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[Page 48]

Pictures of the town

by … Baranek, (New York)

Translated by Hershl Hartman (Los Angeles, Ca)

Reviewed by Frida Grapa Markuschamer de Cielak (Mexico City)

Translation donated by the Historian Enrique Krauze (Mexico City)

Hillel Zeitlin Won't Come to Wyishkov (Wyszków)

Before Poland gained its independence, a few middle-class boys and girls looked toward Warsaw and decided to schedule a Literary Evening with the famous writer and thinker, Hillel Zeitlin[1]. They actually wrote to him about it.

When the Wyishkover Rabbi, a clever Jew but of the old school, learned that the young people were planning a gathering with a Warsaw writer, he became truly frightened: 'We Jews are in exile, after all. “Fonye” (the police) might think that we're organizing against the regime. Don't we Jews have enough troubles already?!'

So he called in the most distinguished men of the shtetl. At a meeting in his house they considered how they might prevent the young people from becoming involved with gatherings and Literary Evenings, which might, heaven forbid, bring disaster to the community. It was decided that the following shabes (Sabbath), an announcement would be made in all the synagogues warning parents to keep their youngsters from engaging in such matters…

When the initiators of the Literary Evening learned that there were attempts being made to disrupt their plans, they became even more determined. “Look here,” they argued, “we're not living in the old days anymore. Why can't they see and hear their beloved writer?!”

A major debate broke out in the shtetl. The parents strove to convince their children, using both kind and stern measures, that they were heading down bad roads. But the youth persisted. They applied to the authorities for a permit for the event. It so happened that at that time a troop of Don Cossacks was quartered in the shtetl. So an agreement was made with one of their officers, by greasing his palm, to send some Cossacks to maintain order at the evening, because they expected the pious Jews to certainly attempt a disruption.

The Rabbi, for his part, was not idle. Learning that Cossacks would be at the hall and it would be impossible to break up the planned evening, he telegraphed Hillel Zeitlin in Warsaw and asked, on behalf of domestic tranquility in Wyishkov, and to avert additional woes for the House of Israel, that he not come for the evening but remain in Warsaw.

Hillel Zeitlin, upon receiving the telegram, understood that it would be better not to go. He immediately notified the Wyishkov youths that he was canceling his visit; perhaps he might come some other time.

The youth replied by telegraph that there was nothing to fear because Cossacks would escort him.

And the shtetl threw all its energy into preparing for the Literary Evening. Everyone gathered at the hall, patiently awaiting the arrival of the speaker. Regretably, Hillel Zeitlin did not arrive. Their waiting was in vain.

Hillel Zeitlin actually did come to Wyishkov - but about ten years later…

 

If Dowries Will Be Abolished He Supports The Party Platform….

When, after the First World War, the news became known that Polish citizens had the right to vote, great joy and gladness broke out in the shtetl. Everyone was overjoyed. No small thing! From now on they could elect their own people to the town administration!

Every party called meetings and nominated its candidates.

Things grew lively and tumultuous in Wyishkov. But one party seemed to be having difficulty with the matter of elections.

The pious nominated as a candidate their Rabbi – a clever Jew and a good preacher. The Zionists nominated one of their leaders – a man with a silver tongue, an impassioned speaker. The Bundists[2] had a bit of a problem. They were unable to find an appropriate candidate. Almost all their members were still too young to run for office and those who could run were self-employed. And running a candidate who owned a tailoring, shoemaking or carpentry shop – that was something the workers could not abide. “What sense would it be for our candidate to be a…bloodsucker!!”

After several meetings it was decided that their candidate would be the feldsher[3] He is a kosher representative of the workers: he cares for everyone; many of the poor even receive his care gratis. Besides, he is a person of knowledge. He even reads Polish newspapers. It was decided to have a talk with him.

When the committee, consisting of several apprentices, came to the feldsher, he just happened to be sitting in front of his house reading a Polish newspaper from Warsaw to which he subscribed. The apprentices told him that they were sent from the Bundist party and wanted him to agree to be their candidate in the city council election.

The feldsher listened to them calmly and then questioned them as to what the Bund was fighting for, what its program was. The young people began to explain that the Bund combats the evil rulers, the bosses – the bloodsuckers. The Bund wants equality for everyone. That the world be just and equitable, that money be abolished.

Hearing that idea, the feldsher asks: …

[Page 49]

“If money is abolished, how will one buy what one needs?”

The young people reply that it's a simple matter. Everyone will work and whatever anyone needs will be free. For example: If someone needs a pair of shoes, he would go to a cobbler and order them. And when the cobbler needs bread, he would go to the baker and take as much bread as he needs. In that way, everyone would obtain all that was necessary.

“Well, and when I need to marry off my daughters, how will I obtain their dowries if there's no money?” the feldsher asks.

“Girls won't need dowries then, they'll marry without a dowry,” the young people explained.

“In that case, if there will be no need for dowries,” says the feldsher, “you may add me to your list of candidates. I like your party very much.”

 

He Earned Himself a Velvet Hat

In Wyishkov there was a khevre-tilim (a self-led psalms congregation). They had their own little synagogue with a gabeh (trustee), distinguished Jews and common folk. It was conducted as were all other self-led congregations.

Avrom-Borukh, the cobbler – the shoemaker, one of the congregants, wanted very much to have a velvet hat. Avrom-Borukh had a good singing voice and often sang the prayers in front of the ark. But earning a velvet hat was difficult for him, because he could go no further than singing the opening prayers at the ark on shabes. He could show his abilities only on rosh-khoydesh (first of the month) and during kholemoyd (intermediate days of peysakh – Passover – and sukes/sukot – Feast of Booths – festivals). Then he would deliver a halell (song of praise) that would thrill the soul. But he was not allowed to conduct shabes or holiday services.

One shabes Avrom-Borukh steeled his resolve and determined to lead the full shakhres (morning service). What did he do? As soon as he had finished singing “in front” – the opening prayer – he proceeded in an exalted nigun (melody), rendering the next prayer, shokhen ad (“He who lives forever”). But at that very same moment he was shoved aside by a “distinguished householder” who had the privilege of praying at the ark on shabes and who proceeded to lead the prayers.

The common folk were shocked at the daring impertinence of the “distinguished Jew.” When the Torah reading began a tumult broke out. The common folk protested by preventing the reading. Immediately, two camps developed. Arguments between them arose. Later, a din toyre (judicial hearing) was held.

