By Aryeh Eliav
The head of this extensive family was R. Efrayim Halitsitsir. The dates of his birth and death are not precisely known. However, we can assume that he was born about 1750. R. Efrayim lived in the village of Halitsits, not far from Antopol in the Pinsk region. Halitsits was itself a big village farm and Efrayim was a tenant (orendator) of one of the gentile landlords in the region. He was a rabbinical scholar and considered learning more important than money. They said about him that a marriage broker came to engage one of R. Efrayim's sons with a rich Jew. When R. Efrayim met with his proposed relative by marriage, the latter told him about his wealth and emphasized that he didn't lose any money all his life, that is to say, he never helped anyone. R. Efrayim broke off the engagement immediately.
A son was born to R. Efrayim. R. Shemuel Lifshits was born about 1170. He was the first to have the family name, whose source is not clear. However, it seems that he was named after a place in the region. Already R. Shemuel didn't rent land from gentile land owners as a tenant. He was a poor man, a craftsman. He specialized in building windmills. R. Shemuel changed his home to the town of Antopol, which was from that time the place where the family would dwell for the coming four generations.
A son was born to R. Shemuel. R. Yoel Ber- Lifshits was born in Antopol about 1800 and died in it about 1880. He was a tall and handsome man. The name of his wife was Itke and she died before him.
R. Efrayim was the first born. Rabbi Eliezer was the child born after him. However, he met with misfortune. On one of his travels, he traveled over a frozen pond. The ice broke under the wagon and he fell into the water. As a result of that, he became very ill and died. Efrayim, his elder brother, named one of his sons Eliezer after him.
Rabbi Eliezer left after him a son by the name of Mordechai, who lived in the town of Homsk, near Antopol. He was a quiet person and a rabbinical scholar. A son was born to Mordechai by the name of David-Yaakov, who in the course of time became a clerk in the forestry business of R. Efrayim Lifshits.
Hanah-Shifrah was the daughter. She married Yoel Hershkah Reines, who was a tanner and a Torah scholar. They had boys and girls. One branch of this family immigrated to the United States and their name is Rozentsvaig. Hanah-Shifrah had a son who married into the Mintsberg family. They had relatives in Israel (Dr. Esther Mintsberg from Kupat Holim Tel Aviv and her husband Mr. Haruzi from the Post Office in Tel Aviv).
R. Efrayim Lifshits was born in Antopol in 1833 and died in it on the third day of Tamuz in the year 1906 (666), at the age of 73. He excelled still in his youth in his studies. His teacher was the saintly R. Pinchas Michael, of blessed memory. Efrayim and Mordekhleh were distinguished among his pupils. They say about them that they made an agreement in their youth that if Efrayim would be a rich merchant and Mordekhleh would continue his Torah studies, they would share their wealth fifty-fifty, that of this world and that of the world to come. And so it was. Efrayim became a rich merchant and R. Mordekhleh was a rabbinical judge. For many years Efrayim would give fitting financial support and would receive from him receipts for his share in the world to come.
R. Efrayim began to do business successfully and as a young and successful man married Tehilah Leah of the family of Roshovski. Tehilah Leah was born in the village of Roshovah, near Antopol, in 1832 and died in old age at 84 in 1916. The name of her father was R. Tsevi of Roshovah and from her their family name Roshovski. The name of her mother was Tovah-Hanah. They were poor people and they had a small tavern (kretsmah). Tehilah had brothers and sisters. The name of her elder brother was Yaakov Meir.
This branch of the family immigrated to the
United States. Some of them are called Roshovski and some of them Gershtein. The name of the younger sister was Hayah Etel, who married R. Yehezkel Saharov. This couple had sons and daughters. One of them was R. Yitshak Mordekhai Saharov. He was the father of Yehezkel Sahar (named after his grandfather R. Yehezkel). The rest of the brothers of Tehilah Leah were Avraham- Yitshak, Mosheh, Hayyim, and Akiva. The family of Roshovski traces its descent to the descendants of R. Yom-Tov Lipman, who wrote Tosofot Yom Tov. And this is the order of the generations: R. Shemuel Tsevi, the son of R. Akiva, the son of Rivkah, the daughter of Devorah, the daughter of R. Mosheh Zeev Volf, the son of R. Yoel Bukhaver, the son-inlaw of R. Shemuel, the son of the. luminary R. Yom Tov Lipman.
Now we will return to the marriage of R. Efrayim Lifshits with Tehilah Leah. They married, as was the custom in those days, very young. He was 17 and she was 16. While Efrayim expanded and increased his business deals with renting fields and forests in the region, Tehilah tried her hand at commerce. She had a tavern (shenk) in their house. She sold the gentiles brandy. Her goal in that was to help her family and charitable goals. Thus, she had her own source of income, without depending on her husband. All the money she earned she gave to the poor and needy in town.
In the course of years, R. Efrayim became still wealthier. He bought real estate. And since it was forbidden to a Jew to own in his own name fields and estates, he bought the estate called Poloshin in the name of the priest from Asmolovits. Poloshin was a big estate. It was not far from Antopol. It had about 16,000 dunams of land, and about 400 were fields and the rest in forest. Likewise, the estate had a big house and many farm workers. Poloshin was a big source of income and made R. Efrayim rich. Tehilah Leah tried and was successful in appointing her brothers and relatives as clerks in her husband's wide-ranging businesses.
Tehilah and Efrayim raised a big family. During the first years of her marriage, Tehilah Leah gave birth to five children. However, they died at birth or in their first year. And only after that did she give birth to ten sons and daughters who lived, and these are Akiva Fishel, Yitshak David, Frumah, Hayyim Yehudah, Yosef Eliezer, Mosheh Yaakov, Shelomoh, Yehoshua, and Avraham.
The Lifshits's house was the richest in Antopol. This was a house of Torah and great wisdom in one place. The children received a general and Jewish education. (The father Efrayim also knew how to speak but not write Russian and Polish).
The holidays and especially Purim were the peak days of the year. The mistress of the house gave money on Purim to all the needy and she gave liquor for a toast to every poor person, to Jews and gentiles. Their Purim table was set for tens of people. The actors in the Purim plays would stream to the house because they were well paid. They would bake homentaschen the whole day, and the joy was great. Thus, in this traditional and rich home, between a precise and severe father and a gracious and good-hearted mother, the children grew and became adults who were prepared to continue in the ways of their ancestors.
Sarah Itah Lifshits, The Baker
By Peshe Ben-Tovim
Sarah Itah came to live in Antopol after her first husband didn't return from serving in the Czar's army. There she married her second husband, who was an elementary school teacher. Both in the period of her widowhood from her first husband and also after she married her second husband, she was an active and diligent woman who led household as an expert in baking different types of bakery products for happy occasions and different events in the town.
She was a righteous woman and did a lot of
commandments and acts of charity. In addition to giving her money for charity, she would also have guests of needy people in her house. And when agents to collect money would come to town, she would give broadly also to them. When refugees and persecuted people would arrive in town, Sarah-Itah would be among the first to receive them, to support and take care of them. All her life she was modest and shy.
