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Stories in memory of families

Translated by Sara Mages

…..the estate of Tzvi Kanner. In this way they bypassed the burnt bridge and at the same time immediately began to build another bridge in the place. For this purpose they took all the people they could get to carry logs for the construction of another bridge.

The Polish army fired several shells from the direction of Nienadowa Mountain, a distance of about 3km from the bridge. With anxiety we heard the shells slice the air and the echo when they fell near the bridge, with that the battle for Dubiecko ended. The fear and anxiety ended for the Jews when they saw that the Germans were not touching anyone. True, they took hostages on the first night. As they entered deeper, everyone, Christians and Jews, including the rabbi, were ordered to lie in an empty lot and they were told: you are responsible. In case anyone will shoot at the German army, it will take revenge on you and you will be executed.

On Rosh Hashanah the Jews prayed in the Beit Hamidrash. The German army passed quietly on the road in trucks and distributed gasoline to the gentiles. The front was already on the other side of Przemyśl and everything seemed quiet. Rosh Hashanah fell on Thursday and Friday, and on Shabbat-Teshuvah [Shabbat of Repentance], towards Mincha, when the Jews stood at the entrance a frightened Jew, with a beard and sidelocks, surprised them with his shouts “Gevalt Yidden!” “Jews hide!” the Germans are murdering the Jews in Dynów, they burnt the synagogue there. He looked a little crazy, and since they thought that he had lost his mind, they didn't pay attention to his shouts.

The next morning, several Jewish refugees decided to return home, some in the carts they came with and some on foot. Among them was a group of eleven young men and yeshiva students from Jaslo who walked in the direction of Dynów. At the same time the Assault Division of the German army, the S.A., moved from Dynów to Dubiecko and murdered them.

The next morning, the Jews gathered in Beit Hamidrash to say “Slichot” and pray after they saw that the Germans did not touch a single Jew… but, they were wrong, because the S.A. entered Dubiecko and immediately began their murderous act. They arrived in Beit Hamidrash, and when the Jews saw the murderers, they fled through the windows and during their escape they were brutally beaten. The S.A. burnt Beit Hamidrash, a large wooden building, and the flames reached a height that was visible in the distance. Even those who lived far away saw that Beit Hamidrash was burning. By the way, at the same time the Shtiebel, the house of Rafael Jawornikier, which was close to Beit Hamidrash, and also the rabbi's apartment which was under the roof of one of the houses, went up in flames.

The Germans passed through the town and caught twenty eight Jews, among them Jawornikier's two sons who stood next to Beit Hamidrash. They caught nine more Jews from Dubiecko and the rest were Jewish refugees who stopped in Dubiecko. They put everyone on a truck and drove them in the direction of Przemyśl, and along the way a number of gentiles joined them. At noon, the gentiles returned and told that the Germans murdered the Jews… and they, these gentiles - buried them.

One of the gentiles returned with the shoes of one of the murdered and the family identified them. Interestingly, the Jews did not believe their story, they suspected that they wanted to upset the Jewish families of those captured. But, that morning, other Jews were apprehended and humiliated, half of their beard was cut, and they were forced the sweep the streets of the rynek [market].


To our sorrow the rumors were verified

The next day, or two days later, something happened in the morning that convinced the families that, indeed, their loved ones were murdered. An open truck, which passed through the town from the direction of Przemyśl, led four Jews that their hands were integrated over their heads and next to them were armed Germans. Ten minutes later the townspeople heard gunshots. It soon became clear that the Germans murdered the Jews in a small forest near Dubiecko called Schepilasko. A few hours later the relatives of the murdered came to Dubiecko to find out: maybe someone heard something, or saw something… They came from the town of Kribtez and they learned that their loved ones were murdered. There was a problem to bring the murdered to a Jewish grave, but the Jews of Dubiecko risked themselves and brought them to the cemetery.

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After this sad case, there was no doubt that those from Dubiecko were murdered. It was also told that the sister of Yakov Raps hy”d, one of the murdered, went with others to the mass grave in Krasica Mountain to verify the heinous act. Since then, fear grew and no one has been seen in the street.

And those are the names of the murdered from Dubiecko: Simcha Tiser, Moshe Shtrazler, Yakov Raps, Yehusua Dormbush, the grandson of Leib Bek, Yona Jawornikier, Eizik Jawornikier, Mendel Lerner and Shamai Friedman. May Hashem avenge their blood - and may their memory be blessed for eternity.

The names of refugees are unknown to us.

On Yom Kippur the Jews prayed in houses where they arranged a Minyan for themselves with observation outside. On the same Yom Kippur night, the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact was signed on the division of Poland between Russia and Germany, and the San River will be the border in Galicia.

This river, that the Jews enjoyed so much during the hot summer days, and which provided all the cities and towns with fish for the Sabbath, turned the life of the Jews of Dubiecko, and nearby towns, into life of wandering without a home, poverty and despair. The town of Dubiecko lies on the west side of the river, meaning, that unfortunately we remained on the German side. The Jews were disappointed that they were not on the Russian side, and on the next day one family moved to other side of San River to live with the Russians.


After the division

After Yom Kippur the Germans announced that the Jews had to gather near the square to receive a message. There was great fear. The Jews gathered in the rain and waited with anxiety. About one thirty, a German officer arrived and announced: not a single Jew can stay here after five o'clock, you must cross the river to the eastern side, “go to the swine Russians,” we do not want Jews here and, whoever stays, we are not responsible for his safety...

It is impossible to describe in words what happened in the few hours until it got dark. The Jews ran to nearby villages, to the gentiles with whom they had contacts, and asked to transport them in wagons to the other side. The bridge over the San River was about 6km from Dubiecko. The roads were flooded with the German army, vehicles and tanks, retreating west. It was really difficult to travel in a wagon and the farmers were afraid to travel on the roads under these conditions. Anyone, who managed to find a wagon that evening, left the town immediately. The price of the wagon was excessive and those, who did not have the means, took a backpack, dragged someone from his family, and left on foot.

The Jews took out all kinds of belongings from their homes and merchandise from the shops, and gave them to the “good” gentile neighbors. Those, who obtained wagons, saved something from the home or the shop, but not a lot. For the most part, several families left in one wagon. The elderly, the children and the sick, were not able to walk a great distance so they put them in the wagon and removed the belongings and the goods that could be saved. Those, who did not leave that evening, left the next day, or two days later. Some left the house and locked the door. On the way we met a Jew who cried because he forgot to lock the door. After the Jews left, the gentiles from the villages broke into homes and shops, stole and emptied everything.

