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[Page 268]

Shlomo-Hirshl Shlomovitch and His Family

by Dov Shlomovitch

Translated by Ron Rabinovitch

My grandfather Chaikel Shlomovitch, of blessed memory, was one of the “Hatufim” (the boys that were kidnapped to serve in the Russian army). He was well past 30 years of age when he returned from an extended time spent in the military. He was assigned to be a servant to an army doctor, during which time he was able to observe and learn much about medicine. Upon his return to Maytchet he was able to obtain a license to be a medical assistant and he served as the Community Medical Assistant.

He married in Maytchet and had six boys and one girl; four of them emigrated to Canada and three remained in Maytchet where they established their homes. Those who remained were my father Shlomo-Hirshl who was a merchant; a second son my Uncle Yaekel who was a cowherd merchant; and his daughter, my Aunt Gute who married Azriel Shkolonikovitch.

My father Shlomo-Hirshl of blessed memory had three sons and four daughters. One son, Chaikel, is living in Canada. The second son, Eliezer, was killed during World War II while serving in the Polish army. I am the third son, Dov, and I live in Israel with my family. All four of my sisters were murdered along with my parents during the Holocaust.

Our house was observant and all the children received a strong religious education. I studied in the Baranovici Yeshiva and was a member of the “Tiferet Bahurim” committee, during which time I attempted to get to Eretz-Israel. After training for a period of time in a Kibbutz like atmosphere located in Vilna, I was able to come to Israel (Palestine) in 1938. I married a woman in Haifa and established my home there. Unfortunately the situation in Eretz-Israel was very difficult during this period and I was unable to bring the other members of my family to be here with me. Consequently they were all murdered.

This story serves as a memorial to their innocent and clean souls.


[Pages 269-270]

Members of my family at Maytchet

by Haya Rivka Dissin

Translated by Isaac Margolin

I myself was not born in Maytchet, but my late father Rabbi Jona-Joseph Tchertuk and his father the late Rabbi Jacob Tchertuk were born there. Also the parents of my grandfather lived there, and they also were born in Maytchet.

My grandfather Rabbi Jacob was married to my late grandmother Hasha-Freidel the daughter of Rabbi Ze'ev and Badena Pikelni and they lived in Maytchet. They had two sons and one daughter. One son---Jona-Joseph, who was my father, married my mother Henia-Feiga Reznik from Ishishok. In 1900 they immigrated to the US, were they had two daughters, me and my sister Rachel-Lea. In the US I married my husband the late Rabbi Peretz Dissin, and I have two sons and a daughter, Israel-Jacob, Jona-Joseph and Mina. My younger son, Rabbi Jona-Joseph, made aliya to Israel with his family and live in the sacred city of Jerusalem.

After the marriage of my grandfather Rabbi Jacob Tchertuk to my grandmother Hasha-Freidel, her parents Rabbi Ze'ev and Badena Pikelni returned to live in Maytchet with their children, Israel-Elchanan, Eli-Chayim, Arie, Joseph, and Shaina-Chana. Three of their sons immigrated, Eli-Chayim, Arie and Joseph, and the son Israel-Elchanan married a girl born in Zhetl, were they built their family. The daughter was married to Joshua Kostribizki and they stayed in Maytchet were they had three sons and three daughters, Jacob, Noah, Berel, Hasha, Beila and Malka. Besides the son Berel who lives now in Argentina, the rest were killed at the Holocaust with their families.

The other son of my grandfather, David, married a girl from the village of Biten, and in 1905 they immigrated to the US, were they had sons and daughters.

The only daughter of my grandfather, my aunt Shaina, stayed in Maytchet and married Rabbi Asher Orzechovsky, and they had two sons and four daughters Nathan, Jona, Badena, Haya-Sarah, Feige-Rachel, and Hasha. Most of their descendants immigrated to the US where they made their families, except the son Jona and the daughter Badena, who had many children in Maytchet. Unfortunately, along with the other Jews of Maytchet, they were killed in the Holocaust, except thee of them --Nohum Orzechovsky, Freidel, and Nachum Margolin, the only survivors from the whole family at Maytchet and now live in Israel.

 

Rabbi Asher Orzechovsky

My uncle Rabbi Asher was from Zhetl, where he was born to his parents Rabbi Nachum Eli and Hana Rozensky. He changed his name from Rozensky to Orzechivsky to avoid the fate of the "kidnapers" of the Czar’s army. He had three other brothers in Zhetl – Berel, Yakir, and Samuel-Shalom, and three sisters, Lea, Mera, and Sheindel.