Sarah Itah's daughter went to Israel and after that also her son, but she remained alone in town when she desired to immigrate to Israel. However, she didn't achieve that and she died outside of Israel. Many of the inhabitants of Antopol followed her hearse.
May her memory be blessed!
By Dr. Menuhah Gorvits
It is difficult to write about our dear martyrs when their tortured images are mixed in the memories of our youth, full of joy, hope, and love.
R. Avigdor Sirotah was a powerful spiritual personality, most of whose life was sacred for the Jewish community in Antopol in which he functioned as town elder. He was true and devoted to his task. He didn't know compromises and carried out all the public work voluntarily and with all his heart. When I write these lines, I know for sure that our love and high esteem for our father was not only as to a father but also as if to the fatherly Jewish patron of the community.
I will not forget his sense of humor, which sustained us in difficult times until his grown sons came to his help. Even though he was religious, he was not extreme and also appreciated those who were not so religious.
Every year when the High Holidays approach, I remember how our children would go to hear my father in the prayer of Kol Nidre, the Additional Service, and the Concluding Service. I especially remember the prayer Behold, I am poor in deeds. When my father would begin, his voice coming from his heart would pass trembling to the hearts of his listeners. And he himself praying would break out in tears. Was this a prophetic cry about what would happen to himself leading in prayer and to the congregation of prayers?
The man who was a father to his family and to every person who needed encouragement and help, the small like the adult, shared his fate with all the community. They say that the Germans, may their name be blotted out, gathered the Jews of Antopol in the marketplace and among them was my father, of blessed memory. One of the murderous officers called out: Who is the most important Jew? It is understood that all of them pointed to my father. And then the German took out his gun and killed him.
From the depths of my heart, I call out: God of vengeance, appear!
By Eliyahu Klorfin
Even with all his business concerns, he always devoted from his time to study a page of Talmud. He lived the Old Testament and knew all of it perfectly. His home was a traditional Jewish home, and in this spirit he also educated his children. He also didn't withhold from them secular education. From time to time he also loved to read secular literature in Hebrew and Yiddish, and he was among the constant readers of ha-Tsefirah. However, in his old age, he stopped reading secular literature and devoted all of his time only to religious studies. He got along with people. As treasurer of the big synagogue (the stone study hall), he was honored and accepted by all the prayers.
He was recognized in business circles as being honest and of clear conscience and also for his logical and clear judgment. Merchants would frequently come to him to mediate their commercial disputes, and they would always leave satisfied with his mediation. His house stood in the market square, opposite the concentration of stores. I remembered that many of the storekeepers would come to him for charity and that he would always answer them pleasantly. He supported lovingly those studying Torah and generously gave to rabbinical seminaries. He would send his contributions in Israel to the Graduate Seminary of Horodnah in Jerusalem yearly. When the Jewish National and Basic Fund were established, he was among the first and continual contributors.
He preached to his children always good qualities and conscience, to be precisely just in business and to understand one's fellow man. And all of his acquaintances and those who held him in esteem remembered him as one of the noble types in town.
By Eliyahu Klorfin
R. Yosef Glashtein, of blessed memory, was a religious scholar and one of the esteemed people in the town. He would spend almost all of his time swimming in the sea of the Talmud. He studied and taught. After the morning prayer in the study hall, he would recite a page of Talmud before some Jews. Between the afternoon and evening service, he would explain a chapter of Mishnah, and he would preach from En Yaakov on the Sabbaths before a large crowd in one of the study halls.
He was gifted in interpreting. Pearls would go out from his mouth. He was pious and respectful of all of God's word. Together with this, he got along well with people. He would react calmly to what someone told him, even if he didn't agree with him. He was interested in worldly matters, and especially in what was going on in the Jewish world in all its Diasporas. Therefore, he would permit himself to spare a little time off from his studies and read daily the ha-Tsefirah.
As a philanthropist to every cause of charity, he took into account the deed and the person doing it. I remember that the preacher from Kovno would come yearly to our town to collect donations for the rabbinical seminary in Kovno. He would lodge all the time of his stay in town in the house of R. Yosef. R. Yosef would accompany him when he went to collect donations to the houses of the contributors. Likewise, he would help the religious scholars, who would come to our town to sell their books.
He gave his children a traditional religious education full of love for the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.
R. Yosef died in 1914 at the beginning of WWI. The women in town would come to spread themselves out on his grave and to tell their troubles. The local people considered him to be a saint and so it was thought.
Esther, his wife, was not well thought of just because of her distinguished husband. Rather, she earned her merit herself. She was a modest person. It is especially remembered that she founded the society to clothe the needy for the poor children of the Jewish religious elementary schools. She would prepare warm clothes and shoes for the winter for the needy children. She would visit the houses of rich people, and under her influence, they took responsibility to give donations for this purpose. Under her devoted supervision, this institution existed for many years until the outbreak of WWI.
May their memory be blessed.
The Rabbi's Wife, Lifshah Shahor, of blessed memory
R. David'l was known as an outstanding personality among the rabbis of the town. And indeed he was known as a very active spreader of the Torah. After the prayer, there would come to him
the young pupils, and after them would come the adults to learn the Torah from him.
His day was devoted to study and writing. However, he always found time to listen to bitter people coming to ask his advice. He would say: Even if it is impossible to help a bitter person, the very fact of listening to his troubles is a great commandment. He was also experienced in making peace between husband and wife. Despite the criticism of the community that had concern for respect for the rabbi, he instituted Friday evening for the study of the Pentateuch in his house and used to say: Jews come from all over town to study Torah, and who am I to prevent them from having this pleasure! When the Sabbath was over, he would continue the lesson, and the public would take in with thirst his words.
The house was a type of inn for important guests: rabbis, preachers, professors of Talmud from rabbinical seminaries, or emissaries. Likewise, people would come from the surrounding towns to settle a dispute before him.
When, we went from Antopol to Semitits, all the people in town accompanied him. They walked by foot to the railroad station, and they frequently continued to visit him in Semitits. However, after a few years of serving in Semitits, R. David'l became sick and returned his soul to his Creator. May his soul be bound in the bond of eternal life!
By Mosheh Polak
If there were once 36 righteous people, they certainly were in Antopol, and my father, of blessed memory, was one of them. He was an honest and modest person. All his concerns were given always to serve God faithfully and devotedly without any limits. And all his inner feelings were always for the sake of the public, without a desire to be rewarded. He even acted to us children with great understanding. He didn't once ask us to do anything above our ability, and he would refrain from giving us orders so that we wouldn't sin, God forbid, and transgress against the commandment of honoring the father.
The great principle And you should love your neighbor as yourself was always taken by my father, and in this spirit, he educated also us children. He would always repeat to us the biblical sentence Give him a helping hand and he would add: If you help your fellow man, then you should do it with all your heart and your wealth.
Father was gifted with the exalted quality of loving man, who was created in God's image. However, his main concern was for the weak and failing. Nothing would hold him back from coming to their help and encouraging and supporting them.
He gave the best education to us children according to the concepts of those days. He got for us the best teachers and he was very interested in our going forward in our studies. And he took care that his work would not be for nothing and he would be able to give us a good and religious education.
