« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »

[Page 466]

The Zionist Movement

by Majer Landrer

Translated by Miriam Kreiter

Edited by Renee Miller

The First Steps

Records of the Zionist movement in Sandz were already noted in the last years of the nineteenth century when the movement made its first steps in the Jewish World. Already, then, there were a few simple people within the strong fortress of the religious, narrow-minded zealots who looked toward the young Yishuv [the Jewish community in Palestine] in the Land of Israel, and nourished the hope for a resolution of the problems with which the young people struggled.

Slowly the Zionist idealists found each other in Nowy Sacz and formed a group which eventually developed into one of the most important factors in the Jewish life in the city. At any rate, they did not reach the stage of organization until the first years of the 20th century.

It was in 1903 that the idea of Zionism in Sandz developed from an idea in the mind to expression in the activities of the day. The first of these activities was the establishment of a reading room and a library with the name “Ezra” [after Ezra and Nehemiah, who led the Jewish people] by the brothers Dr. Leon, Dr. Bernard Silberman and Dr. Leon Mannheimer. These three were also the signatories on the invitation to a meeting of founders of the “Ezra” association. The response to the invitation was tremendous. The meeting was held in a rented room in Mordechai Dawid Klapholz' home in the market square. During the meeting, a committee was chosen as follows: the three signatories on the invitation, Moshe Nussbaum, Abraham Nussbaum, Yakov Nussbaum, Shimen Zeigler, Chaim Reuben Berger, Benjamin Wolf Berger, Dov Ber Zsupnik, Naftali Meir Raker and Shmuel Weintraub.

The First Test

Not too many days went by when the young Zionist Organization in the city was confronted by a serious test which resulted in a crowning success.

It was in 1904 when the sad news about Mr. Herzl's death fell like a storm over the bright skies of the Zionist camp. As in all the communities in Galicia, a memorial meeting for the great teacher who was snatched away in his prime, was held in Sandz. The meeting was held in the Great Synagogue. Thanks to the influence of Dr. Leon Silberman, the elector of our town, the administration gave permission to hold the meeting. However, the zealots among the congregants, who were radically opposed to the Zionist ideal stormed the synagogue and tried to dismantle the meeting.

The haters of Zionism in the cities of Galicia, who in the depth of their hatred, had perhaps cherished the hope that the death of the leader would bring an end to the movement for which he gave his life. The religious zealots in our city might have learned the lesson that this tragic event in the history of the Zionist movement served as stimulus to its progress and its acceptance by the masses. They adored the man who, with natural pride carried the flag of resurrection, and who fell as a great man on the watch over his people.

The Founding of the “Poalei Zion” Party

In 1905, The Zionist organization in the city succeeded in extending its field of activities into a new area – the Jewish worker.

In those days the Jewish workers in Galicia were mainly apprentices in trade or business, namely, salesmen in shops or workers in workshops. They were completely under the influence of the Bund (the union of assimilated Jewish workers). But with the awakening of the national spirit among the other groups of the Jewish public, the new workers also began to appear in the Jewish workers' street, and the leaders of the workers began to establish a new national party, the “Poalei Zion” party. In Sandz, the activists among the Jewish workers also began to establish a “Poalei Zion” party in the city with the help of the organization. The activists in this area on behalf of the Zionist organization were Shimon Zeigler, Nahum Bilder, Moshe Wolf and Shmuel Friedmann.

The activities of the new party mainly concentrated in the area of culture among the apprentices of trade and business.

[Page 468]

Cultural-Educational Activity

Cultural-educational activity took place within the framework of the Zionist organization. It concentrated mainly on organizing private lessons in the Hebrew language.

The only teacher was Mordechai Dawid Berl, of blessed memory, who made a great contribution to the dissemination of the Hebrew language among the young people in the city.

