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[Page 312]

The Holocaust Survivors from Radzyn

On the road to their homeland in Israel and to other countries
(According to material provided by Tzvi Liberzon)


Spring 1945. The battle lines move deeper and deeper into German territory and the Polish territories have fewer and fewer Russian troops: The Soviets are preparing for their grand offensive against Berlin that will be the final blow to Hitlerism.

The Russian Air Force unit, which was stationed in Radzyn at the aerodrome in the Marianka suburb, was sent westward, and only a few Russian military personnel remained. The reactionary Polish Underground Organization, as well as the partisan “Armye Kryova”, utilized this situation and stepped up the war against the few Jewish survivors of the tempest who were scattered about in cities and towns.

Great fear fell upon the few Jews who were left in Radzyn. They could still see before them the sad picture of the seven Jews from the Shtetl of Wohyn who were killed recently by the above-mentioned Polish murderers. The district was shocked again by another murder of Jews this time in Czemierniki among whose victims was Hershel Pontshak from Radzyn.

The life of the Jews in the whole of the Lublin region became more and more difficult and unsafe. The Polish underground organization turned the area into a partisan murder zone, especially so among the scattered Jewish towns. Parczew, Wohyn and Czemierniki again became 'yudenrein'. Jews began fleeing from Lukow too. Traveling from one city to another became perilous. The Polish bandits took people off the trains and automobiles and shot them. Along the way could be seen graffiti 'bi jzida' (beat the Jews) as if the millions of Polish Jewish victims had not been enough. It suddenly became clear to the Jewish survivors that there was no possibility of remaining in Poland and that they must again take the wanderers staff in hand.

From the entire Lublin region the Jews began to move in the direction of Silesia, which had just recently been taken from the Germans. The Russian Army was in control, and life was safe. Many Jews settled in Warsaw. Many others set out on an illegal journey to Italy, from there to sail to Eretz Yisroel.

Many Jews who had survived the war in Russia began arriving in the previously mentioned German evacuated areas. Thus most of the Polish Jewish survivors (including those from Radzyn) were gathered in this Polish-German area, and especially in Lodz, Szczecin, and Dzierzoniow.

Mail from all over the world, from Russia, America and from Eretz Yisroel began arriving with questions about the surviving relatives, as well as with help for the survivors. From here were heard the first of the survivors cries for help.

In Lodz a committee of Radzyner Jews was founded which established a Self-Help Fund and then made contact with the Radzyner Relief in New York. The Radzyn Jews in America (whose leader was the Yaakov Greenblatt succeeded by Mendel Lichtenshtein) responded warmly by giving all possible aid. Committees similar to the one in Lublin were established in Szczecin and Dzierzoniow.

Lodz and its surroundings served only as a temporary oasis. The main stream of survivors of Polish Jewry, including those from Radzyn, went on to Germany, which was already in the hands of the Americans and the British. The Jews gathered in the camps with hope of finding a way from there to Israel. The Jews from Radzyn (approximately 100 souls) were located mostly in Bad-Reichenhall and Ulm.

On the sixth of May 1947 almost all the Radzyn Jews in Germany gathered in Ulm for a memorial service for the departed. This first gathering was both moving and heart-rending. This was the first meeting for many of the survivors since the end of the fearsome war and slaughter. The eulogy was made by Hershel Liberson and the cantor sang the 'El Molle Rachamim' (God The Merciful) prayer. When the gathering heard that four thousand Radzyners had perished, they broke out into weeping that no one could or wanted to calm.

A year later a second memorial took place in Bad-Reichenhall. Fewer Radzyners came to this service because many had left Germany on their way to their new homes.

In 1949 the last Radzyners left Germany (two of them Menachem Appleboim and Menachem Niskern 'of blessed memory' died in Germany). With a curse on their lips, they left for Israel by different direct and indirect routes. Many of them were first sent to the island of Cyprus but most of them found their way to Israel.

With a blessing in their hearts the remnants of Radzyn Jewry reached home.
'One of the first letters received from Poland'
Lodz, 13. vi-46

My Best and Dearest Radzyn Jewish brothers in New York!

