Buisnesses and Craftsmen after World War I
Anshel Milstein, Ramat Yitzchak
Translated by Rabbi Mordecai Goldzweig
The socio-economic composition common to most of the Jewish towns of Poland and Galicia after World War I also typified our town of Rohatyn. The greater part of the Jewish community completely forgot the rabbinic admonition to love work and turned on the whole to small business - peddling, brokerage, and storekeeping. Out of approximately 2,000 Jewish families no more than between 30-40 of them engaged in crafts of any kind. Those who did, continued in the crafts in which their parents were engaged as tailors, shoemakers, hatters, furriers, dressmakers, barbers, bookbinders, and the like. It is true that with time new crafts and craftsmen were added, such as, tinsmiths, blacksmiths, builders, watchmakers and others. Even one primitive smelting plant owned by Leichtermacher appeared in Rohatyn (so that all in all they had a relatively wide range of crafts for a town of that size). This was not the only primitive workshop in the town. Most of the workshops were like that. There was no new machinery or modern equipment to be found in the town nor was hired help prevalent. Only the builder Koenig needed help. You were able to earn a living but could not become rich. There was just enough to maintain a simple, quiet, subdued, traditional home. A worker's life was not a paradise. People pressed down upon them as much as possible.
A Jew who wanted to declare himself as an independent professional craftsman had to pass before a committee of examiners of established workers after an apprenticeship of four years. The board of examiners were composed mostly of goyim, i.e. gentiles, but it also included three Jews, Shabsi Friedman, Mordechai Lilian and Yehuda Shames, who was known as Yudel the Carpenter. It was a great honor to be a member of the board of examiners and yet Shabsi Friedman, a Jew, was the presiding examiner. He was a Jew who was very exacting in his profession and devoted a great deal of his time to examining students. He owned a fine metals workshop which did repair work on such items as sewing machines and scales upon which he affixed the official seal for the local authorities. At times he might hire a few apprentices to help him in his work. These included Moshe Katz, Shmuel Ehrenberg and Litman Lev. The board of examiners was under pressure by the gentile workers more than one time to fail a Jew who appeared before them in order to prevent further competition in their field. I was lucky. I don't know why, but I was accepted as an apprentice in the repair shop for agricultural equipment that was owned by the gentile Schwab. He had 12 gentiles working for him and I was the only Jew. They accepted me on a month's trial and continued to keep me four years more until 1924 when I left Rohatyn. This goy insisted that I should be tested by no one but him and this was not because he was afraid that I might work for someone else since no Jewish boy was permitted to enter a non-Jewish workshop in order to learn a trade. He could accomplish this only through Jews. The products of Jewish shops were sold to farmers in the area who were their main customers and sources of income. Many were the tinsmiths, tailors, carpenters and builders who made their living from the non-Jewish nearby farms.
Tailors: Heinech Freiwald and his sons, Yisrael Leib Green, Wolf Lev, Nachman Fidelboigen and his son Yosef, Shmuel Shulster with his sons, Nissan Fried, the Tahler family, S. Loifer, Yisrael Zin, Leibush Friedman and his son, and others.
Barbers: Max Korfierst, Nachum Buchser, Leizer Buchser, Matisyahu Broinstein and others.
Cobblers: Mechal Katz and his sons, Shmuel Shuler, Hirsch Mandel, Putzchter and sons, David Itche Zin and his son Yisrael and others.
Carpenters: Yudel (Yehuda) Shames and his son Michael, Mordechai Lilian (the owner of the carpentry shop for building) who worked together with his son Butchie, who now lives in the United States. From time to time he also hired workers. The sons of Reb Moshe Gershon who was an acknowledged Zionist and member of the Poalei Zion; the brothers Hass (furniture); Yitzchak and Shmuel Mohl.
Shoemakers: Baruch Weinreich and his sons Mechal and Bezalel.
Builders: David Koenig, Yeshayahu Hoftman and Shmuel.
Watchmakers: Avraham Roda, Yaakov Zeidler, Zvi Axelrod, Bergstreit and others.
Bakers: Horn, Tzelniker, Gera, Sofer and others.
Printers: Chaim Szkolnick and Shimon Teichman.
