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[Pages 278-286]

Bicskof

(Bocicoiu Mare, Romania)

47°58' 24°00'

This translation by Shalom Bronstein
is dedicated in honor of
Erwin Froman – Yitzhak Eizik ben Efroim
A native of Bicskof

Edited by Moshe A. Davis

 

Bicskof is a town located on both banks of the Tisza River. After World War I, it was divided between Romania and Czechoslovakia. The northern part beyond the river (the larger section) was in Czechoslovakia (today in the Soviet Union) [editor's note: this article was apparently written circa 1983. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, the northern section of Bicskof is located in Ukraine.] while the southern part was in the area controlled by Romania. In Ruthenian the town was known as Veliky Bockov, in Romanian as Bocicoiul Mare and in Hungarian as Nagybocskó. Sighet is located some 15 kilometers to the east on the Királyháza -Yasin rail line. Most of its inhabitants are Ruthenians, with a small minority of both Romanians and Hungarians (especially in the Romanian sector of the town).

Population

Year Jews Total
1830 --- 2147
1880 520 ---
1910 --- 5955
1920 338* 6541**
1930 286* ---
1941 1708*** 7426***

*Romanian sector alone
**In both sectors (the Romanian part alone had 965 inhabitants)
***In both sectors

 

Table of Contents

The Origins of Its Jewish Community
Torah Centered Life - Religious Life
The Community, Its Institutions and Its People
The Holocaust
Bibliography

 

The Origins of Its Jewish Community

The first Jews settled in Bicskof in the beginning of the 18th century. According to the 1728 census, there were two Jewish families resident: (1) Samuel Moses, who leased the inn. He had a wife and four children of his own. In addition there were four children, presumably orphans, living with him. (2) The second Jew had a most unusual name (which perhaps was incorrectly recorded due to a scribal error) Poka Sztrojana Marko, whose Hebrew name was almost certainly Mordecai. He had a wife and two daughters. Neither family had domestic animals nor possessions and one may safely assume that they were poor. In the 1735 census, a single Jew by the name of Migge, also an unusual name, who had both a male and female servant but with neither a wife nor children was recorded. In the 1746 census, the names of the Jews were not recorded but a Jewish family of five with two servants is listed. From here on for about the next one hundred years, no Jew set foot in Bicskof. No Jew was recorded in the 1768 census. Even in 1830, when thousands of Jews already lived in the Marmaros area Jews were not permitted to live in Bicskof. One can speculate rather accurately that the source of this prohibition was in a Hungarian law that did not allow Jews to live permanently in mining areas. Although there were no mines in Bicskof itself, at this time it was the administrative center for the salt mines of Rónaszék (cf.) and the center for the distribution of salt throughout the entire kingdom. High government officials whose task was to guard the nation's resources, kept a careful eye that no Jew would penetrate. On the other hand, nobles and owners of large estates who would benefit from having Jews as their managers and as their source for raising capital also did not live in Bicskof.

No one knows when Jews began to arrive in Bicskof but it is safe to assume that it began after the restrictions were removed in the wake of the 1848 rebellion that is in the early 50s of the 19th century. It was at that time that the seeds of a flourishing and active community were planted.

Torah Centered Life - Religious Life

Bicskof was a town of renowned scholars and students, even though it did not have an official rabbi until almost the time of the Holocaust. For rabbinic matters it was included in the region of nearby Kretsnif [Kretchinef /Crãciunesti /Tiszakarácsonfalva] (cf.).

Without a doubt, the one who laid the foundation of Torah centered life and loyalty to Hasidism in Bicskof was R. Yehudah Ivir Rosenberg, known by all to this very day as R. Yudel Ivir. He was a wealthy lumber merchant and was numbered among the most influential Vizhnitz Hasidim. In addition to his many and various business, he devoted his time to Torah study, Hasidism as well as deeds of kindness. His house was a meeting place for scholars and he was well known throughout the Marmaros region as a pious scholar who was very devoted to Hasidism. Every year in the month of Elul he would leave his many business interests and would travel to Vizhnitz to be in the presence of his rabbi for the High Holidays.

R. Yudel Ivir was privileged to pour water on the hands of four of the Admorim of Kosov-Vizhnitz: Rabbi Hayim of Kosov, the author of Torat Hayim; his son Rabbi Mendel of Vizhnitz; his son Rabbi Baruch and his son Rabbi Israel, the author of Ahavat Yisrael.

The story is told among Hasidim that when R. Baruch of Vizhnitz died [20 Kislev 5653 /December 9, 1892] and his eldest son R. Israel [5620-5696 /1860-1936] succeeded him as the leader of the Vizhnitz Hasidim, the older Vizhnitz Hasidim did not know how to relate to their new leader who was only thirty-three years old at the time. They consulted with R. Yudel Ivir, who was among the leaders of that generation, to get his advice on how to relate to their new Rebbe. The Hasidim were surprised to hear his response. He had the reputation of saying little and coming directly to the point. He informed them that their new leader was beginning directly at the point where the previous generation left off and he would continue to move forward. Within a short time it became clear to the Hasidim that this elder Hasid was absolutely correct in what he said.

R. Yudel Ivir was the son of R. Jacob of Sighet (who died in Tiberias), who in turn was the son-in-law of R. Nahman Kahana, the author of Kuntres Hasifeikot. R. Jacob's father was R. Abraham Ivir of Zavitka. R. Yudel Ivir died in old age on 25 Sivan 5676 [June 25, 1916]. Even today Vizhnitz Hasidim remember his name with honor and respect. His descendants are numbered among the faithful followers of Vizhnitz wherever they live.

One of his descendants, R. Meir Shalom Rosenberg, settled in Eretz Yisrael and lived in Shikun Vizhnitz [in the city Bnei Brak] where he invested large sums to develop all of its institutions. He used much of his own money to construct the synagogue, the yeshiva, the children's home and the old age home as well as being a major contributor to the free loan fund. He was also one of the largest contributors to other Torah institutions and free loan funds. He died on 23 Kislev 5741 [December 1, 1980].

For more than forty years R. Ephraim Fishel the son of R. Moses Israel Feldman lived in Bicskof. He was the son-in-law of R. Yehudah Ivir Rosenberg of Bicskof, one of the most prominent Vizhnitz Hasidim who lived to a ripe old age.

