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[Page 15]

Chapter 1

Opening

 

Introduction

On the first day of the month of Av 5702 the beastly Nazis brought about the annihilation of the Jewish community of Maytchet and environment. This was the end of our dear ones, part of the Jewish population in Eastern Europe, who died as martyrs in the years 1941-2 during World War II. On the 30th "Yahrzeit", we humbly publish this Yizkor Book in memory of their blessed names.

 

 

It is a great responsibility to write such a book, since the authors have not put down their memories with regular calmness. Every sentence and every line in this book are bleeding with pain, whether written by old time pioneers or by recent survivors of the Holocaust. All the memories and writings were lovingly compiled,

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checked and edited, with the purpose of telling to our generation and the coming ones, to our children and grandchildren about the glory of the Jews of Maytchet and environment, who died as martyrs.

The publication of this book was full of difficulties. Following the decision to publish a Yizkor Book, the book committee called upon all "landsleit" over the world to send in memories and pictures about the town. Some responded immediately, but most of the material was sent in during the very last time, when it was rewritten, and rechecked, while comparing notes with references in libraries and archives.

Blessed be all who contributed material and means. Special mention is due to the members of the book committee, who initiated the project and worked with dedication in the name of all Maytchet landsleit. There are not enough words in the human language to express the mourning over the Holocaust.

May all landsleit of Maytchet, from now and forever add on this first day of Av warm tears to the cup of tears which will never fill up.

Tel-Aviv, 1st day of Av

The Editor


[Page 17]

Foreword from the Book Committee

Six million Jews were killed by German murderers and their collaborators during the great Holocaust that befell the Jews of Europe in the years 1941-1945. Maytchet was annihilated in a tragic and cruel way, which we memorialize on July 15, 1942

This happened on the 1st to 3rd day of the month of Av in the year 5702 (1942). The terrible tragedy that stormed our little town was uncovered and every year this very bitter day of 1st of Av is the Memorial Day for the martyrs of Maytchet and the surrounding areas. The few remnants from the sword gathered together with their brothers and sisters who had previously come to Israel in order to memorialize and connect with the souls of our dear ones and to determine how to memorialize forever their memory and to make a permanent memorial. They decided to write this Memorial Book, which is the custom in Israel.

After a long period of preparation and organizational work, we published this book to memorialize the community of Maytchet, its vicinity, and the precious martyrs who lived there. We have tried our best to gather all possible material, memories, and pictures in order to bring to life in these pages the quality of the Jewish life and the different personalities who lived over the period of many generations in the community of Maytchet. This memorial book's purpose should be a fitting living memorial for the Jews, who were a people of tradition and Torah. They were Zionists and community activists, socialistic fighters, upstanding and righteous, and compassionate people who did many good deeds.

It was a very big responsibility to fulfill for our community, a charitable act to memorialize them through these pages in our hearts and the hearts of our children throughout the generations. For their sake and the sake of the perpetuity of Israel, it was our responsibility to recount the geographical, historical, communal, and cultural aspects of Maytchet; and also to list the family names and the names of the martyrs in order that the future generations shall dwell in the pages of this memorial book. We did this so that they may be able to envision the characters of their upstanding and righteous forefathers. The strong ones who died were holy martyrs and by their deaths they commanded us to live.

We express our thanks and appreciation to those who helped us with this holy work and particular to the editor, Alyon, who has published many of these memorial books. He spared no effort in order to publish this book and to be sure it was a fitting memorial.

1st day of Av 1972, the 30th Memorial Day of the martyrs of Maytchet and its surrounding area.



A Memorial book

Ever since we began to gather on the memorial day for our martyrs, we have been planning and hoping to see the day when we shall publish our Yizkor Book. This book which we have now before us is a product of a long and difficult operation.

On the eve of Rosh Hodesh Av 5742, we unveiled the little memorial plaque in the Cellar of the Holocaust in Jerusalem, and now this book is the second memorial project to remind us and our descendants of our birth town.

If not for this book everything would have been forgotten about life in Maytchet in earlier generations, all the suffering in our generation and all the struggle of the Jewish community until its annihilation.

Who but we can write it down for the coming generations. In reading this book we think about the home, the family, the town, the suffering and the tragic end. Blessed be the Landsleit Committee and the Book Committee who were active in publishing this book.

The Hebrew alphabet has been instrumental for many generations to preserve the events and memories of many communities, and we pray that it will also help preserve the memory of our perished little Maytchet.

On this occasion we extend thanks to all our active landsleit and especially to Mrs. Hana nee Borecki, for her important contribution of paper for the book.

Special appreciation is due to the writer and editor, Mr. Ben-Zion H. Ayalon, who although not born in our town, by compiling, reading, hearing and fixing the material, managed to feel with us the glory of Maytchet. With great symphaty and patience he helped the survivors to put down in writing all their sufferings in order to hand it down to the coming generations.

