A Rumsiskes Web Page


Other names for Rumsiskes: Rumshishok (Yiddish), Rumshishki (Russian), Rumšiškes (Lithuanian)


Location: Central Lithuania, 12.4 miles ESE of Kaunas

Formerly in Kovno Gubernia

Nearby towns: Zasliai - 15.9 miles E of Rumsiskes; Kaisiadorys - 10.0 miles E of Rumsiskes


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Some Klezmer Music To Set The Mood

Click here for a 3-minute klezmer Wedding Dance from Aaron Alexander. (Aaron is connected to Rumsiskes via the Tzadikov family, including R. "Chaim from Rumshishok" Tzadikov.) If you have dial-up Web service: Expect waits while more data is downloaded and buffered to your computer. If asked, you can open or run it with the default application, or save to your hard drive and play from there.


Recent Changes 

12/22/2012 In Individual Families - updated Matz family.
2/12/11 In History - added "Tatar 7-year-old witnessed murders" .
12/17/10 In Bibliography - added "Jews of the Kaišiodoris Region of Lithuania".
4/5/10 In Individual Families and Names - deleted broken links.
12/21/09 In Individual Families, added new info on Poskanzer family.
7/8/07 In History - Before The Holocaust, added 1806 Revision List.
11/12/06 In Individual Families, added 1930 inscription to photos in Rubinstein family.
9/25/06 In Documents, added Soviet record of 1941-44 murders and deportations.
9/20/06 In Pictures, added 10 photos in cemetery.
2/24/06 In Maps, added 1830 map.
2/19/06 Removed broken links
1/16/06 1940 Rumsiskes phone book in Pictures
1/9/06 Revised web page design.
1/6/06 Revised Matz family entry in Individual Famlies and Names.
1/6/06 New info in Individual Families and Names on Puskanzer and Marcus
6/7/05 Kauno Marios outline on pre-dam map in Maps -
 


Special Interest Group

A Special Interest Group on Rumsiskes has now been organized -- the D.A.R. No, that's not what you think, it's Descendants of Anshei Rumshishok. If you're interested, contact Rabbi Ben-Zion Saydman, or send an e-mail to the address at the bottom of this page.






Table of Contents
             
  Maps     Bibliography
  Aerial Photographs     Documents
  Pictures     Individual Families and Names
  History     Searchable Databases





Maps

 
   
       

NOTE: The old Rumsiskes was flooded by the Kauno Marios, a lake created by a dam built at Kaunas (Kovno) in the 1950's. The modern Rumsiskes, shown on modern maps, is a Lithuanian town just north of the old location. The maps and photos on this site, except the "modern" ones, show the old, pre-flooding location.


Modern Lithuania (2001), showing the location of Rumsiskes, on the north side of the Kauno Marios.
  Modern Rumsiskes via MapQuest (Latitude 54.866°, Longitude 24.220°) -- you can vary the scale by clicking on the Zoom buttons.
  Modern topographic map (1988) of Rumsiskes and environs. What looks like "Py..." is Russian for Ru... (Courtesy of Library of Congress)
  German military topographic map from 1915, highly detailed, very big. [11 minutes]
  Kaunas-Rumsiskes area, a portion of the 1915 map. [1 minute]
  Old Rumsiskes area, showing outline of new flooded area.
  Close-up of Rumsiskes area, from the 1915 map. [20 seconds]
  Map from 1613 of Kaunas/Vilna area, showing Rumsiskes. (Courtesy of Neringa Latvyte-Gustaitiene)
  1830 map of Lithuania. Needs DJVu plug-in for your browser -- download from Lizardtech.
  Map showing location of Rumsiskes Jewish cemetery [25 seconds] (Courtesy of Grazhina Meilutiene and Neringa Latvyte-Gustaitiene)
 

Aerial Photographs

 
 
     
  Aerial photo of Rumsiskes and environs, July 15, 1944, approx.9:00AM. German photo from US Government World War II archives. Highly detailed, big. [3 minutes]
  Same photograph but less detailed and smaller picture. [20 seconds]
  Close-up showing Jewish cemetery and downtown Rumsiskes, from the same photograph. The graves are among trees. The shadows of the trees make the cemetery look rounded, but a close look shows that the actual shape of the area is just as shown in the cemetery map (last map above). The north fence of the cemetery is barely visible; it may be easier to see on the big photo, above.
 

