JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen This week's Yizkor book excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page #general

Bruce Drake

Jews both prospered and suffered grievously during their long history
in Lithuania. "My Shtetele Shkud" (Skuodas) tells of both. The chapter
is >from a book titled "Lita," a history of the 700 years life of
Lithuanian Jewry. (Lita refers in Yiddish to the area where Lithuanian
Jews lived). The Jewish Lithuanian population before World War II
numbered around 160,000, a number that swelled to more than 200,000 as
Jews fled Poland believing they would be safer there during its
short-lived occupation by the Red Army. Under the Nazi occupation in
1941, 180,000 had perished in pogroms and organized mass killings.

"The laughter of Jewish children will never again echo in the
marketplace," writes the author, Leon Bernstein. That laughter, he
says, "the laughter of Lithuanian peasants must not disturb the rest
of our murdered generation; young Lithuanians in their Sunday
drunkenness must not compete with one another: I murdered three, and
I, five..." He recalls times when Shkud was "a happy, lively shtetl,"
such as in the 1920s when industrialization made the town a prosperous
place, though it came at the cost of some traditional occupations.

"Only the heirs of its memory remain, a handful of Jews in America, in
Israel, in South Africa."


Bruce Drake
Silver Spring MD

Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel

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