Preamble: Some of you are far more intelligent than me and have far more insight on who, where ,
when and what. Please share and create a little discussion for the benefit and education of the other
family members. We are family and share family and historical information. Send me an email and
I will post that unless you tell me this is not for posting. Craig

Please find an update here from cousin Michael Adleman from Leeds. Philip has been working to locate the family of the brother to Hyman and Abraham Cussins and we discovered through Philips memory that he had visited an uncle in Leeds who was a shoe maker and repairer, a Zhapusnik (Russian for shoe repairer). This is Morris Cussins. Philip located a historian in Leeds who has been helping us and he located a granddaughter first and then she opened up the book. Morris had a lot of children and two of these were Barnet and Hilda.

We have now been in touch with Wendy Fiddler nee Cussins daughter of Barnet, Eda Addelman nee Cussins daughter of Hilda, husband Ron and son Mike. This is wonderful of course. We will now be developing the individual lines down from the three brothers and hopefully we can locate the stories of the lost sisters as well. I may have to go back to Lithuania to do that however. Looks like Kovno Guberny, the centre for Judaism in the 18th and 19th centuries and even up to 1939 (also known as Kaunas) , will now be searched by the Cussin/Coussins. As we are Russian speakers its slightly easier for my wife Svetlana and myself. Although we (our ancestors) were originally orchard men and did multiple jobs in our home village of Zagare such as being a tailor or slipper maker, Abraham became a fruit and veg merchant in Glasgow but also did tailoring and slipper making to supplement the family's income. They all had big families in these days.

In Zagare and Kaunas,we were also shoe repairers and I am sure did a number of jobs. As Cohenim, we probably did jobs in the Schul or did charity work as well. Indeed Morris was known for his great charity work in Leeds as Mike will be writing about when we get that tree built., we also lived and traded in Kaunas. Mike asked me why we left. The late 19th century in western Russia (Lithuania) was becoming difficult to survive and make a living so many folk emigrated to America, where the largest groups of Rakusins /Rakhusin /Rakusins still are. However some were dropped of in Leith, the Port of Edinburgh is called Leith, Newcastle, Hull and other eastern ports of the UK. In Dundee they were dropped off having paid for passage to America and then told that Dundee was America. 'Look the statue of liberty is just up the street and round the corner' said the captain.

Mike sent us a *newspaper cutting, we used to have a full one of these but lost in the various moves, of Leslie's war exploits. If anyone else remembers from what paper it came from that would be a great help.It could be a local Glasgow paper or the Jewish Echo perhaps?

*That is now inserted on Leslies page.




Hi Craig

A couple of ethnic points to add, though I’m sure you know them.  Charity of any sort (Tsedaka – like Neil Sedeka) is a main pillar of Judaism.  In fact the word means more than simply charity – it means caring for and identifying with others and good deeds and it is so important that on Yom Kippur we talk about the 3 tenets  of our religion which redeem us.  Tehillah, Prayer, Tshuvah – penitence and Tsedaka.  And we are taught that the most important of the 3 by far, the one we MUST do is Tsedaka.  If you are a man it makes you a mensch – which is Craig, what you are!

On another note the move was not simply economic.  There was a huge increase in structured and authorised anti Semitism in the pale of settlement and beyond.  There was the forced army conscription of Jewish male children from the age of 12!  They were drafted into the army and had their Judaism beaten out of them – forced to eat pork, not allowed to worship, but spat on and set apart from the other soldiers even when they gave up their religion.  Conscription lasted for 30 to 40 years!  A lifetime.  Parents crippled their children so they would be spared. When the adults returned from their conscription they no longer could fulfil any part in their community and became outsiders.  Then there were the pogroms.  These too were state condoned and organised using, sometimes, our Cossack neighbours as the troops.  There were a number (5?) over a period of I think 30 years (doing this from memory) between 1860 and 1890.  The Tsar at that time had a policy to force convert the Jews or kill them.  Pogroms meant raids and burning out villages and people murdered in the streets as they tried to escape the horse bound warriors.  The conscription and the pogroms were a part of this policy. Then the economics didn’t work.  These people weren’t poor they were starving and really dirt poor.  However romantically we wish to think about it the shtetls were an awful existence.  So, all in all, Russia / Poland (the pale of settlement which was created by Russia as a buffer between them and the rest of Europe ), was a pretty shit place to be.  Better move somewhere, anywhere than risk any of this.  Fiddler on the Roof has some basis in the history too.  But when you think about this you see that the holocaust was just the last and very worst in a long line of total and violent European discrimination (there is a very good theory as to where it came from in a book by the Pof. Of Hebrew Studies at Oxford and Prof of Roman Studies at Exeter – same guy, call Rome and Jerusalem – worth the read).  Hence the need for a Jewish homeland.  To have a ‘safe house’.

