by Gedaliah Shaiak
Translated from the Yiddish by June Factor-Rogers, B.A. Dip. ED. (Melb.)
The translator is a grandchild of Lowitcher parents
The right half of the wooden archlike gate of the main entrance to the two-storey house hung now broken like the wing of a giant wounded bird. The grey peeling walls merged with the dampness of the grey Polish autumn. Pieces of shrapnel were buried in the wood, mute evidence of the heavy bombardment three weeks earlier, when the Nazis had captured the fortified city Lowicz.
A playful light wind plucked the half yellowed leaves from the fruit trees whose bare branches stretched up between the low blue-calcimined, thatched cottages. The small, half-crooked shutters, the sparse paling fences, the wide meandering street; all gave the characteristic appearance of an outer suburb.
The double storey house was the largest in the street; its exterior wall ran a parallel course down to a small wooden bridge over a creek. In this street lived impoverished Polish workers and a few civil servants. Framed in the narrow, low windows of the houses were pot plants and guilded crosses, the latter evidence to all passers-by of the Christian character of the street. At the far end of the street stood an old church, well known from the days of the Bishop era.
In the large house there lived one Jewish family, that of one-eyed Shmuel, the meat and poultry dealer. A few houses further down, near where the creek cut the street in two, were a scattering of other Jewish families; in their yellowed peeling houses they lived isolated as if on a lonely island. Instead of using the large farm gate which opened onto the Christian street, they preferred a small back gate which led to the Kutner market place and thence to the Jewish community centre.
The section of the town near the creek was generally considered to be for Christians only, but when a Jew died it was necessary for the funeral procession to pass through the three-cornered market place and then along the street which led over the bridge to the cemetery, situated some distance from the town, not far from the windmills. When such a Jewish funeral entered the street, the Poles, men and women both, would peer through their windows, or gather in groups outside their doors. They would stare at the black-draped coffin as if it contained some evil magic. They gazed with wonder at the long coated, bearded Jews, and the whole entourage following the coffin seemed to inspire them with fear. Appearing as it did suddenly in their midst in broad daylight, the procession, with the regular beat of the collection tins and the sad monotonous chanting, produced an extraordinary reaction. Small peasant lads gazed wide-eyed at their parents, who whispered something to them and gestured silence. One could never be certain, looking at these cold, sharp faces, whether they regarded the funeral procession sympathetically, with sorrow for the weeping Jews, or vindictively, with pleasure that in this town there was now one Jew less.
On this particular day, late in September 1939, the street was quiet, as if deserted. The other side of town seemed a world away, with its Jewish streets resounding to the booted steps of Von Brauchitchs' Panzer units; the troops who had won the battle of the Bzura River against heavy Polish Army resistance, and had opened the way to the occupation of Warsaw.
In a large backyard of the double storey house, one-eyed Shmuel was unhitching his skinny horse from the cart loaded with bedclothes and crockery. He and his wife and only son had just returned from the village of Mislevice where they had been hiding at a peasant's cottage since the bombing of the town five days after war was declared on Poland. Steam rose from the horse's hide; it had pulled the heavy cart for over thirty miles. One-eyed Shmuel rub bed the horse down quickly, took off the saddle and bridle, and threw an old blanket over the horse's back. He carefully led the horse out of the shafts of the cart and into its stall.
Silently his wife and son unloaded the wagon and carried their possessions one by one into the house. Their Christian neighbours, who had undoubtedly thought them dead, lost in the turmoil like so many others, watched them work with impassive faces.
Shmuel was a tall, broad shouldered Jew, with a round, well shaven face, full of health and vigour. His left eye was disfigured by a white scar. With his heavy dimpled chin, and his large head thickly covered with hair graying at the temples, he looked like a typical country Jew, the kind who can lift an ox by its horns. His large nose and full lips gave to his face an appearance of stubbornness and fearlessness, an impression reinforced by his manner of walking, the padded jacket and high boots he wore, and even the astrakhan hat which made him look so tall. Nothing in his determined stride suggested that he was a Jew.
More than once his fists had been covered with the gentile blood of Jew baiters, who quaked at his step. The Jews in the town told each other wondrous stories of his heroic acts during the Czarist pogrom in 1905. More recently, when the Polish High Schools had instituted the left benches for Jews, and Polish students had combined with criminal elements to attack Jews indiscriminately, a number of attackers had to be carried off to hospital with broken limbs, thanks to one-eyed Shmuel.
This one-eyed Shmuel was an ordinary man of the people, with a rough clear voice which resounded like a hammer on tin. He followed the Biblical injunction of an eye for an eye, and saw more with his one good eye than many another with two. Every Saturday morning he
could be seen slowly walking to the Synagogue, his prayer shawl under his arm. On arrival, he would place himself near the partition for the poor, and would gaze with humility and respect towards the front of the Synagogue, where the prayers were said.
Shmuel had a warm Jewish heart. In troubled times he was among the first to defend Jewish honour, disregarding the dangers which threatened his own life. He was like a staunch oak tree, one of those strong and fearless common folk who had for centuries defended their own against the attacks of the gentiles.
His wife Itte was of average height, with a dark olive complexion. Her soft dark eyes were inherited by their only child, Ichel, who was born late in their marriage, after countless visits to doctors and wise Jews.
Ichel was a slim, muscular lad, 20 years old, with thick hair and a pair of lively eyes that bespoke a youthful vigour. His appearance gave evidence of his racial inheritance; his strength and courage were an endowment from his father. The hooligans in his street, who would rudely accost passing Jews, were afraid of him. When he walked down the street dressed in his Beitar uniform they watched him suspiciously, for by nature they were cowards who attacked only those weaker than themselves; they feared anyone who retaliated in self-defense. In their eyes Ichel was a strong man, just like his father.
After unloading their goods from the wagon, the family sat down to their first meal at home for three weeks. In the village where they had stayed it had been peaceful, with few Germans in evidence.
As they sat, they felt a depressing atmosphere creeping over the house. Somehow everything seemed different. It was their home, but outside the walls of the house loomed a dark, threatening shadow.
Only one neighbour, embarrassed and ashamed, came to see them. He stood in the room as if he were mentally cataloguing what he would later pillage with the help of the Germans. Unasked, he volunteered information about the destruction of the Jewish centre in the city, the burning of dwellings and the rounding up of Jews who were being sent to work camps. It was only three weeks since the German armies had entered the town, and no special laws against Jews had yet been proclaimed.
