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[Page 40]

Childhood memories

by Moshe (Jawornikier) Lefler

Before the outbreak of the Second World War a Jew, dressed in fancy clothes, arrived in our town, Dubiecko, searching for a woman named Shifra. Who was this Shapira? It turned out that she was a woman living in one room and in great poverty. She was a feather dealer and her room was full of them. This honorable man, who was looking for her, was her brother.

In the past, he left her, and the town, and traveled to Germany. There, he did well and became very rich. Poverty was forgotten, he forgot his home and, of course, his sister Shifra.

With the troubles and persecutions against the Jews in Germany, when he saw that danger arrived at his door, he remembered her, his sister Shifra, and came straight to her.

In our town, they reported the criminal behavior of the German people, who boasted that they were the most enlightened people, in Europe…

I remember that shortly after that, when I was already Bar Mitzvah, announcements were heard in the radio in fluent Polish, and in the password: “We will not give a single button!”…

In the end, and after only two weeks, the murderous Germans were seen at the gates of Dubiecko. A terrible sight from those days, I will not forget how the last patrol, consisting of two Polish soldiers, a cavalry on polished horses, left the town. Fear enveloped us, we feared that the gentiles would attack us, but, apparently, terror also gripped them and they hesitated.

And now appear the murderous Germans, riding motorcycles in pairs. Folded sleeves, machine guns on their shoulders, and they look like cannibals… They settle on the street which is built like a balcony for guests, and feel like they are in “a rich vineyard.” Suddenly, the Polish army shells them, from a nearby location, with cannons.

The Germans fled and went up the cemetery path. They encircled the Polish army, captured them, and brought them as prisoners of war.

As a result of this situation they settled well in the town, we approached them and started talking to them. Their only desire now is to buy eggs, butter, etc., but the gentiles do not understand German, so we have become mediators between them, as if the demon is not so bad.

This description lasted for a few days until, suddenly, the German demons burnt the synagogue and the houses near the synagogue also caught fire. This fire did not skip the house of my uncle, Rafael Jawornikier. He was a tailor and in the basement he had a stock of fabric for suits. Of course, all the men in the family were called to save the goods from the fire. The Germans arrived quickly, gathered the men and led them through the garden in the direction of the town hall.

As they passed through the garden, a German led Raphael's two sons, Yona and Ajzik, and also my father. Ajzik turned to my father: “this is a good opportunity to kill the German and I will eliminate him.” My father answered: “if you do so – they would kill all the town's Jews, don't do that.” In the end, about thirty men lined up in the town hall with their hands up, and the gentiles watched the sight with joy.

Suddenly, an order sounded: “those who have more than three children must leave the line!” a few left, among them also my father, Yosef, and they were sent to sweep the town.

My father ran to Chana, Rafael's wife, the mother of her two sons, Yona and Ajzik, and told her: “run to the town hall and asked them to give you one of your sons because they are going to kill both of them!” and she went out of great fear. Meanwhile, the Germans murderers loaded nearly thirty men on a truck, took shovels with them, and led them out of town…

My father climbed to the attic until the danger passed, and from there he heard gunshots. A few hours later he noticed that his neighbor, a gentile, was running behind the house hiding something under his coat. My father came down and opened his coat. The gentile was carrying with him special black shoes of two religious Jews, Hasidim. He also told my father about his brother's two sons, who were buried alive after they were wounded by the shots…

Why and for what reason? For their only crime that they were born Jews!


[Page 41]

R' Avraham Yosef Rubinfeld z”l

Told by the Admor of Sadigura, may he live a good long life, Amen.
9 Tamuz 5748

On Friday, the eve of the Holy Sabbath, 9 Tamuz 5648 (24 June, 1988), I came to the Honorable Admor of Sadigura, our teacher the rabbi, R' Avraham Yakov, Shlit”a, to receive his blessing for my seventy–fifth birthday – 20 Tamuz 5748.

On this fitting occasion I did not forget to talk to him about the town of Dubiecko, and asked him if he could write a few lines to commemorate someone, or something.

The Honorable Admor immediately agreed, he dictated to me and I wrote down:

R' Yosef Avraham Rubinfeld z”l (his daughter, Chana–Leah Lev, lives in Bni–Brak, Israel) prayed in the Sadigura Kloyz in Dubiecko. He was a loyal friend of R' Shlomo'le, the tzitzit (ritual fringes) maker in the town of Dubiecko.

He was a God–working Jew, a Sadigura Hasid in his generation, “Ba'al Shaharit” during the High Holidays in Przemyśl, at the Sadigura court, for the Admor R' Shalom Mordechai Yosef z”tl.

He had a great bass–baritone voice, which sounded well in the distance to thousands of worshipers who came to celebrate the holiday with the aforementioned Admor.

He wore a shtreimel and had a short yellow–red beard. He also wore glasses, was pleasant and wise.

May his soul, along with all the perished souls, the beloved members of the Jewish communities, be bound in the bond of everlasting life, and may Hashem avenge their blood.


[Page 42]

The expulsion from Dubiecko

by Yakov Paltz

As a native of Dubiecko, born to a typical Jewish family in town, I am trying to bring back my memories, but the story may be known:

At the outbreak of the Second World War I was only twelve years old and my brother, Chaim Yeshaya, was seven.

During the expulsion from Dubiecko we were taken to the other side of the San River. There was a village there called, Rybptucze (Riskovich in Yiddish), and in this village lived a Jew named Bunim. His father was a teacher in Dubiecko and his name was Leib. Most of the deportees went to the house of that Jew for a night's stay. It should be noted, that staying there was a real hell because of the large number of people crowded under one roof.

When the matter became known to the gentiles in the area, they came to Bunim's house to rob money from the Jews.

The heroic story of that Jew, Bunim: He stood outside all that night with a pitchfork in his hand facing the gentiles who were trying to get closer to his house. With mortal danger he defended the house while threatening to kill anyone who was getting too close to his home.

From the village we moved to the town of Berz where my father was born, and there he had an extensive family from whom no one was left.

We lived in Brez until 1942. In 1942, all the Jews of Berz were transferred to Przemyśl – by foot.

In Przemyśl we were outdoors for about three days. The Jews were concentrated there in a roll call square (Appleplatz). I was sent to Zheshuv concentration camp (Rzeszów) and my parents and brother were sent to an unknown location. I haven't seen or heard from them since.

I was in Rzeszów until 1944. Later I was transferred to two other concentration camps in Poland. From there to Flossenbürg in Germany, and later to a number of concentration camps in Germany.

I was liberated on 2.5.1945 when I weighed a total of 35 kilograms…


[Page 43]

Fate pursues fate and commemoration is necessary!

by Mala Tzeichner
Mala Gezang (on my father's side)

I was born in Dubiecko to my parents Charna and Shimon Tzeichner z”l.

My sister Peshi was annihilated together with all the Jews of Dubiecko, hy”d.

There was a difficult and bitter situation in our home because my mother z”l was paralyzed and could not function at all.

I decided, after completing six grades in a general school, to leave my home. I worked in child care.

My sister, Peshi, worked several hours for the Kanner family because we had to buy medicine and her work had been a great help.

In 1931 I moved to Krakow where I found a job in a book store, the owners were Jews and satisfaction was on both sides.

Several years went by until the Germans invaded, everyone knows what came out of it, and it is not necessary to go back and bring it on paper because all of us experienced it…

I conclude with thanks to all the organization's activists for the making of the book and with a greeting to all the members of my town, Dubiecko.


[Page 44]

Memories from home

by Eliezer Kornfeld, Kiryat Bialik

I asked why I had to delve so much to recall memories from home and I really have nothing to tell, and I came to the conclusion that the reason lies with my parents, who were always very busy with trade and charity, and devoted their rest days to prayer and holiness rather than family conversations…

Still, I'll try to reveal from the little I know. After building our house in the town center (Rynek 36), even though the construction was not yet complete, we moved to live in one big room and opened a shop for shoes, boots, leather and shoemaking needs, at the recommendation of the Jawornik Rebbe that my father z”l was one of his devoted Hassidim.

There was no livelihood problem because, in addition to my father's trade, he also received a pension for his disability from the First World War. The monthly payment of the government pension was 20 zloty. By the way, he served as chairman of the organization of the disabled, voluntarily.

My grandfather, Yehusua David Kornfeld, also earned a living from the sale of shoes and boots in the market.

