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[Page 266]

Batya Wallach,
May Her Memory Be for a Blessing

The Path of Her Life

by Chedva Lachovitsky

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

Batya was born to the Wallach family on September 15, 1919 in the village of Nesvizh, in the district of Baranovich, which is in Poland (which today belongs to the Soviet Union).

The extensive Wallach family was blessed with attractive sons and daughters who were blessed with ability. The father was an accountant, and a quiet and humble man. He did not always succeed in acquiring work, and more than once sat unemployed. The mother took on herself and on her children the burden of the family, which struggled hard for its existence.

The children grew up in a traditional Jewish atmosphere, and they quickly joined the Zionist youth movements. The sons – to the “Mizrachi” – and the daughter, the parents' pampered child – found her way already at the age of 10 to the local branch of “The Young Guard,” and from then remained faithful to her movement until the end of her days.

Batya visited the Hebrew “Culture” school, and was one of its outstanding students. Quiet and a little introspective, she loved to read a lot, and even directed the school library. When she completed the public school, she decided to learn a profession in a course of study to be independent and to prepare for a life of training, and the life in a collective settlement in the land. For three years she worked in sewing.

 

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Batya Wallach

 

At the beginning of 1939, just before the outbreak of the World War, Batya joined a training company in the city of Rovno, as a member of the kibbutz “BaMinhara.”[1] With the outbreak of the battles between Germany and Poland, she wandered with her movement friends to the great Guard assemblage in Vilna. When the days of terror came, she continued to wander eastward with her friends, towards the Soviet Union, and stayed in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, which are in central Asia. In this way she passed the whole chapter of trials and tribulations, the hunger and the distress which were the allotted portion of the Jewish war refugees.

With the cessation of battles in 1945, she returned and visited her town of her birth, Nesvizh, but she found nothing there but destruction and ruin. No remnant of her entire extended family remained. She went out to Lodz, the place where members of the movement were gathered. With the establishment of the children's house of the Young Guard in Ludvikova, Batya enlisted as a counselor in it, and worked there for a full year.

When it was decided to take these children out of the borders of Poland, in an effort to reach the homeland, Batya too went out at the head of one of the groups of children by way of Czechoslovakia and reached the city of Lindenfels, which is in Germany. There the children's house was established anew. There she met Munyo, who was also on the counselors' staff, and entered into the covenant of marriage with him.

The longed–for moment arrived. Batya and Munyo boarded the ship of illegal immigrants “European Exodus,” with a group of about 50 children, in order to reach the shores of the land. However, the British government returned them by force – mostly met by fearless resistance and terrible riots – to German soil.

Only a year afterwards, on May 22, 1948, about a week after the declaration of the state, Batya was able to tread on the soil of the yearned–for homeland.


Translator's Footnote:
  1. In the Tunnel. Return


Itzik

In “Gadna” Camp

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

Captain Yitzchak Katz, son to Sima and David, was born on October 31, 1946 in Germany. He went up to the land in the year 1947, grew up and was educated in Kibbutz Mesilot. In Tzahal,[1] he served in reconnaissance. He returned to permanent service as a company commander. He fell in the line of duty on September 2, 1970, Elul 1, 5730.

– – – And among all who know everyone, there is no barrier between officer and subordinate – Itzik, just like that – without a prefix of rank, he was the commander and Naftali was a regular fighter yet the two of them pouring out experiences with wild laughter as if they grew up together in the crib.

We imagined that we would see a man of tall stature, broad shoulders, a scarred face, his gaze cold, speaking seriously and gravely, and behold, an officer in a unit would need to appear so.

We were surprised, in the slightly darkened room; Itzik sat next to the table. His height was average, his hair was curly blonde, his eyes were blue and dreamy, and his voice was quiet, calm, with a moderate and ordered tone, a little shy. On his shoulders, strange, worn, patched battle–dress spotted with rifle–oil stains, and with terseness that was characteristic of his speech, he pointed out: “I am a son of Kibbutz Mesilot. I signed up permanently on one condition – that they would allow me to serve in this unit. I would not have continued to serve in any other place, but this unit I would not have exchanged for any house. I love the work, the people, and all that belongs to reconnaissance.”

We asked to hear about the first days of the unit. Itzik furrowed his brow, laughing as experiences from those days in which he arrived at the unit passed before his eyes: “it was a few years ago, the unit was established at the initiative of Avraham Yaffa, then the General Officer of the Northern Command. At that time, we used to explore in all sectors of the north, with which we sought to become familiar in an excellent fashion. We used to go out for patrols of a few days, in an organized and orderly military framework. We did almost all that we wanted and all that was possible” – he closes his eyes and continues to recount – “we would go around in all the kibbutzim and even sleep in them. Occasionally we would get lambs and chickens, which provided a pretext for a kumzitz.[2] We would prepare such good shakshuka[3] … it was wonderful!” It seems that the memory of those days caused him a feeling of hunger even today, and therefore he refrained from a detailed description of the stables of the partisans.

In 1965 when terrorist activities began in combination with “Fatah,”[4] and Tzahal units were involved in the struggle with the terrorists, we began to dedicate time to the prevention of terrorist activities. Then we entered into constant dynamic action, which is characteristic of the unit even today, for continuous attention to security problems in order to obtain results, which in the area of prevention of terrorist infiltration they are the most excellent in Tzahal.

The grief and the bereavement that befell many of the houses of Israel did not pass over[5] the house of the mother of Captain Itzik Katz, and her grief was integrated with the grief of the whole nation. As many members of the fate, Itzik's life was sent in opposition, and he lost the brilliance of his world. Itzik's life story is entwined in the wonderful story of

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the unit in which he served, which saturated the north with its blood, but more than anything saved for Israel the blood of babies, women, and children on the home front.