He devoted all his life to good deeds, to Torah, to prayer, and to work for himself, for us, and for everyone. He was trained in many crafts, and he would willingly and happily help every needy person in fixing his home or other help. And he did everything out of loving kindness and without taking any money.
He would visit Jewish scholars and those studying Torah for its own sake. He would help them in everything that he was able. His main care was given to people of work and deed, who were also people of the Torah.
He would first of all teach reading and book learning to those working with him in book binding, and after that he would teach the trade. He didn't act to his workers as an employer. Rather, he treated them as equals. He would also stop the work of the
workers for the afternoon and evening prayers, and he would also teach them a lesson in the Talmud.
He would not even collect the money for binding the book. He would give the bound book to its owners and add: Take it and go it peace. Mostly, my sisters and I would collect the bill.
Father would give all his life and work for the study hall. And he would always be the first and always remain the last when prayers were over. Very often he would return home from the study hall together with guests passing through, whom he would invite to the evening meal. It was customary for him to invite two guests for the Friday night meal so that it would be possible to have three people to say grace after the meal. There would be no end to his happiness if he would chance upon a religious scholar passing through. He would serve him and not leave him all the Sabbath. Mother, of blessed memory, would give father challahs and a pot of cooked food every Friday night before the meal, and my father would rush to distribute these among needy people. At almost every meal, he would leave a part of it and say, Perhaps there will still come someone who will eat.
Father took upon himself with happiness and enthusiasm the arrangement of celebrating the finishing of a talmudic tractate and the preparation of the festive meal. However, before all, he had concern for the needy, and he would invite them to participate in the 250 celebration and the meal. He also didn't forget those whom it was impossible for them to participate in the meal, and he would run to also give them.
When I read Y. L. Peretz's story, If not above this, there stood before me the image of my father, of blessed memory. Didn't he also act for a long period like that saintly man? And he would get up early at night, at 3 a.m., and distribute bundles of wood in front of the houses of the needy.
In the winter evenings, my father would bring from home potatoes to the study hall and he would bake them in the oven of the study hall. He would distribute them to those remaining there to study and spend the night. Likewise, he would bring blankets from home for those remaining to sleep in the study hall so that they would be warm.
Father would also be involved in the youth, and he liked to be in the company of those gathering in our house to read books. And he would stir them to the idea of the Return to Zion. He would always preach to us to do good deeds and not to waste our time, that we should not take time out from study of Torah and worship. How happy he was that his dream and desire was realized, and in his old age he was able to go to live in our Holy Land.
May his memory be blessed!
By Mosheh Polak
R. Shelomoh Henakh was a man who had a place in his people. His trade was selling wood for heating. He was very pious and he would give a tenth of the wood for sale to the poor. Besides acts of charity, he would be charitable in his speech. He would give good advice to all who needed it. He would also give a lesson in the new study hall.
His wife Heniah-Hadas was called by everyone Aunt Heniah. She herself didn't have children of her own. However, many orphaned boys and girls called her mother. This is because she was a mother to them. Certainly she was our mother's sister. However, she also acted like a mother to me. I spent a lot of time in their house, and she took care of me and spoiled me. I was always happy to help her in acts of charity for which she was known. She had a grocery store in her house. And whoever had not money to buy the necessities for the Sabbath, to that person she would give generously flour, salt, sugar, and oil.
Every Friday night before the lighting of the
candles, she would run to the ends of the town, with a basket in her hand, and distribute the Sabbath delicacies to the needy. Likewise, she had the pleasant tradition of the commandment of helping new brides. And many orphan girls were helped by her at their weddings.
The son of her husband was Rabbi Yaakov Greenberg, of blessed memory, who was the head of the Chicago Rabbinical Seminary.
It is sad for those lost who shall not be forgotten!
By A. Antopolski
Who didn't know Yenkel, the person from Oblie? He was a fish merchant, whose place of origin was from the village Oblie. He was a pleasant Jew with a pretty beard. His house was near the church. There was always to be found in his courtyard Tiralke, a well-treated cow, and Shpan, a young horse, and a wagon. He would travel each week in the wagon to bring fish for the Sabbath for the Jews in town. All the days of the week when he was on the road, his wife would bake bagels for sale. R. Yaakov began to do public service when because of his age he already didn't need to travel so much on the roads. And his son Leizer, who got married, meanwhile inherited from him the fish business.
He entered the life of the community in a storm.
First of all, he initiated refurbishing the bathhouse.
To everyone's amazement, he became familiar with all the innovations known in the big cities. He fixed ovens to heat water that would not give off smoke, hot and cold water in every section, and more and more. When money was lacking to finance the project, he stopped the reading of the Torah until the needed amounts were donated. And behold, one Friday arrived when the new bathhouse was ready for the use of the community. And where was the person who initiated the project? He was sitting in a corner washing and not standing out.
Another initiative, which would bring blessing, of Yenkel the person from Oblie was to erect a local hospital in which permanent doctors and nurses would serve. One of the biggest supporters was Avraham Eliyah Kitshin, the son-in-law of Eliyah the bookseller, who was the treasurer in the Gentile Squire's Study Hall. People were still doing this and a new initiative was born and carried out-supplying ice publicly for sick people.
In the summer of 1914, the cornerstone was laid for the hospital. The walls were erected up to the roof before the outbreak of WWI and then work was stopped. The war broke out. The men were drafted, and behind the front lines there remained the women and children. And when the front passed through, town was burned and plagues killed people. Yenkel and Lipa Novogrodski the doctor received permission from the German commandant to turn the priest's house into a hospital. Beds, sheets, and instruments were supplied and a hospital was erected in which many lives were saved. Yenkel gathered together a medical team. Sarah Raizl, the daughter of Shaye the butcher, was a nurse; the wife of Mordekhai Toker was a cook for the sick; and Yenkel himself was busy with the rest of the work in administering the place.
Meanwhile, Yenkel organized a society to visit the sick and a Free Loan society, and other public activities. In the difficult days of the summer of 1920 when the town needed him more than usual, Yenkel fell asleep forever and died in the month of Elul (August). May his memory be blessed!
By Rinah Asif
My parents were religious and observant and that is how they educated their children. My brother David studied in a rabbinical seminary until he got married. My father was once of the first of the Zionist youths still in the days of the Czar in town. In our house, they spoke a lot about the Land of Israel and Zionism, and followed after all news from the Land. Their desire was to go to live in the Land. The box of the Jewish National Fund stood out among the rest of the charity boxes of the rabbinical seminaries and orphanages. Among the books about the Torah, there were found the books of Herzl, the monthly ha-Shiloah, and the newspaper ha-Tsefirah. The boys studied in the Jewish religious elementary school and the rabbinical seminary. The girls were sent to the Tarbut school just as the tuition impacted the budget and despite the fact that the Polish government's school charged no tuition.
My father, of blessed memory, was absent from the house most of the days of the week for his business work. And when he would return to his family tired and worn out from his weekly work, he didn't rest but took care of the failing and needy, of the widow and the orphans. The doors of our house were open to family members needing help, advice, a n d encouragement and to orphans in WWI, who found support and guidance, and for giving help secretly. This was done really by savings on the part of the family members because livelihood was limited for most of the time.