Painters: Lichtgran and Hass.
Tinsmiths: Avraham Blassenheim, Zalman Kirshenboim, Ignaz Grinsboim and others.
Photographer: Nushie Wald.
Candle factory: Meir Mauer.
Seltzer factory: Zlatkes brothers, Naftali Shumer.
Beer bottling plant: Akiva Wagschal and the lawyer Shmuel Shpiegel.
Hatmaking: Mrs. Shumer, the sister of Yonah Nemet; the Zeider family.
Kiln: Alter Faust.
Candy Factory: Ephraim Kanfer and family.
Bag Factory: Shmuel Kertzner and family.
The Jews of the town earned a living mostly from retail sales, brokerage, peddling and storekeeping. Trades involving manual labor did not attract people, not even the youth, and only a relatively few people adopted it and continued to stay with it. Most of the youth followed the path of their parents and with time took their place behind the counter of the little store, the other side of the stand in the market place, the shoe stores, notions, textiles and hardware stores.
There were people who wondered about what I did, - Anshel, the son of Reb Nachum the melamed (teacher of young children) learning a trade that requires working with his hands unlike the rest of those my age in the town? They forgot about the changes that were taking place in the world and did not notice the new winds that were beginning to blow in our town, the winds of the Land of Israel after the Balfour Declaration to which the eyes of the youth were being raised.
This spirit also expressed itself through organizations that were formed. Many of the workers joined the Poalei Zion party. Generally their new members were young workers but there were also older people who tied their futures to Israel. The Poalei Zion was founded in Rohatyn in the year 1920 and was headed by Dr. Goldschlag with Yosef Green as secretary. When I joined, I was appointed treasurer of the branch until 1924, at which time I left Rohatyn. It is proper to relate that the Poalei Zion was the largest and most popular Jewish labor party in Poland the Bund did not take root in Rohatyn. What happened was, that those who had previously belonged to the Bund went over to the Poalei Zion. Part of the older workers belonged to the General Zionists.
The older workers found their social outlets in the Tailors' and Cobblers' Synagogues, none of which were very large. They found their release from everyday activities to which they were tied all week long and tried to find some degree of spiritual elevation during Shalosh Seudot (the third meal of the Sabbath which traditionally has special spiritual powers). Here they sang and heard someone giving a short discourse dealing with the weekly portion of the Torah; they drank a small glass of whiskey at the end of the Havdala ceremony and took part in the festivities of Simchat Torah; they partook in a Bar Mitzvah, learned a portion of Mishne in honor of some friend who had passed away. In addition to meeting their spiritual needs, they also helped each other with their physical needs through a variety of charities, some secretly given. They visited the sick and helped young couples to begin their married life as well as fulfilling other commandments between man and fellow man that have been the traditional inheritance of the Jewish people for generations.
All this was buried in the grave of the Holocaust which befell the Jews. May their souls know eternal rest in the knowledge of the renewal of Jewish life in the Land of Israel.
[1 photo p. 148 Caption states:
Family of Yisrael-Leib Green, Of Blessed Memory. First row standing from the right: Feige, Altche, Esther, Leah, Itamar Loifer, Yisrael-Leib, Gitel, Yosef and his daughter Ruth, Shmuel, Shalom and David.]
[2 photo p. 149
(Top)Caption states: Family of Nachum Milstein, May he rest in peace. From upper right: Feivish and Sarah Zonenshein, Uri and Devorah Schreiber, Benzion and Sala Milstein, Pearl Milstein, Nachum and Alta Milstein Anshel Milstein.
(Bottom)Caption states: The families of: Shmuel Bloch, Shimon Teichman, Gavriel Nusshofer and Ze'ev Steinmetz. Some of the children: Moshe and Aryeh Bloch and daughters. Blima and Lunka Teichman live in Israel.]
Translated by Rabbi Mordecai Goldzweig
Our town Rohatyn was essentially a poor town that suffered from a shortage of industry. It was therefore to the credit of the two printing concerns owned by Chaim Szkolnick and Shimon Teichman who lived in the town that they employed close to 16 Jewish workers and apprentices (some of whom continued to practice their trade in Israel. These included Yehoshua Shpiegel, Yerachmiel Wind and Yosef Yuzef). Printing shops were among the few places where young Jews could learn a trade.
