Families of Obeliai: faces and stories
In order to remember the Jewish families and individuals who lived in Obeliai over the years, we are compiling a list of names and, where possible, photos. No Jews now live in Obeliai - they are scattered around the world. Hopefully, by finding a relative in the list below, we can reunite relatives and friends all over the globe. If you would like your family's names added or know of someone who might, please contact Emma via the link at the bottom of the page.
Some names listed are just a name, with no further information. These appear where someone remembers the name but little or nothing else. Please help us to fill in the gaps, if you can!
Does anyone know any more about Elke "the meshummed"? All we know is that his father had died and his mother turned him over to the community to raise.
BUN - Micha/Mikhel BUN. Wife's name not known. They had a son: Benyamin.
- Benyamin BUN married Chana ?. They had a son: Evel.
- Evel BUN married Chana ? They had a son: Mowsha-Khatzkel.
- Mowscha-Khatzkel BUN married Sora Hanna(h) YAFFE/YOFFE. They had a daughter, Toiba Rochel BUN/BOON. She was brought up in Rokiskis.
- Toiba Rochel married Mordchel (Max) KOBLENTZ and they moved to the USA together in the early 1900s.
CHAITOVICIUTE / CHAITOWITZ / - Ariel Dov "Barney" CHAITOWITZ.
He had a brother "Harry".
Their sister "Annie" married into the LEVIN family
Their sister "Polly" married into the JOFFEE family.
Much of the CHAITOWITZ family immigrated to South Africa in the early 1900s.
Ida Rose CHAITOWITZ, was born in Obeliai in October 1875. Her parents were Ruven and Leah ?. She had a brother, Abraham Isaac, and a sister, Yetta (Jenny).
Ida married Louis SAPAKIE from Grajewo around September 1901. Their daughter, Rebecca, was born in 1902; a second daughter, Edna, followed in 1904. Louis emigrated to the United States via Canada and Vermont in 1904. He sent for his family to join him in 1909. They settled in White Plains, NY where Louis worked as a window washer. Their family expanded to Ann (1910), Jacob (1913), and Hyman (1915).
Ida's brother, Abraham Isaac, and sister, Yetta/Jenny, also emigrated to the United States; Abraham in 1904 and Yetta/Jenny with her husband, David ARENSON in 1906. Their children were Reuben, Harry, Louis, Himey and Samuel. Abraham married Leah and they had two children: Meyer and Sarah.
DICK - Chaim. Married Golda POGRUND. Children: Abraham, Aron, Samuel and Ida.
EISEN- Elimelach (Max) Mordechai EISEN. Son of Iczik and Rivka. Originally from Dusetai. Moved to Abel to tutor the eleven FRIEDMAN children. Married Feiga FRIEDMAN (the boss's daughter!). They had three children: Mildred, Irving and Judy. Max also worked in a grocery store to supplement his tutoring wages.
EISENBERG - Kalman
FRIDMAN/FRIEDMAN - Baruch FRIDMAN. Father of Gershon Pincus FRIDMAN.
- Gershon Pincus FRIDMAN, a kosher slaughterer (shochet), and his wife, Shana KATZ, lived in Abel along with their seven children. Shana died of pneumonia in 1895.
Of the seven children:
- Frank, Pesach, Bere Leib and Rose emigrated to the USA before 1905.
- The other three: Sora, Motel (?), and another female (Feiga?) stayed in Abel.
Gershon married for second time, but later divorced. He may have married a third time.
- Afroim Fridman emigrated to the United States, along with his siblings, Bere Leib Fridman, Pesach Fridman and Ruchel/Rose Friedman Stein. There were five other children who remained behind with their parents in Abel.
- Chaim Avigdor FRIEDMAN was a wealthy landowner who moved from Goorni in Russia to Abel around 1750. He owned a water-driven flour mill at Pakrevna.
- Chaim Avigdor had two wives. The first, Henna Zelda KATZ, was a widow with five children. Many of the boys changed their surnames to avoid serving in the army. Some to Kafenhouse, KATZ, Charit and Friedman. If you were an only son you could avoid being drafted.
- By his second wife, Sorre Bela, he had two sons, Yudel and Moshe.