As a result of all this, the common folk decided to take over the running of the little synagogue. At simkhes-toyre (the Rejoicing of the Law, – ninth day of sukis/sukot), Avrom-Borukh was chosen to be gabeh of the congregation.

And that was how Avrom-Borukh was elevated. And on shabes breyshis (Genesis Sabbath – when Torah reading begins over again), Avrom-Borukh came into the synagogue in a velvet hat with a broad crown – and, before the ark, conducted the entire morning service.

 

But He Is a Cobbler After All!

A group of Wyishkov cobblers-shoemakers, conducted a khevre known with the name of mesiles yoyshrim (The Way of the Just). They had a little synagogue with their own gabeh and their own shames (beadle – Rabbi helper). They conducted their affairs as did the other self-led congregations in town. They held celebrations, they were involved in politics, and there were disagreements, later ironed out – as among all decent folk.

Once one of the cobblers commissioned the writing of a seyfer-toyre (Torah Scroll), just as was done among wealthier folk. At the siyum ha'seyfer (ceremonial completion of the handwritten copy), when the Torah was finished and it was to be brought into the little synagogue, a great dedication celebration was arranged.

The cobblers did not work on that day. They themselves, along with their wives and children, dressed up in their Sabbath clothes. The seyfer-toyre was carried through the marketplace with great ceremony. It was led by the town band. The klezmer played and cymballed and the cobblers formed a ring around them. They sang psalms and hymns of praise. The cobblers danced with such verve and strength that the houses in the shtetl trembled. Why spare themselves? Need they worry that the soles of their shoes might fall off? No fear – they could later cobble on new ones.

And as they were dancing and celebrating, the circle was entered by the town's gentile cobbler, who grabbed the hands of the other cobblers and joined in the dance…

At first the cobblers were confused: a gentile at a holy Jewish celebration?! The Gentile perceived the confusion and let out a cry:

“It's true, people, that I'm not a Jew – but I am a cobbler, after all!”

 

wys049.jpg
Beynish the porter takes a nap in the street.

 


Translator's Footnotes

  1. Hillel Zeitlin, (1871-1942) See footnote No. 8 in previous chapter. Return
  2. The Bundists, the Jewish Socialist labor party, “General Jewish Workers' Alliance (Bund)” Return
  3. feldsher(- A barely-trained barber-surgeon, usually the only medical practitioner in rural areas of the Russian empire. Return


[Page 50]

Romantically, Socially, Idealistically

by by Yekhiel Bzhoza (Los Angeles)

Translated by Ruth Fisher Goodman (Wilmington, DE)

Reviewed by Frida Grapa Markuschamer de Cielak (Mexico City)

Translation donated by the Historian Enrique Krauze (Mexico City)

I don't know exactly how many Jews lived in Wishkov (Wyszków). Certain countrymen estimate the population to be ten thousand. Another old resident told me that 1500 Jewish families lived there. I only know that there was a large and a small synagogue, a Zionist small shul (synagogue), a large Gerer ‘shtibl’[1][2], and five or six other Hasidic[3] small ‘study houses’. The small ‘Bi-leh’, as it was called, had its own ‘shul’ aside from other small shuls and minyanim (groups of ten men) scattered throughout the village.

The shtetl lay at the water's edge of our River Bug (pronounced ‘boog’) and twenty viarst[4] beyond unites with the Narev River, and together they flowed into the Vistula. In the summer months, they (the Jews) used to send a lot of lumber to Germany and many Jewish families made a fine living from this occupation. The lumber-trade was a big issue for us. The Dan's, the Yakubovicz's, the family Shkarlat and Sokol – with their sawmills, the countless ‘subsidiaries’ – Vistinetski with the Shrik'es, “der Shvartzer” (“Black”) Yitzkhok and his sons and horses and others, that dragged the blocks of wood from the sawmills to the water; the Jewish fisher-men who helped put together rafts and then take them out to the middle of the river.

My father's two-story inn, stood on the hill near the edge of the water, and was the very first house near the wooden bridge. From my childhood on,

 

wys050.jpg
Hillel Zeitlin visits Wyszków:

First row -- from right to left (standing): Epsteyn Alter; Epsteyn Tsinamon/Cynamon Dovid; Novominski; Holtsman/Holtzman Moyshe; Neiman/Naiman/Najman/ Itche; Epsteyn Henekh; Segal Yekhiel; Likhtenshteyn; Hana Malke; Orenstein/Orensztejn Szmuel-Eli; Epsteyn Moyshe;
Second row: Funt; Levin Sore; Rinek Yankev; Shkarlat Rafoyl; Orenstein/Orensztejn Perl; Fayntsayg/Feinzaig Pinkhes; Tik; Pitsenik (Teacher); Tchishever Velvl;
Third row: Kirzhner; Shkarlat Pesyie; Kohn Blume; Shkarlat Blume; Shkarlat Rifke; Gilbert Shloyme; Zeitlin Hillel; Yungshteyn (Goldman); Ayzenshtat Feige; Grosbard Miriam; Orenstein/Orensztejn Pesie; Ba'harab/Barab Itche;
Last (lower) row:* Bzoza Alte; Novominski Chaye; Shkarlat Brayne; Mondry Hershl; (The rest of the names - unknown)

 

[Page 51]

I was interested in following everything that happened at the river and around it.

On the other side of the bridge, a stretch of the Radzyminer highway (road to Radzymin) started on the right, and on the left – the Lochower highway (Road to Łochów). But the important thing was: that the forest began at that point. Young and old loved that forest, but mostly, the youngsters because there they met girls and went strolling with them. They would sing Hebrew and Yiddish songs with gusto; they would discuss Jewish issues and world problems late into the night.

After the outbreak of World War I, and the influx of homeless from Pinsk and Brysk we were greatly moved by our social duty. Among the refugees, were a number of intelligent people: Hebrew teachers and gifted social workers and with their help we immediately organized a broad literary cultural activity which included concerts, debates, discussions and adult evening courses.

We already had from before, two libraries. The librarian in the “larger” library was Pearl Kuper. I was the librarian two evenings a week. Bella Teff worked in the smaller library.

After the war and with the start of the State of Poland, our youth became more knowledgeable and as a result of this they divided themselves parties and subdivisions (smaller parties).

At that time, we attempted to found a professional general union. Isaac (Itzkhok) Marcuskamer and I were active in this venture. We also organized a cooperative that was very successful the first few years. The dramatic endeavor was also split in two: a general and the workers' dramatic section. I was by then very strongly involved in theater and, therefore, worked with both groups. From time to time I would produce plays for both ensembles. In the general dramatic circle, Malka Shkarlat (Marcus/Marcuskhamer), was “a force.” Her brother was truly talented. Abraham Marcuschamer/Markuskhamer was the most dedicated member in the workers' dramatic section and the rehearsals were generally held in his home.

