Table of Contents

 

Voice of Kremenets Emigrants in Israel and the Diaspora, Booklet 9

 

List of Illustrations

Typical House in Kremenets 4
Mount Bona and Mount Chercha 7
A Section of Sheroka Street 16b

 

Name Index

Aharonov (driver) 1
Aharonov* (wife of driver) 1
Argaman, Avraham i
Avidar, Noa 17
Avidar, Yosef (see also Rokhel, Yosef) 15, 17
Avidar*, Yemima 17
Bakimer, Bunim 1
Bakimer, Sara 17
Barats* (wife of Fayvel) 11, 14
Barats, Fayvel 11, 14
Barats, Yisrael, R' 11
Barats, Yitschak (Itsik) 11-12
Barshap, Avraham 14
Barshap, Binyamin 15
Barshap*, Heni 16
Ben-Yehuda, Eliezer 7
Ben-Yitschak, Eldar 15
Bernshteyn, Riva 14
Biberman, Avraham 1, 2, 3
Biberman, Malka 17
Biberman, Yitschak 1, 2
Braytman, Chayim 17
Brik, Avraham 4
Brik, Berish-Beyle-Berkes 9
Brik, Eliezer (Luzer, Luski) 9-11
Brik, Rachel 9
Brik*, Sara Shurtsa 9
Burshteyn, Shaul 17
Burshteyn, Yosef 17
Charodi, Chayim 9
Chasid* (wife of Zev) 17
Chasid, Zev 17
Chernotska, Chalina 16
Cherpashnik, Shmuel (see also Romanovits) 16
Dan (grandson of Eliezer Brik) 10
Desser, Max i
Eydelman, Yitschak 1
Feler, Dana 17
Feler, Mike 17
Feler*, Noa (née Avidar) 17
Fisher, Susan 15
Fishman, Yeshayahu 2, 3
Geva*, Rachel (née Brik) 9
Golberg, Yehoshue i, 11, 16
Goldenberg, Manus i, 13, 14
Gorenshteyn, Azriel 14, 16
Hamburski, Henya 17
Hamburski*, Mara 17
Hamburski, Meir 17
Hermashevski (not given) 16
Karshun, Vitya 17
Katsel, Meir (see also Katz) 17
Katz, Marcos i
Katz, Meir (see also Katsel) 17
Kerler, Heni (née Barshap) 16
Kerler, Yosef 16
Kogan, William i, 15
Kohen*, Bela (née Zinger) 17
Kohen, David 17
Kopelvits, Yehuda 2
Kornits*, Sara (née Bakimer) 17
Kotitshiner, Itsi 2
Kraulnik-Radzivilover (cantor) 14
Krits*, Baba (née Rokhel) 17
Krits, Binyamin 17
Krits, Ohad 17
Krits*, Penina 17
Krits, Yosef 17
Krivin, Dina 1
Landsberg, Bozye 14
Lavah (husband of Henya Hamburski) 17
Litvak, Katya 1
Litvak, Meir 1, 14
Litvak, Pesach 1, 2
Manger, Itsik 16
Nadir, Rachel i
Netsits, Boaz 17
Netsits*, Lili (née Vaynshteyn) 17
Ot-Yakar, Mordekhay i
Pesis, Borya 17
Pesis, Leyb 17
Poltorek, Chana 14-15
Poltorek, Shlome 1, 2, 13, 14
Poniatavski (Lyceum curator) 11
Rapoport, David i, 13, 15
Raykhman, Sima 1
Raykhman, Yakov 1, 3
Reznik, Rachel 8
Rokhel, Baba 17
Rokhel, Chanokh 1, 2, 6-9
Rokhel, Moshe 15
Rokhel, Sara 15
Rokhel*, Shprintse 6
Rokhel, Yitschak i, 1, 3, 6, 14, 15
Rokhel, Yosef 15, 17
Romanovits, Shmuel (see also Cherpashnik) 16
Royt, Hilda 14
Rozen (architect) 4
Shafir*, Chana (née Poltorek) 14, 15
Shafir, Yakov 14-15
Shazar, (president of Israel) 16
Shifris, Eliyahu (Eli) 13
Shifris*, Guta 13
Shifris, Yosef 13
Shimon (teacher) 6
Shkurnik* (wife of Gershon) 14
Shkurnik, Gershon 14
Shnayder*, Klara 12
Shnayder, Moshe 12
Shochet, Yisrael 2
Shor, David 17
Shor*, Malka (née Biberman) 17
Shvartsapel, Avraham 14
Shvartsapel*, Hilda (née Royt) 14
Taytelman, Shmuel i, 12
Trumpeldor, Yosef 2
Tsizin, Yakov 1, 2
Tsukerman, David 3
Tsur, Yakov 16
Tsviya (grandmother of Yakov Shafir) 14
Vakman*, Genya 14
Vakman, Yitschak 14
Valdenberg, Sonya 17
Vaynberg, Aharon 15
Vaynberg*, Helen 15
Vaynberg*, Susan (née Fisher) 15
Vaynberg, Yakov 15
Vayner, Moshe 17
Vaynshteyn, Lili 17
Vaynshteyn*, Vitya (née Karshun) 17
Vaynshteyn, Yitschak 17
Zilberg, Anshil 14
Zinger, Bela 17
Zinger, Chayim 17
Zinger*, Sonya (née Valdenberg) 17

