Translated by Yocheved Klausner
A. Finally, we can say that we have completed our job; the devotion to our aim assisted us, with God's help, to conclude the project.
We considered it our duty to preserve the history of this important town of the magnificent Russian Jewry from which we originate in particular after the Holocaust, as the Germans and their helpers annihilated over fifty thousand of our brothers and sisters, may God avenge their blood.
A very large amount of material was researched for the purpose of writing this book: thousands of items, documents, books, newspapers mainly in the three languages Hebrew, Yiddish and Russian. But due to the limitations of time and space, much material had to be left out as the saying of our sages: learn and leave some for others. We hope the rest of this important material will be published elsewhere.
The Ekaterinoslav Jews were unique. A special type of Russian Jew has grown there: a Jew full of energy, who worked hard for his own progress and the progress of the town and its surroundings, and absorbed much from the Russian culture, at the same time preserving his Judaism proudly, as an individual as well as a member of his community (see on this subject the words of Shlonski, in his conversation with the editors of this book).
This young Potiomkin Town (as opposite to his villages) received and accepted Jews who, in the course of 150 years grew to a large number, absolute as well as proportional, among the general population. The town became a center of commerce, heavy industry and mining, with a strong labor movement (Petrovski and his friends). Two power stations of the biggest in the world were erected on the Dnieper. On the eve of the Holocaust, 100,000 Jews lived there out of 500,000 residents. Today, as its population is gradually growing, it again includes several tens of thousands of Jews, but they are scattered among the general population, without a traditional community. Yet they have, thank God, a prayer house, a ritual slaughterer and a Jewish cemetery.
It was a great Jewish town, with many great rabbis. There was R'Chone'le zl, who preceded the great rabbi Y. L. Levin (our last rabbi, died as the Chief Rabbi of Moscow); R'Binyamin'ke zl, a Lithuanian genius in the knowledge of Halakha (Jewish Law); R'BereWolf zl from the Chabad Hassidic movement, influential and educated, an out of this world Tzaddik. After them came Rabbi Pinchas Gellman zl a genius, a great speaker in three languages, a Zionist, a great leader, the head of the Yeshiva, a dreamer; he died young. Then there was Rabbi LeviYitzhak Schneurson zl, a charismatic personality, worthy of the title ADMOR, who would sacrifice his soul for the sanctification of the Torah; as an important rabbinic personality, he was persecuted by the Soviet regime: was arrested and exiled, and died in exile; as his writings are being published today, one discovers his special method in the framework of Chabad Hasidism; he was the father of the ADMOR of Lubavitch a great man of the Jewish people; the memories of his wife Rabbanit Chana zl 100 pages in Yiddish are waiting to be published.
There was the Talmud Torah and several cheders in town and, the crown of all this the Yeshiva, where the Gaon Rabbi ChaimOizer Grodzenski zl the Rabbi of all the Jews in Exile taught regularly. Rabbi Grodzenski came to Ekaterinoslav as a refugee during WWI. In time, they erected in Ekaterinoslav a religiousHebrewZionist Teachers College.
And there were also Jewish highschools, and a modern Cheder [cheder metukan = improved cheder] and P. Cohen (Kagan)'s highschool relocated from Vilna; and private teachers of Hebrew; and in the Gentile's schools they also had special lessons of God's Religion for the Jewish pupils, among the teachers being Dr. S. Levin and Bragin; and on the eve of the February revolution, the first Institute of High Technical Studies in the Diaspora the Jewish Polytechnic was erected.
In Ekaterinoslav, the first Jewish armed selfdefense was founded, and Yitzhak Shimshelewitz (later BenZvi) was one of its weapons providers; Po'alei Zion was founded, and Borochov prepared his Platform (I had the privilege to help bringing his remains from the Jewish cemetery in Kiev which was to be closed to be buried in Eretz Israel).
Many Jewish personalities grew up, visited or lived in Ekaterinoslav, some of them remained to work there. The town was known in literature, in research and in the press, and by the valued deeds of its Jews. The brilliant jurist Eliyahu Orshanski came from Ekaterinoslav; his tombstone was created by Antokolski himself.
Jewish artists lived there. Newspapers, pamphlets and books were printed in three languages. We shall mention the publication Аргонавты edited by Alexander Karpas.
Zionism took hold there since the times of the First Aliya, and an attempt was made to build settlements in the Golan, the Achva village. From there, Ussishkin led the Zionist movement in Russia and in the world; Dr. S. Levin, the appointed rabbi, was a great Zionist, and the famous teacher Ch. A. Zuta spread HebrewZionist education. During the Soviet rule, the Zionist underground acted with great devotion; the poet Chananya Reichman dedicated his poem to this movement a song to the keepers of the fire.
Here lived the famous philanthropist, my grandfather R'Moshe Karpas zl, leader of the community and supporter of its educational and cultural institutions, a great donor to Zionism and Eretz Israel.
