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Zawidcze
(Zavidche, Ukraine)

50°18' / 24°56'

Translation of “Zawidcze” from:

Sefer zikaron le-kehilot Radikhov

Edited by: G. Kressel

Published in Tel Aviv, 1976


This is a translation of “Zawidcze” from Sefer zikaron le-kehilot Radikhov ; Memorial book of Radikhov,
ed. G. Kressel, Tel Aviv, Society of Radikhov, Lopatyn and vicinity, 1976 (H,Y)


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.
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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.



[Pages 587-589]

Zawidcze

Lipa Bernstein

Translated by Shuki Ecker

The village of Zawidcze (Zawitsch) lies near the towns of Brody, Lopatyn and Radziechow in eastern Galicia. The nearest to our village was the town of Szczurowice (Schterwitz). We were dependent upon this town for all our religious and social needs, from there were brought the cantors for the religious festivals and the High Holy Days and the same with a shofar blower. The rabbi and the shochet (ritual slaughterer) from Szczurowice (Schterwitz) attended the Jews of Zawidcze as well. Until the First World War we had about ten Jewish families. Some of them were well off, most of them – eked out a meager living close to the brink of poverty. The main occupation all week long was the agricultural work in the village. In honor of the Sabbath all Jewish houses would display an air of festivity. A “minyan” (“quorum of ten men for prayer”) was always assembled in one of the houses and a public prayer was held. For morning prayer and Musaf even two minyans would usually assemble.

The village of Zawidcze was the center of all surrounding villages, to which Jews from all these villages were drawn, and if there were villages further than the distance allowed for walking on the Sabbath, an “eruv” (“symbolic merging of two areas”) was made, to avoid desecration of the seventh day. The younger people, who did not mind slight offences, did not mind this one either, and they used to come to Zawidcze on Saturdays and holidays to spend time together. People used to come from the villages of Wolica, Nowostawce, Uwin and Barylow.

The earliest residents in Zawidcze were Reb Shimon Gruber and his wife Sara Riva. By the time our family came to Zawidcze in 1910 Reb Shimon Gruber had already passed away.

In hardship and poverty, in Zawidcze, lived a Jew named Reb Yaakov Brandesiwker. He was highly admired and honored in the village. In spite of his poverty he knew all sorts of ways to help others when they were in trouble. His son-in-law Reb Yudl Gruber, one of the first settlers in Zawidcze, was a distinguished scholar [of Jewish law]. He too labored hard to support his large family.

A respected and revered Jew among the early residents of Zawidcze was Reb Avraham Saphier, a clerk for the forestry companies, running their businesses with exaggerated, unnecessary meticulousness and pedantry. He was knowledgeable in religious laws, and could rule on issues of daily life – such as removal and selling of chametz (foods not permitted on Passover), eruv tavshilin (permission to prepare meals for the Sabbath), times of lighting the candles, etc., thus helping the rural community keep and uphold religious law. Woe to the man who did not follow religious law in accordance with his instructions. Some of his children immigrated to Canada, others left the village in 1924 and moved to Brody.

In 1905 the family of Reb Binyamin Kardiman came to Zawidcze. He bought the local estate from a Pole, and the Jews were fortunate to have one of their own as landowner. At that, the community grew to include a large and extended family. My parents, the Bernsteins, were the last who came to Zawidcze before the First World War. It was in 1910. My father was born in Sokal and was educated there together with the son of the then Belzer Rebbe. It was hard for my parents to leave the town and adapt themselves to country life but their business in that region demanded that. My father, with his brother, my uncle Reb Hersch Bernstein from Szczurowice (Schterwitz), had some business in the area. Me and my oldest brother Elimelech stayed to study in Szczurowice, where we lived at the house of grandfather Reb Nachum and grandmother Rachel.

I reflect upon my hometown of Schterwitz with much respect and admiration. Dear memories from that time were etched in my memory. God-fearing and wholehearted were the Jews of Schterwitz. At four in the morning before dawn, you could already find Yekutiel Moshe in the bet midrash. That was the time I found him with the Gemara at hand, immersed in some issue or another. Despite that you could interrupt him at all times: ask a grave question nagging at your mind, and he would willingly explain and resolve, inquire once and then again whether you had indeed understood and grasped his meaning, if not he was willing to repeat it again and again. Also like that were Reb Hersch Grymaliwker, and Reb Avraham Chaim son of Naftaly. I was enlightened by all my teachers – from the beginners' melamed Reb Hersch to the teachers of Bible, Mishna and Gemara. It should be noted that in our town Schterwitz it was the custom not to teach the children the later Prophets [of the Bible], only the early Prophets.

I will turn back to Zawidcze then. From 1919, after the First World War, till 1930, I used to visit Zawidcze only from time to time, on vacations, but I was informed of what occurred in the village and followed the course of events. After the war the community grew by a number of families and adolescent youth. The youths' lives were dynamic and very active. A drama class was formed, which was very successful and also attracted the Jewish youth from nearby villages. These young people seemingly held national and Zionist views, but it did not come to fulfillment and aliya. None of these youths performed aliya. I too gave up an immigration licence for a friend. On the face of it there were reasons that made me do it. But these hardly qualified as valid and justified reasons that could not be overcome. Only in 1928, after the death of my father was the road to aliya opened to me. This was also the will of my father, who once told me: “By your present standing you needn't go anywhere. But if you will go then the only option in my view would be the road to the land of Israel.” I carried that out to the letter, and in 1930 I made aliya.

I myself did not witness the Holocaust of our people under Hitler, may his name be erased. I did not feel on my flesh the wrath of the oppressor. But my soul weeps for the loss of the lives of our dear ones. May these few pages serve as their memorial, in memory of the Jews of Zawidcze, who perished in sanctity and purity.

Victims from Zawidcze

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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.

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