In order to increase the informational-cultural activity among the Jewish population in the city, the Zionist organization rented a large auditorium with two adjoining rooms in Duniavsky Street in the center of the city. Lectures, Hanukah parties and other activities which attracted a large segment of the population were held there. Later, the reading room and the “Ezra” library were transferred to that auditorium.

Even that library could not supply the greatly increasing needs of the movement and the public. In 1910, the folk library “Yidishe Folks Bibliotek” was established. It contained books in Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish and German – the four languages that had readers in Sandz at that time. Later on, both libraries were formed into one large library. Dr. Leon Silberman hastened to provide the necessary help, and placed the hall of the bank that had been established by him, at the service of the library. Persons of academic education, who volunteered their services, conducted the operation of the library. They were Yitzhok Weindling, Yitzhok Sander and Jacob Zeigler.

The maintenance of the Zionist activities in the city was, of course, linked to expenditures. It was difficult in those days to raise money to cover them. They were covered to a great extent, by Dr. Leon Silberman from his own pocket.

A Newspaper in Yiddish

The need for public information influenced the Zionist activists in town, who were not satisfied with the publications of the movement published in the big cities, to publish a local newspaper in Yiddish that would be devoted to the discussions of the local and general problems of the Jewish public. Following this discussion, the newspaper,”Sandzer Tsaytung” ['Newspaper of Sandz”], edited by Gershon Weinberg began to appear. Its columns were devoted to discussions with various assimilated personalities as well as reactions to the activities of the congregational activists.

The Association “Bes Sfer Evri Sfa Berura” [“Clear Language Hebrew School”]

In the early years of the Zionist organization in the city, it was enough to provide knowledge of the Hebrew language through private lessons. With the great development of its activities, there was an imminent need for an organized Hebrew School. In 1912, an association under the title “Bes Sfer Evri Sfa Berura [“Clear Language Hebrew School”] was founded by Dr. Zvi Syrop, Dr. Leon Silberman, Dr. Bernard Silberman, Moshe Nussbaum and Alter Neumann. The new association began its activities immediately. In the academic year 1912-13, evening classes in Hebrew were already being conducted. The teachers of the evening classes were: Shimon Kuplinski and Mordechai Dawid Berl. At the same time, a kindergarten was established under the direction of two teachers.

[Page 469]

Image:

Kopelyanski's Hebrew Course, Approximately 1924

Standing from right to left: Goldfinger, his sister Sheindel Tores, unknown, Stern, unknown, Rushke Klausner, Aron (Arek) Eisenbach
Seated, from the right: Rukhl Klapholz, Rukhl Borgenicht, Kopelyanski, Greenhut, unknown
Sitting, below from the right: Grun, Westreich, Leibowitz

The improvement of Hebrew education in the city made a great impression on the sympathizers, as well as those who were against the movement. Until the First World War, the number of students increased. On the other hand, the Ultra Orthodox did not remain idle. For those who were against the Zionist movement and against the idea of the resurrection, the fact itself of the existence of a Modern Hebrew school was considered anathema. There was nothing they would not do in order to fight it and destroy it. Among other things, they would place guards near the entrance of the school. They made lists of the students who participated in the Hebrew lessons. On the basis of these lists, the Orthodox later sent letters to the parents warning them not to allow their children to participate in the classes. In their unrestrained fight against the Zionist school, the zealots did not avoid warnings of excommunication, etc. In connection with this, it is worth mentioning a characteristic event which demonstrates the relationship in those days, of the Zionists and their opponents among the zealots. One of the parents who received such a letter warning of excommunication, decided it would be better if they did not go to the synagogue; that was where the rabbi was praying. When the rabbi realized that those parents were absent, he inquired about it. When he found out about the threatening letters, he gave instructions to immediately stop the sending of the letters…

[Page 470]

The Struggle Against Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitic propaganda in Galicia was very strong at that time. On the eve of the First World War it reached very threatening proportions. It was customary for the Jew-haters, the Galician anti-Semites to fail to discriminate between a “good” Jew and a “bad” Jew. Between the Zionists who believed in Jewish national ideals and the zealots, were the Jews who were assimilated and called themselves “members of the Mosaic persuasion” and claimed to be thoroughly Polish. They sent their poison and hatred to both the Zionists and the zealots.

