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[Page 177]

Turka - The Surrounding Villages

 

Jews in the Villages Around Turka

by Aharon Shafer of Haifa

 

Uncaptioned. Aharon Shafer

The Turka district contained approximately 91 villages, which had a larger Jewish population than Turka itself. They lived from agricultural work. They had their own fields and businesses. Jews worked in the lumber business in the surrounding forests and sawmills.

The relationship with the gentiles, who were mainly Ukrainians with a lesser number of Poles, was different in every village. In general, Jews were not victims of anti-Semitism there, and they lived in friendship with the gentiles. However, the situation was different in those villages where the priest was an anti-Semite…

Upon entering a village, one could immediately recognize which houses belonged to Jews. They were larger and covered with shingles or tin. On the other hand, the gentile houses were covered with straw, and the cow and horse lived under one roof with the gentile… The Jew, on the other hand, had a separate stall for animals and for the stable. Inside the Jew's house, there would be a bit of furniture, fine bedding, a table with chairs, etc. There would be a brick oven in the kitchen with a smokestack coming out of it. The gentile houses were very poor. The bed would have been hacked together from coarse boards. There would be an inferior table with long benches, and the oven in the kitchen would be built of bricks, with a hole in the roof for smoke… The walls were indeed always black from smoke, and when the oven was lit, the smoke would go through the straw

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roof, and the entire hut would be smoking… In the deep chill of the winter, the gentile would also bring the cow into his house, so it would be warmer. This would obviously also take place when the cow was calving. Then the calf would be kept in the house for eight days.

 

On the way to Rozluch

Food was also different between the gentiles and the Jews. Jews baked bread every week from their own corn meal, and for the Sabbath from wheat flour. Sometimes, they would purchase white flour. The gentiles, on the other hand, used to make do with oat pretzels. Potatoes were the chief food both for the Jews and the gentiles.

The clothing of the Jews was made of fabric. Young Jews were at times permitted to even make an outfit from pure English fabric. They wore shoes in the summer and boots in the winter. On the other hand, the gentiles wore homemade clothing. They planted seeds, from which they grew flax and oakum. They spun the threads with a hand spinner and

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made linen. The linen was then spread out in the sun to bleach and whiten. Then, it was made into trousers and shirts. The gentiles had no concerns about shoes. They went barefoot in the summer, and wore clogs made out of pieces of leather in the winter. They would make a Cossack or a fur hat from sheepskin. The Jew in the village enjoyed a higher standard of living than the gentile. His needs were greater.

There was a public school with four to seven classes in every village. All the children of the village went to that school, where they learned to read and write Polish and Ukrainian. Most of the older generation of gentiles were illiterate. In the afternoon, the Jewish children went to cheder, which lasted until late in the night in the winter. The teacher came from the city, or from somewhere far off. He was hired for a term or for an entire year. The children studied Chumash with Rashi, and the older children studied a bit of Gemara with Tosafot. There was a custom on the Sabbath to examine the cheder children on Chumash with Rashi.

On Sabbath mornings, everyone came to the shtibel to worship. Nobody was absent. If someone did not come, people knew that he was sick, so people went to visit him. During the services, people also talked about all of the events of the entire week. There, they also heard the gossip from the week. There, Jews would forget about the weekday tribulations and worries. People came dressed in their finest clothing. The adults wore silk bekishes, with a streimel on the head. The young wore black or grey outfits.

Weather was never an obstacle to attending services. It might have been snowing or raining – and everyone would still come. When there was a joyous occasion in the village, such as a wedding or circumcision, Jews would come from the surrounding villages by horse and wagon or sleigh, and would dance and revel until the end of the day…


[Page 180]

Jews in the Villages

by Chaim Pelech

The Jews in the villages around Turka were no better off than those in the city. There were indeed many Jewish people who owned much land, and were numbered among the wealthy. However, in truth, they were not quite as one says: The earth in the Carpathians was very bad, and they did not make great profits. In many villages, the well-placed Jewish people sold plots of land to the farmers – and from this they earned their living. The others lived only from the good graces of the well placed people, and were in debt over their heads…

The Jews in villages who also had businesses did not live badly. The businesses and the plots of land which they worked gave them a very fine livelihood. Their livestock that they held – a cow, a little calf – also provided them with livelihood.

