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[Page 326 - Hebrew] [Page 327 - Yiddish]

My Town

by Shprintza Blank (Balaban)/ Hulda

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder

I wish I could put in writing all the pictures and visions that hover before my eyes of our holy and destroyed ones. I see my parents Ita and Avraham Blank, my sisters Donia and Sarah'le, and my small brother Pinke'le, whose lives were cruelly cutoff and their burial places spread in the fields and there is no sign of the place they were murdered and left for dead.

My brother Pinke'le, when he was six years old, use to recite the poem “The raven and the butterfly,” about the evil the raven that devoured the butterfly. As if with a prophetic power, he sang of his young death. He was fourteen when he was shot to death somewhere in the fields of Transnistria.

Like pictures in a movie film, images pass before my eyes of the town of Bricheva and its inhabitants and houses. Although they weren't beautiful on their exteriors, inside the houses existed a vibrant Jewish life, and the Jewish mother with her warm heart and unlimited devotion knew how to turn it into a warm and pleasant nest for all its inhabitants, a life of experience and appreciation in the spirit and tradition of Judaism. There were many G-d-fearing and modest housewives in town whose hands and hearts were open to the suffering of others and never forgot to make challas (special bread for Shabbat) and other foods for the needy families.

I remember how my mother z”l used to wrap herself in a large shawl and underneath it she hid a basket of food as she quietly went out. The rule was to give in secret anonymously, so as not to embarrass G-d forbid those in need of assistance.

If there was a quarrel or dispute, the Jews of Bricheva didn't apply to a governmental court, but brought the matter before the rabbi or a Jew acceptable to both parties who would decide justly. I recall many cases in our house, when my father was the single arbiter and found a compromise between the parties to the quarrel.

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And almost always the matter ended with a reconciliation and drinking a lehaim - to the satisfaction of all the sides, and this, of course, without any payment to the arbiter.

I will not expand on the Zionist and halutz youth movements, of Gordonia and others, that went into training and hundreds of them were privileged to make aliya to Eretz Yisrael and to fulfill their yearning.

The links in the chain were severed. The holocaust occurred, the biggest disaster of the Jews of Europe and with a single stroke liquidated the town and its Jewish inhabitants, thousands of Jews died in martyrdom. Some died in Transnistria, others on the road there, and those who were killed by Hitler's troopers. Only a few survived and in their wounded and grieving hearts were deeply engraved the troubles and torture, the hunger and thirst. They are the only ones who remained as witnesses to the great disaster and the destruction of our town, among the rest of the thousands of cities and towns across Europe which were destroyed and the Jews killed by the evil beings.

We, those that remained, have the holy obligation to remember and not to forget all that goodness and lofty spirit, the attributes and the devotion of our fathers, to cherish and bequeath to our children and their children, so that they may know and remember. Thus, in this manner we may perhaps pay some of our great debt that we owe to all those who lived and are no longer.

 

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[Page 330 - Hebrew] [Page 331 - Yiddish]

The Generation of our Parents

by Riva Forer (Yannai)/Netanya

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder

In memory of my father and mother, Shlomo and Donia Forer, and in memory of my brother and sister, Moshe and Hinda, who perished in the camps in Transnistria

When I recall the thoughts and memories of the people or events in our town, it is a special task. Although these things are part of me, I approach this undertaking with anxiety and an attitude of holiness. The reasons are understandable. I have a feeling that all the things that happened before that rainy and snowy December night, in the small station in Tirnova, when I left all that was dear to me on the train platform– all this belongs to an earlier time, before the “deluge”.

The question arises, how is it possible to remember these events as they happened without missing the “truth”? I remember that one day when I was with my mother in the city of Soroka we stood near the border. My mother pointed to the other side of the Dniester and said, “How strange, in these places I was born and grew up, and now a curtain lowers over them!” I felt sorry for her and didn't know that the curtain that will separate me from my childhood will be many times more frightful.