Sanitary conditions and social benefits in the factories of the towns in eastern Poland were limited and poor. An 8 hour working day may be the accepted norm now but it was not even dreamt of then. We won't talk about social benefits and salaries consonant with experience, etc.- However let it be stressed, to the credit of the printing trade, that they were the first to begin the struggle for attaining social benefits. This resulted in their obtaining an 8 hour workday for their workers while some of the workers even received health insurance at the expense of the owners of the press. These struggles waged by the workers of the printing trade indirectly affected the working conditions at other small plants in Rohatyn. Moreover, their influence was felt beyond the area of their own trade and extended to national Jewish education.
In Eastern Galicia the population was composed of several nationalities Jewish, Polish and Ukrainian. The official language in use was Polish but printers were required to serve the general population and each national group insisted that their material be printed in their language. The Jews felt the same way and insisted that their nationalistic life be presented in their own tongue and that invitations and announcements to assemblies were to be printed solely in Yiddish or Hebrew. This was made possible only because of the existence of a Jewish owned press and their owners.
From time to time a book might appear written in Ukrainian or Polish by a local writer. The printing press of Chaim Szkolnick, the largest in our town, also served the governmental agencies of the town and its environs. Because of this, business increased and more workers were employed. This aroused the unconcealed envy of the Poles as they watched these profitable businesses expand and they did their best to establish a Polish press in Rohatyn that would compete with the Jewish press. They even succeeded in establishing one small press but it offered no competition to the Jewish printers who had at their disposal the use of large machines and a wealth of printing type.
When the Soviets entered the town the printing trade lost its Jewish identity. All three printing presses of the town were united into one with all the type being removed by the Soviets and taken out of town. These were replaced by Ukrainian letters. The Soviets then began to make preparations for a daily newspaper to be printed in the Ukrainian language under the title The Red Star.
Here it is proper to remember two workers Zvi Blumenreich and Shlomo Szkolnick among the pioneers of the printing industry in Rohatyn who were brutally murdered by the Nazis.
David and Esther Blaustein
Translated by Rabbi Mordecai Goldzweig
Our town Rohatyn was located in the fertile land of the Ukraine which is noted for its wealth of produce in the field, garden and the barn. The silos of the farmers were filled with grain and varieties of fruit. Surrounding the Jewish town were the villages of the gentiles and the manors of the nobility. Economic ties and business connected the Jews of Rohatyn with the surrounding farmers and relationships between them were correct. They supported each other economically and there was no anti-semitism felt from the farmers until just before World War II. Jews rented farms, land and flour mills from the goyim and bought cattle and agricultural products while the farmers obtained clothes, shoes, cloth, furniture and equipment for the farm from the Jewish merchants and craftsmen.
Rohatyn was surrounded by a thick dark forest the size of which could not be fully encompassed. It had many paths treaded by many generations of young and old which led from the side streets of the town towards the green forest. Here young people found escape from prying eyes and gossips when their love was in full bloom. Jewish adults too who all week long had been immersed in their business came there on Shabbat to rest in the shade of the trees together with their wives and children and enjoy the quiet of the forest.
(Afterwards, the paths became sad and the young lovers seeking privacy disappeared. Different people began to inhabit it then. These were the Jewish partisans who found shelter from the Nazi invaders who had set fire to the Jewish homes and aided by the Ukrainians sent their children to the crematoria, but the forest remained faithful and protected the Jewish partisans. It was from here that they attacked and hit against the oppressors.)
However, in those days the forest was a happy place maintaining and supporting many Jewish families. There were many Jews of Rohatyn who dealt with and did business in the forest and trees. These included Alter Foist and his brother, Moshe Leib; Uri Karten and Yosef Altman; Avraham Yitzchak Goldshlag and Eliezer Boim used to buy from the noblemen sections of the forest that they cleared and shipped to Austria and other countries in freight cars or barges along the Dniester River. Those who were not in the export trade usually had warehouses of lumber, boards, planks, beams, etc. These included Alter-Foist, Wolf Allerand, Nachman-Shaye Wachman, Pin'e Shpiegel, Yudel Rosenzweig, Liebling and others. They used to buy beams or planks of wood in the sawmills in order to sell them for building of homes or making furniture which was sold to the Jews of the town and the farmers from the surrounding areas. They also supplied firewood in winter that was sold by merchants such as Meir Wald, the brothers Moshe Leib and Uri Karten and Alter Foist, etc.
