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[Pages 44 45]

Brzeziner Rabbis and Hasidim

brz044.jpg - S. Pinczewski

by S. Pinczewski (Tel Aviv)

Translated by Renee Miller

Edited by Fay Bussgang

I do not know if among those Brzeziners of my generation left alive there are any who know about the former old Brzezin, of the time of the Kotsker Khsides [Kock Hasidic movement]. Already then there was a Kotsker shtibl [small Hasidic house of prayer] in Brzezin that was known among the Kotsker Hasidim for its eminent personalities – such as Reb Icek Brzeziner, Reb Mendel, and Reb Jokisz. Some I remember from the time when I was a child, such as Reb Szlama Reb Icek's [son], Szlama Reb Mendel's [son], and Jeszaja Jokisz. Having been brought up in a Hasidic neighborhood, I myself had the opportunity to know personally a lot of such people from the former Brzezin.

I heard about the makhloykes [quarrel] in Brzezin over the khasen [cantor], Moszke Bialystoker [from Bialystok]. At that time Brzezin was to take on a new cantor in the manner generally common in the Tfutses Isroel [Jewish Diaspora]. When a town was to take on a new cantor, the candidate, before he was hired as cantor, first had to daven [pray] on a Shabbos as a trial. So the new cantor, Moszke, came from Bialystok to Brzezin. He was a marvelous cantor and bal-tfile [leader of prayer]. He had an enormous voice. Right after the first prayers on that Shabbos the group of community leaders promptly hired him, and they actually would not let him leave town, wanting him to remain as cantor in Brzezin. But there was a problem with that Moszke in that he was an alter bokher [older bachelor], and according to the Shulkhn Orekh [rules governing the life of Orthodox Jews], it was objectionable that someone who did not have a wife should be a representative of the community. But the leaders did not want to consider that, since Cantor Moszke promised that he was going to get married.

The Kotsker Hasidim of that time were outright opposed to this. This brought about a feud in the town between the Hasidim and the community leaders. It went so far that they hit each other with sticks in shul [synagogue].

My grandmother related that she locked my grandfather, Reb Naftali, an old Kotsker Hasid, in the house, so he could not go into the shul and fight with the leaders. She was afraid that he would come home battered.

The result was that Moszke, the cantor, had to leave Brzezin, because the rov [official town rabbi] was on the side of the Hasidim.

Reb Naftali Hersz, the bal-musef [leader of musef, extension of morning prayer] from the Gerer [Gora Kalwaria] shtibl, related seeing a young man af kest [receiving room and board at in-laws], who by chance was going through the courtyard of the shul when Moszke Bialystoker was praying. He stood there, charmed by his praying. He could not tear himself away from the spot, but being a Hasid, he could not go into the shul [which was Orthodox], so he climbed up in the attic of the shul and lay there hidden during the entire prayers.

In those years, Brzezin was a small, poor shtetl. A portion of its inhabitants supported the family by producing talesim [prayer shawls]. These were poor weavers who would produce prayer shawls in a primitive way on a make-shift loom that was in the home. The other portion of the inhabitants of the town consisted of small storekeepers and various artisans, among whom were several tailors who did mending and alterations. They would travel through the villages the entire week and sew for peasants for their home use; they repaired various old clothing and made over old furs. For Shabbos they returned home to their wives and brought back from the villages a few potatoes, a few eggs, maybe a little produce or a chicken. There were a few prominent men in town who were better off, but in general Brzezin was then a poor town.

From the maker of prayer shawls evolved the great well-to-do man Reb Szlama Silski, later the dozor [overseer] of the [Jewish] community – one with a firm hand. The rov, together with the other religious personnel, had more dealings with him than with any of the other community leaders. He was lame. Earlier, while still a poor prayer shawl weaver, he married a mute woman with whom he had a daughter. Later the mute wife died, and he married a second woman, Mirel. He made a yikhes-shidekh [match with someone of distinguished lineage] for his daughter from his first wife. Being very wealthy, he was able to become connected by marriage to a special family, with the Radomer rov, and took as a son-in-law the fine young man Reb Arje Dawid Perlmuter.

