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{Page 160}

On the History of “Mizrachi” in Rzeszow

by M. S. Geshuri

Translated by Jerrold Landau

A.

Jewish Rzeszow was faithful and dedicated to the Chovevei Zion idea many years prior to the foundation of Herzlian Zionism and prior to the founding of Mizrachi. There were many opportunities to join various groups whose purpose was to “awaken our brethren in whose hearts the spark of the love for our nation has not yet been extinguished, and to bring to fruition this most honorable idea.” (Hamagid, 1883, volume 3).

The first attempt to unite the traditionalist forces into the Zionist movement was made only in the year 5662 (1902). On the days of the 25 th and 26 th of Adar of that year, the founding convention of Mizrachi took place in Vilna by invitation of Rabbi Y. Y. Reines, and his first proclamation had a strong influence in Orthodox circles. Mizrachi succeeded in establishing about 210 branches in Russia already in its first year. A number of organizations joined up with Mizrachi in Galicia as well. They saw it as an organization of religious Zionists who protect religious matters and stand for the guarding of Jewish tradition in the Zionist camp. The beginning of Mizrachi in Galicia was in Kolomia, the place of residence of Yehoshua Padenhecht. Moshe Aharon Neiger, who convened the first meeting of religious Zionists and encouraged them to found a Mizrachi branch, founded the second Mizrachi group in Galicia in Tarnow.

Reb Yehoshua Padenhecht of Kolomia was a scholar and lover of books who was intelligent, and prone to taking up the author's pen. Zionism, religion and nationalism were to him urgent causes, which joined together as a unified inseparable idea. His work on behalf of Mizrachi encompassed all of eastern and western Galicia. He frequently published pamphlets by the name of “Jezreel” to encourage Zionist activity. The first pamphlet appeared immediately after the first Zionist Congress in Basle. He also published articles in Hamitzpah, a weekly that was published in Krakow. He called out to organizations, turned to various individuals, and succeeded in setting up the foundation for the Mizrachi party. However, he did not have long to spend at these endeavors, for he died after a few years at the age of 64 (on the 22 nd of Tevet 5670 (1910). He would visit Krakow from time to time in connection with his activities, and he was also known to the Jewish community of Rzeszow. Included among the prominent activists who joined Mizrachi in those days were: Rabbi Chaim Yechiel Meir Shapira, the rabbi of Drohobycz, Moshe Hochman, the writer Reuven Fahen, the preacher Weber of Kolomea, Shlomo Bester of Boryslaw who later resided in Krakow, as well as others. Rabbi Gedalia Schmelkes of Przemysl helped them with his great influence and spread the Mizrachi idea among the circles of his influence. Rabbi Meir Berlin (Bar Ilan) arrived in Galicia in 5672 (1912) as a representative from the Mizrachi headquarters in German Altona. During a subsequent trip of his to Galicia in the year 5673 (1913), he also reached Krakow, prior to the establishment of Mizrachi in that city. A branch of Mizrachi in Krakow was set up through the efforts of Rabbi Berlin. He was assisted by Reb Aharon Marcus, who was one of the most interesting characters in the history of Zionism in Galicia. He was one of the first activists to spread the idea of settling in the Land of Israel, and in bringing the Orthodox closer to the nationalist movement. When Dr. Herzl appeared on the scene, he attached himself to him with all of his enthusiasm. Already on November 4, 1896, he wrote to Dr. Herzl, saying that it is necessary to interest the cheders and rabbis in the Zionist movement. Since he was one of the Hassidim and followers of the Tzadik Rabbi David Moshe Friedman of Czortkow (the son of Rabbi Yisrael the Tzadik of Ruzhin), he spoke to Herzl asking him to turn to the Rebbe by letter and to try to interest him in the Zionist movement. Herzl was convinced by the words of Marcus, and opened up a correspondence with the Rebbe. Marcus saw his prime function in the Zionist movement as winning over rabbis to the movement, through a recognition that it would only be through the rabbis that it would be possible to implant the Zionist idea into the masses of Jews. To this end, he gathered rabbinical opinions that were in favor of Zionism, and he took it upon himself to organize the sale of products from the Land of Israel. He gave over to his son Shlomo, who lived in Podgorze, the sale of etrogim from the Land of Israel. Marcus died in Frankfurt am Main in the year 5676 (1916).

On Lag Baomer 5672 (1912), the first national Zionist convention of Galicia took place in Lvov. In 1914, it increased its activities in Galicia, with the great help of the weekly “Hamizpeh”. Fourteen groups in the cities of Galicia were authorized by the government in accordance with the Mizrachi charter. One of the leaders of Mizrachi, the well-known painter Herman Shtrok came from Germany to Galicia, and attracted a large crowd to his speeches. However, in the midst of the organizational activity of Mizrachi in the cities of Galicia, the First World War broke out (in August 1914), and stopped everything. Most of the leaders of Mizrachi in Galicia fled to Vienna, and along with the Zionists of Galicia, they occupied themselves in social activity on behalf of the Jewish refugees who streamed to the city.

B. Mizrachi after the First World War

On the 13 th of Iyar 5679 (1919), a convention took place in Krakow to deliberate upon ways to strengthen the organization of Mizrachi in western Galicia. Representatives from Krakow, Jaroslaw, Przeworsk, Dynow, Rymanow, Sanok, Gorlice, and other places participated in the convention. We do not know if anyone from Rzeszow participated in this convention. In accordance with the advice of Dr. Bulba, a seven-member committee was established to organize the leadership committee. During the time of the Mizrachi convention, it was decided also to call a convention of Young Mizrachi. It was decided to invite from time to time rabbis and well-known speakers of Mizrachi to lecture in various places, because “there is no prophet in his own city” [1] . The first lecturer was Rabbi Y. Y. Rappaport, a great scholar and superb speaker, who knew how to enchant his audience. He was one of the pillars of Mizrachi in Poland, and with his own hands he set up hundreds of branches throughout Congress Poland. In accordance with an invitation from Mizrachi in Krakow, Rabbi Rappaport organized a journey throughout the cities of western Galicia, and lectured in synagogues and study halls. In every place that he visited, a Mizrachi branch was set up.

In Rzeszow, Rabbi Rappaport lectured in the synagogue to a large congregation that filled the large hall to the brim. His enthusiastic words made an impression upon the city notables who joined the Mizrachi organization that was set up locally.