In Sandz, the anti-Semitism reached its peak during the visit of Nahum Sokolow [Zionist leader and journalist]. It was at the beginning of 1914 when Sokolow, came to Galicia at the invitation of the Zionist academicians so that he could lecture on language and war in the land of Israel. This was sponsored by the “Hilfsverein of the German Jews” [“Aid Association of German Jews”] which funded the budget of the Technion [Israel Institute of Technology] in Haifa to establish German as the language of instruction in that institute. Sokolow was invited to Sandz at the behest of the Zionist academicians under the leadership of Yitzhok Weindling.

The Galician journalists did not forget the Jewish Polish journalist's stand to defend his people against those who attack them. In all the cities of Galicia, as well as Sandz, Sokolow's appearance was a pretext for the propaganda of hatred. On the evening of the lecture, there were masses of people who came to listen to the words of the lecturer, and at that moment, the anti-Semites stormed the lecture hall. They disconnected the electric power and they attacked the participants with enormous fury. However, the Zionist organizers, who knew from the start what to expect from the mob, organized a special guard unit for this event. They overcame the mob and repulsed them. The lecture continued as planned and there were no other interruptions, thanks to the organizers. At the end of the lecture, hundreds of people accompanied the lecturer-the important guest-from the lecture hall to the party that was held in his honor in the home of Leon Silberman. There, a very festive party was held in honor of the guest. It made a great impression on all the participants. Even the assimilated sector of the city took part in the celebration. This was the first time in the history of the city that the assimilated population participated in an event organized by Zionists. The personality of the famous guest and the savage attacks against him on one hand, and the Jews of the town on the other, made the people who were attacked get closer to each other. They forgot their differences of opinion and extended a friendly hand to one another. When the eyes of the assimilated were opened to the true reality, they responded to the call of the Zionists to participate in mutual defense operations. As a result, a committee was formed of Zionists, Socialists as well as assimilated Jews, and immediately began to operate an extensive public relations campaign.

Among other things, this committee had published during a certain time, a newspaper in the Polish language entitled Nasz Glos [Our Voice] whose aim was to protect the Jews from the anti-Semitic propaganda. The editors of the newspaper were: Dr. Yirmiahu Frenkel, Yehoshua Fensterblau and Viktor Friedwald.

[Page 471]

The First World War

In the middle of the summer of 1914 the Great War broke out. It was to bring about radical changes in government and order in the countries of Eastern and Central Europe. It endowed the Zionist movement with an international endorsement. In Sandz, all the Zionist activities stopped with the general mobilization and the national call for service at the front. Many of the young Zionists fell in the field of battle and among them, two members of the Zionist Academic Organization in town: Yitzhok Landau and Jacob Ziegler. Some of the Zionist leaders were also mobilized and others moved to other cities such as Vienna, Prague, etc – all that meant, of course, that all the Zionist activities ceased and were renewed after the First World War with 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. --news.bbc.co.uk].

The Regional Committee

The excitement and enthusiasm of the people, especially of the youth toward the Zionist ideal, made it clear that there was a need for greater usefulness and efficiency in the administration of the Zionist Organization. In order to instill the Zionist idea in every settlement where there was a Jewish community, the central institutions of the Zionist movement decided to organize regional committees. In the region of Sandz, local committees were chosen in the neighboring settlements. The representatives of these settlements were called to a regional conference that took place in Sandz, in the auditorium of the well-known bank in the city called the “Silbermanishe-bank”. At this conference, the committee of the General Zionists together with the representatives of the local committees was declared as regional committee.

Since expanding their area of activity, two rooms were rented in the home of Mrs. Sara Englander at Jagellonska Street. The “Ezra” library was moved there. Dr. Baruch (Bolek) Lustig was attached to the committee which took upon itself the duty of the administration.