Reb Arje Dawid Perlmuter, e”h [may he rest in peace], the Radomer rov's son, later grew to be a great philanthropist with a generous heart. He was one of the most eminent personalities that I remember in town.

I recall the fine Jew of stately appearance, Reb Naftali Hersz, e”h [may he rest in peace], the bal-musef during the Days of Awe [between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur] in the Gerer shtibl. Although he had plenty of misnagdim [opponents of Hasidism] – even among the Gerer Hasidim – he was nevertheless superior to all of them.

 

brz045.jpg - The Brzeziner rov, Reb Zalman Borensztajn
The Brzeziner rov, Reb Zalman Borensztajn, zts”l
[may the memory of a righteous person be blessed],
who had the reputation throughout Poland as a great
scholar. The Nazi villains murdered him in a tragic manner

 

Of the Hasidim from the Gerer shtibl whom I remember, I rarely found ordinary types. Icek Majer Berger was a very dedicated Hasid. His insights and Jewish charm were rare. He who has not seen his dancing and singing on Simchas Torah [festival marking the completion of the cycle of reading the Torah] at the Hakofes [procession with Torah scrolls], does not know what a Hasidic dance is.

From my childhood I also still remember the elderly distinguished scholar Szlama Reb Mendel's, son of an old Kotsker Hasid, the famous proofreader of Sefer Toyres [Torah Scrolls], the great grammarian and scholar. He was then already a blind man from whose eye sockets looked out ancient generations of Jewish martyrology. While he was alive he grew as a legendary personality in the town. He looked like an ancient Gaon [eminent scholar].

Even the contemporary ultra-religious from the Gerer shtibl also had their peculiar charm. Here I mean the Hasidic impractical ones – Chanina Lipman and others. There also were other Hasidic personalities, such as Reb Mojsze Majer Gutkind, the dark Sura's, and Reb Peretz Jakubowicz. Also in the other Hasidic shtiblekh [small houses of prayer], such as the Aleksanderer [from Aleksandrow], the Grodzisker [from Grodzisk], and the Ostrowcer [from Ostrowiec], there were many fine Jews of whom Brzezin could have been proud – such as Reb Jozef Michal's, Reb Dawid Lajb Massa's, Reb Jerachmiel, the rabbi's, Reb Szlama Pabianicer [from Pabianice], the red Eliezer. There also were Hasidic shtiblekh of younger leaders, Hasidic scholars such as Reb Jekiel Nachum's, Reb Szymszon Erlich, Reb Jehuda Krongold, Reb Hersz Icek, Reb Fajwel Majer, Reb Chaim Icek Ajnbinder, Reb Hersz Lederszniter, Reb Szmuel Chazen, Reb Dawid Hersz Szochet, and Reb Hillel Szames.

There also were Hasidic maskilim [adherents of Haskalah – Enlightenment], modern, enlightened, with secular education. The elders of that time were Reb Nachman Gutkind, Reb Szmuele Krongold, Reb Chaim Icek Grynfeld, Reb Wowe [Vove] Halberstam, and many others. All those listed were distinguished Hasidic scholars of whom Brzezin had nothing to be ashamed.

Finally I want to recall the last two Brzeziner rabbis whose remembrance all Brzeziner Jews hold dear. The rov Reb Israel Dwarter, z”l [zal – may his memory be blessed], was a great scholar and skilled in shas [Talmud] and poskim [post-Talmudic commentaries]. His judgments were heeded even in Ger as the ultimate truth. He was considered one of the greatest scholars in Poland for whom even his opponents had respect. His teaching was in the manner of later poskim. He was not a bal pilpul [hair splitter] nor shrewd. In teaching a lesson in Talmud he distinguished himself more with mastery than with cleverness. He was truly a great scholar. In contrast, in worldly matters, he was less proficient. He was not very friendly, and because of this, he had a lot of misnagdim [opponents of Hasidism] in the town. But this did not diminish his authority as a great scholar. He had a son, Berl, with whom I studied. He was a contender for the Brzeziner rabbinate. He was quite impractical but at the same time a great scholar.