After the deportation in 1939, we moved to Dobromil and lived there until we were sent to Siberia in 1940. My grandmother joined us, but my grandfather z”l stayed and his fate is unknown to me to this day. My grandmother died in her first winter in Siberia.

I go back to the time of our stay in Dobromil where we also traded in skins with merchants from Przemyśl. My father z”l remembered well to whom, and how much we owed, and reached an agreement on the monetary value of the skins we bought. We paid a similar amount on the account and over time eliminated the debts. As mentioned, we were sent to Siberia, to the vicinity of Bodibu, where my father z”l devoted himself to sewing shoes and boots. In 1943, we moved to the city of Bodibu and there a little trade developed.

I, Eliezer, got into trouble with the law and fled to the vicinity of Yakutsk under a different name. That year my mother passed away (Rosh Chodesh Iyar 5703). And again, my father z”l, my brother, three sisters and I, traveled to the area of Sarasov (Mraintial) where my father z”l passed away in 1945.

Unfortunately, I do not have a single picture of any of them. The only picture I had is of the sign after the opening of the shop…“Wlasny Wyros Obuwia…” This picture also disappeared.

That's all about the family of Shimon and Mindel Kornfeld z”l.


[Page 45]

The two mitzvoth of R' Avraham Vinter z”l, hy”d

by Meir Raps

A) R' Avraham Vinter z”l was a Belz Hasid. R' Avraham had a hard time making a living. He had many children and he wanted to take care for their needs with dignity. A matter like this, in a town like Dubiecko, wasn't easy.

I don't remember from what R' Avraham earned a living, but it should be mentioned that R' Avraham always found the time for public needs. To illustrate his activities for the benefit of the public, some explanation is required first so the reader would understand its meaning. In a small town like Dubiecko there was no hospital, and when someone got sick, they didn't immediately call the doctor.

Pneumonia is the most common disease in the winter. Therefore, when someone became ill with pneumonia he had a raging fever for two weeks. Then, a crisis came, either the patient somehow went through it, or the patient died. But, during those fourteen days the family members had to constantly take care of him. To give him medication on time, give him a drink, make sure that the bag with ice cubes, that they put on the patient's forehead to lower the high fever, will not move even at night. Of course, the family members collapsed in the first few days.

There were also other long–term illnesses, and old people who needed constant care, and there was no hospital. And that, of course, caused a lot of trouble. To our aid came none other than R' Avraham Vinter, who knew of every home in need of such assistance. Indeed, he organized auxiliary staff to look after such patients at night. He went straight to the young men, who were studying in Beit Hamidrash, and organized them in shifts. Every day he went there and ordered two young men: “today is your turn to take care of a patient”… the young men took it as a great mitzvah, and R' Avraham himself was strict with this mitzvah, in winter as in summer.

B) The second mitzvah – according to Pirkai Avot chapter one, 40:5 – “Let thy house be wide open, and let the poor be members of thy household.” Here too, a little explanation is required. There were many poor among the Jews of Poland, like those who had to wander from town to town, from city to city, walk from door to door and asked for a handout.

In this way they crossed long distances and, of course, there were those who were unable to return home for the Sabbath and were forced to remain in the towns on Friday in preparation for the Sabbath. For the most part, they sat around the table by the stove in the Beit Hamidrash, hoping that someone would invite them for a Sabbath table. And, of course, without anyone to worry about them, they remained in the synagogue without a Sabbath table.

Here our initiator, R' Avraham, found a place for action.

He also organized the poor with “home owners” by turn.

He examined and counted during the prayer how many poor people were there, and quietly and humbly approached those whose turn it was as if asking for a favor for him, shaking his head so as not to speak during the prayer and with a hint got their consent. In this way he organized them all, and made sure that not a single poor man would be left in the synagogue without a Sabbath table… and again, it was not one of the easy things.

Sometimes, it happened, that many poor people came at once, something that weigh heavily on the shoulders of R' Avraham. However, I don't remember one case when a poor man was left without a Sabbath table, and all this thanks to the tireless dedication of R' Avraham, may Hashem avenge his blood, who meticulously observed all the mitzvoth, among them hospitality and visiting the sick.


[Pages 46-47]

Moshe Schimmel and his family z”l from Dubiecko

by Lucia Schimmel

Who didn't know the Schimmel family from Dubiecko and the surrounding area? It was a well–known and respected family not only in town, but in the world. For example: Maurycy Schimmel (named after the same grandfather) who was a writer and poet in Warsaw. Shmuel Schimmel left the town in his youth, settled in Philadelphia, and later, in the early 1920s, was a pioneer in the “Frigidaire” company in Israel. He also sent his children to academic studies in Israel.

One of his sons, Harold Schimmel, wrote Roosevelt's speeches while his daughter, Ruth, is a cancer researcher at the universities: Jerusalem, Washington, Chicago and New York. She won the “Giger” award and was personally invited by President Truman to receive research awards in this field.

The lawyer, Schimmel z”l, who is well known in Haifa, was his cousin. In my opinion, Moshe surpassed them all. He was a figure of an honest father, a handsome man who was greatly respected by all the residents in the area. Jews and Gentiles respected and valued him and also gave him the name “Melech” [king]…

And these are the members of Moshe's family: father and mother – Elimelech and Yenti who was much younger than her husband (she was the daughter of Beila–Chaya's whose husband, Melech, was her uncle). She got married after he lost his first wife, Gitza, and was left with six children (brothers and sisters): Yisrael, Yosef, Tova, Reizel, Tzvia and Pinchas.

The children from his wife, Yenti: Sonia, Itzi, Breinza, Naftali, Leibush, Mirza and Moshe. Sonia married Mendel Raich – one of the well–known families in town. Breinza'le, the beautiful brunette, who managed to survive the Holocaust, returned with her friend to the town to search for someone from her family – was murdered on the same night by the Poles.

Naftali was sent to Siberia and underwent horrific torture in prison. After the war he arrived in the United States (Philadelphia) to his sister Rosa and died of cancer. Moshe was still able to visit them there. Before his death he wrote Moshe: “Beforehand I was in an iron prison, and now I feel that I'm in a golden cage.”

Itzale, Leibush, Miriam and Moshe – Moshe'le the youngest of them all: Moshe my husband z”l.

It should be noted, that all the brothers and sisters were brought by uncle Shmuel to Philadelphia.

Moshe was born on 10.4.1918. Like all Jewish boys in town he studied in the “heder” and later in primary school. At the age of fourteen he decided to study a profession. His love of wood brought him to study carpentry in the town and over time with an artist in Krakow. This is the place to mention his cousin, Chaike Vishner, one of the first pioneers of the Zionist movement “Akivah.” Under her influence, Moshe also tended in this direction. When he was in Krakow he was sent with a group of members to Krzeszowice–Bonrka – to Hakhshara [pioneer training].

In the years 1935/6/7, it was customary to send members to Eretz Yisrael after they finished their stay in Hakhshara. When Moshe realized that he was not among the travelers, and his time was approaching to enlist in the Polish army… he turned to Dulek Liebeskind (head of the movement) with the ultimatum “either I will travel – or I will return home to my town” – and he traveled home… the next day he received a short telegram from Dulek in this language – “Moniek, pakuj manatki, spotykamy sie przy pociagu” – “Moniek, pack your bags and we will meet in the train station.”

Moshe arrived in Israel on 1 September 1939, the day the Second World War broke out. He was immediately invited to group training in Hadera, and from there to Kibbutz Beit Yehusua, the “Yarden” group. He was one of the volunteers to the British army where he served in Combat Engineering Unit 468 (mine dismantling and more).

A youth group, which survived the concentration, death and labor camps, arrived in the ship “Anzo Sereni,” and among them was Lucia Pinchuk from Vilna. She joined the group thanks to her mother ,who during the Russian time, housed in her apartment seven refugees from the “Akivah” movement, among them Chayka Vishmer (Moshe's cousin).

In such a fateful way, she tied my destiny for life with a wonderful group of idealistic halutzim. She married Bezalel Knitel in faraway Russia and they arrived with the Tashkent orphans to Bat Yam where she worked as a seamstress.

When she found out that a member of the Pinchuk family survived, she immediately invited me to her home. There, I met my future husband, Moshe Schimmel. After our marriage in 1946 we decided to establish our family in Holon where our two children were born: a son named Elimelech after Moshe's father and a daughter Chaya'le named after my mother. Over time four grandchildren were added.

Moshe dedicated all his energy to his work and the rehabilitation of his family. His love for work in the profession he had chosen characterized his form of existence, his inner integrity, his stability in his opinions and the persistence in his actions. His generosity, modesty towards himself and a brave worldview, enabled him to live an independent life without help.

