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History of the Jews of Jaslo

by Moshe Nathan Even Chaim ( Rapaport)

 

Missing, extra, mistakes, omissions
Is part of man's creation?
No man is perfect
(To err is human)

 

Printed in Israel

Pepper printing house

Hertzl st. 61

Tel Aviv

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All the revenues from the book “The History of the Jews in Jaslo”
are dedicated to a charitable fund, the author

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Moshe Nathan Even Chaim (Rapaport)

“The History of the Jews in Jaslo”

Oh! G-d Remember your promise to the people.
Blessed are the ones that will be paid for their deeds
Blessed be He that destroyed the bonds of servitude

The light of G-d is the soul of men.

An encompassing monogram of Jewish life in Jaslo from its inception about 1865, development to the days of the shoa and destruction of World War II, that started in 1939, and finished with the total destruction of the Jewish community.

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In Memory of my father Chaim and my mother Yuta, my sister Rivka and her husband Eliyahu and their two daughters; Hannah and Sarah. In memory of my two brothers, Yehuda and Issachar Dov.

In Memory of all the inhabitants of the Jewish community of Jaslo that were killed outside their home.

May G-d avenge the misdeeds.

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Memorial prayer for all departed

O merciful G-d who dwellst on high and are full of compassion, grant perfect rest beneath the shelter of Thy divine presence among the holy and pure who shine as the brightness of the firmament to our departed residents of the Jewish community of Jaslo and vicinity. Amongst them, torah scholars, scholars, yeshiva students, children, aged people, old and youngsters, babies, children and mothers, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters that were killed, burned, butchered, choked, drowned, shot, murdered, and buried alive by the enemy, descendants of Amalek. The Jews were innocents except for the fact that they were children of Jacob that sanctified the name of G-d.

May their souls be bound up in the bonds of eternal life. Grant that their memories ever inspire us to noble and consecrated living.

Amen

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Memorial statement

When a person dies, the burial society comes and tends to all the necessities that are required to prepare the body for burial and finally bury the body in accordance with Jewish custom. People of the community leave their homes and come to pay respect to the deceased. Following the period of mourning, the relatives place the tombstone with the standard inscription. We take solace in our belief and we pray that the day comes when death disappears forever and G-d wipes the tears of all faces.

But what does one do when an entire community is totally destroyed all over the place, namely in ghettoes, concentrations camps, forests, fields, gas chambers and all sorts of places by all sorts of means that Satan has invented.

Who is going to tend to the community of three thousand souls?
Who is going to erect a tombstone?
Where will it be erected when the bones of the inhabitants of Jaslo are scattered all over.
What memorial will be erected to memorialize their spirit?
Where will we meet to memorialize our dear ones that were killed by the Germans and their helpers in such tragic manner?
Where will we pay respect to their souls?
Who will understand the depth of our pain?
Who will comprehend the great disaster, the destruction and the shoa?
For there will be no eulogy, no consolation, no respect for the death, no writer or teacher to draw the necessary rules of conduct.

Jaslo, Jaslo! What can I tell about you, how many tears can I shed for you my distinguished community?
Who can I compare to you and how can I console you, city of Israel?
Where is your lost crown?
As one of the survivors of the Jewish community I assumed the responsibility to create a memorial that will serve as a spiritual monument to the memory of the saintly people of Jaslo.

The well of tears will always be with us as we reminisce of the tragic events by reading the book that was written in tears.

May G-d avenge the innocent blood that was spilled.

 

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Jaslo

Meir Mohar

Jaslo was a Jewish religious traditional city that lived quietly in the serenity of the faith and the topography of mountains. The city observed the Jewish laws and gave charity to the needy. The Jewish history of Jaslo was rather short but full of scholarship and education as most of the Jewish communities of the period. It distinguished itself in the pleasant synagogue services. The synagogue was a beautiful building built on top of a hill with a great view of the entire area. The mountains seemed to bow to the magnificent building. The services were inspiring and refreshing to all those that attended them, especially on Shabbath and Holidays.