Although R. Ephraim Fishel was involved in business all his years, the main focus of his life was Torah study upon which he concentrated with great intensity. His business was secondary. When he was a young student of thirty-one, the great scholar [gaon] R. Solomon Dreimer of Skala referred to him as “the great rabbi and Hasid, Torah scholar, fearer of the Lord, most pleasant of people and a total scholar.” So it was; R. Fishel was noted as a Hasid and Torah scholar, a devout person as well as an expert in every day affairs. A short time after he settled in Bicskof, R. Fishel Feldman became the chief spokesman of the community and many came to him with their question and concerns about both personal matters and communal affairs. As well as he was able to respond on his own, he never tired of consulting with and seeking the advice of others. He corresponded with many of the leading scholars of Hungary and Galicia, bringing before them both personal and communal matters. This can be seen from the lengthy list of responsa that follow. R. Ephraim Fishel Feldman died at the age of sixty-six on 23 Kislev 5665 [December 1, 1904], during the lifetime of his father-in-law R. Ivir Rosenberg and he was buried in Kretsnif in the rabbi's burial place [ohel]. About his death we hear an incredible account, which testifies to his greatness, from his grandson R. Fishel Feldman (may he be granted long life) of Bnei Brak. On the twenty-third of Kislev 5665, R. Fishel awoke quickly and hurried to immerse in the mikveh. He told his wife and children, “the day of my death has arrived; today I will depart from this world.” He told his sons to immerse in the mikveh and to dress in white garments. “We are going to the city of Sighet as it is my desire to be buried there.” His wife and children broke out in bitter tears and asked, “Father, what are you talking about?” But he instructed that horses be hitched to his carriage and that they set out for Sighet. Many people joined with them as they were leaving the town and his sons accompanied him on their journey. On their way to Sighet when they arrived in Kretsnif they discovered that the entire road leading out of town was blocked by logs being transported and that there was no chance of them reaching Sighet that day. R. Fishel then asked that they check to see if a burial plot was available next to the grave of Rabbi Reinman, the head of the rabbinical court of Kretsnif. They checked and found out that there was an available grave next to the building built over his grave. R. Fishel told them to dig the grave there and with great difficulty they found enough room for it. He asked the Hevre Kadisha to come and he took leave of his family and of the Hevre Kadisha, he recited the final confession and the Sh'ma and his soul departed in purity on that very day. For some reason hidden from us he did not want to be buried in his town of Bicskof.

After his death, his son R. Moses Israel Feldman published two of his works, Yedot Ephraim on the Torah, Psalms, Ethics of the Fathers Using the Four Manners of Interpretation, Sighet, 5668 (1908) [5], 95 pages. Degel Ephraim – Responsa and Clarifications of Various Laws and some Precious Innovations using Pilpul and Direct Opinion, Sighet, 5668 (1908)[5], 95 pages. The book includes a lengthy composition titled Olalot Moshe, emendations, interpretations and innovations by his son R. Moses Israel Feldman, who was at that time a judge in Bridzan. A photocopy of the two works, with additional biographical material on the author appeared in New York in 5739 (1979).

Following is a list of Responsa addressed to him:

Responsa Beit Shlomo,

Yoreh Deah,Part I, #186 - (5632/1872): ... concerning the question about the incident that happened to you where by accident two barrels of kosher cheese were switched with two barrels of cheese produced by non-Jews and this cheese [produced by the non-Jews and hence not kosher] was sold to a number of places under the assumption that it was kosher.

Ibid. #187 – Concerning the second question on the matter of the shipment to you from Moldava by railroad of many barrels of kosher cheese but without any signature [attesting that the cheese is kosher] and if unable to sell it to Jews, there will be tremendous financial loss.

Ibid. #188 – Discussion, sources and rationale [Pilpul] on the previous two responsa.

Responsa of Maharam Schick,

Yoreh Deah, #246 - Concerning one who was circumcised and the foreskin has grown back to a certain extent.

Responsa Avnei Zedek (Sighet),

Yoreh Deah, #68 – Concerning an ill person whose life was not in danger and was told [by the doctors] to drink sheep's whey called malkin. Is he permitted to drink it, as it is only available from sheep of non-Jews? It has been made known to me since I have been living in Poland that many devout people do drink this item under those circumstances; those who are ill with rist fehler.

Ibid. #86 – Concerning a woman who while pure stopped counting seven clean days.

Ibid. #105 – Concerning a female non-Jewish servant who desires to convert to Judaism, whether or not she is also required to shave the hair on her head ... especially since she is young and shaving her hair would cause her a great deal of shame and another fine reason is stated by the author.

Responsa of Maharsham,

Part I, #20 – Concerning the matter of a number of people of the region who joined together to form a mutual credit union and until now they are all Jews except for one Gentile who has also invested his share to join in the partnership; the leader of the group is a Jew... and he responded to permit this group to function.

Ibid. #105 – A person cleaning wine barrels in Italy and the craftsman had not yet sealed them; the cooper kneaded a mixture of flour and water in a bowl and spread this mixture on the ends [to seal the barrel] and because of this the question was raised in his mind concerning the status of the wine contained in the barrels and further, with regards to Pesah ...

Ibid. #186 – Concerning matters of Nidah.

Ibid. Part III, #61 – Concerning the matters of holders of [the Hebrew abbreviation הפר”פ HPR”P – is not decipherable] who agreed before the rabbis to pay the community ninety silver rubles every month and that if the community needed all the money due for the year at once for building purposes, it would be made in one payment. Now the community has purchased land to build on and they want all the money at once. The holders of [הפר”פ] HPR”P [?] want them to promise in a most advantageous manner for their benefit according to their custom. The rabbi of one of the interpreters agrees with the contention of the holders of HPR” P[?]

Ibid. #82 – Concerning the lottery [for a butcher shop for the year] that the butchers won and one of them, who was wealthy, determined that he would rent and run the business.

Ibid. #178 – On the matter of one who sent a whole goose by an agent to his daughter. The messenger rode on the train and after he got off the train he forgot the package. He then realized his mistake and sent a telegram to the next station and after twelve hours it was returned wrapped and tied up.

Ibid. #225 – Whether or not it is permissible on the holy Sabbath to go to a judge [in a secular court] to protest a forced debt as the judge is about to enter this matter into print called a protocol and he will have printed what the individual [Jew] states.

Ibid. #233 – In the matter of wine preparation in Italy, the wine is transferred through pipes and he does not want to have to make new pipes nor is it possible to boil the used pipes in water as they would spoil [concerning utensils that had been used with the production of non-kosher wine].

Ibid. #327 – On the matter that came before him in combination with the Rabbi and Head of the Court of Kretsnif, may his light continue to shine, and the distinguished and outstanding shohet of the settlement of Leh concerning the dispute between a man and his wife, which continued for three years. When they tried to make contact with her, they heard that she was in poor health because of tuberculosis ... others told them that that was not true and that she was healthy ... they made contact with her after a few weeks and they discovered that she was ill and there is no cure for her illness...and now he wants to divorce her without paying her his obligation according to the marriage contract...

