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[Pages 337-342]

Radzyners in America

A. From The Late Yaakov Greenblatt (New York)

As is well known, in the beginning of the 20th Century immigration to America was looked upon almost like conversion in the Polish shtetl. Therefore, very few immigrated. Many also did not have the where-with-all to do so. However a few did manage to get there. Among those that did were: Mendel Turkeltoib a brother of Emmanuel and Pesach Turkeltoib, Yossel Shainman and A. Weingarten, a son of Butshe. Later a few dozen 'ordinary' people arrived. Because they suffered as 'greenhorns', they did not have in mind or understand the necessity of organizing a landsman shaft.

[Photo]

Radzyners in America
From the right: First row- Kesten, Krein, Greenblat, Shreiber.
Second row- Yunshtein, Levin, Goldberg, Dubin.

Then they heard that the people who had come from the larger cities Warsaw, Siedlce and even from Mezritsh already had 'societies' and some even had their own synagogues. In1910 a small group got together including Mordecai, Yonah Tshechanovski's brother, Chaim-Shiya Tanenbaum, Dobreh's son, and Yisroel Yitzchak Berenson the grandson of Beryl Avraham Shlomo's grandson, as well as the writer of theses lines. They founded the Radzyn Young Men's Society with fifteen members. However it lasted only one year. People just did not come to the meetings and there was no one to talk to. In 1917 another attempt was made to organize, but without success. This was the situation until 1923 when I personally visited our shtetl and saw the tremendous havoc that W.W.1 had wrought on Radzyn and that the those that had suffered did not even have anyone to help them; When I got home, I raised a cry among the landsleit and this time it worked.

[Photo]

Landsleit from Radzyn
From the right: Seated- Y. Freeman, H. and M. Elekson, A. Danilak.
Standing- Sh. Day. P. Nachtigal, A. Lenhoff, P. Zelevitsh, Ch. Mentser, M. Freeman, A. Kochberg, L. Shzupak.

We got together in the home of Tama-Yenta Youngshtein (from the Kupietz family), and there, on the 23rd of February 1924, the Radzyn Progressive Society was founded which still exists in New York. The first 'voluntary' secretary was Zishe Goldwasser the cantor. On the following Passover, we sent 200 dollars for Maoth Chitim (a fund for buying Passover food for the poor). After that we sent another 400 dollars for a mutual loan fund. Later the Joint 'lent' another 600 dollars and the fund was set up. When we would get the annual financial statement from the secretary, the late Yehoshua Keitelgisser, we would send them a few hundred dollars. When the big fire took place in Radzyn in 1929, we sent 500 dollars to help those who were affected.

Thus we continued on until the German murderers destroyed our hometown Radzyn.

B. From: Mendel Lichtenstein (New York)

Even though we can go back seventy years, it is hard to determine who was the Radzyn's Columbus, the first one from that town to set his foot on American soil. Only a very few left the shtetl then to go wandering. True, the place could not support all of its children and people left, first to the nearby big cities and then further out into the wide world. Having torn themselves away from home, they allowed themselves to be carried along with the current which flowed in the direction of Switzerland, Paris, London and then to America. This last leap was hard to make, and even though the above mentioned cities served as good jumping off places, for many of them the suffering that they experienced there became etched in their memories and they could not go any further.

We can divide those wanderers into five categories: 1. Those who fled from Russia and did not want to serve the Czar. 2. The strong, powerful, healthy Jews such as many of the coachmen who were confident of their strength and were sure that they would be able to make a living anywhere. 3. Craftsmen such as tailors, shoemakers, etc. who hoped to benefit from their crafts in the new country. 4. A few enlightened, curious and plain idealists with a desire to see themselves walking with their heads down and their feet in the air under them on the other side of the world. 5. And the last, that I almost forgot to our shame, ten times tfue, tfue, --- criminals. Just as there cannot be day without night so there could not be only good and refined Jews in Radzyn.

Things did not go too well for anyone in the beginning. Gold was not found in the streets. A “greenhorn” had to look for a job. But here, unlike in Europe, you got paid for it even though at that time you had to work long hours. A family man could not manage without taking in a few borders. This was the time before there were trade unions.

With the passage of time things changed, the “greenhorns” became less green, those without a trade learned one, and the craftsmen became manufacturers.

However it did not happen too quickly. The Radzyner did some of the hardest work. Some of them became pressers in the new factories, some became house painters and some of them just worked very hard. From the early years of my arrival here I still remember very well the Radzyners; Liebl Glassberg, Hefner (Yossel Glatz's son), Chaim-Shiya Tennenbaum and Yaltshe the daughter of Boruch-Hirsh. All of them were very sick as a result of working too hard.

[Photo]

Mendel Goldwasser

See page 57 for his contribution to the Yizkor Book

 

[Photo]

Meir Segal

The son of Yitzchak Asher Segal, who was born in Radzyn in 1911.He came to Canada with a group of orphans in 1927 (This Mezritsh-Radzyn group was accompanied by the late Yosef Danilak) from where he began to make a name for himself as a poet. Years later he settled in Brooklyn, New York where he published in Y. Apotoshu's and H.Leivik's “Collection Books” larger collections of his poems. In 1940 his book of poems “Near Earth” was warmly received by the Yiddish literary public in America.

[Photo]

The late Yosef Danielak

Yosef Danielak was the most important uncrowned youth leader in Radzyn in the years of W.W.1 and for many years after that. “Uncrowned” because he did not belong to any party but belonged to everyone, to the entire public. His main fields of activity were books and culture, and so he was loved by both young and old. The short pieces he published in the various Jewish periodicals in all of Poland had a special charm. When he 'disappeared' from the town and showed up in Mezritsh to run the orphan home there, he left a vacuum that was not filled for a long time. After some time he also left Mezritsh and the orphanage and immigrated to Canada.

In this new country too, he worked faithfully and enthusiastically in the field of culture that he loved so much. Here too he was loved by all, first in Toronto as a teacher and later, from the year 1947 director of the Jewish Public Library in Montreal.

His active life was suddenly terminated in 1950.

Compiled by Idah Z-N

The Late Yaakov Greenblatt

At the memorial evening in New York dedicated to Greenblatt, his friend Mendel Lichtenstein said: “Many dozens and hundreds of people from all the corners of the earth became his children as a result of his good heart and good deeds. He was a father to all those who were saved after Hitler's ravages. He tried to console, help and strength them by his letters. The unfortunate did not have to search for him, he went to look for them and usually found them. If it wasn't for him we would not have inkling about many of them. For his humanitarian deeds he deserves an eternal memorial.”

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