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[Page 300]

Ratners Will Always Be Ratners

by Zeev Grabov

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Our sages have said, “In the future, the Land of Israel will spread throughout all the lands”. From here it would seem that even such a small town as Ratno can spread out and expand... Whoever has any doubt about this will be convinced from the following episodes -- all of which are true.

Once Moshe Droog, a Ratno native, was driving in his large car to an important meeting in an institution of which he was a director. When he approached Rishon Letzion, a policeman of the traffic division stopped him and said curtly and seriously, “Sir, you are driving at more than 100 kilometers per hour, give me your drivers license and all of your documentation. I am writing you a ticket.” Moshe Droog stuck his head out the window and began to explain something to the traffic policeman. However, when the traffic policeman looked at the driver, a smile came over his face and he said, “Is it possible? Moshe Droog, the son of Reb Avraham Droog of Ratno, would hold his life so cheaply? Would you have driven in Ratno with such a speed on a wagon hitched to a scrawny horse?”

Moshe Droog was astonished, and the policeman saw the need to add an explanation, “Do you not recognize me? It is not surprising, for when you made aliya, I was a child of about eight years old. A Ratno native finds it difficult to write a traffic ticket for a native of his own town, so here is your warning: Drive slowly and carefully!”

*

Here is a story about Shmulik Goldman who served as the secretary of the workers' council of Rishon Letzion. Shmulik was sitting in his office, pensive and sad. The work shortage in the moshava (at that time, Rishon Letzion was a moshava) was worsening, and today there was to be a workers' demonstration in front of the offices of the workers' council. The workers did not come to work and advised him as well not to be absent during the demonstration, but he was not prepared to accept such advice. He was prepared to negotiate with the workers. He had what to say to them, for he was not sparing any efforts in trying to minimize the work shortage.

As he was still immersed in his thoughts, he already heard the shouts of “bread and work” from the demonstrators who approached the building of the workers' council. Shmulik looked outside the window and saw the throngs of demonstrators, headed by a strong young man who was shouting directions and orders. Shmulik left his office and stood at the outside door, preparing to greet the demonstrators and tell them what he had to tell them. However, the leader of the demonstration started to talk first, and he specifically spoke in Yiddish. He asked the demonstrators to stop their shouts of “broit un arbeit” (bread and work), and gave a fiery speech

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about the tribulations of the new olim and the urgent necessity for action from the institutions to create sources of work. He spoke a sweet Volhynian Yiddish which was extremely recognizable to the secretary of the Rishon Letzion Workers' Council. Shmulik attempted to say his piece and advise that the demonstrators choose their delegation to discuss the measures that could be taken, however their spirits were afire, and the demonstrators did not want to hear his words. At that moment, an idea flashed through Shmulik's mind. He turned to the leader of the demonstrators, and said to him, “Listen to me comrade, your Yiddish reminds me very much of my hometown.”

“What town?” asked the leader of the demonstration.

“A small town in Volhynia, called Ratno,” answered Shmulik.

“You are from Ratno? Unbelievable.”

Shmulik responded calmly, “Yes I am from Ratno, the son of Shamai Goldman. Does that name mean anything to you.”

At the sound of those words, the head of the demonstrators approached Shmulik, hugged him, and then turned to the demonstrators, calling out, “Comrades, stop shouting! We have someone here with whom we can talk! Let us choose a delegation and sit together with the secretary of the council to discuss how we can solve the work shortage.”

While Shmulik was still standing in surprise over the sudden turn of events, the youth added, “I am from the village of Datyn, not far from Ratno. When I was still a child, I would often come to Ratno to visit the home of my uncle Woli Levant. During the war, I was a partisan and I fought against the Nazis. I want you to know that from now, you have reliable support from this community, and one can depend on people from Ratno!”

*

That morning, it was very crowded in the Kupat Cholim infirmary on Rothschild Street In Petach Tikva. An official was standing at the main entrance and greeting anyone who arrived with a smile and a good morning wish, in accordance with the new protocols instituted by the order keeper, a former Ratno native. Inside, next to the counter, Moshe Gutman, also a Ratno native, is sitting, supervising the distribution of notes to the doctors. Shouts from inside reached the ears of the order keeper or the supervisor. He went inside and saw that a muddied woman was standing next to Moshe Gutman's desk, and shouting, “I came especially from Moshav Nechalim. I must visit a woman's doctor. I have not yet milked the cows in the village, and there is a bus from Nechalim to Petach Tikva only twice a day. Give me a number for a woman's doctor.”

Gutman, who was dedicated to Kupat Cholim with heart and soul, told her that he had run out of numbers of the woman's doctors, and the doctor was refusing to accept patients beyond the established quota. However, his words did not convince the woman. When the argument reached a high pitch, the order keeper approached the woman and asked her to give him her membership booklet. When he looked at her booklet he said to her, “Wait a minute, we will try to see what can be done for you.”

He approached Gutman and said to him quietly. “Moshe, see, this woman is

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from Ratno. Give her a number reserved for the most urgent situations.” Moshe smiled upon hearing these words, and gave the woman a number for the women's doctor. He said to her, “Why did you not tell me that you are from Ratno? Who are you from Ratno?”

“What Ratno is in your head?” retorted the woman. “My name is Ratner, and that is all.”
“This time you put one over me,” said Moshe the Ratner to the order keeper, a native of Ratno. The woman with the number also smiled. She never imagined that there would be so much charm in her name.

*

Here is another episode, that I would not have believed had I not heard with my own ears, for the incident was indeed as follows.

Yaakov Wolonta, who had moved from Ratno to Denver, Colorado, USA, was turning over in his bed at night with a dream that recurred each night. He saw himself at sunrise in the vegetable garden of Melnik the tanner, picking ears of corn and hiding them in a bag. Suddenly he felt as if tongs were clasping his neck, and that strong blows were being administered to his back to the point “that he could see his grandmother”, as we used to say in Ratno. He turned his head and saw Shalom Melnik, who was two years older than him, ready to deliver one more blow, however he let up when he saw Yaakov's face turn yellow, and he said, “Do you desire our corn?” Yaakov escaped like an arrow from a bow, but when he was already a distance away from Melnik, he declared, “Wait, wait, one day I will settle my accounts with you. You will not come out clean from my hands, and I will never forget your blows!”

After this “vision” repeated itself for several nights, Yaakov decided, “This is nothing other than the finger of G-d.” He must complete his accounting with Melnik, who, as far as he knew, lived now in New York. He told his wife about his decision to travel to New York, and his American wife mocked him, “Have you gone crazy, to undertake a trip of this nature to 'conclude a matter' of more than sixty years ago. The spirit of foolishness has overtaken you!”

That night, he once again dreamed that dream, and he decided, “Let my wife's opinion be as it may.” He felt it necessary to travel. He booked a place on an airplane, and the next day, when the streets of New York were covered with snow up to the neck, he arrived at Shalom Melnik's door. Before he rang the doorbell he deliberated about whether he should extend his hand to Shalom as usual, or perhaps he should deliver a strong blow, the same type that he suffered from him 60 years ago in the vegetable garden in Ratno...”