What I wanted to bring out is that: from as far back as our young years, we were romantics, socially (conscious) and idealistic…


Footnotes

  1. shtibl (pl. shtiblekh) a religious study-house where the scholars were deeply immersed in the study of the gemore (part of the Talmud) and to studying Torah. Return
  2. Gerer shtibl or shtiblekh, refers to the religious study-house whose scholars followed the learnings of the Hasidic Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Alter (1798-1866) of Ger (the Yiddish name of Góra Kalwaria, a small town in Poland), probably the largest and most influential Hasidic group not only in Wyszków, but in Poland. Return
  3. Hasidic Judaism or Hasidism (the word translates to “piety” or “loving-kindness”): it is a branch of Ortodox Judaism that promotes spirituality through the popularization and internalization of the Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspect of the faith. It was founded in 18th-century Eastern Europe by Rabbi Israel Baal-Shem-Tov as a reaction against overly legalistic and rigid Judaism. Return
  4. viarst or viars = a measurement of approximately 13 miles. Return

 

* Note: According to Mitchell Mondry, from Birmingham, MI (US) the woman on the far right is Adele Mondry, and the man on the far left is Hershl Mondry; these are Mitchell's grandparents Return


A Bundle of Memories from Days Past

by Chaim Levin, Givat Hashlosha [kibbutz near Petach Tikva, Israel]

Translated by Alan Hirshfeld


So many events and years have passed since I was in Wyszków, that it it is hard for me to remember dates and details. I only remember that our lives there were full of rich content and movement. I lived in Wyszków during the best years of a person's life – their youth. Until I was 24, I hardly left the city from the day of my birth. I will attempt to put something on paper from those years.

During the first world war a group of friends (Klosky, Mittelsbach, Mendel Rosenberg, Yakov Shtellung and others) set up a branch of “Yugent” [youth] in the city. This was an organization of Zionist-socialist youth (of the Poale Tzion party). We devoted much effort to this organization; educational activities, and many-branched cultural work, classes, lectures, parties, and a library. The work was semi-legal; we were always suspect by the government. Nevertheless we also started to organize the youths who were working at the shopkeepers – tailors, shoemakers and carpenters – learning a trade.

The custom then was that these apprentices would work three years without pay and they were also exploited by the shopkeepers to work in their private homes. It was very difficult work for us. Even the parents of the youths objected to our efforts for fear that the youths would be fired. The meetings with the youth would always take place out of doors, in remote corners of the city, in order to hide from the shopkeepers and the police. Nevertheless we often succeeded in improving the lot of one youth or another.

These youths later became members of the youth organization and the parties. For all these projects we volunteered willingly, with the aim of helping these working youths. More than once we contributed our own funds for the expenses. At the same time there existed in the city a youth group of the “Bund” – “Zukunft” [future]. We always had debates with them, for they were opposed to Zionism. But the main debates were in public, following the speeches of lecturers that each party would invite from Warsaw. But besides that we were very active and there were endless meetings in connection with every important incident in Judaism or in the world.

In the city there was a large library in Yiddish and to a lesser extent, in Hebrew. We were proud of this library. We all derived knowledge from it. There were many scientific books there. And when parties arose, each tried to influence the library according to its outlook, and to introduce changes consistent with its spirit. This led to arguments, and whoever had more readers at the library pulled it toward his view. Assemblies of readers more than once pulled in the other direction, towards a different party. Finally a group of us friends arose with the goal of maintaining a proper library, as a general cultural asset, and we worked out a special set of bylaws for the assembly of readers. In it there was a paragraph that all the parties would have equal representation, and that it was forbidden to transfer the library to any one party. The assembly approved the bylaws and from then on the library proceeded to grow. No community board or institution supported this library. There were token charges for use of the books and we covered the expenses by arranging parties, performances, etc. and particularly by voluntary donations. At the end of the first world war it was partly destroyed through removals and confiscations by the Polish government, in whose eyes everything was 'tref' and forbidden.

In those years there was also a clubhouse on Shkolna Street that we called the “Verein” (a special interest group). Actually it was a place for various cultural activities in Yiddish by individuals, members of socialist parties, who could do cooperative work quietly without political debates. In particular, I remember my good friend, Beinush Ostrovyak. I was a Zionist and he a leftist, a communist. Nevertheless together we did almost all of this intensive work. We established a chapter of “Tzisha” (Central Yiddish School-organization). We had strong ties with the central [office] in Warsaw. We organized a school, both in the day and the evening, for poor children.

We acquired books and writing materials and hired teachers. This school existed for several years and the funds for it we got from monthly membership dues and from modest admission fees to lectures. All of the administrative work was by volunteers and the students paid nothing. It must be remembered that the hostile government, particularly the Polish, did not give us rest. Every lecturer that we brought to the city was suspect in their eyes. We had to use subterfuge and all kinds of covers so that they would not interfere.

Once, during a lecture in the “Verein”, at 10 o'clock at night, the police surrounded the building and started an intensive search. This was a result of some informer. However, they found nothing suspicious except for one socialist book and some papers, among them a draft of bylaws of a “Hechalutz” chapter that I had. Before the search I had hidden the notebook, but after we had left the hall they overturned everything and found it. The next day, with the intervention of some respected individuals, the police returned the bylaws for they already had suspected that there was an illegal organization. The bylaws were in Hebrew and when it was translated for them they left us alone. However, they held us all night until almost dawn; but that did not prevent us from continuing our work in the succeeding days. The town was like a cauldron over this affair, and for several weeks we were forced to move the school to a different building.

Because of such events we were also forced to arrange our First-of-May meetings in the forest…with a circle of guards surrounding them. Of course only the members of the socialist parties participated. Almost all the parties existed and held activities under some sort of cover. Only the General Zionists, “Aguda” carried on legally and had an open clubhouse. And since the adults among them were not active, we, the Hechalutz youth, used their clubhouse frequently. We even moved the large library there, because that was the most secure location.