However, a large portion of the village Jews were small landowners, and lived from their own agricultural work. The Jewish farmers in the villages around Turka, such as Ilnik, Losinets, Melnicna, Prislip, Shimnats, Yavlenka and others, carried milk and dairy products into Turka every day to sell – and this is how they earned their livelihood. Indeed, Jewish farmers who possessed the same type of land and performed the same work in villages that were farther from the city were in a worse situation. They did not have anyone to whom to sell their milk.

There were also village Jews who did not own any land at all. They toiled for their entire life. Their poverty was very great. Their children, still in their early youth, were sent to the world to work. They served as maids in Turka and other cities.

Indeed, many Jews lived in the villages around Turka. Their standard of living was low – but there was a great deal of variance. Jews, many Jews, earned their living from agriculture.


[Page 181]

Jewish Agriculture Around Turka

by Michael Heisler of Sde Yitzchak

 

Uncaptioned: Michael Heisler

 

In a Corner of the Carpathians

What was the reason that Jews settled in particularly that poor corner of the Carpathians, disconnected from a larger Jewish community? Second, in what era did the migration take place? Third, who were the first three Jewish pioneers who developed such a large Jewish settlement in that corner of the Carpathians?

Of course, it is difficult to find an answer for all of these questions. No details regarding this were transmitted from generation to generation, and we must suffice ourselves with a minimal answer – the wandering staff of the exile led them here. One thing is clear, however: the first Jewish pioneers who arrived brought with them a great deal of the Jewish cultural baggage of that era, Jewish national traditions, and a strong belief in the Creator of the World and the redemption of Israel. They indeed built their existence exclusively according to the verse: on Torah and on Divine service.

Relations between the Jews and their neighbors were good. Anti-Semitism was still foreign to the population at that time, and both sides were graced with mutual trust. On account of that trust, the Jews lived as if “at home” without fear of any opposition to them.

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Jewish Agriculture

The primary source of livelihood was agriculture, and they were not at all behind their gentile neighbors. In truth, the Carpathian landscape was very lovely, with high mountains and valleys, and healthy fresh air. However, the terrain was inferior, not fertile, and very hilly. The terrain was originally given over to an owner after being purchased from the estate owner. It was then passed down from father to son as an inheritance.

Despite the particularly difficult Carpathian conditions, and despite their minority status among the local population, the Jews succeeded in upholding their national origins, culture, traditions, and language. Furthermore, they received moral and spiritual help from their Jewish brethren from the town of Turka, with whom they were closely connected. There were no cases of apostasy or intermarriage. Jews would marry Jews from neighboring or far off villages, as well as from the town of Turka. In this manner, the entire Jewish region along with the town formed a large family, bound and connected with a common communal council, rabbi, Chevra Kadisha (burial society), as well as a common cemetery…

 

City and Village

In order to observe Judaism and Jewish traditions, the city-town supplied the villagers with Torah scrolls, tefillin (phylacteries), tallises (prayer shawls), tzitzis (fringed garments), mezuzas, and a large supply of various holy books so they could study Torah. The city also provided Passover flour for matzos, and maos chitin (Passover charity) for the poor. They brought in esrogs and lulavs[1].

The city also did not neglect to send in living merchandise, such as teachers who would study with the children, religious judges, jesters[2], matchmakers, and musicians to play at weddings. Weddings were indeed celebrated in the village in full Jewish style, in accordance with the traditions of Moses and Israel. Even chefs to cook

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for weddings came from the city. Wedding dresses, outfits, wedding rings – all of these could only be obtained in the city.