Having finished eating, Shmuel resolved to walk down Dr. Stanislawskiego St. to visit his partner and relative, in order to find out what had happened to his family. Ichel decided to go with him.
No sooner had the two men crossed the threshold, than Itte felt a sudden premonition of disaster. She wanted to call back to her son, but desisted, knowing that he was in the care of his father, who would not permit harm to befall him. For many minutes she sat by the window, watching them walk down the street, not knowing that she had seem them both for the last time.
At the end of the street stood the ancient church, its white walls festooned with the twigs and leaves of the chestnut trees which grew nearby. Bruno Miller and his two comrades-in-arms were standing together near the wall; the young Nazi found the corner a useful lookout, and he stood as if waiting to pounce on his prey. His blond hair was visible under his light field cap with its Nazi emblem; his sandy coloured eyebrows traced two curves over his wide, irregular nose and his thick pursed lips. With his wolfish green eyes and his smallpox-scarred face he gave the impression of a rough, coarse type.
Bruno Miller was born in the working class section of Hanover. From a very early age he associated with criminals and spent some years in jail. His criminal education was developed and refined in the Hitler youth movement, where his outlook on life was confirmed, and he became a fanatical Nazi. His brutality and blind obedience to his superiors helped him advance rapidly to the rank of sergeant. During the infamous Crystal Night in Germany in November 1938, Bruno Miller and others of his like joyfully desecrated Jewish shops and dwellings, beat up Jews, and profaned synagogues. It was then that he first tasted the pleasure of irresponsibility and the power of a long knife; henceforth his lust for Jewish blood grew even greater.
When Hitler invaded Poland, Miller was in one of the first Panzer divisions to enter Kalish. It was then he made a wager with two of his army friends that he would, with his own hand, murder 1,000 Jews before Christmas.
Bruno Miller was fussy about his victims: he wanted only young, typical looking Jews, for whom he had a pathological hatred. He kept a small notebook in which he carefully noted down each murdered Jew. By the time he had marched through Sieradz, Zdunska Wola, Lodz and other towns, his small machine gun had ended the life of 123 young people. Against each murder was written he date and place of execution.
Bruno Miller had his own special method of shooting his victims. He would sit on his motorcycle, his gun resting against the handlebars, his right eye screwed up, observing the street; immediately he noticed a suitable victim he would beckon with his finger, as if to ask an innocent question; when the young man came within 5 feet of him, Miller would shoot him cold-bloodedly. As he preferred his victims to die instantaneously, he aimed at the heart.
There were occasions when Miller was uncertain whether or not his intended victim was a Jew; at such times he received much assistance from young hooligans, and even older Poles, whose blood boiled at the sight of a Jew. They would shout out the one curse they had quickly learnt from the Germans: Zyd! Jew! Jew!..
And now Bruno Miller was sitting on his motorcycle at the crossing of two streets in Lowicz, under the shadow of an ancient church, waiting to pounce on his next victim. On the opposite corner stood his two army friends, waiting to view his next spectacular murder; after every such murder Miller held a beer party, to which his two friends were invited. So now they stood on the corner making fun of the passing Poles, and laughing coarsely at young women. Their faces gave evidence of years of heavy drinking.
As Miller and his friends waited one-eyed Shmuel and his son Ichel were walking down towards Stanislawskiego St. They had already passed the large orchard on the right hand side, and were nearing the small dead end street. There was no one at the well drawing water. A homeless dog with a long curly tail gave them a surly look and splashed some water into the gutter. A few grey sparrows rose twittering suddenly from the trees, startled by the
men's firm tread. There was no one about it was as if the street was deserted.
The last house in the street, opposite the dead end, had a steep tiled roof and heavy, green painted shutters. In this house had lived two Jewish families rag dealers. Now it appeared empty. The windows facing the street had been broken, and the wind was gently rippling the strips of black paper which had been used to prevent light from showing during the bombardment.
Shmuel stepped forward and peered through one of the broken panes of glass. He could not see a soul. The furniture lay scattered as if after a storm. His heart tightened in pain at the sight of such destruction.
Ichel, meanwhile, had walked on a little further, then turned to see what his father was doing. Ad he turned back, his eyes met those of Bruno Miller. The swastika on Miller's field hat threatened danger; Ichel's muscles tightened and a hot flush spread over his body. He started to retreat, fearing that piercing glance, but at that very moment the German beckoned him forward; Come on Jew, but make it quick, make it quick, blast you!. Ichel took a few uncertain steps forward, as if unsure of what he should do; his eyes opened wider, and it appeared as if he were about to spring at the German but in that instant a gunshot cut the air. The birds rose from the trees with a wild flapping of wings, and scattered in all directions.
Convulsively, Ichel's hand went to his heart, and a cry froze at his lips. His head spun dizzily, the chestnut trees above seemed to be falling on top of him. He fell backwards, his right foot caught beneath him. A thin trickle of red blood coloured the stones on which he lay. His body on the street looked like a bird with broken wings. His eyes were glazed, and his mouth dripped blood.
Bruno Miller got off his motorcycle and walked over to the body. A maniacal smile spread over his ugly face. Roughly he kicked the dead boy and burst out laughing. He shouted triumphantly to his watching friends: A first class shot, Hans! A typical Jew! And a perfect shot!.
With a self-satisfied air he hung his rifle around his neck and put his hand into his coat pocket, to write down the details of his latest victim. But these fingers were suddenly paralyzed: fear overcame him, and he found it difficult to breathe. His wolfish eyes bulged out of their sockets, his face contorted into a horrible grimace, his tongue pushed out between his teeth. The veins in his neck swelled and burst. A shudder passed through him. He felt as if iron pincers were pulling him down from behind, iron pincers of fantastic strength. At the back of his neck he could feel the hot, panting breath of a man. Then the unknown attacker lifted him high into the air, and threw him onto the ground.
The notebook fell from his lifeless fingers; his gun clattered onto the cobbled stones.
There he lay: Bruno Miller with his split skull, at the feet of his latest victim.