The city is precious to me for I took my first steps in it as a teacher of Hebrew, bible, and Hebrew grammar at the local “Talmud Torah”. The latter was well organized and paid well the staff and on time, a rare thing in those days. The principal, Mr. Diller, and the teachers received me nicely and helped me in my first steps in the teaching career with the necessary advice and guidance that a young teacher needs. The surrounding hills fascinated me and I was impressed by the concern that the well to do Jewish families had for the rest of the Jewish population. The serenity of the place really impressed me. Jaslo was the first place that I started my first step in my career. The reception that the place gave to my family really impressed me, for we just started our conjugal life in the big city. The year was 1913, prior to World War I, the place was peaceful, the world was at peace and so was this distant corner.

Then the tragic events followed
And embittered the days
And the saintly inheritance of generations
Drowned in blood.
Jaslo- stands for May G-d Remember her Sufferings forever!

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In Memory of the Jaslo community
Piercing disabled voices emerge from the ruins
The soul is mercilessly affected by the manner of the slaughter:
Why not come to the mass grave of your parents and relatives,

To say “Kadish” on the spot where they were removed from this earth?
A cruel death and a wasted mourning lead to the city,
Where is the prophecy of the bloody city, the hill of sacrifices!
The road is closed before us to visit our buried family,
To shed tears for the loss of dear father,
And sweet mother in the tremors of death, her soul left her.

May the firmament shine for the saints on their memorial stone!
May the perpetrators of these acts suffer eternal damnation!

 

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Memories

by Rabbi Dr. Itzhak Rappoport, Melborne, Australia

This book on Jaslo will serve as a tombstone for the Jewish residents of the city, it is difficult to write as memories suddenly race through the brain regarding Jewish Jaslo. Here we were born and played in our childhood. We grew to manhood and absorbed the spiritual values of the place. All this was destroyed, gone forever, never to return again. Our parents and families that sacrificed themselves for us, the teachers and friends that gave us their best efforts, the religious and secular leaders of the community that guided us, all of them are gone, destroyed in the shoa without rhyme or reason.

Indeed man is a like a tree in the field. Seeds are planted and saplings grow. Saplings are planted; they blossom into trees and provide fruits. As long as nature follows its curse, the roots spread and reach deeper into the ground while the foliage spreads overhead providing great shade and beauty. But in our generation bad weeds have taken over the land and we became stepchildren. We are refused to be granted what we are entitled according to the law of nature. Our livelihood is reduced to the minimum. You, Jew have no right to exist here nor do you have the right to hope for better future, states the adopted country. The water wells and the forests are not for your use.

Great is the sadness and even greater the embarrassment to have to leave the place of birth and look for a new place. Some of us went all over the globe. Our attachment to the soil and place of birth slowly weakened until we lost all feeling for them. At first our footing in the new place was shaky as every beginning but with time it became sturdier, it offered new vistas, new connections, new attachments and a new way of life. New language, customs and manners had to be acquired.

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Technical difficulties and many changes had to be overcome by man. The latter had to adopt since he could not change his body or soul overnight to suit the situation. Some of us found peace of mind but not tranquility of the soul. Still, we found our rights and the right to live. The place where the writer lives you see Jews standing tall. He walks freely and nobody will push him of the sidewalk, as is the custom in many East European countries. The daily life struggle is difficult but the Jew is given the same right as everybody else.

Following two years of life in Australia, I returned to my native city to visit my dear parents. I was full of joy and happiness to see them but not for too long. Every moment became fearful. One evening, my dear parents, my small brother and I walked towards their home when we were accosted by a gentile who hit my brother without cause. I hit the man on the chin whereupon he began to pull from his boot a sharp metal instrument. My father pleaded with me to leave the scene by stating: remember what happened in the shtetl of Pszytik…(Jews defended themselves against the Polish attackers and were later accused of killing Poles, translator). I stepped aside. As I left Poland, I kept saying to myself, where am I leaving my parents? With whom? With a country that denies them the basic rights and a population that is willing to devour them? And the world could not care in the least; all the entrance gates were closed. Meanwhile dark clouds closed in and the evil destruction will soon begin. The prophecy soon fulfilled itself with great speed; the roots of Jewish life were soon totally uprooted in a sea of tears and blood.