All those who left that evening thought that they only had to cross the river, and across the river were villages where Jews lived. They will enter their homes, rest from the road, and on the next day continue to the town of Bircza. However, when they arrived to the first village, Iskan, they were very disappointed. It was already dark and Ukrainians stood by the side of the road. They also stood next to Jewish homes armed with guns they received from the Germans. They did not allow any Jew to get close the Jew's house, and not to another house, to rest for a moment. They just drove us away. With no other choice, the Jews continued on the road, the Ukrainians ambushed them and robbed the wagons. They grabbed the bags from those who walked, and instead of walking they had to run to get away from these bandits.

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So it was in the second village, they did not allow to enter and also not to rest. With no other choice, they continued on to the town of Bircza, and there they entered Jewish homes and rested from everything they went through at night. In this town almost everyone had a relative, a friend or even a Hasid of the same Rebbe, and they brought them into their home.

Some of Dubiecko's Jews remained in Bircza, rented a room and searched for a minimal source of income. Some scattered in all kinds of towns and cities. There were those, who had relatives in those places, and thought that they could find a better source of livelihood there. A few days later only two families remained in Dubiecko… they simply refused to leave despite the danger. One of them, Yakov Anfang, had a sick mother who lay in her bed. He did not leave because he couldn't take her with him.

According to the story we heard from him personally, a German entered, threatened him and ordered him to leave the town immediately. But, he did not panic. He took out of the cupboard an old military backpack from the First World War, which was perforated from the bullets that penetrated it, and said to the German: with this backpack I passed the First World War in the German-Austrian army and I was on several fronts. Indeed, bullets hit the backpack, but I came out alive and well. Now, if you want to shot me, you can do so, and stuck out his chest: shot me, I will not move from here, and the German left …

The second family was of R' Shimon Melber z”l. According to rumor he said: “I won't go to those who say “There is no God in heaven.” R' Shimon was a God-fearing scholar, one of the prominent leaders of the Belz Hassidim in town. The stubbiness of Yakov Anfang and Shimon Melber did not help them. The Ukrainians came with wagons, took them by force, and transferred them to the other side of the river. And so, the town emptied of its Jews and all its houses and shops were broken in and robbed.


The Second World War

Everything that passed on the Jews of Dubiecko also passed on the Jews of Dynów, Sanok, Leżajsk, Jarosław and many other cities and towns near the San River, although not all the Jews left from each place despite the decree. Tragedies were created in places where only the men left and women and children remained. In Pruchnik, near Dubiecko, almost all the men left and their families remained. All the Jews, who left their places of residence because of the decree, did not move far from the new border. They tried to settle in cities near the border, hoping that the war would end quickly and they will return to their homes. There were also rumors that according to the agreement, the Russians would advance about 30km behind Rzeszów, and they waited with hope and faith that it would.

Meanwhile, housing and livelihood conditions and the harsh winter of 1939-40, were very bothersome. The greatest disappointment was from the Russians who showed their real faces and after hearing stories from Jewish soldiers who served in the Russian army, their desire to return home intensified, even if they had to live under the German occupation. In addition, news came from there that the situation was not terrible, there is normalization and it is possible to live, and many wanted to return to their families who remained there.

The Russians landed a severe blow on the entire population of the Russian occupation, among them the refugees who suffered twice as much. Shortly after they entered they canceled the Polish money. People woke up in the morning and found out that the Polish money, which they had in banknotes, was worthless and they have nothing to buy bread with. They lost everything, especially the refugees who besides money did not bring anything. For them it was a very hard blow and almost all of them suffered from hardship. Some of the refugees, especially in the cities, started to “trade” a little with the Russians or sold all kinds of things in the streets, the authorities banned it but, with no other choice, they risked themselves.

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The opportunity to return home

The idea, and the initiative, to return home did not come from the Jews because, they knew, very well, that they were exiled and the Germans did not want them there. But, on the Russian side, there were many Christian Poles who fled eastward, as well as soldiers of the Polish army who fought and withdrew from the German army to Lvov. There, they met the Russians who disarmed them, and with the exception of the officers they released them all. Many of these soldiers were from the German side, their families, and also the families of the Polish refugees, were there. They contacted the Russian authorities, and their families contacted the German authorities, asking for a family unification. Then, an agreement was signed between the two countries that every Polish citizen, who wants to return to his place of residence on the German side, must register and then

The Russians started a compulsory registration of those who previously lived on the German side. This registration included the Jews who were deported by the Germans. Everyone was asked if they want to return or stay. This question also had to be answered by the Jewish refugees because the Russians did not differentiate between Jews and Christians. Those, who signed up to stay received a passport and had to move 100km east of the new border. Those, who fulfilled the above instruction, realized that by doing so they will receive Russian citizenship and would never be able to return home.

The Jews believed that when England and France declared war on Germany, the Germans' defeat would soon come and they will leave Poland. But, they already felt, and the logic also dictated, that the Russians would remain in Western Ukraine, which belonged to Poland because, who will drive them away from there? The Jews were not willing to stay permanently with the Russians, even at the cost of returning to the Germans. This was the decisive main reason, among all the other reasons already counted here - housing, livelihoods and financial hardship. Therefore, with lack of any other option, the majority registered to return.

Later in the story it will become clear to you how, and for what sin, we arrived in Siberia. There were those who registered to stay but were not in a hurry to take the passport - maybe in the meantime a miracle will come?... and there were those who decided, no matter what, we are not going back to the Germans. They took the passports, moved 100km, and settled in Stanislawow, Stryi, Przemuslanyi and others. However, a healthy logic of accounts and calculations for the future did not work in those frenzied days…

Because, when time came and the Germans really began to transfer the registered Polish citizens, it turned out that they did not let any of the Jew pass, as if they did not mean the Jews at all. The Russians were ready to let every Polish citizen pass. Now a situation has arisen, that all those who have registered to move to the German side are, in fact, citizens from there and they are in Russian territory… and it is unnecessary to explain the severity of this matter in a Stalinist regime, therefore we stood the test of sin at the time of registration...they asked when we crossed the San River, on what date?, and then we innocently said 23.9. Again, the border agreement between the two countries was signed on 20.9, but there was still no border, and not a single Russian soldier was there, when we crossed the San River.

The border stabilized only after the withdrawal of the German soldiers who were near Lvov, and it took a minimum of ten days from the signing of the agreement until the Russians reached the San River. But the Russians, without a trial, sentenced everyone who illegally crossed the border at the San River after September 20, to exile to Siberia, from four and seven years...

