THE HISTORY OF SKUD

By ELIYAHU REIFF

 

Translated by SARA BLOCH

Assisted by YETTA CHIN

            Our little town Skud in the Province of Katingen is near by two rivers, the Betova and Luva Rivers.  It is near the German-Latvian border.  The Betova River divides the town into two, with a bridge connecting them.  The one was known as the Old Town and the second the New Town.  They were socially quite different from each other.  The New Town was the wealthier of the two and considered the elite section of Skud.

            The Jews of the Old Town were not in favour of the Jews settling in large numbers in the New Town.  They did not want to make a separate minyan on Rosh Hashona and Yom Kippur in the New Town.  Only after negotiations was the matter settled when the New Town gave a donation to the Shul.

            The Kernal of the Jewish Community in Skud settled there in the 17th Century.  They only appeared in the New Town at the end of the 18th Century and beginning of the 19th Century.  In 1766 they numbered 576 souls, but in 1847 there were 1872 people, and in 1897 the (i.e. the Jewish) population rose to 2292.  In 1921 they had increased to 3853 and by 1939 the Jewish population was 2500.  This was 50% of the total population.

            Drubyan, Katingen, Memel Maised, Yolak, Salant, Bershtits and Flutil were towns near Skud.

The Topographical Situation of Skud.

            The Old Town had one long road called the Jewish Street and this differed from the New Town in that there were Poles, Russians and Lithuanians living there.  From the Jewish Street ran two narrow Paths – one leading to the Old Shul and Chedar, (this was over the wooden bridge) the other was called the Mikvah Path.  This Path led to the Betuva River where the Jewish population swam in summer.

            Skud was very small and constructed in a special way.  From both sides of the Jewish Road were two tunnels for the accumulated water after the rains.  Between the one tunnel and the houses was an empty stand.  This became muddy and water logged when it started raining.  To visit friends on the other side of the road, one had to go around the muddy stand, which resembled a pond at that time.  Due to the growth of the New Town, many shops moved there and the population increased substantially.

The Market Circle in the New City.

            The market was circular.  In the middle of this circle were two rows of wooden shops.  From the Market Circle a few roads extended outwards.  One of the roads led to the Old Town.  The Milk Path led to the Lithuanian Dairy.  Maised Street led to Maised.  The path leading to the Primary School and abattoirs was called the Rabbi Path, the Yolak Road led to Yolak and the Long Road to the Latvian border.  The Priest Road led to the Christian Church and the Bioscope Road led to the bioscope.

            Every Monday and Thursday was Market Day.  The farmers sold their produce to the inhabitants.  Three or four times a year a Big Market was held, when horses and cows were sold.   A day before the Big Market long lines of camps formed going in the direction of the town.  All businessmen and vendors displayed their wares.  Unruly behaviour sometimes occurred and the Jews were very thankful when no incidents occurred.  They feared especially Erev Pesach when the Old Blood Libel was directed against them and riots took place.

The Population.

            Skud was a very lively town culturally and socially.  It was famous for its hospitality and social services.  People were particularly warm and friendly towards each other and the love of Israel was very marked indeed.  On a Friday evening members usually brought home guests from Shul because no stranger was allowed to spend Shabbat alone and friendless.

Administration of the Town.

            Twelve members were elected to organize all spiritual and secular affairs.  They were called the “Stweileftlech” (The 12 Chosen).  They would go to the Talzash Province to prevent any harmful Proclamation being published against the Jewish Population and they safeguarded the Jewish Interests.  Only after the end of the 1st World War was the Authority vested in the Community Committee instead of the Chosen Twelve.

            This Community Committee was elected by the Jewish Population and had vast administrative power.  These elections took place annually.  The first chairman was Mendel Hatzkels.  The Committee was efficient and dedicated to their task.  They were in power till 1926.

            In 1926 the name was changed to “HELP” and ruled the town until its destruction.

            “HELP” Societies were established all over Lithuania and their Authority was recognised by the Lithuanian Government.   Their most important task was to safeguard the livelihood of the Jewish Population.  When a Proclamation was to be issued to destroy the wooden shops because, according to the Lithuanian Authorities, these were ugly, “HELP” members went to Kovna and managed to prevent this decree being issued.

            The Committee were outstandingly efficient and dedicated.  Other activities of “HELP” were:

            1.         To see to the Schita (the Tax for the Schita was decided beforehand by the Committee and the population would pay “HELP”.  The receipt was proof by the Shochtim that they had been paid).

            2.         The Rabbi’s chazans and Shochtims salaries were paid by “HELP’s” treasurer.  When an official left the position “HELP” appointed the new official.  “HELP” also paid the school teacher because the Lithuanian Government did not regard the teaching of Hebrew subjects necessary.

            3.         “HELP” took over pasture lands and let them to Agricultural Societies.  The money realised was used for “HELP” activities.  Loans were arranged on very easy terms to Jews in financial difficulties.  “HELP” was very successful in all their undertakings. 

            The 1st Chairman was Michael Fogelman.  The last one was Meyer Henech Bloch.  The Mikvah in the New Town was also under “HELP”.  In the Mikvah complex the “HEKDESH”.  This was like a motel and was used by poor people passing through Skud.

G’Milut Chassidim.

            This was started in the 1920’s.  Well-to-do members contributed to this Society.  The “Charity Box” gave help to needy people who went insolvent or were affected by riots.  They received loans for long periods without having to pay interest.  A small committee decided on the size of the loan and this was given secretly so that recipients would not feel humiliated.

            At the end of the year they had their Annual General Meeting, confirmed their Treasurer’s Report and elected a new Committee.  At the beginning of the First World War, they established a New Benevolent Society which helped the dependants of men who had to go to the army.

            At the recommendation of the Lithuanian Mayor, potatoes and flour was distributed to the Skud Jewish Community as well.  The German Mayor appointed Itschak Kangisser as the Jewish distributor.

Staying Overnight with Sick.

            During illnesses every family had to send someone to sleep near the sick person to help the family.  There were always two people during the night to help care for the sick.  Most of the youth helped in this capacity.

Bikkur Cholim (Sick Fund).

            Moische Taitz was in charge (he now lives in Israel).  Families in financial straits were helped with the Doctor and chemist fees, and also with moral support.

            The doctor gave cheaper rates if the financial condition of the patient was not very good.  The prescriptions were also stamped by the Chairman in this case.  A cheaper rate or no charge at all was the result.  On Shabbat, in urgent cases, the Chairman sent one of his sons with the prescription and stamp in his hand.  The German Chemist then stamped it himself.  (This was done so as not to desecrate the Sabbath).

            Funds for the Bikkur Cholim came from monthly charities, money for charity at burials, and donations from people called up to read from the Torah.  The Society also had medical appliances, e.g. thermometers etc., which were given to the poor gratis.

Ma-or Hitin.

            Yomtov help was given by this small society.  Food was distributed secretly so that the self-respect of the recipient did not suffer.  They could then enjoy the Yomtov like everybody else.

Bread for the Poor.

            Righteous women collected the year’s donations and this was used to help the poor.  There was no hunger because even the poorest had wine, meat, gefulte fish and Kitkes for Shabbat.  These were all supplied with a liberal hand.

Helping the Bride.

            Skudder women saw to it that any young poor bride had a wedding with music and delicacies and drink for the reception.  Pretty dresses were also given and presents were brought for the young couple.  The young bride was assisted in her new life by the older women.

            The money for this society came from the monthly donations from promised donors.  Volunteers used to visit and collect for special charities.  Parties were organised and the money collected was given to charities.  Volunteers gave the money secretly to those in need.

INDUSTRIAL AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS.

The Yiddishe Folksbank.

            This bank was the branch of the Central Folksbank in Kovna, and it helped the economical development of Skud.  The merchants, like grocers, the head of factories got their economical aid from the bank.  No person in need was ever refused.  At the A.G.M. Financial Reports were given.  The Balance Sheet was approved and a new committee was elected for the following year.  The last Chairman was Motel Fogelman and Meyer Henoch Bloch.  Among the founders of the bank were Eliyahu Tanur Michael Fogelman, Mendel Hatzkels and Ephraim Benzion Urdang.

Industries, Factories and Trades.

