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[Page 466]

Yizkor

 

Avraham Gamzu[1]

By David Felner (Ben Avraham)

Translated by Gooter Goldberg

 

kal466e.jpg Avraham Gamzu
Avraham Gamzu

 

The dentist Avraham Gamzu settled in Kałuszyn straight after World War I. Homeless he arrived from Pinsk and immediately grew into the social fabric (of the town) thanks to his abilities and dedication.

Gamzu was involved body and soul with the Zionist ideal and dreamt of going to Israel. Around him began to gather the first active Zionists of the town - Shlomo Layb Felner, Netl (Neta?) Bronshpigl, Mordechai Kuski and others. Gamzu became the leader and spokesman of the organization of General Zionists[2]. His home became the centre of Zionist activity, (the venue) for meetings and conferences of the Zionist institutions and Eretz Israel[3] funds - the Jewish National Fund and Keren Hayesod[4].

He tried to attract the youth of Kałuszyn, to win them over to the Zionist way of thinking, to educate them in the spirit of Hebrew culture. His first achievements were – a Hebrew school, and soon after, on his initiative – a Hebrew library.

It's been almost forty years since I saw and heard Gamzu for the first time. It happened in the newly established Tarbut school[5]. It was his first appearance before us, the Tarbut students, on the Ninth of Av[6]. A pale short man holding a walking cane got up to the front of the hall and greeted us with a loud “shalom!” We responded with “shalom” as well, and he, the director of the school started his speech with the “agenda” of the day - about the destruction of the Temples and the hope of Eretz Israel. He lifted his right arm as if threatening somebody, and with a trembling voice exclaimed, while tapping with his feet: “If I forget thee O Jerusalem let my right hand wither…”[7]. Then he told about the devastation of Jerusalem, told us about Herzl[8] – “If you will it…”[9]. It was the first time that I was so overcome by quotations. The oath of “If I forget thee…” uttered with such emotion affected me more than all the verses that the rebbe[10] drummed into me in cheder[11]. Since then I began to listen to Gamzu attentively, became a frequent visitor in his home and a performer of various Zionist tasks under his guidance.

He liked mostly the activities on behalf of the J.N.F. and Keren Hayesod. He displayed a lot of initiative and (was full of) ideas in obtaining contributions and collecting them; he did this with enthusiasm: another penny – another parcel of land. He organized sales of poppies, raffles and collections at celebrations. He also inspired many people to agree to an ongoing monthly contribution.

To these activities he enlisted the young. We used to meet at his home to receive instructions and organize the actual work. He used to greet us with affection, take us into his surgery where the patients used to groan with toothache, and then and there, while attending them, he would deal with us about the problems at hand. If we expressed our readiness to wait until he finished treating the patients, he replied jokingly: “The Jewish People too, suffers from toothache and it won't wait”…

In his devotion to Zionist work he was keeping faith with the oath “If I forget thee…”, and we regarded him as a model of dedication to the ideal, notwithstanding any ideological differences (between us).

With special joy did he watch the marches of the Chaluts-Hashomer[12] youth, and would receive with enthusiasm our invitations to take part in the farewell parties for our comrades who were leaving for Eretz Israel.

All those years Gamzu was active on the City Council as councillors and alderman. He was also involved in the work of the kehilla[13]. Everywhere he gave of his time in the interests of the Jewish community, and all sectors of Jewish Kałuszyn treated him with affection and respect.

Gamzu stood at his post till the final days of the destruction. Together with all the Jews he wandered homeless amid the ruins of the town. For a time he stayed in Stashek's Court, and there I met him a few times. He spoke words of comfort and encouragement. He believed in a change for the better.

The German authorities nominated him leader of the Judenrat [14]. He behaved there as a proud Jew and never betrayed Jewish interests. When in 1942 (the Germans) began the aktions[15], and the Gestapo[16] demanded that he deliver Jews for deportation, he replied with a resolute NO. He was shot in his home, his wife and children were deported with all the Jews of Kałuszyn to be murdered.

I still remember his trembling at pronouncing the oath “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither…”

We too, will never forget him.


