The Belica Memorial Book
(Belitsa, Belarus)

53°39' / 25°19'

Translation of
Pinkas Bielica

Editor: L. Losh

Published in Tel Aviv 1968


English Translation Prepared and Published by

Jacob Solomon Berger

Mahwah, New Jersey, USA 2010




Our sincere appreciation to Jacob Solomon Berger who has kindly donated
his original book to JewishGen for online presentation

Our thanks to Sondra Ettlinger for extracting the pictures from the original book,
enabling their addition to the project.

This is a translation of: Pinkas Bielica (The Belica Memorial Book),
Editor: L. Losh, Former Residents of Bielica in Israel and the USA, Published: Tel Aviv 1968 (H,Y, E 511 pages)

  • The complete translation of this book is also available here: The Belica Memorial Book
  • The original book can be seen online at the NY Public Library site: Belitsa

This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
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Translator's Foreword ix
Editor's Foreword xi
Regional Map xiii
A Memorial to Our Shtetl Shimon Baker (Buczkowsky) xiv
Necrology xvii
Part One
Regarding the Origins of the Shtetl and its Community Joseph Cohen-Tzedek 1
     A. Economic Geography & Early History 1
     B. The First Jewish Settlers 5
     C. The Medieval Period 8
     D. Autonomous Jewish Government 9
     E. The Chmielnicki Pogroms 11
     F. The Rise of Mysticism & False Messiahs 13
     G. The Clash of Hasidim & Mitnagdim 16
     H. Before The Enlightenment 18
     I. Oppression Under Czar Nicholas I 22
     J. The Enlightenment, Musar, & The Modern Era 24
Bibliography 28
R' Nachman ben Rabbi Dov-Ber Szebszinsky זצ”ל E.M. Savitzky 30
The Rabbis of Belica in the Nineteenth Century Eliezer Meir Savitzky 42
     A. Rabbi R' Yoss'li Belicer 42
     B. Rabbi R' Noah Orlansky 44
An Overall Portrait of the Town Issachar Kamenetzky 46
Competition… Y. Kamoni 50
Memories of Times Past Zalman Yosselewicz 52
     The Shtetl and Its Environs 52
     The Livelihoods of the Shtetl Jews 53
     The Jews Among Themselves 53
     New Times – New Decrees 54

[Page i]

     Institutions of Support in the Shtetl 54
     Zionists in Belica 55
     Belica Revolutionaries 55
     Rabbi Rudnick ז”ל 56
     The Economic Situation Improves Itself 56
     The Belica Estate is Parceled Out 57
     The First World War 57
     The Russian Bandits and the Jewish Victims 58
     The Poles Take Over Control 59
     A Volksbank and the ‘Khorev’ School in One Building 60
     Our Institutions and Undertakings 62
     The End Draws Nigh… 63
The Bloody Rosh Hashana of 5679 (1918) Menachem Niv 63
Jewish Settlers Around Belica Dov Kaufman 65
The Jewish Settlers Around Belica 66
Part Two
My Father, The Rabbi Gaon R' Joseph Rudnick זצ”ל Abraham Abir (Rudnick) 71
The Rebbetzin and Rabbi Amongst the Community Bruriah Aloni (Rudnick) 85
Episodes from the House of the Resident Rabbi Tema Bakhamotsky (Rudnick) 86
The Rabbi Gaon R' Aharon Teitz זצוק”ל Rabbi Moshe Levin 88
A Candle of the Soul to Dear Parents Zerakh Kremen 90
To the Memory of My Father's Family R' Shmuel-Joseph Itzkowitz ז”ל Zerakh Itzkowitz 93
Our Town in its Period of Bloom Chaim Yosselewicz 95
Predation Against the Jews and Jewish Activities Dov Grodinsky 98
With the Outbreak of the First World War 98
The German Conquest and Local Pogromshchiki 98
The Murder of My Father הי”ד 99
During the Polish - Russian War 99
The Establishment of the Library 100
The Fire Fighters and The Drama Circle 100
The Orchestra of Musical Instruments 101
Self-Defense: Protecting Possessions & Lives Chaim Lejzorowicz 103
Education and the Hebrew School Dov Kaufman 104

[Page ii]

