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[Page 434]

The Student Youth Circles

by Rafael Mahler

Translated by Renee Miller

Private Students and Commuters

Because of geographic-historical causes such as the position of the centers of culture and, not in small measure, because of the long lasting tradition of the glorious folk epoch of Hasides in Sandz in the days of the “Divrei Chaim” [Chaim Halbershtam], the atmosphere of stricter orthodoxy and old fashioned ways lasted a lot longer there than in other kehiles [Jewish communities] of the same size in Galicia. A clear expression of this situation was the fact that Jews in Sandz were very late in beginning to send their children to gymnazie [European school equivalent to high school or junior college – Uriel Wienreich]. Until the first World War the number of Jewish “students” in both of the gymnazies in the city was proportionately very small, and even smaller was the number of Jewish “akademiker” (in Sandz, as in all Galicia, the gymnazie students were called “students”, and students –literally from university were called “akademiker”).

Whoever sent a son to gymnazie was thought of as a “Daytch” [Jewish people who would use the German language feeling that German culture was on a higher level] who had gotten the tradition from people of means, or for a prostak [ignorant man] who was generally not among the well-to-do. The fact is, that among the worshipers in the three central Hasidic boti-medroshim [small Orthodox synagogues or prayer houses], the Gribover, Cieniawer and “Hasidishn” (“shtatishn” {urban or municipal) besmedresh, there were none whose son went around in a gymnasia uniform.

Very characteristic of this atmosphere of transition in the years before the war, where there were those half and those three-quarter enlightened fathers, that would give their sons the opportunity of mutura [final examination at the gymnazie]. Mordechai Mahler, the shoe-polish maker from the Piekle (polish “A.B.Tz) had sent his son Mikhal to Hungarian Brod to the Orthodox middle school of Dr. Yung. Only in the final classes did his son try for the gymnazie in Sandz. His mekhutn [son-in-law/daughter-in-law's father], Heyml Herbst (he gave his little sister Sura Liberman in marriage to Michal Mahler), finally permitted his older son Shloyme (now professor of German in collegium in Santiago de Cuba) to study “privately”, that is, he registered every year, but studied at home with an older ”student”, and every semester he handed in examinations to the gymnazie. Only during the World War did his father make up his mind and sent him to gymnazie as a regular student and of course, Shloyme (Shlamek) beat a path for his younger brother Shmuelik (now an engineer in California). The writer of these lines also studied “Private” in gymnazie.

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The first instance of permitting a son to study “private” was Itchele Raykh. He had a wine shop and a wine bar in the market. Apparently he had to concern himself with his observant customers, that they should not, God forbid, suspect him regarding the kashret [kosher] of his wine. He used to daven [pray] on Shabes and holidays in R' Yitzhok Tubie's besmedresh [small Orthodox synagogue] (Hyml Herbst also davent there) with his three sons, who used to parade in uniforms with “stripes” in der vokh [on weekdays]. Now they wore their long jackets, bound at the waist with silk belts, and on their heads they wore modern hats – a sort of ostentatious combination of “Hasides” and “Daytch” together [in the dress of the Hasidim and modern people].

Moyshe Anisfeld's son Yosl, took another path, a much more difficult one. He had studied several years in the Yeshiva where his father was one of the gaboim [trustees], and where he excelled as an ile [child prodigy or genius]. To the great resentment of his father, and with great effort on his part as an outside student, he studied with a private tutor in order to be admitted to the final high school examination. Inasmuch as the examination was very difficult since it included all of the material that had to be learned from eight classes, he had to try three times before he managed to complete the final high school exam. Later, when he became a Doctor of Medicine, he, of course, returned to the spirit of orthodoxy. He was the only yeshiva-bokher [yeshiva student] from Sandz who completed university as an outside student. He perished, along with his sister Khayke, a dentist in Warsaw, in one of the deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto i”d [reference to honor for the respected dead].