The Brzeziner rov, Reb Zalman Borensztajn, z”l, hi”d [may the Lord avenge his blood], was kneaded from an entirely different dough. He had a gentle heart. Aside from the fact that he was a great scholar, he also was open and friendly, a person worthy of love. He understood how to treat people, especially ordinary people. Everyone loved him. It was said about him, quoting from the Maymer Khazal [wise sayings from the Bible repeated in the Talmud], “A person who is received with pleasure by mankind will be also by God.” His manner of living was that of a scholar. In teaching he had the manner of his father, the well-known moyre hoyroe [rabbi who renders decisions on matters of rabbinic law], the author of the book Sanedrin Ktane [minor religious courts]. About such personalities as the two Brzeziner rabbis, one can only say, as the Gemore [commentaries on the Torah] expresses it, “Woe, that the best of the best should ultimately decay in the dust, and woe, for the loss.”


[Pages 46 55]

The Jews of My Generation

brz046.jpg - Jacob David Berg

by Jacob David Berg

Translated by Renee Miller

Edited by Fay Bussgang

With great respect for the luminaries in the holy community of our devastated hometown Brzezin, I step forward to write about them and bring them to the forefront of people's memory.

No Jewish trace remains of our shtetl now. Even the matseves [gravestones] in the cemetery were ripped out, and you can no longer find the essence of the precious Jews who beautified our Hasidic tailoring town – just as the famous writer Z. Segalowicz described Brzezin after the destruction in his dirge, the poem “There.”

We must immortalize their illustrious names in this Sefer Brzezin, and I hope that my own recollections will serve me well enough to be able to recall them all. The future generations should know who the Jews were of my generation in our destroyed hometown.

I call my town “Brezin” because that was what the town was called when it belonged to Czarist Russia. Brezin was famous then for its tailoring industry. The town provided the large Russian market with ready-made clothing, and this brought employment and earnings. Russian merchants from distant areas used to come twice a year and buy merchandise from us. Entrepreneurs, magaziners [owners of small clothing factories], gave precut material to the tailors, and they sewed the clothing. The town was full of work and life. No one knew then of want. And so it continued until World War I.

After World War I, when Poland became independent, our town lost the name “Brezin.” The new rulers called it “Brzeziny.” Jews shortened the name to “Brzezin.” The main change, however, consisted of the fact that our town had lost the large Russian market and become quite impoverished.

Here I want to recall with great affection the kehile [Jewish community] of my generation in the town that I remember from before World War I. Our Brzezin justly earned the name “Hasidic Tailoring Town.” Although the majority of Brzeziner Jews were not Hasidim – but were simple, observant [Orthodox] Jews who would fill up the besmedresh [house of prayer] and the great shul [synagogue] – the influence that the Hasidic Jews had on the entire community life was quite substantial. They were the “Shabbos-Yontov-dike Yidn” [Sabbath-Holiday Jews] of I. L. Peretz [famous Yiddish writer] among us, and they infected the entire town. Whoever came to Brzezin felt at once that the town carried the stamp of a generations-long Hasidic style of living.

One recalls the Fridays when in the afternoon one could already feel in the air of the town and between everyone the inner shiver of preparing to greet the Holy Sabbath. The assistant shamasim [sextons], Psilke and Bobes, used to go through the town and call out, “Likht tsindn, likht tsindn!” [Candle lighting time!]. Right after that you heard their second call, “Yidn, in shul arayn!” [Jews, into the synagogue!], and at once the Hasidim of the town appeared in the streets in their Shabbosdike [fit for Sabbath] outfit, in a satin zupica [caftan]. Some also wore shtraymekh [caps edged with fur]. The beards and peos [long side curls] were still wet from the mikve [ritual bath]. As if with a magic wand all the shops were closed. And you saw clearly how the Sabbath Queen descended over our town. The Hasidic shtiblekh [small Hasidic houses of prayer] became very crowded, and the ardent prayers of Sabbath eve coming from there could be heard far and wide. In their Shabbos clothing ordinary Jews, non-Hasidim, filled the synagogue and the besmedresh. Emptiness spread throughout the market square. Two or three Christian taverns and the goyish [non-Jewish] apothecary's shop stood orphaned.

