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[Page 230]


My Family

by Gita Narcyz (Jerusalem)

Translated by Amy Samin


The Perkal family arrived in Dąbrowa Górnicza in about 1888-1890, the father from Amshinov [Mszczonów] and the mother from Warsaw. They were in retail.

The father was one of the Chassids of the Gur Rebbe and would, from time to time, travel with one of his sons to give a pidyon (redemption) and receive a blessing. He was an active public figure in the Jewish community, and was concerned about all of the religious poor. He oversaw the appointment of the first rabbi of the town, and when he died he ensured there would be one who followed him, so that the town would not be without a rabbi, who was needed to rule on various questions of kashrut and to arbitrate disputes, perform marriages, support the poor so they could prepare for the Sabbath, and invite a guest for the Sabbath from those at the synagogue. He would lead the prayers and read from the Torah, and on the High Holy Days he blew the shofar.


Reb Jehoszua Perkal - dab230b.jpg [23 KB]
Reb Jehoszua Perkal
one of the dedicated Gur “Chassidim” in our city


The mother was a righteous woman, quiet, kind-hearted, pure of soul and a devoted mother. For many years she suffered, working in the family business from the first light of morning until late at night; she helped the needy, attending at births, making donations to needy brides, and at Purim she prepared mishloach manot for the needy as well.

The boys studied in the cheder during the morning hours, and in the afternoons and evenings they received a general education from other teachers in the school.


Towale Perkal - dab230a.jpg [21 KB]
Towale Perkal
a righteous woman


Their only daughter studied in the school with the teacher Sadokierski, later receiving private lessons from a credentialed Christian teacher named Sofia. There were two Christian gymnasia in the city, one named Zawicka and the other the Technical-Professional School. Very few Jewish girls went there because preference was given to Christian girls. Jewish parents hesitated more than once over whether to send their daughters to study amongst the Christians because of the influence of the society and its results, and because of the anti-Semitism that was prevalent in Dąbrowa. The girls who studied in the Polish schools suffered more than a little. There were many who sent their children outside of the city for further education in Będzin or especially to Sosnowiec or the university in Warsaw.

With time the Perkal family shrank. In a family of ten boys and one girl, several of the small children died. Gradually the boys grew up and left the house, following ideological struggles between the generations. The daughter moved to Eretz Yisrael, inspired by the Zionist idealism and education she received in Hashomer.


[Page 231]


The situation was difficult during the war in 1917, from the moment the soldiers of Haller's Army arrived in Poland they attacked the Jews, cutting off their beards and heaping insults upon them. The anti-Semitic sentiment was felt everywhere, even amongst the Christian population which cried, “Each to his own place!”


Emanuel (Emil) Grynbaum and Josef Kanarek - [31 KB]
Emanuel (Emil) Grynbaum and Josef Kanarek
from the “Hashomer” movement founders


The daughter wanted to be reunited with her relatives who had already traveled to Eretz Yisrael, and thought to improve the circumstances of her parents by moving them there. In the meantime, she devoted herself to the activity of selling shekels and collecting donations for Keren Kayemet (the Jewish National Fund).

At the same time, the Zionist movement in the city blossomed, and the daughter – influenced by the atmosphere – read books and booklets and broadened her thinking. She became more active in Hashomer Hazair, sharing her knowledge with the girls in her group and even learning a little Hebrew. Lectures were given at Hashomer by people from outside Dąbrowa as well as from the city itself, such as: Dawid Janowski, Halperin, Menachem Wajnszal, and others.

The mother, that pure and dearly loved soul, died. She had heart disease, and it had been her hope to make a recovery before moving to Eretz Yisrael (her son Lajbl and her daughter tried to move with their parents to Eretz Yisrael). She died in Carlsbad, the well-known spa city.

The father moved to Eretz Yisrael and the youngest son remained in the abandoned home; the Gur Rebbe forbade him to move to the Holy Land because of the free lifestyle there. After a few years the father left, because he could not adjust to the life in Eretz Yisrael. The entire time he was there he was filled with loneliness, in spite of the deep devotion he received from his daughter, because he did not have the Chassidic surroundings that so suited his spirit, nor a family life as he had had before the death of his wife.

From the information gleaned it appears that in the last years before the war he moved from Warsaw to Plánice. Apparently, during the Holocaust he became a victim of Hitler's troops, because no further word was heard from him after that time.


Emanuel (Emil) Grynbaum and Josef Kanarek - dab231b.jpg [40 KB]
Emanuel (Emil) Grynbaum and Josef Kanarek
The teacher Gita Perkal with a “Hashomer Hatzair” group in 1918


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