 

[Page 1]

Kremenets Emigrants in Argentina
(A Sociological Analysis)

Mordekhay Katz (Buenos Aires)

We open our survey in 1926. At that time, there were already 60-70 people from Kremenets here (as mentioned in the Kremenets memorial book[1] published in Buenos Aires in 1965 by the Organization of Kremenets Emigrants). In the 1930s, when Jewish immigration from Poland increased due to anti-Semitism and serious economic crises, the number of Kremenetsers in Argentina reached around 300. That was also their number in 1937, when I arrived in Argentina. Most Kremenetsers were then in favor of Leftism, and only a few were active in the Zionist movement. From Kremenets, they had brought with them the belief “for the Torah will go forth out of Moscow.”[2] The current political and economic situation helped in that regard. Argentina's gates were shut then, and other than the 10 refugee families we were able to save in 1946 by bringing them in indirectly via Paraguay, additional Jews from Kremenets couldn't get here. At that time, the Organization of Kremenets Emigrants was strong and also included emigrants from Potshayev and Vyshgorodok. The organization developed a productive cultural program and was considered one of the best in Argentina. Since no new flow of immigrants has arrived since then, we can now move on and describe the current state of Kremenets emigrants.

The Kremenets landsmanschaft, which has already celebrated its 25th anniversary, includes 110 people from Kremenets. Apart from them are 15-20 additional families who don't belong to our organization. As mentioned, most emigrants from Kremenets arrived in Argentina in the 1930s, except for 60-70 who arrived earlier, and only a few are still here. Forty years have passed since then. From this, we know the average age of our townspeople in Argentina. It is obvious that those immigrants have branched out as families. About 90 percent have two, three, or four children, and some are also have grandchildren, may there be more of them.

Can we count the second or third generation as Kremenetsers? The question is a serious one, and it is difficult to answer. As long as they were young, they were attached to us. When they matured, they were swept up by the general wave and left us, the elders, by the riverbank. With this, we need to mention a common fact: the children received their education in Spanish, but when they started their own families, most sent their children to Jewish schools that used the Hebrew or Yiddish language. Furthermore, they are active in managing the schools and influencing their elderly parents to take part. People from our town are active in a number of important organizations: the Jewish National Fund, the Women's Zionist Organization, YIVO, the Bialik School, the Perets School, and others.

The first generation of Kremenetsers who immigrated here were mostly merchants and manufacturers. They didn't lack for money, and several also managed to become rich (may they enjoy it!). A certain percentage were craftsmen, and their economic situation was also quite good. But as in any group, a number of people were not successful in reaching an appropriate income level, and their economic situation was hard. Of course, our organization supported them.

[Page 2]

As for educational level, it is easy to understand why emigrants from our town couldn't go to school. Nor could those who had a certificate from the Jewish Primary School or a diploma from the High School of Commerce in Kremenets continue their education, since they had to work hard to earn a living. By the time they had established themselves, they were beyond school age. But they made sure that their children received a good education. Most received higher education, becoming doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, and the like.

And here we return, willingly and unwillingly, to the question posed earlier: Do we see our children as children of Kremenets? Will they continue to remember Kremenets? To be truthful, we must mention the negative aspects of the younger generation's lifestyle: the reality of mixed marriages also struck our children, although a small percentage of them. The others are proud Jews; a number have immigrated to Israel, and others are planning to immigrate. Thanks to the establishment of the state of Israel, their national consciousness was raised, and young people who are not Zionists are also proud to be members of a glorious nation. But they are inclined to see only the victories and not the tragic side. The fact is that our youth don't take part in landsmanschaft life, where we continue to remember and mention the holocaust of Kremenets Jews. It's natural for them not to have the same strong feelings that we do, and they relate to it only out of awe. Therefore, we don't know if they'll continue with the “memory of Kremenets.”

To our sorrow, the cooperative bank founded by Kremenets emigrants to serve the needs of the townspeople did not fulfill its duty. This institution took the same slippery road that similar institutions have taken. The cooperative was named La Esperanza, meaning “hope,” but to our deep sorrow, we were disappointed in the hope we invested in it. It was a failed attempt, like the rest of the cooperatives owned by Argentina's Jews.

