care



CARE PACKAGES AND 
HOW THE MAIL GOT DELIVERED

By Ann Rabinowitz

(Published on the JewishGen Blog, February 23, 2009, and with permission herein of the JewishGen Blog and author Ann Rabinowitz.)

Whilst doing research on families in Lithuania , I have often seen in the tax and other records notations that the person was being supported by family from South Africa or America .  It is interesting to determine what exactly was meant by that notation.  For one thing, many families, particularly in the pre- and post-World War I eras were sent care packages and checks to get them through the hard economic times.  Much of this was brought on by various economic restrictions as to allowable occupations or what one could sell or not sell and a general lack of jobs opportunities for Jews.  The wartime conditions and the creation of the new Lithuanian national state also affected the condition of the Jewish communities. 

I have often wondered how the care packages were sent to family in “der heim” and how they arrived there.  Further investigation revealed the following:

  • Items had to be chosen and then purchased in the most economical fashion.

  • The items were often purchased in bulk and sometimes from vendors who were associated with the group making up the packages.  For instance, an example can be taken from the landsleit of Kupiskis , Lithuania , who often utilized the products of the factory in Johannesburg , South Africa , owned by their President Abe Esrock.

  • Items to be sent needed a container to be mailed in.

In the days before one could easily obtain cardboard boxes for mailing purposes, barrels were used depending on what and how much you wanted to mail.  The barrels were large and commodious and could be filled with all sorts of items including breakable ones such as china and reach their destinations with the items mostly intact.  However, they were rather heavy to transport and despite their wooden structure could be damaged easily and when filled with certain items could leak.

Times changed and with the advent of the sewing machine, a much used container for sending packages became burlap, canvas or cotton sacks, often a 100 pound size, which had been used for flour, oatmeal, salt, or for cattle, chicken and hog feed.  It was very sturdy with its double stitched seams and could be filled with all sorts of items and then sewed shut or sealed in other ways.  In some cases, the sacks had a printed pattern and, if the sack withstood the journey well, it could then be used to make dresses, tea towels, pillow cases or other household necessities.  In today’s world, feed sacks have made the transition to the modern age and are made from polypropylene or plastic. 

The following is a photograph taken on the Lotzoff farm in South Africa , which shows several family members next to feed sacks.  This is an example of the feed sacks which were utilized later on for shipping packages.  From this photograph, you can see how commodious these sacks were and how much they could actually hold.

 

Mrs. Lotzoff and her great niece and nephew

  •  Agents were required for the forwarding of packages outside the country.

At the time of the mailings, the postal service in Lithuania was controlled by Russia .  In order to send parcels, they had to go through an agent in London and thence onto Vilnius , all via mail boats.

  •  Postage was needed and permissions to cross borders.

  • A post office was required at the final destination and a dependable delivery person.

Very often, shtetls had postmen who were given tips to deliver important mail such as packages or envelopes containing checks.  In Kupiskis, in the pre-War period, there was a separate Jewish mailman who could be depended upon to make sure these valuable packages were delivered.

Given these things, there is documentation of, at least, three shipments of care packages in the post-War period in 1951, 1954 and 1957 by the Kupishoker landsleit.  These packages were sent to both Lithuania and to Israel and were either food or other items.  Since there were no Jews who remained in Kupiskis after the War for any substantial length of time, most of the packages were sent to the larger cities such as Vilnius , Kaunas or Panevezys, as well as larger Polish cities where the Holocaust survivors congregated.

Much of what was sent to Russia and Israel were staples and those things which could be used to either earn a living or to sell and get money to pay the rent or purchase food or medicine.  For instance, lengths of suit material were often included in the parcels, particularly to those who were tailors.  If the person was not a tailor, he or she could sell the material for profit and many did enabling them to purchase tickets to depart from Lithuania for Israel or other places.  Other popular items were shirts, underwear, stockings, sugar, coffee, tea, and tobacco, canned meat, cheeses, etc.

According to the late Percy Berger, of Cape Town , SA, who was involved in the shipment of the care packages for the Kupiskis landsleit, the annual subscription fee to the Society was two and sixpence, but some gave as much as 5 shillings. Before the war, the monies raised by the Kupishok Benevolent Society were sent to a Mr. Dinnerman in London , who acted as their agent. He bought rolls of material, nylon stockings, and underwear and sent these goods to Kupiskis. In Kupiskis, these items were then sold to raise money for the recipients and their families.  After the war, the money was sent to wherever there was a Kupishoker in need – Lithuania , Russia , and Israel . Mr. Israel Trapido, formerly of Johannesburg , SA, and then Israel , was in charge of distributing the money in Israel .