Dr. Baruch Lustig, born in Kroœcienko, studied law (later practiced law in Kroœcienko and was murdered during the war). He graduated from the high school in Sandz and he belonged then to the student organization of the “Bney Zion“ high school. Later, he joined the organization of the Zionist academicians. In his Zionist activity, he devotedly fulfilled any function required of him.

In 1921, when Dr. Yitzhok Weindling left our city, Meir Landerer was asked to take upon himself temporarily, the operation of the Secretariat of the local council of the General Zionists, until a permanent candidate was found. After about a year, in 1922, Meir Landerer asked to be relieved of his position in the Secretariat because of differences in the ideological concept. After some time, Shimon Ziegler, member of the local council, declared that he had contacted Shlomo Terper and the latter had agreed to be elected to the committee and to take over the Secretariat.

Shlomo Terper, the son-in-law of Simcha Kleinman, was born in Nowy Targ, served in the army in our town as an officer. After his release from the service, he worked in his father-in-law's brick factory. In his function as secretary of the local council he proved to be capable, energetic and very devoted.

The Bes Sfer Evri Sfa Berura [“Clear Language” High School]

Close to 1920, the association of the Hebrew school Sfa Berura had renewed its activity. Rooms were rented in the apartment of Mr. Weiss at Dlugona Street, evening classes were initiated, Baruch Nicht was invited to teach. He remained for one year, and afterwards, Shimon Kuplinski was invited to teach. The latter was known in Sandz even before the First World War as an excellent teacher.

[Page 472]

Sandz in Aliyah

With the conquest of the land of Israel by the British at the end of the First World War, many considered it as the first phase toward the realization of the Balfour Declaration. All over the Diaspora a tremendous enthusiasm for the Yishuv [Jewish settlement in Palestine] in the land of Israel awakened. Many activities took place toward the training and preparation of young people toward aliyah. The office that was established by Zionist executives with the purpose of directing the activities toward settlement in the land of Israel considered the selection of appropriate human material as one of its most important aims. Candidates for aliyah required, first, suitable training for physical work, mainly for agricultural labor. The movement of pioneering emigration (aliyah) was endowed with particular importance by the Zionist organization in Sandz. There were two reasons for that: 1) Sandz was a Galician regional city near the Czechoslovakian border; that is why many of the Jewish pioneering youth in the various regions of Poland looked toward it. They yearned to reach the place where they could be closer to the leader in order to take advantage of the various possibilities of reaching Vienna. There was a concentration there of aliyah offices including the world office for settlement in the Land of Israel.

2) There were many agricultural farms in the neighborhood of Nowy Sacz where the Jewish pioneers could find work to prepare them for agricultural labor in the Land of Israel, where they were planning to settle.

The Zionists of Sandz had not prepared in advance for the role given to them. However, they did not recoil from the goal. An office dealing with the affairs of the Land of Israel was established there in the city. It took upon itself, among other functions, to link the various central institutions and to assist in attaining the main goal – aliyah to Israel.

The following were appointed as directors of the office: Dr. Bernard Silberman as chairman and Meir Landerer as secretary.

Image:

Committee kk”l [keren kayemeth leisrael {Jewish National Fund}]

[Page 473]

One of the first and most important duties of the office was to obtain employment for the pioneers who arrived in the city from all over Poland. Among the executors of that function was Rafael Mahler, who visited the agricultural farms in the area in order to obtain jobs for the pioneers.

The office for the affairs of the Land of Israel announced the receipt of applications of candidates for aliyah and began registration. It is worth mentioning that among the first to register were a father and son. Their registration made a great impression on the city. They were Yosef Schmaje and his son. The father was an Orthodox Jew sporting a beard and side curls, but he was, at the same time, an educated person devoted heart and soul to the Zionist idea. That was a very unusual phenomenon in those days in Sandz. Following their registration, they both made aliyah in 1920 and settled in Jerusalem.

