"A Hole in the Heart" 
The Story of Keidan




"In November, 1930, the Keidaner Association of New York City celebrated its 30th anniversary with a party and a book ..."


Boruch Chaim Cassel

Keidan train station, 1930s

Memorial at the site of the 1941 massacre


"The City of Keidan: An historical memoir," by B. Cassel 

"...A Keidaner of at least the fourth generation, the author of this memoir took it on himself to investigate the history of the city, and to present the lineage of a poor-but-proud community. . ."


From "Jewish Cities, Towns and Villages in Lithuania" by Berel Kagan

"Keidan is one of the oldest places in Lithuania, known to have existed from around the middle of the fourteenth century..."


"A Greeting from Keidan, 1939" 

"The Jews, who are barred from every branch of commerce, industry and handiwork, are all growing poorer..."


"The Destruction of Keidan" by Dovid Wolpe

"With the outbreak of the German-Russian war, there emerged in Keidan, as in other parts of Lithuania, the underground Lithuanian fifth column."

Memoirs and Stories


Young Keidaners, 1930s

Neviaszhe bridge

Appelshtein tombstone, Keidan cemetery

Dovid Wolpe

Riva Starr


"An Old and New World" by B. G. Richards

"My first childhood recollections go back to early mornings in my grandfather's house at the end of Smilga Gas ... " 


"Worlds Gone By" by Chaim Yakov Epstein 

"Not that everyone lived in peace and harmony. On the contrary, Keidan was full of religious disputes..."


"Summer Bathing" by B. Cassel 

"There is no better time than youth. Especially in the summer on a Friday afternoon..."


"The Old Bridge" by B. Cassel 

"A Saturday night in July: With the new moon in a clear sky, the whole city is outdoors..."


"Shevuos" by B. Cassel 

"After Pesach, Spring ruled our lives more and more each day... "


"The Feldsher" by B. Cassel 

"How Reb Gabriel, the Keidan feldsher, saved the life of a famous stomach specialist..."


"Theater in Keidan" By Julius Lee 

"Keidan had never seen much beyond Biblical pageants, so we elected to perform one of Goldfaden's plays ..."


"The Talmud Society" by Chaim Yakov Epstein 

"Every evening the members of the societies would sit around long tables near the western wall and study a page of Gemara.." 


"A Home Consumed by Fire" by Dovid Wolpe 

"...It was late spring, just after Shevuos ... that the comfortable fabric of my dreams was ripped asunder..."

Riva Starr's Journey -- an oral history


"... In 1915 they started throwing out the Jewish people. We had to get out. We were supposed to be German spies..."

A Preacher's Son Remembers by B.Y. Bialistotsky 

"Keidaners loved to hear a preacher, the local tradesmen especially... "


From "Lithuania" a poem by Myra Sklarew

"...I remember a woman who sat on the pot where the apples cooked in the cold basement, her face black from smoke.."


Contemporary Lithuania map


Photographs of Keidan, from the 1930s and from 1995

Locate Kedainiai using MapQuest

Where was Keidan?

Contemporary streetmap of Kedainiai

Lists, Databases

HaMelitz masthead


The Keidaner Cemetery Database: 2,000 inscriptions from tombstones in Keidan and elsewhere. 

Keidan Yizkor Book: Table of Contents

The Keidaner Association of New York, 1930-1940: A list of members and officers 

Jewish Genealogical Family Finder. Link with other researchers

"HaMelitz" and "HaMagid" databases: Names culled from 19th-century Jewish newspapers.

Discussion Group


The Keidan E-mail group: Learn how to join, or browse the archives



About Lithuania, genealogy, Yiddish language & culture, and more ...





Copyright 1996, 1997, 1998 by Andrew Cassel | Last update, April 1999