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Those, who said that they crossed the San River once, received four years, and those who told: “I first crossed without the family, and when realized that it is good here I crossed back and took my family” (and there were such cases) were punished between seven to eight years for crossing the border twice…

On the month of May 1940, on Friday night, the Russians recruited all the farmers in the area and they arrived in wagons. Officers of the NKVD arrived to each home, according to the registered address, and transported everyone to the train station. There, the trains were already ready with many sleeping cars. We understood that the journey would be long...

We do not know the exact number of Jews that were taken to Siberia on that Friday night. Of course, among them were also Jews who registered to stay but were not in a hurry to take the passport. It is estimated that about 200,000 Jews were taken to Siberia that night. They were scattered in the Siberian Taiga and also in the far north. The fate of the families who remained on the German side was more brutal... The Russians accused them of spying, because, what do you do here when your family is there? Two weeks earlier, they quietly took them and sent them to the far north (where there are three months of only darkness, and three months of only daylight), and they lived in prison conditions.

Under these harsh conditions the main problem of many Jews was how to lay Tefillin when it was only night. And again, in the summer: how to pray and say the evening Kriat Shema when it is only a day? They sent letters to the rabbis asking them how to act! It was a terrible tragedy for them. In any case, Jews who were not taken to Siberia, as well as relatives who remained in the Ukraine, tried to help their family members in Siberia because they were starving there.

It was possible to send an eight kilo food package from the Ukraine, and despite the hardship and food shortage, they made every effort and sent food packages to their relatives. From the beginning, all the Jews worked in the forests in hard and dangerous physical work that they have never experienced. They cut down pine trees, or produced resin that came out of the tree after they made a V shaped cut in it. It was also a hard and tedious work. By the way, various industries, such as textiles, paper, and others, make great use of this resin. Sometime later, some moved to work in trades that were needed there: shoemakers, carpenters, tailors and doctors (according to the order listed here) because shoemakers and tailors were more important there.

In their first Siberian winter they did not have winter clothes suitable for the cold climate, and they were also not used to a temperature that reached between 38o to 45o below zero. The average Siberian winter was 38o. Sometimes the temperature dropped to 50o below zero.

There were cases of frozen fingers or toes that developed necrosis and had to be amputated. Everyone had to work, including the women. The living quarters were in large huts built of logs with a long corridor and rooms on both sides. A large family received a room, and two small families lived in the same room. There were also huts without separate rooms. There, each family was given a space by the wall and all the families spent time together. Everybody did the laundry in their designated area and washed the floor of their own place.

Bread was by tickets. Those who worked received 900 grams of bread and those who did not work, including the children and the elderly, received only 200 grams of bread per person. Those who worked also received lunch at the restaurant in the workplace. But not everyone ate there because the food was not kosher. The families searched for all sorts of ways to get extra food in addition to the portions they received.

Throughout the summer it was easy to prepare firewood for the winter but, for some reason, the Jews believed, and were sure, that the world would respond to the fact that innocent people were sent to Siberia and force Stalin to release them. They walked around with the slogan “me'far ah'heym” - “We are going home.” And when someone prepared firewood for the winter, they laugh at him and said “do you really want to stay here in the winter?!”

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The hope of returning home was reinforced when one day the Russians began to register those who had relatives in America, and the Jews started to run to register. They even made sure the registrar wrote down the correct address of their relatives. Those, who did not have relatives, asked those who had many addresses to give them one so they could also sign up...

The Jews, in their innocence, thought that the registration was related to their return home and, for sure, their relatives are moving heaven and earth for them. They forgot that everything in the Stalinist regime was the other way around: they suspected everyone who had relatives in America and for that reason they asked about them...

In the meantime, winter was coming, and although the place was surrounded by forests and trees, they remained without firewood because everything was covered with snow. It was also impossible to carry firewood for a short distance because of the depth of the snow. It is not known how many people died there from the cold, food shortages and illnesses, especially the elderly and the children. There was no hospital there and the doctor helped as much as he could.

In one place, “section 38,” they called Dr. Metzger from Jarosław to come to them. He brought with him medicine from Ukraine and treated the patients with genuine devotion. He gave people certificates of release from work, even though they were not sick, and in this manner saved a lot of people. If he saw that the patient had nothing to eat to get stronger, he brought him something to eat from his home. I would be happy if the words of praise written here about Dr. Metzger from Jarosław will reach him, or his family, because he deserves more than that.

In this way people continued their hard labor in harsh conditions, in the winter cold and in malnutrition, but with confidence and faith in God that they will stand it and return home. The harsh winter passed, the thawing of snow began, the day was sunny and the night was cold, until spring arrived followed by the summer which made life easier for the Jews and veryone was looking forward for salvation to come from anywhere. And here something happened that, from the beginning, the Jews did not think it could help their difficult situation.

In June 1941, the Germans invaded Russia. The invasion began from Western Ukraine and the Baltic countries, and within a short time the Germans were already inside Russia's territory. The Jews in Siberia realized that salvation did indeed come, but that was not the case for the Jews in Russia or Western Ukraine. Life in hell began in every place the Germans invaded and, in the end, came the physical elimination.

The powers form an alliance against Germany

With the outbreak of the German-Russian war, the Russian government got closer to England and the United States, and all European countries became allies against the Germans. All the governments of the countries occupied by Germany, including the Polish government whose ministers managed to escape to London immediately after the outbreak of the Second World War, joined the alliance. As a result of their efforts, and their influence as members of this alliance, all the Polish citizens in Russia, even those in prison, were released. Possibly, they wouldn't have made any efforts for the Jews, but the Russians also exiled about 100,000 Poles to Siberia. Then, the Jews, as Polish citizens, were also released from the camps and the forests, and everyone was able to leave and travel wherever he wanted.

Most of the Jews left and moved to places where the climate was more favorable. A relatively small part remained in Siberia, moved to the cities and found a job there. The prolong war against the German invader, and the many victims, brought the Russian government and the entire Russian nation, into financial distress. Even before, there was a shortage of food, clothing, and elementary things that a cultural person needed. But, at the outbreak of the war the men were recruited into the army and all the resources, and remaining manpower went to work for the needs of the war and, as a result, the Jews also suffered from this distress.

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There was a real hunger and lack of sanitary conditions, lack of doctors and medicines, epidemics broke out, especially typhus, from which also Jews suffered. Some died of the epidemics, among them young people. It was impossible to make a living from a job. The salary was worth several “buckets of potatoes” in the black market. Because of the hunger and the distress, the Jews began to trade in the black market. Those who were caught were sentenced to prison, and some died from the conditions there. The labor camps were no better than the prison. Hard work and regime, general living, lots of people in one big room, bad food and not enough, and there were also victims there.