The group “Yishuv Eretz Yisrael” (“For the Settlement of the Land of Israel”) that had already been set up locally merged with this organization. Rabbi Nathan Lewin was chosen as the honorary president, and the members of the committee were: the head of the rabbinic court Rabbi Yosef Elenbogen, and Messrs. Tz. M. Eisen, Sh. Dim, Ch. Moses, Y. Leser, Y. M. Rosenwasser, M. Adler, K. Hertz, Naftali Tuchfeld, Z. Rosenwasser, M. Meller, D. Horowitz, R. Nussbaum, B. Estlein, Ch. Tepper, Ch. Kanner, and Yisrael Trom. The following were chosen from among the youth: Y. Babad, A. Kanner, and M. Rosenblum. The following were chosen as vices: N. Abramowitz, Tz. Frumer, Y. Fadem, and Y. Silber. There were various subcommittees set up subordinate to the committee. Young Mizrachi conducted classes in Talmud and commentaries, Bible, Ein Yaakov [2] , Hebrew language, and Jewish history. On Sabbaths, they would study “Chovot Halevavot” (“The Duties of the Heart” [3] ), the laws of the Sabbath, and “Akeidat Yitzchak”.

The Mizrachi idea grew and flourished, and set up roots in the city. Naftali Tuchfeld (5651-5714 1891-1954) was one of the parnassim (communal administrators) of the city of Rzeszow, and one of the founders of the local Mizrachi. He was counted among the most important Mizrachi activists in western Galicia. He participated as a representative to several Zionist congresses, as well as to the world Mizrachi convention. He was exiled to Siberia during the Second World War. He was subject to wandering and tribulations as he lived there until the end of the war. At the end of the war, he succeeded in leaving Russia, and he came to Warsaw. There he renewed his communal Zionist activities. He became one of the heads of the community, and a member of the active committee of the union of Polish communities. He left Poland in 5609 (1949) and lived for a period of time in Paris. He made aliya to Israel in 5610 (1950). He settled in Holon, and was appointed a member of the local religious council. He was employed by the Ministry of Religion. In the course of his duties, he took care of organizing the religious needs of the smaller settlements (yishuvim), and he made arrangements for peaceful coexistence among the various residents from different communities. He became seriously ill. When he recovered, his friends arranged a party of gratitude for him. At that party, he suddenly died.

After Chanukah of the year 5680 (1919), Young Mizrachi of Rzeszow arranged a splendid celebration. The city notables participated. The head of the rabbinic court Rabbi Yosef Elenbogen, the head of the organization Tz. M. Eisen, K. Hertz, Y. Babad and Naftali Tuchfeld all spoke there.

With the news of the recognition of the Land of Israel for the Jewish people [4] , public celebrations took place in all the cities, with the participation of all the Zionist organizations. At these gatherings, Mizrachi speakers spoke along with speakers of the General Zionists. Aside from these celebrations, the Mizrachi members arranged special religious celebrations in the synagogues and Beis Midrashes, with the recital of Hallel [5] on the Sabbath morning, and with special lectures on the Sabbath afternoon and on all the days of the week. In Rzeszow, Rabbis Nathan Lewin the head of the rabbinical court of the city and the region, Menashe Eichenstein, Chaim Yona Halpern, Yosef Elenbogen, and Menachem Mendel Reich issued a special declaration to gather in the synagogue on the 17 th in the evening. Rabbi Yosef Elenbogen spoke in the Mizrachi hall. Gatherings were also arranged in the Beis Midrash, where the members Eisen (the president of Mizrachi), Hertz, N. Tuchfeld, Lewin and others lectured. Many new members joined Mizrachi.

The Young Mizrachi organization in Rzeszow also developed in a serious manner. Aside from its fruitful work in the cultural realm, it also was busy in the providing of kosher food to Jewish soldiers who were posted in the city. The influence of this organization was felt by everyone. Dr. Yechezkel Lewin, the son of the rabbi of the city Rabbi Nathan Lewin, was the founder of Young Mizrachi in the city. He also exerted his influence in neighboring cities to develop special groups for the younger people.

C. Mizrachi in Rzeszow

After the signing of the peace treaty, the Jewish youth began to return to Rzeszow. The faces of the activists, who had removed their army fatigues, were again seen.

Dr. Yechezkel Lewin, the son of Rabbi Nathan the rabbi of Rzeszow, concerned himself with the restoration of religious nationalist activity, and renewed the existence of Young Mizrachi in the city. Yechezkel Lewin was considered to be one of the best lecturers and expositors. His sermons attracted large audiences, and excelled in their style and content. He absorbed a love of the Land of Israel and religious Zionist ideas from the house of his grandfather Rabbi Schmelkes, one of the first of Chovevei Zion. He was involved in the Zionist movement from his youth. With the passage of time, he was chosen as the head of the Keren Kayemet (Jewish National Fund) and Keren Hayesod in Poland. He was very active in the movement both in Rzeszow and outside of it. Thanks to his dedication, the activists were reawakened to work, and the youth of Mizrachi renewed their activities. In the Hebrew weekly “Hamizrachi”, published in Warsaw, volume 24 from Sivan 5681 (1921), we read that the activity in all realms of Mizrachi Zionism was very intensive. The Mizrachi organization took first place in its activities on behalf of Keren Hayesod, by virtue of its great activity and the speeches that were presented from time to time in the synagogues. After the earlier convention, a general meeting was called where the members who were delegates of the committee presented an accounting of the activities of the committee, called all members to serious activity, and called on everyone to fulfil the decisions of the committee. On the intermediate days of Passover, a large general gathering was called in the Beis Midrash in order to help disseminate the Mizrachi shekel (the dues). Despite the fact that “The Young Faithful of Israel” attempted to raise a tumult in the middle of Tz. M. Eisen's speech and to insult the speaker, a large number of shekels were sold on that occasion. This was over and above the numerous shekels that were sold in the nearby villages. The influence of Mizrachi in Rzeszow was significant. A Mizrachi cheder was established in the city with five grades. It operated at a high level. Most of the cheders joined Mizrachi. A Mizrachi Women's Organization was also founded. Young Mizrachi conducted special cultural activities.

In Kislev 5683 (1923) we find in the Mizrachi publications that the Rzeszow chapter stood at the head of all the various organizations that existed in the city, due to its excellent work in all aspects of nationalism and religion. A general meeting of the membership was called on the intermediate days of Sukkot. After the chairman of the organization presented a general overview of all of the activities of the organization from the time of its founding, elections were made for a new committee. The following people were elected: Moshe Kamelhar as chairman, Yechezkel Lewin as honorary chairman, Zalka Weinfeld as secretary and delegate to the library, Chaim Kanon as treasurer, Yitzchak Silber as cultural representative, Frei as vice delegate to the library, and Tzvi Shapiro and Moshe Meller as delegates to the “Keren Hechalutz Hamizrachi” (“Fund for Mizrachi Pioneers”). In the winter, evening classes were conducted on the following subjects: Talmud with Rashi and commentaries, Chumash, The Guide of the Perplexed [6] and Jewish history. The members would attend these classes. During the times of elections to the Sejm and Senate, the members played an active role, and thanks to their activity, they succeeded in the civic elections. The president of Mizrachi in the city, Naftali Tuchfeld, excelled in this work in particular. Prior to the elections, he traveled to various cities to work to this end.

