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Figures and Types


[Page 176]

In honor of the community activist Moshe Lederman,
may his memory be a blessing

by Yechezkel Arieli

Translated by Rina Zana

A tall, soft spoken, well-dressed man, his garments untarnished; such were his physical attributes.

An honest and true man, his generous personality was head and shoulders over the rest of the public servers of our town Ostrowiec. And as his garments were untarnished, so was his soul- as he was a faithful servant of the public, his service not for purposes of bragging or personal interests or benefits.

Reb Moshe Lederman's involvement in the public business was tremendous: Be it the founding of the Mizrahi and serving as its manager throughout the years, or founding the Yavneh school and supporting it constantly, or representing the city council, a position he took on for years and years as a influencing member over the Polish society as well, which was always respectful of his opinions and open to his ideas.

One could always find Moshe Lederman as head of any fundraising campaign, always active, his heart and hand always open to give any charity or good deed.

Whenever a guest speaker or Zionist leader would come to town, he would always lodge at Moshe Lederman's, even though better lodgings were available.

He himself led a modest life with his wife and three daughters, in a humble house, even though he could afford a grander lifestyle.

Despite his business troubles - he was in the forest and tree business, and at noblemen's yards in surrounding villages for most of the weekdays, he always found time for vast public activity at city hall, in the Mizrahi, in fundraising and in many other beneficiary activities.

Although his spare time was limited, and his troubles abundant, he also found time to study in the holy scriptures, and in Hebrew books and papers- because he loved to read and learn, and was a righteous scholar.

He had great love for his family, and for Zion, the land of Israel, as well. He was active in this aspect, donated and collected funds. He longed for Zion but did not live to see it. In 1938, he was on the verge of a visit to Israel, but European, and especially Polish skies grew dark, as the Nazis set their eyes upon the Sudetan mountains. It was the opening shot of the attack on Poland and the beginning of the Second World War.

As the Nazi occupation commenced, Moshe Lederman was among the respected community members arrested and taken into custody in Radom. Much effort and a substantial ransom finally got him and other detainees released.

Yet, he took all of the suffering and troubles of his people to heart, and even before the Holocaust came to be, and before the horrifying events that no one could have foreseen unraveled, the mighty had fallen. On the second day of Passover 5701 (April 1941), he returned his soul to his Creator, after a brief illness.

His devoted wife, Hindele of the Erlich family, and his three daughters, suffered the same fate most of Ostrowiec's Jews did; they perished, and no trace or remnant of the noble, generous family was left.

May their memory be a blessing

[Page 179]

R. Mordechai Shimonovitz

Translation by Yechezkel Anis

As he was my brother-in-law, I had the opportunity many times to share the company of R. Mordechai Shimonowitz, the head of Yeshivas Beis-Yosef. I got to know his personality very well. He fulfilled the mitzvah of “Love your fellow man as yourself” in all its great simplicity. In the evenings he would visit the various quarters where the yeshiva students slept and took care that they all had adequate blankets to cover themselves with during the cold winter nights. If it should happen that a student was without a blanket, he would remove his winter coat and cover the sleeping boy. Then he would make sure the next day that the boy be given a warm blanket.

His trust in God was unmatched, the verse “Trust in God with all your heart” being his life motto. Once, he was supposed to travel to Warsaw for a conference of Yeshiva heads but had no money to cover the travel expenses. In spite of that, he set out on the journey in the hope that the Almighty would arrange the necessary money for him along the way. On his way to the train station, he met Yudel Riskower (may God avenge his blood), a Yeshivah student who was returning from some nearby villages after having emptied the pushkas (charity boxes) that were for donations to the Yeshivah, carrying with him a nice sum of money. Thus, R. Mordechai found himself with the necessary travel expenses and continued on his way to Warsaw without being surprised at all by what occurred, taking it almost for granted.