The days of the festivals and the holidays left a great impression when all of the family was seated around a set table. My father would return from synagogue accompanied by a guest and a permanent guest from the town's inhabitants, Avraham Leb (called Di Maydl Keshene) who would eat with us on Friday nights. And if a guest remained in the synagogue, my father would hint to my mother to prepare a package that included a roll, a piece of fish, and more. After he brought it to the guest in the synagogue, he would return to sit with us at the table. We would sing songs and listen to words of the Torah. The Sabbath gave us inspiration and the physical and spiritual strength to continue a difficult life under bad economic conditions and to hope for better days.
I remember those eating our daily meals, Jewish children from the villages and settlements around our town, who came to study the Torah. And my mother would take care of them. She would feed them and take care of all their needs as to members of the family. In the course of time, we moved from our small house in which we lived together with the family of Aharon Shemuel Kaplan, and we went to live in a bigger house on Mitsrayim (Egypt) Street, facing the house of R. Yaakov Hayyim the ritual slaughterer. Youths studying in the rabbinical seminary would turn to him for help and arrangements. And our house served for the youths of the rabbinical seminary as a place to sleep and to get a hot meal. My saintly mother would wash with her own hands all the bed coverings and sheets for the youths of the rabbinical seminary. She would not give them to a Christian woman helper lest she miss doing the good deed. In our house, there also found refuge a poor woman who had gone crazy when she lost all her family in WWI. Here is not the place to list all the good deeds that they did for others.
From the lips of Elhanan Lifshits, of blessed memory, I heard that the rabbi of the city, Rabbi Walkin, gave my father and him a mission that endangered their lives. It was learned in town that in the village Demidivtsinah the gentiles killed the only Jewish inhabitant, a person who had no family, Arkah. This happened in the year 1940 at the time of the Russian conquest. The mission was to bring the dead man for Jewish burial in our town. My father and Elhanan accepted the mission and went on the way without telling their wives. When they returned after many dangers to town with the body of the murder victim and the matter was known to my mother, she fainted. When she regained consciousness she said, Thank God that you carried out the commandment of the rabbi.
My father desired to immigrate to Israel with all his
family. He became more hopeful when I immigrated to Israel. However, WWII took place first. My dear parents, my brothers and sisters, my sister-in-law and their children, my mother's big family, my friends, and all the people of my town perished at the hands of the great enemy. From all of them, I remain alone with a broken heart, with deep wounds that do not heal and will never heal while their memory and good deeds accompany me as I continue on.
By Rinah Asif
We lived as neighbors to the family of R. Yaakov Hayyim and we were very tied to the Kotler family.
R. Yaakov Hayyim was a good-looking religious scholar. He always smiled and was full of grace, wisdom, and a good heart. He had a place among people and knew everyone. As the only ritual circumciser in town and the region, he would enter all the males born into the covenant of Abraham, our father.
He was active in the community and willingly took on himself its burdens. He was concerned for the public and the individual. And our town did not lack for cares and problems. The sources for employment and earning a living were limited. The Polish government gave little support or none at all, and the community took care for its needs in education, welfare, and health. It was like a state in a state.
The influence of the rabbi and the important people in town was great, and R Yaakov Hayyim was the driving force among the active people. Especially after WWI when most of the houses in town were burnt and there remained widows and orphans, they turned to people from Antopol in the United States. And these answered with a big heart and an open hand. With this support many inhabitants were saved from famine.
The doors of R. Yaakov Hayyim's house were open to poor guests begging, who went from town to town to gather donations. Likewise, there came people seeking dowries for brides, preachers, and youths of the rabbinical seminary, who studied in town. They received in the house of the slaughterer a hot meal, a place to stay, and also advice and instruction.
The Rebbe from Kobrin, who came to visit his group of hasidim in town, would stay once a year in his house. Certainly, he didn't belong to the hasidic community. However, he was happy to have the rebbe as a guest and he respected him. On the Sabbath in which the rebbe would visit, there was a stirring and emotion in town. The inhabitants would enter Mitsrayim Street and crowd before the house of the slaughterer. Tunes, songs, and dances filled the space. And deep happiness flowed over those seated and those standing outside.
I can still hear the tune of the closing prayer of the Day of Atonement that he would pray at the prayer stand in the new study hall, together with the Kol nidre prayer of R. Avigdor with his children as choir, and the additional service of R. David Grishevski. Their tunes would unite the community of praying people and make their hearts tremble, cast fear and awe, and make hopes rise for better days, which to our sadness didn't come.
R. Yaakov Hayyim died in 1932 from typhus. The local doctor made a mistake in the diagnosis. When they brought in haste a famous doctor from Brisk, it was already too late.
The daughter of the ritual slaughterer and her two children came to our house. Even though there were small children and an infant in our family, my parents didn't hesitate to help the family of the ritual slaughterer. My father helped at the bed of R. Hayyim. Meanwhile, the daughter and small son also got sick, and they were brought to the hospital in Kobrin. The doctor from Brisk did the best he could. However, R. Yaakov Hayyim died on Friday night. Great mourning fell down on the town. All the inhabitants from small to adults, rabbis from the region and youths from the rabbinical seminary in
Kobrin participated in the funeral.
After two days, the daughter also died. There remained two small orphans. The saintly grandmother Hayah Bernshtein came to take care of her grandchildren. When her son R. Eliezer married a second time with Pitsah Krum, the daughter of the sister of R. Yaakov Hayyim Shohet, she left Poland and immigrated to Israel to her two daughters. Her husband was among the 36 martyrs of Pinsk in WWI. Fate was also cruel to her in Israel and her daughter died at a young age. She cried about the bitterness of her fate because all her family also died in the Holocaust.
She died in a good old age in a nursing home in Bene Berak, may her memory be blessed!
There should also be mentioned the second ritual slaughterer, Menahem Perlmuter, who married Hayah Rahel, the daughter of the distinguished Rabbi Hirsh Rabinowits. He was invited to serve as an additional ritual slaughterer after the death of R. Hayyim, of blessed memory. He was beloved by the people in town for his honesty and good deeds.
By Rinah Asif
Shelomoh'ke was the first teacher for Hebrew and mathematics. He raised up a generation of people knowing Hebrew. He would give lessons in Old Testament to the glory of youths in the study hall, and many of the youth would come to hear Torah from him.
He was very devoted to his mother, who had become blind, and would lead her by hand to every place until the end of her days.
When he was an older person, he established a family and had two children on the threshhold of WWII. All of them perished at the hands of the enemy, may his name be blotted out, with the rest of the people in town.
May their memory be blessed!
By Avraham Kaplan
Hayah Raizl, daughter of Mordekhai Slonimski, was born in Antopol, and Aharon Shemuel, son of R. David Kaplan, was born in the village of Tarikan, close to Antopol. Their children were Mordekhai (Motiah), David, Hanah, and Avraham (Yaakov).
Of the family's children, only the youngest, Avraham, immigrated to Israel in 1935 and established a family in Israel. All the rest were murdered by the Germans, they and their young children- two children of David and his wife Rahel from the Hirshenhorn family and three children, Rahel, Avraham and Mindl of Motiah and his wife Pashah of the The Czerniak family.