{Photo page 162: Active members of “Hamizrachi” (1932). Standing from Right. Platzer, Belzberg, Weinman, Silber, Ziegel, Platzer, Rosenbaum, Berglas. Sitting from right: Zigelbaum, Adler, Tuchfeld, Hertz, Baruch Shlissel, Sternschuss, and Abend. Lower row, from right: Berger, Fluger, and Yosef Low.}

In addition to the local speakers, Mizrachi's top lecturers from important cities would often come to speak, as would well-known rabbis and preachers. On the Sabbath of the Torah portion of Vayetzei, Rabbi Yisrael Bornstein, the head of the rabbinical court of Borowice, visited Rzeszow and lectured in the Mizrachi hall to a large audience of young people. The rabbi enthused their hearts and encouraged them to work for the Mizrachi idea. On Sunday of the Torah portion of Vayishlach (the next week), a general meeting took place in the large kloiz. The room was filled to the brim. The rabbi of the city lectured about the essence of Mizrachi, and called for a concentration of activity for the building of the Land of Israel. His words were spiced with words of Torah, and he received an enthusiastic applause. Many of the audience joined up with Mizrachi. After his lecture, the members gathered in their hall in order to elect a new committee. Aside from the members previously mentioned, several other members were elected to the new committee: Z. M. Eisen, Naftali Tuchfeld, K. Hertz, Ch. Moses, Sh. Dim, Y. Friedman, Y. Rebhun, M. Rosenbaum, Y. Trom, Sh. Meller, Z. Grad, Y. Leser, D. Horowitz, B. Estlein.

D. The Various Organizations of “Hanoar Hamizrachi”

The Hanoar Hamizrachi organization was founded at first in order to help the older Mizrachi organization after the founders of Mizrachi realized that there was a lack of youth among their ranks. However, there was a gap between the desire and the action. Yehoshua Padenhecht, who was one of the original founders of Mizrachi in Galicia, and was very active in working for religious Zionism from the days of the first Zionist congress in Basel, published pamphlets called “Jezreel” which were directed toward the young people who were outside of the camp, and tried to awaken them to the fact that “you are Zionists, true Zionists in the full sense of the word. Recognize the goal of your love for your nation and your great desire for our land, the land of Yeshurun [7] from generation to generation. Know that you were Zionists even before the term Zionism was coined. You were Jews even while these young people returned to our borders and convinced themselves that they were Germans, Frenchmen or Britons. And if now these young people return with all their hearts to be Jews as we are, we must accept them as sons who are returning to their father's house, and to guide them along the proper path.”

At the first convention of Mizrachi that took place in Pressburg in the summer of 5664 (1904), nobody spoke of the youths. Only at the youth convention that took place on Lag Baomer 5673 (1913), did one item enter the proceedings regarding the founding of a youth organization under the name of “Chalutzei Mizrachi” (“Mizrachi Pioneers”). The convention decided to set up a group of Chalutzei Mizrachi alongside every Mizrachi chapter, which would accept members only up to the age of thirty. In setting up this organization, Mizrachi wished to educate the youth between the ages of fifteen and thirty, and to turn them into dedicated activists. However, while they were still preparing for activities, the First World War broke out in the year 5774 (1914), and all Zionist activity ceased.

{Photo page 163: Young Mizrachi in 1922.}

A Young Mizrachi chapter was set up in Rzeszow as well with the aim of assisting Mizrachi. However, as the stream of aliya to the Land of Israel increased significantly in the year 5684 (1924), and masses of religious youth became affiliated with the organization, it became necessary to found a branch of Chalutzei Mizrachi in Rzeszow as well. Its members prepared themselves to make aliya to the Land of Israel by working in agricultural farms, factories and workshops that were set up in various places in western and eastern Galicia, such as Plaszow (near Krakow), Bielsko, Bobowa, Sanok and other places. Through their hachsharah (Zionist preparation) work, the members became accustomed to manual labor. The aim was to realize the ideals of Torah Vaavoda (Torah and Labor), and to set up a society based on equality and justice. The idea of aliya penetrated all areas of the community. The pioneers waited in their hachsharah camps for their turn for aliya. The number of permits was limited, and only a small number succeeded in obtaining their aliya permits. With the passage of time, most of them made aliya to the Land, and many of them became active in the Poale Mizrachi movement in Israel.

The issue of how to include girls in the Noar Hamizrachi movement was a subject of debate at conventions of Mizrachi and Hechalutz Hamizrachi. Many felt, due to doubts and uncertainties, that “the honor of the daughter of the king is inside” [8] . Only after the hachsharah camps were established this problem was resolved, primarily because it became apparent that it was not possible to build a farm or a hachshara camp without the assistance of the female pioneer. Therefore, chapters of the girls' youth movement Bruria were set up for all chapters of Young Mizrachi. Within a short time, hundreds of girls joined up, and many of them went to the hachsharah camps and farms in order to study a fitting trade. The female members in Rzeszow stood shoulder to shoulder with their comrades, and became experienced in all manners of hachsharah.

There were many obstacles and difficulties even at the beginning of the “Hashomer Hadati”. This was an organization for younger and older youths. From its inception, it had the motto “If you are a watcher [9] once, you are a watcher forever”. Every year, this motto acquired a deeper meaning. The actualization [10] - this was the essence of the special purpose of the Hashomer group, which gave it its form and image Torah and work were the joint goals that united Hashomer and Young Mizrachi. The union was for the most part for the purpose of realizing far off goals. For the short term, in actualizing its way of doing things, “Haknesset” [11] went on its own independent path. Hashomer took upon itself the task of inspiring a fundamental revolution among the religious youth, to educate the Hashomer youth for aliya to the Land in order that they may stand in the first ranks of the religious working settlement. To this end, there was a need for intensive educational activity, employing special educational techniques that would awaken the young soul to a fundamental change of outlook. The Hashomer chapter in Rzeszow was one of the many chapters of this youth group, which served as a sort of framework in the educational realm.

Appropriate to the setting of a clear educational direction for Haknesset, the hachsharah activity increased in the later years. Special groups were set up for the Shomrim, with an internal makeup similar to the groups in the Land of Israel. The entire goal was to speed up the aliya process so that they would be able to join the groups of Hapoel Hamizrachi in the Land of Israel. Hachsharah groups called “Geula” (“Redemption”) were established in western Galicia, and very soon the first groups of pioneers made aliya to the Land and joined the “Avraham” group in Kfar Pines.

