Before I go…

It’s just a couple of days before I leave for six weeks in Europe, a family history tour which will include three days in Skuodas.

A few updates since the last posting. I heard back from the Skuodas Museum, who, alas, due to short notice, was not able to organize a speaking event for me this time around. I will, however, plan to attend the museum event and hopefully will have a chance to meet and speak to locals afterwards. I’m going to be joined by Sophie Davidas, a Shkud descendant, and a good friend of hers, Simon. We have an exciting itinerary planned: the museum event on July 10; a tour of the Holocaust monuments and other sites on July 11, by which time my daughter will have joined us; and then, in the evening, a Shabbes dinner organized by Sophie at a local restaurant, to which we’ve also invited some local residents. We’re excited by the symbolic significance of the event as well as the opportunity for teaching and learning. I’m also looking forward to meeting Sophie! We’ve communicated over the past few years by email and Skype, but have never actually met. It’s ironic that her family, being the wealthy David family, and my family, the poor branch of the Mines family, would have had very little to do with each other in Shkud. There is something to be said after all for Western egalitarianism, as imperfect as it is at times.

We’ll be joined by a Lithuanian filmmaker, Paul Butkus, who is making a documentary film about Holocaust memorialization in the northwestern province of Lithuania (see his Kickstarter page at I ran across his page by accident a couple of weeks ago, and emailed him to tell him about my family history in Skuodas. He was excited by what we’re doing there, so maybe, if we turn out to be on the same page, we can start planning for some future projects together – maybe a Shkud reunion to be held in conjunction with the Holocaust remembrance day in September 2015?

More as it happens!