He built our magnificent house in Holon with his own hands, and made sure to equip and furnish it with everything possible. He worked from morning to night and served as a symbol and example to the workers in his workshop.

It was interesting to watch as he took a plank of wood and knew how to use it. His calligraphy was impressive.

As for respecting father and mother, he has proven himself to the full extent of the word. That's how he was until the crisis day, when he arrived at the hospital straight from his work. His heart disease worsened two weeks before his death.

He passed away on 14 December 1987, and we were left orphaned and stunned because his untimely death did not match Moshe's masculine image. It's hard to come to terms that, Moshe, my husband, is no longer with us!!!

May his soul be bound in the bond of everlasting life.


[Page 48]

With Moshe Schimmel z”l
(Words in his memory)

by Eliezer Rosenberg, Holon

I met Moshe in the early1950s when he sought for a way to become an independent craftsman. He was an exemplary worker and excellent carpenter. Then he told me his history: he arrived in Israel as an illegal immigrant during the period of the British Mandate, the day the Second World War broke out. He was a member of a Zionist youth movement and for a while was a member of Kibbutz Beit Yehoshua.

When the volunteering began for the armies fighting the Nazis, he volunteered to the British Army. Since he was a carpenter he was posted to R. J. – the Royal Volunteer Corp. He went through all the hardships of the war. In Egypt, in the dessert, he faced Rommel armies, and there, as he put it, “he ate a lot of sand.”

As the Allies advanced he arrived in Italy and there he managed a workshop for the army. He was released when the war ended in Israel. Here he met his wife, a Holocaust survivor, and they built their home in Holon. In this place we became acquainted with one another.

Because he wanted to be independent, and the writer of these lines wanted to be a small independent builder, we decided to help each other. How? At that time I built a small house for a friend and gave him the carpentry work. I soon realized how diligent the man was. Over time he expended his workshop and employed a number of workers. He used to come to work early in the morning to prepare a number of doorposts before the arrival the workers came.

Moshe loved perfection and dignity at work, both for others and for his home. He later built a house in the center of Holon, and everything was built to the height of perfection. At the end of the 1970s, with the rise of inflation the high cost of labor he, like other small independent contractors, went through a crisis and his energy went down at that time…

May his soul be bound in the bond of everlasting life.


[Pages 49-50]

The history of my family

by Meir Raps, Safed

I am the son of Tzvi Raps and Bashe of the Szmalz family, grandson of R' Yehusua son of Moshe Raps, and grandmother Feige daughter of R' Naftali. On my mother's side, I am the grandson of R' Dov Schmalts son of Yakov, and grandmother Ester Leibish.

Until 1939, the two families lived in the town of Dubiecko. My grandfather Yehusua had five sisters. Three of them: Yosa, Ester and Slata, lived with their families in Dubiecko. A sister Yenta lived with her family in the town of Shyrova, and a sister, Perel, moved to Switzerland after the First World War and her family lives there to this day.

My grandfather Yehusua had four sons and three daughters. The sons: my father, Tzvi z”l, was married to Bashe and had two children, Freidel and Meir. Naftali was married to Zitel, Shmuel and Yitzchak were bachelors. All of them lived in Dubiecko. The daughters: Dvora was married to Binyamin Beishel they had three daughters and also lived in Dubiecko. Nechama was married to Levi Gromet and lived in the city of Ustrzyki Dolne. The daughter Chaya Frenkel and her family immigrated to Eretz–Yisrael in 1935 and live in Tel–Aviv.

My grandfather Dov Szmalz, who was born and lived in a village near Dubiecko, had four sons and four daughters. The two sons, Yakov and Tzvi, immigrated to the United States after the First World War. A son Leibish who was married and had five children lived in the city of Jarosław. A son Ajzik, who was married to Yosa and had three children, lived with his elderly mother in a village near Dubiecko.

The daughters: my mother Bashe and her family, Chaya married to Yakov Fersht and had three children, Mali was married to Leibish Apt had four children lived in Dubiecko. The daughter Tzvia was married to Shimon Fishler, and they lived with their little daughter in Jarosław.

When the war broke out at the end of 1939, and the Germans captured half of Poland, Dubiecko, and ten other cities, towns and villages, was on the side of the German occupation, very close to the new border between the Germans and the Russians. The Germans expelled all Jews from the areas close to the border, among them the Jews of Dubiecko, towards the San River that from now constituted the new border.

Dubiecko's Jews, among them also the two families on my mother and father side, hurriedly and destitute, crossed the river and scattered to various places. Most of them moved to places where they had relatives. There, they were given temporary accommodation with the hope that the war would end quickly and they would return home.

My grandfather Yehusua, my grandmother and the two unmarried sons, Shmuel and Yitzchak, my parents, my sister and I moved to live in the town of Shyrova because Yenta, my grandfather's sister, was there. The son, Naftali and his wife, moved to Bircza. The daughter Dvora and her family moved to the town of Ulucz where her husband's relatives lived. The daughter Nechama remained in Ustrzyki Dolne because it was a Russian area. Sometime later, the son Shmuel moved to the town of Rybotycze where he got married.

My mother's family also scattered to several places. The brother Leibish and his family moved to the city of Stanisławów, later her sister Chaya and her family also moved there. The brother Ajzik and his family, the old grandmother and the sister Mali moved to live in Przemyślany.

In May 1940, the Russians collected my father, mother, my sister, my brother Yitzchak and me and exiled us to Siberia. There we worked, like all the Jews, in the forests in the hope and faith that with God's help – we will return home… My brother Yitzchak, who died at the age of 28 of illness, did not return. We, and our family, returned to Poland in 1946.

As usual, we became interested in the fate of the family, and the unfortunate information we received: the Germans sent my grandfather Yehusua and my grandmother to Belzec extermination camp. My brother Shmuel was murdered by the Ukrainians in the town of Rybotycze in the pogrom that was carried out before the final liquidation of the Jews there. We do not know the faith of the brother Naftali and his wife Zitel. Dvora, her husband Binyamin and their daughters Miriam Zitel, Rachel–Leah, and Chava, the sister Nechama and her husband Levi, and where they perished. May their memory be blessed, may Hashem avenge their blood.

The sister of my grandfather Yehusua – Yente from Tyrawa Wołoska – her husband and their three sons were taken to Belzec extermination camp. We do not know where the sister Zelta Kornfeld, her sons, Yisrael and Moshe, perished. Ester, Moshe's wife, and her daughter survived the Holocaust. When the war ended they returned to Dubiecko and immediately murdered there by nationalist Poles. Her daughter, Malka, her husband Leibush, her three sons and daughter, perished in Przemyśl with the entire Jewish community. Her son Moshe and his baby were murdered by the Germans when they entered our town in 1939. Her son, Avigdor, who served in the Polish army when the war broke out in 1939, fell in battle.

About what happened to Ita Barech and her family, we learn from her daughter Sonia who is the only family member to survive the Holocaust. She lives with her family in Haifa. May their memory be blessed, may Hashem avenge their blood.

From my mother's family we know that grandmother Ester z”l died before the murder of the Jews. We also heard that when the Germans invaded Ukraine, some of Dubiecko's Jews tried to return to their homes. Some families returned, but a large part did not and the reason is unknown to us. They were stopped in the town of Bircza about 25–30km from Dubiecko. Part of my mother's family, Ajzik and his family and the sister Chaya and her family, also returned there.

We also know that the brother Ajzik, and Chaya Leibish's son, were murdered by the Germans in a punitive action when every tenth rich Jew was shot even before the final liquidation.

The rest of my mother's family: brother Leibish and his wife, their daughters Chaya Freidel and Bashe, their sons Yakov and Yehusua. Ita, Ajzik's wife, their sons Dov, Shimon and Gitel. The sister Chaya and her husband Yakov and their daughters Ita and Bashe. The sister Mali and her husband Leibish and their daughters Feigel, Bracha, Malka and their son Dov. The sister Tzvia and her husband Shimon and daughter Mirl. We do not know what happened to them, where and how they perished.

Ester, my mother's cousin – remained alive. We heard that her sister, Tzvia Schmalts, managed to hide for a long time after the liquidation of Dubiecko's Jews together with other Jews from Dubiecko and Jawornik. In the end, they were caught by the gentiles and murdered. May their memory be blessed, may Hashem avenge their blood.

