Krinik In The Past
From The Distant Past
Translated by Judie Goldstein
Yehazkel Katyk: From my Contact with Krynik and Krynkers 
From Grodno I would bring to my kretchma
[inn] sweet liquor, and from Krynik mead and wine that Yochbed the
widow would make and was famous for throughout the province.
When I arrived for the first time in Krynik, I drove up to Yochbed the wine
tavern keeper's. It was a nice day. I tied up the horse to the rail in front of
the window of the large house opposite the stores, in the middle of the market
place I went into the house. When I looked out the window a while later,
I saw the horse standing and the wagon separated from him: the coupling
bolt had been pulled out.
I ran around asking who had taken out the coupler from the wagon,
such a strange thing to do I discussed this with Yochebed's sons and
decided that it is really unimportant.
The story is: There were in Krynik two brothers who were the leaders of all the
thieves in the area: They were called the Akhim and all the
merchants, villagers, land holders, dairy farmers and tenant farmers had to
absolutely deal with the Akhim and reward them. They also gave them
respect and when the Akhim drove around the district they were
received with great respect everywhere. One must deal with them and then one is
safe from thefts.
So as soon as the thieves see that there is an understanding with the
Akhim they will return it; and so as I am a newcomer, they
hinted that I must deal with the leaders and make it seem like a
I was frightened and astonished: That means, I must deal with thieves and look
them in the face and then shake hands? I knew that Yochbed's sons were smart
and honest people and would not lead me down the garden path.
Still, it was difficult for me to accomplish, to make the acquaintance of the
master thieves and buying a new coupling bolt, I rode back home in peace.
But my friend advised me that I must not rebel against the Akhim:
The District Police Commandant and the Assessor, a government official, cannot
protect me from the gang of thieves. Since I live in a
kretchma, alone on a highway, I must get along with them and when they come I should
receive them well, give them and their horses food, drink and so forth.
In Krynik I would buy liquor from Reb David Moreynu, one of the
gaon [sage] Reb
Israel Salanter's sons-in-law. He owned the Krynki courtyard with the
distillery. He was a rich man with eighty thousand rubles, a Jew, scholarly,
smart, but an angry man God should observe! He offended everybody but it
seemed to him that he was the one attacked with the greatest abuse.
But he was capable of behaving decently: his anger would soon pass and he would
immediately ask this person's forgiveness, even a frivolous person. This must
have cost him dearly. Each one had to say that he was forgiven and then he
would kiss the person.
In Moreynu's office there were always a lot of people, all Krynki tavern
keepers and inhabitants of the furthest villages. Near Krynik a verst
[Russian measure of distance, about 2/3 of a mile] or two, was an even larger
distillery that also belonged to a Jew. The wife Yenta ran the entire business
a clever, active woman, very pretty and smart. Her husband was a fifth
wheel on the wagon. Nobody knew anything about him and the distillery was in
her name. There were some people who did not even know that she had a husband.
He was a tolerable man, a teacher, somewhat of a scholar; but she was such a
strong woman a woman in pants. When he was sitting in the office
nobody spoke to him about the business.
She owned a lot of courtyards and two distilleries and ran it all alone. But
her liquor she had to sell wholesale, not retail, to the tavern keepers from
the surrounding villages because everyone preferred to deal with Reb
David Mareynu because of his honesty and his word was iron. He bought, then
sold, and it was expensive, but he never went back on his word.
Truth be told, he often made people suffer because of his angry tongue, his
inclination to hate. And then he would beg forgiveness. He could never entirely
remove the insult from the hearts of his victims; only his honesty, his
honesty! It attracted everyone even the tavern keepers who owed him money and
wanted to pay. They would buy liquor at Yenta's, but in the end they would
return to him, pay what they owed and do business with him again. They were
drawn to him like a magnet.
I bought liquor from Moreynu regularly. But once he attacked me suddenly with
such abuse that God should have pity (I had delivered too much in a message).