The family was supplied, like other families, with established traditional Jewish values and emphasized relations with their fellow men no less than their relations with God. It was known in town that their house was always open to the poor and needy. And never was a person turned away with nothing.
The source of income was in commerce (the grain trade). However, their business was conducted without deceit, and in this, no distinction was made between a Jew and non-Jew.
The trends of the time that appeared in town also didn't pass over this family. The parents' hand was always open to contribute to any national fund, and the children also gave their share to all the cultural, public, and national activities. The other children also dreamed in different periods of immigrating to Israel. How sad it is that they were not able to immigrate and all of them were killed and only one of them realized his dream and remained alive to perpetuate their memory in the memorial book.
By Mosheh Polak
His father, Yaakov Hayyim the elementary school teacher, was a Jew who was learned in Torah and whose origin is from Kartuz-Berezeh. His mother, Sarah-Menie, was from a big family in Antopol with seven brothers and two sisters.
As the son of an elementary school teacher, Itse was also learned in the Torah. He married the daughter of Yaakov-Zavel and earned a living from a store for ready-to-wear clothing. After the fire in 1911, his store also burned down and he suffered a lot from that. However afterwards, he was fortunate and built a store made of bricks and his condition improved a lot. His wife ran the business and he dealt with community matters. As a Jew who was a religious scholar, he would study with other Jews in the old study hall the book Hayye Adam and Gemara. There many would listen to him. He was also the treasurer of the Talmud Torah and other public institutions. Itse also led in saying the prayers and would share the Additional Services with Avigdor the town elder in the old study hall. Itse had an only son, who was called Yaakov-Hayyim, and died together with all the Jews of Antopol.
Two uncles of Itse, the Barkai brothers, were among the founders of Yavneel in the Galilee.
Notes on his personality
By Rayah Kliman-Rovashavski
My grandfather, peace be upon him, is etched in my memory and in my heart as one of the most wonderful personalities. There was in him nobility together with love for his fellow men and love of the Torah.
I was sure in my childhood that my grandfather was one of the thirty-six righteous men for whose sake the world exists. To my sorrow, he died while I was still a child and I wasn't able to spend a lot of time with him. In the period that I knew him, he was already not healthy. However, he refused to lie in bed. He would always sit at the table and study Talmud.
My father, Menahem, may God revenge his blood, used to tell a lot about Grandfather, his deeds and his righteousness. My grandfather had a poetic soul, and I was always impressed by his ability to express himself. I remember that once on the intermediate days of the holiday of Passover he said: Late at night, after the second Seder, when all the people of Antopol were already asleep, I went out to the balcony. In the silence of the night, it was as if I put a hearing tube to my ear and heard the sound of the Shofar blown from afar. And it is really too bad, that my righteous grandfather wasn't able to hear the blowing of the Shofar on the Temple Mount in 1967 (727).
By Rayah Kliman-Rovashavski
R. Artsak, son of Lazar Mikhal Gelershtein, was an honest man, humble and capable. He worked with his brother Yaakov Hersh in the function of expediters in Horodets, whose railway station also served Antopol. He stayed in his brother's house all week and only on the Sabbaths would he come to his house in Antopol. He died in the 1930's.
His wife Sarah was born in Zambrov, near Bialystok. After the death of her husband, she immigrated to Israel with her daughter Sheindl, son-in-law Shemuel Neidus, and their children Tsiporah and Avraham'leh. To their misfortune, they returned to Antopol before WWII, and they perished in the Holocaust together with all the members of the community, may God avenge their blood.
By Yehudah, Nadel, and Tovah Altberg
R. Zalman, son of Shelomoh Shayah, was known by his nickname R. Zalman the tailor. He was a refined person, whose desire was to help his fellow man. When it was cold weather, he took care so that the poor, the widows, and orphans of the town would have heating wood. Friday night he didn't return to his home without two guests being invited to join him. After WWI when the economic conditions in Poland were at their worst, R. Zalman came and took charge of all the grain supply so that it would be divided among all the people in town.
In 1921, he was paralyzed in half his body. And despite this, he continued, to help his fellow man. When his father-in-law died, he gave his room to poor people so that he could fulfill the commandment of having guests. During the period of a year in which poor guests stayed with him, he took care of all their needs. It happened not just once that when he sat in his house to eat, someone knocked at his door. Then, he immediately seated him and gave him his own meal. He himself was very poor and lived from the support of his family in America. His modest wife, Hodel, daughter of Mosheh Yosef, accompanied him with devotion all his life. He lived his last years in the United States in the company of his children and grandchildren. He died in 1933. May his memory be blessed.
By Shemuel Lifshits
It is in deep pain and sadness that we remember that terrible period when men, women, and children were innocently killed. Their pure blood was spilled like water and their bodies were spread like manure on the ground. Towns and settlements became a killing field. And this was done in the light of day, before the eyes of the big world. And there was no one to protest. Certainly, this was a great disaster, and a voice of wailing comes out, like the words of the prophet: How we have been plundered-we are very ashamed.
The memories of the events that happened are terrible, and we are not able to grasp the depth of the tragedy. From the recesses of the past, we remember different people from the inhabitants of our town, who were distinguished by their character and spirit, despite the simplicity of their lives. Most of these people lived from the work of their hands. Despite their difficulty in earning a living, they would set times to study the Torah. They were religious in their faith and went on the straight path. They lived their Jewish lives full of the heritage of their fathers of ancient days, lives of a holy and pure family, with love and devotion, parents to their children and as the children of their parents. They carried on households without luxuries and waste, even those who were rich. And above all, they devoted their time to matters of the spirit. They were like this and thus is etched their image in our memory.
Still from my early youth, I felt myself mixed with all the people in town like one family, without difference in condition and station. And despite my station, as the son of a wealthy and honored family, I didn't feel any pride or distance myself from the others. And I was always wrapped in feelings of closeness and warmth when I came home from my studies in Vilna on vacation.
I remember how my parents, of blessed memory, would try to give loans to storekeepers before the big fairs so that they would be able to buy goods and participate in the fair. Giving help and support to their fellow man was one of the signs of how they all were recognized. They always kept: Help your fellow man-and tell your brother to take courage.
Finally, I want to describe some of the images of one of the inhabitants of our town, Gedaliah Weinstein, of blessed memory, or as he was called by people Gedaliah der Polushiner. He was a clerk of my grandfather R. Efrayim Lifshits, of blessed mem-
ory, or more correctly as he was called in his time, a trusted one. And certainly, Gedaliah Weinstein was trustworthy and honest in all his deeds. He would sell trees in the forests of R. Efrayim Lifshits, of blessed memory. Once a week, on Sunday, all the clerks would gather to give reports about their sales, etc. However, Gedaliah would not keep accounts and things written down like all the others. Rather, he would empty out his pockets and say, This is what I earned this week. His statements and deed were more trustworthy than all the witnesses and accounts.