Above him stood one-eyed Shmuel, his legs wide apart, his right foot covering the Nazi's notebook. The old Jew was breathing heavily; a haze obscured his vision, and in his head a hammer pounded. He felt as though his shirt was stuck to his skin, but he had not the strength to move away; it was as if he were quite paralyzed. Only his good right eye still functioned, looking down at his dead son whose face stared up towards heaven. Tears rolled from his eyes and salted his lips..
Nearby lay the mutilated Nazi. He groaned faintly, then his head fell back into the pool of blood that flowed from his split skull.
Suddenly Shmuel felt blows rain onto his head and shoulders. As if from a great distance he heard wild angry cries. At first he felt no pain, and offered no resistance to his attackers, who were of course the two Nazis who had watched stupefied at the sudden and unexpected turn of events. Now they were determined to revenge themselves for the death of their friend.
With murderous rage they beat the Jew over the head, and his black fur hat fell to the ground. His silvery hair became reddened.
Then, quite suddenly, Shmuel felt pain. It was this pain which aroused him from his paralyzed state. Within him was a burning, a fierce anger. His fists curled into two balls of lead, and with his last strength he threw himself onto the Nazi behind him. Through a crack in his blood-covered right eye he saw the German's face screw up in pain. Shmuel held him around the neck and dug his long fingernails into the Nazi's veins. His victim clawed the air with his hands.
Just then there came the sharp sound of a rifle shot a bullet pierced Shmuel's chest. The world around became dark, and he sank slowly to the ground like an uprooted tree.
In the distance, a small gutter snip was running and calling out A Jew has killed a German! A Jew has killed a German!. And the wind carried his voice together with the chestnut leaves far down the street, far far away.
Shmuel's swollen right eye rolled out of its socket and gazed up at the cloudy sky, as if declaiming: See, O Heaven, and witness what sort of death came to me and my son!.
ALBECK, HANOKH. Israel, Educator; B. Lowicz, Poland, 1890. P. Shalom and Rachel (Brot); Ordained Rabbi 1907; Ph.D. U. of Vienna, 1921. Settled in Pal., 1936. Prof. emeritus, History of Halakha and Aggada. Heb.. U.: Jerusalem since 1937, Prof. 193657; Lecturer Hochschulle fur die wissenschaft des Judentums Berlin, Germany 1926-1935. (Who's Who in World Jewry) N.Y. 1965.
BARDENSTEIN, Rena (Nee Lamed). B. 1922. Detroit, Mich. P. Louis and Esther (nee Bucksztajn). Graduated University of Michigan, Teacher: Majored in music. Her husband is Dr. Max Bardenstein.
BAUM, Yeshayahu Adv. B. 1939. P. Itzchok and Rachel (Nee Zaide) Baum, Ed. Tichon H. T.A. Israel. Degree of Law. University of Jerusalem 1964. 2 y. Service with Zahal. Rank: Lieutenantm Prosecutor. Married.
BENDER, Minnie, B. 1944 in Melbourne. P. Motel and Pauline. Ed. Elwood state and Central High school, also 8 years Secondary Yiddish School of Sholem Aleichem. Then Beit Mizrachi for 2 y. (Hebrew Studies). Attended Toorak Teachers College. Diploma for infant teaching.
BERGMAN, Janette Rebecca. B. 26-5-1944. P. Late Symche Leib and Nechuma (nee Bialek) Bergman. Ed. Moonee Ponds West State School. Moonee Ponds Central School 1957. 3rd Form to Matric U. High School 1963. U. Physical Education Diploma; Secondary Teacher College; Trained Secondary Teachers Certificate (T.S.T.C.) Tennis: Represented Australia in Maccabiah Games in Israel 1965.
BERGMAN, Mordechai (Max) (Brother of the above) B. 23-7-1941 (Deceased 4th Dec. 1962). Schools: As above 1958. U. Brilliant Student of the Second Years Faculty of Medicine. (Honors both years).
BRISSON, Betty. B. 1941 Melbourne. P. Joseph (Brzezinski) and Rose (nee Helmer). Ed.: McRobertson Girls High School to 6th Form. Melb. U.P: Graduated as a Bachelor of Arts March 30th, 1963, Madricha of Betar and member of Melbourne Committee (Mifkada) of Betar.
Received the award of the Zionist Organization for a year's study at the Machon L'Madrichel Chutz L'Aretz, in Jerusalem, Israel. In January 1960 was an Australian delegate to World Conference of Betar, Israel. The same year, returned to Australia and became the leader of Betar Melbourne. In 1964 began work on Economic Research in Victoria for the Commonwealth Government.
BROTT, Samuel Michael. B. 7th Dec. 1941, Melbourne, Australia. P. Shimon and Cyril Brott. Ed.: Mt. Scopus College; Melbourne High School, Melb. University, Degree Bachelor of Law 1964. Admitted to the Bar 1965.
BROTT, Meier Dr., (Brother of the above). B. 5th Nov. 1943. Melbourne, Ed. Mt. Scopus Melb.; High School, Melb. U.; Degree Doctor of medicine and Surgery, 1966.
COOPER, Toni Dr. B. 1939 in Sidney, P. Reuben Piontkowski and Stella. First education: Cranebourne Public School which Toni finished with distinction at the age of 15. Studied at the Sydney U. Grad. Bachelor of Science with high honors at the age of 19, Australian Government sponsored his post-graduate studies at the U. of Oxford where he became Master of Science at the age of 21. At the age of 26 he was conferred with the title Doctor of Science, plus Dr. Professor. Lecturing at Oxford. Author of a scientific thesis which was published in the World Scientific Journal and praised by scientists the world over.
COOPER, Peter. B. 1944 in Sydney (younger brother of the above), Ed. Cranebrook Public School, finished brilliantly with honors at the age of 15. Won scholarship to the University of Sydney and became pharmacist at age of 20.
CUKIER, Moshe. B. 1943. Tel Aviv (brother of Gross Cukier). Ed. Yeshivat Darom. Graduated Bar Ilan Univ. Degree: Bachelor Sc.
DANBY, (Brett) Cipa Mrs. B. 1923 in Lowicz, P. Samuel and Malka Brott. Graduated U. Melb. U. B.A. LL.B Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Vic. Australia. Married
EISMAN, John. B. 1920 in Lowicz. P. Szyja and Sura Rivka Eisman. Ed. State School, Lowicz. Arrived in Australia 1937. Settled in Sydney. Started Commercial activities in 1948. Director of U.I.A., Chairman of Bequests of J.N.F, NSW., Exec. Member of Fed. J.N.F., Australia; Founding member of the Adulam project including G.G. of Australia. Committee member of Chamber of Commerce. First president of Lowiczer Society of Sydney.