The Kupiskis landsleit kept records of who sent packages and to whom they were sent which included addresses at both ends of the transaction.  Sometimes, the person sending the package chose a relative or friend and, oftentimes, it was to a perfect stranger and was a pure act of charity.  Examples of these records are the following:

Morris Trapido, P.O. Fishers Hill, Transvaal, SA,, sent a package to Leia Eiof, Shiluto 7/3, Vilnius, LT.

Harry Oshry, 68, 14th Street, Orange Grove, Johannesburg, SA, sent a package to Smerl Tuber, Gedraico 25/3, Vilnius, LT.

Nahum Brozin, Hendrik Potgieter Street, Middelburg, SA, sent a package to S. Kotler, Newezio 5, Panevezys, LT.

These care packages, either prior to the war or thereafter, were lifesavers for the recipients and got them through the hard times which were so prevalent then.  It is amazing that with all of the tumult of the post-War years that these items reached their destinations and it is proof that the mail usually arrives no matter what.

  Ann Rabinowitz, 2009

South African Kupiskis Landsmannschaftn Care Packages


South African Kupiskis Landsmannschaftn Care Packages

  Sender of Package     Recipient of Package    
Date Last Name First Name St Address Town Last Name First Name Street Address City
1951, Feb 23 Abramowitz M.D. P.O. Viljoensdrif Viljoensdrif Resnik Bina Gedraicio 27/5 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Abramowitz M.D. P.O. Viljoensdrif Viljoensdrif Micharewski Josef Ukmergos 81/4 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Bedil W/[Willy] 27 Erlswold Saxonwold/[Johannesburg] Eliof Gita Dzerzinskaya 72/3 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Bedil W/[Willy] 27 Erlswold Saxonwold/[Johannesburg] Elle Sruel Leona Paegla 3D27 Riga
1951, Feb 23 Berelowitz I. 107 Gordon Rd Judith's Paarl/[Johannesburg] Eliof Gita Dzerzinskaya 72/3 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Berger P/[Percy] P.O. Box 3496 Cape Town Susterman Ellie Dzerzinskaya 38/7 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Berger P/ [Percy] P.O. Box 3496 Cape Town Stoltzene Sarah Basanavicius 9/4 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Blecher N. Regent House Johannesburg Levinene Sara Algirdo 30/24 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Blecher N. Regent House Johannesburg Dorfman Feiga Gedraicio 37/5 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Bloch L. 70 Buxton St Dornfontein/[Johannesburg] Bloch Velve Nemuno 19/8 Kaunas
1957, Nov 18 Bloch L. 70 Buxton St Dornfontein/[Johannesburg] Krawitz Motel Momsomolski, Plostchad 3/6 Panevezys
1951, Feb 23 Brown L. 24 Louis Trichard St Pretoria North Aron Yda Livowo 57/14 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Brown L. 24 Louis Trichardt St Pretoria North Lash Rivka Dzerzinskaya 13/9 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Brozin N/[Nahum] Hendrik Potgieter St Middelburg Katz Leibos Baltuno 18/67 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Brozin N/[Nahum] Hendrik Potgieter St Middelburg Kotler S. Newezio 5 Panevezys
1951, Feb 23 Davidowitz Z. 187 Francis St Observatory/[Johannesburg] Bloch Minucha Nemuno 19/8 Kaunas
1957, Nov 18 Davidowitz Z. 187 Francis St Observatory/[Johannesburg] Aizikowitz Etel Respublikanskaya 27 Panevezys
1957, Nov 18 Druian A. 7 10th Av Mayfair/[Johannesburg] Reznik Bina Gedracio 27/5 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Druian A./ Mrs. 7 10th Av Mayfair/[Johannesburg] Zamalin Pae Gospitalnaia 9/9 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Esrock A/[Abe] P.O. Box 8080 Johannesburg Nachamowitz Sara Gedraicio 25/6 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Esrock A/[Abe] 29 Christeen Av Cyrildene/[Johannesburg] Block Chaim Stiklu 7/11 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Esrock A/[Abe] 29 Christeen Av Cyrildene/[Johannesburg] Milner Z.B. Dzerzinskaya 44/3 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Feldman M./Mrs. 33 Eliana Ct Norwood/[Johannesburg] Karabanowa Gite Gedraicio 20/4 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Feldman M./Mrs. 33 Eliana Ct Norwood/[Johannesburg] Presene S. Prospekt Stalino 37/10 Kaunas