And there was in Ekaterinoslav also the Bund movement and other Jewish parties, as well as the Ekaterinoslav Circle of the Soviet Yiddish writers, headed by Peretz Markish, may God avenge his blood.
A fundamental document describing the Holocaust in town the diary of the physician Dr. Rosa Leikina zl is the heart of this book.
The book is available to the 200 families in Israel who made Aliya from EkaterinoslavDniepropetrovsk and to all the former residents of our town throughout the world, as well as for others individuals or institutions.
After two congresses in Tel Aviv and two in Jerusalem (in Martef Hashoah on Mount Zion and at Yad Vashem), a plot in the JNF Martyrs Forest and radio broadcasts the EkaterinoslavDniepropetrovsk book is a par excellence memory to our town,.
The indexing of the book enables bibliographical research.
We extend thanks to all those who supported and encouraged us by participating in writing, donations and advice, and we shall mention in particular: Mrs. RachelHadassa Birman Баьушка Екатеринославского Сионизма aged 96 (we wish her to 120!), the physician Dr. Arie BenGefen, the poet Avraham Shlonski, Member of Knesset Aharon Becker and Mr. Yakov Strod, General Consul of Thailand.
With God's Help,
in the United Jerusalem,
end of 5732 (1972)
B. There are only few Memorial Books for the communities destroyed during WWII by the Germans in the Soviet Union for various reasons. The main reason was that the Landsmanshaften (the organizations of former residents of the town) the main factors in the publication of memorial books have not developed in our country: the immigrants from Russia during the second and third Aliya became immediately and totally involved in the life of Eretz Israel and showed little interest for their original places of residence, and during the period between the two World Wars there was very little Aliya from the Soviet Union. In America as well, there was no reason to establish new organizations, and the existing ones stopped their activities. In the twenties and thirties there was almost no Aliya from the Soviet Union, contrary to the situation in Poland and Lithuania.
Another problem was the lack of historicarchival material concerning the Russian communities, and the lack of possibility to use the little material that was available, especially from the time between the two world wars.
In spite of all these difficulties, the former EkaterinoslavDniepropetrovsk residents in Israel and they are not many considered their duty to publish a memorial book of their community, one of the youngest in Russia, which in a short time became one of the biggest and most important. The task was to gather what we found, to save from oblivion details that had not been recorded before, thus building a memorial to the beautiful and active community, for the coming generations.
It was not an easy task, and the editors met with many difficulties. Yet we hope that the reader of the EkaterinoslavDniepropetrovsk Book will find a true picture of the life of the local community, of the persons who acted there and the problems they had to meet.
Translated by Yocheved Klausner
|Efraim Strod zl|
R'Efraim ben YoelZelig Strod, one of the most loyal and devoted activists of the Ekaterinoslav Zionism, was born in 1873 in Pinsk. In 1900 he moved to Ekaterinoslav and continued to work in his trade, printing. In time, he bought a printing shop of his own, and then another, named Издтельство, one of the biggest in town. As an owner of two modern printing shops he employed a considerable number of workers. Apart from his professional expertise and organizing and managing abilities,
he knew the secrets of good human relations and managed to create a very good working relationship with his employees. There were no strikes in his plants. In difficult days, during and after the revolution, he was attentive to the needs of his workers and provided for them products that were not to be found in the market. As a religious man he kept the Commandments, and his workers, including the Christians (who were the majority of the workers in the printing shop), did not work on Sabbath. So the shop was closed two days a week, Saturday and Sunday (the official day of rest) which was unusual in those days.
Mr. Efraim Strod, who was a member of Hovevei Zion while still in Pinsk, joined the Ekaterinoslav Zionists as soon as he arrived. He performed successfully and with devotion the various tasks that were assigned to him. His home was a Zionist home, hospitable and open to all. He helped, openly as well as secretly, all those who addressed him; his hand was open to the needy, and they were many. In 1915, with the flow of Jewish war refugees from the Russian Western borders, he dedicated his time and energy to helping them.
After the February 1917 revolution, his Zionist activity increased even more. He was a member of the local Zionist Committee and participated in all its activities. He recruited new members to the movement, and took an active part in the elections to the various institutions, in collaboration with the other leaders Moshe Bruk, Emanuel Brustein, the Rabbi, Avraham Berezovski and others. He was also one of the founders and organizers of a group preparing to make Aliya, but unfortunately the group was not able to accomplish the task.
During the difficult years that came after the short period of freedom, he was among the founders and managers of the cooperative Kalkala, whose purpose was to provide to its members the necessary products at the time of severe limitations and prohibitions on free trade. Even in those hard times, he found the means to help his friends to overcome the hardships.
In 1922 he left the Soviet Union and in 1923 he arrived to Eretz Israel together with his large family: his sons Mordechai, Yoel zl and Yakov and his daughter Sara (Shapira). His age and his health did not enable him, however, to fulfill his dream to be a farmer on the soil of his fatherland, therefore he opened, in partnership with his sons, a printing shop in Tel Aviv. He introduced many innovations (for example, he was the first to use linoleum in advertising announcements). Here, as well, the working relations were correct no strikes or other trouble. The printing shop is now managed by his son Yakov Strod, the honorary consul of Thailand, in partnership with his grandson Adee.
