KehilaLinks logoA Trip to Lida

Ellen Vine Jakobson travelled to Lida in June  2002.  She has generously donated her impressions & pictures.  The narrative is from a letter she wrote to her cousin Marvin Brooks.

The Memorial to Holocaust Victims in Lida

Pictures taken on the roads near Lida

Pictures of Modern Lida

Lida is an unknown town.  No one knows it and certainly not its (Jewish) history.  You know more about Lida than anyone there.

I had asked for a Jewish guide and I got one.  He was head of the Jewish Cultural Group in Kaunas and came from there to Vilnius to take us to Belarus and Lida.  This is no easy feat!!  He had never been there himself, but contacted a woman  who was head of the Jewish Cultural Group in Lida.  She spoke no English.

We were late to the border crossing.  She met us with her husband and the situation went like this.  She would tell our guide something and her husband would chime in -- looking at the guide and then he would translate what she said.

First she showed us two wooden houses [note: one of them contains identifiable people, so cannot be posted]  that belonged to the people that owned the brewery and wanted to show us the brewery.  At that point I lost it and said I don't want to see a brewery I want to see old houses!! (note they were part of a tour and only had a few hours in Lida and had to return to Vilnius).  She of course did not know what I was saying and it turns out the brewery was owned by Jewish people and they may or may not have lived in one of the houses.  The family name was PUPKO and/or PAPELMEISTER).  I thought this could be Popkin. [Note:  There were indeed 2 Jewish-owned breweries in Lida, Pupko & Papiermeister.  The current brewery of Lida Beer was the one formerly owned by the Pupko family, distant relatives of whom were indeed occasionally known as Popkin in the US].  We did go to the beer factory to see the old parts.  There could have been a Mogen Dovid at the top which was removed (see picture).  She also talked about someone named SHAPIRO who was the owner of a factory producing agricultural machinery or parts who had won international prizes in 1911.  The beer factory was (from) 1876.

I found the original cemetery area (thanks to the 1941 map from Sefer Lida).  Part of it is a park and most of it has apartment buildings on it.  Next to this area is an original stone  marker laid flat on the ground which will be removed and made into a memorial in the town.

I walked into the park part of the cemetery to say a prayer (this was in memory of the WEIN family; in particular BENJAMIN & BESSIE WEIN and AVRAHAM ARON & SARAH WEIN and their family).  I will send it to you.  I said I wanted to pray so the men put on kippas and were ready and I said I wanted to do it by myself so I walked away and stood by a tree (see picture) and prayed on the grounds of the cemetery.  I had written it out but could only mumble;  my voice was choked up.  I am sure that was the spot of the cemetery.

The woman (thank goodness for her), is very active and had records of all Jewis (new residents from Russia) who live in Lida.  We went to the memorial for the 6700 dead in Lida (see pictures).  These are covered over pits --There is a separate one for children, and they have just found a third, which she is fighting to restore.

… (Information about Vilna deleted)…

In Lida in the Soviet store I got you an ugly beer mug which says Lida in Russian and a doll dressed like my great-grandmother may have dressed as a girl.  There was nothing there from pre-Soviet times, 30 years ago.

Copyright © 2002 Ellen Vine Jakobson
HTML by Irene Newhouse


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