At the end of the war

At the end of the war, in May 1945, with a victory over the Germans, the economic situation has not improved and continued to be this way until the Jews returned “home,” to Poland. There was already a communist regime in Poland, and it started to work for the return of Polish citizens from Russia. People were appointed to a national general committee, and a local committee was established in each place that had a concentration of Polish citizens. The committee's duty was to help people to apply for a passport to return to Poland. Everyone had to attach some kind of a document, such as a school certificate and the like.

Those, who had nothing, forged documents thinking that without them they would not get the passport. In the end, everyone received all the papers and time was set for their departure. And just as they brought them by train, so they returned them. The trains waited at the station until those on the passenger list arrived.

There were people were worried that they would not arrive on time because the distance to the train was about 200km, and they had to travel this distance by horse and wagon. Indeed, many family members remained in the forests, or in the cities and villages of Middle Asia, and their joy was mixed with tears.

There were also other tragedies: there were quite a few little orphans. Those whose parents passed away, those who arrived in Siberia with only one parent who passed away, or when the mother died and the father was unable to care for the little children. In such a case, the children were placed in an orphanage, sometimes in a place where the parent didn't live, or in a place where there were no Jews. Now, that it was time to return, it turned out that the orphans had moved but it was unknown where! The searches began, it was time to leave, and the children stayed there.

Jews, who received imprisonment and sat in prison, also remained. The authorities did not release them when everyone returned. Those, who married Russian citizens, were allowed to take their spouse and also the spouse's parents, to Poland…something they did not believe it until they crossed the border. They were afraid that the communist authorities would arrest them. All those who married Polish citizens were immediately approved to travel to Poland.

Another fate was for the Jews who remained in Ukraine, or those who always lived in Russia in the areas of the German occupation. When the Russian army began to advance and liberate the areas from the German occupation, rumors had already reached Siberia about what the Germans had done to the Jews in Kiev, Smolensk, Pinsk and all cities, towns and villages in Russia. In the end, when they advanced and entered Poland, they heard that the Germans also murdered all the Jews in Poland, and were also told about the extermination camps…

But the Jews received the rumors with some restraint, a few believed and a few did not. It was simply hard to believe such cruel things. Despite the rumors, everyone believed that he would find his relatives and loved ones alive, and everyone embroidered his story in his thoughts, and when they will meet they will tell each other about everything they have been through during the Second World War…

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The trains only brought them back to Russian Ukraine, and when they got there they learned the bitter truth from the Jews who remained alive there... that they have no one to tell and there will nothing to tell. Because, if they would meet someone from their relatives, or another Jew who went through the Nazi occupation, they will realize that a day in the Germans' camps was worse than all the years in Siberia...

Almost all the Jews, who returned from Russia to Poland, no longer returned to the cities and towns where they lived before the war, because the nationalist Poles murdered every Jew they met after the Germans retreated, and also after the war ended. To this day we do not how many Jews, who lived through the Nazi hell and managed to stay alive, were later murdered by nationalist Poles because they couldn't hide from them!

About our town, Dubiecko, we only know about Ester Schpect and her daughter hy”d. They arrived in Dubiecko after going through the war in the Nazi occupation, and were immediately murdered by nationalist Poles from Dubiecko. The same happened in many villages where Jews hid and managed to survive. At the end of the war they were also murdered by the murderous Poles. Yes, these Poles searched for more Jews on the trains and murdered them…

The story of the extermination of the Jews of Dubiecko who remained in Ukraine, and also those who returned to Dubiecko in 1941, after the Germans conquered Ukraine, is similar to all the stories of the extermination of Polish Jews and, of course, everyone from Dubiecko, who went through the Nazi Holocaust and survive, has his own story.

It is known from the stories of Binyamin Eichner, that when the Germans invaded Ukraine in 1941, the Jews, who were expelled in 1939, understood that they would not be able to return to their former places of residence because the whole area was under German occupation. Only a few returned to Dubiecko, and from what I know they were: the family of Aharon Domb, the Knoler family and the mother of Sara Schimmel, the family of Wolf Eichner, the Harfenist family, Mordechai, the family of Yakov Meler, the family of Simcha Domb and the family of Ajzik Kanner.

However, we do not know why some of them did not return to Dubiecko and stayed in the town of Bircza about 30km from Dubiecko. Maybe they feared the gentiles? When the “final liquidation” began, those who were murdered in Dubiecko's cemetery were buried there in a mass grave. It happened on Sunday morning. The gentile peasants, who came to the town's church, instead of going to prayer came to see how the Jews were being eliminated. Some of the Jews of Dubiecko were murdered in Bircza. We know that in this place the Germans shot every tenth Jew and it happened even before the final liquidation. Among the murdered were also two from Dubiecko - Leibish Pirshet and Ajzik Szmalz, hy”d.

The rest of Dubiecko's Jews were murdered in the places where they lived after the deportation: the family of Yehusua Bezem, the family of David Hoffman and Tzvia Schmaltz. All together thirteen people who hid for a long time. They were informed by the gentiles after the final liquidation of Dubiecko's Jews and murdered between the villages of Hucisko and Yavirnyk.
The gentiles caught Shaul Schimmel and murdered him in Dubiecko' market square.

I know that theses Jews survived the Holocaust in various ways and conditions: Binyamin Eichner, Chaim Broner, Sonia Kirshenr-Barech, Yehudah Peletz, Efraim Harfenist, Miriam Rozenblum-Mund, Basha and her sister Mirel Reich.

I am convinced that some of them will add their stories and from them we will learn more of what the Jews of our town, Dubiecko, experienced until their final liquidation.

In order not to get off the topic: at the end of the war, when the Jews returned from Siberia the search for relatives, acquaintances and townspeople began. This person said that he saw someone he knew, and people looked closely at the faces of those who were similar to their relatives... they traveled from place to place, maybe

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they would find some a remnant from their family. Everywhere, there were lists of Jews on the walls and each person wrote his name and the city's name. Maybe, he will find someone alive in this list, but they were very disappointed. And even when it happened, and someone found a family member, near or far, this joy was filled with tears and sorrow mixed together...

No one thought of returning to Dubiecko. The Jews settled in Silesia, in areas that belonged to the Germans before the war and annexed to Poland. After the war the Poles transferred all the German population from there to Germany, and in their place they settled Polish citizens, among them also the Jews of Dubiecko. The Jews concentrated in several cities there and tried to restore their community life, in the order that existed in the cities and towns before the war

Communities were established. They took care of the Jews' needs in the economic and religious areas. Help arrived from American Jews in the form of clothes and food and was distributed to the needy. They opened synagogues. Some of the synagogues remained intact even though the Germans turned them into clubs. They appointed rabbis and slaughterers, and tradesmen organized in cooperatives, especially shoemakers and carpenters.

