northern Ireland, and grew up in Belfast and knew it well. The documentary can be seen in four parts and includes an interview with Chaim Herzog, the late President of the State of Israel who was born in Belfast:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

In addition to this documentary, there is a wonderful further documentary (see below) which features the Jewish burials in the Belfast City Cemetery which is divided into three sections. It is done by Stanley Coppel who pictures and reads out the inscriptions on the remaining tombstones.

He starts out with his own great grandfather, Abraham Fishel Sergei who died in 1904. He covers the approximately three hundred burials ranging from the first for Daniel Joseph Jaffe in 1874 to Abraham Herbert in 1964. This legacy of ninety years of continuous burials includes stillborn children who amount to half of the deaths, a sad commentary of the times.

A Collection of Samovars

Posted by Ann Rabinowitz

The weather is rather chilly right now and I have turned on my heat for the first time this year. This make me think of samovars, that ubiquitous household item of yesteryear which, some time ago, I wrote about on the LitvakSIG Online Journal.

Whilst I was researching this article, I had much enjoyment in looking at the various sources which provided the types of samovars and where they came from. There was the old-fashioned samovar itself (see above) and the newer electric samovars such as the one below:

Not only was there the samovar itself to consider, but also the teapot which came with it (see below).

One could also include a drip bowl and other accoutrements such as chimneys, extensions and parts.

Reader Pheya Yair from Israel, has sent me a wonderful presentation (see below) which shows the varied nature of the samovars

Their intrinsic beauty, especially as noted in the multitude of designs and options for construction that were used and shown in this video is quite apparent. It became not so much a heating implement for hot water as a treasured household antique, much beloved.

I hope that you enjoy this short piece and that it gives you a true idea of the household item that many of your ancestors used to provide hot liquid refreshment which kept them warm and toasty in the winter cold of Eastern Europe. In fact, now that I think of it, a hot cuppa’ tea is what is in order as the temperature decreases dramatically tonight.

The Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum

Posted by Ann Rabinowitz
Rabbi Menachem Barkahan and Riga Mayor Nil Ushakov visiting the Museum

The other day I received a message from the Chairman of the Board of the Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum. He provided a link to the ever-expanding web site for the Museum which opened on September 21, 2010, and is undergoing further reconstruction.

The Museum has outdoor plaques or walls with the names of 70,000 local Jews and an additional 20,000 from other places that were executed in Latvia during World War II. Recently, the Mayor of Riga, Nil Ushakov, visited the Museum for the first time. This is seen on Museum’s website.

The website is filled with important information, especially searchable databases with names of those who perished in the Holocaust. If you look at the right side of the front page of the site, you will see the two databases which are available. If you click on the links you will see ENTER DB in the center of the page and you should click on that to view the data:
  • Jewish children faced the Holocaust in Latvia - This database provides the headings such as Family name, Given Name, Father, Mother, Place of Birth, Prewar residence, War residence, Gender Fate, Place of death, BY (Birth Year), BM (Birth Month), BD (Birth Day), DY (Death Year), DM (Death Month) and DD (Death Day).
You can click on a particular name in the database as I did for my family named BDIL and a window will open up. It is divided in half with the top half which states:
  • Information about: Anatoly Bdil, Gender: Male, Life period: 18.8.1940 (Riga) – xx.xx.1941 (Riga, Rumbula), Prewar residence: Riga, War residence: Riga, Fate: Ghetto, killed.
Then the bottom half of the window states:
  • Family members of: Father: Aron, Mother: Anna.
Both databases are a goldmine of information for the Latvian Jewry researcher and those who are particularly interested in the Holocaust.

In addition, the Museum web site has several videos which are interesting to watch. They show the nature of the Museum and all about the opening as well as what the area looked like originally.

A Diagram of the Museum

It details what work had to take place to prepare it for the new activities. Despite the fact that these are not in English, one can gain an idea of what they are saying by watching closely.

The site also includes two memoirs of the Holocaust survivors Dr. Tevel Glezer and Meier Levenshtein. However, both are not in English and it would be great if these were translated and put online.

In addition to the material on the Museum site, there is a link to the official Shamir Jewish Religious Community site, which one can read in Latvian, Russian, English, and Hebrew. This site has much about the Latvian community of yesteryear as well as today and is a good resource for Latvian Jewish researchers.

Jewish War Heroes of the British Armed Forces

Posted by Ann Rabinowitz

Capt. Sir Alexander Schomberg (1720-1804)
Early British Jewish Military Hero
(National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Fund)

One of the wonderful things about the Internet is that it is always changing and adding new information. Since I previously wrote about “
Fighting Back” a new book relating information about Jews in the British Armed Forces, I realized that I did not mention a thirty minute film which was divided into a series of three parts about this selfsame topic.