Itzik was in all his personality an example of an officer who set a model and an example of what is special about the strength and spirit of Tzahal – he was a symbol of the heroism of Israel.

In every period, there arose for Tzahal images of warriors on whose account, in light of their deeds, the entire army was educated. To these warriors there was not given, in most instances, any external expression of appreciation, and they fell in their anonymity. But there is none like Tzahal and none like the nation of Israel, which knows the Jewish fighting heroism of those that fell. Itzik characterized this heroism in the story of his life. He excelled in operational actions, revealed in battle the values that made Tzahal unique and comprised the essence of its strength – and with all of his might strove for an operation above and beyond his obligation.

Itzik, according to the stories of his protC)gC)s, acted with willingness and recognition of the mission, out of a hope that he was building a new and beautiful world – not like the one in which his parents suffered, but like one that he stood to bequeath to his future children from his wife that he had only just married. The victories that were after his death, and the future victories that would come for Israel – they are his, and a significant part of him is in them.

A young blonde whose locks of hair fluttered in the wind all the time that he stood gazing ahead towards his soldiers, Itzik saw a mission in his military actions. He came from a kibbutz – he was educated in its lap, and he loved the work and the honesty of the relationships of the kibbutz society – all this he tried to transmit, and with not insignificant luck, also to his unit. His standing before his friends was not like that of a disconnected officer with a hardened expression. He was their best friend. No one will forget how, on one of the evenings, in the hour that he freed his soldiers after the fulfillment of a responsibility, all of them left the base, except for two. Itzik investigated and sought out why they weren't going out to have fun. When it became clear to him that they were in financial distress, he did not relax until he forced them to accept money from him.

He had mental and spiritual maturity, and therefore he was honest and sincere – his approach to basic principles and human free rights was serious. Just as he was ready to criticize matters that were deserving of criticism, he was also ready to criticize himself. Because of this he was the epitome of a good example to those living with him in one division. He was a courageous pioneer who always sought to go at the head of the line without hesitation and call out: “after me!”

And when he was wounded and died, a wonderful flower was plucked in its youth. There is no comfort to those who eulogize him. But the bright light that he radiated – its time is forever.

In “Gadna”[6] Camp


Translator's Footnotes:
  1. The Israel Defense Force. Return
  2. Yiddish: “kum,” come, and “zitz” sit. “Come sit” around a campfire. Return
  3. Poached eggs in a sauce of tomatoes, olive oil, peppers, onion and garlic. Return
  4. Formerly the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, Fatah is a Palestinian nationalist social democratic political party. It is the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the second–largest party in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Return
  5. An allusion to the God passing over the Israelites, from Exodus 12:13 “And the blood on the houses where you are staying shall be a sign for you: when I see the blood I will pass over you, so that no plague will destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.” Return
  6. Gadna Camp is an Israeli military program that prepares young people for military service. Return


Captain Yitzchak Katz,
May His Memory Be for a Blessing

by Gershon Gefen

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

I did not come to weep and eulogize over the loss of a life that was still in its youth; how could you add a tear when the well of tears dried up on the day that the soil of his birth received the overflowing blood of its children, and how could a eulogy arise that had nothing in it but words of praise and adoration for the dead? And I, yes, I came to speak about Yitzchak, my Itz who lived and was lively, young of spirit and with a gentle soul, this charming young man, whose heartwarming smile and thunderous laugh constituted an inseparable part of his upright and attractive character.

I will not ascribe to Yitzchak a halo of the courage of lions, and I will not elevate him to the heavens in bravery and the might of tigers, as if the two of them together were his undoing, and it was they themselves who drove him to his death. I know, and I know, that he was not more able than his friends with a weapon, for Captain Katz was an exemplary officer, one of many, with which Tzahal was blessed.

Yitzchak symbolized for me the last generation of bondage – and the first of redemption, the last generation of obsequiousness and inferiority – and the first of pride and heroism.

In an impure land – in Pocking which is in Germany, where after the Second World War, Yitzchak the Jewish baby cried his first cry, when his mother Sima gave birth to him, she brought him into a world that was full of disappointment and many hopes, among refugees who lacked a homeland, dwellers of camps for displaced persons, who hoped desperately for something unachievable, a near yet so far homeland that was closed and sealed.

The destiny of fate for Yitzchak was a double life, which constituted a symbol of his life. On the one hand, kibbutz: the magnificence of the work, and the elevation of practical work in Israeli society. And, on the other hand, Tzahal, the glory of defense and heroism and the pride of the nation. Both of them found a resting place in the depths of his soul, without the first detracting from the second, and without the second subduing the first. And if the army subdued the kibbutz, and Yitzhak tied his fate to Tzahal, he did this, without any doubt, in his knowledge that in the increasing danger to our existence, his place was among the commanders of the regular army.

 

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Captain Yitzchak Katz,
Fell in the Line of Duty

 

In one of the actions, he sustained mortal stomach injuries, he put up an epic struggle with death and he bested it. The will to live and the struggle for life overcame the destruction. The moments of fearing for his life turned into days of rejoicing. However, cruel fate, in the garb of death, lay in wait for him on the roads, and in the end, it subdued him.

In the Holy Land – in the sovereign and liberated State of Israel – three years after the “Six Day War,”[1] Yitzchak fell, soaked in his own blood, and returned his pure soul to the Creator. A son of proud Jews, who were building their lives in their land, grieving their precious sons who went, never to return, knowing that our lives and the essence of our existence was in their deaths.