My memories extend further, and I remember the Yomim Naroim [Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur]. With what a shiver we caught the first blast, when at the beginning of the month of Elul they began to blow the shofar [ram's horn]. We the school children began to feel, together with all the grownups, that something was beginning – preparation for the great judgment. Then came the fervent night of slikhes [penitent prayers], the Holy Days after Rosh Hashanah, the Days of Repentance from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, the eve of Yom Kippur – the night of Kol Nidre [plaintive prayer on Yom Kippur eve], when I stood wrapped in my father's talis [prayer shawl] while he said the Tfile Zoka [certain prayer]. My father's tears also made me wet. And although I was a nine-year-old boy, I already felt grown up, and I joined in and recited the prayers.

And on the morning after Yom Kippur – today I still see the picture before my eyes – in every courtyard people were busy putting up sukes [tabernacles], and from all around you could hear the sound of hammers. And when the holiday of Succos [Feast of Tabernacles] came, the leaders walked proudly in the streets to the shtiblekh and to the shul and back home, carrying large bunches of lulavim [palm branches] and esrogim [citrons]. Simchas Torah [festival marking the completion of the cycle of reading the Torah] was really our holiday, a holiday for children. How much pleasure we children had, ending with the flags, with the little candles stuck into red apples! And the Khevre Kedishe [Burial Society] divided honey cake – each piece of which was as big as a brick – among its members.

In addition, the preparation for the holiday Pesach [Passover]! Arising before daylight to bake matse [unleavened bread]! The Hasidim had their own bakeries where they themselves kneaded, rolled, made punctures on the matse, and baked the matse under strict supervision.

Lag b'Omer [end of period of mourning for the destruction of the Temple] was finally entirely our own holiday, the holiday of school children. We used to march around beyond the town with bows, literally like soldiers from a Jewish Army.

I still remember the happy days of Hanukah [Festival of Lights] in my town, how we children would not let go of the Hanukah dreydlekh [spinning tops] and how we were proud of the heroism of Judah Maccabee. I still see before me the happy uproar when Purim [reading of Book of Esther, celebration of delivrance of Jews from Persian tyrant Hamen] came. The Purim-shpilers [Purim reenactment players] went around from one corner of the town to the other, and there were open doors for them everywhere. We children had the mitsve [good deed] of taking around shalakhmones [presents exchanged by friends and neighbors on Purim], and, incidentally, from this we were left with a few kopeks [coins] in our pockets.

We had a fine observant Jewish life in our town. And when our Brzezin earned the name “Hasidic Tailoring Town,” it was not without good reason. We had Hasidim from all the Hasidic rebbes' [rabbis] courts in Greater Poland. First place was taken by the Gerer shtibl [small Hasidic house of prayer for followers of Ger {Gora Kalwaria} rebbe], which had the greatest number of Hasidim. Next in line were the Aleksanderer [from Aleksandrow], Grodzisker [from Grodzisk], and Ostrowtser [from Ostrowiec] Hasidim. We also had several Radziner [from Radzyn] Hasidim, who were distinctive because they wore blue tsitses [tassels on the four corners of undergarments].

Thanks to the Hasidic influence, our clergymen were also Hasidim. Our rov [official town rabbi], Reb Israel Dwarter, was a Gerer Hasid, a distinguished tish-zitser [one who sits at the table] of the Gerer rebbe, the shfas-emes [source of truth]. Reb Israel's learning was renowned over all Poland. Our old moyre-hoyroe [rabbi who renders decisions on matters of rabbinic law], Reb Abraham Jeszaja Heszl [Borensztajn], was a Grodzisker Hasid, the author of an important scholarly book Sanhedrin Ktanim [Minor Religious Courts]. The Grodzisker rebbe traveled to his funeral.