With the advent of the Holocaust, this splendid camp was uprooted along with the rest of the house of Israel. Members of Mizrachi Youth joined the partisans in fighting against the Nazi enemy along with other Jewish youth. They fought together and most of them perished. Only a very few succeeded in surviving and arriving to the Land.


{Page 164}

“Agudas Yisrael”

by Shlomo Tal

Translated by Jerrold Landau

{Photo page 164, top: The executive of “Agudas Yisrael' Youth. From Right: Yechezkel Rosenbaum, Shlomo Tal (Teitelbaum), Shmuel Resnick, and Moshe Eckstein.}

{Photo page 164, bottom: Reception for Agudas Yisrael leaders at the railway platform.}

For most of the days of the years, the influence of the Aguda was not felt strongly in Rzeszow. It did not even have an official office. Most of its activity took place during elections – during elections for the Polish government “the Sejm”, local elections for the community, or elections for the town council “Magistrate”. Despite the lack of organization, the Aguda was a powerful force in Rzeszow during the time of these elections. The members of Aguda (even if they were not official members) included Hassidim, who were in those days a significant percentage of the Jewish population of Rzeszow. For the most part, the Hassidim of Dzikow belonged to Aguda, including the Eckstein, Kanner, and Shapira families. Most of the Czortkow Hassidim, headed by the families of Avraham Chaim Lipschitz and Chiel were also part of Aguda. (The Chiel family owned an inn in the suburb of Wygnaniec, where three generations, father, son and grandson, lived together. The three of them were scholars and versed in secular knowledge. The grandson Alter Chiel was active in Agudas Yisrael Youth. He was a poet and a writer. He wrote articles in Hebrew as well as in Jewish-Polish newspapers. He even published poems in Hebrew.) The Hassidim of Blazowa, Zholyn, Plontch and others also affiliated with Aguda. During the times of elections for the Sejm, they would invite famous speakers such as Rabbi Meir Shapira of blessed memory of Lublin (at the time he was a rabbi in Sanok), and Alexander Zisha Friedman [12] may G-d avenge his blood of Warsaw. Aguda in Rzeszow strengthened after Rabbi Tuvia Horowitz (later a rabbi in Sanok), may G-d avenge his blood, as well as the rabbi of the city Rabbi Aharon Lewin may G-d avenge his blood, came to live in Rzeszow. However, even then, Aguda did not conduct great activity in other areas, except during the times of elections.

On the other hand, the Agudas Yisrael Youth organization was more active. The finest of the youth of the Hassidic homes were members of this group: Eliahu Zibner, the Kiselowicz brothers, Yechiel Amkraut, Baruch Wechsler, Yehoshua Wolfman, Baruch Goldman, Yitzchak Mintz, Ever (Avraham) Mintz, Ben Zion Eckstein, Yosef and Eliahu Eckstein, Meir Shteiglitz, and later on in the younger group, Yirmiahyu Holes, Chaim Yosef Eckstein, the brothers Moshe and Baruch Eckstein, the brothers Leibish and Yechezkel Rosenbaum, Alter Chiel, Shmuel Resnick, and others.

Agudas Yisrael Youth was quite organized. It had a permanent office with all the trappings of an organization. The office was in the attic of a small house in the yard of the Mintz family. Their influence was recognizable in the city, particularly in the Talmud Torah and the Yeshiva. They acted, in a manner of speaking, as the spiritual guardians of these educational institutions. Members would come weekly to examine the students. On Sabbaths, they would gather in the room of their office, where they would conduct various classes on Torah topics. They also conducted ideological discussions there.

Just like Agudas Yisrael, Agudas Yisrael Youth was strengthened with the arrival of Rabbi Aharon Lewin to Rzeszow. His three sons, Yitzchak Lewin (Rabbi Yitzchak Lewin, one of the leaders of Agudas Yisrael of New York), Shmuel and Mordechai were members of this organization.


{Page 165}

Revisionist Movement (its beginning and development)

by Avraham Mussinger of Tel Aviv

{Photo page 165: Avraham Mussinger.}

Establishment of the Betar Chapter

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Passover of 1928, I was invited by a group of members of “Hashachar” and “Hashomer Hatahor” in Rzeszow to speak to them about the Revisionist movement and “Brit Trumpeldor”. That year, I was active as a member of the Lvov chapter of that movement.

The lecture took place in the three small rooms of the Hashachar movement that were located in the yard of the public health office in Wolya Square. This office also served as the location for the activities of the Hashomer Hatahor chapter, which was headed by Janek Geiger, who was also the head of the Hashomer Hatzair chapter. At the end of the lecture, a motion was put forward that the two groups, Hashachar and Hashomer Hatahor, become affiliated with the Revisionist Movement. A small minority who opposed this motion left the meeting. These included Mr. Horowitz Kanczuger, Mr. Milek Zweigbaum and Mr. Bozik Sturmlaufer. Approximately 80% of those gathered, with Janek and the Eichenstein sisters at the head, supported the motion. At that meeting, the first leadership committee of the chapter was set up, consisting of the following members: Janek Geiger as head of the chapter, the sisters Yaffa and Tova Eichenstein, as well as Moshe Singer and Emanuel (Max) Pariser as members of the committee.

Hashachar as a Revisionist Organization

As has been stated, the Hashachar organization had a headquarters from where it conducted cultural activities. This group had an illustrious tradition in Rzeszow, and counted influential people among its members. Such people played an important role in communal life. There was a well-stocked library where courses in the Hebrew languages were conducted for the youth and adults.

A new committee was chosen for the group, headed by Mr. Leib Beck (living today in the United States). Members of the new committee included Mr. Tzvi Goldberger as secretary (living today in Haifa), Mr. Nachum Reich, Mr. David Deutscher, Mr. Oscar Braun, Mrs. Ida Platzer and Mrs. Rivka Weinfeld (today in Israel).

The First Local Committee of the Revisionist Movement in Rzeszow

Through the efforts of Mr. Simcha Seiden, a local Zionist activist and a delegate to the Zionist congresses, a local committee of the Revisionist Zionists was established, including representatives of the two organizations as well as veteran activists in the Zionist movement, such as: Reb Elias Wang, Dr. Eliezer Einfeld, the lawyer Dr. Speiser, Mr. Mordechai Hillinger (may he live long), and Shimon Hirsch. This committee was set up in 1929 and conducted its official meetings in the offices of Hashachar in Beit Haam. That year, the two revisionist organizations, Betar and Hashachar, moved to their new headquarters in Beit Haam, named after Tenenbaum of blessed memory.