They say about him that once he bought for R. Efrayim oxen in the big fair from one gentile and after he paid the gentile and brought the merchandise home, it became clear that the gentile had made a mistake in the account for some hundreds of rubles, from what was set down in the price. Gedaliah didn't hesitate much. After some time he traveled to the village to give back the money and to make the gentile understand his mistake.
It is possible to tell more stories like this about these dear people, who were killed as martyrs and for their people.
May their memory be blessed and tied up in the bond of the soul of the nation.
R. Yaakov Meir was the brother of Tehilah Leah Lifshits. He lived in the village of Osmolovits. He was an honest person. His wife Yenteh took care of all his matters. She would travel to town to bring a barrel of brandy and what the farmers of the region had ordered: herring, tabacco-mahorkah, matches, and the like. He, R. Yaakov Meir, would come with a book of Mishnah in his hand, pour a glass for the farmer, sell him mahorkah and matches and return to the book of Mishnah. His wife would also take merchandise to town to sell.
During the High Holidays, R. Yaakov Meir would come to town with his son, David, to lead the prayers and his son David would lead in chanting. His praying brought many admirers to hear him, both in the old and new study hall.
By Maniah Volodovski (Kefar Saba)
Meir Shub was the son of the town elder in Antopol, and both his brother and son filled this task. Meir spent his time in Warsaw. However during WWI, he went to the Ukraine to Krementshug, where all of the horrors of the war passed over him and his family. The Bolshevik government took all his property and he remained penniless.
In 1921 he returned to Antopol, where he devoted himself to Zionism and culture. He collected monies for Zionist funds. Frequently, he went personally to collect the donations in homes. He made himself a contributor and contributed a lot himself. He was the authorized representative of the General Zionists and did a lot for the Jewish National Fund and Foundation Fund of the Zionist Organization. He did not only take care of public and national institutions, he also took care of plain needy people. He got loans for them and gave security for them.
He was an intellectual person, cultured and aware of everything that could bring advancement for the lives of the townspeople. He took care to found a secular school and tried to influence parents to send their children to this school. He tried to receive certificates for young people in Antopol in many trips to Warsaw to the Erets Yisrael Office. He also tried to get exit permits from the Polish government, which were mainly connected with sizeable monetary expenditures. Thanks to him, many youths immigrated to Israel.
He was friendly with young and old. He was a good person in his character and had a warm Jewish
heart. His house was a place to go for Zionist activists and for all Jews needing advice or financial support. His youngest daughter, Anyutah, and his wife helped him in the Zionist work. His eldest daughter Miriam and her husband, Tsevi, of blessed memory, immigrated to Israel in 1925 as pioneers.
Both of them were artists.
By A. Antopolski
R. Alter was born in the village of Barshevits. Since he was very young when he came to learn his trade from Shelomoh, the town adopted him and he adopted the S town. However, it was not without reason that the entire town saw him as Shelomoh's son. First, he was similar in appearance to the family of Shelomoh, and second he inherited from R. Shelomoh some good qualities, like helping the needy, giving charity anonymously, and the like.
At home, R. Alter did every kind of work to earn a living for his family. After the war when Poland annexed the region, he began to deal in trade. In 1925 his sister brought him to America in Chicago. There he worked for a building contractor, who was a family member. When the first Sabbath came, R. Alter went to pray with the group Society of People from Antopol. There he met with people from the town, and he had a truly enjoyable Sabbath. However, the pleasure of his Sabbath didn't last long. Those relatives who gave him a job began to argue with him on the topic of observing the Sabbath. And R. Alter told me himself that on the next Sabbath he prayed early and began to go to work but on the way to work went back again to the synagogue.
Those who wanted to help him loved him afterwards for his honesty and treated him with respect. At the same time, he was one of the important people in the Antopol organizations in Chicago, not only in word but also in deed. He had a great influence on his children, who also became known in Chicago, and especially in the organizations of people from Antopol. May his soul be bound up in the bond of life.
By Esther Gamerman
There was a small house on the north side. The sun never penetrated this house. However, the house was clean and polished. In a corner of the room, there stood the worktable of R. Yitshak the watchmaker, who sat bent over the table all day long. It was quiet in the house. People heard only the ticking of the clocks from all different directions. Even watches belonging room to Shalom Aleichen were brought here to fix. In the middle of the stood an eating table on which was always spread a white cloth, with a ceiling lamp above it. R. Yitshak was pale and also crippled. However, he was a clever and modest Jew The eldest daughter in this family with many children managed to immigrate to Argentina. The mother, thin and diligent, was always busy with her housework, taking care of all its needs as a devoted wife. She always smiled and always waited for better days.
The daughter, Sarah, was thin, refined, and delicate, with flaxen hair and blue eyes. She was intelligent, trustworthy, and quiet. Together we underwent preparation for immigration to Israel in Lublin in 1933. She didn't manage to immigrate to Israel even though this was her dream in the ha-Shomer ha-Tsair Movement. She was active and worked as the head of the group, a member of the group leadership. Honestly and in a refined manner, she devotedly carried out her tasks.
In the last years before I immigrated to Israel, I visited her house, which was for me like a second home. There will accompany me in my memory all my life Sarah's house together with my house and the
panorama of the town.
By Esther Gamerman
The house of my parents was full of sun and much light. Its windows faced south and east. There was a courtyard behind the house. It was a traditional but not fanatical house, When, as a result of the organization of the Youth Movement, there began to arrive to us the children, all types of pamphlets and newspapers, father also began to read them. He would examine them but not oppose them even if sometimes they were not according to his spirit.
My parents, who were always concerned with earning a living, dealt in merchandise. My mother as well as my two brothers helped to earn a living. When I left home, my brother Zaidl was only 16 and my brother Shemuel was 21.
I remember my father traveling to fairs, and in days when the weather was bad, we would wait with concern for him to return home. My mother, whose health was weak in the last years because of her difficulty in earning a living, always mourned for two of her sons, who died when they were still young.
My father had a sense of humor, knew Hebrew, and read a lot of Hebrew at the source, like Mapu, Shneur, Bialik, and Tchernihovski. He also read translations into Hebrew from Russian and French. On the Sabbath days of the summer, he loved to rise early to go outdoors and to read a book. When he returned from a stroll like this, he would immediately go to the synagogue for the morning prayer. This was a personality with a special mixture in its type, the love of nature and devotion to the synagogue.
The holidays were kept according to tradition. In addition to the High Holidays, the holiday most loved by all of us was the Holiday of Pentecost. The house was full of lilac and jasmine flowers. My mother prepared milk dishes in honor of the holiday. And most of the time, Uncle David would come to be a guest with us. He was my father's brother from the town of Selets.
During the High Holidays, my father would pray in front of the ark, and my brothers Shemuel and Zaidel helped him in the role of a choir. They had pleasant voices, and I loved to hear their repetitions and understandably also their prayers in the study hall.
On one morning of the month of July 1939, I left my father's house, accompanied by my parents, brothers, my uncle Tuviyah and members of his family to the railway station in Horodets. There we parted. My departure was difficult. I felt that something was going to happen.
You will look in vain in the window where they shined. The Jewish town is no more. There remain only a pile of ruins. May their memory be blessed.
