The Family of Rabbi Tuvia Rotberg  
 


Rabbi Tuvia Rotberg was born in 1886 in Olkeniki, Vilna Gubernia, to his father Reb Avraham, who served as a medical doctor in Olkeniki. Rabbi Tuvia studied several years in Slobodka and then became a disciple of Rabbi Israel Meir Ha'Cohen, known as the "Chafetz Chaim", at the Yeshiva in Radin. Before the First World War, Rabbi Rotberg served as a Rabbi in Lipnishki, Vilna Gubernia. From 1921 until the Holocaust he served as a Rabbi in Lunna-Wola.

Rabbi Rotberg married Rebbetzin Rasha Mina, daughter of Hirshel der Magid from Eishyshok (in Vilna Gubernia). They had four sons: Avraham (Avreiml), Saul (b. 1910), Zalman (b. 1913 in Lipnishki), and David (b. 1918), and three daughters: Chana-Beila (b. 1907), Bluma (b. 1920), and Fruma (b. 1922).

Rabbi Tuvia Rotberg used to give lessons in the old synagogue in Lunna. Every day he taught chapters from the six orders of the Mishna, Talmud, and Ein Yaakov. He was an excellent lecturer and had bright speech talent. He was known for his wisdom and his expertise in Jewish Law. He used to solve conflicts among forest-merchants, among teamsters, and others. He always reached compromises. Rabbi Tuvia never took the slaughtering tax that he was entitled to take for himself, but devoted it for the needs of Jewish public institutes in town, such as the Bath House and the Gmilut Chesed Fund which provided no interest loans to the under-privileged. More information about Rabbi Tuvia Rotberg is posted on the page Polish rule/Religious institutions. Rebbetzin Rasha Mina Rotberg used to give candles, salt, and yeast to the poor Jews in town without charging them any money. Her uncle, who resided in the United States, used to help the Rotbergs by sending them several dollars every month. The Rotberg's home was always open to Jews from Lunna and from the neighboring shtetls, who needed advice or help.

Rabbi Zalman, son of Rabbi Tuvia Rotberg, was the first one of the Rotberg family who left Lunna; he received a certificate and in 1936 settled in Eretz Israel. After several years, Rabbi Zalman arranged certificates for his brothers Saul and Rabbi David. The three brothers have families in Israel and in America. Saul Rotberg died on 5 Adar I, 1978; Rabbi David Rotberg died on Wednesday, 10 Cheshvan, 5761 (2000); and Rabbi Zalman Rotberg died on Sunday, 8 Sivan 5762 (2002).

Chana-Beila (Rotberg) married Meir Lidsky. They had three daughters, born in Lunna: Gitel, Feige, and Gela (b. 1929).
Abraham Rotberg married Hinda; they had a son named Zelig.
Rebbetzin Rasha Mina, her daughter Chana Beila Lidsky, and Gela (Chana Beila's youngest daughter) were killed on Saturday, June 22, 1941 in a German air raid while hiding in the basement of the Yedwab residence at Podolna Street (the street leading to the Niemen River). Rabbi Tuvia Rotberg, Meir Lidsky and his daughters Gitel and Feige, and Abraham Rothberg and his family, perished in the Holocaust.

An article about "The biography of Rabbi Tuvia Rotberg" has been written  (in Hebrew) by his grandson, Rabbi Tzvi Rotberg, Machon Mishnas Rabbi Aaron (Lakewood, NJ).

From the Collection of Saul Rotberg
(Photos submitted by Niza Preis (Saul's daughter))

We are grateful to Liza (Welbel) Shwetz and to Eliezer Eisenshmidt, former Lunna residents, for their help in identifying persons in the photos.

 

Students and teachers at Torah Ve'daat School (ca. 1921)

 

  Rotberg family (ca. 1930)     Rotberg family

 
 

  Rotberg family     Rotberg family

 
 

  Rabbi Tuvia Rotberg and family members)  


 

Rabbi Rotberg resting in Zaleski forest (behind him is the guesthouse building)

 
 


 

Rabbi Tuvia Rotberg (right) at Zaleski forest  

  Dancing near the Niemen River    

 
 

       
 
 

  Friends in Zaleski Forest     Friends in the garden

 
 

  Five friends walking in Zagorynay Street toward the marketplace

 
    Sailing in a boat on the Niemen River

 
 

  Jewish youngsters and adults at the bank of the Niemen River     Saul Rotberg and his friends

 
 

  Near the Niemen River (or the small brook?)     The guys pulling the rape

 
 

 

Rotberg and Berachowicz family members

    Five friends

 
 

  Three friends     Five friends

 
 

  The big family at a meal on a porch

 

  Friends (ca. 1932)     Friends in Zaleski Forest (ca. 1936)

 
 

  Friends (ca. 1936)     Friends (ca. 1936)

 
 

  Winter in Lunna (ca. 1937)     Winter in Lunna (ca. 1937)

 
 

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Compiled by Ruth Marcus & Aliza Yonovsky Created May 2007
Updated by rLb, March 2020
Copyright 2007 Ruth Marcus

All the photos are presented by courtesy of the families and are not allowed to be reproduced without their permission.

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