After his passing, his son, Reb Zalman Borensztajn, took over the kase rabones [rabbinic seat] and became rabbi. After the death of Reb Israel Dwarter, he became the Brzeziner town rabbi and remained town rabbi until the Nazis, im”w [may their names and memory be blotted out], murdered him.

When our superb synagogue was finished, instead of the town cantor, Reb Szolem Lerer, son of the Zgierz rabbi, we brought in a Grodzisker Hasid, Cantor Reb Mojszl Szterns, from Warsaw. He was a mohel [performed circumcisions], a shoykhet [ritual slaughterer], and a good student of the Talmud. Reb Mojszl was a great musician. He brought with him from Warsaw a group of fine choirboys. Everyone enjoyed his prayers a great deal, and the tailors sang his nigunim [melodies] sitting at their work in the workshops.

Our bal-shakhres [cantor officiating at the morning service], Reb Dawid Hersz Szulzinger, the chief ritual slaughterer, a sincere leader of prayers, came from the town of Drobnin. He was a Gerer Hasid. I also want to take this opportunity to recall his two sons, Szlama and Chaim-Baruch, who both played a big role in post World War I Brzezin, the first, with the Gerer Hasidim and the second, with the Zionists. Reb Fiszel Shoykhet and Reb Hillel Shames were both Aleksanderer Hasidim. We also had Reb Aron Shames, an ordinary Jew who once served in the military and was, therefore, so we used to say, versed in city affairs.

Not all the people in in our town were Hasidim. We also had non-Hasidim who belonged to a very fine middle class station and played a large role in our community life.

When various meshulokhim [soliciters of money for yeshivas] and magidim [itinerant preachers] came to our town from Lomza [Womzha], Telz [Telsiai, Lithuania], Makow, Wolozyn [now Valozhyn, Belarus] and other places, they would leave very pleased. They considered Brzezin among the few towns in Poland that gave to yeshivas with an open hand.

This is how I remember the town of my birth and the familiar Jews of my time –

Among the first of the fine Jews in the town I see before me is the bright figure of Arje Dawid Perlmuter, the son of the Radomer [from Radom] and later the Warszawer [from Warsaw] rabbi [Rabbi Abraham Cwi Perlmuter] and a senator in the Polish Senate. Horav [title of respect] Perlmuter was the son-in-law of the dozor (member of the community leadership) of our town, Szlama Silski. With his stately appearance Arje Dawid Perlmuter looked like a noble, intellectual aristocrat. He was a great scholar and a generous bal tsedake [charitable person], one of the most distinguished Gerer Hasidim in our town. He was beloved literally by all the Jews in town.

Of the older Hasidim, Szlama Reb Mendel's [Szlama, son of Reb Mendel], a great bal dikdek [grammarian] was well-known in town. He was a balmagiye [examiner of Torah scrolls, mezuzahs, etc to check for mistakes], and he would be summoned from neighboring towns to inspect newly-written Sefertoyres [Torah scrolls].

Of the very oldest Jews I remember Reb Jechezkiel Malech [angel], who presented a very interesting appearance – small in stature but with an unusual stately appearance and adorned with a long, beautiful, white beard. Reb Jechezkiel, who always wore a satin zupica, was a Grodzisker Hasid and a balmekubl [mystic]. The entire town came to see him with tears in their eyes when, in his deep old age he departed for Eretz Israel and settled in the Cabalist city of Safed, where he died.

Reb Abraham-Pesach was a fervent Hasid who had a haberdashery shop in the first building on the market square. However, Reb Abraham-Pesach devoted himself more to communal matters than to his business, and for a time he was also gabe [treasurer] of the Khevre Kedishe. His wife, Chana-Golda, a true woman of valor, took care of the business.

 

brz048.jpg - Distinguished Leaders of the Town
Distinguished Leaders of the Town

In the picture one sees the first row (at the bottom) from right to left: M. Najman,
Aron Fogel, V. Zagan.
Second row, from right to left: A. Frajnd, Mojsze Rubin, Funt, Chaim Gotlib,
Sulkowicz, Jechiel Mojsze Gotlib, M.I. Frankensztajn, Z. Goldberg, Sulkowicz.
Third row: Raszewski, Fuks, Szulzinger, Buki, Herszel Lachman, S. Sulkowicz,
A. Szafman, Rochwerg, A. Rozenberg.
Fourth row: H.B. Gotlib, Kejzman. [Not everyone is listed.]