To end our short survey, I must mention that the Kremenets organization in Buenos Aires, in which around 90 percent of our fellow townspeople take part, today stands outside politics and fanaticism (except for a worthless few). In the organization's leadership, we don't favor the right or the left. It faces the Land of Israel and the people of Israel to unite our townspeople with those who live in other countries, mainly our brothers and sisters in the state of Israel, whom fate has left alive so they can keep the chain of the memory of Kremenets strong.

We pray for a true peace. May the cannons stop speaking and artistic inspiration speak again.

“For the Torah will go forth from Zion, and the word of God from Jerusalem.”

* * *

An article on this subject was published in booklet 6, but because of unfortunate errors that distorted the author's meaning, we reprint it here as it was originally written. – Editorial Board


[Page 3]

Kremenets, Town of My Birth

From the Literary Legacy of Chanokh Rokhel (of Blessed Memory)

(This article was written by the deceased in 1950 for Pinkas Kremenets but was not published.)

A collection by immigrants from the town of Kremenets, written by the Jewish citizens of the state of Israel. Thirty years ago, there were 10,000 Jews in Kremenets. Non-Jews numbered 20,000. The town also exists now, but there are no Jews there. Ten years ago, they were all destroyed by the gentiles. The Jews wanted to live, and it is said that they showed resistance against the rioters, but they were annihilated. These pages are in their memory.

Who is going to read them? A small number who search the records and a few hundred elderly town natives. Young people won't read them; all their interest lies in the present. Therefore, the book is designated for the archives. Only those who honor the memory of their friends, comrades, and family members who are buried there will keep this book in their homes. Only a few are fit to initiate the collection.

Am I gripped with longing for my past there? No. Not even a speck of longing! From a mature conscience, with aspiration, with a light heart, and without even a glance back, I left and cut my connection with “there.” From the day I left, I didn't regret it for a moment. Does this qualify as ingratitude, like spitting in the well that I drank from? No. This was not my well. It was an inn or a prison. A man can't be grateful to an inn or a prison. From the time I came here, I did not utter “my home” or “at home” with regard to the town where I was born. I knew and felt that my home was here.

And so is everything that happened to you over there completely erased, as if the 20 years from the day you were born until you left didn't exist? No! Nothing was erased, and the prison wasn't forgotten. A man walks out of prison with life experience, and at times, he acquires knowledge and accumulates inspiration there, but not longing.

What did I take from there, and how did I receive what I took?

From there, I took a strong desire never to return, a firm resolve to build myself a different life from the one that I most likely would have had if I had stayed there, a loathing for the way of life that was forced on us, jealousy of the gentiles, a willingness to pay any price for the right to stand straight, and an unwillingness to face discrimination. Unjust justice. Distrust of gentiles, an independent Jewish state. Scorn to those who have lost their national identity.

I acquired all of these over there, and that determined my future.

I can't explain how I acquired all that. I only know that it wasn't from theory or by reading political essays, propaganda, or a combination of events that in the nature of things were not original.

[Page 4]


Typical House in Kremenets

 

At around the age of seven, I was sent to cheder. I went there every day for two years. I can't remember the names of my friends from the cheder or the face of even one. Nor can I remember the rabbi's personality or looks. And what I do remember? The humiliation of our Torah, the Torah of Moses, burning humiliation, an insult that I'll never forget. Our cheder was on the other side of the Potik (the stream), and a brothel was located in the building next to the cheder. I remember the brothel owner, I remember the prostitutes, and I remember the dilapidated cheder. Next to our home, magnificent buildings stood surrounded by a grove and a blooming garden, and a Christian school and a seminary for priests occupied one of those buildings. Young people also studied the Torah there, the Torah of Jesus. Why did we have a cheder in such a place while they had such a seminary?! I was offended. I hated the seminary boys who boasted and teased us. This insult, this discrimination, this hatred became part of my being and accompanied me for many years. Already then, at the dawn of my life, I knew that we were in the Diaspora and that it wasn't good to live in the Diaspora, and “zyd parszywy,” “zydowska morda” and just “zyd.[3]

They said it during an argument, out of drunkenness, and for no reason. I heard it, ground my teeth, and didn't answer most of the time. But I knew that I wouldn't be able to live like that or accept it. I was powerless and waited for the opportunity for revenge, and, meanwhile, a deep slice was carved out of a child's soul.

It was time for m to enter school, the School of Commerce. I passed the exams with better scores than all the Christians did. They were accepted immediately, but I wasn't. Why? I was a Jew. After my parents paid a few hundred rubles, I was accepted. I was a child, but I knew that. I understood that I was a foreigner, a visitor, an unwanted visitor. I started to think, and my pride was injured.

[Page 5]

I saw Jews traveling to America. I saw negotiations with smugglers, and I knew about the incidents of death during the escape, the thievery, and the young women who fell into the hands of pimps. Jews continued to endanger themselves and travel to America, I understood, far away from here.

The Beilis trial – the blood libel – I swallowed the newspaper, angry and scared. Even today, I remember the details of the trial, the prosecutor, the defense attorneys, the witness, the provocations, and the fear of pogroms. I was a child, but the matter was carved deep into my heart.