And if condolences would be spoken of, the comforting angel had not yet created this consolation that would know how to console a bereaved mother, who buried in the earth the crown of her head, and returns her soul. Could condolences be found for the wife of one's youth, whose love had been woven for Yitzchak from childhood, and she was widowed barely six weeks after the bridal canopy? And with what can I comfort his brother,

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since their two lives were bound by strong connections of love and devotion? How can I seek consolation for his Aunt Teibl and for the Kibbutz Mesilot “family,” can comfort be found for his friends, his beloveds, and those who esteem his name?

Like a young oak with many branches that sends it fronds to the wide–open sky, like a flower at the peak of its bloom that is plucked by the wicked hand of fate, who weaves his dreams and expects its fruits, and lifts his goblet to the sun of spring, so Yitzchak was cut off and plucked in eternal radiance from us, before twenty–four springs had been completed for him.

And on these the poet[2] spoke in addressing the earth, which would not know satiation.

Here is for you the best of our sons, a youth of pure dreams.
Pure–hearted, honest, not yet the scum of the earth,
And the way of one day is still two,
The weaver of hopes will one day come.
We have no better than all these, you have shown, and where?

May his name endure,[3] and may his memory within us be blessed!


Translator's Footnotes:
  1. The Six Day War” took place in June 1967. Return
  2. “A Mirror of Earth,” by Saul Tchernichovsky. Return
  3. Psalm 72:17 “May his name be eternal; while the sun lasts, may his name endure.” Return


Reb Gershon Farfel,
May His Memory Be for a Blessing

by Shalom Cholavsky

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

One of the last of the fathers from our city, and the last of the fathers from the ghetto. You always reminded me of our fathers who did not get to arrive. We hoped to see you walking about amongst us for many more years, healthy and upright as always. But fate decreed as it decreed. Nevertheless, you merited what only the very few merited: to reach the land, to establish a family, and to see your family continuing to grow, and to enjoy pleasure from your son, your daughter–in–law, your grandchildren and their wives, your great–grandchildren, and come to a grave in Israel, here in the soil of the land of Israel.

 

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Reb Gershon Farfel

 

There were in you the qualities of the children of our city, Nesvizh, of an eastern–European Jew: inner strength, industriousness in labor, faithfulness, Jewish pride, and love of family that knows no boundary. You were rescued with the members of your family on October 30, 1941.

On the bitter and hurried day – July 21, 1942, you burst by force, with your son David and your daughter–in–law Elka, into the basement of the synagogue at the edge of the ghetto, and you saved your son, your daughter–in–law, and yourself. You were counted among the ghetto fighters. You sat for days and nights inside a choking basement in the ghetto that was going up in flames, without food or water and in mortal danger. This was the epic poem that few understood.

You broke out into the forest. At the age of 46 you were a partisan in the forests of Naliboki, in the unit of Zorin.[1] You made it better for every Jew that you encountered. You had deep spiritual enjoyment in doing good for a Jew.

And, after wanderings and hardships, after the war, you reached the land. You established a family and led a full Jewish life, according to your own understanding. Connected to your synagogue, in it you prayed the morning, afternoon, and evening prayers, each and every day, and in it you found surroundings that were close to you. In this way you continued the tradition and the way of life from Nesvizh. You merited the abundance of satisfaction and honor from the members of your family. You were proud of them and the beauty that was in them.

We will guard the precious inheritance that you bequeathed, on the treasure chests of love that you discovered.

May your memory be blessed, and bound in the bonds of life.


Translator's Footnote:
  1. Led by Simcha–Shalom (Semion) Zorin, this unit included about 800 Jews. See the article at the Yad Vashem website entitled “Partisans,” as well as at the YIVO archives online. Return


Reb Chaim Eliyahu Friedshtien

by Avraham Niv (Katznovsky)

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

Reb Chaim Eliyahu Friedshtien was born in 1878 in the village of Lachovitz in the region of Minsk in White Russia, to his father Reb David Friedshtien who was a teacher of young children in his village.

Reb Chaim Eliyahu Friedshtien, like many of the boys of Israel[1] in those days, learned in study houses and yeshivas and persevered in learning at the tables of the great, and the famous geonim – from them he drew from the wells of knowledge and Jewish talmudic wisdom.

 

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Reb Chaim Eliyahu Friedshtien

 

Aware of what was going on in the Jewish existence, from the disputes between the factions of the “Mitnagdim”[2] and Chasidism, he chose for himself the chasidism of “Chabad”[3] (the Lubavitch Chasidim).[4]

His childhood, his youth, and his young adulthood were in the period of a crucial period for the Jews a Russia – decrees, pogroms, and massacres, from the year 1881 until the year 1905, and in them the Kishinev Massacre in 1903.

All these molded the character and the spirit of Reb Chaim Eliyahu Friedshtien and directed his spiritual course, faithful to the tradition of Grandfather Yisrael, full of the Torah of Israel and its wisdom, he knew how to suckle from the sources of the enlightenment

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and the Jewish renewal movement throughout Europe – an enthusiastic chassid[5] of the national Jewish movement[6] and the new Hebrew literature, which illuminated his life and his path.

After the completion of his studies, he returned home to his father's house saturated with the consciousness of national renewal and in the town of Lachovitz he established a Hebrew school for girls, even before the outbreak of the First World War. In Lachovitz he married his wife, Peshe. At the outbreak of the First World War, since Lachovitz was near the front, his family moved to Nesvizh. With the cessation of the battle storms, Reb Chaim Eliyahu founded and directed a school for girls, “Beis Yaakov”[7] in Kletzk – still today, its students are found scattered throughout Israel, carrying his memory with honor.