 

A little further in the market square was the flour shop of Josele Hercke's, a Grodzisker Hasid. He had four sons and also a daughter – Icie [Icek]-Ber Hercke, my kheder-khaver [school friend], Mojsze Aron, and the youngest of them, Wolf, who died in America. His son-in-law, Herszel Lachman, who came from Skierniewice, had a shop in the very same building. He was a very interesting type, a Grodzisker Hasid, and in addition, a maskil [adherent of the Enlightenment], and an ardent Zionist. He was one of those who read Hatsfireh [The Dawn], and he was very interested in world politics. At the beginning of the thirties he left his shop and together with his two daughters went to Eretz Israel to settle in the Jewish homeland. Nowadays his five sons – Ralph (Jerachmiel), Sam (Szolem), Mordechai, Mark, and Steve live in Miami Beach. He made a living as a menaker (he removed forbidden fat and veins from meat). During my visit to Eretz Israel in 1938, I gave Herszel greetings from his sons. I told him what kind of successful businessmen they were in America, that they were owners of large hotels, that they were doing very well materially. Whereupon he looked at me with a bright smile and said to me, “Jankele, if I were sure that my children had it as good in America as we have it in Eretz Israel, I would be happy.” Reb Herszel Lachman died in Israel.

The family of Abraham, the kasha maker, was very well known in our town. He lived on Court Street and drew his wretched livelihood from grinding kasha, at which his wife, Dobrysz, a very fine housewife, helped him greatly. They had four children – Chaiml, Chana, Aron, and Syna. The sons were already busy making their own living, especially with tailoring. But the name “Kashamakher” [kasha maker] followed them. When people wanted to mention the name of Abraham's son, they said Chaiml, the Kashamakher's, and that is how they called the other sons.

Reb Abraham was the only Mogielnitzer [from Mogielnica] Hasid in Brzezin, and on every yortsayt [anniversary of death] of the Mogielnitzer rebbe, in the month of Elul, he would pack his talis and tfillen [prayer shawl and phylacteries] in a bag and a few small things for the journey, and he would set out, on foot, the ten miles to Mogielnica, in order to pray at the grave of the old rebbe.

Reb Dawid Lajb Maszes, well known by us, was an unusually fine figure, an exceedingly noble person from whose face always shone a kind, warm goodness. Day and night he spent on Torah and in divine service. Reb Dawid Lajb was one of the most respected Ostrowtser rebbes, a tish-zitser and an intimate of the great Ostrowtser rebbe, Reb Jechiel Majer, z”l [may his memory be blessed].

Lajbele Zychlinski, son of Szolem, the shoykhet, was well known in our town. His grocery shop in the market square was a sort of “club” for Hasidic maskilim who used to gather there and discuss Jewish and general news. One could also get Hatzfireh [The Dawn] and Hameylitz [Advocate] to read, as well as Freynt [Friend].

 

brz049.jpg - An old Jewish couple in Brzezin
An old Jewish couple in Brzezin,
Lajbele Zychlinski and his wife, Fajgele

 

Lajbele Zychlinski had five sons and one daughter, Ruchel. His oldest son, Chaim, was one of the first young men from our town who emigrated to America. His younger sons were named Syna, Szmuel, Fiszel, Lazar, and Jume, who was my kheder-khaver. No one remains from that family. Three of his sons died in America, and the Nazis assassinated Lazar.

My grandfather on my mother's side was named Icek Szotland. He had two brothers – Jozef and Fiszel – and also two sisters – Sura-Bluma, the mother of Chaim-Icek Grynfeld; and Fincia-Laja, the wife of Michal-Lajb Bercholc and the mother of Herszel Szacher. My grandfather Icek Szotland had three sons and five daughters. The sons were named Dawid-Lajb, Abraham-Machel, and Mojsze. The daughters were Maryam, Fajga, Gila, Frymet, and Chajela, my mother, e”h [may she rest in peace]. My uncle Dawid-Lajb is the father of the well-known family Szotland that lives here in America.