My father and mother z”l passed away in Safed. My sister Freidel lives in Moshav Sde Ya'akov and her four children live in various places here in Israel. I live in Safed and my two daughters live in Haifa and Tiberias.


[Pages 51-53]

Introduction: Poland and its neighbors

by Dr. Eliyahu Lefler

Poland was founded in the 10th century by the unification of the Slavic tribes and its first king took on himself, with the consent of his nation, the Christian Catholic religion.

Poland knew many wars, including the Tatars invasion in the 13th century and the wars with the Swedes in the 16th century. In 1648, the Cossacks revolt, under the leadership of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, broke out against the Polish nobility. The Cossacks defeated the Polish army and massacred the Jews. Russia and Germany tried several times to annex some of the Polish provinces, and indeed, in the 18th century it was divided between Russia in the east, Germany in the west and Austria in the south. As a result, Poland was erased from the map for a hundred years (1793–1893) and only after the First World War, following the Treaty of Versailles of 1919, it returned to being an independent state.

 

Polish Jewry

Jews started to arrive in Poland in the 9th century after they escaped from Germany and brought with them the Yiddish language, which is built from various dialects of the German language. The Jews were warmly welcomed and at the end of the 15th century there were 30.000 Jews in Poland. The number of Jews increased and in the 17thcentury they constituted 15% of the population in the cities, and 3% of the country's population. The anti–Semitism, and the incitement of the priests, did not allow a peaceful life and in the 14th and 15th centuries riots against the Jews were reported.

In 1648, the Cossacks, under the leadership of Bohdan Khmelnytsky and with the participation of incited Poles, massacred the Jews and over a period of eight years more than 100,000 Jews were murdered in Polish cities. Among the rioters were not only Poles and Ukrainians, but also Russians, Swedes and others. Despite the pogroms, and anti–Semitism, the Jewish population increased and in 1921 there were 3.3 million Jews in Poland.

 

First World War

The First World War lasted from August 1914 to November 1918. One side included the British Commonwealth, France, Belgium, Russia, Serbia, Japan, Italy, Romania, Greece, the United States, etc., and they were called “Entente Powers” or “Allies.” On the other side were: Germany, Austria, Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria, and they were called “Central Powers.” The war began when Germany declared war on Russia, and France joined it under a protection agreement from 1892. Britain joined on April 8, 1914.

The casualties of the war: 8.5 million soldiers were killed, 21 million wounded, and 20 million people died throughout the world from diseases, starvation and other disasters. At the end of the war a peace treaty was signed (11.11.1918) and the “League of Nations,” whose purpose was to protect the peace in the world and settle disputes, was formed (28.6.1919). With the establishment of the league, Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles which allowed it to keep a tiny army of volunteers and a small fleet, banned it from compulsory recruitment of residents and having an air force and submarines. Germany also pledged to pay heavy compensation to the victorious Allies. Indeed, after the First World War Poland returned to be an independent state, but the Treaty of Versailles also gave Hitler a cause to start a Second World War.

 

Second World War

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland which collapsed within a month. The defeat of Poland was caused with the help of the Soviet Union which occupied parts of eastern Poland. This collaboration between Stalin and Hitler stemmed from a secret pact signed in Moscow between the foreign ministers, Molotov–Ribbentrop, on 29.8.1939. Germany and Russia agreed on non–assault between them, economic cooperation and areas of influence in Poland and Eastern Europe. After the collapse of Poland, on September 26, 1939, they agreed on the division of Poland between them.

In the war the “Axis Powers,” which included Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan, faced the “Allies” which included the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, France and China. The war broke out under the initiative of the “Axis Powers” because of imperialist ambitions at the expense of other nations. In 3.9.1939, war was officially declared by Britain and France against Germany because of its invasion of Poland two days earlier. The Poles formed a government in exile in London and its soldiers fought alongside the Allies. At the end of the war Poland regained territories from Germany, but gave up areas in the east for the benefit of the Soviet Union.

In the Second World War close to 40 million people died in 26 countries – 17.5 million in the Soviet Union, 5.5 in Germany, 3.3 million in Poland, 2.2 million in China, 2 million in Japan, 1.7 million in Yugoslavia and the rest in 20 other countries. Third of all the Jews (6 million) were killed during the war by the Nazis and their collaborators, and Poland was the center of extermination. About one million Jews participated in the war as soldiers in the Allied armies (half in the United States army and half in the Soviet army). About 15.000 Jews participated in the partisan war in Eastern Europe and in the anti–Nazi underground across Europe.

By the way, the number of Jews in Poland in 1977 was estimated to be 40.000.

 

The town of Dubiecko

The town of Dubiecko is located on the San River in Eastern Galicia (southeast Poland), a distance of about 50km northwest of Przemyśl, and about 70km from the eastern border of Ukraine. The name of the town appears on the map from the beginning of the 16th century. The old city, Przemyśl, is mentioned in the 10th century, in the early days of Poland. It is also located on the San River, a distance of 120km west of the great Ukrainian city of Lvov (Lemberg). On the eve of the Second World War, many Jews lived in the villages and towns in the area. Special mention should be made of the city of Dynów to the west, Bircza to the southeast and Yablunytsya Ruska.

On the eve of the Second World War there were 977 Jews in Dubiecko, 1273 in Dynów, 1038 in Bircza and 17,326 in Przemyśl. The Jews of Dubiecko engaged in trade, fishing and agriculture, and owned homes, shops and farms. Most of the Jews were observant they were headed by a rabbi and had three synagogues. The largest was beautiful, built of wood and had enough space for all the townspeople. It also served as a spiritual and cultural center. There were two additional synagogues, the Shtiebel and the Kloyz. They were stone buildings with a capacity of about three hundred worshipers. The relations between Jews and gentiles were generally good and they maintained joint trade relations.

The children earned a general education from the age of 7 to 12 in a general gentile school. In the afternoon, they went to the “heder” to complete their Jewish studies. The teachers in the “heder” were called melamedim and one of them was R' Eli.

R' Eli'la (that I'm named after) was a Jew with a white beard and he was loved by all the townspeople. My grandmother Nicha and the wife of R' Eli'la were sisters.


[Pages 53-54]

History of the Lefler family (Jawornikier)

by Dr. Eliyahu Lefler

 

My father's family:

My father, Yosef, was born in 1895 in Dubiecko as the sixth child of Nicha née Lefler and Shmuel Jawornikier. My grandparents (I've never met them) had four daughters: Miriam, Sara, Henya and Riesel, and four sons: Leizer, Rafael, Tertel and Yosef.

Our father engaged in all kinds of odd jobs like: fishing, buying calves and cows, slaughtering cattle and selling them, as well as the fruit trade – mainly apples.

In his travels he reached every place, including the area where my mother, Sara, lived. In 1928 my father's home and shop (for kitchenware and gifts) burned due to arson. My father, with his first wife and children (Yisrael, Nicha, Leizer z”l, and Moshe) were forced to live in a one room apartment.

Another disaster happened three years later (1931) with the passing of his first wife, Ester. In 1932, Yosef got married, for the second time, to Sara Klausner from Yablunytsya–Ruska. By 1939 they had three children and everyone (the parents with seven children) lived in great density.

 

My Mother's family:

My mother, Sara, daughter of Yehoash and Rachel Klausner z”l, was born in 1904 in Yablunytsya–Ruska which is near a lake, a distance of about 20km from Dynów. The property of the Klausner family included a shop, fields, cows and an agricultural farm. The whole family worked in the farm. Mother had five sisters and two brothers. The brother, Yisrael, immigrated to the United States to evade recruitment into the army. My mother's second brother, Mendel, followed his brother to the United States. To our knowledge, except for them, no one remained from my mother's family.

My mother's parents, Yehoash and Rachel Klausner z”l, had five daughters: Malka, Rivka, Chaya, Frida z”l, and Sara, and two sons Yisrael z”l and Mendel.

 

The Nazis are coming

On September 1, 1939, there was a sudden attack of Nazi Germany on Poland. On Friday, before Rosh Hashanah 1939, the Nazis appeared in Dubiecko. On the next day, the Sabbath, the Jews already refrained from going to the synagogue. On Sunday, the Gestapo entered the town, took our sacred books from the main synagogue and other holy places, collected them into a huge pile and burnt them. They set fire to the Great Synagogue, burned it and its contents. On Tuesday all the residents of Dubiecko had to come out of their homes to the street. When everyone gathered, the Nazis separated the Jews from the gentiles.

