Table of Contents

 

Voice of Kremenets Emigrants in Israel and the Diaspora, Booklet 5

 

List of Illustrations

Riva Bernshteyn 3
Mulya as a Ukrainian Farmer 4
Misha Bielohus's Son in the Jewish Brigade 7
Efraim Drori, Cavalry Unit Commander, in a Parade 11
Tar Shops in the Old Marketplace, Kremenets 20

 

Name Index

Alterman 12
Amiel, Roi 19
Amiel*, Odeda (née Goldenberg) 18
Amiel, Ruven 19
Argaman, Avraham (see also Buts, Avraham) i, 8, 20
Avidar, Rama 19
Avidar*, Yemima (née Tshernovits) 19
Avidar, Yosef 19
Barshap, Binyamin 15
Berezetser, Yankel, R' 46
Bernshteyn, Frida, Dr. 8
Bernshteyn, Riva 1, 3, 3 (photo)
Bernshteyn-Kudlash, Bela 15
Bielohus (soap factory owner) 5
Bielohus, Shmuel (Mulya) 1, 4 (photo), 4-8, 15
Bielohus, Yasha 4-8, 7 (photo)
Breytshteyn*, Bela (née Zeyger) 19
Breytshteyn, Henig 19
Breytshteyn, Rina 19
Buts, Avraham (see also Argaman, Avraham) 8
Chasid, Avraham 19
Chasid*, Etya 19
Chasid, Hadar 19
Chasid, Nechemya 19
Chasid, Zev, Dr. 15
Chazan, Itsi 46
Chernotska*, Helena 8
Danushevski, Mira 8
Dayan, Moshe 1, 9-10
Desser, Max 16
Desser, Norman 15
Desser, Sherman 15
Drori, Efraim (see also Fingerut, Shonya) 1, 8, 11 (photo), 11-12
Ehrenburg, Ilya 7
Fingerut, Shlome 1, 8, 11-12
Fingerut, Shonya (see also Drori, Efraim) 1, 8, 11 (photo), 11-12
Fridlander, Yehuda, Dr. 17
Gastraliar, A. 13
Gelernt, Aharon 15
Gintsburg, Tsirel 19
Golberg, Yehoshue i, 1, 8, 18
Goldenberg*, Chana i, 18
Goldenberg, Manus i, 1, 4, 11, 17, 18, 36 (photo), 45
Goldenberg, Odeda 18
Grinberg, Nachum 19
Gutman, Avraham, Dr. 8
Gutman, Rachel 19
Halperin*, Brayndel 16
Halperin, Slova 1, 16-17, 19, 36, 36 (photo)
Halperin, Yosel-Yoel 16
Har-Tsion, Meir 1, 9-10
Hauzner, Gidon 18
Hindes, Dr. 46
Kaganovits*, Tsipa (née Leviten) 8
Katz, Mark, Dr. 8, 15
Katz, Mordekhay 1, 13, 15
Katz, Simon 15
Kaufman family 19
Kesler family 19
Kesler, Yeshayahu Charlie 19
Klauzner, Yosef 47
Kligman 8
Kohen family 19
Kohen, Chana 17
Kohen, Moshe 17, 36, 36 (photo)
Kohen*, Slova (née Halperin) 1, 16-17, 19, 36, 36 (photo)
Kopf, Lee 14
Kotchir family 19
Kotchir*, Kreyna 19
Kozlovski, Yulian (Tsichi) 8
Krayzelman family  
Krayzelman, Arye (Liova) 19
Kremenetski, Azriel 8, 12
Kremenetski, Sonya 8
Krosman, Yitschak 8
Landsberg, Avraham 4, 7
Levinson, Yitschak Ber, R' (RYB”L) 14, 47
Leviten, Tsipa 8
Litvak family 19
Mandel, Yisrael 14
Manusovits, Asher 14
Marshak, Beni 19
Marshak*, Rachel (née Gutman) 19
Marshak, Yoel 19
Meir, Golda 18
Melamed, Avraham Leyb 46
Nachman, R' 45
Nadir (Koka Otiker), Rachel 1, 3
Ot-Yakar, Mordekhay i, 12, 18
Pak, Yosef 1, 45-48
Poltor-Royt, Chaya (Cora) 19
Poltorek family 19
Rabinovits, Misha 5
Rapoport, David 1, 15, 16, 36, 36 (photo)
Rokhel, Ido 18
Rokhel, Saar Yerucham 18
Rokhel, Sara 18
Rokhel, Yitschak i, 1, 17, 18
Royt, Nachman (Musik) 19
Rozental, Leybke 8
Rubin, David 2
Rubin, Manya 8
Rubin, Sozya 8
Schaefer, Jacob 14
Shafir, family 19
Shenberg, Arye (Liulik), Dr. 8
Shnayder, Efraim 17
Shnayder, Zev (Velvel) 15, 17
Shtern, Shevach 19
Shtern, Yehudit 19
Shteynberg (husband of Tsirel Gintsburg) 19
Shteynberg, Moshe 19
Shteynberg, Nili 19
Shteynberg*, Sara (née Vaynshteyn) 19
Shteynberg, Shmuel 19
Shteynberg*, Tsirel (née Gintsburg) 19
Shumski, Mikhael 45
Shumski, Zev 18
Shvartsapel family 19
Shvartsapel, Hulda 15
Stern, Isaac 14
Stolyer, Shalom 19
Stolyer, Yosef 19
Stolyer* (wife of Yosef) 19
Taytelman, Shmuel (Milik) i, 1, 15, 17
Tivon, Eliezer 17
Tshatski, Hodya 15
Tshernovits, Yemima 19
Vakman, Yitschak 14, 15
Vaynshteyn, Sara 19
Yaari-Barukh, Miri 17
Zeyger, Bela 19
Zeyger*, Chaya 19
Zeyger, Giora 19
Zeyger, Meir 19
Zigelboym, Chayim 46
Zuta, David 19
Zuta*, Rama (née Avidar) 19
Zuta, Rut 19

 

[Page 1]

What's in the Booklet?