Even though the city was only as large as a yawn, it had everything in abundance: the right and the left, Zionists and Marxists, tailors, shoemakers, locksmiths, furriers, and other tradesman; wood merchants, cattle dealers, storekeepers, ordinary workers, and unemployed people. There were also Jews in the city who studied Torah day and night in the Beis Midrash, which was open for everyone.

The city was able to exist because of the large province with many villages around. All of the produce of the city was brought in by the farmers for sale. The farmers would utilize the opportunity to make purchases for personal or economic needs. The daily noise of the farmers' wagons, the swarm of people, the buying and selling – gave the impression of a large bazaar. People would say, “It is boiling in town like a kettle.” In truth, for the gentile holidays or, to differentiate, the Jewish festivals, the town did boil like a kettle. The stores did a brisk business, and there was what to put on the table and in the bank…

 

Village People in the Cemetery

Things were especially stirred up in town on the Selichot[3] days, when the village Jews would come to the city to visit the cemetery. City Jews would also go to the cemetery, but they did not wait specifically for the Selichot days. For them, the cemetery was accessible the entire year. It was located above the city, on the mountain. It was so close that from the center of the city one could read the inscriptions on the white monuments that were peering down from above.

The situation of the villagers was different. The city was far away. The route was difficult, with hills and mud. People could not always undertake such a difficult journey, especially the older folk who desired to do such. People

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waited an entire year for the Selichot days to make the pilgrimage to their parental graves, and simultaneously to make their purchases for the holidays.

The route from the city to the cemetery was surrounded on both sides by poor people soliciting donations from the visitors to the cemetery. As soon as one entered, one encountered Itzik Aharon the Shamash. To him, the entire cemetery was like his own shop, and he was the shopkeeper. Without him, nobody would know where the dead person was lying… He would guide everyone to the grave that they were looking for, recite the “Kel Maleh Rachamim[4], and remind them of the date of the yahrzeit if they did not know exactly. The voices and weeping reached the Seventh Heaven. It was no small matter to come from so far, loaded with so many requests for health, livelihood and a cure for illness; one person had a daughter to marry off; over there stands a woman weeping rivers of tears – for unfortunately she is unable to bear children. Everyone has their own bundle of tribulations – and where can one cry out and weep a bit if not here, in the cemetery?

 

Jewish Life

Village life was a great deal calmer than city life. Furthermore, the worries about livelihood were not as great as in the city. If the village Jew had two or three cows in the barn, a bit of home grown wheat, some potatoes, and other home grown products, the concerns were not great. A fair took place every week in the region. Various merchants would come from the city – one could obtain a few groszy from the broker, or simply sell and buy. Aside from their own farming economy, others had a small store or an inn. Everyone lived a modest life. Everyone exuded the charm of a person satisfied with his lot, and almost everyone was content with living from his own land.

As soon as one entered a village, one could figure out where a Jew lived and where not. The Jewish houses were built differently from the gentile cottages. They were whitewashed on the outside, and the yards were tidy. True Jewish charm sparkled from them. A mezuzah was fixed to every door.

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Inside there was modest furniture, a large bookshelf, and a picture of Moses holding the tablets or Abraham our Forefather taking Isaac to the altar on the eastern wall, a wall clock, and other Judaic objects. One Friday nights there were the candlesticks with the lights of the Holy Sabbath. On the Sabbath itself, there was the taste of the Garden of Eden… Even the poorest Jew of the village felt a bit of that spirit.

The Holy Sabbath was strictly observed in the village. Not even a straw would be torn on the Sabbath. The High Holy Days and other holidays brought with them the true feeling of “You have chosen us”[5]. Who does not remember Simchat Torah in the village, with the rejoicing of the Torah and kissing it – the joy was boundless. All Jewish customs were meticulously observed. For example, Chanukah with latkes (potato pancakes) and dreidels (tops), Purim with the costumes – oh, how did everyone get dressed up! On the other hand, there was Tisha BeAv, upon one could witness the destruction from all corners over the gentiles' heads. The members of the household were depressed and pale from fasting – in short, it was a veritable destruction!

