[Page 326 - Hebrew] [Page 327 - Yiddish]
by Shprintza Blank (Balaban)/ Hulda
Translated by Esther Mann Snyder
I wish I could put in writing all the pictures and visions that hover before my eyes of our holy and destroyed ones. I see my parents Ita and Avraham Blank, my sisters Donia and Sarah'le, and my small brother Pinke'le, whose lives were cruelly cutoff and their burial places spread in the fields and there is no sign of the place they were murdered and left for dead.
My brother Pinke'le, when he was six years old, use to recite the poem The raven and the butterfly, about the evil the raven that devoured the butterfly. As if with a prophetic power, he sang of his young death. He was fourteen when he was shot to death somewhere in the fields of Transnistria.
Like pictures in a movie film, images pass before my eyes of the town of Bricheva and its inhabitants and houses. Although they weren't beautiful on their exteriors, inside the houses existed a vibrant Jewish life, and the Jewish mother with her warm heart and unlimited devotion knew how to turn it into a warm and pleasant nest for all its inhabitants, a life of experience and appreciation in the spirit and tradition of Judaism. There were many G-d-fearing and modest housewives in town whose hands and hearts were open to the suffering of others and never forgot to make challas (special bread for Shabbat) and other foods for the needy families.
I remember how my mother zl used to wrap herself in a large shawl and underneath it she hid a basket of food as she quietly went out. The rule was to give in secret anonymously, so as not to embarrass G-d forbid those in need of assistance.
If there was a quarrel or dispute, the Jews of Bricheva didn't apply to a governmental court, but brought the matter before the rabbi or a Jew acceptable to both parties who would decide justly. I recall many cases in our house, when my father was the single arbiter and found a compromise between the parties to the quarrel.
[Page 328 - Hebrew] [Page 329 - Yiddish]
And almost always the matter ended with a reconciliation and drinking a lehaim - to the satisfaction of all the sides, and this, of course, without any payment to the arbiter.
I will not expand on the Zionist and halutz youth movements, of Gordonia and others, that went into training and hundreds of them were privileged to make aliya to Eretz Yisrael and to fulfill their yearning.
The links in the chain were severed. The holocaust occurred, the biggest disaster of the Jews of Europe and with a single stroke liquidated the town and its Jewish inhabitants, thousands of Jews died in martyrdom. Some died in Transnistria, others on the road there, and those who were killed by Hitler's troopers. Only a few survived and in their wounded and grieving hearts were deeply engraved the troubles and torture, the hunger and thirst. They are the only ones who remained as witnesses to the great disaster and the destruction of our town, among the rest of the thousands of cities and towns across Europe which were destroyed and the Jews killed by the evil beings.
We, those that remained, have the holy obligation to remember and not to forget all that goodness and lofty spirit, the attributes and the devotion of our fathers, to cherish and bequeath to our children and their children, so that they may know and remember. Thus, in this manner we may perhaps pay some of our great debt that we owe to all those who lived and are no longer.
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