He rang the doorbell, and a white-haired woman with a pleasant appearance opened the door. She was surprised by this morning visit on such a snowy day, and asked him what he wanted. Yankel answered, “I have come especially from Denver, Colorado to see your husband Shalom. I have an urgent matter to discuss with him.” His wife explained that her husband was not well, and was still sleeping. “Nevertheless,”

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said Yankel, “wake him up, for the issue cannot be put off. Tell him that a Jew from Ratno has come to see him.” After a few minutes, a bent-over Jew came out of his room, wearing winter slippers and a scarf on his neck. Yankel recognized him immediately. This was Shalom, who had beaten him in Ratno. He walked to greet him. They recognized each other, hugged and kissed each other. Then Yaakov tapped Shalom lightly on the back and said to him, “Here, I have paid you back. I told you then in Ratno that I will never forget the beating that you administered to me regarding the corn in your vegetable garden. Now the repeated dream will no longer afflict me.”

“I am happy to see you here in my house,” answered Shalom, and told his wife to serve the important guest from Denver, Colorado in an ample fashion. The surprised wife did what her husband wanted. With a good heart, and over cups of whiskey, Shalom explained to his wife the meaning of the “urgent matter” that brought the guest from Colorado to their home...

[Page 304]

Dvora and Avraham Berg at the monument in memory of the martyrs in Germany

 

Translator's note: partial translation of the monument (not all of it is clear in the photograph):

Remember what the Nazis did with our people. They killed six million.
(next four lines are unclear)
May G-d Remember
And may their holy souls be bound in the bonds of eternal life
And may their blood be avenged
And let us say Amen.
May their souls be bound in the bonds of eternal life.

Ratno, 13 Elul 5702
August 25, 1942
}


[Page 305]

On the Communal Activities
of Ratno Natives in Argentina

by Zeev Grabov

Translated by Jerrold Landau

The ordinary Jews of Argentina are likely to think that our Ratno is a large city whose Jewish population certainly reached into the tens of thousands. I have experienced this myself. I once met a Jew from Chaco, about 1,200 kilometers from the capital of Argentina. During our conversation, when I told him that I came from Ratno, he said to me, “What type of city is this Ratno, for this is almost no Jewish communal institution in Argentina in which Jews from Ratno are not involved!” This is the way things are in our times, but this is not the way it was decades ago. I myself arrived in Argentina in January 1937. Difficulties, doubts and many struggles accompanied my first steps. My struggles began even before I set foot on Argentinian soil: how would I get used to life without the Jews of Ratno, without the Hashomer Hatzair chapter, without the realities of our town that was an inseparable part of my essence? My brother who preceded me in immigrating to this country greeted me at the port. With the first hug, I knew that Ratno also existed here, that this was the embrace of Mother and Father, the embrace of a man who understands your soul and is prepared to help.

Isser Kamintzky was the first Ratner who I met. I did not know him previously, but when I heard that he was the son of Yitzchak and Dincha Kamintzky, I felt immediately that a “slice” of Ratno was before me. At that time, Isser was already a powerhouse who supported the Jewish National Fund, the League for the Working Land of Israel, and other areas of communal endeavor. His base was in Lanus, in the province of Buenos Aires. From there, his rays shined upon the capital city… Everyone knew that for Isser, communal matters were more important than issues of livelihood, that were apparently side affairs. As time went on, I met Yisrael Honik, Eliahu Cohen, Bertha Cohen, Shlomo Cohen, L. Buckler, David Goldin, Berla Fuchs, Yaakov Fuchs, Eliezer Feigelis, A. Y. Reif, Yehuda Konishter – all natives of Ratno who gathered in the city of Lanus, whose population was about half a million.

Moshe Honik arrived in Argentina in 1938, apparently directly from the Hachshara farm of Czestochowa, after he did not succeed in obtaining a certificate for the Land of Israel. He immediately immersed himself in the mighty waters of communal affairs. While we were searching for sources of livelihood for the body, we were also searching for sources of livelihood for the soul. Since we all knew that we left behind in Ratno family members who were waiting for our assistance, we dedicated time and energy to affairs not related to livelihood[1]. In Ratno we had worked with dedication for the Jewish National Fund – and we continued that in Lanus, with Isser Kamintzky as chairman, Eliahu Cohen the treasurer, and Zeev Grabov the secretary. Several other Ratners were active: M. Honik, D. Goldin, L. Buckler, A. Feigelis,

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and Tzvi and Yosef Buber. We left some place for natives of other towns… It was the same situation with the League for the Working Land of Israel. Natives of Ratno were the yeast in the dough, the living spirit, and the moving force. At their side were other new immigrants who had arrived from other cities in Volhyn and Pulisia.

Another important arena was education. There were two small Jewish schools in Lanus, each with several tens of students. We Ratners, former students of Kotzker, attempted to continue his path in a settlement that was 500x500x500 parasangs[2] from Ratno. Our first task was to make one large, serious school from the three small schools. We established a fine school named for Chaim Nachman Bialik, as well as a kindergarten named for Chana Senesh. For the sake of historical accuracy, and so as not to neglect the natives of other cities and towns, we will point out that it was not only Ratno natives who were active in this important arena. One of them was Konobka, the son–in–law of Yosef Buber. He was a native of Kobrin (which is known to be somewhat larger than Ratno). However, when people would ask him from where he came, he would always respond, “Ratno.” He wanted to attach himself to the large tree, to demonstrate how famous Ratno was in Argentina. A hall for all the Jewish youth was built in Lanus in 1938. Where was this set up, if not in the home of Duba Cohen of Ratno, the wife of the shochet Reb Avraham of Ratno who was murdered on the eve of Rosh Hashanah 1921 by the men of Bulak Balachowicz. The Ratners Isser Kamintzky, Noach Cohen, Leibel Buckler, Eliahu and Shlomo Cohen, Moshe and Yisrael Honik, Zeev Grabov, Eliezer Feigelis, David Goldin, Hershel Buber and five or six other people who were not Ratno natives gathered in her home. Thus was the Y. Ch. Brenner Hall (the name was proposed by Yisrael Honik) established in a fashion that served as an example also for other Jewish settlements in Argentina. The Ratners also helped set up the WIZO women's Zionist organization, as well as the mutual assistance committee, headed by our Duba Cohen.

In 1942, two Ratners (Moshe Honik and Zeev Grabov) founded the Hashomer Hatzair chapter in Lanus based on the principles and example of the chapter of Ratno. Moshe Honik later moved over to the Poale Zion party for a short time. He became one of the pillars of that party after some time, and we should note the publication of the Kiyum books toward which he invested great energy and saw great success.

