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[Col. 351]

The shtetl Filipove

(Filipów, Poland)

54°11' 22°37'

Mordekhay Pivovarski, Moshe Oshinski

Filipowe was never a big town but in the last two or three decades, its population had decreased greatly until there were only about forty Jewish families there.

Even though it was small, it had a rabbi. Until just before the First World War, the rabbi was Rabbi Avraham Arie Grosbard. He was followed by Rabbi Yitshak Raytser. Even the Germans respected him. Afterwards, there was Rabbi Shlomo Tsevi Koler. He was a gifted orator and the young people would come eagerly to hear him preach.

In the twenties, we had a fine cantor who also served as ritual slaughterer and teacher.

 

Part of Filipowe marketplace

 

[Col. 352]

His name was Gezomski. He was a very learned man. He was very witty and we shall quote some of his witticism!

There was a callow youth about whom he said that he would not be drafted into the army. Why? Because a fool cannot be a soldier. He said that poultry was not meat because it is written in the Bible that the fowl was not meat.[1]

 

The entrance to Filipowe synagogue and house of study

 

[Col. 353]

Even in tiny Filipowe, the children had to go to heyder. The rebes I remember were: Kabrinksi from Zaludke and Rabbi Kats from Yelinowe. Epshteyn's heyder was somewhat modern so he was called lerer (teacher, rather than rebe). Mr.Starazshinski introduced new Hebrew songs. He organized dramatic performances and in general, brought new life into our dull town. Also Doktorski and Okhumovski had a modern heyder.

Around the time of World War I, a newly arrived teacher, together with Bramson and Leybush Kvint, founded a Zionist organization. In 1920 Ziskind Levitus and Leybush Kvint led the newly founded Hebrew club “Herzliyah”. The club published five or six issues of a mimeographed newspaper called: “Ha-tsa'ir”. The few young people in town belonged either to Hashomer Hatzair, led by Fayvl Zimanski, or, Betar, led by Yosef Langus and Mr.Kalasnovits, the teacher.

Once upon a time, there was a small but lovely shtetl called Filipowe. For generations, Jews had lived there quietly, peacefully, studied Torah, celebrated their holidays and weekdays – until Hitler – Angel of Death – came and eradicated it all.

[Col. 354]

Let us then memorialize those Jews who lived and died in Filipowe during its last years:

Hirshl Okun; Shepsl Okun; Leybl Okunevitsh; Shmerl Oshinksi; Zavl Brodovski; Yishaya Bramson; Moshe Bramson; Gedalya Gutman; Sheymi Gornosteyski; Maryasha Grodzinski; Heshl Volkoviski; Moshe Aharon Vinitski; Yosl Motl Ziman; Avraham Zimanski; Motl Zimanski; Noah Tsharniski; Yeshaya Yelin; Moshe Khaytinski; Yankl Langus; Shevah Langevits; Berl Lanski (Berl the dyer); Moshe Lanski (the miller); Moshe-Hersh Lanski; Perets Lanski; Leyb Hersh Levitus; Khane Beyle Motulski; Yitshak Matulevski; Moshe Matulevski; Hertsl Margolin; Leybl Markovski; Zusl Marshak; Moshe Berl Niedzshvetski; Moshe David Smolinski; Shmuel Moshe Serevianski; Yaakov Skupski; Shalom Palnitski; David Pivovarski; Moshe Aharon Pivovarski; Libe Pshedmeyski; Yehuda Leyzer Finklshteyn; Mikhi Flaysher; Hayim Zisl Tsimerman; Yaakov Kvint; Leybl Kushinski; David Leyb Krentsitski; Advokat {laywer} Hayim Meir Rodzilovski; Alter Rozngold; Velve Misn Rozngold; Alter Rotshild; Mordekhay Leyb Rotshild; Avraham Zalman Rubelski; Ayzik Rubelski; Todres Sharfshteyn; Misn and son, Shalom Shidorski; Itze Leyb Shidlovski; Mordekhay Leyb Shidlovski.[2]


Translator's Footnotes

  1. The humour in this witticism lies in punning and mistranslation from Hebrew to Yiddish. They are non-translatable and make no sense and should probably be omitted.
    • U-kesil lo yavin; a fool cannot understand – translated by Gezomski as: A nar is nit keyn yavin: A fool is not a Greek [soldier}.
    • Veha tsipor la batar (basar); and he did not split the fowl – translated by Gezomski as: A foygl is not key basar – a bird is not meat. Return
  2. The names are alphabetized according to the Hebrew alphabet

 

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