The room was full of people and I was too embarrassed to raise my eyes. I
quickly left and Reb
David was not able to grab me and beg my forgiveness, as was his habit. I was
deeply vexed by this story with Moreynu, especially because now I had to go to
Yenta's and her liquor was inferior and more expensive.
In the city people told me that
David was eating his heart out because of the story with me, that he had
insulted me and wants to give twenty-five rubles. They should bring me to him
so that he can beg my pardon and make peace. I had to think about it and wrote
him a letter in Hebrew (my weapon at that time). I drive by once and see
David with a Jew near the gate, at the road. I get down to give him the
letter. I show it to him from a distance. He runs, takes it in his hand, opens
it and begins to read. Soon after beginning the letter he was so moved that he
grabbed and kissed me and begged me, with tears in his eyes, to forgive him; he
did not know me, was confused, disturbed, and so on. I forgave him and then he
pulls the horse's bridle and through the gate. He must drive me to the office
so that everyone can see he asked my forgiveness.
And so that is what he did. Then he took out a bottle of old liquor, fifteen
years old, with cake and cookies and said l'chaim. We kissed each other. In the past, this is how a very rich man
From then on
David Moreynu was enamored of me and between us there was a kind
Yosel Lieder owned the Krynki
[meat tax], and when people said this word, it made their blood run cold.
Yosel was the worst of the murderous meat tax holders.
When he came to take the meat inventory, to be sure that nothing was stolen
from the meat tax, he was worse than the auditors. When he found meat at
somebody's, he would take from the house various articles as a pledge so that
they would remunerate him well. He was not afraid of the Assessor or the Police
Commandant because they trembled before him, mainly because of the information
he had. He was even able to denounce a Governor, about whom he knew something.
He was a ruler and no functionary was going to stop him. He would take things
like liquor. What could you do?
Yosel also owned a distillery and stole the excise tax, as much as he wanted,
and nobody could do anything about it.
The city of Krynik held a large trial. It seemed that somebody was buried
without a permit and the corpse should have been inspected. Twelve men, the
best of the sextons, and from the Burial Society with Yosel in the lead, should
have been banished to Siberia.
The district judge arrived in Krynik for the trial and the entire city was
upset. They were afraid of one witness, a gravedigger. According to him he had
taken part in the guilty act. To make off with him was difficult because the
police had already detained him and were watching him carefully.
When it came time for the gravedigger to testify, everybody shook. Would he
bring misfortune to everyone? Yosel Lieder was frightfully red and excited.
Suddenly he began to scream with a terrible voice and grabbing his teeth:
Rubin escape, Rubin excape, escape, escape
The Chairman asked what he was screaming about. Yosel started to stutter and
pressed his hands to his mouth and screamed like a wild animal Oy
my teeth! Rubin escape! My teeth, not for you to think
my teeth I cannot endure this
Seeing a man in pain with a toothache, people ran to get a remedy, and Rubin
the gravedigger, who had understood the meaning of the screams, had quickly
extricated himself. When Yosel, who was smart and tricky, noticed Rubin he
began his terrible screaming. When he saw that the danger was over, that Rubin
had escaped he took his hands from his mouth and calmly said:
It is better now.
And in this way everybody was freed. The important witness, the one who had
done the guilty deed, was missing
Issy Drayzik: Reb Yosele Hatzadik (what people said)
[the pious man], peace to his memory, was the Rabbi in Krynki and on his grave
stood a structure, where believers would put notes with petitions.
In the family and in the shtetl several stories and legends were told about
him, for example, that in his younger years, during wartime, it happened that a
Cossack attacked Jewish women in the synagogue, in the women's section, where
they were hiding. There arrived, as if sent from heaven, the young genius Yosef
and saved them from the dirty murderer's hands. He threw the Cossack through
the window and he died from the fall. Not taking into consideration that lives
had been at stake as well as the honor of the Jewish women,
Reb Yosef HaTzadik
voluntarily took on the punishment of immersing himself every day, summer and
winter, in the city river. For years the Tzadik
behaved in this manner, immersing himself during the heat and the cold until
he became paralyzed and remained lame until the end of his life.
