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Various Personalities {cont.}

[Page 373]


Yankel Lifshitz


Yankel Lifshitz was a rebel. He was one of the first to oppose the Shomer Hatzair. He was jailed for six years for being involved in Jewish affairs. They did not break his spirit. His free spirit did not agree with the restrictive rules of the government. He was determined to go live in Israel, but did not want to leave behind those who were unable to make Aliyah. He was a moralistic man and a natural born leader. He was brave and actively involved in communistic activities. He truly believed in liberating the masses. Right before the Holocaust, when I was a guest in Warsaw, he was in the midst of leading a labor strike and was always an enthusiastic and optimistic person.


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Yankel Lifshitz

Yankel had many admirers and he was a versatile worker. Even before his death, I am sure he did not give up the struggle for a better world for everyone.



Aharon Vigodsky

Aharon Vigodsky was very athletic and strong. He always believed that he could take care of himself.

I remember at times when I used to come late from a Shomer Hatzair activity. I could hear Aharon walking down the street singing and whistling. When I joined him, I quickly found out that he was also a very smart person with full knowledge of current events and a burning ambition to go and live in Israel. In 1939 when I visited my town, Kobrin, I spent long hours talking with him. H was eager to know about life in Israel. Unfortunately, he never realized his dream, not wanting to leave his family and friends behind. He perished in the Holocaust, like many others.



Menashe Vigodsky

Menashe Vigodsky hailed from a religious background and, to everyone's surprise, one day joined the secular movements in Kobrin. He was taken by the dream of living in Israel, although till the end of his life there was a conflict in him whether to go to Israel or to stay.


[Page 374]


Rabbi Ari Par – The Physician

Rabbi Ari Dar, the physician, was a dedicated doctor, caring for the poor and needy. If his visits were during Shabbat, he would walk.

Although he was a doctor, he always combined religion with medicine and when giving medical advice he always gave his blessings as well. One wonders who his last patient was, or his last blessing before he perished.



Yakov Chabubatskv

Although Yakov Chabubatsky's parents were very sick, and there was sadness in his home, outside among us he was happy and optimistic. He was very interested in philosophy and Marxism, but the worries of the family and the meager livelihood pulled him to more practical thinking. At times he wished he could leave his sick parents and go to Israel, but he could never bring himself to be so cruel. So he never fulfilled his dreams. One wonders where and how he was killed by the Germans.



Asher Kagan

Asher Kagan was a farmer and very decent man. Although not physically strong, he used to awake early every morning and walk to the fields and work a full day. He yearned to leave and work the land in Israel, but he always knew he could not leave his family behind. He was my relative. Cursed be the hand that killed him.



Rachel Broikonkin

Rachel Broikonkin was the most beautiful among the girls. She was also very feminine and charming. She had a great impact on all of us. When she graduated from the Hebrew high school, she decided to become a teacher, a decision she fulfilled. She was also a good baker. She combined Biblical thought with secular modern thinking with plenty of charm. She was a very pure and decent human. Her laugh was contagious. She was also a good singer. We lament the death of this beautiful woman who was killed by the Germans and we cannot find consolation.


[Page 375]


Yosele Shwartz

Yosele Shwartz was a big and strong man and one of the best young men in the city. He was filled with dreams. He had an analytical mind, although he learned, he leaned towards religion. He was always thirsty for learning. He always held an open book in his hand. I was very proud of him. He took over theleadership from me of the Shomer Hatzair. He had a wonderful future. Many times around the campfire I listened to his words and I was sure that he was going to fulfill all of his dreams and go to Israel soon, but he did not make it. The German “boot” killed him first.


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Yosele Shwartz

Hinda Goldberg

Please forgive me for getting personal. I loved Hinda Goldberg. This woman is a very special woman. A certain sadness lived in her, perhaps because she saw the tragedy that was coming. She was a delicate person and very intelligent. She was not lucky enough to accomplish her ambitions. She had to take care of her sick mother. She saw some happiness, though, through her surviving daughter and her family who moved to the United States. By profession, she was a kindergarten teacher. I vividly remember her because I loved her.


[Page 376]


Yakov Levinsky

Yakov Levinsky was always young in his heart, full of life. He was about to go and live in Israel. Unfortunately he was killed by the Germans. When I came to visit Kobrin from Israel, I sensed a sadness in his eyes. His eyes asked, "What will become of the Jewish people?"



Shlomo and Itshe Stavasky

Shlomo was my first teacher of mathematics. We loved him very much. He was full of life and also serious like his whole family. He wanted to join his students in Aliyah to Israel, but a cruel fate prevented this. He will be remembered forever.

Itshe Stavasky was a good-looking guy with nice manners. He was poor but very studious. He was also killed by the cruel Nazis. Let both be remembered forever.



Rabbi Chaim Lifshitz

Rabbi Chaim Lifshitz was my uncle. He was a very religious man. He worked as a baker, but at the end of the day he was always busy with his Talmud studies. It's sad that his children did not follow in his footsteps as far as religion. I used to try to talk to him about secular topics and he always remained unmoved, being deeply involved with religion. Cursed be the hands that murdered him forever and ever.



Chaim Goldberg

Chaim Goldberg was one of the first rebels, a Shomer Hatzair member. Everybody loved him.

He was always helpful to everybody, very decent and optimistic. Life can be very strange and cruel. Chaim Goldberg was a leader in organizing and seeing people off to make Aliyah and was sure that he too would realize his dreams of Aliyah and end up in Israel, but he died before that.

The stories we heard in Israel were that he did not succumb to the Nazis. He fought back then took his own life. His friends in Israel will always remember him very lovingly.



Rabbi Zondel

Rabbi Zondel was my religious studies teacher, but I'm sorry to say that I did not adhere to all of his teachings. However, Israel's life is still guiding me. We detested preaching, but his preaching was different, and so it remained with us. He taught me the Talmud. The Talmud was a source of courage for him.


[Page 377]


Our ship left for a faraway country. Our life changed completely there, but his noble personality and religious chants were always in our hearts. Rabbi Zondel was also among those who were killed by the cruel Germans. Let his soul be remembered among the living.



Rabbi Moshe Chayut

Rabbi Moshe Chayut was the first teacher of modern Hebrew. He instilled the love for the sources of Judaism. He taught us all the major studies, grammar, Rashi. Although sometimes, he used to pinch us, it made us even more studious.

He encouraged us to speak Hebrew. He used to say, “Study this language which is going to be the spoken language of our people in Israel.” We were very sad that he was also among those who perished during the Holocaust.



Yehuda Schwartz

Yehuda Schwartz was a quiet and humble man. He was a very knowledgeable poor person. He longed for a life of religion, but his inner thoughts dictated otherwise.


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Pinsker Street

[Page 378]


I had long conversations with him in 1939 when I came to visit Kobrin. His thoughts and ideas were original. He used to simplify his thinking, but then again he used to say suddenly; “Things are not so simple.” There is no doubt his longing was for a different life in Israel, but his faith held him back where he stayed. Dear friend, Yehuda Schwartz was killed by the Nazis. May he be remembered forever lovingly.


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