by Mordechai Gotlib (Jerusalem)
Translated by Lance Ackerfeld
He was one of the interesting personalities in Dąbrowa's landscape. He was affable, with good connections with the Jewish and Zionist communities, did not stand out and didn't like noisiness.
|Engineer Abram Jakob Klajn
Founder of the steel product factory
in the city of Dąbrowa
He, together with his brothers, Wolf and Szmul zl, established a flourishing industrial plant from nothing. The plant employed hundreds of workers, grew and developed and became renown in all of Poland before the Second World War.
He was an excellent engineer by profession. He utilized his talents and experience and continuously improved the design and production stages. His understanding and wisdom were imprinted in every screw and new piece of equipment that he produced in his plant. He knew how to maintain fair and good relationships with his workers. His advice and opinion were given great importance.
He was modest and level-headed, an authoritative figure, full of life and energy, willing to give any assistance and a friend to any person. He donated a great deal to the Zionist movement and the national funds.
In March 1939, I met him in the Yeshurun synagogue in Jerusalem. In the conversation I had with him I requested and pleaded with him that he not return to Poland and he replied to me: If I don't return to Dąbrowa, my factory will be destroyed, and all the people that work in it will be endanger of starving.
The very fact of his coming to Jerusalem, a year before the outbreak of the Holocaust, proved the difficult indecision of here and there between what was anticipated for Polish Jewry, and the opportunity to start anew in the Land of Israel. Unfortunately, he didn't have the strength to remain in Israel, and returned to the entrapment.
He tried escaping a bitter fate and built a bunker in the home of one of his Christian workers, however the neighbors informed on him and he and all his family were killed.
One of his daughters is in Israel and one overseas.
May his memory be blessed.
by Isser Lavi
Translated by Lance Ackerfeld
Here he stands before me, a short Jew adorning a long beard that stood out because of its whiteness, and who induced a good atmosphere around him.
How can I describe him today, 35 years after I last saw him? He stood as a
nimble merchant next to the counter of his metal tools shop.
|Jakob Szalom Fiszel zl
pure-hearted, chassid and a charitable man
Or perhaps I should describe him as an activist in Mizrachi, standing and toiling in the Bet Midrash on the evenings of festivals and weekdays next to the bowls, into which the Jews generously donated to the charity organizations and Zionist funds?
Or perhaps as a member of the Chevrat Kaddisha [Burial Society], laboring and organizing the funeral of the deceased, preparing the coffin, arrangements in the health ministry and taking care of a burial plot? Or perhaps in his blessed activity in the many charity organizations: Bikur Cholim [visiting the sick], Linat Tzedek [hospice for the poor] or just going out in the street with the potshyla for collected money for some need.
And perhaps as a member of the minyan [prayer meeting] on the eastern side of the Bet Midrash, singing and helping the prayer leaders in the Shacharit [morning] prayer or the Kabbalat Shabbat [welcoming in the Sabbath]? However, certainly the High point was on the day of Simchat Torah [the celebration of the Torah]: Reb Jakob-Szalom Fiszel would go up on the podium and led the hakfot [circuits dancing around with the Torah scrolls], his voice rising above everyone and was the first in every circuit.
G-d please save was the traditional circuit, however he considered himself equal to everyone and a good spirit enveloped him as he set out dancing together with us youths. Afterwards came the usual feast in the Bet Midrash, beer and wine flowing freely to all and singing rejoiced in everyone's hearts, a festival today for the Jews with Reb Jakob-Szalom Fiszel opposite you in a skullcap.
I still see him as a friend of the children and youngsters, pinching cheeks as an introduction to each of us and afterwards when we were youths, as if we were his partners in the Zionist movement and saw us as friends.
He was a typical Jew who had a big heart, and was a dear and loving soul to all of us. He was characteristic of a national-religious Jew and close to us in his spirit and deeds.
May his memory be blessed.
by K. Barkai
Translated by Lance Ackerfeld
Who in our town didn't know them? And for whom didn't Hinde-Rajzl sew undergarments, pillowcases, sheets and nightgowns?