Yitzhok Landoy, a bookkeeper from Borowa was a Jewish “outside” student from an altogether different neighborhood. He supported his mother, a widow, and two sisters and in the evening, he prepared for the final high school exam. About a year before the war, Landoy, the elegant, redheaded young man, passed the final exam with distinction. This accomplishment from the secular ile was the subject of conversations in all the circles in Jewish Sandz. Unfortunately, the extraordinary, faithful Yitzhk Landoy, fell at the front in the very first months of the war. In those same years, there was another outside student, Bolek Lustig, who later became a lawyer in Kroœcienko.

The first Jewish students in Sandz

The first Jewish gymnazie students in Sandz appeared in 1870's and '80's. They were the later well-known attorneys and doctors in the city: Dr. Maurycy Ameyzen, the two brothers, Dr. Bernard Zilberman (attorney) and Dr. Leon Zilberman, the two attorneys Dr. Yakov Taytleboym and Dr. Maurycy Kerbl. Later, Baruch Marglies was added. He became Rabbi in Drogobych.

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In the years 1895-1898, other Jewish youths appeared in the only gymnazie in Sandz at that time: Leopold Aychhorn (later attorney), the brothers Shmuel and Bertold Shtern (later attorneys), Leon Manheimer (a son of the widow Anna Manheimer, “by the old railroad”, later an attorney), and Nahum Bilder (also later a jurist). At the end of the 19th century and until 1900, the following came to the Sandzer gymnazie: Yakob (Kuba) Mikenbrun and Hamershlag (both from Neimark [Nowy Targ] where there was no gymnazie), leaders from Gribow, Bronner from Yazowsk, Zigmund Goldberger, Naygershol and Fertig (also from outside the city). From Sandz itself: Alexanderowitch, the older son of Shmuel Mashler, Fridwald (the son of the director of the Baron Hirsch School. and religions teacher) [Baron Hirsch Schools were primary schools established in Galicia in 1888 as part of Baron Maurice Hirsch's program to aid the Jews of Galicia- Pinkas Hakehillot Polin] and Herman Schwartz, the son of “Shrayber” (a small-town lawyer) Philip Schwartz.

In the first years of the 20th century, there were already a number of new Jewish students, more than ten, from Sandz itself in the gymnazie,. Aside from the two brothers Shtiller, Yakob and Abraham from Nowy Targ, the following entered the gymnazie: Yitzhok Weyndling (later attorney in Sandz, now in Ramat Gan)*, Adolf Goldberger (later a doctor of law), but he was employed as a teacher in a Jewish gymnazie in Lodz), Dovid Hochheizer (later doctor in Sandz), Moyshe Kanner, Abraham (Vrumik) Amsterdam ( the older brother of Shaul), Yacov (Kuba) Tsigler (fell in the first World War), Leybe Lampel, Mendl Lustig, Leyzer Ainfeld (now editor in Isroyl), Numa (Benyomin) Landoy (now in Isroyl, secretary of the Sandz Landsmanshaft).

The Gymnazie Students Circle “Bnei-Zion” up to the First World War

Considering the very small number of gymnazie students in Sandz at the beginning of the 20th century, it is not so remarkable, that the first organization of Jewish “students” in Sandz also came into existence later than in other Galician cities, although the Zionist movement in Sandz belonged to the oldest in Galicia.

* We are indebted to Dr. Yitzhok Weyndling for all the details of not only the first student in the Sandzer gymnazie, but also about the activities of the circle “Bnei-Zion” [a Zionist youth organization] and the academic circle in Sandz, until the first war. We give him, now, on the spot, a heartfelt yashe koyakh [well done!] for his important information.

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Even before political Zionism made its appearance, having been founded earlier by Dr. Herzl in the beginning of the 1890s, a group [Hovevei Zion {”Lovers of Zion”}] was already in existence in Sandz. Not long after the First Zionist Congress, the Zionist union “Ezra” [a federation of Zionist youth] was founded in Sandz. Since 1905, “Ezra” had been connected to the central leadership of the Galician Zionist organization in Lemberg [Lwow].

