Memorial Book of the Martyrs of Lezajsk
who Perished in the Holocaust

(Leżajsk, Poland)

50°16' / 22°25'

Translation of
Lizhensk; sefer zikaron le-kedoshei Lizhensk she-nispu be-shoat ha-natsim

Edited by: H. Rabin, Tel Aviv, former residents of Lezajsk

Published in Israel, 1970


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Acknowledgments

Project Coordinator

Sarah Janine Katz

Translations

Zygmunt Frankel
Jerrold Landau
Bat-Zion Susskind
Tuvia Litzman
Leon Gold (necrology)


Donated translations

Sarah & Stephen Katz
Raye Blumenthal Freedman Trust
Leon Gold (necrology)

This is a translation of Lizhensk; sefer zikaron le-kedoshei Lizhensk she-nispu be-shoat ha-natsim.
Memorial book of the martyrs of Lezajsk who perished in the Holocaust.
ed H. Rabin, Tel Aviv, former residents of Lezajsk in Israel, 1970.


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Introduction


Seven years ago, I stumbled across a dusty copy of the Lezajsk (Lizhensk) Yizkor Book when helping my mother move house. Although I knew it was a book about the shtetl my father came from, neither my Yiddish nor my Hebrew was fluent enough for me to be able to read the contents of the book.

I pored over the photos however and even found one with my father in it – a blurry photo of the first Yizkor (memorial) service of Lizhensk survivors, which was held at Poking Displaced Person's camp after the war. I later found an original of the same photo amongst my father's papers. But the rest of the contents of the Yizkor Book remained a mystery. What sort of lives did my grandparents and great-grandparents (or even my father and his siblings) live in Lizhensk? What happened to the Jews of Lizhensk during the holocaust? The English sources were very meagre and yet here was a 500 page book, which I couldn't read, which presumably answered all these questions and more.

My wife Sarah, having no concept of the enormity of the task or the difficulties she would face, decided to set about having the book translated into English. That task, which has taken almost five years so far, is now almost complete.
I would like to dedicate this English translation of the Lizhensk Yizkor Book to my father, Israel Katz, of blessed memory, who against all odds survived the Holocaust and later made a new life for himself in Canada. Lizhensk and its surrounding shtetls lived on in his heart for the rest of his days, long after Jewish life there had been obliterated from the face of the earth.

For all those from that little corner of Galicia who were not so fortunate, and perished during the years of Nazi terror, this translation is also lovingly dedicated. In particular I wish to honour the memory of the many members of my extended family who died during the Holocaust, including my grandmother, Ethel Katz, my aunts Beila, Tziporah, Rachel and Brenda, the Laufer family and numerous cousins and other relatives (many of them children) whose names are known only to Hashem. I hope that making the rich, fascinating and deeply moving contents of this Yizkor Book available to the English speaking world will help to preserve the memories of both the many individuals whose lives were brutally cut short and of the way of life which has been lost forever.

I also wish to thank the translators who worked on this project. I would like to pay particular tribute to Mr Zygmunt Frankel, who is himself an elderly Holocaust survivor from Galicia. He is one of the few Yiddish-speakers my wife and I were able to find in this remote corner of the diaspora (New Zealand) where we now live. His dedication to this project over an extended period has been greatly appreciated.

At the risk of stating the obvious, we all owe a huge debt to the original authors and editors of the Lezajsk Yizkor book. The book is a real tribute to the men and women of the Lizhensk landsmanschaftn of Israel, now apparently no longer in existence. Their labours, probably generally unrecognised outside the Lizhensker community at the time, have ensured that the memory of the Jews of Lezajsk will be preserved for generations to come.

Finally, I wish to thank my wife, Sarah Katz. Her deep and heartfelt commitment to honouring and preserving the memory of the Jews of Lizhensk and their vanished way of life has resulted in her tirelessly dedicating herself to this translation project (and other research projects related to Lezajsk) over the last five years. I am thankful on behalf of all the descendants of the Jews of Lizhensk and surrounding shtetls that such a very important task fell into such safe hands.


Stephen Katz
Auckland, New Zealand

Table of Contents



I. HEBREW SECTION

  Page
The Book Name – The Gravesite   1
City map   2
Editor (Chaim Rabin) – Editorial Board   3
Publisher and Printer – published by Lizhensk immigrants in Israel   4
Typeset for the map and On the Holocaust   5-6
Editor's Foreword Chaim Rabin 9
Lizhensk: In Sources and in Books Chaim Rabin 12
The Jews of Lizhensk Prof. Josef Depovski 21
Lizhensk in pictures (photo captions)   32

Lizhensk And Its People During The Holocaust (stories from the survivors' mouths)

The beginning of the end Shaul Spatz 41
Children in the days of the ghetto Genya Spiegel (Basik Tova) 46
Nine years old in a difficult generation Lotzia Rotman-Greenspan 54
Among gentiles who sought to kill me Hanya Kappel 61
A girl who survived Chaya Stelzer (daughter of Feivel) 72
I was a Christian girl in Berlin Lotzia Rotman 78
I visited Lizhensk ghetto Roth 82
Jews and Judaism in the Diaspora Leah Braude 85
A gentile to be remembered for good Yehezkel Potascher 88
What I saw and heard in Lizhensk Friend of Rubinfeld 93
Lizhensk – Russia – Lizhensk M. N. Yaroth 96
Alone in the forests Moshe Hoff 108
I visited Lizhensk in 1950 Matityahu Spergel 111
I visited our city in 1959 Dovid Steinbach 118
I, death and Meirsh Steinbach Matityahu Spergel 121
One of the Righteous Gentiles Berta Zaltz 128
Murder in Lizhensk and Grodzisk B. Zaltz 130

