As is noted elsewhere in the historical overview of Lunna, prior to
the Second World War, several former Jewish residents of Lunna had
emigrated to the United States, Eretz Israel (British Mandatory
Palestine), and other places around the world. We currently know of
only two such persons who returned to Lunna to visit their family
members who had not accompanied them abroad.
In 1931, Herman Silver and his wife Netty (her maiden name is
unknown), who were residing in the United States, traveled to Poland.
Netty Silver was the daughter of Peshe Mirke from Lunna. The Silver
couple took snapshots of buildings and people in Lunna. For more
information please refer to the page Memoirs/Leon
In 1937, Yitzchak Eliashberg, a former Lunna resident who emigrated in
1932 to Eretz Israel, went to visit his family who remained in Lunna.
He sent letters to his girl-friend (who would later become his wife)
Ahuva in Palestine. In those letters he described the uncertain
economic, political, and social atmosphere, and expressed his concerns
as to the future of the residents of the Lunna Shtetl. The letters
(which were written in Hebrew, but were translated into English) are
Lunna August 25, 1937
Ahuva'le, my darling!
I have been at home in Lunna among my family for three days now. The
welcoming reception which I have been given cannot be described in
words. It's been five years in which I have not seen anyone from my
family. After six days, which I spent in noisy Paris, I have arrived
at a tranquil, familiar place. Everywhere that I go brings back
childhood memories of days that are now gone. I really don't know
where to begin…
…It's been already 3 weeks since I left the country [Eretz Israel].
Today is Wednesday -- exactly three weeks ago, on the same day of the
week as it is today -- I boarded the ship and began sailing into the
wide world. I haven't had yet the opportunity for a rest, so I will
not be able to summarize all that I have gone through. Anyways, my
horizons have expanded and have been enriched. Our country is very
precious to me. It is already a part of my blood and under all
circumstances I would consider it to be my homeland. And yet, it is
desirable, very desirable, to grasp for the greatness of the world.
Here at home, I am not getting any time off. A lot of people come to
visit me. I have become quite a hero and a celebrity here. I must tell
each and every one of our visitors about our country, about its life
and customs, about its boys and its girls…I am practically tired from
speaking so much. As for today, I have decided not to see anybody and
to rest instead.
My sister, Malka, is present here at the resort [in Zaleski forest]
together with her husband [Avigdor Bialoblocki] and their two children
[Aviva and Shmuel-Arie]. These children are like flowers. I totally
love them. I play with them and they have become very attached to me.
They are not letting me go, not even for one moment.
Everything seems to be fine. Life here has not changed compare to how
it was five years ago. There is only this feeling of insecurity and
fear of what might be happening next, which has taken a hold of
everybody. Many people already have passed away (from this world.) But
there is this new generation of whose childhood I can remember, which
now has grown up without any purpose or aim in life. It is
degenerating. A retarded and primitive provincialism mixed with
frankness and straightforward naiveté - the main characteristics of
the typical Jewish town, have prevailed until the present time. One
generation goes, another comes, and life remains the same. Since I
have come from our country and then from the big world, I have looked
at all that is going on and I am aware of the events and all of the
potential changes taking place in the world. When I contrast this with
the standing-still, frozen town whose sons who have grown without any
perspective whatsoever and also with its worsening economic and
physical situation, I feel how severe the tragedy of the Jewish
exile-town is. I really like listening to conversations. I do a lot of
conversing myself and the more I do, the clearer becomes the picture
of the life of the Polish Jews. When I tell about the life in our
country, what envy! Their eyes glow and also tears well up, but
nevertheless, mixed with feelings of doubt. Will salvation arrive?
Would our country be capable rapidly of solving all their pain during
This is how my last three days were. I feel terrific to be around my
family. They are spoiling me like a little boy. They make me
delicacies which we do not have in our country. They don't exactly
know what to do with me. Acquaintances and relatives have brought
chocolate boxes and wines for the "guest". Mom has already begun to
cry that within three weeks she would have to say goodbye to me one
more time. The weather is fantastic. You have written that "at your
place" the heat was almost unbearable and here "at our place" it is
now the famous Polish fall – cool days and dying summer…
After "Shabbat" I am going to Grodno, the city where I attended "Tarbut"
high school. My teachers and principal are already awaiting my visit.