Fortunately, it suddenly started to rain heavily, the Nazis sent everyone home, and ordered them to return at 12 p.m. At the appointed hour my brother left while my father stayed home. A few minutes later my brother, Moshe, returned and told us that the Nazis announced that by seven o'clock in the evening not a single Jew could remain in the town. Everyone should move to the other side of the San River.

We immediately loaded a wagon, harnessed a horse, and father took Moshe and Yisrael (my brother Leizer was no long alive), and travel across the River. My father wanted to veer off the road and enter the village where he had a relative, but he was not allowed to do so and was ordered to continue his journey. It was raining, the gentiles wanted to rob us, but father continued and we finally entered Iscan–Bachaf's home.

In the morning they took the wagon out and discovered that the gentiles burnt the winery (wine production site). The arson happened at night and the Jews, who were there, fled without their belongings that were robbed by the gentiles. Father continued his journey to Bircza and saw that the Nazis were constantly roaming the streets looking for Jews.

On Saturday, the Russians arrived in Bircza, and then father returned to Dubiecko a distance of 30km from there. Sometime later, he returned and brought food. There, he heard from my brother, Moshe, that the Russians are wild. Father escaped again to the other side of the San River and sent two gentiles to load the wagon and bring Nicha and me to Bircza.

On the way, two Germans stopped the wagon, unloaded everything that was in it and I was left with nothing. Later, my mother joined us together with David and Miriam.

The situation began to be difficult and it was necessary to stand in line to get a slice of bread. My mother traveled to Yablunytsya–Ruska, to her father (my grandfather), but returned since my grandfather insisted that all of us should come to him.

It turned out that there was not enough room in my grandfather's house for our entire family. Father traveled to Lemberg [Lvov], and there he found out that it was possible to bring half orphans (without a mother) to the institution. Moshe, Nicha and Yisrael were already without a mother (she died in 1931), and father decided to take them to the institution. A short time later father took Moshe out and put me, the five years old, in his place. Every week our father came to visit us in the institution and brought us chocolate. Nicha was a beautiful cute girl and the institution's director loved her. She didn't want chocolate and I received her share. But, I cried all the time: “I want my mother”… “I want my mother”…

When it became known in the institution that I had a mother, my father was told in one of his visits: since I wasn't an orphan I would not be able to remain in the institution. After a stay of three months I returned to my mother, to Bircza. Nicha and Yisrael remained in the institution and their fate is unknown.

Now, father obtained a passport from the Russians under the name Jawornikier, while mother, who wanted to stay in Poland, signed under the name Lefler.

A day after this registration the Russians came and took us to the train that transported us directly to Siberia, to the Novosibirsk area. We were there for 16 months. Later, we spent a year and a half in a kolkhoz where they recruited our father to the army for hard labor. He stayed there for a year (1943–44) and return when we were already in Taldy–Kurgan [Kazakhstan].

Later, in 1944, we traveled to the town of Ayety in Kazakhstan, and from there to Almaty (the capital city of Kazakhstan).

Later, I was in the institution for Polish refugee children in the town of Ayety. Father and Moshe worked in a restaurant and engaged in catching turtles for soup… Father also sold fish in Almaty. And so, one day he met mother and later they moved to live together.


[Page 55]

History of the Apt family

by Yehusua Apt

I don't remember anything from my childhood in Dubiecko except for the tragic event in 1939. Shortly after the invasion of the town, Gestapo soldiers, in their black uniforms, broke into the synagogue during the morning prayers, set it on fire and it burned it to the ground. Jews were abducted on the town's streets, including the two sons of Raphael Jawornikier. Then, it turned out that they were shot to death.

A short time later, we were expelled by the Nazis and arrived in Bircza. In 1940 we were taken to Przemyśl. From there, we were loaded onto a freight train and transported to Siberia, to the Taiga forest.

Our parents worked in cutting trees, we suffered from the cold weather and from starvation and in 1941 we were “released.” My father, Meir Apt son of Dov (Berish), a native of Dubiecko (1898), who was very sick and weak, decided despite the fear for his life that we must get out of the Taiga. He passed away on the eve of Yom Kippur 1941, in the city of Tomsk, Siberia – May his soul be bound in the bond of everlasting life.

Our mother, Ester Apt, was left in a very difficult situation with her two little children but, despite suggestions, she refused to hand us over to a boarding school.

In 1948, we returned to Poland and then we discovered the bitter truth that from our family, on our father's and mother's side, no one was left. A few months later we left Poland for the purpose of immigrating to Israel, but we got stuck in Germany and immigrated to Israel in 1950.

Our mother, Ester daughter of Meir Weiss, a native of Galtzova (1900), passed away on the Ten Days of Repentance 1983, in Haifa. May her soul be bound in the bond of everlasting life.

From their offspring: the son, Yehusua Apt (1933), enlisted in the Israeli Defense Forces in 1952, he volunteered for permanent service and was discharged in the rank of Sgan Aluf [lieutenant colonel]. He married Nurit and they had three children: Ariela – with a master's degree in criminology. She is married to Ilan+1, Sigal is a student at the University of Haifa, married to Guy of the Lev family. Lior is a high school student in Haifa. Malka Tzur, the daughter (1936) is married Zev to the Tzuberto (Tzur) family and they have a daughter – Miriam. She is married to Naurizio of the Turn family + 2. The whole family lives in Haifa.


[Page 56]

Memories from my father's home

by Nachum Bek

I will begin with the verse that God said to Avraham Avino: “Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's house…”(Bereishit 12:1). Many commentators ask why it is delivered in reverse order, because, after all, a person leaves his parents' home first, and then moves away from his native land. They explain that the feeling of weakness in his parents' home is constantly accompanying him, it cannot even be defined, and that's why it came at the end of the verse – “and from your father's house.”

From this triple thread, the third was mostly left to me: sixty five years have passed since I left my town, Dubiecko. I was born there to a family with many children. There was a livelihood, but not more than that. In comparison to most of the townspeople we were considered an established family. Poverty usually prevailed in the town.

I was not able to come to terms with such a family. The six adult children, who wandered around without a profession and without acquiring a higher culture etc., worried me. They were able to earn a living, to ease the financial situation, but they didn't work, because they waited and trusted miracles from God.

Therefore, I decided to travel to Holland to study diamond cutting – a profession that was in fashion in those days with the acceptable saying: a diamond cutter – builds his future. For that reason, I turned to my brother, Simcha. I received one thousand dollars from him for this purpose, and left for the road.

But now the longings began for my parents' home… Here, the verse floated and justified its ending – “from your father's house”… And no wonder, my parents weren't rich in the fullest sense, but were honest and innocent parents, those who are content with what they had. It is impossible to compare their way of life with the accepted life of the big world. That is why they were satisfied with the little they earned.

The agitation was felt in the youth from the age of 14 onward. Some aspired for employment, and there were a few who have earned a salary. But, most of those who left their homes completely forgot their family members. On the other hand, it was hard for me to get used to lawless life, and the bitter longings bothered me.

I had other opportunities to say, and I will repeat it here: Hitler may his name be blotted out, did not only destroyed the Jewish nation, but also the Jewish home. The courtesy, that is called today “respect” for you father and mother, and above all, the pleasure of spending the Shabbat and holidays with your parents, the observation of the Sabbath and the sanctification of the Sabbath together. Because, we knew that when there was a feast and a celebration in the family, all the relatives were invited and everyone showed up and rejoiced. All of these don't exist today. Everything is over and done with.

I see the erecting of the monument for our town, the community of Dubiecko, at the cemetery in Holon in Israel, the cemetery of Dubiecko with its new and old tombstones…

Everyone from our town must feel that the soul of our town, Dubiecko, is here in Israel. Before every event, sad and joyful, everyone must, first and foremost, appear at this tombstone to commune with it, to remember and mention those who were annihilated in the Holocaust.

And the most important thing is, to pour your heart before God: God, avenge the blood of your servants and we will not know more grief.

And God will bless His people with peace, forever and ever, Amen, may it be so.


[Pages 57-60]

The history of the Barech family

by Nachum Bek

And this is the history of Ita and Mechel Barech from Dubiecko. As far as I remember, Sonia, their youngest daughter, survived the Holocaust.

My mother z”l, was born in the town of Rybotycze to Rachel–Leah and Moshe Raps. My father z”l, son of Shmuel and Ester–Malka Barech, was born in Dubiecko. I, the writer of these lines, was born to the above parents in 1925.

We were a happy family, four daughters and two sons. From the old generation I only remember grandfather Shmuel, on my father's side, who passed away in our home before the war.

