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[Page 335]

The Jewish Workers' Movement

 

The Professional Movement

by Manus Goldenberg (Givat Hashlosha)

Translated by Yocheved Klausner

The first buds of a professional movement in Kremenets sprouted at the beginning of the 20th century. It was still somewhat chaotic in character and was strongly connected with the underground activity of the Bund in town. The first signs of life were revolutionary leaflets in Yiddish, which spread like a storm in the Jewish street, taking the place of the then-widespread “sensational novels.” The booklets were gobbled up with great enthusiasm-they alleviated the misery of the unending hours of work and the constant need, and they gave hope for a bright dawn in the future.

At the time, the word “Bund” was already casting a heavy shadow of fear over the lives of the well-to-do in Kremenets. The name was readily associated with conspiracy, prison, deportation to Siberia, and even hanging. And when spontaneous strikes began and tailors and carpenters came out with a demand for a 12-hour workday, employers were bitterly opposed. Often, quarrels and violent fights broke out in workplaces, and in many cases the czar's police had to intervene.

In this context, the following episode is worth mentioning. It happened right after 1905 (the year of the revolution). One summer afternoon, a Kremenets barber, an active member of the volunteer fire department, attacked two seamstresses who were taking a walk in the fresh air. He shouted at the top of his voice, “See, these snot-nosed tailor-maids want to overthrow Czar Nikolas!”… A large crowd gathered-such an accusation could naturally cause very serious consequences. Soon all the laborers in town boycotted this devoted follower of the czar and threatened to ruin him. The barber was forced to ask for mercy and beg for the boycott to be lifted.

This type of incident, in which organized laborers showed solidarity, resulted in great respect for them. Almost all the workshops introduced a 12-hour workday.

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Pressure from the labor activists forced employers to improve working conditions and raise wages. They also tried to organize non-Jewish workers.

But these early sprouts were flooded by waves of dark reaction, which smoldered until World War I. Handworkers and laborers in Kremenets were completely ruined and, little by little, any remnant of the workers' movement was wiped out.

Only after the 1917 Revolution did Kremenets workers reestablish strong professional associations and become involved in a wide range of professional and political activity. They were organized, supported, and protected by the Bund and the Labor Zionist parties.

The strongest association was the Needleworkers Union, which included tailors, sewing-machine operators, gaiter manufacturers, etc., and had the strongest impact on the Jewish street. Driven by the intense revolutionary zeal of that period, over the course of only weeks, union members founded cultural institutions and various study classes, and organized a very successful election campaign. This was the first time that the Kremenets community was run by a council with a large Labor majority.

With the German army's occupation of the region in autumn 1918, the persecution of all progressive organizations began. A large number of activists were arrested. The professional associations' activity was stopped entirely, and the left-wing political parties withdrew to the underground.

During the Civil War, any social activity was out of the question, as the government changed often (the longest lasting was the Petliura government). The slightest indication of the existence of a labor organization would immediately cause it to be labeled as a “Bolshevik-Communist danger,” and the suspected organizers' lives were in danger.

The situation was no better at the beginning of the Polish occupation of 1920-1921.

Only in 1924, when the connection with the Polish administrative centers had stabilized and their cultural and economic influence increased, did the younger members of the working circles resume party activity (a significant number of the left-wing labor leaders of the older generation had followed the Bolsheviks to the East and remained in Russia). One of the first things they did was to strengthen the relationship with the professional unions in Krakow and Warsaw.

In Kremenets, as in the entire country, this was a period of “prosperity” in handicrafts and commerce. For the first time, a carpenters' union was formed, and soon afterward, office workers and commercial employees, tailors, bakers, barbers, print shop workers, and others formed unions. Their first meeting place was the courtyard of Aba Tsukerman's house, and later they met in an apartment located in Bernshteyn's courtyard, on Gorna Street.