As I return to Bricheva in my mind, I immediately envision how small it was with its low houses, the cover of winter snow, with the boggy mud between Purim and Pesach, with the dust that arose from every passing wagon in the hot summer days, and the rainy autumn. Bricheva never enjoyed the changes in technology and civilization.

But this is not what I want to remember now. My heart goes out to the Jews of the Bricheva. They lived, worked – and suddenly disappeared – and I am very distressed about this. From the shortsightedness of a young person I didn't know them well enough, and I didn't retain memories of them in greater detail. Even the figure of my father

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I try to recreate as he was then, as I imagine him. And through him, via my father, take a look at his circle of close friends. The parting words of my father always stay with me, “We never were embarrassed by each other and I hope that will be the same in the future.”

Father was a proud man and mainly a proud Jew. And such Jewish pride was found in all the Jews of the town of Bricheva. As a small child I thought that we, the Jews, were masters of the land and the gentiles were just manual workers because I never saw other types of gentiles around us. Of course, soon enough my eyes were opened, but the feeling of Jewish pride and specialness always accompanied me.

My father insisted on giving his children Hebrew names, in contrast to Jews in the cities who desired to be like the other people who gave their children foreign names. I remember that Shabbat and holidays were clearly felt in the town. The elders of the town were religious people and many of the young kept the traditions. My father was not a religious man like all his friends who also were not: Avraham Zak, Beni Zisman, Shimon Gulirgant, Leib Davidovitz, Velvel Gelman, Moshe Rabinovitz, Haim Zisman, Meir Yashan, Leib Tendler and others.

I remember that these Jews, men in their forties, dealt in commerce, bookkeeping, professions that were still in Jewish hands. They weren't religious Jews, as I said, but they were good Jews, and didn't sever their connection with tradition. Father went to the synagogue three times a year – Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Pesach seder night.

It was important to him to celebrate the Seder in order to fulfill the commandment of “telling the children” [the story of the Jewish exodus from Egypt]. However, he didn't celebrate the second seder since in Eretz Yisrael they didn't observe it…

As a small girl I was jealous of my friend Ita Tzimerman whose father, Nahum, was observant. She told me that they leaned on pillows at the Seder. Sometimes I stayed in their home after the Shabbat to see her father make the Havdala ceremony that differentiated between the holy day and the regular one.

The whole group of my father's friends, who were called “merchants”, was a special type of group. These were enlightened Jews who were influenced by the ideas of the Russian revolution but absorbed also the ideas of modern Zionism. This entire group became very excited when an emissary arrived from Eretz Yisrael. I remember that my mother would remind my father with a bit of annoyance, that at one of the Zionist fundraisers, he removed the jewelry she was wearing and donated it to Keren Hayesod. It was lucky that he left her wedding ring!

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These Jews were very serious about their children's education. Since I studied in a government school, in addition my father hired a Jewish tutor, “rebbe,” to teach me some of the basics of Judaism and also a private teacher, Sima Gulirgant, who would spend an hour or two with me every day singing, telling stories and playing games in Hebrew.

After we completed our studies in the elementary school in town, we had to learn in the gymnasia (secondary school) in Baravoi. We studied there for one year and felt for the first time the hatred of the non–Jews. But when the hooligans began throwing stones at us, the parents met and decided not to send the children there anymore. Then, a Tarbut school was established in Bricheva. Many even completed high school as external students.

However, the popularity of studies waned. An elite group of youth, students and even university graduates didn't see any profit in these studies, other than the honor, because all the institutions were closed to them.

In contrast there was an increase in the attraction of youth movements – Gordonia, Hashomer Hatzair, even Betar and some belonged to the Communist movement. I remember our Gordonia branch, which met in the home of Shmuel Kestelman, later moved to a single house whose owner I don't remember, and after that it moved to the home of my aunt, Haika Blank.

