Translated by Renee Miller
Among the mourners of Israel who cry for their million sons and daughters, who were annihilated by the Nazi scoundrels makh shemoy [may their names be blotted out!], we here in America also cry for those who are from our home city, Sandz, our dear brothers and sisters. On the fifth yortsayt of the May-Action on the Sandzer cemetery in the year 1942, which was the first act of the umberakhmonsdik [ruthless] annihilation of the Sandzer kehile [Jewish community], the Sandzer community (Sandzer Society) here in America, decided to publish this Memorial Journal. All these kedoshim [victims], blood of our blood and flesh of our flesh, whom we knew by name, we, in this journal, remember with deep sorrow and sadness. These heroes of Jewish Sandz, Pethahiah Mahler, Retzl Goldberg-Shpira and Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum, whose names, together with their gvure [valor], are written down in the book of the heroism of our people, for everlasting generations to remember; we give them the place of honor on this tragic memorial list. May their great maysim [actions] shine like a ner tamid [an eternal light] over the memory of the martyred Sandzer brothers and sisters. Not one of our murdered martyrs were zoykhe geven [deemed worthy of the honor] even of a matseve-shteyn [gravestone] that would remain as a memorial over their altogether destroyed lives. Allow this unassuming Memorial Journal to take the place of a monumental matseve, honoring the memory of all the thousands of Sandzer victims together with the hundreds whose names are recorded here.
We Sandzer in America do not consider ourselves completely absolved with this memorial publication, of the holy duty concerning our worthy victims . In the name of the Sandzer Society we make a solemn vow to help the sheyres-hapleyte [the survivors, especially of the German extermination campaign] from Jewish Sandz. As we are now doing, we will send brotherly support to all Sandzer brothers and sisters, who are scattered about in various places in Poland, or languish in prisons in Germany, Austria and Italy. We will not rest until we take care of all the needs of our dear survivors. We, together with all the Jewish people, will fight to get the gates of Eretz Israel opened for the unfortunate am isroyl [people of Israel] so that the Sandzer remnants shall, together with the hundreds of thousands of the Jews from Europe, shall return to their heritage in their own land.
Born in Neisandz January 18, 1912
Fell in Battle with the Nazis August 20, 1943
By Rafael Mahler
Translated by Renee Miller
Pethahiah, the youngest son of Yitzhok Asher Mahler and Rukhl Mahler, resembled his grandfather on his mother's side, rebbe Pethahiah Shiper, whose name he carried. Like his grandfather, Rebbe Pethahiah, shokhet [ritual slaughter] in Rudnik and later in Sandz, the stately, beautiful Jew, a talmud khokhim, inherited the proud tall figure, the classic Jewish countenance, the coal-black velvet eyes that burned with Hasidic ardor while at the same time, expressing unlimited goodness and deep love of people. His life as an unflinching fighter and his dignified, heroic death, showed that not only had herited his outward beauty but also the best of both his grandfather and great-grandfather. His spirit of devotion to the longed-for ideal of eretz isroel caused his great-grandfather, the rov Efraim Shiper, in his old age, to tear himself from the comfort and warmth of his home town Sokolov, and settle in Jerusalem. The same exaltation and mesires nefesh [devotion] to an idea filled the being of Pethahiah, the modern Jewish revolutionary.
Not by way of cold syllogisms and empty speculation did Pethahiah Mahler come to the decision to join with the working class and the freedom movement.
Pethahiah Mahler did not have the requirements to take the regular course at the gymnasie [European equivalent to high school and junior college]; however, he had too much of the artistic and militant temperament to remain sitting in school for long. According to his artistic accomplishments and nature, he needed a special artistic school. In his situation, in 1926, when, at the age of 14 he had completed the fourth class in gymnasium in Krakow, this was unattainable: his mother had died.
Pethahiah returned to Sandz and entered an apprenticeship as a locksmith. Sincerity, good-hardheartedness and spirited enthusiasm shown on his magnificent face. Thanks to his extraordinary charm, he created love and affection within every group with which he came in contact. His deep love of people prompted the 14-year old Pethahiah to join the lines of the workers' movement.
Within two years he was active in the youth organization of the leftist poyle-tsion and after that he joined the Communist Party, to which he remained true until yetsies-neshome [his last breath].
He was especially fit for his activities among the Polish workers, not only thanks to his complete mastery of the Polish language, but also because he also was brought up in a Polish workers' neighborhood. He, the son of a Jewish weaver who was out of place in a colony of railroad workers, undertook to help build a bridge of brotherhood between the Jewish and Polish people, breaking down the wall of hundreds of years of hatred of Jews, and reciprocal religious and chauvinistic bias. He was destined to defend the building of that bridge much later in bizarre times, in the gehenem-fire [hellish fire] of the Nazi occupation, and the mabl [downpour, torrent] of sam [the Devil] of Hitler propaganda among the Poles.
