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[Pages 243-251]


“May His Great Name be Magnified and Sanctified…”

by Moshe ben Yaakov Feldman, of blessed memory

Translated from the Yiddish by Harvey Spitzer

[Unrhymed translation]


On that sad day of weeping and moaning,
Of terror which took place,
The hill was as red as burning ashes.
With a blood-soaked chain
The wicked one kept up his endless slaughter.
And, as if out of shame,
The sun hid in her butter-barrel corner.
The blue sky grew dimmer and then became dark
From the bloody vapor drawn up onto the red clouds.
The curses of the dead
Overtook the storm.
Trees, ears of corn and flowers
Were overthrown, broken and bent.
Everything, everything around moaned.

Brother! You order me to write to you
What happened to us.
What happened to the Jews in Dubossar?
Who can describe the terrible grief?
Who can paint the pictures of horror,
Of ruin and martyrs
Numbering in the thousands?
They frighten me and drive me out of my mind.
They make me drunk
And my head is of no more use to me.
It is empty and bare.
My brain is confused.
I'm weak and have no more strength.
I'm swollen from weeping
And my eyes are feeble.
The sources of tears have dried up.
I'm bent over; I've aged prematurely
And can no longer hear.

Do you remember the lovely hill
Where the young people leisurely spent their time?
They dreamed and meditated
In the magic of the moonlit nights.
The mountain… and now
It's drenched in blood.
Neither would you recognize
Our lovely town
Dubossar and its streets.
The Nazis tortured and shot them…
The houses are demolished,
Burned and scorched.
Nothing has remained of them.
Jews from near and far
Were driven and herded together
And were led to the slaughter
Like slaves in chains.
A hundred in each group,
Jewish men and women
Caught hiding in holes.
They were tied by their necks to horses.
They were chased and dragged
Over streets and stones.
Blood flowed from their wounds.
They went out of their minds. From the Lunke to the Maholes
From Synagogue Street to the Fantoles
From the length and breadth of the town
They fenced us in with a chain.
They drove groups of Jews together,
Men, women and children
Like sheep and cattle.
They chased and drove them
Through the old and new market places
Upwards, upwards to the hill.
Ukrainians, Romanians and Germans,
Riding on horses.
And with clubs and whips
They beat and flogged their bodies.
Jews in great numbers
Fell along the way.
Suddenly, the beatings and driving on stopped.
A shout was heard:
“Remain standing! …
And get into rows!”
They counted everyone.
They gave everyone a shovel
To dig a grave.
With just their own hands.
Every limb was paralyzed.
We remained glued to the place.
The marrow in our bones solidified.
Every word was silenced.
Not a rustle was heard.

Suddenly, one person
Just one and no more –
Hershel Fostolov
Like a hero
Risked his life courageously –
He wants to recite the final El Maleh Rachamim (“O Merciful God…”) for every Jew.
And at the end, let them shoot him
And let his blood be first to flow.
By the Nazis, the murderers,
By the head of the bandits
Hershel's courageous words
Were heard sarcastically
And recited ironically.
Thus his request was granted…
Zvi Simcha ben Yerachmiel
Ben Simcha Fostolov
As though suspended in the heavens,
Intoned the El Maleh Rachamim
In a moving and holy way.
Word by word
The confession was repeated
And the end came right on that spot.
Hershel Fostolov
Gave up his soul with perfect faith.

The “master” race rejoiced gleefully.
With planning and order
The Nazi chief gave another command:
His demon-soldiers are waiting to kill all those standing there in desperation –
The Jewish community
Which they drove to the Sacrifice.
Machine guns thunder and crash
With lead bullets and fire,
Flashing and piercing the bodies
Of everyone who was dear to us.
With sadistic pleasure,
The bandits threw themselves on the Jews
Torquemada Jesuits
Anti-Semitic cliques
With bayonets and axes
And finished off those dying in agony.
They murdered them,
Silenced them forever…
For days Jewish blood poured forth,
Streamed and did not rest.
It flowed into the brother graves;
It foamed and was saturated
Even after the long, wide pit was covered over.
Their eternal, eternal home…

Eighteen thousand five hundred slain, martyrs
Together, not separated
In peace
Without a wall, not fenced off.
And in the town, among the ruins,
The little of life that remained
Is a shadow, skin and bone;
Naked, barefoot, driven in hunger,
Searching for something to sustain them, a morsel of bread.
They wait in despair,
Looking around and hoping
That their countrymen in America will not delay
In sending them help, clothes, bread
To alleviate their grief and need.

Brother, I have no more strength.
I've already written about everything
That happened to us,
The misfortune that befell us,
All the Jews in Dubossar.
Near Bessarabia, on the Dniester.
Will you understand, feel the grief
Of your misfortunate sister?
Now you know, it's no longer a surprise.
You must remember, not forget
Yorzeit, Yizkor, saying Kaddish,
Awaken the world and its conscience.


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