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11 October 2018 @ 02:38 pm
52 Ancestors Week 41 - Sports  
The theme for Week 41 (October 8-14) is Sports. My family was not really sporty. My parents watched sports on TV, but never played anything at more than a casual level.

However, some people do consider chess a sport and there I do have a notable family member.

Rivka CHWOLES, aka Maria LICHTENFELD, was the daughter of Moshe CHWOLES and Chava-Leah nee BRUSKIN. The latter’s sister was my great-grandmother, Civia BRUSKIN, so Rivka was my paternal grandfather’s first cousin. That made her my first cousin twice removed.

She was born in 1923 (or, according to another source, 1928) in Vilnius, Lithuania. She (and her sister Sonja) escaped the Vilna Ghetto in 1941 and assumed identities as Christian Poles, allowing them to survive the Shoah. It was during this time that she took the name Maria, by which she was known within the chess world. Her parents and three other sisters were murdered at Ponary.

She won the Lithuanian women’s chess championship in 1954 and 1955 and was the vice champion in 1951 and 1952. (I assume that means she placed second.)

She and her husband, Yosef LICHTENFELD, emigrated to Israel in late 1956 or early 1957, and ran a hair salon in Ashdod. She won the Israeli women’s chess championship in 1957 and continued to teach chess for much of her life.

She was also known as a painter, though less famous than her brother, Rafael CHWOLES. She died in January 2017.

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