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[Columns 269-270]


Translated by Yael Chaver


The old-age home


The ritual bath-house

[Columns 271-272]

Table of Contents

[Columns 273-274]

Eliezer Arn Zomer


The Last Community Elections

by Eliezer-Arn Zomer, San Jose, Costa Rica

The Jewish population held elections for the community council twice during the existence of independent Poland: in 1924, and in 1931. The third community elections were slated for 1939, but at that point the destruction of the communities had begun.

On Wednesday, May 20, the community elections of 1931 were held in about 500 towns. A week later, there were elections in Warsaw, Lublin, Łódź, Lemberg, Krakow, Radom, and other larger cities.

The appeals to vote, presented below, are evidence that the election campaign was intense and bitter. Please allow me to present several extracts from my diary of that period. I was then 17 years old.

May 17, 1931

My father and I went to a bris today. Waiting for the rabbi, the crowd separated into groups, and talked. The main topic was the coming elections. People debated and bickered. The more observant folks argued that no “shaven-beards” should be part of the council; others asserted that “shaven-beards,” too, should be elected, if they were kind-hearted.[1]

People talked about the Linas-Tzedek society, which had been founded only a few weeks earlier, and recounted that two members of the society had gone to a bris at the home of a rich Jew, and were denied entry.[2] Two non-Jewish servants stood at the door, constantly shouting “Entrance to paupers is prohibited!”[3] This incident made a grave impression on many, myself included.

The day of the elections was stormy, and agitation was passionate both on the street and in the houses of study. Agudas-Yisro'el (List no. 10) elected four delegates; the Zionists (List no. 7) elected three delegates; the other parties elected five delegates. The community elected 12 delegates altogether. I believe that the Bund and Po'aley Tziyon did not participate in the elections at all, boycotting the elections because of the infamous Paragraph 20.

Paragraph 20 was instituted by the Polish Minister of Education, Czerwinski, at the urging of Agudas-Yisro'el; this minister was applying the new ordinance concerning community elections.[4] Paragraph 20 determined the system of compiling the voters' lists. Previously, every Jew who wanted the right to vote in the community had to submit a special declaration. Paragraph 20 introduced a new decree: the Jewish communities had to make up their own lists of voters. The paragraph ended with the following sentence:

“When the lists of voters for the community elections are set up, the Elections Committee can exclude persons who speak out openly against the Jewish religion.”

This paragraph enabled the exclusion of Jews who were clean-shaven, who didn't bow and scrape during prayers, or who smoked or kept their businesses open on Shabbes.[5] The Jewish community was in tumult: medieval times were returning.

Preparations for the community elections in all the Jewish cities and towns, including Hrubieszow, were tempestuous. The uproar was so great that the central committee of Agudas-Yisro'el saw fit to provide a special explanation for Paragraph 20. The explanation ran approximately as follows:

“The paragraph seems to be simply and clearly formulated. Any person of sense understands that if the Jewish community is openly religious, the elections committee has the right to exclude those who are openly opposed to the Jewish religion. The concept of being ‘openly opposed to the Jewish religion’ is not at all vague. After all, the paragraph does not refer to the religious practice of people. Its meaning is clear: it deals with people who have openly declared themselves to be non-religious, or who have openly campaigned against the Jewish religion and the Jewish community as a religious institute. The relationship to the Jewish religion and the Jewish community is rather tenuous, and must not be put to the test by this regulation.”[6]

This is the interpretation of Paragraph 20, which on the whole contained nothing new. Preparations for the community elections were becoming volatile. The Yidisher Ekspres newspaper of Sunday, March 22, 1931, contained the following note:

“Our readers are already aware of the incidents throughout the province as a result of Paragraph 20. All those with shaven beards are regularly excluded from the list of voters, as well as those who violate Shabbes in any way. The Bund and Po'aley-Tziyen are not taking part in the elections. The Jewish working class will not participate. Thus, the fanatically observant Jews are left with no tasks.

However, we have been told that the voters' lists throughout the province are already being examined; lists of non-believers are being drawn up in order to bar them from the voters lists. The Jewish population as a whole feels resentment towards those who wield power in the community, who now – with the aid of Paragraph 20 – aspire to lodge themselves on the backs of the miserable workhorse.[7] Abstention from the elections expresses the protest of the Jewish masses against the community leaders, against the community's statutes, and against its politics.”

The Bund's Folks-Tsaytung of that period is also full of protests against Paragraph 20. Nevertheless, many workers went to the polls, and voted for the artisans' list. Thus, delegates who defended the interests of the working masses were voted into the council.