I recall a meeting in the home of Eli-Meir Goldman on the “Warsaw Road” (Kosciucsko Street), while the Red army was in the city, at the end of WWI. The meeting was called at the initiative of the Communists, with the participation of an army officer who chaired the meeting. They ordered, in the name of the government, that all the socialist parties disband. The “Bund” then announced that it was disbanding because “socialism has come” and the Jewish question would be solved. We, Poale Tzion, felt and knew that this was not true. We announced, after some discussion, that we were connected to the center in Warsaw and that when the Red army would shortly enter Warsaw an answer would be forthcoming for the country as a whole, since we were only a branch chapter. Our answer was received with disbelief, but the meeting broke up. The army was in our vicinity for a week and when it retreated many communists retreated with it. The next day we heard that the Polish army that entered the city shot and killed two Poles and a Jew of the communists who were caught, without any trial.

The Poale Tzion party of course continued to operate, but the “Bund” for a long time could not raise its head, because they had disbanded. After that our Zionist activity intensified. We collected money for the JNF [Jewish National Fund] and for the KPAI (fund for the workers of Palestine) of that time. We expanded “Hechalutz”, etc. When the oppression and the persecution of the Jewish minority in Poland began, emigration to Palestine began from Wyszków, too, naturally from the younger generation.

I remember, however, the emigration of one adult Jew before this. And this was the event: A Jew by the name of Rosenzweig, a simple shoemaker, came to my father in 1920, as I recall, and since he knew him to be an active Zionist, asked that he help him go to Palestine. My father was very surprised and asked the Jew how he would make out in Palestine with his large family? And there were [violent] incidents then in Palestine and only young people, if any, went there, not adults. But the Jew announced that he was travelling to Jerusalem and was taking a pistol. He would bake a loaf of bread and put the gun inside the loaf. My father, when he saw the enthusiasm of Rosenzweig, helped him and recommended him to the “Mizrachi” institutions. The Jew went and later brought his family. And to this day part of the family lives in Jerusalem. This was a unique event in those years. Most of the Jews were either apathetic toward Zionism or opposed it because of their religious orthodoxy. My father had many arguments with these Jews, the Chasidim and the rabbi. He frequently spoke in the “beis medrash” [study] on Zionist topics on behalf of “Mizrachi”. The chasidim and the rabbi called him an “apikoros” [non-believer] because of his Zionism. And when my father z”l died, the rabbi and the chevra kadisha objected to erecting the gravestone on his grave because there was a star of David on it.

There was a great conflict in the city between the Zionists and the “misnagdim”. This was in 1926. But even before this, in 1924, the first of the “Hechalutz” members from Wyszków left for Palestine and this was a great joy for us. The dancing at the train station went on for a long time. And in 1925 I too went.


[Page 52]

Memories of the old town

by Moyshe Stolik (Tel-Aviv)

Translated by Khane Feigl Turtletaub (Evanston, IL)

Reviewed by Frida Grapa Markuschamer de Cielak (Mexico City)

Translation donated by the Historian Enrique Krauze (Mexico City)

In my mind I see Wishkov(Wyszków)[1] as a small town of great Jewish poverty and happy holidays. On the streets – people are running and hurrying; each person is concerned with his own business, his own worries, problems and hopes.

The years of my childhood in that town, from 1929 to 1939, have been etched especially in my memory. I spent time there with my parents, sisters and brother, uncles and aunts, male and female cousins, comrades and friends. Jews have been here for many, many generations. Most of them – were merchants, businessmen and artisans.

The town also had its social leaders and activists. I am reminded of that inflexible and energetic leader for Jewish rights, the Councilman at City Hall, Khaim-Nosn Vengrov (who died some time ago in Israel), also Doctor Lajcher and the three dentists: Kerner, Leshtshinski/Lesinski, Gutshtat. (There was also) the feldsher[2] (Malowanczyk/ Malovantchik) of whom evil tongues said that

[Page 53]

he did not always write down the correct prescription. And there were the various merchants: And there were the various merchants: Berish Wilenski/Vilenski, Yoyne/Yone Taub, Czerwonagura/Cherwonagura, Pshetitski, Borukh Krishtal (Kristal/ Krysztal) and others. The artisans were involved in practically every traditional Jewish trade: tailors, shoemakers, bakers, barbers, wagon-drivers, water carriers, woodchoppers, dorozhkazhes[3] and shipping agents. In my mind hover the names Khaim Markhevka, one of the tailors from Warsaw – Shukrin, Shedletski/Siedlecki, Zuzel, the road hewer Ostrowiak, Dovid Lichtman/Likhtman and his sons who traveled to Warsaw twice a week to bring back merchandise. And the (lathe) turner Psheshtshelyenyietz/Przestrzeleniec and his family who also sold… milk.

And who could forget the fabric merchants, who were at the marketplace every Tuesday and Friday and spent the other days of the week – traveling around fairs. The bakers of the shtetl were renowned: Butche Stolik, Pshemyierover, Eli-Meyer Goldman, Lis the lady baker, the widow, who baked black bread with leaves. They called her “Moyshelikhe”[4]. Also in Rynek (market) there was a lady baker, a widow, who baked flat breads of barley and bagels.

On the Sabbath it was joy to see our women and girls carrying home the tcholenter[5]. (To this very day, I still have the taste of a Wishkever tchunt in my mouth…). We also remember

Rabbi Morgnshtern(Morgnsztern), who lived in Rynek and was the moreh-hoyreh (final judge) of rabbinic law from Ostrow Street. My father, Tzvi-Yosef Stulik[6] z'l (may he rest in peace) studied a page of gemore (Talmud) each evening.

And now, the Jewish community led by the Gerer Khosid, President Epsztein; the judges, the ritual slaughterers, the shamoshim[7], the khazanim (cantors), with the head cantor of the large synagogue Malkhiel (the) Shoykhet (ritual slaughterer) and his famous choir. The various businessmen who lead the organization to help the poor (hakhnosas-orkhim), the organization to help marry off indigent brides (hakhnosas-kaleh), the interest-free loan society (gmilas-khesedim), the burial society (khesed shel emet), and many, many more, who worked with greater devotion.

