Survivor of the 1941 Eishishok Massacre
Visitors to the United States Holocaust Museum often pause in silence at the exhibit Tower of Faces, left. It is described by curators in this way:
“Three stories in height, the tower displays photographs from the Yaffa Eliach Shtetl Collection that were taken between 1890 and 1941 in Eishishok, a small town in what is now Lithuania. They describe a vibrant Jewish community that existed for 900 years. In 1941, an SS mobile killing squad entered the village and within two days massacred the Jewish population.”
Born in 1914, Blanche Juris is the oldest living survivor of Eishishok, a small shtetl that once existed in present-day Lithuania. Many of her family photos are displayed in the Tower of Faces.
After Blanche and her now-deceased husband Isaac managed to escape the 1941 Eishishok massacre, they were thrust into the horrors of a labor camp on Archangelsk, Russia, close to the Arctic Circle. A son was born there, Yankele. Released when Germany invaded Russia in 1941, the family set off by train for Kazakhstan, but Yankele died en route. During their struggles to survive the remaining war years, another son, Ken (then called Kiva), was born. At the war’s conclusion, the three spent time in the Schlactensee Displaced Persons Camp prior to leaving in 1946 for America.