A crisis afflicted the Jewish community in Lanus (Union Izraelita) in 1945. It served as the protector of the first immigrants, and did not look upon the greeners (the new immigrants) positively. The Ratners again came to help, and pushed through a change of guard. Who was chosen as president? None other than Moshe Honik of Ratno. From that time, the Union Izraelita became the representative of all the Jews, supported Zionist activities, and removed all conflict between the long–timers and the greeners. When candidates for the cantor of the synagogue had to be examined, we (Moshe Honik and the writer of these lines) also performed that task, even though we had no previous experience from Ratno in that area…

The activities of the Ratners in the Kovler Bank of Buenos Aires form a chapter unto itself.

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The bank was named after the city of Kowel, even though its central activists were natives of Ratno, who gave a great deal to firmly establish the institution and ensure its cooperative nature. This bank went from strength to strength, and earned great acclaim among Argentinian Jewry. We should especially note the dedication of Yaakov Tucker, Motel Telson, Yosef Buber, and A. Y. Reif. The latter headed the bank for a long time, and protected it as the apple of his eye.

Moshe Honik delivers introductory greetings from the community to Y. Zerubavel during his visit to Argentina

 

There were three centers of communal activities of the Ratners in Argentina: Buenos Aires, Lanus, and Resistencia (Chacho district). The golden chain of Ratno was continued in those three places. From among those active in the areas of education and culture, we should note Yaakov Rag (from among the first of Hatzofim of Ratno), Yoel Steinberg, the brothers Yaakov and Meir Tucker, Chaim Grabov, and Velvel Rajsky (in the leftist circles). The brothers Yosel and Asher Eides excelled in communal affairs in Resistencia. They established a school and library

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in the city that seemed to be a remote city to us. Later Manes and Tove Eilbaum, whose home was open to any new immigrant, came to their assistance, as did Meir and Beila Grabov, Zelig Bender, Wolf Blostein, and others. It is fitting to stress that many of the children of the Ratners continue in the tradition of their fathers, including Shmuel Eides the son of Yoel Eides (in the Aml”t Organization); the engineer and poet Eliahu Tucker, the son of Yaakov Tucker; the engineer Chaim–Leib Fuchs, the son of Berl Fuchs. There are certainly many others whose names I do not recall.

In summary, it can be said that Ratno natives were prominent in all central representative organization of Argentinian Jewry. In this manner it can be proved that the chain has not been severed, and that which the parents sowed in Ratno was reaped by the children in Argentina.

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A reception for Moshe Honik in Israel

 

Y. Konishter, his wife, and M. Honik with a guest from Israel –– Charna Givoni

Translator's Footnotes

  1. This means that they took time away from their personal efforts to earn a livelihood to arrange assistance to their family members in Ratno.Return
  2. A parasang is an ancient unit of distance that appears in the Talmud. 500 parasangs is an expression for a considerable distance.Return


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Ratno Natives in Argentina

by Isser Kamintzky

Translated by Jerrold Landau

I arrived in Argentina in 1924, but the immigration from Ratno to Argentina began two years previously. When I arrived, there was already a community of Ratno Jews in that country. The desperate situation in Ratno and lack of means to find a direction in life forced them to immigrate to overseas countries. My family moved to Kowel in 1917, and it was natural that I would search for Kowel natives in my new country. I do not know why, but for some reason I was specifically attracted to Ratno natives: my cousin Noach Cohen and my friends Yaakov Rag, Yoel Richter, Chaim–Yosef Gutman, Yosef Rajsky, Sheptel Melnik, Yaakov Tucker, Mordechai Telson, Yoel Eides and others. Most of the Ratners lived in the capital city of Buenos Aires, but some

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made it as far as Resistencia. Almost all were lacking a trade. Having no option, they took hold of the only “trade” that was apparently open to everybody, and did not require any training –– the trade of peddling, or, as it was called in the local language “Cvantnikes.” This trade required a great deal of energy, for those occupied therein had to go from door to door selling merchandise at prices appropriate for villagers and small settlements.

I found my fellow natives in a depressed spirit. They had not yet “made America.” They lived in meager dwellings, with three or four people in a single room. However, these conditions did not keep them from fulfilling the commandment of mutual assistance. Any new immigrant that arrived was taken into their rooms and provided with all his needs until he was able to stand on his own and save up about 100 Pesos, which in those days amounted to a significant sum (a dollar was worth about 3–4 Pesos). The Ratners in Argentina observed this commandment with respect to their fellow natives in a manner that was traditional and ingrained in their blood, just as it had been ingrained in the blood of their parents. I recall that my father of blessed memory would not leave the synagogue on Sabbath eves until the last of the visitors who had arrived in town had found a host – that is a householder who invited the guest for the Sabbath meal and to stay over. The Ratno tradition was well recognized in another area in Argentina – in the relations between man and G–d. Even those of our townsfolk who had cut off all contact with the Master of the World while they were still supported at their parents' table in Ratno renewed connections with Divine Providence after arriving in Argentina. They would meticulously arise in the morning for the Shacharit prayer and to don tefillin before going to work. I recall one episode: when my cousin took me into his room in which four Ratners already lived, I found Chaim Yosef Gutman reciting the Shemone Esrei prayer. When I extended my hand in greeting, he only responded after he concluded his prayer and reached “Oseh Shalom Bimromav.” We set up places as synagogues for all the Jewish holidays. It seems to me that

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the decisive reason was: we wanted to feel the feelings of our home in Ratno from which we had been severed, and the feelings of Jewish tradition that were ingrained in us from our childhood.

A large network of Jewish activity and organization already existed in Argentina in the 1920s. Among these were noticeable activities conducted by circles that considered themselves as “progressive, ” which in truth were Yevsektsias[1] marked by the hatred of Zion, activities in support of Birobidzhan, and the like. It should be noted that the tendency toward the Yevsektsia was foreign to the vast majority of Ratno natives, even though there were some that were singed by their coals. We cannot forget that were it not for the limitation in the issuance of certificates for aliya to the Land of Israel, most of us would never have arrived in Argentina. However, once we did arrive, we wanted to nurture the values with which we were educated in our town of Ratno even in that country, including faithfulness to Zion with all the practical activities that such entails. It was not easy to plant these values in a foreign land under radically different conditions and realities, but it seems to me that I do not boast if I note that we did to the best of our ability preserve the values with which we were educated. My friends and I invested all our energy into activities on behalf of the various Zionist funds. We were represented in all the conventions and gatherings. We raised the flaming coal of Ratno to the expansive breadths of the Argentinian “Pampa.” Our process of becoming rooted in Argentina was not easy at all. We concerned ourselves with the spirit more than the body. At that time, there were several writers and people of the spirit in Argentina, and we made efforts to not miss even one important lecture or interesting article published in the Jewish newspapers from the fruits of pens of serious publicists such as Ragelsky, Botoshinsky, and others. The landsmanschafts were in full bloom, and we, natives of Ratno, took hold of the “east” in the organization of Kowel natives, and we worked toward the development of the loan and savings funds, which with the passage of time turned into an important banking institution. A serious struggle unfolded between

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the Zionists and the non–Zionists over control of that institution. The writer of these lines served as the first secretary of the fund. Noach Cohen was the vice president and Yaakov Rag was the treasurer.