 

A Jewish Wedding in the Village

A Jewish wedding in the village was no simple matter… There was a style to arranging a wedding. The in-laws would stumble across various complications such as paying the dowry or that the pedigree was not considered appropriate – so they would put off the wedding for a time. Sometimes, there would be a misunderstanding between the bride and the groom – and one of them would delay the wedding or even abandon the match. The wedding turned into a kapores hen[6] over every minor issue… Of course, matches were arranged in those days, and the bride and groom barely got to know each other… This all led to great trouble and toil until the time that the young pair appeared under the wedding canopy. People prepared feverishly for the wedding for entire months – not only the bride and groom, but also the entire circle of Turka… There were indeed villagers who were connected and linked to the entire region. – if

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not from the groom's side, then from the bride's side. There must have been some sort of hook. How can one not go to such a wedding?!

The wedding itself was very lovely, especially during the wintertime. The guests would begin to arrive already in the afternoon of the day of the wedding. They would come by sled, as there was no other means of transportation. The horses were beautifully decorated with red, white and blue ribbons and noisy bells, and were accompanied by the singing of Hassidic songs.

A unique wedding custom took place in the village. Since the wedding would take place in the village where the bride's parents lived, the bride would send a “special delegation” of young lands to fetch the groom, who was to come in from a different village. The task of that delegation was to bring the groom at any price. To that end, the delegation brought cake, liquor and a roast turkey with them in order to purchase the groom. The groom, resembling a king, did not ravel alone. A group of guardians from among the young chaps also wanted to bring the groom to the wedding. Thus, a fierce battle broke out, for live and death, between both delegations… They did not, Heaven forbid, fight like the gentiles, but they struggled a bit over the groom, dragging him here and there, covered each other with snow, overturned the sleds, and perpetrated other such acts of mischief. Finally, both sides reached an agreement, began to travel, drank a toast, and snacked on a piece of turkey – and brought the groom to the wedding with song.


Translator's Footnotes:
  1. The citron and palm frond used for the Sukkot service. Return
  2. To provide entertainment during weddings. Return
  3. Selichot are the penitential prayers recited from prior to Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur. The first Selichot service takes place on the Saturday night prior to Rosh Hashanah, unless Rosh Hashanah falls early in the week, in which case it takes place two Saturday nights prior to Rosh Hashanah. Return
  4. “G-d full of mercy…” the opening words of the Jewish prayer for the dead. Return
  5. The opening paragraph of the main festival prayer “Amida” begins “You have chosen us from all nations.” Return
  6. A colorful expression, referring to the kapores ceremony on the eve of Yom Kippur, where a hen, rooster or chicken is used as a symbolic surrogate form of atonement. Here, it refers to a major effort or difficulty. Return

[Page 187]

Jewish Life in the Village of Vysotsko Vyzhne

by Meir Hirt of London

The village of Vysotsko Vyzhne was located 30 kilometers from Turka. To get there, one had to travel through the villages of Melnitsa, Borinya, Vysotsko Nyzny, and Kasaring. There were Jewish settlements, big or small, in all the aforementioned villages. However, as soon as one arrived in Vysotsko, one would immediately see large-scale Jewish life. Almost the first house was Jewish, with a mezuzah on the door. One was not ashamed.

 

A Jewish Town

Indeed, this town was brimming with Jewish life. It was quite large, 10 kilometers long. Just as the first house had a mezuza, so did the last house. Between the two houses, for a distance of nine kilometers, lived a Jewish settlement that was seething with Jewish life. Indeed, there was no rabbi in the city, but there was a mikva [ritual bath], a shochet [ritual slaughterer], and other Jewish necessities.

The shochet David Hersch was a scholarly, charitable Jew with a large family. He was a Boyaner Hassid. He also responded to halachic questions and served as the shochet for many other villages. He would slaughter in the areas where the mountain Jews lived – for every Jewish home needed meat for the Sabbath. In the event that such was lacking in the house – one must ensure that there would be...

