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Kurenets/Kurenitz (Belarus) is the birthplace of Martin Alpert. As you approach the town there is a monument to those who were killed on the spot by the Nazis. Many of the names were Alperovich.
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This is the section of the Kurenets memorial that was created to honor those who were killed by the Nazis at this spot on the eve of Rosh Hashanah in 1942. Those who escaped went in to the forests. The Nazis continued the search there by hunting all those they could find, yet some did survive.
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The Kurenets Memorial for those who were killed on this spot by the Nazis in 1942.
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This was the original monument in Kurenets built after the war to remember those killed and buried beneath this area in a mass grave.
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"At the end of October, 2013 the Holocaust memorial in Kurenetz was vandalized. Three teenagers, residents of Vileika district, ruined section of the fence, broke the cement foundation of the monument, and stole the central plaque from the monument. Six tiles with engraved names of casualties were left untouched. The monument was originally erected in 1955 in memory of 1,040 Kurentz' Jews who were killed by nazis. In 2003 it was replaced by the current memorial.Union of Religious Jewish Congregation of Belarus sent an inquiry to the Head of administration of Vileika district, and expressed concern regarding the act of vandalism. Head of administration replied with the letter where he said that criminal cases against vandals were open, the monument has been partially repaired. Remaining repairs should be finished by July 3, 2014.Jewish Heritage Research Group in Belarus will follow up on this situation." Source: Yuri Dorn, Coordinator of Jewish Heritage Research Group in Belarus on JewishGen Digest. [Dec 2013]
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So many Alperovich names on the Kurenets Memorial.
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An Alpert visits his ancestral home, where once so many of the residents were Alperoviches.
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See all the names "Alperovich" in Russian.
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Gene Alpert at the Kurenets Holocaust Memorial in 2006.
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"Here lies 1,040 peaceful inhabitants of Jewish nationality of the shtetl Kurenets, tortured to death bestially by the fascist invaders 9.09..."
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Another view of the site of the mass graves of those murdered by the Nazis.
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On the left is the caretaker of the Kurenets Holocaust Memorial. He receives some funds from Mr. Schnitzer, who lives in Israel and who helped fund the memorial plaque. In the middle was a local teacher and the right was my Lithuanian guide.
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When we arrived in Kurenets we didn't know how to contact the mayor, who was expecting us. This gentleman, a teacher, took us to his home so he could call the mayor on his cell and let him know we had arrived. He built this home himself and it was quite nice.
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This is the house once owned by the grandfather of Eilat Gordin Levitan of California. She has been interested in turning it into a museum to remember the Jewish life that once thrived in Kurenets. I think she said she bought it for about $1000.
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The road on the right leads out of town from Kurenets. On the right is the old village green and marketplace. Kurenets was a market town and lumber from the many woods was a major resource for the area. During the war, Partisans hid from the Nazis in these woods.
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An old house in Kurenets, Belarus.
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Here's the road into Kurenets. Most of the older homes do not have inside plumbing.
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A house in Kurenets, Belarus. Many of the homes look as if they did in the early 1900's.
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A typical home in Kurenets. The city was once known for its logging since there were so many forests nearby. The forests helped protect those who fled the Nazis during the occupation and joined the partisan resistance. The movie Defiance with Liev Schreiber and Daniel Craig is based on the true story of two Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe who escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters and endeavor to build a village in order to protect themselves and about 1,000 Jewish non-combatants.
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My Belarussian isn't great, but I think the sign reads Narach to the left and Vileika to the right. Narach has a beautiful lake and is close to Kobylnik, where Malke Piastunovich (Jacob Alpert's sister-in-law) lived with her husband Shimon Lewitan. Vileika is where Ida Alpert lived prior to coming to the U.S. Kobylnik is about the size of Kurenets, while Vileika is larger.
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This is a typical home in the central part of Kurenets. Although the age is unknown, it is likely that this structure was built on the foundation of a Jewish home. See the stoop that doesn't seem to have been built with the house.
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Kurenets: Notice the stoop to nowhere. It was probably a Jewish home destroyed at some time and then rebuilt on the foundation.
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An old structure in Kurenets, Belarus.
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The old and the new Kurenets.
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An area close to the Jewish cemetery in Kurenets.. Two synagogues were just a short walk away. This area is just a short walk away from the central part of the town.
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A Soviet memorial in the Kurenets woods to those killed during WWII.
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A memorial on the grounds of the old Jewish cemetery in Kurenets.
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A memorial to the fallen in the old Kurenets cemetery.
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The overgrown cemetery in Kurenets. Quite daunting to try to walk through it to find the gravestones.
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My guide and a resident of Kurenets, a teacher, contemplate going into the brush to find the remaining cemetery headstones.
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Kurenets Jewish Cemetery: Some stones were still standing, while others had fallen and others had disappeared. I couldn't help but think that my great-grandmother could have been buried there as well as Jacob's ancestors as well.
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The remnants of the Jewish cemetery in Kurenets include tombstones found in an area overgrown by trees and bushes. Here is one that has been rescued by relatives to preserve the grave of a Alperovich.
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Adam Cherson says...
"To learn more about the man buried here see: https://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/kurenets/kur903.html. This is his life story." (8/8/18)
 
A gravestone in the overgrown Jewish cemetery in Kurenets.
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A gravestone in the overgrown Jewish cemetery in Kurenets.
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Kurenets Jewish Cemetery: A traipsing through the woods reveals heavily eroded headstones with Hebrew letters.
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Kurenets Jewish Cemetery: A heavily eroded headstone. Who's buried here?
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Kurenets Jewish Cemetery: Alperovich on the right. Notice the date of 1974. Did the person return to Kurenets after the war and died there or did the person die elsewhere and chose to be buried in Kurenets?
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Adam Cherson says...
""To learn more about the men buried here see: https://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/kurenets/kur903.html. This is their life story."" (8/8/18)
 
These homes in Kurenets, across from the village green and former market place and in the center of the town, were formerly Jewish homes. The structures were built upon the old foundations. Notice the front stoop that doesn't lead to a door.
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The stone on the right, in the center of the village in Kurenets, across from where the Jewish market used to be and in the center of where many Jewish homes once stood, is a stone that was from a synagogue in Kurenets.
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This is Kurenet's "village green." It used to be the central market place.
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More of the village green in Kurenets. Can you picture the hustle and bustle of market stalls, horses and carriages, and the lively chatter going on here in Martin Alpert's time of the early 1900's?
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A commemorative stone recognizing the year of the founding of Kurenets. Here is a link to some interesting history of the town. http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/kurenets/kurenets.html
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A closer look at the stone from one of the Kurenets synagogues destroyed by the Nazis.
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Kurenets: Quite an interesting structure. It would be quite beautiful if restored.
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A closeup of the synagogue stone in the central square of Kurenets..
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Gene Alpert and the mayor of Kurenets. I was there to give him some funds from Eilat Gordin Levitan to take care of her grandfather's house, which she wants to eventually turn into a museum. Eilat hosts the Kurenets website.
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Gene Alpert during his 2006 visit to Kurenets, Belarus.
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A road on the way to the mayor's home in Kurenets.
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A street in Kurenets.
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There does not appear to be much commerce in Kurenets, but there are many small garden plots.
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A festive lunch prepared by the wife of the mayor of Kurenets for their guests.
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Can I say this was so incredible! Fantastic, fresh food. I really enjoyed the potato latkes but passed on the caviar.
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A typical winding street in Kurenets.
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The mayor of Kurenets and his wife wave goodbye to their guests. (2006)
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