An attempt to organize the Jewish gymnazie students was made in1904 through a student in the third class that came from Lwow. Aside from the students in his class he also made contact with two or three students from the second class. However, more than that one meeting, held under the Helena Bridge, did not come to pass. Subsequently, Kuba Mikenbrun from Nowy Targ supported the contact among the students through private chats. Finally, in the school year 1906-7 the gymnazie student group “Bnei-Zion” was founded. The energetic Mikenbrun led the group during that year. It was not an easy undertaking to lead a group under illegal conditions; according to the regulations of the school management, membership in such a group could result in a heavy penalty. The fanatics in the city anticipated this. Twice they actually submitted a mesire [denunciation] against Mikenbrun. His rights as a student were suspended, and only thanks to the intervention of the administrative deputy German, he was not thrown out of the gymnazie. From 1908 to 1911Yitzhok Weyndling led the group. Almost all of the previously mentioned students of the gymnazie, except for three or four, belonged to the circle. The “Bnei-Zion” circle joined the general organization of Zionist gymnazie youth in Galicia that was founded in Lwow [Lemberg] in 1900 under the name of “Tseiri-Zion”*

The group “Bnei-Zion” that counted 110-112 members, used to meet two times a week, later three times, in the local “Ezra” [club] opposite the post office, in Tishe's house. The courses in the group included “Palestinografie” [Palestine geography?] (lecturer – Weyndling), history of Zionism (according to the hectograph [kind of multiple copy machine] booklet by Kirton – taught by Shiller), Jewish history up to the Destruction, according to the peoples' publication by Gretz (lecturer – Tzigler), political economics (lecturer – Herman Schwartz, by then, an “academician”). The Hebrew teacher from the city, M. Berl gave a course on Hebrew.

* See Dr. N. M. Gilber, “Toldos H'Tnues H'Tzionit B'Galitsie, Jerusalem, 1958, 2nd vol, p 685 - -Gymnazien Organization “Bnei-Zion” did not have any connection with the “Tseiri-Zion” movement, that was organized in Russia before the First World War.

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The readings also included such widely different books and brochures as Moyshe Hess “Rome and Jerusalem”, Leon Pinsker “Auto Emancipation”, Daniel Pasmanik “Die Seele Israels” [translated into German from Russian {The Israeli Soul (?)}], (Berlin 1911), Tzallshan “The Rassenproblem” [“The Race Problem”] (1910), Salomon Shiller (Byt narodowy Zydow) [“The National Existence of the Jews”] (1906) and such periodicals as “Unzere Hofnung” [“Our Hope”] in German and “Murye” in Polish. The courses were divided into two sections, a lower and a higher according to the age and readiness o the members.

The circle “Bnei-Zion” had its own library. They drew the funds from the three evenings a year that they arranged, aside from the Maccabi-evenings during Hanukah. A ticket for a Maccabi-evening cost a krone. Patrons of the circle, such as Dr.Leon Zilberman, used to take the opportunity to spend a greater sum. During the school year 1909-1910 a “Festin” ['festival' in Polish] on the Venetsie, that at one time, brought in 200 kronen [The value of the Krone {crown}, the currency of the time, was set at 2 Krone = 1 Gulden]. With this, we bought not only a greater number of books but also a closet for the library.

By the same method, “Bnei-Zion” carried on during the last three years of the First World War, continuing in the “Ezra” local. Since 1912 it had been located on the Shvedishe Gas [Swedish Street]. The leader of the circle was Yanek Gutfroynd. Yanek Gutfroynd, the son of Moyshe, the representative of Hungarian meal businesses, lived side by side with Abremele Fridman on the other side of the railroad tracks. He made an impression with his shrewdness and with his developed eye for politics and for community problems. He had studied to be a chemical engineer, worked as an expert for many years in the Soviet Union, and returned to Krakow after that. He fell during the Nazi occupation.