Other scholars in the town included David Frenkel and David Kraus. They were the chief experts of the village. David Kraus was also the teacher of the village for many years. The village had over 50 Jewish families, as far as I can calculate. On the Sabbath, services took place in five private homes. There was no synagogue. The

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minyanim [prayer quorums] took place in the homes of Yosef Bart, Yosef Hirt, Yisrael Hirt, Shlomo Kraus, and Yoelche Goldreich.

Most of the Jews lived in the center of the village. In the middle of the week, a minyan took place only when there was a yahrzeit, when someone had to recite kaddish, or on occasions when a rebbe visited the village. The latter was a very frequent occurrence, especially in the summer time. The rebbes would visit for the fresh air, and would thereby impart some Judaism to the village Jews.

 

Organizations and Hassidism

There were Zionist organizations in the village: the General Zionist Achva, and Hechalutz. There was a feud between the two organizations, but this was more personal than ideological… The youth of the village also took interest in literature. Achva had a fine, well-organized library. There were books by Shalom Aleichem, Peretz, Mendele Mocher Seforim, as well as Karl Marx, Nordau, and others. People also subscribed to Baderech – the prime readers being Ziel Rosenberg, Leizer Singer, Mendel Weiss and my brother Zelig Hirt. All of them have now passed away.

The majority of the population was Hassidic, primarily of the Boyaner sect. Not all of them were fond of the work of the Zionist groups, but the main thing was that they reached an understanding and lived in peace…

Everyone earned a living. People conducted business and carried on their lives. There were also Jewish agricultural enterprises, shoemakers, tailors, textile shops and merchants of cattle and wood. Market day took place very second Tuesday, and Jews earned well. Jews from Turka and the surrounding villages would come on market day – bringing some bounty to the Jewish residents.

Most of the Jews were not wealthy. They worked hard for a living. There were indeed a few families who

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could be considered wealthy, such as Shlomo Kraus, Abish Rosenberg, Anshel Lew, Yosef Hirt and Yosef Bart.

Yosef Bart was a Hassidic Jew. In his younger years, he was considered to be an erudite Jew with an enlightened outlook. He loved to read a Yiddish newspaper, and at times also a Hebrew one. His house was similar to that of Abraham our forefather. If a Jew were to come for the market day, or just for an ordinary day of the year, he would find there a place to sleep, eat and drink. If anyone required a charitable contribution he would obtain such from Yosef Bart or from his two sons Yossi and Yoel. The three of them would always seek opportunities to do good deeds to other Jews, setting them on their way and giving charity.

Chaim Goldreich and Moshe Bronstein also loved to do good deeds. Shlomo Kraus' house was almost destroyed in a great tragedy only a few months prior to the war. The village of Vysotsko was also the cradle of the well-known, dear Goldreich family. The children were well educated in Judaism and general knowledge. The writer of these lines was a frequent visitor of the family.

*

As I have already mentioned, the second Zionist organization, which also maintained a Jewish National Fund committee, was also involved in Zionist activities: the distribution of shekalim [tokens of membership in the Zionist organization], and the emptying of the Keren Kayemet charity boxes. The work was often conducted in conjunction with other villages and settlements in the area.

With the help of Ziel Rosenberg from Lyubsha, an amateur Yiddish theater would be conducted from time to time. The income went to the Keren Kayemet. The youth would often come together for readings and discussions. This took place primarily in private homes, but during the latter period, also in a rented premises. The General Zionists also had the Singer family as members. This was “Herzl-Singer.” The family consisted of three sons: Yosef, Leizer and Shmuel (Yosef is in America), and two daughters.

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They all played the fiddle. Of course, dance evenings were often arranged, and the “brothers” would often play so that the audience would be entertained. The income went to the Keren Kayemet.