When parents were marrying their daughter or son, they approached the Pomocnik
family six months in advance that they sew the oysshtayer (wedding
attire) for the bride or groom. Both of them worked in the sewing trade more
than eight hours a day. It was a workshop in which work was never lacking, on
the contrary there weren't enough hours in the day to complete
everything. A number of laborers worked there and there were also pupils to
whom Hinde-Rajzl taught the profession. The couple were blessed with hands of
gold and their handiwork was magnificent and the quality excellent.
|Josef Szymon and Hinde-Rajzl Pomocnik|
The clients of the Pomocnik family were pleased with their work and their good reputation spread throughout the town. Everyone knew that they were diligent, honest and good-hearted people. If my memory serves me correct, they lived at 16 Okrzei Street. Josef-Szymon zl was a prayer leader with a pleasant voice. He worshipped in the shtibl [small synagogue] of the tradesmen and was also a committee member. Hinde-Rajzl zl was a righteous person and worthy of being called the Mother of the Dabrowians. I often visited their home and saw that everything was her responsibility: She remembered that somewhere there was a woman in confinement, in need of glass of milk or a plate of barley soup, that was then known as a gritz, and immediately went to bring her what was needed. She was also a member of the Hachnasat Kala [preparation of the bride] society and collected money to marry off a poor bride. She was also a matchmaker, but not in order receive gain from this.
At the beginning of every week, a Jew would come to Hinde-Rajzl to request a loan in order to buy merchandise, and at the end of the week he would pay her back the loan.
Opposite Hinde-Rajzl's home lived a boot maker, naturally not wealthy. She intentionally gave him shoes to repair that she would never need, since she knew that he didn't have [much of] a livelihood.
When meeting a boy or girl from a poor family (she knew every resident in the town), she would give them a sum of money using the excuse that she owed their mother money.
The KKL [Jewish National Fund] box hung in their home and was always full to overflowing. Their hands were open and their hearts large and warm. The couple used to buy all the Israeli bonds because they were lovers of Zion, and lovingly treated the young generation and their aspirations and even made their modest apartment available for their use. What didn't take place in their house? There were gatherings, meetings and rehearsals for shows. Their only son, long may he live, was a member in the Hashomer Hatzair movement. Even rehearsals for the show by the Bnot Yakov [Daughters of Jakob] took place in their home, since their young daughter Chava-Lea zl was a member of this movement. Dancing was also learnt in their home, thanks to their eldest daughter Chajele zl, and if a trip took place that was run by the Hashomer Hatzair movement, indeed the night before a number of members would sleep in their home and early in the morning would set out on their way. The noise didn't bother the Pomocnik family, it was always joyous in their home. In spite of them being religious they didn't get in the way of their children or their friends and their patience should serve an example.
In 1935 their son, Alter, and his wife, Esther Szpielberg, arrived in
Palestine. A year later after they had acclimatized somewhat they began
worrying about how they would bring their parents to the country. The Mandate
period was difficult and complicated, since the law determined that someone
wanting to bring their parents to the country needed to be a property owner.
And indeed a yid a lamdan git zich doch an etza; Alter purchased a
block of land in Kiryat Charoshet in the Haifa area, and via this received a
license to bring his parents to Palestine, who within two years arrived in the
It was exactly a day before Purim [Jewish festival]. There was no end to their joy to see the Purim celebrations in Tel Aviv for the first time in their lives with their own eyes and in particular, the Ad loyeda [Purim procession]. Likewise, all the Dabrowians came to see them and celebrate with them.
The people from our town who lived in Tel Aviv and the surroundings were invited to the seder [festive meal] on the first night of Pesach [Passover festival] and I and my family were amongst them. There was a great deal of joy being seated next to the arranged table. This experience remains engraved in my memory. We danced and were merry till sunrise.
In Palestine, as well, Hinde-Rajzl did not remain unoccupied, and was not despaired of carrying out charity work, Gmilot Chassidim [philanthropic society], Moshav Zkenim [old age Home] , synagogue, Hachnasat Kala [preparation of brides], secret almsgiving, and even did not forget to be a matchmaker and also successfully at that.
And what did Josef Szymon do? He helped his son in his profession, assisted his wife in anything that was needed in the home and so forth. He did not forget the synagogue either and went daily to worship there. He was a modest man, gentle and good hearted, always willing to help his fellow man. He was contented with what he had. I often visited him in their home and enjoyed sitting and discussing with him about various subjects.
Hinde-Rajzl began complaining about pains, her heart weakened, attack followed attack, but this diligent woman didn't pay attention to this and continued with her work. However fate is cruel and did what it does; one fine day, whilst considering matchmaking, she suddenly had a heart attack. Her strength weakened from moment to moment and towards evening she returned her pure soul to her Maker. All of the town's people paid their last respects and accompanied her on her final journey. It is worth pointing out that several years before, Hinde-Rajzl had organized land for a burial plot for her and her husband in the Kiryat Shaul cemetery and took out a license for erecting a headstone, in order to avoid causing bother to her only son after her death.
Her husband remained forlorn and helpless and would bitterly weep for his beloved wife. He didn't hold out for very long, his strength left him and a year and a half later he was also summoned to the heavens. Both died in old age and left deep memories in the hearts all of the town's people.
Thus they were an elderly couple who in life and death were not separated.
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