by Dr. Morton R. Lang.
In order to appreciate fully the horrors described in the articles that follow and to understand the speed, fury and methodical thoroughness with which this utter devastation of Jewish life, homes, institutions, synagogues and yes even cemeteries, some historical background is important. It must also be recognized that such Crimes Against Humanity Jewish could not possibly be committed by the German Nazi hordes alone, without the participation and help of the majority of the local Christian population largely Ukrainian, who were the great majority of residents in this area. Detailed reference is made in some of the articles.
To focus first on the speed with which this was accomplished, it must be remembered that this area of PreWW2 South-Eastern Poland, also referred to as Galicia, was occupied by the Soviets at the beginning of WW2, in September, l939 and held by the Russians until the Nazi onslaught in June, 1941. They were expelled by the Russians in the Spring of 1944. Thus the murderers did not have 5 years, as in Western and Central Poland, which the Nazis held from 1939, but only less than 3 years in which to perpetrate their heinous devastation and slaughter.
To gain a proper perspective it should be understood that during the Soviet occupation, the local population was not permitted to harass the Jews.
Economically and in terms of social status, the Jews were much better off than under the recently defeated Polish regime. As a matter of fact (and reference to this is made in several articles) Jews were in power locally in numerous administrative and governmental positions, even Jewish policemen, virtually unheard of in small town Poland. And to be honest, the Jew who was hated by local Ukrainians and Poles under the best of circumstances, had this hatred magnified not only because he now had to accept Jewish overlordship, but because there was undoubtedly a certain amount of vengeful Jewish spite.
The question may rightfully be asked: Were the Soviets so enamored of the Jews? Definitely not! The fact of the matter was that the hatred of the Russians toward the Poles and their distrust and dislike of the Ukrainians (because of their repetitive attempts during periods of unrest throughout history to wrest independence from Russia, (e.g. Recent emergence of Ukraina at the dissolution of the Former Soviet Union); that left them with the only weak minority over whom they could always assert control when necessary. Furthermore, the Jews were the only group who were fully literate in several languages and became a good local source of talent.
When the Russians retreated in 1941 in the face of the Nazi onslaught, the Ukrainians needed no incitement from the Germans to revenge themselves on the Jews. According to the Ukrainian concept, they enlisted by the thousands to form 2 voluntary Ukrainian army divisions to fight under German command , while thousands more volunteered to serve with the Nazi Einsatzgrupen, the Gestapo search and killer squads against Jews and others still who served as concentration camp guards and extermination centers. All this under the patriotic slogans of winning independence from the hated Russians and Poles. promised by the Germans.The robbery, rapine and murder of their traditional anti-Christ, as defined over the centuries by their priests, was mere icing on the cake.
I can personally attest that Jewish Chorostkow is completely obliterated, without even a trace of the pre war thriving Jewish community of some 5000 souls, having visited there and several neighboring towns in August, 2002. The only evidence that Jews lived there is the Monument, erected post war by the Halpern Brothers, Arie and Sam, themselves survivors from Chorostkow, in Memory of the remnant of a few hundred Jews slaughtered at the local forced labor camp in a final orgy of death before the Nazi retreat in 1944.
[Pages 325 332]
A Memorial for the Jews of Chorostkow
Blima Feffer Lampel / New York
Translated by Morton Lang
Remember! Do not forget! Not Chorostkow, the town, nor the Jews who lived there and were annihilated in its streets, lanes, at the walls of the town center and in their miserable homes.
Remember the proud Tennenbaums, as firmly entrenched as their brick houses. Remember as well those whose family names no one knew, such as Hentshe, Gitshe der Babbys, Chava Loshak, Yossel Baruch, the lame one, - all the religious and all the secular ones, the young and the old Remember!
Remember Brontshe Tennenbaum, the Prima Donna of the drama club, who was a head taller than the other girls. Crowned with a head of bright sun like hair, symbolic of an imperial family, who could speak some Polish and read Sholom Ash in translation. With her perished the younger Sherale, the Rabbi's, somewhat unsure of herself, a little bent over perhaps because of the weight of her long braids or even longer yichus (heritage) that radiated from her large sad eyes which dominated her entire features.
