In 1937, the Polish Authority worsened its behavior towards the Jews. A wave of
anti-Semitism broke out and hurt the Jews.
REMEMBER AND NOT TO FORGET
THE DESTRUCTION OF GREATER MEZIRICH
Jews were forced out of their jobs, and merchants were forced out of business.
All over town were pamphlets and announcements saying: "Do not buy from
Jews", "Jews are swindlers", etc. Houses were destroyed,
slaughter of animals was forbidden - a decree that shocked the Jewish public
who declared a public fast which lasted two weeks.
In September of 1939, the Red Russian Army, which crossed the Soviet-Polish
border, entered Mezirich. The first thing they did is take over the government
institutions from the Poles. The Jewish population was well-treated by the
Russian Authorities, and many Jewish lives were saved.
In 1941, the Germans arrived and took over from the Russians. They started by
making decrees: To hand over to them the cows, horses, carts, gold and silver,
and all other valuables. These orders had to be carried out by the
"Judenrat" (A Jewish Council) who would take responsibility and make
certain all the German orders would be carried out punctually. Thus decree
followed decree, daily. There was nothing left to give but the demands
continued. It was Abraham Schwetz who had to carry out all the orders, and he
walked around with a heavy heart from house to house, demanding and consoling
in one, by saying: "Jews., give them your property and the soul keep for
yourselves. If we live through this, we shall buy ourselves other things. When
the Jews' belongings were all taken away, it was time to take their soul. The
Jews were forced to sew yellow patches on their clothes, one in the front and
one in the back. The worst day of all was when the Germans demanded to hand
over to them 160 young healthy men, in order to send them away to work.
This demand was like a heavy stone on Abraham Schwetz, who broke down,, and one
morning he was found dead. He committed suicide by poison.
From the group of young men taken to work for the Germans, only two survived
the war and immigrated to Israel.
One trouble was not yet over and a new one came, making the tears flow like a
stream. Every evening Jews were taken out of their homes and abused all night.
When they returned home in the morning, they were beaten and bruised all over
their bodies. It was forbidden to tell anyone, or even go to a doctor.
The Jews of Mezirich were exterminated in two "actions": The first
one was in Shavuot (Pentecost) 1942, and the second was on Succot (Feast of the
Tabernacles) the same year. 3000 Jews of Mezirich were exterminated and buried
in a mass grave on the site of a brickyard in the Village of Nevirkov, about 4
km. from the town.
For fifty years there was not much of a connection with Mezirich. A few Jews of
the town survived by hiding out, with the help of the Righteous Gentiles. Some
joined the partisans and fought alongside them. A special place deserve the
many children who survived alone, in the forests, begging for their livelihood.
These small heroes are carrying their injuries to this day.
The rest of the Jews who survived went to Israel.
During all these years, a devoted Council of the Association of Mezirichers is
in operation. The Council is in constant touch with the Mezirichers in the
Diaspora, especially with the community in Canada. Every year, Mezirichers
gather for a memorial service. The Council printed a memorial book about the
town, erected a memorial stone at the Holon Cemetery (earth was brought from
the mass grave site and placed in the basement of "Yad Vashem" in
Jerusalem), and participated in the building of "Beit Vohlin" in
which there is a room commemorating Mezirich. The Council has also commemorated
the partisans and soldiers on a special wall near Beit Vohlin in Givatayim. The
"Remez" School in Holon has adopted the Mezirich Community and the
relationship continues. The students of the school are invited to the memorial
service, and members of the Mezirich Association visit the school on Holocaust
When the relations were renewed with the Ukraine, and the first visitors to the
Ukraine came back from there and told everyone about the destruction of the
town, the neglect, the barrenness of the mass grave site, the Mezirich
Association in Israel got together with other Mezirichers in the Diaspora to
save the site from its neglected state. All the Mezirichers donated handsomely
for this holy project.
With the co-operation of the Ukrainian Authorities, a fence was built around
the mass grave site, and a memorial stone erected, in which was placed a scroll
with the names of all the Mezirichers, who died in the Holocaust. Every so
often, the Association organizes tours to this site. It draws second and third
generations who visit and absorb impressions. There is nothing like seeing for
The Old Cemetery of Mezirich was destroyed. The local residents started
building houses on this site. There are very few gravestones left intact.
Again, with the co-operation of the Ukrainian Authorities, the Old Cemetery was
fenced, a staircase built to go up to the hill where the Cemetery is situated,
and a new memorial stone built - a symbol for the God of the Righteous.
Mezirich is destroyed. It is no longer. It remains only in our memories, in our
. .Only the old spring flows by the old flourmill. 13.9.1992
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