Yanek Gutfroynd taught a course on the history of Zionism. The secretary of the circle was Sholek (Shaul) Amsterdam. He also led free conversations on various themes. Meir Landerer (died in Tel-Aviv)* taught the colleagues Palestinagrafia. The book that was used was Kurt Navrazki's “The Colonization of Palestine”. Others who belonged to the circle were Menashe Infeld, Tulek (Naftali) Schipper, Shachna Holzer, Berish Neugreshel, Bernard Shtatter from Nowy Targ (now doctor in Natanya), Shtiller and Levkowitz (both from Gribow), as also was, for the first time female gymnazie students: the Kuzines Shteynbach (grandchildren of R'Eliezer Shteybach), Franka Abramowicz, Sabina Nattel (now in Isroyl), Sala Nussboym, Ale Fridman. The earnestness and discipline of the circle shows in the fact that at the end of every school year, the members of the courses examined against others who studied, compared well. The examiners were Dr.Yermihu Frenkel, Dr. Hersh (Henrik) Sirop.

* We have to thank Meir Landerer, may he rest in peace, for the news about the “Bnei-Zion” circle in the last years before the war, as well as news from Bnut-Zion

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The Zionist Academic Circle – The Bnot-Zion

From the circle of gymnazie students Bnot-Zion even before the First World War had grown into an academic Zionist organization. It was organized in 1912, by I. Weyndling, as a separate “Histadrut Academies Zionist” in Przemyœl, with Dr. Leon (Ariye) Loyterba at the top. He was the future secretary for the leaders of the Zionist World Organization (now it Jerusalem). Dr. Yermihu Frenkel led the academic group that used to gather together in Sands, at his home across from the tracks (in the house of his father-in-law, Abremele Fridman). The members of the circle would hold lectures; among them Dr. Frenkel's on Ahad-Ha'am (Asher Ginzberg) [a Hebrew essayist, and one of the greatest pre-state Zionist thinkers-Wikipedia], about Zombard [Werner Zombart and the Jewish question {anti-Semitism}], and so forth. The following belonged to the group: the “Akademiker” Weyndling, Yitzhok Tzigler, Leybe Lampel and Michal Mahler. On Tamez 20, the yortsayt of Dr. Herzl, the circle would come together in Krynica-Zdrój for the remembrance academy held in the room of the pensioner Schwartz. In addition to Dr. Hersh (Henrik) Sirop from Sandz, speakers from Lwow were brought in: Dr. Rozmarin, Dr. Hoyzner and Dr. Zammershtein. On the initiative of Dr. Loyterbach, the academic circle invited Nahum Sokolow to come to Sandz to deliver a lecture, and his visit in March 1913, was an event in the city.

With the cooperation of the academics, and with the initiative of Dr. Sirop and Mrs. Ameyzen, who, for this purpose, donated 150 books, a Jewish Peoples' Library was organized in Sands in 1910. It opened in 1911 in Weintroyb's house. Until the war, it operated, aside from the “Ezra” library in the market, which the Peoples' Library took over and bought copies of the Yiddish classics such as Sholem Aleichem, I. L. Peretz and others.

In the same years before the First World War, a Zionist circle for girls was organized in Sandz, “Bnot Zion”. Rebekah Mahler (later the wife of Shloyme Damast who died in New York), her sister Heyke, their cousin Blime Mahler (during the war), Ida Waynberger, Ita Fihrer, Iza Kinstler, Sura Krisher and her sister Rushke (now Shapiro, in Tel-Aviv), Peshke Kinderman, Lehrer and Hinde Landoy (sister of IlvyInde La Sender Landoy) were all members. The leader of the group was Khume (Nakhme) Gutfroynd, the second oldest sister of Yanek Gutfroynd.

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During the early years of the war, a fresh breath actually blew into the organization “Bnot Zion”. fled to Vienna and returned in 1915, not only full of impressions of big city life, but also excited with new ideas of Zionist work, some also with Socialist memories. At once, the horizon of their world experience widened.

