Thursday, June 10, 2010

Litvak and other Jews on Postage Stamps

Posted by Ann Rabinowitz
Jose Gurvich (1927-1974),
Uruguayan Litvak Artist


Genealogical clues can come in various surprising formats. For those of you who collect stamps or find them of interest, it might behoove you to visit the following philatelic site which focuses on Litvak Jews on stamps: http://www.lituanicaonstamps.com/en/rinkiniai_zydai.php

The well-known Jews who are featured on the site are:

  • AMIEL, Rabbi Moshe Avigdor, Porozovo, Belarus
  • Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman, The Vilna Gaon, Vilnius
  • GLAZMAN, Yosef, Alytus
  • GOLDBERG, Lea, Kaunas
  • GORDON , Jehuda Leon, Vilnius
  • GURVICH, Jose, Yezna JOLSON, Al, Seredzius
  • JOSELEWICZ, Berek, Kretinga
  • KHVOLES, Abram, Kaunas
  • KLAUSNER, Joseph, Olkeniki
  • LEVITAN, Isaak, Kybartai
  • MAPU, Abraham, Kaunas
  • MOHILEVER, Samuel, Hlubokaye, Belarus
  • PEN, Yehuda, Zarasai
  • REVEL, Bernard, Kaunas
  • SEGALL, Lasar, Vilnius
  • SHAHN, Ben, Kaunas
  • SOUTINE, Chaim, Smilavichi, Belarus
  • ZUCKERMAN, Yitzhak "Antek", Vilnius
Basically, the site includes a biography of the featured person, a picture of the stamp and the first day cover. The stamps are from many different countries and sometimes provide unique information as well as other further resources for the particular individual.

There is additional information on the Litvak SIG Online Journal provided by Vitaly Charny regarding two of the above individuals: Isaak Levitan
and Ben Shahn .

In addition, there are a number of other Litvak Jews who could have been added to this list such as artists Marc Chagall, who was born in Vitebsk, Belarus, and Boris Schatz, born in Varniai, Lithuania. There were also those who were associated with early Zionism or Israel such as Chaim Weizmann, who was born in Motol, Belarus, and Zalman Shazar (Sneiur Zalman Rubashov) from Mir, Belarus.

Many of these stamps can be found at http://www.StampCircuit.com under their Jewish National Fund and Judaica sections. They include, to name a few, a stamp featuring Menachem Begin, who was born in Brest-Litovsk, Belarus, which was formerly in Poland.

Menachem Begin

Another Litvak Jews on a stamp is Zionist leader Menachem Mendel Ussishkin,who was born in Dubrouna, Belarus.


Menachem Mendel Ussishkin


A third Litvak Jew is Rabbi Meir Berlin otherwise known as Rabbi Meir Bar-Ilan, born in Volozhin, Lithuania, whose name is associated with Bar Ilan University in Israel.


Rabbi Meir Bar-Ilan

Not only can you find information about Litvak Jews on stamps, but there are numerous other online resources for other Jews. One of these is the link on the Ukraine SIG site on JewishGen.This link has Sholom Aleichem as well as other Ukrainian Jews such as Isaak Dunayevsky, Dr. Waldemar Mordecai Haffine, and Leonid Osipovich Utyosov.

In addition, there are other Ukrainian Jews who were of note in Israel such as Levi Eshkol (Levi Shkolnik), born Oratovo, Ukraine, Golda Meir, born Kiev, Ukraine, and Vladimir Jabotinsky, born Odessa, Ukraine.


There is an amazing variety of stamps, if you are willing to take the time to research them. Looking further beyond just stamps commemorating individuals are those stamps which commemorate communities, events of Jewish history, Holocaust-related stamps, Jewish holidays, synagogues, other Judaica and anti-semitic stamps.


You can read more about these stamps and others in the fascinating book written by Ronald L. Eisenberg “The Jewish World in Stamps: 4000 Years of Jewish Civilization in Postal Stamps” which can be found in Google Books by clicking here.

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