Our eldest sister Bayla was good hearted and righteous. Her husband was Reb Yitzchak Bretler, an intelligent and handsome man. He was the son of the Hassid Rabbi Rafael Bretler. They had two darling children, Yenta and Tzvi. The destruction reached them as well. We will never forget their words of farewell and their efforts on our behalf when we made aliya to the Land.
|From right: Reb Yitzchak Bretler, his wife Bayla
and father Reb Rafael Bretler of Dolina.
Bayla was the daughter of Reb Yeshayahu Juner
The rest of our siblings their good name preceded them, both regarding the honor of parents as well as their love of their fellowman were cut off at a young age.
Chava the beautiful, Rivka the intelligent, Baruch the charming, Batya the philosopher, and Yaakov, the youngest.
Aunt Tzippy was the second sister of our father. She was a woman of valor. Her husband was Reb Yehuda Tzvi Rotenberg, the son of the rabbi of Skula. He was a very intelligent, learned scholar. He served as an adjucator of various disputes on a voluntary basis. They had three children, refined and very bright: Rivka, Yosef, and Tova. They all wished to make aliya to the Land of Israel, but they did not merit to fulfill their desire.
|Yenta and Tzvi Bretler,
the grandchildren of Reb Yeshayahu
and Sara Itta Juner
Aunt Rachel was the third sister of our father. She was a refined woman. Her husband was Reb Eizik Kertenstein of Stanislawow. They had two children, Yonah and Tzvi.
Aunt Tzila was the fourth sister of our father. Her husband was Reb Mendel Finter of the Rokach family of Borislaw, who were related to the Belzer Rebbe. He was a well known cantor, and during the last period served as the cantor in the city of Rotterdam, Holland. They were killed in sanctification of G-d's name with their four children.
It is difficult to make peace with the fact that only so very few remain from such a splendid and illustrious family. We, the children who survived in Israel due to the grace of G-d try to bring forth the memories of the past with honor, to learn from our forbears, and to teach our children to follow in their path.
May the souls of all of the holy martyrs be bound in the bonds of life.
Moshe Frankel (Juner)
Malka Bretler (Juner)
Esther Borenstein (Juner) 2
My mother told me a great deal about her father, and she portrayed the sublime image of my grandfather to my eyes. His story is certainly not different than that of many others in that era: he was a well to do Jew who returned from America to Poland, to his wide-branched family. He rejected life in the city and turned to Broszniow a town at the beginning of its development. There he built his house. At first, he worked in agriculture, and later he opened a store.
Everyone knew that his home was open to every needy wayfarer. When he saw that there was not sufficient room in his house for all of those in need, he built a special room in his yard for these unfortunate beggars who wandered along the roads. He set up beds, bedding, mattresses, etc. with his own hands. Everyone who wanted was able to find a warm bed and a roof over their heads during the summer or the winter.
He cared for those needy people with his own hands. He gave them of his own bread, and on occasion he even loaned them money, knowing full well that the loan would not be repaid, for those unfortunates would be leaving the town in the morning and would not be returning. Others would arrive and take their places. There was never an empty bed, and the family never sat down to eat at their table with themselves alone.
Do not think that only Jews ate at my grandfather's table. His home was also open to gentiles Ukrainians whose reverence for him knew no bounds. He did all of this discreetly, and did not publicize his generosity and his good deeds. However, finally such good became revealed. Everyone knew that his heart would not permit him to see a person stumbling in the world of the Holy One Blessed Be He. The scoffers would say: Again there is a minyan 1 of 'tourists' at Berelfein's. Indeed, on occasion there was more than a minyan.
The local police also knew about this situation. When someone would come to the police at night requesting a place to sleep, they would send him to Berelfein. There, without a doubt, they would find a place for him.
I can see him, my grandfather, waking up in the middle of the night during the difficult days of winter when there was a knock on the door, a voice asking for help, a person who could not find a place to warm his bones, and was freezing outside My grandfather went out, despite the cold outside, to the person who was wasting away from hunger and cold, make for him a bed, and give him some hot food to restore his spirit.
I have attempted with my poor words to describe his greatness, however the words do not have the power to describe what all of us, his grandchildren and his entire world, knew.
There is no doubt that it is only in the merit of Tzadikim (righteous people) such as he that the world exists, and may his soul be comforted by that.