The Ostrovtzer Rebbe, R. Meir Yechiel, would refer to my brother-in-law as Reb Mordechai the tzaddik (righteous one). If a Jew would approach the Rebbe with a request that he pray for his health or livelihood, the Rebbe would send him instead to “Reb Mordechai the tzaddik”…

[Written by:] Pinchas Soroka


My teacher and rabbi, the righteous Gaon R. Mordechai Shimonovitz ob”m, was born in the city of Darewanne [near Vilna]. He studied in the Mir Yeshivah and afterwards switched to Nowardok. Upon reaching adulthood, a large inheritance came his way, but when the Elder of Nowardok decided, with the outbreak of WWI in 1914, to relocate the yeshivah to Russia, R. Mordechai forfeited all his property so as to purchase wagons and horses for moving the yeshivah to its new locale. Four years later, after the yeshivah had established itself in the town of Pogachiv, R. Mordechai was summoned by the Elder to serve as headmaster and administrator of the yeshivah.

R. Mordechai was respectful of all people and weighed carefully everything he said. It was common to see him holding his finger beside his mouth, as if he wanted to remind himself and others about the obligation to guard one's speech. He is the one who instituted the practice in the yeshivah of addressing each other in the third person, rather than the familiar second-person, so as to keep interpersonal relations respectful.

When he returned from Russia to Poland, he established his residence in the city of Biala Podlaska near Miedzyrzec. He married the daughter of the Gaon R. Nachum Soroka, a Torah scribe from the town of Rovno, also sister of R. Pinchas Soroka, who lives now in Tel Aviv. The distressing incident whereby all the young couple's possessions, including their wedding gifts, were stolen on their wedding day, was unable to cast a pall over the occasion and the wedding was exceedingly joyful. After a few years, R. Mordechai relocated to Ostrowiec where he won the admiration of its townspeople and its celebrated Rabbi, R. Meir Yechiel Halevi ob”m. The yeshivah that he headed there became known far and wide, and young men streamed to it from all corners of the country, their numbers reaching 250. R. Mordechai, unsatisfied with that achievement, opened junior yeshivos in other towns, such as Szydlowiec, Staszow, Wierzbnik, Janow Lubelski, Kielce, Ozarow, Sandomierz, Opatow and others.

For twelve years the couple remained childless and then a daughter and son were born to them. When the Nazis entered Ostrowiec and set out to massacre the children, R. Mordechai shielded his children with his body, refusing to leave them until struck by the Nazis' bullets. The one who brought him to Jewish burial was unaware as to who this holy man was. Divine providence alone saw to it that his grave was dug alongside the graves of the Ostrovtzer Rebbe, R. Meir Yechiel Halevi ob”m, and R. Isaac Mendel ob”m, who had dedicated his life to filling the material needs of R. Mordechai's yeshiva.

It's only fitting here to mention my teacher and rabbi, R. Yisrael Rozenberg ob”m, one of the best mentors and expositors in the yeshivah. He also stood out for his pleasing voice. Whenever he led the prayers during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, he would bring the community to tears with his heartfelt and sincere supplications.

R. Yisrael Rozenberg was born in the town of Jadimoba which is close to Deblin. In the war between Poland and the Bolsheviks, he was inducted into the Polish army. When the Poles reached Kiev, he deserted the army and joined the local Novardok yeshiva. After the war and the ensuing pardon, he returned to Poland and was appointed as a rabbi first in Biala Podlaska and then in Ostrowiec. After some years, he moved to Staszow and then to Bielsko-Biala, a city of factories. There he was appointed as Yeshivah head and rabbinic judge. When the Nazis entered the city, he fled together with his youngest son Yosef to Russia where he perished in one of the hard labor camps. The women in the camp had pity on the small child, protected him, and eventually brought him with them to the Land of Israel. Here he was privileged to raise a family and teach a class before a large congregation in a synagogue in Bat Yam, his place of residence.

[Written by:] Rabbi Dov Zaid of Zvhil (Berl Zeviller)

[Page 180]

Esther the Humble Widow

by Moshe Rosenberg, Haifa

Translated by Sara Mages

When she was a young girl she was orphaned by her mother and took on the burden of running the household of her father the slaughterer. At the age of 16, she got married and moved to live in the city of her husband who was a well known scholar. Two years later the eldest son was born, and his father bought a plot of land sown with greenery in our area, which captured the eyes of its viewers, and the townspeople came there from afar to enjoy the beautiful scenery and to breathe the fresh air.