Ibid. #328 – Concerning one who was required to promise through a handshake and since he had never sworn [by an oath on the matter] or provided surety by clasping his hand to indicate the justness of his claim, he did not want to do so and the court ruled that the claimant must swear by oath...

Ibid. #364 – One who had a precocious cow grazing in a pasture fifteen hours walking distance and on last Sunday he suddenly remembered that he had to sell it. He sold it with a down payment, with ten more to follow and with a handshake and in addition he required a guarantor.

Ibid. #373 – Concerning a Jew who bought from a non-Jew the entire yield of his vineyard, so the Jew could make kosher wine from it. He turned over to the Jew all the items and wine presses but the Jew neglected to tell the non-Jew not to bring grapes on the holy Sabbath. Thus, the non-Jew delivered a very large quantity of grapes and put them in the wine press and since they did not work on the Sabbath, the grapes became crushed from their own weight and a large quantity of wine collected in the grape-pips and grape-skins...and the question is asked that since the non-Jew did not hesitate to bring more grapes and put them in the wine press even after [the wine] bubbled forth, if because of his actions all the wine in the press is forbidden [for Jews to consume]...

Ibid. Part V, #84 – Concerning Reuben who established a Beit Midrash [study hall and synagogue] in one of his houses; however, since the population increased greatly, the community built its own Beit Midrash. After a while, the population increased further and the people asked Reuben to construct an additional Beit Midrash that could accommodate all the people and he did so. Now the community has asked Reuben to close the first Beit Midrash he provided and to pray with them in the large one he constructed. He agreed to their request. Now there are some people who are not pleased with this and do not want the first Beit Midrash to be closed and claim that it is not within Reuben's power to close it after people have been praying there for forty-five years and it is more convenient for these people to pray there for a number of reasons. On his part, Reuben claims that since all the rooms had burned, he also took the initiative [?] and later built another house designating one room for a Beit Midrash with the understanding that this was conditional and that it would be in his power to cancel it since it had not acquired the sanctity of a Beit Midrash. Which side is right?

Ibid. Part VI, #76 (5657/1897) - In an animal pen there were six geese, five ducks and five large chickens...and for eight days they were missing and one night there were six chicks...

Ibid. #106 – Concerning a man who purchased the honor to be called to the Torah as the Hatan Torah [concluding aliya on Simhat Torah] for the price of a loaf of wheat bread for the poor and the price of wheat went up [from the time he made his pledge until he could pay for it].

Responsa Harei Bashamayim,

Second edition, #130 (5656/1896) – Concerning the immersion of women.

Ibid. Edition 3-4, #13 (5657/1897) – Concerning the grafting of wild and domestic apple trees...

Responsa Pri Hasadeh,

Part II, #49 (5662/1902) Concerning your community that wanted to build a new school that would be called by the name of the community but they did not have sufficient funds. They sent a request to a known place [from where they could get the needed funds] and in the agreement was the clause that they would also have to establish a school for young children 'kinder-schule' in order for them to send them more funds. In this way they sent them 600 gold coins. Afterwards some of the people objected for a number of reasons. First they felt it inappropriate to get charitable funds from non-Jews or apostates. Secondly, those from whom they requested the fund, once they get the chance to open a kinder-schule, where the name of Israel is hardly mentioned at all, they will over time see to it that more schools of this nature are opened. For this reason they [the local people who object to taking these funds because of the conditions established] hope to return the funds so that they [who wish to open the kinder-schule] will have no say in a holy place dedicated to the Torah and to the worship of God. At the end of the Responsum, “In this I agree with the rabbis and scholars of the holy communities of Gravad and Veitchen, may their light continue to shine, as you defend yourselves and also prevent the enemy from entering your camp, God perish the thought...And how will you be able to enter into the holy place and spill forth your feelings to God if the enemy stands outside and seeks to capture the souls of the children...by smooth talk and deceitful language...

Responsa Zikhron Yehudah,

Part I, #57 {5662/1902) – In the matter above it is very difficult for me to answer you publicly and one does not reveal ones thoughts in this or in similar matters openly but only privately. Therefore, I am reluctant to answer and the merit of the Mitzvah will protect and save you...in your honorable community which wants to build a new Beit Midrash and they have their own schools for themselves...however, there is a hitch if you try to get funds for your new synagogue from the supervisors of the schulefund...for those who fear God fear for their very existence, let, God perish the thought, through this [request for funds] those who control the schulefund will try today or sometime in the future to force you to let them interfere at their will...

Also, his son, R. Moses Israel Feldman, lived in his early years in Bicskof, the town of his birth even after his marriage to the daughter of R. Isaac Schwadron, the son of the noted scholar the Maharsham of Berzhan. In 5667 (1907) his father-in-law took him to help him in the rabbinate of Berzhan. Afterwards he was appointed as a judge and later as the head of the court. After World War I, he was elected as the rabbi of Dragomirest (cf.). While living in Bicskof the following Responsa were addressed to him.

Responsa Meharsham,

Part I, #208 – Dealing with inns where hindquarter meat without being porged [which would make it kosher] with its kidney fat and blood is cooked to be sold to non-Jews...he brings support from the volume Pri Hadash that even the tallow that has commercial value, it is forbidden for Jews to sell it.

Ibid. Part II, #85 – Concerning a mikveh in which a large pump was installed to draw out the water; perhaps there are places where the water remains after the pump is turned off and the water can return to the mikveh.

Ibid. Part II, #302 – One who on Simhat Torah purchased the honor of being the Hatan Torah. He pledged to donate a 100-kilogram sack of flour to the poor for this privilege. When he made the pledge, the price of flour was low. Since then, it has doubled in price. The treasurers are demanding that he fulfill his obligation as pledged, while he claims that his only obligation it to pay the value of the pledge when it was made.