No one can console us; our eyes have seen the worst, the deep pains and the loneliness of our people. No one can ease the burden of sadness, no

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written page can calm our broken spirit. Perhaps the erection of “ Yad Vashem” will provide a memorial for our victims and the eternal light there will memorialize the souls of the perished victims.

The nations of the world have sinned against the people of Israel and continue do to so presently. Maybe Israel will remember that nothing can destroy the Jewish people. The great religious leaders sinned by refusing to accept the holy land as the home of the Jews while the secular leaders have refused to accept the sanctity of the torah. Between the two camps there were constantly battles. Good news to one was immediately decried as evil by the other side and vice-versa. The divisions within the Jewish people reached such high level of animosity that it was very difficult to find a common ground amongst the leaders. Different leaders, different ideas that divided and confused the people until they were all destroyed.

Very little can be done for what happened but we must be forewarned that division merely serves to weaken the unity of the people, brotherly hatred merely serves to create animosity and disunion and irresponsible leadership leads to destruction.

“And what does G-d ask of you now etc… To serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, this is your reward, for he is G-d that created all the great things before you” With this spirit, our ancestors kept their land and so will we. Witness the constant growth of Israel.

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At the initiative of Moshe Nathan Even Chaim (Rapoport) a meeting of former Jaslo Jews was called at his house on January 22nd 1951. This was the constituent meeting to create a Jaslo landesmanschaft in Israel. Present at the meeting were Mr. and Mrs. Zeev Eintziger, Moshe Goldschmidt, Awraham and Hawa Hoffert, Rachel Weinstein (Rapaport), Leibish Thaler, Israel Just, Bracha Katz, Kalmen Tzuckerman, Shlomo Krisher, Naphtali Shochet, Genia Schochet, Shalom Shtams, Meir Shilat, Dawid Shpirer, and his sister, and Meir H. Rota from Jerusalem.

The host of the meeting proposed to the assembled people to create a committee of Jewish survivors of Jaslo that will group all former residents of this city, newcomers to Israel and old residents. The aim of the committee was to perpetuate the Jewish memory of the city of Jaslo that was totally destroyed. The host further explained the goals of the society in the future and related that the meeting was being held on Tu-bishvat or 15 days in Shvat, the holiday of tree planting in Israel, symbolizing the renewal of Jewish life in the homeland. He further stressed that he hoped that all former residents of Jaslo in Israel and abroad would join the association. The participants of the meeting were highly motivated and elected a temporary committee of seven people to organize the future annual meeting of former Jaslo residents. Letters were sent to all people to attend the first general meeting on March 25th, 1951 where the foundations for the national association of former Jaslo Jews will be officially formulated and presented.

The general meeting took place at the “ Beiti” hall in Tel Aviv, 14 Dizzengoff Square, and approximately 200 people attended the event.

The assembly opened with a moment of silence in memory of the Jews of Jaslo that perished in the shoa. Further eulogies were held in memory of the victims. Then, Moshe Nathan Even Chaim addressed the assembled people and stressed the importance of this meeting and the establishment of this organization of former Jaslo residents in Israel. He also outlined future activities for the association namely the creation of a mutual financial fund to help publish the book on” The History of Jewish Jaslo” and to create a fund that will help build 'The Jaslo house” where needy former Jaslo residents will be able to live.

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He was followed at the podium by Dr.Miriam Hoffert, Dr. Israel Plotzker, Shlomo Krisher and Yerachmiel Zakal who happened to be visiting Israel. The latter mesmerized the assembled audience with his stories. He also promised to provide the paper for the book.

jas013.jpg Committee of former Jaslo residents in Israel. First meeting in Tel Aviv
Committee of former Jaslo residents in Israel.
First meeting in Tel Aviv

 

A committee of 12 members was chosen to represent the central organization in Tel Aviv. Branch committees consisting of three officers were also established in Haifa and Jerusalem.