Translator's Footnotes

  1. This is an unedited translation from Yiddish of אברהם גמזו, an article in “Sefer Kalushin”, Published by the “Kalushiner Societies in Israel, the United States of America, Argentine, France and other countries”, Tel-Aviv, 1961.
    The Hebrew surname גמזו is sometimes also being transliterated as “Gamzo”. Return
  2. General Zionism was …the term to refer to the beliefs of the majority of members of the Zionist Organization [ZO] who had not joined a specific faction or party and belonged to their countrywide Zionist organizations only. (Based on Wikipedia). Return
  3. Land of Israel. Return
  4. Keren Hayesod - (Hebrew -literally “The Foundation Fund”).  An overseas funding organization for the World Zionist Organization established in 1920 at the World Zionist Conference in London. (Extract form Zionism and Israel - Encyclopedic Dictionary). Return
  5. The Tarbut movement was a network of secular, Hebrew-language schools in Poland, Romania and Lithuania between World War One and Two. (Based on Wikipedia). Return
  6. An annual fast day in Judaism, named for the ninth day of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar. The fast commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, which occurred about 656 years apart, but on the same date (Extract from Wikipedia). Return
  7. “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither, let my tongue cleave to my palate if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.” (Psalm 137, 5-7 – from www.mfa.gov.il/ - Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Return
  8. Theodor Herzl (1860 -1904) was a journalist, who was the father of modern political Zionism. He was born in Budapest (Austria-Hungary). In Vienna he studied Law, but he devoted himself almost exclusively to journalism and literature. As the Paris correspondent for Neue Freie Presse, Herzl followed the Dreyfus Affair, a notorious anti-Semitic incident in France in which a French Jewish army captain was falsely convicted of spying for Germany. He witnessed mass rallies in Paris following the Dreyfus trial where many chanted “Death to the Jews!” Herzl came to believe that the Jews must remove themselves from Europe and create their own state. From April, 1896, when the English translation of his Der Judenstaat (The State of the Jews) appeared, Herzl became the leading spokesman for Zionism. (Based on Wikipedia). Return
  9. “If you will it, it is no dream” was written by Theodor Herzl in his book Old, New Land and became the slogan of the Zionist movement - the striving for a Jewish National Home in Israel. (From Wikipedia). Return
  10. Teacher, religious instructor in cheder. (See note 11) Return
  11. An orthodox primary learning establishment, where boys were taught the Chumash, the five books of Moses or the Pentateuch. Return
  12. Also spelled HeHalutz (Hebrew: The Pioneer) - an association of Jewish youth whose aim was to train its members to settle in the Land of Israel, (and) which became an umbrella organization of the pioneering Zionist youth movements. (Answers.com). Hashomer (Hebrew: “The Watchman”) was a Jewish defense organization in Palestine founded in April 1909. The purpose of Hashomer was to provide guard services for Jewish settlements. Hashomer was originated by Socialist Zionists, mostly members of Poale Tsion. (Based on Zionism and Israel – Encyclopedic Dictionary). Return
  13. The word is used here for the institution of Jewish denominational autonomy. It was also used extensively for (Jewish) community. Return
  14. As the German army swept through Poland and the Soviet Union, it carried out an order of S.S. leader Heydrich to require the local Jewish populace to form Jewish Councils as a liaison between the Jews and the Nazis. These councils of Jewish elders, (Judenrat; plural: Judenräte), were responsible for organizing the orderly deportation to the death camps, for detailing the number and occupations of the Jews in the ghettos, for distributing food and medical supplies, and for communicating the orders of the ghetto Nazi masters. The Nazis enforced these orders on the Judenrat with threats of terror, which were given credence by beatings and executions. As ghetto life settled into a “routine,” the Judenrat took on the functions of local government, providing police and fire protection, postal services, sanitation, transportation, food and fuel distribution, and housing. The Judenrat raised funds to create hospitals, homes for orphans, disinfection stations, and to provide food and clothing to those without. (From www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/). Return
  15. Deportation to the death camps. Return
  16. GESTAPO (Abb. GEheime STAats-POlizei, “Secret State Police”), the secret police of Nazi Germany that persecuted Jews at the outset of the Nazi regime and later played a central role in carrying out the “Final Solution.”(Encyc.Judaica). Return


[Page 467]

Moyshe Kishelnitzky[1]

By Sholem Soroka

Translated by Gooter Goldberg

 

kal467e.jpg Moyshe Kishelnitzky
Moyshe Kishelnitzky

 

It befell Moyshe Kishelnitzky to be burdened with the difficult and tragic task of being in charge of Jewish affairs under the cruel directives of the German overlords. When the mayor of Kałuszyn, Pływaczewski was ordered by the Germans in November 1939 to establish a Judenrat (Jewish Council), Moyshe among others was also nominated.

The restrictions and chicanery began immediately after the appointment of the Judenrat, and Kishelnitzky had to negotiate and use all means to try to alleviate the peoples' distress. The Jewish tsores [2] kept coming thick and fast: in winter 1939 – an order to shoot ten affluent Jews unless they pay a ransom of ten thousand złotys [3], the amount to be delivered by the Judenrat; during Passover of 1940 thirty-eight boys were taken from Kałuszyn to Biała Podlaska[4] (ghetto) and Moyshe Kishelnitzky tried to intercede to get them released. For this he was beaten up. It took him two weeks to recover, after which he renewed his endeavours. He travelled to Biała, and this time succeeded in freeing the boys - to the great relief of the town.