In the year 1927, he emigrated to South Africa. He did much for religious Hebrew education among the Jews of South Africa in an alienated and assimilated area. An educator and a guide of many who today are among the Jewish public leaders in South Africa.

He had pleasant ways – modest, “hidden among the vessels;”[8] his words were spoken quietly and pleasantly, his influence was in the pleasantness of his voice, the pleasantness of his spirit, his good heartedness and in the wisdom of his perception. He was a passionate devotee of the house of Hillel[9] – always lenient, he understood the spirit of the time, and educated towards the mission.

A poetic soul dwelt in Reb Chaim Eliyahu, just as he loved to study chapters of poetry and cantillation, so too was his soul poetic, and his meditations and the feelings of his heart he raised in poetry – in song; many of his songs[10] were published in the pamphlet “Barkai” in South Africa.

The house of Reb Chaim Eliyahu and Peshe Friedshtien was a warm Hebrew–Jewish house – in its faithfulness to Zionism, in the education of their children for the love of the land of Israel.

On Sabbath nights, you could listen to a Chassidic–Jewish “zemerl”[11] and songs of longing for the land of Israel. Peshe, the mother of the house, a friend of the youth, mother of “The Young Guard,” as the young people nicknamed her, recognized and knew all who came to her house.

Reb Chaim Eliyahu's wife Peshe bore him three sons and three daughters. For his eldest son Shaul, who was among the martyrs of Nesvizh and was murdered by the Nazi murderers, he wrote a bitter lament, he cried out a cry, he expressed his demand, in his poem:

“Then, in the middle of the night and with wailing I rise,
And pour out tears on the altar of my lad.
I calm my soul, the anguished blood,
And lock up my sorrow inside me forever!” Full of days and rich in deeds, Reb Chaim Eliyahu returned his soul to his creator in the year 5721 (1961).


Translator's Footnotes:
  1. The people. Return
  2. Those who were opposed to Chasidism were called Opposers. They were mostly from the Lithuanian yeshiva world. Return
  3. Chabad is a Chassidic movement who name is an acronym for “Chochmah,” wisdom, lovingkindness, “Binah,” understanding, and “De'ah,” knowledge. Return
  4. This parenthetical note is in Yiddish. Chabad was originally founded in the town of Lubavitch in White Russia. Return
  5. A pious person, or a devotee of Chassidism. Return
  6. Some Chassidic groups are Zionist, while others are anti–Zionist, based on their understanding of the coming of the Messiah. Return
  7. “House of Jacob.” Return
  8. “Shy.” This phrase in the text has an error in it, but in its correct form it is from 1 Samuel 10:22: “They inquired of the LORD again, “Has anyone else come here?” And the LORD replied, “Yes; he is hiding among the baggage.” This verse refers to Saul before he is chosen as the first King of Israel. The word keilim can mean baggage, vessels, implements, instruments, and more. Return
  9. From the Talmud, Shabbat 31a: “There was another incident involving one gentile who came before Shammai and said to Shammai: Convert me on condition that you teach me the entire Torah while I am standing on one foot. Shammai pushed him away… The same gentile came before Hillel. He converted him and said to him: That which is hateful to you do not do to another; that is the entire Torah, and the rest is its interpretation. Go study.” Return
  10. The Hebrew word “shir” means both poem and song, making it virtually impossible to know which it means here. Return
  11. Yiddish, a diminutive form of the Hebrew word “zemer,” song or singing. Return


Rafi (Refael) Katznovsky

by Avraham Niv (Katznovsky), Kibbutz Aylon

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

Born – December 6, 1947 – died in the line of duty – December 6, 1966. Rafi, my boy, Rafi my boy, woe is me, woe is me.

Not on a day of war, not in the storm of battle, and not in an act of retaliation – but on a regular training day you fell dead, you were cut off from us in the radiance of your adolescent youth. You were only 19 springs old, yesterday was your birthday and on the day on which you were born the song of your life was interrupted, Rafi, Rafi, my boy, we are dumbfounded by the strength of the blow with we have all been stricken – your parents, your sisters, the family and all the friends. Even before the recognition of the strength of the disaster and the loss had penetrated, we were still lashed by the blurring of the senses – here we were refusing to believe this cruel truth – what should we say? What should we tell? How and with what could I console your mother, well–versed in the tribulation and the suffering that all the atrocities of war, the destruction of her family, the concentration camps and the destruction of the people that passed onto her shoulders? How would she be comforted for presumptuous loss? What will I say to Father, who saw with his own eyes the events of the war and fought on the battlefields and was killed? With what will I console them?

You shone for them and for all of us – with the glowing light of your face, with your heartfelt smile, with the integrity of your soul, with the pleasantness of your ways, true to yourself and true to them.

I was proud to see you, to pat you on the back, to watch a solid tree, upright and proud, ascend like an eagle from our family. I was proud to count four sons in Tzahal from our family alone, and you among them – and all of us here that were rescued remnants from the valley of killing, and in hope to send down roots here, in the soil. I rejoiced to see the young trees in their prosperity and blossoming, and here you were cut off from us before it was your time.

 

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Rafi (Refael) Katznovsky

 

This community of the soil of rocky ground that came to this land to redeem it from its emptiness, to work it and to make it flower by the sweat of our brows, turned to peace and creativity. The guilt is not ours that we built their hands to train for battle – this was a necessity of our existence, and a decree of our lives. Today, and tomorrow too, we will continue to give the best of our faith to Tzahal, and our children will continue to serve it and contribute their share to its endeavor and its growth.

We will carry our pain in our hearts and we will treasure your memory forever.