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Apart from the professional activity, diverse cultural activity was conducted as well. The Drama Group occupied a particularly important place, and it appeared in Kremenets and surrounding towns with great success. A workers' Sports Club, Morningstar, was founded. A number of books collected from several people formed the foundation of a workers' library, which in time developed and expanded, attracting a great number of young readers from all strata of society.

The leaders of the cultural groups invested time and effort in various evening courses, where workers learned to read and write and others completed their elementary or higher studies. Of particular importance were various training courses. Teachers and tutors came from the young intelligentsia of the left-wing movements, and very often lectures were given on political or other themes. In addition to local teachers, lecturers from Warsaw, Lemberg, and other cities were invited.

All union and association activity was led by a central office, which included two representatives from each association. The Communist members naturally had the greatest influence in this office.

 

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Group of Professional Association Members, 1927

 

[Page 338]

However, this central office's main objective was to improve working conditions and raise salaries, and the greatest efforts were devoted to this goal. The most difficult struggle was with the workshop owners, who had been working long hours themselves and demanded the same from their employees. Long discussions and strenuous negotiations were held before any raise was approved, and sometimes a strike was inevitable. It must be admitted that a great number of the workers were former Bund members.

One of the central office's most difficult fights against the employers was the struggle with the carpenters, headed by one of the most distinguished Bund members.

The workers called a strike and held on stubbornly. The union had many members who had worked for many years in very poor conditions, in crowded workshops, and with the most primitive tools. This struggle was also an attempt to reach the goal of an eight-hour working day, and the carpenters' union was a pioneer in this area. The strike was accompanied by bloody fights with employers and strikebreakers. The strikers were supported financially by progressive groups in town, among them the left-wing Zionist groups. As the stubborn struggle became more and more severe, the authorities found it necessary to intervene. With the help of the Workers' Inspector, the mayor, a former PPS [Polish left-wing Socialist Party] member, exerted heavy pressure on the employers until they yielded to the workers' most important demand: an eight-hour workday. Following this victory, the other unions' demands were granted relatively easily.

This victory boosted the central office's status and authority. Feeling economically powerful, the office now turned to politics. The first elections to the City Council were then occurring in Kremenets. Two Jewish parties registered their candidates: the general Jewish party and the party of the professional unions. The election campaign was materially supported by the workers themselves.

At the end of the elections, it was announced that 2 representatives from the workers' party and 10 from the United Citizens Party had been elected. Despite their small number, the workers' representatives played an important role on the City Council, since they constituted the tiebreakers on many votes, particularly when the Jewish bloc stood in opposition to the Christian one. In these cases, the workers' bloc representatives were guided by the class standpoint in their decisions, and their position and vote always aroused great interest.

It often happened, however, that the Jewish workers voted with the Christians against the Jewish councilmembers when the issue was raising taxes for merchants and the well-to-do or raising the rent for city-owned public buildings.

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When the question of subsidies for schools came up, the workers voted against supporting the Talmud Torah and Tarbut schools, asking instead for subsidies for the Yiddish cultural institutions, and often supported the Christian councilmembers.

However, in the discussion about support for the Jewish Hospital, the ORT School, or certain charitable institutions, the workers' representatives voted openly for Jewish causes, and their vote often tipped the scales in favor of the Jewish issue. The Ukrainian and Polish councilmen, whose anti-Semitic tendencies were quite strong, met bold opposition.

The professional associations' dynamic activity continued to expand, and “with food came the appetite,” as the saying goes. They began energetic political public relations activity, organizing open lectures in Yiddish and Polish, literary evenings, political self-education, and so on.

At about that time, leadership policy in Poland began to shift quickly toward Fascism. Government representatives in Kremenets began looking around and inspecting the unions' activity. Persecution of labor leaders worsened, and two were arrested on the charge of Communist activity. The labor representatives led an energetic defense campaign, which echoed loudly among the entire Jewish population. Large amounts of money were collected, and the well-known attorney Pascholski and his assistants agreed to conduct the defense. As a result of all these efforts, the two were acquitted at the trial (the first political trial in Kremenets) and set free.