But the Jews refused to settle there. First, they saw in Poland a blood-saturated earth - a place where it would be impossible to live. In addition, the Poles continued their anti-Semitic actions and Jewish blood was worthless in their eyes…the Jews lived in fear and with memories of the recent past. The rescue came with the organization of the Zionist movement. They created youth groups, transferred them to the Czechoslovakia, from there to Italy and France, and organized an illegal immigration to Israel.

Among them were men, women and children. Some former residents of Dubiecko received entry visa to the United States or to Belgium, and they live there now. Most of the refugees from Dubiecko arrived in Israel and joined the Dubiecko organization in Israel that its members arrived before the war as Halutzim and, with God help, created here, in our country, among all the Jews, a continuance generation of former residents of Dubiecko.

They mostly settled in Haifa, Tel-Aviv, Ramat-Gan, Holon, and in all corners of the State of Israel. They participated in the building of the country - each according to his profession. The young among them, that today they are middle-aged, built families here. A new generation who only knows Dubiecko from the stories their parents tell them, how their forefathers, grandfathers, grandmothers and parents lived, and how their parents survived and the Nazi Holocaust…

It is our duty to pass the memory of our loved ones to future generations, and it is the duty of the next generation to continue to commemorate the memory of the beloved Jews of Dubiecko, the victims of the Nazis. This book, “The community of Dubiecko and its vicinity,” is dedicated to Dubiecko's martyrs who perished in the Holocaust.

To our beloved parents, grandfathers and grandmothers, who perished on the sanctification of God's name, we, the remnants of Dubiecko in Israel declare: “the community of Dubiecko has a continuation here in the Land of Israel. Your children and grandchildren are no longer live in fear of the gentiles and proudly serve in Israel Defense Forces. They study the Torah here in magnificent Yeshivot, they also study at universities and of them are doctors and engineers. We would not forget you! We would not forget what the Nazi oppressor had done to you!

[Page 31]

From Dubiecko to Israel

by Mendel Hemel, Neve Noy (Be'er Sheva)

Translated by Sara Mages

It is said, charity begins at home, but not in this case. I'll start with myself and in the process I will mention the details of others.

I was born in 6.6.1927 in the town of Dubiecko, Poland, to my parents Frida and Tzvi Hersh Hemel. I have three children, two in Israel and one in Denmark. At the age of three I started to study in the heder with Rabbi Milek Poilka (it isn't known why he was called by that name). I studied there until the age of twelve and a half.

In 1939, the Second World War broke out and we were forced to leave the town of Dubiecko and move to the city of Przemyśl.

In 1940, we were taken to Siberia in the Soviet Union and stayed there for about two years. After we were released from Siberia we wandered to Uzbekistan. We stayed there for four years. At first we lived in a Kolkhoz and later moved to the city of Chazac. Life during this period was not easy at all.

In 1946, we were released and returned to Poland, and in 1947 I registered to the Haganah and went through training for three months.

Later, of course, I was sent to Israel.

In Israel I served in the Haganah. Later I was transferred to “Givati Brigade” the 52nd Battalion. In fact, I participated in all the wars of the State of Israel. 

In 1947, I was released from regular service in the Israel Defense Forces. After the service I wandered around Haifa without work and without a home. After a few months I decided to go down to the Negev, to Be'er Sheva, to find my future there (as it is said about Yakov Avino: “And he went up from there to Be'er Sheva.” Bereishit 26:23), and what next - “you now, blessed of the Lord” (there 26:30).

In Be'er Sheva I worked, for two years, for the Jewish Agency for Israel, as a supervisor of agricultural equipment. I met my wife, Leah, in Be'er Sheva and in 1952 we got married.

As usual time does its thing:

Our eldest daughter, Sara, was born in 1954. In 1958 our second daughter, Rachel, was born. In 1964 our son, Yehiel, was born. He was named after my grandfather Yehiel (Manya).

I continued to work for the country for 25 years, until my early retirement in an experimental farm in Eilat.

Today I am a pensioner and continue to live in Be'er Sheva. I am already the grandfather of three lovely grandchildren. The eldest is Edan and he's 12. The second, Liat, is eight year old, the third is Lion and he is two and a half years old.

My son Yehiel is still a bachelor.

Everyone lives in Be'er Sheva (and as it says: “and they found there a well of living waters” Bereishit 26:19) 

[Page 32]

A Jew in the Diaspora…

by Moshe Ben-Yosef

Translated by Sara Mages

I will briefly tell about a Jewish couple, elderly and childless. In fact, they were wealthy, and this from the accumulation of family property of several generations before them. I was almost a family member. I ran various errands for them, and among others I bought groceries for the Shabbat like meat, fish, etc.

When the Germans, the devil's sons, entered the town, they took his wife and locked her in a room. Of course, she lost her mind and responded with horrible cries. Her cries still echo in my ears. I brought her some food through the window bars. And then, after a few days, she disappeared without a trace…

Two weeks after that, we were driven out of our home at night.

The man, her husband, held me in one hand and in the other a small bag. As it said in the torment of Job: “This one was still talking, and another one came…” [Job 1:16]. Suddenly the Ukrainians, partners of the devil's sons, attacked us. They rode horses with sticks in their hands and beat, right to left, those who were next to them. We stood around a wagon harnessed to an old horse, like an Arabian horse in the rain and mud, and this man's bag was in their hands!

The man turned to me, Moshe'le my child, “all my life's fortune is inside it...” Meaning, all his assets in money was in this bag...

In the end, this man also vanished.

After that, in the first winter, I settled in a town in the area and, of course, I was very cold in my body and soul, so I entered the synagogue to warm up. And what my eyes saw there, this man was lying on a bench. He immediately recognized me and called me: “I was looking for you, where did you disappear to? I fell silent with astonishment…

He asked me to bring him something to eat. I quickly left and when I returned to him, he died in my hands from the storm of his emotions.

There is no pain like my pain - woe for the loss! May his soul be bound in the bond of everlasting life.

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The darkness of the wicked[1]

by Pinchas Halperin

Translated by Sara Mages

The town of Dubiecko was founded in the first half of the 14th century, about 650 years ago. The first settlement was on the shores of the San River where the village of Ruskiej-Wsi, meaning, Russian Village, is now located. But, in fact, it was a Ukrainian village.

After a while, they moved 2km from there to the place where they are now. Its inhabitants boasted that in the 18th century the poet, Józef Ignacy Kraszewski, lived in his estate, and showed all the visitors to the town the tree that under its shade the poet wrote his poems.

