Thursday, June 26, 2014

Finding dad's medical school

The Kaunas Medical School is under restoration and without its signage. This is the building, Jill and Susan helped me find it. The building was new when my father attended in the early 1930s and is just a few blocks from our Hotel Kaunas in the central artery of Kaunas. 

before the Soviet occupation, when Lithuania was an independent country, the President, or it may have been the President's pianist son, had foresight and took it upon himself to safeguard the medical school records of Jews who were graduates of Lithuanian medical schools. he had their records sent to the American Academy of Medicine. The Academy is near Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
Thus, By serendipity, my father's medical school records landed in NY before he did.
Somehow he was told they were they there and he was able to get a residency and practice medicine when he came to NY in 1948.


  1. I asked my mother where my father stayed in Kaunas. Slobovka where most Jews lived was not so close to the medical school.
    my mother did not know but said that sometimes he put two chairs together and slept at the home of his rich uncle, Mr. Kaplan, near to school.
    Kaplan was sent to a camp in Italy (not as bad) and survived. Sussman in York canada

    1. Names of Kaplan relations to research:
      sussman or Susselman, Parson in Israel.
      parson is niece of Kaplan. Girls were saved by nuns who took them in at 2 or 3 years old. The girls were 6 or 7 at end of war and did not want to leave the nuns took such good care, never were told they were jewish in case they said something as they were so young.

    2. Kaplan is related because my grandmothers eldest sister Chana was married to Kaplan and they had 6 children. The youngest, my fathers first cousin Shamin Rabinowitz

    3. The Chana who I knew growing up as a woman who we picked up in the Bronx to have for dinner and who had an almost unintelligibly heavy accent, had a fake marriage into the Shlopoverski family in order to escape. She may be responsible for my aversion to brushing my hair as she loved my hair and would brush it endlessly and painfully when she visited.

  2. My mother said, "of course I have your fathers medical school diploma." It was hanging on a wall for me to see my entire life.
    I have a vague recollection of a yellowed foreign document on the wall.
    Incredible what one does not see when when one is not looking.