Memoirs of Reuben Ruch - Family Photos

Teoli (Tevic) Teddy Ruch with his niece Sonia and nephew Shabsie (Sasha) Ruch before he left Rokiskis for South Africa in 1926.  Sonia and Shabsie are Reuben's sister and brother.  


Rokiskis 1930

1 - Yudel Eliason, son of Chaya Gurevitch Eliason; 2 - Ettie Eliason, daughter of Chaya Gurevitch Eliason; 3 - Hinda Rashe (Rachel) Dubovsky Gurvitch, Reuben's grandmother, murdered August 15, 1941;  4 - Reuben Ruch; 5 - Shabse (Sasha) Ruch, Reuben's brother; 6 - Daniel Eliason, son of Chaya Gurevitch Eliason; 7 - Sonia Ruch, Reuben's sister; 8 - Chaya Gurwitch Eliason, Hinda's daughter and Reuben's aunt; 9 - Henne Gurwitch Ruch, Reuben's mother

In 1937 Chaya and her children left Kamajai (village near Rokiskis) for South Africa.  And at that time Hinda Rashe (Bobe) and Motel Gurevitch (Zeide) went to live with Reuben and his family in Rokiskis.

(After this photo went up, Trevor Stein contacted us to say that #2, Ettie Eliason, was his mother.  The family went to South Africa and Trevor subsequently emigrated to Toronto, Canada.  Amazing how our Rokiskis families have spread around the globe.)


Holiday dinner – Passover – 1937


From left to right:  "Aunt Beile, who was deaf, mute, and single.  She lost her parents in 1905 during a pogrom and spent her whole life living with us.  When we left home on June 25, 1941 for Russia, Beile together with my grandparents Motel and Hinda-Rasha Gurwitch were sitting at home.  On August 15 to 16, 1941, they were murdered by Lithuanian collaborators, together with the rest of the 3,973 Jews in the town; Sonia Ruch; Mother (Henna Gurvitch Ruch); me (Reuben Ruch) asking the Four Questions; Father (Rachmiel Ruch); Grandfather (Motel Gurvitch); Grandmother (Hinda Rashe Dubovskaya Gurvitch);  Shabse (Sasha) Ruch"


Mordechai (Motel) Gurvitch and 
Hinde-Rashe Dubowsky Gurvitch 

Reuben's maternal grandparents lived in Kamajai, a shtetl 16km south of Rokiskis. In 1936, they moved to Rokiskis to live with Reuben's family, when their daughter and her  family left Kamajai for South.Africa.

They were murdered on August 15,  1941, along with all the other Jewish people in Rokiskis.

They had five children : Hassel Gurvitch Segal, died in 1916 in Kamajai; Meier Gurvitch, died in 1947 in Johannesburg;  Chaya Gurvitch Eliason, died in 1964 in Johannesburg; Henna Gurvitch Ruch, died in 1974 in Riga Latvia; and Chaim-Elia Gurvitch, died in 1981 in Cape Town.


The Ruch Family before Luba and Chanan Shneiderman left Rokiskis for Aliyah to Palestine in 1935.


L to R, standing: Reuben's brother Shabse (Sasha), his Aunt Luba (Ahuva) Ruch  Shneiderman, her husband Chone (Chanan) Shneiderman, Reuben's sister Sonia.
Sitting: Reuben's mother Henna Gurvitch Ruch,  Reuben Ruch,  Reuben's  father Rachmiel Ruch.

Pesach Ruch and his family in Siberia in 1952

Left to right: 1. Leibe Ruch (he died in Kfar Chabad); 2. Gita, Leibe’s wife – she also died in Kfar Chabad; 3. Pesach Ruch – he died in Siberia ; 4. Batya (Baske) Ruch (Zborovsky) – she died in Kfar Chabad;  5. Rachmiel Ruch (now living in Australia); 6. Pinchas Ruch (now living in Israel)


Reuben Ruch confirmed that the wooden house at 21 Nepriklausomybes on the market square in Rokiskis, which is shown here, was the home he grew up in.  He tells us that it was jointly built by Pesach and Rachmiel Ruch in 1921.  On the 1921
property owners' map it is lot 161, on the western side of the northern end of Vilniaus gatve at the market square.

According to Reuben, the part of the market square near the house was where horses were sold at the town's twice-per-year fairs.  In 1931, the sixth Lubovitcher rebbe stayed at this home for a week.  During that week, there were minayim at the house and many visitors came to ask the rebbe for guidance.  On the day the rebbe was to leave, he gave a blessing to many Ruch relatives who were gathered together to say farewell.  Reuben said that everyone who received the rebbe's blessing survived the Holocaust.

(Thanks to Phil Shapiro and Reuben Ruch for this photo and this information.) 

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