I read Bialik; the book is before my eyes. I read “In the City of Slaughter” once, twice, three times. The next day and the day after that. Terror overcame me each time I read it. I couldn't take my eyes off those cruel lines, as if I were chained to them. My anger was unrestrained. I despised us; I was angry at the whole world. Is it really “Rise, to the desert flee”… “Take thou thy soul, tear it to shreds! Deform your heart with impotent rage”? Are we the way he describes, are we all like that, can we be reformed? The young blood in me did not accept it. I searched for consolation. [4]

After Bialik, I found a solution in Yakov Kohen's songbook.

“Sharpen, sharpen, shape me
sharpen my sword …
Leave my sword, rescue us!
and if I die, I will die for freedom …”
And next to this song is the “Song of the Biryonim”:
“War! War for our land, war for freedom–
And if freedom is dead – long live revenge!”[5]

And my soul revived.
And Tshernichovski followed suit:
“I will not extend my neck – I will die in battle, not in persecution!”
“I am not a lamb to be led to the slaughter …”
“The Jordan for you, Lebanon for you, the plain and the mountains …
“You will conquer the country aggressively, and you will hold onto it …
“You will build a strong foundation for the next generation, the generation that will follow you!”

[Page 6]

And in Kremenets, I learned to hold a gun in my hand; the gun and bullets never left my bed. We left armed for night guard duty during the days of unrest. I said “slicha,” not “pardon,” to my Christian school friends when I stepped on their feet. They began calling me Slicha[6]. There was a Zionist organization in Kremenets that did routine work and served as a base for the first Pioneer group to immigrate to the Land.

The revolution erupted.

(The continuation of this article was not found in the estate of Chanokh, of blessed memory.)


The Holocaust of the Community of Kremenets

M. A.

(A topic of study at the school named after Ch. Weitzmann in Akko)

The students of the Weitzmann School in Akko – whose principal, Mr. Zelts, came from Kremenets – decided to memorialize Jewish communities that were destroyed by the Nazi oppressors. For that purpose, as one of the students wrote us, they chose our town, Kremenets, as the main topic of their conversations.

Below we offer a number of segments from poems written by the school's eighth-grade class.

The boy Amos Doron wrote:

On your ruins, Kremenets is crying out,
for the dying Jewish community.
On your walls, Kremenets, the walls of the narrow ghetto
in a bolted prison, the Jews were destroyed by an enemy and stranger.
In your homes, Kremenets, cracked homes leaning to fall,
a Jewish family lives there, without making a noise.
About your brave, Kremenets, Jews who stand tall
not like sheep led to the slaughter but like lions ready for battle.
About your bitter enemies, Kremenets, armed soldiers are spreading fear,
killers of women and children, known for their cruelty.
About your dead, Kremenets, the victims of cruelty and holocaust
who with their death sanctify the hearts of the nation.

[Page 7]

And the girl Aviva Yosipovits, wrote, among others:

Night, darkness, and gloom prevail all over,
a fearful night, and the screaming from the realm of the dead.
There is not even one star in the dark sky,
not even a shred of hope in the sighs of the screaming.
The desperate screams of beaten babies and old people
who are taken with rudeness and cruelty to long pits.
To the death trains – which take them to their known “destination,”
to the extermination camps, to the forests, and to a certain death.


Mount Bona and Mount Chercha

 

[Page 8]

RYB”L Library Transferred to Tel Aviv University

Y. Rokhel

In Voice of Kremenets Emigrants, booklet 7, published in December 1970, we told our members the following:

The RYB”L Library of Enlightenment literature is developing and expanding. Books from the Enlightenment era are accumulating, and their number has reached above the 1,000 mark. A special librarian tends the library once a week, and with her help, a catalog classifying the books was prepared and printed. Still, we are not satisfied with this project. The potential reader who needs such a research library – the teacher, the student of Hebrew literature or Jewish history, etc. – has not found the way to the RYB”L Library. In the upcoming 1970/71 season, we plan on talking with schools of higher learning and, with the help of the catalog, explaining the material we have to offer them. The library room, as you know, is also used as a club for Kremenetsers in the Land: for board meetings, for receptions for out-of-town visitors, and as a gathering place for all sorts of events.

The Research Institute for Hebrew Literature at Tel Aviv University has existed for two years. After negotiations with the university's directors, we agreed to transfer our library to that institution as an individual unit. We insisted, and the university's representatives agreed, that our books will not be part of the larger library and will not be “swallowed” by it. A special room named after RYB”L will be provided, and the plaque will read, “Library for Enlightenment Literature – A Memorial to the Martyrs of Kremenets – Vohlin, Established by the Town's Residents in Israel and the Diaspora” – for short, RYB”L Library. Photos of our town's landscape, a picture of RYB”L, and a picture of his home will hang on the walls.

