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       Date Last Updated: 18-May-2012

Vitebsk Families Stories and Pictures


The Voikhansky Family

This information was donated by DV.

I am looking for the families of Sarah and Hanna, Rosa and Bassia - Bertha (nee Voichansky) and Bertha’s daughter Maria – Marusia who left Vitebsk for Canada and the USA

Bertha (Bassia) with her daughter Maria-Marusia from Montreal Canada

The entire family lived in the house of my great grandfather Haim Beer Voichansky at 2/11 Slobodskay Lane. They were all tanners and had tanneries in Vitebsk and Riga, Latvia. Semion (Semen-born in 1881), the son of Haim Beer also lived in this house, with his wife Bella Abramovna and their two children Yeruchim and Shifra. His sister, Lana Shapiro (nee Voichansky), who was evidently a widow, also lived there with her 2 children. One of them was Nuhim Shapiro who was born in 1911, and who evidently perished later in the Holocaust with his family. Two other sisters, Rosa and Bassia, were born in 1892, (possibly twins), also lived in this house. This house was near to Marc Chagal's house.

My grandfather, Yeruchim Voichansky, was born in 1874. He and his family also lived in this house. Then they moved to Ludzin (Ludza – Latvia) and then to Riga (Latvia), where my Father (Mendel) was born. They moved because of the tanner business. This was due to the fact that Semion had been a soldier in the Russio-Japanese War (1905) and therefore received permission to open up a business in Riga. Hanna and Sarah fled from Vitebsk. They immigrated in 1905. Hanna went to Canada, probably to the Toronto area; and Sarah went to Canada and later moved to the USA to the Boston area. They got married and had children. Later on two other sisters, Rosa and Bassia (Bertha) also left to Canada.

My grandmother was Stera Kreslavsky the daughter of Izik Yankel Kreslavsky from Vitebsk and her family lived next door, at 2/9 Slobodsky lane. One of her brothers was Rachmiel Kreslavsky. I received this new information, about my grandfather’s sisters who immigrated to the USA and Canada from my cousin who lives in Samara, Russia in October 2011.

Semion (Semen) Voichansky 1881-1945

Yeruchim, the son of Semion, the first cousin of my Father's. He was killed in battle, in 1941, when he was a soldier in the Russian army.

Yeruchim with his wife Eve Anpolsky and their daughter Larissa in - 1935

Students of the Vitebsk Gymnasium (highschool) –1925
This was secular school; but many of the students were Jewish. Yeruchim is the fourth student on the left side, top row

Nochim Shapiro, the first cousin of my Father's and the son of the widow Lana Shapiro (the sister of my Grandfather), with his 2 year old daughter Etinka-Esther - Vitebsk 1932 (They have perished later in the Holocaust)

The Yiddish text written on the back of the picture of Nochim Shapiro

Family: My Grandmother Stera Voichansky nee Kreslavsky is sitting in the middle, upper left-Leib, under him - Borris, bottom left standing - my father's nephew Erik Yacobson (son of his sister Chia), right standing - My Father's sister Hinda Nishlos and under her My Father's niece Betti Riga Latvia - 1934

I am trying to trace my grandfather's sister-my great aunt, Bertha-Basha (nee Woichansky), and her daughter Marusia/Maria who emigrated from Vitebsk to Montreal Canada. About 4 siblings of my grandfather's (2 brothers and 2 sisters) immigrated to Canada in 1905-1907 and 2 more siblings came later, possibly after the October Russian Revolution. It seemed that they were Communist Revolutionists and fled during that time from Russia because of persecutions.

One brother was (Moshe) Morris Woichnaky (Voichansky), who settled in Waterloo - Berlin/Kitchener, Ontario, Canada in -1905. He settled there with his wife, Rebecca Woichansky, nee Hefez from Gomel; and they had 6 children who were born there: Joseph, Evelyn, Vera, Edward, Willard and Leonard. Morris died in 1934 in Waterloo and was buried there. The slogan of the Russian Communist's Revolution was written on his tombstone. All of his children moved later to the USA and changed their family name from Woichansky to Warren.

One brother of my grandfather - Josef Woichansky came to Canada in about1906-1907. First he lived with his brother Morris in Berlin-Waterloo, Ontario and later moved to Detroit Michigan USA and worked there in the Ford automobile industry. It seemed that he didn't have any children.

Another sister (Hanna/Anna?) lived in Toronto and another sister Sarah left Canada and moved to Boston Massachusetts. Bertha came later to Canada and lived with her daughter Marusia-Maria in Montreal.

My great-grandfather's name was Chaim Ber Woichansky - he was a Rabbi in Gorodok near Vitebsk, Russia and had about 16 children. He and his family moved later to Vitebsk.

My great –grandfather Chaiim Ber Voichansky

From the left to the right: My grandfather Yeruchim , Semion and Morris Gomel Belarus - 1905

Any information will be appreciated.

Best Regards,
Dror Vaikhansky
Mishmar Haemek, Israel