Editorial Board

At the beginning of Voice of Kremenets Emigrants, booklet 5, we present a short synopsis of its contents.

The participation of our fellow townspeople abroad was much greater for this booklet than for previous ones. Our member David Rapoport, secretary of the New York branch, dedicates a poem to the memory of Slova Halperin-Kohen, of blessed memory, of Kibbutz Ma'anit. Mulya Bielohus tells about his hardships and troubles during the Holocaust and about his son's death during the War of Independence. His words were transcribed and published by our member Manus Goldenberg in two languages (“The Vagaries of Fate” in Hebrew and “The Various Ways of Fate” in Yiddish.) We also print here the reaction to our Voice that appeared in the New York newspaper Morgen Freiheit, with a Hebrew translation (World Organization of Fellow Townspeople). And last, we present sections from a letter written by our member Mordekhay Katz of Argentina about preparations for the international convention of Kremenets emigrants. “Kremenetsers in New York,” by David Rapoport, will be published in the next booklet.

“Ask your father and he will inform you, ask your elders and they will tell you.” Our veteran member Yosef Pak, who resides in Rishon Letsion, continues to relate his interesting memoirs (edited by Manus) about life in Kremenets in days gone by and the personalities of that time (in Yiddish only).

Kremenetsers in Israel's wars: In the War for Independence, there was a cavalry organized by fellow townsman Efraim Drori, who was also its commander. Drori (Siunya Fingerut) is the son of Shlome Fingerut, a well-known community official in our town.

Also in this booklet – in English – are the words of Defense Secretary Moshe Dayan on Meir Har-Tsion, from the book Mission Survival. These words are a continuation of the description of Har-Tsion's activities in booklet 4, in Hebrew and Yiddish.

In Memoriam: For the 10th anniversary of the passing of our member Riva Bernshteyn, who established and cultivated our organization, our member Rachel Nadir (Koka Otiker) tells about her in both languages. Member M. G. tells us about the biography and personality of our member Slova Halperin.

Mosaic contains a variety of information, including congratulations on children's weddings and the births of grandchildren. Also included are condolences to families who have recently lost loved ones. Y. Rokhel collected the information, and M. G. and Yehoshue Golberg wrote portions of it.

In Funds Received from Abroad, Shmuel (Milik) Taytelman, the organization's treasurer, continues the list printed in booklet 3.

[Page 2]

And last, judging by the reactions we have received, we think that most readers find Voice of Kremenets Emigrants satisfactory. But sadly, we note that in spite of our appeals, there are members in Israel who do not make sure to pay their I£2 for the booklet. This is our only source of funds to cover printing and mailing costs. Our members abroad send us the money at the proper time – even more than that, most with words of encouragement, which our members in the Land do not do.

Therefore, we approach all our members again with the request to pay the price so regular publication of the booklet can continue. The sum – to include what is owed for previous booklets – can be deposited in any bank to account 52273, Organization of Kremenets Emigrants, which is being handled by Bank Hapoalim's main branch in Tel Aviv. It can also be paid by check from any bank.

With this we conclude. We hope that the booklet's readers will find themselves transported briefly into the atmosphere of their parents' home and the Kremenets of old.

P.S. This booklet is accompanied by an invitation to the annual memorial, to be held Thursday, August 14, 1969.

At press time we received the sad news about the passing of our veteran member in the Land, David Rubin, of blessed memory, at age 87, on July 9, 1969, in Kfar Hasidim. May his memory be blessed. An article about him will be published in the next booklet.


[Page 3]

About Our Riva
(Tenth Anniversary of the Riva Bernshteyn's Death)

Rachel Nadir (Koka Otiker)


Riva Bernshteyn

 

There are public workers and well-known community leaders who stand out for their activities during their lifetime, but with their passing, their personal, intimate image fades away, and only a few people who were close to them remember them.

Not so with Riva, whose life was a wonderful combination of profession and public service in which her personality crystallizes. She worked for a Dutch shipping company as a social/support nurse for years, accompanying travelers across seas and oceans. Between 1935 and 1938, until close to the beginning of World War II, she accompanied thousands of immigrants and pioneers on the Konstantza-Haifa line: 52 shipments of immigrants! During this time, she had close ties with the Jewish Agency. With the start of the war, when she was trapped in Warsaw, she began doing social work again, under most difficult conditions during the Nazi invasion.

One day, she, along with other community functionaries and workers, unexpectedly received immigration certificates. With endless joy, she immigrated to the Land.

After a few years of working in National Health Insurance infirmaries in Afula, Tiberias, Kfar Yehoshua, and Jordan Valley settlements, she arrived for work at the Health Fund infirmary in the port of Jaffa. Again she was near the sea – like a sign of fate.

In spite of her hard work, she found time to devote herself to the “Kremenets business”; with her warm heart and natural simplicity, she became an organic part of the human landscape of our community in the Land. Her home on the top floor of the building on Yehoshua Ben-Nun Street was a home for veteran and recent emigrants from Kremenets. There was something special, illusive, and different in that home. She brought experiences and impressions from her many travels and wanderings throughout the world with her. The charm of well-thought-out and stylish impermanence, inviting and relaxing, permeated her warm home.