Before his marriage to the woman who was to be his rebetzin
[the rabbi's wife], after she had agreed to the marriage, he sent her
questions pertaining to her health in regards to her ability to have children.
Yosef gave her to understand that she would give birth to ten sons and a
daughter; and so it was.
It was further said that before the Tzadik
died he blessed the rebetzin
with a living and he confided in her that in the dresser there was money for
her to take to live on. For years the rebetzin
did this and the gold coins that were lying there never ran out. One day a Jew
asked the rebetzin
the question of how she made her living, and she told him about the blessing
from the Tzadik
and about the pair of gold coins that never ran out. However, soon after they
did run out.
With the last gold coins the rebetzin
bought flour and wood and baked bread. In this way she
renewed the miracle and the wood and the flour never ran out. The rebetzin
had once again a living. But another time the rebetzin
spoke about how she made a living to a good friend who wanted to know.
This time she said her source of income absolutely never ran out.
From the Weekly Portion Krinker Revolutionaries
Yosel Cohen: I See Everything Again
Nights past come towards me,
Memories bring me forgotten days.
I remember as if today, as kids we would
Start fights with children from Mill Street.
I remember as if today the Kavkazer revolutionaries:
Noisy and chaotic, with hot blood flowing,
Drilling like soldiers we were lead by
The hero of my childhood Yankl Kotyut.
His face burned by the sun,
With bare feet, already without a color,
He would stop to remind us
Kavkazer heroism is without limit.
During the day he would lead us comrades in battles
Against youngsters from Mill Street with Feyvel Shnantz;
In the evening he showed us, how at night
The demons dance in the synagogue.
We see corpses, they are studying Torah there
Our blood turns cold with the rustle of a page;
Yankel Kotyut laughs and drives away our fear:
He dares, as befits a Kavkazer revolutionary.
Krynik difficult, men did not catch its name,
But for me, cozy and close:
There is the market place, the row of stores,
There Jews carry on S
[the Sabbath] the
[slow cooking stew].
From very far away I see the images,
My own past life is in them,
I sense the odor of bear paws and horse hides
As sure as the smell of hay wet with dew.
There is my grandfather
He whirls through the streets and shtetl;
[book in which shtetl events of importance were recorded]
And who would win the great prize, an entry by him.
His smart blue eyes look at me,
His deep voice is heard far away:
It is not true that everything has flown away
I see a renewal of what used to be.
Standing in front of me are the Krynker tanners
Who dreamed of revolution, a workers' government
Played in Crime and Punishment on the Sabbath,
Cracked kernels Friday night.
I see the fighters, the revolutionaries,
Wanting to turn the whole world upside down,
Krynik flooded with a multitude of soldiers,
My mother, on the balcony, concealing money.
From the churches the bells ring
In haste young girls run with stones in pinafores
To be revolutionaries with fiery songs:
Come, sisters and brothers, shorten Nikolai's years!
I see them together, I see every one of them:
Shlomo'ke Dubrover, Azriel the Fibber,
They whisper, I hear: In Virian's forest -
Brothers and sisters now we have a date.
I even remember everyone's face,
The passing years did not make them fade,
Nights they come to me always in a dream,
Memories like a fire glowing in the distance.
A. M. Weinberg (Meshal Pinkus): My First Master
I remember it, as it happened that afternoon: the moment that was to be the
luckiest for me and by the same token, the saddest for my dear mother. I came
home from the Volkovisker yeshiva with the idea of stopping my studies and
taking up a trade.