The City As It Was

Lizhensk as I remember it Lydia Trintzer-Izrael 133
My cradle Lizhensk Elimelech Honig-Ronen 137
Lizhensk: The synagogue, people and way of life Yehoshua Rotman 141
Lizhensk of Rabbi Elimelech Shalom Yam 156

Chapters on Elimelech

Rabbi Elimelech From the Yevreiska Encyclopaedia
[Russian Jewish]
159
Rabbi Elimelech – The son of Elazar Lipman of Lizhensk From the Hebrew Encyclopaedia 160
Chapters on Rabbi Elimelech Martin Buber (Gog Umagog) 161
A section of the Prayer of Rebbe Elimelich of Holy Blessed Memory   163
Rabbi Elimelech The Leader R. Dovidel of Lelow 164

Prominent People of Lizhensk

Rabbis and Hassidic Rebbes Dovid Steinbach 167
Rabbi Yechezkel Landau From his relatives 172
R. Koppel Yechiel Schneid 175
R. Y. L. Silberberg Avraham Moshe Silberberg 181
They were three Abish Reichenthal 185
Something about Haninah Glicksman Meltza Shindelheim 193
My grandfather Rabbi Asher Shochet Leah Braude 196
R. Yoel Moshe Landau From the survivors of his family 199
From Jerusalem to Siberia Elimelech Ronen (Honig) 202
R. Yosef Ausubel Dov Ausubel 204
The Hassidism of Belz: Congregation Adath Yeshurun Dovid Steinbach 206

The Public Image of the City

People and their activities Nathan Feit 209
Zionism in Lizhensk Chaim Dov Hammer 214
Youth movement Tziporah Karmi (Steinbach) 220
Education in Lizhensk Dov Ausubel 224
How I emigrated to Palestine Eliezer Lieblich 228

What We Remember

Friends: Giza and Mina Ethel Pesse Dominitz 231
Jesus of Nazereth with a hat Matityahu Spergel 232
There were two brothers Matityahu Spergel 234
Moteleh The fool of Lizhensk Matityahu Spergel 236

Noted Figures

Moshe Greisman Mina Miller 239
Mordechai Arum Dvora Arum 241
Mordechai Feldman From the newspaper, Davar 243
Aryeh Reichenthal Shlomo Tamir 244
R. Asher Zelig Miller Dov A. 246
Fishel Spergel M.H. 248
David Miller Dov Ausubel 249
R. Moshe Naftali Teicher N. Engelberg 250
Dov Strauch Dov Engelberg 252
Bendenet Goral Matityahu Spergel 253
The Ups and Downs of Fate Penina 255
Chayatche Diamant Mina 256



II. YIDDISH SECTION

Title Page   257
Table of Contents   259

Holocaust In Lizhensk

The last days in Lizhensk Yitzak Tantzman 261
A rescued child Chaya Stelzer 265
Two little sisters Genya Spiegel (Basik) 271
Lizhensk – Russia – Lizhensk M. N. Yeroth 282
Reb Meirsh Steinbach rescued me Matityahu Spergel 295
A Righteous Gentile Berta Saltz 304
Let me erect the gravestone Yaakov Kirschenbaum 310
What I heard and saw A. Kirstein 319
A visit to Lizhensk in 1950 Matityahu Spergel 323
Death of Mendel Laks Matityahu Spergel 330
A story about a gentile woman Matityahu Spergel 331
Berta Saltz`s book Yaakov Biller 333
Berta Saltz and her book Matityahu Spergel 338
Reb Elimelech`s shtetl - When I remember Lizhensk Eliyahu Nadel 341
Lizhensk, my shtetl Yechiel Schneid 343
The great day Yeshaye Kirschenbaum 355
The first Jewish Doctor Dr A. Dobshitz 360
Lizhensk, the synagogue, people, way of life Yehoshua Rothman 366
Lizhensk – People and Events Nathan Feit 385
The little forest Matityahu Spergel 394
Characters and tales Moshe Jaroslavitch 396
My father`s ballad Sholom Yam 399
Community Council meetings Matityahu Spergel 401

People In Lizhensk

Reb Menashe Frankel D. R. 403
Reb Yosel (Melamed) Kraus Matityahu Spergel 405
Reb Naftali Chaim Hollander Matityahu Spergel 408
About Orthodox opponents of Hasidism in Lizhensk Wolf Reichenthal 411
They were three Abish Reichenthal 413
Prayer leaders Matityahu Spergel 421
Individual Good Deeds F. Roth 424
Abraham Reichenthal Abish Reichenthal 426
Jacob Reichenthal Harry, Sarah and Benjamin 428
Hersh Guzik Matityahu Spergel 429
Reb Koppel Yechiel Schneid 431
Abigdor Spiegel Matityahu Spergel 438
Miriam Frankel, the Rabbi's wife D. R. 439
Moshe Greisman Yehoshua Rotman 441
Reb Mordechai Greisman Yehoshua Rotman 442
Society and Economics Yehoshua Rotman 443

Memories

Colourful Personalities Matityahu Spergel 457
Around and removed   467
Under the church S. M. 468
The Revisionist Zionist Movement, Betar, in Lizhensk Ch. Goldman 469
A letter from a priest    
Names of the Martyrs (Necrology)   473



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