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Students from the Vilner Lerer Seminar (Yiddish Teachers' Seminary) go on an excursion to Purzkarnie on the outskirts of Vilna.

Photograph | Digitized | Photograph Number: 64223

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    Students from the Vilner Lerer Seminar (Yiddish Teachers' Seminary) go on an excursion to Purzkarnie on the outskirts of Vilna.
    Students from the Vilner Lerer Seminar (Yiddish Teachers' Seminary) go on an excursion to Purzkarnie on the outskirts of Vilna.


    Students from the Vilner Lerer Seminar (Yiddish Teachers' Seminary) go on an excursion to Purzkarnie on the outskirts of Vilna.
    1920 - 1925
    Vilnius, Lithuania
    Variant Locale
    Photo Credit
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Helena Jacobs

    Rights & Restrictions

    Photo Source
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Copyright: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Provenance: Helena Storch Jacobs
    Source Record ID: Collections: 2004.364

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Genia (Kac) and Heniek Storch are the parents of the donor, Helena Jacobs. Genia Kac was the daughter of Samuel and Tsivia Kac. She was born in 1906 in Bielsk Podlaski, where her father was a shochet (ritual slaughterer) and a mohel (performer of circumcisions). Genia had two brothers: Israel and Yosef. Israel belonged to the Betar revisionist Zionist youth movement. As a young man, he immigrated to Palestine but was forced to return to Poland after contracting malaria. He and his wife later perished during the Holocaust. Yosef was a member of the Jewish socialist Bund. After studying at the Jewish Teachers' Seminary in Vilna, he took a teaching post in Bialystok. Following the German occupation of Eastern Poland, he was asked to join the Bialystok Judenrat because of his fluency in German. After declining the position he was shot in front of his parents' home.

    Genia shared Yosef's political views, and wanted to follow his example and continue her education. Her parents opposed the idea of allowing a daughter to leave home to receive higher education, but after Yosef promised to chaperone her, they consented and allowed her to join him at the teachers' seminary in Vilna. After graduation Genia returned to Bielsk Podlaski to become a kindergarten teacher. In 1928 the Central Yiddish School Organization (CYSHO) sent her to teach in a school in Kalisz. There she met her future husband, Heniek Storch. They married on February 28, 1930, and their daughter Helena was born the following year on June 2, 1931.

    Heniek Storch is the son of Izaak and Helena Storch. He was born in 1906 in Kalisz and was one of six children. His father Izaak remarried another woman named Helena after the death of his first wife. Though a printer by trade, Heniek was both an actor and director in the local Yiddish theater. He was also an active member of the Jewish socialist Bund. In 1936 after losing his job with the printing press, the Central Committee of the Bund hired him to serve as the local secretary in Brest Litovsk. In 1939, after the Soviets occupied the city, Heniek was arrested along with all the local Zionist and Bundist leaders. After his arrest, Genia and Helena stood outside the prison every day in the hope of seeing him. One day they spotted him and were even able to embrace him, but he was so badly beaten he was barely recognizable. This was the last time they saw him. Soon afterwards, on April 13, 1940, Russian soldiers woke up Genia and Helena in the middle of the night and told them to pack their bags. One soldier helped them pack and even threw in their photo albums saying they may want them later. Along with the families of other prisoners, Genia and Helena were exiled to a remote corner of Kazakhstan. After six weeks they and six other families arrived in the village of Zhuravlovka. They were prohibited from leaving the town for the next six years. However, the son of one of the other deportees received permission to join the Anders Army. After the war ended, the soldier came to France and described his experiences to a group of French Jews in a cafe in Paris. Another man, after hearing Genia's name, identified himself as Heniek's older brother, Moyshe and immediately wrote to her. After receiving his letter, Genia and Helena returned to Poland and settled in Szczecin. There, Genia rejoined the Bund and resumed working as a teacher. In November 1947 they left Poland to join Heniek's remaining family in France. Genia taught in a small school for Jewish child survivors in Brunoy. In November 1950 she and Helena immigrated to Australia along with Genia's new husband, Moyshe Wasserman, and Helena's first husband, Pinie Krysztal. Helena later married Izaak Jacobs (Jakubowicz), whose father had acted in the same theater troupe as Heniek in Kalisz.
    Record last modified:
    2010-03-22 00:00:00
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