The active members of the Achva chapter included my brother Zelig, my sister Dvora Hirt, Ziel Rosenberg from Lyubsha, Leizer and Shmuel Singer, the two sisters Pesel and Rosa Goldreich, Yisrael Teichman, and Abish Rosenberg. The writer of these lines participated as the treasurer of the Keren Kayemet.

Despite the fact that the village was large, all of the Jews lived together as a large family. They were also connected to each other with actual connections. The bonds extended and encompassed several villages.

*

I must state that my mother, may G-d avenge her blood, (Ita Hirt) was involved with Zionism, but my father Abish Hirt was a Hassidic Jew. When rebbes would come to the village for the Sabbath, they would often stay in our house. On such occasions, a Torah would be brought to our house, and we would celebrate Sabbaths with rebbe's table celebrations. Jews from the entire mountain area would come together. People ate where they could and slept in the barns. Indeed, the mountain Jews loved rebbes. For such a mountain Jew this was no difficult matter, so long as they could spend the Sabbath with a rebbe.

On the other hand, as has already been said, my mother was a central figure within Zionism, and my brother Moshe (who was then still a small child) used to gather the youth together and read Zionist material and literature to them. People knew to come to us from all the surrounding villages. One could obtain a couch to sleep at our house, so it would be not too crowded for the multitude of guests. At night we would cover the house with straw, spread out bedding, and everyone would sleep.

Thus did the Jewish people live, spend their time, and conduct themselves in the village of Vysotsko Vyzhne among the multitude of villages in the Carpathian Mountains.

Today, nothing is left of this.


[Page 191]

Ilnik – My Childhood Village

by Meir Gottesman of Kfar Neter

 

Uncaptioned: Meir Gottesman

In memory of my dear parents Chaya and Moshe

Through the length of the village of Ilnik, two miles from Turka near Stryj, flows a river of fast-flowing water – the Rika. There are cultivated fields on both sides of the village. In one direction there is a road that connects the village with Turka. The other side is connected with many other villages. There are forests and mountains behind the cultivated fields. I still remember the tall Kycyra Mountain, which was covered with snow until the middle of the summer.

A light rail traveled through the village, which carried wood from the forests to the sawmills of Turka.

Ilnik was a large village. Obviously, the majority of the population was gentile. However, approximately 40 Jewish families lived among them. They were occupied with agriculture, and some were involved in commerce. Life was difficult. One struggled for livelihood for an entire week, and concerned oneself that nothing would be lacking for the Sabbath.

On the Sabbath, one cast off the yoke, dressed up in the finest clothes that one could afford, put on the streimel – and went to worship. There were three minyanim in three separate places in Ilnik: At Reb Yosele Hans, Reb Kiva Hans, and Hersh Nachman Singer.

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I recall that Reb Yosele used to wear work clothes with a streimel on the Sabbath. His wife Malka, with her pleasant Sabbath greeting, wore a white kerchief on her head like all the other mothers… Reb Yosele was the chief doer in the village. Every person who needed some sort of favor would go to Reb Yosele Hans. His house was open to every person in need.

I was orphaned from my father at a very young age. He went away during the First World War and did not return. Mother died a few years later. May their memories be blessed. I was housed in the village with non-relatives. They were all good friends, and all remain in my memory.

Reb Mendel-Shua conducted a cheder in which I studied. This was for the sake of the good deed, with no tuition fees. He was a scholarly Jew, a prayer leader, a mohel [ritual circumcisor] – and he did this all for the sake of Heaven.

Mirche, Yosele Hans' daughter, remains strongly etched in my heart. She took me in to Skuli and treated me as her own child. I worked and lived with them. Also unforgettable are her two sons Ziga and Itche, as well as the entire Ornstein family.

