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{Hebrew text pp 141-147; Yiddish text 148-155.}

The Murder of the Jews of Dembitz

Reuven Siedlisker-Sarid

Translated by Jerrold Landau

{Photo page 141, center right: Forced labor before the outbreak of war.}

{Photo page 141 bottom left: No caption -- five men at forced labor.}

Aleph.

On Friday, September 1, 1939, Hitler declared a state of war between Germany and Poland, and already by 11:00 a.m. the first German warplanes appeared over the skies of Dembitz. For the time being, they satisfied themselves with merely shooting. A day later, on the Sabbath afternoon, the German airplanes conducted their first bombardment. Several building were destroyed, including the house of Aharon Bar in the old city, as well as the Polish students' dormitory (the Bursa). A few bombs also fell near the train station.

A few residents of the city were killed in the bombardment, and immediately a disorderly flight to the villages took place. Most of the Jews of the old city fled to the villages of Wolka and Wiewiorka. The Jews of the new city fled in the direction of Lisa Gora, Stobierna, Stasiowka, and Niedzwiada. When they returned to their homes the following day in order to fetch some of their belongings, it became evident that most of the moveable property had been pillaged by the gentiles from the villages near and far. Their neighbors in the city also participated in the pillage.

Families were separated in the great confusion, and family members were searching for each other. It took a few days until we reunited. The bridge over the Wislok was destroyed by the bombardment, and it was necessary to cross in a raft. The bombardments continued.

The civic authorities disbanded, and there was no policing until the entry of the German army on Friday September 8.

While the refugees from Dembitz were still searching for shelter in the villages, the rumor spread among them that the Germans were murdering any Jewish male who they find. Immediately, the flight eastward began. A portion of the refugees succeeded in crossing the San River, which had been conquered in the interim by the German army. Others, whom the Germans intercepted along the route, gave up on the flight and returned from whence they came. At first, only the women were brave enough to return to the city, and later the men began to return as well. They found their homes pillaged and destroyed. Nevertheless, there was some degree of respite. For the time being, it seemed as if the mortal danger that was looking down upon them was lifted. The Germans did not pillage or murder. They sufficed themselves in snatching Jews from the streets and the houses in order to conscript them for cleaning their institutions. They were assisted by the gentiles, who showed them where to find the Jews.

Approximately two weeks after the conquest, Staron, the former mayor, was called to return to his post as head of the civic government.

One Sabbath eve, Tovia Zucker and a few other Jews were called to the building of the former regional governor (Starosta). They were received by German S. S. men from the Rzeszow command who informed them that they must provide a set number of sheets and bedding items to the Germans by morning, and woe would be unto the Jews if they did not fulfill this order. That night, they sent collectors around to the Jewish houses, and everything requested was given over the Germans in accordance with the order.

At this meeting, the beginning of the “Jewish government” over the Jews was established, which later on consolidated into the Judenrat. In accordance with the advice of Staron, Tuvia Zucker was chosen for this position, as he was the most honorable Jew who remained in the city, since the head of the community Reb Avraham Goldman fled to Russia.

Immediately after the entry of the Germans to Dembitz, the public schools were forbidden to teach Jewish children. The Polish gymnasia, the only one in Dembitz, was closed. The cheders were closed and the children studied in a private manner in the houses of the teachers, or were taught by their parents to the best of their ability. People who could afford it purchased some books for their homes. The Torah scrolls were removed from the synagogues and divided up among the Jewish residents.

Beit.

The German authorities in the city served at first as a regional government. The Gestapo did not get involved except in special circumstances. The government was headed by the district authorities (Kreiz Hauptmanschaft). Dembitz was regarded as its own “Kreiz” (district), along with a large surrounding area. The borders of the district were the towns of Rozwadow, Sedziszow, Pilzno, and Wielopole. The district head (Kreiz Hauptman) was Dr. Auswald, a reasonably easygoing German. His second in command was a young man from Vienna with the title of doctor. It later on became evident that he suffered the pain of the Jews and wished to help. Jewish matters were placed in his hands.

At the beginning of the occupation, the Jews of Tarnobrzeg (Dzikow) and Rozwadow were expelled to the other side of the San. Most of them remained in the Russian district. Some of them returned and obtained permission to settle in their former cities, through the intercession of the Judenrat of Dembitz and the aforementioned vice district head. The lot of the Jews of Mielec was worse. They were expelled under German provocation immediately after the conquest, at a time when several dozen of them were murdered when they were together in the Jewish bathhouse.

During the early period of the Nazi occupation of Dembitz, the Germans did not place any special restrictions upon Jewish business. The Jews were permitted to move around freely, even by train, until the middle of 1940. The Jews of Dembitz would travel to Tarnow to purchase merchandise from the wholesalers without being disturbed. They were also suppliers of the German army institutions, and received fair and customary payment.

The Germans apparently were not overly interested in the businesses of Dembitz, for there was only one privately owned German store, owned by the German Haze, which sold only iron merchandise.

In General, there were no incidents of pillage and murder in Dembitz, whether from the Nazis or the Poles.

The only decree placed specially on the Jews at that time was the “work obligation” through the Judenrat. This was set up on the advice of Staron, the mayor before the war, whom the Nazis put in charge of the city for a short time after the conquest. From that time, the Judenrat would send Jews to work for the Germans according to their needs, rather than having them being snatched up by the soldiers as happened in the early days of the occupation. They worked in offices and barracks, cleaned the streets, cleared the ruins of the bombardments, etc. The Germans accepted Staron's suggestion willingly.

The situation came to the point where the young Jews would attempt to find work in the official places, on account of the humane way that they were treated in those places. They also received work permits so that they would not be snatched up by the soldiers for work in other places.

During the winter months of 1939-1940, an unorganized escape movement was established from the area of the German district to the Russian district. Several dozen young people from occupied Dembitz moved over to the Russian district in this manner. The Germans knew about this and did not pay attention. However, the Russians would capture the escapees, imprison them, interrogate them, and accuse them of being German spies.

Nevertheless, when the refugees of Western Galicia found out about business in the west, and the proper relations that were established after the initial confusion – a reverse movement began among the refugees in the summer of 1940: they returned to their former places even though they were under Nazi rule. The Russian authorities noticed this and could not understand why anyone would want to return to the Nazi areas. They set up a registration for all those who wished to return, and then they deported all of those who were registered to areas in the interior of Soviet Russia – and thanks to this, many were able to survive.

Gimel.

