Vabalninkas – Phil & Aldona’s visit in October 2021

From Phil and Aldona Shapiro

Vida

Aldona and I enjoyed meeting you yesterday.  As we explained, we saw the notices of the Jewish history exhibits earlier this year but yesterday was our first opportunity to visit the Vabalninkas museum.  It was particularly important for me because the ancestors of my grandfather, Philip Kramer, lived in Vabalninkas in the 19th Century.  The book of Jewish holiday recipes included one provided by my mother, Mildred Kramer Shapiro, who is his daughter.

As I mentioned, the text of the yizkor (memorial) book for Vabalninkas has been translated into English and posted on-line, https://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/lithuania6/lit6_357.html.  By using Google’s translation function, you can translate the English text into Lithuanian and, thereby, get an approximate idea of the information.

Additionally, Jews whose ancestors lived in Vabalninkas are in contact with each other through the Vabalninkas kehilalinks (community) page, https://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/vabalninkas/Home.html.  The webpage is maintained by Eli Rabinowitz, a South African who lives in Australia and frequently visits Litvak towns in Belarus and Lithuania.  I will be sending him some of the photographs I took yesterday in your museum and in the area near the former turgaus aikštė.


Eli,

Earlier this year Aldona and I learned that the Vabalninkas branch of the Biržai regional museum had opened an exhibition of information about and photographs of the Jewish community of Vabalninkas.  We finally visited it yesterday, Tuesday, October 12.

Here are some photos I took.  If you think any would be useful to post on the Vabalninkas KehillaLinks site, I will be happy to provide more information.

The town had a summer synagogue and a winter synagogue. In the photos, the summer synagogue is gray and the winter synagogue is yellow.  The winter synagogue also appears to have had a mikveh.  The word “pirtis” means “bath,” and “pirties gatvė” means “bath street.”  A local photographer took lots of photographs during the inter-war period.

Phil

The Museum

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eli@elirab.com

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