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Translated Yiddish articles

 

Memories of Nashelsk

By Leybush Silvershteyn

Translated by Hershl Hartman

Nashelsk, a shtetl in Poland’s Pultusk region, which lay along the Warsaw-Mlawa railroad line, and which had approximately 600 Jewish families, lived quite peacefully before the First World War. The craftsman sat and worked, the storekeeper stood in.his stall, awaiting a customer. When no customers came he would take out a Gemara volume and sit down to study. Satan, may his name be obliterated, could not endure a Jew’s studying, so he sent in a customer to disrupt his studies. When folks wanted to learn news of the great city, they would go in the evening to the rail cars and see whoever was arriving from Warsaw to ask them the latest news.

All week long the shtetl was calm and peaceful. Jews could be seen at mornings and evenings going to the Study House for prayers. At evening, all Jews without exception would come to the Study House for evening prayers. The storekeeper left his wife or daughter to tend the stall. The craftsman lay down his work and went for evening prayers.

In the Study House, at each desk there sat a particular grouping and a rabbi teaching them. There were various groupings: the Talmud group, Well of Jacob, Mishna, Psalms Group, Splendor of Fellows, etc. Often there were visits by various messengers from institutions or simply preachers. Then no grouping studied alone: all listened to the sweet words of the speaker, who described how good and pleasant life is for him who contributes to Torah experts and who supports yeshivas, orphanages, old age homes, etc., how for him the gates of heaven are open, how pleasant and good it is to be in the Garden of Eden where the saints sit with the crowns on their heads and enjoy the brilliance of the Holy Spirit. To the contrary, he depicted the horrors of perdition, how horrible the tortures are there, how one is burned and roasted for every most minor little sin, how the fiery snakes are always ready to devour the evil one who sins. Every Jew felt a shudder through his body.

On Tuesdays and Fridays the shtetl grew festive. Those were the market days. The peasants of the nearby villages would come to town with their produce. And the little storekeepers who waited, awaiting the day, went into the marketplace holding their little canes, ready to do business, to earn a living for the whole week. The tailor, the cobbler, the carpenter, the dry goods merchant, the purse maker, etc. — all came into the marketplace with their merchandise. And with the help of God, Jews earned money. And when Sabbath-eve arrived, if he lacked the means for Sabbath expenses, he had to go to get a loan. Nevertheless, no matter the number of visitors who came to the shtetl for Sabbath, not a single Jew refused to accept a visitor in his home.

The Radzimener rabbi, may his years increase, founded a yeshiva in Nashelsk in 1911. He said that Nashelsk should be a home for the Torah, because Nashelsk, by the rules of Hebrew letter values, was Torah, 611. Over 100 young fellows from all over Poland studied at the yeshiva. The town provided the yeshiva-students with daily meals by rotating householders and supported them with all necessities.


To the Sacred Memory of Nashelsk

24 Adar 5702

Gershon Prag - Bnei Brak, Israel

Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund

24 Adar 5702 [13th of March 1942] – a sad date in the history of the Jews of Nashelsk [Nasielsk] – the important Jewish community of major cultural and religious importance - -

On 24 Adar 5702 (1942), the rich Jewish community in Nashelsk, the spiritually rich Jewish city with its very colorful communal and cultural life was erased.

The few surviving Nashelsk Jews are spread over all corners of the world, the majority of them in Israel – this is a bit of consolation.

The surviving Nashelsk Jews in Israel and across the entire world, let us always recall the memory of our dear fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, the dear children who were flung into fire!

Let us remember them by taking part in the memorial service in large numbers and let us with our respectful relationship to the memorial service preserve the honor of our martyrs.