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When I remember my relatives in Maytchet, I am sad for the youngsters and the persons who were killed. They were murdered in cold blood by the Nazis who have no shame.

My grandfather, the late Rabbi Jacob Tchertuk, was old fashion and his ambition was to make Aliya to Eretz Israel. In 1903 he made his long way from Maytchet to Eretz-Israel. He wanted to bring his family also to the Holy Land, but due to the difficulties of the time he was not able to fulfill it, and was never to see them again. On Yom Kippur (1910) he died and was buried in the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem.

God bless his soul.

Haya-Rivka Dissin


[Page 271]

People and Personalities

by Nachum Margolin

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Reb Shlomo Shnitzki - Reb Shlomo Shnitzki, may G-d avenge his blood, had a store in the row of stores in the marketplace to sell shoes and hides. He lived with his family in a dwelling above the store. Shlomo was a quiet, even-tempered man. He served as the representative of the community on the district communal council of Baranovichi, and was a member of several local institutions.

Reb Avraham Garbash and Reb Leib Winograd, may G-d avenge their blood, were both sons-in-law of Reb Yisrael Zalman Szlowski of holy blessed memory. The former was the husband of his daughter Chana and the latter was married to her sister Dvosha. Neither were natives of Maytchet. Rather, they came from Congress Poland. Therefore, their mode of dress was different than that of other residents of the town. They both used to wear Hassidic hats and kapotes, as was the custom of the Hassidim in Congress Poland. However, they both acclimatized well to our Lithuanian town [1]. The two families were blessed with many children. Reb Avraham Garbash was one of the shochtim [ritual slaughterers] of the town, and Reb Leib Winograd was a merchant. He had a textile store, and was one of the gabbaim [trustees] of the shtibel.

Leibel Gilerovits, may G-d avenge his blood, was the son of one of the honorable families in the town. All of the Gilerovits families in the town owned lands in the area, and the family members were occupied with agriculture. When Reb Shlomo Bitenski of blessed memory died, his wife Sonia, may G-d avenge her blood (Besky) continued with the wholesale trade of grains. When the business became large-scale, Leibel Gilerovits joined her as a partner, and both together ran the business. With the passage of time, Leibel married one of the Bitenski daughters. Leibel Gilerovits was a communal activist, primarily in the Zionist institutions. He was a captain of the firefighters, and was even an actor in the dramatic circle of the town. When the Germans invaded, he was appointed to the Judenrat of the town. According to the testimony of the Holocaust survivors, he acted faithfully and with dedication to ensure that no harm would befall the Jews of the town. According to the same sources, Leibel Gilerovits was influenced by Rabbi Dastolovitz, who was a great tzadik. This influence was so great that Leibel turned into a believer and observer of the commandments. Leibel Gilerovits made use of the “Pasir Schein,” the permit of movement that he possessed as a member of the Judenrat, to frequently travel to Stolevitch in order to meet the rabbi and receive his advice on all matters. Leibel shared the same fate as the rabbi and the Jews of Maytchet who perished in the Holocaust.

Reb Alter Abramovitz, may G-d avenge his blood, was a modest, wholesome Jew who occupied himself with business. He had a textile shop in the row of shops. He was a great scholar. He disseminated

[Page 272]

Torah in public, and gave a Talmud class in the Beis Midrash. He and his wife Menucha had two sons and two daughters. The eldest son Noach, may G-d avenge his blood, studied the laws of shechita [ritual slaughter] in town and became a shochet. The second son Berl, may G-d avenge his blood, also studied in Yeshivas, and succeeded in moving to Lithuania in 1939; however, he apparently perished in the Holocaust.

Aside from the Pikalni family, we had other relatives in the town of Zhetl, the family of Moshe Aharon Leibovitz of blessed memory, whose wife Leah of blessed memory was the sister of my grandfather Reb Asher; and the family of Moshe Razbaski, the father of my uncle Reb Baruch Roses who lives today in the United States. He had a double family connection with Uncle Reb Yisrael Elchanan - Reb Yisrael Elchanan was the brother of Chasha Freidel - the mother of my grandmother Sheina Orzhochovski, may peace be upon her, whereas his wife, Aunt Hadassa, was the cousin of my grandfather Reb Asher.

 

Rabbi Yisrael Elchanan Pikalni and his wife Hadassa

Reb Yisrael-Elchanan Pikalni had always been connected to Maytchet throughout the years. He remembered its kindness during his youth, and would often visit. In addition to the fact that he was a native of Maytchet, he had many relatives in the town. Aside from our family, he was also related to the Kosterovski family. Similar to him, the children of that family would also visit the town, and during the visits, there would always be the problem of where to stay - with one family or another.

