Podhajce Holocaust survivors next to
the communal grave in Stara Miasto
On May 22, 1947, a gathering of the Jewish survivors of Podhajce took place in Bad-Reichenhall (Bavaria, Germany), with the participation of 79 survivors from Podhajce and the region, who had come from all of the refugee camps in Western Germany.
Mr. Yehuda Weissman, who organized the committee of Podhajce survivors in Bad-Reichenhall and initiated the gathering, opened the meeting and recommended that the following be appointed to the chairmanship: Messrs. Izak Fink, Oskar Eisenberg, Yeshayahu Freidman, Yitzchak Weitreich, Yitzchak Shourz, Nathan Brecher, Moshe Zawalower, Nathan Marmisz, and Marcus Shulman. Similarly, he recommended that Mr. Izak Fink be the honorary president of the gathering, Mrs. Oscan Eisenberg as the chairman, and Mr. Yeshayahu Friedman as the secretary.
His recommendations were accepted with a small amendment: Mr. Yehuda Weissman would join the leadership.
The chairman Mr. Oscar Eisenberg read out the order of the day:
a) The arranging of a memorial ceremony to the martyrs of Podhajce and region, and the display of memorabilia from the era of the Holocaust in the ghetto of Podhajce.
b) Elections to the general committee of Podhajce Natives.
c) A discussion of the behavior of several natives of the city who participated in activities with the Nazi murderers.
e) Acceptance of resolutions.
Mr. Oscar Eisenberg opened by stating:
Brothers and sisters! We, Jews of Podhajce, Zlotniki, Wiśniowczyk, Zawalow, Gorzhanka and Tustowawa, have gathered here today to survey and understand who from our city and region has remained alive after the barbaric murderous deeds of the Nazis and their assistants. Similarly, we must establish a memorial day for the martyrs of our city, and recite Kaddish in their memory.
All of the assembled rose to their feet in memory of the martyrs. Cantor Roner recited El Moleh Rachamim, and the elder of the community Mr. Izak Fink recited Kaddish in their memory.
Mr. Yitzchak Shourz received the right to speak, and said:
Dear brothers! It fell in my lot to be in Podhajce throughout the entire era of the Holocaust, to see the blood of our brethren spilled as water outside the city. I myself suffered no small amount, and it was a great merit for me that I survived and stand among you today. As he surveyed the events, Mr. Shourz reminisced that the majority of the Ukrainian population participated in the murder of the Jews of Podhajce with their full heart and soul. He concluded with the call, Jews! Do not forget this! We must pursue these war criminals and take revenge about them! (By bringing them to judgement before the authorized institutions.)
Mr. Yehuda Weissman took the right to speak and said:
Dear brothers and sisters! Four years ago at this time, our city passed through its final death throes. The last Jews, who survived the aktions and slaughters, walked broken and crushed along their final path. With false promises and deceit, as was their way at all times, the Nazis gathered the last Jews, pretending to transfer them to the ghetto of Tarnopol. However, the transfer concluded very quickly, not far from the city in Zahajce. Thus were all of our dear ones gathered up within the brief period of two years, approximately 5,000 residents of Podhajce and environs.
Mr. Weissman showed the gathering the form of a monument upon which was written: Remember what Amalek did unto you! Let the nation of Israel remember the 6,000,000 martyrs who were murdered and burned in sanctification of the Divine name and the nation. Avenge the spilled blood of your brethren! He continued on saying, Dear brothers and sisters! At the top of the slope, we are standing today before the communal monument for 6,000,000 of our brethren. We recall the tribulations and hellish suffering that were the lot of our unfortunate brethren. We cannot forget the war criminals who murdered our dear ones in cold blood.
Aharon Shourz (from Zlotniki) stressed in his words that the place for the survivors is in the Land of Israel. We must not continue to be a nation scattered in all corners of the earth! We must remain together and build our home, our Land! I express the wish that next year, we will be able to arrange our memorial in our Land, in the Land of Israel.
In his words, Mr. Moshe Zawalower discussed the terrible tragedy of the Holocaust that has no equal in the annals of world history. He recalled the fact that Jewish blood was not only spilled in ghettoes, but also on all the fronts. Thereby, they gave their part in the attainment of victory over the fascist murderers.
The chairman moved over to the second section of the program: the selection of a general committee for the survivors of Podhajce. After a brief debate, seven members were chosen for the committee: Yeshayahu Friedman, Yehuda Weissman, Oskar Eisenberg, Yitzchak Shourz, Yaakov Gross, Motia Shulman, and Moshe Zawalower.
The chairman opened up the discussion of the third section of the program: the behavior of the members of the Jewish militia during the Holocaust era.
The members Yitzchak Shourz, Getzel Blecher, Yerucham Shulman, Leib Frankel, Sala Sperber, Yitzchak Frankel, Yosef Pistreich, and Zigo
Lateiner pointed out that a few of the members of the Jewish militia (who survived) were saved by performing their task in a malicious manner, and they caused great troubles to Jews. During one of the aktions, Riva Har also exposed a bunker where approximately 50 Jews were hidden. However, one can assume that she did this out of fear lest she be taken to be killed if she tried to mislead the Germans.
We moved over to the acceptance of resolutions, and the following resolutions were accepted.
a) The 3rd of Sivan will be the memorial day for the martyrs of Podhajce and the region.
b) The members Yitzchak Shourz, Getzel Blecher, Leib Frankel, Yerucham Shulman, and Yosel Pistreich were requested to compose a description of life in Podhajce during the time of the war, and of the murder aktions that were perpetrated in the Podhajce ghetto during the German occupation. This composition will be sent to the committee for assistance of the Podhajce Natives in the United States, and the Podhajce natives of Israel.
c) Those gathered expressed their heartfelt thanks to the members Yehuda Weissman, Yeshayahu Friedman, Shimon Fink and Yaakov Gross, who were the forces behind the memorial gathering.
d) The committee that was chosen at this meeting was asked to turn to the assistance committee of Podhajce natives in the United States with the request of material help for the needy among the refugees of Podhajce.
e) Those gathered decided that some of the members of the Ordenungs-Dienst who survived carried out their tasks with maliciousness during the period of Nazi occupation.
f) The committee must pursue with great persistence several Ukrainian war criminals who are walking around free in Germany, and ensure that they are brought to judgement before the appropriate authorities.
g) Yeshayahu Friedman was asked to produce the minutes of the gathering and send copies of it to the assistance committee in the United States, the Podhajce natives in the Land of Israel, and all members of the committee who were chosen at that gathering.
The aforementioned minutes were signed by Izak Fink, honorary chairman; Oskar Eisenberg, chairman; and Yeshayahu Friedman, secretary.
The gathering of the Holocaust survivors of Podhajce Jewry in Bad Reichhall
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