1951, Feb 23 Finkel N. 62 Crown St Jeppe/[Johannesburg] Berzas Abpamos Kretingos 3/20 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Finkel N. 62 Crown St Jeppe/[Johannesburg] Oshry G.A. Kanarskaya 25/2 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Freedman Z. 17 Park St Kempton Park/[Johannesburg] Sneg Leiba Prospect Stalina 15/1 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Freedman Z. 17 Park St Kempton Park/[Johannesburg] Chwotzkin Gutel Basanavicius 24/4 Panevezys
1951, Feb 23 Furman M. 20 8th St Orange Grove/[Johannesburg] Weksler Yda Dzerzinskaya 56/19 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Furman M. 20 8th St Orange Grove/[Johannesburg] Komanc A. Kaunas 4/26 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Glass T/Mrs. 58 Alexandra Rd Parow Chwotzkin Gutel Basanavicius 24/4 Panevezys
1951, Feb 23 Glazer B. P.O. Box 2382 Johannesburg Joffe  Yda Dzerzinskaya 56/19 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Glazer B. P.O. Box 2382 Johannesburg Weizaite Kuna Kalwyni 10/6 Kaunas
1951, Feb 23 Hurwitz H. 13 Garisbrock St Sydenham/[Johannesburg] Katz Etel Aushros 47/2 Kaunas
1957, Nov 18 Hurwitz H. 13 Carisbrook St Sydenham/[Johannesburg] Amerman Sarah Dzerzinskaya 42/7 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Jacobs E. P.O. Box 106 Delmas Sadowitz Luba Krokonskaya 38/9 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Jacobs E. P.O. Box 106 Delmas Zuckerman Chana Zemacio 5/17 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Joffe M. 433 Fox St Fairview/[Johannesburg] Traub Mouse Prospekt Stalina 35/41 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Joffe M. 433 Fox St Fairview/[Johannesburg] Kanterowitz Mina Totorui 32/5 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Kagan A. 560 Albert Rd Cape Town Kagan Elle Klaipedos 5/57 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Kagan A. 560 Albert Rd Cape Town Ginsburg Yaxom Dzerzinskaya 40/11 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Kahn N/[Nathan] Seymour Av Cape Town Joffe Leia  Dzerzinskaya 27/6 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Kahn N/[Nathan] Seymour Av Cape Town Odinez Etel Gor Slangorod, KMarx 162 Altaiski 
1951, Feb 23 Levin A. 33 Clacton Rd Kensington/[Johannesburg] Dauksitzkaia Mina Pagegin 3/2 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Levin A. 33 Clacton Rd Kensington/[Johannesburg] Shusterman M.E. Basanavicius 14/20 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Levin P/[Philip] 22 6th St La Rochelle/[Johannesburg] Susterman Chaia Subacius 10/32 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Levin P/[Philip] 22 6th St La Rochelle/[Johannesburg] Katzev Tauba Wingrui 17/13 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Lurie I. 16 St. Mark Rd Houghton/[Johannesburg] Ginzburg Mouse Dzerzinskaya 40/11 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Lurie I. 16 St. Mark Rd Houghton/[Johannesburg] Munez Buna Klaipedos 5/57 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Marcus O. 47 Crudenbay Rd Greenside/[Johannesburg] Pres Etel Ludogiros 8/9 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Marcus O. 47 Crudenbay Rd Greenside/[Johannesburg] Gendel E. Gedracio 25/3 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Myerson R/[Rufka] 15 Yeo St Yeoville/[Johannesburg] Chwotzkin Gutel Basnavavicius 24/4 Panevezys
1957, Nov 18 Myerson R/[Rufka] 15 Yeo St Yeoville/[Johannesburg] Chernis I.B. Gedracio 35/9 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Oshry H/[Harry] 149 Clovelle Rd Greenside/[Johannesburg] Oshry Nechama Wingrui 17/9 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Oshry M/Max] 6 Yonkershoek Rd Hill Extension/[Johannesburg] Koltun Jankelis Shiluto 7/9 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Oshry M/[Max] 6 Yonkershoek Rd Hill Extension/[Johannesburg] Sneider Luba Prospekt Stalino 48/21 Kaunas