A second noted scholar who settled in Bicskof after marriage to a local woman was R. Alter Saul Feffer. He was born in a village near Krakow on 29 Nisan 5634 (April 1874). A brilliant student of the Gaon R. Arieh Leibush Horowitz, author of Harei Besamim, he was his teacher's beloved pupil. Rabbi Horowitz even came to Bicskof to attend his student's wedding, which took place on the second day of Rosh Hodesh Tevet 5666 (December 1895), when he married the daughter of R. Meir Jaeger, one of the leaders of the community. As the son-in-law of a wealthy man, R. Alter Saul Feffer could devote all of his time to the study of Torah. He even established a Yeshiva in his father-in-law's house where he taught a small group of especially qualified students at no charge. This, is according to his introduction to Part I of his book of responsa Avnei Zikaron. It is apparent that his reputation as a scholar extended beyond the borders, as he was invited in 5666 (1906) by the community of Seret in Bukovina to establish a Yeshiva. Because of the difficulty in making a living, he returned to Bicskof in Tishrei 5669 (September 1908) but not for long. In the beginning of 5682 (September 1911), R. Alter Saul Feffer left to settle in New York. There he was elected rabbi of Kehilat Beit Hamidrash Hagadol Unshei Ungarin and of Kehilat Ashei Marmaros. R. Alter Saul Feffer died 19 Nisan 5696 (April 1936).

He was the author of the following works:

Responsa Avnei Zikaron,

Part I, Sighet 5683 (1923), 129 pages, that includes 100 responsa. Most of the responsa were written in Bicskof, some in Seret and some in New York. Part of them deal with Bicskof and its community, especially responsa 28-39 that deal with writing a divorce document in Bicskof, a precedent he established when a get [Jewish religious divorce] was written for a dying man on Hoshanah Rabba 5680 (1909). Until then, no such document had ever been written in Bicskof.

Part II, Satmar 5691 (1931), 136 pages, also contains 100 responsa. While most were written in New York, some were written in Bicskof.

Kuntres Avanim Shelemot,

pages 109-125 are a supplement to Part I of Avnei Zikaron and are the author's response to questions raised by learned rabbis.

After his death, his friend R. Yekutiel Yehudah Greenwald edited and saw through the publication the volume Avnei Zikaron, Part III, New York 5699 (1939), 147 pages containing seventy responsa. Numbers 2, 7 and 43 were written in Bicskof, number 36 in Seret and the remainder in New York. During his residence in Bicskof, we have not encountered responsa directed to him referred to in the works of the leading rabbinic scholars of his day. Responsa composed while he lived in New York are beyond the scope of this article.

Another scholar who resided in Bicskof and also remained in the town after his marriage to a local woman was R. Jeremiah Kahan the son of R. Issachar Ber Kahan (in spite of their name they were not Kohanim). He was the rabbi of Erdozentgyorgy (Sangeorgiul de Padure) in Transylvania. Before World War I, he was elected as the judge in the town of Slatfina, which was near Sighet (cf.). When he lived in Bicskof the following responsa were directed to him:

Responsa Arugot Habosem

Yoreh Deah, #126 - ...concerning the matter that his father-in-law, may his light continue to shine brightly, purchased wine from a reliable [for kashrut purposes] local merchant. He heard that the local merchant had purchased it from a non-Jew who deals in wine for both the non-Jewish market and kosher wine – which is produced under reliable and trustworthy supervision...the problem is that the key to the wine cellar [where the kosher wine was stored] is in the possession of the non-Jew.

Ibid. #149 (5655/1895) concerning a woman's ritual purity.

About the same time, R. Moses David Ashkenazi, the grandson of the renowned scholar R. Moses David Ashkenazi, head of the rabbinical court in Taltshwa, who settled in Safed in his old age, also made his home in Bicskof. He, too, was a student of the author of the Responsa Harei Besamim. He owned a flourmill and was a local grain merchant. The following responsa were directed to him:

Responsa Harei Besamim,

second edition, #115 (5650/1890) – ...concerning a predominantly, if not all, Jewish group of men who joined together to form a credit bank and are looking for a way in which they will not be guilty, God forbid, of charging interest to fellow Jews...

Ibid. #95 – concerning a question on the tractate Shabbat 72a.

For many years, R. Abraham Baruch Alter Rosenberg, the son of R. Yehudah Ivir, lived in Bicskof. Towards the end of his life he moved to Sighet and there in 5686 (1926) he published his book Imrei Abba [Father's Sayings]. After his death, his son published his second book Tzva'at Abba [Father's Legacy] in Betlan. For further details see the entry on Sighet. In Sighet he made is living as an accountant.

Among the scholars who came to Bicskof through marriage was R. Solomon Baruch Smalhousen. He studied in the Yeshivot of Weitzen, Bonihad and Pressberg – all Ashkenazic places of learning [that is, non Hasidic]. In order to experience the taste of the first Hasidic Yeshiva in Hungary, R. Solomon Baruch entered the Yetev Lev Yeshiva in Sighet. A short time later, the Yetev Lev died and he continued to study in the Yeshiva of the author of Kedushat Yom Tov. On the advice of this rabbi, he married the daughter of the prominent leader R. Aaron Jacob Elimelekh Steinmetz of Bicskof. He lived in town for some twenty-five years occupying himself with the study of Torah and helping out in his father-in-law's business. In 5670 (1910) at the request of his father, he returned to the city of his birth and assumed the position of rabbi of the Hevra Tehillim Synagogue, which his father had founded. In 5673 (1913) in Weitzen he published a new edition of Shnei Luhot by R. Yechiel Michel of Nemirov, adding an introduction and notes. The first edition was printed in Lublin in 1680. All of his manuscripts were lost during the Holocaust. He died in Budapest 25 Adar 5705 (March 1945). R. Moses Katz, the rabbi of Pardes Katz in Israel and the author of the book Mishnat Moshe, Jerusalem, 5739/1979, is his son-in-law. All responsa directed to him are from the time he resided in Budapest.

Other Bicskof scholars who are referred to in responsa literature are:

R. Isaac Shub – “the wonderful young man who is a shoot from the stock of upright people,” in Responsa Avnei Zikaron, Part I, #10 (5682/1922) concerning a shohet who slaughtered some lambs; upon checking the required places after they were slaughtered, he found that in the trachea of one, while the signs visible to eye appeared correct, there was a tear that appears to have been caused by the spasms [after slaughter] and the part cut by the blade that is seen is just a little more than half of it...

R. Zev Wolf TirkelResponsa of Meharsham, Part Vizhnitz, [2] #131 (5657/1897) where he called my attention to the Tosafot [Talmudic commentaries] on Baba Batra 106a.

R. Schmelka Britvitz – (“son of my brother-in-law, my sharp and incisive student”), who was the son-in-law of R. Yehudah Ivir Rosenberg: Responsa Eretz Zvi, Orach Hayim, #22 – I am fulfilling your desire and sending you a morsel of my commentary to quench your thirst and encourage your heart in the Torah of our Lord and to study it with enthusiasm. Ibid. Hoshen Mishpat, #4 – On the matter of a teacher who was appointed the rabbi of the court in a neighboring village to you and he went to another location and summoned people to the court [in his new location]. Are they now required to go to his court in the new location according to the standard of law that if the court relocates, one must follow after it?