The activities of the movement excelled in great enthusiasm, which excited our members. Talks were held in groups, large and small, to discuss and understand concepts and ideas. There were so many topics for discussion! They included the basis for Zionism and socialism, the Arab question, life in a kibbutz, sex education and other topics. Of course, we had to debate the left and the right and in order to do that we had to learn and prepare ourselves. The members learned to express themselves and many showed a special talent to lecture and even to give a speech, such as Sheindele Kestelman and Motle Zak.

The youth movement drew youth from various social strata. The children of the poor and the children of the wealthy Jews became one group and they learned about equality, fraternity and mutual assistance. Father called the movements our universities.

Of course, the activities of the movement interfered with our school studies and preparation of homework. Once, my Latin teacher, Yaakov Veisbuch z”l, met my father and complained to him, asking how a Jew like him allows his daughter to belong to Gordonia and thus neglect her studies. Does he want her to be a shepherdess in Palestine?! And my father answered, “Listen Veisbuch, we have more than enough students who get thrown out of the windows of the universities. Better we should rear some shepherds for Eretz Yisrael…” Later I found out that Yaakov Veisbuch died in the closed train cars between Yasi and Transnistria.

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The disaster that befell the Jews of Europe didn't happen suddenly. Like every instance of an approaching storm, it was felt in the air already in the 1930's. I remember the worry and fear that came over me when I heard my father analyze the political situation. He maintained that the Jews of Europe had finished their role in the economy of that continent, and therefore she will “vomit” out the Jews. Of course, no sane person could have foreseen the dimensions of the destruction! Therefore, he contended, that every Jew who was able to save himself and go to Eretz Yisrael, must do so. And he would add, always sadly, “Unfortunately, I am not young enough to be a pioneer (halutz) and on the other hand I am too poor and have nothing to sell, to enable me to go there as a tourist. But, he added, no Jew should miss the opportunity to make aliya.”

Thanks to him I am in Eretz Yisrael today. I spoke a lot about Father although I didn't mention biographical elements, because I intended only to explain via his character the generation of the Jews of Bricheva, the generation of my parents, in the manner I recall it. This was a deep–rooted rational Judaism that recognized the reality around them and strived to be saved, but they were tied down by the cables of the reality of their lives – the entrance to Eretz Yisrael was closed and locked for them. And thus they were lost to us forever…

Picture Caption: Some young people near the end of the 1930s.

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Picture Caption: 1934: Young men and women facing the future – where to?

Picture Caption: 1935: The same as above

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Picture Caption: Gordonia

Picture Caption: Gordonia


[Page 340 - Hebrew] [Page 341 - Yiddish]

What Preceded the Holocaust

by Efraim Kestelman/ Kiryat Tivon

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder

About thirty years have passed since I left the town where I was born. That is a long time, which could blur memories and impressions from my childhood. The fear that the little that remains in my memory could, G–d forbid, be lost, commands me to take part in this project to memorialize our town, as much as I am able.

What characterized our town was that it was populated only by Jews. Life in the Jewish town was carried on slowly, as if on calm waters. Spread around it were villages of non–Jews who made their livelihood from agriculture, and one day a week would flock to town, either on foot or wagon, with their produce and animals to be sold. Market day was an important day of income for the Jews that supported the maintenance of the residents of the town. They worked as merchants, shopkeepers and a few worked in agriculture or manual labor.

My late father also worked in agriculture. He owned many fields that he used to lease to farmers from the surrounding areas to work the land, and he gave them part of the produce in payment for their work. A day's work was long and tiring. From sunrise until often midnight, he would travel the roads with a wagon full of grain. Sometimes I awoke late at night to the sound of the creaking wagon wheels – I dressed quickly and went out to surprise my father. I saw him load on his back large, heavy sacks of grain and carry them from the wagon into the storehouse. I tried to help him but I was only about 14 or 15 and didn't have enough strength to assist him. My conscience bothered me and doleful thoughts went through my mind.

