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The History of Our Shtetl (Cont'd)

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Sport Clubs

There were sport clubs in Rozniatow, a Polish one - “Pogon” and a Jewish one - “Chashmonaim”. They used to play football on the Moczar on the other side of the river, near the small railroad of the Glesinger firm. These were local sports clubs with no official status. They did not belong to and had no relations with the Polish Sport Association, and therefore they did not have sport competitions with other football clubs. They played in competition with each other, and sometimes with the Broszniow football club, which did already belong to the Polish Sport Association. Ripne also had a strong football club with good players and their own sports field. They called themselves ”Czarny” 1, on account of their black uniforms. They also belonged to the Polish Sport Association, competed in competitions and had victories. The leader of the Rozniatower Jewish sport club was Itzye Reiss.

For various reasons, there was no friendship between the Polish and Jewish sports clubs in Rozniatow. Each club was for itself.

We used to get the ”Czwylia”, “Der Morgen”, etc. Jewish newspapers from Lemberg (Lvov), which published the most current reports from the country and the entire world. They had good Jewish writers. Some people ordered other newspapers through Shalom Laufer or directly from the editors. Often three subscribers banded together to purchase one newspaper.

{303} Yad Charutzim 2

There was a worker's society in Rozniatow called ”Yad Charutzim”, whose president was Philip Fuerst. According to its charter, the society was to serve the interests of the Jewish craftsmen. It did not have its own premises, and used to meet in Philip Fuerst's barbershop. Some members paid their fees, but the huge majority did not, therefore they had no money to rent a room. They even managed to perform a Yiddish theatrical performance and to organize a dance evening. Philip Fuerst was a member of the Rozniatow Community Council for a certain time.

The Rozniatower Yad Charutzim organization dissolved by itself, because the Jewish craftsmen were already struggling to provide livelihood for their families, and did not have the means to pay membership dues. As well, the central Yad Charutzim organization in Lemberg did not care about the destiny of its branch in Rozniatow and did not send a delegate to try at least to reorganize the organization in Rozniatow. The same fate overtook the cattle merchants' society. That organization began with the founding meeting in Yossel Gelobter's house and concluded at the same moment. Nothing was heard of it since.

The Yiddish Society under the nice sounding name “Casino Mieczanske”, located at first at Rivka Kanner's on the first floor and then in two big rooms in Sosye Heller's basement, had more luck and a better destiny. According to the name of the society, one could think that its members were simply Mieczanes, i.e. significant, honorable, serious citizens, smart people with significant life experience, well placed and on a solid material foundation, regarding whom one should look from the bottom upwards. Indeed such people like you and I and many others, mostly unmarried, with few worries, cheerful fellows belonged there.

It was a real social club, where people gathered, mainly in the evenings, for entertainment, some with a game at cards, surrounded by banterers, some conducting interesting conversations about local and general questions. Ideologically the casino was neutral, leaning neither to the right or the left. No Christian members belonged to this society.

The Casino Mieczanske was many years attached to the City Library, whose development began from the Jewish books that remained from the Chovevei Zion Society, which dissolved before World War I. The books were lent out for a certain fee, and more books were bought. New bookcases were ordered from the carpenter and put in the first room of the Casino. With the growing number of books, the number of readers from the city and surrounding villages increased. Most of the readers from the villages were schoolteachers. The new books were almost exclusively in Polish. The president of the Casino Mieczanske was Dr. Sapir, who added to it prestige and authority. I 3 was the secretary. At first there were enough members and the Casino was able to sustain itself. Later on, the number of members declined, and many of those remaining ceased to pay their dues. Sosye Heller 4 lived in Germany and the rent was rarely paid to her in-laws, the Schnitzers from the old town, or to Yossel Kasner, a relative of Sosye Heller. The only support of the Casino was the library, which paid the rent, its only expenditure. Later on the library totally ceased to pay rent, because Yossel Kasner, who was the administrator of the house where besides of the Casino there were three more tenants, was so amiable and did not demand the rent.