Perehinsko is a small town at the foothills of the Carpathians in the area of Rozniatow. It's Jewish community was not large, approximately 150 families, most of whom were murdered by the wild Nazi beast.
The Jewish community consisted of people of all strata: rabbis, merchants, artisans, intelligentsia, and ordinary Jews.
The youth were exemplary. The youth had a pioneering spirit. The youth worked and studied. Most of them participated in Hachsharah (preparations) for aliya to the Land. Some of them even succeeded in making aliya and escaping the Holocaust.
These are the martyrs of Perehinsko, whose entire lives were dedicated to G-d.
For example, there was the rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Babad of holy blessed memory, who served as the rabbi of Perehinsko until the destruction came. He was a modest and quiet Jew, happy with his lot, G-d fearing, and content. Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Babad was a great Torah scholar, and was also blessed with sublime character traits. He dedicated himself to the properness and purity of the town. He did not concern himself at all with himself and his family. He was an exemplary spiritual leader.
Who does not remember the prominent family of Reb Yitzchak Juner of holy blessed memory. This family included his son Reb Yeshayahu, his son-in-law Rabbi Tzvi Ettinger of holy blessed memory, his son-in-law Reb Yehuda Tzvi Rotenberg, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This family had Torah and greatness in one package. They were upright merchants, and first class observers of Torah. They were fitting prayer leaders, and charitable people.
Caring for guests and tending to poor brides were their lot.
Whoever came in hungry to the home of Reb Yitzchak Juner of holy blessed memory left satiated. Whoever came in downtrodden left happy. One could find a solution to every problem with his advice.
In his old age, when Reb Yitzchak Juner built a house, he also built a private synagogue. At the time of the dedication of the Torah scroll his synagogue, it was said that: whoever did not participate in this joyous event had never witnessed joy in his life. 2
Torah and Greatness in One Place 3
My father Reb Shalom the son of Reb Shimshon Rosenbaum of holy blessed memory was a scholar and an observer of the commandments who lived all of his days in holiness and purity. He would get up in the middle of the night for the Tikkun Chatzot service 4. My mother Freida Rachel the daughter of Reb Shmuel Lustig was a paragon of courtesy and uprightness. She was a woman of valor who concerned herself at all times and in all conditions to the giving of a good education to her children. Her whole desire was to inculcate faith and belief in G-d in her children. She taught us to not despair during the worst moments, to go with full faith to meet all life events, and to accept everything with love.
To the end of my days, I will never forget the final moment when I separated from my mother and the entire family. This was on the first intermediate day of Sukkot in the year 5700 / 1940. I left the home and the town in which I was born and grew up. I was taken to serve in the Red Army at the Japanese border.
The parting was very difficult. The weeping of my father, my brothers and sisters and all around was heartbreaking. I was the first young Jew to leave the town. Only my intelligent mother parted from me with a kiss and a blessing of peace, without shedding a tear, in order not to cause me agony. In the merit of the faith that she instilled in me, I was able to traverse all of the setbacks that came my way from the day I left my home until today. I was the only survivor of the large and illustrious family of Reb Shalom and Freida Rachel Rosenbaum, who ascended on High along with their sons, daughters and grandchildren during the time of the Holocaust.
May their memory be blessed forever.
Every Jew of Perehinsko was a world unto himself, and I am not able to put all of their merits onto paper, for they are many.
It was possible to find a place to sleep in every home, and even more so, some food and drink.
There was a special house for guests next to the kloiz. There was a Talmud Torah. The most senior of the teachers was Reb Feivel Friedman. We studied with him, beginning from the aleph beit. I remember the happiest Sabbath in my life when I was five years old, and I began to study Chumash. On the Sabbath, they arranged a lovely celebration, and the teacher came to examine me, with the wondrous set of questions: What are you learning, my child? 6. The entire family was happy that I knew how to answer well all of the questions of Reb Feivel Friedman. Then, I went to learn with Reb Yosef Zisser, and later, at the age of nine, with Reb Moshe Walder of Tarnopol. We studied Rashi's commentary and Talmud with him.
In Perehinsko, there was also a government school in the center of the city, where we studied from noon. In the afternoon until the evening hours we learned again in cheder. The school day was very full. In the winter, we would return from cheder with a lantern a product of Perehinsko, made of cardboard. Inside the lantern was a potato with a hole, and in it, there was a candle to light the way.
