Monday 23 June 2014


YANKEV (JACOB, YAAKOV) OLEYSKI (December 1, 1900-March 14, 1981)

Born in Shaki (Šakiai), Lithuania.  He received a traditional Jewish and general education in Kovno.  He studied in Germany to be an agronomist, and he later worked as a Yiddish teacher and was a cultural leader in Lithuania.  From 1927 he was director of ORT (Association for the Promotion of Skilled Trades) in Kovno.  He published literary and journalistic pieces in Kovno’s Folks-blat (People’s paper) and in ORT publication in Lithuania.  As soon as the Nazis occupied Kovno, he organized a trade school in the Kovno ghetto.  He assembled the necessary instruments in the deserted houses of Jews expelled from them.  In April 1944, he was deported to Dachau, and in April 1945 he leapt from a train heading to a death camp.  After the liberation, he served as director of ORT in Germany (in the American zone), director of the production department of the central committee of the liberated Jews in Munich, one of the founders of and contributors to Landsberger lager-tsaytung (Landsberg camp newspaper) which was initially published in the Roman alphabet, leader of the cultural office of the Landsberg Displaced Persons Camp, and on the editorial board of Landvirtshaftlekher vegvayzer (Agricultural guidebook) which was a periodical publication of the aforementioned production department.  He participated in the collection Lite (Lithuania), vol. 1 (New York, 1951) with an essay entitled: “Der arbets-aynzats in kovner geto” (Uses of labor in the Kovno ghetto).  He was also a contributor to the publication, Fun letstn khurbm (From the last holocaust) (Munich, 1948-1950).  In 1948 he was on a trip to the United States.  That same year he made aliya to Israel where he served as director of ORT.  He died in Tel Aviv.

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