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Yiddish Theater

The elementary school to the right, and the post office to the left

 

A very important cultural phenomenon in Rozniatow was the practice of playing Yiddish Theater. During the summer vacations during the time of the war, we used to play Yiddish theater under the direction and supervision of Dr. M. Diamond. The performers at that time were Dora Liebermann, Grynberg and the author of these memoirs. Chanale Liebermann used to recite Polish and Yiddish. I performed a monolog by Shalom Aleichem. Hershele Fassberg took part in the performance of “Agents” by Shalom Aleichem. Dr. B. Berger was one of the stage-managers of the Yiddish Theater in Rozniatow. Later on during the Polish government, Yiddish plays, dramas, operettas, comedies by Yiddish and non-Yiddish writers, like Yaakov Gordon, L. Kobrin, Shalom Aleichem, Moliere, etc. were performed. We performed: “God, Man and Devil” by Yaakov Gordon, “The Wild Man”, “The Niggard” by Moliere, etc.

Yiddish amateurs performed Yiddish theater in Rozniatow until the outbreak of World War II. The greatest merit for the development and successes of the amateur Yiddish theater in Rozniatow belongs to Sender Friedler for his intensive collaboration and personally played roles. He used to play comic character roles with great success. Besides those already mentioned, the following people performed in the Yiddish theater in Rozniatow: the sisters Freida and Gittel Nemlich, Tanya Laufer-Orthmann, Andzia Kanner (primadona), Hanya and Leika Horowitz, Mathilda Prinz Blau, Sapir, Mathilda Hoffnung, Esther Widmann, Sindler, Same Hoffmann, Alte Landner, Estsche Treu, and others. The following performed in a Hebrew performance: Regina Birenholtz, Adela Kupferberg-Tepper, Lotke Rosenmann, Brantsche Berger and Janina Brand. The Yad Charutzim Society performed a play, composed by a relative of Zelikl Elye Mordechai Bradfeld, where he personally and Eltsche Schwindler played roles.

The following males played roles as well: Shimke Liebermann in a Polish performance, Yudele Hammermann-Axelrad, Shaya Lutwak, Avraham Hoffmann; Yadke and Sanye Freier, the grandchildren of Yisrael Winnfeld from Swaryczow; Meir Taub, Itzye Fassberg; the brothers Dr. Dan (Doliek), Dr. Naftali (Nanyek) and Moshe (Manye) Lusthaus; Dr. Leo Horowitz, Godel Schwalb, Radek Loefel, Lanner, Adelsberg, Dr.Wilek (Wolf) Adelsberg, the Hebrew teacher Komarowsky (a Lithuanian), and the dentist. Ben-Zion Horowitz was the stage-manager and Shimon Diamond was the prompter at every performance. Very little Polish and Ukrainian theater was performed in Rozniatow and never with the success of the Yiddish theater. Professional Yiddish theatrical troupes would come to Rozniatow as well.

Simultaneous with the renaissance of Polish statehood, persecutions of the Jews began. They were discriminated against in employment in government officers. I had a colleague in Gymnasium named Efraim, who was a Jewish student, a descendant of authentic Jewish parents. He spoke Polish with a Jewish accent. He was compelled to change his name into Friedrich, and only in this manner could he get a teacher job in a Polish governmental Gymnasium. There were many other such cases.

The tax informers were a real plague for the Jewish merchants. They were official governmental officers who concerned themselves with every taxpayer. They calculated the amount of the taxes owing on the basis of the copies of the invoices that they received which accompanied the merchandise that was transported by railroad, post or other means. Whereas this information was often not correct and very exaggerated, it drove many Jewish merchants to ruin.

There have been cases where a merchant received a package of books or other merchandise for his own use and study, but the informers registered these as wares for sale. Poor storekeepers who would come to the tax office to clear up some misunderstandings encountered hearts of stone.

The economic situation worsened from year to year. A tax executor from Dolina would periodically visit Rozniatow. The Jews called him “Konye with the Maavar Yabok 5” on account of his long overcoat , which looked from afar like Konye's frock. He was an elderly man like Konye, he wore the same kind of eyeglasses which he used to prop up on his forehead and then shove back, and he carried a thick tax register under his arm. The first Jew who noticed him in the city immediately announced it to the first merchant whom he encountered. One person told the next, and every merchant who owed taxes could hide himself, but only for a short while and not more.

The Jewish storekeepers, small-scale merchants and the craftsmen suffered the most from the economic crisis in Rozniatow. The peasants were in a better shape, despite the fact that their position was also not enviable. Thanks to the general poor economy in the country, it was difficult for them to sell their produce, and if they found the buyer, the prices were low. During the winter, they were unable to find work to earn some money for garment or a pair of shoes for themselves and their families.