With the strengthening of the aliyah movement, the need for pioneering training of Jewish youth had increased. In Sandz, the organization “Hechalutz”[ Zionist youth movement begun in Eastern Europe to promote settlement] had been founded from among the local youth. A number of the members came from our city. In connection with the preparation of the youth for aliyah, it is worth mentioning the devoted Zionist Zev (Wolf) Gelb, owner of an agricultural farm near the city. He invested much effort in the training of pioneers in agricultural work on his farm. He trained them to the best of his ability. Members of the first group that went through the training on Zev Gelb's farm were Meir Landerer, Dulek Green and Zachraya Landerer.


[Page 476]

A Beloved Corner
A Cell of the Hashomer Hatzair in Sandz

by Liba Klapholz

Translated by Miriam Kreiter

Edited by Renee Miller

Our city Sandz (Nowy Sacz), our birthplace that sparked our dreams and our yearnings – how to write about it – and it is no longer here, erased off the map of Jewish life.

Many of its sons and daughters abandoned it while it was still standing erect, while Jewish life blossomed there in its joys and sorrows. The depths of the earth had trembled and we had sailed away from it to other distant shores. We arrived at a safe haven in our native land as it was being built. We all carry the memory of our city in our hearts, the image of its streets brightly lit, from which Jewish merchants were being slowly pushed out by the Poles; the narrow and dark slums and their pale residents, with wrinkled faces and sad eyes. Jewish fathers and mothers who were bent under the heavy burden of everyday cares, gazing in fright toward the future.

Etched within the heart is the glory of the hills, forests and fields that adorned our city, and the waves in the rivers that were so typical of the fresh and beloved sights of Nowy Sacz.

Each one of us who grasps the awe of the giant grave of the House of Israel that was the Jewish Poland that is no more, sees first and foremost the cradle of our childhood, the site of destruction and annihilation of our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters...

The heart cries out; there is no way of expressing the great sorrow of the bitter humiliation. Were it not for the desire and the inner need to tell future generations about the hidden joys in our lives that were erased by a cruel hand, silent hearts would have been appropriate over what was happening...

I would like to sketch that special part of the monument that the town residents are erecting on the great Jewish cemetery. I would like to concentrate on one corner in Nowy Sacz. It is a corner very dear to me, within which I was reborn and in which my life of consciousness and that of my friends who were in the movement began – the cell of the Hashomer Hatzair in Nowy Sacz.

Whoever comes to tells the story about the cell of the Hashomer Hatzair in Nowy Sacz recalls the memory of the house and the neighborhood where the life of the youth was concentrated. Passersby would raise their eyes to gaze at the windows from which could be heard the sounds of singing, dancing, the sounds of the joy of life. It was an old building two stories high. On the second floor a large room faced the street. The building had two entrances, one seen from the street, a “legal” entrance, and the other, that lead from the country, upstairs through a dark staircase. The students used this entrance. They were afraid of the spying gaze of their Gentile friends at school. This was also the exit through which the daughters of Hasidim, who were living an underground life in the movement, could escape...the house beyond the Kamienica River, in the Jewish neighborhood, called the Piekle --Hell in Hebrew--. The significance of this word became a cruel and tragic reality when the murderous enemy appeared. According to believable rumors, our beloved were concentrated there before being sent on their last journey...

But, in those days, before the terrible storm broke out, “Piekle” was the “Paradise” of our youth. Their we found our world and everything in it.

[Page 477]

The cell of Hashomer Hatzair in Nowy Sacz was an organic part of the movement in Galicia, and together with it, went through many stages of development. In its educational and ideological crystallization, from Zionism and the dream of Zion, to the study and recognition of the problems of Judaism, up to the self-training that obligated one to make Aliyah [emigrate] to the Land of Israel. With it, the realization that for all one's life, we would have ideals of the movement, a life working and creating in a Kibbutz in Israel.

