The Gross-Steinberg Family Tree presents:

the Panevezys, Lithuania Info Dump (1 of 3)

by James Gross

Date: 6/18/96
Dear fellow Panevezys researcher,
The following is page 1 of my 2 page compilation of recent and past letters from researchers doing Panevezys,Lithuania research. I urge you to submit your names to the JGFF (Jewish Genealogical Family Finder) as many of you have not done so yet. I have a link to it via Jewishgen. Its on my "jump" link at the bottom of this page. For those who have been wondering why my updates are sporadic, my internet provider went to Mars.
take care-
James H. Gross
Cherry Hill,N.J.
Member JGS of Phila

From: (Esther Vail)
My sister and I are interested in Panevezys (but, of course, we still call it what the family called it: Ponivitz)--our mother was born there in 1904. My grandfather Eli Cohen (the last name was what he used in the US--in Lithuania he used the name of his step-father, Kapelushnik, but his own father, who died young, was Samuel Kahane) was married to Ita Schtirra Hurwitz from Abolnik, and the family apparantly lived in a few different towns before they came to America--at least one of my mother's siblings had a different birthplace.
My grandfather emigrated with the oldest daughter in 1906; they went to the Boston area (my grandfather was a brick mason and there had been a great fire in Chelsea, so there was work there in the rebuilding) and both worked to send money back to bring the mother and the remaining five children over. The mother died of cholera on the eve of the departure, and my uncle Sam, then 14, brought the little ones over.

(Esther Vail cont.)
We have a postcard which we have not yet found anyone to read completely which was sent by some male relative of the mother's to my grandmother to announce the children were on their way. The card is a jumble of Hebrew, Yiddish, and, one person who took a try at it told us, Lithuanian, all written in Hebrew characters.
We really don't have much information about Panevezys, but if you have any sources, etc., to mention, we'd love to hear about them. We've seen the book on Lithuanian communities, but that's about it--we've been doing most of our work on our father's family. As with so many of us who are trying to dig up the roots, we waited too long--the youngest of those children above is still alive, but we didn't drill her enough before she succumbed to senility.
All the best to you--
Esther H. Vail, Rochester NY USA

From: (Prof. G. L. Esterson)
To: LARKLANE@JUNO.COM (james Gross)
Dear Jim,
I am researching Panevezys in the Marcus family, originally of Baisogala, Lithuania. In particular, my mat uncle Shmuel Marcus lived there until about 1935, when he passed away. If you have any connection with this family, please let me know.
Regards, Jerry
Prof. G. L. Esterson,
Ra'anana, Israel
E-mail: or E-mail:

Date: Sun, 12 May 1996
Subject: Re Paneveyz group
Dear James,
I'm afraid I'm one of those whose going to have to confess to virtually no knowledge of Paneveyz. My father in law was born there but migrated to South Africa as an infant. His name was Solomon ORBACH and his father was Joseph ORBACH. His mother's name was Pessa WEINBERG.
I do remember that there was a Ponevez shul in Johannesburg which means there must have been a very large Landsmannshaft. I do know the shul was sold in the 1960s to make way for the Harrow Road Flyover/overpass.
Phillip Heilbrunn

From: (Budlender Family)
To: (James H Gross),br> Date: Sat, 11 May 1996
Subject: Re: Panevezys Web site
Yes, I certainly would like to be included in the Panevezh and Krekenova web-sites. Please keep me informed.
Best regards,
Anne Budlender, Melbourne

Date: Mon, 13 May 1996
Some of father's family came from Panevezys. They included Klor(Klior), Levin, and Sher.
Sheldon I. Clare

Date: Tue, 14 May 1996
Subject: Panevezys
Dear Jim:
Add me to the list of Panevezys Searchers. You may recall that the names I am searching from Panevezys and environs are: BARRON (BARON) AND SCHWARTZMAN.
While family legend had it that Pushalot was the Barron homeplace, I have also found references to Panevezys. The towns are, however, quite close, and I believe the distinction may be a result of the location of the 4 Barron brothers and where each lived.(One wound up in the Ukraine where he was murdered in a pogram---by that time he had changed his name to BERKOWITZ). The SCHWARTZMAN side probably comes from Gelezai-another nearby town from the best I can tell.
Joseph H. Miller
Lexington, Kentucky

Subj: Panevezys
Date: 95-10-05
From: Joe Herman
Dear Mr. Gross:
I have just discovered that my grandmother came from Panevezys. Should you run across the names Avraham Ari HaLevy and/or Schwartzman in your searches, I would appreciate your letting me know.
Thank you,
Joseph H. Miller
Lexington, Kentucky

Date: Mon, 13 May 1996
Subject: Re: Panevezys
Dear James,
I am not exactly researching Panevezys. I do have a number of birth, marraige and death records for "Margolis" surnames from Panevezys but have not been able to definitely connect them up to my family. I have been to Panevezys twice and will be there again in several weeks. Presently, about 25 Jewish families live in Panevezys-a city of 100,000.
I am researching the "Margolis" and "Zuk" names from Pusalotas and the "Bernstein" name from Linkuva. Pusalotas is 18 miles NW of Panevezys and Linkuva is 35 miles NW of Panevezys. I am also researching "Lotkin" and "Druk" from Krustpils, Latvia.
Howard Margol