Yosef Tzachanovich

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

On the 6th day of August, 1964, the life of a son of our town, Yosef Tzachanovich, passed away. Yosef Tzachanovich came to us in the latter part of the Second World War, with Anders' Army.[1] I remember that same Sabbath in my walking on Allenby Street [in Tel Aviv], and I encountered a group of Polish soldiers, and among them the Jewish soldier Yosef Tzachanovich. He told me about the troubles that he had experienced, from the day that he received the enlistment order, with the outbreak of the war between Germany and Poland. He was forced to leave his family, leaving behind him before the outbreak of the war a beloved wife, and a one–month–old baby daughter. This he told about his enlistment into the army, his short war with the Nazi invader, and the retreat of the Polish army,

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his falling into Russian captivity, and his life in Siberia, about the letters and packages that he received in captivity from the family, and the hopes that as a Jew that the city of his birth which had been annexed to Russia would be liberated soon.

We pleaded with Yosef to leave the Polish army and remain in the land. In our knowledge of the poisonous cup that the Jews of Poland had suffered, and among them the members of our city, since doubts gnawed in us as to whether his loved ones were still alive.

However, Yosef could not believe that his home had been destroyed, that his family had been murdered. In his innocence, he hoped that the day would come when he would return to the bosom of his family, to his beloved wife and his daughter, from whom he had never heard the cry “abba–leh.”[2]

Yosef returned with Anders' army to the Italian front, where many of his companions–in–arms found their deaths.

With the end of the war it was clarified for Yosef what the impure Nazi Germans had done to the Jews of the town and among them also to his beloved family and home. His beloved agricultural land whose soil borders on the road to Snov had swallowed up 1500 Jews of the city, and within it also his beloved father, may his memory be for a blessing, who was buried while he was still alive. His screams and pleading to the gentiles that covered the pit to save him from the grave were of no use.

Yosef settled in the land, alone, broken, and crushed. It was hard for him to work to sustain himself, and he paid no heed to his friends' gentle pleading that he establish a new family life.

Yosef died before his time, carrying with him to the grave his love for his wife and his baby daughter. In his death departed a man with a sensitive soul and distinguished qualities.


Translator's Footnotes:
  1. Anders' Army was the informal name of the Polish Armed Forces in the East in the 1941–42 period, named for its commander Władysław Anders. Return
  2. “Little father.” Return


Arieh Shamushkovitz

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

On Elul 19 5724 (August 27, 1964), we accompanied our friend Arieh Leibeleh Shamushkovitz to eternal rest. Arieh my friend, and a devoted son of our city, is no longer among the living, Arieh who was beloved to all, is eternally absent.

 

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Arieh Shamushkovitz

 

Arieh's death came in a sudden way for the family, his friends, and his loved ones. With his death, a precious man with pleasant ways was lost to us, he had in him the best qualities a man of the nation.

The good heart that guided you in life, Arieh Leibeleh, suddenly and prematurely stopped.

Arieh absorbed in his parents' house the best of the Jewish tradition and cultural inheritance. He suckled his love for the Jewish people, its history, and its homeland, in his parents' house.

Arieh was a member of “The Young Guard;” in his ascent to the land he continued to learn in the university in Jerusalem. With the death of his father, Reb Baruch, may his name be for a blessing, he stopped studying and devoted himself to working in construction with his brother Yosef, may his memory be for a blessing. Afterwards he continued to work in his business.

Already the disaster that had befallen the Nesvizh family had orphaned his wife, his daughters, the family, his friends, and the townspeople.

Uprooted from the landscape of our lives was a man of noble spirit, straightforward, and pure–hearted. We are bereaved of one of the best of friends, modest, honest, and decent.


Pesach Mazin

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

The son of our city Pesach Mazin died in Cape Town, South Africa. Pesach Mazin was devoted in heart and soul to all that reminded him of Nesvizh. He was active in the Minsk Region Association in South Africa, which included also those who came from Nesvizh. He stood in tight relationship to our organization in the land [of Israel].

 

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Reb Chaim Maza

 


Chaim Maza

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

Reb Chaim Maza died on Tishre 21 5728 (October 13, 1968). Reb Chaim, may his memory be for a blessing, died in good old age in Hadar Ramataim.[1]

Reb Chaim toiled all the days of his life. From a young age, he learned the profession of tailoring, and worked with Reb Noach Shatzporzitzki, may his memory be for a blessing, who practiced the profession in the town. As a young man, Reb Chaim migrated to England, but he returned to Nesvizh. In Nesvizh he started a family, educated his children in Zionism and love of the homeland, and his sons fulfilled the commandment of realization and went up to the land. A number of years afterwards, in the year 1935, Reb Chaim and his wife also went up to the land.

However, their daughter remained in Nesvizh. The mother's longing for her daughter grew, and Reb Chaim's wife returned to Nesvizh. Reb Chaim, may his memory be for a blessing, refused to leave

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the land and the mother that had travelled only for a visit intended in the future to return to her husband. However, suddenly the war broke out, and the mother was unable to return to the land of Israel. The mother and her daughter were killed in the Holocaust.

Reb Chaim overcame his bitter fate. He put down roots in the land and worked in agriculture and settled in a village near the sons, and did not become a burden. He earned a living and was happy with his lot.[2]

Reb Chaim was an honest and modest man; he acquired friends and beloveds. His long life was hard work, but he enjoyed the toil of his hands, he saw it as a privilege for himself to live in the land near his children, his grandchildren, his great–grandchildren, all of whom were absorbed in the land, working busily in building it.

Reb Chaim was sought for the heavenly entourage,[3] yet he was able to see in his lifetime children, grandchildren, and great–grandchildren. He found eternal rest in the land that he loved, which he helped to build.