In 1934, I received a letter from my dear, unforgettable friend, Avrom Geduldik, with interesting details concerning the elections to the Hrubieszow city hall, which took place at that time. It is clear from that letter that the Jewish parties in Hrubieszow united for these elections.

Translator's Footnotes:

  1. “Shaven-beards” refers to modernizing Jews, who shaved their traditional long beards. Return
  2. Linas-Tzedek is a biblically-derived term that denotes a free hostel for the needy sick. Return
  3. A Russian phrase is used, followed by a Yiddish equivalent in parentheses. I was unable to translate the Russian, and have translated the Yiddish equivalent. Return
  4. Czerwinski's office was responsible for supervising the electoral process. Return
  5. The original uses a Yiddish phrase linked to the custom of bowing and rising on one's toes during the central Shemone-Esrey prayer, recited three times daily. Return
  6. The meaning of “barely steadfast” here is not clear. Return
  7. This metaphor refers here to ordinary working people. Return

[Columns 275 - 276]

Translator's Note: Columns 275-276 consist of candidate lists for the various parties. The translation starts with the headings that run across the tops of both columns. The headings are followed by numbered lists according to party affiliation; my translation follows this layout. The text at the bottom of columns 275-277 extends across the entire page. Candidate lists nos. 3 and 9 are missing from the text. The letters in the street addresses are tiny and some are faulty. I was not able to translate of these street names.


“The elections committee for the Hrubieszow Jewish community council announces the following Lists of Candidates,
according to Section 43 of the Elections Law of October 24, 1930
(Dz. A. N[o]. 75, P[aragraph] 592).”


Lists of Candidates for the Council
of the Jewish Community of Hrubieszow and its Members

No. Last and First Names Age Occupation Address in Hrubieszow
1 Hipsh, Simkhe 40 Dental technician  
2 Amper, Yoysef 58 Teacher  
3 Goldshmidt, Yankev 54 Mechanic  
4 Esig, Yankev 60 Merchant Lubelska
5 Ekshteyn, Moyshe 52 Merchant  
6 Lenerman, Khayim 59 Merchant  
7 Feler, Eliezer 51 Merchant  
8 Fayntuch, Yitzkhok 65 Teacher Lubelska
9 Tsukerman, Moyshe-Yankev 80 Merchant[1]  
10 Vinderboym, Avrom 47 Merchant  
11 Kats, Yitskhok 72 Shopkeeper  
12 Zinger, Yoysef 53 Teacher  
13 [ ?? ], Munish[2] 37 Purse-maker  
14 Dikhter, Avrom 30 Merchant  
15 Koliren, Yoysef 35 Merchant  
16 Goldshteyn, Alter 32 Teacher Lubelska
17 Royzman, Yisro'el 52 Hat-maker  
18 Gayst, Sender 45 Harness-maker  
19 Spektor, Shoul 38 Painter  
20 Mayl, Gershon 50 Teacher Lubelska
21 Gzhebiey, Avrom 39 Merchant  
22 Goldfarb, Yisro'el 34 Merchant  
23 Mangel, Shimen 56 Merchant Lubelska
24 Meler, Eliezer 38 Tailor  


Candidate List No. 2
No. Last and First Names Age Occupation Address in Hrubieszow
1 Roytan, Zisha 38 Merchant  
2 Grinshpan, Avrom 46 Doctor  
3 Regel, Meir 49 Entrepreneur  
4 Daytsh, Efroyim 47 Merchant  
5 Zuberman, Leyb 43 Merchant  
6 Fraynd, Dovid 31 Merchant Lubelska
7 Ginzberg, Fishl 38 Merchant  
8 Shvarts, Yoysef 38 Merchant Rynek
9 Teler, Hersh 63 Tailor May 3
10 Verk, Yitskhok 52 Merchant May 3
11 Hokhberg, Refa'el 35 Merchant  
12 Mandelboym, Sholem 43 Middleman Rynek
13 Gerber, Noyekh 36 Merchant Lubelska
14 Vertman, Hersh 45 Carpenter  
15 Tsuker, Henikh 44 Merchant Rynek
16 Kriger, Eliyohu 51 Bookkeeper  
17 Kezman, Hirsh 32 Merchant  
18 Aynhorn, Avrom 37 Merchant  
19 Oder, Arn 47 Merchant Lubelska
20 Rozenshteyn, Mendl 39 Merchant  
21 Laks, Naftali 50 Merchant  
22 Finger, Ayzik 40 Merchant  
23 Zilbershteyn, Fishl 51 Middleman Lubelska
24 Kezman, Yoysef 40 Middleman  