On hearing my decision, my dear mother's eyes ran with tears and she did not
say one word. She moved off to a corner and had a good cry. For her this meant
that her hopes were ruined. She had three sons and she had taken good care of
all of them, so that they should become great men. She believed that she would
live to see one of them with a
[fur hat worn by Orthodox Jews] on his head and taking up a rabbi's chair, if
not in a large city, then in a small shtetl in our area. Only it turned out
entirely differently: one after the other they went off on dangerous roads
on roads that lead, according to her, to the nether world.
Now she has only her last son and here again is the same trouble: the devil had
again mixed in and torn her last child from the righteous path.
For me it was the luckiest moment of my life: I would no longer be an idler, a
parasite or a hypocrite because my desire to study and, for the
most part, my belief had been lost some time ago. For me this meant that I
could now go and be a member of the large working family and also help overturn
the present evil order because I was already by then, as it is said, a little
caught up in the story.
There only remained for me to find a place where I could start to learn a
trade. I had not thought of any work other than tanning because this was the
main occupation in our shtetl. It was as if I wanted very much to get a
job where the master would be, as it is said, one of ours and a
little bit friendly, and advise me the right road to take and the secrets of
As luck would have it, a young man who frequented our house was a master and
also one of us, as I wanted. He would come around it seems, to see
my sister. So, we spoke to him about taking me on to study as a hide preparer.
That means, that we was really my sister and I only listened. He
gave me a looking over and announced that he would take me on as a student and
would pay me two rubles a week.
It seemed reasonable to me and I was in seventh heaven: I would become a hide
preparer, under a master, my own person and eventually a member of the
revolutionary party, this former yeshiva student.
When I arrived at the factory in the morning, with the first look that my
master had of me, already he was not as friendly as he had been at the house.
His first greeting, out loud: Good morning,
Zelman Sender! (The name of the Krynki rabbi at that time was Zelman
Sender). That made it clear that this was not going to be easy. In later years
I began to understand that the bad relationship between us was a result of a
misunderstanding. He was a revolutionary, a free thinker and a dedicated
fighter against everything that had to do with religion and its various
symbols. In me he still saw the yeshiva student. So, he already understood that
it would be a sort of good deed to laugh at me a little. I saw the embodiment
of the wicked capitalist in my master and thought it was my holy duty to go
against him in every way.
After the first welcome he ordered me to clean up and sweep the factory. I got
down to work without much enthusiasm and it took longer to do than it should
have taken. Therefore he scolded me with a Rav
Zelman Sender, move a little faster!
When I was finished cleaning I was ordered to mix the
rutcher. This meant to mix the standing water with whetstones, with
which one would grind the hair from the hide. It was enough to give it a little
mix, in order to spread an odor that was impossible to endure. At first I did
not understand that he only meant to make fun of me, but as I realized he was
up to one of his tricks, I began mixing as if I would rather perish
than give in to my enemy. Soon the stench spread throughout the entire factory,
and the previous grins on the lips of my master and the other workers were
transformed into grimaces and they all grabbed their noses. But I heartily
continued mixing as if it made no difference to me, until my master ran to me
and ordered me to stop. I played innocent and remarked that I had not finished
the mixing. That was my first clash with my master.
Several days later, I hung the hides to dry. The rope was very high and even
though I was one of the tallest, it was very difficult for me to reach the
rope. I climbed onto boxes and crates, in order to be able to hang the hides.
But my master had to notice that a hide had fallen down. So, he screams at me
What are you doing? Do not step on the hide! I grabbed it
from the box and stepped on the hide and my master turned away grinding his
Another time I remember was when I was carrying in a tub a little degraded
material from one pot to another. I was not paying attention to carrying it
straight and with two hands. I carried it with one hand and a little crooked
and there was a little bit on the bottom. This my master noticed. He screamed
at me: Zelman Sender, pour it out! So, what did he think I was
doing? I got rid of it just fine. When he went to have his teeth filled, the
fillings were sure to fall out because he ground his teeth so hard. I am sure,
that only the thought that he had to meet my sister saved me from a slap in the
face because then I truly deserved it.
Who knows how long we would have managed in future years if Judel Volkovisker
had not arrived in Krynik to do organizational work for the Bund.