Besides those previously mentioned, during the war, several girls, the two sisters Gutfroynd, Sala, after completing the matura, and Golde who was about to complete the teacher's seminar for girls (living now in New York), Hayke Anisfeld, the younger sister Abramovicz, Mala (now the wife of Dr. David Berger, in Montreal), Etinger, Funye (Fayge), Mahler, Fride Eynhorn also belonged to the Bnot Zion circle. Among the “students” were Olesh (Alkhsander) Lustig (now in Tel-Aviv), Unyek Abramovicz, Heshek (Herman) Landoy (the son of Isroyl Landoy from the Grodzke [street], the cousins Dudek (Dovid) Berger, the oldest and youngest, Benyek Landoy (the stepson of Dr. Deytlboym), Shteger, Dolek Grin (now in Kibbutz Mashmer Hemek), Shlomek Herbst. Courses were held, once a week for Hebrew (Shlomek Herbst) and Palestinografia (B. Shtatter from Nowy Targ at that time already an “akademiker”), the oldest in the circle, also drew attention with his extraordinary earnestness.

For a short time, the “Bnei-Zion” circle had a provisional local in a house near the Teper Market in the very thick of the extreme fanatical Orthodox. Actually, once there was a very unpleasant incident: on Shabes after midday, when the circle held its meeting, suddenly women's voices were heard in bizarre screaming and cursing: “Boys and girls rakhmone-litslan [heaven preserve us! {said after mentioning something loathsome}], getting together on Shabes. Woe unto us! For their sin, great sorrow comes on us” and more, in the same manner, the fanatical women almost laid siege to the house, storming it, banging on the door and windows, and we, the besieged, had no other choice but to sit still and wait until the storm had passed. After that, the circle would meet in a house on the Pielke that stood near the bridge over the Kamienica.

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The “Bnei-Zion” circle, just as before the war, arranged an annual Makaberii celebration, with a lecture, singing and dancing. The dance was led by Numa Landoy who had completed her Matura by that time. We sang in chorus a national fighting song, in Polish, to the melody of “Mevz Tsur”:

Ludu wstan do czynu wraz,
I orez miej gotowy,
Minal juz gnusnosci czas,
Wszak wrog na pocisk nowy,
By ciebie zgnebic ludu moj,
Wiec Judo wstan I smialo idz na boj,
Ty nadstaw skron I siebie bron,
A wroga zgnebi orez twoj!
The “Bnei-Zion” circle did not last until the end of the war. Even in the years before the war, a group of young students in Sandz created a Paolei-Tsion circle. By the end of the war, it included a number of the members of “Bnei-Zion”. The rest reorganized as the Jewish scout-organization, “Hashomer Hatsair” [or HaShomer HaTzair, translated as The Youth Guard) a Socialist-Zionist youth movement founded in 1913 in Galicia {Wikipedia}].

By 1916, the merging of the gymnastics organization, “Tseiri-Zion” with the “Hashomer Hatsair”*, that had originated in Galicia in 1913 took place. By 1917 the merger had been completed in places in Galicia. In Sandz the “Hashomer Hatsair” also inherited “Bnei-Zion”. The organization that had been occupied with deep Jewish national-consciousness and the spreading of Jewish knowledge among the gymnazie-youth was converted to a scout movement that after the war, took as its top priority the preparation of Halutzim for the building of Eretz-Yisroyl.

The Student-Youth Paolei-Tsion and the Academic Circle “Kherut [Freedom]”

The first Paolei-Tsion group among the Jewish student youth in Galicia rose in 1908, under the name “Kherut”, and initially included only university students (“Akademiker”) in several cities; Stanislawow, Kołomyja, Tarnopol, but soon it organized among the students and also gymnazie pupils.** The organization printed a different organ in Polish under the name Nasze Hasla (Our Slogans) in which the young, but already the well-known historian, Dr. Yitzhok Schipper participated.

* See: Sefer Hashomer Hatsair krakh A', Merkhabia, 1956, p. 23-32

** See: G. M. Gelber, D.TS.V. vol 2, p. 684

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In Sandz, several gymnazie pupils from “Bnei-Zion”, among them Parnes [one of the elected heads of the community] Yitzhok Kornfeld (now in New York), joined Paolei-Tsion in 1911. The organizer and initiator was Dr. Herman Schwartz, who was by then very active in the Paolei-Tsion organization in the city. In 1912, the Sandzer group was already participating in the Galicia national convention of the gymnazie pupils Paolei-Tsion*. During the war, in 1916-1917, the group began to grow rapidly among gymnazie pupils and students. By 1918, the academic circle “Kherut” was already the leading organization among the Jewish student youth in Sandz.