Pictures

 
 
     
  Photographs of the model of Rumsiskes, made from 1922 data, in the present-day Jonas Aistis Museum in Rumsiskes. They show the locations of many sites, including the Jewish ones. The model maker was Vytautas Markevicius. (Courtesy of Neringa Latvyte-Gustaitiene and Rolandas Gustaitis; Reproduced by kind permission of Grazhina Meilutiene)
   
  Detailed view of the model, with Jewish site locations. The dark-colored area at the town center is the marketplace. Big, detailed. [2 minutes to download] Also, translations of the street names (courtesy of Leonas Bekeris), from e-mails.
  Panorama of the model, showing a larger area. The Jewish cemetery is the group of trees at the lower right corner.
  Close-up of the town center in the model.
  Another photo of the model, from the cover of Skietele's book.
  A ravine that is one probable location (Pieveliu) of 1941 murders of Rumsiskes Jews. [20 seconds] (Courtesy of Elliot Matz)
  Photos 1, 2, and 3 of the memorial stone at the Pieveliu murder site, and its surroundings (courtesy of Rolandas Gustaitis), with an English translation of the Yiddish inscription (courtesy of Rabbi Ben-Zion Saydman). If this displays too small in your browser, try clicking on a picture.
  The Rumsiskes Shul, 1922. (Courtesy of Frances Hornstein)
  Two gravestones in the cemetery, approx. 1922. (Efraim Mayper and his daughter, Beyla Reyza Zilberkveit) The north fence of the cemetery is visible in the background. (Courtesy of Ahuva Gershater)
  Ten more cemetery and gravestone photographs, 1940, page 1, page 2, and page 3, taken by L. Kazokas. If this displays too small in your browser, try clicking on a picture. (From M. K. Ciurleonas Art Museum in Kaunas, courtesy of Rolandas Gustaitis)
  Store in Rumsiskes, 1920's, proprietress F. Mayper. (Courtesy of Rabbi Ben-Zion Saydman)
  1936 application and permit for Abram Mayper to build a fence at 9 Vilnius Street, in Lithuanian. The permit shows a plan of the property and house. "Namai" means "house". (Courtesy of Rolandas Gustaitis)
  The 1940 phone "book" of Rumsiskes -- one page with ten numbers. Not even Rubinstein the pharmacist had a phone. (Courtesy of Yale J. Reisner at the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation Genealogy Project at the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, Warsaw, via Rabbi Ben-Zion Saydman..)
 

History


Before the Holocaust

These references cover from the earliest days to the late 1930's.

  1806 Revision List (tax roll) for Rumsiskes: Cover letter, and translated Revision List for Microsoft Word or .for Microsoft Excel (faster download). This was just after the first Russian attempt to force Jews to take surnames. Many had not yet complied, and, since the rule was not firmly enforced until the 1830's, the later surnames of those who did comply may have changed completely. (Thanks to the transcription and translation work of the Jewish Family History Foundation, with financing from the Descendants of Anshei Rumshishok (DAR).)
Short history of Rumsiskes, text, or (1 minute to download) same with pictures. (This and following 4 items courtesy of Rabbi Ben-Zion Saydman)
  Short article about Rumsiskes from "Lithuanian Jewish Communities", in English, by Stuart and Nancy Schoenberg (see also Bibliography).
  Article about Rumsiskes from an 1889 Polish gazetteer, in Polish - Page 1, Page 2, and Page 3.
  Rumsiskes section (pp. 549-551) of "Yidishe Shtet, Shtetlekh un Dorfishe Yishuvim in Lite" ("Jewish Cities and Towns in Lithuania"), in Yiddish, by Berl Kagan (see also Bibliography). Page 1, Page 2, and Page 3, and an English translation. (English translation courtesy of Aba Gefen) Also, from the Keidan (Kedainiai) section of this book: "...the second rabbi here [Keidan] was the Vilna rabbi Meir Duber b. Moshe Eliezer Fager, earlier rabbi in Rumshishok, who died in 1906 in America."
  Mention in the JewishGen entry for Meretch (Merkina), on the Niemen River, near the current Polish border:
During the years 1768-1772 Jewish workers were employed in excavating the Nemunas (Niemen) river between Meretch and Rumshishok (Rumsiskes), in order to improve its sailing conditions.
  A memory of the Rubinstein family in the 1930's, from Les Shipnuck. Interesting also to people outside the family.
  A chapter of a book by a Christian native of Rumsiskes (P. M. Mikalauskas-Skietele), written in his old age and relating some childhood memories. It is included here because (1) it has a good description of the area containing the Jewish cemetery and (2) it shows in a non-hostile way the distance between the Jewish community and the Christian community, as seen through the eyes of a Christian child.
A note from 1936 about the rabbi's salary, in Lithuanian. (Courtesy of Rolandas Gustaitis)


