YOYSEF LEYKIN (March 19, 1903-November 29, 1944)
He was born in Vilna. His father was a mohel (performing circumcisions), a ritual slaughterer, and a cantor. His parents died young, and he had to support three sisters. He graduated from an eight-level high school run by M. Gurevitsh and studied humanities and natural science at Vilna University. He worked as a teacher in Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization) schools in Vilna Province, later in the Tsebak (Tsentraler bildungs komitet, or Central Educational Committee) schools in Vilna. From his high school years, he belonged to the youth Bund “Tsukunft” (Future), and later he was active in the Bund, publishing articles in pedagogical journals. He wrote pamphlets and translated book on horticulture into Yiddish. In the Vilna ghetto he struggled to save the lives of Jewish children. As manager of a ghetto school, he gathered desks and tables for the school and collected writing, teaching materials, and even musical instruments. At the time of the liquidation of the Vilna ghetto, he was deported to the German concentration camp of Dautmergen and murdered there. According to information provided by Mortkhe Bernshteyn, Leykin’s name appears on the list of the dead at the German camp Schomberg, under no. 343.
Source: Sime Leykin (Leykin’s wife), in Yivo-bleter (New York) 30 (1947); Lerer-yizker-bukh (Remembrance volume for teachers) (New York, 1954), pp. 211-13.
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