Personalities and Officials (cont.)
Reb Benyamin Vigdorovitch
He was a renowned businessman. He owned properties and farming estates. He was gabbei (trustee) of the Green Synagogue He donated to all the charitable institutions and generously gave to all the needy who approached him for assistance. His granddaughter, Shoshana Persitz, was a member of the first Knesset.
He founded the large publishing house Amanut.
One of the leading Zionists in the city. He was involved in community affairs.
He was a member of the Merchant's Guild. A learned scholar and renowned chess champion. Settled in Israel and died in 1955 in Kibbbutz Mishmar Hasharon.
Moshe and Betzalel Winnig
They were industrialists and the proprietors of the oil paint factory in Brest. Their employees were all Jews. They donated much to the needy and to the various community causes.
Reb Yakov Meyer Weinstock
He was a well-known social activist in his suburb of Graever Slobotka. A representative in all the city's institutions, he was respected widely.
Dr. Bronislav Wilner
He settled in Brest in 1922 as the representative of the National Council in Warsaw for the Polessie district. Wilner was the Vice President (deputy mayor) of the city, and one of the founders of Polessie Shtimmeh. He excelled in helping refugees who did not have Polish citizenship, saving many from deportation into Russia. Was a co-worker in the Joint and other institutions. Whilst still young, he became ill and died suddenly in Warsaw.
Reb Chaim Zalman Wolski
He was born in 1868, and came as a child with his family to Brest. He was a wealthy manufacturer, mill-owner, and a wheat merchant. His wife Leiba (nee Freiluk), was from one of the city's leading families. An orthodox Jew, Chaim Zalman brought up his children in the spirit of the Torah. He was a member of the Community Council and a member of the executive of the Merchant's Bank, a member of the board of the orphanage, old age home, etc.etc.
He was a gabbeh of the Oxen-traders synagogue; he would give lessons on the daily page to the praying congregation. He also resolved conflicts and disputes between parties. Perished in the Brest Ghetto.
Daughter of Reb Zalman Tenebaum, wife of the Zionist activist Levi-Yitzchak Winnikoff. She assisted him in all his community work. She was active in Keren Hayesod. She passed away in Israel in 1956.
Brother of the Zionist activist Levi Ytizchak Winnikoff. He was an activist and one of the organizers of the 7th Zionist Congress in St Petersburg 1917. He was a member of the Zionist committee and the board of directors of the Tarbut high school. He was one of the founders of Et Livnot (time to build) in Brest.
Before W.W.11, he went to Baranovich, where he was elected as the deputy mayor. Banished into Russia - vanished without a trace.
A member of the city council, he represented the artisans union of which he was the president. He made great efforts and was dedicated to this organization. He was an amateur actor. He died in Melbourne Australia.
Eliahu Peretz Silberschram
A merchant and a scholar. He was the son in law of Reb Asher Hari.
Reb Avraham Moshe Zisman
Born in 1878 in Zelichov. Settled in Brest. He was active in the Mizrachi organization and the Council of Yeshivas. He was a member of the board of the Merchant's Union and the Payen Bank. He perished in the Ghetto.
His sons, David Zisman, the renowned Mizrachi official, lives in Israel, Asher Zisman escaped the Brest Ghetto and died in Israel in 1957. His son in law, David Ferdman is the Cuban Consul in Israel.
(son of A. M. Zisman)
Reb Baruch Sonnenberg (Butche the shochet)
A Kotzker Chassid, he was renowned as the circumciser in Brest. He loved people, and was very encouraging to the youths in their Torah studies. After W.W.1, he rebuilt the Talmud Torah from the ruins of the city, into a building with 38 rooms. He would take only one-fifth of his income as schochet for himself the rest he gave to the Talmud Torah. In spite of his opposition to the Zionists, he liked Israel. He died at the age of 66.
He was active in community affairs and in various community institutions. He was popular and liked by people. A veteran Zionist, he was a member of the Jewish council. Greatly helped the suffering of his fellow brethren. Perished in the Ghetto.