To my opinion, there were about two hundred Jewish farms in Dubiecko before the war, and most of them were concentrated around the town center in the market (rynek) area. By the size of the cemetery, it seems to me that Jews lived there for no more than 200 years. Most of the Jewish residents made a living from trade. About a third of the Jews made a living from crafts like: tailors, tinsmiths, carpenters, shoemakers, watchmakers, book binders, teachers, etc. Practically all of them lived in great poverty.

Indeed, they all lived according to the Jewish tradition of Eastern Europe. They were bearded with sidelocks, wore black clothes and coats, and wide-brimmed velvet hats. On the Sabbath they decorated themselves with a shtreimel. Although most of them were uneducated, they understood a little of the daily prayers and, all the more so, in small letters. There were also Gemara and Mishnayot scholars, but only a few.

They rarely read a newspaper. First, they didn't have the means to buy them and not everyone knew how to read Yiddish. Their Polish language was faulty and only a few could write Polish without spelling mistakes.

Those who studied the Talmud in Beit Hamidrash were called: “Beit Midrash Bahurim.”

There were three houses of worship in Dubiecko. The main was Beit Hamidrash where the town rabbi prayed (and lived), Kloyz and Shtiebel. They prayed in all of them throughout the week and, of course, on the Sabbath and holidays.

Social and cultural life was almost nonexistent. From time to time a “preacher” came and told stories and jokes for a living, which might have helped to lift the mood of the oppressed a bit. Sometimes, a certain Rebbe came to visit his Hassidim to collect donations. There were also Hassidim who traveled to the Rebbe for the holidays, like to the Rebbe of Belz, Sadigura, Rzeszow, Jawornik, Bukowsko and the like.

In the early 1930s we opened a school for girls, “Beit Yakov,” to teach Jewish girls a little “yiddishkeit” [“Jewishness”], but this school did not last long and was closed.

For a short period there was a branch of “Hashomer Hatzair.” The “Akiva” movement existed from 1930 to about 1937, and thanks to it, a number of Halutzim immigrated to Israel in Aliya Bet (illegal immigration).

Two to three years before the outbreak of the Second World War, there was an organization of small movements, but without names and their goal was to search for a Zionist social organization and a better future.

The hair of every Jewish boy was cut when he turned three years old, and only his sidelocks were left. He was sent to the “heder” to learn to read and write. From the age of five he started to learn the Torah, meaning, the weekly Torah portion with Rashi commentary. At about the age of ten those, who continued, studied the Gemara with Rashi commentary and Tosafot, and were considered yeshiva students.

At the age six to seven, the children started to study in the Polish elementary school until noon (not all parents agreed to send their children to this school even though the children were exempt from studying on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays). In the afternoon they studied in the “heder” until evening. In the winter they continued until it turned dark and stayed until seven in the evening (after Mincha and Ma'ariv prayers).

There were no formal classrooms in the “heder,” but there were ranks of melamdim [teachers]. I remember that I started “Komets Alef” [the alphabet] at the age of three

[Page 34]

with the melamdim - Hoiker, Melech Melamed, Chaim Hersh, Shamai Friedman, Leib Bek, Chaim Bleichfeld, Berli Keser and Hersheli Schpelter. Leib Bek taught the Gemara and the payment that he received was set in dollars. Keser and Schpelter taught in Beit Hamidrash without a payment. There were also melamdim in the highest ranks.

At the age of 13 I collected small weekly donations from the worshipers in the Kloyz to buy books and for the binding of the books. Among others I bought the books of “Chofetz Chaim” [R' Yisrael Meir Kagan] and others. Later, I collected donations for “Keren Kayemet Leisrael” [JNF].

My parents, Tzvi (Hersh) Halperin and Tzerna Dim, were born in Lesko near Sanok. At the end of the 19th century, R' Itza Kanner (our relative) bought his estate in Przedmieście (a suburb of the city of Dubiecko), and took my grandfather's brother, R' Moshe Halperin, to supervise the farm works. My grandmother stayed with her children in Lesko. Over time, my father also moved there. As a teenager he became interested in the production of vodka in the distillery and helped to run the boilers.

In fact, he knew how to operate the factory and produce vodka, but officially he needed a certificate from a technical school, which was difficult for Jews to obtain. For a while, he worked for the Count of Ninadova in his vodka production plant. Vodka production was a government monopoly and the price consisted largely of levies, excise and taxes. The production season was in the winter and under the supervision of customs officers.

In the First World War, the Russian army sabotaged the production machinery and the plant ceased operation. In the period of the Polish government, it was not worth to invest huge sums to restore the factory because of the high excise duty imposed on vodka. Therefore, the machines were sold and my parents moved to a section of the factory outside the town.

At that time, they started to make a living from selling milk and dairy products like butter, cheese, cream, yogurt and the like. It was a very hard job because everything was done by hand. True, there was also a centrifuge, but this work was done before that with by hand. And again, also this machine was operated by hand because there was no electricity in Dubiecko…

All together we had one cow for self-use.

Apart from that, we had turkeys and sometimes also geese and a dovecote. There was also a vegetable garden that my father cultivated with his own hands. Every morning, in the summer, we harvested green onions, radishes, cucumbers and tomatoes for breakfast. The total size of the land was about a quarter of a hectare and provided potatoes for us and all the estate's worker

We were three children at home: Leah, Chaya and I. The age difference between the siblings was about six years. My sister Leah perished with my parents in the “camps.” The name of the place is unknown.

Chaya belonged to “Akiva.” She spent six years in several locations of Hakhshara kibbutzim in southeast Poland near the Romanian border. Since she had to wait her turn to get a certificate, and the certificates were sold by HeHalutz movement for good money, she decided to immigrate with Aliya Bet. And so, in the month of March, she left with an organized group for Italy and from there, illegally, she arrived in Israel with a backpack that contained all her possessions.

In May 1939, she joined the founding of Kibbutz Neve Eitan in Emek HaYarden. She worked there in the bakery and the shoemaking workshop. After a certain period she decided to leave the kibbutz and in 1942 moved to Haifa.

As is well known, the Second World War broke out on September 1, 1939, on Friday, shortly before sunrise, when the German army broke into the Polish border at the checkpoint in Silesia. The next day, Saturday, and all the days that followed, we saw groups of young people, mainly Jews, leaving their homes in the area and passing through our town to the southeast, to the Russian and Romanian border.

Of course, it was not yet known that with the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Russia will also enter Poland and occupy its parts in the east and south.

[Page 35]

On Friday, September 8, 1939, eight days after the outbreak of the Second World War, when it became known that the Polish army retreated, the Kanner family decided to leave their home and property and escape to the Romanian border. They took with them the car, three wagons harnessed to horses, clothes, food for them and for the horses, thinking that a short time later they will return to their home.