Shoshanah Edri (of the Garblovski family): Memories from my Immigrating to Israel.
When I was a young person, I joined the youth movement Freyheyt. This was the working class youth. At an older age, I joined he-Haluts. In he-Haluts, I received a pioneering and Zionist education and preparation for life in the kibbuts.
One evening there came to us in the movement a person born in our town, our friend Hayyim Osip, may he continue to be with us in life, and he gave me the push to leave home and go to preparatory work. I accepted his advice and contacted the central organization in Warsaw. After a short time, I received an answer to go to the Dombrovitsah group or to the Klosov group. I immediately packed my suitcases. I said goodbye to my parents and to my friends. And I traveled. By the fact that I immigrated to Israel, I saved another two of my family members: my mother, of blessed memory, and my sister Hayah, of blessed memory.
On the way to the preparatory kibbuts, we met
more members, who sat and sang pioneering songs. I thought in my heart that they were also traveling the same way. I asked them where they were going. They answered me at once: to the group of Klosov or Dombrovitsah. I remember as if it happened now how the railway conductor entered and shouted, What happened? What is your great happiness?
I answered him: These are the builders of the homeland of the State of Israel, pioneers, who will realize their goal!
He let out a curse in Polish and left.
We reached the railway station in Dombrovitsah. There they waited for us members of the group with a list in hand and called out the names of those who would get off and those who would continue to Kolosov. I was chosen to get off at Dombrovitseh.
The members of the preparatory kibbuts received us very well, and we were like brothers and sisters. The condition in the preparatory kibbuts was then very difficult. 270 However, the desire to realize the pioneering dream and to immigrate to Israel broke up the difficulty and I continued to work. Our work was in the saw mill. And after four months of devoted work, I was permitted to travel home to prepare the papers and passport so that I could immigrate.
It was to my bad luck that immigration was closed for an unknown time in 1929. And I didn't have already any place to live as an individual alone since I had gotten used to the collective life in a collective. Therefore, I returned to the preparatory kibbutz. I was another year in preparation until to our good luck, the immigration began again. I immigrated to Israel in March 1930. Then, we traveled, 1500 of us pioneers, in fourth class, like cattle. We suffered a lot from sea sickness, but we passed through all the difficulties with our strong pioneering spirit. After five days at sea, we came to the port of Jaffe. From the port we went straight to the immigrants' house on Aliyah Street.
After a week of rest in the immigrants' house, people came from the central organization of Kibuts ha-meuhad to greet us. Part of us went to Yagur and part went to Ramat Rahel in Jerusalem. My heart prophesied to me that Jerusalem would be capital of the Second State of Israel and I traveled to Ramat Rahel. The life was difficult: there was no farm, no water, and no home. However, we continued our daily life when around us our unpleasant neighbors didn't give us rest for a moment. Nevertheless, we continued to work in the day and to keep watch at night. And we came here to realize the dreams that we wove in our town of Antopol.
By Shoshanah Edre, of the Garblovski family
My father, of blessed memory, was a first-grade teacher in town. Many children studied with him the Torah. He was an educated Jew. He studied all his days, as is written: And you should study it day and night. After a severe illness, he needed an operation, from which he died before the World War.
My mother, of blessed memory, was able to come to Israel a few months before the outbreak of the war. And she realized her desire to live and die in Israel.
My sister Hayah, of blessed memory, was a pioneer and achiever. She was able to immigrate to and live in Israel. We were together thirty-three years until cruel death took her In her 68th year. May their memory be blessed!
By Sefulah Sosnik, of the Erlikh family
My mother, of blessed memory, born in Zafrud was and grew up as an orphan. Her father, my grandfather, of blessed memory, died at an early age.
He was a religious scholar. He sat and studied day and night. After his death the job of earning a living fell on the shoulders of my grandmother, of blessed memory.
As they grew up in a village, they brought home a teacher, who taught the sons and daughters. My mother was fluent in Russian and Polish. She was also fluent in Yiddish literature. My grandmother raised the orphans for Torah, marriage, and good deeds. A part of her children immigrated to the United States and arranged themselves well there. And afterwards, they brought her to them. My mother and her brothers remained in Poland.
When my mother came to Antopol, she was beloved by all her acquaintances. My father's family esteemed her especially for her warm and honest relations with people. She always had a good and soft word for the needy. Even the young people who came to our house loved to spend time in her company and appreciated her intelligence and knowledge of life.
After our father became sick and was not able to work, the situation became difficult. We were still children and Mother was not able to share work with us.We went from a new and spacious house to an old apartment. The burden of earning a living was lightened a little with help from the family in the United States. Mother continued to give us an education in the Tarbut school, explaining to us that she was doing it to prepare us for life. She didn't complain once on the bitterness of her fate. She had us acquire the approach to accept everything with love.
She was proud of her children, and in her last years, she was encouraged in life by receiving letters from her children. She was unable to join her children because of the cruel war.
May her memory be blessed!
My young sister Mirah'leh, of blessed memory, was beloved by all of us. She was a pretty girl with blue eyes. She was always happy and joyful. When I immigrated to Israel, she was a pupil in school. As was usual in the Tarbut school, she absorbed love for the people and the land and she was proud to have a sister in Israel. In all her letters to me, she asked me to write to her about the life in Israel and hoped that when she grew up, she would also immigrate to Israel and build her life there.
By Prof. P. Czerniak
Mosheh Stavi was born in Antopol in the 1880s. His father was Yitshak-Shemuel Stavski and his mother was Rivkah, from the Lifshits family. The family had still two more sisters and five brothers. When the flour mill for flax oil went up in flames, his father took the six children and Mosheh and went to Krementsuk.
In the many travels that he took on behalf of his father's produce business, the young Mosheh came to Warsaw and became friends with a group of young poets, who opened a period of renaissance in Hebrew Yiddish literature. There he began to publish his first works. Finally, he left his father's house and moved to Warsaw. And so did his brother Berl, who left home and studied to be a rabbi, and so did his sister Geniah, who studied gynecological medicine. The other two brothers also dispersed.
Mosheh would visit Antopol from Warsaw. Among his biographical stories is one from that period. It is told there: In the years 1908/10, I would sometimes visit Antopol, and my family's home, and especially the home of my sister, Tsiviyah Feldshtein. In 1908, I came at the end of the summer to spend t h e holidays and remained until after Sukkot. Around me there would gather the youth, who sought literature and carried their heart to Zion. I also had then a family person in the underground, young
Fradil, the daughter of Efrayim, my brother. She was a socialist. My group would sing songs of Zion and longing for the Land of Israel, and her group would sing songs of liberation of the Russian homeland. When the government planned to arrest her, I hid her in a wagon. I brought her to Drohitsin and through the fields and forests eastward to Krementsuk.
Mosheh returned to Warsaw and continued his struggles. He preferred a life of deprivation as a young writer over a life of plenty in the house of rich parents. Here he met his marriage partner and decided not only to sing and long for the Land of our Fathers but also to live and work in it. In 1911 the couple took a primitive Russian boat from 0dessa to Jaffe-after a harsh struggle with the sea, the Turks, and lack of drinking water and food. When they came to Jaffe, there was not waiting for them an easy time. There began a long period of hard work. Mosheh, who from his youth so loved nature, saw it neglected in the land of his dreams and decided to change things.
