Ephraim Oshry (1914–2003), was an Orthodox rabbi, posek, and author
of The Annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry. He was one of the few
European rabbis to survive the Holocaust.
1 Early life
2 World War II
3 Post-war activities
7 See also
9 External links
Ephraim Oshry was born in Kupiškis, Lithuania. He studied alongside
some of the most prominent and revered
Jewish leaders and rabbis of
his time, most notably
Avraham Duber Kahana Shapiro (author of
World War II
Kaunas in 1941 during World War II, Oshry's
community was forced into the
Kaunas Ghetto and Concentration Camp.
In his book, The Annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry, Oshry tells his
story of living through the Holocaust. He related in horrific detail
Nazis and their Lithuanian collaborators viciously murdered
Jews, but he also focused on the spiritual life of the
Jews living in
Kovno Ghetto and concentration camp. Despite being starved and
Jews continued to study
Torah in secret, and risked their
lives in order to fulfill the mitzvot (God's commandments).
While in the
Kovno Ghetto and concentration camp, Oshry began writing
his responsa regarding the Holocaust, answering difficult questions in
such subjects as human nature, God, and
Jewish ethics. Before the
final battle between the
Nazis and the Soviets, Oshry buried his
responsa in the ground. After the war, he retrieved them, and in 1959,
he published some of the
Hebrew responsa under the title She'eilos
Uteshuvos Mima'amakim (Questions and Responses from the Depths). This
volume was later followed by four additional volumes, the final one
being published in 1979. An English volume of the original work
(adbridged, with much of the halakhic argumentation removed), was
Responsa from the Holocaust.
Kaunas was liberated in August 1944, Oshry and his wife Frieda
Greenzwieg, a survivor of Auschwitz, went to Rome. There Oshry started
a yeshiva for orphaned refugee children.
In 1950, Oshry moved to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, with his family and
In 1952, Oshry moved to New York City, where he became the rabbi of
Beth Hamedrash Hagodol. Oshry opened a yeshiva for boys and a yeshiva
for girls named Yeshivah
Torah V'Emunah in the East Bronx.
Oshry died on September 28, 2003, at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York
City. He was survived by his wife, three daughters and six sons.
Nearly 1,000 mourners attended his funeral. He is buried in
Yeshiva Shaar Ephraim in
Monsey, New York
Monsey, New York is named after him. It is
headed by his son-in-law.
Oshry, Ephraim. Annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry, Judaica Press, 1995
Responsa from the Holocaust, B. Goldman and Y. Leiman
Eds., Judaica Press, 2001 ISBN 978-1-880582-71-8
World War II
World War II portal
New York City
New York City portal
^ a b c d “
Rabbi Ephraim Oshry, 89, Led Norfolk St. Temple”, The
Villager (New York), vol. 73, No. 22, dated October 1–7, 2003.
^ a b Amateau, Albert "
Rabbi Ephraim Oshry, 89, Religious Scholar,
Dies", Downtown Express, Volume 16, Issue 19, October 7–13, 2003.
Individual PDFs of each of the five
Hebrew volumes can be accessed at
the following links: Volumes "one", "two", "three", "four" and "five".
Hebrew Language article on Oshry
The Holocaust in Lithuania
Related articles by country
Adrian von Renteln
Rudolf Joachim Seck
Franz Walter Stahlecker
Jay M. Ipson
See also: Songs of the Vilna Ghetto
See also: List of Lithuanian Righteous Among the Nations
Lithuanian Security Police
Fareinigte Partizaner Organizacje
Kaunas June 1941
Kaunas 29 October 1941
Ninth Fort November 1941
HKP 562 forced labor camp
Kailis forced labor camp
Lithuania by Nazi Germany
History of the
Jews in Lithuania
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