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[Page 423]

Families and Individuals of Ciechanow Tortured by the Germans

Who can console us when the catastrophe is so great? Our beloved family, our pride, our light was so tragically torn away.

And we live? Is it possible to call this living? When our dear mother, who endured so much tzores in her life until she established her family-nest, raised a family, in whom many took pride, Mother dear, whom did you harm in your life that brought upon you such a punishment?

You defended everyone justly. You accepted all tzores with love, helped everyone who was in need, carried your heavy burden and never complained, served God and faithfully strove to live to have some naches from your children.

You went proudly to your martyrdom, and comforted others on their last way. Oy, how we miss you. Woe is us that we have lost such a dear treasure.

*

Our beloved sister, ROKHEL YEHUDIT, most beautiful, your goodness is hard to describe: Everyone honored you and your modest behavior. You had just started to build your family nest. Whoever had any aggravation found an open heart and you helped everyone.

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You lit up the street when you appeared with your two lovely sons, Ephraiml and Dovidl; so much beauty, warmth and goodness, so much hope we put in you. How vile your murder the murderer of your children must have been.

*

Our brother, Avraham Yosef -- you always had a harsh life, worked hard in order to provide honorably for your family. In your quiet manner you strove for a better and nicer life. You hardly managed to enjoy life at all when the murderers murdered you, your wife and child in such a brutal way. Who can understand the world that allowed so much evil to be perpetuated.

Levy Binyamin -- Levileh you were called. A pale, delicate young boy with dreamy eyes and a good-natured smile on your lips. We remember your dreams: Justice, fairness, a world without exploitation, a Jewish state, brotherly love, these were your goals. We remember your lectures for religious working-youth in Lodz.

The Fuchs family
Top, r to l: parents Ephraim and Frumet Khaya Fuchs.
Second row: Yosef Fuchs and his wife; Rokhl (Fuchs) and Shlomo Sokolover.
Last row: Levy Binyamin, Ephraim and Dovid - the children of Rokhl and Shlomo

Picture Index

[Page 425]

You inspired everyone. Just like a prophet you arose to give hope to everyone. Our mother, who loved you so dearly, shept naches from the child she had in her late years, and we, brothers and sisters, were convinced that here was someone who would grow up to give hope and courage to all those who suffer. And who more than us knew that you had not yet enjoyed life at all?

Your tragic death has no equal in martyrdom. In the last moment, when we still had a little hope that people who were capable of working would be saved, and our mother pleaded to be saved, you decided that “wherever she will go you will go and a Shma Yisroel was heard from the dear mother and son when they went to their holy death.

That's the kind of family that we lost. Is it possible to express our sorrow in words?

May these lines serve as a memorial candle for our dear ones whom we miss so much.

The remaining survivors:

Leah Piaskovsky (Fuchs) - Argentina
Shmuel Fuchs and family - Israel
Malka Bromson (Fuchs) and family - Israel
Mindl Fuchs - Israel

[Page 426]

The Glinovyets Families

With great respect for the victims, with deep sorrow and flaming anger against the tormentors and murderers, I want to mention the small Jewish yishuv, GLINOVYETS,a shtetl where there lived around 15 families that the Hitler-murderers destroyed.

I myself was born in GLINOVYETS. From my young years on I lived in Schlegova until I left for Paris. With great respect I want to mention the names of families and individuals.

 

The Family of Shimon Moscowitz

My dear uncle, Shimon Moskowitz with the yellowish beard, was a Jew whom many Ciechanowers knew. He was always concerned with the welfare of all and let himself be known in Ciechanow, Proshnitz and Plonsk when he collected money for the wedding of an orphan girl.

There were six Markowitz brothers in Glinoyvets, all merchants -- Eliyahu Sokolovsky - a tailor, Moishe Cohen - from Ciechanow, Markowitz, the Goloms – merchants; Menashe's three sons - horse dealers, Yaacov Becker, who was born in a village near Ciechanow where various villagers lived, the Shelmniakes they were called. What precious Jews. It was never too hard for them to help someone in need on the way, or to have something ready for a guest to eat.

