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[Page 200]

Eliezer Kopelnitzki

by Leah and Sarah Kopelnitzki

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Much has been written and much more will still be written about the martyrs of our town who were murdered by the Nazi evildoers during the time of the Holocaust. However, who will memorialize those who fell to the hands of other murderers even before the Nazi beast trod the face of the earth? They remain anonymous, and what will the future generations know about them? Let us erect here a monument to some of them, even if this will only be with a few words.

In those days, we lived in a village near Lenin. How great was my joy when one day we moved to Lenin itself, and my feet crossed the threshold of the cheder for the first time.

Our parents were not especially happy to leave the village. They conducted their quiet lives there for many years, among the neighboring farmers with whom a mutual relationship of respect and esteem pervaded. I often heard it said: how good and quiet are the farmers of the village and the entire area.

However, very soon we were bitterly disappointed. Suddenly, rumors spread about killing and murder that had quickly reached the town of Lenin.

The first victim in the town was Yitzchak the son of Aharon Migdalovitch. He was found murdered on the route to Lachwa. The following people fell after him: Yaakov Eliahu the son of Alter Kopelnitzki along with Eliahu Chinitz, Yaakov Rubenstein (“Yakeh”), Uriah (Ura) from the village of Tymoszewicze, Aharon Slutski from Pozheche, Yisrael Aharon the son of Hershel Meir, Shlomo Dolgin, and the two Eisenstat brothers.

[Page 201]

Len201.jpg [15 KB] - Eliezer Kolpenitzky
Eliezer as a child

That year, Eliezer the son of Betzalel Kopelnitzki was also murdered. His death was mourned grievously not only by his family and relatives, but also by all the residents of the town. Fear and terror took hold of everybody. Nobody left the door of their houses, and people avoided traveling on the roads.

Eliezer Kopelnitzki was a young youth, handsome, refined, with a warm Jewish heart. He was connected to the town and its residents. He mastered both Torah and wisdom. He was blessed with artistic talents. His hands took hold of the painter's brush and he would sing with his sweet voice. When he was a student in the faculty of medicine in Kiev, he would return home during the vacations. He would often serve as the prayer leaders in the synagogue on the holidays and enthuse the congregation with his enthusiastic prayers. His heart was always open to give advice and counsel, and his eyes were open to any place that required his assistance. He once assisted a family with many children who lived in poverty. The eldest daughter, aged 14, went without education and any purpose in life. Eliezer started to diligently help this poor family. Along with his friend, he turned to the wealthy residents of the town, and even to the Christian notables, asking them to donate what they could for this purpose. His mother Dina was even asked to exert influence over the parents of the girl to agree to permit her to travel to Kiev with him in order to learn a trade, so that she could support herself. The girl's parents were happy at this advice, and after a few days she set off for Kiev along with Eliezer. He placed her in a business where she also learned the sewing trade. She would study knowledge at night. The girl began to earn her livelihood, and even sent support to her parents. Her parents did not forget what Eliezer did for them, and always recalled that their daughter was saved from degeneration thanks to his dedication.

Eliezer played a large role in the cultural life of the town. He assisted in the organizing of the library, the founding of a choir, arranging plays and all other communal activities. He taught Bible and literature to the youth, and planted the love of Zion in our young hearts. Everyone who knew him knew that he was destined for greatness and prophesied a bright future for him. Indeed, he was a source of pride and glory for his parents Dina and Betzalel, and all the residents of the town.

However, bitter fate decreed otherwise. Eliezer was cut off while still young in years and full of energy, ideas and plans for the future. He was about to conclude his course of studies, and he returned to Kiev at the end of his vacation. Along the way he found out that the Balachovche gang of murderers was approaching Lenin, with their hands sullied with blood and full of booty. Eliezer stopped his journey and remained in the city of Turow, for his conscience did not permit him to continue on his journey when there was the danger of ambush for his family and the residents of his town. He, along with 17 other youths from the region, decided to go to Lenin to protect it. The rabbi of the city warned the youths to refrain from doing so, for there was a great evil in front of them, but they stood by their decision. Along the way they were arrested, accused of espionage, and taken out to be killed in cold blood.

Eliezer was one of the many who fell in sanctification of G-d and the nation, and he is one additional link in the chain of Jewish martyrdom.

May their memories be a blessing!


[Page 202]

Yitzchak Kolpenitzki

by Mordechai Rubenstein (Migdalovitch)

Translated by Jerrold Landau

{Photo page 202: Uncaptioned. Yitzchak Kopelnitzki.} Yitzchak the son of Betzalel Kolpenitzki was a man of action. He was a diligent forestry merchant, upright and pleasant in mannerism. He spoke calmly and in good taste. His family moved to Lenin from the village of Pozheche. About 40-50 years ago, Reb Betzalel sent his sons to schools in the cities of Russia with the intent of imparting in them Torah and erudition. The son Yitzchak mastered general and Jewish knowledge. He studied accountancy at a high level. He was active in the communal arena, and one of those who bore the burden of the maintenance of the Tarbut School in our town, that existed until the time of Soviet rule.