It was explained to us that the library can't be used as a meeting place for Kremenetsers. Also, Vohlin Hall will not be appropriate for that purpose because of its geographical distance and because of the financial constraints that its directors wanted to impose on us.

Therefore, the Kibbutzim College administration agreed that we could use the room provided to us as our cultural hall, but only after proper renovations and if the atmosphere of Jewish Kremenets is preserved. Therefore, the memorial project for the martyrs of Kremenets will take place in two locations: the RYB”L Library at Tel Aviv University (the books have already been transferred to the university). The annual memorial service for the martyrs of Kremenets will take place at the Kibbutzim College, as we have done until now.

[Page 9]

In the next few days, we will sign an official agreement with the university under these conditions: the library will be managed by a committee that will develop and expand it. Also, scholarships or prizes will be given to researchers of Enlightenment literature.

All the board members, including our members in Haifa, approved the decision to transfer the library. In addition to the board members, our member Pesach Litev took an active part in the wording of the contract and the negotiations with the university and the college.

We should mention that different opinions were expressed during these long negotiations. A few members were excited about the connection to Vohlin Hall, but once they found out the great difficulties involved, they retreated from their position. As for polling our members on the fate of the library, there was no unified opinion among them; it was mostly our members in Haifa who demanded that we do so before transferring the library to the university.

In summary, we can say that we believe that the cooperation with the university is “a step up” and that it is an honor to our organization to have created such a cultural project to memorialize our community and to have delivered it into reliable hands.


Aleksandra Teresova to Visit Israel

Yehoshue Golberg

I correspond often with Aleksandra Teresova, who now lives in the city of Dzherzhonyuv[7], working as a secretary in the municipal building. In her letter of October 1, 1971, she also wrote,

“I will gladly come for a visit, and there aren't any obstacles on my side. I only need to receive a tourist invitation from you and the cost of a round-trip ticket because I don't have the means to pay for my trip. I am very sorry that I can't help pay a portion of the expenses#133; I assume that there are a few people from Kremenets in Israel like you, who can still speak Polish, and that I won't have any difficulty talking to them#133; Thank you for your letters, and I send my regards through you to all the people from Kremenets.”

Kremenetsers in Israel remember Teresova's humanitarian efforts, in which she endangered herself in order to save Jews from the Nazis' claws. They are very excited about the prospect of her visit, especially those who owe their lives to her.

[Page 10]

The board decided to pay for her round-trip ticket, partly with the organization's funds and partly with member donations. A few members approached us and expressed their willingness to take part, and the list is still open. During her visit to the Land, Teresova will stay at the homes of members who expressed a wish to host her: the Katsman-Teper family in Ramat Gan, the Kagan-Kagarlitski family in Tel Aviv, Yehoshue Golberg, and a number of members from Haifa.

The committee has contacted Yad Vashem's Department of the Righteous among the Nations about awarding the honor to Teresova. The abovementioned department will contact the survivors directly to receive complete testimony from them on the matter of their rescue. In addition, the committee is negotiating with a travel agency that is willing to handle her trip. We are now waiting to hear the exact date of departure from Teresova.


Memorial for the Martyrs of Kremenets

Rachel Nadir

On August 14, 1971, as we have done every year since the destruction of our community, we met in the Kibbutzim College plaza to pay tribute to our loved ones.

In the past few years, some doubt that these memorial services would continue in the future has crept into our hearts. It looks like interest is dying. The number of people who come to the memorial service is decreasing, so who knows, maybe the day will come and …

It is true that our daily existence requires all of our attention, but that does not excuse us from attending these memorials as a group. It's good that there are people among us who “do not give up,” and this year the memorial service proved that there is something that unites us all.

Around 300 people came to the service, including guests from abroad. This was the first time they had attended a memorial service for our loved ones and their first meeting with people whom they had not seen in many years.

Memories from our parents' homes emerged from the depth of our souls and brought painful and burning memories of what the oppressors did to us. It seemed as if they had disappeared from a distance of time and place, and we only need to continue to be together and welcome those who came from afar.

Also, remarks from the stage by Mordekhay Ot-Yakar, Manus, and Rapoport and by guests Yosef Kerler and Zev Shnayder added to the special atmosphere.

[Page 11]

Manus Goldenberg introduced the guests, and they were warmly welcomed: journalist and author David Rapoport, secretary of our society in New York, who now lives in the Land and is an active member of the Voice of Kremenets Emigrants Editorial Board, and Zev Shnayder, an active member of our organization in Detroit and the initiator of the creation of the library named after RYB”L. He is an enthusiastic follower of RYB”L and researcher of the Enlightenment movement. Also attending were family members of Yosef Kerler (winner of the Itsik Menger prize), who was among the authors sentenced to death in Soviet Russia. Miraculously, he survived, and a few months ago, he arrived here with his wife and son. His wife, Anya, is from the Barshap family, who lived in the Dubna[8] suburb. Pesach Gorenshteyn visited from France with his wife and their two sons; Avraham Barshap, a Kremenetser and uncle of the late Avraham Barshap, came from Los Angeles; Vladimir Landsberg and his wife came to settle here from Italy. His wife and Mrs. Teresova hid him in their home along with a group of other Jews during the Nazi period.