They offered me to be one of the wagon drivers and my parents agreed. The fear of the Germans helped them, like before the First World War. At most, they will take the young people to hard physical labor, digging trenches and building fortifications for their army, etc. No one imagined to himself that it could be worse.

At twilight, on Sabbath eve, we left the house, the parents and the sister left for the road. Everything was in total darkness. We traveled at night and hid during the day because the airplanes bombed everything that moved on the roads. On the second, or the third night, we passed Stryi and Drohobych after the bombing. All the fuel tanks were burning and the whole area was lit from the flames.

There was a problem to get fuel for the car. Hesho Kanner drove forward to search for fuel and didn't know in advance where we would park. In the morning, after our stop, we left for the road to meet Hesho, while he was looking for us, and show him the way.

And what did he say to us? “I was arrested twice by the Polish army for suspicion that I was sitting by the road and reporting to the enemy about the movements of the Polish army.”

On September 17, 1939, all of a sudden, many wagons and cannons, harnessed to horses, arrived in a small town near Buczec. Then, we learned that the Russian army entered the southeastern part of Poland. There was no point in continuing to flee. We stayed for a few days in the place. Those were days without government, everyone did what he wanted and the Jews were afraid as usual.

I decided to go back to Przemyśl and from there to Bircza. Most of the people from Dubiecko were in Bircza because the Germans expelled them to the eastern side of the San River. There, I found out that Shimon Melber, and my parents, remained in Dubiecko. I tried to travel to them but the Germans did not let me cross the bridge in Isakn. Therefore, I traveled to Linsk [Lesko] because I had relatives there, uncles on the side of my father and my mother.

The Russian police, the NKVD, demanded from all the refugees, who were not residents of the place, to register and ask all kinds of details: studies, party affiliation, parents' employment, their status etc. Every two month they called for additional investigations. A short time later I found out that the NKVD collected at night, according to their lists, all the bachelors and arrested them. They held them as dangerous prisoners for about three weeks and then sent to the far north. Once I learned this, I moved from the place of residence that I was registered to another relative. After a few weeks, on Friday night, all the non-local families were rounded up and transported by wagons to the train station, a distance of about 6km. I was afraid, that over time, I would be caught and arrested. I decided to go to the train station and join the families. It took us a month or so to reach Siberia, and from the final train station we traveled another 250km in trucks, through dirt roads into the forests…

There, we were housed in three wooden buildings, from six people in a room. Our job was to cut down trees for all kinds of uses.

The person in charge of us was an NKVD officer. He appointed one of us to be responsible for all the people so that, God forbid, no one will escape. Every evening our supervisor handed a report to the officer. They also allowed us to organize working groups of seven people, among them two girls, for easier jobs. One member of the group was responsible for the group.

[Page 36]

Of course, we were not used to hard physical work eight hours a day and usually did not meet the quota that was requited of us, because we barely performed about 30% of the work. Our profit was accordingly.

We were hungry for bread. Those who worked received 800 grams of bread a day. Those who did not work received 200-400 grams. The bread was usually moist, not well baked and heavy. It was possible to finish the daily portion in one meal. People like me sliced the bread into three slices, a slice for each meal.

In the summer there were five warm and pleasant month with lots of prickly flies. The food also spoiled quickly. In the winter the snow reached the height of two meters and the temperature dropped by 40%. We were allowed to prune branches, that we arranged in ready piles, to heat the rooms in winter. The authorities did not allow us to cut down trees for heating.

Until June 1941, I received a food package from my relative in Lesko, but it was not enough. It was not possible to buy anything with money. You could only get food in exchange for clothes, towels and cloth. It was only possible to buy meager soup the camp's kitchen. We rarely got porridge. Only those who excelled at work received this delicacy. A clinic existed in the nearest town, a distance of 12km from us. There was also a post office there. There was no transport and we had to walk, back and forth, summer and winter.

At the outbreak of the war between the Germans and the Russians, an agreement was signed between the Soviet government and the Polish government in London on the liberation of Polish citizens from Siberia and forced labor, and giving them freedom of movement.

We were released from the camps, but the Russians wanted us to stay and work in the forests because of the harsh climate. Most left, and I among them, we traveled to Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, etc. because the climate was better there.

I was in a kolkhoz in Kyrgyzstan, not far from Prozna. There, in the kolkhoz, it took me several months to feel full after Siberia.

After about a year, I heard about voluntary recruitment to the Polish army. I wanted to enlist, but they made it difficult to the Jews since they only took those who already served in the army. A short time later, a Polish battalion was accommodated in my kolkhoz. I heard that they will be transferred to Iran. I took the opportunity to be interviewed by the battalion commander. He asked for my name, and I got a negative answer because I had not served before in the army and the regiment was an armored battalion.

Since I left home I wrote postcards, every two to three weeks, to my sister Chaya in Israel. I was hoping to get information from her about my parents, but I did not get any answers. I wrote from Siberia, from the kolkhoz, and did not receive a reply, as though - “Send forth your bread upon the surface of the water”… In1943, after four years of total silence, I received a letter through the Red Cross. The letter contained the twenty-four words that could be written in such a letter. I burst into tears... because I thought that I received a death announcement from the Red Cross.

My sister stated in her letter that she had not received a letter from me for two years.

Meaning, that two years ago she received letters from me. I cheered up after receiving the first letter and continued to write a postcard every two weeks. Every five to seven months I received a postcard from her that was censored in Moscow. I also got some packages from her.

In 1944, I was drafted into the Red Army and was sent to Lotva [Belarus] where there was a large pocket of a German army, about three hundred thousand soldiers, and it was very difficult to move them away because they were well barricaded. They received their equipment through the Baltic Sea and also had ammunition factories there. They claimed that it was a springboard to recapture Leningrad.

I had a considerable amount of money in the bank from my savings. Since, apart from my sister in Israel I had no other relatives, I wrote in every postcard the account number of my savings in the bank, and also wrote her that if she did not hear from me for a long time she would be able to receive my savings. She did not get the postcards.

[Page 37]

At the beginning of 1946, they concentrated the soldiers who were Polish citizens and sent them to Leningrad. From there, they escorted them to Bialystok, to the Polish border, and released them. That's how it was for me. I traveled to Przemyśl where the Kanner family had a house. I thought that one of them was alive and living there, but I didn't find a single remnant.

