Voronovo: Memorial Book to the
Martyrs of Voronovo

(Voranava, Belarus)

54°09' / 25°20'

Translation of
Voronova; sefer zikaron le-kedoshei Voronova
she-nispu be-shoat ha-natsim

Edited by: H. Rabin, Voronova Societies in Israel and the United States

Published in Israel, 1971


Project Coordinator and Book Editor

Adam Cherson


Jack Gottleib (emeritus)


This is a translation from: Voronova; sefer zikaron le-kedoshei Voronova she-nispu be-shoat ha-natsim
(Voronova: Memorial Book to the Martyrs of Voronova),
Editors: H. Rabin, Israel, Voronova Societies in Israel and the United States, 1971 (H,Y, 440 pages).

Purchase details for a printed copy of this translation can be found at http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/ybip/YBIP_Voranava.html

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Introduction to the Translation

The uncanny ability to make history real is the source of a Yizkor Book's power. This power is manifest in the Voronova book, an extraordinary resource for historians, genealogists, and scholars. When combined with the speed and accuracy of internet searching, the inherent values of the work are magnified and honored in precisely the way its original editors had in mind when they asked us to: “…make a place of honor for this book, that you'll look at it from time to time when your heart feels like remembering our special town and our holy martyrs, and that it may interest your children for generations to come.”

To this end I have prepared a complete database index of names and places (accessible directly from this page, see below) so that every instance of any name and place, including names mentioned in photographic captions, may be quickly located in the book. Researchers interested in delving further into Voronovan genealogies and history are invited to visit the Kehilalinks Voronova and Kehilalinks Lida pages as well as the Lida District[1] networking page.

I am forever grateful to the translators who have worked for pittances on this project. Their names may be found below the title of each of their articles and they should be treasured by the generations. We are likewise eternally indebted to the many generous, individual contributors whose funding made this translation possible.

While preparing this translation I have often longed to hear the sound of Yiddish as Voronovers spoke it. As if on cue, as the project reached its completion, I stumbled upon an extraordinary, 5 minute video interview in Yiddish with R' Berel Chafets, z”l[2], born in Voronova in 1918! In this brief clip, not only to am I able to hear the spoken Yiddish and a few song snippets, as spoken and sung in Voronova so long ago, but to my astonishment R' Chafets makes reference to the rabbinical controversy which split the town apart in the 1930s (see p. 186 and p. 382) between adherents of the 'Kletzker' Rebbe and those of the 'Myadler' Rebbe. At the age of 94, in a Boro Park, Brooklyn café, the memory of the rabbinical controversy is still fresh in his thoughts. Something else I learned in the course of this project is that R' Berel is not only my first cousin, once removed, but that as a ten year old child he greeted the Chofetz Chaim.

I hope the public will find as much enlightenment, sustenance, pathos, and delight as I have in these pages.