Yudel took over the mill and was a successful grain merchant and miller. He dealt with flax which was exported to Paris and other grain seeds were processed to oil in Dvinsk.
-Yudel married twice.
With the first wife he had one daughter, Chana. Chana married ? GORDON.
And with the second, Musha RABINOWITZ, he had another 11 children: eight daughters and three sons. Apparently one boy died young in an accident in the mill.
- Sonia, married Abrasha CHARIT, and had two sons, Yudke and Yakov.
- Rosa married Itzik CHARIT.
- Noora married Yankele KAPLAN and had a daughter, Musha. Musha married ? FAINSTEIN and had a son Yudke. During the First World War, Musha and her seven daughters and son, Zalman, escaped to Penza, Russia, where she died aged 48.
- Feige married Elimelach (Max) Mordechai EISEN.
- Zoika married ? SHUSTER.
- Basia married Max FUNT. They had one daughter.
- Sorrel (Sara) married Chaim Itzik BARELKIN and had five children. Four children moved to Israel.
- Itzik married Pearl ?. He was a pilot in the First World War. He came home shell shocked. They had two children, Musha and Yudke.
- Lipke married Ella YOSSELOWITZ and they had three children, all of whom moved to South Africa and then Israel .
- Zamke went to South Africa and married Rivke ORLIN.
Zalman, at the tender age of 10, made his way back to Abel from Penza, a distance of 1500 km, on his own, to see his brother and father. Unfortunately his father had already died in 1916.
During the Second World War, four sisters and their families managed to escape at the last minute and spent time in Uzbekistan. After the war the four sisters reunited in Lithuania and brought up their families in Vilna. Some of the family emigrated to Israel in 1972 and others in 1990.
GORDON - Elieyuhu "the Moskver" was a merchant and a respected scholar. He had two daughters, Chaye Sara, who became a Russian teacher, and Dobre, who opened a dry goods store.
"The advocat Gordon" had a daughter named Mildred. She married Morris JAFFEE and had four sons. See YOFFE.
GRIS - The GRIS family appear (so far) NOT to be related to the GREISS and GROSS families other than by marriage. The maiden name of Marcia Spiler, who contributed several photos and stories to this site, was GRIS.
GROSS / GREISS - The family left Abel in 1935. The family name was Gross (or Greiss).
- Hirschl married a lady surnamed SHUSTER. According to the Yizkor Book for Rokiskis, Hirsche was an "orchard renter" or gardener, exporting fruit to Poland and beyond.
- Mordechai Dov GREIS had three siblings: Faiga, Henna Pessa and Fytl.
- Mordechai married Eitel ?. Their son, Avraham Zvi Ben Mordechai Dov, went by the name Harry GROSS.
- Esther GROSS married HARRY KAPELUS/KAPLAN.
- Freyda GREISS married Movshe POGRANT.They had a daughter, Eva POGRANT. See POGRUND.
HAMMER - - Gnessa HAMMER was mother of Yankel HAMMER.
- Yankel HAMMER married Rivka PULDA. They had four children: Yenta Lottel, Moshe Be'er, Esther Adele (Eidle) and Shlomo Zelig.
- Yenta Lottel married Mendel FLAXMAN. They had three children: Libke, Hirschke and Lanke.
- Moshe Be'er married ? . They had three children.
- Esther Adele (Eidle) married ? Levine. They had one child, Pinkus LEVINE.
- Esther remarried to Abram PULDA. They had two children, Jennette/Jenny/Sona and Leiser/Louis. Leiser PULDA had six children (see PULDA).
- Shlomo Zelig HAMMER married Hannah TAL, granddaughter of Tzvi and Etelle TAL. They had three daughters..
- Jennette/Jenny/Sona married Hyman GALENA. They had a daughter, Merna.
HIATT - Jacob (Jack) HIATT was a lawyer and judge in Abel. He married Frances. He emigrated to the USA in 1938 and settled in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he became a successful company president and philanthropist. He was particularly generous to seats of art and learning, including Clark University, the College of the Holy Cross and Brandeis University in Waltham, of which he was a founder. He devoted his life to building bridges between Jews and non-Jews all over the world. His sister lives in San Francisco.
JAFFA/JAFFEE/YAFFE(E)/YOFFE(E) - See YOFFEE below.