1951, Feb 23 Resnikow S/[Shmerel] P.O. Box 83 Middelburg Shapiro Sheina Dzerzinskaya 40/10 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Resnikow S/[Shmerel] P.O. Box 83 Middelburg Katz David Dzerzinskaya 50/16 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Riebach B/[BenZion] 48 Upper Ross St Dornfontein/[Johannesburg] Ainbinder Zelig Dauksos 2/25 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Riebach M/[Mendel] 10 Summerside Rd Greenside/[Johannesburg] Portnoi Chaya Daugeliskaya 8/9 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Rieback B/[BenZion] 31a Rockey St Bellevue/[Johannesburg] Machatas Sarah Shiluto 12/1 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Rieback M/[Mendel] 10 Summerside Rd Greenside/[Johannesburg] Sworinas Berel Shiluto 12/1 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Sachar V/[Velve] 467 Albert Rd Cape Town Levinson Dora Dunelaicio 42/1 Kaunas
1957, Nov 18 Sachar V/[Velve] 467 Albert Rd Cape Town Katz Chaya Fino 3/2 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Scheftz Ch/[Chava] 23 Hunter St Yeoville/[Johannesburg] Sworin Pese Shiluto 12/1 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Scheftz Ch/[Chava] 23 Hunter St Yeoville/[Johannesburg] Fleishman Dora Prospekt Stalino 35/41 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Shar J/Miss 201 Zarann Mansions Johannesburg Bott Sara Kankino 11/1 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Shar J/Miss 201 Zarann Mansions Johannesburg Gershunene R. Leiklos 11/7 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Smidt S/[Shmuel] 6 Leitch Rd Greenside/[Johannesburg] Polian Yitzchok Gedrio 8/16 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Smidt S/[Shmuel] 6 Leitch Rd Greenside/[Johannesburg] Kil Genrich Dzerzinskaya 40/10 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Smith A/[Avrum] 70 Westcliffe Dr Westcliffe / [Johannesburg] Chaitas Samuel Gedracio 17/19 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Smith A/[Avrum] 70 Westcliffe Dr Westcliffe / [Johannesburg] Epstein E. Dzerzinskaya 36/16 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Smith Brothers 124 Van Beek St Dornfontein/[Johannesburg] Sadowitz Pesel Dzerzinskaya 40/8 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Smith Bro Messers 124 Van Beek St Dornfontein/[Johannesburg] Leibowitz H.G. Komachunumo 24/24 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Sneider J.A. 47 Bezuidenhout St Bertrams/[Johannesburg] Sneg Malka Prospect Stalina 15/1 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Sneider J.A. 47 Bezuidenhout St Bertrams/[Johannesburg] Dembenevene Zina Baukstos 11/16 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Srock A.E. P.O Box 8080 Johannesburg Gurewitz R. Mitzkewichus 24/3 Kaunas
1951, Feb 23 Sternfield J/[Jacob] P.O. Box 3019 Johannesburg Susterman Rochel Dzerzinskaya 8/2 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Sternfield J/[Jacob] P.O. Box 3019 Johannesburg Smilg-Maksinowich Lev Praveniskis Kaisadorski 
1951, Feb 23 Trapedo M/[Morris] P.O. Fishers Hill Fishers Hill Eliof Leia  Shiluto 7/3 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Trapedo M/[Morris] P.O. Fishers Hill Fishers Hill Bloch Frida Wingrui 17/13 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Trapido I/[Israel] 21 Elray St Raedene/[Johannesburg] Kessel Chaim Dzerzinskaya 40/11 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Trapido I/[Israel] 21 Elray St Raedene/[Johannesburg] Shapiro S. Subacaus 10/32 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Tuber S/[Solomonj] 68 14th St Orange Grove/[Johannesburg] Tuber Smerl Gedraicio 25/3 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Tuber S/[Solomonj] 68 14th St Orange Grove/[Johannesburg] Koltun M.E. Tilto 27/3 Vilnius
1951, Feb 23 Yale M/[Monke] P.O. Box 1841 Johannesburg Dameshek Leib Gedraicio 37/3 Vilnius
1957, Nov 18 Yale M/[Monke] P.O. Box 1841 Johannesburg Katz A. Baltusha 18/7 Vilnius

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