After the concerns over livelihood eased, and we became somewhat settled, we began to concern ourselves with our families abroad, by providing financial assistance and permits for immigration to Argentina. This is an endeavor which is worthy of its own article, but I will not do so here and now.

Lanus, near the capital city, was an important center for the Ratno natives. This was primarily because Eliahu Messer, who himself was a native of Trisk near Kowel, immigrated there. His business was the supply of various products through peddlers, and he employed numerous Ratno natives. Thus did the direct trans–Atlantic Ratno–Lanus line begin. The home of our comrade Noach Cohen became the headquarters for Ratno natives. There, we planned various activities and made early efforts for communal activities, some of which are outlined in Zeev Grabov's article in this book. As time passed, Lanus became too constricted for us, and the first people to break through this constricted situation and transfer their activities to Buenos Aires were Moshe and Yisrael Honik, Zeev Grabov, and the writer of these lines. The serious and broad–ranging efforts of our comrade Moshe Honik, who served in various capacities such as secretary of the cultural activities of the Hebrew community in the capital, founder and director of the Kiyum publishing house under the auspices of the Labor Zionist Movement, which was the central point for the publication of the community yearbook, and other roles should be especially noted.

After the great victory of the Labor Movement in elections for the 20th Zionist Congress with the active participation of the emissary from the Land of Israel Nachman Tamir, two comrades from Ratno were added to the list of delegates to the congress: I as the representative of Lanus and Meir Grabov as the representative of Resistencia. Moshe Honik served as a delegate from Argentina in a different congress.

At the end of our outline we must state: Ratno did not let us down even in Argentina, and all the good that we received in Ratno remained with us throughout the time we lived in Argentina.

Translator's Footnotes

  1. Jewish sections of the Soviet Communist party. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YevsektsiyaReturn


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Ratno Descendants in the United States

Translated by Jerrold Landau

A group of Ratno natives in New York

 

Eliezer Ginzburg (Breindl's)

In the memorial book that was published in Argentina, B. Kahn (Berl Chanech's) tells the following about the first steps of the Organization of Ratno Natives in the United States.

“On a Sabbath late afternoon in 1906, Ratno natives who lived in the Brownsville neighborhood of New York gathered in the home of Yisrael Kahn. In those days, Yisrael's house served as the center for Ratno natives, just as the house at the corner of Clinton and Rivington in Manhattan served as the center for Ratno natives in Manhattan. The prime motive of this meeting was to relieve slightly the loneliness of the Ratno natives in the big city. Some of those present read letters that they received from their relatives in Ratno and that warmed the heart a bit.

At that meeting, the idea of uniting the Ratno natives into a brotherhood and mutual assistance organization was first hatched. As I remember, those present at the meeting included Velvel Kirsch, Eliahu Klein, Hirsch-Leib Klein, Chaim Leib Peshinski from the village of Wydranica, Shemaya Schneider, Yoel and Yehuda Schneider, my father Yisrael, myself, and several other Ratners whose names I do not remember. Velvel Kirsch was elected as the chairman and I as the secretary. Each of those present paid one dollar and decided on a biweekly membership fee of 10 cents. When the Ratners of Manhattan (New York) joined our organization, it was necessary to rent a hall for our meetings. After some time, we used the money collected in the account of the organization to purchase land for a cemetery with

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regular payments, and also a house of worship on the fourth floor of a house on Firside[1] Street. From that time, we held our meetings in that location. Ratno natives from all parts of New York and also from outside of New York would come to our synagogue for the Hakafot on Simchat Torah, and the house would be too small to accommodate everyone. It is appropriate to note that Shalom Friedman, the son of Yudel the scribe from Kowel, was especially dedicated to our organization. To the best of his ability, he made sure that those in need would receive assistance. He also transferred money to Ratno to renovate the synagogue, cemetery and other institutions. Special subsidies were given by the organization to “Maot Chittin” (Passover charity) for those in need, to the local rabbi, and to the poor of the town. In its peak years, the membership reached 120, however this included some people who were not from Ratno. Hershel Shachna's (who had been a teacher in Ratno) served as the secretary of our organization until his death. Afterward, the chairman was David Sobol, and his son Max Sobol served as chairman.

The following regulations were included in the charter of the organization that was called “The sons of Rabbi Yosef, Natives of Ratno and Volhynia”:

-- The official languages of the organization for everything related to correspondence, accounting, etc. would be Yiddish.

-- The main purpose of the organization is philanthropic -- to provide assistance to the needy, and to assist the widow in the event of the passing of a member.

-- The chairman (president) and vice president are obligated to visit the sick at least once a week.

-- Brotherhood and unity must pervade amongst all the members of the organization.

-- Only upright and dedicated men will be accepted as members. A person who has not married within the Jewish faith is not permitted to be a member.”

The aforementioned book by Leon Ginzburg, the son of Yosel and Breindel, writes the following about a later period and about the assistance committee of the Ratno neighbors:

“In January 1945, natives of Ratno in New York gathered in the home of Yaakov Kotler in order to organize the assistance for the Holocaust survivors of Ratno and its region. We did not have yet any definitive information about the fate of our dear ones in Ratno, but we were aware of the magnitude of the disaster. At the end of the war we learned that not a trace of Ratno Jewry remains. The following people participated in the first meeting: the brothers Zelig and Avigdor Marin, Pinchas Berg, Shalom Melnik, Yaakov Kotler, Hodel Goldstein, Harry Kirsch, and Leon Ginzburg.

Our first task was to forge a connection with the hundreds of Ratno natives who were scattered around greater New York and other cities in the United States, whose addresses we did not have. We decided to publish notices in the Jewish newspapers and the radio informing of the establishment of our assistance committee, and asking that all Ratno natives join with us. We chose a provisional committee that consisted of Pinchas Berg as chairman, Leon Ginzburg as secretary, Yaakov Kotler as treasurer, and Zelig and Avigdor Marin as auditors. Four months after we began our activities, we received a letter from Avraham Berg, one of the survivors, who was the brother of Pinchas Berg. The letter described details of the bitter fate of Ratno Jewry. This letter included the names of 29 survivors of Ratno Jewry.

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The Ratno natives in Canada offered us faithful assistance.

Avraham Berg later arrived in the United States, and became very active among the Ratno natives. He left 5,000 dollars in his will for the activities of the organization of Ratno natives. The Marantz brothers, Yitzchak Leib Kotler, Yosef Fisher, and the Anglo-Jewish poet A. M. Klein helped in particular[2]. Feisi Kreskar and the Kagan and Kirsch brothers participated from Chelsea in Boston. It is also worthwhile to note the contribution of Sam Bukler of Detroit (a native of the village of Chocieszow), and the brothers Avraham and Moshe Kamper of Toronto, Canada.

