Elhanan relatives in Israel

As long as I am catching up, here's information from a newly discovered distant relative who turned up in Walter's researches. He is Shmuel Elhanan, and is a descendant of Binyamin Rubinowitz, the fourth child of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Spektor. That makes him our fourth cousin. He lives in Rehovot, Israel, with his wife Zippora.

Walter discovered him while preparing for his trip to Lithuania, when he was told that another Spektor descendent had made a similar trip some years ago. Following are two emails that Shmuel sent in response to Walter's inquiries.

Dear Walter Ruby shalom,

It was most interesting and touching to receive your mail. As you are asking for quick reply i am doing so and might be a bit short.
Our home address is:
5 Goldberg street
Rehovot, 76283 Israel
Phone: 972-89471139

We live in Rehovot since 1958, when we came there with our son Binyamin, two weeks old, as my wife came to the Machon as a Postdoc. My two brothers were sent to Palestine in 1940, from Kovno, at the age of 13 and 14, to their grand parents (mother's parents). They both changed their family name to Elhanan in 1944 when they thought that we perished (that is a separate story). My parents did not change their family name Rabinovitz.
Onfortunately my brother Binyamin fell in our Independence War on July 18th 1948. My eldest brother Amos passed away in 1965 from leukemia, at the age of 65, leaving after him a widow and two children. My two brothers were born in Berlin in 1925 and 1926 where my parents met and married. They moved to Kovno, after my father finished his studies as DrPhil. in Chemistry with Prof. Fritz Haber.

We are descendens of Binyamin the youngest son of Rabi Itzhak-Elhanan Spector, the Gaon of Kovno, who was murdered at the family home on Gardino street in Kovno in 1906. I am fifth generation of the Gaon who is my Great, Great Grandfather.

Our family was imprisoned in the Ghetto of Kovno, from 1941 to 1944, then we were deported to the Camps in Germany. My mother was separated frm us to the KL Sttuthof and was released by the Red Army on March 10 1945. My father and I were imprisoned in Kaufering Camp One, which belonged to KL Dachau.We were releasedby the Japanese unit of the US Army on May 2nd 1945 in Waakirchen bei Hauserdorfl in Bavaria near Bad Tolz.
Fortunately we met in July with my brother Amos, a soldier of the Jewish Infantry Brigade Group from Palestine, and with our mother, at the boarder in Italy. On 8th of November 1945 we reached Palestine as legal new comers.

We will be happy to hear from you and to tell you moreand we invite to be our guests in Rehovot.

Best regards

Shmuel and Zippora

Best regards to your family and to Regina in Vilnius.

And the followup email:

Dear Walter shalom,

In reply to your questions, and following our phone conversation tonight I am sending bellow the following answers:

1. Binyamin the youngest son of the Gaon was killed by a robber, who was the son of the laundress who worked with the family, and therefore was let into the house. He is buried with his wife, who died in 1929, in the cemetery on the "Green Hill" in Kaunas.

2. To the best of my knowledge, and stories told at home, the reason for the family name change was the following: At a population census the Russians who performed it have asked who are the children playing in the yard. They were told that they are the children of the Rabbi and therefore registered them as Rabinovitz (children of the Rabbi in Russian). So the reason for the name change is not mobilization to the Russian Army.

3. My brothers changed their family name after the name of our father. But their excuse to our Grandfather, who told them that the Ashkenazi community, does not name after people that are alive, was that they named themselves after the great, great grandfather the Gaon of Kovno.

4. My wife works at the Department of Biochemistry, and did not know your father.

5. I did receive the e-mail of your brother Dan, and in our case our son is a fifth generation cousin of your children.

I would like to add to our phone conversation the following in writing: Rabbi Itzhak-Elhanan Spector with his son Rabbi Zvi-Hirsh Rabinovitz are buried in the active cemetery in the suburb Aleksotas (across the Niemunas river). They were transferred to Aleksotas in 1984. The wife of the Gaon, and his son Binyamin with his wife Dvora remained buried on the Green hill (see 1. above). I have repaired the gravestones of Binyamin, his wife Dvora and my grandfather Israel-Isser Rabinovitz during my first visit to Lithuania .

The name of the guide who guided us during our visit to Kovno is:

Chaimas Bergmanas

P. Luksio gatve 37/22

LT 49391, Kaunas, Lithuania (Lietuva)

Mobile : 370-37-779948

Home: 370-68-177166

Best regards

Shmuel Elhanan