I remember Chorosrkow after WW1. The youth was in ferment while somewhere else in this great world, a man with a foreign name, Balfour, a Lord yet, issued a declaration and Hersch Mendel Klein's mop of hair shook and became tussled even in calm weather. The rhythm of the times reached the Chorostcower young people. The Jewish people after many years of silence was given a voice. The walls of the Great Shul vibrated, only this time not from reciting Psalms, or the study of a page of Talmud, but from the fiery tongue of Fishel Werber. He stands there in his boots covered with dust from his father in law's barley mill, his wide forehead covered with perspiration, his glasses fogged from his innermost heat. Not to the fathers, the generation of the desert, were his words addressed but to the youth. Even if we did not grasp the meaning of his speeches, nevertheless, the meaning and the essence of his words, like overdue rain awakens the dried up corners of their hearts.
Poalei-Zion, Rightists, Leftists, Hechalutz (pioneers), all appeared. Every Monday at the very height of the Yarid (market day), Dosia Bomze appeared on the street and pinned on blue and white ribbons and collected donations for Eretz Israel. The merchants and peddlers from the surrounding towns: Grzymalow, Kopychince, Suchostaw and other places, looked at Dosia's pert, saucy hair cut short and gleaming white teeth, which were always visible because of the ringing laughter from one who knew that no one was more beautiful than she. The Jews forgot that they still did not have a poczatek( a first customer) and Dosia laughed and laughed.
But Dosia did not have a monopoly on beauty. The schochet's (kosher slaughterer) daughters were all beauties. But the most beautiful of all were Sorale Schachter and her sister Basia who, like a young doe on the edge of the forest, looked out to the open world with frightened eyes, so that no one would notice the hunger, concealed by the pale greenish colour of her face.
If any young people remained in Chorostkow after getting married, it was not because they wanted to, but because they had no choice. For example, Fruma the seamstress, when both Kleiner brothers fell in love with her, she could not decide which one to chose, because she could have been assured a visa to Canada until she perished in a gas chamber. A similar fate befell Motle Afrim, the bakery deliverer. If her father had become a baker earlier rather than later, the wedding would have been sooner and in all probability, she would be among the living today.
All wanted to run away, escape from the grip and enforced lifestyle of emptiness; a package of oakum, a bag of wheat, a bundle of flax; the young people yearned for a homeland, searched for productive employment, decent work to build and reconstitute oneself. Yetka Yaritchover, my friend, was among the first chalutzim immigrants to Eretz Israel. Unfortunately she too shared the fate of the 6 million martyrs. She returned to Poland and her black glowing eyes still light up memories who will weep over all our Chorostkower children who never lived out their lives?
I remember the genius of the Katz family who by the age of 10 had completed all of Shas (Talmud). Who can tell to what heights he would have risen or the depths of understanding he would have achieved? In whose memories still remain the great beauty and somewhat disheveled Herschele Finegold or his sisters? And Zosia Ashkenazi Feingold with her large dimples filled with happiness?
Who will say Kadish (Memorial Prayer) for my father, Avraham Feffer of blessed memory, the butcher? He did not want to abandon his home nor perish at the hands of the hateful so he hanged himself from a rafter in the ceiling. His heir, Yosele, burned alive in a bunker. His friend Krenkel did not want to reveal their hiding place and died together in the flames.
The wife of Dr. Auerhan, who was distant and estranged from Jews and Judaism must also be mentioned. When the Jews of the town were rounded up to the market place, she pleaded with the murderers, in flawless German they should shoot her on the spot: Spare me the humiliation and the killer complied and shot her on her own veranda, in her lonely assimilation.
My cousin Sarah Lavner, was not so lucky. Wounded, she staggered for 3 days through the streets of Chorostkow. No one wanted to end her suffering. Of her 4 sons and 2 daughters, not one is left alive.
Who is strolling now on the promenade when the acacia scent is in bloom? Missing are Tzipe Bleich and Bumik Pasternak, Bernard Kon, Shlomo Rotenberg, Dovtche Shtein, Ruzia Gelbart and Zosha Wallach buds on a burned twig. And who is romancing on the Nine O'clock Walk? Surely the stones and stars still remain, the only witnesses.
Remember! there was a town with Jews. There, goats strolled on roofs and young people strove toward unseen heavens. I can still see the grotesque creatures of Chorosstkow. The klappers who at the Yarid (weekly market) slapped into the hands of the shopper French Manure. Rechale the meshugane (crazy one ) who raised her skirt for non-Jewish young men and danced for them; the pick pockets, slight of hand, like Sholkale, Bashale and others of local talent.