Occasionally she would organize “folklore evenings” for Kremenetsers in her home. They were all her children; she took an interest in and knew the details of each one's life and joined them, truly, in their joys and sorrows. She had a unique way of getting members into the circle of activities and, through personal example, was a symbol for others.

[Page 4]

I often wondered at her vitality, at how late at night (right from the dispensary) or early in the morning she would show up with an errand “for the sake of.” “It has to be done, and who could do it as well as you?” So how could you refuse to be harnessed, and with enthusiasm, even if only to give her pleasure?

In the evening at her home – who doesn't have memories of these indelibly carved in their minds? Light, flowers, tables covered with food, and above all, her smiling and happy face greeting every arrival. She was the center, but she remained in the shadows, like a devoted mother who wants her children to stand out in all their gifts: singing, reciting, telling amusing stories. Parting was always difficult for her. She always asked, “How was it? How was everyone”?

Suddenly, she became ill and underwent a complicated surgical procedure. She tried to recover without causing sadness to the relatives around her, and with her typical optimism, she overcame their anxiety and calmed them. After recovering, she had a few more years of tireless activity; she did even more, maybe needing to achieve even more.

When she was hospitalized again, I visited her often. Again she tried to minimize her condition so as not to worry us, and her behavior, which bordered on heroism, astounded all her visitors. It was inconceivable that this could be it … With extreme difficulty, she overrode her pains, talked, inquired, and was interested in everything. The main topics: “the memorial is coming soon” and “do not forget our interests!”

This was her will. The interests have not been forgotten. Nor have you, Riva, been forgotten, and some of your spirit and enthusiasm has rubbed off on us.


The Vagaries of Fate

M. Goldenberg

(This is the tale of a father and son from Kremenets who, through their bravery, were saved from the Nazis. The son arrived in the Land and fell in the War of Independence.)

The elegant man who greeted us warmly at the entrance to Avraham Landsberg's house in Tel Aviv was Shmuel Bielohus, nicknamed Mulya. This was his fifth visit to Israel; he comes from his town in New Jersey, in the United States, from time to time to visit the grave of his only son, who fell in the War of Independence.

I will tell the story of the father and son as told to me by Mulya.


Mulya as a Ukrainian Farmer

 

[Page 5]

Many of our fellow townspeople still remember the handsome young man, son of Bielohus, owner of the soap factory, who for years used to walk around wearing a student's hat, thus earning the nickname “the eternal student.” The Bielohus family came to Kremenets in 1920 with the Jewish refugees who escaped from Soviet Ukraine toward the Polish border.

Mulya left Kremenets a short time after the Red Army invaded our area. In 1939, he moved to the border town of Ternopol[1], where he got an office job. His family stayed in Kremenets.

During the summer of 1941, when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, Mulya's son Yasha came to visit him in Ternopol. Together they escaped to Mulya's brother in Kiev, but eight days later, the Germans were at the entrance to the town, so they escaped to Mariupol, where Mulya worked outside the town as a laborer. During that time, he made friends with the Jews of Mariupol[2], who received the refugees with open arms and helped them as much as they could. Once, returning from work just before evening fell, Mulya met a limping Soviet soldier whom he discovered to be none other than Misha Rabinovits. Misha told him of his tribulations, how he and other soldiers had fought against German tanks and heavy machine guns nearly with their bare hands.

During one of those battles, he was wounded and was sent to recover in Mariupol. In a few days, he told Mulya, he would be sent back to the front. That was the last time that Mulya saw him. Apparently, he was returned to the front soon after their meeting, and there he fell.

One day, the thing that brought extinction to that ancient community happened. The Germans parachuted in a great force from the air, and everyone was caught in the cruel trap. From the first day that German feet touched the town, robbery, sadistic brutality, and murder took place, until the entire Jewish population of Mariupol was assembled in barracks outside the town, where they awaited their fate.

The 12-year-old boy, Yasha, started talking to his father about escaping together, but Mulya knew that if they were caught, they would be shot immediately. He never imagined that this would happen to all of them in a few days. With the consent his father and other relatives in the camp, Yasha decided to escape alone. At the gate, the German guards assumed that this Aryan-looking boy was Christian and chased him out of the camp. A few days later, traveling via back roads, Yasha arrived at the German front. He crossed the front in the area held by the Italians, who were the Germans' allies. In the meantime, the Soviet army had taken control of the area, and Russian soldiers found Yasha asleep in a pile of hay. After discovering that his uncle from Kiev had been evacuated to the city of Novorosisk[3], Siberia, he set out for there. During his two-month journey, he was exposed to all the adventures that befell thousands of children who wandered on the roads without parents or any manner of supervision. In Novorosisk, he discovered that the uncle and his wife had been conscripted and would soon be sent to the front, but before they left, they arranged to put him in a children's shelter in town.

[Page 6]

When the Anders Army was organized in the Soviet Union, many Jews who had been Polish citizens joined. Yasha found himself among the group of Jewish children known to us as “the Teheran children,” and he arrived in the Land of Israel with them.

* * *

Now we return to Yasha's father, Mulya Bielohus, in Mariupol.

While Yasha, risking his life, was crawling on his belly at night searching for a breach in the front, the time came for the Jews of Mariupol to be shot into ditches, as the einzatsgruppen did in Kremenets and thousands of other communities in Ukraine, Lithuania, and Byelorussia. Two days after Yasha's escape, the Jews of Mariupol were moved from the barracks 12 miles away to the Red Star collective farm, where the Nazi troops immediately began the task of annihilation. In groups of 100-150 persons, the Jews were brought to the antitank ditches near the collective farm and shot there.