But this was only the beginning of the plan to suppress the labor movement and harass its leaders. Police investigation of professional activists and raids on assembly halls and libraries became frequent occurrences. The May 1 celebrations were closely watched by police agents. It also happened that police broke into the place the night before May 1 and tore down the furniture and decorations prepared for the festivities.

However, neither the persecutions nor the arrests deterred the activities of the responsible labor activists and young intelligentsia. Some were again charged with Communist activity, and a second trial took place. This time, they were all sentenced to many years in prison.

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In February 1937, under central government directives, the Kremenets authorities arrested professional union members en masse, and 36 were accused of belonging to the Ukrainian Communist Party. This was clearly intended to be the death blow to the labor movement in the East. Indeed, under the influence of terrible fear and panic, the unions' activity was interrupted, and their cultural work was entirely upset. Under the pressure of persecution and difficult economic conditions, some union members immigrated to South America.

The arrested members suffered terrible agony. Provocateurs mingled with them in their cells, and this resulted in more arrests. One of the inmates couldn't endure the suffering and died in prison in great pain.

Finally, there was a trial, which the authorities overstressed and exaggerated, and a grand “accusation ceremony” performance was prepared. The dozens of Jews and Ukrainians who had been arrested were charged with crimes, and, despite the brilliant defense by the attorney Landau and others, they were sentenced to many years in prison.

But none of them finished their prison terms. The Red Army, marching into Eastern Poland, opened the prison gates wide and liberated them all.

As often happens, the veteran political and labor activists found themselves facing an entirely new reality. Some remained loyal to their past, but others began to retreat, in view of the sharpness with which any reality differs from its dream.


[Page 340]

The Bund

by Tovye Troshinski (Tel Aviv)
As told by Motye Kornits and others

Translated by Yocheved Klausner

The Jewish Socialist Labor Party “Bund” took its first steps in our town in 1904-1905, on the eve of the first Russian revolution. At about that time, the midwife Yampolskaya, known as Sore Moiseyevna, took up residence in Kremenets. An energetic woman and a very talented speaker, she began to spread Bundist ideas among workers and young members of the intelligentsia. Although most young people leaned toward Zionism in its various manifestations and parties, she managed to organize a small circle of young intellectuals who became engaged in assembling workers in town and teaching them the basics of socialism. It is worth noting that the language at the circle's meetings was Russian at first, because the circle included mostly the intellectuals among the young Jews, and it aimed to demonstrate “progress” and a break with “reactionary” Jewish tradition.

[Page 341]

Only after the Bund had attained a strong position among the Jewish working masses did Yiddish replace Russian-and the Kremenets Bund thus became the stronghold of Yiddishism in town.

The Bund organization was illegal, and it conducted its activities in secret. The meetings took place in the forest or mountains around town, and the Committee met in Moiseyevna's apartment.

When the authorities finally became aware of the illegal activity, they arrested Comrade Yampolskaya and kept her in prison for eight months. When she was released, she left town, after nearly five years of activity.

During that time, a new generation of Bund members had grown up. Among them, we shall mention Yitschak Kremenetski, son of a rich textile merchant, who was arrested with Yampolskaya; Shlome Fingerhut, a conscientious socialist and devoted member of the professional union, who for many years was a member of the City Council; the two Manusevitsh brothers, dedicated workers in the area of Jewish-Yiddish culture, who helped assemble a collection of folklore during the An-Ski expedition in 1912, and thanks to their successful endeavor, interest in modern Jewish literature increased manifold (they now live in America); Chayim Gibelbank, a teacher, who founded a school where the classroom language was Yiddish, which functioned for a long time; Frants Eydis, Moshe Eydis's son, owner of a drugstore, one of the assimilated rich men in town, and an experienced member of the professional unions, who now lives in Russia; Chanokh Hokhgelernter, a former Zionist who later became a zealous Bundist and Yiddishist, famously knowledgeable in Jewish folklore, who now lives in America and is involved in the cultural activity of the Kremenets Association; Dr. Shklovin, formerly the only female doctor in the town's Children's Homes; and Yonye Grinberg, an attorney, one of the first Bundists in town.