At the beginning of 1940, the German authorities, by means of the city hall, organized a general registration of the entire population. Every adult received an identification card (ken karte) that was required to be carried at all times. Here, the first differentiation between Jews and non-Jews took place. The identification card of the Poles was gray, and that of the Jews was yellow.

In those days, a command was issued by the General Gubernator Frank whose seat was in Krakow, that all Jewish men and women were required to tie a white band with a green or blue Star of David on their right arms. The Jews of Dembitz began to feel that they were caught in a trap that had no exit.

At the time of the registration, a work office was established whose job was to employ any person who was able. Some of the Polish young men were sent to work in Germany. Not so with the Jews, who were only employed locally, in coordination with the Judenrat. A member of the National Socialist party from Germany headed the office. Anshel Taub, the son of Nathan, was the intermediary between the Judenrat and the work office. During the early period, this work was paid work, even for the Jews. It is obvious that there were some Jews of poor means who went to this work willingly. According to the law, every Jew was required to work a certain number of days per week. The Judenrat set up a possibility of exchange: if someone were to pay the Judenrat in return for the daily work assignment, they would be freed for that day, and someone else would go to work in order to receive the payment.

When it became known that there was monetary value attached to the go between function of the Judenrat, conflicts over the head position broke out. Tovia Zucker was pushed aside, or stepped aside, and Yossel Taub, the son of Nathan, became the head.

The main work that the Germans required was the expansion of communication networks and the building of giant factories for the railway industry. Later, it became clear that this was in preparation for the invasion of the Soviet Union. Dembitz had already become an important communication center from the time of Polish rule, and the Germans enlarged it significantly. All of the buildings that were erected by the “Central Manufacturing District” (“Czentralny Okreg Przemyslowy”) were taken over by the Germans for storehouses for military supplies and ammunition.

Daled.

In the months of April and May 1940, a decisive change took place with the establishment of the “military training camp of the Waffen S. S.” in the Postikow Forest near Dembitz. Tens of thousands of inductees from Germany and from the “Volks Deutsche” (descendents of German settlers who kept their connection to their German roots to some degree) were trained there. The Central Manufacturing District in its time had set up one of its largest munitions workshops in the forest of Postikow. Now, the buildings served as a training camp for the Nazi army. Various work camps, for Poles and for Jews, were very quickly set up surrounding the German camp. The Poles were organized into conscripted work groups (Junaki), while the Jews lived in closed work camps. The Poles were given time off from time to time, but the Jews were treated as prisoners.

In June 1940, the first round up (Eblawe) for the Postikow work camp took place. Anyone who could not prove that he was working in a government or military institution was sent off to be imprisoned in the Postikow camp. Jews from other cities of Galicia as well as from Congress Poland were also brought to Postikow.

The Judenrat of Dembitz had a great deal of work. People turned to it with requests to take action to free those imprisoned, obviously by bribing the head of the camp. The head of the Jewish camp of Postikow was Uber Schar Fuehrer Kopps, and the Judenrat knew how to “deal” with him. In accordance with his orders, and with the assistance of the soldiers who helped him, Jews were taken out of the camp and returned to Dembitz, from where they returned to their places of residence.

Due to the proximity of Postikow to Dembitz, a distance of only approximately ten kilometers, the contact with the S. S. soldiers who ran the camp took place in Dembitz itself. At first it was decided that the supplies and the kitchen of the Jewish camp in Postikow should be run by the Judenrat. A new organization was set up for the Jewish forced laborers, called “Zelbst Helfe” (“Self Help”). This organization was centered in Krakow and Dembitz, and was headed by Izak Shachner, the son-in-law of Getzel Laufbahn. It would receive shipments of sugar and pork from time to time for distribution to the Jews of the camp and the city council. Since Jews had no need for the pork, exchanges were made between the Jewish institution and the city council: the city council would receive the pork for the Polish population, and in exchange, the Jews would receive an amount of sugar. Obviously, the Polish population had the better part of the deal. The first public kitchen in Dembitz, located in the basement of the Talmud Torah building, was established by Zelbst Helfe.

He.

The German authorities did not become involved in matters of living arrangements in Dembitz until the beginning of 1941. The Jews lived where they wanted without being disturbed. Suddenly, the matter of the establishment of the ghetto came to the fore. As soon as the Germans informed the Jews of their decision to establish a ghetto as a special residential quarter for the Jews, discussions began on this matter. The Judenrat advised that various districts in the city where Jews lived should be set aside for this purpose. On the other hand, the head of the city council under the direction of Staron, advised the setting aside of the Tepper Gesel (Potters' Lane) for this purpose. This was one of the most neglected areas of the city, located in a valley behind the Market Square in the new city. That suggestion was the one accepted. Staron stood his ground.

The Jews of Dembitz had to leave their dwellings, homes, stores, and workshops that had been set up through the course of centuries, and concentrate themselves into the designated place, which included only one alley out of all the roads in the city, the Potters' Lane (Tepper Gesel) and the lots that extended to the infantry barracks, where the S. S. resided.

The Jews left their homes, stores and workshops, and their gentile neighbors took them over, in accordance with the order that was set by the city hall.

At the time of the transfer to the ghetto, the Jews attempted to sell whatever property they could. All of the rest was left to the new residents, without payment. Since the buildings in the alley could not accommodate such a large population, bunks were built that could accommodate twenty people each. The dwellings in the ghetto were distributed by the Judenrat in accordance with each person's needs, but there was a set number of square meters allotted to each person. The crowding was great. However, it is important to point out that epidemics did not break out in the ghetto until much later. Dr. Mantzer of Andrichow and Dr. Idek (Yehuda) Tau of Dembitz, the son of Simcha Tau, served as doctors in the ghetto. They established and directed a sick room.

The transfer to the ghetto cut off the contact of the Jews of Dembitz with the outside world. From that time on, it was forbidden for a Jew to appear outside the ghetto without a special permit. Business and even postal contact were cut off.

The vast majority of the Jews of Dembitz were employed in public works, especially in the expansion of the train station, as well in German firms as paid employees. Of course, the means of conducting business changed. There were no more business dealings and requests for advice, so to speak. From that time, the Jews were treated as the private property of the Gestapo.

With the establishment of the ghetto in Dembitz, as well as throughout the cities of Galicia, the responsibility for governing the Jews was removed from the local authorities and transferred to the Gestapo. The head of the Gestapo in Dembitz, from the time of the beginning of Nazi rule until the time of the liquidation of the Jewish ghetto, was a German from Vienna named Gabler.

The first activity of the Gestapo in the ghettos was the separation of those who were fit for work from those who were not fit for work. The latter were the first to be sent off to the death camps.

