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Annie Ropinsky (Wolk)

Also Known As: "Hennie Walk", "Volk", "Ropinski", "Row", "Pais", "Pess"
Birthplace: Vilkomir, Kovna, Lithuania
Death: May 01, 1986 (103)
Skokie, Cook County, Illinois, United States
Place of Burial: Chicago, Cook County, IL, United States
Immediate Family:

Wife of Harry Abraham Ropinsky
Mother of Elsie Josephine Lemkow; Bertha Hillman; Evelyn Prosan and Cecile Wexler Schuman
Sister of Channahdinna Lieberman; Sam Volk; Icik Judel Pais and Baileh Levis

Occupation: Dressmaker
Managed by: Marsha Gail Veazey
Last Updated:

About Annie Ropinsky

Annie's SSN was 345-22-7946.

Annie "Walk" was listed on the January 13, 1906 passenger list of the Umbria on line 25 as going to see her brother-in-law, S Lieberman at 25 Seigel St. in Brooklyn, NY. Here's where you can see it online:

The ship departed from Liverpool. Here is info on the Umbria:

Here's a picture of the record:

The 1910 census lists Harry Rubinsky (32), Annie (25), and Elsie (2).

The 1920 census lists her name as Annie Row (33) with Harry A Row (41) as head of household. Also in the house were Elsie (11), Bertha (8), Evelyn (3.5), and Cecile (10 mos.)

For more photos of Vilkomir, check this page:

From a Geffen friend: In August of 1941 the Nazi death squads came into Vilkomir and rounded everyone up. They took them to the edge of the forest.They then had them dig large holes. These were mass graves where they then lined them up and shot them. On

that day I lost my grandmother, an uncle, 2 aunts and a first cousin (the child of one of the aunts). In total 10,000 were murdered. My dad and his brother had emigrated to the US by then. One of his sisters had married a Russian refuge from London and was living there. Another sister and her family had already emigrated to South Africa. After the war a letter was sent by the Red Cross. The girlfriend of my dad's brother had pretended to be dead until dark. She made her way to the home of a gentile farmer they knew who hid her. She eventually made her way to Harbin, China as did many other refugees. She

contacted our family through the Red Cross there.

Both Harry and Annie were from an area known as the Pale of Russia. A brief historical diversion. The Pale was first created by Catherine the Great in 1791 after several failed attempts by her predecessors, notably the Empress Elizabeth, to remove Jews from Russia unless they converted to Russian Orthodoxy. The reasons for its creation were primarily economic and nationalist. While Russian society had traditionally been divided mainly into nobles, serfs, and clergy, industrial progress led to the emergence of a middle class, which was rapidly being filled by Jews, who did not belong to any of the other sectors. By limiting their area of residence, the imperial powers attempted to ensure the growth of a non-Jewish middle class.

The institution of the Pale became especially important to the Russian authorities following the Second Partition of Poland in 1793. While Russia’s Jewish population had, until then, been rather limited, the annexation of the Polish-Lithuanian territory increased the Jewish population substantially. At its heyday, the Pale, which included the new Polish and Lithuanian territories, had a Jewish population of over 5 million, which represented the largest concentration (40 percent) of world Jewry at that time.


The Pale was surrounded on the eastern border by Russia and on the western border by Germany, Austria-Hungary and Rumania. It’s fair to say the areas surrounding the Pale were hostile to Jews.

In 1882 Jews living in rural areas of the Pale were forced to leave their homes and live in towns and townlets (Shtetls) in the Pale. In 1891 20,000 Jews were expelled from Moscow. The town of Brody was the principle town from which in 1880 began the exodus of over two million Jews from the Pale to the United States, England, Europe, South America and Palestine. Between 1880 and 1924 one-third of Eastern European Jewry left their homes, and more than 90% came to the United States. Of these, about 75% were from the Russian Pale, an area to which Jews were confined by law. Harry and Annie were part of wave of Jews who left Russia.

Life in Russia in the later half of the nineteenth century was very difficult for Jews. One historian divided the Jews in Russia into those who were poor and those who were hopelessly poor. Jews were prevented from state employment, education or commercial opportunities.