In the summer of 1940 an edict was issued establishing a ghetto in Kałuszyn – yet Kishelnitzky managed to talk the authorities into allowing the Jews to remain in their dwellings. The entire town was designated a (Jewish) residential area, and for a while Jews were even allowed to move around outside the town.

Sunday, the eve of Yom-Kippur[5] of 1942, an hour before Kol Nidrei[6] the Judenrat was ordered to deliver the following morning, at 6 am five hundred men for (forced) labour. As the required number did not show up, German gendarmes assisted by Polish policemen dragged Jews out of all places of worship. Many were shot (then and there). Soon after, Moyshe Kishelnitzky was also arrested. The intercession of the Judenrat members Pienknavyesh and Rapoport was of no avail. They were told that the next day Kishelnitzky would be sent to Warsaw, and that his wife and children could come to say goodbye. Moyshe's son and the two members of the Judenrat waited for the car that was to take him to Warsaw, and when the vehicle did not show up – set out, avoiding the open road, to the arrest house. On the way they heard the shots… When they arrived, Moyshe Kishelnitzky was already dead and his body removed – as if nothing happened.

The following morning all Jews came out of hiding for the funeral. According to eye witnesses, on the faces (of the mourners) one could see the extent of the loss they felt. Great was the sorrow and grieving after him, who day and night, endangering himself watched over Jewish interests and who sacrificed himself for the Jews of Kałuszyn.

His memory shall be blessed!


Translator's Footnotes

  1. This is an unedited translation from Yiddish of משה קישעלניצקי, an article in “Sefer Kalushin”, Published by the “Kalushiner Societies in Israel, the United States of America, Argentine, France and other countries”, Tel-Aviv, 1961. Return
  2. Troubles. Return
  3. “Golden” – Polish currency unit.
    After 1924 the złoty was pegged at 0.1687 grams pure gold (Wikipedia). Return
  4. A town situated 162 km east of Warsaw, 120 km north of Lublin, and 61 km east of Siedlce. (www.deathcamps.org/). Return
  5. Yom Kippur - known in English as the Day of Atonement, is the most solemn and important of the Jewish holidays. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. ( Wikipedia). Return
  6. Kol Nidrei is a prayer recited in the synagogue at the beginning of the evening service on Yom Kippur. It is written in Aramaic. Its name is taken from the opening words, meaning “All vows”. (From Wikipedia). Return


[Page 470]

Moyshe Goldberg[1]

by Y.Granatovitch

Translated by Gooter Goldberg

 

kal470e.jpg Moyshe Goldberg
Moyshe Goldberg

 

Among the first communal activists that were murdered by the Gestapo[2] in Warsaw, during the night of 18th April 1942 were also Moyshe Goldberg and his wife Ruchtche Lis.

Moyshe Goldberg was in those days active in the circles of the underground hairdressers union, which was one of the cells of the resistance movement against Nazism.

Moyshe always carried the burden of communal activism and spared no effort for the socialist ideal.

Being a child of the Kałuszyn poor he very early had to contend with financial worries. He tried out a number of trades and finally learned upper-shoe making in Warsaw. He suffered hunger and his bed was often a hard bench; however, the greater his privation, the brighter was his vision of a new order, for which he yearned as intensely as his rabbinical ancestors longed for the Messiah.

It was the beginning of Polish independence, the honeymoon of Polish democracy. The Jewish workers' movement in Kałuszyn organized massive shows of strength with red flags and slogans. Moyshe Goldberg, the proletarian youth with a forehead of a Talmudic[3] scholar used to join the ranks of the marchers; at workers' meetings one could hear his inspiring words and he became the venerated leader of the Bundist[4]youth movement in town.

His every appearance made an impression. The young simply idolised him: who else comprehended so well their deprivation? Moyshe saw his main mission among the youth, at meetings of Skif [5]. From their poor homes, he used to take them out into fields and forests; for them he composed and sang songs of struggle and hope. His comradely bonding with every one had a great effect. The neglected, sad, and slouching children of the poor straightened their backs and marched cheerfully in the sporting teams of Morgenshtern[6].

Moyshe used to tell the young about great popular heroes who sacrificed themselves for freedom and at the same time, he himself served as a role model of self-sacrifice and incorruptibility. He always used to pay entrance fees to his own lectures; was always ready to answer every call and did not spare his health. Even when blood showed from his affected lungs, he did not give up his activities for the cause.