The film was sponsored by the Pears Foundation in 2008 and produced by AJEX, the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women, and can be found online on YouTube.

The links for this three-part series are as follows:
The film will provide a diverse outline of the participation of British Jews in the military since 1759. It is a marvelous and little-known effort according to the film which accounted for 130,000 who served in the British Armed Forces, 3,000 who won awards and distinctions, and 6,000 who perished.

Should you want to learn more about Capt. Sir Alexander Schomberg, an early British Jewish Naval hero, whose family came originally from Wurttemberg, Germany, and who is pictured above, see the description which is found at the National Maritime Museum where his painting is exhibited.

Indeed one can also read a short piece entitled “Some Old Salts of the Jewish Sort” at which provides additional information on Jewish naval participants of around the same time during which Sir Schomberg served. Some mentioned are John Benjamin, Moses Benjamin, James Brandon and Thomas Brandon, Benjamin da Costa, Philip Emanuel, Henri Levi, Joseph Manuel, Nathan Manuel, Joseph Moss, and Benjamin Solomon.

Naturalizations for Passaic County, New Jersey

Posted by Ann Rabinowitz


Due to a posting on the JewishGen Digest by Renee Steinig, I was made aware of the free availability of naturalization records for Passaic County, New Jersey. The link for these records can be found under the County Clerk’s Office website.

The County seat of Passaic County is Paterson which is the largest town. In total, there are sixteen towns in Passaic County: Bloomingdale, Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Little Falls, North Haledon, Passaic, Paterson, Pompton Lakes, Prospect Park, Ringwood, Totowa, Wanaque, Wayne, West Milford, and West Paterson.

Passaic County was a good draw for new immigrants as it was known to have jobs. The largest town, Paterson, was the earliest planned industrial city in America and had some of the first textile and industrial enterprises too. It was the home of many silk mills which gained it the title of “Silk City”.

Many Jews went to Passaic County, amongst them my great grandparents who settled in Paterson along with other relatives and landsleit from Kupiskis, Panevezys, and Vabalninkas, Lithuania. They were just a few of the many varieties of emigrants who came to Paterson and these can be further researched through the Facebook group entitled Jewish Roots in Paterson, NJ, which was initiated by JewishGenner and JGSNY member Roni Seibel Leibowitz.

The naturalization database is very helpful in finding detailed information on one’s ancestors, especially those naturalizations after 1906. One can search by either surname or country, although the only drawback is that the country search engine is limited to only 100 hundred entries. Unfortunately, the database does not provide the total number of records which fall under a particular category either as is done on and other databases.

To start, one has to plug in a surname to get a record. Then, click on Get Image and the actual document will pop up. Be sure and check if there is more than one page in the document and look carefully at all pages. One of the other things you have to be alert about when searching for your family is that their surname may be truly mangled as were my family's names that I looked up. Use all possible spellings you can thing of or just plug in the first letter or two of the surname. In addition, the town names that your ancestors came from may be spelled in peculiar ways as well.

My first attempt to find individuals who came from my ancestral shtetl of Kupiskis, Lithuania, was to look up a family who I knew to have emigrated to Paterson, NJ. An example was David PELOVITZ who is listed on his Declaration of Intention on December 26, 1925, as living at 183 Harrison Street, Paterson, NJ, as being from Kupishki, Lithuania. He was born January 23, 1903 and came to America from Rotterdam on the vessel Rotterdam. He was listed as a wood turner and single. He was also known as Pelovic.

This is a great record as David's birth is not recorded in the Kupiskis Births. However, his siblings are listed and we know then that his father was Abram-Eliash ben Movsha-Itsek Pelovitz. Abram-Eliash Pelovitz was a mohel in Kupiskis. A further Petition for Naturalization record of five pages dated 1929 is also available which states that David came to America on March 22, 1921. He was now living at 215 Governor Street, Paterson, NJ., still single and was known as David Pellow.

Another find was the Petition for Citizenship for Dina BLOCK, living at 289
Water Street, Paterson, NJ, on October 30, 1931. She was born in Kuperkis, Lithuania on June 1, 1882, as Dina Jaffe, and arrived in NY from Libau on October 2, 1906, on the SS Korea. Her husband was Louis Block, born 1883 in Kuperkis, Lithuania, arrived in NY in 1908, married December 3, 1910 in Paterson, NJ, children born in Paterson, NJ, were Samuel Block, born September 27, 1910, Barney Block, born July 22, 1912, and Pauline Block, born April 24, 1916. Note discrepancy between when the couple was married and when their first child was born. This was probably an error on the part of either Dina or the Clerk perhaps.