Reb Yisrael Elchanan had two sons and two daughters. One son, Reb Yosef Eliahu Peniel (Pikalni) is in Israel and served in the holy task of shochet in Kfar Haroeh. The other son Chaim-Zeev perished in a tragedy in 1920, when he drowned in a river when he was only 18 years old. One daughter Henia also lives in Israel, and was married to Reb Yechezkel Rosenblum of blessed memory of Raanana. The other daughter Bodna Breina perished during the Holocaust in Baranovichi along with her husband Moshe Chaim Nebeski and their seven children.

Uncle Reb Yisrael-Elchanan and Aunt Hadassa succeeded in making aliya to the Land of Israel in 1934. They lived with their daughter Henia Rosenblum and her family in Raanana. Aunt Hadassa passed away

[Page 273]

on the 7th of Av 5700 (1940), and Uncle Rabbi Yisrael-Elchanan passed away on the 4th of Elul 5702 (1942) at the age of 72.

May their memories be blessed.

Reb Moshe Savitski - was an educated, intelligent Jew, with a warm Jewish heart, and who would often host guests. His house was open to everybody, and Jews from the villages of the vicinity (“Yishuvniks”) would stay in his house when they would come to Maytchet for business or other affairs. He was also a Zionist with a consciousness. He had two sons: Avraham Zeev and Yisrael; and one daughter: Alta. To our great sorrow, his daughter died in her prime, whereas the sons were influenced by the atmosphere that they absorbed in their father's home and made aliya to the Land of Israel -- one in the 1920s, and the other in the 1930s.

 

 
 
Yaakov Gilerovits   Yisrael Belski   Moshe Savitsky

Reb Yisrael Belski was a scholarly Jew who earned his livelihood from the bakery he owned in Maytchet. He occupied himself faithfully with communal affairs, and was active in most of the institutions of the town. He was a member of the Jewish National Fund committee, as well as a faithful member of the Chevrat Shas [Talmud Study Group] of Maytchet.

Reb Naftali the Blacksmith was a short Jew, with a beard and peyos [side curls], who earned his living from the toil of his hands. He had a Blacksmith shop on Jurzika Street. Despite his age, he was agile, and easily took control of the animals that were brought to them to make iron shoes for their feet [2]. Regarding him it is possible to quote the verse, “Naftali is a hind let loose who gives forth pleasant words” [3]. He was an upright, straightforward man with fear of Heaven. I recall that during the 1920s

[Page 274]

the leader of the Generation, the author of the Chofetz Chaim of holy blessed memory, who was a descendent of Aaron the priest, turned to all of the Kohanim in Poland asking them to commence the study of the priestly service. Since Reb Naftali was a kohen, he responded to the call of the Chofetz Chaim, organized the Kohanim in Maytchet, and began to study with them that which they were commanded.

Chana Shlomovitz - Chana the wife of Reb Shlomo Tzvi Shlomovitz would always greet the people of the town warmly, with a smile on her lips. She was imbued with the traits of modesty and diligence, and concerned herself with her fine, large family. In her life and her death, she served as a symbol of the typical Jewish mother of all generations. Due to these sublime traits, she succeeded in helping sustain many needy families in Maytchet in a discreet and quiet fashion.

When she went from door to door with a kerchief in her hands to collect donations, the Jews of Maytchet received her pleasantly. The Jews of the region (Yishuvniks) also knew her, and many Jews of the surrounding villages would come to her house to stay over or to take care of purchases and selling in the town. They did not leave her house without leaving a donation - whether of money or the produce of their farms.

She was a righteous woman in the full sense of the term. She was involved in acts of charity and assistance to the needy. In all cases, she was strict on ensuring that the gifts be made in a discreet fashion. Every Thursday, she would transfer to the needy of the town whatever she succeeded in collecting on their behalf.

About such people, the wisest of all man wrote in the final chapter of his book: “A woman of valor who can find … and she will be praised in the gates for her deeds. [4]

 

Reb Shlomo Tzvi Shlomovitz and his wife Chana

 

Translator's Footnotes
  1. Lithuania is used here in the broader sense of the term. Return
  2. Horseshoes. Return
  3. From the blessings of Jacob to his sons. Genesis 49:21. Return
  4. Referring to King Solomon, the traditional author of the Book of Proverbs. The quote is from Proverbs 31:10-31. Return

 

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