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[Page 251]

The Jewish Intelligencia in Tarnobrzeg

By Menachem Dole

From 1933 until the outbreak of WWII (1939), I worked as a teacher of Mathematics in the Social Public Gymnasium in Tarnobrzeg. The war forced me to leave.

As someone who was born and raised in East Galicia, I knew the Jews of East Galicia well, their way of life and their relationship with their local Polish and Ukrainian neighbors. Starting from 1932, when I worked in Lezinsk, and after that in Tarnobrzeg, I met different kinds of Jews: more religious, more observant of tradition, but the main thing I observed was that all the Jews spoke a fluent and perfect Polish. I gave lectures and speeches at the local municipalities and general meetings, there were Poles that came to listen to these speeches. I recall one individual, by the name of Kanner, an elderly gentleman who delivered a speech in a very special intellectual manner: “The Extreme Intelligence”

Although the gymnasium in Tarnobrzeg was there for many years, there were very few Jewish students. Even though Tarnobrzeg was a Jewish city, the students of the gymnasium were mostly from the working class. The majority of the Jewish population gave their children a traditional education in the Jewish schools. At a later time when majority of the parents decided to give their children a secular education, to prepare them for a professional intelligincia, they send them to a Jewish gymnasium in Krakow. Where on the Sabbath there were no classes. In addition to secular studies, they also studied Hebrew and Jewish studies. There were also those who sent their daughters to the gymnasium in Krakow. In general, the girl's studies in the local gymnasium and the boys were sent to different towns to study. This is also the reason that in the beginning the Jewish students in Tarnobrzeg were mostly from outside of Tarnobrzeg. Teachers also came from different cities. The following are some of the teachers from Tarnobrzeg that I remember:

Dr. Rudner, a doctor originally from Premczl, who lived in Tarnobrzeg until the outbreak of the war in 1939. He earned respect and acknowledgement from the whole population, especially the Jews. He tended to the sick day and night, and for the poor at no charge. He was also the attending physician at the State Gymnasium. As a Zionist he was also active in the Zionist movement. He was also on the Board of Directors of the Jewish bank in Tarnobrzeg. After the war broke out in 1939, he was drafted by the Polish army, and was a military doctor in Tarnopol until March, 1940. We met there. After that he went to Pshemishel. He was murdered there by the murderers the Germans along with his wife and son.

Dr. Tzimbiler, an attorney, also from Premczl, lived in Tarnobrzeg until the war in 1939. He was a member of the local Zionist organization. He was always ready to fight and protect the rights of the Jews of Tarnobrzeg. In the beginning of 1939, he left Tarnobrzeg with his wife and two sons, and arrived in Lezerna new Tarnopol. When the Germans came he left Lezerna and traveled with his family to Lecrakowitz near Lvov. There he had family, a pharmacist. I believe he perished there along with his family.

Mr. Nathan Grainer, a Pharmacist originally from Lvov, lived in Tarnobrzeg until 1937. An active Zionist and a member of the board of the Jewish bank. He now resides in Haifa, Israel.

Mr. Yakov Galtar, a pharmacist preceding Mr. Grainer, originally from Borshtzob, near Tarnopol. After the Jews of Tarnobrzeg were deported by the Germans, Mr. Galter stayed on as the pharmacist. After a couple of months, when he was no longer needed, the Germans came to deport him, they found him dead. He was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Tarnobrzeg. His wife and daughter presently reside in Tel Aviv. His wife is a pharmacist, and his daughter is an English teacher in a public school.

In the public school in Tarnobrzeg there were no Jewish teachers, except Zemorah and afterwards Vingal. Zemorah also taught religion in the Gymnazium. In the Gymnazium there were Jewish teachers, some permanent and some temporary.
Joseph Nussbaum, a professor of Mathematics for many years until the outbreak of war in 1939. He was originally from Zabroz, near Tarnopol. He was deported by the Germans along with all the Jews of Tarnobrzeg. After wondering with his luggage on his back, he arrived along with his wife, son, daughter, and son-in-law Mr. Roman Kahane, to Tarnopol, and then he went to Zebriz. He was killed there with his wife and son. His son-in-law and daughter were deported to Russia. They returned after the war and reside in Haifa.