What is more interesting is the Petition for Citizenship for Dina’s husband Louis Block who stated that he was from Kovno and his wife was Lena! He is listed as living at 289 Water Street. Close investigation of the document reveals that Dina requested that her name be changed to Lena!

The only thing missing from the information about Dina/Lena was that of the names of her parents so that she could be linked to a particular Jaffe family in Kupiskis. There were quite a number of Jaffe families, it would be difficult to determine anything without first names. Probably, the marriage certificate in Paterson, NJ, would have the names and resolve that mystery.

One of the great things about this database is that you can search either by
surname or country. Testing this search parameter, I tried by country, Lithuania, and found the following record on May 22, 1923:
Harry Cohen, a coal dealer, living at 129 Montgomery Street, Paterson, NJ, age 33, born Kupishok, Lithuania, September 5, 1889, came to America on the SS Zeeland from Antwerp, Belgium, on July 28, 1906, married to Lena who was born in Dwinsk (Daugavpils, Latvia).
Also, Samuel Cohen, on May 22, 1923, a junk dealer, living at 158 Fulton Place, Paterson, NJ, born Kupishok, Lithuania, January 5, 1892, came to America from Libau on the vessel SS Russia, April 30, 1907 (9), married to Anna, who was born in Subsz, Lithuania.

These two Cohen individuals appear to be brothers with one coming to America first. Another Cohen with a record in 1896, Samuel Cohen, was born 1869, a glazer, living at 2 Avon Street, Paterson, NJ. He was found to be from Kupisek which was written on the front cover of his paperwork and not in his actual papers. It goes to show you that you should look carefully at every scrap of paper in the database.

There are, at least, five known separate Cohen families in Kupiskis and they are hard to track. At least, these records may help resolve some questions about those family members who came to America and who they belonged to. An additional record was for Jacob Miller, on November 29, 1924, a painting contractor, born Koopsig, Kovna, Lithuania, on January 10, 1896, living at 385 - 11 Avenue, Paterson, NJ, who came to America through Hamburg on the Kaiserin Augusta Victoria, August, 1912, married to Bessie, born NY.

Again, this is a choice record as there are a number of Meller, Muller, Milner families in Kupiskis who became Miller when they left. This may take some time to determine who this person actually was and which specific family he belonged to. Perhaps his tombstone may enlighten the researcher with his father’s name. It certainly points to checking the Paterson burials which have not yet been put on the JOWBR.

Another type of search I decided to do was of my own name of Rabinowitz. I pulled up eight (8) entries with the year of their application and place of birth: Bertha (1945, Krynki, Poland), Betty (1924, Bobrinsk, now Babruysk, Belarus), Isaac (1892, no info as the record was too early), Jacob (1907, Kamenetz, now Kamianets-Podilskyi, Ukraine), Louis (1912, Vitebsk, Belarus), Samuel (1923, Bialobregi, now Bialobrzgi, Poland), Saul (1935, Bialystok, Poland), and Solomon (1928, Bialystok, Poland).

They all seemed to originate in what had been Galicia, the hotbed of Eastern European emigration to America. However, none were members of my family.
Many years ago, Monica Leonards, z’l, a JewishGenner, whose ancestors were from Kupiskis, decided to pull out all of the Kupishokers who had come through Ellis Island and had specified that shtetl. When Monica had gotten the listing together, she gave it to me. This was a wonderful tool which I have utilized often over the years since then as the listing included not only the information on the emigrant, but who they had gone to and where and included links to the actual ship’s manifest (somewhat later, Stephen Morse had provided this capability on his One Step site).

Utilizing Monica’s listing, I decided to pull out all those who also specified that they were also going to Paterson, NJ. The names of the families were Adirim, Bloch, Gordon, Griff, Miller, Motelsohn, Ramang, Sak, Wienebrocki, and Zieper. I hit paydirt with the first name of Adirim as I found Chaim Adirim which the Ellis Island records showed as having come to America with his mother Dusha and his siblings Aron and Guttman on June 12, 1905 on the SS Moltke. The entire family is listed as ending up in the hospital upon arrival before meeting their father Abe in Paterson.

The Kupiskis marriage records showed that Chaim’s father was Abel ben Mordkhel Adirim, who married Dusha bat Girsh Brozin in 1898. Of further interest is that Abel Adirim, who was born in 1872 and was a butcher, left Hamburg on the SS Pennsylvania, on March 2, 1904 and arrived in New York on March 25, 1904, and was going to his cousin Jossel Lipschitz, 5 Grace Street, Worcester, MA. Evidently, Abel Adirim either did not actually go to his cousin or did not find Worcester to his liking and moved to Paterson, NJ. In any event, he was ready to receive his family in Paterson in 1905 when they arrived.