After many years of toil in the shtetl[7] he was offered a job as a functionary in the centre. However, this did not appeal to Moyshe – how could he ever take payment for party work? Instead, he took up work in a hairdressing shop, lived in a cellar-dwelling where his two brothers, Yankl and Aron died of consumption.

Then the war came, the fascist onslaught overwhelmed all of Poland and the top leaders and activists left the country. Moyshe however, remained and took up the underground activities with the degree of self-sacrifice that was characteristic of him.

I recall a song by Moyshe Goldberg published in Yugnt-Veker [8] - “A call to a sister”. He calls her to march with him:

“Not on roads where roses bloom,
But to the cemetery where the howling of jackals
Bewails the death of brothers and sisters.
On thorns your frail feet will tread,
And from your open wounds blood will drip.
Moyshe Goldberg walked this bitter thorny road, but instead of meeting the torch bearers for which he yearned, he met Gestapo goons. On a Friday night, in the middle of spring when everything awakes to a new life, they pulled him off his bed (in Warsaw) and on Novolipki Street brutally murdered him.


Translator's Footnotes

  1. This is an unedited translation from the Yiddish of an article in “Sefer Kałuszyn”, Published by the “Kaluszyner Societies in Israel, the United States of America, Argentine, France and other countries”, Tel-Aviv, 1961.(The translation and reference notes were made by Moyshe's nephew, Gooter Goldberg, Melbourne, Australia). Return
  2. GESTAPO (Abb. GEheime STAats-POlizei, “Secret State Police”), the secret police of Nazi Germany that persecuted Jews at the outset of the Nazi regime and later played a central role in carrying out the “Final Solution.”(Encycl.Judaica)Return
  3. Talmud - a record of rabbinic discussions of Jewish law, ethics, customs, and history. Return
  4. Bund - Abbreviation of Algemeyner Yidisher Arbeter Bund in Lite, Poyln un Rusland; “General Jewish Workers' Union in Lithuania, Poland and Russia”, Jewish socialist party founded in Russia in 1897 (Encyc.Judaica). Return
  5. Union of Socialist Children. Return
  6. “Morning Star” – a sports association under the aegis of the Bund. Return
  7. Yiddish for a small town. Return
  8. “Youth clarion-call” – the organ of the Bund youth movement. Return


[Page 479]

Shmul Layzer Sadovski[1]

By Avrum Goldberg

Translated by Gooter Goldberg

 

kal479e.jpg Shmul Layzer Sadovski
Shmul Layzer Sadovski
Please Note: This photograph is not in the
printed (1961) version of Sefer Kałuszyn

 

S.L. Sadovski was born in 1900 in Kałuszyn. His father was a shingle-roof layer. The mother, Brayndle sold dress materials at the market.

Although common people, the parents, especially the mother wanted their son to become a scholar, because he was “the answer to a Rebbe's[2] prayer”.

At the age of 14-15, while studying the Gemara[3], he began reading secular books. By the age of 18, before the end of the German occupation during World War I he was already an active member in the Cultural Association “Tsukunft”[4], which was the forerunner of the Bund [5] in Kałuszyn.

After the Bolshevik invasion in 1920[6], Sadovski was in the first group of nine Bundists who at a clandestine meeting renewed the Bund organization.

From 1927 until the arrival of the German murderers two weeks after the outbreak of World War II Sadovski was an alderman in the Kałuszyn municipal council, representing the Bund. Although still a young person, he gained everybody's respect.

During the turmoil of the first days of the war, he joined the movement of the big mass of refugees towards the eastern border of Poland. He was troubled by the news from home that the Germans torched the entire town, house by house and that his wife (Sorele Kramarz[7]) is homeless and without means of support. His sense of duty did not let him rest. He decided to smuggle himself across the river Bug[8] in order to get back home.

As is being related, Shmul Layzer Sadovski was in the last group of Jews shot the 28th September 1942.


Translator's Footnotes

  1. This is an unedited translation from the Yiddish of an article in “Sefer Kałuszyn”, Published by the “Kałuszyner Societies in Israel, the United States of America, Argentine, France and other countries”, Tel-Aviv, 1961. Return
  2. Rebbe – a leader of a Chassidic sect. Return
  3. Gemara, a discussion of the Mishnah, a written collection of Judaism's Oral Law and the related writings. (Based on Encyc.Judaica). Return
  4. Forward Return
  5. Abbreviation of Algemeyner Yidisher Arbeter Bund in Lite, Poyln un Rusland; “General Jewish Workers' Union in Lithuania, Poland and Russia”), Jewish socialist party founded in Russia in 1897 (Encyc.Judaica). Return
  6. The Soviet-Polish war of 1919-1920. Return
  7. The author's sister-in-law. Return
  8. By now the demarcation line between the German and Soviet occupation forces. Return

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