In Tarnobrzeg worked a Polish teacher, Dr. Halovoviitz, who taught German. The Nussbaum and Halovoviitz families were friendly. When I met Nussbaum in 1940 in Tarnopol, he told me that he received a letter from Halovoviitz, describing life in Tarnobrzeg without Jews. Regarding himself, he wrote that the Germans appointed him principal of the Gymanzium, and his children got high ranking jobs. At the end of the letter he wrote that since Nussbaum will not be returning to Tarnobrzeg, and he left a beautiful house surrounded by a garden, he proposes that Nussbaum give him his house and in return he, Halovoviitz, will send him food. When Nussbaum showed me this letter, he could not hide his emotion, his face was pale and his eyes were teary.

His son Zigish at the early age of the 15, as a student of the public school showed extreme talent at writing commentary on secular books. He was published on his commentary on the history of Marnistos in the journal of the Marnistors.

Moszes Laufer, was a senior teacher of History and German language, he died tragically before the war.

At different times taught in the Gymnasia the following teachers:
Dovid Baumgartin, born in Bzzan, a teacher of Latin language, killed by the Nazis in Bzzan.

Dr. Altbauer, a teacher of Polish language, worked in Tarnobrzeg for two years, originally from Premsczel, presently he works at the Archives of the Municipality of Tel Aviv.

Dr. Meller, an attorney, the son of the doctor from Barnow. His family was originally from Zlotshiow. He was killed in Zlotshiow.

In Tarnobrzeg live individuals who they or their families cut off relations with the Jews, but when the Nazis occupied the city they were treated as Jews:
Dr. Levy, local doctor. Engineer Frisch, originally from Tarnopol, Ronoviskiy, originally Rapport, an official for the tax department, originally from Lvov. (missing the rest of this paragraph)

Dr. Goldgrad, an attorney. We will discuss him more than the others, he was an attorney who lived for many years in Tarnobrzeg, and he served as a replacement for the mayor. When the Jews were expelled, he remained as a good catholic. But after a short period, he was held a Jew. When he was taken by the Germans to be killed, he hung a long cross from his chest, and his hand he clutched a religious object. All of this to protest that he is a devout Catholic and not a Jew. He was shot and buried in the Jewish cemetery.

Dr. Preisman, originally from Tarnopol. In WWI he served in the Austrian army as a military doctor in the captains' department. After the Austrian-Hungarian government was dissolved and because he was hard of hearing, he became a dentist. He moved to Tarnobrzeg and served as a dentist. Preisman was a respected man; his clients held him in high esteem and loved him. He was a good Jew. While he worked he told stories of war, which his clients enjoyed listening to. He was a devoted Zionist.

I remember him from Yom Kippur wearing a suit, a hard hat on his head, a small prayer shawl on his neck, with a machzor (prayer book) in his hand. He was standing at the head of the synagogue and praying fervently. All of a sudden, his neighbor asked him a question, and he answered. During this time the cantor continued praying, when it came to Hamelech, Preisman lost track and didn't know where to continue. One of the attendants, saw Preisman's problem and helped him out. This occurred several times. The individual who helped him was very proud to help Dr. Preisman. The rest of the year he was a simple layman while Preisman was a physician. But in the synagogue he was able to help Dr. Preisman. The Germans expelled him, and I believe he died where he was born (correction: He was killed in Pokwisnze)

The Judge – Dr. Wshschnizer, originally from Krakow, for several years he served as the Justice of Peace in Tarnobrzeg. Before the war in 1939 he moved to Krakow. It is told that in the beginning of September 1939, when the Nazis bombed the trains near Meilcz, the trains were full of people fleeing Krakow. Some people survived and went to Tarnobrzeg, toward Lake San. Among them were two Jewish judges, one of them was Wshschnizer. This was in the evening, but people recognized him, he had a chance to glimpse at Tarnobrzeg once more. He looked like a beggar, he was soiled, his swollen feet wrapped in rags. He left the people who recognized him, and went on his way; we don't know what happened to him.

Post, an orthodontist, originally from Ropshitz. I do not know what happened to him.

Tshesher, Post Master. His wife died in Germany in 1946, he went to Israel with his daughter and his son-in-law Shpringer. He died in Israel in 1955.

Zeiden – an official of the court. Originally from East Galicia, killed in the ghetto of Bzzeni with his wife and daughter.

During the years the Intellengizia stopped coming from outside Tarnobrzeg and the Intelligenzia developed locally, like Weisenfeld, Kahane, Nussbaun and Korn.

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