In 1929, at the age of 17, Pethahiah left for Paris, where he hoped to dedicate himself to the study of art. Instead, because of need, he was forced to do avoydes-perekh [back-breaking labor] in a metal factory. There, away from home, he also devoted his free time to the worker movement
In 1930, Pethahiah returned to Poland. After a short time spent in Kenigs-Hite with his sister Blume Luftig, he arrived in Nowy Sacy, where he again plunged into politic work. There the secret police, the Defensive, which had had an eye on him for a long time, imprisoned him.
The severe winter out in the fields, seriously undermined Pethahiah's health; he also received wounds in his hands. According to the orders of the organization (?), he came back to the Bialystoker ghetto. Sick as he was, he worked in the ghetto in the arrangements for the uprising. He participated in clearing out destructive, harmful, prejudicial people: the Jewish gestapo people, the brothers Udkowski and Tsviklitch.
August 16, 1943, the uprising broke out in the Bialystoker ghetto. Just as earlier in Warsaw, the uprising was an answer to the surrounding of the ghetto by the Germans, who were determined to deport the rest of the Bialystoker Jews to the gas chambers. The battle by the Jewish heroes was carried out with superhuman effort, but the superior forces of the German soyne [enemy] was too great. 300 fighters, under the unforgettable leadership of Mordechai Tenenbaum of the Hashomer Hatzair took a stand against a khil [army] of three thousand S.S. men, armed with [mitrolyesn ?] while sheltered behind tanks. Pethahiah Mahler is everywhere with his automatic weapon in his hands. Pethahiah, with Chaim Leptchinsky continue with a group of partisans on Tchieple Street. Wounded as he was, Pethahiah did not let his gun out of his hand. Pethahiah fell in the fight with the rutskhim murderers. The last 71 fighters barricaded themselves in a brunem-bunker well bunker?. However, they were discovered by the Germans and taken away to be shot by machine-gun fire: long live the Red Army! Long live a democratic Poland! The Jewish people will not become extinct! Our day of nekume [revenge] will come!
Pethahiah Mahler, a son of Jewish Sandz, the fighter of the Bialystoker uprising, is in the gallery of the immortals of the Jewish people, a worthy yoyresh [heir] to the Maccabee and zealot Bar-Kokhba, fighter and martyr oyf kidush hashem [sanctification of the Name].
by Baruch Shpiro
Translated by Renee Miller
In the terrible msise [agony of death] of the Sandzer Jewish Community under the Nazi occupation, there were several shining moments of passive resistance. Unfortunately, there was no active fight because our city was one of the first communities in Poland that was totally exterminated.
One of the acts of heroism is connected to the illustrious image of Reyzl Goldberg.
At the outbreak of the war, there were approximately 12,000 Jews souls, from which a large number were immediately sent east. In their place, however, all Sandzer Jews who lived in various cities in Poland were centralized in the city of Sandz. In addition to these, a significant number of Jews from other Polish cities, among them Polish Jews from XXXXXXX (?) camps in Germany were included.
In their fiendish plan to kill the Jews, the Germans concentrated on the surrounding towns and villages, such as Grubow, Limenev, alt-Sandz, Pivnitchne, Muline, Kranitz, Labowe, Tschoyve, Amshane (Mshane-Dolne). In this way, at the end, there were approximately 20,000 Jewish souls in Sandz according to all those who were saved after the great hurbn [destruction].
As in all cities in Poland, the Germans also imprisoned the Jews in a ghetto, that usually consisted of two ghettos. One - for the working, productive element on the left side of the pieklo up to the hospital and the cemetery. In the second one in the Jewish section and the surrounding Jewish lanes- for those not working.
Both ghettos were walled, and absolutely no contact whatsoever was to take place between them. Those imprisoned in the ghetto for the not-working, in general, were never supposed to go out. However, the Jews from the workers ghetto were able to leave temporarily only for work outside the ghetto. -
- then they were escorted by a S.S. Guard and someone from the Jewish police, which was organized by the Jewish council. The Jewish police - as in other cities also excelled here in the shameful active assistance they gave to those contemptible Germans in killing our brothers and sisters. As soon as the two ghettos were established, families were torn apart, the elderly and the children, physically incapable of working, were confined to the Jewish neighborhood, while those family members who could work were chosen for the other ghetto on the pieklo.
In other parts of the city, Jews were not allowed to live or even to appear there. You understand that here in Niesandz, as in other cities in Poland, Jews had to wear the Jewish armband with the Mogen Dovid on it.
In the ghetto, people continued to work in communal activities in spite of the minimal resources. In the same way, a Jewish help committee was active (independent of the Jewish council), distributing help to the needy, among the starving masses. The Jewish intellectuals were occupied with feeding the children in orphan asylums at the Jewish Hospital. The Jewish doctors were remarkable in the way they reorganized the Jewish hospital literally under the eyes of the Nazis. In the Talmud Toyre [religious training school for boys] in the Yidisher gas [Jewish neighborhood], a covert Jewish school under the leadership of Hinde Bachner, a graduate of the Jewish Teachers Seminar in Vilna [an important teachers' school of the time] was created.