KAPELUS/KAPELLIS/KAPLAN - Zorach Zwi Kapelus(h). Changed his name to Harry Kaplan. His father was Noah Kapellis. Harry was married to Esther GROSS whose parents or grandparents were CHAITOWITZ. Esther died when Harry was five he lived with his grandmother in Abel. Later his father remarried.
KATZ - See FRIDMAN.
KLASS/KLAZ/KLYAZ/KLOSS - Saul KLAS is mentioned as being a butcher by trade in the Yizkor book for Rokiskis.
- Arel KLYAZ had a son, Bentsyl, who became a rabbi.
- Rabbi Bentsyl KLAZ married Meri ?. They had a daughter named Shaine Etta.
- Shaine Etta KLAZ married Jacob Koppel Dov ZAK.
- Liba SCHNITZER's second husband was Leyba KLAZ. He was much older than Liba and died in Abel in 1888, leaving Liba with a son, in addition to the five children from her first marriage. See SCHNITZER.
Two of Liba's daughters from her first marriage married sons of Abel:
- C.1890, Liba's oldest daughter Rachel SCHNITZ(ER) married Schulem (Shalom) KLOSS (Klaz), the son of Wolf KLAZ of Abel (and nephew to Liba's 2nd husband, Leyba KLAZ).
- In 1892, Liba's second daughter, Sarah SCHNITZ(ER) married Elchanon Joal ZAK in London. The son of Koppel Dov ZAK of Abel, on immigrating to England he assumed the name Hyman Abraham KLOSS. See also ZAK/SACK.
- Esther PULDA married Izzie KLASS.
See also KRAVECKI.
The below tombstone photo was submitted by Raz Klass. Can anyone read the stone or shed any light on this name or family, please? This may be a stone and/or relative of the KLASS/KLOSS family, although it looks like the name is KRAVECKI.★
KOBLENTZ - See BUN.
KOLANIS/ KALANIS/ COLON - Michael. There are also links to families named LOCK and SKOLNIK.
Michael had a stepbrother, named Meyer KALANIS, who emigrated to Argentina.
They also had a sister, about whom little is known.
KRAVECKI/KRAVESKI? - The below tombstone photo was submitted by Raz Klass. Can anyone read the stone or shed any light on this name or family, please? ★ This may be a stone and/or relative of the KLASS/KLOSS family.
KRUSS - See POGRUND/POGRANT.
KUGEL - Isaac (Ichik) KUGEL married Sheina. They had 7 children.
- Anna Chaiya married Saul ROSINKSY from Lugovets, Russia in 1895. In 1904 Saul went to the USA with his eldest daughter, Sophie. He became a fruit merchant/junk dealer in Omaha.
- Isadore was born in Dvinsk and moved to Johannesburg. He was a music teacher. He changed his name to BERMAN, as he thought the name KUGEL was too common.
- Bryna was born in Dvinsk and married Sonny BOROLSKY (BAROLSKAITE). They had 7 children. Bryna's grandson, Lt Nitai SHIFTS was killed in September 1995 in South Lebanon when he stepped on a mine.
- Civia was born in Abel and married Mendel (Max) KROOK from Moscow. Mendel moved to Cape Town in March 1901. He died in November 1911. Civia returned to Lithuania with her 5 children: Peiske, Leiba, Dora, Cilia and Edie. Leiba died shortly after their return. Dora went to live with her aunt Rivka in the USA.
- Rivka was born in Dvinsk and married Elias SLOVIN. Their firstborn arrived in 1900 and Harry and Joe followed in 1901, all born in Abel. They then moved to the USA and had 4 more sons: Simon, Malcolm, Irvine and Alfred.
- Gittel was born in Abel in 1888. She married Leon SLUTZKIN from White Russia in South Africa in 1910. They had 4 children: Lubbe, Alexander, Lippe and Dora. After her wedding, Gittel brought Isadore and Peiske to South Africa. Peiske changed his name to Max Shimkins and moved to Rhodesia where he became involved in ranching and hostelry. He later brought his sisters and mother back to Southern Africa.
LEIBOVITZ - Sula (Sonia). Married Icikas MICHELIOVICIUS. They had three children who survived: twins: Frida and Berta and a son Jankelis.