The Jewish merchants, upon whom the heaviest burden of government taxes fell, struggled with the poverty. They looked out for a purchaser as if for Messiah and they did not know from where their help will come. The only hope was to G-d for better times.

During these times, the Ukrainian cooperatives were created. To become a member, people had to first pay the established fees, and then they could buy some food and household articles – however not in sufficient quantities. They did not have great success in Rozniatow and were not serious competitors, since the Christian population did not have money to become members of the cooperatives.

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Jewish Victims of World War I

Rozniatow lost the following Jewish inhabitants on the battlefields of the First World War: Leib Aibye, the son of Chaim Kasner from the mill; Elye Fogel; two Benczer brothers, the sons of Azriel Fishel, and son-in-law of Wolf Horowitz 6; Shmuel Rosenbaum; Shmuel Yankel, the son of Hersh Baruch Yankel; and Shlomo Feyge-Beyle's son. Aharon Meir Lustig died in the hospital.

The following were missing in action: Wolkentreiber, the husband of Brontzye the baker; and Leo Bloch, the son-in-law of Konye Kortszmann.

The following were prisoners: Avraham (called Ameye) Kasner, the son of Chaim from the mill and son-in-law of Shmuel Rosenberg; Abraham Groll; Leibtzye Friedenberg, a son in law of Nissan Schindler, killed in a village near Rozniatow.

A huge fire broke out in Rozniatow on the night of Rosh Hashanah night during the 1920s. It started from Mechel Weissmann and went until Yehuda Berger, and then from David the Melamed (teacher) until Yossel Kreiter. It engulfed the old Kloiz, later restored in brick; and from Yitzchak Katzmann until Zusye Zuring, the father of Moshe Laches.

All who had suffered from the fire rebuilt their houses.

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In Perehinsko

During my childhood and later on as a student I used to spend part of my summer vacations in Perehinsko at my father's relatives. I am very familiar the Jewish life of that shtetl of those times and I remember almost all its inhabitants, so that it is possible for me to share my Perehinsko memoirs as well. Perehinsko, which Jews called Prensk in short and jokers called little Paris, was officially registered as a city like Rozniatow and other small cities of Eastern Galicia shortly before World War I. Until then it was one of the biggest towns in Galicia. It is situated in a valley, 3 miles (22.5 kilometers) 7 from the railroad station Rozniatow-Krechowice and 2 miles (15 kilometers) from Rozniatow, on the main highway that leads to the eastern Carpathian Mountains, called Eastern Besides, and reaches the Hungarian border at approximately 10-12 miles (81.5 kilometers).

People used to ride from Perehinsko with horse drawn wagons or walk to the railroad station. From there, they continued on by railroad. Later on, in 1910, the wood firm Glesinger built a narrow railroad, which shuttled every day from Broszniow until high in the mountains. From there it carried timber to the sawmill in Broszniow. On its way, at certain stations where it used to stop, passengers were admitted and carried for free.

According to the oral tradition transmitted from generation to generation, generations back Perehinsko was a wild spot, an unpopulated area of just grass and trees. Gradually, Ukrainian peasants began to settle there and cultivate the soil. Jews also settled there and conducted business with the gentiles. Nearer to the Carpathians there were huge meadows, overgrown with dense grass, which were excellent for pasture and nutritious for domestic animals. Those meadows are called “polonyny” in Ukrainian.

This was a good, fat pasture for cattle and sheep. The inhabitants of Perehinsko and environs as well as the cattle merchants used to hire shepherds to drive their herds for the entire summer to the polonyny. In autumn, the herds of cattle, sheep, oxen, horses were driven back from the polonyny, some to the stables of their owners, and others to the merchants in the cities to be sold on the markets. All of those herds passed through Perehinsko day in day out. In Ukrainian “perehonye” means a location through which one “drives” living creatures. The name Perehinsko came from the Ukrainian “perehonye”.

A swift flowing mountain river, Lamnica, flows through Perehinsko. The Jews used to call it “Lavnitza”. It is a tributary of the Dneister. During the summer the river was used to transport timber from the Carpathian Mountains to Halicz. The logs were tied to each other, according to the width of the water, forming what was called “tratwes” or “splawes” in Polish. Rudders were affixed to the sides of the splawes, and the men who drove the splawes were called “splawniki” or “flyaskes”. It is self evident that the water could not be used for transportation during rainy or stormy weather because it would present a serious danger to the life of the splawniki.