Manus Goldenberg mourned our townspeople who had died during the year. His words were full of emotion and personal respect for each one of them. The event left an impression on each one of us, and the evening will not be quickly forgotten.

During a short conversation with the people from abroad, I grasped that it would be difficult for them to leave us and the Land. Maybe, who knows? That will be a reason for them to settle here.

The memorial was directed with great success by Mordekhay Ot-Yakar and served as an expression of the intercountry unity of emigrants from our town.


[Page 12]

In Memoriam

 

Avraham Rokhel,
of Blessed Memory

A Brother

He was a resident of Haifa for many years and came to Jerusalem with his family for the Sukkot holiday. While there, he had a heart attack and two weeks later, during the intermediate days of the Sukkot 5732, he died in Shaare Tsedek Hospital. According to his wishes, he was buried in his family's plot on the Mount of Olives. He was 74 years old and left a wife in Haifa as well as a married daughter and her family in the United States.

Avraham Rokhel was born in Kremenets on 18 Cheshvan 5658 to Yehoshue and Shprintse Rokhel. He studied in the cheder and later at the Jewish Primary School under Principal Goldfarb. His studies were supplemented by tutors at home, as was customary in this family. He was a mischievous, joyful child known for his pranks, and he excelled in handicrafts. In the winter, he provided his brothers, cousins, and friends with handmade sleighs. He was educated in a Zionist atmosphere, and Hebrew was his mother tongue. It was clear that one day, after he completed his high school education, he would immigrate to the Land of Israel with his brothers and sisters. He was the first member of his family to immigrate while he was still in his youth. His brothers and sisters immigrated after him, and his parents followed last.

His parents could not accept the reality that he would have to desecrate the Sabbath by studying at the High School of Commerce. At the same time, teens from Kremenets had already attended the Hertseliya High School in Jaffa (Yitschak Eydelman, Chayim Katz) and the agricultural school in Petach Tikva (Velvel Chasid). After some deliberation, it was decided that he would be sent to study in Petach Tikva to pave the way for an agricultural settlement for the whole family. In 1913, at the age of 15, Avraham immigrated to Israel and was accepted at the agricultural school in Petach Tikva. His family wasn't able to keep in touch with him during the war, but the residents of Petach Tikva took care of the students. He became integrated into the community and in time married a girl from there. His two older brothers, who immigrated in 1921, naturally settled in Petach Tikva and joined the workforce. After he graduated from the agricultural school, he volunteered for the British army's Jewish Brigade and participated in capturing the Land from the Turks. He was promoted to the rank of corporal and also instructed others in operating a machine gun.

After his release from the army, he worked as an agricultural laborer in various settlements and went to the Galilee. In Yesud HaMa'ala, he contracted a severe case of malaria (yellow fever) that lingered for many years.

[Page 13]

After that, he settled in Petach Tikva and joined the construction group that built the Yemenite settlement of Machane Yehuda. He excelled there as a wagon driver and took care of the settlement's mules. When the Biberman brothers established the Bazelet construction group in Tiberias, he joined the group, along with a number of Kremenetsers. Meanwhile, he came down with a severe case of malaria and, obeying his doctors' orders, he left the Land for a short time. At the end of 1924, he traveled back to Kremenets, and he returned to Israel in 1935. During his 10 years abroad, he worked as a teacher at the Tarbut School in Rovne[9]. Many of his students found their way to Israel. In our days, we call it a “mission,” but at that time, he saw himself as a simple teacher who was forced to spend some time overseas. He did his best to prepare his students for their immigration to Israel.

On his way to the Land, he spent a long period of time in Italy “purchasing” weapons for the Haganah while keeping in touch with Eliyahu Golomb[10]. This profession was not foreign to him, since he had engaged in “purchasing” during his service in the British army. During World War II, he served as a liaison between the military command of the Haganah in the north and the Jewish units in the British army who camped in the area. Thanks to his familiarity with weapons, mostly the Lewis gun, he tested weapons and weapon parts for Israel Military Industries in the testing area near Masada.

When he arrived in the Land for the second time, he worked as a branch manager for the Workers' Health Fund in Petach Tikva, and after that, he was the administrator of Beilinson Hospital. Sometime later, he moved to Haifa and worked first at the Workers' Health Fund and later as deputy district manager of the tax office. There he had the opportunity to use his knowledge of construction, and using his management skills as well, he began the construction of the Workers' Health Fund housing complex. He also successfully constructed a building for the local tax office that served its function well.