The Visit of Jabotinsky to Rzeszow in 1930

Thanks to the efforts of the chairman of the local council of the Revisionist Movement Mr. Simcha Seiden, Zeev Jabotinsky came to Rzeszow to lecture. The Jews of the city, both his admirers and opponents, greeted him with honor and respect.        

A reception committee was set up, consisting of representatives of all of the organizations. It included Yaakov Alter, Dr. Aharon Wang, Kalman Hertz and Naftali Tuchfeld. The lecture took place in the large gathering hall, which contained approximately 1,000 seats. The hall was overflowing, and hundreds of people who came from far off cities from all of central Galicia were forced to stand on the street. The audience sat quietly without any disturbances. This fact made a great impression on Jabotinsky, who, in one of his articles, praised the pleasant and attentive behavior of the Jews of Rzeszow.

The Organization of the Revisionist Movement in Rzeszow at the End of 1930

I returned to live permanently in Rzeszow in 1930. In response to the request of several members of the Betar chapter, I took upon myself the directorship of the chapter. I set up a new committee consisting of the following members: Avraham Schipper (Bumek) (who lives today with his wife Mrs. Yocheved Kenler in Canada), who served as a member of the new committee and was chairman of the economic and financial division of the chapter; Mordechai Frei (Muniek), the vice director of the chapter (today in the United States with his wife Mrs. Gusta Sheffer); Yaakov (Kuba) Pariser, (a Holocaust survivor who lives today in Haifa) in the cultural committee, who conducted advanced courses; Tzila Sitz as a counselor [13] , and Moshe Brenner (today a resident of Kfar Ata) as a counselor and ideologue.

The important work of insuring the continuation and development of the chapter from a financial perspective was filled by the economic and financial committee with Bumek at the head, and the active participation of the following members; Mordechai Barzel, a director and advisor; Henek Luriner, an official in the Ika Bank who was especially involved in the conduction of correspondence; Rosa Haberkorn; Dina Weissman; Arna Yamel; Matityahu Kashashover (today a resident of Tel Aviv); Ida Steinmetz; Emma Goldberg; and Rozka Reichwald.        We began to conduct the ideological educational activity with full force, and we did a great deal to spread the Betar idea among the Jewish youth in the city.

{Photo page 166: Original members of the Revisionist Movement in Rzeszow in 1928. Sitting from right: Wallach, Cohen, Chaim Spitz, Avraham Mussinger, and Munek Frei. Standing from right: --, Shmuel Rosner, M. Weinman, Eliezer Friedman, --, Moshe Singer.}

The Betar Chapter Moves to its New Headquarters on Baldachowka (1932)

Thanks to the help of several members of the local council of the Revisionist Zionists (Leibish Beck and Mordechai Hillinger) that was reorganized after the departure of Mr. Simcha Seiden to the United States, the organization moved to a new headquarters on Baldachowka Street. This new house consisted of a large hall with a stage for performances and a small room that was used for the offices of the chapter. The yard in front of the house was large enough for parades, and in its center, a tall flagpole was erected, upon which the Betar flag was raised on Sabbaths and festivals, during the times when the chapter activities took place. This flag was raised every Sabbath in a festive ceremony prior to the beginning of the chapter activities, and was lowered at an evening ceremony at the conclusion of the Sabbath, when the activities were over. The evening ceremony was accompanied by an enthusiastic singing of the anthem, accompanied by the chapter's band. These ceremonies are engraved in the memories of Rzeszow Betarites to this day.

The Broadening of the Activities of the Revisionist Zionists in Rzeszow

In 1932, the Revisionist Movement in the city increased its activities in all areas of public life, thanks to the participation of noted activists of the movement.

Dr. Eliezer Einfeld served as the chairman of the local committee of the Revisionist Movement, and the vice-chairman was Dr. Speiser. Also participating were Mr. Roman Eisen, a reserve army officer (who met his tragic death in the Katyn camp in Russia); and Mr. Leo Korn, the brother-in-law of Dr. Rosenbaum (may he live long). Aside from them, also included in the committee were representatives of Hashachar, Tzvi Goldbander and David Deutscher, as well as representatives of the Betar chapter. That year, a new Revisionist organization was founded headed by Mr. Shimon Hirsch. This organization was represented on the council by its chairman and by Tzvi Flaumendorf. Activists in the new organization included Willy Kramer (today a resident of Jerusalem), Binyamin Orenstein, and Janek Ungar.

This organization started publicity events and contributed greatly to the spreading of the Revisionist idea among the ranks of the middle class.

The Chapter's Band

Through the efforts of several Betar members, such as Moshe Hochner of blessed memory (who died here in Israel), as well as the Springer brothers and their father, the Betar band was set up. This band was a source of constant revenue to the chapter, and it played its pleasant tunes at all functions of the chapter and the movement.

It is fitting to mention the other members of the band: the dedicated Betarite Feit, the Betarites Julian Kleinmetz, Binyamin Aptilon, and (may he live long) Friedman.

Physical Education and Military Hachsharah

With the joining of several new members to the chapter, such as Matityahu Kashashover and the Naftali Tenenbaum brothers, an era of advanced activity in the realm of physical education began. We organized groups for light athletics, basketball, and tennis, etc. Similarly, we conducted courses in anti-aircraft and anti-chemical defense, conducted by Mr. Roman Eisen and the league for anti-aircraft defense, of which the Betar chapter was the sole Jewish youth group that was a member. We also established strong connections with the officials of the Polish P. W. in the region (pre-military preparation). Thanks to no small effort of the members of the official committee, we were accepted as a youth group to the local “Strzelec”, where we studied military exercises, including practice in shooting with rifles and machine guns.

This was the first step in actualizing the motto of the head of Betar “to teach the children of Judah to use a bow and arrow”. Later on, the Betar chapter in Rzeszow was recognized as a locale for military training, and the members of the chapter were permitted to wear the emblem of the P. W. They received military training under the direction of the local militia, including shooting practice. In May 1935, the Betar chapter of Rzeszow participated in a uniformed parade of the P. W. groups in the city. Its appearance on the streets of the city awakened feelings of pride in the Jewish hearts.

In 1933, the chapter established groups for military service for members of the second and third rank of the chapter and for all the members of the hachsharah group that existed there. This was under the leadership of the counselors of Keren Tel Chai, which conducted military exercises in the Hebrew language; fencing meets under the direction of the Betar sergeant of the Ulanow chapter Mr. Kenig (today an employee of Egged in Haifa); and courses in first aid under the direction of the sergeant Aryeh (Poldek) Keller, who had served in the Polish army. For this purpose, we equipped the chapter with all sorts of first aid equipment, such as stretchers, boxes of medicine and bandages.