A fter more than six and a half nightmarish and difficult years, brought on by the war, after six and a half years being torn away from our homes and families, we a small group of Radzyners , returned from Russia. We found none of our near ones and could not even recognize the town in which we once lived .The houses are gone, and the streets of our Radzyn are unrecognizable. We met only a few Radzyn Jews who were saved from the hands of the German murderers. Just a shadow of the four thousand Radzyner Jews. There are now left in Poland up to 220 Radzyners, spread out among a few towns. We are in a terrible and disastrous state, with no means of making a living, uprooted, hungry and sick. Where we spend the day we do not spend the night, we are literally homeless. The help given by the committee is minimal. Therefore we appeal to you our closest brothers in America to help us materially, the sooner the better. In Lodz we have set up a committee with five members, which quickly organized a campaign among Radzyner Jews to which they contributed their last coins for those who were needier. We collected fifteen thousand zlotes, which we immediately distributed among the most destitute. There are already some seventy Radzyn Jews in Lodz and others will are still coming. If you could send money with an emissary it would be appreciated.

This is the composition of the committee.

Honorary President H. Burstein (The secretary of the Jewish Community in Lodz)

Itsche Meir Reb Eizish
H. Liberzon – president (is already in Austria)
Yisrael Appeloig (has left for Germany)
Moshe Goldfarb – Treasurer
Zavel Fine – Member
Ethel Tshervian – Member

We ask to send all correspondence and aid to the following address:

THE JEWISH RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION OF LODZ
66 Zachodnia St.
c/o H. Burystyn for the Committee of Radzyn Jews.
President: Liberson.

PS  The only active member of the committee is Yisroel Goldreich, Sheiveh Tzinies' Aron the bookeeper.


A List of Holocaust Survivors who gathered in Germany
  1. Abman, Wolf
  2. Abman, Freda
  3. Eagelnick, Golde
  4. Appleboim, Yankel
  5. Appleboim, Henech
  6. Appleboim, Menachem
  7. Appeloig, Yosef
  8. Appeloig, Blume (Fishboim)
  9. Appeloig, Zelig
  10. Appeloig, Yisroel
  11. Ackereisen, Yitzchak
  12. Ackereisen, Feivel
  13. Ackereisen, Avraham
  14. Barger, Mottel
  15. Butman, Yoel
  16. Blumenkop, Zlote
  17. Blumenkop, Sarah
  18. Blumenkop, Manya
  19. Berman, Regina
  20. Goldbord, Leibl
  21. Gottesdiner, Yisroel
  22. Gottesdiner, Chaya
  23. Gottesdiner, Sarah
  24. Goldwasser, Yosef
  25. Gradovtchick, Leah
  26. Greenberg, Dora
  27. Greenberg, Tetsche (Zilberberg)
  28. Grindland, Chana
  29. Gritzmacher, Sheime
  30. Horowitz, Bashe (Vorember)
  31. Himmelboim, Binyomin
  32. Hirshbein, Yitzchak
  33. Hirshbein, Yossel
  34. Hirshbein, Miriam
  35. Hirshbein, Rachel
  36. Hirshbein, Pola
  37. Herbst, Mendel
  38. Vagonski, Isaac
  39. Volovski, Malka (Burak)
  40. Vassershtrom,Yisroel
  41. Vassershtrom, Menuchah (Fleisik)
  42. Weissgroz, Nechemia
  43. Weissgroz, Rachel
  44. Weissgroz, Malkeh
  45. Weisman, Fradel,
  46. Weitzman, Itke (Goldwasser)
  47. Visoka, Binye (Shulman)
  48. Vrubel, Shiye
  49. Vrubel, Liebe (Fleisik)
  50. Vrubel, Tzviah (Shulman)
  51. Zaltzstein, Zanvel
  52. Zaltzstein, Mordecai
  53. Zilbermintz, Yankel
  54. Zilberberstein, Chaim
  55. Szelonickviat, Berish
  56. Turkeltoib, Yossel
  57. Tannenboim, Tzviah (Appleboim)
  58. Tentzer, Gusta (Finkelstein)
  59. Last, Bracha (Feigenboim)
  60. Liberzson, Hershel
  61. Liberzson, Rachel (Artstein)
  62. Liberzson, Tzviah
  63. Liberzson, Zelig
  64. Leichter, Yoseph
  65. Levin, Tobe(Branitzka)
  66. Moravietz, Rachel (Zysman)
  67. Migdal, Feivel
  68. Mittlebach, Leah (Appleloig)
  69. Mintzmacher, Shalom
  70. Nussboim, Moishe-Hersh
  71. Sudberg, Frania
  72. Sudberg, Chana
  73. Sudberg, Yente
  74. Pasternak, Azshe
  75. Farbiasz, Lieber
  76. Fine, Sara
  77. Finebuch, Bracha (Artstein)
  78. Fleisik, Devora (Lerner)
  79. Fleisik, Michael
  80. Fleisik, Lipe
  81. Friedman, Tzvia (Zysman)
  82. Friedman, Moishe
  83. Freter, Rachel
  84. Kagan, Shoshe (Goldstein)
  85. Korman, Sender
  86. Kupervasser, Devora
  87. Kuperschmid, Moishe
  88. Rovniak, Leibl
  89. Rovniak, Hertzke
  90. Rosenboim, Levi
  91. Rosenboim, ???
  92. Rosenblum, Peretz
  93. Rotshtein, Chaim
  94. Rubinshtein,Yossel
  95. Rubinshtein, Simeh (Weissgrosz)
  96. Shulman,Yisroel
  97. Schtzupak,Yosef
  98. Schmietankah, Nechemia
  99. Schmietankah, Dovid
  100. Schmietankah, Chana (Rosenboim)
  101. Shenker, Shprintze