When Mulya's turn came, he ran away from his group toward the German guard. Mulya started crying and saying that he himself was Christian and was there only because of his Jewish wife. He really looked like one, and his name, Samuel Bielohus, attested to it. At first the German guard did not believe him and hit him very hard with the butt of his gun. Writhing in agony, Mulya stood by his words. The guard, to Mulya's luck, was a veteran soldier who somehow preserved some spark of humanity and ordered him to stay by his side.

Group after group arrived at the ditch, and a terrible scene took place in front of Mulya's eyes – terrible sights that are inconceivable to the human mind – the gruesome crime of which Germany will never be cleansed.

While telling his story, Mulya was wrestling hard with himself; the day before, when he had told his friends in Tel Aviv the story of his tribulations, he could not take it and fell apart.

After the soldier had kept Mulya near him for few hours, he took advantage of an opportunity and told him to escape quickly.

Mulya decided to go to Poland. He traveled 600 kilometers on off-road paths. When he was close to the Polish border, he discovered what was happening there, so he decided to stay and work in the Ukrainian collective farm of Kobushkova as a farmer named Bielohus.

He worked in that collective farm for three years, looking like any other gentile, as we can see from the photograph, and the fear of being suspected of being a Jew never left him.

[Page 7]

After that area was conquered by the Red Army, Mulya wrote a letter to the Soviet Jewish writer Ilya Ehrenburg in which he described what he had witnessed as he stood by the ditches. He kept the warm reply from Ehrenburg with him. He knew nothing about his son's fate.

Eventually, Mulya came to the United States, where he lived and worked. Today he is retired and lives in the state of New Jersey.

* * *

At that time, the son arrived in the Land of Israel. Here he went through a few stages in the absorption of the Teheran Children, which took place in a kibbutz and assorted educational institutions. Finally, his relative from our town, Avraham Landsberg, took him home to Tel Aviv, and after a while, he helped him get a job. That was when I met the youngster and helped him get a job in the HaMaavir Bus Company garage.

When recruitment for the British army's Jewish Brigade began in the Land, Yasha compelled Landsberg to sign a statement that he was 18 years old, even though he was only 16. Yasha accompanied the Brigade on its glorious journey in Europe until the allied forces' victory. When he was in Germany, he did not know whether his father was still alive, and he went to search for him in Poland. When he did not find him, he returned to the Land of Israel. Then he found out that his father was in Germany, but his efforts to return to Germany were unsuccessful.

The fateful days before the nation's independence arrived. Yasha was not about to stand still. He enlisted in the Palmach and took part in his squadron's risky operations. Guarding a caravan on the way to the besieged Kibbutz Negba, near Tel Nof, his vehicle, which was full of ammunition, was blown into the air by a mine. Yasha and all his companions were killed. Fate, which had guarded him so astonishingly and saved him from all the great dangers he had faced, had abandoned him this time.

Three days before his death, he wrote to his father in America, “Who knows if we will see each other again. I am going on some dangerous missions.” And they did not see each other again …


Misha Bielohus's Son in the Jewish Brigade

 

[Page 8]

And so ended the life of a young Kremenetser, who succeeded with initiative and daring in escaping the bitter end that found his contemporaries and the rest of his fellow townspeople.

* * *

This article is presented in memory of Yasha Bielohus and to let Mulya Bielohus in faraway New Jersey know that we share his sorrow.


Letter from Polish Kremenets Emigrants in London …

Yehoshue Golberg

In London, there is a club of Polish emigrants from Kremenets called Biesiada Krzemieniecka. Its president is the wife of the former governor of the Kremenets district, Helena Chernotska. I recently received a letter from her inquiring about Azriel Kremenetski and Shlome Fingerut, with whom she worked for many years in the town's social work department until the war began. With them, she often used to visit the Jewish hospital, the home for the aged, and the orphanage headed by Leybke Rozental and Sonya Kremenetska. They would also like to know which Jewish students who studied at the Lyceum are now living in Israel.

She sent me a page from a Polish newspaper with a story about Professor Yulian Kozlovski, whom many Kremenetsers still remember as the athletics teacher in Smorzindova High School and the Lyceum and as the one who initiated the construction of the two ski jumps in Kremenets. In 1942, the British parachuted him into Vohlin, where he was active in the underground against the Germans under the nickname of “Tsichi” (silent). The Germans caught him and sent him to the Chelmno concentration camp. From there he escaped to Warsaw, where he took part in the uprising as the commander of the Mokotov Brigade. On August 18, 1944, in the attack on Milenov, he fell in battle.

In the same newspaper, there is a story about the 12th Cavalry Brigade from Kremenets, the 12th Pulk Ulanow Podolskich, which fought against the German invaders in 1939; a large number of its men reached England via Rumania, fought the Nazi enemy on Italian soil in 1944-1945, and received the highest Polish military medal, Virtuti Military.

I received a book in Polish for our library with a dedication from Mrs. Chernotska. The name of the book is Whoever Saves One Soul Is Tantamount to Have Saved an Entire World.

I feel obligated to write these lines to the former Lyceum students who are living in Israel now: Kligman, Manya and Sozya Rubin, Yitschak Krosman of Potchiyuv[4], Dr. Frida Bernshteyn of Shumsk, Mira Danushevski, Tsipa Leviten Kaganovits, Professor Dr. Arye (Liulik) Shenberg, Avraham Argaman (Buts), Dr. Avraham Gutman of Ramla, Dr. Mark Katz of New York, and many others in the Land and other countries.

They have asked us for material on the town of Kremenets, so we have sent them our booklets. Some of them know Yiddish and read it, while others make do by looking at the photos and corresponding privately with us.