            Before the 1st World War, Skud was connected economically with Riga and Lavoi because there was no border between Lithuania and Latvia.  Agricultural products and meat were supplied to these cities and from there transported to grocers in the smaller towns by horse and cart.  Later a new railway line was opened from Memel – Levoi and it passed through Skud and this helped their economical development.

            When the border was closed between Lithuania and Latvia, contact was stopped between these states.  In the 1st World War after Memel was annexed to Lithuania, a big change in the economical life of Skud took place.  The merchants used to visit Memel every week bringing merchandise and transporting it by train.  Merchandise was also bought from Kovna.  The commerce of the town was in Jewish hands.

            The Lithuanians built Co-operatives to offset this fact.  In 1929 a Co-operative owned by Lithuanian Gentiles was opened in Skud.  They tried to stop the population from buying from the Jewish owned shops.  Even the authorities helped this Co-op financially and the position of the Jewish shop-keeper worsened.

            In Skud there were some big wholesale Grocers – one belonged to Fogelman and Bros., (Rose Mansfeld’s father – one son married to Hasse Merre Chin (inserted by Y. Chin) – selling building materials.  People from other towns came to shop in Skud.  The shoe industry was the basic industry of the town.  A large group of Youths worked there.  They specialised in the stitching of shoes.  Most of these factories had new electric machines.  The shoe producers were in the New Town.  They were Itschak Cohen, Michael Mintz, Hirsch Gilder, Shlomo Peres, Yehuda Berman and Bernstein.  In the Old Town Abromowitz, Moische Yankelowitz and Moische Leib Greenblatt were the shoe producers.  All the factories produced a total of 400 pairs of shoes per day.

            Itschak Cohen’s Shoe Factory, “The Continental” was famous for their shoes.  They produced 100 pairs per day.  The shoes were distributed all over Lithuania but the biggest buyers were from Memel.  Skud also supplied the raw materials for the shoes.  The tanners in Skud were Spitz (now in S.A.), Hochman Turk Kopelowitz in the New Town and Greenblatt in the Old Town.  They supplied all the essential materials to the shoe factories in Skud.

            In the Old Town they had a big factory for weaving and dyeing.  This belonged to Mordechai Hoijher.  He gave employment to 60-70 people, who worked in two shifts.  The Lithuanian buyers from all over the country came to this factory for the dyeing of their products.  In the New Town the dyeing factory belonged to Brayna Montrisky.  Later another dyeing factory was established.  This was owned by Yuda Hatzkin.

            Fogelman’s factory produced chairs and nails and it employed 20 people.  The sweet factory of Isaac Hovsha in the New Town employed 20 girls in the packing factory.

            Kastlansky’s sock factory employed between 20-30 girls.  Dressmakers, watchmakers, farmers, bakers (one Nusaneil Yéhetskel Hien – Joe and Bennie Chin’s Father), barbers, carpenters, a hat factory, builders, button factories.  The stove factory of Joseif Glickman all had reputations of quality in Skud and district.  The Printing Press of Davidow was also well known for their printing e.g. Barmitzvah and wedding cards etc.

            A number of coachmen earned their living by transporting merchants from the railway station 3,5 km away from Skud.  This firm was owned by Dov Segel nicknamed “Bera Der Frekula Forer” and his son Ephraim owned a “Diligence” to transport people from the train and back.  After a while these Diligence cars were exchanged for a big bus.

            The Diligence Taxis had regular hours and by their arrivals and departures people could tell the correct time.  In the Old City people nicknamed this service, “The Travelling Clock on Wheels”.  Before sunrise they passed at 5.45 am and at sunset it was 4 pm.  At night it was 10 pm.  The Segel family had a fancy car for special occasions and they were used only by V.I.P. who came from overseas and perhaps a Chosan on his way to see his future wife.

            Skud Butchers were well known for their products. Skud polonies and smoked meats of Hirsche Shmeris were transported to many distant places.  A lot of farmers in Skud worked their lands and used their own products, selling the rest to the inhabitants of the town.  Nita Zelikowitz, Bera Kaganson, Joseif Merkies were big farmers in the Old Town.  In the New Town there were brothers Mendel and Nahum Hetskels, Hirsh Cohen and David Shafkind.

            David Shafkind, besides being a big farmer, also had a Dairy and Poultry farm.  During the cucumber season he used to wait in hiding for thieves of his cucumber crops to teach them a lesson not to steal his crops again.

            There were two Jewish chemists and two Jewish Doctors in the town.  At Customs were Michael and Esau Yudelman, who were the only Jewish employees, because there were none at any of the other Government offices.

            In the Old Town two big stores were used as silos, built by the Germans during the 1st World War.  Later these were used for Parties and Public gatherings.  Near the bridge in the Old Town a windmill supplied electricity to the factories and houses.  The first power station generated current by water from the weir from the Betuva River.  Later they used generators.  The owner of this Power Station was a German, Alart.  After a fire took place, the ownership passed to General Flichvay Choice.  He obtained it as a reward from the Lithuanian Government for his outstanding operation, “The Putch” in 1927 when he expelled without bloodshed the Social Democratic Government under Dr. Greenjus.

THE NATIONAL FUNDS.

The J.N.F.

            The group of people who collected money for the J.N.F. emptied the boxes and collected funds at weddings and other Simchas.  They also sold choroseth for Pesach, New Year Cards, delivering them to the houses.  At Simchat Torah the group had special Minyanim and promised donations were given to the J.N.F.

            At the promised Minyanim the famous Hebrew teacher and Author, Israel Shaff, used to participate.  In the distribution of the J.N.F. Stamps the whole group used to take part.  When the dentist, Tzvi Josselewitz, settled in Skud, new life was infused into this group.  From time to time they had meetings and decided future activities.

            When they were given a quota to raise, each section vied with the other to exceed this.  The most active member was Dividow.  The enthusiasm of the youth for the J.N.F. was stupendous.

I.U.A.

            The inhabitants of Skud were not satisfied with low quotas.  A committee with representatives from the Centre of Kovna or a Sheliach from Israel estimated the amount each member should give.  When this couldn’t be given in a lump sum, instalments were accepted.

K.F.A.I.

            All organised movements supported this fund as individuals and the organisations donated this amount collectively.  Big sums of money were donated in Skud and were sent to the K.F.A.I. in Kovna.

YOUTH MOVEMENTS.

“HANOAR, The Youth”.

            In 1922 after the closing down of the Jewish College, “The Youth” got started in the rebuilding of Israel.  The first initiators of this movement were Shlomo Lundo, Mendel Baskind, Ephraim Tziling (in S.A. now).  The eighty members were called “The Youth”.

            On Saturdays, they had lectures on Zionism and the rebuilding of Israel.  The branch was divided into Groups and also on secular days educational work continued.

            Once “The Youth” was organised and politically orientation took place.  This caused division of the movement.  Some of the Youth went to “Gordonia” and some to the “Hashomer Latzair”.

            Later Dror Luhalutz Hatzaier and Betar also formed groups.  Tiferet “Bachurim” drew many of “The Youth” members.  They had public prayers, special minyanim and studying “Mishnayot”.  During the prayers they would sing special songs that a famous Lithuanian Jew composed n.l. Zelik Joseif Schneider (ZISH).  The spiritual leader of this movement was Rabbi Terushkin.

Gordonia.

            Gordonia was established in 1925.  Zvi Rosenweig, a school teacher helped to establish it.  The Skudder branch kept in touch with the other branches in Lithuania especially its centre group in Kovna.

            This centre gave them the directive on how to carry on their activities.  Representatives from the Centre came to visit the Skud branch and Skudder representatives were sent to Conferences in Kovna every two years, when they had their biennial meetings.  Cultural parties and organised tours were arranged and members were instructed and aided towards Aliyah.  A number of Gordonia members from Skud are today living in Moshavim and Kibbutzim in Israel.

Hechalutz Hatzaeer.

            In 1933 the movement known as Heshomeir Hatzhair split into two groups, and one hundred boys and girls joined Hechalutz Hatzaeer.  This organization educated members culturally and adults were transferred to “Hechalutz” and taught Aliyah.  They were obligated to go on “Hagshara”.