We were a family of eight people; I had five sisters, and I myself saw how hard

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they worked. My mother, may her memory be blessed, also worked very hard standing on her feet countless hours selling leather goods to shoe makers or non–Jews who came especially to buy shoes and boots. The store was in our home and my mother had to care for the house, that is to do all that a regular housewife would do, in addition to working as a storekeeper.

My father often traveled by train to the big city to purchase suitable goods to fill the empty shelves. All this was done during the slow season in agriculture, when he had time from all the work connected with the fields. Then things were somewhat easier for my mother.

I would like to mention the Tarbut school that educated the children about Jewish tradition and the Hebrew language and was very influential in shaping the path of the Jewish youth. I must note again the important role of the Zionist youth movements, and especially Gordonia, that succeeded in drawing many boys and girls as members. They knew how to ignite in their hearts the spark of love for the new Eretz Yisrael, which introduced interest and goals in many young people and instilled in them to need to attach their destiny with the Promised Land. The movement must be praised and admired for its success in warning, early on, the complacent generation of the coming troubles. The young men and women, no matter what economic or social status, would meet for evenings of discussions, dancing, sitting together and thirstily drinking in the ideas of the movement, which called for activities, self–fulfillment, and training toward the goal of going to Eretz Yisrael. The movement knew how to inculcate into the young generation the ambition for a proper life based on the equality and rights of persons along with duties to the public and society. The seeds that were planted caught on very well.

I remember on one very hot summer day I received a letter from the office of the Zionist movement in Bucharest notifying me that there was a possibility of making aliya to Eretz Yisrael within the framework of the Aliyat Hanoar – youth aliya. Immediately I hurried towards the field where my parents were busy with the threshing.

I recall the clouds of dust rising, the faces covered with dust and the obvious signs of hard work. I won't forget the noise, commotion and the rhythm of the labor. I can envision my father, an industrious worker, who took upon his shoulders the burden of supporting the family, a man who wasn't deterred by hard work, who proved with his deeds that a Jew is capable of establishing a farm and working the land. He immediately noticed that I had something important to report. After I revealed to him what it concerned, I understood from the look in his eyes, that I had a loyal partner in the idea of my making aliya to Eretz Yisrael.

In the evening when my father returned home, the main topic of discussion was the possibility that I would be lucky enough to see my sister and her family who three years before had joined a kibbutz in Eretz Yisrael. I could see in my parents' eyes what they were feeling – on the one hand, their desire

[Page 344 - Hebrew] [Page 345 - Yiddish]

that I go to Eretz Yisrael, and on the other, the pain of my departure (for ever?). Indeed, my parents considered and pondered the question whether they themselves could join me and make aliya to Eretz Yisrael, but the binds of the diaspora tied their hands.

I remember that in 1938, close to the time of my aliya, I would listen to the conversations of the residents of the town. Worrisome signs were already palpable in the air, everyone expressed in his own way his view of the future, his political opinion on what would happen, and what Germany would do. There was a feeling that something was about to happen in the international scene, and according to the experience of generations, the Jew was the sacrificial lamb in these cases. Therefore their faces depicted sadness and doubt. But there were some who deceived themselves and others had futile hopes.

I can't forget the days, when Romania ruled the Cozist party, and waves of hate also reached Bricheva. In one of the conferences of the anti–semitic party they denounced the Jews as guilty of all the troubles in the world. The evil ones tried to cause trouble in our town, but weren't allowed to act as they wished, and they were put down with a tough hand. When one of the non–Jews died of his wounds, the people were agitated, and the authorities cancelled the day of the fair.

However, the Jews of our town didn't even imagine what calamities and holocaust were waiting at our gates and were likely to wipe them off the face of the earth with a huge wave and terrifying disaster.

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[Page 346 - Hebrew] [Page 347 - Yiddish]

Memories from my Youth

by Rahel Cohen/Holon

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder

In that tiny, distant town, without roads or electricity, when the winter weather caused mud that was knee–deep, the youth grew up with lofty ambitions. This was a youth that wanted to fight for ideals, youth that wanted to rise above the gray life and to live a more beautiful life full of content and meaning.