Through the efforts of Keren Tel Chai and with the assistance of the officials of the P. W., in 1932, the first military hachsharah camp of Betar was set up in the village of Kunkowce, on the banks of the San River about five kilometers from Przemysl. Several members of the chapter were sent to this camp, where they studied camping skills, field exercises in full military garb, military communication, night marching, and shooting practice at an army range. They also engaged in all types of sporting activity. Through intensive effort, we began our serious activity in the realm of military training. To this end, we engaged the services of two Betarites who have just graduated from a Polish Officers' military academy, Shimon (Shimek) Speiser and Mr. David (Donek) Plantzer, may he live long. They joined the leadership of the chapter.

{Photo page 167: Revisionist conference in Rzeszow.}

Visits of Leaders of the Revisionist Movement to Rzeszow

In 1931, the leader of the Revisionist movement Dr. Wolfgang Von Weisel lectured in Rzeszow. About two years later, members of the council of the worldwide Revisionist Zionist movement, Meir Grossman and the Engineer Robert Shtriker, visited Rzeszow. In 1934, a convention of the Revisionist Zionists of western Galicia took place in Rzeszow, with the participation of Dr. Yochanan Bader, Dr. Dim, Dr. Yaakov Shechter, and the chairman of the Revisionist Zionists in Poland Dr. Wodobinski. About two years after that, in 1936, a member of the leadership of the worldwide Revisionist Zionist Movement, Dr. Yosef Shechtman, visited Rzeszow to organize the “Af Al Pi” [14] (“Even So”) fundraising campaign, whose purpose was to support aliya without certificates.

{Page 168}

Professional Hachsharah and the Betar Hachsharah Groups

In 1932, a Betar hachsharah group was established in Rzeszow. Its first director was the director of the Sanok Betar, Tzvi Rauch, who was well-liked by all of the members of the hachsharah group as well as all of the Betarites in the chapter.

In the town of Niebylec near Rzeszow, an agricultural school for Betar hachsharah was set up with appropriate courses. The practical courses in this school were conducted under the dedicated leadership of Reb Asher Wallach, the owner of a farm that covered hundreds of dunams and served as an example for the farms of the region. Saplings were grown on this farm, and it provided saplings for the entire region. There were also beehives there, which were also included in the hachsharah program of the school. The supervisor of the school was the son of the Betar farm owner Rumek Wallach (today a resident of the United States and the director of a farm there). He was also the leader of the local chapter, and a sergeant in the Polish artillery unit. He also served as a military hachsharah advisor of the students of the school.

Members of Betar and the Revisionist Zionists Make Aliya to the Land

Despite the numerous obstacles, many of our members succeeded in making aliya to the land via all types of means. The first of those who made aliya were: Moshe Singer, Chaim Spitz, the sisters Yaffa and Tova Eichenstein who were members of the directorship of the chapter, Bari, Glicka Dim, Tzila Sitz, the member Kalman Prost, Matityahu Kashashover, David Steigbigel, Willy Kramer, Rivka Weinfeld, Yehudit Platzer and Rachel Hamersfeld.

We also organized an Aliya Bet operation [15] . Yehoshua Tenenbaum of blessed memory and also many young men and women from other movements who approached us made aliya through that route.

Betar and the Irgun Tzvai Leumi [16]

Immediately after the organization of the Brit Biryonim [17] in the Land, the Betar group set up cells whose members were assigned to special assignments. One of the activities in which these cells excelled was in the anti-Nazi boycott in the city. Groups of Betar guards would stand in front of the theaters during the playing of German films and prevented, via explanations and convincing, Jewish theatergoers from watching these performances. These guards also visited Jewish stores and carried out propaganda to encourage boycott of German products. When the Irgun Tzvai Leumi was set up in the Land, we followed with great interest what was going on in the Land. We all eagerly awaited the moment when we would be able to join the ranks of the Irgun in order to fight for the independence of our homeland. However, the cruel hand of fate put an end to all of our hopes and dreams.

Along with tens of thousands of Rzeszow Jews, tens and hundreds of our brothers and sisters from the Betar chapter in Rzeszow, as well as our friends in Hashachar and the Revisionist Movement, perished. Today, after almost fifty years, we remember those whose lives and activities were dedicated to the nation and the idea of the rebirth of Israel in its historic borders. They pined for this with all the strands of their souls.

{Photo page 168: Zeev Jabotinsky in Rzeszow. Sitting from the left: Dr. Einfeld, Dr. Shildkraut, Zeev Jabotinsky, Eliahu Wang, Simcha Seiden, Yafa Eichenstein, Tova Eichenstein.}


{Page 169}

Organization of Jewish Academics in Rzeszow

by the lawyer Yehoshua Alexander Rosner (Keller) of Tel Aviv

Translated by Jerrold Landau

{Photo page 169: Joshua Alexander Rosner (Keller).}

Maccabia

Prior to the outbreak of the First World War, the Jewish academics formed a group called “Maccabia”. It was re-established at the end of the war. Among its activists, we must first enumerate Yaakov Alter, Yosef Storch, Yechezkel Lewin (later the chief rabbi of Lvov), and Dr. Henryk Richman (later the vice-mayor of Przemysl). At first, this student's union was a sort of “corporation”; however with the passage of time, it turned into an organization that gathered together Zionists from the right and the left. Students of the high school, starting from the sixth grade, were at first guest members, and later on, after their matriculation exams, they became official members. Most of the time, the members were not in the city, for they studied in the university cities. The serious work only began when the members returned to Rzeszow during their vacations. Most of the time, the law students were able to remain in our city and only show up at the university during the time of exams. This caused a flourishing of Maccabia. This period of time lasted from 1924 until the outbreak of the Second World War. The task of Maccabia was to educate the generation in the spirit of Zionism. They worked on behalf of the committees of the Keren Kayemet and Keren Hayesod. The Maccabia was the only place where the students were able to meet up with the depth of the Zionist idea and Jewish wisdom. Meetings were conducted at set times where the members would lecture on Zionist topics. On occasion, noted lecturers would be invited. A great deal of activity was conducted in studying the Hebrew language, and in social activity, which flourished greatly thanks to meetings and excursions. The members of Maccabia worked for communal causes, such as the orphanage, etc. Professor Zelig Brodsky of London and Yitzchak Grinbaum, may he live long, appeared in Rzeszow by invitation of Maccabia. There was almost no institution in Rzeszow in which a member of Maccabia did not play a significant role. From the small house that was rented from Moshe Gleicher on May the Third Street, the Maccabia moved to the Beit Haam that was named for Adolf Tenenbaum. The Maccabia transferred its library there. As time went on, this library became the main library of the Jewish population of the city. It was directed by the member Sara Hofert. This library also served the non-Jewish population.

