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[Page 323]

Chapter 5

The Dokshitzers in Israel and the Diaspora

The Activities of the Dokshitz Veteran Organization

By Dov Katzowitch

Dokshitz was freed in June 1944, after the Germans retreated. The few who joined the partisans began to return slowly. Among those returning was Yosef Shapiro, Bainish Kozinitz, Yehuda Reitman, Batia Friedman, the Rozov family and others. Immediately after the freeing of the town, letters began arriving form the town Jews, the Jews who had escaped before the Nazis. Letters arrived from the faraway parts of Russia, from soldiers in the Russian army, from relatives in the United States, South Africa and South America, from Israel and other countries. One question was shouted by all these letters: Is anyone of my family alive? Did anyone manage to survive the teeth of the Nazi beast? They asked an acquaintance, a neighbor, a "good" gentile to write what happened to their families. The answer was the same everywhere: "No one is left! They are all slaughtered, murdered, exterminated!" These letters were a sort of testimony, a sort of documentation of the history of the Dokshitz Jews, for among the writeres were townspeople who had left it decades ago immigrating to faraway lands, from pioneers who had "made Aliya" to Israel, from leftists who ran away to Russia, from partisans and Soviet army soldiers. However, the town was destroyed, 90% of it's houses were destroyed, and the town itself had become a cemetery. It was not possible to breath in it. It was not possible to live in it - not one more day. Moreover, the gentiles of the town, wide eyed when they saw you: " So, you stayed alive?!! You were lucky!" And quickly adding, without being asked: I helped your relatives with food, shelter and everything I could... Are you thinking of staying here...?" After a "reception" like this, all you wanted was to escape your home town immediately, with giving it a second look. Many of the survivors did not want to visit it, not even for one hour. From Poland they reached the refugee camps in Germany and from there they planned to reach Israel. However, many took to the United States and their sons, today, come and visit Israel. Some of those who stayed in Russia for quite some time, arrived in Israel in 1958 - 1960, after passing through Poland.

Some of the Members of the Committee of the Organization of Former Residents of Dokshitz in Israel

*

In 1948, on the initiative of friends Shapiro Yosef, Tzeitlin and Toibes, and with the help of members of kibbutz Ein-Shemer and Ma'anit, the Dokshitz and Parafianow Veteran Organization was formed. The first memorials were held in Petach-Tikva and it was then that the idea of a book in the memory of our martyrs was raised. With the aliya of a new wave of young people in 1958 - 60, the organization widened it's activities. Now arrived in Israel, not only those who remembered the "quiet" Dokshitz, but those who were there and saw with their own eyes the destruction and annihilation of the sacred community - Dokshitz. Assemblies in the memory of the martyrs of our town took place every year. A memory board was raised to commemorate the community martyrs at Zion mountain in Jerusalem. The twenty-fifth memorial took place in 1967 in Jerusalem. A tour was taken at Yad Vashem, on mount Zion and near the wailing wall. A list of martyrs was organized and much hard work has been put in to publish this book. This is the way we keep the fire burning in our hearts. The fire we took out of our town. We meet, sometimes on happy occasions, somtimes on sad ones, but every meeting strengthens our connections and marks our path.

In 1988, a monument in memory of the martyrs of our town was erected in the Holon cemetery. Ashes of our martyrs, brought by immigrants from Dokshitz, was placed there. Moreover, in a container, in the cemetery, is a list of the martyrs. The monument can be found opposite the military section (1/9/15).

These excerpts were translated from the Dokshitz/Parafianow book in 1990.

Dov Katzovitch Secretary of the Dokshitz/Parafianow Veteran Organization in Israel


[Page 327]

Dokshitzers [People from Dokshitz] in America

by Nekhomehle Zalkind-Greber / Brooklyn, New York

I want to describe here the aid work of the Dokshitz landsmanshaft [society of "countrymen" or fellow citizens of a shtetl or town in Eastern Europe] in America (and my personal work), for our fellow countrymen before the war, and especially – after the war.

I was born and raised in Dokshitz. My parents, Yisroel and Alte Zolkind, were people of some means and dealt in flax and seed. Our house was on the street that led to Parafianov and Gluboki. I had three brothers: Bentsiye-KhayimI, Eyli, Shimon and one sister – Elke who was a midwife.

Later I met an Austrian young man, married him and moved to America.

The beginning of my work for the Dokshitz people was after receiving a letter from Yidl Rozov in which he wrote to me that all of my beloved and dear had been killed. He asked me to find his relatives in America. I searched for and found them and sent a package of food. I do not, until this day, know if they ever received it.

It seems that the Jews who went back to the shtetl after the liberation of Dokshitz found my letters in the post office. They began writing to me. I even received letters from Dokshitzers via American Jewish soldiers. Mostly they wanted me to help search for living relatives. I found many and helped them get in contact.

Later on, the ritual slaughterer of Dokshitz, Yoikhonon, Yisroel Shoykhet’s son, came to me and asked me to take part in helping out a friend of his in Russia. He used to be in the Dokshitz party and had not gotten any help from them. I went to the president of the Dokshitz organization, Shimon Vant and asked him to call a meeting, not only of those who were already members, but via announcements in the press, all Dokshitzers and Glubokiers, to come together to participate in the aid work.

Many countrymen came, a report was generated using the knowledge we had at the time listing those who had been killed and the few who

[Page 328]

The Zalkind Family

were able to survive. We gathered a sum of money, all for aid. I was elected to correspond and gather information; because I was the only one who came to America and had gotten to know the people from the shtetl well over the last few years.

I developed relationships with people from various shtetls and we gathered several hundred dollars. We also gathered some clothing and food and sent it to Poland, Russia and to the camps in Germany where many were living. We also helped them get in touch with relatives, making it possible for them to come to America. Of course, not all who came wanted our help. Once I suffered because I worked very hard and got sick, with a high temperature. But that did not stop me. Also, people didn’t let me leave my work because there was nobody else who knew the shtetl as well as I. Many times I received letters from people who weren’t from Dokshitz. When I asked for necessary detailed information, it came out that they were never residents of our shtetl.

Our work went on like this from 1945 until 1950.

We maid a big mistake when a sum of money remained and we gave it to the Joint Distribution Committee, which helped the refugees. I was personally against this, but they assured us that they are helping our fellow countrymen wherever they lived. Whether or not they did anything – I do not know.

When people turned to me from Israel about publishing a Yizkor [memory/memorial] Book I went to a Bar-Mitzvah celebration of one of our countrymen, were there were to be many newer immigrants who had done quite well here, but nobody wanted to give money. They knew, however, that I had helped them quite a bit so they could not say no to me. I collected 250 dollars there.

A goodhearted countryman, Efrayim Kantorovitsh (Kalman Shultz’s cousin), gave 70 dollars, I gave 15 dollars and the remaining 165 dollars were collected from approximately 10 people. Obviously, this is not enough, but I could not do any more. We sent the money to Yoysef Shapiro.

 

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