And in truth it can be said that the youth of those years achieved great things. Reality proves that many of the members of the youth movements, especially Gordonia, are found in many groups and kibbutzim in Eretz Yisrael. The best youth in town were members in Gordonia or Culture–League. Betar was a very weak movement. I remember that Moshe Shpielberg z”l, who was in Betar, used to come to Gordonia to take part in ideological debates, which sometimes were very stormy.

In general I can say that my feeling was that life in those days was very beautiful for me. We were young, full of life, and thirsty for knowledge. I remember well how we got together in groups to learn and to read; there was a real bond between the members.

The town garden played an important role in our lives during the summer. After the activities of the branch we would walk to the garden to sing. The nights, the moon–lit nights were so very beautiful; we would sit, sing and dream of a better future, a more interesting one.

Bricheva and other towns like her disappeared and with them disappeared the generations – all because of the slaughter in the days of Nazism. We must not forget what harm they did to us. We must not think of a “different Germany”. Many of us managed to leave town before the holocaust, others were saved from it but in each of us remained the image of our town as it was when we left, then, in those far–off days.

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Picture Caption: A group of pupils: Zippora Mogilovski, Hina Blank (counselor), ?, Sunia Mogilovski.

Picture Caption: Hashomer Hatzair, a group of counselors

[Page 349]

Picture Caption: 1938 – Farewell to Buma and Tzvi Gulirgant before their Aliya


[Page 350 - Hebrew] [Page 351 - Yiddish]

A Bricheva Sense of Humor

by Asher Woldman/Rio–de–Janiero

Translated by Esther Mann Snyder

Avraham Zusia's (Shpielberg) did not know how to write. In those days there was no need, apparently, to know how to write.

During one of the assemblies, an election assembly for Starosta, Avraham became angry and shouted out, as did others, with shouts reaching up to heaven. Natan Leibush's (Blumin) said to him, “Avraham, Avraham, you know you have a weak heart. Therefore, instead of yelling, it's better that you write down your words on paper.”

In Bricheva, the people were divided into two types, Colonists (founders of the town) and additions who had arrived lately. In general the colonists were considered an elite group with rights and even excessive rights. Thus there was a certain antagonism.

Something very interesting occurred because of this. On one Shabbat morning Leib Bronshtein went out of his home; he was the son–in–law of Pesach Weinstein. He met Haim Shuster (one of the newcomers) who lived nearby. Shuster immediately said a friendly “Shabbat Shalom.” Leib asked him why he was blocking his way. Haim said to him while trembling, “Just the opposite is true, actually I love you very much.” Leib answered him, “It is impossible. How can you love me, if I block you.”

Yidl Kritshun (Gabbai's) was later called, he and all his family, by the name of Kritshun, because of what happened. He was once asked when is the yahrzeit (anniversary of death) of his father. He answered,

[Page 352 - Hebrew] [Page 353 - Yiddish]

on “Kritshun” (Chrismas) – despite the fact that he was the sexton of the synagogue of the tailors.

One time, during the month of Elul when they start blowing the shofar, the shofar in the synagogue wasn't working properly so he went and borrowed a shofar from the Shtipanshti synagogue. When he returned, he saw a dog loitering around, he kicked the dog and later boasted that the dog barked and he said that it is allowed to blow the shofar as much as one wants because the shofar is strong.

And they tell that during selling of the aliyot to the Torah, he would strike the table and announce that whoever will give money will get the Torah, and whoever doesn't give will get something else.

David–Hertz was a big man, tall and strong. He had a son who was also big and strong like him, but he was not very knowledgeable in Jewish customs and small print”. Once, on Yom Kippur, he saw that the Jews were beating their chests during the prayer enumerating sinful behavior. He asked his father when does one beat on the heart. The father answered, go straight along the line, when you reach the dot – beat, dot – beat.