In the other synagogues and shtiblekh[8] the prayer leaders were: Yankl (the) Shoykhet and Itche-Meyer (the) Shoykhet; Khaim-Henakh Shtelung/Sztelung (leader of the prayers at the Gerer shtibl[9]) and cantors of the Otwotzker, Kotsker and Radzyminer khasidim[10]. Besides the minyanim (a minyan, sing., a group of 10 people required for prayers) there was no lack of gabaim[11], beadles, caretakers and… arguments. I am reminded of two teachers who taught me: one from Lodz and Parniarz[12]. The latter lived at the house of the blind Feyge, who sold yeast. This teacher would beat his students with a rope, which had been soaked in water…

The young people in town were, for the most part, from the workers' element and after work took an active part in the social life in town. They were active in the Bund,[13] Communists, Agudas Yisroel[14]. Most of them belonged to the various Zionist groups – general Zionist, the leftist Workers' Zionists (Poalei-tzion), Young Guardians (Ha'shomer Ha'tzair), Young Pioneers (Ha'khalutz Ha'tzair), Mizrakhi, League for Working Land of Israel. They also took part in sports: [the organizations were] H'aPoel and Maccabi (Makabi). In the year 1934, a preparatory kibbutz[15]was founded. It was part of Gush Gerukhov. The pride of the Zionist Movement in town was – the large library.

Zionist life in town was formed by well-known activists: Kaluski, Leybish Pshtitski(Przetycki), Yitzkok-Itche Ba'harab/Barab, Mayer Shtchigel, Ruben Levin, Moyshe Stulik(Stolik), Leyeh Hiller, Leyeh Nudel, Binyomin-Khaim Bruk, Kwiatek, Alte Tchekhanovietska/Tszekhanovietska, Yoysef Leviner and many, many others.

In the year 1935, the Jewish Communists opposed the preparatory kibbutz in Wyszków. They broke their windows and assaulted and beat the members of this group. The writer of these lines even received a threatening letter, because he dared to defend the members of the kibbutz. For a certain period of time, he (Moyshe Stolik) had to leave the city.

These are my memories of Wyszków.


Footnotes

  1. The correct Polish spelling is Wyszków, not Wishkov or Vishkov. Return
  2. Feldsher = fake, an un-official Doctor-Surgeon who also was an old-time Barber. Return
  3. dorozhkazhes = Slavic word that translates to road-hewers. Return
  4. Moyshelikhe= from Moyshe= (Perhaps her father or her husband's name was Moyshe). Return
  5. Tschont or tchunt or cholent =Traditional Sabbath stew, a baked dish of meat, potatoes, white beans and legumes; a slow cooking dish, a tcholenter, is the pot for slow cooking. Cholent was kept warm by cooking it the day before Sabbath. Return
  6. The name Stolik is spelled here differently (with a u, Stulik) but as the author of this article is writing about his father, this might have been a printing mistake. Return
  7. shames (pl., shamosim) = assistant to the rabbi in a synagouge; beadle. Return
  8. shtibl (pl., shtiblakh) a religious study-house where the scholars were deeply immersed in the study and discussions of the gemore (part of the Talmud) and the studying of the Torah. Return
  9. Gerer shtibl= a religious study-house with followers, students from what was probably the largest and most influential Hasidic group in Poland, founder of this group was Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Alter (1798-1866) of Ger, the Yiddish name of Góra Kalwaria, a small town in Poland. Return
  10. Hasidic Judaism or Hasidism (the word translates to “piety” or “loving-kindness”): it is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality through the popularization and internalization of the Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspect of the faith. It was founded in the 18th century, in Eastern Europe by Rabbi Israel Baal-Shem-Tov as a reaction against overly legalistic and rigid Judaism. Return
  11. Gabe (gabaim, pl.,) = Trustee or warden of a public institution, especially a synagogue; manager of the affairs of a Hasidic Rabbi. Return
  12. Parniarz – It is not clear to what the writer refers, i.e., a person's name, occupation or a town. Return
  13. Bund – A Socialist Jewish labor party organization, “General Jewish Workers' Alliance.” Return
  14. Agudas Yisroel – is a Haredi Jewish communal organization in the United States loosely affiliated with the international world Agudath Israel. Both those organizations are affiliated with the Hasidic and the non-Hasidic Mitnagdim/Lithuanian Jewish groups. Return
  15. ‘kibbutz’ and ‘preparatory kibbutz’ = Kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. 'Preparatory kibbutz' refers to preparing young people for emigrating to Israel. Return


A Wishkever Melody

by A. Pat[1] (New York)

Translated by Khane Feigl Turtletaub (Evanston, IL)

Reviewed by Frida Grapa Markuschamer de Cielak (Mexico City)

Translation donated by the Historian Enrique Krauze (Mexico City)

Before the Nazi holocaust descended on the Jews of Poland, Wishkov(Wyszków)[2] occupied quite a prominent place among the well-known settlements. The very name of Wyszków is accompanied by a melody of love and longing for Jewish cultural revival. This deeply rooted love centers around the marketplace, which embodies in it a tradition of struggle to maintain an individual personality for the survival of the nation. In both the old and the new synagogues, Jews made every possible effort to see that the eternal light should never go out.

Wyszków did not arise from the new cultural spirit of the times. The reading circle, several theatrical performances and important lectures connected the generation of young people with the Jews of Israel. Several local and also invited Jewish actors, writers and wordsmiths performed in the Fireman's Hall. In talking about passing one's time pleasurably, one cannot omit from memory the bridge over the Bug River and the gorgeous forest – that listened to the young people's happiness and painful experiences with its eternally secretive rustling of leaves in the summer and the mysterious whistling of the wind in the winter-time.

At the beginning of the 20s, Wyszków had already begun to broaden its horizon with a completely new tune. The awakening young people were proud of their own Maccabi Orchestra, their Dramatic Club and the Jewish book (club). A younger generation to be proud grew up, that with the well known Hasidic[3] fervor, longed for knowledge and felt the necessity of jettisoning backwardness and isolation. There arose new

[Page 54]

groups and (political) parties – a natural continuation of the lovely Hasidic tradition that the youth of Wyszków had inherited from the previous generation. With the enthusiasm and the Holy Sabbath love for the people there out in the street, the song of liberation and national as messianic redemption was heard. With the spirit of poetic rapture in their hearts and with the new stirrings of the time, there arose a new relationship to language and folk people that recognized the cultural importance of these concepts to the aspirations of the younger generation.

At that time, the youth of Wyszków invited the great author and thinker, Hillel Zeitlin[4] to give a talk. Although the extremists in the Hasidic movement exhibited strong opposition to the invitation, his talk turned into a true folk gathering. Jews of every persuasion came: those wearing short jackets and shaved chins and those wearing Hasidic garb and beard and ear locks. The patrician's facial appearance of dignity and his piercing black eyes commanded everyone's attention and words conveyed to the beautiful audience a confidence and belief in his own strength. The great scholar spoke about worldliness in the spirit of the old Jewish tradition. His words seemed to come from a modern Sociologist – but they also showed closeness to Midrash[5] and Mishnayes[6]. From that talk, Wyszków felt the great importance and poetic acuity, which was hidden in the Yiddish language. At that time Hillel Zeitlin personified both: the greatness of a Torah scholar and the simplicity of a folk person.