            This idea of Aliyah influenced many people and they joined in ever increasing numbers.  The movement was for Aliyah and had training centres e.g. agricultural farming in the Memel district.  After staying there one or two years, they immigrated to Israel, some legally and some illegally.

Dror.

            This youth movement educated its members in the basic idea of socialistic Zionism and after two years they joined the party.

Hashomer Hatzaeer.

            In 1925 a new movement started without any political affiliation.  Harry Yudelman was the leader.  He was the son of Michael and Gita Yudelman.  Youth leaders taught the members good behaviour, helping one another, general history and Zionism.

            This organisation developed greatly when a large number of “The Youth” joined it.  A number of outstanding leaders came from this branch.  In 1928 the Skud branch combined with the branch in Lithuania.  Alexander Finter was the leader in 1928 (he now lives in Israel).

            This organisation had a lot of cultural activities and Shabbalot were used for them.  From this branch in Skud a large number went on Aliyah.  The representatives from the Central Kibbutz visited the branch and said that the Skud branch was one of the best.

Betar.

            This movement was established much later than the other movements.  The non-organised youth joined this movement.  The youth were educated with very strict discipline.  Amongst the active members were Joseif Shaindling, Gersun Faktor and Chaim Nathanson.  The idea behind the movement was Aliyah.  In summer 1932 they had a big celebration on the 5th Anniversary of Betar.  There were 50 members at that time and the celebration was very impressive.

ORGANISATIONS AND PARTIES.

“Tzeiray Zion – Hitachadoet”

(The Union of Zionist Youth)

            The Balfour Declaration caused much excitement and enthusiasm in Lithuania and was the cause of the establishment of this branch in Lithuania.  The members were from the older age group and the first political party in the town.  They were involved in cultural activities and fund raising.  They started a library, a theatrical society, in which they performed in plays and organized parties.  Amongst the originators of this party were Ya-akov, Moische Yankelowitz, Moische Urdang (in U.S.A now), Benjamin Tzisling, Leah Zundelowitz-Weinberg (now in U.S.A.).

“WELDFARBAND”

(Social Zionists)

            This party had the most of “The Youth” connected with it.  There was a controversy whether the Tzeiray Zion – Hitachadoet or Weldfarband would have the most influence.  Then they united. Their spiritual leader was the teacher Moische Cohen.

“Liaoveid”

(The Worker)

            This party was established in 1934.  Most of the craftsmen belonged to this group.  Because of the marital status of the members they did not go on Hachsherak (training for Aliyah).  They came to learn all the theory that could give them the information on Zionism, the Histradut, the Institutions and Moshavim (Note where members lived separately but worked collectively).  The wives of the members also took part.

“Mizrachi”

            Amongst the most active members were Chaim Aharon Hovsha, Isaac Hovsha and son Meyer (the latter was a member of the Centre and very active in the party).  Ya-akove Shelaz, Yerachmiel Perlgaver, Leah Hovsha, Botya Terushkin (now in Israel).  There weren’t only shekel distributors but they also organised big propaganda meetings to enlarge the Mizrachi Party.  These activities increased especially before the elections to the Congress.  The Rov Damta also supported the Party.

“Hatzyonim Haklaliyim”

(General Zionists)

            Amongst members of this party were small businessmen and well off members.  This party like other organisations was active in fundraising and Zionist Functions.  The activists that were in town were called “Der Tzionistim”.  Once parties were established the Zionists were called Hatzionim Laklale-im.  The Chairman was David Davidow.

“Wizo”

            This was the only women’s Society in Skud.  They helped in organising parties for maintaining the High School, helped all Social activities and collected funds.  Amongst the active members was Alta Shifkind.

“Hakibbutz Haleronie”

(The Urban Kibbutz)

            In 1933 the training farm for Chalutzim was established next to Zelikowitz farm.  Here the youth from many towns got their training before leaving Israel.  All craftsmen of different trades, who were members of the Agricultural Farm, worked as lumberjacks as well as to prove that they were just as capable as the Gentiles with their jobs.  Jewish mothers did not see the purpose of this and were most distressed.  People in town despised them too, but later the same youths were admired and honoured.  This farm enhanced the cultural life in Skud and the Skudders joined the Oneg Shabbat parties.  There were twenty-five members.

SPORT SOCIETIES.

(Yiddishe Football Kommando) (Y.F.K.)

            This organization was active for a short period of time and youngsters from the Old Town joined.  They used to exercise in the middle of the road, attracting the attention of the passer-by.

“Maccabi”.

            This branch was established in 1924.  The focal point of this movement was the very strong football team.  Nearly every Sunday there were matches with other football teams from surrounding towns and even teams from Lavoi (Latvia).

            These matches attracted most of the population who were enthusiastic spectators.  The best players were invited by the Lithuanian Sports Team to join.  When a number of “Maccabi” players left to emigrate to S.A. it became weaker and ceased to exist.  One of the originators was Hirsch Ben Yoseif Shaff (Ikler who died suddenly).

“Hapoël”.

            The youth that were connected to the Israel organisation started in 1933, became members and also the few “Maccabi” members who were left joined “Hapoël”.

            Besides sports, the branch organized a big cultural affair.  They had an orchestra that performed in many towns as well besides Skud.  There was a Theatre Circle.  The “Hapoël” Football team was one of the strongest in the area.  At the Lithuanian National Holiday Féte the “Hapoël” branch was prominently seen in their uniform.

THE SHULS.

The Old Shul.

            In Skud this Shul was very famous in Lithuania.  It was one of the three oldest shuls in the country.  It was built of wood and was fifteen meters high.

            The Ark was very beautifully carved and hundreds of visitors made special tours to see this beautiful Ark. In the Old Shul people had services only from Pesach till after Succoth.  Because of its height, it was impossible to install a chimney for the fire and because of the extreme cold, the people had to go to the hall in the next building where they used to study day and night.

            Carvings of the Ark were done up to the arched ceiling.  From the two sides of the Ark there were dainty carvings of lions, pigeons, springbok, apples, pears and various sorts of flowers.  There were also the Crowns of The Kingdom and the Priests and the Ten Commandments.  All these carvings created the most beautiful design.

            Most of the honoured people of the New Town had special seats in the Shul of the Old Town.  On the second day of the Yomtovim, they used to come to listen to the Chazan’s Tfilla.  An agreement had been reached whereby the town’s Chazan would “Daven” on the second day of every Yomtov in the Old Shul.

            Levoy’s community once sent a delegation to the leaders of the Old Town to negotiate the buying of the beautiful Ark.  This never materialised because the Ark remained in the Old Shul until the town was destroyed.

            In the Old Town they also had a Beit Midrash where they prayed the whole year.

            In the New Town there was one Shul and two “Kloyzim”.  One of the Kloyzim was used as a Chedar for studying Torah and Mishna every day of the week.  Teaching by pupils in the “Klonz” only took place after the secular studies were completed.  They studied Mishnayim and Gemorrah in the “Klonz” under Rabbi Terushkin.  In the evening the “Society Gemorrah” used to study the daily portion in Shul under Dor Ben Zusia Tres and Kaplansky.

The Cemetery.

            At the end of the Old Town was the Old Cemetery.  Chevra Kadisha was in charge of the burials and of taking care of the cemetery.  They did their job voluntarily and also cared for the cleanliness and shape of the cemetery.

            Amongst the Rabbis of the Chevra Kadisha Reichkind was Aharon Bloch, Leib Baskind, Ya-akor Segel, Hirsch and Yudelman.

EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS.

Schools.

            In 1920-1912 twelve of the Communnal leaders helped to establish in town a Russian School that had four divisions.  The school was near the “Tzalkava” and the Russian Beit Tfilla (Church).  Some of the New and Old Town children visited there and studied general knowledge.  When they came home they carried on studying at the Chedarim of Aharon Nahum Greenberg.  Aharon Sharshefsky (called Der Drovyaner Melamed) Weinberg, Gerson Rabbi Chaim Aharon Hovsha and Israel Shaff.  In the Chedarim they studied Chumash and Rashi.

            They studied until 8 p.m. and returned home with a torch (a candle) in their hands.  Every pupil possessed such a torch.

