|The Shoshanna group
Seated on the ground from right to left-Pola Lual, Dozia Solomonovitch,
Zenia Davidovitch, Dozia Betz, Regina Dzebeth.
Seated-Yaakov Freund the head of the nest, Dozka Margolis.
Standing-Sarah Kampimnsky and Lidzia Katz.
The famous rule says that the baker should not testify as to the quality of his loaf and this restricts me somewhat in telling you what I think about those beautiful years and perhaps someone else would identify this as boasting, but I think just as it is not nice to boast, it is not nice to be too humble either. So, when I talk about Hashomer Hatzair in Zloczew, I cannot pretend that I am not exaggerating – yes, the Zloczew nest was different – we did not have any deviation from the scout code. The Jewish national principles were all carried out without any deviation from a special kind of inner motivation and a very clear spiritual need - please understand.
Just to demonstrate the Hashomer way of educating and how it affected me, I will recount two separate cases of personal confessions divulged to me at different times and in different circumstances. The first one concerned the Friedman family who were looking after a relative of theirs, a boy who was an orphan by the name of Czerni Benek or Benek the black as he was called to distinguish from his cousin Benek Friedman who was also a member of his group. He was a quiet, shy person, who kept himself to himself but was rough-hewn and solid like a rock. He was short, hairy, with thick eyebrows and piercing eyes that were examining his surroundings and looking at you in defiance. I tried to delve into the depth of his spirit and soul to find out what he was about, as he seemed to be suffering alone. After returning to his father's house in Piotrokov, he was almost forgotten, but a few months later, perhaps a year later, I received a letter from him which was exciting and this is what he said - (I translated this from Polish from memory) -
From afar I look at you and I think about those beautiful days with longings. To you, Yaakov, I am grateful for everything you have done for me. You have opened my eyes, and you illuminated my way to life. I will never forget you.
I have kept another letter with me from a former student who survived the Holocaust. After a lot of searching, he finally settled in America, where he made a home and had a family and this is what he had written -
Much of my memories are associated with you. You filled my life with purpose and enriched my years. This was proven to me again while I was suffering under the Nazis and when I met other people who were also suffering like me and saw the difference between us and how much better placed the youth movement people were in the way we saw the world to survive and all that thanks to your blessed education and guidance. I believe within my heart that thanks for this education you gave us to trust people, and to believing in the triumph of good over evil, I have managed to survive the horrors of the war.
Does that not show what I mean and does that not fill the heart with pride?
With much satisfaction, I can say that till this very day I still feel the warm feelings that had been shown for me by the members of the movement that I had the privilege to be an instructor for. It is such a shame that so few of them have remained alive and that so many had left us, may they rest in peace.
|A regional assembly of Hashomer Hatzair in Kalisz
- with delegates from Zloczew - Yaakov Freund, Ruth Freedman,
Yehiel Freedman (Shlomi) and Yehuda Davidovitch
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