They are like those about whom it is written, “By the rivers of Babylon (Thames), there we sat and wept …”


[Page 9][5]

About Meir Har-Zion

Moshe Dayan

Meir Har-Zion has become a living legend amongst the youngsters of Israel: the symbol of devotion, resourcefulness, and heroism, His father was born in Kremenits, himself the son of a Zionist family, which had been deeply rooted in Jewish life there.

We have found it worthwhile to print in our journal the following chapter written by our Minister of Defense – Gen. Moshe Dayan, in addition to what we printed about Meir in our last issue (no. 4). It seems to us that you, Young Reader, will find in these lines some material worth to be read and worth to think of.

If I had to pick a prototype of the Israeli soldier out of all the fighting men I have known, I would pick Meir Har-Zion. Of course, he is not the “typical Israeli soldier.” The typical is the average, while Har-Zion is head and shoulders above them; this is to say that he is a typical Israeli fighter, although he does the job better than the rest. Far better. He is a superior scout, a bold charger, a shrewd fighter, stubborn, uncompromising. He is best portrayed not by adding superlatives to his name but by describing his actions, his forays across the border, the raid on Hebron on that snowy day, the capture of the Syrian positions in the Kinneret operation and the Battle of er-Raha'awe – the engagement in which he was seriously wounded.

What is special about Har-Zion is the quality found in some measure in all the members of his generation, the combination of the tough and daring soldier who even relishes battle, and the poetic soul; the red-bereted paratrooper and the farmer deriving satisfaction from his dull, exacting toil. This seeming paradox is actually an expression of identical aspirations, qualities nourished by the same spiritual source. The Har-Zion who lives with his wife and children in an isolated house near the Crusader fortress of Kaukab el-Hawa and finds purpose in breeding cattle is not he Mr. Hyde of some Dr. Jekyll fighting-man. The aspirations and motives which drive him to join the paratroops are that same which make him devote himself to backbreaking toil in the steep ravines of the Jordan Valley.

[Page 10]

I assume that not only I, but anybody who has followed one of Meir Har-Zion's operations considers him an outstanding fighter, a model battle leader. But I must confess that in picking him as the Israeli soldier par excellence, I have in mind not only his fighting image – tall, brawny, curly lock hanging down on his brow, shy smile covering up tension and fatigue, I vividly recall my first meeting with him, a meeting which had nothing to do with the war.

I think it was in 1954. We were touring the Egyptian border near Be'erotayim. Lying around were corpses of some camels that had been shot in an engagement with Bedouins in a recent action. On one of the cadavers, a few hundred meters from us, was perched a large black bird. I wanted to take a shot at it. I knelt and raised my rifle. Before I could take aim, somebody pulled my arm and snapped at me: “What are you doing? That's an eagle!”

I turned around. Before me stood the leader of the patrol squad – Meir Har-Zion. I don't recall whether I was already Chief-of-Staff or still Chief of Operations. In any case, having a rifle pulled from my hands by a corporal was not really the accepted military tradition.

Har-Zion explained to me that only 30 braces of eagles were left in the country, and they had to be preserved from extinction. In the area there were two eagles that nested on a steep cliff, where foxes and wildcats could not get at the young eagles.

We rode up the cliff. When we were near, we got out of the command car and stealthily started to make out way to the eagles' rock. But he nesting eagle noticed us and soared into the sky.

A long time has passed since that meeting. If I would now have to find the spot where the eagles were nesting, I wouldn't be able to do so. But one part of that scene has always remained etched in my memory – an eagle soaring up with heavy but graceful wing-beats, spiraling upward, circle and up, circle and up, and Har-Zion leaning on his rifle and following the eagle with his eyes. Not a glance of curiosity, not even a glance of wonderment, but a “professional,” scrutinizing glance, seeking to take in every detail, in order to learn from it.

Moshe Dayan: The Fighters' Spirit. Courtesy of Israel Magazine.


[Page 11]

A Fellow Townsman Established the IDF Cavalry

M. G.


Efraim Drori, Cavalry Unit Commander, in a Parade

 

In a daily newspaper we read, “Recently, the Givati Brigade met again to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the country's independence and relive the memories from those days gone by … talking again about friends who fell and others, once fighters and doers, who today sport bald heads.”

While talking, they recall a forgotten unit: the Israeli Cavalry Unit. How did it happen that everyone has forgotten this small, brave unit? … “In 1947-1948, this unit was important and useful, and brought much benefit.”

This unit's commander was none other than our fellow townsman Shonya Fingerut, now Efraim Drori, son of the well-known functionary in Kremenets, Shlome Fingerut.

The Givati Brigade was in need of a scouting unit. It had no armored vehicles, and even if it had had some, driving them in the sands of Rishon Letsion, Nitsanim, and Ashdod would have been very difficult. That's when Shonya was charged with forming this unit.

Shonya, who had previously served in the Polish cavalry, where he had amassed a great deal of experience, started by searching for the right people and horses. His first thought was to enlist veteran Watchmen[6], but soon it was clear that they were too old, so he enlisted every Palmach man who knew how to ride a horse. Among the unit's enlisted men were former Guards, young men from settlements and kibbutzim, and veterans from well-known units of the Russian, Polish, and Hungarian armies.

The unit was based at the police station in Gedera. From there, IDF horsemen went out scouting in the sands of the south. During periods of cease-fire, the horsemen patrolled along the front lines and participated in ambushes.

The horses arrived at the unit after many searches. Some were from the British army, and some were from the Jordanian border patrol unit, captured in battle by the IDF.