            In 1919 a new school was established with Dr. Karstaed in charge.  He was a very down to earth character and was liked by everyone in town.  He put every effort for public affairs and wherever needed, he gave help.  Very often he used to give medical aid to the poor gratis and did it with love and devotion.

            He was amongst the first in town that took upon himself to organize cultural activities for all the Jews in Town.  He looked after the youth especially and did everything to attract them to the lessons.  The school that he opened in Skud brought a new spirit amongst the youth who hungered for education.  The salary for the teachers Dr. Karstaed paid from his own pocket, if there were insufficient funds from the parents’ payments.  He put a lot of work in organizing big parties with the children and the funds collected were for the upkeep of the school.

            Russian was the language taught and a large number of youth from the surrounding areas used to come to this school.  The Head Teachers were Yudel Mark Chernavsky, Vina Shimon Band and teachers from outside.

            Dr Karstaed, as one of the people, was especially attracted to the poor and needy.  Because of his Socialistic learning he was departed from Skud by the Authorities.

            After the First World War, when the Germans ruled the Russian School (near the Tz’arkava) was converted to the Primary German School with Hendel Hellman in charge.  Amongst the lady teachers were Mrs. Schlemintz, Avrahan Moische Undang’s wife and Mrs Feinstein.

            Even before the War the Chedarim of Chaim Aharon Hovsha and Shaff and Weinberg combined and were transferred to the halls of the school in the Old Town, because of the prohibition to have separate chedarim.

            In 1921 after Dr Karstaed was deported from Lithuania the management of the school was transferred to Michael Fogelman and after that the language taught was Yiddish.  The country language was Lithuanian and it was compulsory.  The Education direction was based on a Judaic basis.

            Amongst the teachers was the writer, Israel Shaff.  The school was called “De Yiddish Pre-Gimnasia”.

            In 1921 a new building for a Primary School in the religious direction “Yavne” had the cornerstone laid.

            The roofwetting of the building was an important occasion in the Skud Communities’ life.  At this celebration the children from the school performed Hebrew songs and poems and put on a show.  Yudel Weinberg and Leah Zundelewitz organized the whole celebration.  Skudders that had left for Africa and America financed the building of the school.  In America they had a function for that purpose, “Skudder Ball” under the auspices of Herzl and Mottel Lang.  The two brothers even visited Skud afterwards and a special welcome party was given them.  Friedman family from South Africa sent big donations to the school fund and also the local “Ezra Society” gave large sums for the construction of the building.  In 1922 when they moved to the new Hebrew building, “The Gimnasia” was established.  It had four divisions in the Liberal direction that belonged to the “Tarboet” organisation.  The school teachers under Dr. Karstaedt and those who weren’t able to speak Hebrew fluently had to have extra classes so that they would be able to carry on teaching.

            After a while outstanding teachers were invited to the school and they inspired the pupils with love and devotion for Zion.

            Two extra classes were added, Forms 2 and 3.  At the end of the studies a special external examiner came from Kovna and presented the pupils who passed the exams with diplomas.  Quite a few pupils carried on studying in Kovna, Shevli and Resein.

            The teachers in the Primary School and “Pre Gimnasia” were Israel Shaff, Chaim Aharon Hovsha, Zvi Rosentweig, Bar Sheva Poen, Israel Fish, Shimon Weinberg, Petesniek, Fine, Kol Maikor Rezin, Raia Shlomi Weiner, Moische Heschel Cohen and those who are together with us in Israel today.  Frieda Aliash Friedman, Chaia Spitz-Rabinowitz, Chaia Snayig-Vermile, David Rodner and David Resnick. When the deficit of the “Pre Gimnasia” increased the parents on the Committee organised Parties and the funds went to covering this.

Nursery Schools.

            In 1927 a nursery school was opened.  The young children got their national education in Hebrew.  Mrs. Marcus was the nursery school teacher (she is today in Israel).

Talmud Torah.

            In 1921 this was opened.  The cashier was Rabbi Abram Shafkind and the Treasurer, Mathanson.  S.A. Jewry helped to support this institution.

Library.

            About 1000 books were in the library and were used by the whole Jewish population of Skud.  Twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays books were exchanged for a small monthly tariff.  The youth worked voluntarily as librarians.  The library was the property of Tze-ierei Zion.  Hitachadoet (United Zionist Youth).

Evening Classes.

            In the evening lessons for adults consisted of the teaching of different languages.  Hebrew, English and German were taught.  Evening lessons for beginners were also started.  The attendance was very good especially in winter.

The Theatre Circle.

            A few amateurs from the Skudden Youth opened this.  Twice annually the members of the Theatre Circle appeared publicly.  Amongst the plays were “The Selling of Joseph”, “Miralle Efrat”, De Darfsjung”, “King Lear”, “Yoske Musikant” and “Der Grosse Gewanz”.  Members also appeared reciting in Hebrew.  The funds from their activities went to educational and social institutions. Amongst the directors was Favel Neiman.

The Choir.

            A few times a week there were rehearsals.  The Choir appeared publicly in Skud.  The Chemist, Silberstein, conducted the Choir.

Bioscope.

            In 1926 the Bioscope started showing films in the building of the New Primary School. The manager was Benzion Fogelman.  This cultural activity infused Skud with new life.

SOCIAL LIFE IN SKUD.

Saturday in Town.

            From Thursday afternoon one could feel the population’s anticipation of the Shabbat.  Housewives were busy with their baking and cooking for this important day.  Kitkes and other delicious odours issued from each kitchen.

            There was a hustle and bustle in the butcheries and fisheries.  Business was brisk.  On Fridays already the workers and children had tasted the fresh rolls baked by the women in honour of Shabbat. 

            Preparations and spring cleaning for Shabbat was in full swing on Friday.  The bath, haircut, cleaning of shoes were all activities much in evidence for the great occasion.

            The public crier’s arrival would be the signal for the shops to close for Shabbat.  “In Shul Arine” he’d cry, “Shabbat is holly.”  The rest of the week was unimportant in contrast.

            The secular activities stopped and the aura of the Shabbat wrapped around the whole community like a soft honoured gown, in this wonderful Shabbat atmosphere.  Fathers and sons went to Shul and returned with any stranger in town to spend Shabbat with them.  No one was left lonely, friendless or hungry for Shabbat, and they came to the set tables with candles, the best napery and cutlery that each other could afford.  They ate like Kings and welcomed Queen Shabbat.

            The candle light bathed the Jewish homes and sparkled in the darkness with happiness.

            The singing of the “Shabbat Nigun” added lustre to the special grace that was Shabbat.

            Shabbat felt in every corner of Skud.  In the morning the Shabbat solemn silence was so tangible in its own special way.  Those who prayed in the Old Shul in the Old part of town came very early for morning prayers, whereas in the New Town the prayers were made longer.  After the “Tsolent” there reigned a special solemn silence in town – the special atmosphere of Shabbat sleep in the afternoon.

            The youth were busy with cultural activities in the clubs mostly situated in the school building.  They’d also go hiking in nearby surrounding woods – Shabbat prevailed over everything.

            The Gentiles had to prepare beforehand because during Shabbat nothing was available.

Fire In Town.

            The Fire Brigade consisted of Lithuanians and Jews from Skud.  The first commandant of the Fire Brigade was the German Duty Tax Officer, Skutzenberg.  He used to train the Brigade during the late hours of the night.  Riding on his horse with his distinctive uniform, in a Napoleonic pose, he used to cross the roads blowing his trumpet. When the trumpet blasts trilled through the night, the population trembled.

            The fire brigade ran to the place of training, where the German Commander stood with his stopwatch in his hand checking how long they took to assemble.  In the case of a fire Skudder stood in the street to see where the fire was situated.  If the fire was near their houses, they’d pack their belongings and run away to a place of safety. 

            The Commander and the Brigade were on the scene and he’d instruct them how to fight the fire.  The danger was great especially in summer, when sparks could set fire to the wooden houses.  Skudders went up to the roofs with buckets of water and guarded their property.  A joke was started circulating amongst the population. When a fire started in the Old Town the people of the New Town said: “Don’t worry, the fire is in the Old Town” and vice versa.