My Nashelsk Family

by Abraham Mordechai Bendat, Los Angeles

Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund

I am a Nashelsk grandson of Borukh Bendat. My grandfather, Borukh, was called Lev Zahav [heart of gold] in Nashelsk. He was born in Nashelsk in the year 1803 and died in 1890. This shows that the Jewish kehile [organized Jewish community] existed in Nashelsk for hundreds of years. My grandmother was named Brayndl. She was called Brayndele Kozak [Brayndele the Cossack] because she was an old-fashioned Jewish woman, energetic, tall, with a large bonnet on her head, always covered with long, velvet ribbons. She always wore a black, wide petticoat with an apron over it. Under the apron, she had a leather bag, where she kept her money. For all her years, she was the one who provided the income, the merchant in the shop at the market, where she sold buttons, ribbons, kerosene, loaf sugar, salt, whips, castor oil, dried lard, outfits for corpses, oil, tar, axle grease, candies, needles, thread and so on. My grandfather helped her on market days, only Tuesday and Friday; on the other days, he was busy praying and studying. He was considered as a Jew, a scholar. He never worried about himself, always about others…

He always was occupied: Dozor [member of the synagogue council] in the city, gabbai [sexton] at the Khevre Kadisha [burial society], Talmud Torah Society, Bikhor Kholem [society for visiting the sick], Hakhnosas Kalah [aid for poor brides] and so on. Friday night, in the house of prayer, after praying, he made sure the poor had somewhere to eat on Shabbos [Sabbath]. When there were not enough hosts to take all of the guests, he, without consideration for how many remained, he took them home for Shabbos. There always was enough challah (Sabbath bread) with raisin wine and a bit of licorice to drink! Every morning he recited Psalms. Every night, at midnight, he observed the custom of khatzos [prayer in memory of the destruction of the Temple]. He constantly lamented the goles haShkhine [Divine exile]. Every morning he recited Psalms. After saying prayers, he studied the weekly Torah portion with a group of Jews. During the day he studied a page of Gemore [Talmudic commentaries] with the Nashelsk young men and Ein Yaakov [a compilation of the ethical and inspirational sections of the Talmud] until the afternoon and evening prayers. My grandmother, Brayndl, gave his a six-piece coin every day for him to give tzadekah [charity]; he did not know anything about any other money… He never left Nashelek during the 87 years of his life. When he would enter the house of prayer, all of the Jews stood up for him. When he died, all of the shops closed, all of the artisans put down their work; the entire shtetl came to his funeral.

My grandmother, Brayndl, died in 1895.

My father, Shmuel Bendat, not a great scholar, was a Vorker Hasid. When I was eight years old, my parents left Nashelsk and moved to Warsaw. But I remember Nashelsk very well; I remember the melamdim [religious teachers] to whom I went to kheder [religious primary school] – Moshe Nusan with the long whip; Ahron Dovid with the …; Leyzer Katshker with the katshkes [ducks]; Leib Iser the shrewd man; and my last teacher in Nashelsk – Yosl Harzeler, with whom I studied Gemore [Talmudic commentaries] and Tosafat [medieval commentaries]. I remember as if it were now, how in a great snow, on a winter day, the teacher sent we students throughout the city to collect candles for the 7th of Adar, the yahrzeit [anniversary of a death] of Moshe Rabbeinu [Moses]. As a child, I went from house to house and asked, “Give a candle for Moshe Rabbeinu's yahrzeit.” All of the women gave me a candle or three groshn. My childish hands were frozen from the great frost. For Minkhah [afternoon prayers], we went to the house of prayer with the teacher and helped light hundreds of candles. The image of the hundreds of burning candles still appears before my eyes.

Today in former Nashelsk, the candles are extinguished; there is no longer a Jewish Nashelsk…everything is a ruin! We will still dream that we can still travel to visit our shtetl Nashelsk where we were born, where we spent our childhood; eager to see where our cradle stood, where we took our first step, where we spoke our first dear word: Mama. Eager to see the house of our first kheder, where the angel threw the first groshn,[1] where our dear mothers distributed raisins and almonds to all the boys.

