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[Page 140 (Yiddish)]

What Brought Me to America

by Shamai Bergwerk

Translated by Regina Russak

As a young boy I went through a very sad experience. I was taking home a calf that my father bought from Moishe Dryer behind the mill. On the way the calf became very stubborn and didn't want to move. It must have been lonesome for it's mother. I was pushing it with all my strength, and it still did not move. While I was pushing the calf, a big dog came along, almost as big as the calf, and attacked me. Not knowing that the dog belonged to the mayor, I took off the rope from the calf's neck and it seems that I hit the dog. Suddenly I hear screaming “catch him”.

I turned around and saw that it was the anti-Semite Mayor Gabrishewski, the doctor from Krakow, who is ordering the dog to attack me. Naturally I let go of the calf, and got away as fast as I could and disappeared where no one could find me (translated - where the black pepper grows, an old Yiddish saying).

Soon the police sergeant came to us, he came to arrest me, but he couldn't find me because I hid myself well. Later, a policeman came and told my mother what Gabrishewski planned to do to me.

My parents went right away to David Hollander, who was at that time, the “Rosh Hakol”, the head of the community, and they told him what was happening. David Hollander immediately called together a meeting of the counsel, which decided if the mayor would punish me by flogging me publicly, the community would bring him to court and demand that he be dismissed from his position as mayor.

The head of the community asked me to come to him and asked me to sacrifice myself for a good and holy cause, so as to get rid of a big anti-Semite and cannibal of Zionists. My parents agreed that I should let myself be arrested, and promised him that I would allow myself to be arrested.

And so it was, the tall policeman came to us and arrested me and I didn't resist, but my father went along until near the mayor's house on the Kozma Street, not far from the pharmacy. The mayor ordered the police sergeant to bring in a fresh branch from a yew tree, with which the mayor beat me quite badly and long, and I sustained many bruises on delicate parts of my body. My father took me immediately to the local doctor who also asked Dr. Roth, and they both agreed that I was quite badly injured.

Shortly after that, my father and I went to Lemberg and we went to the office of the paper, “Tageblatt”. There we met Joel Spiegel who got us in touch with Dr. Zipper and the two decided that it would be better if the trial were conducted by a Christian lawyer, and for that reason they chose the attorney, Breiter, the elected Socialist representative. They also decided that the trail should be in Lemberg, because one cannot depend on a judge in Boiberike, as he might be prejudiced.

The trail was held in Lemberg, but it didn't turn out the way we imagined. The mayor brought a Jew from the town who swore that he saw that my father give me all the bruises and of course we lost the case.

I had no choice but to find a way and make plans to leave town. So where does a Jew run? To America, you understand.

 

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