Avraham was loved by his co-workers and was very popular by the “clients” of the institutions he served. Thanks to his knowledge of the Arabic language and mentality, he found a common language with the Federation's[11] Arab members in the Haifa region. For many years, he was an active member of the Haganah and, as a member of the Consumer Protection Agency in Haifa, invested a lot of energy in developing the consumer cooperative. He was a dedicated family member and took care of the upbringing of his two grandsons, who received their education in one of the Youth Guard kibbutzim near Haifa. He was sociable, and his wisdom and good nature attracted many friends to his home, who enjoyed his company. A large delegation from Haifa came to his funeral in Jerusalem, and hundreds of people came to the memorial service 30 days after his death at the Pevzner House. He was eulogized by a representative of the Workers' Health Fund, a representative of the tax office, a representative of the Consumer Protection Agency, and also by his brother, Yosef Avidar, who talked mainly about his contribution to the Haganah in the Land and abroad.

With his death, the human landscape of the Federation in Haifa lost one of his best members. His extended family lost a good husband, a loyal father, and a loving and admired brother.

May his memory be blessed.


[Page 14]

Mosaic
(Community and Individual)

Y. Rokhel

In a festive ceremony a few days ago, our member Avraham Abir (Biberman) was awarded the Pepperman Prize for the Builders of a New Jerusalem by the Builders' Union in Jerusalem and the Pepperman Foundation. The prize was awarded to him for his many years of work in building monumental buildings (the Jewish Agency building, the King David Hotel, and more) and hundreds of residential buildings, and for establishing the Builders' Union with the late Pepperman. Participating in the ceremony and speaking in his honor were Teddy Kollek, mayor of Jerusalem, and his deputy, Gedish; David Ayalon, secretary of the Workers' Council of Jerusalem; Knesset member Moshe Barem; and others.

As we know, Avraham Biberman belonged to the first group of pioneers who immigrated from Kremenets at the beginning of 1921 (see the article on this subject in booklet 8). Most of them joined the Labor Battalion's Railroad-Track-Building Platoon in Petach Tikva. He was one of the founders of the Bazelet builders' group in Tiberias, and later, he built barracks for the British army. After he moved to Jerusalem, he was accepted as foreman of the Jewish Agency buildings, and he worked for many years as a building contractor. With the establishment of the state, he was appointed administrator of the building department in the Ministry of Trade and Industry. He enlisted in the army during the War of Independence and worked in his profession in the rank of a major. A. B. is a member of the Freemasons and takes an active role in a variety of aid societies. He donated the monetary prize awarded to him to the Institute for the Blind, after “rounding up” the amount with his own contribution.

We wish our veteran member Avraham Biberman good health and many years of happiness.

The wedding of Arye Tsizin, son of our member Yehoshue Tsizin, of Moshav Meliah in the Atenakh region, was celebrated at Laurence Hall in the Soldiers' Support Organization building in Tel Aviv. Arye is serving in the Israel Border Police. His commanding officers and friends from the Border Police, including a large number of Druze, family friends, Kremenets emigrants, and others, came to honor him at the party. Also present were all the members of the board, who brought the parents and the young couple the Kremenets organization's blessing.

The Editorial Board joins in those greetings, wishing the young couple a happy life and wishing the parents, Yehoshue and Miryam Tsizin, joy in their offspring.

[Page 15]

A year after the passing of Chanokh Rokhel, of blessed memory, family members and a large number of kibbutz members visited his grave in Kibbutz Tel Yosef. In the evening, they gathered at his widow Rachel's apartment, read segments of his writings (see his article in this booklet), and listened to a recorded interview from a 1967 Hebrew University research project. Those assembled heard the voice of the deceased telling memories from his days in the Labor Battalion and about his misgivings (Chanokh was among the founders and leaders of the battalion). At the end, they watched a short film from a 1965 reception given for Chanokh in Moscow at the apartment of his cousin, the Hebrew writer Tsvi Preigerzon (known by the pen name A. Tsefroni; he wrote the book Eternal Flame, published in 1966 by Am Oved). Besides Chanokh, participating in the reception were his sister, Malka; the Preigerzon family; the author Yosef Kerler (now in the Land), and other personalities.

(The short film was brought by Preigerzon's son, who came to the Land a few months ago with his mother and was accepted for a job as a mining engineer in Oron.)

It was an evening full of experiences, and the multicolored image of the deceased appeared in the presence of those who remembered him.

Follow-up to the Transfer of the RYB”L Library – two short news items: (a) At this time, our member Avraham Argaman, along with someone from the Kibbutzim College, is planning to change the appearance of our room at the college. The location of the pictures on the wall will be changed, some will be taken down, and others will replace them. The same will be done with the furniture. The purpose of the change is to preserve and augment the atmosphere of Jewish Kremenets. (b) The following members will represent the organization on the RYB”L Library Parity Committee at Tel Aviv University: (1) Yitschak Rokhel, (2) Avraham Argaman, and (3) Pesach Litev (see a separate article about this subject elsewhere in this booklet).

