Unknown Cemetery

This is an old photo I came across in a box of old letters and business cards. Help solve the puzzle of where this is, whose stone is featured, why my parents or grandparents might have kept this and what should be done with the information we discover. (1999)

On the center back is stamped:

G. Hubner, Photograph Gottingen, Gronerildstr.29

Close up of lettering on stone below.

For a close up of the name at the top of the stone and the date at the bottom, click here

For an enlargement of the text in the center, click here

Greatly enlarged image and transcription of text

Solving the Mystery
Over time, I have asked for help translating the lettering on the stone and researching the man who was buried here. A number of people have provided information.

Translation of the Hebrew at the top of the stone. (Words abbreviated in Hebrew are in parentheses below.)

(Here lies)

The Rav, great in the Torah
and in fear (of Heaven ),
[Our Rav and Teacher], Moshe [of blessed memory]
[son of] Ya'akov Soloveichik,
Head of the Great Yeshiva of Suwalki

(Thanks to cousin Stan Goodman, of Israel for the translation.)

Dr. Ida Selavan Schwarcz responded to my question about Moshe SOLOVEICHIK of Suwalki, posted to the JewishGen newsgroup. She had translated the entire Suwalki Yizkor Book into English 12 years ago and was able to look up Rabbi Moshe in the index.

On page 120 of the Suwalki Yizkor Book there is this passage:

Rabbi Moshe son of Rabbi Ya'akov Soleviechick, son-in-law of the elder of the religious court judges Rabbi Naftali Prendel, was active in community work in Suwalk. He died in Gottingen in 1896.

According to Encyclopedia Judaica, there is a large rabbinic family named Soloveichik, and although there are people named Moshe and Yakov, there is no Moshe son of Yakov listed in the 1972 edition. Suwalki is not mentioned in any Soloveichik biography.

A very helpful person e-mailed me after he read my JewishGen posting and looked at the scans of the gravestone. He pointed out that:

"It does not say "HaLevi" after his name on the stone. The famous SOLOVEICHIK Rabbinic family were Levites and that was invariably given as an integral part of their name on title pages of their publications, gravestones, etc."

Someone in Jerusalem who subscribes to JewishGen took the time to speak to the head of the Yeshivas Toras Moshe (an American yeshiva in Jerusalem named for Rabbi Moshe SOLOVEICHIK, a son of Rabbi Chaim Soloveichik of the famous Lithuanian rabbinic family). The current head of the Yeshiva is the grandson of Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik.

The rabbi said that there were two Soloveichik families in Lithuania, one of which were Leviim (his, the famous rabbinic one); the other family were Yisroel.

More translation from the lower part of the stone and additional information has arrived (2010), thanks to a kind person from Jerusalem who said:

"It says on the stone that he passed away at the age of 37.

There was a family called Soloveichik, not Leviim, that were descendants of the "Mishknos Yaakov" from Karlin. One called Meir authored a book called Hameir Laaretz, and someone called Yaakov who authored a book called Yeshuos Yaakov. I assume he was a brother of Meir. They maybe connected to Moshe Soloveichik.

I also think the inscription at the bottom reads 5756, which would be 1896."

He provided a text transcription of all the Hebrew on the this tombstone.


We still do not know why my ancestors kept this photograph. My grandparents came from the Lomza region, which was next to Suwalki Gubernia. Several family members married people born in the town of Suwalki. If more details are uncovered, they will be included here.

updated April 2010

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