FISHER, Aron. B. 1945, Tel Aviv. P. Moshe and Tova (nee Fiszman) Fisher. Ed.: Tichon Zeitlin, T.A. 1962. Served in Nachal 1962.-64. Hebrew U. of Jerusalem branch T.A. Economics and Political Science. President of Israeli Students Federation (Econom. & Commerce). Delegate to Holland and Canada.
FLINT, Jerry. B. 1931. Detroit. P. Beita Flint (nee Margolis). Ed. Wayne U. B.A. M.A. Ec. Journalist; Leading writer in Wall Street Journal, N.Y.
FRANKEL, Max (Menachem Mendel) B. 1925, Lowicz, Poland. Arrived in Australia 1932. P. Akiva and Esther Miriam. Ed. Melbourne High School 1944. Graduated Melbourne U.; 1952. Law L.L.B. Solicitor.
FUKS-FAJEEMAN, Miriam. B. 1938, Warsaw. P. Yeshayahu and Mina (nee Finkelsztajn), Ed.: Tichon Chadashi. Tel Aviv, Israel. B.A. Hebrew U., Jerusalem, 1962. Post graduate M.A. 1965; Associated co-worker of Prof. Mager in research of microbiology.
GLASSER, Fay (nee Flint). B. 1927, (Sister of Jerry Flint), Detroit. Graduated Wayne U. B.A. Dipl. Ed. Teacher in Ford High School, Detroit.
GOLD, Sam (Brother of Levy Pearl). B. 1935 in Sydney. Studied at the Sydney U. Became Pharmacist.
GOLD, Norton (Brother of above two). B. 1944 in Sydney. Studied at the Sydney U. Graduated as Bachelor of Pharmaceutical.
GMACH, Yehuda Leib (Lionel). B. 1943, Paris: P. Shiya Jacob and Beila (Nee Lewkowicz). Graduated Lycee Voltaire, Paris, 1959. Left the same year for Israel. Joined the Israel army in 1960 and served for 2 ½ years in rank of sergeant. Has been presented to the late Pres. Ben-Zvi as the best member of his unit at the annual army ceremony on the eve of Yom Ha'atzmauth.
GRABER, Tina (nee Yeshon). B, 1941. Sister of Dr. Yeshon. Graduated N. Western U. of Chicago. Diploma: Teacher in Mathematics. Married to Dr. Graber.
GREEN, Harry (Berel Hersh) Dr. B. 1933. Melbourne. P. Itzchok & Maria Grinbaum (nee Bialek). Matr.
From University High 1950. Melb. U.: Degree Dr. Medicine and Surgery 1956. Married. At present residing in Rome.
GREEN, Freda (Mrs. Manes), Sister of the above Dr. Green (Greenbaum). B. 1939, Melbourne. Finished University High 1956. Graduated Melb. Conservatorium. Post-Grad. Juillard School of Music N.Y. U.S.A. 1958. Married. At present residing in Vienna.
GREENBERG, Charles. B. 1908, Lowicz. P. Joseph and Rachel Greenberg. Ed. Cheder Chodosh Ivri. Left Lowicz, 1922. Studied N.Y. City College, Brooklyn Law School. Post graduate M. L.B.B. Attorney at Law at 16 Court St. N.Y.
Served in the U.S. Army 1942-1945. Fought in the battle in Belgium in the rank of sergeant. Wounded in action. Recipient of Distinguished Purple Heart Medal, Leader infantry.
GREENBERG, Ervin. Usher Att. Of Law. B. 1906 in Lowicz (Y. brother of the above). Ed. Brooklyn College. Gr. B. of Science.
GROSS-CUKIER, Esther. B. 1938. Tel Aviv. P. David and Hephzah (nee Lewin) Cukier. Ed. Tichon Zeitlin T.A. Israel. Graduated Bar Ilan Univ.; 1960 degree. Chemistry and Physics. Married 3 children. High School teacher in Tiberias. At present at the Seminary Kfar Chabad.
HILMAN, Henry (Helman) Dr. B. 1930, Lowicz, Poland. P. Chaim and Cywia Helman. Arrived in Australia 1937. Ed.; North Sydney High School 1947. Graduated U. of Sydney . M.B.B.S. M.R.A.C.P. At present residing Melbourne. Married.
HERMELIN, Henrietta. B. 1934. Detroit, Mich. P. Irving (Izrael) and Frances. Began studying Ballet at 4 but gave up at the age of 12 and picked up dance again at 16. Training with Fanny Aaronson, Detroit, Mich. While pursuing her studies at the U. of Michigan, she participated in the U. theatre. She played afterward in four Shakespearian productions. Henrietta performed with the American Mime Theatre in N.Y. City. In 1958 she toured India and Europe with the Wayne Theatre group, where she was highly praised by the theatre critics. Miss H. graduated from Central High School and received her B.A. degree from the U. of Mich. where she later worked on her M.A. and in the meantime she married.
KILBERT, Simcha Benjamin. Dentist. B. 1907, Lowicz. P. Mendel & Sura Rojza Kilbert. Ed. Public School. Studied at Szkola Zawidiwa Dentystow, Warszawa, 1933-35. During W.W. II a refugee in Russia. Joined the Polish Forces and served in A. F. Unit; Returned to Poland at the end of 1944. Attended Course at Stomatoloqiczny Wydzial Zdrowia, Lodz, 1947 and in 1954 Akademia Medyczma. Since 1957 in Israel. Married. Residing in Bnei Brak where he has his dental practice.
KLEIN, Anatol Norman. B. 1932, May 15, N.Y. P. Hilel and Isko (nee Kohn) Klein. Ed. Public School 173, N.Y.; High School; Music and Art; 4 y. art study in Art Student League; Graudated University of Michigan Ann Arbor. Degree: B.A. Sc. Post grad. 1 year Columbia U.; 2 y. Harvard U. (M.A.) Back to Michigan Ann Arbor U. Degree Ph.D. Anthropology. Prof. in Oriental Inst. For Research.
LEVY, (nee Gold) Pearl. B. 1941 in Sydney. P. Feiwel and Eva (nee Sachaczewski) Goldwasser. Studied at the Sydney U. and graduated as physiotherapist.