I met the gatekeeper who allowed me to stay with her. There was no transportation to Dubiecko and it was difficult to get there. I was also warned that the Ukrainians take down the Jews traveling in wagons and murder them in the middle of the road…

The gatekeeper also informed me that, according to a walking rumor, three Jewish families returned to Dubiecko. I got off at the entrance to the town, near the post office and the police station, to get information, maybe someone from the Kanner family returned. There was only one clerk in the post office… and she was busy knitting… because she had nothing to do. During our conversation, a policeman entered the post office and saw me in a Russian military uniform. As I left, two policemen stood by the door and invited me to their office. They asked me what I was doing there. They were new in the place. I explained to them that I was local and came to see the situation, etc. They ordered me to let them know if I was planning to stay for a long time

I walked through the town and it was difficult to recognize it. All the Jewish homes in the rynek were gone. The market square was covered in grass, the first sign that it was not in use. There was a grocery store in Michael Barech's house. Now, since I carried two large suitcases with clothes that I bought in Russia (I naively thought that there was a shortage of clothes in Poland,), I didn't want to carry them with me all the way to the other end of town ,to the area we once lived in.

I approached Pikovsky, who was a cobbler and my parents once lived in his house. He was a Ukrainian but his children were Polish. I asked if I could stay overnight at his home because it was impossible to return to Przemyśl that day. They agreed. He told me that in the morning the grocery store truck will leave for Przemyśl to bring merchandise and I could travel there in the truck for a payment. There was no other regular transport.

There, I learned that Ester Kornfeld returned home some time ago. The house was occupied by another resident… at night they took her out of the house and killed her. The residents organized a “Civil Guard” to protect the town from gangs' attacks at night. They asked me not to tell anyone that I was sleeping at their home. I also learned that Ephraim Herpnist lives in Przemyśl under the Polish name, Frank Trabulsky, and also received his address.

The next day I returned to Przemyśl with the grocery store truck. The truck was packed with passengers. At the entrance to Przemyśl the truck stopped at the checkpoint and our documents were checked. In Przemyśl I found Herpnist's address. Efraim was not at home, only his wife and sister-in-law. They didn't recognize me because they were not from Dubiecko.

They panicked when I appeared in Russian military uniform asking for Frank Trabulsky, but I explained to them what it was about, and then they calmed down…

In Przemyśl, I learned that there were pioneer youth movements in Krakow and through them it is possible to immigrate illegally to Israel. I got the address of the “Gordonia” group in Krakow. I traveled there and was accepted. After the pogrom in Kielce there was an unofficial armed guard in front of Jewish organization. A short time later we moved from Krakow to Opole in Silesia.

After a stay of about two months in Opole we crossed the border, in groups of five, to Czechoslovakia as Greek refugees returning from labor camps in Germany to their homeland. From Czechoslovakia we moved to Austria where we stayed until we moved to Germany.

[Page 38]

We crossed all the borders illegally with the “Bricha[2] in coordination with the border guards who receive “silence fees.” After a short period in a camp in Germany, we moved to Stericher agricultural farm in Karlsdorf, not far from Nuremberg. We worked there in agriculture and in the cowshed.

From Germany the “Bricha” transferred some of the people to France and Italy in order to send them from there to Israel. We were sent back to Austria and from there, by foot through the Alps, to Italy. Although the gendarmerie received a fat payment for turning a blind eye on us, the British secret police found out that we were able to infiltrate into Italy. The gendarmerie was forced to send some of us back, by foot through the Alps to the Austrian border. When they finally released us near the Austrian border, we returned to Italy. At first we were in Milan, and later moved to live in a deserted house in a small town near Rome. On a cold night we were transported to a deserted empty beach far from Rome. Each of us had only one backpack. We sailed in the dark in a rubber boat and the backpack had to be outside the boat so as not to take up space inside… We did not see the ship in the dark. It was far from the shore and the rope was tied from the ship to the shore. We pulled the rope and in this way we proceeded to the ship. A rope ladder dangled from it, and in this way we were able to board the ship, one by one.

There were wooden shelves in the ship that the space between them was 60-70cm. And there we lay cramped for two and a half weeks of rolling in a stormy wintry sea. People got sick with sea sickness and dizziness and they vomited and could not eat. The British radar discovered us a day and a half before we reached the shores of Israel. A plane was also sent to find us. Then the battleships came and surrounded us.

We were ordered to board their ships at sea, but our captain didn't agree. Then, they led us to Haifa and in the port they transported us to the battle ship “SS Ocean Vigour,” and from there to Cyprus. There, we were in barbed wire fenced camps and lived in tents. There was no work. We studied Hebrew, learned to recognize weapons, and received semi-military training. I went through a defense training course called “Shurot.”

Some were busy at night digging tunnels under the camp's fences. A few managed to pass through the tunnels and reach Israel. The Turks informed us, the English discovered the tunnel, and destroyed it.

A few months after the Declaration of Independence the British allowed men and women, over the age of enlistment, to emigrate from the camps to Israel. We were released only in January 1949. With the liquidation of the camps I moved, with some friends, to Kibbutz Mishmar HasSharon in the Hefer Valley. Only two families from all of our members remained in the kibbutz, the rest left the kibbutz.

That's how years of exile ended, of humiliated and hated life with all kinds of restrictions of freedom of action, social progress, cultural and economic.

The Christians hated the Jews for generations. For thousands of years the Church has seen the Jew as the main enemy of Christians… it entered deep into the consciousness of their culture which was based on the foundations of Christianity, until a Jew remained hated even in societies that ceased to be Christian and religious.

In a capitalist society, the Jew is a communist who seeks to destroy it. In a socialist society, the Jew is Rothschild the capitalist. In a national society, the Jew is an international cosmopolitan.

In order not to fall into bad ways, the Jews confined themselves in a very small space by imposing restrictions on: behavior, dress, allowed and forbidden, kosher and non-kosher, prohibitions of the Torah and of rabbis, pangs of love until the coming of the Messiah.

Here in Israel we were freed from certain prejudices and became pure people whose sins have been erased and forgiven.

[Page 39]

From the teachings and will of my parents z”l

Mother, knew and understood, that there was a problem with side locks and beards and with the traditional clothing of Eastern Poland, therefore, she used to say: the clothing and the appearance are not important to her, the most important thing is to pray and lay Tefillin.

My father used to say that the clothing didn't matter to him, the main thing is not to be ashamed of Judaism and be a proud Jew. In doing so, the world will treat the Jew with respect. This is the request of my father z”l.

And so, in light of their statements, they probably directed to a verse in Proverbs 1/8: “ Hearken, my son, to the discipline of your father, and do not forsake the instruction of your mother.”


Translator's footnotes

  1. ” Be not afraid of sudden terror, or of the darkness of the wicked when it will come.” (Proverbs 3:25) Return
  2. The Bricha movement (meaning: escape or flight), 1944- 1948, was the underground organization that helped Jewish Holocaust survivors escape from post second world war Europe to Eretz Yisrael-Palestine Return

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