Candidate List No. 4
No. Last and First Names Age Occupation Address in Hrubieszow
1 Toler, Motl 41 Employed  
2 Vaysbrod, Yoysef 37 Tailor Wodna
3 Bornshteyn, Dovid 34 Bookkeeper[3] May 3
4 Hastik, Binyomin 32 baker Rynek
5 Pakhter, Yoysef 36 Confectioner Wodna
6 Frid, M. A. 34 Employed Lubelska
7 Druker, Gershon 32 Driver  
8 Raykhman, Avrom 39 Tailor Rynek
9 Vaynberg, A. Y. 37 Baker  
10 Teler, Efroyim 38 Tailor Staszic
11 Bzhozha, Ayzik 35 Merchant Rynek
12 Terkltop, Hersh 35 Tailor  
13 Milyer, Mordkhe 38 Merchant  
14 Shprayz, Binyomin 36 Merchant Rynek
15 Horvitz, Moyshe 30 Merchant  
16 Hak, Leyb 47 Tailor  
17 Druker, Yoysef 33 Machinist  
18 Gelber, Yankl 34 Locksmith Lubelska
19 Masher, Naftali 39 Porter Rynek
20 Pomerants, Avrom 40 Merchant Rynek
21 Shtokhamer, Yeshaye 37 Gaiter-maker Rynek
22 Maler, Pinkhes 41 Tailor Rynek
23 Apel, Shmuel 31 Merchant Rynek
24 Loden, Eliezer 35 Lives with parents Rynek


Candidate List No. 5
No. No. Last and First Names Age Occupation Address in Hrubieszow
1 Pakhter, Hersh 39 Shipping clerk  
2 Hubel, Shmuel 40 Teacher Rynek
3 Brener, Aron 40 Merchant Rynek
4 Moskal, Moyshe 35 Merchant  
5 Shteyn, Ruven 35 Entrepreneur  
6 Neymark, Yankev 31 Middleman  
7 Gertl, Mekhl 31 Merchant  
8 Gruber, Avrom 32 Warehouser  
9 Zayd, Yoyne 34 Painter  
10 Shpiler, Yoel 34 Tailor  
11 Zilber, Sender 32 Merchant  
12 Brener, Yitzkhok 40 Worker Rynek
13 Vaks, Arn 32 Merchant  
14 Edelshteyn, Yitzkhok 33 Merchant  
15 Tukhshnayder, Mekhl 38 Upholsterer  
16 Biterman, Shiye-Ber 38 Merchant  
17 Birez, Khayim-Yitzkhok32 32 Merchant  
18 Frid, Moyshe 33 Merchant Lubelska
19 Krelnboym, Yankev S. 34 Merchant Rynek
20 Viner, Menashe 38 Employed  
21 Kirshenzon, Hersh 31 Merchant  
22 Vevrik, Kalmen 33 Merchant  
23 Goldfarb, Avrom 34 Goldsmith  
24 Rom, Motl 36 Merchant Rynek


Candidate List No. 6
No. Last and First Names Age Occupation Address in Hrubieszow
1 Shpiler, Dovid 56 Tailor  
2 Klingel, Hersh 48 Carpenter Wodna
3 Nisl, Volf 35 Butcher Pilsudski
4 Shvarts, Yankev 53 Baker  
5 Mandelblit, Yudl 36 Hatmaker  
6 Shtern, Ber 32 Shoemaker Wodna
7 Riz, Mordkhe 40 Butcher Lubelska
8 Soifer, Hersh 35 Carpenter  
9 Bergman, Avrom 45 Shoemaker  
10 Boden, Avrom 36 Launderer  
11 Lerer, Daniel 69 Baker Rynek
12 Koyfman, Binyomin 38 Carpenter Lubelska
13 Valdman, Volf 57 Bricklayer Lubelska
14 Shnal, Leybish 56 Painter Lubelska
15 Alt, Moyshe 37 Butcher  
16 Frid, Efroyim 34 Carpenter Lubelska
17 Kahan, Aba 31 Gaiter-maker  
18 Rokhman, Yankev 52 Barber  
19 Fayl, Benye 38 Butcher  
20 Zilberblekh, Eliyohu 31 Hatmaker  
21 Likhtenberg, Avrom 40 Dyer  
22 Vinyazh,Yankev-Yitzkhok 69 69 Carpenter Rynek
23 Zilbershteym, Shloyme 52 Carpenter Rynek
24 Bigler, Eliyohu 55 Baker Rynek