            Amongst the Big Fires the town remembered, was the fire at the Lithuanian Dairy on a hot summer day and in the Mill in the middle of the night.  This latter fire endangered the whole city and the population didn’t go to sleep, worrying that fire could spread to the New Town.

            On summer nights a special guard was arranged when people were on duty to safeguard the town.  There was a legend that when a big fire occurred a “Tsaddick” blessed the people of the Town and that fire and water would never destroy it.  This blessing seemed to be true because at that time when other towns were razed to the ground, Skud continued to exist.

The Post Office Complex.

            At the beginning of the 19th Century and beginning of the 20th Century, the post used to arrive at Skud after numerous delays and stops.  The post used to come by train to Ferkuline and from there it was sent by carriage to Slent, (24 km away from Skud).  From Slent the post was delivered to Skud.  The Post Office delivered the post twice a week.  The one in charge of the Post Office was a Russian General, who lived permanently in the Vilna.  He used to visit Skud every year, six days before the end of the year.  On one of his visits, Miss Esther Nathanson tried to influence him to get their own Post Office in Skud.  She was able to persuade him in 1903 – 1904 to have their own Post Office.  She had to give him 180 rubels.

BEIT HAMITSACHYIM.

(The Abattoirs).

            After the leader of Skud managed to build a Mikvah (a communal bath), they started working for a building of an abattoir.  Before the 1st World War and afterwards, the cattle and poultry were slaughtered in the yard of the butcher, Hirsche Smernis, in the Old Town.  Afterwards a big abattoir was built at the end of the Rabbi’s Alley.  In the abattoirs they had special chambers for slaughtering poultry and cattle etc.

THE VISIT OF PRESIDENT ANTANEZ SMETANA.

            In 1926 a new leader came to power in Lithuania, Antanez Smetana and he was the delegate of the Christian Democrats.  Amongst his visits to Lithuanian towns, he also visited Skud.  The President was a very liberal man and regarded himself as one of the people.  The Jewish population in Skud received him in the Old Town with honour and glory.

            The houses and Shul were decorated beautifully; carpets were laid all over the entrances of the Shul. Plants and flowers decorated the Shul and dignitaries received him in the entrance of the Shul with salt and bread.

            In Shul Rabbi Kaplansky addressed the President in the name of the Jewish population in Skud.  In fluent Lithuanian he requested improvements in the social conditions in town.

The Market Square.

            This was square in shape and used to be in the centre where the population walked during their leisure.

            In the middle of the square was a pretty garden and next to this was the well that supplied the town with water.

            In the Centre of the Square were the Post Office, Customs House, Police Station, Municipality Offices and the Jewish Bank.

Rebels and Revolutionaries.

            In 1905 when the whole of Russia was in the throes of election fever, the power struggle was great.  The Jewish population in Skud also felt a resistance to the tyranny of the rulers.

            The youth called the “Statskinikus” and “Bontovshtzikes” organised a Political demonstration and went into the Bar and broke all the bottles.

            At Helman’s Bar the youth took the bottles behind the counter and after a speech by the rebels they broke the bottles with the slogan “Freedom! Away with Liquor!”.

FAMOUS PEOPLE.

            The Skudder Rebbe Yechiel Michel Hovsha.  On the 12th September 1917 the Rebbe passed away after a short illness aged 72 years.  At his death Skud lost one of its most famous rabbis.  He was born to a most distinguished family in Kelm and when he was 26 years old, he was a Rebbe in the town of Fenno in Estonia.

            He was well known for his knowledge of Torah and also secular subjects and famous as a brilliant orator.  He was very likeable, well mannered, with a pleasing appearance.  The authorities treated him with honour and he used his influence for the benefit of his brother Jews.  The Old people in Fenno could tell stories about his activities for the benefit of the Jewish Community.

            In 1879 he became the Rebbe in Skud.  He lived there for thirty-eight years, serving his Community until he passed away.  He worked as a Social Worker as well as being Rebbe.

            All the charity organisations in town were under his jurisdiction.  Thanks to his competence and enthusiasm these organisations were very strong even in bad times.  When he visited London, the orthodox community with the Rabbi’s approval, negotiated with Smueil Montagion and Herman Lendoy.  They wanted him to become the Chief Rabbi of London.  He stipulated that he’d be the only legal authority of the shichita but the Rabbi in London would not agree to this.  Because of this, Rabbi Michel Hovsha refused the position.

            Even though he was so busy, he found time to publish some articles.  In 1887 he wrote an important article in the “Hatz Fiora” under the nom de plume, “Small Rabbi”.

            The editors lauded this article but added regretfully that generations weren’t able to carry out the high ideals.

            In 1897 he printed a brochure under the heading “And Samuel Died”.  This was a eulogy of Rabbi Samuel Mohaliver.  In 1898 a small section from his imposing book was distributed.  It was “Michael Mayim” consisting of Sermons and Halacha.  It was accepted with great acclaim as was his other literary works.

            At the time of “Delitche’s Dispute” (1905) he published an anti Delitche’s brochure called “Babylon: The Righteous Commentary of the Bible”.  He translated it also in German.  Rabbi Hovsha published quite a lot of books besides one, “The Future Faith” and this deals also with the building of the Beth Din (Court House).

            In 1911 he published an article about this subject in the Berlin Magazine “Heivri”.  He stated that the Sanhedrin should be revived in Jerusalem.  He made propositions that would enable this to come to pass.  He received letters worldwide and great teachers approved of his proposition.  Rabbi Ha-Aron Cohen from Cairo was one of his most important supporters and offered to aid him with his ideal.  Unfortunately, his financial position made it impossible for him to do this.

            Rabbi Hovsha’s death was an irreparable loss to Skud, where he had gained the admiration and devotion of the whole Jewish population.  He was regarded as the father of the poor in town, especially during the war.

            All the social activities for the benefit of the poor had been under his personal supervision.  He published a brochure “Das Folk” in 1924.

            When his name was mentioned after he passed away they’d say: “May the memory of a Tsaddik remain for a brocha.”

Rabbi Ya-acov Chaim B.R. Baruch Terushkin.

            He was a son of a farmer and craftsman and got his rabbinical education at a Yeshiva in Lithuania.  He was elected to be the rabbi in Skud after Rabbi Yechiel Michael Hovsha passed away and he carried on in this role until the destruction of the town.

            He married Rabbi Hovsha’s daughter when she was at a marriageable age.  Rabbi Hovsha visited many Yeshivot.  When he came to the Slavotka Yeshiva, the Rosh pointed out Terushkin as the most brilliant and worthy candidate.  (Cheina was her name.)  After Rabbi Hovsha tested him and found that his knowledge was superlative, his personality as well as his looks so pleasing, Rabbi Hovsha introduced him to his daughter.

            Terushkin’s whole personality and looks enamoured him to everyone.  He personified the great spiritual leader and his influence was felt by one and all.

            His sermons were also for aid for the poor and help for those in need.  He was the peacemaker where there was strife.  His patience and tolerance was endless.  Even though he requested strict Shabbat observance, he did not castigate the youth who were active in sports and hikes.  Besides being involved with Rabbinical problems, he was also busy with scientific problems.

            He was very good looking and proved his predictions for the future to be factual.  This prediction made him encourage the Zionist movement because he felt that there was no place for the Jew in the Diaspora.  He brought up the children for Hagshara.  (Three of his daughters are living in Israel.)  Many of the Lithuanian Rabbis were against the Zionist ideal – he was on the contrary, Pro-Zionist Orientated.

            Every Shaliach from Israel that came to Skud was a guest in his house and he listened carefully to events that were related to him from Israel.

            His house was a Communal House to all the inhabitants.  Members from the New and Old Town came to his sermons.  He started classes to study “Torah”.  “In Klousen”.  When school was finished or the day, the students came to listen to his Torah classes.

Rabbi Chaim A. Hovsha.

            In 1930 Rabbi Chaim Aharon Ben Rav Rachiel Hovsha passed away at the age of 61.  He was born in 1869 in Sebilin in Latvia.  His father had married the daughter of Demta Rov.  When he was six years old his family moved to the town Frenno (Lapland).  There he was brought up in a very strictly religious way.

            When his father became the Rabbi in Skud, Reb. Chaim Hovsha was eleven years old.  He was then already a brilliant Hebraist, knowing other languages as well as general knowledge.