Working with them were the following: the teacher Yitschak Charash was an intelligent and talented educator who was first a teacher of the Russian language and later specialized in the teaching of Yiddish and was one of the most gifted teachers of that language; the student Glazman was a Russian teacher; Dora Kimel, daughter of Yechezkel the carpenter, was known by the name Comrade Dvore; Duvid Roykhel, son of a rich merchant, an uncompromising fighter for Yiddish language and literature, moved to Vilna and Warsaw and was Kletskin's partner in his publishing house, authored a series of children's books (details in the Lexicon by Zalman Rayzin), later became an active Communist, and now lives in the USSR; Barukh Barshap, nicknamed Kashtan; and many others.

From the list of the Bundist active members in various periods, it can be seen that the Bund's aim in Kremenets was to become involved with the townspeople; they were accepted in particular by young intellectuals from bourgeois families, most of them assimilated, who, captivated by the socialist ideals, adopted them and replanted them in Jewish soil.

[Page 342]

 

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Photocopy of a Document of Historical Value: The 1906 Budget Ledger of the Kremenets Bund Organization

 

[Page 343]

They didn't intend to join the general Russian parties; instead, they preferred to work among their own people and create a Jewish socialist party in town. Through this work, they came in close contact with the Jewish masses and became accustomed to their way of life, and over the course of the years, they expanded their activity in the educational and cultural fields as well as in the professional and political domain.

The years 1917-1922 were the blossoming years of the Bund organization in town. With the outbreak of the October Revolution, the Bund tried to win over the Jewish street to its cause, and its members succeeded in obtaining several important social positions. They found an attentive ear among most laborers, youth, and intelligentsia. Their representatives were elected to the Jewish community and the City Council. The professional unions were under their influence for some time, until the Communists took control. While the Bund was a minority in the unions, they earned a respected place and played a significant role in the field of culture and popular education. During World War I, the Joint helped open schools for refugees and displaced persons; some of these schools were under the direct influence of the Bund and functioned until 1922. Other institutions in town were equally inspired by the Bund, such as some children's homes, the orphanage, the ORT School, and the Cultural League.

From 1922 on, the Bund began to lose power in Kremenets, its membership diminished, and a decline of its influence on the social and political life followed. The masses of laborers and youth joined the lines of the Zionist pioneer organizations, and union members and their leaders went over to the Communists. Only remnants of the proud Bund of long ago remained loyal to their party, and their activity was mainly cultural and educational.

 

Note from the Editorial Board

We have made every effort to obtain a detailed review of the Bund from party members who live in the United States and Argentina, but unfortunately without success. Consequently, we collected information from individuals in Israel who weren't members of the Bund. It is possible, therefore, that the above article is not exhaustive, and some important facts and details may be missing.


[Page 344]

The Communist Movement in Kremenets

by Manus Goldenberg

Translated by Yocheved Klausner

In Kremenets, the bloody years of 1918-1920 resulted in a relatively small number of victims. But tension and dread of the following day were constantly present.

The few years of revolution inspired the young people of Kremenets with feelings of pride and national awareness. Unfortunately, however, they were not given the opportunity to turn these positive values into action.

Somewhere on the front, Jews were already fighting in the ranks of the Red Army against “White” pogrom armies and gangs of all kinds. Masses of Jewish workers, students, and high school youth volunteered for various Red Army units and soon achieved considerable recognition.