Even though the Tarbut School consumed large sums, remained without any government support, and that in those days a public Polish school existed that did not require tuition payments – 90% of the students of the town found their place in the Hebrew school, which was the glory of our town.

Thanks to the dedication of a number of activists who concerned themselves with the maintenance of the institution, free Hebrew education was made possible for those students who could not afford any tuition at all.

The following activists should be remembered positively along with Yitzchak: Mordechai Borochin, Yerachmiel Dvorin, Tzvi Yekutiel Gelinson, Binyamin Starobinski, Moshe Reuven Zerachki, Yaakov Lezbanik, and others, who did not hesitate to give private pledges in order to ensure that the budget would be covered.

Yitzchak and his co-activists bore the yoke of education with all of its difficulties. They maintained and sustained the school as the apple of their eye. There, children were educated in Zionism, in understanding the values of the nation, and in the Hebrew language. It is appropriate to note that Yitzchak continued to bear the yoke of the maintenance of the school even after his children concluded their studies and transferred to the Tarbut Gymnasium in Pinsk.

Yitzchak of blessed memory served as the director of accounting at a government institution during the period of Soviet rule. He had

[Page 203]

the possibility of leaving along with the army which was retreating from the Germans, and perhaps he might have thereby saved his life. However, he did not agree to leave his elderly parents, his wife and his children behind. He went up in the inferno along with all of his beloved family, and the entire holy community of Lenin.

May his memory be a blessing.


[Page 217]

Reb Avrom-Yitskhok Slutzky

by Mordkhai Rubenstein (Migdalovitsh)

Translated by Sara Mages

 

len217.jpg
R' Avraham Yitzchak and his wife Chava Slutzky

 

R' Avraham Yitzchak Slutzky, one of the greatest and most prominent figures among the former residents of our town, immigrated to the United States decades ago at a young age. He's a gifted man with a beautiful spirit and beautiful soul. He was one of the first founders of Lenin's “Landsmanshaft” in America. The main functions of the organizations were: to submit material and spiritual aid

[Page 218]

to the needy of our town and to the “green” immigrant who arrived to America, by obtaining him a job and a warm corner until he settled.

His hearty attitude to his birthplace in faraway Polesia didn't dim his longing and his love to the Land of Israel, and his soul was full of concerns and anxiety to the country during the War of Independence. It's difficult to describe his joy when the country of Israel was established (unfortunately he wasn't able to visit Israel for family reasons, and I hope that one day we'll be able to see him here among us).

Needless to say, how much energy and initiative he devoted to the realization of the idea to publishing a “Yizkor” book for the souls of our loved ones, who were destroyed and slaughtered like sheep by the Nazi beast. He showed great enthusiasm to the plan when it was just an abstract concept, before the material was in our hands and without the pictures of our loved ones, whose form has been preserved in our hearts and our thoughts. He was the first to provide lists of personalities and figures from our town. Skillfully, and with all the warmth and love in his heart, he included in this book every soul that he had remembered. He was the first to provide us with a collection of photos, with public and social value, that were preserved by relatives and former residents of the town. He made every effort to collect the money needed for the purchase of the printing paper and the fabric for the binding, and also obtained the permit to ship them to Israel. There was no shortage of opponents to this project also there, but thanks to his hard work and the aid of his many loyal friends, like the scholar Kalman son of R' David Temkin HaCohen and others, he fought them and won.

His beloved wife, Chava, who accompanies him in his way of life, has done her best to help the needy residents of Lenin, and to the love of her birthplace. She especially devoted herself to help the Holocaust survivors in Europe. Her house is wide open for parties and receptions for the benefit of the community, and she also helps her husband with his blessed work.

The affection and appreciation of the former residents of Lenin will accompany them in their devoted work, and we wish them that they will be able to continue it for many more years.

[Page 219]

len219a.jpg
The town's elders and the committee activists in Israel
With the participation of the guest Y. Skalier z”l from the United States, on the memorial day for Lenin's martyrs, 5713 - 1952/3

 

len219b.jpg
The Book Committee
Sitting (from the right): Menashe Yulevitz, Chaim Shalev (Nakrycz), Sara Fugelman (Kopenitsky), Ben-Zion Furman,
Standing (from the right): Mordechai Zaytchik, Yitchak Slutzky, Mordechai Rubenstein (Migdalovitsh)

 

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