            In the 1st World War when the Zionist Organisation was established in town, he joined as an Orthodox Jew but also as a nationalist.  He joined the Mizrachi party and organised and worked for the party till his death.

            When the Keren Hayesod (I.U.A) was organised in town, he started working for that too but because of his illness, he couldn’t carry on with this work towards the latter part of his life.

            Thanks to Rabbi Hovsha’s efforts the Primary and High School was established.  The development and progress of these schools were largely due to him. All his energies were devoted to these two schools as a teacher, until his death.  He educated his pupils in religious, national and Zionist ideals.

            The latter part of his life was devoted to a 1000 year calendar he published thereby proving his wisdom and knowledge in Judaism.  When this was published the Zionist League (Women’s) asked him to edit a wall calendar for them.  (Ben Shemen) Skud lost one of its most important social workers when he passed away. It is desirable for his many “Students to perpetuate his name in the Golden Book as he deserved.”  This latter eulogy was published in the “Yiddische Stimme Sheet No. 2319”.

Israel (Ben Rabbi) Isiah Shaff.

            He was one of the greatest intellectuals in Skud.  He was a teacher and a writer.  Until the chedar was established he taught the small children in the chedar from morning till the evening.  He was a teacher in the “Pre Gymnazia” of Dr. Karstaedt.  He carried on in the Hebrew College as a teacher of Bible and Hebrew Literature. He was a zealous Zionist and educated all his pupils in the Zionist ideal.  He collected stamps; sold them and the money he donated to the J.N.F.  He emptied the Blue Boxes himself until a special organization took this over.

            He published “Echud Ben Gara”, “Achsa Bat Kelev”, “Ha Yated” and many more.  Many of his manuscripts were left unpublished because of his sudden illness.

            Lights burning late at night in his room meant that he was busy with new creative writing.  He passed away in summer of 1938 and all in Skud mourned him deeply.  The brother, Joseph Shaff, was also famous or his wit and sayings.  Many were published in the Yiddishe Stimme in Kovna.

Shlomo Ben Yehuda Yudelman.

            He disappeared mysteriously from the Division and only a few of the Division knew where he went.  Those days were secret ones of guarding and training and Shlomo was sent for security.  He was amongst the 33 Acre Prisoners, separated from his wife and young child.

            At that time the Division went to the settlement on the Dafna Kibbutz.  Shlomo was very upset that he could not take part in the building of this Kibbutz.  Even in prison he kept up his spirits and encouraged his compatriots.  Even so he longed for freedom to be with his beloved family and friends on the Kibbutz.

            When he was released the Kibbutz had a great party in his honour.  Shlomo and thirty members were sent to help with the new settlement, Maor Mordecai.  Early in the morning after the Camp was built, the thirty friends were ready to leave after their help and return to Dafna Kibbutz, the Arabs started shooting.  Shlomo became a victim of this sudden attack.  He was only thirty-five years old.  The news of his death reached Tel-Aviv at the demonstration against the British Mandate decision, not allowing the Jews from Europe to disembark.

Abraham Kaplansky.

            He was born in Skud 9 August 1911.  His parents were Ya-akov and Tova and brought him up in the traditional manner.  He completed his Hebrew Primary education and then went on to the trade school, Ort.  He never completed his studies because he immigrated to Israel.  There he completed his studies successfully in 1938, when he studied again in the Trade School neat the Technicon in Haifa.  He specialized there in delicate engraving in mechanics.  These were the dangerous years in Israel and every one went to help his people.  Avrem-melle did the same.  He joined the Hagana and finished the second national course and became the Commander in Jo-ora.  He stayed a short time in Jerusalem and helped in the Dead Sea Factories, helping and guarding as a Hagana soldier.

            In 1940 he joined the Chaparim division 606 of the British Army.  He was in Egypt, Cypress and Greece.  He passed a British course in marine and land sabotage and became the Sergeant Major.  His quick wits and sizing up a situation stood him in good stead.  For example in Crete when it had to be evacuated and the last ship was sailing out, the situation was desperate and there was little hope of embarking.  The medical team was called and when no one answered the second call, he responded “Yes Sir!”.  He hurriedly gave the order for his men to discard all military insignia and thus rescued all his men.

            He had a short respite in Israel and joined a group called “Chish”. After it was founded he took part in the Italian battle.  He was awarded the “Silver Star” medal from the American Army for outstanding bravery.  Here is a little section of the Daily Report of American Army.  “In the battle near the river “Senyo” where the battle raged the enemy were securely barricaded.  Sgt. Kaplansky, though seriously wounded, inspired his troops in the heavy firing.  They were also surrounded by mines.”

            He was only concerned with the battle and his men until he collapsed from his injuries.  The group suffered heavy losses, but drew near the enemy barricade and forced them to retreat.  While he was in the Army he got married (1944).  Two years later he left the forces for civvy life.

            He joined the Co-op of the Ex-Soldiers.  To develop Galya Beach, he joined the Electricity Department in Haifa.  When independence was imminent, he volunteered for the Hagana even before the Compulsory Call-up.  He was made an officer of Unit 21 in the Karmelli Unit.  He fought in the Battle of Ramat Jochanan in the Conquest of Accre and was killed in the Battle of Janine on the 3rd of June 1949.  He was thirty years old, leaving a wife and three month old baby Tora.

            All the remains of the slain were buried in a communal grave in the Army Cemetery on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem on 3rd August 1950.

            His name is inscribed on the Plaque of Kiryan Chaim and also on the tombstone on his grave in the book Yizkor in the Giborim Me-etmol in Volume 25 of Ha-gal-gal.

David Davidow.

            He was amongst those who did good work in social welfare.  He collected Zionist funds for his party, “The General Zionists”.  His greatest pleasure was to speak to the youth on all Zionist activities “Arzei Halevanon” Group were told, “On the Youth everything depends.”  He was a chairman of Maccabi.

Zvi Yosselevitz.

            He convened the J.N.F. from the time he arrived till his departure from Skud.  He also worked voluntarily for the I.U.A.  His trade was dentistry.  He was liked by all, being very sociable, always cheerful and helpful.  He had an influential personality.  His talent lay in organisation.  The Shlichim from Israel found an open door with friendly advice at this time.  He left Skud in 1936, moving to England.  He got a terrific send-off.

Michal Fogelman.

            A very active and enthusiastic personality.  He was a Chairman of the “Folksbank” and the “Pre Gymnazium”.  He expended much time and energy to the establishment of that school.  He took part in the founding of Ezra.  He did much to increase the Co. income and helped improve the social conditions of the place.  He played a very active part in the social life in Skud.  In 1941 he was exiled to Siberia.

Rabbi Ya-akov Kaplansky.

            He was a brilliant Torah exponent.  For many years he was the foremost preacher and teacher in the Shul in the New Town and was very active on the Community Committee.  After the prayers he used to visit the sick to blow the shofar for them.

Bera Zusya Peres.

            He was known to be a hospitable man and a humanitarian who cared for the poor who arrived in Skud over Shabbos.  He organised hospitality for visitors at different homes.  Anyone needing help knew that Bera Zusya would give good advice and help.  He was a well-known Baal Tfilla and on Yomtor would be at the Podium both at the New Town and Old Town voluntarily.

            Also well-known Personalities in Skud were Mendel Hatzkels, Ya-akov Moisch Yankelowitz, Meir Henoch Bloch, Eliyahu Tanur, Yishma Balman.

            Amongst the Youth were Avraham Boenis, Meyer Hovsha, Sheina Baskind, Yosef Taritz.

HOW SKUD WAS DESTROYED.

            On the 22nd June 1941 the inhabitants got up as usual and no one could foretell the terrible tragedy that was to come.  Only in the afternoon a rumour spread regarding a terrible battle that started between Russia and Nazi Germany.  The Germans had crossed the border in Buren and had already penetrated the city of Kartingen and were moving towards Drubyan.  You can’t imagine the feeling of terror that spread amongst the Jewish population in Skud.

            Some packed their few belongings and left their birth place and fled to unknown destinations, hoping to find a safe haven without knowing where they were going.  Others maintained that no serious danger was imminent and if the worst came to the worst, they would just have to work for Hitler.  Meantime the Red Army that had been stationed in town advanced to Latvia (the border of which is 2 km from Skud).