Members of Maccabia served on the organizational committee of Bar Kochba. These included Arthur Wang, Magister Shmuel Wachspress, Magister Moshe Reich, Dr. Kalman Birman, and Magister Alexander Rosner.

Magister Rosner served as vice director of the orphanage. Dr. Felix Hopfen and Dr. Arthur Wang served on the communal council and the old age home.

The following people were elected as members of the town council: Dr. Felix Hopfen and Yaakov Alter. Later, the chairmen changed, and the following people became active: Moshe Reich, Magister Adolf Rinde, Magister Alexander Rosner, Magister Friedrich Hirshhorn and Magister Roman Nadel.

Ognisko – The Academics' Mutual Benefit Organization

The Ognisko organization in Krakow branched out to other cities, including Rzeszow. One of the main purposes of this organization was to grant aid to needy students and to set up dormitories for students to enable them to continue their studies in the large cities of Poland. The situation for the Jewish students was very difficult, for the one hand, they found themselves in the sea of fundamental hatred, and on the other hand, they were hungry for bread. They had to struggle with the anti-Semitic Christian students while suffering from hunger, and on occasion without even a roof over their heads. Needy students, without any concern for their political affiliation, were always able to rely on the Ognisko organization to help them in their time of need. Not only the academics who studied in Poland benefited, but also those who were forced to study outside of the country.

The money that was used by the Ognisko organization to extend aid came mainly from monthly contributions by faithful members. There was also income from all types of cultural activities. The Jews of Rzeszow had full understanding for the needy students. One event that took place on a very high level, which is worth to note, was the “Jewish Academics Week” that took place in April 1932. This week began with a festive gathering with the participation of the chief advocate Dr. Midowicz and the Starosta (Head of the local District) Gadomski. The chairman of that gathering was Dr. Henryk Wachtel of the supervisory committee of Beit Haam. The representative of the central organization, Magister Muniek Pomerantz, spoke about the topic “The difficult situation of the Jewish academic”. Magister Alexander Rosner, the chairman of Ognisko in Rzeszow, concluded the meeting. In his speech, he turned to the Jewish public, asking them to increase their donations for the Jewish students in the country.

The directors of this organization were as follows: Adolf Rinde, Norbert Lobasch, Izak Dewel, Rosa Dim, Alexander Rosner, Yitzchak Frei, Roman Nadel and Friedrich Hirschhorn. . From among the activists, we should note: Pepa Tuchfeld (Lisak), Berta Schipper (Rosner), Hela Hauser, Bav Tonka, Yisrael (Dinai), Geno Dornfest, Magister Maria Schipper, Magister Roman Tuchman, Mundek Kohn and others.

Thanks to Ognisko, many of the Jewish students completed their course of study and continued on to productive public work.


{Page 170}

Youth in Rzeszow during the 1930s

by Pepa Wachspress-Lisak Tuchfeld of Tel Aviv

Translated by Jerrold Landau

{Photo page 170: Pepa Lisak Tuchfeld.}

The days of my childhood and youth were between 1919 and 1932. The first experience that is etched in my memory took place in 1919. On May 3, a parade took place outside of the city in honor of the festival of the Polish constitution. This took place on the Sabbath. I approached the town square and was surprised: there is silence all around, the Jews are quickly closing the gates of their houses. What happened? On the Sabbath, at this time, Jews stream out onto the streets from the synagogue dressed in their Sabbath clothes and their streimels. The street would be teeming with crowds of celebrating Jews, and an air of holiness would envelop the city. However now the Jews were confused, slinking away and hurrying to their homes. Without taking a breath, I reached the door of our house at the last minute. There I found out that the farmers of the surrounding area are coming en masse to the city to cause trouble for the Jews. We closed up and shuttered the house.

I remember that we had Christian friends who brought us food supplies, for they thought that the pogrom would last for several days. However, to our good fortune, law and order was restored in two days.

During the time of my youth, there was not even one Hebrew or Yiddish gymnasia in the city. My father Avraham Tuchfeld was a member of Agudas Yisrael, but he wanted to give his children a general education. I enrolled in the government gymnasia, and I also took courses in Hebrew in the small school, where Meshulam Davidson taught among others. During vacation, we would go out for marches along the streets with the blue and white flag in our hands, Hebrew songs of Zion coming from our mouths, and our hearts filled with joy. This was during the years of 1921-1922.

In the gymnasia, we suffered from various forms of anti-Semitism. We were treated to insulting remarks. As a daughter of an Orthodox family I did not write on the Sabbath; however it was only on the Sabbath that the mathematics teacher would give exams. When I refused to write I received a failing mark. In 1923, the head of state Narotowicz was murdered. The Latin professor poured out all his wrath upon us Jews, who were guilty of the murder according to him. The best of them would just tolerate us. We had already become used to the calls of “Jews, go to Palestine”. It is no wonder that the Jewish youth pined for redemption and freedom. Some became involved with Zionism, others with the Communist movement, and only a very few followed the path of assimilation.

In Rzeszow, there was an academic group called Maccabia, which had its headquarters on Panska Street (Third of May), in the house of Moshe Gleicher. The members of this organization formed a new Zionistically inclined group for the gymnasia students in 1923. Some of these students were already involved in Hashomer Hatzair, but most of our friends were not comfortable with the left leaning inclination of that group. The first pioneers of Hashomer Hatzair of Rzeszow made aliya to the Land of Israel (including Nathan Wistreich, Paula Kanfeler, Golda Eisen and many others) but several of them returned due to the severe malaria.

Once, we received an invitation to a meeting from Maccabia, and Yaakov Alter lectured to us about the tasks of the Zionist youth and the purpose of the organization in which we would study Hebrew and Jewish literature as well as the history of our people to broaden our general knowledge. This organization was called Avoda, and Josek Ungar, a student of the eighth grade, was chosen as the head. His vice head was Josef Trink, a student of the seventh grade. Members of the committee included Etka Bar, and Eva (Chava) Sternschuss, both students of the fourth grade.