Translator's Footnotes:
  1. North of Tel Aviv. Return
  2. Pirke Avot 4:1 “…Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot…” Return
  3. That is, he died. From BT Brachot 16b–17a: “May it be Your will, Lord our God, that You establish peace in the heavenly entourage [pamalia] of angels each of whom ministers to a specific nation…” Return


Freydl Rosovsky

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

We all trembled at her fate when it became known to us that she had been exiled to Siberia, for the crime of her husband, Reb Yoel Rosovsky, may his memory be for a blessing, for belonging to the Zionist movement. Freydl, may her memory be for a blessing, accompanied her husband Reb Yoel on his path. It was she who enabled him to devote himself to public activity in her taking upon herself the worry of the existence of her family and made it possible for Reb Yoel, may his memory be for a blessing, to dedicate his time to the leadership of the community. Freydl, may her memory be for a blessing, was the mother of all of these that are sitting here, accompanied us on our way, and after many hardships, reached the land after the war. In her dwelling with us here in the land, she was happy to see each and every one of us. The bitter fate severed the cord of her life, but among those who came out of Nesvizh, her memory will never depart.

 

Nes271a.jpg
Freydl Rosovsky

 


Yosef, son of Baruch Shamushkovsky,
May His Memory Be for a Blessing

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

 

Nes271b.jpg
Reb Yosef Shamushkovsky

 

We grew up together, we wove the future in the building of the land. We met in the Pioneering movement in Nesvizh in disagreements over the path of the movement, and here in the land over the course of more than twenty years you were always lively, when you faced one purpose – the building of the land. You saw in this work another neighborhood and another neighborhood– principally the development of the land. In our organization, you helped all who were in need, and it was in your plan to establish the house of Nesvizh, and suddenly weighed down by your activity you collapsed, and the cord of your life was severed.


Eliyahu, son of Getzel Farfel

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

Many of us knew him from Nesvizh. He preceded us in ascent to the land by many years. He was a man of Kfar Azar,[1] a member of Dan,[2] and did not often visit our conferences, but he stood in close relationship with our organization.


Translator's Footnotes:
  1. A moshav, a collective settlement, in central Israel, in the Ono Valley. Return
  2. A kibbutz in the upper Galilee region of Israel, northeast of Kiryat Shemonah. Return


Pesach Kubel

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

Pesach Kubel, may his memory be for a blessing, was uprooted from the Israeli Nesvizhi landscape; a man departed whose roots went as deep as a tree on the rock of a mountain. Pesach sprouted from within the Jews of the Nesvizh of the people, from her he suckled and inherited his faithfulness. This was the period of the rebellion of the youth on the Jewish street; he was a member of the youth movement “The Young Guard” and “The Pioneer.” Pesach filled many roles in this movement; he took these roles upon himself out of love and recognition. Pesach worked among the youth faithfully and with boundless devotion, educated the youth for fulfillment, and as a pioneer went ahead of them.

In the year 1932, Pesach went up to the land, and his first station was Rishon L'Tzion, and in it he lived his life. Quickly he became integrated into communal life, and was outstanding in his vigor. He fulfilled various communal roles faithfully and with devotion; he was blessed with understanding and love for humanity.

His image stands before us, the image of a dear friend and faithful beloved.


Gensia Malevsky

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

The days of Gensia's youth passed among green gardens and fruit trees of all kinds, saturated with the smells of the field and open spaces. Gentle and with a good heart, she was always happy to help others. She grew up in a loving family, and even the neighbors, mostly gentiles, loved her as a daughter and a sister.

When she grew to adulthood, she went up to the land out of a desire to begin a new life,

[Page 272]

but Gensia was gentle–souled, and it was hard for her in the days of acclimation to the new surroundings and new customs.

Patiently and with tolerance, out of much work, she slowly acclimated to the new way of life and the new society.

And then she met her future husband, who was widowed by his first wife at the time of the birth of his eldest son. Out of very difficult conditions and painstaking work she built her home and her family, together with her husband. Indeed, she really built her house. Bit by bit, brick after brick, she established her farm, and adopted the son that was orphaned by his mother before he knew her. She invested much love, devotion, and the gentleness of her soul to raise and educate him, and indeed the son felt the abundance of love that she showered on him, and he gave her love in return.

 

Nes272a.jpg
Gensia Malevsky

 

The son grew up splendidly and became a man, the house was still standing on its foundation, and was saturated with love and boundless devotion.

And at the moment that she reached rest, the cord of her life was severed while she was still filled with plans for work and an unending spring of love and devotion to the family and all who were around her.


Eka Vasilovsky–Miller

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

Eka Esther Miller the daughter of Noach Vasilovsky* died on the day of January 2, 1968. She had a good heart and a gentle soul, always happy to help others, she grew up that way in her loving family. When she reached adulthood, Eka severed her ties with those around her, and went up to the land. Here she was married to her beloved husband, Miller from Horodziej, and two sons were born to them. The challenges of acclimation to the new life and the new surroundings were difficult, but little by little she accepted the new way of life and the new society. Eka followed after that which was done by the organization of those who came out of Nesvizh, and joined the Vilna Choir in the land, appeared with it on the stages of the land, and brought in song the outcry of the Holocaust.

Eka invested much devotion in her husband and her sons, and therefore they returned to her an abundance of love.

Suddenly the cord of her life was severed before its time, while she was still full of life. Eka's death, which was unexpected by the family and friends, created a great depression for all of them. With her death was lost a mother and a good–hearted and devoted wife. For those who came out of Nesvizh, she was one of the sublime personalities that all of them admired.