[Page 12]

The unit was then attached to the Israeli Border Guard and later to the Israeli police force. And that ended the story of the IDF cavalry under the command of Shlome Fingerut's son.

* * *

When I finished writing those lines, I could see Shlome in my mind's eye as a young soldier, solid and erect in the uniform of the czar's army, whom we, the children in Alterman's courtyard, loved to be near when he came home on furloughs.

Years later, I used to run into him. He was active in a few areas of our town's public life and for many years was a vice mayor along with Azriel Kremenetski. Often, we, the Zionist youth, used to argue with him about Zionism and Israel. He was always very correct and tolerant, but stood by his opinion very stubbornly: the line of the Bund, to which he belonged.

Shlome would have had a great deal of pleasure and happiness here if fate had saved him and he had come to the Land of Israel and known his son, the cavalryman of the IDF. This time, there would be an end to the draw in which our old arguments used to end.


On the International Convention of Kremenets Emigrants

In booklet 4, we made a suggestion to hold an international convention of Kremenets emigrants in 1969. The suggestion was directed to Kremenetser organizations in Argentina, the United States, and Canada. The reaction was warm, particularly in the largest organization abroad, the Landsmanschaft of Kremenets Emigrants in Argentina. The suggestion was discussed in board meetings there; the reaction was positive, even enthusiastic, but they cannot do it on the suggested date. According to them, a more suitable time is spring 1970, during the independence celebration. Our reply to them was that we, too, think that that date seems logical.

And here is the translation of the notice published in the Di Prese newspaper on June 3, 1969:

In the Organization of Emigrants from Kremenets and Vicinity. The suggestion by our fellow townsman Mordekhay Ot-Yakar to hold an international convention of Kremenets emigrants to in Israel evoked much interest among our fellow townspeople in Argentina. In Voice of Kremenets Emigrants, booklet 4, this suggestion is explained in complete detail. The leaders of our organization decided to hold a meeting of all emigrants from Kremenets and its satellites on July 8, 1969. At this meeting, there will be a full discussion of the suggestion to elect a special committee to deal with the requirements of executing this idea and maintaining contact with our fellow townspeople in Israel.

[Page 13]

This is what was announced in the paper. In his letter of June 4, 1969, our member Mordekhay Katz, the dynamic secretary of the organization and its living spirit, tells us about it in more detail: at that meeting, they plan to find out how many and who from Argentina will be ready to go to the convention. (The first estimate is that there will be about 20 to 30 people.) According to member Katz, we should have the convention even if Kremenetsers from other countries do not come to take part; then we will name it the convention of Kremenets emigrants in Israel and Argentina.

In our opinion, it is too early to reduce the convention to only two participating countries, as it stands to reason that people from the United States and Canada will take part, although they have not begun any practical preparations so far. We hope that the Argentinean membership's enthusiastic example will influence them. Anyway, we will continue to keep in touch with them on this subject.

Also: for the convention to succeed, it is important that our fellow townspeople in Israel host the visitors in their homes. That will foster closeness among the people, help create a more intimate atmosphere, and instruct them in how things are done in the Land. Also, it will save money. The committee has already spoken with few members, and the feeling is that all of us will do it.

When the results of the July 8 meeting are announced, the plans in Israel will go into “high gear.” A special unit formed for that purpose will start preparations immediately, following the suggestion announced in Voice of Kremenets Emigrants, booklet 4.


World Organization of Kremenets Emigrants

A. Gastraliar

(Printed in Morgen Freiheit, New York, March 24, 1969)

A few days ago we received booklet 4 (December 1968) of a very unique periodical named Voice of Kremenets Emigrants in Israel and the Diaspora. This periodical has many advantages in that it serves as an international bridge for all Kremenets emigrants, and it had already captured our attention. It is no less worthy of our esteem for its broad and colorful contents, the human panorama that originated in Kremenets and continued until it reached New York, Buenos Aires, and other places in the world. And for that, we send blessings to the initiators of this project.

[Page 14]

Yisrael Mandel, who still lives in Kremenets, wrote a truly emotion-provoking letter to Y. Vakman, an active member of the Landsmanschaft in New York. In Kremenets, a memorial monument was erected for the Jews who were murdered by the Nazis. In his letter of September 10, 1968, Yisrael Mandel writes, “I have repaired the monument, built a fence around it, and planted trees. The gravestones in the Old Cemetery are in good shape. I wish that we could have peace in the whole world! Best regards to all the Kremenetsers. We thank you for the help in building the monument and the fence.”

Yisrael Mandel attached a photo of the monument to his letter. That photo was printed in booklet 4.

* * *

In the booklet are two very important articles by Manus Goldenberg:

“With the Germans in Kremenets after the Annihilation” and “If Everyone Had Been Like Them …” In the second article is a description of the atrocities committed by the Nazis and their helpers in Kremenets, the hostile attitude of most of the locals toward their Jewish neighbors, and their malicious rejoicing at the catastrophe that befell them.

But from the memories of the dark years of horror, a powerful light stands out: those unique individuals among the Ukrainians and Poles who, in spite the life-threatening danger to themselves and their families, were not deterred but harnessed themselves into action to help and save as much and as many as they could.

* * *

The Jews of Kremenets, a well-known town in Vohlin, were privileged to forge a lofty “pedigree” throughout the generations.

In that town, Yitschak Ber Levinson (RYB”L), “the Mendelssohn of Ukrainian Jews,” lived and created. Their part in the field of music is not small either: Isaac Stern, the famous violinist, is from Kremenets, as is the unforgettable Jacob Schaefer as well as conductors Lee Kopf and Asher Manusovits.

In short, the publication Voice of Kremenets Emigrants is an important link in the golden chain of this town.