I have many relatives there and I received even more invitations than
I have relatives. I will stay there for a few days. This city is very
dear to me. That is where I had my youthful spring, alive and
fermenting, as I have not had yet the chance to tell you about it
all…at that time on the beach…
Anyways, I see that the three weeks, which are still left to my stay
here, will not be eventless.
Ahuva'le! I'll be coming back with a ship from Konstanza, which will
depart on the 23rd of September . I am hoping that that by the
28th or the 29th of September, I will already be in Tel Aviv…
I would be writing to you more extensively (and maybe I fatigue you
with all this, who knows?), but I have yet to revitalize myself from
the lengthy, tiresome road and also from my first days here at home.
I'll have a rest and then I'll be able to concentrate better and write
to you more.
Greetings to the "Chvreh" [our friends at home].
Lunna August 30, 1937
Hello to you, my Ahuva!
I have been here at home for seven days now. I managed to have a
little bit of a rest and the time to recuperate from all of the
excitement and the emotion of seeing my family. So at this moment, I
am able to concentrate and continue to relate to you impressions from
my travels. I wrote to you one letter from home, while I was in a
hurry. I did not want that you would be waiting for a letter for a
long period of time, so while I was going through the reception and
the noise, I wrote you about some of my first impressions. Today it
already feels as if I live here. Although guests come and visit me
every day and I also owe some visits to different friends (they are
not allowing to get away, insisting that I keep my promise). I am
happy that I brought in with me some of the feelings and the
atmosphere of Eretz Israel into this decaying shtetl. I am obliged to
tell all kind of details and respond to all kinds of naive and
provincial questions, which in some cases, I would much rather retire
and sit in a quiet corner and laugh out loud because of their absurd
That's how it goes. This is a simple and naive shtetl, yet it is as
lovely as ever. I, personally, cannot imagine any circumstance in
which I would be able to consider it as my place or as a place to
build in a future. Nevertheless, I am deriving great pleasure from
this temporary stay. Every step that I take refreshes memories of past
childhood days and all of the history that they contain.
Perhaps you are quite emotionally distant from these kinds of things -
I am not sure if you can resonate with this or not - however I am
learning a lot from each and every character that I see, these days,
in the town's streets. I look at them and I try to get inside their
soul, which is something that I could not have done during my
I had two significant turning points in my life before I immigrated to
Eretz Israel -- one was my shtetl, my home and my place of birth --
and the other was the city, the place where I received my schooling
and education. The shtetl provided me with the simplicity and the
innocence of life. The city taught me about the contradictions in
life, the hypocrisy and the deceit. The high school in the city gave
me wisdom and the mind to comprehend things. The youth movement, which
I attended, provided me with a sensitive heart, capable of both love
Only from the perspective of today, many years forward into the
future, have I these kinds of feelings. I hope that once I get back
home, I will be able to explain and pass on to you everything that I
have felt during the days of my stay here.
I would now like to continue (I don't know whether I will be
successful or not) with impressions from my travels.
Two photos taken by Mr. Eliashberg during his 1937 visit in Lunna are
shown below. More pictures are posted on the
Family Albums/Yitzchak Eliashberg page.
Yitzchak Eliashberg & Family
Eliashberg & Kosowski Family Relatives
Visits to Lunna During the Cold War
After the Second World War, Lunna was incorporated into the Soviet
Union and, as part of an “off limits” border/security area, was
effectively separated from the western world. We know, however, of at
least one visit to Lunna during the post-war Soviet period. In 1958,
Yaakov Margulis, a former Lunna resident who had moved to Russia after
World War I, visited Lunna. During this visit, Mr. Margulis took
several photos and sent them to his brother, Aba Margulis, who resided
in Israel. Three of these photos are posted below. More photos are
posted on various pages of this site.
Mr. Yaakov Margulis posing
by his old residence
The residence of Pesia Margulis
(Yaakov Margulis' mother)
The Market Square
(behind the trees, left: Orthodox
Jewish small shops: groceries, shoemaker's
workshop, tailor's workshop, etc. were placed here
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Ruth Marcus & Aliza Yonovsky Created
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.