For many years my father was the leader of the Jewish community and he is remembered for his wisdom and logic. I remember that many people came to consult with my father in all kinds of matters. When the rabbis of Belz and Rabotishche came to our town they used to stay in our home.

A special celebration was the Rebbe procession from the synagogue to our house after the prayer. Hundreds of Hassidim accompanied him to the entrance of our house with singing and dancing.

As a little girl, I snuck into the room where the Rebbe and the community dignitaries were eating together. The ceremony of the “Division of leftovers,” by the Rebbe, was full of splendor and holiness. After the meal, they sat for hours and hours discussing all kinds of issues, such as helping poor brides, helping the needy with clothing, heating in the winter, and so on, everything out of awe.

 

The holiday of Purim

A week before the holiday my mother, and her friends, already baked all kind of sweets, cakes, kugles, and pastries for mishloach manot. The duty of the children was to bring it to our family members, and our fiends, with great celebration. I admit, I did not like this role but, I did not, God forbid, dared to refuse because everything was in the presumption of a mitzvah.

We waited impatiently for Purim. A lot of people gathered in our yard and celebrate the holiday singing, dancing and tasting my mother's food.

I will not forget the strong aroma of the “knobble borscht” with kreplach [dumplings], the beer that was poured straight from the barrel, and all of us were in high spirits. After the celebration, the young men cleared out the tables and in their placed prepare a stage on which they presented biblical plays such as Akedat Yitzhak and Purim Spiel

We, the children, fell asleep and lay as “dead” from joy. I remember it all, it was etched in my memory as if it had happened today, and everything is accompanied by many longings.

 

The last Kiddush of Passover

A second tradition that I especially remember was the last Kiddush of Passover, when it was allowed to eat something called “gebrokt. “ And again, my mother prepared huge amounts of “kneidlach” and other delicacies, and on the next day, after the prayer, the community was invited to our home and with a drink of vodka and wine we enjoyed the good food that my mother prepared. The most important thing, everything was done for the purpose of a mitzvah. To this day I wonder from where my mother drew the energy for the preparations of all these celebrations.

 

The holiday of Chanukah

Another joyous event that I remember is the holiday of Chanukah. I will not forget the “dreidl” game that we call sevivon in our language, the receiving of Chanukah gelt [money], the lighting of the candles and piles of sufganyot [jelly doughnuts]. It is impossible to describe the sacredness that the candles radiated from the wonderful silver hanukiya. Even the gentiles from the area and neighbors treated these candles with respect. Already in the first evening, after lighting the first candle, my father's friends gathered for the traditional “kvititlach” [card] game…

Feige Fajt, found a suitable place next to them with her chocolate bars, and used the opportunity to improve her meager livelihood.

As usual, the evening was accompanied by a constant supply of delicacies that my mother served. The Chanukah celebration cannot be described in words. My father had a good friend, Nachman Tzellerkraut, a humorist who told jokes and stories about the rabbis' courts in a very satirical way because he was not very pious, and everything, to the delight of the little children…

And there were many nice traditions at that time, like “inviting a guest for the Sabbath,” a mass “Melaveh Malkah” and the like. Everyone took part in these mitzvoth according to his ability.

In the summer of 1939, everything crumbled and cut like a knife in the living flesh, with the entrance of the Germans to our town. Their first act was the burning of the synagogue and the murder of eleven young men, among them my cousin, Moshe Stresler. Sometime later, the Germans announced that all the Jews must gather on a certain day in the town square to receive instructions on how to behave under their rule.

When almost all the Jews were in the square, an order was given to cross to the other side of the San River where the Russians already concentrated. Destitute, we had to leave Dubiecko in the direction of the town of Bircza. My father managed to give the house keys to our neighbor, the Polish Mrs. Atak, and so began the years of suffering under German rule.

From Bircza we moved to the city of Przemyśl where my father had a friend, Alter Horowitz from Dubiecko. With his help we received a small room in which we, fifteen people, lived. A few weeks later, the Russians issued an order that each of the refugees must declare if he wants to return to the German side or to remain with the Russians. In this case, he had to move 100km from the border into Russian territory.

My sister, Etel, her husband and children decided to stay and, according to the order, moved to the city of Brzeżany. The rest of the family registered to return to Dubiecko. By chance, my sister Leah and I decided to travel to Brzeżany to visit our sister, and on that night the Russians gathered all those who registered to return to Germany inside rail cars and transferred them to Siberia. My father managed to bribe one of the Russian officers and released his immediate family from the transport. They immediately fled to their home in Brzeżany…

My father's success in avoiding the shipment to Siberia was then considered a success that eventually became a disaster, because they were left as a prey to extermination by the Germans. My family was in Brzeżany until the summer of 1941, when the Russia–Germany war broke out and the Germans captured all of Galicia in a few days.

In the winter 41/42, the Germans started to abduct the first Jews in the streets for shipment to extermination. Among them was also my brother–in–law, Moshe Sturm. We were advised to move to a quieter place, to the town of Przemyslany near Lvov (my husband's birthplace).

The persecution also got there, and the second victim of our family was my brother, Shalom, who was sent to a labor camp from which he did not return. A few months later we left Przemyslany and moved to the town of Oleszyce where the son of my aunt, Zlata Kornfeld, lived. According to his information it was relatively quiet there.

Unfortunately, shortly afterwards all the Jews in that area were rounded up and sent to Lubaczów Ghetto. The transport to the first extermination camp, to Belzec gas chambers, started from Lubaczów Ghetto. The rest of my family members were exterminated there. At the same time, my sister Leah and I miraculously managed to return to Przemyslany Ghetto.

There, we became ill again with typhus…my sister Leah z”l passed away, and I was left alone from my entire family.

It is hard to describe the hardships we endured in Przemyslany Ghetto. I've been through a number of “aktziot. “ I was taken, with other young women, to a temporary labor camp in Przemyslany and from there, in the spring of 1943, we were transferred to Korowice labor camp near Lvov. There we worked in paving the main road, agriculture, and all kinds of jobs.

In the summer of 1943, the camp in Korowice was eliminated together with all the camps in Galicia. I was saved with the help of a friend who heroically saved a number of young women. I hid in the attic of the camp commander (of course without his knowledge) along with several other people and there, through a gun related incident, I met the man who he is today my husband. The next night we fled together to the caves.

It is possible to write a complete encyclopedia about the period in the forests, but this is not the place. In short, of all the hundreds of Jews, who managed to escape to the surrounding forests, only a few dozen remained alive a year later.

In the summer of 1944 the Russian arrived and we went through all the horrors of the war between Russia and Germany. In June 1944, we were finally liberated by the Russians. I arrived with my husband (in the meantime we got married) in the town of Przemyslany. For a year we worked in an ethyl alcohol factory. In 1945 an opportunity was created to move to New Poland, we took advantage of this opportunity and moved to Krakow.

My husband's dream, who was an enthusiastic Zionist since his youth, was to immigrate to Israel, and in accordance to his wish we built our immigration route for a full year, through Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria and Italy. On the eve of Yom Kippur 1947, we finally arrived to our country.

Our eldest son was born in Italy and arrived to Israel as a three–month–old baby. In Israel I found my father's brother, Shimon Barech who immigrated to Israel before the war.

In addition, I found my father's brother, Leibush Barech z”l, in the United States. He immigrated there also before the war. In addition to them I found a cousin, Bertzi Barech, in Argentina.

And these are the few remnants left from my family.

My husband and I live in Israel. We are parents to two sons and blessed with three grandchildren.


[Page 61]

R' Baruch Eli Anfang, hy”d

by Meir Ben–Tzvi

One of the most prominent figures in town was my teacher and rabbi, R' Baruch Eli Anfang, a scholar, pleasant and very active. In the First World War he was wounded in his arm and lay in a hospital in Vienna, the capital of Austria which, at that time, was also the capital of Galicia. As a result he also acquired the German language. R' Baruch Eli was a Sadigura Hasid. He organized “Agudat Yisrael” and “Tzeirei Agudat Yisrael” in the town, and was also among the founders and directors of the school: “Beit Ya'akov” and “Benot Ya'akov,” which constituted a glorious institution in the town.

This school provided the Jewish girls with what was lacking in Jewish studies and the history of the Jewish people, subjects they did not learn in the gentile school. The boys, in addition to their studies at school, continued to study in the heder and after that in Talmud Torah. Because of a lack of a framework for girls, they were left with without any knowledge of Jewish history, in–depth knowledge of Jewish laws, holiday customs and the like. Before that, they could barely read and write and Yiddish and pray from the siddur [Jewish prayer book], because they studied in the heder until school age. “Beit Ya'akov” school gave the girls all that was missing in addition to a beautiful and suitable education for a Jewish girl.