Until 1943, the death camp to which the Jews of Galicia and Silesia were sent was Belzec.

In Dembitz as in other places, the Gestapo speedily changed the composition of the Judenrat, so that it would be fit for its new role. The former members of the Judenrat were replaced for the most part with members of the Jewish “Ordinungs Dienst” who were already used to accepting German orders.

Gabler, the Gestapo chief of Dembitz, behaved like all the other Germans in his first contacts with the Jews, that is to say that he attempted to derive the maximum personal benefit from them. He would often ask of the Jews all sorts of things, under the pressure of threats, and they did not refuse him. At first, he did not behave rudely toward them, and he himself did not shoot at his victims until the first aktion. Dembitz had a policeman of the Schupo (the German police) by the name of Urban, one of the Volkes Deutsche, who tormented the Jews for a variety of reasons: for example, if one was caught outside the ghetto without a permit or travelling on the train. Urban would capture the offenders, take them to the Jewish cemetery and shoot them dead. It was impossible for this to take place without the knowledge of Gabler, who behaved as a polite man and protected the law and order. It was only at the time of the first “ausziedlung”, which he personally conducted, that Gabler removed the mask from his face. At that time, he displayed all characteristics of an experienced Gestapo man.

The Germans employed the Jews of the ghetto as they did previously in all sorts of work outside of the ghetto, primarily in the expansion of the railway lines and the building of shelters for the locomotives, which were known to be among the largest in all of Galicia.

Vav.

At first, from the time when the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, the Jews held out the hope that their time of salvation was at hand. All eyes were looking toward a speedy redemption. When the Red Army was defeated, a greater oppression descended upon them.

From the time of the establishment of the ghetto, rumors began to circulate from various places regarding the deportation of Jews eastward by train. Nobody knew the reason for the deportations. The first transport that was known to the Jews of Dembitz not only by hearsay was of the Jews from Wolbrom, in Poland. Jews from the Dembitz ghetto who worked on the railway spoke with the deportees through the windows of the wagons, as the train rested for a few minutes near the station. These rumors augmented the fear and confusion. The Jews of Dembitz began to suspect that their turn would also come. A day or two before June 29, 1942, Jews from Sediszow, Ropszyce, Wielopole, Pilzno, Radomysl, and all of the villages of the region, including also apostates, were brought into the Dembitz ghetto.

A dark fear fell upon the Jews of the ghetto. The Jews began to search for hiding places with gentiles outside of the ghetto; some of these arrangements were through friendship and others through payment of money. Indeed, there were numerous cases of slander by the Poles. Those who were captured were taken to the cemetery and shot.

On the night of June 29 th, the ghetto was surrounded by S. S. men from a special commando unit that was responsible for the murder of Jews (Juden Farnichtungs Kommando) along with the Polish police. In the early hours of the morning, Gabler appeared in the ghetto along with his assistants and non-local Gestapo men, including Heinrich Wakunda, the head of the murder effort of the Jews of Galicia, and the official of the Judenrat in order to collect the work certificates (arbeits karte) that had been previously distributed by the work office (arbeit amt). This collection took place until the afternoon.

The next day, Yosef Taub, the head of the Judenrat, was called to the Gestapo and told to gather all of the Jews together for a selection to see who would remain in the place and who would be sent away (according to their words, to work in the east). The work permits, signed by the Gestapo, would be returned only to those who would be remaining.

The Judenrat fulfilled this decree in an exacting fashion. When Yosef Taub left the Gestapo office, he informed everyone that they must gather in the street between the house of Wolf Ader and the house of Shlomo Herschlag the baker. This took place. At the set time, most of the residents of the ghetto, as well as those who had recently come in from outside, gathered in the designated place.

In the hours of the afternoon, the Gestapo men sat at a table that was set up in the place next to the “Lunka”, and the residents of the ghetto passed before them, every person with his family, as young sheep[1]41. All of those who had their work permits returned to them by the Judenrat held their permits in their hands and returned to a designated gathering place in the ghetto along with their families after the permit was signed by the Gestapo. Those whose permits were not returned to them (those who were older than age forty or fifty, as well as those whose work places were not recognized by the Gestapo committee) were brought to a second gathering place, directly below the Kaszanza Lunka.

After this selection, the Gestapo men, assisted by the Polish police and members of the Jewish “Ordinungs Dienst”, went through the bunks and houses in order to search for anyone who was hiding. They found several dozen Jews who were brazen enough to hide. They were brought directly to the cemetery and shot on the spot.

That day, a large transport arrived by train. This transport included all of the Jews of Tarnobrzeg and Rozwadow. They were brought to the lower gathering place, and only four or five men from among them were brought to the upper gathering place, in accordance with the whim of the Gestapo man who was responsible for bringing the arrivals to the lower gathering place.

The rain was pouring down, and the ground of the Lunka turned into mud. The Jews of Dembitz, Sediszow, Ropszyce, Wielopole, Pilzno, Tarnobrzeg and Rozwadow waited in fear and trembling for the command. The angels of destruction of the S. S. kept the crowds orderly, dividing them into various groups. Suddenly the command was issued: “Kneel down!”. The entire large crowd of men, women and children knelt down in the mud.

The Gestapo men approached the rows of kneeling people, and removed about 180 or 200 men. Those were placed on transport trucks and driven by the S. S. men to the edge of the Wilicka Forest at Lisa Gora. They were brought into the forest, and shot into a communal grave that had previously been prepared by the Polish Junaks. The Junaks were then called to cover over the grave at the conclusion of the dreadful murder.

This took place on the 7th of Av, 5702 (1942).

Zayin.

That same day toward evening, the rest of the people, approximately 4,000 Jews, including 2,000 Jews of Dembitz, were brought to the train station and sent eastward in covered train wagons. They were transported to the Belzec death camp. Several of them jumped off the moving train.

One group of those gathered in the lower gathering place was sent to Rzeszow to work in the Messerschmidt airplane parts factory. Some of them survived. Similarly, a few people from the group of young people who were sent to work in the “Flugzweig Werk Mielec” remained alive. A third group of young people was sent to work in Postikow, to the labor camp (Zwanges Lager) that was founded at the time of the liquidation of the Jews of Mielec. Only one person of this group, Yisrael Reiner, survived.

At the conclusion of these events, the Gestapo decreed that anyone caught without a signed document would be shot. The S. S. left the ghetto. The Polish police guarded the ghetto from the outside, and the Ordinungs Dienst from the inside.

Chet.

The study of Torah did not stop in Dembitz even in the days of the Nazi conquest. Not only this, but scholars conducted in depth study sessions as in earlier days. There were those who concerned themselves with learning even in the underground.