Perehinsko was much larger than Rozniatow in area. The general population of Perehinsko was over 9,000 souls. The Jewish inhabitants lived mainly in the center of town, and were occupied primarily in commerce. There were also craftsmen, such as cobblers, tailors, carpenters, barbers, etc. There were only 55 Polish inhabitants, so that Jews and Poles were in the minority. The peasants lived compactly, in small houses. They used to have a garden around the house, some fields, a cow for milk, a pair of horses or oxen to cultivate the fields, which guaranteed their livelihood. They were called Chalupniki. There were very few wealthy peasants. In their free time during the winter, the peasants carried wood or timber from the forest to the railroad station in Krechowice to earn a few Zloty. Very few non-Jews were craftsmen. Many gentiles were employed at the Glesinger firm to work in the forests with the manipulation of lumber. They worked in the woods for the entire week, coming home Saturday after noon, staying at home all Sunday, and returning to work in the forests on Monday morning.

The gentiles were culturally backward, and many of them were illiterate. About sixty years ago 8 they still wore their national garments. Men and women alike, both sexes, wore short, sleeveless pelisses in the summer, and ones long sleeved ones in the winter. Men used to wear their shirts over their pants, and they proudly marched on Sundays through the center of town in their national clothes. On their feet they used to wear chodoki shoes made from one piece of leather, tied to the feet with leather-straps.

There were two Greek Catholic churches in town and two Greek Catholic priests. 9

Gradually the national garments were abandoned and the peasants started to dress in a more modern fashion, but still poorly. They walked barefoot the entire summer in order to spare their shoes, boots or chodoki for the winter. In the region the Perehinsko peasants were called Biakes.

The local peasants were slightly less anti-Semitic than the people of Rozniatow. They were occupied for the entire week with the exception of Sunday and their holidays with manual labor, and they did not have any time to concern themselves with local politics.

The town hall was in an old building in the center of town. I saw it in 1930 in the same shape. The mayor was Mikhail Kropovitch, a rich citizen, a drunkard, who could barely sign his name.

A Pole, Michael Tisowski, academically educated, the son of the wealthy citizen Frank Tisowski, a building contractor, was active in the municipality. I do not know whether or not the Starosta officially appointed him. He had no occupation and was supported by his rich father. The town council was not concerned about the well-being of the town. There were no sidewalks, as there were in Rozniatow, until the 1930s, and the local residents did not care. There were no street lamps. The Ringplatz was not paved, so there was no shortage of deep mud there.

The following government institutions functioned in Perehinsko: a general elementary school for boys and girls, located in a pretty brick building; a post office and a police station. For judicial questions it was necessary to turn to the district Court in Rozniatow, and for tax matters, to the tax office in Dolina.

The Jews of Perehinsko lived almost the same lifestyle as their brethren in Rozniatow and other small Galician towns. There were Jewish wood and forestry merchants, wealthy businessmen, storekeepers, craftsmen, cattle merchants, peddlers, brokers, teachers, and ritual slaughterers in Perehinsko. There were fewer poor Jews than in Rozniatow, and, in general, the Jews here made a better living than did those of Rozniatow. 95% of the Jews lived in their own houses, in accordance with the living standards of those times. There was no Jewish community institution in Perehinsko, its Jews being affiliated with the Rozniatow community. However, this was nothing more than a formality, because the only liaison between the two communities was the burial of the Perehinsko deceased Jews in the Rozniatow Jewish cemetery, with payment for the graves according to the financial situation of the deceased. The Jews of Perehinsko by themselves supported the two Beis Midrashes, a Kloiz, the rabbi and the ritual slaughterers. They obviously supported these institution from the slaughtering and the bath house income. If this was not sufficient, they collected money from the Jews of the town.

There were three rabbis in Perehinsko during a period of sixty years. The old rabbi took for his son-in-law Yudl Rechtschaffen. He was a merchant, the son of Meir Rechtschaffen and the brother of Hersh Rechtschaffen. Shlomo Rechtschaffen, a third brother, was for many years the gabbai (trustee) of the Perehinsko Beis Midrash.

The bathhouse was directly adjacent to the Beis Midrash, and could not be compared to the Rozniatow bathhouse, which was bigger, more comfortable and better furnished. The Russian soldiers, great experts in saunas, highly praised the Rozniatow bathhouse. The second rabbi was brought in from a Galician shtetl, and after his death, his son, still a very young man, took over the rabbinical post in Perehinsko.