Not only the woods and lumber occupied the Jews of the town. They also engaged in renting land and farms (Polvarkim). Elias Kanarik rented the Zlanov estate from the nobleman Schacht which spread over 1,500 acres of land and had within it a livestock inventory of 60 cows, 30 horses, 32 oxen, etc. He employed about 15 regular and seasonal workers. Zvi Brightbard did the same thing; he leased the Nastachin estate which spread over an area of approximately 400-500 acres of land. Avramche Adler maintained an estate of between 500-600 acres of land while Goldhaber and Porush leased only agricultural land. Jews also managed flour mills. Fishel Bond and Bozgang leased the flour mills of the poritz (nobleman) Tichasheivitz who owned Potyatinza while the flour mill of the nobleman of Rohatyn was leased by the brothers-in-law Messing and Nota Gutenplan who from time to time hired many workers. Usually they ground flour and corn for the surrounding farmers and for the Jews of the town who sold flour.
There were also grain merchants in Rohatyn. These included Yisrael Silber, Noach Becker, Yosef Viderker, Avramtche Roch, Yechezkel Bradshpiss, Yankel Bradshpiss, Henie Mirels Garten* , Velvel Ze'ev Weisbrun and his sons and others. Among these Fishel Bond was the biggest exporter of grain and his business reached as far as Lwów and Warsaw. Sometimes they bought the grain while it was still on the ground at a lower price but then they would give a down payment on the whole crop. It was known that the Ukrainian farmers were always short of loose cash and the Jewish merchant also came out the winner in this type of transaction.
Another type of product that the Jews bought from the goyim were cattle. They too were a commodity that could be exported. The exporters of cattle were the three brothers Glatzer Kalman, Reuven and Yisrael. They sent their merchandise to Katowitz and Mislevitz in Upper Silesia, Poland. Every week 2-3 carloads of cattle left for these towns. They also sent cattle from the area of Rohatyn to Vienna. The brothers Shneikraut were big cattle merchants but they earned their reputation and good name for their good heart and their concern for people around them. They never spared their efforts and connections with the poritz with whom they had good business relations in order to help a Jew in his time of trouble. They utilized their connections with the goyim for the benefit of the Jews who turned to them for help and their hands were always open to anyone who was in need of help, in the form of a loan or a quiet donation. The cattle merchants were successful in their efforts. Their businesses flourished and the same was true of the butchers of the town of which there were 12. Within their shops could be found either kosher or treife meat, which was sold to goyim or to the most religious Jew but it never happened that a Jewish butcher would fool a Jew and sell him treife meat for kosher meat because the ties between the butcher and the customers were based on full trust and the most religious Jew never had the slightest suspicion about the honesty of the butchers. Of course, these two types of meat were kept far apart from each other. Every Thursday morning the town Dayan, Rabbi Avraham David Shpiegel and Reb Tuvia Shochet investigated the butcher shops for their kashrut to make sure that there was no treife meat there, G-d forbid, and their constituents were not, G-d forbid, inadvertently transgressing by eating treife. Of course, as the Shabbat approached the income of the butchers grew as compared with the rest of the week for which Jew would deny himself a piece of meat on this important day. But even in the middle of the week Jews of Rohatyn enjoyed eating meat. Of all the butchers that I mentioned before, those of the newer generation who followed the paths of their parents and became independent butchers were Meir and Isser Glatzer, with whom I used to be friends, Yehoshua Glatzer and Moshe Eisen etc. They maintained a family like relationship among themselves - We were one big family.