There was a wonderful institution in Perehinsko. It was called The House of Jewish Culture, where all of the Zionist factions were housed. On occasion, we would organize performances there, whose proceeds were dedicated to the assistance of the needy. Speakers from various factions would often come to Perehinsko. They would say their words in the house of culture. Aside from this, the culture house served as a center for evenings of entertainment.
Almost no movement was perceived in the town until the afternoon hours. Trade was forbidden. Only in the afternoon did people make discreet 7 purchases despite the watchful eyes of the police.
Monday was the market day. The town was bustling with life from the early hours of the morning. The stores were wide open, and wagons with all types of merchandise streamed in from the area. Buyers and sellers bargained and debated the quality of the merchandise and the price. People went from one stall to the next. Despite the hustle and bustle, no man of Perehinsko forgot to go the synagogue morning and evening.
Tuesday was a relatively quiet day. It was peaceful after the tumult of the previous day. It was an ordinary and routine day.
Wednesday was a day of preparation for the market day that was to take place the next day. It was the day that the poor came from afar in order to seek out donations, or to remain in Perehinsko for the Sabbath.
Thursday was very similar in its essence to Monday, since it was a market day. It was even noisier due to the advent of the Sabbath.
Here, the housewife played an honorable role, for she was toiling and working to prepare the traditional Sabbath delicacies.
Friday: the movement was restricted to local purchases, and the interior of the house. The housewife attempted to speedily complete her daily work and her preparations for the Sabbath. The house was cleaned, and the aroma of fish, hot dishes and baked goods intermingled with each other and filled the air. The children were already wearing their festive clothing. When the sun went down and the candles were lit, the men and children went to the synagogue to welcome the Sabbath with the Lecha Dodi prayer. At the conclusion of the service, everyone would return to his home and family to recite the Kiddush over wine and to sing the hymns at the meal with an exalted spirit of a sublime soul that rises above the difficulties of the day. The Sabbath hymns that were heard from every home merged together into one ancient chorus. An atmosphere of rest descended upon the town, the atmosphere of the Sabbath Queen. This is the Perehinsko of the days of the week, the Perehinsko that was known to everyone, with its simplicity and its upright people who walked with pleasantness.
Many days have passed since then, however the taste of that existence will never melt away. It is alive and existing in the hearts of all of those who remember it, and thus shall it remain forever.
Certainly, much more than what can be read in this book should have been written about the lives of the giants of spirit and deed. However, who am I to be able to actualize the debt to the martyrs of Perehinsko?!
May their merit stand for us and all of Israel. Amen
| From right: Reb Yeshaya Juner
and his father Reb Yitzchak,
with the Admor of Bolekhov and his gabbai (assistant)
On the last day of Passover of 1931 a large fire broke out in the synagogue. Father was concerned about the place. He entered the burning synagogue to salvage a number of Torah scrolls. Father was involved in the communal life of the town. Father was always honored with the reading of the Megillat Esther (Scroll of Esther) in the synagogue on Purim, and the blowing of the shofar on the High Holy Days. Father also played an active role on Simchat Torah.
My mother Freida of blessed memory was also well liked in town. She was a righteous woman. Even though she had eight children and was an exemplary housewife, she made a point of helping the needy and the sick.
My eldest brother Yehoshua was a member of the intelligentsia and an enthusiastic Zionist. He was a member of the Zionist organization of the town. He headed the Zionist organization along with Bendet Spiegel, Moshe Spiegel and Mordechai Hausman.
The rest of my brothers, of blessed memory, Shlomo, David, Gadi, Tzvi, and the youngest Yitzchakle, as well as my sister Feiga, were each involved with their own activities.
I took leave of them in 1941, three months prior to the outbreak of the Second World War between Russia and Germany. I served in the Red Army. I never saw them again after that.
|Uncaptioned. A group photo of the family of Yehuda Langnauer|
We will remember our communities: Rozniatow, Perehinsko, Broszniow, and Swaryczow that were destroyed and wiped out; their children who were murdered; who were brought to slaughter in the wagons of death; whose honor was violated and whose blood was spilled by impure hands in sanctification of the Divine Name.
We will remember the children, pure ones the son of pure ones, who were stolen from the bosom of their parents, who were broken and murdered by strange deaths; children and infants who were shattered on stone walls and cut off from life with the hatred of cruel hands in sanctification of the Divine name.
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