Surnames/tags: Kaganski Kahanski Salwen
Aryeh Leyb Kaganski
Our maternal grandfather, Aryeh Leyb Kaganski, was in the lumber business and farming in Lubova, Lita (Lithuania) near Suwalk where he and his wife, Zissel Beylah, raised 7 children—5 boys and 2 girls. Theirs was a devoutly religious home and the children were educated in traditional Jewish values and their heritage. The eldest, Julius, even received rabbinic ordination at the famous Yeshiva of Rodin as part of his formal religious training (not as his profession).
During World War I, Zissel Beylah was killed by a stray bullet while standing at the window one afternoon and praying "mincha." Although Julius, Nathan Isaac, Miriam and Chaim all eventually came to America, we understand that their father, Aryeh Leyb, would not come here since he felt America was not religious enough for him. The second daughter, Malka, went to what was then Palestine, married and to this day is a resident of Israel. We are hopeful that she will be able to join us on July 4th.
Two persons, Hirsch and Moshe, remained in Europe and were lost in the Holocaust. Moshe's wife, son and daughter fortunately survived their very harrowing experience (which included the widow's sentence to a term at hard labor in Siberia). The son, Abraham Kaganski—who had been an activist in Vilna—along with his wife and daughters, his sister, Tsilla, and mother, Shayne, are now all proud citizens of Israel. Abraham is a highly respected engineer and Tsilla is a nurse at one of the leading hospitals there.
The Suwalk and Vicinity Relief and Yizkor Book Committee of New York, which offers assistance in Israel and Europe to survivors of Suwalk, published a Book of Remembrance of that community. The Kaganski family can point with pride to the mention of "Mr. Kaganski," who, the editors said, must be mentioned and remembered with praise for his activities in saving the lives of Jews during World War II. It describes how, in offering all kinds of assistance, he and his family usually gave up all their beds to Jews fleeing the Germans in the surrounding forests. The book also contains a picture of a moustached man and Rabbi David Lifshitz (the honorary President of the Suwalk Society and a prominent senior Talmudist at Yeshiva University in New York) flanking a table of Torah Scrolls. The story behind this valued picture, learned from the Rabbi, is that it shows him with "Mr. Kaganski" (Hirsch or Moshe—which one we are not sure) who had paid Gentiles to hide and thus save these precious, holy Torah Scrolls.
The descendants of Aryeh Leyb can cherish with gratitude and pride the memory and legacy of these sons who died Al Kiddush Hashem.
Happily, the generation of grandchildren of Aryeh Leyb and their progeny will have the opportunity to meet on an auspicious occasion to become acquainted with many other descendants of our illustrious forebears.
- Memoir written Jun 1982 by Cecile Feder and Bernard A. Salwen, in the possession of Harvey Levitt. Wiki'd with annotations by K. Bloom.
- ↑ Eight children have been documented; Mane (Kaganski) Zelaznick is not mentioned here.
- ↑ Rebeka (Goldshmit) Kaganski?
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