The meshugene (nutty ones) also were part of colorful Jewish Chorostkow. Efroim who carried the chickens to the shochet (kosher slaughterer), was delighted if the soup turned sour in someone's house, because then he had something to eat. Herschelle, the odd one, still appears in my dreams to this day always waiting for me in the darkened corridors of the Main Synagogue when I am on my way home from my friend Ita who lived near the Rathause (old town hall). I run away and he chases me and I awake from sleep, covered in sweat. The town is gone, the Synagogue is gone - the people are gone.
Remember! The good and the bad; the beautiful and the ugly; the con artist and the honest. From the Red Bridge to the Mill, from the Tserilifke to Bath House Street.
Remember! The little girls who collected water from the well in winter which was covered by sheets of ice. Somewhere deep in the well still echoes the childish laughter of Zvi Wechsler, Rosa-Leah Witoff, Golda and Zirl when Zirl slipped with her bucket of water. This Zirl had a different method of bringing 4 buckets of water in one trip: carry two buckets part way, leave them there, return for the other two and bring them to the first ones until she brought all 4 home.
Between the stones and pews of the Main Synagogue vibrate, even today, the echoes of the tiny steps of Reise, Aharon Itzik's. There on the grated windows she kept her flower pots flowering dreams. She measured silk material for non Jewish brides and hoped that the boy who chases the wind will eventually settle down and notice who truly loves him.
Behind the shul lived Mordechai Wolf, the schochet (kosher slughterer). During the day he killed fowl and in the evening cattle. Occasionally he would sneak over to his house to drink a glass of tea. Mordechai Wolf was a man of principles, even his tea drinking was ceremonial and strictly observed. A story is told that one time when he came home he saw that on the chair on which he always sits to drink tea, Dvoshe the dry goods store keeper, spread herself out. He doesn't hesitate very long and says to her: Be so kind and get up. I have to sit down to drink my tea.
On another occasion when a non Jewish maid came to slaughter a chicken, he was drinking his tea. The truth is that he could not speak Polish, but he felt obliged to tell her that he was occupied at the moment saying to her drink tea. She does not think for long and sits down at his table in order to drink tea. The schochet starts yelling that this is not what he meant and the whole town was in stitches thereafter.
When a cow with a swelling appeared occasionally at my father's, Moredechai Wolf rolled up his sleeves and like an experienced surgeon pulled vein after vein until the swelling subsided and the meat became kosher (ritually fit to eat)
Visualize, a small town Chorostkow, not even indicated on a map. The murky stream , named Teina (in Jewish it means Quiet), flowed like a gartel (belt) between the town and the village, dividing Jew from gentile. The stream is still there now, so is the gentile, but Gittel Isaac's, the dairy lady with her son and daughters, their horse and wagon are no longer there. Not they, not their children nor their children's children who were to follow them. The chain of life has been severed, the names forgotten. Who will recall Jankle Fleishman , the young man with a great taste for elegance. And how gracefully he danced. Or Jankle the barber whom girls followed with desire filled eyes. Or Shaike Koenig, the rebel of the town, whose words made girls and women of the town often blush.. Even young men pretended not to hear when Shaike spoke out. Perhaps, because of worldly condemnation, his mother the limping widow, Bayle Yente has to stand with lime in the market square and if God helped by bringing on rain, the lime began to heat and boil and whitened her blackened face.
And speaking of lime one can visualize Jehoshua Neiman, the painter with his son and daughter Henie Rivka. Remember the family Brilliant who probably derived their surname from the sharp, sparkling eyes because their actual surname was Kapler. Whatever happened to them?
Where did the Rathaus disappear? Where are the merchants who sat there with their apples, pears and other fruit amidst the arched porticos? Woe to the one who touched a fruit and then did not want to buy it. All the curses imaginable were directed toward him or her. What happened to Melech Nusie's earthen pots? Or Hendsel Goldhirshe's barrels of naphtha? And what happened to the small fine business of the fine young man Mottel Dick?
*(This anecdote is also related by Sh. Klinger's The Religious Life, but with a different set of circumstances. However, the intent is the same. Both relate the ways of small town life, the habits and rituals of its inhabitants and the fact that a large proportion of the Jewish population, particularly among the more ritually observant, spoke little or no Polish, only Mame Loshon(the mother tongue) Yiddish.)