This Was, and Is No Longer… By Menachem Niv (Max Jasinowsky) 107
    A. Freiheit and Scout Organization in their Work 108
    B. The ‘Theater’ of Those Times 109
As If In One Family Michael Ratnowsky 111
It Is for These that My Soul Weeps Meiram Ratnowsky 112
    The Sabbath Queen… 112
    A Few Personalities 113
    The Family of my Father and Teacher 113
The Town from an Economic and Social Perspective Moshe Yosselewicz 114
A Document Concerning Economic Conditions (1929) Sholom Cohen 121
One Tear in the Sea of Tears Benjamin Makowsky 124
An Arm from a ‘Tough’ Grandfather Sholom Garnicki 124
Several Personalities from the Shtetl Eliezer-Meir Savitzky 125
    Yaakov Kotliarsky 125
    Shlomo Dziencelsky 126
    Shmuel-Nahum Stotsky 126
    Alta Milikowsky 126
Sports Events and Gatherings Zerakh Kremen 127
    Water-Sport 127
    Light Athletics 127
    Net-Ball and Football 128
    Winter-Sport 128
    Cycling 128
Part Three
To Remember ! 132
My Father-Teacher The Rabbi Gaon R' Shabtai Fein זצללה”ה Rabbi Reuven Fein 133
An Elder Whose Vision-Dream Became Reality E.M. Savitzky 135
The Legacy of the Home of My Forefathers Shlomo Shilovitzky 140
HaMelech E.M. Savitzky 143
Thirty-Five Years of Life and Struggle (1914-1949) Israel Zlocowsky 146
    A. During The First World War 146
    B. The History of the Organization of the Belica Fire-Fighters Brigade 150

[Page iii]

    C. During The Second World War 155
The Last Four Months in Belica Zalman Yosselewicz 171
    The War Breaks Out 171
    The Town Burns 171
Terror, Fear and Revenge Aryeh (Leib'l) Stotsky 176
The Camp in Navael'nja 177
The Selektion: Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die 178
In the Synagogue, the News of My Dear Mother's Death 179
In the Prison in Novogrudok 179
The Escape from the Camp 180
Thoughts in the Heart of the Forest 181
Freedom and Fear 182
In the Brigade of Dr. Atlas 183
The Entrance of the Germans and the Expulsion of the Jews Moshe Yosselewicz 185
    A. The Sabbath on Which the Holocaust Began 185
    B. The Expulsion Decree and the Night of Departure for Zhetl 187
The Chain of Events in My Flight from Death Abraham Maggid 191
The Tribulations of a Fighting Partisan Joseph ben-Isaac 194
Bereaved and Isolated Among the Russian Partisans Chaya bat Chaim-Yitzhak 196
Two Women Partisans Who Fought the Scourge Shayn'keh Bat-Joseph 198
We Return from Zhaludok to Belica 198
With the First of the Underground in Zhetl 198
In the ‘Bunker’ 199
The Flight to the Forest 200
In the Partisan Camp 202
The Song of the Ghetto Leah Garberowicz (Halperin) 204
By Myself in a Compost Heap Baba Gordon (Jaffa) 205
Three Years of the Holocaust and Revenge (1941 - 1944) Zerakh ben-Abraham 207
From Slonim through Belica to Novogrudok 207
We Get to Minsk... 207
The Way Back 209
The “Assembly” at the Cattle Market 210
My Escape to Slonim 211
The Slaughter of November 14, 1941 212
The First Information I Passed to the Partisans 213
Between the Closed Ghetto and the Open Forest 213
The Slaughter of June 29, 1942 214

[Page iv]

The Jewish Partisan Group 215
Gruppenführer Fentz... 217
After the Liberation 219
Life in the Bunkers Meir ben-Isaac 220
Regarding My Father & Mother, My Daughter and 20 Other Women Rachel Itzkowitz (Szkop) 222
Cast Thy Bread Upon the Waters... Leah Garberowicz (Halperin) 226
The Tales of One Family Bluma Lejzorowicz (Odzhikhowsky) 229
A Dear Friend, Zechariah-Shlomo Nignawiecki הי”ד Chaim Yosselewicz 230
My Comrade and Friend, Zalman (Zhameh) Itzkowitz ז”ל Herzl Sokolowsky 231
Man and Beast, One Opposite the Other E.M. Savitzky 233
The Ruthlessness of Humanity 233
The Compassion of a Dog!…. 234
Kaddish in the Forest Elazar-Meir Savitzky 235
A Prayer in the Forest Y. Feigin 239
The Rabbi R' Chaim-Leib Boczkowsky Shimon Baker (Boczkowsky) 243
A Few Chapters from My Memories Shmuel Shimonowicz 247
    Chapter A: Early Recollections 247
    Chapter B: Not Easy Under Polish Rule 247
    Chapter C: World War II Arrives 248
    Chapter D: Barely Escaping Alive 248
    Chapter E: To the Zhetl Ghetto 249
    Chapter F: Plotting Escape 249
    Chapter G: Into the Forest 249
    Chapter H: Thirty Months to Liberation 250
    Chapter I: Anarchy in Post-War Belica 250
    Chapter J: To DP Camps, and then – America 251
Poems of Suffering and Anger M. Savitzky 252
    My Child's Cradle 252
    The Only Sin 253
    The Old Man's Revenge 253
War and the Extermination of Jews Chaim Yosselewicz 256
The First Week of War 257
The S. S. Troops Rampage and Murder 258
The Expulsion of November 10, 1941 260
In the Zhetl Ghetto 261
…Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die 263
The Mass Executions Beside the Pit 265
Between One Slaughter and the Second 266