From: (Jan Groshan)
To: James H Gross (
Date: Mon, 13 May 1996
Subject: Re: Panevezys & Krekenova
My grandfather's naturalization papers indicate that he was born in Panevezys. His name was Max (Mordecham) Liebman and he was a bookbinder. In 1913 he came to the U.S. on the Cleveland, which docked in Boston, Mass., on July 20 by way of Hamburg, Germany. At the moment, that's all the information I have.
Jan Grshan

To: (James H Gross)
Date: Wed, 15 May 1996
Subject: Panevezys and environs
Dear James
My grandparents came from Vabalninkas (about 60 miles from Panevezy). My dad was born in Karsakiskis although the rest of his family lived and worked in Panevezys, so I reckon it should be included.
Look forward to getting involved in this if I can help in any way.
Best wishes,
Joel Nathan (

From: "Stuart S. Horwitz" (102216.1242@CompuServe.COM)
To: James Gross (
Date: 15 May 96
Subject: Panevezh
I am not actively researching panevezh at this time, but I do have family that came from there. I am interested in being on your mailing list
Stu Horwitz

Date: Thu, 16 May 1996
Subject: Re: Knock, Knock
Jim, include me in any info about Panevezys...humbly I must admit that to date all I know about the place is that it is the birthplace of my maternal grandfather. I know nothing of shtetl life there, where my great- grandfather is buried, etc. Hopefully there will turn up a link to some family members...I have a pretty good collection of family and names, relationships mapped's the details I'm lacking.
Family names include...Isaacs, Frank, Rutkoff, Fabricant. Please let me know what I can contribute.
Gary Goldstein From: (DR EDWARD J FUDMAN)
Date: Wed, 15 May 1996
Subject: Lith Research
The Lithuanian archives charge $70 to do a search, payable in advance. If they find the family the charge is $18 per document for a copy and translation. There was an article about it in Avotaynu a few issues back- they are reputable and very helpful.

From: Aaron Roetenberg (
To: James H Gross (
Date: Wed, 15 May 1996
jim, i am alive but have no lithuanian documentation.
i am interseted in the project.

From: (Philip Heilbrunn)
Date: Thu, 16 May 1996
Subject: Panevezys
Dear James,
BTW my ineterest in Paneveysz is that my wife's father, the late SOLOMON ORBACH was born there. We know very little about the family's background in Paneveysz. I therefore will be more of a user than contributor in this venture and hope I don't get to let the others down.
Thanks for your interest and your enterprise in getting this going.
(Rabbi) Philip Heilbrunn

From: David Shapiro (
Date: Thu, 16 May 1996
Subject: Panevyzsh
Sorry for the delay.
All the material I have is on the rabbis of Panevyzh. The most extensive is a biography of Rabbi Shaul Shapiro (born in Krekanova) taken from the introduction to his responsa "Chemdas ShauL" and written by his grandson Rabbi Moshe Meshel Shapiro of Ragova. (So far I haven't established a connection to my family). I also have considerable information on:

Rabbi Eliahu David Rabinowitz Teumim ("Aderet"),
Rabbi Yitzchok Yaakov Rabinowitz ("Reb Itzele Ponivizher"),
and Rabbi Yosef Kahaneman (founder of the Yeshiva in Benai Brak).
I also have a little on Rabbi Shmuel Shapiro "Dreier" author of "Levushei Shmuel" who was even earlier and was a relative of Rabbi Shaul Shapiro.
All of the information is in Hebrew so I don't know if it would be appropriate for the webpage. When I have more time Iwould consider translating it, but now I am preparing for the weddings of two children (and working overtime to pay for them).

Furthermore, Rabbi Kahaneman was planning to make on the Yeshiva grounds a museum in memory of the Jewish communities of Lithuania. According to persistent rumors (I first heard of this from the late Rabbi Shmuel Gorr) he got as far as depositing the communal records of Panevyzh in the designated building, together with manuscripts some of the rabbis of the town. I have made some atempt to gain access to this collection, but the Kahaneman family, the directors of the Yeshiva, seem very possesive of this material. If anyone could help me gain access (perhaps a regular donor to the Yeshiva) I would be willing (when things calm down at home) to check the records for the entire group (and I am professionally an expert in Hebrew and Yiddish manuscripts). I need someone with connections with the Kahenamans , not with the Rosh Yeshivas, my own son in law was a star student there but that doesn't seem to be able to help in this matter.
All the best,
David Shapiro

Date: Thu, 16 May 1996
I am alive and well just haven't had time to read the mail in over a week. I just completed a 176 page document of the history of family which I can trace to about 1765 in Birza and Panevzys. If I'm a little goofy its forgivable. Am interested in product and please keep me posted. Am making copies of the mail and when I have a clear head I'll do whatever is needed in the Shetelink.
thanks for keeping me informed
Ed Safer