Pesya Friedshtien

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

Pesya the daughter of Feigl and Moshe Aharon, the wife of Reb Chaim Friedshtien, may his memory be for a blessing, died on Friday, August 9, 1968, in Johannesburg, South Africa, with her son David, her daughters Liba, Feigeleh and their families, and her daughter Dova (who arrived from the land in her last hours), by her bedside.

From the Nesvizhi landscape disappeared a woman of many good works and a gentle soul. Pesya's house in Nesvizh, in the center of Michaelishok, with the inspiration of her husband, Reb Chaim, may his memory be for a blessing, was a home of national Zionism. She educated their children in religious schools and in the Culture school. She sent her son Shaul*, may his memory be for a blessing, to continue his education in the Hebrew Teachers' Seminar in Vilna. She sent her son David, may he be distinguished for a long life, to the ORT[1] school in Vilna. She sent her daughters to continue their education in the Polish gymnasia, and her younger children, as they were already in Africa, for studies and higher education.

Pesya's home was open to the youth in the city, and because of that she was known as the mother of the “Shomrakes.” Her house was always noisy with boys and girls who were her children's friends, since she found common language in advising and guiding youth on the problems that were of utmost importance.

Pesya was like a mother to the children of Michaelishok.

Pesya was the image of a Yiddeshe[2] mama. She accompanied her husband Reb Chaim, may his memory be for a blessing, on his path. She toiled much for the survival of the family, she was a corresponding helper for her husband, and as such she eased his way.

Her neighbors appreciated Pesya, may her memory be for a blessing; they saw her as a good friend, and she gained the admiration and fondness of all who knew her.

 

Nes272b.jpg
Pesya Friedshtien

 

After her emigration to Africa the material situation of Reb Chaim was improved, and the family moved to him.

In her departure from Nesvizh all who lived on the street saw her off. Afterwards Dova went up to the land, Shaul, may his memory be for a blessing remained in Nesvizh as a teacher in the culture school, educating the children for the realization of Zionism. Shaul and his family found their deaths in the Holocaust, together with all the martyrs of the city.

In Africa, too, the children received a Zionist education, and in the [Israel's] War of Independence her son Kalman came to the land and settled there.

After the establishment of the State [of Israel] Pesya, may her memory be for a blessing, visited in the land a number of times, once with her husband Reb Chaim, may his memory be for a blessing. She met with her children, those who came from Nesvizh, who were scattered in the cities, moshavot, and kibbutzim. She took pleasure from the building of the land, and saw all of her sons and daughters, and rightly so, frightened for all of their peace.


Translator's Footnotes:
  1. Founded in 1880 in St. Petersburg, the name ORT comes from the acronym of the Russian words “Obshestvo Remeslennogo i zemledelcheskogo Truda,” meaning “The Society for Trades and Agricultural Labor.” Return
  2. Jewish. Return


[Page 273]

Avraham Tzudik

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

One of the dear ones of our city, whose entire life was dedicated to the lofty idea of the survival of our people and our language in the liberated land.

Already in his youth, he absorbed in the cheder of Reb Gershon Ze'ev Damesek, together with the Torah and culture of Israel, the Zionist idea as well. After the completion of his studies in the yeshiva of Mir, in his enrollment in the gymnasia when he was 16 years old, he devoted himself passionately to extensive and blessed action in the “Youth of Zion” movement. He was one of the founders of the organization.

He was one of the founders of the only Jewish library in our city, and worked in it as a volunteer, organized receptions and performances, in order to establish the institutions of the organization, the Hebrew school and the library. He took an active part in in Zionist and political activities, and in elections for the Town Council. After learning for a number of years in the Universities of Vilna and Prague, he went up to the land to actually participate in building the land. It was difficult for his weak body to get used to conditions in the land, yet he overcame all the difficulties and entered well into the work of building in “Solel Boneh.”[1]

In the land, he continued to be interested in communal life. He had the idea to found Kfar Masaryk, in memory of the distinguished man, the lover of Israel, the President of Czechoslovakia. In Tel Aviv, he organized a memorial gathering in his memory, in which famous people Czech who had emigrated participated, among them the Czech Consul.

The man suffered much, he was solitary and alone, but he was always faithful to his people's existence.


Translator's Footnote:
  1. The name of a company called “Building and Paving,” founded in 1920 under the name Office for Public Works, it has operated as Solel Boneh since 1924. Return


Shalvin, Bernard (Shalvitzki, Boruch)

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

Born on June 4, 1883 in Nesvizh, Minsk, Russia. The son of Hirsch and Tzila of the house of Spielberg, he learned in the cheder and the yeshiva, and afterwards continued in secular studies in London. The start of his path in journalism was in the Hebrew weekly “The Jew.” He was also the London correspondent for the Hebrew newspapers “HaTzofeh”[1] that appeared in Warsaw, “Ha'Zman”[2] that appeared in Vilna, and also the Warsaw “Day.” In 1906 he was appointed Editor of the London “Daily Jewish Express.”[3] In 1908 he was a member of the editorial staff of the New York “Morning Journal.”[4] He was a member of the administration of the Zionist Organization of America, and a member of the Jewish Agency. Director of “HIAS”[5] and a member of the workers' council of the American Jewish Congress, a regular participant in “The American”[6] and wrote a book about the teaching of Ahad Ha'am.[7]


Translator's Footnotes:
  1. “The Lookout.” Return
  2. “The Time.” Return
  3. This title is in Yiddish. Return
  4. Also in Yiddish. Return
  5. Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. Return
  6. Also in Yiddish. Return
  7. Asher Zvi Hirsch Ginsberg, primarily known by his Hebrew pen name Ahad Ha'am, was a Hebrew essayist, and one of the foremost pre–state Zionist thinkers. He lived 1856–1927. Return


Breina Golden,
May Her Memory be for a Blessing

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

She emigrated to South Africa with her husband and their first son.