[Page v]

The Liquidation of the Zhetl Ghetto 267
Beside the Extermination Pits Joseph Fleischer 269
    A. Decrees and Extermination in Belica 269
    B. The First Slaughter in Zhetl 270
    C. Zhetl is “Judenrein” 273
He Was Taken for Dead Shimon Baker 274
A Family that Survived (the Second Great Slaughter in Zhetl) Joseph Mayewsky 278
In the Forest with Partisans Kh. B. Shaziv 281
Zhetl is 'Judenrein' 281
Forty Souls in One Hideout 281
Five Young People Flee to the Forest 282
Two Young People Look for Their Father 284
In the Belica Huts 285
The Assault Begins 287
In the Fight for Life 289
The Revenge Against the Killers 290
Once Again Spring and Summer... 292
Bloody Assaults Against the Jews in the Forest 293
Anti-Semites of All Kinds in the Forest 296
The Vlasovites Blockade the Forests 297
The Birth Pangs of Liberation 298
The Liberation... 302
How I Saved Myself Yaakov Kremen 303
When the Germans Entered the Shtetl 303
Sporting With the Jews 303
Thirty-Six Martyrs Including the Rabbi ז”ל 304
“What To Do?” 304
The Twenty-Four Hostages 304
In the Zhetl Ghetto 305
Between the First and Second Great Slaughters 305
The Second Great Slaughter in Zhetl 305
In Novogrudok 306
In Lida 306
Back in Dvarec 306
Into the Forest 307
With the Partisans 308
Liberation 308
On the Front 308
My Cousin Yaakov Zlocowsky Falls at the Gates of Berlin 308
From the Hospital Back to Belica 309
Away…Away… 309
The Death of My Dearest Sarah Baranchik (Fleischer) 310
A Letter from Home After the Holocaust B. Ts. Yevunowicz 312
We Were Eight Children Herzl, Yankl & Chaya-Cherna Fleischer 313
From Herzl's Recollections 313
Yankl's Recollections 314
Chaya-Cherna's Recollections 315
Meeting People from Belica in the Forest Benjamin Baran 316
My Father's Destroyed Family Schraga (Fyvel) Zlocowsky 318
Our Family Circle 318
From What We Lived, and How We Lived 319
Two Years of Soviet Rule 321
The Germans Arrive 321
In the Scucyn Ghetto 322
In the Lida Todt-Lager 325
In the Forest with the Partisans 325
I Part from My Brother 326
Family Life in the Forest 326
Back to the Destroyed Shtetl 328
Legal and Illegal Ways to The Land of Israel 328
By Battle and Indirect Means, to a New Life Chaim Yosselewicz 329
After the Liberation 329
The Shtetl in Ruins 330
In the Military, At the Front 330
At the Front 331
Blood and Fire 333
The Telephone Stops Working… 334
I Become Wounded 336
From Hospital to Hospital 337
Home…Home… and Away from Home 338
Lodz, Bratislava, Budapest and Bad-Gastein (Austria) 338
In Austria 340
In Italy 343

[Page vii]

Part Four
The Map of Belica (1939) 347
The Rabbi, R' Joel Baranchik זצ”ל Y. L. 348
About My Father Rili Kamenetzky 349
An Example of His Dedication and Love Bezalel Isaacson 350
From a Letter at the Memorial Gathering at the End of Thirty Days Yaakov Tzur 351
From a Letter of the Parliamentary Journalist of the Newspaper ‘Haaretz James Yaakov Rosenthal 352
My Relative, and Friend, Issachar Kamenetzky Moshe Yosselewicz 352
Baruch Krasnoselsky ז”ל Z. K. 354
Our Dear Israel Zlocowsky ז”ל E.M. Savitzky 354
My Father Schraga (Fyvel) Zlocowsky 356
My Father and Mentor, R' Zalman Yosselewicz ז”ל Moshe Yosselewicz 357
My Brother, the Martyr E.M. Savitzky 359
Belica Émigrés Who Died in the Land of Israel 362
Committee Activities of the Organization of Belica Émigrés in Israel Dov Kaufman & Moshe Yosselewicz 363
A Belica Family in America Minnie Heinz (Menucha Kreinowicz) 366
The Shimanowicz Family M. Y. 369
Simon Baker Appointed Consultant to Mayor Lindsay The Morgen-Zhurnal 370
Once Upon a Time There Was a Small Shtetl Shimon Baker (Boczkowsky) 371


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