Translator's Footnotes

  1. I have not been able to identify this street in a modern map of the Brownsville area of Brooklyn. It is likely that street names have changed over the decades. The English spelling I used is transliterated from the Hebrew, and may not be exact.Return
  2. A Jewish Canadian poet, born in Ratno. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._M._KleinReturn


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The Ratno Heritage in Cuba

by Levi Shapira

Translated by Jerrold Landau

 

Levi Shapira

Information about the Book of Ratno that is to be published shortly reached me under particularly difficult circumstances. I am wheelchair-bound, and speaking and writing are difficult for me. However, I wanted to express, and not only in a few lines, my thoughts and feeling about receiving this information.

Fate led me to the country of Cuba in 1937. I, like many others, felt the lack of prospects in the lowly state of life in Ratno, and possibly already prophesied to my heart about the storm that was to come shortly. I found refuge in a country that was not a center of Jewish immigration, the State of Cuba, which was not yet under the dictatorship of Fidel Castro. Despite the fact that Cuba was not thriving economically at that time, I studied the trade of diamond polishing and earned enough from my livelihood and even more. After some time, I tried my hand in business, and I was successful in that realm as well. Our Ratno tradition accompanied me through all of the revolutions and changes that took place in Cuba. I felt duty bound to participate actively in the development of Jewish communal life in that country, that had a small Jewish community. What did we not do there?

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We built Jewish schools, and set up a theater building, a communal library, and a cultural hall, etc. The Ratno heritage commanded me, even if it did not express itself literally, to participate in all national and Jewish activities. I felt this blinding obligation even more strongly after the tidings of Job regarding the extermination of the Jewish community of Ratno by the Nazis and Ukrainians reached us. Even after the Cuban revolution that brought the guerilla fighters, Fidel Castro and his cronies, to power, we continued to concern ourselves with the character of Jewish life in Cuba. At first, I too was among those who hoped for greatness and goodness from the Socialist guard. The majority of the Cuban Jews left the country. From the 15,000 Jews, only about 2,000 remained, but those who remained did not despair. We had to concern ourselves with a Jewish school for the approximately 150 Jewish children, a synagogue, and the Jewish community. The government permitted us to establish a synagogue, and even the non-religious saw a need to go there to worship. In this manner, they demonstrated the existence of a Jewish community. We concerned ourselves with a shochet (ritual slaughterer) mohel (circumcisor), and for matzo on Passover in order to celebrate the Holiday in accordance with its regulations. Even the library remained open, and we gathered there at set times for discussions on current events. When there was no teacher for the Jewish school, I volunteered to serve as a teacher even though I had no training for this. However, it seemed to me that I, as a Ratner who had received a Jewish-nationalistic education in the town, was commanded to worry about the future, and to ensure that the golden chain would not be severed. After a great deal of effort, I succeeded in receiving an exit permit from Cuba. The government authorities looked kindly upon me as someone who had been active in the revolution, and permitted me to travel to Israel. However, they denied me the right to take out my money and belongings. I left that country empty-handed, without one cent, but I thanked the Divine providence that I succeeded in seeing the State of Israel that had been established by generations of pioneers, including pioneers from Ratno. I felt very bad that I had not been among those myself. I attempted to build a life in strange countries, but had not built up my own country. Due to my serious illness, I have not had the opportunity to feast my eyes on all the charm of our Land.


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Ratners in Israel

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Elboim, Emanuel (Manes), the son of Yitzchak and Miriam, was born in 1908. He immigrated to Argentina at the age of 20. Emanuel made aliya in 1963. He lives in Rishon LeZion. He worked as an agent for Tnuva in Rehovot. He married Tova (née Prigal). His children are Yitzchak and Rachel.

Ahal, Ruth, the daughter of David and Gittel Greenstein, was born in 1910. She was a member of Hechalutz Hatzair, and went through hachshara in the Tel Hai Kibbutz in Lida. She made aliya in 1934. She settled in Haifa and studied in a program for registered nurses. She was widowed from her husband Yaakov of blessed memory. Her occupation was a nurse. Her children are Oded (a chemical engineer) and Dalia (a clerk).

Balter, Tzipora, the daughter of Shimon and Sara Rosenberg, was born in 1915. She made aliya in 1935. She married Aryeh. Her children are Shlomit (a secretary) and Moshe (a lawyer). She is a housewife.

Bender, Yaakov, the son of Avraham and Frida, was born in 1922. He was a member of Beitar. He enlisted in the Russian army in 1941. He made aliya in 1943 with a unit of the Polish Army (Andrius). He is married to Bat–Sheva. Their children are Ehud, Aryeh and Aliza. He owns a carpentry shop in Rishon LeZion. He was a member of the Haganah and participated in the War of Independence and Kadesh Operation[1] at the rank of sergeant.

Blitz, Leah, the daughter of Yaakov and Ada Hochman, was born in 1940. She survived the Holocaust and made aliya with her mother and brother in 1946. She was educated in Kfar Batya. She is married to Yosef, and their children are Tzvi and Yaakov. She is a teacher.

Grabov, Zeev, the son of Pesach and Batya, was born in 1918. He was a student of Tarbut and a member of Hashomer Hatzair. He immigrated to Argentina in 1936 and was active there in the field of education, the united appeal, and Hashomer Hatzair. He made aliya in 1950. He married Pnina (née Buber). He works as a supervisor in Kupat Cholim in the Sharon Area directorate. He is active in the community, especially in representing the cities of Volhyn. His children are Avinoam, Yifat, and Gili.

Gotttesman, Yafa is the daughter of Avraham and Rivka Bronstein, was born in 1927. She survived the Holocaust as a member of the Diadia Petia partisan unit. She works in special education. She is married to Menachem, a native of Czechoslovakia.

Goldman, Sara, the daughter of Aharon and Henya Papir, was born in 1913. She was a student at the Tarbut Gymnasium of Kowel and a member of Hechalutz Hatzair. She went through hachshara in the Tel Hai Kibbutz in Bialystok and Lida. She made aliya in 1933 with her husband Shmuel Goldman. Their children are Aharon (a physics professor), Edna (a teacher), and Bruria (a journalist).

Grabov, Yaakov, the son of Pesach and Batya, was born in 1921. He was a student of Tarbut and a member of Hashomer Hatzair. He went through hachshara in Rovno. He is a Holocaust survivor who fought with the partisans in the forests and with the Red Army until the conquest of Berlin. He received various medals of excellence. He made aliya from Poland in 1960 with his wife Harriet and two sons: Arnon (who fell in the Six Day War), and Gavriel. His two daughters, Batya and Michal, were born in Israel. He owns a café.

Goizen, Henya, the daughter of Berl and Tova Karsh, was born in 1916, was a student of Tarbut and a member of Hashomer Hatzair. She went through hachshara in Bialystok. She made aliya in 1947. She is married to Reuven, and their children are Yona and Micha. She is a housewife.