In order to receive a loan from the Lending and Savings Fund, one had to sign his first name and surname, and not just his fingerprint. The wagon driver in our town had with difficulty to scratch his name and this was with the help of someone who moved his hand. After he completed his difficult “task,” he said, “It's easier to travel with a carriage to the train station in Tirnova through the mud of the days before Pesach than it is to sign my name.”

One day, when we were travelling from Soroka with Yankel Kritshun, we met his father–in–law, Yankel the water–carrier who was also a wagon driver. By chance the sleigh overturned and all the travelers fell out onto the ground. Then his father–in–law said, my son–in–law did a “tablin” with “valet,” (an imitation of a card game).

When Kurmanski was the premier, Leib Tendler, the Vice premier, and I, the secretary, the three of us travelled to Belz, where by chance the performances of the Vilna Group were appearing. It was very difficult to find tickets. However, I was able to get some tickets through Shalom Sheinboim who played at that time with the “Vilners” and also through the actor Veislitz whom I knew personally.

Leib Tendler proposed a condition to Kurmanski. He could join us but he must first wash his feet (Kurmanski was an educated man, but

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he suffered, apparently, from a skin condition). He promised. When we were already seated in the full hall, suddenly there was a bad odor. Then Leib Tender said to Kurmanski, “we asked you to wash your feet!” Kurmanski answered, “I knew that you wouldn't believe me so I took along some evidence.” And he took out of his pocket the pair of dirty socks!

Yaakov–Aharon Sandelman was a tall person, almost two meters. His son Mordechai was a few centimeters more than two meters. When Mordechai was by then in his mid–forties and already had grown children, Yaakov–Aharon went looking for his son, Mordechai. He entered the post office and asked the manager, “Was my boy here?”

The postman, whose name I don't remember, worked for many years in the town and became part of the populace. When he delivered the mail, he always stopped near Pesach the Sarosta, whether he had mail for him or not. One time, he had a lot of mail to deliver and when he arrived at Pesach Weinstein's home it was already late, 11 o'clock at night, and Pesach was fast asleep. The postman woke him up and said, “There is no mail for you.”

Yehuda–Itzi, the sexton died one Friday before evening, therefore the burial would have to wait until Sunday. Because of their troubles the sextons became drunk and started to dance around the house until the Rabbi was called to stop them.

On Sunday morning, before the funeral, Reuven quietly entered the barroom of Haya–Rahel and asked for some whiskey. As he brought the drink to his mouth, he said to Haya–Rahel, “Although Yehuda–Itzi passed away, but for now, fill up the glass.”

In a conversation between Genia Dalugatsh and Haim Zisman, that was carried on in Russian, Genia pointed out to him that the sentence he used was not correct linguistically. He answered her, “What do you want? I don't know all of the Russian language by heart.”

My father, Dudi Woldman z”l, was a simple, honest working man. Even though he was not versed in the Torah writings, he did all that he could to buy an aliya to the Torah for himself on the “Days of Awe”. He prayed in the Rashkovi synagogue, where the gabbai was Haim–Yisrael Gelman.

It happened one time, that the gabbai took the “aliya” away from my father who had already paid for it

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and gave it to another man, a relative of his from Lipkan, who was staying in his home. My father didn't allow himself to be mistreated but the gabbai attacked him with curses. In response my father grabbed him from the back and threw him out through the window of the synagogue. That's all he did, he didn't hit him, although my father was a strong Jew and younger than the gabbai, because my father did not fight with anyone due to something that had happened in the past.

Right after his wedding to my mother z”l my father was a tobacco merchant although it was forbidden since it was run by a monopoly. It happened one day that a Moldavian entered his shop and bought one quarter of tobacco but instead of paying him he immediately demanded a silver ruble and he said that if father didn't give it to him, he would inform the authorities. My mother Rahel called my father and told him what was happening. My father put his hand into his pocket as if he was taking out some money but instead he punched the Moldavian who fell and fainted. They had to call the doctor, Dr. Gramant, who lived across from our house, with the family of Haim–Aharon Eisenshtein, and he saved his life after much effort.