We want to see the market and the streets where we ran around with other “mischievous children” and grab a look at the Shul [Synagogue] Street, the alley of the mikvah [ritual bath], Warszawer Street, the Teper Street, the wine houses; stroll along the Pultsker highway, or to Zdroa where we would stroll on Shabbos [Sabbath] after the cholent [Sabbath stew] – just one more time to catch a look at the large house of prayer with the Jews at the long, wide tables, where they prayed, recited Psalms or studied a chapter of Mishnius [Talmudic commentaries] and we will meet whomever we love and is dear to us and press them to our hearts.

Only, suddenly, you catch yourself, that this is only a dream, that this is all lost, annihilated, murdered by the bitter enemy, may their names be erased - - - as all of your dear ones perished al kiddish haShem – vel kiddish haShem [as martyrs, in sanctification of God's name!]

Janke, Stanek and Woytek are now the owners of Jewish property on which our parents worked for hundreds of years.

My friends and Nashelsk landsleit;

Alas, we can no longer visit the old Nashelsk; however, we can visit the new Nashelsk. After difficult work and with everyone's contributions, a new Nashelsk was erected – a Nashelsk in memory of all the martyrs – a consolation for the survivors! That we have a Nachlat Nashelsk [Nashelsk Estate - housing] in our land, Israel! Each of us in America needs to take a trip to visit Nachlat Nashelsk and see that this is not a dream, but a reality – so, when returning, I am sure everyone will become an active co-worker to help in the noble work of enlarging Nachlat Nashelsk for generations!

Translator's note:

  1. During the first few days of kheder, small coins were thrown into the boy's books and they were told that they had been thrown by an angel because the boys were learning well.


My Shtetele [small town] Nashelsk

by Gershon Prag - Bnei Brak, Israel

Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund

When I think of you
My tears flow endlessly.
My heart cries in me,
I have a desire for you,
My shtetele Nashelsk!

When I turn my gaze to you,
My limbs tremble.
What a ruin has become
Of my sisters and brothers,
My shtetele Nashelsk!

I cannot forget you.
You stand before my eyes.
Your splendor, your glory gone,
My head is bowed,
My shtetele Nashelsk!

Everything is empty,
Your children have become ash,
Murdered, killed, burned,
Buried, everything lost,
My shtetele Nashelsk!

Where is the place where you lay buried?
Where is your grave located?
Where is the spot to erect a headstone?
Every one of my limbs tremble,
My shtetele Nashelsk!

We, the survivors, will not cease to do [everything] so that the “heritage of Nashelsk” in Israel will grow and bloom.


The Man of the People, Abe Korn!

By Joseph Korn

Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund

Being a very close friend and a relative of Abe Korn, I had the opportunity to follow him and observe him in various communal work.

As a founder of one of the noblest aid organizations of which the entire city of Nashelsk boasted, the Tomkhei Anim [supporters of the poor], Abe Korn, himself a very young man, in his early 20s, acquired the respect of everyone, small and large, from the most enlightened to the rabbi of the city. He was respected for his devotion, willingness and energy to help the living widows, who had their husbands in America and could not receive any support from them because of the [First World] War. He was strongly praised for helping all the others who suffered from the war, who lost their positions in life thanks to the war, as well as those sick from the terrible typhus epidemic, which enveloped all of Poland at that time.

Avrahaml Yuda Borukh's [son of Borukh – Abe's given name], as we then called him, had a great power of attraction. With his modesty and earnestness, he succeeded in bringing together all of the young people in the city, as well as a number of older people, without distinction as to origin, rich or poor, businessman or worker – for one holy purpose: to help the needy!

It would take an entire book to describe the activity of the Tomkhei Anim Society under his leadership at that time. It is only worthwhile to record several aspects, for example, the Yiddish amateur theater in Nashelsk.