MESNICK - Hannah. Married Michel MICHELIOVICIUS. Had a son, Icikas.
Simon Michal (Shimon Michaelovitz) z"l was born in Abel. He was the middle of three brothers: Israel Michel (Shroel Michalovitz) was the oldest, and Moshe (Maurice) was the youngest. Israel and Shimon both moved to South Africa, leaving their parents, Michael Ze'ev Michalevitz and Nechama Sheina Michalevitz, behind in Abel. As well as being a well known Chazan in Johannesburg, Shimon was an author, and a sample of his work can be found in the Yizkor Book for Rokiskis.
MILLER/MILNDER - Nachum Zellick Milnder married Chana. Son: Kasriel.
- Kasriel Milner married Deborah ?. They had two sons: Yitzhak and Berchick.
- Yitzhak married Mary ? and had four children.
- Berchick Miller married Slova ? and had three children.
- Kasriel remarried to Miriam ? . They had one child, Louis. Miriam died when Louis was an infant.
- Kasriel (Kalman) Miller then married Etelle STAMM, who raised Louis. She was his third wife and he was her second husband.
MUSSEL - Moshe Mussel, moved from Lithuania to Israel in the 1980s, and knew Itzke Shmidt (mentioned below in the schoolfriend memories). Moshe's father, Yaakov Mussel, was married to Hana-Batia and was a teacher in Obeliai before he became a teacher and later a principal in Zarasai. During WWII, Jacob and Haia Mussel were murdered. Haim Mussel was able to flee, joined the Soviet Red Army and was killed in action. Moshe and Masha were held in the Kovno ghetto, Yitzhak made it to Israel.
(left to right)
Top row – Yitzhak, Masha, Moshe
Center – Yaakov, Hana –Batia, Haim
Bottom – Shlomo-Gershon
NURKIN/NURKINAS/NURKIM - Motel (Marcos) was the son of Jankelis and Mine NURKINAS, and he was born in Obeliai. Mine's maiden name was VEKSLERAITE/VEKSLER. Yankel was the son of Leibe and Seina NURKINAS, of Obeliai, and Mine was the daughter of Motel and Taube VEKSLER, also of Obeliai. Yankel's wife and son moved to Brazil, and they had two more sons, Saul and Natalio.
Girsh POGRANT married ?. They had a son, Movshe POGRANT.
- Movshe married Freyda GREISS.They had a daughter, Eva.
- Eva POGRANT married Nathan (Nosel) SHRIBERG. See SHRIBERG.
Zelik POGRUND was the father of Nottel Meier POGRUND ca. 1842-11.9.1896 (Apoplexy) Abel.
- Nottel Meier is mentioned in the 1889 census as living with his wife and four children. One son was named Shmuel Leiba.
- Shmuel Leiba POGRUND married Beila Gittel ?. They had two children: Eliaa Borukh POGRUND in 1899 and Mere (Meir) POGRUND in 1901.
Golda POGRUND married Moses SACKSTEIN.
Later on, Anna POGRUND married the same Moses SACKSTEIN.
Eida POGRUND married Shmuel Hanoch KRUSS.
Later, a fourth sister married the same Shmuel Hanoch KRUSS.
Please click here to go the Pogrund/Pogrant family tree compiled by Michael Grant.
Yehuda POGRUND and family
Yehuda Loebe and Sarah
PULDA - Louis.
- Rivka PULDA married Yankel HAMMER.
- Esther PULDA married Izzie KLASS.
ROCKMAN - Jacob ROCKMAN. Moved to Srednik (Seredzius) (?and Shamancha/ Šimonys) and then emigrated to the US in 1906, on the Westerland, laning in Philadelphia on 12 June. He was a shochet. He married Ella or Elke CHORATS, who had, herself, emigrated to the US in 1908. They had five children (Sarah (1896), Helen (1897), Louis (1899), Morris (1903) and Annie (1905)).
RUKH - Abram and son, Mikhel. Mikhel married Reyze ?. They had a child named Movsha RUKH.
SACK(S) - See ZAK.
SACKSTEIN - See ZAKHSTEIN.