Going to the 1910 Census, the Adirim family is found in Wayne, NJ, which is in Passaic County and they had expanded now to Abe and Dorothy, the parents, and children Aaron, Herman, Goodman, Harold and Max. However, the family name has been mangled and is transcribed as Adersom and Adiriom.

Then, switching to the naturalization record, I found that Chaim had been born on October 12, 1901. Great info as the Kupiskis birth records did not include any births from 1901-1905. Also, more importantly, the record specified that Chaim Adirim became known as Herman Adrian and that he had married Pearl on January 1, 1928 and had two children Renee Irma and Aaron Lewis.

This combination of tools, the Ellis Island ship’s manifest, the Passaic County naturalization records, the US Census and the Kupiskis marriage records had provided quite a family tree in short order.

Another avenue I decided to pursue in regard to the naturalizations was that of the records for my grandmother’s brothers-in-law. The first one I decided to look up was Samuel Simon who had married my great aunt Rose Zadekowitz. Sure enough, there he was listed as being born in Bauska, Latvia, in 1885, and living at 220 Water Street, Paterson, NJ, and working as a painter and paper hanger.

Samuel and Rose Simon

This was delightful news as it confirmed a family bubbe meise about how he came to marry my great aunt. He was said to have boarded with my great grandfather and met my great aunt in that manner. And so it seemed to be as the address on the naturalization record was that of my great grandfather.
Further, my other great aunts had married a group of brothers from Bauska, the Hillman brothers. They had all boarded with my great grandfather in Paterson as well. Apparently, the reason Simon had boarded there too was that they knew each other from Bauska.

When I went to search in the naturalization records for one of the Hillman brothers, I found Moris (Morris) Hillman who was born in Bauska in 1882 and was a painter and paper hanger. He had married my great aunt Jenny. Here was a connection to Samuel Simon who was around the same age and was in business with Morris. Not only that, Morris was listed as coming to New York on September 17, 1906, from South Africa, which confirmed another family bubbe meise that the Hillman brothers had first gone to South Africa to relatives before coming to America.

The naturalization records were proving to be the linchpin in a successful delving into my family tree. Without the details provided in the records, I would not have been able to confirm many facts about my relatives.

One other interesting item came up in my search as I had not been able to find the ship that Samuel Simon came to America on. The naturalization record stated that he came on the SS Vaderland and arrived in New York on April 18, 1905. A fellow researcher, Paul Cheifitz, managed to find the manifest and showed me that the name had been mangled in both the writing and transcribing of it.

Not only that, but now that I had the manifest from 1905, I could see that Samuel Simon, listed as Shmuil Salmino, had gone to a cousin Samuel Olswanger. There was a family bubbe meise that we were related to the Olswanger family and my father had visited them in New York. This connection to Samuel Simon was therefore very tantalizing and I felt that perhaps this was the person to whom my father had referred to.

JewishGenner researcher Barbara Zimmer generously assisted after I had posted on JewishGen about the Olswanger family as she found further information on them in the Census in New York. Samuel and Fanny Olswanger were the parents of Rose and Alma and two other children and Samuel was a house painter as Samuel Simon was.

In addition, Anna Olswanger, who is the coordinator of the Olswanger family group, was able to provide me with information as well. However, the connection to the Olswangers is still in the works and, I hope, one day to find out further information from descendants of the family.

In addition to the Passaic County Naturalization, another local resource which can enhance one’s knowledge of the Paterson and/or Passaic County Jewish community is The Jewish Historical Society of Northern New Jersey. The Society is located in Paterson, NJ, and has tons of valuable information stored in its confines. At present, the data it has is not digitized nor made accessible online. Utilizing this resource would require a visit on-site.

So, my delving into the Passaic County naturalizations continues and I hope to find more tidbits of information on many more families.

National Archives and Records Administration (USA) Launches New Website Dec. 13

As part of its flagship Open Government Initiative the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) [USA] will launch a redesigned website on Monday, December 13, 2010. The website address will remain the same:

If you would like to view a preview of the redesigned website to Remember not to bookmark any pages on the preview but wait to bookmark until the new website is launched on Monday. The Search will work for the new site not the preview. The new site will also have facebook, flickr, twitter and blogs that one can connect through to NARA. The new site is user friendly!

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

National Archives (USA) Announces Review and Comment of 2010 Census Records Schedule For Retention and Disposal of Record Series

The National Archives (USA) has announced they are making the 2010 Census Records Schedule and accompanying NARA appraisal of records available for review and comment. The schedule lists if records are scheduled for permanent retention at the National Archives or for proposed disposition. The appraisal report reflects the judgment by the National Archives of each records series or electronic system for historical and other research purposes. There are 66 record series of which 21 are proposed for permanent retention- the remaining 45 record series.