From the small yishuv in Glinovyets there remain living one of the Markowitzes who is in Poland. From Moishe Cohen's family there are alive today, if I'm not mistaken, two sons in America. From Shimon Moscowitz two sons remain alive -- one in Paris, the youngest in America.

Let the names of those who perished be mentioned in this Yizkor Book: Warm Jews - Shimon Moskowitz, together with his wife and son; Yaacov Sholem Sokolovsky and his family; Eliyahu Sokolovsky and his family; Rokhl Fogelman and her children; Moishe Cohen, with his wife and children; Yaacov Becker and family; the children of Bezalel and his family; Menashe's sons and their families.

From the martyrs whose names I don't remember I beg pardon for not mentioning them. They all remain in my heart. To my very last breath I'll remember my birthplace with its dear Jews who lived in Glinoyvets.


[Page 427]

Shlomo Ben Avraham Zvi Hershkowitz

A Memorial candle for my close ones

Please allow me, in this long row of memorial candles for our unforgettable martyrs, to bring in a few candles for my own and close ones.

My Father

To the Torah he would be called up as Reb Chaim Zvi ben Eliezer Aryeh. At home mother called him simply Chaim Hersh. In his young years he was a heated follower of the Gerer Rebbe; later - a hot Mizrachi member. He was active in the Zionist organization and received from the Keren Hayesod a certificate with gold letters. In Serotsk my father was in charge of the Holy Burial Society for some time, also for the Linat Hatzedek. In his fifties he was the shofar blower in Ciechanow for Rosh Hashana. I remember him as always having gray hair and a gray beard.

He was a very hard worker. In his young years he had several trades: a bookbinder, a glazier, a baker, a small businessman, operated a tea-house, made soap. Many years before I was born my father was a house-painter. It used to be said about my father: “He has golden hands and makes birds on the walls.” Father also painted signs and ornaments on ceilings.

My father kept himself in good health, had a mouth of healthy teeth, read without glasses and clattered on a ladder during his work, but at night he would be dead tired. Often, at the Friday evening table, he would fall asleep in the midst of singing zmires. He loved zmires. He was, after all, a baal tfillah in the High Holidays. Various visitors came to him, amongst them a certain Chazzan who always brought a new nigun to the shtibl for Shalosh Seudas. My father would sing the new nigun with those present.

The khurban came. Father worked as a painter for the Germans also. When I was in the Soviet Union as a refugee, I received letters from home with the signature at the end of the letter, Vash etyetz, your father. How much longing and love those two simple words expressed!

And until the day of my death the thought will plague me that my father, with his bold enduring nature would certainly have been able to cross the border and live out his years of labor in the Soviet Union, and maybe would even have lived to come to the land of his dreams -- to Eretz Yisroel.

[Page 428]

My Mother

My mother, Henia-Mirl -- maiden name Blumberg, always used to tell about her prestigious ancestors. Her father was a great Torah scholar, Reb Nachman Eliezer. Her brother was Berish -- Rov of Skompe, and her nephew Ben-Tzion -- Rov of Ziramin. Mother, the same age as father, was hardly gray at all, but she felt much weaker than father.

In her young years she was a woman of valor who worked to help my father in all his efforts to earn a livelihood. Poverty -- a frequent visitor at our place, came and went and returned again, and mother “breaks her head” to make ends meet, to make sure that our home always looks decent, not to have to, God forbid, ask elsewhere for help; on the contrary -- we should quietly help the needy with tzedakah, and for Shabbat there always had to be fish and meat prepared, even in winter, the worst time, when there was no work.

In preparation for the High Holidays, though, there was always plenty of work and the best of everything was prepared at home. Then mother “shept some naches” when there would arrive and gather together sons, daughters, grandchildren…

For mother, frumkeit and virtue are one. Mother always sought to justify everyone, and understandably for her own children also, when they caused her regret. She knew that they had good hearts. They aren't out for themselves but want to improve the world. “But what harm would it do to observe some Yiddishkeit?” mother argued.

Mother read the Tzenah Urenah and “magic” books in Ivreh-teich (Hebrew translated into Yiddish). She also enjoyed when someone would read Sholem Aleichem to her. She didn't sing as well as father, but she remembered a mass of Yiddish folk-songs and many stories, jokes and proverbs.