LINDEE, Bracha. B. 1931. Detroit, Mich. (Younger sister of Bardenstein). B.A. Graduated University of Wayne, Mich. Mother of 3 children. Postgr. Studies.
LESZCZYNSKI, Szulim. B. 1902, Lowicz. P. Abraham and Cywia (nee Riterband). Ed. High School, Pietrkow Tryb. Poland. Graduated with L.L. B. University of Warsaw 1929. Married one son; since 1948 residing in Paris.
LESZCZYNSKI, Wolf (Wewek). B. 1908, Lowicz (younger brother of the above). Ed. Gimnazjum Lowicz and Gostynim Poland. Graduated Warsaw Technical school (Politechnicum) as Architect 1938. Since 1956 in Paris.
LESZCZYINSKI, Julek (Yidel). B. 1909 Lowicz (Youngest brother of the above). Ed. Lowicz Gimnazjum. Graduated Warsaw Univ.; Faculty of Law 1936. After II W. Prosecutor of Sp. Penalty Court, Lodz (Sp. Sadu Karnego). Delegated by Polish Govt. to the Jew. Commission for the exam. of atrocities committed by the Nazis in Chelmno; Author of Documentary of atrocities committed by the Nazis for the Ministry of Justice in Warsaw.
NEZER, Marc Moshe. Eng. B. 1935, Jerusalem. P. Jacob & Frania (nee Lipszyc) Nezer. Ed. Beit Sefer Amaml; Technion, 1955. Served in Israel Army 1955-1958 in rank of Lt. Took part in Sinai Campaign. Postgraduate Brown U. Providence, U.S.A,: Degree Bachelor of Sc. 1963; Joined the Western Electric Co. and continued higher studies at the Northeastern U. Graduated with M.A. Sc. 1966. Married and residing in Woburn, Mass. U.S.A. Nezer's scientific essays appear regularly in the Western Elect. Engineer U.S.
MARGOLIS, Suzan. B. 1938, Detroit, Mich. P. Nusen and Ethela Margolis. Graduated U. of Michigan, B.A. of Econ.
MARGOLIS, Meier. B. 1938 in Jacksonville, Fa. P. Rabbi Morrice David and Matilda Margolis. Ed. Graduated U.S. L.A. Elect. Eng.
PEPPER, David. B. 1917 in N.Y. P. Irving and Fanny Ann Pepper. Degree: C. B.A. Univ. of N.Y & City College. Served 5 years in the U.S. Army during W.W. II and has been stationed in Britain and Europe.
PORAT (Elenewajg) Samuel Dr. B . 1938, Lowicz. P. Eng. Hersz and Helenka (nee Natan) Elenewajg. Ed.: St. Andrews Public School, Bucharest, Rumania; Tichon Haifa, Matr. 1956. Took part in Sinai Campaign in rant of Lt. After demob. In 1959, Edited Hebrew Youth Magazine (1959-60), 'Shabetz Nah' and wrote adventure stories of Tarzan in serial booklets. For his journalistic publications received thank letters among them from the Mayor of Haifa, Mr. Aba Khoushy. Won 1st prize for an essay in the Yedioth Aharonoth 1955; In 1960/61 entered U. Dekanat Der Medizinischer Fakultat, in Vienna, Austria; in 1966
Louis Segal, General Secretary of Farband-Labour Zionist Order for 38 years and one of the most prominent Labour Zionist leaders in the world, was born in Lowicz, Poland on July 4th, 1894. His father, Simcha Bunim (Zaklikofsy) came from a well-known rabbinic family. His mother, Itte, was the daughter of a prominent wealthy merchant. Their home was noted for its atmosphere of Jewish learning, Hassidism and generosity.
Unfortunately, Segal's father died while still in his early thirties, leaving his widow with four young orphans. Segal himself was only 11 years old at the time. He had to help his mother support the family. Before his Bar Mitzva, he went to work in a factory as a stocking-maker.
Within six months, he had already experienced his first strike which was organized by the Socialist Zionists. Most of the strikers were children like Louis. Their principal demands were: 1) that the wife of the boss should not be allowed to commandeer the young workers to do her housework; 2) that the workday should be limited to no more than 16 hours; 3) that the youngsters should not be forbidden to sing at their work; and 4) an increase in pay, which then was a rouble and a half a week for the most qualified workers. The bosses were obdurate and the strike lasted several weeks, with frequent outbreaks of violence. When finally the employers agreed to meet with a committee of the strikers, Segal was one of the three who was chosen to be on the negotiating committee. He was then 12 years old.
The outcome of the strike was a victory for the workers. It was an important factor in laying the ground work for the organization of Jewish Socialist parties in Segal's home town. Louis himself became quite popular among the workers and when a Poale Zion group was organized, he became one of its active members.
The Poale Zion, like other Jewish Socialist groups, had to carry on its activities clandestinely. The reactionary forces in the whole of Czarist Russia and particularly in Poland unleashed a reign of terror and fomented pogroms against the Jews. The Jewish young men organized themselves in a self-defence corps. Segal was one of those who repeatedly undertook the dangerous mission of smuggling arms to the various self-defence groups in his area. He was also active in the cultural circles which were organized by Poale Zion and that established libraries, classes, dramatic and choral groups.
Economic conditions in the small towns deteriorated steadily and became unbearable. It became more and more difficult for Segal's family to sustain itself. Therefore, when not quite 16, Segal decided to go to America in the hope that he would be better able to support his family from there and perhaps eventually bring them to the Goldene Medina. Somehow he managed to reach Bremen after having been apprehended once and jailed when caught stealing across the Russian border. In the German port city, an immigrant aid society placed him in steerage on a boat going to Galveston, Texas.
The ocean voyage lasted 23 days. Conditions on shipboard were horrible. The passengers were literally starved. Calling on his experience in the stocking factory, Segal organized a strike of his fellow-passengers. While this strike too was won, the immigrant aid society's representative in Galveston was informed that Segal and his associates were revolutionaries and trouble-makers.
Arriving in the Texas port city during a heatwave, Segal pleaded with the immigrant aid society to send him elsewhere and after a few days, he was one of a group that was shipped off to St. Paul, Minnesota. There he became a worker in a cap factory at $3 a week and he immediately became active and took a leading part in the organization of the Hat, Cap and Millinery Worker's Union. This resulted in the loss of his job and he was blacklisted by the manufacturers. But the leadership of the international union was impressed by his youthful energy and ability and promptly engaged him as an organizer.