We had to change his job to a place in a small factory where the eyes of the
police would not be on him. The situation occurred where I worked and I changed
my job according to instructions from the Bund this was the
first good piece of work that the Krynki Bund had, according to me,
Sam Levin: My Journeys to Krynik
My first trip to Krynik was made at the beginning of 1890 when I was still in
grade school in Horodok. I was then sent to Krynik as a representative of my
younger sisters and brothers, to get hazelnuts to play with during the latter
days of Passover.
I began the voyage during the Passover holiday with the Krynker driver, Chaim
Fesl, who would drive passengers from Horodok to Krynik. Chaim was a short man
with a fat stomach around which would always be tied a rainbow colored, wide
belt that fit his stomach well.
He seated his passengers according to rank and lineage, some in the back end,
others on sacks of oats mixed with chopped straw, that were laid out in the
foremost part of the wagon. He rolled into the wagon by putting one foot on the
end of the axle and the other on the shaft and the journey began.
There was a noticeable scowl on his face when he looked at his passengers.
There were too many women and children. Who would help him to push the wagon
uphill or out of the mud on every road?
I made this trip, the first time in my life I traveled alone such a long way,
sitting absorbed the entire time in my childish fantasies about the nuts my
aunt would give me and how I would bring them back to my sisters and brothers
Arriving at my aunt's, she began to ask about everybody in the entire family. I
kept my hands in my pockets measuring them to see how many nuts would fit.
And so hour after hour passed and I continued to measure my pockets. I was
embarrassed to ask and she did not offer. She gave me only a piece of
[unleavened bread] smeared with chicken fat, that in one bite was gone,
because I was very hungry
As for my nuts, the result was none.
My second journey to Krynik was from Bialystok ten years later. I was already a
young man of twenty-one and had come a long way from my Aunt Deborah's
hazelnuts. I was already carrying about ideas of freedom, sang revolutionary
songs and was active in the Bund.”
After a secret meeting that Krynker revolutionaries in Bialystok had held
(among them was Yankl Katchke, Shmulke Rubinstein, Hershl Pinkes, Shmulke
Terkel and others), it was decided to send me to Krynik with a certain
task in mind.
I began the trip from a tavern that the Krynker wagon drivers used as their
rest stop and their passengers would gather there.
The short ride took an entire night, and first thing in the morning we finally
arrived in Krynik. I lodged with my aunt Henia, who received me in her usual
friendly manner. She asked me questions without end, what, who, when
then prepared food and drink for a good meal. Later, in passing, she asked what
had brought me to Krynik on a simple Wednesday.
When she heard about my secret mission, she sighed. Yes child, she
said, I have already lived through this, my people taught me the Torah.
So, God should help you and you should not be deceived because of your
The Krynker revolutionaries received me in a hearty, brotherly manner and
before my return to Bialystok they made a farewell party at Shoshke Zelman the
kettle maker's house for me. All of the Krynker youth from the sisterhood and
brotherhood were there, fiery speeches were given, and everyone from the choir
sang revolutionary songs. It seemed as if the government throughout Russia
already lay in the hands of the proletariat. They made fun of the Tsar, like at
Purim with Haman.
I asked them if they were not in too much danger and they answered that as long
as Abrahamel Fortze stood guard outside they were not afraid. He had, they
said, a pair of healthy iron shoulders with steel fists that were sufficient to
defend our revolutionaries when necessary. The evening ended without any
Betzalel (Alter) Potchebutski / Nachum Anschel Knischynski:
The Attempted Assasination of a Manufacturer
Acting on the propaganda against the work givers, that they were the main cause
of the existing slavery of the people and the working class several
Krynker revolutionaries [from among the youngsters] organized the
attempted assassination of Nachum Anschel Knishynski, then the richest man in
Nachum Anschel came from Kobrin, used to trade in Krynki, driving flour to the
bakeries. Later he was the bookkeeper for the Krynker, David Moreynu. Some time
later he opened a tannery in the shtetl and he built it up until he was the
richest man in Krynki. His factory had the largest number of workers. The
initiators of the attempt were Leybke Noskes and David Yankl the blond's.