Not only was he the founder and initiator, but he also took part as an actor (and a good one), created the contacts in Warsaw for costumes for the presentations. And when the dark powers that constantly wants to hold back the wheel of progress were occupied and undertook, through denunciations to “authorities,” to destroy and not permit the carrying out the further presentations, which brought great income for the needy, our Avrahaml left his concerns about income to others, and went off to Warsaw for a long time until he succeeded in having the ban [on performing] removed.

And I remember the joy of his fellow men when he returned with the permission for further presentations,as well as the joy of the poor and suffering for whose purpose the performances were carried out.

We also find our man of the people, Avrahaml, at the founding of the first workers' home in Nashelsk. Although himself not a member of the proletariat, but a businessman, he however, had a sense of social justice and always sympathized with the aspirations of the workingman and people. He also took an active part in bringing better working conditions and material gains.

When they began to transform the small library, which then existed, into a municipal institution, we again found our Avrahaml in the leadership, always ready with word and deed to help equip new and comfortable rooms and also to help gather new books.

And his life's companion, Rukhtshe, took part with him in all activities, such as acting in theater, even in other things, in the library and in other branches of activity.

When Poland again became an independent land and the first elections for a city council took place in Nashelsk, the men of the people of Nashelsk did not forget their comrade and friend and elected him as their first representative at the city council.

Returning to America in 1921, Abe again helped revive the old Nashelsk landsmanschaft [organization of people from the same town] organization in Chicago, in which he was active until the last day before leaving Chicago. He was also one of the founders of the United Nashelsk Relief Organization throughout the country, which did wonderful work for Nashelsk until the sad Hitler era.

Understand that it is no accident that when he arrived in California, he became one of the most active workers in our new and young Nashelsk organization.

As president of the Los Angeles organization and as general secretary of the national “Housing Project,” he gave all his free time, energy and dedication.

Abe Korn finds time to take an active part in other Jewish people's organizations, where he is very beloved and praised for his modesty and earnestness and there is no work in which he does not take part.

These are just a few lines and a few words about the sincere, cheerful and simple man of the people, Abe Korn.

Blessed is the organization that possesses such dear men of the people!


My Young Memories of Nashelsk

by Joseph Korn

Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund

My shtetele [small town], Nashelsk, was not different from all of the small cities and shtetlekh in Poland during the first years of the present century [20th century]. The same market in the middle of the city; the same shops and artisans; the same poverty and the dark, collapsed houses in the back alleys; the same suffering and illness and the same hope for the redemption from goles [exile].

My first melamed [religious school teacher], in a traditional Jewish kheder [religious primary school], was a Jew, an angry one, with a long whip, who barely knew Hebrew (to say nothing about reading and writing Yiddish). The kheder was the dirtiest in the city. The doors and the windows were always bolted so that the chickens and geese would not fly out (this was the melamed's source of additional income). The only room served as a kitchen, bedroom, with a closet and a kheder for children. In one corner was a place to flick feathers into a hole and in the middle of the room was what we called a cellar, to hold the chickens and the geese.

In the very early years of my life, already with another melamed, I learned that we are God's chosen people and we are in goles among unfamiliar people who persecute us because of our beliefs and origins. I immediately began to sense this from non-Jewish neighbors, who reminded me at every opportunity that we are alien and we should move, do Palestine [to Palestine].

I remember the first feelings of humiliation and insult to this day.

I had the luck – thanks to my godly father, who made a great effort – to become one of the first students of Chaim Nusan Cwajkhoft, a follower of the Enlightenment, who was the first modern teacher in Nashelsk. He taught us the Hebrew language, Tanakh [Torah, Prophets and Writings], in Ivrit-b'Ivrit [Hebrew immersion], Jewish history, as well as Gemore [Talmudic commentary], in the modern manner.