Segal rose rapidly in union ranks. While still in his early twenties, he became a Vice President and won a reputation for his skill as a negotiator and for his philosophy that the improvement of manufacturing and merchandizing techniques is a concern of organized labour as well as of the manufacturers.
Although the St. Paul Jewish community was small, Segal nevertheless founded there a group of Poale Zion and the nucleus of a Farband branch.
In those days, the movement was comprised exclusively of workers; trade union problems and therefore naturally occupied a good deal of their attention. On the other hand, the Labour Zionists carried on a militant struggle to introduce among Jewish workers and into the trade union movement, an interest for Jewish national needs, for Jewish cultural activities and for the establishment of a Jewish Homeland in Palestine. At every regional conference and international convention of his union, Segal spoke up about Jewish needs and about the Homeland.
Meyer L. Brown, founder and then General Secretary of Farband, quickly spotted the rare leadership abilities which the young man displayed, and in 1922, he succeeded in inducing Segal to come to New York as Assistant Secretary of Farband. Four years later, at the 1926 convention, Segal was elected General Secretary. From then until his death on June 16th, 1964, he stood at the help of the Labour Zionist fraternal order.
When Segal took over the General Secretary ship of Farband only thirteen years had passed since it had received its Charter. It numbered only some 5,500 members but it had already established a solid organizational and financial base as well as a distinctive reputation for the scope of its Jewish cultural and communal activities and for the intensity of its commitment to Jewish national needs and the up-building of Eretz Israel. Under Segal's administration, Farband grew to more than 40,000 affiliated families. Its activities and achievements in every area of Jewish life grew space and
won for it a singular place in the American Jewish community. The Golden Jubilee Celebration of Farband in December, 1963 the last major function that Segal organized and guided and his last public appearance was hailed by American, Israeli and world leaders, including President Lyndon B. Johnson of the United States, President Zalman Shazar of Israel and Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson of Canada.
During the nearly four decades as General Secretary of Farband, Segal too grew in prominence on the national and international Jewish scene. There was hardly an important Jewish body in America and in the world of which he was not either an officer or an executive member.
A folk orator of tremendous power, he championed Jewish mass action in crisis after crisis that best our people during those stormy and tragic years.
During the war, he led the Farband in an intensive war effort in support of the United States and Canada. At the same time, he organized the Labour Zionist Committee for Relief and Rehabilitation that did a significant job in aiding the Jewish underground during the war and in the rescue and rehabilitation of many thousands immediately after the war. Shortly after V-E Day, Segal was one of the first American Jewish leaders to go to Poland and other countries in Eastern Europe to bring help and encouragement to the Shaarit haPlita. When he did then, won him the love of many thousands of Jewish survivors, a love they repeatedly showed him when he met with them in Israel, in the United States and Canada, and in other places.
At his death, he was a member of the Executive of the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency for Israel, having succeeded the late Hayim Greenberg to a seat on that important body.
For more than 25 years, his life was stalked by tragedy. His wife, Masha, a childhood sweetheart whom he brought to America and married shortly after his arrival in St. Paul, was seriously ill during all this period and died on the very day of his own last operation. His two older sons whom he adored succumbed to fatal illness, each in the full flower of his young manhood. Segal stifled his sorrow within himself and found release in his work. The tempo of his activity was most extraordinary. It finally burned him out before his time. He died three weeks short of his 70th birthday.
by Moshe Sharett
The death of Louis Segal has removed from our midst a friend who had been destined to play a unique role and to occupy a special position in the course of an entire generation. He combined within himself a sensitive heart, an urge to action, a talent to transform plans into reality and an inspiring spirit. His was the heritage of the generation of transition in Labour Zionism and in the Jewish community in America.
Louis Segal was a child of American Jewry. Most of his life was spent in this country and his influence was exerted against the background of this new manifestation in Jewish history which other part of Jewry, in the Dispersion and especially in Eretz Israel, still do not know or appreciate sufficiently. When in the company of Louis Segal, while observing the deeds he accomplished and the activities of which he was the soul, one could not but wonder at the marvellous synthesis of the old and the new within him. One often wondered what has the upper hand in his personality? Is it the heritage of the past, the mighty force of the consciousness of Jewishness as a unique value, the Eastern European Jewish way of thinking? Or, is it the new transformed attitudes of American Jewry toward its duties and missions and problems?
Louis Segal represented a synthesis of both.
Segal's death presents us with a challenge. It symbolizes a change of guard. The generation of which Segal was the leader is in the process of departing and a new generation must arise.
Louis Segal meant exaltation of spirit, dedication, deeply-rooted Jewish awareness, wholesome identification with the people, and zeal for Zion in American life.
Those who knew Louis Segal could not help loving him for he was a model friend, a good comrade, a friend of the soul.
by Golda Meir
The death of Louis Segal has left a great void in the ranks of the leadership of the American Jewish community, of the Zionist Movement and of the Labour Zionist family. A dedicated Jew, Louis Segal was from his early youth, closely bound up with the idea of the Jewish national renaissance, the tidings of the labour movement in Eretz Israel and the great work of social and political revival. He combined great dedication and many talents into a capacity for dynamic and elevated deeds. These raised him out of the mass and brought him to the leadership of organizations and activities that were a blessing for all of us.
Louis Segal attained leadership in the Zionist and labour movements not in a meteoric rise. He came from the masses; his roots were in the soil of the people; and he became a beloved leader as a result of his tireless efforts. From the turbulent upheaval among the Jewish masses in his native Eastern Europe, he brought to the Jewish labour movement in the United States, a profound faith in social justice, equality and in the opportunities for the progress of the immigrant Jewish masses within the framework of the general labour movement. At the same time, he devotedly and loyally sought to preserve the distinct and unique image of the Jewish worker.