Without the head of the Paolei-Tsion circle, pupils and students selected Sholek Amsterdam. Even in 1915, while still a pupil of the seventh gymnazie class, just after returning from Vienna, he organized a group of female pupils in the higher classes of the public school (the wydzialowe). The group, under the name “Rukhlankes” first met in the house of Moyshe Schiper, in Tulek's room. Later, it joined Aron Zhupnik's local in the marketplace. As a pupil in the 8th class and particularly after his matura in 1917, Amsterdam became the organizer and theoretician, lecturer and teacher in the group “Kherut”, just as in the Paolei-Zion party especially in Sandz. He, who was brought into Paolei-Zion by Dr. Schwartz, advanced beyond his guide, and put him into the shadows.

The mood in those years, the end of the World War, was very favorable for the spread of the Paolei-Zion idea among the Jewish student youth, as well as among the Jewish workers and employees. The fragrance of coming spring, a peoples' spring, and a spring of the Jewish people was borne on the air. In the precarious Austro-Hungarian monarchy, a revolutionary brew was fomenting even before the fall of the multi-national empire. The victorious Bolshevik revolution in Russia had opened new horizons for workers, there and in central Europe, including the newly created Poland, who, at the end of the war, organized themselves into workers' councils.

The Balfour Declaration [The Balfour Declaration of 1917 was the first significant declaration by a world power in favor of a Jewish "national home" in what was known as Palestine-BBC News] brought a renaissance of the Jewish people. The growth of modern Jewish culture in Eastern Europe created new horizons in connection with the awaited Jewish national autonomy.

The Jewish student youth in Sandz, organized in “Kherut”, changed the way they were learning with hislayves [ardor, rapture] into a way that was for them entirely new: aside from political economy and the history of Socialism and the workers' movement, Jewish economic history (according to G. Caro and others in the Polish book Zydow gospodaarczemi stosunkami nad Studja sredniowiecza podczas Polsce w by Dr. Schipper that was worshipped by the young) Jewish literature and last of all, the doctrine of Ber Borochow according to his “Class Interests and the National Question” and “Our Platform”. [Ber Borochov, 1881-1917, along with Nachman/Nahum Syrkin is considered a father of socialist Zionism].

* N. B. Gelber, D. TS. V., vol 2, p. 777

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The members of “Kherut” were not satisfied with study alone. Nearly everyone was actively giving lectures on the Poalei-Zion organization and especially in youth organizations.

Among the most active members in “Kherut” were, besides Shaul Amsterdam, overflowing with initiatives and energy, Naftali Schipper, Shakhna Holtzer, Berish Neugroshel, Ada Zhupnik, Emanuel Ringelblum and the writer of these lines.

Naftali (Tulek) Schipper had beyrushe [inherited] from his grandfathers, R' Ptkhia Shoykhet on his father's side and the dayn [judge] from Bochnia on his mother's side an extraordinary earnestness and readiness. Not only was every pretense and pose unknown to him, but he also could not stand such behavior in others. He gave an impression of a worldly poresh [recluse who devotes himself exclusively to the study of the sacred books]. Back in his early youth, he had expressed a great interest in world politics and in a circle of his colleagues; he held outstanding lectures and discussions on these topics. Later he was an attorney in Sandz. During the last years before the war he moved his administrative office to Kalisz, where his wife, Ada Zhupnik was a teacher in the Hebrew-Polish gymnazie. After the rift in Paolei-Zion in 1920 he became a dedicated friend in the Linke [Left] Paolei-Zion. He was modest and unassuming. All his life he deepened his social and political knowledge before he could venture to write something alone. After the outbreak of World War II, he fled to Lemberg [Lwow] and later he lived in terrible solitude in the Soviet Union, where, in Samarkand, he perished from typhusebreH brought on by hunger.