R. Yitzhak Halder - (“the rabbi who is outstanding and exceptional in the knowledge of Torah and the fear of God; the total scholar”) – Responsa Avnei Zikaron, Part II, #45 (5663/1903) On the matter that occurred yesterday on the holy Sabbath during the reading of the Torah portion Pinchas an error was discovered... and I instructed that a different Torah scroll be taken out [to be read].

The Community, Its Institutions and Its People

The information that we have is not sufficient to determine the origins and development of the community of Bicskof and when it started. From the data presented in the beginning of the article, it is clear that from the 1750s to the 1830s, some eighty years, not a single Jew lived there. We can almost certainly extend this time by another twenty years, that is to say that until the end of the 1840s or the beginning of the 1850s. After the Revolution of 1848/1849 most of the restrictions on Jewish settlement in the various parts of the Hungarian kingdom were lifted. It is safe to assume that Jews began to settle there in the early part of the 1850s. At what rate did Jews arrive? We have no answer. It would have to have relevance in clarifying conditions existing when the community came into being.

According to a tradition among people native to the town, the first Jews came to Bicskof 'around 130 years ago', that is around 1850. It is clear to all that they came from Galicia. At that time there were three Jews in town. One built the flourmill, one had the concession of collecting tolls on the bridge over the Tisza River and the third enjoyed the monopoly on the sale of alcoholic beverages. We know the names of two of them, R. Yehudah Ivir Rosenberg and Mendel Ber Ratt, who came from Kolomyya. They did not remember the name of the third man. However, from another source we heard the name R. Leizer Wiesel, who owned fields and orchards and died at a ripe old age around 1915. Many townspeople are his descendants. We have already encountered R. Yehudah Ivir Rosenberg, his sons and his sons-in-law. He did not come from Galicia directly but from nearby Sighet. It was his father R. Ya'akov who came from Galicia in order to marry the daughter of R. Nahman Kahana who was the author of the volume Kuntras Hasifeikot. In any event, these three honorable Jews, who were apparently scholars, Hasidim and pious, laid the foundations on which the [Jewish community] of the town of Bicskof was built.

We will mention the names of some of the Jews of Bicskof between the years 5628-5665 [1868-1905] whose name were taken from subscription lists (prenumeranten) of books published between these date. In most of these books the names of R. Yehudah Ivir, his son R. Alter (Avraham Baruch) Rosenberg and his two sons-in-law R. Fishel Feldman and R. Schmelka Brivitz [Britvitz] appear as they were distinguished members of the community. According to one of the books, Arieh d'bei Ilai, [Lion from the House of Ilai], Prezemsyl, 5640 (1880), R. Alter Rosenberg already headed the Talmud study group in 5640 (1880) while still a young student. The recorded names are, R. Uri Eliezer Fastinger, R. Meshulam Garber, R. Samuel [no family name recorded], R. Moses Wald, R. Elia Wald, R. Shmuel Zvi Fruber, R. Abraham Atteh, R. Abraham Fastinger, R. Abraham Baruch son of Haya Beila Steinmetz [?], R. Aaron Halder, R. Abraham Shu”b [acronym for shohet u'bodek, one who slaughters kosher meat], R. Kalonymos Kalman son of R. Asher, R. Yechiel Rosenberg, R. Zvi Greenberg, R. Zvi Hirsch Halder, R. Judah Ratteh, R. Yosef Zvi, R. Koppel Mahrir, R. Jeremiah [Kahn, who later was a judge and leader in Slatfina], R. Menachem Dov Ratteh, R. Ben Zion Weiss, R. Abraham Isaac Urbach, R. Alter Shu”b, the son of our rabbi and teacher Y”A [Yehudah Ivir?], R. Mendel, R. Shmuel Leib R”B [Rosenberg?], R. Yitzhak Tabak [grandson of the author of Erekh Shai form Sighet and leader of the Mishnah study group, R. Efraim Fishel Shu”b, R. Alter [Saul] Feffer [author of the Responsa Avnei Zikaron, as mentioned above], R. Abraham Baruch St”M [Steinmetz], R. Abraham Sheps, R. Gedaliah F”m [Feldman], R. David Feig, R. David Zvi Berkowitz, R. Chaim Sheiner, R. Joseph Epstein, R. Joseph Mordecai Jaeger, R. Shlomo Zvi Sholowitz, R. Shemayah Sheiner and R. Saul Leib St”m [Steinmetz].

This is only a random list but even so we can learn from it that most, if not all, of those mentioned were leaders in the community. By careful review we can learn two important facts: (1) during this period there were three shohtim [slaughterers of kosher animals], R. Abraham (5640/1880), R. Alter (5659/1899) and R. Efraim Fishel (5665/1905). Unfortunately, their family names are not recorded and we have no information concerning their spiritual qualities, their personalities or any other aspect of their lives;
(2) A Talmud study group already existed in Bicskof in 5640 (1880) and that from 5665 (1905) there was a Mishnah study group. In an indirect way, this tells us that the number of scholars and people committed to the study of Torah was not small by any measure.

Until the beginning of the 20th century, all the places were prayer services were conducted were private hands. In 1902 Bicskof came near to building a large community synagogue but its financial resources were not adequate. The Education Fund that was administered by the Neolog [non-Orthodox] Congregations in Budapest was approached. The large sum of money in its treasury resulted from the fine levied on Hungarian Jewry for supporting the Hungarian Revolution of 1848/1849. The people of Bicskof indicated in their request that adjacent to the synagogue a school for local Jewish children would be constructed, as the Educational Fund was designated to support Jewish schools. The Fund's administrators made a generous contribution of 600 Krone. At this point, some of the noted members of the Orthodox community were aroused [page 283] and objected to the community receiving funds from “non-kosher” sources. In addition, the Educational Fund would insist that the community fulfill its commitment and build a school. After exchanges between a few Hungarian rabbis (as discussed above in the responsa of R. Efraim Fishel Feldman), it was decided to return the grant received from the Fund. An elaborate stone synagogue was built that included a few hundred seats for worshippers.

The Jews of Bicskof supported themselves in those areas typical of Marmaros Jews – small farms, raising sheep and cattle, tending fruit orchards, especially pears and plums, small business and the like. Many were craftsmen in various occupations and many worked in the chemical factory, that was among the first in Hungary and whose products were sold throughout Europe. The importance of the factory declined after World War I, even though it still employed hundreds of workers. The factory was in the Czech part of the town but many of the workers, including the manager (an apostate Jew from Budapest by the name of Reich), lived in the Romanian part of town. With the aid of permanent transit passes, they crossed the river border on their way to work on a daily basis.