All of Jewish life of the town revolved around the town hall (Rathaus). Berl Itzik Ali's with his bread rolls, the small skinny Chana Leibish melamed's with her box of soap. What happened to Itzik Katz's iron business, the advocate of unity? And of the half empty store of my aunt Rachel Halpern? Nearby was the tinsmith with his tin wear. I still see Motle Kreenkel with her long braids reaching her knees,who is bringing hot tea to her father or grand father.
What happened to the Town Hall? Were the stores plundered, the tower torn down and the earth dug up? No matter what happens, the spirit of Israel Libster will never depart from there. Imagine, even today he celebrates his beautiful Shabbats and sings zmirot
With the Husiatyner melody. In the large hall of his tavern many Chorostkow brides were married, the large Zionist meetings were held and dances sponsored by our youth were also held in that hall.
In his tavern I saw for the first time a living poet, Benjamin Resler from Kopichinitz. He wore a cape and a wide pet's necktie. Around him crowded Shlomo Pasternak, Rosalie Hersh, Henia Glazner, Pepi Stein. At every opportunity I remind myself of the thrill I experienced then.
Who remembers Motkele Tennenbaum, the meshuganer, who brought all the world's wisdom to Chorostkow. And who can forget my brother Israel Feffer, whom the long arm of fate pursued all the way to France, where he died as a fighter in the underground, fighting there one day before liberation? In the cemetery in Lyon there is a small headstone on his grave. Not the passage of years, no the relentless march of time, nor the hideous death, not even eternity can diminish his place as a man of ideals, heroism; his efforts to change the march of history to alter the fate of all the oppressed my brother Israel Feffer.
With equal pain, should be mentioned the name of Abraham Chaim Feffer not a relative only a friend. He was everybody's friend, a sort of Jewish Robin Hood. He felt himself at home everywhere a mediator between rich and poor, observant and secular, the educated and the less so. Blessed with muscles like a giant and a child's smile, with a born instinct for what is just. Like a guardian he watched over his town Jews. With a smile and a good word, he defended all those who could not agree among themselves even the non Jews consulted Abramke, patted him on his back and called him our brother.
Also Yosi (the deformed) Hochman was a similar nasz brat (our brother) with the poor peasants. They came to his father's mill from the surrounding villages to mill their wheat. But his reputation did not defend his only daughter. She was 12 years old when an infuriated Ukrainian or Pole pulled her out from the bunker. This happened one Spring Sunday, not long before the liberation. There were no German's present. The pogromchik threw a rope over her neck and led her to the market square where a crowd gathered who had just left the church, following religious services. The crowd surrounded the victim who was pleading : Let me live good people I've just lost my parents, my relatives. You know all of them my father, my grandfather, perhaps even my great-grandfather. She spoke Ukrainian well, but not one helping hand stretched out to her. True, several women whimpered, blew their noses into their Sunday handkerchiefs and looked on as the hands of the killer dipped in the child's blood
There was a town that lived, pulsed and vibrated with old and new strings. There Chasidim are dancing their loose red beards moving to the rhythm of the fiery melody, and those in the back stuff the red scarves in their kaftans and follow suit. Some of them fasted every Monday and Thursday (the two days of the week when the Torah is read during morning services) glided along the walls like shadows and believed that with this they brought closer the coming of the Moshiach (Messiah).
There was a town that is no more!
I am certain that every spring the frogs give the same concert which I used to hear through open windows, because I lived near the brook. That the air is saturated with the aromas of lilacs and acacias but Jewish lungs do not breathe that in any more.
Should I curse the golden wheat fields that shimmer in waves in the hot summer days? Should I curse the fertile black earth that is soaked with innocent Jewish blood? The earth of my parents where I stepped out in my first pair of shoes, my mother's silent tears where my first cradle stood. Where my mother's song and the song of all Jewish mothers told the story of the Promised Land, aroused and nourished the yearning for Jerusalem, the Holy City in the Holy Land.
A memorial for you Jews of Chorostkow we remember you!
[Pages 332 333]
Chorostkow Under the Soviets
Itzchak Kessler, Cholon
Translated by Morton Lang
To the shining memory of my parents, Moshe and Charna Kessler z.l.
On September 1, 1939 we were all terrified when we learned on the radio of the German
Invasion of Poland and the bombing of her cities. That same day we also heard air raid alarms in our town, but since there were no bunkers or cellars in town, people ran to the river to seek protection. A few days later, Chorostkow was bombed. Because of this the confusion was very great. Many refugees from Western Poland began to arrive . Mong these refugees were known writers, performers, artists and journalists. Also the Jews of Chorostkow began to think of picking up the traveling canes and head for the Romanian or Russian borders.