[Pages 321-325]

About Moishelach and Shloimelach
and a Life that Vanished

Aryeh Lazar, (Tel Aviv)

There under the little green trees
Little Moshes and little Shlomos play no more
It's been long since Moshe has gone to the forest
And Shlomo has reached a new shore
Let me tell you now, their story again
About Little Moshes and little Shlomos, and the life that was then.

This shtetl was like all the shtetls around
Surrounded by forests, with a river flowing through
With fields along the length and breadth
Sown and farmed by the peasants
With gardeners, bathers and Sadovnike Jews
And Market–day each Wednesday and pompous fairs
Many peasants with their heavily loaded wagons
With merchandise of all sorts for all that wanted
Wheat merchants, swift and strong like burning fire
And wagon drivers ready. A bustling town!
A shtetl with Jews, many workers and very few rich men
A Rabbinical court. A Rabbi and Chassids
And a youth who felt that their shtetl was small
And wishes to go out into the big wide world
Radzyn was a town with varied dwellers
Like all the shtetls around it
But now we'll leave the shtatl aside
And tell of just two who lived there in stormy times

The country didn't hear much of Moshe
There were no legends about him, and no songs written of him
Until today, no one has built a memorial for him
But still, Moshe was a hero of heroes
His childhood years flew by,
Hot summers, cool autumns, and snow falls
Behold he sits in Cheder and ponders a Rashi.

[Page 322]

The hours pass by, night is already falling
And can Mendel Hersh, Lipa's son, the teacher, understand
That besides for Chumash and Rashi, the street is so beautiful
And that swimming in Midlartzik is so refreshing
Or the fun of racing on the open meadows
To play tennis on the empty field
And even the balls made of rags, (fathers don't give money for balls).
You find him later with the rich children
In shul by “David Fishel's”, that's where he is learning now
He is learning Tanach and Hebrew and other studies
(Blachovitsh is the teacher there, ever so devoted
And he and Shua Friedman help raise the generation)
He left the Jewish school in Pawshechna
Fought with the gentiles, and learnt there with fear
That's how his childhood and school years disappeared
A Jewish teen, in the cycle of life.

A Jewish teen in the cycle of life
What can he demand, to what can he aspire
If the shtetl is small, and around him, it is shining
The country is like a stepmother, an obvious enemy
From early on, he searches for the point of the journey
Is it possible to escape the horrible threatening days
The streets of the shtetl crisscross, they run on far
Those who seek their fortunes, search on the other side of the ocean
On far off seashores, although foreign and alone
He sets out on the long journey
Another one gets fascinated by the tidings from Israel
What the Jews are building there for their Jewish brethren
A third one says “fight!” against the bad world
And will fight with power for his rights
Moshe, a boy no more, left the shtetl then
He learnt a trade and works very hard
In his workplace, Moshe took up

[Page 323]

His place with the fighters, gearing up for the times to come
He threw himself then into Life's fervor
He's not afraid of hunger and laughs at danger–
–That surrounds him, but follows his path
Moshe found his path for life
So day follows day, and years go by
He joined the leagues in the front lines.

