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[Page 264]

Second Chapter:

Echoes of the Past


By Yehezkiel Seligman

Translated by Levi Rosenhand

O. A Fight Between Jews and Non-Jews (1887)

On Monday the 21st of Sivan, the city was shaken because of a group of cowardly and petty-minded people who started to do mischief in the stores at the market:

The workers who take the rafts on the Berezina River through our city went into the market to buy things. One of them stole a pipe from one of the stores. When the store owner [a woman] ran after him to retrieve the stolen good, they all attacked her and hit her. Two Jews who came to help were involved also. There was a call for help and wagon drivers and haulers came and a fight broke out between the Jews and the Gentiles. The police came and caught eight of the workers and put them under guard and the fury subsided.

Yehezkiel Seligman
(HaYom 1887, 123)

[Page 264]

P. A Theater in the City (1887)

Recently, Hebrew players came to our city to present a play in the spoken Jewish tongue. They presented several heartwarming plays. Every actor and actress deserved adulation. But two of them in particular were extraordinary. They are H. Tanzman (he is also the manager) and H. Berlman. They were wonderful in their use of dialect in their songs and the emotions they expressed. Up to the point where the audience was so taken that it appeared to them that this was real life...and not a play. “Last Thursday they presented a wonderful play which is known as “The Doctor Al Masada.” The theater was full. Lots of people from our city were turned back because there were no more tickets.

Yehezkiel Seligman
(HaYom 1887, 240)

[Page 265]

Q. Loan Sharks (1888)

The moneylenders hold the poor people in the palm of their hands. And here's the story. A year ago, Mr. H.M. lent 100 [1] to H.Y.V., with payments of two and a half every week. In the first half year the weekly payment was delivered promptly. But in the second half, there was a tragedy and H.Y.V. couldn't pay. H.M. took the collateral; it was a contract on H.Y.V.'s house that was worth 800. H.M. took H.Y.V. to court. “On Thursday, the court officer came with the police and forced H.Y.V. and his family (with eight small children) out of the house. And now they are wandering from one place to another. And among all the kindly people, there is no one who can help. For the moneylender, this is a good start. And they've started pressing others to suck out the last drop of blood. Aren't the lenders Jewish? Where is their pity for their brothers?

Yehezkiel Seligman
(Yudishes Folksblatt 1888, 17)

Translator's Footnotes

[1] Rubles? The unit of money is not specified in the text. Return to text

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