According to a reconstruction done by remnants of the community that encompasses only 140 of the Jewish breadwinners, following is a breakdown of how townspeople earned their living: merchants and store keepers of all kinds – 30; real-estate, owners of houses, forests and land – 6; clerks – 3; agents – 2; various craftsmen 26 – composed of 7 shoemakers, 4 butchers, 4 tailors and 3 carpenters; teamsters 30 – including one who drove an automobile; factory workers 24 – employed by the chemical factory, sawmills, etc.; teachers – 3; unclassified – 12, including religious functionaries, widows and the aged. Asher Izakovitch operated a steam locomotive, a rare profession for a Jew at that time. Even though this list covers only some 40% of the wage earners, this sample provides the proportions of the various occupations. Along with this, it must be pointed out that most of the Jews of Bicskof lived in dire poverty.

Until close to World War I, there was no official rabbi in Bicskof. It seems probable that since there were so many scholars and learned people in the town, appointing a rabbi did not seem necessary. During this time, both R. Fishel Feldman and R. Alter Saul Feffer, nationally recognized authorities, as well as other renowned scholars whose identities we do not know, called Bicskof their home. The two mentioned rabbis instructed all who asked through their published responsa for which they received no remuneration. With people of this stature living in their midst, the community never gave the possibility of having a local rabbi a thought. Several years before World War I after R. Alter Saul Feffer's final departure for New York, they chose the rabbi of Kretsnif, R. Zvi Hirsch Reinman as their rabbi and head of the community. He served both towns in this capacity. Afterwards, he appointed his son-in-law as his representative in Bicskof but it appears that he only occupied that position for a short time.

In 5676 (1916) R. Zvi Hirsch Reinman expressed his legal opinion that it was permissible to write and record divorce documents in Bicskof on a regular basis. Before coming to this decision, he was in contact with R. Saul Alter Feffer, who already resided in New York and had in his possession many resources on this matter. As a result of this one time case, a Jewish religious divorce [get] was issued by a dying [and childless] man to his wife to free her from being dependent on her husband's minor brother to free her for marriage. In the wake of this matter, scholars and authorities of that generation rushed comments and responses to him. After the death of R. Zvi Hirsch Reinman in 5678 (1918), his son R. Elazar Reinman inherited the rabbinic position in both Bicskof and Kretsnif. This is made clear in a responsa by the author of Atzei Hayim on Even Haezer, #25, published in 5685 (1925). However, after a short time he left both towns to assume the rabbinic position in Glagow in Galicia, where he succeeded his father-in-law R. Abraham Hayim Rubin.

From here on, the Bicskof rabbinate was the center of a bitter and turbulent struggle between three contenders all laying claim to the vacant position. Even the government became involved as it had its own interests to protect. The rivals for the position were R. Shmelka Rosenbaum, who was the son of the Admor of Kretsnif-Sighet, R. Elazar Zev. He settled in the Romanian portion of the town in 1936. R. Haim Judah Meir Hagar, who was the son of R. Menachem Mendel head of the rabbinical court and Admor of Wisho [cf.]. He had married the daughter of R. Abraham Hayim Reinman, who had promised him the position of rabbi of Bicskof as part of the dowry. Part of the community wanted to elect a third candidate and they preferred R. Joshua Baruch Landa, who was the son of R. Benjamin Zev the rabbi of Legene-Mijahli and the son-in-law of the judge from Urschva (Orsava), R. Moses Wurzberger. After the Holocaust, he rejected the rabbinate, settled in the United States and was employed as a clerk by the City of New York.

Between World War I and World War II, the shohtim were R. Isaac, apparently a noted scholar from a prominent family as seen by the responsa directed to him by R. Alter Saul Feffer and referred to above. He was succeeded by R. Ezekiel Shraga Green, a Sighet Hasid. Most of the Hasidim of the town were followers of the Sighet branch, some were Spinka and a small number were Vishnitz. The last leaders of the community were (1) Samuel Kamil, a wealthy owner of a sawmill; (2) R. Shmelka Berkowitz, the owner of a large department store, a scholar and a Spinka Hasid. He taught Torah to large numbers in the Beit Midrash [study hall] and was elected as community head numerous times; (3) Moses Farkash, a landowner who also owned forests and (4) before World War I and for several years thereafter Joseph Hanz.

 

mar278.jpg Rabbi Yehuda Yoel Deutsch [20 KB]
mar278.gif
TR. Isaac Farkash (who served as head of the community of Bicskof)
and his son Mendel Eliezer, May G-d avenge their blood

 

The Bicskof community had a special attachment to nearby Kretsnif but it was not subservient to it. Besides the shared rabbi, Bicskof, not having its own cemetery, used the one in Kretsnif. The local cemetery was consecrated during World War I and among the first to be buried there was R. Judah Ivir Rosenberg. Apparently the Jews of the Romanian portion of town continued to bury their dead in Kretsnif because of the border. However, there was practically free passage between the two parts of the city. Jews had permanent passage documents, which were freely available. Not infrequently, food products were smuggled from Romania to Czechoslovakia and manufactured goods were smuggled in the reverse direction.

Besides the large and relatively elaborate synagogue, an impressive building of stone, there were two additional prayer houses. Near the flourmill was one built of wood and there was a Beit Midrash [study hall where prayers were also conducted] in R. Elazar Reinman's apartment. A fourth synagogue was in the Romanian portion of Bicskof.