[Page 15]

Funds Received from Abroad

Shmuel Taytelman

In booklet 3, we printed a list of funds received from other countries, both from organizations of Kremenets emigrants and from individual members. Here is a list of funds received since then, listed by purpose.

For Voice of Kremenets Emigrants booklets

7/68 Kremenets organization in New York, through Mr. Rapoport $ 20.00  
11/68 Dr. Zev Chasid, Berkeley, United States 25.00  
12/68 Kremenets organization in New York, through Mr. Rapoport 20.00  
1/69 Kremenets organization in Argentina, through Mr. Katz 58.25  
4/69 Hulda Shvartsapel, New York 50.00  
4/69 Dr. Mark Katz 25.00  
4/69 Kremenets organization in New York, through Mr. Rapoport 20.00  
4/69 Aharon Gelernt, Italy 50.00  
4/69 Simon Katz, Belgium 20.00  
5/69 David Rapoport, New York 10.00  
5/69 Hodya Tshatski, United States 30.00  
5/69 Binyamin Barshap, New York 25.00  
7/69 Kremenets organization in Argentina, through Mr. Katz 60.00  
      $413.00

To purchase books for the RYB”L Library from AMS in New York

6/69 Yitschak Vakman, New York $50.00  
6/69 Norman Desser, New York 25.00  
6/69 Zev Shnayder, Detroit, United States 25.00  
6/69 Binyamin Barshap, New York 20.00  
6/69 Other donors 10.00  
      $130.00

For other designated purposes

3/69 Yitschak Vakman, New York, welfare needs $120.00 $120.00

For the memorial project

3/69 Sherman Desser, New York $25.00  
3/69 Shmuel Bielohus, United States 30.00  
5/69 Binyamin Barshap, New York 25.00 $80.00
    Total $743.00

In Israel pounds

1/69 Bela Bernshteyn-Kudlash, Argentina, memorial project   I£40.00

 

[Page 16]

Slova Halperin-Kohen,
of Blessed Memory

M. G.

We were stunned by the announcement of the death of Slova, daughter of Yosel-Yoel and Brayndel Halperin.

Slova did not come to our meetings very often, as Kibbutz Maanit, her home, was far from Tel Aviv, and her many chores on the farm did not leave her much time. Nevertheless, her bond with us was very strong and filled with warm feelings. The letters she wrote to us on various occasions were a source of great encouragement.

Our last meeting with her was exactly a year ago, at the reception we held in the RYB”L Library for her relative, David Rapoport of New York, and Max Desser and his family, of Canada. The eye of the camera captured her at a moment of great sadness; something of a second sight was reflected in her eyes. But during the gathering, she was joyful and overflowed with youthful happiness, as do we all are in the company of our fellow townspeople, a place where memories of the past flood by with a force of a storm.

In Kremenets, we were the Halperin family's neighbors; her father prayed in the Hasidic synagogue with my father. So I had ample opportunity to know this family well while Slova was still a child.

This family worked tirelessly. Thanks to their energy and business sense, they achieved wealth and standing in the community.

Slova graduated high school with honors and immediately left for a Youth Guard[7] training kibbutz in Poland.

I have in front of me a booklet published by her Kibbutz Maanit on the 30th day after her passing; she was loved, honored, and admired by all!

From the words of many friends, we learn that Slova was gifted with the same energy and initiative as her parents but followed a completely different path, devoting these qualities to the cooperative society. And the group knew its proper value.

One of the articles in that booklet quotes her: “They are dear people, similar to the essential quality of the folksiness and sprightliness of the Jews from my town of Kremenets. Soul-deep links bind me to those Jews … I loved my town, surrounded by mountains and forests …”

[Page 17]

Very touching and so typical of Slova's personality are the words of her friends in the Diaspora: “When you go to visit her grave carrying flowers, please pick an extra one, a humble cyclamen that clings to rocks, sends out roots, and lives a communal life; lay the flower down on the fresh grave of Slova, may her memory be blessed.” We Kremenetsers echo that request.

Slova left behind her devoted friend and pal since her youth days, her husband, Moshe; her daughter, Chana; and a sister in Haifa.


Mosaic

Collection for Voice of Kremenets Emigrants: The only source of funds to cover the expense of publishing the Voice of Kremenets Emigrants booklets is the payments of our fellow townspeople in the Land and abroad who receive the booklet. Payments from abroad arrive on schedule, sometimes including amounts in excess of the subscription cost. However, in the Land, there are quite a few members who don't keep up with those small payments for the booklets.

To speed up the collection, we sent a letter on the May 11, 1969, to all members in the Land requesting that each pay the amount owed for the booklets in order to ensure that the booklet continues to be published. We repeat this request now in the hope that members will comply.

Scholarship in Memory of Efraim Shnayder

Our member Zev (Velvel) Shnayder of Detroit allotted a sum of money for an annual scholarship named for his father, Efraim Shnayder, of blessed memory, to be awarded for research on a subject relating to Enlightenment literature by a university or teachers' college student. The winner among the works submitted for 1969 was “RYB”L and His Work for Hebrew Education in Russia,” written by Ms. Miri Yaari-Barukh of Tel Aviv University. The four judges who made the decision on June 26, 1969, were

  1. Dr. Yehuda Fridlander – lecturer in literature at Bar Ilan University
  2. Eliezer Tivon – history and Bible teacher at the Kibbutzim College
  3. Manus Goldenberg – former school principal, now working in adult education
  4. Yitschak Rokhel – secretary of the organization

[Page 18]

The amount of the stipend is $300. It will be presented at a public ceremony at the beginning of the school year.