Studying with him, I became acquainted with the poets: [Simon] Frug, [Hayim Nahman] Bialik, the writer [David] Frischmann, Ahad Ha'am [“one of the people” – pen name of Asher Zvi Hirsch Ginsberg] and [Nahum] Sokolow, as well as Mendele [Mocher Sforim – pen name of Sholem J. Abramovich], Sholem Aleichem and [Y.L.] Peretz. I absorbed everything I could with great respect for the teacher and with a childish fervor and thirst for knowledge; if something was the spoken Torah or the written Torah. But, alas, this all was interrupted when the First World War began. I was then not yet 13 years old.

The first days of the German occupation of Poland in 1915 still appear before my eyes, when the shtetl [town] Nashelsk began to throw off the mold of the Middle Ages and the young made use of the little bit of political freedom that existed then to organize in various political, cultural and communal unions and parties. The young began to learn about world events and also founded aid organizations to help the needy. Being too young to take part in all activities, I then devoured Yiddish literature. Yes, in my small shtetele Nashelsk, I learned about world literature from Gorky, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky to Zola, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Oscar Wilde, Jack London and [Eugene V.] Debs, Karl Marx, Engels, Luxemburg and [Karl] Liebknecht.

Observing the human hands producing shoes, clothing, wagons, building houses and creating riches for the benefit of others developed in me a love for the creator of the wealth and respect for the simple, honest true men of the people – the Jewish people.

In short, these are my memories of Nashelsk.

I hope and wish the best traditions of my city of birth, Nashelsk, will be transplanted to the Land of Israel and the survivors, who settle in Nachlat Nashelsk [Nashelsk Estate - housing], will help transform the Land of Israel into a land of justice, brotherhood, without exploitation of man by man.

In the name of the martyrs of Nashelsk, I continue to dedicate my energy and help to carry out our present duty to accomplish our dream of a Nachlat Nashelsk in Israel.


Nakhman Elia Korn,
may his memory be a blessing

(Born 1887 – Died 1945)

His Life and Activities
By someone close to him

Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund

I remember it as a dream: police. We sit under the beds. The entire household sad; our parents whisper to each other and it becomes quiet.

* * *

Several years later, in the middle of the night; a knock on the door. Children wake up. Nakhman has returned from London.

He hides entire days, for a long time in the attic room and comes out only at night for a stroll and comes right back.

He travels to Poltusk to court, accompanied by my father. He returns a free man.

Becomes a teacher and teaches adults to write and read.

When I get older and begin to understand what is happening in the world around us, I learn why they had put Nakhman under the bed, in the attic, and why he had to escape to London.

His crime consisted of this: as a young student at the effervescent time, at the beginning of the 20th century, he, with all his youthful fervor, dedicated himself to the movement to help the poor and enslaved workers who then worked from sun-up to sunset, and fought to obtain a few humane conditions and an ability to feed their families.

He also took part in a group that set as its goal the annihilation of the dark Tzarism that oppressed and strangled and persecuted the entire land of Poland at that time.

As a teacher of adults, he also strove to acquaint them with the outside world by helping to create the first library in the small shtetl, Nashelsk.

And more than once, I heard the poor servant girls and seamstresses bless him for the spiritual pleasure that the Yiddish novels and other books furnished them, as well as the fortunate opportunity to become familiar with world literature.

After his departure from Poland, Nakhman Korn became the renowned person of the city; they remembered him with respect and esteem for his activities.

Arriving in the United States, the quiet and modest Nakhman Korn becomes the beloved and most valuable leader of the Nashelsk landsleit [people from the same town]. His presence brings honor and distinction to every gathering or undertaking. He dedicates his entire free time to building and strengthening the landsmanschaft organization to be able to create even more ways to help the needy in Nashelsk.

He also becomes one of the founders of United Nashelsk Relief and is present at its Congress that takes place annually in various cities across the country as national leader and spokesperson.

Nakhman Korn occupies a very esteemed place in various other Jewish organizations and institutions, mainly in the Federation for Polish Jews in Chicago, where he held the office of president for several years. All his fellow men relate to him with respect and esteem for his modesty and earnestness and for carrying out all obligations, which he considers sacred.