The 1930s saw the beginnings of youth organizations. One after another, the various Zionist groups sponsored branches for youth. Some twenty young people organized Ze'irei Mizrahi – Mizrahi Youth. The prime mover was Fishel Ratt who fell in the Ukraine in 1942 near Stalingrad. In 1938, at the initiative of Joseph Ratt a branch of B'nai Akiva was founded. For a short time the religious nationalists had their own Beit Midrash in the women's gallery of the rabbi's house. A few dozen youth organized a branch of Betar, which at its peak had some one hundred members. The Hehalutz movement numbered about fifty. Some of them went to training farms (Hakhsharot) in Slovakia and a few went on aliya before the war. Clearly, the Hasidim and at their head the shohet, vehemently opposed these organizations. On occasion, they broke up their meetings, which were usually held in the synagogue. The head of Betar in Poland, Menachem Begin, today [1983] Israel's Prime Minister, visited Bicskof in 1936 and experienced first-hand the taste of a meeting in the synagogue that was 'broken up as soon as it started.' In his short introduction to the book [by Yehoshua Halevi] A History of Betar in Czechoslovakia (Tel Aviv, 5721/1960), Menachem Begin writes as follows:

“A bridge connects large and small Bicskof. Both were little and the bridge that separated and joined them was not very large. I do not recall the name of the river or stream that flowed beneath. But I remember well the flow of life from both sides. The Bicskof Jews were very poor; it is hard to imagine how poor and even harder to describe the depth of that poverty...but there was a great richness in spite of that poverty. I am not referring to the few in Bicskof who were considered wealthy. In both parts, even those considered wealthy were poor. The wealth of the leadership of both parts of the divided city, was of a different nature. Its name – 'belief.' From the days of my youth, I have been among believing Jews but the faith of the Jews I had an encounter with [who lived] crowded in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, what can be compared to it? I had an encounter, not necessarily pleasant, with the intensity of their belief. I came to them as a representative of Betar in 1936...but they, that is some of them, were not at all willing to listen...the meeting called in the synagogue in one of the two parts of the town, never took place. It was ended immediately after it started. Certainly, then I was bitterly disappointed and now my soul mourns for them. However, it is impossible not to nod one's head before their deep faith, the faith in which they lived and in which they died. It was their consolation in their poverty and their consolation at their end.”

Among those born in Bicskof, mention should be made of the Yiddish poet Joseph Holder, born in 1893. His father, Yechiel Holder was very learned in both Jewish and secular studies. He made his living as an accountant and by writing German language letters for local residents. At the end of his life he [Yechiel] lived in Kalush with his daughter where he died 5 February 1940. At the age of fifteen, his son Joseph published Hebrew poems in Hamitzpeh, which was published in Krakow. He later switched to Yiddish and translated Yiddish literature into Hungarian and Hungarian literature into Yiddish. A book of his poetry Aft Zingt Zikh appeared in Vilna in 1928. Along with Dr. Elijah Blank, he edited the newspaper Yudishe Zeitung in Sighet 1921/1922. He then moved to Budapest where he published translations from Hungarian in Yiddish newspapers. He was also involved in the Jewish-Hungarian press where he published translations from Yiddish. On 16 January 1945 he was murdered by Hungarian Nazis in Budapest and buried in a mass grave. After the war he was interred in an individual grave.

Mention should also be made of another Bicskof native, Joseph Keln who was born in 1892. He was a gifted engineer who worked for the Budapest tramway system. He was an avowed communist who served as Commissar (Minister) for the Nationalization of Private Property during the short-lived reign of Bela Kun (March-July 1919). After the fall of the communist government, he was sentenced to life imprisonment and was later freed in a prisoner exchange with the Soviet Union.

The Holocaust

Between the breakup of Czechoslovakia and before the Hungarian capture of Bicskof, the Ukrainian-Ruthenian nationalists ruled for six months (October 1938 – March 1939). They were better known by the designation 'Sitches.' They intimidated the Jews of the town and prepared blacklists. In reality, no violent incidents took place during their short rule. They confined themselves to extorting money, sowing fear and spreading rumors of what was going to happen in the future. During this time, the Jews lived in constant fear. When the Hungarians captured Bicskof, the Jews anticipated some relief. Their bitter disappointment came very quickly. The anti-Semitic Hungarian regime revealed itself with its violent cruelty. At first the Jews suffered economically. They robbed them from every angle and most were deprived of the means of earning a livelihood. They 'hunted' for so-called communists. Among the first victims was Fishel Moskowitz, a well-known Zionist and a member of the town's leadership group. He worked in the Isaacovitz beer cellar. Both of them were falsely accused of being communist operatives – in reality they were quiet and non-political. They were tortured to death in the cellars of the Hungarian police headquarters in Munkacz. A third Jew, Shmuel Rizl, was also tortured with them but survived and was drafted into a work battalion. Isaacovitz's son in reaction to his father's brutal murder, resolved to take revenge on the regime. He settled in Budapest, acquired [page 285] false papers and infiltrated the Hungarian Nazi Party, the Arrow Cross, as an active member. In 1944 when the country was in a state of anarchy and Jews were being randomly shot and thrown into the Danube in Budapest, he saved many through clever ruses. By his own hands, he liquidated party members who had disguised themselves as Jews [to subvert the rescue operations]. He did this by 'arranging' various accidents. After the war he settled in Israel and was among the founders of Kibbutz Parod near Safed. Today, he owns an aluminum plant in Vienna.

The terrible decree of the summer of 1941 did not bypass Bicskof. Dozens of families, totaling more than 100 people, were deported to Galicia in July 1941. Most were murdered near Kamenetz-Podolski and other places. Only two Jews succeeded in escaping. Avigdor Moskowitz, who immigrated to the United States after the war and where he died and a young woman Blimtshu Pollak. She did not return to Bicskof but joined her brother in Pressberg (Bratislava) and afterwards went into hiding in Budapest. She now lives in Australia. The gendarmes came to Bicskof with prepared lists of Jews who were to be deported. No one knew why these particular people were chosen and most were from the lower economic strata. Over the years very few people concerned themselves with properly arranging their citizenship papers. Following is a list composed by survivors of Bicskof that only covers about one third of those deported. Some were exiled with their families, while others as individuals according to the whim of the government and the gendarmerie that carried out the orders:
Feig, Getzel; Katz, Esther; Katz, Herzl; Katz, Jacob; Katz, Kalman; Kleinman, Joseph; Rosishka, Hirsch; Slomovitz, Sinai; Stein, Mordecai and Weisel, Michael.

On the day after Pesah 5702 (16 April 1944) the assembling of Bicskof Jews began prior to their being transferred to the ghetto. They were taken to the synagogue where they were robbed of anything of value and many were beaten. Three days later they were moved to the large ghetto in the city of Mateszalka in Hungary, the location where most of the Czech Marmaros Jews were deported.

There were a few attempts at escape and of going into hiding before being forced into the ghetto but most did not succeed. The Ruthenians cooperated with the murderers and turned over those who escaped. The Ilovitz family is an example. He was a wealthy lumber merchant who prepared a hiding place for his family in the forest well in advance. For a very large sum of money, one of his Ruthenian acquaintances agreed to supply them with food while in hiding. After taking all their money, he turned them over to the gendarmerie and they were forced into the ghetto.

