Lithuania SIG #Lithuania World War I expulsion from Siauliai #lithuania

Assaf Urieli <assaf@...>

Hi all,

I'm a beginner "geneologist", trying to reconstruct some of my family
history, and currently concentrating on the first world war. My maternal
grandmother, Miriam Iosselovich (Josselowitz or Yoselevich) was born in
Siauliai (Shavl or Shavli) in 1910. She remembered a period in her life
when her father, Avraham Iosef, was gone for a few years - when he
returned he was so changed she couldn't recognise him. I'm guessing this
corresponded to World War I, which she remembered as a period of
incredible hunger and food shortages as well.

I read Anatolij Chayesh's fascinating article on "The Expulsion of the
Jews >from Lithuania in the Spring of 1915"

from what I can gather in this article, the Germans reached Shavl on
April 17th 1915. The Russians burned the city down before leaving it.
The Russians where able to recapture Shavl on April 28th. The Jews were
expelled as potential German spies >from the entire Russian-controlled
part of the Kaunus region on about the 4-8th of May. By mid to late-July
1915, the Germans had re-captured Shavl, and stayed till 1920 or so.

Apparently, a total of 150,000 Jews were expelled to districts in
eastern Ukraine.

In another article on Shavl, it claims: "On May 7, 1915 One-hundred and
eighty Jews were reported abducted by the Germans in Shavel. Two
daughters of the government rabbi (presumably Rabbi Aharon Leib Heller)
were taken as hostages by the Germans, because he refused to act as
Mayor." (
However, May 7th seems to correspond to a period when Siauliai was under
Russian control!

I'm trying to guess if my grandmother's family would have been exiled,
and if so, where. I don't believe my grandmother or her family ever
spent time in eastern Ukraine. The places she mentioned are Kovno
(Kaunas), Vilna and Shavl. Maybe her family (or at least her mother and
siblings) left to live in Vilna during the war.

So, my questions are:
What was the Jewish population/total population of Shavl at the outbreak
of World War I?
On what exact date where the Jews of Shavl expelled?
How and by whom was the expulsion organised?
What is the calendar of German/Russian control of Shavl during the first
world war?
Did any Jews remain in Shavl after the expulsion?
Did all of the expelled Jews go straight to the Ukraine, or would some
have had to opportunity to relocate to Vilna?
Did the expelled Jews lose all of their property? Was there any way for
the Jews to protect their property during the war period?
Is it likely that only the head of the family would have been expelled?
If not, what other reason could account for him "missing" during the war
years? What was the age of Jews conscripted into the Russian army?
When did the expelled Jews return?
Were they officially allowed back into Independent Lithuania?
How were they treated on their return? Did they have to start life again
from scratch?
I realise these are difficult questions to answer, but maybe somebody
else has done some research into the same period!

Best regards,
Assaf Urieli
Toulouse, France

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