Born in Brest in 1885. He was a merchant and a member of the board of the Udzalova Bank. He was a committee member of the Merchant's Guild and the appeals committee to the tax office. He died in Brest in 1935.
Reb Moshe Scholem Hari
Proprietor of a large metal business. He was an in-law of Reb Zelig Riyer, the head dayan (judge) of the rabbinical court in Brest. He was a Gerrer Chassid, and involved in the religious and charitable institutions in the city.
Yehuda Kwianowsky (Reb Yudel)
He was a God-fearing learned man. A dedicated Zionist, he was especially involved with selling stamps for the Keren Kayemet.bonds, the proceeds of which were donated to Israel. Founder of the Gemilat Chessed (fund for the righteous). In 1904 he initiated the first credit co-operative in Brest. He made aliyah and lived in the Florentine district of Tel-Aviv, where he taught Gemarrah in the synagogue of that district.
Reb Gedalia Chazan
Businessman and owner of the Manufacturers Trading house. He was the Chazan (cantor) of the Kastrinski synagogue. He was one of the leading Zionists in Brest, and a member of the Zionist committee. The illegal Zionist meetings took place in his home. He was involved in the purchase of land for settlements in Eretz Israel together with the Zionist personality Y.L.Goldberg. A generous benefactor and an enlightened man.
Reb Moshe Chazan
Owner of Chazan's Barracks, which he donated to the Joint for temporary housing for the homeless that returned to Brest after W.W.1. He was a Nezvizher Chassid, and a gabbei of the Nezvizher shteibl (prayer house).
A member of the Zionist committee, he was active in the handworkers (artisans) union. He helped defend the rights of the workers against the injustices of the Polish government's discriminatory laws. Perished in the Ghetto.
Leader of the Bund in Brest. He represented the Bund in the city council and was a public speaker. He was a bricklayer by profession, and he was head of the bricklayers union. Did a great deal of work towards organizing the Jewish schools. Arrested during the Russian occupation (1939-41) and sent to Siberia.
Reb Zalman Tennenbaum
A timber merchant, Reb Zalman exported wood abroad. Steeped in western culture, he was a popular man in Brest. He was the first chairman of the Jewish Community council (kehilla) after W.W.1 Reb Zalman was a city councillor, and dedicated official of various Brest charities. He was the son in law of Yitzchak Winnikoff.
He was born in Brest in 1884, the son of Nechemia Tennewitzki. A businessman he was an active participant in the administrations of ORT, HIAS, and the Tarbut High School. He was a dedicated advocate for Hebraic culture and education. He visited Israel in 1936. Perished in the Slonim Ghetto in 1942.
He was a teacher in the Tachkamoni school. He was an official in the Mizrachi organization in Brest. Perished in the Brest Ghetto.
Dr. Israel Yaffe
He was a renowned doctor in Brest with much literary knowledge, especially in relation to such subjects such as Tolstoy and Dostoevski. He was the medical director of the Jewish hospital. When the Nazis proposed that he live outside the Ghetto, he refused, answering, I would rather die with my brethren.
A member of the board of the Merchant Bank, he was the proprietor of a brewery. Generous benefactor to the community causes.
A community activist, he was the chief accountant in the city council. He was a journalist of the newspaper Polessie Leben. He was active in the building of residential accommodation by the Joint organization in Brest. He was the correspondent for the Moment in Warsaw. Perished in the Ghetto.
One of the leaders of the Zeirei Zion (Zionist Youth) in Brest. After the merger of this organization with the rightist Poale Zion, he was elected to the first Brest city council. He was active in the city council for eight years. After that three years in the first elected Jewish council. He was the Brest Poale Zion delegate to the 18th Zionist Congress in Prague 1933. He was always a delegate to his party conferences.
In 1934 he settled with his family in Israel. He became an active member in the Histadrut tribunal, and the chief executive of the Loans and Savings Co-operative of the Histadrut. During his 23 years service there he influenced the organization and financial development of the Histadrut. He was an active member of the Brisker association in Israel and it's secretary 1945-50. Born in 1897 and passed away in 1958.