A similar stipend will be awarded each year, and preparations are underway now for the announcement of the subject and details for the coming year.

Holocaust and Heroism Memorial Day, 27 Nisan 5729

The memorial communion with the martyrs of our town in the RYB”L Library on this day has become a nice tradition for us and for the Kibbutzim College, which has adopted the commemoration of the Kremenets community.

This year as in previous years, the College classes came to the library hall in the morning, one after the other, and during a very impressive ceremony, they listened to talks by members Ot-Yakar (Otiker) and Manus Goldenberg. The students were told about our townspeople's life before the destruction and about the community's annihilation by the Nazis.

Some of our fellow townspeople were invited to the ceremony, too, and their deep impression was clear to us from their words at the end of the ceremony: “If this memorial project had been created just for that, all the efforts were well worth it,” said one of the people with emotion.

And truly, in those moments, our holy community receives the honor it deserves.

* * *

On the same day, a great assembly organized by Yad Vashem took place in the National Buildings, with the participation of the country's president, the head of the government, members of government, the diplomatic corps, and many representatives from the organizations of communities annihilated by the Nazis. Speeches were given by Mrs. Golda Meir and Knesset member Gidon Hauzner, who was the prosecutor at Eichmann's trial and today heads the project for the communities' commemoration at schools in Israel. Representing Kremenets emigrants were Yehoshue Golberg and Zev Shumski. In a conversation between Mr. Hauzner and member Golberg at the close of the ceremony, Mr. Hauzner wanted to know whether a lecture had been given to the Kibbutzim College students this year in memory of the Kremenets community and who had participated in it. Mr. Hauzner visited the RYB”L Library two years ago and gave a talk to the students. He values our memorial project highly and deems it a most original and unique one.


[Page 19]

Congratulations

To our member Yitschak Rokhel on the birth of his sixth grandchild, Saar Yerucham, in Eilat, son of Ido and Sara.

To our members Manus and his wife Chana on the birth of their fifth grandson, Roi, in Bet Shean, son of Odeda and Ruven Amiel.

To our member Yosef Avidar (Rokhel) and his wife, Yemima Tshernovits, on the birth of their fifth granddaughter, Rut, daughter of Rama and David Zuta.

To our member Yehudit Shtern, Haifa, on the marriage of her son, Shevach.

To our member Bela Zeyger-Breytshteyn and her husband, Henig, on the marriage of their daughter, Rina, and on the birth of their granddaughter in Kibbutz Yagur.

To our member Meir Zeyger and his wife, Chaya, Haifa, on the marriage of their son, Giora.

To our member Yosef Stolyer and his wife, Haifa, on the marriage of their son, Shalom.

To our member Sara Vaynshteyn-Shteynberg and her husband, Moshe, Kibbutz Yad Mordekhay, on the marriage of their son, Shmuel.

To our member Tsirel Gintsburg Shteynberg and her husband, in Haifa, on the marriage of their daughter, Nili.

To our member Rachel Gutman and her husband, Beni Marshak, Kibbutz Givat Hashlosha, on the marriage of their son, Yoel.

To our members Avraham and Etya Chasid, Moshav Herut, on the birth of their granddaughter, Hadar, daughter of Nechemya.

May they all be blessed, and may joyful occasions be plentiful among us.

Condolences

To the extended Kotchir family on the passing of the matriarch, Mrs. Kreyna Kotchir, at a ripe old age.

To the Kohen family and Kibbutz Maanit on the passing of Slova Halperin-Kohen. (See the separate article and poem dedicated to her memory).

To the Shvartsapel, Kaufman, Poltorek, and Shafir families in the Land, Argentina, and the United States on the tragic death of Nachman (Musik) Royt in Paris on his return from the Land to Argentina, and on the passing of Chaya (Cora) Poltor-Royt in New York.

To the Kesler family in New York and the Litvak family in Tel Aviv on the untimely death of their husband, son, and son-in-law Yeshayahu Charlie Kesler in New York.

To the Krayzelman family and Nachum Grinberg on the death of Arye (Liova) Krayzelman.

* * *

May they be consoled with the rest of the mourners in Zion and Jerusalem, and may they not continue to suffer.

[Page 20]


Tar Shops in the Old Marketplace, Kremenets. Charcoal drawing by Argaman

 


Editor's Notes:

  1. Ternopol, now known as Ternopil', is at 49°33' N 25°35' E, 38.4 miles S of Kremenets. [Ed.] Return
  2. Mariupol is probably the city now known as Mariupol', located at 47°06' N 37°33' E, 577.9 miles ESE of Kremenets. The story of the destruction of the town's Jews in 1941 resembles the description at http://www1.yadvashem.org/untoldstories/mariupol/mariupol.html [Ed.] Return
  3. Novorosisk is probably Novorossiysk, Russia, at 44°43' N 37°46' E, 673.3 miles ESE of Kremenets. [Ed.] Return
  4. Potchiyuv, now known as Pochayiv, is at 50°01' N 25°29' E, 11.8 miles WSW of Kremenets. Shumsk, now known as Shums'k, is at 50°07' N 26°07' E, 17.8 miles E of Kremenets. [Ed.] Return
  5. Pages 9 and 10 are in English in the original booklet. They have not been edited. [Ed.] Return
  6. The Watchman (Hashomer in Hebrew) was a Jewish defense organization in Palestine from 1909 until the founding of the Haganah in 1920. The Guards (Notrim in Hebrew) were a Jewish police force set up by the British in Palestine in 1936. [Ed.] Return
  7. The Youth Guard (in Hebrew, Hashomer Hatsair) was a socialist-Zionist youth movement. [Ed.] Return

 

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