On a wintry Sabbath night, when everything was covered with snow and no stars
could be seen, Nachum Anschel left the
[house of study] for home with several other men from the shtetl. There Yankl
the blond's pressed the trigger of his revolver, a shot was heard and
immediately after that Nachum Anschel was stabbed with a knife by one of two
conspirators and wounded.
Leybke Noskes was arrested, but a short time later was freed thanks to the
intervention and endeavors of Nachum Anschel. A gentile was discovered as part
of the plot and arrested. He was also released thanks to Nachum Anschel.
There was another incident involving Nachum Anschel shortly after the
assassination attempt. Three Krynker young men, Herschel the Mangy, Chaikel
Mutz and Meyer Yankl Bunems stopped Nachum Anschel in the street and begged him
for money. He talked to them while approaching his factory. There, he asked why
they needed the money. They answered him and he told them he would return with
the money. Meanwhile he went into a room and from there called his workers to
help him. They grabbed the three comrades, gave them a beating and threw them
Lipa Friedman: Niomke Anarchist (As told by his older brother)
When my brother Niomke joined the anarchist revolutionary movement he was only
fifteen years old. One time his comrades in the Bialystok movement decided that
he should throw a frightful bomb in Krynik. It was thrown from the balcony of
the women's section of the synagogue and exploded with a loud crash but there
was no damage. A policeman caught him and arrested him, sending him to jail in
Grodno. There he was turned over to the district court.
The people, on whom Niomke threw the bomb, hired one of the best lawyers to
defend him and were witnesses at the trial. They said that it was not Niomke
who had thrown the bomb. Furthermore the lawyer had worked with my father about
what he should say and encouraged him so that he would not be afraid of the
prosecutor, even if he would be yelled at. The witnesses swore that Niomke was
religious and went every day to pray at the synagogue. The judge wanted to free
him. But the chairman asked Niomke what he had to say in his defense.
Niomke answered that he threw the bomb and that the witnesses defended him only
because they were afraid that his brother would take revenge on them and then
he screamed: Long live the social revolution! Because he was so
young he would not receive the death penalty. He was only sixteen years old.
His sentence was to be sent in penal servitude to Siberia.
Part of the way was on foot with a company of political prisoners who had been
provided with revolvers, in secret, by their comrades and before the departure
they put them in their packs. At a rest station where they were eating their
evening bread, the political prisoners revolted and shot the convoy captain and
two soldiers, and forced the other convoy soldiers to unlock their chains.
First they ran and hid. Comrades had provided them with money so that they
could escape abroad.
But Niomke did not want to take any money and did not agree to go abroad.
Instead he achieved his goal. He traveled to Grodno and there stood near the
gate of the prison waiting for the official to take revenge on him.
Before, while Niomke was sitting in prison, a group of young girls were brought
there. They had been arrested for a strike in the Grodno tobacco factory.
One of them was a young girl who Niomke went around with. The above mentioned
official ordered them beaten until their execution. Their cries
were heard throughout the jail. Niomke had decided to take revenge on this
cruel man at the first opportunity. And he did. When the official left the
government office Niomke shot him. He tried to hide, but the police ran after
him. He ran into a house and from there managed to shoot a policeman. But the
police had alerted the firemen, in order to take him alive. He continued to
shoot until he had only one bullet left and then he shot himself leaving behind
a message: I fought for freedom!
Betzalel (Alter) Patchebutzki: Krynker Revolutionaries Who Went Abroad
Menachem Motl was known as one of the organizers of the oaths on a
holy book and prayer shawls and phylacteries for those gathered in the forest
the night before the first tanner's strike in Krynki in 1897. During the strike
he ran away from the shtetl, later did his military service and then soon
returned home, for the second strike.