The prayer houses conducted themselves according to the orthodox manner as in Rozniatow. The form of the prayers was Nusach Sephard.

There were no Zionist movements and societies, no culture house, and no library in Perehinsko. Just after World War I, in the 1920s, things began to move, and young people started to collect money for the Jewish National Fund.

In those days, it was stylish to dance, and there was a dance teacher. They used to dance until late in the night in the hall at Isak Rabbiner's. There was a youth society without any program. It was allegedly intended to be a Poalei Zion organization, but it was more of a gathering place for young boys and girls, with dancing, singing and entertainment. They knew almost nothing about the Poalei Zion movement.

Periodically there was a theater group playing on a stage improvised from boards at Isak and Sosye Rabbiner's hall. There was even a permanent Ukrainian hall with a stage that could be rented. However, since it was in the gentile area of town, and the accessibility was inconvenient especially during inclement and rainy weather, it was rarely used.

There were pious Jews and Hassidim, who went to the synagogues or worshipped in their homes on weekdays. On Sabbaths, all Jews went to the Beis Midrash or the Kloiz to attend the services. The following were Hassidim: the Rabbi; Itzik Juner, a rich dry-goods-merchant; Michael Lauber, who managed a small grocery store; Hershele Ettinger, a modest dry goods merchant, the son-in-law of Itzik Juner, a very honest and pious Jew; the old slaughterer Hochmann; the slaughterer David Rosenbaum; the slaughterer Shalom Hochmann, a son of the old slaughterer; Moshe Hersh Reinhartz; Meir Rechtschaffen and his brother Shlomo.

There were no tycoons, even much smaller than Rothschild, in Perehinsko. There were some wealthy, well-situated Jews, such as: Chaim Seinfeld, who was a wood-merchant, and owned his own sawmill outside of town. He had a large house and a large home economy. He was always a busy man except on the Sabbath. Because of that, he showed very little interest in local affairs. He was during the days of Dr Sapir the representative of the Perehinsko Jews before the Jewish community in Rozniatow. His father Zeinwill was already retired from his businesses. In his young years, he was a successful merchant, who thought highly of himself, and a respected citizen, from the elite of the city. His seat in the Beis Midrash was on the eastern wall. If Perehinsko were an independent community, Zeinwill Seinfeld would certainly have been its president; Shalom Orthmann and his two sons Lozer and David, were wood and forest merchants. They had a house like a villa; Shmuel Abraham Landmann, a Jewish tiller of soil, who personally worked on his fields and behaved himself according to the established order of tillers of soil; Shamei Gottlieb managed a tavern and possessed some fields; Moshe Hersh Ungar owned many fields and his own pretty house; Isak Rabbiner, the brother-in-law of Chaim Seinfeld, was the only hotel and restaurant owner. His wife Sosye was a Jewess with an earring, who was very capable in their business and used to cook and serve tasty meals. Her husband Isak played the role of a politician and was a community man; Itzik Juner, a rich dry-goods-merchant, was well known in the Hassidic world; Buchtzye Drimer owned a grocery store, where better food products were available. He was a respected person in the city, very devoted to his wife and children, and used to invite a guest for a Sabbath meal; Nachum Buchhaber, was impoverished , then worked his way up, and owned a leather store; Alter Hillmann, was a rich dry goods merchant, and a modern and intelligent person; his uncle Shmuel and aunt Sara Hillmann, an elderly childless couple, owned in their younger years a mill, and in their older years a little tavern, which sold tobacco, cigarettes and stamps.

These people were the elite of the city, used to embellish Jewish celebrations with their presence.

Uncle Shmuel used to sit on his place on the eastern side of the Beis Midrash, as befits a well-placed Jew. Pinye Hillmann, a tall man with a nice beard, was well-placed. His son, Manye, an old bachelor, had a store with different articles.

The local Jews lived with calculation, striving always towards a higher material position. They collected and saved one groszy (cent) after another, as they lived economically. There were even Jews who wore chodoki on their feet during their younger years, until they worked their way up.

Aside from the fairs, the Sundays were days of active trading (the Police looked away 10). The gentiles, free of their domestic and agricultural worries and wearing their festive garments, came to the streets of the business center, the taverns and the stores, which they entered through a back entrance, buying food, clothing and household articles.