Saturday evening a airplanes appeared over our town several times, but there were no bombs. The Jews awaited the arrival of the Germans with worry and fear. The next morning, September 17, instead there appeared Russian tanks. As it became obvious later, the Red army crossed the Polish border. As soonas they arrived in town, the soldiers distributed pamphlets which declared: We came to liberate the population from the Polish yoke
Now the Jews emerged from the cellars and hiding places and were happy that the Russians came instead of the horrible Germans. People even kissed the dust covered tanks. At that time everyone was convinced that the Red army not only saved the Jews from the murderous Germans but above all from the Ukrainian pogromchiks who had been sharpening their knives for a long time. And actually, the next day peasants from the surrounding villages arrived armed with axes, saws, shovels and knives in order to rob and murder and generally to lord it over the Jewish population.
As the new power established itself, Jews began to feel pressure on their activists, especially the Zionists. Businessmen lived in fear as to the destiny of their business' several actually closing and in town were seen long lines of people who started buying up articles needed for survival.
Artisans organized themselves into cooperatives, doctors found employment in the newly opened hospital in the palace of Count Sieminski . Teachers taught in the schools and colleges for bookkeeping, teachers and nursing were opened for the young people. Practically everybody had employment and businessmen formed cartels. At that time many refugees registered for return to areas occupied by the Germans. One night all the registrants, under heavy guard, were deported deep into Russia. As a result a number of them are alive today in Israel, America and other countries.
The fear that Chorostkow Jews would be deported to Siberia was unfounded, Not one from our town was deported other than the former secret agents of the Polish police forces and government employees.
There were some people who created concern to Zionist activists, especially from the youth movements. Luckily nothing bad happened to anyone. Youth groups would meet so that would not lose hope of achieving their dreams and goals for which they had struggled until war broke out. We also continued to maintain contact with the Zionist youth movements in Wilno (Vilna), but that did not last very long.
On June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany attacked Russia. Only on July 1 did the Russians brgin to evacuate Chorostkow after ruling the town for 20 months. A small number of young people saved themselves with the retreating Russian army and administration and another group was mobilized earlier, but the majority of Jewish residents remained. Before the Germans entered Chorostkow and established their regime of wildest terror and murder, the Ukrainian bands allowed themselves to deal openly with the Jewish residents. After that they helped the Germans to destroy the Jews of Chorostkow.
Honor the Memory of the Martyrs!
[Pages 334 335]
First Letter About the Holocaust
Matilda Krenkel Goldflies
Translated by Morton Lang
A copy from a Jewish newspaper in Argentina after the liberation.
Submitted by W. Jacobson.
(Matilda Kkrenkel is the same Motle Krenkel referred to by Blima FefferLempel in her article A Memorial to the Jews of Chorostkow She was the sister of Chawcia Krenkel Halpern who is the wife of Arie Halpern , one of the generous Halpern brothers of New Jersey, who are responsible for erecting the Memorial to the martyrs of Chorostkow and many other such in this area and in Israel. Matilda died recently in the USA and Chawcia's story is told in part in a later article.)
Matilda Krenkel's letter from Chorostkow is a frightening accusation against the Ukrainians in Galicia who not only were happy with the German pogroms, but took part in them themselves. The only wish of the letter writer is to leave Chorostkow. The town and the Jews give the appearance of a cemetery and she cannot look at the gentiles. The letter was received by Yitzchak Meyer Margolies from Aruba, Dutch West Indies, a brother in law of Matilda Krenkel. She writes how fortunate she would be to run away from there and stay with him.
She also sends sad greetings from Kopychintse. From the thousands of Jews before the war, no more than 80 remain there.
And this is her letter:
Dearest Sister in Law and Brother in Law;
I can inform you that I and my youngest sister Chawcia are the only ones remaining of our entire family. And my dear husband Friedl is also not alive. He was in a concentration camp for 11 months doing slave labour. He cost me a fortune before I bought him out of the camp. After that I lived with him for 3 months. Later the Germans deported him to Kopychince.