Yisrael Leib Frankel, the son-in-law of Reuven (Reuveli) Kluger, conducted an underground Yeshiva. He was a young man in his early thirties, born in Rozodol. He was a Hassid of Belz, and learned most of his Torah, including the hidden Torah[2] in the Beis Midrashes of Tarnow.

Reb Yisrael Leib opened up a Yeshiva in Dembitz a few years prior to the Nazi invasion, and this Yeshiva functioned until the outbreak of the war. When the Nazi army entered the city, the former students disbanded, and Reb Yisrael Leib gathered a different group of young people around him, aged between 14 and 16, primarily the children of lay householders. The studies were conducted in the attic of Yosef Rosh in the vicinity of the rabbi's house. The functioning of this Yeshiva under the conditions that prevailed at that time was literally a sanctification of the name of G-d.

The studies continued in this manner from the spring of 1940 until the autumn of 1941, that is to say until the beginning of the roundups for the Postikow camp. At first, Reb Yisrael Leib himself was sent off to Postikow, but he was later freed in return for a bribe.

Each morning at 8:30 a.m. the studies would begin with a class in Gemara, tractate Shabbat with the commentaries of Tosafot, Rambam (Maimonides) and Rashba. At noontime and in the afternoon, they would review the class. In the evenings, the students, either on their own or in groups, would study general studies. Some prepared for the Polish matriculation exams. The rabbi saw no contradiction between the holy and secular studies. He himself was secularly educated – they said of him that he was an expert in world literature. He had a general orientation toward worldly matters.

Reb Yisrael Leib did not only teach practical Jewish law (halachah) to his students. He also lectured to them on homiletic material (aggadah) and character improvement (mussar). He also touched on mystical matters. On one occasion, after the outbreak of the war between Hitler and Russia, several of his students and other youths came before Reb Yisrael Leib to hear his opinion on the victories of Hitler on the eastern front, which were announced by proclamations on the main streets of the city. This news instilled great trepidation in the hearts of the Jews, particularly in the youth, for everyone hoped that the battle with the Soviet Union would result in the imminent defeat of the Nazi army. Reb Yisrael Leib said: “On a practical level, these victories are only passing episodes, and from a mystical, religious level, they are actually signs of the redemption.” Those gathered together left the discussion encouraged and full of hope. In general, he was always filled with joy and faith.

On Passover of 1942, the Judenrat sent Reb Yisrael Leib and his family to greater Radomysl along with dozens of other families. The purpose of the transport was, so to speak, to relieve the crowding in the Dembitz ghetto. However, on the fifth of Av, Reb Yisrael Leib, along with all the Jews of Radomysl, returned to the Dembitz ghetto. In the first Ausziedlung, he was sent along with 200 Jews of Dembitz to the S. S. punishment camp in Postikow, where he died.

His students included the two sons of Reb Yechezkel Shochet, the son of the baker Aharon Yaakov (the three of them are now in America), Tzvi Lisha, Menachem Ofan (living in Israel), Yitzchak Salomon, the two sons of Yosef Roth, Yitzchak Epstein (all of whom were murdered in Dembitz), as well as others.

In the summer of 1940, a refugee from Krakow, Reb Moshe Schmid, came to Dembitz. He was approximately sixty years old, one of the Torah giants of his city, one of those who was licensed to examine students who were applying to enter the Yeshiva of Chachmei Lublin. From the time he came to Dembitz, he would give the students a weekly class in Talmudic didactics (pilpul) on the topic that they had learned that week. His classes continued until the winter of 1941. He also was sent with the transport to greater Radomysl, however he never returned from there. He did not wish to return. He went out to the street with a Torah scroll and declared that he did not wish to return. The Nazis shot him, and he gave up his pure soul as he was reciting Shema, on that Sunday, the fifth of Av.

Tet.

It is hard to describe the feelings of trepidation among those who remained. A final sign was received from one of those sent away – a postcard with the postal cancellation of Przemysl, from Reb Naftalki Eisen. It is not known how this card came to the mail in Dembitz, since it had already been some time since mail were received in the ghetto.

A day or two after the aktion, those who had succeeded in hiding outside and had not been revealed started to sneak back into the ghetto, either under the cover of the darkness of night or along with groups of Jews returning from work.

In the meantime, the Germans issued a decree to the Polish population outside the ghetto that whomever would be found sheltering a Jew, or whomever would offer assistance to a Jew in any manner, would be shot.

Negotiations began again with the heads of the local German authorities in order to receive documents and certificates for those who returned. The negotiators of the Judenrat were Anshel Taub and Immerglick (from lesser Radomysl, the son-in-law of the butcher Mordechai Goldfarb). Documents were sold for money, despite the warnings of the Gestapo, for whoever would be found without a document would be shot. (Yosef Taub would say: “It's only money! It's only money!”.) This was conducted without keeping records: for in this manner, the Germans would have exact knowledge of the number of Jews who remained.

In this period of time, until the days of the 7th and 8th of Tevet 5703 (December 15-16, 1943), the remaining people, mainly men but also some women, were employed in railway work and in various secret endeavors. A few worked in well-known places. The life in the ghetto was conducted in accordance with the workday: in the morning, groups would leave the gates, and after the workday of ten hours, they would return.

The Dembitz ghetto was considered to be an “arbeit lager” (work camp). The barbed wire fences surrounding the ghetto were shrunk, since there were only about 600 officially there. There were also people residing in the ghetto illegally, and on occasion, some additional people arrived, who were no longer able to hide outside.

It is worthy to point out that in this period between the first aktion and the second aktion, there was no incidence of reporting on Jews who were in hiding.

In this period, the Gestapo turned over to the Judenrat a Jew from Mielec named Kaplan, on the condition that he would make boots for the Gestapo men.

Since there was no word heard from those who were sent eastward, and rumors began to circulate about the death camp of Belzec, those that remained began to realize that their own end was approaching, and the fear was great that nobody would survive.

The Germans provided the ghetto residents with small food rations. Other food was brought into the ghetto by those who went out to work, as well as gentiles who brought various provisions to the gates of the ghetto, and received utensils, clothes, etc. in return.

On the 7th or 8th of Tevet 5703, a day before the second aktion, it became evident that the Germans were on the verge of liquidating the entire ghetto. At this time, the danger stared into the faces of the Judenrat members as well, and they looked for means to save themselves.

Yod.