He began to recognize the new milieu, the Arab neighbors. He became an expert in their way of life and friend of the tenant farmers and landowners, of the donkeys and the camels. He began to deal with barley and the vineyard and with citrus and subtropical fruits. He transformed himself from a Yiddish writer into someone with unusual knowledge of Hebrew in which he began to publish wonderful new stories and to adapt the earlier ones from Yiddish. When the first years in which he was a crusading writer became to difficult too bear (years about which he would tell me with tears of emotion in his eyes, the eyes of a hard person, obscure to any observation)-when he suffered hunger and his literary wages would arrive in miserly payment and with delay, despite his excellent social ties with Bialik, Frishman, and the other greats of the literary generation, Mosheh Stavi was forced to abandon literature for some years and passed to work with the plow and in places of employment.
And again he struggled hard, both as a coordinator for employment in Hebrew Petah Tikvah and as a worker and afterwards as a landowner in Beer Tuviyah. Here he learned well on his skin, back, and head all the difficulties and surprises of nature. However, he would tell with especial pleasure his war with the wind, the rain, the heat, and the hot dry weather in order to insure a good harvest and good sheep shearing, about the lack of roads and about travels during days and nights in wagons and on camels from Petah Tikvah or Beer Tuviyah south and north in his travels in the length and breadth of the land.
Finally, he decided to go to the city, which would perhaps allow him to return to Olympus. One fine day the author appeared on Mendele Street in Tel Aviv with a number of cows and in the face of many snobs, he dealt with love towards his household animals and sold their produce among the consumers. The agricultural writer again acted not like a regular farmer. He grew the treasures of nature. However, he also studied what was happening and examined the soul of the fields, the plants, and animals. Thus, he became an expert, a researcher for the encyclopedia of life in nature in Israel.
At the first opportunity, he slowly returned to his status and began again to write, lecture and teach. The man, who would not be still, began to think in this period about his future and set for himself a goal to set up an enterprise that would allow him the possibility of literary work without disturbances, out of need for worry about the most limited income with which he made due all his life, out of fear that he would again be forced to leave his pen as before. Almost with empty hands he began to build a house, which he erected by his own strength, with loans and great efforts from when he made savings from the food budget for himself and his small family. This is when his son Naaman not only studied but also worked.
In addition to that he continued at every
opportunity to be a helper and adviser to others and among them to people from Antopol and his family members, who came to Israel in his steps. And he would say, In those days, when after work, I would go to town. I had in files many problems to arrange and had plans for many meetings. And for what purpose? In order to give help to my fellow man, to the weak, and to the needy. He never forgot Antopol forever. With great effort, he would make trips from Israel to Poland and visit the town. All remember his visits from 1930-1938, when the schoolchildren and the organized national pioneering youth would come to the railway station to welcome him, a poet from the Land of Israel, to have the honor of conversing with him and to hear his lectures about Israel and Hebrew literature. After every visit, Mosheh Stavi left much material for the thought and feelings of the Antopol youth as well as to the youth of all the towns and cities where he visited and spoke, material that gave education and depth to Zionism in that period of renewal.
When we arrived in Israel in 1950, we found Mosheh Stavi at the height of his literary, public, societal, and personal health when he wrote without stop, correcting and teaching Bible and Mishnah, and traveling to different settlements for lectures, plays, and presentations on how to work well in agriculture and how to take care of domestic animals. After some years, he began to struggle in a new arena. The difficult years that passed over him strengthened him and made him into a strong person. However, they destroyed him physically. His joints began to hurt and he had to struggle with pains and difficulties in walking. His eyes began to betray him and he had to struggle with losing his sight. This slowly began to cause much suffering to a person who was entirely tied to the written and printed word. Finally the loneliness of the life of a person alone became more pressing. However, Mosheh Stavi ignored the difficult condition and fought strongly and consistently with his nature. Under no circumstances did he allow a thought of pity and commiseration to appear in his many old and new friends, faithful friends who enjoyed his wide knowledge and special ideas.
On July 23, 1964, the dear person Mosheh Stavi, of blessed memory, left us forever. He departed after a strong and continued battle with the Angel of Death. The best medical fighters were mobilized for the battle. They didn't spare any effort that seemed useful. We used the best means we had but didn't succeed. We attested towards him, a person more diligent than all of us: A person comes from dust and his end is in dust. Thus finished the last struggle of the man whose entire life was one chain of struggles with all that stood in his way in life. He was not a regular man. He rose above all his milieu.
During the last 14 years, I had the privilege of knowing the personality of the writer Stavi, of blessed memory. And I myself had the privilege of serving him in different tasks, and especially medical ones, to come close to him and to get the trust of my talented, difficult, and complex uncle. He was combative but beloved and precious. I observed and felt that under his iron chest there beat a generous heart that was sensitive, romantic, and profound. Under his skull bone there worked a thinking mind, learned, sharp, and incisive. Under the layer of hard skin, there was an abundant soul, stubborn but healthy and active from morning to evening and from evening to morning.
In summation, he was a man who in the course of eight decades worked hard, very hard, fought hard, and built a lot of physical and spiritual building. Thus, he established for himself a great, eternal monument stretching from the Jewish district in Warsaw, by way of Antopol, up to Lvov, up to Beer Tuviyah and Gedera, and from New York up to Tel Aviv. He was a man, who spread his house from 38 King Solomon Street to every agricultural settlement, kibbutz, and village, from his writing table, which was always full, to all the tables of his many friends.
The library of Stavski-Stavi was not wealthy in quantity of books but important in its quality. It included books on nature and labor, fauna and flora,
and the legends of oriental peoples and of our nation, for children and adults, for the Biblical Hebrew language and agriculture and Arab life. His book The Arab Village (Ha-Kefar Ha-Arvi) was the crowning achievement of his social researches and one of the original and most important books to study the problem. This library was not only an eternal monument to the deceased writer but also an important national resource.
He didn't finish his work. He prepared a lot of material for additional publications. For a long time, he began to work on memorial books. He participated in memorial books for Brisk and Koval and fought for a book on Antopol. In 1962, he was at the head of the Israeli committee for a book on Antopol. We spent many evenings working on the reading of the material sent to this committee before it was sent to the New York committee. Suddenly we had to part from him. With concern and fear, we fought hard to preserve his health, but we didn't succeed. However, the memory of the man remained preserved in our heart, as if it were hovering over us. And when the door bell rings stronger than usual, the first thought passing in my mind is: Here the uncle comes.
A spiritually strong man seems to live forever. We quickly learned our mistake. However, we must establish a project to keep his memory alive in the future and to comfort us with his spiritual presence. We must establish a research institute with the method that he was so recently interested in. When he saw me working in the new field of atomic research, he also became interested in the details. He read several of our research works and wanted to know how to use nuclear knowledge in agricultural work. Thus, a fitting memorial for his name would be a radioactive-agricultural research laboratory, which would continue his ideas of research and improvement of natural resources in our country, which he loved so much and which now embraces him forever.
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