Anyway, I trust that this provides some useful flavour, though you and our family probably know all of this too.  Sorry if you do.

Love as always,



Hi Family.

Ricky was referring to the fact that Morris Cussin was a person who gave his time to charity and worked diligently in this area.

What cousin Ricky has said about the pogroms is all true . There was in Lithuania, Latvia and Poland another sort of Shtetle. That was not on the farm or land but in the cities. It was what we refer to as the ghetto. Understandably when people of one ethnic or religious belief form a society they are sometimes excluded from the general population and therefore need to form a society within a society in order to survive. We, as Jews did this for centuries and this was repeated in Europe when Asian groups got together to help each other. Now the various Islamic groups get together to retain their beliefs and culture. To digress,  there are always some objections from other established groups but generally this is the way that integrations happens as incomers grow in confidence and establish their own position. Many people in cities around the world object to the rise of non Christian groups such as Islam who build Mosques and have a healthy culture but surely that also happened in the number of Jewish renaissances, Spain, Lithuania and Poland over the years ?(is that explanation accepted?)

The ghetto happens almost automatically as families buy houses near each other. Remember that the word Ghetto came from the Venetian Italian when the Doge 'eventually' granted the right for Jews to live in Venice but it had to be in a gated community and they could not live outside this designated area whcih was called Ghetto.
This is extracted from  by Prof. Benjamin Ravid on Zamir ('Peace' in Russian)


From their earliest days in the Diaspora, Jews chose voluntarily to live close together, reflecting a practice commonly adopted by groups dwelling in foreign lands. Initially, their quarters, often referred to as the Jewish quarter or street, were almost never compulsory or segregated, and Jews continued to have contacts on all levels with their Christian neighbors. However, the Catholic Church looked askance at such relationships, and in 1179 the Third Lateran Council stipulated that Christians should not dwell together with Jews. This vague policy statement had to be translated into legislation by the secular authorities, and only infrequently in the Middle Ages were laws enacted confining Jews to compulsory segregated and enclosed quarters, and even then, those laws were not always implemented. The few such Jewish quarters then established, such as that of Frankfort, were never called ghettos, since the term originated in Venice and became associated with the Jews only in the 16th century.

In 1516, as a compromise between allowing Jews to live freely throughout Venice and expelling them from the city, the Venetian government required them to dwell on the island known as the Ghetto Nuovo (the new ghetto), which was walled up with only two gates that were locked from sunset to sunrise. Then, when in 1541, visiting Ottoman Jewish merchants complained that they did not have enough room in the ghetto, the government ordered twenty adjacent dwellings located across a small canal walled up, joined by a footbridge to the Ghetto Nuovo, and assigned to the merchants. This area was already known as the Ghetto Vecchio (the old ghetto), thereby strengthening the association between Jews and the word "ghetto."

Clearly, the word "ghetto" is of Venetian rather than of Jewish origin, as sometimes conjectured. The Ghetto Vecchio had been the original site of the municipal copper foundry, "ghetto" from the Italian verb gettare (to pour or to cast), while the island across from it, on which waste products had been dumped, became known as "il terreno del ghetto," and eventually the Ghetto Nuovo.


Great regions of Jewish learning were established in Kaunas (Kovno) in Lithuania and these included schools, Synagogues and places of business. Interestingly there were also Jewish Beggars and extremely poor folk form the farming (homesteads and small areas of ground where food was grown)
The Tsar wanted to eradicate these areas as they either did not or could not pay taxes. The Tsar was less inclined to go into the cities as the Jewish population not only paid taxes but rather more taxes than many non Jewish entrepreneurs. Yes they were bankers, loan companies and many different kinds of tradesmen but in going about their daily business they also lined the coffers of the local councils and ultimately the Tsar. The Pogroms were not only on the land however but I am not sure how many were in the cities. I am sure that someone will enlighten me.

I will relate a story that happened to me recently in Vilnius. (Some may already have heard this)  I asked, a street seller of antque postcards in a local market if he had any pictures of Jewish Shtetles. I had asked in German-because he had asked me in German if he could help me. He laughed and shouted to all the other stall holders but in Russian which we also speak: "This guy asked if I had pictures of Jewish Farmers, what's he talking about . The only Jews we knew never worked a day in their life and lived in fancy houses and owned banks"

My wife was extremely quick to pull me away as my immediate attempts in re shaping this gentleman's nose would have no doubt caused a international incident.  Oh its so wonderful to hear that anti-Semitism is 'still' alive and kicking in Lithuania and that oxymoron's are still expounded by moronic Oxes

However, the point is that this was the perception after 60 years never mind 100 years.

I hope that you enjoy the discourse. Its fun and healthy to know who we are and where we are from.

Craig Jan 2009