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Vasilishki, Belarus

וואסילישוק / וואַסילישאָק - Васілішкі 

53° 47' N, 24° 51'E


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Documentary Research: Judy Baston
Updated: Dec 2016

towns map

Alternate names: Vasiliški, Vasilishki and Василишки [Rus], Vasilishok and Yiddish: וואסילישוק / וואַסילישאָ [Yid], Wasiliszki [Pol], Vasiliški and Васілішкі [Bel], Vosyliškės [Lith], Vasilishak, Vasilishuk at 53°47' N, 24°51' E, 20 miles WSW of Lida, 42 miles E of Grodno.

and the dependent villages of Aleksandrowka, Arcisze, Bakszty, Baniuki, Bojary, Chodele, Doliniany, Drobysze, Dworczany, Dziechciary, Glinicze, Gromki at 5350 2440, Gudziszki, Hlinkowszczna, Holoszewicze, Hubicze, Jukiewicze, Kaszniaki, Konstrantynowka, Kopciuba, Korewicze, Koscieniewo, Koszczyce, Kozly Male, Kozly Wielkie, Krasna, Kronki, Lachowka, Lazowce, Leluszowce, Lodyga, Markowce, Mosiowce, Niewisza, Oleszkowce, Plebanowce, Prymaki, Rogieloce, Rozniatycze, Rusaczki, Rusanowce, Starodworce, Swirydy, Szermicze, Szkierty, Szkordzie, Szlachtowszczyzna, Wojejkowce, Wojszczuki, Zbroszki, Zieniewicze, Zybaly

and the estates, colonies, and hamlets of Anielkowo, Bogudzieki, Boleslowo, Borowszczyzna, Buciorowszczyzna, Chmielisko, Cydzikowszczyzna, Dramowicze, Feliksowo, Gaj, Gornofel, Grabniki, Hlebowce, Hlinkowszczyzna, Howlowiczpol and I and II, Janowszczyzna, Jakubowo, Jozefowo, Juljanowo, Justynowo, Kandybowo, Karolin, Kopciuha, Koszczyce, Kozuliszki, Krupowszczyzna, Kurhany, Lachowka, Lebiodka I, II, III, IV, V, and VI, Lucjanowo, Marysinek, Miekisze, Niewisza, Niewisza Mala, Nowinka, Olenszczyzna, Ostrowo, Paulinowo, Piasczyzna, Podbrezezne, Podswietne, Popielszki, Raczkowszczyzna, Rohaczowszczyzna, Rozniatycze, Rudowo, Rybaki, Sandokowszczyzna, Sasowszczyzna, Slobodka, Sosna, Stajniszki, Stanislawowo, Stankiszki-Misiurowm, Stare Dwory, Starodworce, Szejbakpol, Szlachtowszczyzna, Szostakowce, Teresino, Ustron, Wasiliszki Stare, Widowka, Wielka Weis, Wierzch-Lebiodka, Wojkowszczyzna, Wojnilowce, Wolczynki, Wolodkowszczyzna, Zagorze, Zacisze

1992 population: 2,678 people with 1,184 buildings. Vasilishki, now, is a village in Scucyn district, Grodno oblast situated on the river Lebeda, thirty-two kilometers s from Scucyn, seventeen kilometers s from the railway station at Skribavtsy.

The town of Vasilishki is connected to the historic events in the relationship between Poland and Lithuania. Near it is the village of Shaibakapolia ("Shaibak Field"), where the Lithuanian Prince Radziwil, in 1242, defeated the Tartar General Shaibak, who was head of Khan Batai's armies. Khan Batai was Ghengis Khan's grandson. Radziwil's victory saved the whole of Europe from a renewed invasion of the Tartars, who threatened to destroy all the settlements in their way.

Vasilishki was first mentioned in the historical Chronicles of the first half of the fifteenth century. King Casimir built the Cathedral in Vasilishki in 1489. After the Cathedral gradually deteriorated, it was renovated in 1747. Vasilishki had, by this time, become "Starostvo" (capital city) of the region, which included more than 20 rural settlements. Among its rulers, called "Starosto", were: 1499 - Jan Statkovich; 1501 - Vasil Lavovitch Helinski; 1505 - Stanislav Kishka; 1507 - Jan Tchitovich; 1518 - Yakov Kontzivich; 1523 - Jan Radziwil; 1546 - Caspar Kantsivich; 1547 - Prince Nikolay Radziwil; 1569 - Jan Volkovich.