*

It is the eve of Passover. Matzos were baked in the village with great cheer… The baked matzos were tasty, and were enjoyed from afar… The wooden casks were filled with water for matzo in a timely fashion. A borscht was fermented in a second wooden cask already after Purim. It smelled like good wine…

On festivals… the high holydays… Reb Feivel Wolf, the Torah reader, was over 90 years old, with a splendid countenance. The Unetane Tokef[1] recited by Reb Yosele Hans or Yekutiel…

And nothing remains…

*

The following are the Jewish families that lived in the village:

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Anshel Weis, David Yona Gleicher, Feiga Kirshner, Yosef Gerber, Wolf Gerber, Avraham Gerber, Binyamin From, Chaim Dan, Hersch Berg, Yekutiel Spilman, Avraham Spilman, Shlomo Berg, Dvora Berg, Yisrael Schwartz, Yitzchak Schwartz, Yitzchak Wolf Schwartz, Modl Loterman, Yitzchak Mendel Hans, Leibish Berg, Akiva Hans, the Schindler family, Yosef Aharon Fuchs, David Singer, Moshe Singer, Hersch Nachman Singer, Mendel Fuchs, Esther Liba Fuchs, Abish Shuster, Shimon Floshner, the Arbel family, Yosef Hans, Yisrael-Avraham Hans, Berish Fish, Akiva Wolf, Anshel Schwartz, Berish Schwartz – all of blessed memory

The Village of Vysotsko Nyzny

by Avraham Tuchman

The village was destroyed during the First World War and then rebuilt. I recall that, when I was four years old, our entire family fled to Czechoslovakia. When we returned in 1947, the entire village was burnt. In the center of the city, where our barn was located, not one house remained. The houses of our Ukrainian neighbors were also burned then, but they had already rebuilt them. A few Jews, including my uncle, also returned earlier and began to reconstruct their farms.

In general, the Jews of the village were poor and earned their livelihoods with difficulty. A few conducted business with forest lumber, and others were tradesmen such as shoemakers, tailors, carpenters and millers. Life was not easy. People struggled to sustain the family. We also suffered from the Ukrainians with some frequency.

There were thirty Jewish families in the village. They conducted societal and factional life. Branches of the parties existed – the Zionists, Akiva, and others.


[Page 194]

Rozluch and Beniva

by Tzipora Zelmanovich (Katz) of Netanya

 

Uncaptioned. Tzipora Zelmanovich (Katz)

 

Rozluch

 

A. Rozluch

The village of Rozluch was located 14 kilometers from Turka. Nature endowed the town with a great deal of beauty. It was surrounded by beautiful mountains, which turned into fine gardens for strolling. The forests, with water falls and streams, imparted special charm to the village. Wealthy Jews from Lemberg, Sambor and the district spent a great deal of money to build lovely villas with parks, which served as summer homes. The air was fresh and wholesome.

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A pool was built in the modern style, in which we bathed. There was mineral water that was fit for drinking. Everyone in the district who had the means would travel to spend the summer in Rozluch. The beauty was compared to Vienna; many people would refer to it as Little Vienna. An entire street with villas was built, called Molerman Street.

The Jews in Rozluch lived happily. People made efforts to expand and beautify their dwellings – for this would bring in significant income over the summer. Not too many of the Jewish residents of the town were old timers. Most were families who had recently arrived. I now wish to write what I remember about them.

The youth of the town was organized into various Zionist organizations. Many chalutzim [Zionist pioneers] would come in the summer from other cities. They would visit the well of Dniester, located in the mountains of Rozluch.

Rozluch

 

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Many young people attempted to travel to the Land of Israel, and special hachsharas [preparation activities for aliya] were made. I spent my hachshara in the city of Kosice in Czechoslovakia. Thanks to this, I was saved from a great misfortune. I escaped to Hungary, and reached Israel after many adventures and wanderings.

 

B. Beniva

I was five years old when I left Beniva, and I pined for it for many years. I indeed used to visit it later.

The town was surrounded by forests. The train station was in Sianki or Sokoliki, four or five kilometers from the town. There was no Beis Midrash in Beniva. Services were conducted at the home of the family of Yaakov Apelderfer.

Jews of Beniva were involved with business and agriculture.


Translator's Footnotes:
  1. A central prayer of the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. Return

 

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