Mrs. Breina, may her memory be for a blessing, together with her husband Leizer, may he be distinguished for a long life, visited the land each year for several months. They lived the life of the State of Israel, the life of the members of our city, Nesvizh, which was, and is no longer.

On her last visit, she died with the death of a kiss.[1]


Translator's Footnote:
  1. This is a reference to the death of Moses: “So Moses the servant of the LORD died there, in the land of Moab, by the mouth of the LORD.” “By the mouth of” is usually interpreted to mean “by the command of,” but Jewish tradition interprets it to mean that Moses died with a kiss from God, i.e. without pain or suffering. Return


Reuven Alpert

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

Born in the year 1905. He was involved in the life of the town. He was counted among the builders of the “Young Guard” and “The Pioneer” movements.

He went out for pioneer training, went up to the land in 1933, joined a kibbutz, established a family, and afterwards joined a cooperative settlement. The difficulties of the adjustment to agricultural life brought him to leave the settlement. He moved to Holon together with the members of his family, made a life in it, and sent down roots in it.

 

Nes273a.jpg
Reuven Alpert

 


Gavriel Avnieli (Epshtein),[1]
May His Memory be for a Blessing

Translated by Rabbi Molly Karp

Reached the land after many wanderings. He spent the Second World War in the Russian steppes.

In 1943 Gavriel reached the land with the Polish Army of General Anders. He settled in Jerusalem, and was active in the “Haganah.”[2] At the time of the British blockade,[3] he was injured in the leg by a British policeman.

 

Nes273b.jpg
Gavriel Avnieli (Epshtein)

 

We will remember you, Gavriel, as a soldier of Tzahal in the War of Independence, from which

[Page 274]

you were discharged as disabled. A dear friend went away from us, active and devoted to the members of our city.

A member of the Council, to which he dedicated his time. His devotion to and concern for the publication of the book were great, but he did not live to see it.


nes274a.jpg
Yosef Lifshitz z”l
Died on June 12, 1974 of a cardiac arrest after a long illness

Yosef z”l was a member of the “Ha'chalutz Haklali” in the city. After training he made Aliyah to Eretz-Israel and started a family. He was employed by the Haifa municipality.


Yosef Shamoshkowitz z”l

Was born in Nesvizh. He and his brother Refael were orphaned in early childhood. He studied at “Talmud Torah”. Then he joined the Freedom youth movement. He received a Social-Zionist education. He went for training at Kibbutz Shachariah [The Dawn] in Vilnah. He immigrated in the 1930's and joined kibutz Ramat Rachel. After years of membership in the kibutz he moved with his family to Holon, where he was employed in the building industry. He was killed in a car accident.


nes274b.jpg
Aharon Rozovsky z”l

 

Was born in 1908 in Nesvizh. The son of Fridel and Yoel Rozovsky, studied in the “Cheder” and later in the Russian High School. Was among the first to join “Ha'chalutz Ha'klali”. In 1930 he immigrated to Chile and started a family. He was active in the Jewish community in Chile and in the Zionist movement.


nes274c.jpg
Gavriel Katz z”l

 

Was born in 1913 in Nesvizh and received traditional Jewish education. Studied in a “Cheder”, in “Tarbut” school and the Polish high school.   He was a member of the “Gordonia” movement and in it he was mostly active. He was a humble and pleasant man and drew respect from everyone.

He arrived in Israel in 1935 as a student in the University. He was member of the Haganah and joined the “Notrim” Brigade. He served in the IDF during the war of independence. The rest of his years he was employed by the ministry of Justice in the Jerusalem.

Gavriel Katz z”l prepared during his life two articles for the book on Nesvizh describing the town, its natural beauty, its streets and alleys.

Written by Avraham Brazine.


Zalman Shifres

Zalman Shifres, the son of R' Chaim Neisvischar,- as he was called in Lachvitch, where he resided after his marriage,- he was educated in Lachvitch.

[Page 275]

During the 1915 war the family moved to Nesvizh. Zalman was then a soldier in the Russian army. In 1918 he was released and when he returned home he joined the Poalie Zion (Workers Of Zion).

Shifres excelled immediately in meetings. He had original and practical ideas. Very soon after he was elected to the committee as a secretary and then he became the chairman. He represented the Poalie Zion (Workers Of Zion) in many city organizations.

About two years before he immigrated to Israel he was a Bible teacher in the Chelnov Hebrew School.

After the Tel Chai incident in Israel, Shifres was the first to originate the idea of an organized group of pioneers for “Aliyah” and his suggestion was accepted by the committee of The Poalie Zion (Workers Of Zion). Zalman Shifres was the first among the names registered to immigrate in 1920.

In all of his 50 years in Israel, and 45 years in Degania A, Shifres was an active participant in realizing his dream the creation of a working Jewish nation based on equality, friendship and mutual support in our freee land, and he was among the defenders of Degania when the Syrians invaded in 1948.

He underwent a great shock when his only son, Daniel, fell defending Degania and for a very long time he could not recover from this terrible event.

Out of anguish and sorrow he wrote several poems that appeared in the collection entitled “In the Tempest on the Day of a Whirlwind” that was dedicated to the fallen of Degania.

Zalman Shifres passed away in Degania A in 1970.

 


Translator's Footnotes:
  1. The original has “Estein,” omitting the letter pey of the name Epstein. Return
  2. One of the pre–state Jewish defense forces. Return
  3. A naval blockade was established by Great Britain to prevent Jewish immigration into Palestine in the closing years of World War II. Return

 

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