Butchers like all other tradesmen required a license in order to engage in their trade without being bothered by the government. In order to accomplish this they had to pass examinations before the master butchers. Therefore, the Jewish representative to the Tzach of butchers, Yisrael Glatzer, used to ease the way with his friends in the Tzach at a table loaded with goodies at the tavern of Abba Karten, because with the help of a bottle of free whiskey the heart of even the most obstreperous goy could be melted. And since we are talking about meat for Shabbat then we must mention the names of Ze'ev Steinmetz and his family and Yehoshua-Falik Shtroilicht who supplied the Jews of the town with fish all week long especially before Shabbat, as our sages have said, There is no pleasure during the Shabbos without a meal of spinach, large fish and garlic heads. These large fish were supplied by Ze'ev Steinmetz from his fish ponds.
But, of course, Jews never contented themselves with just a good meal in honor of the Shabbat Queen. They dressed up with elegant clothes and shiny clean shoes. A young lady who reached the age of marriage would be especially careful about a nice appearance when people were talking about her with regard to shiduchim. Then she might order shoes from Slonim where you could find elegant shoe styles in keeping with those of Lwów and Paris. The fulfillment of these desires were made possible by Yoel Fisher and Moshe Preiss and their brothers who went to the trouble of stocking a light and dainty shoe that would not, G-d forbid, pinch their toes. However, working people who had the problem of earning a living wage hung were not so choosy. They made do with less elegant shoes that were strong. They were called boikes. They had a thick leather sole with an inner lining and were laced up with long shoelaces. With such shoes you could be certain of walking securely anywhere you wanted to go and they could be obtained at the shop of Netanel Schein. Shoe leather was bought from leather merchants the biggest of whom were Yehoshua Streich and Reb Avraham Hirsh Koenigsberg and his children Shiltche and Yechezkel. They bought hides from the butchers, shipped them to Stanislawów and other towns, and in return importing finished leather for the leather retailers of the town.. These wrere Azriel Gan, Shmuel Mordechai Kasten, Mordechai Weiler, Mendel Weiler, Zelig Nagelberg, Alter Leventer, Fruchter and others.
Wednesday was market day. The Ukrainian farmers came from all over to make their purchases and sell their wares. And then they took care of their personal needs of clothing and shoes. The Ukrainian farmer did not know anything about a ready made shoe. He bought leather and made his own boots. The Jewish retailer would measure his feet and cut him a piece of leather to his size. The same was true for his wife and then he would send them to a clothing store or a store selling cloth (a dry goods store). There were many shnit gesheften (cloth stores) in Rohatyn. This is one area of trade that has been traditional among Jews for many generations and just to mention a few who engaged in this business there were: Shaul Gratt, Lippe Mandel, Mandel Rothenberg, Moshe Leib Kovler, Chaim Kovler, Bunim Ohrbach, Avraham Yosef Ehrenberg, the Klarnet family, Wolf Gold, Michel Zucker, Pinchas Rosenberg, Esther Holtz, her sons-in-laws and sons, Elisha Teichman, Akiva Wagschal, Rafael Baumrind, Meir Weiler, A. Lustig, Shloime Shaye Shtrulicht, and many more. The farmers were not choosy. They bought whatever their wives wanted because after all even a farm woman in the most forsaken village still wanted a nice red shawl, a flowery skirt or a colorful dress and the like just like her sisters in Paris. On the other hand, the men from the farms required much less. For them it was enough to have a pair of pants, a jacket or even a suit made of linen to feel good when they went to church on Sunday. This was handled by Nachman Granoviter, Zushe Holtz and others. Sometimes the goy insisted on his own price and thought that the Jew was overcharging him. Then the storekeeper might place a zloti in one of the jacket pockets that he was fitting and when the goy found the money in his pocket as he tried on the jacket he ceased to worry and accepted his purchase without being fussy about size or quality of the merchandise. (Money spoke loudest to these people who had very little money themselves). He reasoned that if he found one zloti in the jacket who knows what else might be hidden there This was not a common practice and one should not compare it to what these murderers and ravagers did to the Jews. It was just a bit of small town trickery...