What actually is the nature of Judaism? This question has occupied the minds of thinking Jews throughout all the ages of history of the people of Israel. Is Judaism a fixed structure, a mass of laws which the Jew must observe regardless of whether or not he believes in them or understands their significance? Or, is Judaism a way of living; a dynamic force which should and must have meaning to every Jew in every aspect of his life, both as a member of a larger community and as an individual? Is Judaism a stagnant body of water, confined in space or is it a stream of living waters, giving life and strength as it surges onward? The answer to this question can be found in the most ancient documents of Israel, in the Bible, the Midrash and the Talmud. Here we are told that Judaism is a dynamic force indeed, a wellspring of life. It is a teaching which is meant to be compatible at all times with the needs and demands of practical living.
Judaism, if properly practiced, should give the Jew three things: First, it gives his life a higher stands; second, it teaches him how best to live with himself and finally, it teaches him the best way in which to live at peace with his fellow men.
Judaism teaches us the love of God. It holds not only that God is unique and all the terms which are applied to humans cannot be attributed to Him; it points that He is the Creator of all things in the universe and none of His own creations, not even man, is capable of grasping His infinite greatness.
As for man's duty to himself, the laws of Israel always have a prefatory or subsequent remark such as: and you shall guard your souls, you shall choose life, or that it may it may be well with you and with your children after you.
As to the third aspect; Jewish law is an excellent guide for human relations, giving as it does a wealth of commandments designed to teach the Jew both how to live with his fellow men as an individual, and how to behave as a member of a community. The entire Bible is filled with laws to this end, the demand such as Justice, justice shall you pursue; Love the stranger in your midst and the prohibitions against double standards in any aspect of life and against usury; and the classic commands such as: you shall not bear false witness against your neighbour and you shall not covet that which is your neighbour's. Finally, there are the ceremonial laws which deal with religious observance and celebration of holidays.
Such is the philosophy of Judaism. Unlike the philosophy of many other civilizations, Judaism is a philosophy of life and not of idle speculation. Perhaps this is the reason why the Jews were able to produce the inspired poets and singers who gave to the world such treasures as the Book of Psalms.
And so it came about that Judaism, rather than any other ancient creed, has become the mother of all other civilized religions.
2. What Judaism has given the world ..
Much has been written about the contribution of Judaism to the culture of the world. First and foremost, of course, the Jews have given to mankind that basic constitution upon which Western civilization rests the Ten Commandments which were given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai, not only for the children of Israel but for all of mankind, for every nation that desires to call itself civilized. Without the Ten Commandments, the world would be rent asunder by anarchy and immersed in chaos. Only that society can survive which accepts these divine laws as its fundamental guide to living.
The Ten Commandments are part of the Torah, the Law of God which has also given to the Jewish people, so that Israel by its own example might communicate it to the rest of the world. The Torah is a way of life, a teaching to aid us in our endeavour to live at peace with our fellow men. It is truly everyman's Bible.
The prophets regarded themselves as God's messengers, not only to the Jewish people but to all mankind for they knew well that the divine ideals of justice and righteousness which they preached could survive and prevail only if the entire world, and not just the people of Israel, would subscribe to them.
The Holy Writings too, have become sacred to all men, regardless of religion. To give only a few examples, the Book of Psalms is filled with praises to God that all men can sing, if only they believe in Him. The Book of Job symbolizes the tragic element in human life and the Proverbs are wise sayings that can serve as moral and ethical advice to people of all creeds.
Christianity and Mohammedanism, the two other great religions of our present-day civilization, are based on the same sacred ideas as is Judaism.
One of the outstanding Christian clergymen of our time, the Reverend Dr. John Haynes Holmes, in a brochure entitled: Christianity's Debt to Judaism; Why Not Acknowledge It? spoke quite frankly of the debt which Christianity owes to Judaism. He wrote:
Let me begin what I have to say this morning with Jesus, who is the centre and soul of Christian faith. There are three things to be made plain about this man.Dr. Svi Cahn, b.1885 in Lowicz, Poland, well-known author and staff member of the daily Yiddish Forward, N.Y. (more particulars about the author in the Yiddish version of this volume. P.303 Lexicon).
In the first place, I would remind you that Jesus' parents were Jews. Whether his father, Joseph was of 'the stem of Jesse' and thus of the royal house of David, as the Bible states, is altogether unknown and quite improbable. The genealogies to this effect in the New Testament are valueless. As a matter of fact, we know very little about Joseph only that he lived in Nazareth in Galilee, that he was a carpenter by trade and that he died, in all probability, before Jesus came to manhood .But, amid
All this obscurity, there remains the indubitable truth that these two persons, who are so venerated by the Christian church, were both of them Jews.
The second fact is of course that Jesus, as the oldest child of these parents, was thus himself a Jew. Two attempts have been made to break down and destroy this simple fact. The first is theological and is to be found in the dogma of the Virgin Birth, which represents Jesus as born not of Joseph and Mary, but of a divine conception of God upon Mary. But this leads to the fascinating and impressive conclusion, seldom mentioned in doctrinal discussion, that out of all the tribes of earth, God chose a Jewish maiden for the incarnation of his dearly beloved and only begotten son .And he concludes:
The third thing to be said about the Jewishness of Jesus is that he was reared and trained in the Jewish faith. His parents were pious Jews; they went up each year to Jerusalem to keep the feast of the Passover! They taught Jesus, by precept and example, to attend the synagogue where he became acquainted with the Bible of his race. In his early manhood, it was his custom to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, which is more than a good many Jews do today; and he began his public ministry, so the record tells us, by standing up in the synagogue in Nazareth and reading from the Prophet Isaiah. In spirit as well as in blood, this Nazarene was a son of Israel.