Our cell was characterized by a typical, yet unique quality that emanated from the character of the town, from its social and economic relationships, This character also included its cultural level and its geographic position. A place like Nowy Sacz, a provincial city, was far from major transportation, without great institutions of learning and away from the centers of Hebrew and general culture. All of this made its mark on the public life of the Jewish population including the youth of the city.

The majority of the Jewish population consisted of Orthodox families who were united in their maintenance of generations of Jewish tradition. These families were zealous about their sons continuing the traditions of their ancestors. The daughters were guarded even more strictly lest they abandon the traditions of their fathers and the morality of their mothers. This family framework limited the activities of the youth and placed difficulties in the way of the fulfillment of their yearnings. These young people were denied the right of self-determination. The non-Orthodox Jewish population of Nowy Sacz lived untroubled lives, without any anxieties about the future and were drowned in illusions, like all assimilated Jews. The children of these families found their way to the high schools. Reactionary ideas were uppermost, as was the hatred of Jews and of Israel

Among the youth, this atmosphere brought about an awakening. The search for different values fomented among the youth, along with revolt against the traditions of the family,. the school and the street - - - and so the youth came to Hashomer Hatzair. Especially characteristic and interesting about the cell of Hashomer Hatzair in Nowy Sacz was the sexual composition of the youth who were attracted to the movement. The girls were the decisive strength, not necessarily in their number. The explanation of this phenomenon can be explained by the social background of the young women in the Orthodox families in the Jewish section. The young women were chained by family tradition. They were searching for a way to liberated themselves from its depressing and humiliating ways. Many revolted. They protested in secret, went underground: they were attached to the youth movement of Hashomer Hatzair. Through this experience, they found the joy of life in the bosom of nature, of scouting, and in circles of study as well as the evenings in the cell. In the cell, they crystallized their progressive world view; they studied Hebrew which their families considered a sin, an impurity. Many of the girls paid dearly. They were often beaten, expelled from their families, etc. We were often witness to violent scenes of parents who burst into the hall screaming, cursing. Striking them with blows, they took back the girls by force.

The town is nestled in a valley of the Carpathian Mountains, adorned with an abundance of green fields and forests, surrounded by rivers winding through the area. That landscape served as a wonderful place for various youth experiences. It was here that they went on scouting trips, promenades, breathing the pure air. Here, they felt free in spirit, liberated from imprisonment and depression among the walls of the gray, foreign schools. Here, they were to forget the troubles in the Jewish section. Here they learned to walk tall with their heads up, with certainty and assurance, seeing before them the wide horizons of the world. The heart beat strongly, and imagination was lively. The desire for a change of values had awakened in them the recognition of self-esteem, the honor of Man and the Jew ---- hearts were filled with the joy of life.

However, our surroundings did not permit us to forget, even for one hour, the existence of the Diaspora, that a Jew could not be free to live his life in full and enjoy the sun and the green of the fields. There were many cases when the realization of joy and happiness was disturbed by storming, beatings and curses by young non-Jews. It returned thee youths to the bitter reality, both foreign and hostile..

[Page 478]

In reply to a letter from one of the girls, written after one such incident, and in the height of emotional upheaval, she shared her thoughts with some adult members of the movement who were in the Land of Israel. Meir Yaari replied;

“I have read your letter. You were in the forest; the non-Jews made you leave.
This small incident served as a brief dissonance and interruption for you,        for a while, but no strings were snapped. The forest swallowed the evil by the others and the forest continued to celebrate its foundation.

When you arrive, bringing your longings with you, I shall welcome you as the pioneers of a new wave, pioneers of a better generation - - - the future, your tomorrow is our today. Your belief in our creative enterprise encourages me and whispers to me that each today, each tomorrow is unique. They do not repeat themselves.