Nor did things always go smoothly among the Jews themselves. More than once arguments would break out among the Jewish storekeepers because of competition and running after a customer who was being yanked this way and that by the storekeepers. This one pulled him into this store and this one pulled him into that store until the sleeves got torn because of the tugging which could result in the end by the customer covering the heads of both competitors with juicy oaths. But they did not run away from the glasses of whiskey that the Jews presented them. Most prominent of those in this field were Yehoshua Horn and his sons, Yonah and Dudke, who were owners of a tavern and they took care of the feelings of the goy especially on Sunday, Saturday night or the long cold winter nights. If his spirits soured, the goy would turn his eyes and heart to the liquid that warms the blood and mixes up the brain. But it wasn't only the goyim who made use of the good services of Yehoshua Horn. He knew well that, even our brothers the Jews do not run away from the bitter drop if only a few times a year, on Simchas Torah, Purim, a wedding or a bris. He did not rely on Jewish heavy drinkers. From them he would not make any profit. Many people came to the taverns and inns of the Jews where they would complete transactions over a glass of whiskey and a piece of roast goose. However, most of the people who came there were goyim Polish or Ukrainian who during market day could not resist entering the taverns of Malia Landoi, Abba Karten, Buny Kirschen, Tzvi Holder or Shloime Landoi.
Motel Kreisler supplied Jews with tobacco to smoke while learning a page of Gemora or snuff even when they were not learning - during the weekdays, Shabbos or Holy Days. His relative Shloime Kreisler saw to the improvement of the spirit of the Jews of Rohatyn by supplying them with siddurim and machzorim for the festive and high holy days, but he also carried general reading books and newspapers as well as office supplies. Textbooks and readers in wide abundance could be found in the store of Chaim Shkolnik who also had the printing press and supplied forms for the city and national government offices. There were also more prosaic stores which sold equipment and iron for building such as that of Hirsch Zvi Reiss, one of the wealthy men of the town and Moshe Bohnen, and Feivel Horshovsky and others.
There were those Jews in Rohatyn who chose the vocation of Tevia the dairy man. Many were the Jewish wagons that wended their way from the town along the dirt paths of the villages of the goyim to bring milk from there in order to convert it into butter, cheese, and cream. There were two dairies in town - that of Yaakov Eichel and Hirsch Presser. They converted milk and its products and sold them to the Jews or shipped them out of town. Hirsch Weiner bought his products from them and shipped them to Warsaw and Vilna. Chaim Hirsch Weisberg engaged in the shipping of eggs to Germany while Yaakov Leib Shor (a descendent of the Shor that had followed Jacob Frank) was one of the big egg exporters and in addition we have to mention Shmuel Blech and his sons who also engaged in the export of eggs. They all hired skilled and unskilled workers. The milk suppliers were Isaac Freiwald, Shloime Mandel Reichbach, Hodjie Eichel Hoichberg, Rachel Zieder and others. There were also wholesale grocers such as Shmuel Kleinwax, Yisrael Gleicher and Zvi Kertzner and retail grocers such as Ephraim Kanfer, Yisrael Leib Gottlieb and the salt supplier, Yechezkel Weiler. We also must mention the house ware and kitchen utensil store of Moshe Shneikrom. Some of these stores had 3-4 helpers.
With the establishment of the electric power station in Rohatyn (before that they used gas and kerosene for public lighting and private buildings) they needed light bulbs and various accessories which could be bought at the wholesaler and retailer Zelig Gorton. Windows and mirrors could be gotten wholesale and retail by Gavriel Nasofer who was also a glazier.
The town storekeepers with their varied professions and skills may not have become rich in their business but they were able to earn a living and they did not need to turn to outsiders for relief and assistance. However, this did not last forever and, when the anti-semitic movements began to grow especially in the years before the outbreak of World War II their conditions deteriorated. Poles and Ukrainians pushed them out of their businesses and they were deprived of their sustenance. This was especially felt in the field of agriculture and milk products. In the 30's the Ukrainians began to organize soyuzim (cooperatives) for dairy products and eggs. These cooperatives bought all the products of the farmer especially eggs, milk and grain products. Then they began to process milk products. Little by little the merchants and Jewish suppliers were deprived of their source of income and could not enter the small towns. Their homes and equipment were burned. Thus the work of Tuvia the Dairy Man came to an end. Only the Jewish experts such as egg packers were kept by the cooperatives for awhile until they learned to do the job by themselves and then the Jews were thrown out like a pot that is not needed.