An active member of the Zeirei Zion, he was a teacher in the Hatikva school for years. An ardent Zionist, he dedicated himself to educational issues and Keren Kayemet Leisrael. He worked as a secretary for the Keren Kayemet. Until the end of his life he concerned himself with the welfare of orphans, pupils of the trade schools, and assisited many of them to make aliyah to Israel.
He was one of the founders of the Zeirei Zion in Brest in 1910. At the end of W.W.1 he was active in the rebuilding of the city. He was a member in the welfare organizations of the Jewish community. Member and director of the Joint committee. He was an employee of the Electricity Plant. Because he co-wrote an article denouncing the pogrom, he lost his position in the city council. Perished in the Ghetto.
A lawyer. He was the son of Moshe Lev, (a prisoner of Zion). He was one of the Zeirei Zion activists. He was very involved in the Zionist socialist movement, and general secretary of the General Zionists and Hitachdut from 1935-37. He was a co-founder of Gordonia youth movement. Perishe together with his wife Rachel, the daughter of the Zionist personality Meier Feierstein, in Ludsk in 1942.
He was the Gabbeh of the Slonimer shteibl (prayer house) He was an employee of the petroleum company in Brest for 36 years.
Born in Brest in 1883. A merchant, he was active in the Chevra Kadisha (Burial Society), and Linat Hazedek. Perished in the Kobryn Ghetto in 1942.
There were three vice presidents (deputy mayors) of the city under the Polish authority (1919-1939). The most popular and respected of them was Avraham Levinson. His predecessor, Dr. Wilner, had already forged a path in the wilderness of Polish municipal politics. His successor, Yechiel Mastboim, came to Brest when the Polish State was on the verge of downfall.
Avraham Levinson occupied the highest position a Jew could attain In Brest. When the government sought an understanding with the Jewish population, the Jews were not supressed anymore and demanded their rights, the majority of which were achieved. Jewish institutions, schools, libraries etc. were supported by the budget in the city's administration. After a long struglle, the name of Topolowa St. was changed to I.L. Peretz St. This was a symbolic gesture underlining the fact that the anti-semites no longer had exclusive power in the city council. Jewish taxpayers who could not meet their debts, were given discounted terms.
But Levinson was not satisfied with municipal activities. His influence on the life of the Jewish community in Brest was imprinted. During this time, all parties and organizations, professionals and workers, merchants and tradesmen, as well as the youth movements of all political persuasions developed and intensified their activities.
A vital Zionist goal was fulfilled with the Hachshara activity, where young people were trained in new trades and skills for Israel they would immedaitely emigrate to Israel after training. Levinson was a driving force in these activities in Brest. His spiritual lectures awakened the Jewish youth movements. He was a personalilty who gave new content and meaning to the life of the community.
Avraham Levinson was born in Lodz and studied at Warsaw University. He was the secretary of the Jewish Democratic Society in Hadkow. He was the editor of a publication called Land and Work. He was a delegate to the Polish parliament in Warsaw, deputy Mayor of Brest, a director of Keren Hayesod in Poland, and towards the end he was a director of the cultural department of the workers council of the Histadrut. He wrote about political and cultural subjects in Hebrew, also about the idealogical aspects of Zionism. He translated classical works and dramas from Yiddish, Russian, and Polish into Hebrew the Tel-Aviv theatre Habimah presented some of these. He died in Tel-Aviv in 1955.
Zalman (Zygmund) Lutwak
A director of the Tarbut School from it's inception until it's demise. Through his efforts, the school obtained official government privileges which very few Jewish schools in Poland could attain in Poland. The school attracted students from all the neighbouring towns. He perished in the Ghetto.
A journalist, he was the son of Eliezer Laizerovitch the well known Brest preacher, called the tailor's preacher. Moshe Laizerovitch was a member of the National Council in Warsaw. An active Zionist, he was co-editor of Heint in Warsaw. Perished in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Born in 1915, he was the son of Moshe Laizerovitch. Also a journalist, he wrote articles for the Heint' and Etzel a military organization for Jewish self-defence. In 1939 he fled to Vilna and from there he reached Israel through Japan and India Iwith a group of Etzel members. In Jerusalem he became active in the Irgun and was arrested by the British security police in 1944.
