In Memoriam

There are those who are Kupishokers or their descendants whose contributions to their community transcend the ordinary.  Starting with 2000, there will be brief obituaries with photographs in chronological order of Kupishokers of note that will be added to this page. 

The first five will be Shlomo Kodesh, Rabbi Ephraim Oshry, Stanley Mayersohn, Norman Meyer and Veronika Sadkeviciene.  The fifth person, Veronika Sadkeviciene, while not Jewish, was a resident of Kupiskis who lovingly remembered the Jewish community.

In order to ensure that this process continues in an orderly fashion, the family of the deceased should contact Ann Rabinowitz.  It is hoped that this will then initiate the process to notify the Kupiskis SIG membership and the Gansa Mishpocha group followed by the creation of the obituary with accompanying photograph on this site.

May the memory of these Kupishokers be blessed.  Yehi Zichram Baruch.”

Shlomo Kodesh
z'l 1903-2000

Dr. Shlomo Kodesh was born 1903 in Kupishok , Lithuania , and he died in Ashdod , Israel , in 2000 at the age of 97.  He was the son of Meier-Itsko ben Movsha Kadis (b. 1861), from Pandelys, and Chana-Leah-Dvora bat Meshulim-Mordkhel Kadyshevich (b.1861), from Kupishok.  His grandfather was Movsha Kadis, the Chief Rabbi of Pandelys.  Shlomo is best known for his book of poetry entitled Zo Kupishok Shehyeta which told of his love of his ancestral shtetl and his book of short stories about Kupishok entitled Beit Abba (In My Father's House).

In his youth, Shlomo Kodesh engaged in Zionist activities on behalf of the Jewish National Fund and Brith Ivrith Olamit.  He traveled widely and visited most of the Jewish communities in Lithuania for the promotion of Zionism.  Dr. Kodesh settled in Israel in 1933 and for several years served as Secretary to the Israel Court of Justice in Haifa.  From 1951-1971, he was Director, Department of Hebrew Teaching and Adult Education, Ministry of Education, Jerusalem, Israel.  In 1961, he was invited by the government of France to work as an expert in teaching a second language.


One of Israel's foremost language educators, he was generally regarded as the prime architect or "grandfather" of the Ulpan movement, the unique system of teaching Hebrew to the foreign-born that won the admiration of linguists throughout the world.  His literary works embrace many areas including fifty books covering textbooks for children and adults, children's literature, and guidebooks for teachers.

Rabbi Ephraim Oshry, noted Lithuanian rabbinical scholar, born in Kupiskis in 1914, the son of Dov Ber “Berel” Oshry and Chaya Kagan, was the leader for 50 years of the landmark synagogue Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, on the Lower East Side of New York, and venerated among Orthodox Jews as a sage of the Torah and author of a five-volume religious response to the Holocaust, died on September 28, 2003 at the age of 89.    

During World War II, he was appointed by the Nazis as keeper of a warehouse of Jewish books being stored for an exhibit of "artifacts of the extinct Jewish race", but used the books to hold secret worship services. His notes on the religious response to the Holocaust, written in Hebrew on bits of paper, were buried and retrieved after the War and eventually published in Hebrew in five volumes. One of the volumes, published in English in 1989, won the National Jewish Book Award for best book on the Holocaust and was entitled Responsa from the Holocaust.  It is not only of great religious, but historical importance as well. 


In addition to these works, he is best known in English for his work The Annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry, published in 1995, translated from his Yiddish work Khurbn Lita.  It details the end of the Kovno Ghetto and records the fate of forty-seven other Jewish shtetls including that of Kupiskis.  This book is used as a primary source by most Jewish family researchers.  He was also interviewed by Anschel Strauss whose Gafanowitz family came from Kupiskis about the minhagim or tenets that Kupishokers followed in everyday life.

He was revered for the influence of his character on succeeding generations of the congregation as much as for his scholarship. “He was known as a Posek, a term bestowed on a man whom people can ask the difficult questions of life,” said Victor B. Zybernagel, a member of Congregation Beth Hamedrash Hagadol at 16 Norfolk St. for thirty years.

Rabbi Oshry studied with the great rabbis of the day.  He was interned in a concentration camp near Kovno, Lithuania, by the Nazi invaders during World War II.  His first wife and their children died in the camps before the end of the war.  In 1949, he married Frieda Greenzwieg, a survivor of Auschwitz , and they had three daughters and six sons.

He and his wife left Lithuania and went to Rome where the rabbi organized a yeshiva, Yeshiva Me’or HaGolah, for orphaned refugee children.  In 1950 he managed to bring all the yeshiva students with him when he moved with his family to Montreal. They came to New York in 1952 where he was invited to be the rabbi of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, a congregation founded in 1852. 