            The Lithuanians rejoiced and couldn’t wait for the moment to be free from the Russian yolk. They could then slate their blood lust in innocent Jewish blood.  This latter unfortunately came to pass.  That very same day, 22nd June at 2:30 pm, the Nazi hordes penetrated Skud.  The Lithuanians, “The Friends” of the Jews of Skud, who only the day before had earned their living from the Jewish population and were supposedly their “Good Friends” received the Nazis with flowers and cheers of welcome.  They flew their national flags from their roof-tops. (After a while they were forced to remove them.)  Subsequently they executed all tasks assigned to them.  In derision they pointed out any Jewish passer-by.

            The occupation Force numbered only one hundred men under their commander.  The rest of the German Army moved on towards Furkulin and Lavoi in Latvia.  For the next twenty-hours following the invasion, the Nazi military supplies passed through Skud to new battle ground.

            The next day a command was issued that forbad anyone of the local population possessing arms.  A final date was given when all pistols etc., had to be handed in and stated that for every German injured or killed, one hundred Jewish lives would be forfeited.  Notwithstanding the position many Jews returned to Skud though deeply distressed.

            The Jews were immediately given menial, onerous tasks, of no benefit to anyone.  It was most distressing when a young whipper-snapper, who days before had sat next to Jewish students, tormented them the most.  The Germans were added and abetted by the Lithuanians, when they attacked women and children and plundered wherever they went.

            In the meantime the soldiers of the Red Army, who hid in the surrounding forests around Skud, regrouped and decided to attack the enemy and recapture Skud.  They heard that the occupying Nazi force was small and on Saturday the 28th June in the evening, they returned to Skud.

            A bitter battle raged in the middle of the New Town between the Nazis and the Red Army.  The Germans used hand grenades and the resultant fires started in the Market Place in the Long Street, the Yaluka Street and Miseid Street.

            The whole New Town was aflame in this battle.  Heavy losses on both sides resulted.  The German Commander too was killed. The Nazi invaders were heavily outnumbered by the red Army.

            On Sunday morning the Germans got re-enforcements and the Red Army that had fought so courageously had to surrender.  When the battle ceased there was a large number of civilian casualties and also a few Jewish casualties amongst them the Rabbi of Skud, Rabbi Terushkin, who was killed in Meised Street.  On the same Sunday the fate of the Jewish population was sealed.

            The German Authorities falsely accused the Jews of giving information to the Red Army in the forests, regarding the small contingent of the Occupation Forces.  The blood thirst got their desire.  The Command was given.  All the Jewish men were herded like animals into warehouses, one being “Shoulistim Hall” while the women and children were sent to the big Shul in the “Old Town” (later the Germans desecrated the Shul by storing cattle fodder in it).

            On the 29th June the bitter end came to the Jewish Skud Community.  In the evening a group of men were brought to the field of Zelikowitz – a short distance from the warehouses.  They were ordered to dig two large trenches.  When this was completed, groups of fifty men were brought there and shot on the spot.  The whole night drunken Lithuanians brought on German Command, Jews to be shot.  The poor Jews were savagely and brutally manhandled before they were shot.  The Lithuanians acted like wild animals. 

            Itschak Malkinson, the hero of the town (who had recently bought those same fields where the Jews were shot) attacked one of his tormentors and throttled him with his own hands, before a German bullet killed him.  The avenged Jew was also killed, but the Lithuanian atoned not only with his own blood but the blood of the whole community.  Honour to his Memory!

            At the end of this horror, the Germans left four Jews to clean up the Jewish houses in the Old Town and prepare them for the German occupation.  These houses were not damaged from the battle.

            These four Jews were Ruvein Gilden, Moische Leib Greenblat, Natanial Turk and Joseif Ben Rabbi Yehuda Levine.  They too shared the same fate as their brothers.

            The head of the Lithuanian Mob was Petrus Birlens, a Barber from the Old Town.  Petrus grew up with the Jewish Youth, was fluent in Yiddish.  He had a lot of Jewish clients and was often entertained in Jewish homes.  At 29 years old he realized his dream: he dipped his hands in Jewish blood.  Cursed be his memory!

            The women and children were incarcerated the whole week in the Old Shul.  They suffered deprivation, hunger and torture.  After a week all the women, young, old, healthy and sick, some pregnant, some with babies in arms were herded together and told to walk to Drubyan.  Lithuanians encircled them and anyone not able to keep up was shot on the spot.  The Lithuanians claimed that these were their orders.

            The women who had been in the Shul were brought to “Dimitrovas Farm” between Drubyan and Katingen.  (Before this place was used by Communists from surrounding areas for Administration purposes).

            The Skudder women worked as agricultural hands under terrible conditions.  Inhuman treatment was metered out to them; and their fate was no different from their husbands and families.

            In Autumn that year the Germans came to Talzash Province to execute their orders and the innocent Skudder women and children were also shot.  Honour for their Memory!

            This is the end of our town Skud, that was wiped out so tragically and the Jewish blood soaked the town.

            Eliyahu Reiff concluded the report with the following:  This information I managed to collect from Lithuanians who passed through Seliby when I was there.  I would like to mention that part of the Skudder Youth that had escaped before with the Red Army were killed in the battle when they fought together with the Lithuanian Division of the Red Army.  Those youngsters were like heroes and were killed with their weapons in their hands.  A few, a very few of the Skudder Jews who did later return to the town, walked like ghosts over their brothers’ graves, because each inch of the town was soaked with Jewish blood.

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

            Greenker Leib and Family

            Greenker Michal Mein and Family

            Glickman Yoseif and Family

            Glickman Shalom and Family

            Gelant Chaim and Family

            Grupel Yehoshua and Family

            Girson Natan and Family

Glago Leib and Family

Glago Nataniel and Family

Glago Chaim and Family

Greenker Aharon Nachus

Gercer Ya-akov and Family

Greenblatt Ya-akov – Eliezar and Family

Greenblatt Moisha Leib and Family

Green Israel and Family

Grevitz Alla and Family

Grevitz Avraham and Family

Gordon Sheva Leah and Family

 

Dodor David and Family

Dinnershol Natan and Family

Dorfnan Avraham and Family

Dorfnan Nataniel and Family

 

•           Eorsna Isaac and Family

Eochzan Leib and Family

Eorvitz Nissan and Family

Eorvitz Eliyahu and Family

Eorvitz Chaim and Family

Eyman Sara and Family

Eelman Hinde and Family

Eershowitz Gershon and Family

Eershowitz Nataniel

•           Rabbi’s family – grandson in Rustenburg.  Rabbi Trushkin brother-in-law of Isaac Hovsha, his father.

Wolfaandt Ephraim and Family

Weiner Itzchak and Family

Winner Shlomo and Family

Wynberg Moishe and Family

Wynberg Shimon and Family

Valas Eliyahu and Family

Vender Benzion and Family

 

Singer Tzvi and Family

Singer Kalman and Family

Seligman Leib and Family

Zacks Azriel and Family

Zacks Tora and Family

Zacks Boruch Meier and Family

Zacks Itschak and Family

Zacks Tuvia and Family

Zacks Chana Arye

Zelikowitz Aeyer

Zelikowitz Avigdor and Family

And these are the names of the Righteous from Skud who were murdered:-

            Rabbi Taruskin – Ya-akov, Chaim and Family

            Alsvang and Family

            Urdang Ephraim and Family

            Urdang Avraham – Moishe and Family

            Urdang Dor and Family

            Eizen Zvi and Family

            Axelrod, Gershon and Family

            Epstein Eliazer Dor and Family

            Aunbinder Moishe and Family

            Aunbinder Chaim and Family

            Aunbinder Raphael and Family

            Aunbinder Tvia and Family

            Abel Tora and Family

            Abel Itzchak and Family

            Abel Chava Ita

            Einbinder Ferra and Family

            Esterman Elka and Family

            Abromowitz Gita and Family

            Abromowitz Gedalyahu and Family

            Esterman Elchanan and Family

           