R' Baruch Eli was a wise Jew and did not keep it to himself. He was very fond of teaching. Here is the place to describe the practice that existed in Torah study in the town. The teachers, who taught in Beit Hamidrash, did not get paid. The boys, who wanted to study the Torah, they, or their parents, turned to the young men who already knew Gemara and Poskim, and asked them to set a lesson for a certain time. Their request was always answered at no charge, even when the teacher was poor and the student was wealthy.

The son of R' Baruch Eli, Getzil, h”yd, who was approximately my age, attached to himself four young men: Moshe Meir Melber, Moshe Aharon Barech, R' Naftali Wasserstein and the writer of these lines, and every day, from six to nine in the morning, taught us a lesson in Gemara and Tosafot in high level, great talent and excellent explanation. Even though he had a shop and had to serve the shoppers, the teaching of the Torah in the morning was above everything and he left the shop to his wife and daughter. When his son, Getzi,l started to study in the yeshiva we thought that we would lose the lessons, it was not so with R' Baruch Eli. After the holiday he came to us and told us that the studies will continue as before. And indeed, they continued until the outbreak of the war and the arrival of the Germans.

If I have, to this day, an affinity for a Gemara page, it's only thanks to the deep study in those years with my teacher and rabbi, Baruch Eli Anfang, hy”d.

R' Baruch Eli Anfang and his family perished together with all the martyrs of Dubiecko, May Hashem avenge their blood. May their memory be blessed.


[Page 62]

Personalities and communal workers

by Meir Ben–Tzvi

 

R' Zyndl Szpiner, h”yd
“The medical specialist”

Like in all towns in Poland, the pupulation suffered from a lack of livelihood and if someone got sick and they had to bring a doctor, it was a great financial expense that not everyone could handle. Yes, in our town we had the same problem, but with one difference, in our town R' Zyndl Szpiner came to our aid.

He did not study in the Faculty of Medicine, and it is doubtful if he even finished primary school. He acquired his proficiency in medicine during the First World War, when he fell into Russian captivity. Zyndl was sent to work as an assistant in a hospital in some city in Russia, and there he treated the injured or the sick. Over time, he learned to use a stethoscope, check a pulse, measure blood pressure and detect diseases, especially infectious and pediatric diseases.

When he returned to the town he started to “practice” and very quickly gained the trust of all the townspeople. When someone got sick, poor of rich, they first called Zyndl. He examined the patient and made the diagnosis. And when he saw that the illness was serious, and the patient needed medication or injections, he determined that a doctor should be called. On the other hand, in an infectious disease he immediately warned all members of the family and ordered then to remove children from the home before the doctor arrived.

Zyndl made home visits all hours of the day, and when a person was seriously ill, he was at his disposal all hours of the night…

All this without any payment from the rich, and all the more so, from the poor, and in addition he also provided other treatments: cupping, massage, etc. Every day he came for a visit. For a serious illness he gave sulfa pills, etc.

R' Zyndl earned his living from a grocery store. The townspeople used to come and buy groceries from his shop.

R' Zyndl, his wife Mala, and their sons: Yisrael, Pinchas and Mordechai, perished together with all the martyrs of Dubiecko. May their memory be blessed!


[Page 63]

To those who remained from our town

by Malka Bernholz

In 1929 I traveled to Switzerland. I missed my home in Dubiecko. I, Manie Kornfeld, recall the pogroms that the gentiles did to us. They came on Friday morning to the church, and the priest preached before them that the Jews killed Jesus and added: “beat the Jews, but do not kill them because we need them”…

I ran to my parents and ordered them to close the shutters quickly, but what came of it? They broke in, broke and destroyed everything and hit us. I was only six years old. I hid behind the back of my father, Leizer Kornfeld z”l. Interestingly, my father knew one of their sons who worked for us as a shoemaker. He turned to him: “Veitek, you are also with them?” He hit my father on the head, and my father fell on me bleeding… this sight accompanied me for many years because it was a shock to me.

As incitement they made a Jewish figure, who supposedly hung their Jesus, for hanging in the town center. They prepared a large crowd to take revenge on the Jews, and this Judas… With God's help, blessed be He, Shamai Schimel from Bachorz managed to put a bomb inside the figure and the moment the gentiles hit Judas, the bomb exploded and killed many of them… I, and many others like me, thank him for his action.

In 1935 I came for a visit in Dubiecko hoping to get permission to immigrate to Eretz Yisrael. But my family refused because it was very religious and jealous. My father was no longer alive. The hunger years, which started in 1922, caused him sever pain. He was bitten by wild dog in the village. In those years there was no tetanus shot, and Dr. Benuni, the gentile doctor, was always drunk.

My father's tombstone testifies who he was, and after he passed away our uncle, Yehusua Raps, had to take care of us. In 1927, my two brothers traveled to Israel and joined the Haganah as sailors. They carried out rescue missions and brought thousands of Jews to the shores of Israel.

I forgot to add about another misery that we had in those years, and today it causes us serious trouble. These jealous parents ruined our school years, and you ask why? I will explain it to you. I witnessed such a sight: Yisrael Rappaport came to school, beat his daughter, the teacher and us, because we studied Hebrew. To this day I am angry at him because I'm seventy–five and can no longer learn the language.

Indeed, I am happy here with my family and my children, but I am miserable when I remember my family who perished in Auschwitz – my mother, my brothers Moshe and Yisrael, and the family. In 1941, I found out in Switzerland that Leibish Rubinfeld, Hersh and Moshe, and other rich Jews saved many Jews including the Tammer Rebbe. They smuggled them in freight cars…

I sent food packages to my mother via Portugal and she became stronger and lived longer from the coffee and tea she received from me. After the war, children, who survived the war, were sent by the Red Cross to Switzerland from the Soviet Union. I always hosted such children, but every year they were sent to Israel. My heart ached because they had to leave under the Swiss laws.

I was very happy when I found, Arye and Blima, among them. They were the children of my sister Mindel and Shimon Kornfeld, I also found a girl from Dubiecko, the granddaughter of Yoel Adam. She had an eye surgery in a clinic in Zurich. I brought her food every day because she refused to eat non kosher food. The Red Cross paid all the expenses.

My beloved members of Dubiecko, I want to thank you, in the name of all the readers of the Yizkor Book, for taking on yourself the task and the expense of the publication of the book. Many generations will remember you for the better.

I attended the memorial and felt that it was a living memorial for my mother, brother, my sister–in–law and their daughter Renya who, after the war, were murdered in Dubiecko by the Poles.

To conclude, I found in Israel several friends from those years and we exchange memories of our youth. This, in a way, strengthens my life.

May we already know the long–awaited peace, Amen, for it will be.


[Page 64]

My contribution to the book

by Henua Grushka, Ramat–Gan

Although, I do not have many details, I hope, that what I give, will add material about the Holocaust.

With the entrance of the Germans to our town, Dubiecko, in 1939, our family (Hemel) escaped to the town of Bircza and stayed there for about a year. Then, came the Russians and we were taken to Siberia.

My grandparents remained in Bircza. In 1941 the connection with them was severed, we had no information what happened to them, which is the case to this day.

My paternal grandfather, Yehezkel Hemel, was a religious Jew, modest and kind. He was a merchant and made a decent living. His wife was Riesel and they had three children (two boys and a daughter).

The eldest son – Tzvi Hirsh Hemel, immigrated in 1956 to Israel with his wife Prisha of the Rabinzon family. They had three sons and a daughter.

Moshe Hemel – lives today in Denmark.

Zeinvel Hemel and Mendel Hemel – live in Be'er Sheva, Israel.

Hemel Grushka, Henia (the writer of these lines) – lives in Ramat–Gan, Israel.

The second son, Hersh–Tzvi Hemel, lived in Dynów and from there he escaped with his family to Russia. We had a contact with him until he enlisted to the Red Army. Since then, our contact with him has been severed and we do not know what happened to him.

The same thing with Ester, her husband Yerucham and their family, our contact with them has been severed and we do not know what happened to them.

My mother's family – Frida Hemel of the Robinzon family, her parents – Chaim Hirs and Sara Robinzon, had the same experience as my father's family. They also have three children:

Robinzon Mendel – married to Chana (died in the USA). They left two sons – Moshe and Aharon who live today in the USA.