On the final night, at 10:00p.m. Munek Schuss, one of the heads of the Ordinungs Dienst, came to ReuvenSiedlisker and told him that if he would agree to take some of the families of the Judenrat along with him to the bunker that he prepared for himself in the barn of the architect Krawczik in Grazilow – he would inform him of the situation regarding the liquidation of the ghetto that was to take place the next day. After Reuven consulted with his older brother Avraham, Reuven agreed to the condition and brought the head of the Judenrat, Yossel Taub, to his house. Yossel Taub lived in the house of Hirsch Lisha, behind the row of houses in the Market Square.

At that time, all of the family members of the Taub, Schuldenfrei, and Schuss families were present. Anshel Taub informed those present about the notification that he received from the head of the work office (arbeit amt), that as of tomorrow, the only people who would remain in the ghetto would be those employed by the railway and other limited services that would be needed for the forced labor camp that would be established instead of the work camp. This camp would be headed by Immerglick, with Witkower as the secretary and Kaplan as the advisor.

Reuven Siedlisker was already under the supervision of Munek Schuss, and only after urging did he permit him to go to his friends and inform them who could remain in the ghetto and who should flee. Any of those who heard the information and had any chance at all of finding refuge fled the ghetto in the middle of the night.

This time, the aktion was very brief. The ghetto was surrounded by the Ukrainian Zunder Dienst (Special service) who was responsible for the black work. They again rounded up Jews, in the same manner of the first aktion. All of those designated by Immerglick (a haughty, irresponsible, and prattlesome character, who did not even have family feelings) and his associates as workers in the railway and necessary services, received new certificates and were returned to the gathering place – this time the workers alone, without their families. The rest were brought to the lower area near the bogs, and from there were loaded on the train that was waiting for them. They were sent to Belzec.

Yod Aleph.

Along with the new police directors of the forced labor camp, Immerglick ruled with cruelty, by means of terror and threats upon those that remained. The searches for those in hiding in the ghetto were not conducted only by the Germans or their Ukrainian assistants, but also with the active participation of the Jewish members of the Ordinungs Dienst, who uncovered a large number of Jews hiding in bunkers. Those found were taken out to the Jewish cemetery and shot there.

At the conclusion of the aktion, those that were no longer able to remain in their hiding places, as well as a few who succeeded in jumping off the train, returned. A few people even returned from Lancut. They made their return journey at night next to the road or the railway tracks. Immerglick informed them that they would have to leave the camp, for otherwise he would turn them over to the Gestapo. The only place left to flee was the Bochnia ghetto, which still existed, and there were rumors that it was still possible to live there.

Word was spread by the Nazis, with a reliable basis, that from this time on, ghettos would remain in only five places: Krakow, Tarnow, Bochnia, Przemysl and Rzeszow. The Nazis intended to concentrate the Jews in only a few places. The Jews of Dembitz fled primarily to Bochnia, by train, on foot or in any other manner that was possible, with the help of gentiles who received a fee for their efforts.

The Gestapo relied on Immerglick and his assistants, who were primarily members of the Ordinungs Dienst, to bring the illegal residents of the camp, old people, sick people and children (approximately 52 people) to a room in the Talmud Torah, as if a hospital was being set up for them. However that night, he arrived along with the members of the Ordinungs Dienst and Gabler, and they murdered them one by one. The members of the Ordinungs Dienst held the victims in their arms, and Gabler shot. One of the Jewish assistants was shot about two weeks later for no apparent reason by that same Gabler, as he stood next to the gate at the entrance to the camp.

Yod Beit.

Those who came to Bochnia shared the same bitter fate of the Jews of Bochnia – most of them were sent to Auschwitz to be murdered at the beginning of September 1943. Some of them were sent to the Szewnia work camp near Jaslow, and from there, a few Dembitz natives returned to Postikow as volunteers. The largest portion of the workers of Szewnia, who were the remnants of the Jews of Galicia that were brought there from Tarnow, Rzeszow, Bochnia, and Przemysl, were brought to Auschwitz on November 29, 1943. They passed through the selection, and some of them were sent to the various work camps in the area, and from there, further on.

The forced labor camp of Dembitz existed until near Passover 5704 (1944). The camp was liquidated on the eve of Passover. The Jewish workers were transferred to the Jerozolimska-Krakow camp. The Jewish leadership of the camp remained in place for another two weeks, along with their closest relatives. From there, they were brought to the Flugzweig Werke camp in Mielec, and a few days later they were taken out to be murdered by the Gestapo men, apparently upon the advice of Gabler.

The Polish “Bahn Polizei” (Railway Police), which included young Poles from Dembitz and the surrounding area, played an important role in their murder. Even before this, they would shoot Jews, based on recognition alone, who were found on the train or in the area around it.

After the liquidation of the camp, the Polish police conducted a search and shot anyone who was found hiding. Those shot included the entire Schuss and Taub families, who were hiding in the forests of Wielopole and Staszowka. The Polish police conducted most of the searches for those hiding. Nevertheless, a few people survived, including one family – Faust and Yechezkel Shochet.

Yod Gimel[3].

At the time of the ausziedlung, the Nazis concentrated about 5,000 Jews in the designated square. These were from Dembitz, Pilzno, Baranow, Tarnobrzeg-Dzikow, and greater and lesser Radomysl. They were placed in groups of ten lines, with ten people in each line, including women and children.

Prior to the entry of the groups into the train wagons – one group per wagon – about 150 people were separated from them, mostly young people, to be sent to work in the P. Z. L. aircraft factory of Rzeszow, about 200 were sent to the S. S. punishment camp in Postikow, and a small group of 40 young people were sent to some place near Dembitz. The rest were loaded onto the trains and transported eastward, apparently to the Belzec death camp.

There were forty Dembitz natives among the 150 that were sent to Rzeszow. This group founded the Flugzweigs-Fabrik Reichschauf camp (Reichschauf was the German term for Rzeszow). The head of the camp was a man by the name of Alfred, a Dembitz native who had settled in Germany and was returned to Poland via Zbaszyn[4]. His assistants were Walter from Dembitz, and Jurek, a refugee from Lodz who lived in Dembitz during the war. Their behavior was extremely bad, and they were responsible for numerous murders in the camp.

This camp existed until the Russians approached Rzeszow in June 1944. It had a population of 500 people who were skilled in engraving, and were worked at a greater pace than normal, at 120%. The owner of the enterprise was the Heinkel firm.

At the last minute prior to transfer of the work camp westward, there was an escape attempt that was foiled through the efforts of the Jewish Zunder Dienst (Special Service). Seventeen people managed to escape.