I remember the following members of Maccabia: Shmuel Milrad, Shmuel Wachspress, Daniel Adler, Kroll, Reich, and others. They lectured to us each Sabbath about Jewish and general topics. Dr. Yechezkel Lewin, later the chief Rabbi of Lvov, gave us a summary of the Zionist congress in Karlsbad. Yosef Storch who returned from America described Jewish life in America to us. Tzvi Kanarek and Fishman lectured about the history of our people and awakened in us a desire for Zion. With the passage of time, we moved on to independent activity, and the lectures were prepared by our members Mundek Kurtzman, Oscar Schipper, and Yehoshua Both. We learned Hebrew from Sh. Y. Pinels (Professor Penueli, a lecturer of Hebrew literature at the University of Tel Aviv). Aside from myself, the following people participated in the course of Sh. Y. Pinels: Reuven Rosenbaum, Wilek Schipper, Atlas, Nunak Lobasch, Adek Rinde, and Meir Shipman. Yosef Strauch lectured at Avoda on the topic of Yiddish literature. Shmuel Milrad had the good idea to set up an evening school for poor children who could not attend the public school. We gathered together about twenty students, and I, along with fellow Avoda members, gave the lessons. I taught arithmetic, Sala Tuchfeld taught Polish, and Minka Sternschuss taught geography. However, the police put a stop to this endeavor.

The work of Avoda grew and flourished. The chairman of the organization in those days was Bronek Tenenbaum (today, he is the Engineer Taban and lives in Poland).

There was another organization for girls in Rzeszow called Shulamit. Girls who did not study in the high schools were members of this group. Since the Zionist idea was common to all the youth groups, in 1926 we decided to unite Avoda, Shulamit and Hashomer Hatzair. This union did not work well, and caused the disbanding of Avoda and Shulamit.

These two groups ceased to exist as distinct entities, and only Hashomer Hatzair remained. However a small group did not accept the ideology of Hashomer Hatzair, and they started a group for independent education, with the purpose of studying Jewish problems, Zionism, and Yiddish and Hebrew literature. The Hanoar Haivri of Krakow gave ideological direction to this group. We met in the house of Glassberg (the Glassberg sisters, Sala Goldman, Sala Tuchfeld, Roska Kos and myself) and decided to form a new organization. Each one of us took it upon ourselves to recruit a group of our friends from among the students. Within a short time we succeeded in gathering about sixty boys and girls. I recruited a group of girls from the business school. With the agreement of our friends in Krakow, we gave our organization the name Akiva. We succeeded in acquiring a room (lokal) near the Olympia silent movie theater.

Our work in Akiva was conducted with success. We organized discussions, presentations, and reading evenings. On occasion, speakers of Hanoar Haivri of Krakow came to visit us. When Beit Haam was established, the Akiva group received a room to conduct its cultural activities.

After the matriculation exams, Jewish youth would automatically join Maccabia, which was also located in Beit Haam. During the years 1929-1932, the format of the organization changed. It took on a more social format. We organized hikes and parties. The head of the group in those days was Yehoshua Rosner. I served as the secretary, and the following people were chosen to the committee: Berta Schipper, Issie Licht, Mila Grauer, Adek Rinde, N. Lobasch, and Hela Hauser.

{Photo page 171: University Students' “Maccabia” Organization (1932). Sitting from right: Dr. Yaari, Yehoshua Rosner Keller, Moshe Wachspress, Pepa Tuchfeld, Dr. Hoffman, Rinde. Standing in second row, from right: Yitzchak Weiss, Tzila Adler, Wang, Bella Horowitz, Wachspress, Golinger, Licht, Schipper, David Pflanzer, David Tuchfeld, Henig, Dornfest, Mila Grauer, Hirshhorn. Standing third row from right: Nadel, David Tuchfeld, Yaakov Presser, Nissan Bodner, Tzvi Wichselbaum, Bronek Prokocimer, Shlomo Both, Yoash Solles, Ch. Silberman.}

In 1932, I took leave of Maccabia with a festive party on the occasion of my aliya to the Land with my husband Moshe Wachspress.

It is appropriate to briefly describe the operations of the Ognisko organization in Rzeszow. This was an organization for students who were studying in the University of Krakow. It was centered in that city. Students from all political streams were members of this groups: Zionists, communists, and non-partisan people. The chairman in 1931-1932 was Rosner (a Zionist), his vice was Manka Schipper (left leaning), and I (a Zionist) served as secretary. Aside from us, Fridek Hirshhorn from the right, and Rumek Tuchman from the left) served as members of the committee.

The task of this organization was to give out material aid and loans to the students who had no means of their own to continue their studies. The Jewish academic youth were at that time in a dire situation. Poland was in the midst of an economic depression, and on the other hand, thee students suffered from “numrus clauses” [18] . Masses of youth who were thirsty for study left the country. Our battle for rights, which were promised to us by the constitution but in reality were denied to us, was like a battle with the wind. At the end of 1932, a meeting took place for elections to Ognisko, and Yitzchak Dewel was chosen as the chairman. I was chosen as secretary; however I had to leave my position when I left for the Land of Israel.


Translator's Footnotes

1. A verse indicating that a speaker or leader is better appreciated when lecturing outside of his own milieu. Back

2. A compendium of the legendary narratives (as opposed to legal discourses) of the Talmud. Back

3. A medieval book on Jewish belief. Back

4. This refers to the Balfour Declaration of the 2 nd of November 1917, pledging British support for Zionist efforts to establish a homeland for Jews in Palestine. Back

5. Psalms of praise recited on festivals and other festive occasions. Back

6. A significant philosophical work by Maimonides. Back

7. Yeshurun is a poetic name for the people of Israel. It is based on the Hebrew word for upright (yashar), and appears several times in the book of Deuteronomy. Back

8. A statement indicating that Jewish girls should limit their participation in public activities. Back

9. Shomer (with the prefix Ha as the definite article) is a guard or watcher. Back

10. Hagshamah – the fulfillment and realization of the dream of settling in the Land of Israel. Back

11. Apparently another term for Hashomer Hadati. Back

12. See the Sochaczew Yizkor book, page 574, translated by Jerrold Landau for a full biography of Alexander Zishe Friedman.

( http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/Sochaczew/Sochaczew.html ) . Back

13. For the benefit of our European readers who are not familiar with the term, a counselor is a leader of a youth group. Back

14. Af Al Pi (even so or despite), has the connotation of doing something against the wishes of the authorities. In this case, it connotes aliya to the Land of Israel despite the restrictions imposed by the British Mandate. Back

15. Aliya Bet (The Second Aliya) was the name given to the illegal immigration to the land of Israel in defiance of the British Mandate regulations. The number of Jews allowed to settle legally in Palestine was limited, since the British authorities, in response to Arab pressure, issued only a small number of immigration certificates. Back

16. One of the Zionist militias in pre-1948 Palestine, known by its acronym Etzel. Back

17. Literally “covenant of the outlaws”, here it refers to the revisionist militias in Israel that were opposed to the Haganah. Back

18. This refers to numerical restrictions on admissions of Jewish students. Back

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