After that festive gathering, which went on long into the night, the guest missed his train back to Warsaw. No one had thought of cutting things short, because everyone was in such a festive mood. When the guest discovered that he would have to wait until the next morning for a train, he settled down in earnest to respond to the questions posed by the gathered audience. Long after the townsfolk were fast asleep behind closed doors and shuttered windows, a group of young people in town remained with their guest. The group that escorted Hillel Zeitlin looked like a tzadik (pious, saintly man) surrounded by his Hasidim (his devotees) that went outside into the street for some fresh air that wafted a refreshing breeze under the dancing stars on the dark blue curtain of the sky. When they neared the woods, a smart elderly man ran over to the guest and heartily embraced him. This elderly man spoke with enthusiasm of Zeitlin's scholarship and mental acuity. In the meantime, the group made a fire and sat around it on stumps of sawed-off trees. The elderly man sat on a crate, close to the bonfire. His face was illuminated with sweet contemplation in those dark woods. He said that many years ago, during the time of Rabbi Shloymele Ayger, the popular, great Torah scholar of that time, Wyszków had been blessed with a Jew, who, although he was not a Torah scholar, devotedly prayed to G-d in his own way. He was ready to sacrifice himself for the Jewish community every minute of every day. Such kind of Jew was Hershele Wasertreger (water carrier). The root of today's songs and tunes can be found, if one will search – in Hershele's melody: “Uru-na, kumu-na, Hito-reru!” “ (Please wake up, please get up, awaken you all)!” – (This melody) carried with crystal clarity and pleasurable tremolo over the Jewish houses in the hospitable silence of the pre-Sabbath night. That was his psalm, his song to the Creator. It is said that with the edges of his frock-coat tucked into the back of his belt, he would fly past the closed shutters with the ease of a deer and with great love wake up the Jews of Wyszków, so that they could recite tilim (the psalms) and sing religious song of praise to the Creator of the world. For him it was the most beautiful song. It was one way for him to connect with eternity. “Huru-na, kumu-na, (Please wake up, please get up)” he said through the shutters, and people wanted to get up and wash negl waser[7]. Hershele's melody was full of compassion, and the evil inclination to sleep more could not overcome it. The melody asked: “Lemah ragshu goyim? (Why do nations rage?)”[8] and doors opened; Jews had gotten up to recite the psalms. This is how he earned his place in the oylom-habeh (World to Come). He was girded with sanctity, when he heard the footsteps of Jews on the streets that barely touched the ground.

When it was very dark, very late at night, long rays of light shone from the synagogue. Soon it was full of song and the (words) to the chief musician on negines[9] were like heavenly singing was wafting in the early morning air. The psalms mingled with the rustling of the leaves in the woods and only in the brightness of the early morning light did the birds continue the psalm, and it was just as if the whole world were singing the praises of the Creator and the holy Sabbath. Everything blended harmoniously into one wonderful melody.

When the first rays of the rising sun appeared, Hershele was already standing on the bridge over the Bug River. He was glowing as if G-d's presence itself were his garment. It looked as if the river, the heavens and the sun were embracing each other and kissing. He stood there in awe of G-d as if he were standing before the Holy Presence Himself. The morning was full of secret sounds, just as if the river were saying the morning prayers. In the middle of the river a pillar of cloud arose; it was all the colors of the rainbow, made so by the beauty of the sunrise. The colors changed every moment and dissolved into a sunny stream of light. This cloud column was similar to the cloud of fire that appeared to Moses in the desert as described in the Bible. It looked just as if the ancient fire was hovering here over the river. In these fiery pillars of clouds Hershele saw angels of the heavenly host and heard singing. Soon the sweetness was transformed into mightily resounding melodies celebrating the dawn of the Sabbath.

With joy and awe of G-d in his heart, he stood there as one stands during the Days of Awe and with a still, small voice he sang out “Mizmor shir leyom ha'shabbath (Lets sing (praise) the Sabbath day”, in his own odd way. Hershele, by no means

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was an expert in the holy Hebrew tongue, so he began to sing with the excitement of one possessed in simple mameh-loshn[10], and beautiful, spontaneous Yiddish poetry was formed. And as he was giving himself over completely to his song and his little dance, he felt a hand on his back. Hershele trembled, turned around and, to his great fright, saw before him no other but the great Torah sage of Pozen himself, Rabbi Shloymele Ayger. He knew that this great scholar had stopped in Wyszków on his way back from Warsaw. But he became quite disoriented and frightened when he, Hershele, stood face to face with him.

Rabbi Shloymele Ayger understood what Hershele was feeling, so he embraced him and calmed him by speaking to him as if he were his equal, telling him what he had seen in Warsaw, the generosity and the greatness of the rabbis there. Hershele, however, did not listen to the meaning of his words, because all of a sudden he turned to Rabbi Shloymele and asked him with a quavering voice:

– Rabbi, is one allowed to speak to G-d in plain Yiddish?

Rabbi Shloymele smiled for a moment and then answered him seriously:

– The language that comes from the heart is the one G-d understands best. Your language, Hershele, is not plain. And even if it were plain, there is holiness in its simplicity. When someone lifts his eyes, looks with wonder at G-d's handiwork and feels a great sense of connection to creation through the song of the wind, the woods and the field: when a Jew can sing like that and with such love inspire people to pray to G-d, his words not only become sanctified, he himself becomes and intercessor for redemption on this sinful earth and brings the Messiah.

When Hershele heard such words from the great sage himself, his face became strangely illuminated. On that Sabbath morning, one could hear and see how a proponent of the enlightenment, who was also one of the great Torah scholars of his generation taught (the people) in Wyszków the relationship between followers of the enlightenment and hasidus[11]. On that morning, before the morning service, Rabbi Shloymele Ayger spent time with Hershele the water-carrier and discussed Torah in plain Yiddish. It became the language of neshama yiseyre[12] and of national importance.