The town and national authorities began putting pressure on the Jews and the tax authorities bore down on them with all their might. The chief tax assessor used to go through the town feeling out the Jewish financial position, also making use of informers, and paid no attention to the economic condition which was becoming worse and worse. The belt was tightened around the neck of the Jews. But all of these evil decrees and pressures that were heaped upon the heads of the Jews were nothing compared to the tragedies that were waiting for them when the war broke out when the Jewish community went up in flames and their children were brought to slaughter. May these pages serve as a memorial light to their pure spirits and may their souls be gathered together in the treasury of life...
|*||Her four daughters were Freida, Roza, Sarah, Reiza and her only son was Zelig back|
Grina Shtarzer (Faust)
Translated by Rabbi Mordecai Goldzweig
Our town was proud of its intellectuals its golden youth and members of the academic professions and all the surrounding towns were envious. This was thanks to the two gymnasia Polish and Ukrainian where the children received their education and this is where they received their foundation for higher learning at the universities. During the last years before World War II Rohatyn had its own professionals doctors, dentists, lawyers, engineers, high school teachers, clerks and merchants with a higher education. The youth of Rohatyn continued their education in all the colleges of Poland and Europe and spread out all over the country in order to practice their profession. Many of the teachers of gymnasia in Poland came from the youth of Rohatyn.
At this point it is appropriate to commemorate those who are no longer alive:
Lawyers: Dr. Yosef Weidman, Dr. Shmuel Sherf, Dr. Ludwig Shauder, Dr. Leon Katz, Henrik Katz, Ludwig Katz, Dr. Freiwald, Dr. Tzekhauser, Dr. Samy Shpiegel.
Mgr. Fishel Kreisler, Mgr. Pinye Mauer, Mgr. Yaakov Mondshein, Mgr. Sheike Pantzer, Mgr. Bune Pantzer, Dr. Leon Baraban, Mgr. Anshel Kaufman, Mgr. Rothroiber,
Mgr. Michel Weich, and others.
Doctors: Dr. Osias Tzenner, Dr. Chaike Kreisler, Dr. Lena Shumer, Dr. Michael Gold, Dr. Berel Manhardt, Dr. Joel Blumenreich, Dr. Yehuda Pasweg, Dr. Itta Weissbraun,
Dr. Yosef Teichman, Dr. Nuncia Willig.
High school teachers: The elderly teacher of religion, Herman Schwartz; Max Fuld; Urche Guttwort; Arye Guttwort; Chayke Mauer-Guttwort; Shmuel Zeidler; Lunke Zeidler; Isidore Mondschein; Rozhe Mondschein; Tolche Lev; Chana Baum; Brunia Bomza; Manio Kartin; Yosef Pantzer; Tunke Leventer; Pinye Leventer; Dov Serle; Dov Salka; Itta Mandel.
Pharmacists: Marcus Leventer; the elderly pharmacist Wagner; Lustig.
Merchants with a higher education: Turkel; Bomza; Hochberg; Yaakov Kartin; Yehuda Shkolnik a Polish army officer.
[1 photo, p. 158 Caption states: Yosef Teichman Dentist (son of Elisha Teichman, Of Blessed Memory)]
Ze'ev Baraban, Tel Aviv
Translated by Rabbi Mordecai Goldzweig
[1 photo, p. 159 Caption states: The production of King Lear, December, 1920 - Chaim Drooks, Avraham Tupp, David Prageh, Fishel Weiler, Unknown, Guttwort, Yaakov Foist, Shaul Pancher, Hinde Baum, Tova Baraban, Dr. Leibush Zlaks, Yitzchak Bernstein, Tunke Horen, Reize Leiter, David Rosenstein, Devorah Hoizer.]
Rohatyn the town in which I was born and spent my childhood was one of several hundred towns in Galicia, immersed in a struggle for existence. Its worries were about sources of income and work while the echoes of previous social and religious uproars were still being felt in the town. It was therefore not yet interested in developing the dramatic arts and it therefore never established any amateur dramatic companies. Only on infrequent occasions was it fortunate enough to be visited by one of the traveling companies. One such occasion that has stayed in my memory from childhood was when a group of traveling actors appeared on stage in the town one evening in the Jewish play, Der Wilder Mentch (The Wild Man). The plot of the play escapes me but I remember one of the songs that were sung in it down to the present day. This is the popular song Tzu fun a shtein bin ich geboiren, tzu hut mich mein mame gehat (Was I born to a rock or did my mother give birth to me?)