A Kremenetser crossword puzzle writer. We are not bragging when we say that Kremenets emigrants in the Land represent a wide variety of occupations and talents. Among them, you'll find military commanders, managers, artists, journalists, farmers, public figures, trained craftsmen, factory owners, clerks, government workers, merchants, doctors, engineers, teachers, school principals, building contractors, and many more, … as well as energetic retirees.

Now we have discovered that in this distinguished community there is also … a crossword puzzle writer, our friend Zev Kligman, of Jerusalem. He has engaged in this work as a hobby for almost 20 years and publishes his crossword puzzles in Davar Hashevua, in the M. P. Jerusalem journals, and many other places. He does this modestly, and we did not know about it. The secret was discovered when he offered to write a Kremenets crossword puzzle for our booklet. We are considering his offer, and we will give you the results in the next booklet. We send him our best wishes for success in this distinctive hobby.

[Page 16]

Appeal from Nachman Desser, United States, to Kremenets emigrants in Israel: Where is Tova (Teyvke) Bat? She worked in Yorel Desser's (Nachman's brother's) factory in Kremenets, immigrated to Israel in the late 1920s or early 1930s, and since then, there has been no news from her. Nachman Desser is asking our townspeople in the Land who know where she is to let him know through the board of the Organization of Kremenets Emigrants in Israel, and he expresses his thanks in advance.


Congratulations

To Yosef and Yemima Avidar, Jerusalem, on the birth of their sixth grandchild, Natan, son of Dana and David (Dodo) Zota, Jerusalem.

To Bronya Shteynberg-Biberman and her husband, Yosef, Tel Aviv, on the birth of their fourth granddaughter, Dana, daughter of Ilana and Yitschak Levnet, Kiron, and the birth of their fifth granddaughter Galya, daughter of Bilhah and Tsvi Karmon, Tel Aviv.

To Yitschak and Riva Biberman, Tel Aviv, on the birth of their fifth grandson, Oded, son of Shimon and Sara Reviv (Biberman), Haifa.

To Fayvel and Alina Rayzman, Kiryat Chayim, on the marriage of their daughter, Bela, to her fiancé, Tovya Gros, Haifa.

To Yehoshue and Miryam Tsizin of Moshav Meliah in Atenakh, on the marriage of their son, Arye, to his fiancée, Fanya.

To Gita and Yosef Shifris, Tel Aviv, on the marriage of their daughter, Bela, to her fiancée, Emanuel.

To our fellow townspeople Genya and Yitschak Vakman on the marriage of their grandson.

After the booklet was finished and sent to the printer, we learned that Rabbi Kresik of New York, son-in-law of Genya and Yitschak Vakman, and his wife celebrated the marriage of their son. Rabbi Soloveitchik performed the marriage ceremony. Rabbi Kresik is the president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. He was a student of Rabbi Soloveitchik, and his son is also a young yeshiva student.

We wish the two generations of in-laws and the young couple, Linda and Matityahu Eliezer, great joy and hearty congratulations.

May they all be blessed, and may happy occasions increase in our community!

[Page 16b]


A Section of Sheroka Street

 


Editor's and Translator's Notes:

  1. The memorial book mentioned is Kremenets: A Memorial Book (ed. F. Lerner, Buenos Aires: 1965). Potshayev, now known as Pochayiv, is at 50°01' N 25°29' E, 11.8 miles WSW of Kremenets, and Vyshgorodok is at 49°46' N 25°58' E, 25.6 miles SSE of Kremenets. [Ed.] Return
  2. “For the Torah will go forth out of Moscow” plays on the verse ki mitsion tetse Torah (Isaiah 2:3: For the Torah [law] will go forth out of Zion). [Trans.] Return
  3. These Polish phrases mean “scabby Jew,” “Jewish snout,” and “Jew.” [Trans.] Return
  4. This poem was written as a tribute to those who were murdered in the Kishinev pogrom of 1903. [Trans.] Return
  5. The Biryonim used terror and assassinations to attempt to free the Jews from Roman rule. [Trans.] Return
  6. Slicha is Hebrew for “Excuse me.” [Trans.] Return
  7. Dzherzhonyuv, now known as Dzierżoniów, Poland, is at 50°43' N 16°39' E, 401.0 miles W of Kremenets. [Ed.] Return
  8. Dubno is at 50°25' N 25°45' E, 21.9 miles N of Kremenets.[Ed.] Return
  9. Rovne, now known as Rivne, is at 50°37' N 26°15' E, 42.7 miles NNE of Kremenets. [Ed.] Return
  10. Eliyahu Golomb was a founder of the Haganah, the underground military organization that functioned between 1920 and 1948. [Ed.] Return
  11. The Federation (in Hebrew, Histadrut) was a union of the assorted Labor factions. [Trans.] Return

 

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