Candidate List No. 7
No. Last and First Names Age Occupation Address in Hrubieszow
1 Zak, Hersh 63 Merchant  
2 Laks, Yissokher-Ber 39 Merchant Rynek
3 Bornshteyn, Yitzkhok 55 Brushmaker  
4 Shiffer, Arn 58 Oil Dealer  
5 Zomer, Khayim 52 Merchant  
6 Lerer, Yehoshua 41 Merchant  
7 Flis, Yisro'el 39 Merchant Lubelska
8 Kitayg, Perets 56 Merchant Lubelska
9 Aynhorn, Shimen 54 Merchant Lubelska
10 Fayl, Eliyohu 70 Machinist Lubelska
11 Frimer, Shmuel 63 Merchant Lubelska
12 Ayzen, Gershn 40 Merchant Rynek
13 Beker, Moyshe 50 Merchant Lubelska
14 Tsvayg, Leybish 62 Middleman Rynek
15 Bukhtreger, Ber 74 Proprietor Lubelska
16 Gelernter, Yoyne 50 Middleman  
17 Goldshteyn, Efroyim 56 Middleman  
18 Papir, Yoyne 55 Middleman Rynek
19 Katz, Kalmen Shmuel 55 Middleman  
20 Zilbershteyn, Yankev 60 Middleman  
21 Shtern, Shimen 47 Middleman  
22 Tsimerman,Yisro'el 50 Middleman Rynek
23 Hokhman, Moishe A. 50 Middleman  
24 Tsigl, Yisro'el 74 Middleman  


Candidate List No. 8
No. Last and First Names Age Occupation Address in Hrubieszow
1 Shiler, Yisro'el 48 Merchant  
2 Shtokhamer, Avrom 49 Merchant  
3 Kahan, Berish 62 Collector  
4 Lerer, Yoysef Dovid 49 Soap manufacturer Pilsudski
5 Goldboym, Khayim 62 Merchant Rynek
6 Shtokhamer, Yankev 49 Merchant Lubelska
7 Gayst, Leybish 62 Merchant  
8 Glozberg, Avrom 67 Merchant  
9 Klig, Leyb 60 Merchant  
10 Gelernter, Yitzkhok M. 66 Merchant  
11 Rayter, Gershon 46 Merchant Rynek
12 Herman, Berish 72 Merchant  
13 Kats, Akiva 44 Merchant Rynek
14 Grinboym, Mordkhe 61 Merchant  
15 Moyl, Yankev 41 Merchant Rynek
16 Shapira, Lipa 59 Merchant  
17 Shats, Yitzkhok 68 Merchant  
18 Eng, Yoysef 55 Merchant  
19 Blass, Mates 68 Merchant  
20 Brandel, Yitzkhok 60 Merchant  
21 Ayzn, Yitzkhok 56 Merchant Lubelska
22 Boyml, Hersh 45 Merchant  
23 Valdman, Yehoshua 57 Merchant Rynek
24 Rayz, Hersh 65 Teacher  


Candidate List No. 10
No. Last and First Names Age Occupation Address in Hrubieszow
1 Finkelshteyn, Azri'el 49 Merchant May 3
2 Bukhtreger, Hersh 50 Merchant Rynek
3 Perets, Yankev 67 Merchant  
4 Rozenberg, Ber 72 Merchant Staszic
5 Vaynboym, Yehoshua 55 Merchant Lubelska
6 Oysbrokh, Yankev 59 Merchant  
7 Frost, Yekhezkel 68 Merchant  
8 Katshandl, Perets 40 Merchant  
9 Fridman, Azri'el 54 Merchant Rynek
10 Shturm, Perets 69 Merchant  
11 Zeltzer, Avrom 62 Merchant  
12 Mayzlish, Dovid 61 Merchant  
13 Likhtenshteyn, Moyshe 43 Merchant Szpitalna
14 Herman, Ber 72 Merchant  
15 Shafel, Yankev 58 Merchant Rynek
16 Gertner, Yekhi'el 44 Shipping clerk  
17 Kutcher, Yehoshua 50 Merchant  
18 Blages, Shulem 64 Watchmaker  
19 Zilbermints, Moyshe 63 Merchant May 3
20 Shtikh, Mates 58 Middleman  
21 Lerer, Avrom 45 Merchant  
22 Holtser, Avrom 58 Merchant Rynek
23 Finkelshteyn, Ber 51 Merchant  
24 Shtokhamer, Avrom 49 Oil dealer  


The Elections Committee announces that each voter can vote only for one of the candidates in the lists. It's also worth noting that Lists nos. 8 and 10 are combined. The combined Lists of Candidates count as a single list.

Hrubieszow, September 1, 1936
Azri'el Finkelshteyn
Chairman of the Elections Committee

Translator's Footnotes:

  1. The text uses different but equivalent Hebrew and Yiddish terms to signify “merchant”: soykher (Hebrew) and hendler (Yiddish). Return
  2. I was unable to decipher the last name. Return
  3. The Yiddish bikhlater is probably a typo for bihalter, bookkeeper. Return


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