After his release he went to South Africa where he worked for the Jewish Herald. He died in Johannesberg in May 1954. He was buried on Mt Zion In Jerusalem.
One of the youth activists, he spread the Zionist ideals. A member of the board of the Kadimah and a secretary of the Zionist organization in Brest. He made aliyah to Israel in 1934 and settled in Haifa. He was an active member of the Brest migrants association in Israel. He died suddenly in 1954, aged 42.
Reb Shlomo Lichtenstein
He was a timber and forest merchant. He was the head of the community council and a confidante of Rabbi Zeev Soloveitchik, the last Brest rabbi.
Dr. Nachman Landau
He was the son of the banker Yakov Landau, a director of the Industry bank. A chairman of ORT in Brest, and deputy head of the Judenrat in the Brest Ghetto. He did his utmost to alleviate the sufferings and troubles of the Jews in the Ghetto. Perished together with all of them.
Yechiel (Hilary) Mastboim
|Yechiel (Hilary) Mastboim
After Avraham Levinson left Brest, he was elected deputy mayor of Brest, a position he held until 1939. He strove to help his Jewish brethren in their plight was the chairman of the Polish War Veterans in Brest. He was energetic in assisting the charitable institutions. Sent to Siberia by the Russians, where he vanished without a trace.
A teacher, he was a Bundist and secretary of the Central Jewish schools organization.
Reb Aharon Matetski
A member of the city council, and a member of the kehilla council in Brest. He was on the aid committee for refugees after W.W.1. he was one of the oldest residents of the city. Dedicated and active in city affairs and a supporter of the needy. A man of the people and a friend of the people.
Reb Shmuel Dziencol
The proprietor of the first bookstore in Brest before W.W.1. He published A.L. Feinstein's book Ir Tehila in 1884. He was a learned scholar and a talented man.
Betzalel (Tzalke) Minivitski
A city councillor, he was one of the founders of the public school named after Boruchov. He was the head bookkeeper of the health fund. A member of the Joint committee, he fought for support for the workers organizations and the Jewish schools. An activist for the leftist Poale Zion. He perished in the Ghetto together with his wife Hadass, a schoolteacher, and his two sons, Reuven and Bunye.
Born in Brest in 1870. After W.W.1, he was very involved in the activity of the Joint (Chairman of the aid committee). He was a co-founder and committee member of TOZ, a member of the administration of the Jewish hospital, as well as the board of the Merchant Bank.
Revered and respected by every one of every faith, Jews and gentiles. He would resolve disputes between parties and would settle complicated issues and conflicts in a calm and neutral manner. He died in Brest in 1935.
He was born in Brest in 1900, the son of the well known Ben Zion Neumark. His upbringing was saturated with Jewish and Zionist culture. Elyahu Neumark was a partisan and active in organization within the Vilna Ghetto. The Jews who managed to save themselves and survive, arrived in Israel and testified to his bravery and actions.
Reb Zerach Nissenbaum (The Medic)
A medic, he would drive around in a wagon pulled by a pathetic horse, in order to assist the sick. Although he had no formal training, he was very much liked by the people, who regarded him as a specialist doctor.
He was a timber merchant and a great donor to charity. His daughters were active in the Zionist cause. One was a teacher at the Tel Chai school in Brest, and two went to Israel. Rachel Shekadi and Ruth Ratbert a member of Kibbutz Gevah.
Aharon Netanel (Shostakowski)
|Aharon Netanel (Shostakowski)
He was born in Brest in 1902. Came to Israel in the early 1920s. He went into the agricultural life in Israel. As a social activist he did a great deal, especially for the Maccabi movement in which he was involved for over 30 years. He was Chairman of the Maccabi movement in Jerusalem, and later a member of the national Israeli Agricultural Organization. Active in the World Maccabi Union. He was one of the initiators of the Maccabi Games. He died in 1957.
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