Ada Zhupnik-Schiper, the daughter of Aron Zhupnik, was a phenomenon of erudition. Her child-like face and dreamy blue eyes, her modest dress and behavior were in contrast to her extraordinarily deep and broad education. Language was not a handicap to her thirst for learning. Aside from Yiddish, German, Polish that she had mastered, she learned French, English and Russian without difficulty. She learned Russian through her own reading and she learned it so thoroughly, that finding herself in Lemberg under Soviet authority during the war, she nevertheless took the examination for Russian literature at her matura and drew the wonder of the Russian school inspector. Her world philosophy of life was organically bound up with a true attachment to the Jewish people, and therefore, she found an effective group in the Poalei-Zion party.

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With her lectures on literature and philosophy, she excelled with her appropriate depth of knowledge. In 1921, after she received her doctorate in the Vienna University, she moved to Kalisz as a teacher of the Polish language and literature in the Hebrew-Polish gymnazie. She was loved and cared for by her students. She did not survive in Samarkand much longer than her husband, Naftali Schiper, and, as he did, she became a victim of starvation.

Shakhne (Shanek) Holzer lived a life similar to his closest friend, Naftali Schiper. Except for their common trait of modesty, he was different in character.

Image:

Dr. Shakhne Holzer, lawyer
Photograph from the ghetto era
One of the management friends of “Kherut
Student group Poalei-Zion

Not as uncommunicative, he found time to stroll, chat with friends and often to play chess. His greatest interest was political economics on which he regularly lectured at the party's classes. At the end of his legal studies, at the same time as Naftali Schiper, he opened his attorney's office in Sandz. He was one of the plain people, as was his way. Until his last breath he remained loyal in his love for Yiddish and the Yiddish-speaking masses just as he remained an active friend of the Linke Poalei-Zion party until his tragic end. After the outbreak of the war, he remained in Sandz. He lived through all the yesurim [agony] and suffering in the Nazi's ghetto. He was shot on the Sandzer besoylem [cemetery] together with all his friends on the Poalei-Zion list during the murderous action at the end of April 1942. He lived with the party all of his conscious life and he fell together with his friends in the party.

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Berish Neugreshel, the son of Israel and Tamarl Neugreshel, geyarshent [inherited] from his mother his good heart and good-nature. From his house, just as Tulek Schiper and Shanek Holzer, he brought with him his juicy Yiddish. He excelled in an outstanding sense of humor and he sparkled with jokes and anecdotes. The distinctive charm of his character was his temperament and his sincerity. He excelled as did his father's family, with his enterprise and sharpness of mind. He concentrated his abilities in the areas of mathematics, technology and natural science problems. His lectures on natural science that he held in the party circles for the young were masterpieces of “carried away” art. He spoke with such dramatic vividness, that his lectures in physics and biology grabbed the listeners like pure poetry. A few years before the war he immigrated to Brazil with his brother Nusek (Natan). There he was professor in the military academy, and later, in an industrial undertaking with his brother. During the last war both brothers died young from heart disease.

Chaim Halbertal, who also belonged to the circle of older friends, was active in the area of cooperatives (now in Tel-Aviv); Heniek Herbst, the blonde, bright student, later a famous doctor in Sandz, and Leon Wadler also belonged.

Leon Wadler's (on his birth certificate, his name was Langer), parents had a tavern (near the train station, rented and then bought it from the Manheimers). Leon was educated at home in the Polish language. The neighborhood around the train station, of course, was thoroughly Polish. He knew very little about Judaism and could barely read the Yiddish alphabet. When he was young – as he later confessed with vexation – he would throw stones from under the fence with his Polish friends, children from the railroad, at passing Jews in fur-lined coats. In the upper classes at the gymnazie he became close to the P. P. S. [Polish Socialist Party]. Then as a student of law, the strengthened, invigorated, broad-shouldered and redheaded Leon was brought into the circle “Kherut”, it appears, under the influence of Shaul Amsterdam. He then learned to read and speak Yiddish and he studied Yiddish literature. He was loved by his friends in the group, not only as a “baltshuve” [“penitent”], but also thanks to his qualities of spirit and character: he was full of life and humor, a sincere friend, always ready to help, sharp and clever and he understood life. Also, when he settled in Wadowice as an attorney, he did not lose his regard for the Linke Poalei-Zion and for his friends in Sandz.