In the summer of 1919, the long-awaited opportunity reached Kremenets. One afternoon, the Jews, who had been watching the streets through attic windows and cracks in the shutters, saw Petliura's well-armed units fleeing in panic. After a short exchange of fire, the first soldiers of the attacking Tarastshanski people were seen arriving in town.

From every street and narrow lane, Jewish residents, young and old, flocked to the town's main street to meet the Red Army soldiers, dusty and full of battle smoke, with red flowers stuck in their caps and bayonets.

The next morning, after the Red Army had established itself in town, young people from all walks of life volunteered. Some of them were so young that the Command had to send them back home at their parents' demand. Many of the volunteers had been known as Communists. Others were members of the Labor Zionist and Bund organizations.

A great surprise for the entire community was the sudden news that Liubkin the Hebrew teacher, a tall young man with a blond beard, a regular member of the Hasidic synagogue, was an ardent follower of the Communists. At the very beginning of Bolshevik rule in town, he was appointed a member of the REVCOM (Revolutionary Committee). He would walk through town with a gun stuck in his belt and give fiery speeches in the same synagogue where in former years he had prayed with great devotion.

Another member of the REVCOM was his young friend Y. Shnayder (mentioned in the article “Alterman's Courtyard”). Among the volunteers in Kremenets was also high school student Tsivya Grinberg, a member of the Young Zionists, who led a circle of students in the study of Zionism and national problems and later joined the Red Army, working very diligently as a Communist Party political commissar.

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Among the first Kremenetsers to join the Communist Party ranks was Bedzieski, son of Bedzieski the paper merchant, a leader of the Labor Zionist Left in Kremenets. He was a passionate speaker, with the qualities of a genius. He as well was rewarded with a high-ranking position in the Ukraine Justice Commissariat.

As we cite the names of some of the first Communists in Kremenets, it is important to mention Shimon Gletshteyn. As early as when he was a pupil in the Russian-Jewish Elementary School, the school principal, Goldfarb, predicted a brilliant future for him. At the age of 18, as a second-year student at the Biological Institute, he devoted himself with all his energy to acts of “agitation.” With a group of followers from the Red Army, he traveled from town to town and village to village, giving fiery speeches calling on his listeners to support the revolution. He also organized the so-called Bezvozhniki movement (an antireligious movement during the militaristic Communism era).

After one of the assemblies, in the Great Synagogue in Vishnevits, he and his friends were attacked by an armed mob of incited farmers and cruelly murdered.

We shall mention here Mr. Barenboym as well, who was active in various army delegations after the February revolution. He would often give brilliant speeches at the military meetings that took place in the great piazza near the old market.

There were others, but unfortunately I don't remember their names. Dynamic, stormy characters in their formative years had found a place to unload their burning energy-the civil war battlefield. Very few returned. One of them, Avrasha Bernshteyn, returned a year later at the head of a Cossack unit. The town considered this a miracle of the Revolution: a brave Cossack officer, with a round, fur-trimmed cap, red bands on his trousers, a sword and whip on his side-and all this a Jew, our well-known Avrashke.

Some Kremenetsers, particularly young students, joined the ranks of the active revolution in faraway Russian university towns. The most prominent among them were the Ovadis brothers, two sons of the esteemed and talented Ovadis family. Entering their home, one had the feeling of a warm home and a hub of idealist doers.

[Page 346] This special atmosphere was created by the father of the family, a learned and liberal activist in the community, Chayim Ovadis, and his educated wife, Berish Perlmuter's daughter. The two sons were mentioned in the Russian press when, as young 15- and 16-year-old boys, they passed Kharkov Polytechnic University's “competition exams.” They fought somewhere against Denikin's forces and never returned to Kremenets. There were rumors that one of them fell in battle and that the other became one of the most distinguished engineers in Ukraine.