The discussion on this may be found at : the National Archives blog entitled NArations:
More information is available on the National Archives Records Express
and the Federal Registrar:
original url:

The records schedule may be accessed at:
the original url is:

The appraisal may be found at:
The original url is located at:

The National Archives will accept and reply to comments submitted by December 30, 2010 to the NArations Blog
or the National Archives Records Express
or e-mail or by mail to: NARA (NWML), 8601 Adelphi
Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

State of the National Archives (USA) Annual Speech

US Archivist David S. Ferriero gave the annual "State of the Archives" report December 2. It is interesting to read or view the webcast as it not only discusses the concerns of the staff -especially those in regional offices, but how the National Archives have helped individuals-and doing some things most of us probably never thought of having the National Archives help with. To read or access the webcast go to:

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-Large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Update: Yizkor Book Project

Posted by Lance Ackerfeld,

Before outlining what has transpired in the month of November in the Yizkor Book Project, I would like to take time to salute our very (very) small but extremely dedicated team of volunteer htmlers - Max Heffler & Osnat Ramaty.
These wonderful people have been in the Yizkor Book for many, many years and their experience, patience and never-say-no attitude is very much appreciated. Max is also multi-tasking in a great deal of other projects and he is the man behind the regular updates of our necrology database - an extra salute to him!

The necrology database, by-the-way, can be researched
by clicking here.

And on the subject of research, I am often sent messages asking if a Yizkor book is available for a particular community. If this is a question you're been asking yourself, I highly recommend you look at our Yizkor Book database to see what book(s) are available for the community you're researching and if we have a Yizkor Book Project already online, you will note a hot link to the available translation in our site.

Something new to our projects. We have began adding in hot links (where
appropriate) from project main pages to the original Yizkor Books that are available at the NY Public Library site:

Since we have hundreds of books, we still have a lot to add but we see this a great help for those who are able to read the books in their original languages, and is on our long list of "things-to-do".

As always, the Yizkor Book Project relies on the help of its many volunteers and if you feel that you have time to assist - knowledge in translation or editing not a must, I would definitely like to hear from you.

Now to the November figures. During this last month we added:
  • 4 new projects
  • 17 new entries
  • 23 updates for existing projects:
All additions and updates have been flagged at to make it easy to find them.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

A U.S. battleship sinks during the Pearl Harbor attack. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on that Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, Jewish fighting men stationed there quickly responded to the call to repulse the attack. Ensigns Nathan Asher and Milton Moldane were aboard the U.S. S. BLUE, a destroyer that was at sea protecting the shores of Pearl Harbor. That morning, the BLUE was docked for refueling. The skipper of the destroyer was on shore and Ensign Asher was in charge of the ship.

Ensign Moldane was a graduate of the Washington University Law School and a native of St. Louis. Ensign Asher was a graduate of the Naval Academy at Annapolis. Both men were having breakfast when they were informed that the Japanese had attacked the battleships anchored at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor and that they were to take the BLUE out to sea.

Asher directed the crew in heading the BLUE out. Moldane took charge of the forward machine guns and watched the ARIZONA, a battleship, take a direct hit and sink. He describes what he saw as the BLUE battled its way out to sea:
"I could see Japanese planes coming down about 30 or 40 feet over our heads. dropping bombs and shooting at anything that happened to come along. Our ship kept firing at the planes as it headed out to sea. I went out to the bridge to help Asher when we both saw a Japanese plane that the BLUE's guns had hit go into a pineapple field. The men gave out a cheer when they saw the plane burst into flames. It took the BLUE one hour and a half to reach the open seas."
At Hickam Field young Private Louis Shleifer, U.S. Army Air Corps, of Newark, New Jersey, was on his way to breakfast when he heard the sounds of airplane motors. He looked out his window and saw Japa- nese planes dropping bombs on the field and strafing American planes. Schleifer grabbed his helmet and his.45-caliber revolver and dashed onto the field to help the other men move some of the planes into hagars. As he was moving the planes, he saw Japanese planes headed his way strafing the men and planes before them. He drew out his revolver and kept firing at the planes until he was mortally wounded. There is a memorial fountain for Private Louis Schleifer in the garden of Temple Beth Shalom, Livingston, New Jersey. Every year on December 7, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association holds services at this fountain.

Lee Goldfarb, Jersey City, New Jersey, was a 3rd Class radioman on the U.S.S. OGLALA. He had just finished his watch at 7 a.m. and was preparing to get some sleep when he heard the sounds of aircraft motors. He looked out of his porthole and he saw Japanese planes at- tacking the seven battleships tied up at Ford Island, one ship after an- other getting hit with torpedoes. He went to his battle station to defend his ship against the enemy, when it was struck by a torpedo and sank.