From times gone by, from the distance of paths
The figure of R' Shlomo comes towards me
Behold he walks steadily, his head held high
He generates power, and he radiates belief
He is the Rabbi, and his students–
– Are the young fathers, Radzyn Chassids
This generation, full of Torah and Heavenly awe
And with true belief in the Almighty Creator
In the heavens, which are full of His holy name
And on earth, He will redeem us when the Messiah will come
And until the time of redemption comes
He is the Rabbi, A loyal shepherd, a consoler
Their leader, their doer, and their supplicator before God
For health and wealth, for his herd, his city
So what if hatred and fury overwhelm
Hanging like a sword over the Jewish streets
The Rabbi believes, his faith is strong,
That God will guard every Jewish home
And protect the Jews, His nation, from stormy times
Like a father to his child, like a loyal shepherd
For him, everything around him is meaningless
Save for his prayers, his learning the holy books
The Rabbi is tranquil, he knows of no fear
He is protected by the heavens and the holy Torah.

In September 1939, the shtetl was awoken
By the explosion of bombs, by death and fear

[Page 324]

From then, like a shadow that never passes
Death followed all, until the last Jewish soul yet
The cross and wings, (swastika) emblem on the uniform of the angel of death
He knows of no mercy, no boundary, no limit
The old, and the young, the big, and chick–like small
There is no more Radzyn, nobody is left
But –it's not silent in the shtetl, of ruins and graves,
Of lives cut short and holy books burned
Of rivers full of tears, of wounds of pain
The last cry is carried over the country
Of boiling bloods, they know of no comfort
And until the last Jew, they cry out for revenge!

The Polish forests stand, clothed in night
From there, Moshe leads the partisans to battle
He gathered them, those who escaped the ghettos
Those who jumped from the cattle trains, and hid in bunkers
He armed them with guns, with bullets and dynamite
Now they carried fire and burning hatred
It grew in their hearts like branches on trees
And cannot endure, promised no longer to remain silent
So they carried along under the wings of night
For Germans on the roads, for soldiers on guard
For trains cutting through land, like knives slicing through bread
For all, they now carried revenge and death
Moshe Partisan, his name rang out with terror
He reigned like a ghost on the Polish routes
The enemies' footsteps burned him, robbed him of sleep,
Demanded and judged, sentenced them and punished
For homes, fathers and mothers, for ruined cities
For snuffed out lives, for jeering and shame.

In a house in Wladova, in those trial–filled days
R' Shlomo searched for a path to the heavens

[Page 325]

The heavens that hung silent and grim
In the face of slaughter and destruction below
He fasted many a day, and many times
Cried over his Tehillim [psalms] together with the congregation
With broken hearts, begged for mercy
But his prayers did not reach all the way
And but a small handful of people remained alive
So what should he do, what advice can he give them
What should he tell his flock
The Rabbi, R' Shlomo, the last of the readers
In the days of struggle with himself and with God
Finally, Rabbi Shlomo came up with the answer to the secret
If the fate is death, and destruction the end
Let it be an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth
And so from the shtetls, the young and the old
Upon instruction of the Radzyn Rabbi, set out toward the forests
To the forest they went and with ammunition in their hands
Had the enemy pay with their lives for the murder and mockery
May be the hand of revenge be praised and exalted
As long as there is breath, and until the last licks of spirit

Many years have passed since then
Poland fell, then was freed and built up again
Once again the streets were full of life and joy
And the wounds of yesterday are healed with time
Just one wound remained, she's bloody and dripping still
The wound of the slaughtered Polish Jew.

And there under the little green trees
Little Moshes and Little Shlomos play no more
The earth covered Moshe in the forests with love
And R' Shlomo also passed on to the eternal world


[Pages 326-327]

Yisrael Lichtenstein: His Last Will and Testament

Idah Zigelman

I met Yisrael Lichtenstein for the first time in 1935 in Warsaw where I had gone after living for many years in Palestine. I saw him then full of youthful energy and ready to take on different functions but most of all he wanted to go to Palestine. His brother in Tel-Aviv and my husband, who was a childhood friend, could not arrange this. The obstacles to his doing so were not overcome and the war of annihilation befell him in Warsaw where he had already developed and became known as an excellent educator and talented editor.