Before and During the Holocaust These references include both the pre-Holocaust period and the Holocaust, or the Holocaust alone.

There are a few seeming discrepancies among the various notes of the Holocaust. The museum mentions 300 Jews in Rumsiskes, but other sources put the number murdered at 700. Actually, as the SS report and the Koniuchowsky report show, the Jews murdered in Rumsiskes amounted to about 700 -- almost all of them women and children. The larger number is accounted for in one place by the fact that many fleeing Jews were captured in and near Rumsiskes, and in another place by the fact that the murders were of Jews from both Rumsiskes and Ziezmariai. Ziezmariai is a nearby, somewhat larger, town. It may be that both of these causes operated.

The sources that mention it agree that the men had already been shipped off to the forced-labor camp at Pravieniskes. Their deaths were spread over a long period.

One source says that the mass murder was in Peveliu, about 3 km north of Rumsiskes, while another says that it was 1/2 km northwest of town. The report on mass graves (below) actually shows both locations, as well as Pravieniskes.

  Early history and Holocaust notes from Neringa Latvyte-Gustaitiene e-mails.
  A little on the pre-WWII period and further information on the Holocaust period - Rumshishok notes from the Nahum Goldman Museum Of The Jewish Diaspora (courtesy of Art Poskanzer).
  A description of the Holocaust in Rumsiskes - the Rumsiskes section of the Koniuchowsky report.
  Locations of mass graves from the Rumsiskes murders, from "Yahadut Lita", pp. 358-359, in Hebrew (see also Bibliography). Page 1, Page 2 and the English translation. For reference, the Praviana river is a stream going through the north end of old Rumsiskes (see Detailed View of the Model, above). Pruvianashok is modern Pravieniskes (see maps). (Hebrew version courtesy of Rabbi Ben-Zion Saydman, English translation courtesy of Aba Gefen).
  Pinkas Hakehillot Lita (Dov Levin & Josef Rozin, editors) article (Nechama Kaufman, author) discussing Rumsiskes early history and its part of the Holocaust, pp. 633-639, in Hebrew, pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, with English translation, (Hebrew version courtesy of Rabbi Ben-Zion Saydman, English translation courtesy of Aba Gefen).
  A note from the Pinkas English translation which sheds some light on pre-WW2 Jewish-Gentile relationships.
  The SS report in Documents (below).
  Tatar 7-year-old murder witness. An account of the Holocaust murders in Rumsiskes, as seen by a boy who was only seven years old at the time. He was a Tatar. (We have no idea of how a Tatar family happened to be living in Rumsiskes at that time, although the Soviet Russian occupation may have had something to do with it.) The trauma from this sight, and from the Nazi threats amounting to "You Tatar, you're next", stayed with him through old age, when he was interviewed for this report.
 
Later Years

These references refer to the post-Holocaust period.

In the 1950's, there was a transfer of at least some graves from the Rumsiskes cemetery to Kaunas, before the Kauno Marios flooding. Not all the details are yet clear.