Of the forty Dembitz natives in this camp, almost all remained alive until the time of the transfer. For the most part, they survived after the transfer to other camps, continuing in their engraving work for the Heinkel firm. They were spread out into thirteen places: Plaszow, Wilicka (the airplane factory), Flossenberg (in Bavaria), Kolmar (in France), the Oranienburg tunnel, Raunesweig (one of the enterprises of Herman Goering), Neugamma near Hamburg (a central camp), Bremen, and Bergen-Belsen. The latter was liberated on April 15, 1945, however no soldiers of the British army came to take care of the survivors until the next day. The English only appeared on Monday evening, and brought each person a quarter of a loaf of bread and a box of lard. The survivors had not eaten for several days. They ate and became ill with severe cases of dysentery, and thousands died. The ill were left in bunks along with the dead without anyone to help them, until a delegation was sent from block 12 (the Jewish block) to the Jewish army chaplain of the British army to describe the situation to him. He sent several girls of the first aid corps to take care of them, and the situation improved. They remained there for two weeks until they were taken away from there.

{Photo page 147 – A Dembitz native in the camp after the liberation.}

{Page 163}

Thus were they murdered

by P.F.[107]

Translated by Roberta Newman

When the Hitlerists began their occupation of Dembitz, the Kehillah[108] stopped its work, and as a result, the Rabbi, R. Hersh Melekh, a son of the Dembitz Rabbi Shmuel Horowitz, was left without a way to make a living. He and the rebbetsin[109]-- a daughter of the Blozhever Rebbe[110] (of whom it was said, that he sat on a golden chair, and in truth, he was indeed a great miracle worker)--along with their four daughters, sheer beauties, who she had miraculously given birth to eighteen years after their wedding, suffered from hunger, cold, and squalor. Sometimes, there wasn't any money to buy a bar of soap for washing.

In cold water, in the worst cold, the Rebbetsin herself would wash the shirts of her children. In their home, there was not one stick of wood for heating a little water and for giving the children something warm to drink.

Before the Hitler era, Rabbi R. Hersh Melekh was very wealthy and had money in the bank. There was a servant for each child. And now their troubles were even worse because no one would look in on them. People were afraid to be out on the street.

I was their nearby neighbor and so I did go and see them. Every time I visited, it was a big celebration for them, because I didn't come with empty hands. I would also go to the wife of the head of the ghetto[111] and she would give me a little bit of sugar, a little bit of fat[112] for the children, and so forth.

There were many days when the Rabbi and Rebbetsin would fast because they needed to reserve the bit of black bread they had for the children. Such an ordeal cannot be described. Someone should have had compassion and remembered that the Rabbi and his four children--one 5-year-old twin, and two others, 2 years, four months old; and 3 years, 3 months old--were suffering this way. It was a curse of the tokhekha lo aleynu[113].

The Rebbetsin managed to keep things going with all four children until the first Aktion[114]. But when they emerged from their hiding place, they ran into a Hitlerist and that was it... He ripped the children from the Rebbetsin's arms and shot them all before her eyes. She begged him to shoot her, too, and so he did.

The Rabbi, R. Hersh Melekh, was burned by the Nazis in Mielec.

 

Beyltshe, the Rebbetsin's--this is what we called the daughter of Rabbi R. Shmuel-- hid with her girl Miriam with a non-Jew. He turned them over to the Germans. They were led out to the cemetery and shot.

R. Khayim Yokele, Rabbi R. Shmuel's son, and his wife and brother-in-law and three or four girls were shot by the Germans. Mikhle--her husband was the Rabbi of Radomyśl--was shot with her five children. First the children, then her, Mikhle. The Rabbi survived in a camp and is now in America.

Nekhametshen, a daughter of R. Shmuel and the a daughter-in-law of the Rabbi of Sandz, was taken away by the Nazis to be burned along with her husband, R. Moyshele Halbershtam, and their five children.

Etele, the daughter of the Rabbi of Dembitz, and her husband, who was a rabbi in Siedlice, and their six children, who were also married to rabbis, died the death of martyrs.

 

Two sons of the saintly rabbi R. Alter Pechter along with R. Zindel Glantz, a son-in-law of R. Ruvele Kluger, and R. Yisroel Feigenbaum died in a terrible way. During the deportation, they hid in a cellar and allowed themselves to be locked in from the outside. Yes, they were saved from the Nazis, but after the deportation, no one from their families were left to get them out of the cellar, and so they starved to death down there in the dark.

 

R. Yoysek Loy's went dancing and singing to his death. His entire family was sent to the gas chamber: Mendel Brener and five children, Rachel Brener and her husband and child. The youngest were taken naked from the hospital and sent off to Belzec.

With song and singing did R. Dovid Shoykhet go the slaughter. He sang to the S.S. men who were dragging him: You can take my body, but you have no dominion over my soul!

{Page 165}

R. Israel Leib Frankel

by Moyshe Unger (Yaakov)

Translated by Roberta Newman

{Photo: A group of survivors in Dembitz}

Behind the Prostn besmedresh[115] and the study hall of the Hasidim, over where the bath house and the slaughterhouse were, lived the elite Jews of Dembitz --two pillars of Torah v'avodah[116]--R. Alter (Pechter) and R. Ruvele (Kliger): R. Alter with Khine and their sons R. Shmuel and R. Yudl, who were busy studying day and night; and R. Ruvele with his four daughters, who were considered by men to be the most attractive young women in Galicia. For his youngest, Esther, a groom was brought from Tarnow, a young fellow, all of twenty years old at his wedding--R. Israel Leib Frankel.

In 1931 when R. Ruvele died and his body was brought to the Hasidic study hall for his eulogy, all the stores in Dembitz closed, and the same went for the kheyders[117] and Talmud Torahs[118]. Both the old and new city came to pay him last respects. Women wept loudly and filled the women's section of the synagogue, and the men, boys, and children were in the study hall and milling around outside near the open windows. The trustee, Shmuel Hekht, said a few words in honor of the departed, and then immediately afterwards, R. Ruvele's youngest son-in-law, R. Israel Leib, arose to give the eulogy. He was tall and thin with a short, black beard, and big, black eyes that looked penetratingly at a person, piercing him through and through. Almost as soon as he opened his mouth and began his wonderful speech, it became completely quiet. Everyone was deeply moved by his sorrowful and loving speech. It seemed at the time that he was bringing them to heights seldom attained by human beings.

Refined Jews from the old city, upon hearing R. Israel Leib for the first time, made their case to Shloyme Yaakov, his closest friend, that, for the sake of God, such an exceptional person should be put to good use. Shloyme Yaakov's heart swelled with pride at the thought that his closest friend, R. Israel Leib, had been discovered. Both of them were Belzer Hasidim who considered the Belzer tsadik[119] one of the pillars of the world. But as time went by, Shloyme increasingly began to hope that R. Israel Leib himself would be able to found a generation of Jews upon whom the light of the Torah would shine.