Robinzon Zeinvel married to Rina (died in the USA). He left an only daughter, Henia Robinzon–Skala, and she lives in France.

The daughter Frida – was our mother and I already gave details about here and there's no need to repeat them.

These are the details I was able to bring up and I hope they will appear in the book.

May you grieve no more!


[Pages 65-68]

Generations of Dubiecko
(Risha Publications 1983)

by Krzysztof Chlapowski

 

The beginning of the Jewish settlement of Dubiecko

With the kind help of Mrs. Gruszka Hanya of the Hemel Hirsch family, the above book, in the Polish language, was received from Przemyśl Archives. The book is dedicated to our town, Dubiecko, and sections that concern us were taken out by the translator, the lawyer and notary Yosef Shafran, member of B'nai Brith, Krinski chamber in Ramat–Gan, and for that they are both blessed.

 

Page 33:

M. Horen (according to the bulletin of the Jewish Historical Institute, No.74, pp.3–30, 1970), states that the Jewish settlement in Sanok Land began at the beginning of the 17th century.

The first meeting between those Jews, and the Jews of Dubiecko, was already in 1622. At their time, a Jew named Lebekwaris of Dubiecko, appeared (WAP Przemyśl, archive of the Letak Palace No. 131, pp.21, 24).

In a later period, the Jews started to build a synagogue, but under the order of Cardinal Jan de Altan Bukom of Przemyśl (1701–1718), the building was demolished.

At the beginning of the 18th century (1721), approximately 40 Jewish families lived in Dubiecko. Prayers were conducted at the home of a resident of Dubiecko named Rusina. For Christmas and Easter they gave 20 florins to the priest (ADP series173 p.27).

In 1765, a total of 136 Jews lived in the community of Dubiecko (the number of Jews in the Koronie, from 1765. Y. Kilchinski and P. Kulczycki Publications, Archive of the History Committee, volume VIII, Krakow 1898, p.397).

 

Page 53:

This table shows the increase in the number inhabitants in Dubiecko during the 19th century and up to the period of the First World War:

Year General
population
Roman
Catholic
Greek
Catholic
Moses
Religion
1799 1948 21 10 227
1817 1200      
1857 1254 597 128 527
1869 1950      
1874 1272      
1880 1505 690 114 700
1890 1699 862 111 742
1900 1752 674 102 976
1910 1850      
1914 1895      

 

The population grew gradually, mainly because of the increase in the Jewish population. The division according to religions was not carried out in full according to the division of nationality in reality.

[Page 66]

Some of the Poles worshiped the Greek–Catholic religion. Jews and Russians lived together because there were no separate national neighborhoods.

The number of residents in Dubiecko was affected by two cholera epidemic: the first in 1831 and the second in 1873. These epidemics killed a large number of people.

In trading, the middlemen occupied important positions and became rich at the expense of the craftsmen. The innkeepers also got rich. The growth in the number of inns took place in the early 19th century. At the entrance to Dubiecko, on the east side of the city, was an inn called “Hamten” (wait). A number of wagons and their horses took up space in the inn's foyer garage. At the border of Dubiecko and Mienadowej, an inn named “Kopek” earned a second place and it also had a similar foyer garage. Beside them, there were five taverns in the market where the residents of Dubiecko wasted the few coins that they worked hard for, on a drink. The Jewish innkeepers bought all the houses in the market until, at the end of the century, there were only two buildings that were not their property… the city council was made up of Christians and Jews and headed by the mayor.

 

Page 59:

On page 59 there is a picture of a Jew in Dubiecko from the 1930s. The picture is not clear, but it is evident that it is a picture of a bearded Jew wearing a Shtreimel.

In 1903, Dubiecko received its first lighting in the form of lanterns on posts. The city's intelligentsia worked in the court, the notary office, post office, pharmacy, etc.

 

Page 70:

Until the Second World War there were three synagogues in Dubiecko. One of the Torah crowns is currently in the District Museum in Przemyśl. The main synagogue stood on the northern side of the market. It was a big structure built of wood without decorations inside. A staircase led to the Bimah. In the center of the Bimah stood a table covered with wood and on it was a Torah scroll, with a gold or gilt cover, and small bells. Close to the wall, and in the middle of the synagogue, were high benches on which they probably placed siddurim and prayed standing up. A chandelier with candles (kandelaber) hung from the ceiling.

This synagogue, which was set on fire by the Germans during a prayer, burnt to the ground, In Dubiecko, there was a religious community committee, “Kahal.” Among the Jews were many craftsmen: carpenters, glaziers, tinsmiths, which were organized in unions (CECE).

A small can was glued to the doorpost at the entrance to a Jewish home, and underneath were the Ten Commandments. Everyone, who came out of his house, touched it and kissed his fingers.

In many Jewish homes in Dubiecko was, and today it is also possible to see, a cover (Klapa) on the roofs. The Jews used to lift it on a holiday called Sukkot (Kuczk).

On state holidays, the “Kahal” (community), invited a delegation made up of residents of Dubiecko for a prayer in the synagogue. The delegates, with fedoras on their heads, stood and listened to the rabbi's prayers and the songs of the singer (cantor) who was invited especially for that day.

At that time, when they announced that the Cardinal of Przemyśl was coning to visit his parish, meaning, his Parafia (in Latin), a delegation of Jews, headed by the rabbi, came out to greet him because they valued themselves in high esteem and also to uphold what it said: “The wise shall inherit honor” (Mishlei 3:35). They preceded other delegations so that they would be the first to pay homage to the Cardinal.

[Page 67]

The rabbi's coronation, which took place once every few years, was always held in a most festive manner. All the town's Jews, in droves, with the religious ministrants who served for a long time, came to greet him at the train station outside the town. There, a brilliant first reception was held, and they marched from there, in a magnificent festive parade and with music and singing, to the synagogue. After the ceremony there, as was customary, a reception was held at the home of the director of the “Jewish Fund.”

 

Page 72:

This is how the town looked, its residents and their lives, until the outbreak of the First World War which should have brought independence to the State of Poland.

Dubiecko, in the Austrian period, was not different from other small cities, of the same kind, in Galicia. The typical Galician poverty was the reason for the Jewish immigration to larger cities, and even out of the country's borders, in search of employment.

 

Page 73:

The year 1918 arrived and the liberation of the country.

Dubiecko was in the administrative region of Przemyśl, the district of Lvov.

And this is how the town's population looked in the last years.

According to religions

Year Moses
Religion
Greek
Catholic
Roman
Catholic
Total
1921 977 113 703 1793
1931       1706
1942   197 1016 1213
1943   197 1016 886
1946   197 1916 1058
1954   197 1916 661

 

Page 74:

The population of Dubiecko started to grow and develop, and on the eve of the war it already counted about 2000 residents. The main occupation was agriculture. A certain role in craft took second place. The Jews usually engaged in trade and some in craft that also brought income…

In the town, there were no separate quarters for the Jewish population or the Ukrainian. Both minorities lived together.

 

Page 75:

In 1918, after Poland obtained its independence, there were 18–20 Jewish delegates, out of 24 members, in the city council. When the authorities' policy changed its tune, and partly tended to the anti–Semitic stream in Poland, there were significant changes in the composition: half of the council members were Polish and half Jewish.

 

Page 76:

As a result of the elections of 1935 to Dubiecko council, the municipality was already composed of 15 Poles, 3 Ukrainians, 1 Russian, and also 1 Jew!

[Page 68]

Page 78:

Before the war of September 1939, Dubiecko was located in the area of activity of Lesser Poland, Małopolska. From 7 September of the same year, a “Pouonie” (south) group was active in Bachorz, a distance of 5km. On 12 September, Polish companies retreated through Dubiecko in the direction of Przemyśl, and the Germans entered on their trail. Until June 1941, Dubiecko was considered a border town, since the San River constituted a border between the Soviet Union and Germany.

The Germans immediately expelled all the town's Jews, but some managed to return. In June, they were apprehended by the Gestapo in Przemyśl and shot to death in the Jewish cemetery. In the first blow, eighty Jews from Dubiecko, and its surroundings, were murdered. The Germans used the gravestones from the cemetery to pave the road to Ruskiej–Wsi (the Russian village).

By September 1942, the town's residents were murdered in small groups. One hundred and ten people were killed during the period of June–September 1942.

On 20 July 1944, Dubiecko was liberated by the 1244 Artillery Brigade, which operated as part of the Soviet Union's first artillery corps.

 

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