There were many other Jewish fighting men at Pearl Harbor. Radio Mechanic 3rd Class Rosenthal gave his life aboard the U.S. S. CALIFORNIA. From Philadelphia, there were Alex Sherman, of the U.S.S. NEW ORLEANS, Ben Lichtman, of the U.S.S. WEST VIRGINIA, and Irvin Greben, at the Naval Air Station in Kaneohe Bay. From Overland Park, Kansas, Stan Levitt was aboard the U.S.S. RIGEL, and Bernard Rubien, of Rancho Mirage, California, was at Hickam Field.

here to read the entire article.

Chanukah - Just for Fun

Have you thrown your Latkes in the air tonight?

(hat tip: Ann Rabinowitz)

Jewish Heritage Trip to Lithuania

Posted by Howard Margol

Peggy Freedman and I are organizing our 18th annual Jewish Heritage Trip to Lithuania for July, 2011. The group spends time in Vilnius and in Kaunas. During the trip, two days are set aside during which group members can visit the areas of their personal choice. A car, driver, and guide/interpreter are arranged. From Vilnius, it is easy to go to Latvia, Belarus, and Eastern Poland as the distances are not great. The size of the group will be limited to 25 members.

This is not a commercial venture. Neither Peggy nor I receive any personal remuneration from the trip. The trip is sponsored by the American Fund For Lithuanian-Latvian Jews, Inc. If there is any profit from the trip, 100% of the profit goes to various Jewish communities in Lithuania. For full details about the trip, please visit

Howard Margol & Peggy Freedman

Chanukah Begins Tonight, December 1st 2010, at Sundown

For your Chanukah (December 1-9, 2010) reading, we have compiled a list of Chanukah related links from various JewishGen pages.

From all of us here at JewishGen, we wish you and your family a Happy Chanukah.


ShtetLinks Update

We are pleased to welcome the following webpages to JewishGen ShtetLinks. We thank the owners and webmasters of these shtetlpages for creating fitting memorials to the Jewish Communities that once lived in those shtetlach and for providing a valuable resource for future generations of their descendants.
Some of our shtetlpages were created by people who are no longer able to maintain them. We thank them for their past efforts and wish them luck on their future endeavors. The following webpages are "orphaned" and are available for adoption.

ShtetLinks webpages recently updated:

If you wish to follow their example and create a ShtetLinks webpage for your ancestral shtetl or adopt an exiting "orphaned" shtetlpage please email

GOOD NEWS!! As a result for our appeal for HTML volunteers we now have a team of dedicated people who will help you create a webpage for your ancestral home. Please contact us if you would like help in creating a ShtetLinks webpage.

Susana Leistner Bloch, VP, ShtetLinks, JewishGen, Inc.

Barbara Ellman, ShtetLinks Technical Coordinator

The Streets of the Vilna Ghetto Today

Posted by Ann Rabinowitz

The Streets of the Vilna Ghetto

The Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum (Valstybinis Vilniaus Gaono zydu muziejus) has curated a virtual exhibit entitled “The Streets of the Vilna Ghetto today” .

The Building of the Former Library of Vilnius Ghetto, Pemaitijos str. 4

The exhibit contains twenty-two color photographs of key streets in what was once the Vilna Ghetto. The photographs depict buildings which have survived the liquidation of the ghetto in 1944.

In addition to this exhibit, there is another online site which has many photographs of Vilna before and after World War II which is entitled “Chronicles of the Vilna Ghetto: Photo Gallery” . This site which calls itself the Kluvik Archives contains sub-albums which have a variety of images.

“Vilna Ghetto” – This sub-album has sections entitled Vilna Ghetto Prisoners; Lithuanian Hiwis; Ghetto Heroes and Criminals; o.-o.v.Tanklager Labor Camp; Klooga and Kivioli Camps in Estonia; HKP 562 Oshmana Molodetschno; Documents and Artifacts; Ponary-Paneriai-Ponar; Vilna After WWII; and Vilna Before WWII. One of the wonderful images is of a Jewish peddler during the pre-World War II period.
Jewish Peddler in Vilna (Pre-War)
(courtesy Kluvik Archives)

“Vilna Postcards” – This section has sub-albums for images of Bridges and Railroads and Stations. The image that follows was taken from a turn of the century post card.

Railroad Station Vilna Turn of the century
(courtesy of Kluvik Archives)

“Vilna Ghetto Streets . . . before and after” - The streets covered include Stikliu, Gaono, Antokolskio, Zydu, Zemaitijos, Siauliu, Asmenos Ligonines, Mesiniu, Dysnos and Rudninku.