It was a decree from the god of history and memory that he should remain among his people in Warsaw and be the right hand man to Dr. Emmanuel Ringleblum the founder of the secret archive of the Warsaw ghetto.

Already in the winter of 1939-40 when the first group of collectors was established, Israel Lichtenstein became the secretary of the archives and the collector and the preserver of the materials. Because of his training as a metal worker, which he had acquired before beginning his pedagogic work, he succeeded in preserving all the material that was collected during the whole ghetto period and to hide them in metal boxes which he made with his own two hands. He gathered all this material in the kitchen of his former school (“Borochov”).There it was sorted, packed and hidden in a special pit dug in the cellar of the house. He was helped by his wife, the artist Gila Sakstein.

His tremendous eagerness to leave behind some remembrance and documentation of the terrible suffering that the magnificent Jewish community of Warsaw had experienced, gave him and his friends the strength to resist the persecution and the destruction. Until the last moment, they were hiding in the depths of the earth doing their holy work. However, with the ghetto revolt and the third German 'Aktzia', he and his family were destroyed by the Nazi fire.

In one of those boxes, Yisrael Lichtenstein's personal will was found in which we are commanded to remember Amalek forever and to record his foul deeds in eternal disgrace. This part of his will, especially the part about the suffering of our town of Radzyn, was edited with great love and perseverance by my husband who was a close friend of Lichtenstein's and collected and carefully edited this material thus creating The Radzyn Book.

Yes, “those who were lovely and pleasant during their lives, and in their death not divided.”


[Page 327]

Shimon Kleinboim

Y. Lust

From the most noted activists of Radzyn Jewry. He was smart, educated and noble, and despite that, a man of the people. He was alert to the goings–on, lent a listening ear to every needy requester. He was beloved by the entire city. He was murdered along with his wife and their daughter towards the end of the war, shortly before liberation.


Yisrael Moshe Rubinstein

Y. Lust

Externally, he was tall and handsome, but this was accompanied by broad knowledge. He was blessed with rare talent. He was the livewire of many activities and organizations in Radzyn. On top of all that, he had a gentle heart.

Out in the wild, the Nazi beast cut his life short at the young age of 32 years.


[Page 328]

Among the fallen

Yisroel'ke Saltzer


Was in recent years a leader and mentor of the Zionist-Pioneer Youth. He was the nerve center of all Zionist activities.

Gershon Hanoch Puntshak

Was among the first members of “Zeire Zion.” He was an educated and refined leader of the Po'alei Zion Zionist Socialists. Fell at Oesweincem.

Shlomo Muscat

One of the spiritual leaders of the Left Po'alei Zion in Radzyn. Murdered by those Poles who gave him refuge.

Yaakov Levi

A leader of the Left Po'alei Zion Youth. Devoted and faithful to both its ideals and to his friends. Fell in the town of Starie-Dorogi in the Minsk district.

Yitzchak Butman

A noble activist of the Bund in Radzyn. He was an intellectual, who lived his whole life in poverty supporting himself by manual labor. Died in exile in Russia.

Leah'tze Gelibter

An activist of the Bund and its representative to the Radzyn City Council. There she was a brave and stubborn opponent of every manifestation of anti-Semitism or reaction.

Moshe- Shua Rotshtein

One of the veteran Bund organizers in Radzyn. He was an intellectual well versed in Yiddish literature. Supported himself by working as a carpenter his whole life.

Chaim-Yitzchak Gelerman

Representative of the Jewish National Fund for some twenty five years. His house served as a meeting place for Zionists of all persuasions.

Matityahu Goldwasser

Served as Gelerman's right hand man in work for the Jewish National Fund and other Zionist funds.Was active and activated others for various Zionist projects.

Simcha Goldwasser

Active in various Jewish national affairs. Director of the Jewish People's Bank after the death of Yaakov Kantor.

Yaakov Blechovitz

Principal of the Jewish National School (later Tarbut School) from the date of its founding in 1916 He educated toward Hebrew and Zionism He played a very important part in the development of the Zionist Pioneer Youth Movements in the city.

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