Until the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, life in the ghetto flowed normally, under normal Nazi gezeyres [evil decrees]. The akhzoyres [cruelty] of the Nazis was horrendous and murder by shooting or drowning individuals in the Dunajec River, a daily occurrence. And to this normalcy, our community had already became accustomed.
At the end of April 1942, the first great action against the Jews of Sandz took place known under the name the May Action.
The mass shooting of approximately 400 young, active men and women, the most beautiful blooms of Sandzer Jews made the entire community dejected and shocked. They all felt that this was a warning of total annihilation. Barely three months later, in August 1942, the liquidation and total destruction of the ghetto really occurred: the entire Jewish population was sent to Belsec [death camp]. From the so-called May Action grew an act of gaystiker gvure [spiritual power] that we want to record here ledoyres [for the Ages].
In the starostve [city community hall], the gestapo found a list put together by the ardent Polish Home Police. There, were noted those who belonged to Linke Paoley Tsien [left-wing Zionist organization] and organizations close to it like Givyazde Shtern sport club of Jewish workers, Folks Universitet A.M. Of Max Rosenfeld . On the basis of this list, the Gestapo, through the Jewish police, arrested about 400 young women and men. Although many they sought were not found in Sandz, the Jewish police furnished others with the same names, or other family members that never had any connection with these organizations or with the people. The arrest took place on April 28, 1942 and by the morning of the 29th, after having been completely done in by their time in jail they were taken to the cemetery and all were killed. There, those to be killed had to dig their own graves, take off all their clothes, and standing there naked, they were shot down by machine guns.
When everything was ready for the horrible execution, an extraordinary episode took place: one of the victims, Ratzke Goldberg-Shpiro, - looking death in the eye collected her remaining strength and with unbelievable courage, spoke to the Nazi murderers under the eyes of the Jewish police, she warned the Nazis that they shouldn't think that because they murder and bleed those that not guilty, that they will win this war - in any case, they have already lost - but those Jews who live through this war will take revenge on the Germans.
The Nazis, amazed at the boldness of a Jewish woman, were tkhiles mevulbl [at first perplexed], but it didn't take long before Reyzl Goldberg's speech was cut short by bullets for her khutspah [impertinence] against the superior race.
Ratzke Goldberg-Shpiro, was a tokhter fun bal(e)batish-khsidishe elterin [a daughter of well-to-do parents who were khasidim], Abraham and Toybe Goldberg. In her younger years she was already close to the poor and Jewish working masses who were collected around the linke poaley tsiein partey [Labor Zionists] in our city.
In private, she thirsted for learning since her parents did not permit her to go to school on Shabos she studied in high school and then studied in Vienna at the university.
She gave, as a gift to those who did not have the opportunity to go to school, all her learning .
When she was fifteen in 1918 she joined the Borochov Circle [Affiliated with Poaley Tsien, one of many schools known as Borokhov schools, which taught both Zionism and Yiddish culture] of young students in the Party and until her last breath, she sought out those who were abused by fate. In meshekh fun [in the period] of her 24 years, she served the party of the Jewish workers, Poaley Tsien as well as the Jewish children and the people.
The Jewish Folkshuls were established right after the First World War. The special evening school for young workers was established by the Community Evening Courses for Jewish Workers by many of our landsman [compatriots] Dr. Raphal Mahler was one of the founders and leaders. It was a holiday for the working Jewish youth when he would give scholarly lectures on various themes. Ratzke was certainly the darling of the working Jewish young people in our city. In her friendly way, she took care of them and they reciprocated for it with love and derkherets [respect].
Ratzke was also outstanding in the field of the dramatic arts. For over 20 years, she was the leading star in all the performances given by our dramatic group of the folksuniversitet [People's School?] under the name of Dr. Max Rosenfeld: Folks Universitet A.M. Of Max Rosenfeld (see above).
A subtle, perceptive soul, she had the dramatic ability of which even a serious theater would not have to be ashamed. With great love, she performed in the best Yiddish and national repertory dramas. In that manner, from the stage, using the Yiddish language, she carried the creative word to those whose lives she wanted to enrich. She also achieved this goal by helping build a library in the same folks universitet. This same library with some thousand books in Yiddish and Polish, elevated the level of culture for the young and the working people in Sandz. In addition, she did not ignore the political domain. She took an active role in all Poaley Tsioe actions taken for the rights of the Jewish people. Not only in the tribune, at meetings or sessions, through her artistic word, but also through personal contact, she had an effect; and how great was her joy over each successful political action or demonstration for the rights of the Jewish people.
It's not a surprise, actually, that Ratzke Goldberg took upon herself, a mission of such heroic proportion made by holy martyrs, to shout out a protest against Nazism and Fascism
Eternal shame for the murders! And eternal glory for our heroic sons and daughters, for our Ratzke!
Ratzke lived beautifully and died alkidesh hashem [martyred]!
Our landslayt [countrymen] who have returned either from Russia or other lands and hiding places have her Ratzke - together with all those killed along with her, erected a matseyve denkmol [a memorial gravestone] in the cemetery in Sandz.
May Ratzke Goldberg's illustrious memory live forever!
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