From Robert Hillman

Buried: Westlawn cemetery in the city of Norridge. Petunia section-Lot 12. .6 or 8 lots. Look for a fake tree near the road and they are about 50 feet behind it. Reddish headstone with Ropinski and Wexler on it.

From some information about Annie's hometown:


"A SHTETL was a small town in Eastern Europe which contained all the elements of a community: streets ,houses, public buildings, places for trade, for study, and for worship. But while each shtetl was a little town, the opposite cannot be said: that each little town was a shtetl. For a shtetl, from its conception hundreds of years ago until its tragic end in this century, was more than the sum of its physical ingredients; it also possessed an additional, intangible quality which transformed a township into a shtetl- for its Jewish inhabitants at least.

There are various theories as to what this quality was: religion, philosophy, style of life, sum of beliefs, or historical fate. But whatever it was, it was able to tie its inhabitants to their legendary past, subject them to an inner discipline and turn their hopes toward a mystical future."1

Ukmerge is 45 miles NNW of Vilnius-This site is the Ukmerge Uyezd which is a district within Kaunas Guberniya and consists of 20 Shtetlach. Click here to view: MapQuest

Ukmerge was a major Jewish community and in 1923 the Jewish population was 3,885, 37.5% of the total population. It was noted for its secondary school, the Vilkomir Reali School which provided instruction in Yiddish. Distinguished Jews from this community include the following: 1857- Zvi Hirsh Fogelovitz was correspondent to Hamagid and Rabbi S.Z. Koifman and A. Klatzi donated for the Eretz Israel colonists: 1882-birthplace of Mendel Silber who moved to the United States in 1900 and was a Rabbi in New Orleans.

"The Jewish community of Ukmerge is first mentioned in a document of 1685. In the census of 1766, 716 Jews were counted there, and by 1847 their number had risen to 3758, the majority of them engaged in commerce and crafts including tanning.The community of Ukmerge was renowed for its conservatism. M.L. Lienblum lived there during the 1860's and it was there that he began his public career and literary activity. The community continued to develop and by the 1880's the number of Jews reached 10,000. A period of decline followed, however, when the town was bypassed by the railroads which were built at that time.In May 1915 the Jews were expelled from Ukmerge, together with those in Kovno. After the war many Jews returned. A yeshivah ketannah(preparatory yeshivah) was established as well as two secondary schools for Hebrew and Yiddish. R. Joseph Zussmanowitz, born in Palestine and ranked as the most prominent Lithuanian Rabbi, was the last Rabbi in Ukmerge.Ukmerge Village

With the annexation of Lithuania to the Soviet Union in 1940, religious and nationalist Jewish life was systematically destroyed. A year later, Ukmerge fell into the hands of the Germans.

On September 18,1941, the remaining Jews in Ukmerge, together with those of the neighboring towns, were assembled in the nearby forest and massacred."2


1 Shulman, Abraham:The Old Country, pp.37, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1974

Encyclopedia Judaica: Ukmerge (Pol. Wilkomierz; Rus. Vilkomir), Vol.15,pp.1513 Macmillan 1971. Additional Reading:2 The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia: pp. 135 1942.Schoenburg, Nancy and Stuart: Lithuanian Jewish Communities, pp.335-344, Jason Aronson Inc. 1996 Northvale, NJ

  1. Encyclopedia Judaica: Lithuania(Lithuanian, Lietuva;Pol.Litwa; Rus.Litva; Heb. Lita; Yid. Lite. pp.362-390 Macmillan 1971.

Cemetery Plot PET-6-12-8

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Annie Ropinsky's Timeline

March 1, 1883
Vilkomir, Kovna, Lithuania
March 17, 1908
Chicago, Illinois, United States
August 10, 1911
Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States
August 12, 1916
Chicago, Illinois, United States
February 14, 1918
May 1, 1986
Age 103
Skokie, Cook County, Illinois, United States
Westlawn Cemetery, Chicago, Cook County, IL, United States