            Boenis Zundell and Family

            Boenis Shechna and Family

            Bloch Natal and Family

            Bloch Shlomo and Family

            Bloch Meier – Henech and Family

            Binder Ya-akov Moische and Family

            Bernstein Tiwya and Family

•           Balkind Shmuel and Family

            Berkman Leib and Family

            Bub Eliezar and Family

            Bub Chasia – Zipper and Family

            Binder Moishe and Family

•           Baskind Leib and Family

            Boenis Isaac and Family

•           Baskind Moishe and Family

            Baskind Yehude and Family

            Baskind Riva – Reisa and Family

            Blacher Alter and Family

            Blacher Benzion and Family

            Bass Moishe and Family

            Brund Meier and Family

            •           Family of Chins Mispocha

            Gilder Mordechar and Family

            Gilder Zvi and Family

            Gilder Chaim Yehoshua and Family

            Gilder Shalom and Family

            Gilder Reuven and Family

            Gilder Sheva Leah and Family

            Greenker Yoseif and Family

            Greenker Moishe and Family

            Greenker Aharon and Family

            Kaganson Abbar and Family

            Kaganson Meir and Family

            Katz Alta and family

            Cohen Reuven and Family

           

            Lang Freider

            Lieberman Eliezer and Family

            Levitan Eliezer and Family

            London Shlomo and Family

            Lankimer Meir and Family

            Lamkimer Michal and Family

            Lankimer Shmerel and Family

            Lankimer Shmerel Benzion and Family

            Lankimer Shmuel Leib and Family

            Levine Yoseif Dor and Family

            Levine Gershon and Family

            Levine Yehuda and Family

            Levine Abraham and Family

            Levine Moische and Family

            Levine Smerel Benzion and Family

            Levine Moishe and Family

            Levine Nachun and Family

            Lev (Dr) and Family

           

            Melamed Yatakor andFamily

            Mendelson Yehuda and Family

            Mins Elchanan and Family

            Mins Yoseif anf Family

            Mins Meir and Family

            Malkind Moishe and Family

            Malkinson Itzchak and Family

            Malkinson Israel and Family

            Milner Shabtar and Family

            Metoswitz (Dr) and Family

            Montrisky Bryna and Family

            Mirkus Yoseif and Family

            Mar Ya-akov and Family

            Malkinson Miryam and Family

           

            Natanson Avraham and Family

            Niman Shraga and Family

            Nemkind Ozer and Family

            Netalowitz Dor and Family

 

            Segel Ya-akov and Family

            Segel Tova Leah and Family

            Segel Moische and Family

Segel Ephraim and Family

            Selortzick (Lawyer) and Family

Sekist Zundel and Family

            Sabel Necheniva and Family

            Sabel Yoseif Leib and Family

 

            Alijash Itschak and Family

            Alkin Elke and Family

Alver Leib Isaac and Family

            Aver Moische and Family

            Aver Yoseif and Family

           

            Chatzkel Menachem and Family

            Chatzkel Nachum and Family

            Chatzkel Azriel and Family

            Chatzkel Ya-akor and Family

            Chatzkel Zvi and Family

•           Chin Michael and Family

            Chetskin Yehuda and Family

            Choyoher Mordechai and Family

           

            Tanur Zvi Meier and Family

            Tanur Eliyahu and Family

            Taitz Yehuda and Family

            Taitz Gershon and Family

            Taitz Yehuda and Family

Taitz Avraham and Family

            Tor Asriel and Family

Tor Bender and Family

            Turk Meir and Family

            Turk Avraham and Family

            Turk Nataniel and Family

            Turk Chaim and Family

           

            Judelman Zvi and Family

            Judelman Leib and Family

            Judelman Leah and Family

            Judelman Isa and Family

Judelman Michal and Family

            Jankelowitz Meir Mordechai and Family

Jankelowitz Ya-akor Moishe and Family

            Jankelowitz Meier and Family

            Jankelowitz Chaim Jitzchak and Family

            Jankelowitz Yoseif and Family

            Jankelowitz Moyshe and Family

            Jankelowitz Benzion and Family

            Jurborg Israel and Family

            Jelowitz Moishe and Family

            Jankelewitz Israel and Family

 

            Cohen Chaim Kalman and Family

            Cohen Israel and Family

            Cohen Mordechai and Family

            Cohen Tuvia and Family

            Cohen Itzchak and Family

            Cohen Ahason and Family

            Cohen Leib and Family

            Cohen Moishe Meschel and Family

            Cohen David and Family

            Cohen Shlomo and Family

            Cohen Shmariehu and Family

            Cohen Ya-akov and Family

            Cohen Chaim Yehuda and Family

            Cohen Feiga and Family

            Cohen Shmuel and Family

            Cohen Meier and Family

            Kaganson Dor and Family

            Kaganson Chaim and Family

            Kirzner Ephraim and Family

            Kirzner Moishe and Family

            Klaaiman Chaim and Family

            Klaaiman Meir and Family

            Krawitz Yehuda and Family

            Karvalnick and Family

            Kolman Leib

           

•           Reif Avraham and Family

            Reif Bracha and Family

Richkind Shraga and Family

            Rosen Geta and Family

            Rosenberg Rachel and Family

            Reiselman Benzion and Family

            Reiselman Avraham and Family

            •           The writer’s (of the book) family

            Sheindling Abraham and Family

            Sheindling Rosa and Family

            Sheindling Yoseif Yehuda

            Sheindling Shlomo and Family

            Sheindling Moishe and Family

            Spilg Alta and Family

••          Spitz Betzaleil and Family

            Shovshefsky Aharon and Family

            Schaffkin Avraham and Family

            Schaffkin David and Family

            Shaff Yoseif and Family

            Shaff Dor and Family

            Shlaiz Mordechai and Family

            Shlaiz Minnie and Family

            Shlaiz Dor and Family

•••        Sher Yoseif and Family

            Shlomowitz Tvi and Family

            Shtiris Benjamin and Family

            Sheipts Alta and Family

            Shweitzer Leib and Family

            Shleiz Ya-akov and Family

            ••          Spitz – family of Spitz from Johannesburg

            •••

This represents ± 2 500 Jewish inhabitants. Those that emigrated before escaped this dreadful tragedy – those that remained there, perhaps an isolated one, managed to survive.

            Fomm Moishe Shimon and Family

            Finter Rachel

            Feltz Nataniel and Family

            Fross Mordechai and Family

            Fress Nataniel and Family

            Fress Aharon Zusie and Family

            Formust Itschak and Family

            Pearl Benzion and Family

            Pilminster Moishe and Family

•           Fiedman Naphtali and Family

            Falk Benzion and Family

            Fzibush Yoseif and Family

            Pearlgabber Itschak and Family

            Pearlgabber Heschel and Family

            Pearlgabber Leib and Family

            Pearlgabber David and Family

            Pearlgabber Leib and Family

            Pearlgabber Leib and Family

            Pearlgabber Yoseif and Family

            Fogelman Michael and Family

            Fogelman (Dr) Yoseif and Family

••          Fogelman Moische and Family

            Fogelman Nataniel Yehuda and Family

            Fogelman Benzion and Family

            Fogelman Mordechai and Family

            Fogelman Michal and Family

            Fogelman Yeshatayahu and Family

            Faktor Avraham Dor and Family

            Faktor Yehakov and Family

            Faktor Abba and Family

            Factor Slomo and Family

            Factor Mordechai and Family

            Frisher Chaia and Family

            Frisher Zvi and Family

            Frisher Freidel and Family

            Frisher Yoseif and Family

            Frisher Eliezer and Family

            Frisher Chana and Family

•           Friedman Chaim’s father – Daddy’s Cousin

            ••          Fogelman Moische (Chassa Merre Chin)

            Tzisling Zvi and Family

            Tzisling Benjamin and Family

            Tzerinskry Itschak and Family

            Tzimbler Zvi and Family

            Tzimbler Zippa and Family

            Kaplansky Ya-akov Mordechai and Family

            Kaplan Zvi and Family

Kaplan Moische Aharon and Family

            Kopelowitz Leib and Family

            Klein Chaim and Family

            Klein Ya-akov and Family

            Kastalensky Itschak and Family

            Korv Yecheskel and Family

Korv Aharon and Family

 

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