*

This is how the youth of Wishkov/Wyszków spent time with Hillel Zeitlin until the sun came up, and they heard how Hershel's melody, “Hooru-na, kumu-na, Hitoreru! (Please wake up, please get up. Awaken all of you) became the song of national liberation…


Footnotes

  1. The name, A. Pat, is printed in the original book. However, the correct name of the author is A. (Aron) Pakht, who is the grand-Uncle of the Historian Enrique Krauze. Return
  2. Wishkov or Vishkov, correct spelling in Polish is: Wyszków Return
  3. Hasidic (Hasidism)= A Jewish mystic movement founded in the 18th century, in eastern Europe, by Baal Shem Tov that reacted against Talmudic learning and maintained that God's presence was in all of one's surroundings and that one should serve God in one's every deed and word. Return
  4. Hillel Zeitlin (1871-1942), extremely influential critic, Yiddish and Hebrew writer who edited the Yiddish newspaper Moment, among other literary activities. Return
  5. Midrash = refers to the compilation of homiletic teachings and stories based on the Hebrew Bible, prophets and other writings. Return
  6. Mishnah (sing.) = there are are 63 tractates of the Oral Law, making up the first part of Talmud. The plural term is Mishnayes Yiddish) and Mishnayot (in Hebrew). Return
  7. negl vaser =Water over the nails (hand). The first thing and Orthodox Jew does upon waking in the morning is to pour water over his nails to rinse off the residual evil spirits that have remained from the night. Return
  8. Psalms 2:1. “Lemah ragshu goyim? (Why do nations rage?)” Return
  9. Nengines (in Yiddish, Neginot in Hebrew), it is the Plural of Nign = a melody, a tune, a song. Return
  10. Yiddish is referred to as “mame loshn” which means “mother tongue” Yiddish as it was spoken in Europe as the first language that a mother taught her child. Return
  11. Hasidic philosophy or Hasidus, alternatively transliterated as Hassidism, Chassidism, Chassidut etc, is the teachings, interpretations of Judaism, and mysticism articulated by the modern Hasidic movement. Return
  12. Neshama yiseyre, the additional soul that one is said to receive on the Sabbath. Return


The Wishkover Band; Dalekes

by Itzkhok Marcuschamer (Julius Marcus) Los Angeles

Translated by Ruth Fisher Goodman (Wilmington, DE)

Reviewed by Frida Grapa Markuschamer de Cielak (Mexico City)

Translation donated by the Historian Enrique Krauze (Mexico City)

My home has long been burned,
But the wind blows the ashes in my eyes
A nebulous dream
Leads me through a bridge made of cobwebs back to my home.
( by Nakhum Bomza)

…A meeting of Wishkover countrymen, as the two “historians,” R'[1] Heri (probably Hershl) and Reb' Khaim – is like a wedding without musicians…

They sit and reminisce about the Jews in the old Wishkov/Wyszków[2]. Between one and another sigh and groan they remember this one and that one, these and those old friends and the organizations; the rich-picturesque nature that surrounded our beautiful shtetl[3]: the Sosnover Forest[4], the green lawns, the wide and deep Bug River, the green orchards with the juicy plums, apples and pears. Today, the red and white karshn (cherries) - which were known far – far beyond the boundaries of our shtetl.

– Today, our younths – intervenes Reb' Yitzkhok, one of the countrymen who overhears the conversation of his countrymen, takes part in it by saying – “the effervescent youths” – as Aron Aynhorn refers to the Wyszkower youths when he became aware of their activities while vacationing in a summer datcheh (country house) while inhaling the beautiful scents from the Sosnover Forest.

– “The effervescent youths' – says Reb' Khaim, – they were indeed effervescent because they lived in poverty. Oh, the poverty!”

– “But because of that,” says Heri, “when it was Sabbath or a Holiday, do you remember Khaim, we could hear their loud voices from almost every house. And on celebrations, do you remember? Metch with his fiddle, and Nasele with his clarinet. True talents!”

– “And do you know at least, Heri, how and when the Wishkover Kapelie[5] started? Do you remember the di grobe (the fat) Danchikhe[6]? It happened at her wedding. The fat Leah-Ita, the bride, stubbornly insisted that she would not walk down the aisle under any circumstances unless they bring her the all group musicians from Pultusk and a wedding entertainer.”

– “What,” yelled her father, – “ our Metch and Nasele are not good enough for you? Don't they have to earn a living? Why should we need to get musicians from another city?”

Nothing helped. The bride stood her ground. Her father saw that it was bad (a bad situation, he was not getting anywhere with his daughter), he went to Metch and told him that the bride wanted a full band and a wedding entertainer.

– “What do you mean, she wants?” yelled Metch, – “Will the world disintegrate if she doesn't get her way?” Even so, Metch calmed down and assured that there will be a band and a wedding entertainer – “as I live and breathe”.

When the father of the bride left, Nasele said, – “Father, where are you going to find a bass, a drummer and a fiddler, one that can deeply “talk” and touch people's hearts? Oy!, if only you can get

[Page 56]

Iserl, when he starts playing, all the women swoon.”

– “What?” – The thought catches Metch. – “Iserl?… – He won't play in the band? From the few pieces of parsley and the rotten apples that his wife sells at the stragon [market-barely], does she give him enough to subsist on? He will play for some kerbelakh [money]! Or will he? – he wondered quietly to himself.

– “And what about a bass, a drummer and also a wedding entertainer?” – asks Nasele

– “A bass?” says Metch, – “ I have Palukhl.”

– “Palukhl? But, father, he has no a hear!” – says Nasele.

– “That doesn't matter,” says Metch. “I'll work with him. And I have a drummer, too – Yidl! yes, Yidl has a drum.”

– “What?” – yells Nasele – “Yidl, the bottle washer? Oy, vey iz mir (woe is me!) Will this be a band: Yidl with the drum and Palukhl with the bass!”

– “And I have a wedding entertainer, too,” – says Metsh, – “Our boy, Khaim Henekhl! I'll send him right away to Warsaw to Big Yosl, and in one day he'll make a wedding entertainer out of him.”

And so it happened that at the wedding of the di grobe Danshikhe (the fat Leah-Ita), the Wishkover Kapelie (band) played. – “Hey, was that a wedding! There were head to head, people almost suffocating in the crowd. Young and old, Jews and Gentiles, they came to the wedding not so much to see the bride and groom, but to hear the newly formed Wishkover Band.

Metch, a broad-shouldered, tall Jew, stood very pale and said to Nasele:

– “Listen, my child, when you play, I mean you should play! You know what I mean! Take them to task with your cymbal a 'fa' key and a 'bi' and, do you hear, let the devil take them!”

