Joseph Levinson was born in March 1917. He grew up in the small town (shtetl)of Vishéy (Veisiejai) in Southern Lithuania.
During WWII Joseph Levinson fought the Nazis as a serviceman of the 16th Lithuanian Division.
He returned to his native town after WWII and found out that his father and all of his relatives were murdered in the village of Katkiškė near Lazdéy (Lazdijai) in 1941, during the massacre of the Jews in Lithuania.
During his retirement in the early 1990s, Joseph Levinson started to work in the Lithuanian Jewish Cultural society (later reorganized into The Lithuanian Jewish Community) as a deputy chairman, and later continued as an active LJC Board Member. He was also one of the founders of Vilnius’s “Green House” (Holocaust section of the Jewish Museum).
It was at his initiative that a draft resolution on restoring and preserving the Jewish cemeteries and sites of Jewish massacre was presented to the Lithuanian Supreme Council and after the resolution was passed J. Levinson working as the chairman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s Commission for Maintenance of Jewish Cemeteries and Sites of Massacre, devoted many years to organizing and supervising the restoration and maintenance of both the mass graves and old cemeteries.
The material he had collected about the sites of these mass killings was published in Skausmo knyga (The Book of Sorrow) with texts in Lithuanian, English, Hebrew, and Yiddish.
Mr. Levinson has also spent years gathering materials and authentic proof of what really happened during the Shoah in Lithuania. His other major work, his book “The Shoah in Lithuania”, is a humble monument to the Lithuanian Jewish Community that was destroyed and a harsh indictment of the organizers and perpetrators of this monstrous crime.
J. Levinson was honored for his many contributions in London’s Central Synagogue at a major event on September 1st 2010 which was attended by a UK Government minister and the Israeli Ambassador.
He died on April 9, 2015, in Vilnius.