The Author, Josef Rosin, About Himself

I am a native of Kybartai (Lithuania). I was born on January 24, 1922 to Hayah (nee Leibovitz) from Marijampole and Yehudah Leib Rosin from Sudargas (Lithuania). They were the owners of a paper and stationary shop in Kibart (the Yiddish name of the town).

I received my elementary and high school education in Kibart, Virbalis and Marijampole. During the years 1939 to 1941 I was a student at the Civil Engineering Faculty of the Kovno (Kaunas) University.

I left my home for the last time on Friday, June 20, 1941, just two days before the German invasion into the USSR began.   My parents and my sister stayed in Kibart and were murdered together with all the Jews of the town in July of the same year. I was in the Kovno Ghetto for more than two and a half years until the beginning of February 1944 when I escaped into the woods (first into the Rudniki forests and later into the Naliboki forests in Belarus). I remained there until the liberation by the Red Army. In August 1944 I returned to Kovno. At the end of March 1945, I joined a group of young Lithuanian Jews who determined that we should leave Europe and make our way to Eretz Yisrael; we became part of the movement that became known as the "Brikhah" (Flight) movement. I left Lithuania and after the tribulations of the illegal travel through Poland, Slovakia, Rumania, Hungary, Austria and Italy, I arrived in Eretz Yisrael on October 24, 1945 on a ship of "Ma'apilim" (Illegal Immigrants). During the stay in Rumania I married Peninah (nee Cypkewitz) from Wloclawek, who had made a similarly difficult journey from Poland.

We lived in Kibbutz Beth-Zera in the Jordan Valley for nine months. In the autumn of 1946 we left the Kibbutz and moved to Haifa, with the aim of continuing my studies at the Civil Engineering Faculty of the Technion. I was accepted in the second course (as a second year student) and after a further year delay because of the War of Independence; I completed my studies in 1950 with the degree of Engineer. In 1958 I received my M.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering from the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.

During the War of Independence I served in the Air Force in the Aerial Photography Unit and was discharged with the rank of Staff Sergeant. I served in the Army Reserves until the age of 54.

During the years 1950-1952 I worked at the Water Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and with the establishment of "Water Planning for Israel" (Tahal), I joined this firm, where I worked until my retirement on the first of April 1987. For more than twenty years I held the position of Head of the Drainage and Development Department of that firm.

In 1989, I published my "Memoirs" in Hebrew and in 1994 in English.

During the years 1987 through 1994 I wrote many entries for the Hebrew book Encyclopedia of the Jewish Communities in Lithuania (Pinkas Hakehilot-Lita) and participated in publishing this book as the Assistant Editor. This book was published by Yad Vashem in 1996, edited by Dov Levin.

In 2001 and 2002 I acted as the assistant editor for the publication of the Memorial Book of the Jewish Community of Yurburg, Lithuania-Translation and Update.

Most recently I wrote two books on the history of 52 Lithuanian Jewish communities, Preserving Our Litvak Heritage, Volumes I and II, published by JewishGen in 2005 and 2007, respectively.

I live in Haifa, Israel  and have a married son and a married daughter and four grandchildren.