Dreams of life in Eretz Israel [the land of Israel] were embroidered, along with the contradictions --- dreams of the Jew tilling his soil, enjoying the sunshine, the forest, the rush of the waves in the river, and the feeling that all this belongs to us---. That is how the idea for aliyah [emigration to Israel] was born, the idea of physical and spiritual training, for a free and constructive life. We had the image in our mind's eye of a person standing upright, faithful to the principles of truth, marching toward the future, erect, proud and secure in the future.

As members of the movement matured, they discovered some very serious problems. Problems of nationalism, the crystallization of the Zionist ideal as the solution to the national problem, the rebuilding of Eretz Israel.

The decision was reached: the adults demanded self-realization from the cell, with aliyah, and the establishment of a kibutz, an agricultural settlement. Unfortunately, not many answered the call. The students left us; they preferred to sink into an untroubled life out of loyalty to the existing regime. They joined the “Golden Youth” [We also had youngsters called “Golden Youth” mainly educated youngsters who decided not to join any of the existing parties. Their only ideology was a lack of ideology, they wanted to be part of the existing order of life and have proper relations with the Jewish public and to a certain extent also with the Polish population. These youngsters also adhered to certain values. They conducted cultural activities, but their general activity was without any ideological trend. {from: www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/dokshitsy/dok089.html}] and turned their backs on Zionism.

More and more popular elements found their place in the movement. Parallel to the Hashomer Hatziar, another youth movement “Hechalutz” was organized and they collaborated in training for aliyah.

Over time, a change occurred in Zionist activity in the city. Members of Hashomer Hatziar participated in the activities. Hebrew courses were organized by Tarbut [The Tarbut movement was a network of secular, Hebrew-language schools in parts of the former Jewish Pale of Settlement, specifically in Poland, Romania and Lithuania -Wikipedia] and Hebrew became more legal. Members of the cell took part in the “Blue Box” enterprise of the Keren Kayemet. [The Blue Box (known in Yiddish as a pushke) has been part of the JNF since its inception, symbolizing the partnership between Israel and the Diaspora. In the period between the two world wars, about one million of these blue and white tin collection boxes could be found in Jewish homes throughout the world]. They knew how to knock on the doors of Jewish residents, to explain and to ask for contributions for Keren Kayemet, and to break down the apathy toward happenings in Eretz Israel.

In 1922 the first emigrants from Nowy Sacz made aliyah. This was the first aliyah from the city. It was a small group of young women who secretly, without farewell to their families, without parental blessing, left the city on their way to the Land of Israel, in order to realize their yearnings to live a life of freedom and independence on the soil of Israel. At the railroad station, there was just a handful of people from the cell. A bridge had been established …

[Page 479]

Members of the cell continued to make aliyah and even succeeded in educating their parents and bring them around to the idea of Zionism. As a result, children went on their journey with parental blessing, and with the expressed hope that parents would follow their children.

We have sailed away from you, Nowy Sacz, to distant shores. Only very few of your sons and daughters reached the safety of our homeland as it was being rebuilt. It has been many years since we left you, and the years have left their mark – hair has turned gray, wrinkles have increased, but our steps have not slowed.. They were the boys and girls who dreamed the dream of salvation for their people, and for the liberation of suffering man while they were within the walls of the cell of Hashomer Hatziar. In the course of their lifetime, they were able to realize most of their dreams. The beginnings had been etched in the narrow corridors of the cell, in trips to the forest and to camps, in the countryside during the summer months, and in conferences and gatherings.

We built beautiful settlements. We shared in every enterprise, in every effort of our people on the road to liberation. We were the first of the members of the cell from Nowy Sacz. We were privileged to see our children realize the dreams of their parents.