At the end of summer 1919, the Red units and the Communist administration retreated from Kremenets under the pressure of the peasant uprising in the region. Beyond the railroad station, tens of retreating Jewish Red Army soldiers from other regions found their final resting place in a mass grave dug by their own hands. They were surrounded by peasants at the station and were shot, together with some 20 Russian Bolsheviks. Among them were several young men from Kremenets, who were accidentally caught in the area.

In the spring of 1920, the Semyon Budyoni Riders attacked and invaded Kremenets. The Polish army arrived in a panic from Kiev, and what they managed to do was disarm the town's self-defense units, composed mainly of Jewish young men and discharged soldiers.

For several months, the Communists ruled in Kremenets. The official personnel grew daily, with many Jewish employees among them.

A certain number of school students were employed by the Budyoni army's various military offices, following the fighting units to Lemberg. The Communist Youth Organization (Komsomol) was founded, and many students joined its ranks.

In autumn 1920, the era of Polish rule began. We had almost no news from Kremenetsers on the other side of the border. The Polish counterespionage organization, Defensiva, ruled high-handedly and arrested many progressive-thinking residents and other citizens. Even such Zionist leaders as B. Landesberg, Y. Shafir, and others were arrested on suspicion of Communism.

At the same time, strong “Polonization” activity took place. Over the course of several months, the Polish language was introduced as the language of instruction in the Russian schools. The already thin ranks of former Jewish-Russian intelligentsia became almost nonexistent. Some formed the first Pioneer organization and immigrated to the Land of Israel-the first immigrants of the Third Immigration. Others became leaders of the Zionist youth organizations. Still others led the professional movements and the Communist organization. A considerable number sought to achieve a personal career.

[Page 347]

Soon a second generation grew up. As children, they had lived through the stormy days of the Revolution. Their language-for reading and writing-was Polish. Many young people filled the ranks of the organizations that bloomed in the1920s: Youth Guard, Young Pioneer, Union, etc. The anti-Semitic activity of all Polish governments, the locked doors of higher education, and the almost total prohibition of emigration to the Land of Israel-all this served as a force that drove the youth of Kremenets, as of other places, toward the Left.

Soviet literature translated into Polish, enthusiastic books, and foreign newspaper reports about the success of huge Soviet construction enterprises excited and attracted young people. Many became devout followers of a group of local Communist leaders who carefully conducted underground propaganda activities.

The Kremenets Communist organization was in close contact with the Communist Party of Western Ukraine, whose main offices were in Lemberg. At about that time, the International Society for the Aid of Revolutionaries began to operate in Kremenets. Many young people, who for various reasons had not joined the Communist movement, took part in this organization's activities.

Although it had almost no influence on the masses, Petliura's National Ukrainian Movement did manage to cause disturbances. With the help of the authorities, the movement succeeded in winning over part of the peasant youth, especially from among the rich farmers. From the ranks of this movement came a great number of provocateurs, who often caused setbacks to the Communist Party. In general, the Communist Party's influence in rural areas was not very strong.

In contrast, the party managed to attract to active work a large number of gentile shoemakers who lived in the small towns in the vicinity of Kremenets. During the liberation movement in 1939, the Bolsheviks placed some of these shoemakers at the head of the municipal offices; one of them even became mayor.

Often, the Kremenets Communist Party was infiltrated by experienced provocateurs. It suffered a most severe letdown in 1934 at the hand of Trigova, the infamous provocateur.

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During such difficult times, the party's activity centered mostly on self-education in groups of 4-5 people. The group would meet in a private home and study the Communist leaders' teachings. Most of the participants in this activity were the so-called “salon Communists.” They were, however, absorbed little by little into the Communist Party mainstream.

The Kremenets police patiently investigated Communist Party activity in Kremenets. They knew the names of the members due to carelessness and unnecessary chatter; their aim was to liquidate the party's leaders.

The Western Ukraine Communist Party's activity assumed a serious and menacing character during the frequent peasant uprisings in Eastern Galicia, whose echoes were heard in the Kremenets region as well.