Then one day he saw how a policeman beat a striker so he cracked opened the
skull of the policeman. People were searching for him everywhere, but he had
left the country and settled in Chicago. There he came to understand that the
American reality was a far cry from his ideals and he took his life.
Moshe Berl was among the leaders of the first strike and was arrested during
the second strike. For five days he was beaten and tortured. He left prison
with damaged lungs. Then he traveled to London and there resumed his
revolutionary activities as a follower of Peter Kropotkin.
Sarah Fel-Yellin: Socialist Activities of a Proletarian High School Student
My parents were among the enlightened in Krynki and I would hear discussions at
home about exploitation and the injustice of the rich men. My father was a
tinsmith and indirectly was involved with the factories he made tubes,
lamps and lanterns for them.
I remember, as if it were today, the Revolt Day of January 1905. I was then
barely ten years old, the last child, and my parents took me by the hand and we
all went to the demonstration on
Street, together with the raging population. Young men had confiscated weapons
from the police, dressed up with swords over their civilian clothes
and together with several young women revolutionaries led the march. They also
carried banners with messages. The monopoly had been captured, bottles of
liquor were tossed out and then they left for Yenta's courtyard.
This was a beautiful May outing, surrounded by a large park, a little further
was the Garden of Eden for the poor Yenta's forest, where every Sabbath
the shtetl population created a colorful scene Parents with children,
with packages of food for the day. At the springs people would refresh
themselves with a cold drink and fill their bottles. Those who had the strength
would go as far as the mill. In the forest there would be gatherings, picnics
with speakers who, along with the news from the large cities, also brought
courage and inspiration to the overworked of the factories, to the artisans.
The Great Fire
I see the great fire in front of my eyes. Half the shtetl the poor
section went up in smoke: from
(my street) up to Kavkaz. The houses were wood and dry. The wind carried the blaze from street to
street. The volunteer firemen could do nothing. My father was a captain with
epaulets and brass buttons I was always so proud of him, when he would
march with the brigade on the market circle near the firehouse. But this time
he abandoned my mother and me and left with the brigade to fight the fire. My
mother cried, pleaded, but he left to do his duty.
After the fire people settled in with rich people in
Streets and in the
Tzerkovner. There in that house, of a good, rich man I first began to understand the
difference between rich and poor.
Years later I would often, already like an equal, go to the rich houses to
visit my friends from high school. I was the only working class child to go to
the high school in Grodno (to my good fortune I was the last of the children
and my mother liked education and culture). I would visit the Grossman's,
Buak's and Nachum Anshel's children because I was very bright, received the
best marks and often helped them. Their houses were beautifully furnished, with
trees and flowers, surrounded with leather closets, with the unmistakable odor
of wet skins. My poor nose in no way was able to take it, but for them this was
perfume, the promise of riches!
A Worker's Reading Circle
1905 left its mark on our shtetl and on all its inhabitants. The workers felt
proud and worthy because the first proof of freedom had arrived and broke the
pessimism. I was then a young girl of thirteen fourteen. I already
belonged to a socialist circle, fought against saninshtchina (to devote oneself to sexual affairs) among the young students. During
summer vacations I worked in a reading circle for workers; the partnership was
a success. I read (the others did not know how to) and the workers then
discussed what was read. I became more knowledgeable as well and proud of my
father, the tinsmith, and of my mother, the cigarette maker.
In our home there was already some worker tradition: a father who ran to
America because he led a tailors' strike in Lodz; an illegal library hidden in
our wood stall. I would devour the books that opened new horizons for me.
From My Memories Volume 2, Warsaw 1913 Return
This collection of the obligatory tax on kosher slaughtering and meat, wine and
other food products was held as a lease. The meat tax was created for the
Jewish community to cover obligations that the community was responsible for to
the government. Return
Kavkaz means mountain, and is the name of a section in Krynki. A
Kavkazer is someone from the Kavkaz section of
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