Efraim Strod continued his charity work and his support activity in Tel Aviv, and responded to any call from national projects, as a loyal and devoted Zionist that he was.
He died in Tel Aviv at a ripe old age on 13 Sivan 5718 (1958), after a long and fruitful life, an active life full of good deeds.
by Hanania Reichman
Translated by Jerrold Landau
More than just once, my memories of my childhood paths move
To you, a major city in Jewish Ukraine,
I return to your past, Ekaterinoslav,
And live in it anew stage after stage.
The world war, without end streamed to you
Let my memory testify: please return, please transport
The Jews lived in the center of town.
In 1917, there shone
Waves and waves of people streamed to the expanse of the city
Every heart opened up to think: The turn of the blood and sweat has passed
Woe, how quickly did that spring in Russia disappear!
All flowers of freedom were trampled in the Andralamusya dance
A pall pervaded the city and the roads
The civil war caused destruction everywhere.
A terrible dance of demons: gangs, Makhno, Petlyura
The victory of the Red Government stopped the surge of pogroms.
We Zionists as well went underground
We were voluntarily confined in a prison or a ghetto
Daily my eyes saw the pages of the Soviet newspaper,
With trembling, my eyes read a different type of periodical
Somewhere in a district city, was printed and collated
The entire state was surrounded by the underground.
We were one cell, formed into a framework.
And a secret connection, hidden and concealed,
United the cells, connected them to the headquarters.
We read every line, we looked at every number.
I remember, for example, the satisfaction
We followed the changes in the homeland
The Tz. Tz. faction was set up through a schism,
We aspired to make the nation productive
However, a debate had broken out on various details
After each convention (in Kiev of Moscow)
Each group sat for nights, diligently pouring over the program
Clarifying each and every detail, explaining how and why:
What is the statue of public and private property?
And how does it connect with social justice?
On what basis should one participate in colonization?
After the debates we summarized and voted
The polishing of the foundation lines (Tezises in the vernacular)
The remnants escaped to the underground
Physical activity and sport
With various distractions, we maintained a network
There were many students but the teachers were a handful
All daily contract was slowly woven,
A chapter of love in a struggling family.
And during the complex battles, everyone felt in every detail
An active participant in general and not a grain of dust.
As I survey that praiseworthy era with the eyes of my spirit,
Now, when I recall the atmosphere of our lives,
Even the holidays went down to the underground with us.
Every celebration was opened with some words of Torah
Then came the turn of song. The group became aflame.
Blessed art though, song of our people! You warmed and enthused
The Chanukah festival was significant to us.
Of course, the festival of Purim was dedicated to our Haman:
Arrows of mockery were sent to the enemies of our time.
An oral newspaper, satirical and mocking
Dealt with every Haman and wonderfully beat him.
Hymns with great color and uniqueness were composed
The central synagogue, which was nicknamed the Choral
There were also regular events according to the mood,
We will also not forget the culinary folklore:
Here there are treats of matzos, the food of Passover
Our fine couples I have not yet noted
My activity was both on the surface and descriptive:
My more senior friends knew this without doubt
But, overlooking the law, they let it go quietly.
Because when considering the age of the youth of the generation
A year of struggles with emergency is like a decade.
We arranged homebased clubs for the youth,
We taught Zionism in accordance with the remnants of the press
The youth did not always meet behind closed doors:
Along the length of the Prospekt the path wound upward
Here is the Pol Museum filled with Ukrainian antiquities,
The Potemkin Garden is on the riverbank
And for those who desired, due to modesty and calmness
It is obvious that they kept a watchful eye
On everyone whom they thought was suspicious and was on the black list.
And many friends had a basis
To be suspicious of an informer (nicknamed SekSot).
I will describe the arrangement: in the form of not there
Every underground gathering studied, in some form
And the expert, the coder sat patiently
The number of letters, in accordance with their order in the section,
At that time, there was no concept of an electronic brain.
The rookies passed a form of conspirational course.
The questionnaire was interpreted in any form of interpretation,
To determine what and how to respond to a heretic.
However, when the time came for an actual test
We discovered that the course was not practical.
In the realm of vigilance there was no shortage of curiosities.
Between YE V O S M (that is the youth movement)
He practiced every day. It is said that he already reached
Only very few were no caught in the net.
I was also imprisoned then I found a wonder:
Regarding any forbidden topic, we conducted a debate there.
A miracle of liberation occurred and a miracle of travel also came:
My words have been very long: my pen has conducted a convention here
Of memories of the past that burst through from oblivion.
But I desire to state a few more words:
Not about the past, but rather about the future.
Decades have past years of blood, and burning fire
We know: the stream still whispers somewhere over there
Jewish youth arise: demonstrating for their existence
They again drink with thirst from that wellspring
The borders of Russia will open! And from there, speedily
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