And Shloyme Yaakov did not keep quiet about it. He told Leyzer Oling and Hershl Faust about the Sabbath sermons that R. Israel Leib delivered in the new city, sermons that were infused with Torah, wisdom, and erudition. And so? The devil got into the act. It so happened that someone found in one of R. Israel Leib's sermons a word with roots in the Haskalah[120] or that had been drawn from an alien source, and he began to pour out fire and brimstone because maybe R. Israel Leib had taken a bit from that story, and such a person should not be listened to and obeyed. When the great, modest and God-fearing R. Israel Leib heard about it, he said, quietly: “Probably, I am guilty of the sin, my mouth is not pure and not worthy of preaching before such dear Jews, each one of whom is worth a thousand times more than I am. Probably, I had alien thoughts. I will neyder[121] not preach anymore.” And that's the way it stayed.

Shloyme himself was a young man with a sharp intellect, as pious as can be, and an influential person. He sucked two hairs from his beard into his mouth and said, “I have an idea. Dembitz has everything except for a yeshiva. We'll establish a yeshiva with R. Israel Leib at its head. He will instruct the boys and an entire generation will grow--an example for Galicia, for Poland, for the world! And indeed, your Zalmen, R. Leyzer, and your Ruvele, R. Hershl, will have somewhere to go to school.” And the two agreed to it and householders helped make the idea a reality, and in 1935, the Yeshiva Lomdey-Torah[122] opened, right over where the Bar Kochba sports club, the Poale Zion club, the Beys Yankev girls' school were. There, the voice of the Torah began to be heard. There, they studied twenty hours a day, held passionate discussions about Hasidism, dissected every nuance and detail, and immersed themselves in gemore[123], and thirstily drank in the Torah. The proudest young men were R. Israel Leib's students.

Building on the success of the first phase, a junior yeshiva was opened, where R. Israel Leib taught one class and Yose Frankel the other. There was no fighting, no cursing, no shouting, and you knew one's way around the page of gemore that you learned every week. you began praying with devotion. After the morning class, there were fine prayers, and after the fine prayers, you began to eat; after an uplifting meal, you passionately studied and once again committed yourself to spending the entire day in devotion to the Holy One, blessed be He.

Meantime, the Beys Yankev school, established in 1930 by Arn Yankev, Hersh Faust, Avrom Frankel, Hersh Taub, Alter Buxbaum, and Moshe Salomon, had developed quite nicely. At first, the Kolatshitsher Hasidim[124] looked with disfavor on the idea of education for Jewish girls. However, when they realized that the two hundred Jewish girls were preparing themselves for a modest, pious Jewish life, they smiled with pleasure.

And then World War II broke out and interrupted everything. On Friday, the first day of the war, German airplanes were already seen in the skies over Dembitz. On Saturday, Dembitz was bombed heavily and everyone fled to the village. When the Germans marched in on September 13, they encountered almost no one, and couldn't shoot Jews in the marketplace like they did in other towns. The Jews weren't there. They hung up notices which said that nothing would happen to anyone and that everyone should return to the city. Gradually, first the non-Jews, and then the Jews, returned to Dembitz. By Rosh Hashanah, they already had someone to sweep in the marketplace: the Rabbi, R. Alter, his sons, and other Jews with beards, which, however, they immediately cut off. A few quiet days passed, and towards Sukkoth the town was already full. But the houses were completely barren. The non-Jews had looted everything during the bombardment. Almost every non-Jew became a thief and grew rich with Jewish property.

Jews starved, couldn't get any bread. The bakeries had their bread requisitioned by the Germans, may their names be blotted out. But the Germans hadn't shot any Jews. If they had, it is certain that most Jews would have saved themselves by fleeing to the Russian side of the border, where it was easy to sneak across. But since they let you live and some could still conduct business, instead of fewer Jews in town, there were more. Dembitz Jews who had fled returned to their families. And so gradually, the Germans began to persecute the Jews and drag them off to forced labor. Jews swept the streets, loaded wagons with coal, stones, etc. The salary for a week's work sufficed for one loaf of bread, bought on the black market. For the normal price, one got a pound of bread a week for each person. The refined wife of Aaron Taub, the great philanthropist, used to hide bread from her bakery from the Germans and give it out to dozens of poor people every week. The poor people were former elite householders, who now suffered from hunger.

This is how formerly beautiful Dembitz looked. The cultural life died out. Every attempt to initiate something that would give a little bit of encouragement to the people, was, from the first, impossible.

In only one house, in the small, ruined house of R. Ruvele, where the 29-year-old R. Israel Leib , Esther, and their three children, Efraim, Elozer, and Ruvn Yeshue Heshl were now living, were the hardships of starvation, the extraordinary despair, fear and sorrow not felt. There, R. Yisroel sat teaching his young students, Shmuel Reich, Moyshe Unger, Osher and Shaul Yoshes, Mendl Ofen, Efroym Reich, Yitskhak Salomon, and others. They did not feel any cold or hunger, they were not frightened by any shots fired from the rifle of an enemy. Their faces glowed, especially when R. Israel Leib began to explain to them the special significance of the times, the special role of the Jews, who were, God forbid, forbidden to commit any sin described in the Torah, particularly now when Satan ruled, when the angels of hell were bewitching and wanted to take over the world, wanted to murder everything that is spiritual, everything that is refined, everything that is the foundation of Judaism and the foundation of the world.

When you entered R. Israel Leib's house, you would encounter dozens of people listening attentively to his sacred utterances. Many who had, before the war, distanced themselves from Judaism, returned to their roots after seeing R. Israel Leib only one time. Yosef Faust and Hershl Altman became God-fearing Jews, standing amid their former comrades, the Zionists, like pillars of Judaism.

I myself, Moyshe Unger, a son of Arele Yaakov, had the privilege of spending an entire night with R. Israel Leib, at the bedside of the ailing Yerucham Kriger. This was in March 1940. That night I will never forget. It gave me the fortitude to withstand every terrible trouble-- all the struggles, all the wars of my soul-- and to pull through and remain a student of R. Israel Leib, which I hope to remain until the Messiah, the redeemer of righteousness, arrives.

When Moyshele Gewirtz came into R. Israel Leib's class and requested two students to stay over the night at Yerucham Kriger's, I spoke up and said that I would go. I hoped that no other student would do it, and that then the head of the yeshiva himself would go. I had waited for this for a long time already: to be able to be with R. Israel Leib and to learn something from him that couldn't be imparted to a crowd---and this is indeed what happened.