The annihilation of the best of the Jewish people by the terrible specter, Hitler, may his name be erased, and the great bloodshed that engulfed the entire world caused the gentle man, Nakhman Korn, physical and spiritual suffering. Yet, we see him already in his new home in California, always busy, while sick, at various Jewish and general activities. He becomes the first president of the Jewish Community Council in San Pedro, California, where his work to unite the entire Jewish life of the city is praised and respected by everyone in the city, small and large, Jews and Christians.

Nakhum Elia Korn's name was memorialized in the founding of the Nashelsk organization, in his memory. His bright soul and spirit is an inspiration for us to create a living monument for our survivors who have reached the land of Israel.

In his name, we commit ourselves to continue with the difficult work to accomplish our dream of the Nachlat Nashelsk in the Land of Israel to truly serve the name: the followers of Nakhum Elia Korn.

Honor His Memory


The Opponent of Zionism in Nashelsk in 1918

By Mendl Engel - Petah Tikva, Israel

Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund

In 1918, after the liberation of Poland, when elections to the Polish Sejm [parliament] took place in Nashelsk, I, as a young man from a pious Hasidic home, had already become a Zionist; a “hidden” Zionist. As one who was already entitled to vote, I ran around the entire day from one voting place to another to take the lists of the voters and convert them to the Zionist list.

Friday night, entering the Gerer shtibl [one room synagogue] in my silk kapote [coat worn by pious men] and velvet cap, I immediately received slaps from all sides with shouts of “Du Sheygets [You, gentile boy], leave the Gerer shtibl!” My father also taught me a lesson. A fervid Gerer Hasid, Nusan Noakh approached me and tore off my velvet cap and threw it out into the street.

The next Sunday I received a “diagnosis” that I suffered as a result of the blows. Several days later I accused all of the beaters in court. I accused Avraham Kaczinski, Sana Milchberg, Avraham Hersh the gabai [sexton], Nusan Noakh and Yehezkiel Wajnsztok (who is now in Haifa). Two weeks before the trial, I went to Warsaw to visit the Zionist committee. Mr. Yitzhak Grinbaum hired a lawyer for me, Mr. Alszwanger, who would represent me in court.

The trial took place in Nashelsk. Before the trial, I took them to a Din-Torah [religious arbitration], to the Ostower Rebbe. I demanded 500 marks from them for the [Jewish] National Fund, but they categorically refused. The answer was that they would rather give the money to the Catholic Church than to the National Fund.

On the day of the trial, the group forcibly hid my witness in Ruwin Hurwicz's cellar. However, when the trial took place, the judge ruled that they should give 500 marks: 250 for the National Fund and 250 for the National Treasury, for the Polish state, with a pardon and instructions that from that day on they should not interfere and everything would be peaceful. Thus, ended the trial in Nashelsk about Zionism.


Communal Life in Poland

by Feyvl Ziontz

Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund

Before the annihilation that came to Polish Jewry, Nashelsk was one of the oldest communities. Nashelsk had a rich Jewish life, a rich communal life: Zionist organizations, a professional workers movement, libraries, theater group, dramatic society, as well as Mizrakhistn [members of Mizrakhi – religious Zionists], Hasidic shtiblekh [one room synagogues] and other societies. While, like [Jews in] all cities and shtetlekh in Poland, Jews in Nashelsk dreamed of a better world, a free world; dreamed of the deliverance from exile! The Nashelsk young people sacrificed their lives for a better world that, alas, did not come for them.

The main place in communal life in Nashelsk was occupied by the general Zionist organizations: HaShomer Hatzair [Socialist-Zionist youth movement], HaHalutz [pioneer group], Mizrakhi, Brit Trumpeldor [House of Trumpeldor – Betar – Revisionist Youth Movement], Brit Hakhayal [Soldier's Alliance – Revisionists]. Nashelsk also had a Brit Trumpeldor hakhshare camp [agricultural training to prepare for immigration to Eretz Yisroel].

