A small town in Southern Lithuania
Where the Jewish Community is no more
THE HOLOCAUST in VILKAVISKIS
The tradigic story of Dvora Olexsnanski
Delivering the letter !
I spent many months trying to tack down the Olexnanski family in Cuba but without success. I felt that perhaps they had not received all the information about Dvora and that I must ensure that all the material is laid before them. Finally I decided that I should widen the scope of my searchers and discovered that in Miami, Florida there is an Olexnanski Family. Here is the copy of the letter that I wrote.
19th February 2008
Dear Mr. Oleksnianski,
My name is Ralph Salinger and my family lived in the town of Vilkaviskis
from around 1805 till 1941.
For the last two years I have researching the Jewish History of Vilkaviskis and during my researches I discovered at the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv the very moving letter from Dvora Oleksnianski to her brother Zisel Oleksnianski, who in 1941 was living in Cuba.
If you are not acquainted with the letter - it was written by Dvora who had escaped the Aktion and was hidden by a local Christian family. She tells how the Jewish Community was destroyed and in a very moving manner she describes her condition. It is a very moving document.
For the last year I have been trying to trace the descendants of Dvora and Zisel and perhaps I may be successful.
Last year I visited Vilkaviskis and gave the museum a copy of the letter from Dvora. I met the mayor and he was able to discover the cousin of Antanas Kumpus. I was shown the house where Dvora was hidden.
Later in a newspaper article the daughter of Antanas Kumpis described how Dvora was hidden in their house and how she met her tragic death.
I will be delighted to pass onto you copies of all these documents.
If you are no relation to this family, my apologies for taking up your valuable time.
We have a web-site at http://www.lysurge.net/wayne_genealogy/public/vilk2007 where you can see some of our work.
Thanking you for your patience,
Then came this reply;
Dear Mr. Salinger:
My brother Meyer has received your letter regarding all the information you have found out about my father Zisel Oleksnianski's sister, Dvora's letter addressed to him. My father was from Vilkaviskis and I would like to find out as much as possible about your research, about Dvora's letter and about anything you can provide me with. I would love to have a copy of her letter, perhaps even a photograph of it, if you took its picture at the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv. Father arrived in Cuba in 1929. He married Haya Korman (from Poland) and my brother Meyer was born. Haya died a couple of years later and when my mother Rose (Haya's sister) arrived in Cuba,they got married and I was born in 1941. My father and mother lived in a very small town the rest of their lives in Cuba, and when Fidel Castro came to power, everything they owned was taken away from them and confiscated by the Communist Government. - I left Cuba in 1961 and then I helped my father and mother leave Cuba with the help of the HIAS (Hebrew Immigration Aid Society) in 1962. We all lived in New York. First I moved to Miami and then my parents moved here in 1972. - My father died in 1982 here in Miami. While he lived in New York he used to go to reunions with people from Vilkaviskis and I remember very well when he told me, in 1969, that a man from his town read a letter published in a newspaper from Israel, with the letter of Dvora Oleksnianski addressed to her brother Zisel, but my father was never able to find and read Dvora's letter.I woul really love to hear from you again. My husband is also a jew from Cuba and his parents were from Poland and we have been married since 1962. We have two sons and 3 grandchildren.Please let me know that you have received this e-mail.My name and address are as follows:
MRS. LIDIA SCHWARTZBAUM Please translate Dvora's letter to English for me, so my entire family can understand what she wrote. Thank you so very much in advance.
Pictured below is Lidia and Meyer are the daughter and son of Zisel Olexsnianski the brother of Dvora. The meeting took place in Miami Florida when they were visited by my dear friend Algis .
Lidia Swartzbaum nee Olexsnanski
Algis and Lidia
Meyer's wife, Lidia and Algis with the newspaper article.