R. Israel Leib sat down and paged through a book that he had taken from the bookcase, but was soon overcome with a powerful sleepiness, and unwillingly, I had to agree that he could take a little nap while sitting at the table. R. Israel Leib assured me that he didn't need to sleep for long and that he would wake up soon.

With a tremble in my heart, I listened to the ticking of the clock. The rabbi dozed for exactly a quarter hour and awoke with a smile. He apologized for being such a sleepyhead and not being able to control himself. Remember, great saints don't need to sleep, they are above the laws of the natural world. Afterwards, he washed his hands and sat down at the table, opening up an old book by Ari Hakodesh[125] and explained to me a sacred essay, “Ot brit kodesh.”[126] I, the fifteen-year-old boy, felt his heart pounding. I was thrilled that the rabbi had hit upon just the right subject. It was 8:25 when he went into his explanation of the secrets of the words “foundation of the universe,” “foundation of creation,” and “beginning of creation,” and how to attain the goal; how, in order to be consecrated and purified, one can attain different levels, rise above natural law, can take command of one's body, feelings and emotions, in order not be tempted. In the house, from time to time was heard a groan from the sick man. But I forgot where I was. Together with R. Israel Leib, I was elevated into a realm of truth, friendship, cleanliness, holiness, purity, and eternity. When the rabbi looked, it was six in the morning, time to recite the morning prayer. R. Israel Leib began to describe the greatness of the creator with such devotion, with such passion, with such wisdom and greatness that it is hard for someone who was merely his student to describe it on paper. One would need his power to do it, and he is no more, gone with all the martyrs.

In 1941, a typhus epidemic broke out among the poor in Dembitz. Dozens of families fell victim to this terrible illness, which is brought on by starvation. R. Israel Leib and his family were among those who were brought to the hospital. The students ran around full of self-doubt, blaming themselves about not having done enough to alleviate the hunger of their teacher. But by now, they had done everything that they could. Two weeks passed before I saw his holy face once again. Of course, there was no book in the world (except for the Shas[127]) that he didn't know by heart, as well as theory, ethics, and kabbalah. When he was fourteen years old, he was in the Amsterdam Library, where he sat reading for eight months...

It was with fear that I opened the door of Zindel Glantz's house, where R. Israel Leib was that first Sabbath. My heart gave a pang when I saw how much the Rabbi had outwardly changed, without his beard -- but he had the same eyes. I stood by the door, paralyzed, until a voice summoned me: “Moyshele, why are you standing so far away? Is there, God forbid, something that keeps you away from me?” I rejoiced to see that the rabbi hadn't changed, and with pleasure I demonstrated that no, nothing, God forbid, had changed. That despite the fact that the Sitra Ahra[128] was so rampant, all of his students stood there like fortresses of holiness.

And once more the voice of the Torah was heard in the house of R. Israel Leib. The rabbi fed all those who were hungry with a dear taste of Torah. There, it was like being on an island, far away from the dangerous reality of mass executions, fear, and despair. There, we lived in another world.

But not for long. During the intermediary days of Passover 1942, he and his family were deported to Radomyśl, along with other poor, “unemployable” families. Our hearts dripped pain like blood, feeling that there was no way to help, and that it might be the last time that we would see him--a terrible thought. R. Israel Leib smiled: “We will always be together, Moyshele.”

Right after Passover, I got a letter from him in which he told me that I should, if possible, assemble the classes, and that I shouldn't, God forbid, succumb to despair. The letters came every day. With such letters, you can live years without food.

The most terrible time was approaching. On July 17, 1942, the Dembitz ghetto was established and entire towns of Jews were brought in there. Among them were also Jews from Radomyśl. All of them were assembled in the priest's field. They stood there for three days until most of the Jews of Dembitz were also forcibly driven there. My mother, five sisters, Brokhe, Rukhame, Breyndl, Gitl, and Blimele; were there, and I was, too. My brother Shumel was shot by those-whose-names-should-be-blotted-out, and Shloyme remained in the city until November 15. Afterwards, he too was sent to where his entire family was.

A day before the deportation, R. Israel snuck away from the field and came to us at home, and I once again had the privilege of speaking with him. He told me: “One must be strong. Redemption is near. The Jewish people will soon be redeemed. The fact that so many people are being murdered is only to fulfill the quota. The world stands before total redemption. In the last battle between holiness and purity with evil and sinfulness, many innocents are falling, but what does it matter? We will all meet again when the Messiah comes.”

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Translator's Footnotes:
  1. The phrase used here, of passing before the men as young sheep, is borrowed from the Unetane Tokef prayer of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which describes all the members of the human race passing before G-d on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as sheep pass before their shepherd who is counting his flock. Return
  2. A euphemism for Kabbalah and mystical studies. Return
  3. The footnote on page 146 reads: “This chapter was written by Menachem Ofan”. Return
  4. Zbaszyn is a town on the former Polish / German border. This refers to the expulsion of Polish Jews who lived in Germany in the late 1930s back into Poland via this border crossing. Return

  1. Perel Faust? Return
  2. Jewish community council Return
  3. Wife of a rabbi. Return
  4. Hasidic leader from Blazowa. Return
  5. Yiddish: lager-firer's. Return
  6. Yiddish:: gris. Return
  7. A reference to Deuteronomy 28:47: "Because you did not serve the Adonai your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity..." and the curses brought upon one who is disloyal to God. Return
  8. Round-up of Jews. Return
  9. The study hall of the common, unlearned Jews. Return
  10. Religious commitment/study and work on the land of Israel, an axiom of the Mizrahi religious Zionist movement. Return
  11. Traditional Jewish elementary schools. Return
  12. Community-run, traditional Jewish elementary schools. Return
  13. Saintly rabbi Return
  14. The Jewish Enlightenment. Return
  15. "Without making a vow," phrase used by very pious Jews whenever speaking of a future action, to avoid the risk of unavoidably breaking one's word. Return
  16. Torah Scholars Yeshiva. Return
  17. Talmud, espeially the part that comments on the Mishnah. Return
  18. Hasidic dynasty originating in Kolaczyce. Return
  19. Isaac Luria (1534 1572), a founder of Kabbalism. Return
  20. Sign of the convenant. Return
  21. Acronym for Shisha Sidrei Mishna - Six parts of the Mishna together with Talmudic commentaries. Return
  22. A Kabbalistic concept reflecting the idea of a dualistic God, with an "other side," from whence all evil emanates. Return


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