Please, dear G-d, that this book may unite all remnants of our town to remember our dear martyrs who perished on the Chvoinik Hill, on the road to the village Zahorna.

May this book find its worthy place in every home of our landsleit, so that it can serve as a family tree to all our descendants.

Nahum Margolin

People who worked on book:
Seated left to right: Haya Lupchik, Hanna Mechtiger, Tova Shomroni, Esther Lozovsky
Standing right to left: Joseph Lozovsky, editor Benzion H. Ayalon, Nahum Margolin, and Moshe Korn


[Page 19]

Foreward[1]

Translated by Jerrold Landau

In the bloody time of the greatest catastrophe in history, which took place to European Jewry during the years 5701-5703 (1941-1943), when six million dear Jewish souls were tortured and cruelly murdered with various kinds of deaths by the impure hands of the German murderers and their assistants, who looked upon Jewish blood and property like bloodthirsty beasts - the holy community of Maytchet was martyred in sanctification of the divine name on the bitter days of

First to the third of Menachem Av, 5702 - 1942

Since this was the gloomy climax of the terrible tragedy that swept through our town like a terrible storm, the survivors of Maytchet in Israel designated and sanctified the pious custom that on the sad day of Rosh Chodesh Av, which marks the yahrzeit of the dear martyrs of Maytchet and its region, the orphaned Maytchet Jews who were rescued in that time and made aliya to Israel, would gather together to connect with the pure souls of our dear ones. Year in and year out, at this gathering, they conferred about how to perpetuate their holy memory and make an appropriate “rectification” for their pure souls and their innocently spilled blood by publishing a Yizkor Book, as was done by all the Landsmanschaften in Israel.

From that time, we did not rest with our intentions, and after a long time of preparation and organizational work, we finally

[Page 20]

succeeded in publishing the Yizkor Book to perpetuate the unfortunate, famous, historical Jewish community of Maytchet and the region, and its precious martyrs. We did all that we could to collect whatever material and pictures that were possible, so that we could bring to life in these holy pages the Jewish way of life of our ancestors who flowed for generations in the magnificent Jewish community of Maytchet. Our objective, and the strong desire of all the surviving Maytchet Jews throughout the entire world, is that this Yizkor Book should serve as a literary memorial candle for the dear Jews, people of Torah and tradition, Zionists and cultural activists, social strugglers and honest, common folk.

It is truly a great merit for us to fulfill a true charitable deed[2] toward our martyrs by perpetuating them in the Yizkor Book as well as in our hearts and the hearts of our descendents for generations. In their memory, we dedicate numerous chapters on geography, history, societal and cultural life, family memories, and a list of names of martyrs, so that the coming generations will be able to peruse and read the holy memorial pages with fascination and with holy trembling. In the eyes of their spirit, they will be able to see the bright personalities of their forbears, the pious, honest and heroic Jews who were tortured in sanctification of the Divine Name so that we would be able to survive and preside over the golden Jewish essence. We and the entire Jewish people will forever remain indebted to them. For them, the Yizkor Book is only a small repayment of a great, holy debt.

I also take the opportunity to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to all those who have assisted us in our holy work, and especially the editor Mr. Ben-Zion Ch. Ayalon, who spared no effort to publish a superb book as is fitting and appropriate for such a literary monument

The Book Committee

Translator's footnote

  1. This is equivalent with the Hebrew Foreword on page 17. Furthermore, the Hebrew section on page 18 is largely equivalent with the Yiddish section on page 21. The differences in the translation reflect the difference in style of the translators. The Hebrew translator opted to simplify the text so that it would flow better in English, without losing any critical meaning. The Yiddish translator opted to preserve the original style to the extent possible, along with the disjointed thoughts and run-on sentences, so as to preserve the emotional impact of the original. Both styles are legitimate, and the reader will benefit from reading both versions of the introductory material. Return
  2. The term “chesed shel emet” (true benevolent deed) generally refers to a kind deed performed on behalf of the deceased, where there can be no expectation of reward. Return


[Page 21]

It Was Said With The Book[1]

by Nahum Margolin

Translated by Jerrold Landau

And I will give them in my home and within my walls a monument and a name[2]
An eternal name I will give him that will never be cut off.
(Isaiah 56, 5)

That which gave us no rest and is always bothered us - the setting up of a memorial and a name for our dear town - has now come to fruition. It has moved out of realm of hope and aspiration, and has been published as this monument in memory of our holy community, the community of Maytchet.

Every year on the memorial day to the destruction of our town that takes place on Rosh Chodesh Av, the issue of the book spurred plans, debates and hopes that the day would come when it would come to fruition. Behold, we are witnesses and our eyes see it. The dream has been realized.

This book that lies before us was not set before us on a silver platter. Many troubles and thoughts preceded its publication, for we were devoid of any experience, and did not know how to actualize our aspirations.