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He perished in the murderous German war, as did his younger brother Shimek and his sisters Anda and Sala.

Among the younger friends from the “Kherut” circle who were conspicuous because of their activities, were Benek Landoy [Landau?], Luzhek Ringelblum, Zigo Korn, Ruzhke Shiper [Schiper?] and Shanke Tsopf.

Benek Landoy, brought up in the home of Dr. Daytlboym, one of the oldest lawyers in Sandz, went, as did many of his friends, from Bnei-Zion to the “Kherut' circle. Slender brown-haired with blue eyes, he was attractive with his fine, charming outward appearance. Completely in harmony with his outward appearance was his gentle character. Giving himself to Poalei-Zion with life and limb, he was active in the party even after he became a lawyer in Sandz. He did not lose his radiant humanity in his last years when he was partly lame on one leg and could only walk with difficulty. His dreadful death at the hands of the Brown Shirts [Nazis] reached him, his wife Ruzhke Schiper and their children, in Lemberg when he was unable to flee because of his disability.

Luzhek Ringelblum was similar to his brother Emanuel (Edzhio) both in appearance and in temperament. Although gifted enough, he did not have the diligence of his famous older brother nor the ability to concentrate. Also, in his studies he went from one division of the university to another. He perished in the Warsaw Ghetto with his wife Sala, the sister of Ruzhke and Naftali Schiper.

Sigo (Zigmund) Korn suffered more than Luzhek Ringelblum because of his instability and lack of endurance. His almost poetic sentimentality that was his special charm in dealing with people was a handicap in his personal career. During the Second World War, he was one of the most active in the anti-Nazi underground movement. He had that rare “glik” [good fortune] to die a natural death before the May action against the Poalei-Zion.

Rushke Schiper was outstanding in her gentleness and her motherly goodness. In her recitations she expressed extraordinary exaltation. Her recitation of Bialik's “The Last Word” that had an amazing pathos, still rings in my ears. With the ethical crystal-clear purity from her mother, Nekhen, and from her grandfather, the dayan, she found her artistic purity. If she had looked for a dramatic school, she probably would have found fame, most likely as an interpreter of tragic roles and recitations. She gave her entire treasure of love to her beloved husband, Benek and to her children, together with whom she found a martyr's death.

Ratzke Goldberg, later the wife of Meir Shpiro, while still a young friend in the circle, displayed the advantage of strong character and great earnestness.

[Page 447]

Just as Ruzhke, her neighbor, she also had an interest in literature. Her heroic demeanor during the mass-execution on the Sandzer cemetery in 1942 was a dignified ending to her life in service of the idea of social and national freedom.

Shenke (Sheyndl) Tsapf, together with her friends Ruzhke and Ratske studied and completed the teachers' seminary in Sandz. Shenke overwhelmed all with her charm of a virtuous Jewish girl. Her eyes revealed the deep Jewish sadness. A daughter from a poor home, with self-study, she became knowledgeable in the area of social science and politics. In the critical years for Poalei-Zion, 1921-1922, she joined the Communist Party and was active there all her life. In 1925, she is mentioned in a report of the police commissioner of Sandz about Communist activities in the city.* she also died during the Nazi occupation

The student circle “Kherut” in Sandz after the bloom of 1918-1920, did not last long, and in fact, 1922 it stopped existing. But, it was not just a nice page written in the history of the Jewish student youth in Sandz. Its enduring effect was the energetic party and youth movement Linke Poalei-Zion in Sandz. Many former members of “Kherut” also joined the cultural and political life of the party until the fatal hour after the outbreak of the world catastrophe.

* Henryk Dobrowolski, Materialy do ruchu komunistycznego w Nowym Saczu w latach 1918-1928, Rocznik Sadecki IV, str. 246

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