My Granpa Tsemach Awerbuch left his hometown, Rietavas, Lithuania before the age of 21 and landed in Cape Town at the time of the Boer War of 1898. Two of his sisters, Leah Talmud and Pesiya Milner, and his brother Rafael (Foleh) also emigrated to South Africa.
Rocha-Tilla (Katz),a sister who remained in their hometown was murdered by Lithuanian Nazi collaborators during World War II.
Rochel-Tilla's husband, Aaron Katz and sons, Leibel and Nathan
experienced great suffering during the
years of the war. They escaped from the
Shavel Ghetto just in time. Aaron Katz, his youngest son Nathan, Nathan's wife - Sima and a few cousins were
hidden by simple poor Lithuanian
farmers. Aaron's older son, Leibel, was not so lucky and was
by the Russians and forced to serve
in the Russian army where he was
killed fighting against the Nazis.
After the war, Rochel-Tilla's husband Aaron reached Israel under the nose of the British! and Nathan emigrated to the USA. Nathan has written a most absorbing account of his experiences during the war. His description of the shtetl before the war is valuable to our ancestral history. His book, called: "Teach us to Count our Days" has recently been published.
My Maternal Great-Grandfather, Velvel Rom also arrived in South Africa at the time of the Boer War. He worked up in the Transvaal as a Blacksmith and when his family in Wilkomir (Ukmerge) had not heard from him for a long time, the two older girls, Taibel and Chaya Freidel went out to South Africa to find him. Soon after, Grandmother, Ada-Esther also arrived there with her mother Rochel-Leah Rom (nee Chesark) sister Betsie and 4 younger brothers in about 1904. One of the sisters, Chaya Freidel left South Africa with her husband and emigrated to America and settled in Philadelphia. The reason they left was that there was work in his (building) profession in the States whereas there wasn't much opportunity for him in South Africa.
My Grandmother's four brothers Nathan, Harry, Ralph and Dave married and established families in South Africa. Her sister Betsy married, but died in the great flu epidemic childless. Her older sister Taibel also lived in Cape Town and established a family there.
Grandmother Ada married Tzemach Awerbuch in about 1907 and had six daughters of which my mother Olga is the fourth.
Cousins, aunts and uncles who had remained in Lithuania were all wiped out by the Nazis and their Lithuanian collaborators.
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