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[Page 201]

Maytcheter Jews in New York

Taken from an American Jewish Newspaper - no date given

Translated by Milton Schwartz and Martin Small (Mordechai Leib Shmulewicz)

Edited by Jerrold Landau

“The Maytcheter Jews in New York recite kaddish in public for their martyrs. They created a help organization for the State of Israel.“

This is a copy of an article that appeared in an American Jewish newspaper, mentioning, among other things:

A photocopy of the title page of the 1938
calendar of the Maytchet Gemilut Chessed fund

This past Sunday, the Maytchet natives who live in New York and the surrounding area held a memorial gathering in memory of the Jews who were killed in sanctification of the Divine name. Maytchet is a small town near Baranovici where about 800 Jews lived.

[Page 202]

The town is known for its geniuses, scholars, rabbis, and teachers.

The Maytchet native Rabbi Gershon Romanoff spoke with much enthusiasm about the town and called upon everyone present to observe the Yahrzeit (annual memorial). They lit six candles and recited Kaddish. The Maytchet natives in America do good work in memory of the town and those who were murdered there. Each year they purchase over $3,000 of Israel bonds through their society. They help the United Appeal, HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), and ORT, and they do not forget their fellow townsfolk in Israel.

The Maytcheters also created a fund in Israel in memory of the Gemilut Chassadim Fund that existed in Maytchet. Recently, when one of the survivors of Maytchet became a bride in Israel, the society sent her $300 as a wedding present.

The longtime president of the Maytchet group in New York is Isaac Kurtin. The Financial Secretary was B. Lokoff and is now B. Goldberg. Together with Al Rubio, Al Kudivitz, M. Spencer and Yechezkel Roberts, a full series of projects were planned in memory in memory of the Jewish town of Maytchet and its Jewish citizens who once were and are no more…

(Additional notes to article in the Maytchet Yizkor Book added by Milton Schwartz and Martin Small: After Isaac Kurtin passed away, Charles Samuels became the President and B. Goldberg was the secretary. After B. Goldberg died, Martin Small became the secretary. In 2000 there were too few people attending the meetings and the group dissolved. All the money from their treasury was sent to the Maytchet Gemilus Chesed fund in Israel.

The Maytcheter Fraternal Aid Society has two cemetery plots in the New York City area. One is at the Mt. Lebanon Cemetery in the Queens, New York and the other is at Beth Moses Cemetery in Huntington, Long Island, New York.)


[Pages 202 - 204]

Maytcheters in Argentina

A Letter from Ben-Zion Sack

Translated by Milton Schwartz and Martin Small (Mordechai Leib Shmulewicz)

Edited by Jerrold Landau

Dear Friends and Landsliet,

Esteemed Friends and Fellow Natives!

First of all, I would like to greet you for your initiative to perpetuate the town with a book certain aspects of our common native town. You are to be congratulated for your massive undertaking. I know this will not be easy for you; however, unfortunately I cannot help you very much financially, as I am simply a worker with limited means, and I cannot collect from others for I do not come in contact with our fellow natives. The only thing I can do is to write a few words to accompany the picture that I am hereby sending you. I believe that it is a historical picture that will illuminate a story from our town in the latter years of its existence. You will certainly find some familiar faces, which will remind you of a period

[Page 203]

of the history of Maytchet to which I have strong feeling - that is: the years 1928 until1930 when I left for Argentina. Here is the story.

 

Workers Evening Courses, April 15, 1930 Maytchet

In 1928 there were, among others, Maytchet youths studying in various schools in Vilna. Three friends -- Joseph Sussman, Molia Kravchik and I -- became acquainted there with left wing student movement, which we joined. We decided that we would form a workers' organization in Maytchet when we came home for Passover. We did not know what type of organization this would be, for there were issues with legalization. When we found out that the left leaning Poale Zion founded a society to offer evening courses for workers, so that they could continue on with their activities which were forbidden in feudal Poland, we grabbed on to the idea with both hands even though we did not share the same political ideas as theirs. We got in contact with them in Warsaw, obtained a copy of their mission statement, and obtained a permit to found a branch in Maytchet.

We worked with all of our youthful enthusiasm for two years. Our objective was to raise the cultural level of the

[Page 204]

young workers of Maytchet. The numbers were not large, since Maytchet did not have any industry. There were only young boys and girls, tailors, shoemakers, and furriers. Even a wagon welder joined. We conducted the work with sincerity. We arranged evening classes in which Molia Kravchick taught reading and writing, Yosef Sussman taught arithmetic, and I taught history and political economy. These were our winter programs. In the summer we would go out every Saturday for a walk in the forest, or conduct a discussion about current events.

In addition, we set up a library and reading room. Every evening after work we would get together to read newspapers, take out a book, or just socialize with acquaintances. We also organized a drama group, and performed several plays. One play that I remember was the Jewish King Lear by Jacob Gordon. Those who remember the plight of the young workers in Maytchet in those times will understand what a wonderful undertaking it was. True in Maytchet there was cultural activity earlier on, but only amongst the wealthier children. The children of the workers could not participate in that group. On the other hand, the most impoverished people, including those who never went to cheder or school, came to our group. With this cultural center we literally raised them to the level of human beings. They were thankful to us and gave their last pennies to keep up the club.

Where they all today? Some probably survived and live in America, Argentina and Israel. The rest have perished with all the Maytcheters. Amongst them were my mother and brother Lazer. Let these words serve as a memorial for the survivors of their near and dear ones.

 

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