(courtesy of Kluvik Archives)

This image is of a turn of the century post card which states in German “Der Krieg im Osten Wilna in der Judengasse”. The people thronging the street and the activity one can see belies what one would have seen after the War when the streets were emptied of a Jewish presence.

This site contains many other photographs of Lithuanian shtetls and places apart from Vilna including Alytus, Joniskis, Kaunas, Kedainiai, Kelme, Kybartai, Lazdijai, Marijampole, Raseiniai, Rietavas, Sakiai, Siauliai, Taurage, Vilkaviskis, Vosiliskis and Litauen Grenze.

The eighteen photographic images of Taurage are particularly memorable as much of what existed pre-War was eradicated during the first few days of the German occupation in 1941. Taurage today is mostly of post-War construction. The images provided are of Taurage burning.

Taurage, June 25, 1941
(courtesy of the Kuvik Archives)

Apart from the Lithuanian photographs, this site also has images from Latvia, Poland and other countries. In addition, there are many other online sites where researchers can find images of Vilna, both before the War and after, as well as other ancestral shtetls. One just has to keep looking online as so many things are made available every day.

What Google Earth Can Find

From the Jerusalem Post

Iranian government officials were angered by the revelation that a Star of David can be seen on the roof of the headquarters of Iran Air, the Islamic Republic's national airline, Al Arabiyya reported on Monday. The Star of David was discovered in a satellite image of Teheran airport taken by Google Earth.

The Iran Air building upon which the Star of David was found, was constructed by Israeli engineers prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution which ended diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Click here to read the entire article.

Some Online Resources for WWI Ukrainian Pogroms

Posted by Ann Rabinowitz

Ukrainian Orphans, 1919, Warsaw, Poland

Resources that focus on the condition of the Ukrainian Jewish population during and after World War I are sometimes hard to find. The reason for this is that they may be obscure references, be out-of-print or in another language other than English.

However, due to advances in technology and increasing efforts to digitize primary source material and put it online, there are a number of such resources available today.
This era of time was subject to many pogroms which had been preceded by prior eras such as in approximately 1881 and 1905.

One of the primary resources relating to the pogroms which followed World War I is to be found as part of the Harvard University Library Open Collections Program, Aspiration, Acculturation, and Impact, Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930
. The resource is entitled “Correspondence, 1915-1924, People’s Relief Committee for Jewish War Sufferers (U.S.)”, by Elias Heifitz (born 1885) and Israel Zangwill (1864-1926). The text is in Yiddish. It is found in online images and can be accessed by clicking here.

As described in the blurb about the resource on the site:
“The People’s Relief Committee for the Jewish War Sufferers (U.S.) was organized to aid Jewish victims of the Russian Civil War. Its work was co-ordinated with that of the American Jewish Relief Committee and the Central Relief Committee. Among its initiatives were fund raising for victim relief and the resettlement and adoption of orphaned Jewish children by Jewish families in the United States”.
Further, Elias Heifetz published a book in 1921 which further detailed the situation in the Ukraine which was entitled “The slaughter of the Jews in the Ukraine in 1919”. It can be found in Google Books by clicking here or on the Internet Archive site here. Heifetz was the Chairman of the All-Ukrainian Relief Committee for the Victims of Pogroms which was under the auspices of the Red Cross. The book contains information in the appendix of pogroms in Ovruch, Proskurov and Felshtin as well as many small villages. There are references for the shtetls such as Felshtin.

One such is a bibliography of references about the shtetl including information on the pogrom era - it can be accessed by clicking here.
A well-known report on the pogroms was written by Israel Cohen, Special Commissioner of the Zionist Organization entitled “The Pogroms in Poland” which was published in 1919. In this report, there is mentioned the Jewish self-defense groups which were formed at the behest of the following:
  • Jewish Military Committee – Moritz Freudlich, Captain, Engineer; Tobias Wechsler, Captain; Joseph Schonberg, Captain.
  • Jewish National Council – Dr. Osias Thon, Dr. Henryk Schreiber, Dr. Josef Margulies.
  • Polish Liquidation Committee – Count Lasocki, Chairman of Administrative Committee; Wladimir Tetmayer, Chairman of the Military Committee.
The Jewish Military Committee raised about 1,000 men, but these Jewish groups were disbanded and disarmed by General Boleslaw Roja, who was later said to be responsible for the worst pogrom in Lemberg (Lviv). One hundred and thirty towns were hit by pogroms during November-December, 1918, and January, 1919, and this report lists them, the pogrom date and what transpired.