In 1658, a judge from Lida, Martin Limont, built a synagogue there. In 1769, another Catholic Church was built. In 1659, a meeting of the governors of Lida povet was held there. In 1706, the Polish King Stanislas Leszczinski camped here and received the surrender of the Lithuanian nobles who had fought on the side of Karl XII, King of Sweden.

In 1766, the "Starost" of Vasilishki was the well-known Vilna Viavoda, Mihail Aginski (Michael-Casimir Oginski. The last "Starosta" was the "Podkomorni" Alexandrovich, to whom ownership of the town passed. With the annexation of the region to Russia, after the Partition of Poland, the "Starotsvo" in Vasilishki was canceled.

In 1795, Vasilishki was in Russian Empire as the volost center of Lida povet. The 1858 correspondent to Hamagid for Vasilishki was Shmuel Yanus, living in Druzgenik. In 1866, mestechko Vasilishki had 244 houses and 1841 people, an Orthodox Church, a Catholic church, one synagogue, a public school, a post office, and a weekly market. Wasiliszki remained in Grodnenskaya Gubernya (Grodno Gubernya) under Russian rule, with a 1905 population of 1,983.

In 1887, Vasilkov in Grodno province of the Russian Empire had three wood church and monastery properties, 1 wood social building, one stone dwelling, 419 wood dwellings, and eight wood stores. According to the 1897 Census of Vasilishki, there were 2780 inhabitants (2,081 of them were Jewish.)

In 1907, the rabbi was Yosef David Rubenshtein (1847-?). He had been rabbi in Horodishtch, Minsk. In 1909, Vasilishki opened a male Jewish school. During the First World War, beginning in 1915, Vasilishki was occupied by German troops. By 1921, political control belonged to Poland. In 1928, Wasiliszki was designated as a miasteczko (small town) and gmina wiejska (parish village), council office for the surrounding villages. The Justice of the Peace was in Wasilizki and the Justice Court in Wilno. The 1928 miasteczko population was 1,874. The railway was fifteen kilometers away in Skrzbowce.The post office, telephone, and telegraph were in Wasiliszki. Wasiliszki had one Catholic church, a "House of People, a volunteer fire department, a Merchants Association, tanneries and mills. Markets were on Tuesdays for horses, cattle, and pigs. In 1928, imenie "Stanislavovo" (gmina Vasilishki, Lidski povet) belonged to Mikhail Belinski.

n 1919-1939, Wasiliszki was part of Grodno powiat, Białystok Voivodeship, Poland. Beginning in 1939, the town belonged to the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. From June 1941 until July 1944, Nazis occupied Vasilishki. The German organized ghetto ended on the 10-11th of May 1942 when the Nazis destroyed it. 2,159 Jews were killed.

Until August 3, 1954, Vasilishki's designation was a small town (mestechko). After January 20, 1960, Vasiliski was in Radun district. Since January 25,1962, Vasiliski has been in Scucyn district. The 1970 population was 909 with three hundred houses, a secondary school, a House of Culture, a post office, and a Monument to the Victims of Nazis (W. W. II Memorial). One architectural historical site is preserved: The Catholic Church of Yan Hristitelj.