The professional workers movement held a great place, such as the Bund with its extensive cultural work; with its own representative in the city council, the Bund played a large role in Nashelsk municipal life. Nashelsk also had organized religious groups: Orthodox, Hasidic groups, Mizrakhistn and followers of the Enlightenment. The Agudas Yisroel [Union of Israel – Orthodox organization] with its own khederim [religious primary schools], youth schools – and who can forget the famous Gerer shtibl and Nusan Noakh?!

It is worth remembering the Artisans Union with its gemiles-khesed kase [interest-free loan fund], where many Nashelsk artisans were placed on their feet by the loan fund.

In the cultural area, Nashelsk was proud of its own national orchestra, Hazamir [organization to promote interest in music, literature and theater] which consisted of 25 instruments; its two youth dramatic sections that from time to time carried out the best Yiddish theater repertoire. After the First World War, the children of the families of Itshe Barensztajn, Asher Feldszers, Yankl Puchalski, Yehuda Borukh Korn and Fishl Perlmuter, and also many others, took part in the Yiddish Theater in Nashelsk.

In later years Benyamin Adonayla, Mendl Bergazin, Shlomo Yagudai, Feyvl Ziontz, Brukha Szwarcberg, Sore Glina, Shlomo Richerman, Zlata Szwarcberg, Hantshe Fiszerman, Melekh Wengenburski, Fishl Perlmuter, Gitl Puchalski and many others took part.

It is hard not to linger over this important work that each of the organizations did to raise the cultural and economic conditions of the Jews in Nashelsk.

However, it is worth mentioning that Nashelsk could be compared with many larger cities in Poland that depended on communal activities. I will only mention several names of the builders, of the energetic co-workers in all of the various Nashelsk organizations:

Masholem Bialystocki, president of the General Zionist Organization, Marasha, of Keren Kayemet L'Yisroel [Jewish National Fund]; Mendl Bergazin, of the Tarbut [secular Hebrew language schools] dramatic group; Doctor Szohr, president of the Revisionist organization; Leibush Awszanka, president of the Mizrakhi; Gedalia Rotsztajn, Benyamin Adunayla, Feyvl Ziontz and Shlomo Rajcherman, the leaders of Brit Tempuldor and Brit Hakhayal.

Chava Ziontz, Rakhalka Bialystocki and Miriam Fel, of HaShomer Hatzair; Avraham Brawer, the leader of the Bund.

These are the people who shaped Nashelsk communal life from 1920 to 1937. I had the honor to work with them during those years. The majority of those who I mention perished in the destruction of Poland, perished as martyrs. Their lives stolen and the young slaughtered and burned. The small number who survived – the small number of survivors are located in various countries across the world such as Israel, Argentina, Brazil, Canada as well as here in United States.

Now when we build Nashelsk neighborhoods – a Nachlat Nashelsk in our own land, Israel, a home for our refugees – I call on my surviving comrades throughout the world. I call in the name of the so tragically annihilated Nashelsk fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters! Let us memorialize the names of all those annihilated martyrs from Nashelsk by helping to erect Nachlat Nashelsk in Israel.


Nashelsk - Program

Dos Yudishe Herts
[The Jewish Heart]

Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund

Comic Opera in 4 Acts
Mister Y[osef] Latayner

Cast of Characters:

Leach, an innkeeper Mr. F. Perelmuter
Serkele, his second wife Miss F. Barensztajn
Dinele, his daughter with his first wife Miss G. Barensztajn
Yakov Szteren, an artist, her groom Mr. R. Rozenbars
Roza, Serkele's daughter with her first husband Miss R. Wans
Herman, Roza's husband, Yakov's friend Mr. A. Korn
Uncle Moshe from Buczacz, Serkele's brother Mr. Y. Wans
Paula Papeska, a rich, elderly woman Miss Y. Lewicka
 
Her children:
Viktor Mr. P. Wans
Lida Miss B. Lewicka
Commissar Mr. ?, Adunayla
Baliff X

Director Mr. M. Wlomszek
Manager Mr, Kahn
Music under the direction of Mr. Skrzipca

[Illegible] in Romania

Produced and played by Nashelsk Theater Group in 1917


At the Housewarming

25th of Adar 5713

by Gershon Prag

Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund

This is the day for which we hoped!