The middle-class consisted of merchants with mediocre earnings, small-scale cattle merchants; and finally, peddlers, brokers, craftsmen and teachers with even more modest incomes. Socially, all Perehinsko Jews were equal, as it is said ”all Jews are comrades”. They would enter each other's house without knocking on the door. There were no aristocrats there, as there were in Rozniatow. In comparison to Rozniatow there was a very small Jewish intelligentsia in Perehinsko, and even smaller Ukrainian one. Jewish intellectuals in Perehinsko included: Shmuel Leib Rosenbaum; David the son of the slaughterer, Alter Hillmann, Manye and Elye Hillmann, Malkele Hochmann the daughter of the old slaughterer, Itta Ludmir, Yankel Rosenthal and his brothers Dodl and Itz, plus a few Jewish students who studied privately in their homes with private tutors.

Dovtzye Seinfeld finished a Gymnasium and worked at his fathers businesses; Lolly Haber studied medicine and Fantzye Drimer Rosenthal completed a women's seminary with matriculation. Perehinsko did not produce any Jewish or gentile intellectual professionals such as a doctor, a lawyer or other diploma holders. Fishel Mintz and Yosef Yehoshua Lauber must also be included among the local intellectuals.

Yosef Czaly was an itinerant teacher. He used to teach the children Hebrew in their homes and, to make a living, he traded at the same time with hens, eggs and other little things. He carried these around in his basket, along with his siddur 11, from which he taught the children. He accompanied his lessons with the traditional melody in order to impart to the children a desire to learn.

He also was a waiter at weddings, and he earned his livelihood from all these occupations. His brother Feivel with a red beard was also a teacher of small children. He had a cheder and served as the shamash in the Kloiz.

There was another teacher of young children, David, who had a cheder. Kamul was a teacher of older children. He also had a cheder. Two other itinerant teachers were Shlomo Rechtschaffen and Shalom, the son of the slaughterer, a bachelor, who used to hide his peyos (side locks) under his ears. Another itinerant teacher who came from another city, taught older children in the guesthouse where itinerant poor people could sleep over during the night. Michael Lauber, a Hassid, occupied himself with that matter. He used to collect a few zloty for the poor. No Hebrew school lasted very long. After one Hebrew teacher left, another came, and then a third, etc., until nobody came anymore and there was no more Hebrew school in Perehinsko. The reason was that the teacher could not earn a livelihood and the local Jews also could not or could just very barely provide for their livelihoods on account of the general bad economic situation in the country, which did not pass over Perehinsko.

Until after the First World War, there was no physician in Perehinsko. The doctor at that time was Dr. Antler, a women's physician. At the same time, a pharmacy opened. Dr. Witlin, a relative of Dr. Sapir was there for a short time. After him, Dr. Weissbraun came, and, years later, Dr. W. Adlersberg, the son of the religion teacher from Rozniatow. Thus, Perehinsko had two medical doctors and both made a living.

There was a coachman in the city, Zelig Leib Fishbein. He shared the destiny of all martyrs of the European Holocaust.

Two brothers Moshe Konye and Yossye Wolf Kleinbrot were partners in a butcher shop. Moshe Konye was also a prayer leader in the Kloiz during the whole year and also on the High Holy Days. He possessed fine musical abilities. His Sabbath meals were conducted there with great pomp. The hymns that were sung could be heard in the street. The third Sabbath meal was conducted in the same manner. Much later, in the 1920s, the tinsmith Yaakov Hermann with his son Mottel founded a soda water factory in Perehinsko. Since the townspeople did not need enough of this refreshing beverage, Mottel Hermann loaded up a large wagon with soda water and sold it in the markets of the neighboring cities.

There were a few Zirler families who were called Brettler. Moshe Nussbaum was a successful merchant, and Pinchas Knoll was formerly a wood merchant. Most family names were: Haber, Hillmann, Nussbaum and Drimer. There were also other Jewish family names. Hersh the Rabbi's son was a Torah reader in the Beis Midrash for many years. There were no places of entertainment there. The youth played from time to time in the Yiddish theater.