For several years Rabbi Oshry ran two yeshivas, one for boys and the other for girls, in the East Bronx . He is also the patron of a yeshiva named after him in Monsey, N.Y., Shaar Ephraim, run by son-in-law, Zelig Greenberg. 

Rabbi Ephraim Oshry
z'l 1914-2003

Stanley Mayersohn
z'l 1921-2004

Stanley Hillel Mayersohn was born on March 23, 1921, in Covington, Kentucky.  His parents, David Mayersohn and Bella Shavell, were both born in and grew up in Kupiskis, Lithuania.  He was always proud of that legacy and devoted great energy to determining the fate of the Jews of Kupishok during the Holocaust.  It is from that research that we know him best in the form of his monograph Kupishok: The Memory Stronger, which details the final solution during the Holocaust of his own family and that of many of our own.  The research led him to Israel and the Kupishokers who were there and other Holocaust survivors elsewhere and eventually inspired his son Michael to enter the rabbinate in memory of his cousin Shmerl Tuber who was killed in Kupiskis in 1941.  His father’s interest also led Michael to visit Lithuania on his own and to delve into the records of the shtetl.

Apart from his attachment to Kupishok, Stan's life revolved around his commitment to family and community.  He served in the military during World War II and he married Betty Einhorn thereafter in 1946.  They had two sons, Harley and Michael.  After several years in Cincinnati, Ohio, the family moved onto Miami, Florida, Los Angeles, California, and finally, to Scottsdale, Arizona.

Stan devoted himself to the Jewish people and became a self-taught Jewish scholar.  His greatest achievement was creation of the Tzedakah Fund, a Tzedakah collective that helped poor Jews in Israel.  He raised tens of thousands of dollars which was then sent to small, underfunded organizations in Israel that aided poor Jews.  He believed fervently in the value of Ahavat Yisrael, love of the Jewish people, and lived that value thoroughly.  He researched and wrote monographs, including his last, The Divinity of Hope, which helped to raise funds for the Tzedakah Fund.  He served as the President of Temple Solel in Scottsdale, Arizona, as the treasurer of the Phoenix Jewish Federation and of Hillel, the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, serving Jewish students at Arizona State University.  He passed away on January 16, 2004, in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Norman Meyer - “How is your bright son, Nissela? May he live for long years in good health and success.”  Malka Meyerowitz of Kupishok (written in a 1930’s Yiddish letter regarding her grandson, Norman Meyer, whom she would never meet, as she along with all the other members of the family in Kupishok were brutally murdered in 1941.)

Norman Meyer was born in 1932 in Cape Town, South Africa, the son of Kupishokers Shmuel-Iudel "Sam" Meyerowitz and Sheine "Janie" Goldin.  He graduated from Rhodes University and in 1960, he married Beryl Tobias.  Professionally, he was a production manager in the shoe industry, a Jewish communal professional, and a development director for Jewish Day Schools in Cape Town and then in Rockville , MD. He passed away in December, 2004, leaving his wife, three married children and seven grandchildren.

His accomplishments in the Jewish world included involvement in the Habonim Zionist Youth Movement and Machon Horef in the 1950’s. He was a passionate Zionist with particular concern for Jewish education.  As a lay leader, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Theodor Herzl School in Port Elizabeth, SA, as Bursar, he ensured the fiscal health of the Herzlia School in Cape Town, SA, and, finally, as the Director of Development, he was involved with the construction of the second campus of the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville , MD.

In addition, Norman will be remembered for the honor and dignity he brought to the Kupishokers who were murdered during the Holocaust.  He was a  pioneer in bringing Kupishok (Kupiskis) back to the forefront of our lives.  A family journey in 1997 set in motion a long process to honor the memory of apparently nameless Jews murdered in June, 1941. Norman ’s mission culminated on July 13, 2004, along with 47 other descendants from Kupiskis, with the dedication of a Wall of Memory in what was once the Shul, now the library, in Kupiskis , Lithuania .  The Wall of Memory created an enduring legacy for 824 people who were killed in the Holocaust by restoring their names for posterity.  Truly, Norman epitomized what it was to live up to a good name, a challenge that was his beacon of principle.   

Norman Meyer 
z”l  1932-2004

Veronica Sadkeviciene

Veronika Sadkeviciene was born in 1916 in Kupiskis and worked as a nursemaid in the household of Beno-Leizer Meyerowitz and his wife Base-Dveira Rabinowitz.  Although a non-Jew, she learned to sing Yiddish lullabyes.  In this photo, she is doing just that with Robin Esrock during his visit to Kupiskis in October, 2007.    Veronika passed away November 14, 2007, one of the last of the memory-keepers of the Jewish community.


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