At this hour of remembrance, we should also recall with love and forgiveness those who were against us and fought against the Zionist idea, who are no longer with us, and with love seven times stronger for those who helped and supported us. Also, those who were distant and came closer to us, and aided us in our first steps on the road to the realization of the goals of our movement. And, how can we forget Hashomer Hatziar's guardians. They were responsible for the cell vis-a-vis the authorities: Mrs Hornung, the mother of daughters in the cell, who managed to survive and is breathing the air of freedom with us and is also involved in the work of building Eretz Israel. “am l'shomer hatzair” [The Mother of Hashomer Hatzair] (that is what we called her). She herself, provided a listening ear, the guidance counselor, for all our anxieties and problems; and Berl (Duby) z”l [of blessed memory], the Hebrew teacher and veteran Zionist... Who in the city did not connect the beginning of Hebrew instruction with the veteran Hebrew teacher. He knew how to storm the walls of the heder and give the children the foundation of Hebrew in free and progressive conditions and atmosphere. Mr. Berl was privileged to hear the living language spoken by the children. As he toured the kibutzes he was lucky enough to meet his students, mothers and fathers to sons, daughters and grandchildren who were living the Hebrew language as part of a working culture..We must not forget Dr. Tisch z”l who spent the last years of his life in Eretz Israel and inspired us with his spiritual support. I remember how he inspired us to love tanakh [the Bible] by reading chapters from it. He called it trips through tanakh. Our hearts overflowed with joy to have been privileged to share in the redemption of Israel and we pray that the ima [“the people”{literally, 'the mother'}] will have many years of peace and tranquility in Eretz Israel.

Since we are mentioning supporters and sympathizers, we must mention the few fathers and mothers who stood by their children, but did not live to see the realization of the dream of redemption in Eretz Israel. Among them I must include my mother, Elsa Klapholz z”l, who with a mother's intuition realized the need to find a way for the future of the Jewish youth. In her motherly and tolerant way, she helped us a great deal. I remember the farewell party that was held in our house before my departure. My mother, in a combination of tears and laughter, spoke clearly about the need to maintain a bridge between those making aliyah now and those who would depart in the future.

We remember Dr. Syrop, z”l, who stood by us in every conflict with the authorities, and the very many others whose memory is bound up with the history of the cell in the city...

The terrible tragedy that fell on European Jewry put an end to the hope that parents would follow the children and friends to Eretz Israel...

The world beyond the bridge on the river Kamienica that used to be full life where yearning was being nurtured was silenced forever. The disaster fell suddenly. Within four or five days everything was destroyed....

The news of the bitter, ghastly end was very sketchy and foggy. We learned about efforts to rescue whoever could be saved. The young people managed to gather on the eve of the invasion to plan and organize for the emergency. They said farewell and left the city.

The cell continued to act underground, but not for long. The destruction was imminent. It happened in the blink of an eye....

Some managed to go East and were rescued by the Red Army. Some managed to reach Israel. Behind them, everything was burning. Before them, lay the hope of reaching Israel and making a home there...

Today, many from Nowy Sacz live in kibutzes, colonies and cities all over Israel. They all labor in order to rebuild the country. But we all think of ourselves as pioneers of the camp --- but the camp is lost and there is no consolation for this great loss, except for the continuing the work, the dreams and yearnings that were born within the walls of the cell in Nowy Sacz.

Image:

A group of members of Hashomer Hatzair, about 1918
Standing from left to right: Landerer, Abrahamowitz, Benek Landau, Dovid [Dudek] Berger,
Ella Friedman, Uniek Abrahamowitz, Steinbach
Sitting from right to left: unknown, Dolek Grun, Tzvi [Heshek] Schweid, Peterfreund

Image:

A Group from the Hashomer Hatzair Cell in Sandz, 1930

Image:

Hashomer Hatzair in Sandz, 1933

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »


This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
This material may not be copied, sold or bartered without JewishGen, Inc.'s permission. Rights may be reserved by the copyright holder.


JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material for verification.
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.

  Nowy Sacz (Poland)     Yizkor Book Project     JewishGen Home Page


Yizkor Book Project Manager, Lance Ackerfeld
This web page created by Max Heffler

Copyright ©1999-2014 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 20 Oct 2009 by MGH