It is from these three points of view his parents, his birth and his religious training that we must agree that Jesus was a Jew. It is to the Jews that the Christians owe this peerless leader and founder of their faith. I would go so far as to say that we cannot understand Jesus unless we acknowledge that his rightful place in history is that of the last and greatest of the Jewish prophets. It is to me as incredible that the Jews do not recognize this fact as it is discreditable that the Christians do not recognize it
We are beginning now, perhaps to understand how stupendous the debt which Christians owe to Jews is. Not only Jesus himself, but the Bible, the church and Sunday all come from Jewish sources. But not yet have we gotten to the heart of the matter. What about the teachings of Christianity those great truths of the moral and spiritual life which constitutes the essence of the Gospel? The things which Jesus taught were these original with him, or did they spring from the Judaism in which Jesus was born and reared ?Mohammedanism too is very obviously a daughter of Judaism. Most of the Koran, the Bible of Islam, is either taken directly from the Pentateuch and the works of the prophets, or else is a somewhat garbled version of these sacred writings of the people of Israel. Mohammed, the author of the Koran at his dictation (because Mohammed himself could neither read nor write). It was from Jewish law that Mohammed took the regulations which he gave his followers concerning prayer, with the difference that, while the Jews are commanded to pray only three times each day, Mohammedans must turn to Allah in daily prayer five times. Mohammedan males, even as boys in Israel, must undergo circumcision, though not in early infancy but at the age of thirteen, and the faithful followers of Islam, again like the Jews, are forbidden to eat pork. Originally, hoping that the entire Jewish people would adopt his new creed, Mohammed ordained that his followers must fast on the Day of Atonement and that they must recite their prayers facing in the direction of Jerusalem, the Holy City. However, when it became obvious to him that he would never be able to effect such a mass conversion of Jews, he deliberately changed these laws so that, today, Mohammedans fast not on the Jewish Yom Kippur but during
If any statement of Jesus is commonly cited as the complete and perfect summary of his religion, it is the dual commandment Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart and with all thy soul and with all they strength and with all thy mind; and they neighbour as thyself. Where does this come from? First of all from the New Testament story of the lawyer who tempted Jesus saying: What shall I do to inherit eternal life? But originally from the Old Testament in two famous passages. The first is from Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear O Israel, the Lord thy God, is one: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. The second is from Leviticus 19:18: Thou shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge .but thou shalt love they neighbour as thyself.
If anything is original with Jesus, it would seem to be his non-resistance his injunction in the sermon on the Mount to resist no evil. This received its supreme expression in Jesus' commandment that we should love our enemies. This is very obviously a protest against and correction of the Jewish law of retaliation: an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. This law, without any question, appears in the Old Testament. Jesus was mindful of it, and would get rid of it. But he was not the first to take this stand. Long since the Jewish prophets had laid hold upon the doctrine of love and forgiveness, even of enemies. But in one brief passage of the Old Testament we have an anticipation of this positive aspect of non-resistance which is breath-taking.
If I were asked to name the most beautiful expression of Jesus' teaching on this point, I would turn to St. Paul's great Epistle to the Romans, and read the closing verses of the twelfth chapter: If thine enemy hunger, fee him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. If there is anything original in Christianity, this would certainly seem to be it. Yet turn to the twenty-fifth chapter of the book of Proverbs, the twenty-first verse, and what do you find? If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink; for thou wilt heap coals of fire upon his head. Even in his teaching of love, for enemies as well as friends, Jesus was only faithful to the noblest precepts of the Jews!
All this shows what Jesus was really doing in his ministry. Not preaching a new religion, but reviving the pure and undefiled religion of Israel!....
The month of Ramadan and, when they pray, they turn not to Jerusalem, the spiritual centre of Judaism, but to Mecca, which has become the sacred shrine of Islam. All this was printed in detail in a work entitled What Has Mohammedanism Taken from Judaism by the well-known scholar, Abraham Geiger (Bonn, 1883). In this work, Geiger points out the full extent to which Mohammedanism was rooted in the teachings of Judaism.
Now that the Jewish people have a spiritual centre once more in the Holy Land, a new, great era has begun, not only in the history of the Jews, but in that of all the rest of the world as well. The world devastated and stunned by the blood-bath that has engulfed it twice during this century is in need of a new spiritual guidance to fill the vacuum from which it now suffers so acutely. Thousands of years ago, when both Israel and mankind were still young, the Jewish people gave to the world the Bible, the eternal law which is the basis of all justice, righteousness and peace. Today, the people if Israel, now old and sorely tried by centuries of exile and oppression, have gained new life and vigour and are rebuilding their old-new homeland. The Jewish people, thus strengthened and rejuvenated, may yet bring forth a new teaching from its ancient spiritual home for the world. The nations of the world in their relations with the Jewish people have not always behaved as grateful disciples should to their teacher, but this will not deter the people of Israel, the ancient teacher of mankind, from continuing to spread the message of peace and justice among men, even as the prophet said long ago: For from Zion shall go forth the Law and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
FIGLARZ, Abraham (Fink), born 20th Dec., 1914, in Lowicz. Parents: Elia and Hena. Education: Public School. Profession: Bookkeeper. Arrived in Australia in 1938. Enlisted as volunteer in AIF, on 8th February, 1941. Served in 2nd Australian Division all over Australia in rank of corporal almost 4 years until demobilization.
Since arrival resides in Sydney, N.S.W.
HERSZKOWICZ, Shmulik. Born 1915, in Lowicz. Parents: Bakers Aaron Nusan and Malka. Profession: Tailor. Volunteered in 1941. Wounded in action in New Guinea and died from wounds 8 years later in Sydney, where he had settled after arrival in Australia, in 1937.
HILLMAN, (Helman) Gershon, born in Lodz, where his Lowiczer parents settled after their marriage. Parents: Abraham and Leah. Came to Australia in 1936. Education: Intermediate. Volunteered in 1942. Served with 2nd AIF, 25/5 Infantry Battalion, 7th Division. Saw active action in Borneo. Served over 3 years overseas.
Mr. Hillman resides in Sydney, N.S.W. where he settled after arrival to Australia.
KEEN (Krakower) Chaim, born Nov., 1921, in Lowicz. Parents: Zelig and Sarah (nee Goldberg). Arrived in Australia in 1928. Profession: Tailor. Volunteered at the end of 1939, but was not accepted because of too young age. Again enlisted in 1942. Education: Intermediate. Bondi Beach Public School.
Served overseas with the Army Service Corp0s in Port Moresby, Aitape, Lae Rabaul and Bougainville I. (Solomon Islands. Was wounded during action. Demobilized in 1946, acted as I.Q. Personnel. Resides in Sydney, N.S.W.
KEEN, (Jack) Osher Pesach, younger brother of Chaim. Born in 1926 inLowicz. Arrived in Australia as an infant at the age of 2 years. Education: Intermediate, Bondi Beach Public School. Volunteered in April, 1944. Served all over Australia over two and a half years in rank of corporal. Resides in Sydney, N.S.W.
KURCBAUM (KURC), Abraham, born 1915, in Lowicz. Parents: Jacob and Rachel. Arrived in Australia in 1938. His wife Sarah (nee Brott) died in a car accident. K. volunteered in 1941. Accidently died in an army camp.
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