Mihail Kleafas Aginski (or Oginski Russian spelling) was born October 7,1765 and died October 15,1833. He was the son of Andrew Aginski and received a very good education. He was a delegate to Soim in 1786, a member of the Treasury Committee of the Great Lithuanian Principality, Honorable Person of Lithuania (1789), the Ambassador in Holland (1789) and was engaged in diplomatic work in London. In 1791, he swore an oath to Ekaterina II (Russian Empress) that enabled him to preserve all his estates on the territory of Western Belarus. He supported the Constitution of May 3,1791. After the victory of the Targovitskaya Confederation, he immigrated to Germany and all his estates were confiscated. On his return to his Motherland, his property was returned to him under on condition that he will join the Targovitskaya Confederation. For four years, he was a delegate to the Soim of 1788-1792 and the Grodno Soim in 1793. During the Uprising of 1794, he joined the side of Vilna and became a member of the Highest Lithuanian Rada (government). He formed and financed a battalion of riflemen and was its commander in several fights. In 1794, twice together with his battalion and with two hundred housed fighters, he tried to break through to Mensk Gubernya in order to organize an uprising there. In 1794, he broke through to Dinaburg (now Daygapils). When the uprising was suppressed, he went to Austria. He lived in Vienna, in Venice, and in Paris. In 1802, he returned to his Motherland where all his estates were returned to him. He lived in the estate Zalesse near Smorgon. In 1810, he became a senator and was awarded an Order of Vladimir and Alexander Hevski. He met Russian Tsar Alexander I in St. Petersburg, in Vilno, in Mogilev, and in Vitebsk. He was the author of Plan of Oginski (The Plan of Restoration of Lithuanian Principality) which he handed over to Russian Tsar himself in 1811. In 1823, together with his family he went to Italy where he died. He is well known as a composer of many musical pieces for the piano. In Paris, he published 4 volumes: "Memories About Poland and Polish people from 1788 to 1815" (in French, but in 1870-1873, the books were translated into Polish). He wrote and published also "The Lists About Music" in 1828.

SOURCES:

  • Tahat shilton ha-germani ba-shanim 1941-1945 (Tel Aviv, [1986/87]) Yizkor at JewishGen
  • Sefer zikaron le-kehilot Szczuczyn, Wasiliszki, Ostryna, Nowy-Dwor, Rozanka (Tel Aviv, 1966) Yizkor at JewishGen
  • Imenie "Koptuhi" on the territory of Vasilishki belonged to K. Skinder in 1931.
  • Ksiega Adresowa Handlowa, Warszawa Bydgoszcz 1929
  • Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego (1880-1902), XIII, p. 128: "Wasiliszki" #1.
  • Barbara Proko's translation of the Slownik entry.
  • Sachenka, B.I. [editor], Encyclopedia of the History of Belarus. Minsk: 1993. Volume 1, pp. 34 and Volume 2, p. 229-230.
  • 1923/Glowny Urzad Statystyczny Rzechzypospolitej polskiej
  • Encyclopedia of Jewish Life (2001), pp. 1434-35: "Wasiliszki".
  • EVREISKAYA ENCY.: V: 343 [9 lines]. during WWII in Vileyka district?
  • Documentary Sources on Jewish History in the Archives of the CIS and the Baltic States: Preliminary List of collections, Compiled by Dmitri A. Elyashevich, Acropolis, St. Petersburg: 1994, St. Peterburg Jewish University, Diaspora Research Institute, Russian State University for the Humanities, Historical Archival Institute, Center for Archival research. Grodno (Belarus), Belorussian Historical Archive in Grodno: Opus 151: Vasilishkovskaja synagogue, in Lidski yuzd, #272, 5 chronicles, 1874-1897
  • Yad Vashem: 62388, Yiddish, MEIROWITZ, Mordechai: expulsion of Jews from ROZANKA and the cities around Lida to the ghetto SZCZUCZYN and Novogrodek; tunnel digging in Novogrodek ghetto and escape by way of the partisans; relations with Jewish partisans
  • Yad Vashem: M.1.E-66 52590, Yiddish, LIVSHITZ, Berl: har work in Deksznie; Shlomo HAMBURG, Shmuel KARPAS and others-fatalities of the Shoah; expulsion to EISZYSZKI; people Lita (Lida) with the commandant Ostrowski as head, cooperative work; "Action" against local and neighboring Jews; escape from WASILEWSKI; cruelties and murder; commandant of Polish police, Yazawski and the maor Shnizerien--cooperative work; the teacher Berik OVITZ--the sacrifice in the Shoah; "action"; transfer to SZCZUCZYN ghetto; "action" in local and neighboring Jews; Andrekeh SHAF the camp in Lida-war criminal; escape and joining Russian partisans; founding after the war of "Vagit" and its name NARKON
  • Yad Vashem: TR.10-646 68650, German, 15 Dec 1966, written accusation against Leopold Windich and Rudof Werner in the synagogue in Mainz; description of pursuit of Jews in the LIDA area; establishment of ghettos in the cities and expulsion of the Jews from the towns into the ghettos; description of 3 ghettos in LIDA city and the projects in them in which Jews worked; review of the Judenrat; forced labor; description of "Actions" in SZCZUCZN, ZOLUDEK, WASILISHKI at beginning of 1942; murder of 300 Jews in VORONOVO in Nov 1941; description of murder of Jews in the LIDA area in the fall of 1941 and winter of 1941-42; murder of 86 prisoners in LIDA city in the winter of 1942; "actions" in 1942 in the LIDA region; in LIDA city August 1942; in ZALOUDEK 5 Jan 1942; in WASILISZKI 10 May 1942; in WORONOW 19 May 1942; in IWJE 12 May 1942; notes on the number of Jews that were murdered by him. The files also accuses the occupied governments of LIDA city and their leaders Dienst, Stellen of Himmler in the occupied eastern territories.
  • Yad Vashem: M.35-185 91553, Russian, GIRSH Review of Rayak and Michael GIRSH on the conquest of WASILISZKI city, Wilehka district by the Germans: abuse and persecution of the Jews by local Poles who helped the Germans attack the spirit and bodies of the Jews
  • Yad Vashem: M.35-183 81551, Russian, GIRSH: Review of Rayat and Michael GIRSH on the death by torture of the Jews in WASILISZKI city; hiding in the Jewish houses; attack on the spirit and body of the Jews; from May 7, 1942 murder of several hundred Jews in WASILISHKI
  • Yad Vashem: M.41-141 70632, Russian, 11 Nov, 1944: Accounts of battles and sabotage of the partisan group with the name MATROSOV from May to June 1944 in eastern Belorussia; information on the underground communist organizations in the region WAZILIZKI from May-June 1944; establishment and actions of the partisan brigade by the name "Leninsky Komsomol" in the areas WASILISKI, SKIDEL, RADUN in the years 1941-44; especially the condition of the Jews who remained in the family camps among the partisans
  • Yad Vashem: 7310, Hebrew, 1 Mar 1973, KAPLAN, Yosef: Jews of LIDA under Soviet rule; members of the Judenrat (with names); German workers Werner, Windisch an Hannweg; residents of the neighborhood, WASILISKI, IWJE, WORONOW in the LIDA ghetto; failed escapes; escape of the couple Kaplan and their joining the Soviet partisan group Iskra; sabotage and battles
  • Yad Vashem: 0.3-4010 12562, Russian, 30 Oct 1978, SINALEVITZ, Felix: Transfer of WERENOW Jews to WASILISZKI; their stay in the ghetto; description of the murder of Jews in the cemetery and their escape from that place of murder, their conditions in the cities around Grodno and Bialystok; their joining the partisans with the name NEVSKIJ and their joining the partisans of the Red Army
  • Yad Vashem: p. 18 224540 Yiddish, 11 Aug 1947, "Statistical data on the extermination of Jews in 1942 in various communities: LIDA"
  • LitvakSIG
  • JewishGen Belarus SIG
  • Shtetl Finder (1989), p. 108: "Vasilishok, Vasilishki".
  • Pinkas HaKehilot, Poland, Vol. 8 (2005), pp. 324-328: "Wasiliszki".
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Records are held both in Grodno and Vilna archives.For Lida records translation, your tax deductible contribution by credit card via the secure server at either group or by mail will grow our knowledge. For a $100 donation, you receive all these records translated two years ahead of their posting on JewishGen. Every penny collected is used for Lida uezd projects only. Records include censuses; family lists; marriages, births, death records; prenumeraten lists; and more. Please contact Judy Baston with any questions.For current translations, please see the ALD: All Lithuanian Database and Belarus SIG Database.
Lida District genealogical records translation is a joint effort of Lida District Researchers of Belarus SIG and Lida District Research Group (DRG) of LitvakSIG. Record translations cover all shtetls (towns) in the Lida Uyezd (district) of Vilnius Guberniya (region) of Lithuania including the town of Lida itself. This page is hosted at no cost to the public by JewishGen, Inc., a non-profit corporation. If useful or if you are moved by this effort to preserve the memory of our lost communities, your JewishGen-erosity will be appreciated.