The police knew very well that the professional movement and widespread cultural activity in Kremenets were almost entirely under Communist Party influence (see “The Professional Movement in Kremenets”). However, since they did not have enough evidence against it, they began harassing the leaders of the professional movement. Finally, the police succeeded in obtaining statements from the weaker party members; based on these statements, several responsible leaders were arrested. The first prisoners were soon released for lack of evidence, but in time the police decided to devote all their entire energy to uprooting the Communist nest in Kremenets and vicinity.

As early as 1929, the police succeeded in bringing Tovye Tsinberg, a 12th-grade high school student, Hirshke Gun, and two others to trial. They were accused of collecting money for the Communist Party. Thanks to the brilliant defense of Paskhalski and Etinger, the famous lawyers from Warsaw, they were acquitted and released.

The huge expenses of the defense were covered in large part by Kremenets merchants.

A few years passed in relative calm. In 1932, however, the police decided to attack. They spread their net of provocateurs, and with their help, they completed the first stage of the liquidation of the Kremenets Communist Party.

[Page 349]

They arrested Liora Gurevits, Chane Der, Rosye Rozenberg, and Roytberg. Their sentences were 2 to 5 years in prison. Chane Der was pregnant, and her child was born in prison. With great dignity and pride, she survived her suffering in captivity.

The party's second setback occurred in 1934. More than 60 people, Jews and Ukrainians, were accused of belonging to the Communist Party. Among the arrested were Yonye Bernshteyn (during the Nazi occupation, he was leader of the partisan unit in the Kremenets region), Freydiks, Misha Rabinovits, the Trostinetski brothers, and others. The trial lasted several days, and the entire town was in suspense. The stone building where the trial took place was surrounded by armed police.

Among others, the Polish engineer Shprung attracted general attention. He was employed by the Ministry of Agriculture in the Division of Economic Development. Since he was in close contact with the Communists in Kremenets, he served as mediator-he was a reserve officer, and he appeared in court wearing the highest decoration for bravery in the Polish army, which he had received during the Polish-Soviet war.

His appearance before the judges severely harmed the ruling Polish circles. With pride, he stepped forward and responded to the judge's accusations, stating that it was not worth fighting a war for the Poland that they had created. His dignified stand encouraged the other Communists and their stricken parents.

Almost all the accused were sentenced to long terms in prison. The terrible pain suffered by the accused during the investigation did not stop after the sentences were pronounced. One of the Trostinetski brothers, who suffered from heart disease, died in prison. During the Soviet rule in Kremenets in 1939, a street was named after them.

The last arrests in Kremenets were in 1936. Some of the Communist Party intelligentsia fell into the hands of the police, among them Sime Makagon, Misha Rabinovits (who had been acquitted in the previous trial), Rozhke Holender, and Meir Pintshuk's wife. Pintshuk himself was arrested somewhere in the Vilna area. He had been a well-known underground activist in the Communist Party.

During Bolshevik rule in Kremenets, Pintshuk and his wife headed the high school.

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These people who were accused and tried in 1936 were also sentenced to long terms in prison, 5 to 10 years. Others were sent to the concentration camp in Bereza Kartuska as administrative punishment. Among them were Avraham Rayz and Aynbinder. All imprisoned Communists were liberated by Soviet soldiers after the collapse of Poland.

A considerable number of Communist Party members fell in the battles of World War II. Some survived and, after the war ended, were scattered in Russia, Poland, and over the entire world. It is not known how many remained faithful to the ideals of their youth and how many became disenchanted.

In the Jewish and Polish press from that time, we can find traces of the sharp reaction of Polish progressive opinions against the pain that those accused of Communism had to suffer in the Kremenets, Lutsk, Lublin, and other prisons. This was a chapter of youth martyrology in which young Kremenetsers played a significant part.

 

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Group of Youth Guard Members in 1931

 

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An Old-Style House

 

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