SCHNIT(ZER?) - Chaim Aaron "Orschick" Schnit(zer) married Liba Bella (Leah) Khirurg of Pandelys c. 1865. They five children. Chaim Aaron died c. 1880.
- Liba later married Leyba KLAZ. He was much older than Liba and died in Abel in 1888, leaving Liba with an additional baby, a son.
- Liba and her children emigrated to London, England in the 1890s. Liba married at least two more times but had no more children. One husband died in London in 1901, the other survived her.
- The daughter and granddaughter of Khirurgs (meaning surgeon's assistants or barber-surgeon), Liba was a proud and dedicated midwife whose name is found on the first midwives roll in London (1904) and on every year's roll thereafter until her death. She probably practiced midwifery in Abel as well, likely delivering a goodly percentage of Jews born there from about 1865-90.
- In 1906, Liba's youngest son left England for the USA, joining his much-older half-siblings and their families. Eventually he sent his mother a ticket so she could visit him. After a wonderful five-month trip, Liba insisted on returning to London to attend a particular birth in London, as she had promised. Her son implored her not to go but she would not be moved and boarded the Lusitania on May 1, 1914 as scheduled. She died off the coast of Ireland when the ship was torpedoed by the German fleet.
- Two of Liba's daughters married sons of Abel:
1. C.1890, Liba's oldest daughter Rachel Schnit(zer) married Schulem (Shalom) KLOSS (Klaz), the son of Wolf KLAZ of Abel (and nephew to Liba's 2nd known husband, Leyba Klaz).
2. In 1892, Liba's second daughter, Sarah Schnit(zer) married Elchanon Joal Zak in London. Though he was a son of Kopel Zak of Abel, on immigrating to England he assumed the name Hyman Abraham Kloss.
Zlata Schnit(zer), Liba's fourth daughter, married Samuel Rosenberg in London in 1896, attended by Liba with her then husband, Sabbatai Comras (b. ca 1840, Utena).
S(H)EMER - Abraham Semer. His sister, Mindel (born in Birzai) married Max SIFMAN (born in Bialistok) at Abraham's house in Abel in 1926.
SHOKHAT - Ette Hene married Obeliai's Rabbi, Chaim Nosent Shokhat. After they left Obeliai, they settled in Portland, Maine. David Schochat, who lived in New York, wrote a book entitled "The Jewish Court in the Middle Ages".
SHRIBERG/SHRABERG/SHREBERG/SCHREIBERG - Hirsch SHRIBERG married ?. They had a son, Mordekhel.
- Motel/Mordekhel SHRIBERG married Ida AKERMAN.
Their daughter was Channah Rivka (Riva) SHRIBERG who married Yankel Leib ZAK.
They had "lots" of children" (!).
Their daughter, Chaia, married Woolf SLOVO. See SLOVO.
Their son, Nathan (Nosel) SHRIBERG married Eva POGRANT. It is believed that they had six children - four boys and two girls.
The boys were Moshe and David (twins), Charles and Phillip SHRIBERG.
- Moshe (Morris) SHRIBERG studied to be a rabbi and shochet - taught by Nathan JOFFEE - married Mindel JOFFEE, his teacher's daughter, and moved to England. They settled first in Bolton, Lancashire and then in Tonypandy, Wales - he founded synagogues in both towns - and had six children: Gitel (Gertrude), Marks (Max), Ginnie (Jean), Samuel, Leah and Simon.
The other brothers, David, Philip and Charles, moved to America.
-David SHRABERG married Sarah Leah MUNICH. They had two children: Hyman and Mary.
Hyman SHRABERG married Bess SAMOLE.They had three children.
Mary SHRABERG married Bert KLEIN. They had three sons.
-Charles (Rachmiel) SCHREIBERG married Fanny KAUFMAN and had three children, two of whom sadly died young - a twin at birth and another boy who died of influenza.
The surviving twin, Lester SCHREIBERG, married Merle, and they had two children.
Emma, compiler of this website, is researching this family.
L to R: Nathan SHRIBERG, Eva POGRANT, Mindel JOFFEE, Moshe SHRIBERG.
SILBER / SILVER - Rabbi Bonim Tsemach Silver and his son, Rabbi Eliezer Silver, who became Rabbi of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania between 1908 and 1925 and wrote the book "Kaddish". He was later appointed to the Congress of American and Canadian Rabbis. Click here for further details of his life and work.