And to Palukhl, he said, – “The devil will take your father's father if you dare to try any prank with the bass. Start at the same time as everyone and finish with everyone, otherwise one will end with you right after the wedding…”

And to Yidl Falker, he said, – “There, where you wash bottles and you sip from them, that doesn't bother me, but if you take a sip from the bottle while you're playing, I'll make a bottle out of you, you hear? I mean what I say; my word as a musician!”

And to Iser, he says: – “Don't worry, Iserl, it will work. Nasele will keep his eye on them. Khaim-Henekhl, my boy, (and here he starts to cry) – go, show us your stuff. Start talking!”

Khaim-Henekhl puts on his capl [yarmulkeh], steps up on a high bench and begins his spiel, sharp words in rhyme. The women begin to wipe the tears from their eyes, the bride looks straight into the eyes of the wedding entertainer, her mouth open, she laughs. Khaim-Henekhl ends his talk with the following rhyme:

“Oh, dear Bride, dear Bride, cry, cry
You have much charm in the eyes of your mom
And when your groom will see you
He, too, will cry much.
Venehmar (and let us say)…, Amen”

And now he shouts, “Father, Nasele, now play something lively! Play something lively for the bride and for those who led her (down the aisle).”

The crowd becomes tumultuous. Metch and Nasele begin to play and as they play, they dance. Isserl plays the fiddle, but the tones are so thin, so lyrical that they seem to plead 'please leave me alone'. Palukhl shlept (drags) the bass and he screeches on. Yidl bangs on the drum and with every stroke, he gets hit with a snowball from mischievous boys and as he gets angrier, he beats the drum an extra strock harder and yells at them:

– “A cholera will finish you off when we will be done!”

It's dark out now, the wind is blowing and a light snow is falling. The candles that the in-laws are carrying among their fingers go out and in the midst of it all, they hear yelling: – “It's burning! It's burning!” It seems that the kerchief worn by Crazy Leah caught fire from the candle she was carrying. Pandemonium! Yidl and Palukhl take this opportunity to sneak into the kitchen for a snort, “a lekhaim” (a toast “to life”).

– “Hey, Yidl, Yidl” says Palukhl, – “If only G-d could send us a juicy wedding like this every week!”…

– “Yes,” says Yidl with his nasal twang: – The rolls, the fish, the delicious broth with mandlen [soup nuts]. To hell, it should take!”

– “You know what?” – says Palukhl, – “let's divide: some of the rolls for you; a couple for me. My children have for a long time never seen rolls like this.”

– “Let's run, Palukhl” shouts out Yidl, – “the wine glass has already been broken and we will have to play the wedding march.”

Palukhl runs, dragging his bass, which is twice his size. Yidl, dragging his drum can barely keep up with him. Soon, the wedding march can be heard and the crowd joins in.

– “Jews who experienced this wedding will never forget it,” – concludes Reb' Khaim his memories – This was the Wishkover Kapelie (Musical Band from Wyszków), which had no inkling of what music was, nevertheless, they brought joy to celebrations…..

 

Dalekes
(a extra stop on the railroad)

For those who were not in Wyszków during the German occupation in First World War

[Page 57]

(I just won't let it be forgotten and) will the word ‘Dalekes’ resound loudly like a name in the Haftoireh[7] because, at that time, there wasn't even a stop on the railroad at Dalekes. It was such a rare occurrence that someone in Dlugoshodleh/Dlugosiodlo[8] allowed himself the luxury to go by train through Dalekes and if it ever did occur, the train would stop very briefly to let the passenger off and then race off in seconds to Ostrolenka.

When the German military boot put its foot down in this area, they made Dalekes a key base where they stored the wealth that they robbed from the cities and villages. From there, they loaded the goods onto wagons; thousands and thousands of wagons, which were then sent to Germany. The wagons were loaded with all good things: wood, corn, wheat, berries, livestock, and anything the Germans could lay their hands on.

The several Jewish families who became 'concessionaires' for the Germans brought in Jewish workers into Dalekes. And this is how this unimportant, little known Dalekes grew in status and became a big stop on the railroad as well as Jewish youths found employment to so that they could earn money to buy a little bit of bread.

In the beginning, the funding for Dalekes was quite pitiful. Food and sleeping accommodations were hardly bearable, but, apart from the physical inconveniences, we were interested in enjoying cultural activities. Among us, youths, was then the yearning for a cultural life which we had had in our hometowns. Later, conditions improved considerably: houses were built; a small store [a gevelb] opened where you could buy foodstuffs and also had the opportunity to buy on credit. But the best thing for us that warmed our hearts was the coming of a man of culture named: Yungshteyn who had been hired there as a writer for the lumber trade.

For us, this started an interesting new life. Thanks to the initiative of Yungshteyn, we organized an evening of culture with song and readings from I. L. Peretz, Sholem Aleykhem, Avraham Raisen. The fellows looked forward to these evenings. After work and a skimpy meal they gathered together. Outdoors a fire was started and we sat around on blocks of wood. First, there was a speaker and then discussions. Later, they had readings and the evening ended very frequently, in a song. Talented youths, who knew excerpts from “Caladonia” and “Salome” by Goldfadn, “inflict” (gave) presentations, with heaven and the stars as backdrops for the theater, with the forest around as decoration and thousands of birds – serving as the orchestra accompanying our songs.

The cultural evenings and the relaxation amidst the beautiful natural surroundings gave us the courage and the strength to withstand the hard work, which was required of us in order to earn a living for our families so that they would not suffer from hunger.

 


Footnotes

  1. R' stands for Reb, which is an honorable way to refer to a person, like ‘Mr.’ In English. Return
  2. The correct spelling in Polish for Wishkov or Vishkov is: Wyszków Return
  3. A Yiddish diminutive term for “town”. Return
  4. Pine-trees are called in Yiddish: Sosne Beymer. A forest of pine trees was called Sosnover or Sosner Vald (Pines Forest). Return
  5. the musical band from Wyszków. Return
  6. the fat daughter from the Dan family (Danchikhe is a diminutive term that refers to the small or young one from the Dan family.) Return
  7. Haftoireh =selection from the books of Prophets of the Hebrew Bible that is publicly read in the synagogue following the Torah Reading. Return
  8. Psalms 2:1. “Lemah ragshu goyim? (Why do nations rage?)” Return

 

wys059.jpg
Theater circle enthusiasts (Hebrew text)               Amateur-club (Yiddish Text)*

 

* Note: According to Frida Cielak (Mexico City, Mexico), in the top row, the 5th person in from the right, Moishe Markuschamer, is standing sideways and looking at his then wife-to-be, Ethel Saperstein.

 

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