Givoni, Charna, the daughter of Yitzchak and Golda Greenstein, was born in 1913. She was a member of Hechalutz Hatzair. She went through hachshara in the kibbutz in Bialystok and made aliya in 1935. She joined Kibbutz Naan, moved to Holon, and worked in the Ludzia factory. Her husband Aryeh was active in the trade union in Holon.

Gefen, Zelda, the daughter of Berl and Henya Feintuch, was born in 1913. She was a student of Tarbut and a prime activist in Hashomer Hatzair. She went through hachshara in Zamosc and made aliya in 1937. She married Mordechai Gefen, one of the first people to make aliya from Ratno. Formerly, she worked in their farm in Kfar Sirkin. Their children are Aviva (a high school teacher), Israel (a sports instructor) and Henya (a kindergarten teacher).

Greenstein (Belgalei), Yafa (Sheindel) , the daughter of Yosef and Chana of blessed memory, was born in 1914. She was a member of Hechalutz Hatzair and Hechalutz. She went through hachshara in Kosow, made aliya in 1939, and joined Kibbutz Ein Hayam. She married Abba Belgalei of blessed memory, and they set up their home in Kiryat Motzkin. Their children are Yossi and Mira.

Goldman, Shmuel, the son of Shamai and Breindel, was born in 1913. He was one of the founders of Hechalutz Hatzair in Ratno and an activist in the pioneering movement in Poland. He made aliya in 1933 and joined Kibbutz Ayelet Hashachar along with his wife Sara. He served as a member of the city council of Rishon LeZion and as secretary of the workers council. He was an activist of the Mapai (Labor Party) and one of the heads of the cooperative center. He was a director of the Amron factory.

Gefen, Mordechai, the son of Israel and Yenta Weinstock, was born in 1910. He was a member of Hechalutz, and went through hachshara in Klesowa. He made aliya in 1929 as the first oleh from Ratno. He joined Kibbutz Givat Hashlosha. He was a guard[2], a member of the Haganah and active in various areas. He was one of the first founders of Kfar Sirkin along with his wife Zelda Feintuch, a Ratno native.

Gendelsman, Tova, the daughter of Yehuda and Leah Bokser, was born in 1923. She was a member of Komsomol. She left

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Ratno in 1941, and was in the Soviet Union throughout the entire period of the war. She made aliya from Poland in 1957 and joined Kibbutz Ein Shemer. She is married to Yosef and their children are Leah and Pnina. She works on the kibbutz.

Gorodetzki, Zlata, the daughter of Mottle Klein, was born in 1900. During her youth, she belonged to the Poale Zion party. She was widowed from her husband Chaim of blessed memory, a civil engineer. She made aliya in 1978.

Droog, Moshe, the son of Avraham and Reizel, was born in 1908. He is a graduate of the Tarbut Gymnasium and was a member of Hashomer Hatzair. He made aliya in 1934. He is one of the heads of Hamashbir Hamerkazi and the consumers' cooperative. He is married to Bella, a nurse. Their children are Nitza M.A., Dan – an engineer, and Avraham, a practical engineer[3].

Dorner, Dvora, the daughter of Yitzchak and Susia Teitelbaum, was born in 1914. She was a student of Tarbut and a member of Hechalutz Hatzair. She went through hachshara in Krynki and Bialystok. She endured all the tribulations of the war in hiding places and forests with the partisans. She made aliya with her husband in 1948 in a Ha'apala[4] ship.

Drook, Leah, the daughter of Asher and Rivka, was born in 1911. She was a member of Hechalutz Hatzair and made aliya in 1939. She was the sole survivor of her family. She was a member of Kibbutz Alonim. Her son and two grandchildren live in Kibbutz Alonim.

Held, Eliezer, the son of Fishel and Rachel, was born in 1901. He was active in the General Zionist Youth and went through hachshara in the Kibbutz of the General Zionist pioneers in Opatów. He made aliya in 1938. He was a clerk at the Hamashbir Hamerkazi, and the Amizan Company. He is widowed from his wife Roza. He was a member of the Haganah. His daughter Dvora is married to Dan Naot, a lecturer in the Technion in Haifa.

Horwitz, Henya, the daughter of Yitzchak and Miriam Elboim, was born in 1915. She was a student of Tarbut, and was a member of Hechalutz Hatzair. She went through hachshara in Krynki and Bialystok, and made aliya in 1935. She is a counselor of a school for special needs children. She is married to Shlomo. Her children are Ilana, Amiram (an accountant), and Sharona (a bank clerk).

Hochman, Zeev, the son of Yaakov and Ada, was born in 1939. He survived the Holocaust with his mother and sister. They made aliya in 1946. He was educated in Kfar Batya. He works in the aviation industry. His children are Chagit and Yaakov.

Wiener, Avraham, the son of Eliahu, was born in 1900. He survived the Holocaust and made aliya in 1950. He is a member of a cooperative workers' settlement (moshav ovdim) in the south of Israel.

Wilk, Aryeh, the son of Chaim David (a shochet) and Chaya, was born in 1922. He escaped to Russia at the outbreak of the war, and served in the Russian Army. He made aliya in 1945 and settled in Rishon LeZion. He served in the police for 30 years. He is married to Ziva, and their children are Chaim and Dalia.

Waks, Batya, the daughter of Hershel and Esther Chana Miller, was born in 1914. She went through hachshara in the religious kibbutz in Otowochek [Otwock], and made aliya in 1934. She is a widow. Her children are Refael and Moshe. She lives with her son in Kibbutz Lavi.

Vernik, Shlomo, the son of Yehuda Leib and Rivka, was born in 1918. He was a student of Tarbut and a member of Hashomer Hatzair. He is a Holocaust survivor. He escaped from a labor camp, arrived in the forests, and joined the partisans. He served in the Russian Army under the command of generals Fedorov and Zhukov. He made aliya in 1947 and fought in the War of Independence. His is married to Nechama. He works as an accountant. His children are Avraham (an engineer), and Aryeh (a practical engineer).

Zandweis, Chaya, the daughter of Asher and Chasia Leker, was born in 1910. She was a member of Hechalutz, and went through hachshara in the Tel Hai Kibbutz of Bialystok. She made aliya in 1936. She is married in Tuvia. She worked for the General Kupat Cholim. Her daughter is Drora.

Zesak, Eliahu, the son of Chaim and Chava, was born in 1916, and was a student of the Tarbut School and a member of Hashomer Hatzair. He went through hachshara in the Kibbutz in Tshenstochov [Częstochowa]. He worked as a technician in a cooperative in Emek Chefer. He fought with the partisans in the forests during the war. He made aliya in 1950. He participated in Operation Kadesh. His children are Chaim (a bank manager), and Yoav (a flight supervisor).