SLOVO - Woolf SLOVO and Chaja (Annie) ZAK had three children - Yossel Mashel (Joseph), Seine Gitel (Sonia) and Eva (Reina). The family moved to South Africa in 1934, where Woolf worked as a truck driver. Joseph grew up to become a famous anti-apartheid campaigner, leader of the Communist Party and eventually Housing Minister before his death from cancer. Click here to view his obituary and life story.
STAMM - Sussia and Etelle Merele were brother and sister. There was another brother who moved to Dvinsk and changed his name.
- Sussia had three sons and three daughters: Max, Israel and ?, Mary, Mae and Sarah. Sussia's son became a rabbi in Connecticut.
- Mary married Yankel Cooper.
- Sarah married ? Lang. They had a son who is a well-known Judaica scholar.
- Etelle Merele married Tzvi Hersch Menchel (Menachem Mendel) TAL. They had two daughters, Hannah Hesse and Hanniel.
- After Tzvi died, Etelle remarried, to Kasriel MILLER (she was his fourth wife). They had a daughter, Shoshana, who died at the age of 8. After he died, Etelle baked challah to support herself, rather than rely on community charity to take care of her. We have no information on his earlier unions.
TAL - see STAMM and HAMMER.
TSECHSHTEYN - See ZAKSHTEIN
VAINER - (Due to surname variants, all people listed here are VAINER, unless otherwise stated)
David Vainer was born in Obeliai about 1818 and died in Obeliai 20 Dec 1893. He had 5 sons.
- Zalman married Itke ? and had two children:
o Khano Rokhel married Orel SLOVO in 1905, and
o Girsh, who married Dveire STAMLER and had four children: Ita, Dina, Malke and Judel (who died fighting for the Red Army against the Japanese in 1945).
- Leibe Hertz moved to Dubinova, married Itta DEUTSCH and had 7 children: Max, Michael, Hyman, Sadie, David, Pearl Lee, and Anna.
- Girsh Yankel married first Sore Gite KARK in 1888 in Rokiskis, and later Genia GRYZ in 1900 in Obeliai. With Sore, he had four children: Israel Leib who moved to Denmark, Chana Girshka; Mayer WEINER who moved to New York, and David Mendel.
- Chone Mendel married Sarah FREYDEL and they moved to Massachusetts in around 1930. Chone and Sarah had Dvore “Dora”, and David Liebe.
- Abel Ovsei had three children with his wife Ite ?: David; Itsyk; and Kasriel.
VEKSLERAITE/VEKSLER - see NURKIN/NURKIM/NURKINAS
WAGNER - Shamshon
YOFFE(E)/YAFFE(E)/JOFFE(E)/JAFFE(E) - Yitzhak Moshe. Daughter: Freida Rachael.
- Nathan YOFFEE was a rabbi or tzadik. His daughter was Mindel.
- Mindel YOFFEE. Married Moshe SHRIBERG. See SHRIBERG.
- Morris JAFFEE - owned a record and bicycle store.
- Morris JAFFEE married Mildred GORDON and moved to the USA. Morris worked in a department store in Savannah, Georgia. She was a very devout woman who spent most of her time in shul and helping the poor and sick. They had four sons: Abraham (Al), Harry and two others.
- Abraham (Al) JAFFEE, Morris and Mildred's eldest son, was born in the US in 1921. In 1927, Mildred took her four sons back to Zarasai. The three oldest returned to the US in 1933 with their father. The fourth moved to the US in 1940. It seems that Mildred did not leave.
Al married Ruth Ahlquist in 1945; they had two children. They divorced in 1967. Al became the (in)famous cartoonist of Mad Magazine and created the Mad fold-in. He holds the Guinness World Record for having the longest-ever career as a comic artist. He has recently published his autobiography, A Mad Life. Below is one of his drawings of Zarasai. There are many more in the book. His Wikipedia entry can be found here. He is 100 years old.
Al married for a second time in 1977, to Joyce REVENSON.
The second son, Harry (1922–1985), was an artist like his brother. He lived with Al and Ruth until 1977; after his divorce, Al purchased two apartments near either other in Manhattan, for himself and his brother. From 1970 to 1977, Harry worked for his brother, doing background artwork and lettering.