My uncle, Abraham-Machel, had a covered wagon from which he sold food in the market square. Of the entire family, which consisted of four daughters and two sons – the daughters Ester, Dwojra-Laja, Rive, and the youngest, Fajgele, plus the two sons, Icek and Efroim – no one remains. All with the exception of Efroim were slaughtered. Efroim died in California. Rive's daughter is in Medines Isroel [State of Israel]. Fajgele's son Mates, also one of the rescued, now lives in Winnepeg.

I remember Many Blat (Nafthendler [kerosene dealer]) with his sons; the oldest son, Berl, was the shoykhet in Koluszki, and his son, Mojsze, was killed in Haifa in 1938 in battle with the Arabs. The second son was called Icie, and the third son, Szabtaj, was my kheder-khaver. One of his daughters was the mother of Mojsze Swiatlowski, who lives in Israel. His fourth son was named Ruwen, and the youngest, Chaiml – who had lived in Chicago and is now in Israel.

Many Nafthendler's neighbor was Lajbus-Mendel Dzialoszynski, with his food-shop. His wife was called Chana the Lodzerin [woman from Lodz]. They had four children – Icie, whose daughter is now in Israel, Mojsze, and Aron. The latter died some years ago in America, and the younger son, Josel, died in England.

I also remember well the family with the nickname Korekh – Herszel Korekh, Abraham Korekh – the Hamer family.

Herszel-Mendel Pinczewski, born in Ostrowiec, an ardent Gerer Hasid, was a Brzeziner son-in-law. He had a tailoring accessories shop in Jechiel-Mojsze Gotlib's house. His wife was named Dwojre-Chana, a daughter of Naftali Brzeziner. Hersz-Mendel had three sons – Henoch, my kheder-khaver, Szlama, and the youngest, Naftali, who died in Israel. He also had a daughter Fajga.

Until the outbreak of World War II, Szlama and Naftali Pinczewski had a large textile factory in Lodz that was well known as the “Factories of the Brothers Pinczewski.” Szlama Pinczewski settled in Medines Isroel [State of Israel].

I recall Peretz Jakubowicz with his sons Abraham, Szymon, and Pincze. They were all Gerer Hasidim. They were counted among the biggest magaziners in town. Pincze's daughters, the wife of Mojsze Szydlowski, and Laja are in Israel.

Naftali Hersz, one of the most distinguished of the Gerer Hasidim, was a bal-tfile [leader of prayers] and often davened [prayed] in Ger from the rebbe's lectern. This was considered a great and rare honor.

The family of Srulke [Israel] Szuster [shoemaker] Sulkowicz was well known in our town. As I recall, the family lived on Pharmacy Street in the courtyard of the dozor Szlama Silski. Srulke Szuster had his shoemaking workshop in one room, and in the second room was his sons' workshop, the tailors Aba-Hersz, Jukel, Jojne, and Szmuel. One of his sons, Dawid, was different from the rest of the family. He was a diligent student of Talmud and grew up to be a great scholar and an ardent Gerer Hasid. The Sulkowicz brothers later grew up to be magaziners, and they and their wives were active in community affairs in the town.

In the 1930s Szmuel Sulkowicz and his family emigrated to Palestine, to Eretz Israel. However, Szmuel was very close to his brothers in town, and he would actually come to visit them often on vacations. In 1938 when Szmuel was on holiday in Brzezin, he decided not to return anymore to Eretz Israel and to bring his family back to the town. His wife, Chanele, e'h [may she rest in peace], in no way wanted to return to Poland. Szmuel had no other choice but to return to his wife and children in Eretz Israel. And so he and his family were saved by a miracle from the Nazi assassins. Szmuel was one of the chief leaders of the Brzeziner committee in Israel that gave a great deal of help to the newly arrived landsleyt [fellow townsmen]. Szmuel died 27 Kislev [around December]1951. His wife Chanele is also no longer among the living.

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