There was a rare case where help was given. Twenty-year old Zalman Zalmanovitz fled by himself to the forest in the area of Leh Lunka [cf.] and Polien-Kosoviczki [cf.]. The watchman of the forest, a man named Juraschok hid him in a pile of fresh fodder for a month and provided him with food. The gendarmerie offered him ten kilograms of gold for information on the escaped Jew but he steadfastly denied having any information. So as not to endanger his protector, Zalmanovitz left he forest and got to Tashnad-Santo in Transylvania where the work force that included his brother was located. The officer in charge provided him with a legal transfer order for the recruitment office in the city of Baia-Mare and there he was attached to one of the work crews.

Israel Weisel also escaped on the day of the forced transfer to the ghetto. On his escape route he went through Romanian Bicskof in order to get food to a Jew by the name of David Isaac Weisel who was alone and ill in his home before he was evacuated to the ghetto. The non-Jewish neighbors saw him and informed the gendarmerie who came at once. He tried to escape through a window but was cut down by a hail of bullets. The gentiles provided him with a Jewish burial.

The experience of the youngster Meir Feig calls for special recognition. He was sickly and nearly paralyzed by a deformity in his spinal column. When the deportation took place, he was left in his house to starve, as the murderers knew that he could not leave. However, the head of the village, himself, took pity on him and secretly provided him with food. Sometime after the Jews of Bicskof were expelled, the gendarmerie remembered him and went to his house expecting to find his corpse to bury. When they discovered him alive, he was questioned, severely beaten and tortured in an attempt to find out who was caring for him. All he did was repeat a single sentence, “He who feeds the entire world also provides for me.” Near death, he never revealed the secret. Amazingly, they left and Meir Feig remained by himself in his house until the end of the war. The non-Jews, some of whom even had Jewish blood on their hands, looked upon him as a holy person and almost openly took care of all his needs. After the war, when some Jews returned to Bicskof and gave birth to children, Meir Feig taught them the Hebrew alphabet, some Humash and Rashi. Even the communist regime could not intimidate him. In 1974 when there were no longer any Jewish children in Bicskof to be taught, Meir Feig settled in Israel where he died at age fifty-four in 5736 [1976].

After the end of the war a few remnants of the Jewish community returned but conditions that prevailed under the rule of the Soviet Union precluded community life. Prayers were conducted periodically in the large synagogue until 1950. The synagogue was then expropriated and converted into a warehouse for building supplies. Each week the remnants conducted prayers at a different location, often putting a radio in a window with its volume turned up high so that outsiders would not hear the voices of those praying.

Today [1983] there are a few Jews in Czech-Russian Bicskof and a single Jew lives in Romanian part of town.

Bibliography

Arik, R. Meir. Responsa Imrei Yosher, Part I, Munkacz, 5673 [1913], Responsum #166.

Deitch, R. Eliezer. Responsa Pri Hasadeh, Part II, Pecs, 5669 [1909], Responsum #49.

Feffer, R. Alter Saul. Responsa Avnei Zikaron, Part I, Sighet, 5683 [1923], Responsa #21 & 28; Part II, Satmar, 5691 [1931], Responsa #10, 39, 45, 93 and 96; Part III, New York 5699 [1939] Introduction.

Greenwald, R. Judah. Responsa Zikhron Yehudah, Part I, Budapest, 5683 [1923], Responsum #57.

Greenwald, R. Moses. Responsa Arugot Habosem, Yoreh Deah. Samloi, 1927, Reponsa #126 and 139.

Greenwald, R. Yekutiel Judah. Holy Memorial, Part I, Sighet and the Marmaros District. New York, 5712 [1952], page 48. [Hebrew]

Ibid. A Thousand Years of Jewish Life in Hungary. New York, 5710 [1950], page 272. [Yiddish]

Horowitz, R. Arieh Leibush. Responsa Harei Besamim, Second Edition, Lemberg 5657 [1897], Responsa #115 and 130; Edition III and IV, Jerusalem 5718 [1958], Responsum # 13.

Interviews with several former Bicskof residents [their names are not indicated.

Magyar-Zsido Lexikon, Budapest, 1929, pages 376 and 460.

Magyar-Zsido Okleveltar, Volume VII, Budapest, 1963, pages 134, 308 and 748.
Maramarossziget [A periodical in Hebrew, Yiddish and Hungarian] edited by Joshua and Helen Reich, Tel Aviv; No. 1, page 2; No. 24, page 4, Number 47, page 3. [dates of issues not given]

Schwadron, R. Shalom Mordecai Hakohen. Responsa of Marharsham, Part I, Warsaw, 5662 [1902], Responsa #20, 105, 146 and 208; Part II, Satmar, 5670 [1910] Responsa #81, 82, 168, 225, 233, 327, 328, 364 and 373; Part V, Seani, 5686 [1926], Responsum #84; Part VI, 5706-5728 [1946-1968], Responsa #76, 106 and 131.

Schick, R. Moses. Responsa of Marharam Schick, Munkacz, 5641 [1881], Responsum # 246.


Translator's note: I originally translated the entry for Bicskof in Sefer Marmaros in Tishrei 5757 (1996) for my dear friend Erwin Froman [Freimovitz] – Yitzhak Eizik ben Efroim, born in Bicskof 1928. In June 1944, he was transferred from Auschwitz to Mauthausen where his prisoner number was 74867. Erwin, a member of Congregation Agudath Bnai Israel in Lorain, Ohio where I served as rabbi 1977-1986, introduced me to the rich pre-war Jewish life in Marmaros. After the war, he brought the Torah scroll that he read from in the Landsberg DP Camp to Lorain and dedicated it in memory of his parents who did not survive the Holocaust. He willingly gave of his time serving the congregation in any way he could and faithfully assisted me in all of my rabbinic duties. I thank Erwin for his willingness to share this translation with the general public.

Shalom Bronstein, 28 Iyar 5768 - Yom Yerushalyim, Jerusalem

List of Jewish surnames mentioned in this article:

Ashkenazi
Atteh
Berkowitz
Britvitz
Brivitz
Epstein
Farkash
Fastinger
Feffer
Feig
Feldman
Freimovitz
Froman
Fruber
Garber
Green
Greenberg
Hagar
Halder
Hanz
Holder
Ilovitz
Isaacovitz
Jaeger
Kahan
Kahn
Kamil
Katz
Keln
Kleinman
Landa
Mahrir
Moskowitz
Pollak
Ratt
Ratteh
Reich
Reinman
Rizl
Rosenbaum
Rosenberg
Rosishka
Sheiner
Sheps
Sholowitz
Shub
Slomovitz
Smalhousen
Stein
Steinmetz
Tabak
Tirkel
Urbach
Wald
Weisel
Weiss
Wiesel
Zalmanovitz

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