KEZIA LEVITAS

Leah and Harry

From Riga to Akmenė

From Leah to Harry


My paternal great-grandparents were from neighbouring countries. Leah, from the Latvian capital, Riga, and Harry from the tiny shtetl of Akmenė in Lithuania.

Both fled to Dublin in 1912, fleeing worsening anti-Semitism of the Tsarist Russian Empire. 

Harry and Leah

By the end of 1941, both Leah and Harry had lost any family that had remained.

It is thought that Harry’s sister, Sara, and her family were herded into the local synagogue with other members of the Jewish community and burned to death.

Leah’s sister, Rachel, was most likely shot during the Rumbula massacre or killed in the gas chambers along with two of her sons, three of her daughters-in-law and her four young grandchildren

Leah (top left) pictured with her parents, Rachel (middle right) and Rachel’s family. 


No marked graves exist in Latvia or Lithuania for Sara or Rachel.

Riga Jewish Community Building, Riga, Latvia

May 2019 

Riga, Latvia

May 2019

The Freedom Monument, Riga, Latvia

May 2019 

Riga, Latvia

May 2019

Rumbula Forest, Latvia

May 2019

A pair of dark eyes ignite once again

With a pain that could not be extinguished or laid to rest.

And they – they just keep on walking past and away. 

But for me, Lord, there are no words. 

Daugavpils, Latvia

May 2019 

Daugavpils, Latvia

May 2019 

Daugavpils, Latvia

May 2019 

Vilnius Choral Synagogue, Vilnius, Lithuania

May 2019 

Vilnius Choral Synagogue, Vilnius, Lithuania 

May 2019

Vilnius Choral Synagogue, Vilnius, Lithuania

May 2019

Vilnius Choral Synagogue, Vilnius, Lithuania

May 2019

Old Jewish Cemetery, Vilnius, Lithuania

May 2019 

Old Jewish Cemetery, Vilnius, Lithuania

May 2019 

Old Jewish Cemetery, Vilnius, Lithuania

May 2019 

Mažeikiai, Lithuania

May 2019 

Mažeikiai, Lithuania

May 2019 

Hotel Synet, Mažeikiai, Lithuania

May 2019 

Venta, Lithuania

May 2019 

Mažeikiai, Lithuania

May 2019 

Hotel Synet, Mažeikiai, Lithuania

May 2019 

Hotel Synet, Mažeikiai, Lithuania

May 2019 

Mažeikiai, Lithuania

May 2019 

Hotel Synet, Mažeikiai, Lithuania

May 2019 

Venta, Lithuania

May 2019 

Mažeikiai, Lithuania

May 2019

Venta, Lithuania

May 2019 

Mažeikiai, Lithuania

May 2019

Venta, Lithuania

May 2019 

Akmenė, Lithuania

May 2019 

Akmenė, Lithuania

May 2019

Do you hear? Do you hear that awful laughter? 

The hills, even the hills shake with it –

And the rivers will faint, and the seas will faint – 

And the stone will cry, the stone will cry. 

Akmenė, Lithuania 

May 2019

Akmenė, Lithuania

May 2019

Akmenė, Lithuania

May 2019

Akmenė, Lithuania

May 2019

Akmenė, Lithuania

May 2019

Akmenė, Lithuania

May 2019

Mažeikiai, Lithuania

May 2019 

Akmenė, Lithuania

May 2019

Hotel Skaistažiedė, Šiauliai, Lithuania

May 2019 

Hotel Skaistažiedė, Šiauliai, Lithuania

May 2019 

Hotel Skaistažiedė, Šiauliai, Lithuania

May 2019 

Šiauliai, Lithuania

May 2019 

You are laughing? You walk past and keep on walking, 

But for me, Lord, there are no words for my horror.

That laughter – that awful laughter...And dark eyes flash 

With an undying, relentless pain.


My People – Matilda Olkinaitė

Translated by Laima Vincė 

Šiauliai, Lithuania

May 2019 

Šiauliai, Lithuania

May 2019 

Kaunas, Lithuania 

May 2019

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