WORLD WAR II & HOLOCAUST

KANTSEDIKAS FAMILY EPHEMERA COLLECTION


858 ITEMS |  100% DIGITIZED  |  25% CATALOGED

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DESCRIPTION

The holdings include 665 letters, 40 photographs, more than 50 documents, numerous certificates and articles, and 9 books. 

The letters were exchanged between Solomon and Elisheva Kantsedikas, art historian Alexander Kantsedikas’s parents, between January 1942 and August 1945. Several of them were hand-delivered with the help of traveling friends and acquaintances and, therefore, did not undergo wartime postal censorship inspection.

Solomon (Sergey) Kantsedikas (Koen-Tsedek) was born in 1919. He attended the Schwabe Hebrew Gymnasium in Kaunas and became a member of the Communist Union of Lithuania, an underground youth organization. Following the establishment of Soviet rule in 1940, Solomon served as the secretary of the Vilna City Komsomol Committee (1940–1941). During the war, he served in the 16th Lithuanian Rifle Division between 1942 and 1945. In 1943 he was seriously wounded; after nine months of hospitalization he returned to the front. Solomon remained in the military after the war, retiring in 1970 with the rank of colonel. In 1990 he emigrated to Israel. In 2001 Solomon Kantsedikas passed away. 

Elisheva Freigenberg-Kantsedikas was born in 1922. She graduated from the Vilna Jewish Real Gymnasium. When Soviet rule was established in Lithuania, Elisheva joined the Vilna Komsomol group. After the start of the war, she evacuated to Kuybyshev, worked as a pioneer leader in a school, and continued her studies at a teachers’ college. She returned to Vilna in 1944 after its liberation and worked in the city newspaper. In 1958 she became a member of the USSR Union of Journalists. In 1990 she emigrated to Israel. In 2012 Elisheva Freigenberg-Kantsedikas passed away. 

DATES

1880s – 2000s

PROVENANCE

The collection was donated by Alexander Kantsedikas in 2016. Having learned about the Blavatnik Archive’s Veteran Oral History Project, art historian Alexander Kantsedikas, son of Solomon Kantsedikas (1919–2001) and Elisheva Freigenberg-Kantsedikas (1922–2012), donated the original letters sent between his parents during World War II, along with documents and photographs spanning their lives. Some of the correspondence was published in the Russian-language book “Do Pervogo Boya” (Before the first battle).