Adam Benyakonski Cherson


TOC Hebrew translated by Sara Mages
TOC Yiddish translated by Yocheved Klausner


Town Map   Unnumbered
Words from the Editorial Board   5
Additional Words and Appreciation The Editor 10
Voronovo – History and Importance
Voronova in the Sources and in the Voronova Book H. Rabin 13
Image of Voronova, My Town Shlomo Aviel Shmerkovitsh 20
Profile of a Town Shlomo Pikovski 25
Holocaust and Heroism
From Bad to Worse Meir Shamir (Shmerkovitsh) 31
My Holocaust Experience Khenye Konopke 46
Thanks to Our Child Moshe and Khayeh Kaplan 57
Final Days of Our Town Keileh Grodzenchik (Shamir) 70
Ghettos and the Forest M[eir] Shamir (Shmerkovitsh) 74
A Child's Gift During the Holocaust K. Lisorski 108
A Son of Voronova's Heroism and Revenge Zalmen Dukshtulski 111
Story of an Avenging Youth Yekuthiel (Kushke) Boyarski 119
I Left for the Forest at Age 15 Ze'ev Kaplan 123
Unjust Regimes Yitzach Ben-Ami 127
A Fifteen Year Old Boy in Fate's Hands Yakov Olkenitski 137
My Miserable Russian Days Bat Sheba Podesiuk (Kalamanovitsh) 143
Long is the Road to Zion Yitzach Olkenitski 146
A Little More Revenge Shmuel Kopelovitsh 149
My Revenge Against the Liquidator of Jews in Our Region Moshe Kaplan 155
After the Underground Y. Dvilianski 160
My Father is Summoning Me [Poem] Shlomo Aviel (Shmerkovitsh) 163
Our Town – Memoirs, Images, Short stories
Voronova: A Town of Blue and White Yekhezkel Poz-Puziriski 169
A Town with a Marketplace and Neighborhoods Shimon Levin 173
A Town of Unsettled Youth Aharon Konikhovski (Krani) 177
“Chayei Adam”[3] Society and “Mishniyot” Society[4] S. Levine 179
The Boulevards of Voronova [Poem] Shlomo Aviel-Shmerkovitsh 182
The Rabbis and The Rabbinical Dispute S. Levine 186
Yakov “Yankel” Kaminetski M.S.V. 188
Illustrative Curiosities Khaye Levine (Rothbart) 190
Women of Our Town Aharon Karni (Konikhovski) 194
A Tale About a Telephone Y. Poz (Puziriski) 195
A Tale About a Handshake Y. Poz (Puziriski) 195
The Route to Redemption – Community, Movements and Organizations
Hashomer HaTsair[5] Nest in Voronova Abrashka Moltsadski (Sharid) 199
The Zionist and HeKhaluts[6] Movement in Voronova mov M. Kuznets, of Blessed Memory 202
From the Memories of an Emissary Yosef Bankover 205
Betar[7] in Voronova A.A. Olkenitski, Khenyeh Konopke and Khaye Levine (Rothbart) 207
‘Supplement’ to the Image of Betar[7] Shlomo Pikovski 210
Restless Youth (A Guide to Our Perplexed Town) S. Levine 213
Impressions of a Teacher in Voronova Tova Shomroni 216
Educators, Education, Educational Establishments, Educational Conditions, and Melameds Shimon Levine 219
The Building and its Contents Shimon Levine 222
Persons of Quality
The Zionist Veteran Nekhemye Shapira Yehoshua Shomroni 227
Mr. Yosef Shmerkovitsh M.S.V. 229
Reyzl Moltsadski M.S.V. 233
The New Synagogue Shimon Levine 235
Died in Israel
List of Voronova Residents Who Died in Israel   238
Euologies For Those I Lament S. Aviel 239
In Memory of Yehoshua, Of Blessed Memory Aharon Karni 249
My Father Matisyahu, Of Blessed Memory Prof. Moshe Kuznets 250
Reb Gottlieb Konikhovski, Of Blessed Memory S. Aviel 251
The Yiddish Book
Our Shete'le
I See You, My Little Town V. Shomroni 259
Tsimes, Psalms, and Medicine M. Kuznets 261
Little Memories Y. Shomroni 264
To the First Minyan with the Cows M. Kuznets 267
Voronova, the Concept of Hospitality A. Ginsburg 270
Let Us Recall A. Konopke 271
The Zionist Veteran Nekhemye Shapira Y. Shomroni 273
Memories, Types, and Victims R. Gol 275
Direct and Indirect Paths to Zionism Reuven Gol 279
The Society of Voronova in America Isidore Dikson 284
Heroism and Destruction
Thanks to Our Child Moshe and Khayeh Kaplan 289
Final Days of Our Town K. Grodzenchik 302
In My Own “Partizanka” Y. Konikhovski 307
An Involuntary Hero Z. Dukshtulski 319
Our Child Saved Us K. Lisorski 332
Exactly When It Rained M. Konopke (Mutshnik) 337
A Child Partisan Yekutiel (Kushke) Boyarski 346
Under Gentile Regimes I. Ben–Ami 352
Death Before Our Eyes R. Konopke–Mayortshik 367
Taking Some More Vengeance S. Kopelovitsh 369
My Miserable Russian Days Bat Sheba Podisiuk-Kalmanovitsh 375
In Memory of the Slaughtered Voronove Jews H. Solodukha 379
This is How My Shtetl Marched to Death M. Kaplan 382
Names of Voronova Martyrs   385
List of Voronova Immigrants to Israel   390
The Soletchnik (Šalčininkai) Book   393
The Tiny Town of “Great Soletchnik” H. Kaplan 397
Soletchnik: Small but Great K. Goldanski 401
Soletchnik on the Eve of Shoah Chaim Kalai (Streletski) 405
A Home in Soletchnik Yosef Krum 407
Velvele in Soletchnik Chava Levine (Lieberman) 409
This is How My Mother Blessed Me C. Levine (Lieberman) 409
How I Made Aliyah Yosef Krum 411
Because of Wagner's Tractors Chaim Kalai 412
List of Soletchnik People Living in the Diaspora and in Israel   414
The Great Soletchnik [Y]
The Great Soletchnik [Y] T. Krum 417
Generosity in my Shtetl [Y] Esther Katz (Taibel) 422
Yakov Katz – Soletchnik's Poet [Y] A.G. [Glikman] 426
A Silent Soul [Y] A. Glikman 428
To Live I Want – to Live! [Y] Yakov Katz 428
Flowers [Y]   428
Soletchnik and Soletchniker in Death [Y] Tzemah Krum 430
Names of Soletchnik Martyrs   439
List of Soletchnik Residents Who Died in Israel   440
Names Index
Places and Organizations Index

  1. https://www.facebook.com/groups/JewishLidaDistrictinVilnaGuberniya/ Return
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysmp9z1aYEA Return
  3. The Life of Man Return
  4. The first part of the Talmud, containing traditional oral interpretations of scriptural ordinances (Halakhot), compiled by the rabbis about 200. http://www.yourdictionary.com/mishnayot Return
  5. The Pioneer - association of Jewish youth whose aim was to train its members to settle in Israel Return
  6. Literally: Paths of Pleasantness Return
  7. The initials of Brit Yosef Trumpeldor- The Covenant of Joseph Trumpeldor, the educational youth movement of the Revisionist Zionist Organization Return

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