For mother, with her soft, delicate nature, who always trembled about the fate of her children even in the “good” years, who always feared to go past a policeman, the arrival of the Germans in Ciechanow made an oppressive impression. Her instinctive fear of the forthcoming danger affected us all, even father, with his strong character.

It will always remain firmly in my mind, her sad darkened face, with her tear-filled eyes, when she accompanied us -- me and my sister Khaheye, and sister Soreche and her husband Avreml Margil and their daughter -- to the horse-drawn wagon that took us away on a long course of wandering.

My brother Yosl

My brother Yosl, happy, friendly, worked from a young age at a variety of jobs. I remember him as an excellent room-painter. He was very good at everything. Whatever his eyes saw, he could paint. He drew nice pictures, was musically talented, played mandolin and sang sentimental songs as he worked. He was a good chess player -- was also interested in mathematical problems and formulas.

He was an auto-didact, full of knowledge in various fields but especially in the field of literature, philosophy and Marxism. He gave outstanding readings on these subjects, particularly about the young Jewish poets that were so close to him because he was a poet, had poetry published in various publications, and was preparing for publication a book of poetry.

Father, who was quite upset at this heretic was, deep in his heart, proud of him. When Yosl was in captivity with the Germans father buried the notebook with Yosl's creations deep in the ground -- God have mercy perhaps? Maybe there will yet be a normal life.

Yosl returned from German captivity. He was forced to paint for the Germans. (Maybe he wrote poems in secret).

At the age of thirty something, together with his wife, child and all Ciechanow martyrs, he was murdered by the Germans.

My sisters

The eldest one was Liba, was smart, loved life, a dear person, in spite of the harsh trials of life. She didn't live in Ciechanow, but every summer she used to come for a few months with her two young daughters Aidl and Rokhle to mother and father for vacation nearby. Aidl, beautiful somewhat phlegmatic, grew stern and modest. The young stubborn Rokhle was raised by bubba and zaide, studying at the Ciechanow school and grew up to be a dancer.

During the war they ended up in Bialystok and shared the fate of the majority of Bialystok Jews.

My middle sister -- Khaiche, was delicate and very capable. She acted in a drama group, drew and painted on kerchiefs, had a passive nature. Saved herself from the Germans by going to the Soviet Union and there she perished from the hard life.

[Page 430]

The youngest sister was Pearl. She had a fiery nature. She remained at home with mother and father and perished at the hands of the Germans.

My friends from my youth

Mendl and Feivl were my friends from my youth. Mendel Kronenberg was the son of a neighbor close to my age. We grew up together. His parents used to go to markets. There, life was very hard since they were always traveling. Mendel's father, a Ger Hasid, always complained that I had also made a heretic of his eldest, Yosl, and even the young Shayeleh with the dark burning eyes… The last time I saw them was in Bialystok and since then their traces have disappeared.

Feivl Sumko came to Ciechanow from Proshnitz with his zaide, a carpenter, in a Jewish hat and curly payes, rosy cheeks and clever eyes. Our first acquaintance took place when we were trying to solve mathematical problems and riddles. Afterwards Feivl, Mendl and I became a threesome. Feivl's zaide also objected to his coming to me for fear that I would corrupt him. But Feivl's close house-friends had already “corrupted” him -- the books of Marx and Engels, Plekhenov, Zitlovsky and Belshe.

We read together, discussed heatedly and “solved” world problems in the kitchen beside the oven…Our friendship deepened through spiritual closeness, through spending time together in the illegal circles, in the progressive An-ski and Sholem Aleichem library and at home at the chess board.

This is what Feivl wrote me during the war when I was in the Soviet Union: “Our situation is developing as follows: I come into your house often. It's your mother and I who feel your absence the most.”

Oh how painfully we suffer, we the survivors -- from the tragic absence of you -- numberless fathers and mothers, sisters and Feivls, who perished in the flames of Hitler's German hell.

Nakhman Grosbard

[Page 431]

Grosbard family
Grosbard family

Picture Index

 

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