In the winter of 1928 there was a strike of the wood workers of the Glesinger firm. They worked in the forest for the whole week, coming home from the mountains Saturday evening. Most of them were Perehinsko gentile workers. They lived in poorly heated barracks, blackened with smoke from the iron stoves. This was the only strike that I experienced in Poland. The town looked as it would before an invasion. Patrolmen with armbands on their sleeves, representing the striking workers, walked on the streets. The strike was lost already before he began. The Glesinger firm brought in to Perehinsko a powerful police detachment to help break the strike. As soon as the police appeared, the patrolmen vanished, hiding in manholes. A curfew was proclaimed and nobody could be on the streets after seven o'clock in the evening. Some workers were arrested. Despite the supervision of a strengthened police force, a group of workers succeeded in stopping the narrow railroad that carried strikebreakers into the forest to work instead of the strikers. The railroad was compelled to return from where it came. The police came a little too late and they could only drive away the strikers, who were assembled near the railroad station.

The next day the Starosta personally came to Perehinsko and, under the pretext that the stopping of the railroad that carried the strikebreakers was an act of violence, put an end to the strike with the assistance of the police. There were several telephones in the city and also several radios. Manye Nadler's (now living in Israel) bus shuttled daily, except on the Sabbath. It departed from Perehinsko very early in the morning, and set out for Rozniatow, Broszniow, Kalish, etc. until Stanislawow. It followed the same route back, returning to town in the evening.

Another innovation was the practice of the Rozniatow court to hold some of its sessions on a monthly basis in Perehinsko, called in Polish ”Roki Sondawe”. The economic crisis did not pass over the local Jews. No rich people appeared, on the contrary, poor people did appear. It became difficult to earn a living. Parallel with their struggle for existence, the Jews of Perehinsko did not forget their old dream to create their own Jewish community structure, and thereby become independent from Rozniatow. Preparations to build a “Beit Am”, a National House, and later to work out the statute for the future community, were in full swing. After I left Poland in 1932, I do not know of further developments. In any case, World War II destroyed everything. According to some information, the Jews lived undisturbed for some time by bribing the German Gestapo, until they exhausted their means. They then had nothing more to live on, and nobody would help them. In the best case, they could only postpone their inevitable end for a short time.

The evacuation of the Jews of Perehinsko occurred unexpectedly, so the German murderers could accomplish their aktion easily. They were driven into the Bolekhov ghetto, where the remaining Jews of Rozniatow, Dolina and other cities of the region were already located. From there they were transported to the extermination camps.

Almost none of the Perehinsko Jews survived this aktion. They went on their final journey together with the Jews of Rozniatow.

These are my memoirs about Rozniatow and Perehinsko until August 1932, written down objectively according to my best knowledge. I described in these memoirs their daily life, on weekdays as well as on Sabbaths and festivals; the characters of the Jews with their virtues and defects, and their manner of life. I have spoken to and socialized with these Jews, and I grew up together with many of them. I saw them in their homes and on the street. I hope that other townsmen will be in position to relate their memoirs and impressions from Rozniatow. Rozniatower eyewitnesses who survived and now live in America or Israel will most certainly provide accurate information about the martyrdom and destruction of the Jewry of Rozniatow and the surrounding region. The annihilated Jews of Rozniatow and region are a part of the six millions martyrs in the Holocaust.

Moshe David, the son of Chaim Shimon Lutwak, 20 Sivan 5724, April 1, 1967 12

Jsak Mayer Rabbiner Magdeburg, Rotekrebsstr.
22-23 Tel 6542. Montag 20 VIII, 1928. 13

 


Translator's Footnotes

  1. “Black” in Polish. Back
  2. The organization of the diligent. Back
  3. Literally “my humbleness” or “my littleness”. Back
  4. The landlady. Back
  5. Maavar Yabok refers to the forefather Yaakov crossing the Yabok River on his flight from Laban. In Jewish lore, it also refers to the passage of the soul over the threshold of death. A book called “Maavar Yabok” outlines the rituals of death in Judaism. Konye is apparently a local personality who resembled this tax executor. Back
  6. Evidently referring to one of the two. Back
  7. The term 'miles' here obviously does not have the modern meaning. Back
  8. This book was dated in 1967, so this refers to the early years of the 1900s. Back
  9. In the text, this sentence appears in the previous paragraph prior to the last sentence – obviously out of place. Back
  10. Officially, stores had to be closed on Sundays. Back
  11. Prayer book Back
  12. There is an error in the dates here, as 20 Sivan 5724 corresponds to May 31 (and the evening of May 30), 1967. Back
  13. Isak Mayer Rabbiner is mentioned earlier in the text as a resident of Rozniatow. This is a note in Hebrew script from him, written in Magdeburg. The Hebrew script is small, and cannot be readily made out. Back

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