From all of Chorostkow about 30 people remain. Now several men have been drafted into the Russian army. Itshe Goldflies is with us. He is also alone. Abraham Chaim Feffer is also a sole survivor. Fancia Goldhirsh , Yosle's daughter is also the only one left. From our relatives and acquaintances no one remains.
Dear Mantshe, when I will receive your answer, I will describe to you what I went through. It is even impossible to describe everything, not even 1%. Now I cannot write anything because my nerves are not settled. I survived 9 Aktionen which means 9 slaughters. The last 4 months we were hidden by a peasant. The Red army freed us from the murderers. In one day they seized 2500 Jews in Kopychince and shot them near the forest. Everyone had to strip naked and jump into the pit. Then they were shot. They did not want to damage the clothing which they sent to Germany the Jewish clothes and some the goyim (gentiles) stole. Whenever a pogrom took place the gentiles enjoyed it.
They went to the Jewish homes and stole the contents. And if they found a Jew they turned him over to the German or Ukrainian militia.
In Kopychince 80 people are left . No one is left of Ethel's family. From your family also no one. Only Munie was in Romania as a prisoner of war. Our Dziunio is in Russia in the army since 1941. Maybe he is alive somewhere there (He did survive and joined the remnants of his family later in the USA) Many letters have arrived from Russia from those who escaped there in 1941 and from those who were drafted into the army.
Does Hochtche Gerstenbluth still live in the same city as you? No one survived from her family either, but their house still stands. From the whole town maybe 10 houses remain.
Or house is also there. Do you know the address of Isie Gerstenbluth and Yetke please send it to me.
Dear Mantshe! How fortunate I would be if I could leave Chorostkow. The town without its Jews resembles a cemetery. I cannot look at the goyim. We are left with one night shirt and one dress. They took everything from us. A Christian woman gave me a night shirt. Is it possible to send a package? Write to Isie Gerstenbluth that he should send us something.
Dear sister in law Mantshe! How happy I would be if I could be together with you. How are you? Are you well? How is your dear daughter Rosa?
I close because I do not have any patience any longer. Be well and reply as quickly as possible
[Pages 336 337]
My Experience Under the Germans
Translated by Morton Lang
(Described by a 10 year old child two years after the liberation From Yivo Archives 18/3/1947)
In 1940 (actually '41) when the Germans entered our town, my parents and I suffered much. I was then a small child, 3 years of age, and did not yet understand that one had to fear the Germans. When a pogrom took place my mother ran away with me to a bunker where there were about 50 people. It was dark there. You were not allowed to cry. As it happens, we were discovered because children of whom there were about 5 cried. The Germans chased everyone out of the bunker, only the 2 of us and 2 more individuals succeeded in remaining inside, because we were hidden by a large amount of bedding. Thus we were saved.
We stayed in the bunker 6 months. I had not a drop of milk. My mother nourished me with potato peels and a little water. Therefore I became sick of typhus. I remember how my mother sat on the bed and very tearfully wiped my dried lips and hot forehead with a wet handkerchief. Everything within me was burning hot and my mother had nothing with which to sooth me. Thus God helped me and in spite of Hitler, I recovered but could not stand on my feet. This lasted for 4 weeks.
Now I shall describe how we got out of the cellar. It happened on a dark night on the second day of Shavuot. We heard shouts and saw that our cellar was on fire. One could not run away from there, because the cellar was boarded up and Ukrainian police guarded our hiding place so that no one could escape. But just as there is a caring God in this world and it was our destiny to remain alive, partisans in the forest spotted the conflagration and came running and they chased the Ukrainians and Germans away. About 50 people were successful in saving themselves at that time and we among them. Later I heard that about 2000 Jews died in the fire. We escaped to the woods and remained there for 3 years. But the fears, hunger and worries that we suffered , I cannot describe. Thank God our entire family survived and now I am a growing boy studying well : Hebrew, mathematics and other subjects. I am being taught by a good teacher, named Palewska. My name is Shimeon Kahane, my father's name is Shmuel and my mother's Sarah. My sister is Shoshana. We are from Chorostkow near Tarnopol
(Note by M.L. In spite of the fact that there must have been some verification by the original editors, I do not believe that above actually took place in Chorostkow. I can find no corroborating evidence that a fire killed 2000 residents of the town in one night nor about that time. I do not doubt that these things may have occurred in some other location nearby, Kopychince perhaps, which was surrounded by nearby woods where partisans operated. Shimeon's family may have originated in Chorostkow or they may have lived there for a short time after liberation)
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