Chayat, Israel, the son of Yehoshua and Susia, was born in 1913. He was a member of the Haoved (working) movement. He survived the Holocaust. He was in the German labor camps and was even taken to be hanged. He jumped off a bridge into a frozen river to save himself. He fought together with the partisans and served in the Russian Army. He was active in the Bricha[5], lived in Argentina for some time, and made aliya to Israel in 1949. He worked as an accountant in a building materials company. He participated in the Operation Kadesh. He is married to Miriam, and their children are Yechezkel (a dentist), and Asya (a lawyer).

Ternblit, Shraga, the son of Wolf–Leib and Yocha, was born in 1915. He was a member of Hashomer Hatzair and went through hachshara in Vilna. He made aliya in 1935. He was a member of the Haganah and fought in the War of Independence. He is married to Shoshana. Their children are Zeev and Amiram. His occupation is a builder.

Trigobov, Chana, the daughter of Yosef and Rivka Avrech, was born in 1913. She was a member of Hechalutz and went through hachshara in Radzibilov. She made aliya in 1934 and worked in the Defense Ministry. Her husband is Yechhezkel.

Tikuchinsky, Miri (Papir), the daughter of Aharon and Henya, was born in 1928. She made aliya with her mother and the children in 1935, and moved to Kibbutz Ayelet Hashachar. She was a student of a nursing school and serves as the chief nurse in the Shaar Menashe Hospital. Her husband is Aharon. Their daughter Esther is a high school teacher in Beer Sheva.

Yarkoni, Baruch, the son of Chaim and Hinda Greengarten from the village of Zabolottya near Ratno, was born in 1911, immigrated to France in 1930, and later made aliya and settled in Kibbutz Naan.

Yarkoni, Mordechai, the son of Chaim and Hinda Greengarten. He was born in 1913, made aliya in 1938, and is a member of Kibbutz Naan.

Yonosovich, Chaya, the daughter of Yitzchak and Golda Grabov, was born in 1912. She was a member of Hashomer Hatzair and went through

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hachshara in Chelm and other places. She made aliya in 1939, and spent some time in Kibbutz Mesilot. She is married to Israel and their children are Rama and Yitzchak.

Cohen, Yehudit, the daughter of Yehuda–Leib and Malka Sandiuk, was born in 1914, was a student of Tarbut and a member of Hashomer Hatzair. She went through hachshara in Ludmir. She made aliya in 1935 and settled in Kibbutz Mesilot. She is widowed from her husband Moshe. Her children are Avishai, Rachel, and Eliahu.

Raf, Mordechai, the son of Noach and Malka, was born in 1915. He was a member of Hashomer Hatzair and went through hachshara in Baranovich. He made aliya in 1938. He enlisted in the Hebrew settlement's police force, and served as a communications officer in the Safed Police Force with the Jewish Agency dealing with “illegal” immigrants. He later became an X–ray technician. He was a member of the Haganah and was a defender of Mount Scopus during the time of the siege of Jerusalem. He participated in the War of Independence, Operation Kadesh and the Six Day War.

Kagan, Yehuda, the son of Nachum and Esther (Klara), was born in 1922. He was a member of Beitar. He is a Holocaust survivor. He fought in the partisan ranks and served in the Russian Army. He participated in the War of Independence and Operation Kadesh. He visited the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1970s. He was arrested there and sentenced to ten years of prison. He was formerly a construction worker and currently owns a vegetable store.

Liberman, Eliahu, the son of Yaakov and Bilha, was born in 1921. He was educated in the Tarbut School and was a member of Hashomer Hatzair. He was a student at a trade school in Brisk. At the time of the Russian conquest in 1939, he travelled to study in Russia and enlisted in the Red Army. After much wandering, he made aliya in 1948 with his wife Chaya. He worked in the Ha'Malachim Cooperative and currently works in military manufacturing. He served in the Israel Defense Forces. Their children are Bilha, Yael, and Leah.

Levidov, Elka, the daughter of Aharon and Henya Papir, was born in 1916, was a student of Tarbut and a member of Hechalutz Hatzair. She went through hachshara in Kosow and made aliya in 1935. She was a member of Kibbutz Ayelet Hashachar. She was married to her husband Moshe, an employee in the trade union of Tel Aviv, and is widowed. Her children are Aviva and Idit, both teachers.

Lavie, Simcha, the son of Asher and Chasia Leker, was born in 1913. He was a student of Tarbut and a member of Hechalutz Hatzair. He went through hachshara in Klesowa. He made aliya in 1932. He worked in agriculture and building, and later in manufacturing and marketing. He is married to Lilit. He served in the army and fulfilled various duties in the defense apparatus. Their children are Yigal (an aeronautical engineer), Asher (an electrical engineer), and Rachel.

Marin, Dov, the son of Pesach and Malka, was born in 1920. He was a student of Tarbut and a member of the Beitar movement. He made aliya in 1938. His wife is Nechama. He enlisted in the British Army at the beginning of the war, and served in the Israel Defense Forces as a Master Sergeant. He fought in the War of Independence and the Yom Kippur War. Their children are Ziva and Amitai.

Marin, Daniel, the son of Zusia and Sheindel, was born in 1909. He served in the Polish Army during the war and made aliya in 1945. He worked in the Moshav Beit Chanan and was active in the economic issues of the moshav. He was widowed from his wife Tzipora of blessed memory. His daughter is Nava.

Marder, Shmuel, the son of Binyamin and Chana, was born in 1913. He was a member of Hechalutz Hatzair and went through hachshara in Klesowa. He was one of the first olim from Ratno – in 1932. He worked in building and road paving. He was one of the founders of the Cooperative Kibbutz in Haifa and one of the promoters of the Hebrew workforce in the Port of Haifa. He was a member of the Haganah and participated in the War of Independence. Currently, he works as a clerk in the tax clearance office. His children are Binyamin, Avi, and Giora.

Nir, Avraham, the son of Aharon and Henya Papir, was born in 1923. He made aliya in 1935 with his mother, brother and sisters after their father was murdered in the forests of the Ratno area. He joined Kibbutz Ayelet Hashachar. He was sent to the Mikve Israel Agricultural School. He became an expert in the citrus division, and worked in growing citrus fruits. He is married to Zehava. He was a member of the Haganah and Palmach, and participated in the breaking of the siege of the Atlit Camp. He participated in the wars of Israel and served as a captain in the Israel Defense Forces. Their children are Ayala and Arik.

Arif, Dvora, the daughter of Yitzchak and Golda Grabov, was born in 1910. She was a member of Hashomer Hatzair and went through hachshara in Hrubieszow. She made aliya in 1935. She was a member of Kibbutz Mesilot. She is married to Nisan, and their children are Avraham, Aya, and Gideon.

Flanzman, Ethel, the daughter of Yaakov and Frida Gutman, was born in 1907. She made aliya in 1936. She is married to Avraham. His occupation is an X–ray technician. Their children are Yaakov and Dani.

Perlmutter, Shlomo, the son of Asher and Merida, was born in 1927. He was a student of the Tarbut School. He was a Holocaust survivor. He escaped to the forests and joined the partisans of General Feodorov. He studied in Moscow, and earned the acquaintanceship and friendship of the great Jewish writers there. He made aliya in a Ha'apala ship in 1946. He is a graduate of the University in Jerusalem. He was a high school principal and history teacher. He is married to Shoshana and their children are Miri, Dorit, and Oshrit.