These rare visits in the town by the drama companies would arouse a great deal of interest among the inhabitants and become an exciting event for them. Even as a child I could not miss seeing a single play. We would receive our tickets through my father, Reb Yaakov Baraban, Of Blessed Memory, who was a mail carrier thus enabling us to obtain the tickets.
As I began to grow up these plays aroused my imagination more and more and in a relatively short time I and my friends organized a dramatic club in the Otrakvistit gymnasium where the star was someone we now know as Dr. Tzvi Zohar and where I would appear on stage playing the flute. (Incidentally, this flute has played an important part in my life and I appeared with it in the first performance of the Ohel theatre in 1925 in the play Neshef Paratz (A Party Broke Out). The club did not last very long because World War I soon broke out and Rohatyn and its youth were swept into the bloody storm. It was only after the war that attempts were again made to organize dramatic clubs among the students.
These were frightening times for the Jews of Galicia - days of pogroms by the gangs of Petlura, the Halarchik and the military regime. Yet within this torrent of blood Jews enjoyed a certain amount of internal autonomy. This was because the battling parties, the Ukrainians and the Poles, both needed the Jews on their side and this was the time when dramatic groups began to be organized in our town. It was something new among the youth. Amateur groups were organized by Dr. B. Zlatkes and they presented a number of plays. The same thing happened among the workers of our town who organized actors' groups where I presented the play Der Beitler Altz Millionaire (The Beggar as Millionaire). This play was quite successful which led to our presenting the play by Gordon, G-tt Mentch und Teivel (G-d, Man and Devil). The devil was played by my good friend Max Fuld and it even received favorable reviews from the Lemberger Taggeblatte which considered me to be a good director but found some weaknesses in the play. (However, in 1934 when I presented the same play again in Lemberg with the Ohel company, the reviews were much better and I felt much better )
When we visited Poland in 1934 with the Ohel group we also went to Rohatyn and my wife, Dvora Kastelanitz, and I spent about seven days there. During this time she appeared in a dramatic reading at the Sokol hall before the Jews of the town and the Zionist youth groups, but I was very disappointed to learn that the youth did not hear any Hebrew spoken and would not understand what was being said. Therefore, my wife was forced to introduce her play with an explanation in Yiddish for each portion of the play and her readings. Though this was an evening of readings and drama it was also a case of shnayim targum ve'echud mikre (two times translation and one time text) (a play of words on the requirement to read the text of the weekly portion of the Torah twice and the Aramaic commentary once communicating with the audience was difficult). Nevertheless, the evening was considered to be a great success since the Jews were very thirsty to hear something live from Israel.
[3 photos, p. 160 (Top photo)Caption states: Dr. Max Fuld, high school teacher, sharp minded, a brilliant mathematician, lost his position because of illness and remained in Rohatyn until World War II. He was shot in bed by the Nazis on March 20, 1942. The only survivors of his family are two sisters, Tzila Knosov and her daughter and Manke Fuld in Australia.
[(Middle photo)Caption states: Dr. Yaakov Kuperman, Lunke Zeidler, Ze'ev Baraban the first leaders of Hashomer Hatzair of Rohatyn, 1919.]
[(Bottom photo)Caption states: Seated to the left: Leitche Baraban, two grandchildren of her daughter Golda who is standing at her side; Meir Glatzer with Kiva on his knees; Golda and her husband Adolph Rappoport, Toiva Glatzer (Baraban).]
[1 photo, p. 161 Caption states: Souvenir of the play Seder Night performed by town actors: Top right: Leib Foist, Mordechai Streier, Moshe Eisen, Shlomo Mark, Dudke Prage, Reuven Kreisler, Yehoshua and Esther Shulster, Bella Taller, Djunak Bernstein, Feige Zeider, Yosef Green.]
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