Although most of the JOFFE family were from the Rokiskis area (often referred to as Zarasai, after the district rather than the town), rather than Obeliai, itself, their entanglement with Obeliai families is frequent, so their information is included for reference purposes.
ZAK/ SACK - Benjamin ZAK, a well-known writer and journalist, was originally from Abel.
- Itzik ZAK, married to Yente ?, is mentioned in the Yizkor book for Rokiskis as being a "forester" with a very successful business. Their two sons both went to university and had very successful careers, Israel in engineering and his brother in the judiciary. Israel and Benjamin, together with Moishke and Heske ZAKHSTEIN founded the Culture League in Abel 1920.
- Berko ZAK: father of Nachum ZAK.
- Nachum ZAK: Married Chaya ? - father of Yudel Leib ZAK.
- Yudel Leib ZAK married Esther ?. They had three? sons, including Jacob, known as Koppel Dov.
- Jacob SACK (aka Koppel Dov ZAK) married Shaine Etta KLAZ. They had ten children and ended up in South Africa and later Canada.
These are photos of their gravestones, kindly supplied (and translated) by Aubrey Jacobus, with thanks also to Daniel Gleek and Linda Rose and Jerry Mar. The gentleman standing next to the stones is unknown. The location of the cemetery is likewise unknown. ★
One of the children was called Hyman Abraham Chanon Joal (known as Chono) ZAK, who used the surname KLOSS (his wife's maiden name).
Nathan ZAK and Hyman KLOSS moved to London. See also KLOSS.
Nathan ZAK, the younger brother, named his daughter Eta/Hetty, in memory of his mother, Shaine Etta KLOSS. His son was known as Bob.
Hyman KLOSS and his wife, Sarah SCHNIT(ZER) had a daughter, known as Kitty. See also SCHNIT(ZER).
Six of the siblings have been traced, but the others are still a mystery.
- Nathan SACK/ZAK married twice.
This picture shows L to R: siblings Hyman, Nathan and Ida, with Nathan's son, Bob, below.
- Yankel ZAK married twice. His second wife was Riva SHREIBERG.
ZAKSHTEIN/ TSECHSHTEYN - Herschl/Tsvi (born circa 1800) was a shochet in Abel.
He had several sons - Zalman, Shmuel Labe, Ber Girsch, Abram Elya and Moshe.
- Moshe (born in 1831) was married twice, firstly to Goldie POGRUND by whom he had eight children, including two sons, Rachmiel and Yehuda Labe;
- Yehuda Labe became a flax merchant in Abel. in 1923, Yehuda Labe Zakshtein was appointed to the first Jewish Communal Board in the shtetl.
- One of Rachmiel's sons was Heske/Harry. In 1920, Heske and Moishke/Morris POGRUND helped initiate the Culture League in Abel.
- and, secondly to Anna POGRUND with whom he also had four children.
Other Rabbis of the town included Rabbi Chaim Nasan, Rabbi Schlomo Gershon, Rabbi Chaim Scholom Migrudner, Rabbi Zalman Siegel, Rabbi Berlikah, known as "the Yellow Rabbi", and Rabbi Avraham Meyerevitz, who perished along with his congregation in the Holocaust. If you can shed any more light on the lives and families of these esteemed men, please share their stories with us.
Some names mentioned of long-remembered childhood friends include Chaim Mussel, Itze Shmidt, Bearke Lintop and Polish siblings, Anna and Zigmund and Karolka Mikutovistsch. Even if they were not Jewish, they were still neighbours and friends and deserve a mention. Do your relatives remember any of their schoolfriends?
Also, two non-Jews, Vladas Andanas and a woman named Vatzenyeh from Kadeliai were arrested in 1944 for protecting Jews. We should honour them and thank them if we can by remembering them, the risks they took and the price they undoubtedly paid.
If you have any names, corrections, questions, comments or photographs of Obeliai families you would like to share, or if you have found a connection here you would like to follow up, please contact Emma Freeman by clicking here or click on the Obeliai homepage to join our mailing list
Copyright : Emma Freeman
Last revised: 22 January 2022
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