At a gathering of the natives of our town and its region in Israel on the eve of the Rosh Chodesh Av 5724 (July 9, 1964), the veil was removed from a the small marble plaque in the Holocaust Cellar on Mount Zion in the capital of Jerusalem, upon which are etched the words “In memory of the martyrs of Maytchet and it's area.” This would have been the sole monument that in the future would remind us, our children and descendents about the rock that forged us, the root that nurtured us, the precious glory of our families and the frightfulness of our tragedy -- had the book that lies before us not been written.

The entire bundle of life in Maytchet throughout the previous generations, the entire episode of the atrocities and suffering that took place in our generation and that is folded in with the destruction of the community of Maytchet, the town in which we were born, in whose bosom we grew up, and from which we exited to redemption, and to our good fortune were saved and made aliya to the eternal Land of our fathers, the entire history of the struggles of this holy community of pure, upright Jews, the small community paved with the love of one's fellow Jew, thirsting for knowledge, filled with uprightness and the fear of Heaven, the community that did not lose its humanity and image even during the terrible tribulations of the Holocaust, the entire episode of these supreme struggles - would have been forgotten and buried along with those dearest to us in the pits of the “Chwojnik” that absorbed their pure blood - had this book that lies before us not been written.

For who would tell about the purity of the lives of our dear ones - if not for us who were designated for life?!

[Page 22]

For who would tell about the magnitude of their suffering, their desire for life and glory of their deaths - if not for us, the redeemed survivors in Israel?!

They are not forgotten from our hearts even in their deaths, for when we read what is written in this book, we unite with the home, the family, the town, their suffering, and their death agonies. This is a form of a great, powerful eulogy that had never been said over their graves - for there are no graves.

Would it be possible that the chapters of life of our family members would be erased from our memories and the memories of our descendents, just as they were erased from the consciousness of their murderers without shame and embarrassment?!

Would it be possible that the pure and holy actions of the martyrs, shining like the bright firmament, would never come to the consideration of the world?!

Therefore, the members of the organizing committee and the book committee who toiled to publish this book shall now receive the blessings.

For generation after generation, the Hebrew letter served the purposes of perpetuation and memorial. Whether it is engraved upon a gravestone or plaque in memory of the deceased holy martyrs, or whether it is printed upon parchment and books, these letters will be protected and will remain for many generations, just as they protected all of the spiritual property that was bequeathed to us by our forefathers in days of yore. Therefore, we primarily chose these letters for the publication of this Yizkor Book, so that it will serve as an eternal flame and monument to our town, its people, and it's past filled with awesome glory and suffering.

We hereby express heartfelt gratitude to all of the natives of our town living in Israel and the Diaspora who worked for and assisted in the publication of the book.

It is my pleasure to hereby thank the native of our city, Chana Mechtiger of the Boretcky family, for her generous donation toward the publishing of the book, which provided for the paper and etchings for the publication.

Special thanks are due to the author and editor Mr. Ben Zion Ayalon. Even though he is not a native of our town, through collecting, reading, listening, formulating, and arranging the pages of this book, he transported himself, his spirit and his soul to Maytchet, immersing his entire heart and soul in the depths of life, suffering and struggles of our dear ones there. He spared no effort, spoke to people, wrote down their stories and suffering, participated in the pain of the survivors who were forced to open wounds that seemed to have healed already, and toiled tirelessly to obtain the sources and find whatever material that was possible. He succeeded in publishing this complete book that lies before us.

It is not only words of blessing and thanks that I have, but also stirrings of prayer in my heart. Let it be G-d's will that this book serve as the means of unifying all the survivors of our town who are scattered in all corners of the world into a mutual bond of brotherhood and friendship. Let these pages of memorial filled with the blood of the hearts of the writers

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serve as a permanent monument atop the desolate grave in the Chwojnik Valley along the way to the village of Cyrn (Tzirin) where the remains of our beloved ones, pleasant in their life and not separated in their death[3], are buried. Let the publication of this book be a fulfillment of the vow, “Remember, and do not forget that which the Amalek of our day, era and generation perpetrated.”

It is fitting that this book be found in the home of every one of our townsfolk, for the town and the souls of its Jews are hidden preserved within it. Similarly, it should also serve as a book of genealogy for all future generations, and it shall be one chapter in the history of the eternal People of Israel.

Nachum Margolin

Members of the Organization Committee

Standing from the right: Yosef Lozovski, Nachum Margolin, Moshe Korn, Moshe Ravitz
Sitting from the right: Miriam (nee Volinski) Kleinshtov, Sarah (nee Novomiski) Ahronovski

 

Translator's footnotes

  1. Esther 9:25 The literal Biblical reference means “She commanded through the book,” or “It was said with letters.” Return
  2. Hebrew: Yad Vashem. This is the source of the name of the institution. Incidentally, this is from the prophetic portion [haftarah] read on all fast days other than Yom Kippur. Return
  3. Samuel II, 1:23. Return


[Page 24]

Map of Molchadz
see also Enhanced map

Map translated by Amir Shomroni

 

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