top of page


Guiding Questions:

  • What was the most important thing to happen to Myra and her family in the mid-1930s?

  • Why do you think the family had a traditional Jewish wedding for Hadassah even if they weren't religious?

The most memorable event of Myra's teenage years was her sister's Hadassah's marriage, which took place when Myra was 17 years-old in 1936. Since she came from one of the wealthier Jewish families in Kovno, it was "the wedding of the year." For a whole week the chefs prepared and cooked the food. It was one of those events where just about anyone could come -- the poor, the rich, friends, and strangers. Mirrors were all around the party room and ritzy people came off the streets to enter just to see what was going on. 

Hadassah (official name Gode) was marrying another Lithuanian Jew named Chaim Svarcas. A Lithuanian marriage record from 1936 confirms my grandmother's memory of her brother-in-law's name.  They were married by Rabbi Izraelis Rozensonas. Myra wore her first high heels and a beautiful midnight blue gown. Despite the family's secularism, it was a traditional Jewish wedding with the chuppah and breaking of the glass. The food was kosher and delicious and they finished off with a large cake decorated with chocolate flowers. 

wedding chuppah.jpg
A Jewish Wedding Chuppah
Eliahu Melnik c. 1928
Gode's wedding.jpg

This marriage record shows that Hadassah's given name (at least on Lithuanian records) was Gode. It also showed the previously unknown last name of her husband and the rabbi who officiated.

Courtesty of

Myra IPC.jpg
Myra's Lithuanian Internal Passport Card information from 1937. Courtesy of
bottom of page