An example is for the town of Brzesko, November 12-14, 1919:
Assaults, looting and murder by armed peasants from village of Jadowniki, who brought with them carts to remove plunder. The District commandant tried to intervene, but was rendered powerless by mob. Detachment of 30 Jewish Militiamen from Cracow disarmed by Polish legionaries, who took active part in pogrom. Several houses set on fire; fugitives were shot at. 8 Jews killed (including two soldiers and one man thrown under passing train) and 8 seriously injured. 376 Jews robbed; estimated damage 20 million crowns (about £800,000 pre-war rate).
Another example is for the town of Lemberg (Lviv), November 22-23, 1919, and December 29-30, 1919:
The most savage and destructive pogrom. A punitive expedition by Polish troops, aided by rabble, against the Jews because of their neutrality in Polish-Ukrainian war. Assaults, robbery, outrage, murder, arson. 73 Jews killed, a few hundred seriously injured; 49 houses and synagogues completely burned to ground. Estimated damage 100 million kronen (over £4,000,000).
The pogrom was also covered in the November 30, 1918 edition of the New York Times (available by clicking here) whose headline stated “1,100 Jews Murdered in Lemberg Pogroms, Hundreds Burned to Death in a Synagogue or Shot in Flight – 600 Houses Burned”. This was according to dispatches in the Berlin newspapers transmitted by the Copenhagen correspondent of the Central News. In addition, The Jewish Chronicle in London on December 6, 1918, repeated similar and more detailed occurrences in Lemberg (Lviv) based on further reliable reportage by correspondants such as Max Reiner who was on the scene.

Other newspaper references to the pogroms are to be found on many digital sites including one in Australia, Trove, which is associated with the National Library of Australia (available by clicking here).

The Jewish Chronicle online archive has numerous articles and appeals regarding the pogroms. One has only to put in the word pogrom and the year and find what one wants. An interesting aspect of the pogroms was seen in the January 23, 1920 issue.

There is a short piece which states that the female victims of the pogroms were subject to conversion tactics of missionaries. To avoid this activity, Jewish officials tried to setup homes for these women who were presently housed in Catholic institutions. Also mentioned in several other articles was the fact that women were abducted by the Cossacks. As to whether they survived their abduction and stayed to live in the Cossack community is another story.

Another resource was published in Yiddish by YIVO in 1965 which was written by Elias Tcherikower. He was a co-founder of YIVO and went to Kiev, Ukraine, to gather evidence of the pogroms in the Ukraine.

Pogrom Victims in Alexandrov Hospital, Kiev, 1919
Credit: Elias Tcherikower

His book is entitled: “Di ukrainer pogromen in yor 1919 (The Pogroms in the Ukraine in 1919)”. Extracts of this book were translated into English and can be found by clicking here.
In addition, YIVO has a special Elias Tcherikower Collection, accessible by clicking here, which has many primary documentary resources for the Ukrainian pogroms. It is well-worth visiting YIVO to review these resources.

One other well-known Jewish archivist of the pogroms was Nahum Gergel who wrote "The Pogroms in the Ukraine in 1918-1921, which was published in English by YIVO in 1951 in their YIVO Annual of Jewish Social Science.

Nahum Gergel

A resource for pogroms in general and with specific chapter for the Ukrainian pogroms is the book edited by John D. Klier and Shlomo Lambroza entitled “Pogroms, Anti-Jewish violence in modern Russian history” and is accessbile by clicking here.

There is also a comprehensive online bibliography of resources on the pogroms by Jonathan D. Smele which is entitled “The Russian Revolution and Civil War, 1917-1921: an annotated bibliography” (available here). It enables the researcher to locate the references mentioned on Google Books or other online portals.

There are even resources for films which were made at the time of the pogroms and an interesting portal for this is Filmography Home of Israeli Film site, which has a section entitled “Documentary films recording the Pogroms in the Ukraine”. The site describes two of the short films available. Another reference to a film is found in The Jewish Chronicle archives, July 30, 1920 edition, which has an advert for “The Land of Mystery”. Evidently, the film, a melodrama, was made in Russia and had real scenes of pogroms according to the advert. It also covered Lithuania and, in particular, Kaunas. It was produced by an American, Harold Shaw, and the script was written by Basil Thomson, the head of the British Directorate of Intelligence. At the time it was thought to have been the most expensive British film made. More about the film can be gleaned by clicking here.

In addition, Tony Shaw has written about the film in “Early warnings of the Red Peril: A pre-history of Cold War British cinema, 1917-1939
in “Film History”, Vol. 14, No. 3/4 War and Militarism (2002), pp. 354-368, Indiana University Press. First-hand accounts are also now online such as the one to be found on by clicking here. It tells the story of the remarkable escape from the Ukraine to Canada by the Dezick (Dayson) and Nemetz families and their relatives.

Much, much more is available online, an inexhaustible supply of references, which are growing daily as things are being digitized for public consumption. All it takes is looking into the Internet with either a general topic or specific shtetl in mind.