The central elected committee then met at the house of Even-Chaim and decided to send a bulletin of activities to all former Jaslo residents in Israel and throughout the world. The main topic of the bulleting dealt with selecting a fitting memorial day for the Jewish community of Jaslo. A day that will be devoted to the memory of the perished Jews of Jaslo. Yerachmiel Zakal also participated at the meeting and was unanimously awarded honorary membership in the association and was presented with a certificate that was signed by all the members of the Jaslo Association Committee.

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The year 1865

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Chapter 1

The Jewish community of Jaslo numbered about 3,000 souls at the outbreak of World War II (1939); it started to grow and develop from the small suburb of Ulaszowice. This quarter was located on the other side of the Wislowa River, and continued from the Ulaszowice Bridge in the direction of the villages of Guriowic, Koblow, Podzamci etc…

The elder residents of Jaslo told us that the “Tehum” (limit for walking on Shabbat) was the village of Ulaszowice for the Jews of Jaslo until the sixties and seventies of the previous century, although the village itself belonged to the district of the Koblow village.

In the village of Ulaszowice we found the core of the first Jewish families that will settle in Jaslo, in the lower part of the city next to the bridge. Here they will organize the main Jewish trading and workshop center. We have to remember that Jews were forbidden to live in the city of Jaslo proper since time immemorial.

A small synagogue was established in the village of Ulaszowice behind the homes of Wagshal and Kornreich near the Czerwonka (the red house), the house was built with red bricks. Here the Jews met daily for morning and evening prayers.

A.M. Mohar writes in his book “Shvilei Olam”- the paths of the world printed in 1864 in the city of Lemberg as follows: Jaslo has 2500 people, the courtyards are empty and few people are found in the streets, there are no Jews because the inhabitants refuse to admit them to live in the city. Thus the city is similar to a desert where there is no commercial intercourse”

It seems that until 1864, there were no Jews in Jaslo. The first Jews seem to appear about 1865-1867. We also have no documentary evidence of a Jewish community life before this date.

The city of Jaslo did not distinguish itself in any particular historical manner, although the city is mentioned in Polish history as being conquered hundreds of years ago and destroyed twice by fire. However these

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jas014a.jpg Kosciusko Street. Building of the Oszcindenosci Bank
Kosciusko Street. Building of the Oszcindenosci Bank

 

jas014.jpg Building of Bank Polski
Building of Bank Polski

 

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items did not in themselves attribute exceptional factors to the history of the city. The name of Jaslo is derived from the small river named Jasiolka that begins its flow in the vicinity of Jasliska, continues lazily to of Niglowic then to Koczerow where it joins the Wislowa River (There is another version for the name of Jaslo).

The Wislowa River flows slowly in a snakelike fashion north west of the city that creates a green bluish carpet of greenery around three sides of the city. The river contours the city, flows under the railway bridge and along the Targowica near the Christian cemetery of Ulaszowice, and passes Oczerow where it meets the Jasiolka River. The stream continues eastward and merges with the larger Wisla River near the city of Mielec.

On occasion, during a cloudburst, or during the melting of the snows, the Wislowa River overflows its banks and floods the area of Hiclowka and the waves even reach the homes of Nahum Shochet, Meir Berish, the religious slaughterer, and Moshe Margolies on one side. It also floods Ulaszowice and reaches the hills of Koblow near the house of Palik on the other side. The waters flood the Targowica from the house of Moshe Wolf and Elimelech Thaler to the homes of Abba Hollander, Moshali Haber and the Targowica well at the bottom of the hill, (known today as the tastiest and coldest water). This forced the residence of Targowica to organize water transportation by means of boats to get from place to place.

Near Niglowic streamed a small rivulet called “Ropa” (named for the burning material found in the area and called Ropa) that blackened after it passed the Niglowic Bridge. For all the pollutants of the oil refinery “Gertenberg and Shriar” built in 1889 streamed into this small river. Bright colored spots appeared on the water body and frequently emitted all kinds of colorful rays especially during the summer days and very pungent odors. This rivulet also joined the Wisloka.

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