  Older Rumsiskes graves and other graves in Kaunas. A note from Rabbi Edward Cohen.
  "I found out who transferred the remains from Rumshishok. It was Rafael Fin, head of the Hevra Kadisha of Kaunas in 1958. He himself was not from Rumshishok, as I was told by Shaya Matusevich, survivor or the Kaunas Ghetto and Dachau concentration camp, who is now the Gabbai of the Kovno Synagogue. Kovno does not have a Rabbi." Regina Kopilevich supplies this note (Nov. 2002).
  The Rumsiskes grave area in Kaunas after the graves were moved. Note and photos from Olga Zabludoff.
 

Individual Families and Names

This section provides links to family sites, including many photos such as these (but full-size).
It also is the place for other lists of individual names.

XX
Rachel & Chaim David Poskanzer Marx (Mordechai) Mayper Family
   
  Families named "Rumshishker" - We have learned of families whose surnames are effectively "Rumshishker". This is apparently a name that was not uncommon, at least in Kaunas. We know of three or four specific families. Perhaps (or perhaps not) they were originally from Rumsiskes, and took this surname when Jews were forced to take surnames (1805-1844). (From Olga Zabludoff and Art Poskanzer)
  A list of arrivals at Ellis Island showing Rumsiskes as place of origin - starts in 1902 - from Rabbi Ben-Zion Saydman.
  The Poskanzer family as updated December 2009, from Art Poskanzer. Also older material, and an interesting note from Art on fairly recent developments.
  The Marcus family (updated June 2007), related to the Poskanzers, from Olga Zabludoff.
  Mayper including Saydman and related parts of the Romms, the Chipkins, the Leveys, the Avramsons, the Bayers, the Meltsners, the Geffins, the Kagans, the Cohens, the Nurocks, the Zilberkveits, the Siegels, and others.
  A note from Ruth Marcus about the Eliasberg family.
  A memory of the Rubinstein family in the 1930's, including several photos, from Les Shipnuck, and another photo from Neringa Latvyte-Gustaitiene.
  Rabbi Ed Cohen's family, including Wilensky, Vilanchik, and others -- preliminary version.
Here is the most recent e-mail from Elliot Matz, describing his trip to Israel, including a family video and the family tree.
  The Millings family, including Saffer and Solomons, from Lorri Millings.
 

What other Rumshishkers would like to have their families posted here?
To add a site to this list, or if you'd like help preparing information for the Web,
please send a message to the e-mail address at the bottom of this page.

 

Bibliography

H = Hebrew, Y = Yiddish, R = Russian, E = English, L = Lithuanian

 
  Jews of the Kaišiodoris Region of Lithuania. Rolandas Gustaitis, 2010, pub. Avotaynu, E. A very interesting story of the Jews in Kaišiodoris and its neighboring towns, including Rumšiškes. English translation thanks to Leonas Bekeris. The original 2006 version in Lithuanian, Kaišiadoriu Regiono Žydai, is ISBN 9986-646-29-4.
  The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust.
  Pinkas Hakehillot Lita [Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities in Lithuania], Dov Levin (ed.), pub. Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1996, H. Histories and descriptions of about 500 Lithuanian Jewish communities "from their foundation till after the Holocaust".
  http://www.rit.edu/~bekpph/jgsr/country/lithtrvl.html -- a list of books good for research.
  A list supplied by Rabbi Saydman:
   