After this the parents of Moshe the Polish one z”l, my father's father–in–law, called him to go to the Rabbi and forced him to make a vow, with a hand shake, that he would never hit anyone. Therefore there were many times when he came home with fingers bitten by himself, because he restrained himself.

Avraham Zusia's (Shpielberg) was a “baal taksa”. He even wanted to get close to the heads of the town. For this reason he rented out a part of his home to the premiership, for very little compensation, so that he would be able to become involved in their matters.

He had a heart disease and often went to Kishinov for treatment because his son Shalom Shpielberg lived there. (Here, it should be noted that he had five sons and daughters: Shalom, Tcharna, Leale, Yoske and Zissel – and they all were among the best people in town and all talented). However, from time to time someone spread a false rumor that Avraham had died.

One time, again there was a rumor that he died. His son–in–law Yosel Zaktzer entered the premiership and asked the premier, Leib Tendler, “Again they say that my father–in–law died; if it is a lie, whom should we inform on?”

The son of the bathhouse attendant returned home on the holiday of Simhat Torah from the synagogue. His wife asked him if he had taken part in the “hakafot” (carrying the Torahs around the synagogue). He answered, “Of course, but there is no luck for a poor man.” When my turn came we sang “He who helps the poor, save him, He who helps the poor should succeed, and in addition

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they gave me a very small, worn Torah, and the wooden pole was broken.”

Moshe–Leib Woldman, my father's brother suffered from a hernia (therefore he was called Moshe–Leib with a hernia). He would go to the bathhouse on Friday and take with him a small tub made of wood with bands around it. When he placed the hernia into the tub to wash it, the whole area became swollen and it was necessary to call the “beater” to take off the bands and release the hernia.

I, Yidl Feinsilber, Feivel Feinsilber, Yasha Bronshtein, Moshe Shtiglik and others studied with the teacher, David Berman. One day the teacher's watch stopped and he sent Feivel to the neighbor to ask the time, saying, “Go see what the time is now.” When he returned he said, “Mister teacher, the clock is fast.”

Aharon Zinman, Moshe Rabinovitz, Beni Zisman, Yosel–Yehuda Gorodtzki and I sat on the porch at Shimon Gulirgant's house and played cards all night. Nearby lived the old man Nisan Parnas. It was the month of Elul, and the old man rose early in the morning to go to the “slichot” prayers. When he saw us thus, he said, “Mischievous ones, you get up early in the morning to play cards?!”

Shalom Zak, who holds a position of professor in the Sorbonne in Paris and brings honor to all those who lived in Bricheva, once had this slip of the tongue. A group of friends including myself, Roza Zimmerman, Alter Shichman, Feigele Shpielberg, Musia Blank and others, sat together at the home of David and Feige Bonder and were having a pleasant time. Suddenly there was an accident involving Aharon Shpielberg. He fell off the swing and fainted. We ran to call the doctor. On the way we met Sheva Shpielberg, Aharon's sister who asked us where were we running. Shalom Zak answered, “It's nothing, nothing, Aharon Shpielberg was killed!”

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Picture Caption: A meeting of friends.

Picture Caption: In those days: Polia Weinstein, Shalom Zak, Berta Gulirgant, David Bonder, Roza Zimmerman, Fania Bonder, Zusia Shpielberg, Sheva Shpielberg, Zisla Fleisher, Anna Fleisher (Weinstein).

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Picture Caption: Baila Woldman, Fania Bonder, Sheva Shpielberg, Zusia Shpielberg, Roza Zimmerman, Asher Voldman

Picture Caption: Zusia Zak, Musia Blank, Roza Zimmerman, David Bonder, Sheva Shpielberg, Shimshon Tunkel (?), Asher Woldman.

 

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