Date: Wed, 22 May 1996
Subject: Re: Panevezys stetyl page
Photos limited to current period, was in Panevezys in 1994. Pictures of old cemetery which is now a park built by the Russians, picture of Panevezys Yeshevia now a bakery, pictures of area when Panevezys ghetto where Jews held during war, houses look relatively nice. Found out nothing is left of the old and in fact if you talk to the locals "they never knew Jews lived in Panevezys". Also went to the killing fields outside of city where about 12,000 were shot and buried in trench graves. Have some pictures of the Pushalot Jewish cemetery circa 1890-1930's also of building that was synagogue if anyone is interested in them.

Date: Tue, 14 May 1996
Subject: Re: PANEVEZYS
Dear Jim,
All I have is a copy of long letters written by my father's uncle Moshe David Levin during the 1930's to his son Louis Levin in Johannesburg. Moshe, his wife and all children except for Louis were killed in the Holocaust. Unfortunately, Louis died last year.Louis' son Sam lives in Israel. I have no other documents.

From: Kevin D Ossey (
I would like to be involved in the Shtetlinks project regarding Panevezys. Please e-mail and let me know how I can be listed here and access the info and be involved.

From: (Howard Margol)
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 1996
Dear Jacob,
Your message to Gary Goldstein was forwarded to me. I have just returned from Lithuania. I am researching MARGOLIS and ZUK from Pusalotas and Pumpenai-both located 15 miles north of Panevezys. Today, Panevezys has 120,000 inhabitants and is the 5th largest city in Lithuania. 25 Jewish families live there. The Chairman of the Panevezys Jewish Community is Anatolyns Fainbliumas, Sody 6-22, 5300 Panevezys, Lithuania. He does not speak English but has a friend who can translate letters for him.

The Jewish cemetery in Panevezys no longer exists. After the war, the Soviets used the gravestones for building materials. The former cemetery is now a park. There is a memorial located there explaining that the location was formerly the Jewish cemetery. At its height, 27,000 remains were buried there. I went to the Panevezys Archive. The only pre-1950 records they have is one book of Jewish property records for 1940. It lists the name of every Jew who owned property in Panevezys in 1940. It shows the location, size of the property, amount of taxes, etc. The address of the archive is:
Panevezio Apygardos Archyvas,
M. Valanciaus 3,
5319 Panevezys, Lithuania.
To research information in this book of property records they charge $3.75 and 60 cents per page for a copy. Each record is spread across two pages. If part of the property owned by the same individual is on one page and part on the following page, four pages would need to be copied.

At the museum in Panevezys, the only item of a Jewish nature they said they had was a beutiful hand drawn 1904 map of Panevezys. The location of all the Jewish places of interest (synagogues, Jewish schools, Yeshivas, etc.) are shown on the map. It took a lot of doing but I managed to have a copy of the map made. The copy machine in the Museum was capable of making a copy in two parts but they did not have any large paper-only the 8 1/2 by 12 size. The library had the large paper but their copy machine made a very poor copy. I got a supply of large paper from the library, took it to the Museum, and the problem was solved. I am telling you this to let you know that in many ways, Lithuania is still way behind the Western World.

The library has many old Panevezys newspapers in their file but I did not have time to pursue it. It would be time consuming, unless you knew a specific date, but a researcher could probably find interesting information in the various issues.
The Kaunas Archive-has a number of lists for the Panevezys area but not Panevezys itself. These lists were made for various purposes-revision lists, family lists, lists of military draftees, lists of tax-payers (real estate tax, "box" and "candle" taxes, which were payed only by Jews) passport lists and passport issuance books. Mosts of these lists are from the 1800's but are not complete. No vital records are in this archive-they are in the State Historical Archive in Vilnius. This archive has the vital records of Panevezys Jewish Community for the period 1837-1915. Some years are missing. This archive also contains some revision lists for various areas.

Kaunas Archive:
Kauno Apygardos Archyvas, Maironio 28a, 3000 Kaunas,Lithuania.
(incidently, this archive was a Synagogue before 1940)

Vilnius Archive:
Lithuanian State Historical Archives,
Gerosios Vilties 10,
2015 Vilnius, Lithuania.

Other archives in Vilnius:
Property records (for the period 1918-1990)
The Lithuanian Central State archives, O. Milasiaus 21, Vilnius 2016.

Vital records after 1915:
The Lithuanian Archive of Vital Statistics, Kalinausko 21, Vilnius 2600.

World War II documents:
The Lithuanian Archive of Public Organizations:
Dedimino pr. 12, Vilnius 2039.
One of our members of our Jewish Genealogical Society here in Atlanta was also with us in Panevezys. She is researching her Horowitz (Gurevich) family from Panevezys. I do not think she has a lot of information at this point. If you are interested, I will give you her address. She does not have E-mail. I hope the above information will be helpful.
Howard Margol

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