Puchter, Bilha, the daughter of Itzel and Odel Ternblit, was born in 1906. She is a widow and bereaved mother. She spent the wartime years in the forests and in partisan units. She made aliya in 1948, and is a housewife.

Papir, Eliahu, the son of Aharon and Henya, was born in 1918. He made aliya with his family members to Ayelet Hashachar. He later moved to Kibbutz Gimel of Hashomer Hatzair. He worked in agriculture after he left the kibbutz. He was married to Tova of blessed memory. Their children are Drora (a teacher), Dalia (a medical research doctor), and Asher (a clerk).

Friedlander, Shimon, the son of Shlomo–Tuvia and Esther, studied in the Yeshivas of Brisk and Mir, and is an ordained rabbi. He made aliya in 1936. He serves as a rabbi in Tichon Beit/Gimel in Tel Aviv, as well as a vice principal of a school. He served as the rabbi of the Berdichevski Synagogue in Tel Aviv. He is married to Tzipora and their children are Yehuda (a professor of literature) and Esther (a teacher).

Feintuch, Eliahu, the son of Berl and Henya, was born in 1912. He was

[Page 316]

a member of Hechalutz Hatzair and went through hachshara in Baranovich. He made aliya in 1934 and worked in drilling water wells in the Mekor Hamayim cooperative in Herzliya. He enlisted in the Hebrew Brigade during the war and served for five years. He joined the Haganah. He is married to Herzlia and their children are Dov and Boaz.

Elboim, Tova, the daughter of David and Gitel Prigal, was born in 1907. She married Emanuel Elboim and immigrated to Argentina in 1922. She made aliya with her family in 1963. She is a housewife.

Kotler, Yechezkel, the son of Yitzchak Hirsh and Mindel, was born in 1922. He was a member of Hashomer Hatzair. He served in the Russian Army during the Second World War. He made aliya in 1948. He participated in the Kadesh Operation. He works as a truck owner. His children are Tzvi and Rachel.

Kamintzky, Shmuel, the son of Aharon–Yosef and Bella, was born in 1888. He was the only survivor of his family, thanks to his Ukrainian friends who gave him refuge. He made aliya in 1949, and lives in Petach Tikva. Until his retirement, he worked at sharpening work tools.

Kamintzky, Ben–Zion, the son of Herzl and Chasia, was born in 1927. He was a student of the Tarbut School and a member of Hashomer Hatzair. He found a hiding place with Ukrainians during the war years. He made aliya in 1949. He is a teacher. He studied at university in Jerusalem. He is married to Pnina, and their children are Reuven and Asaf. He fought in Operation Kadesh and the Yom Kippur War.

Karsh, Pnina, the daughter of Yehuda Leib and Rivka Vernik, was born in 1912. She went through all the tribulations of the war. She is widowed from her husband Yitzchak Shapira, who fell during the war as a soldier in the Red Army. She made aliya in 1947 with her daughter Raya. She remarried Ben–Zion Karsh and their son is Yehuda.

Kamintzky, Isser, the son of Yitzchak and Dintza, was born in 1908. He lived in Argentina from 1924 and was active in the appeals, the funds, and the Poale Zion party. He made aliya in 1973, and works in the Amron Factory in Herzliya. He is married to Fanny, and their children are Yitzchak and Eliezer.

Kabashnik, Isser, the son of Yitzchak–Yosef and Henya, was born in 1912. He was a member of Hechalutz and went through hachshara in Dombrowica. He made aliya in 1932, and always lived in Haifa. He was a member of the Haganah and served in the Israel Defense Forces during the War of Independence. He is married to Frida, and their children are Yitzchak and Nava.

Rozen, Chaya, the daughter of David and Hanche, was born in 1917. She was a student of the Tarbut School and a member of Hashomer Hatzair. She went through hachshara in Czestochowa and made aliya in 1938. She is married to Moshe. The family business is flower growing. Their children are Pinchas, Charna, and Nitza.

Stoltzman, Rivka (Melnik) was born in 1913. She was a member of Hechalutz Hatzair and went through hachshara. She made aliya in 1939, and is a member of Kibbutz Maayan Tzvi.

Schwartz, Sara, the daughter of Yosef and Breindel Ginzburg, was born in 1913. She was a member of Hechalutz and went through hachshara in Klesowa. She made aliya in 1935. She is married to Yehuda and their children are Dalia (a high school teacher) and Yosef (a librarian).

Steingarten, Elchanan, the son of Yaakov and Bat–Sheva, was born in 1926. He was a student of the Tarbut School. His brother Aryeh was murdered by the Nazis at the beginning of the Nazi occupation, and the rest of his family made aliya in 1947 on a Ha'apala ship. He was active in Etz”el and participated in all of Israel's wars. He is a captain. He is married to Batya, and their children are Yitzchak and Aryeh Ben–Zion. His work is with a shoe shop in Kiryat Ono.

Shkolnik, Ada, the daughter of Herzl and Chasia Kamintzky, survived the Holocaust with her two children on account of the protection she found with Ukrainians in the villages of the region. Her children Zeev and Leah were part of the Youth aliya in Kfar Batya. Her husband Yaakov Hochman from Ratno perished in the Holocaust. She remarried in Italy, and her husband died.

Shechter, Charna, the daughter of Chaim Topolovsky, was born in 1914. She was a member of Hechalutz Hatzair and went through hachshara. She made aliya in 1938 and lives in Haifa.

Stern, Moshe, the son of Isser and Rachel, was born in 1909. He was a member of Hechalutz and went through hachshara in Klesowa. He made aliya in 1930. He was a foreman in Solel Boneh, and one of the first residents of Kfar Sirkin. He served in the Hebrew Hashomrim police force in the village for four years. He was active in the Haganah. Their children are Avi, Dvora, and Israel.

Shapira, Levi, was born in 1910. He immigrated from Ratno to Cuba and made aliya to Israel in 1980.

Breshchinski, Yafa, the daughter of Zusia and Esther Geller, was born in 1919. She was a member of Hechalutz and went through hachshara in Vilna. She passed the war years in the Vilna Ghetto. She made aliya on a Ha'apala ship in 1945. Her husband is Yaakov and their children are Aviv and Esther.

Mokotov, Malka, the daughter of Zusia and Esther Geller, was born in 1917. She was a member of Hechalutz and went through hachshara. She made aliya in 1938. She is widowed from her husband Tzadok. Her son is Yuval.


Translator's Footnotes

  1. A term for the 1956 Sinai Campaign. See http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/AboutIsrael/History/Pages/The%20Sinai%20Campaign%20–%201956.aspx Return
  2. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notrim Return
  3. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Practical_engineer Return
  4. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/aliyah_Bet Return
  5. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bricha Return

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