  Yerusholayim de-Lita [Jerusalem of Lithuania] Leyzer Ran 1974, Vilna Album Committee 3 volumes H, Y, E, R
  Bleter Vegn Vilna [Pages about Vilna] Leyzer Ran, Leybl Koriski, Lodz, 1947 Y
  Vilner Zamlbukh - measef Vilna [Vilna collection] Yisrael Rudnicki, World Federation of Jews from Vilna and Vicinity in Israel, Tel Aviv, 1974 Y, H
  Lite [Lithuania] volume 1 Ed. M. Sudarsky, U. Katzenelenbogen, J. Kissin, New York, Jewish-Lithuanian Cultural Society, 1951 volume 2, C. Leikowicz (ed.), Tel Aviv, 1965
  Yahadut Lita [Lithuanian Jewry] vol. 1, N. Goren, L. Garfinkel et al. (eds.), Tel Aviv, 1959; vol. 2 1972; vol. 3 Eds: R. Hasman, D. Lipec et a;, Tel Aviv Association for Mutual Help of Former Residents of Lithuania in Israel, 1967; vol. 4 The Holocaust, 1941-1945, L. Garfunkel (ed.), Tel Aviv, 1984 H
  Lithuanian Jewish Communities[ Translation of Volume 3 of Yahadut Lita] Ed: Nancy and Stuart Schoenberg, New York, 1991
  Yiddishe Shtet, Shtetlakh un dorfishe Yishuvim in Lite: biz 1918: historish-biografishe skitses [Jewish cities, towns, and villages in Lithuania, up to 1918], Berl Kagan, New York, 1991, Y. A survey of 221 Lithuanian localities.
  Profiles Of A Lost World, Hirsz Abramowicz et al., Wayne State U. Press, 1999, E.
  H. Rhode and A. A. Sack, Jewish Vital Records, Revision Lists and Other Jewish Holdings in the Lithuanian Archives , Avotaynu, 1996. Out-of-date inventory of holdings of the State Historical Archives in Vilnius.
  S. & N. Schoenberg, Lithuanian Jewish Communities , New York: Garland, 1991, E. Reprint by Jason Aronson, 1996. (A translation of Volume III of Yahadut Lita, 1967, with some additional material. Short sketches of 381 towns.)
  D. Gelazhiene, "Ekskursija po Rumsiskiu, Apylinkes" ("Excursions in Rumsiskes and Environs"), Rumsiskes, 2001, text in both E and L. A modern booklet designed for tourists - contains useful maps and pictures.
  P. M. Mikalauskas-Skietele, "Apie Rumsiskiu, senove, miskus, burtus ir velnius" ("Rumsiskes past - woods, magic, and devils"), Kaunas, 2000, L. Some mentions of Rumsiskes Jews - cover is a photograph of a superb model (see Pictures) of 1922 Rumsiskes, which is now in the Jonas Aistis Museum there. This is the book "by a Christian" from which the chapter under History - Before The Holocaust was translated. It is mostly about the Christian Lithuanians. The following items in Lithuanian look promising, but we need someone who reads Lithuanian to see what parts, if any, are of direct interest to us. Any volunteers?
  V. Urbanavicius, Rumsiskenai XIV-XVI amziais [Naselenie Rumshishkes v XIV-XVI vv (romanized form)], Vilnius, 1970, L, summary and table of contents in R, 81 p. illus. 23 cm.. Subject: Rumsiskes (Lithuania)--Antiquities. Series: Acta historica Lituanica, 6. Library of Congress call number DK651.R85 U7
  [Serial (Periodical, Newspaper, etc.)] Romove / Lietuviu kult¯uros tyrimo bendrija prie Lietuvos kult¯uros fondo, Rumsiskes : Bendrija, 1989, L. [Note: "Straipsniu rinkinys"], Subjects: Balts (Indo-European people), Lithuania--Civilization. Library of Congress call number DK505.32 .R66
 

Documents

 
  Documentation of The Mass Murder of Lithuanian Jewry by the SS Einsatzgruppen - "Action Groups" from a Secret Reich Letter. English translation of part of the "Jager Report" (JewishGen files)
  Yahrtzeit (Memorial) Dates Of Lithuanian Jewish Communities (Lithuanian Holocaust Names Project via Ben-Zion Saydman)
  August 1941 Rumsiskes police report with English translation, and follow-up with translation (courtesy of Neringa Latvyte-Gustaitiene)
  From Records of the Extraordinary State Commission to Investigate German-Fascist Crimes Committed on Soviet Territory. Lists of murdered and deported Jews from Rumsiskes in 1941-1944. (1) Summary & provenance. (2) Deportees from Rumsiskes, 1941-1944. (3) Murdered Jews from Rumsiskes, 1941-1944. Actually only a small number of names.
 

Searchable Databases (JewishGen)

 
JewishGen Family Finder (For Rumsiskes)

Would you like to connect with others researching Rumsiskes? Click the button to search the JewishGen Family Finder database

 
 
   

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Compiled by Vic Mayper and Benzi Saydman
Web site layout and banner by Jose Gutstein
Updated by VM: April 5, 2010
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