The Nashelsker in Israel and the Nashelsker in the greater world are preparing for a great, historic holiday – 25th of Adar 5713 [12th of March 1953] – that day, the historical city Nashelsk will be renewed in Israel.

Nashelsk, with its great past of brotherhood and love of one another, will bloom again. A new fruitful life in all respects.

The past Nashelsk with its houses of prayer, Agudas Yisroel, Tzerim [young people], Poalim [workers], Mizrakhi, Zionists, the merchant's union, artisans, retailers, market merchants, wagon drivers and water carriers will become agricultural workers in Israel. When everything disappeared, when everything was annihilated, “My brothers do I seek” bursts from the depth of my heart – we seek all Nashelsk brothers and sisters who are spread across the world to come to Nachlat Nashelsk in Israel. To build a new life, live in new Nashelsk, which will be our greatest victory – our revenge against the murderers!

This is the day for which we hoped!


A Letter to Chaim Laks in Nachlat Nashelsk

Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund

I write this letter to you with full joy and a great deal of pleasure because you are the first of our Nashelsk landsleit who entered the housing complex of Nachlat Nashelsk. Believe me, Friend Laks, that I cannot find the necessary words to express my feelings at this historic moment. Honestly, I myself, know what difficult and arduous work we endured during the last two years in accomplishing our project of building these houses – but I cannot believe that we have realized half of our project. That this is true; that this has been accomplished; that now I am writing a letter to a family who already lives in our housing complex, in Nachlat Nashelsk. I still think that this is only a dream – a dream of the future.

Now I am reading a letter, just received from our Gershon Prag, from Bnei Brak. I read the letter several times, in which he writes to me that you, Chaim Laks, are the first family already living in Nachlat Nashelsk, in building number 276. And I think: it must be true. How precious this is to read – a dream accomplished; the name Nashelsk memorialized for generations, a new home on our own soil, a new life for our own in our land, Israel.

Friend Laks, I await with impatience the moment when I and my wife will be in Israel at our housewarming; when we have the honor to visit our Nashelsker in Kfar Ono; when we will be the guests among our own in Nachlat Nashelsk. As I write this letter to you, I forget all the pains, all the difficulties, the sleepless nights, the insults, the arguments of opponents, the pretexts of those who did not what to contribute, their pessimistic talk that we would never achieve this.

Now I feel like shouting out: You opponents! You pessimists! You see? We were right! We already are at the point of realizing it – and we will continue with our work. I will not stop for anything until our estate of 100 [houses] is erected – a Nachlat Nashelsk with grandeur and brilliance, where our Nashelsk children and grandchildren will be raised in freedom and equality; where a new, proud generation will grow up on our own soil in our own land, Israel.

I hope that in a short time, during our visit to Israel and Nachlat Nashelsk, I will meet our landsleit with happy faces, people without worry, employed and satisfied with a wonderful future. I hope that I will see children in the streets, joyful, lively. I will have pleasure from how they are singing, dancing and playing with each other. Perhaps I will also find fresh, early plants here and there among the Nashelsk houses. It is my earnest wish that Nachlat Nashelsk will bloom and grow more and more, an eternal monument for all of the Nashelsk martyrs who lost their lives at the hands of the Hitlerist murderers.

Be strong and of good courage!
May peace and blessings be with you.
Benyamin Bendat

Chairman
Association of Nashelsk Jews in America

The best greeting to you and your family, also to all our 47 families in Nachlat Nashelsk.

 

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