The Jewish family in the gentile environment knew how to keep the embers of Judaism alive, and, at the same time, serve as an example to the neighbors who treated them with great respect.

Years have passed and Esther's husband suddenly died. She was left alone with nine children - five girls and four boys, without sources of income. She began to trade in grain and flour with her older daughters helping her with it. When the sons saw the hardships of their mother's life, they stopped their studies and started learning a trade to ease the difficulties of making a living. She struggled with the new spirits her sons brought into the house, and hid the books they brought from the library to read. Eventually the sons dispersed, one went to Canada, and others immigrated to Eretz Yisrael.

The attempts of one of the sons to bring her to Israel were unsuccessful. She preferred to stay and live in the traditional religious framework that she was used to since childhood.

When the Nazis came to the area, they took her out of from her home and move her to the local ghetto. Many of her Christian neighbors begged the Germans to leave her in place - but to no avail.

Together with the town's Jews, Esther marched alongside her daughters on her final journey to the sealed train cars. On the way, she mumbled a prayer of thanks to God for saving her sons and transporting them to distant lands, where the hand of the murderers will not reach them.

With a call to the armed Nazi soldiers: “you are strong against us the weak, but your end will come from the hands of our strong sons,” and with the call of Shema Yisrael, ascended the cars of death.

The Beloved and Pleasant

by E. [Eliezer] Halevi, Kibbutz Geva

Translated by Sara Mages

Each time I remember the townspeople, the images of my two friends, Eliezer Stanovich and Avraham Malach, rise before me. I was drawn to them despite the differences in age and the outlook between us: they were traditional people who prayed every day, while I was already far from it.

Their mild manners stood in stark contrast to the habits of other Jewish shopkeepers, whose time was always pressed and their whole lives passed as if in a hurry.

I remember that in 1921, when it became known in the city that the League of Nations in San Remo approved the British Mandate for Eretz Yisrael, and gave an international official stamp to Balfour Declaration, we, the Zionists in the city, decided to hold a demonstration, and I was assigned to give a speech to the crowd from a balcony. But, there was no owner of a balcony who allowed me to speak from it. When Avraham Malach learned of this, he came to me and said, “You will speak from my balcony!”

After the speech, which was very emotional because I was not ready to speak before a large crowd outside, Avraham served me a piece of cake and a cup of drink.

Our friendly relations were not severed, even after I distanced myself from them ideologically and joined the socialist Zionist movement. In 1926, at the time of the great crisis in Eretz Yisrael, I received a letter from them, but since I did not want to write the truth about the difficult economic situation that prevailed in the country at that time, and I also did not want to lie - I did not answer them and that's how our relationship ended.

Also the memory of two other townspeople, the brothers Shmuel and Ezra Bumstein, rise before me each time I remember my hometown. They had a rich Hebrew library from which I absorbed my Hebrew education in my adolescence. Once, when I came to the library I couldn't find any of the brothers and waited a long time for their return. When they came they were angry with me for not taking the necessary book.

Ezra Bumstein once did me a service which was involved with courage: He gave me his identity card to allow

[Page 181]

a Jewish soldier in the Polish army, my friend, to desert from the army in order to immigrate to Israel. It was a very daring act that only a few were willing to do.

I cry for these soulmates who are lost to me forever.


Pina'le Altman the Melamed

In general, the melamedim [teachers] did not have a respectable status on the Jewish street. They were mostly considered “idlers” and “good for nothing” that came to their livelihood because they did not succeed in any other field. I would like to bring up the memory of one melamed, with whom I studied to the age of Bar Mitzvah, and to this day I am full of admiration for his pedagogical and educational skills. It was Pina'le Altman - a man of noble spirit with rare pedagogical talent that, unfortunately, was not properly utilized. Pina'le never raised his hand on a boy, with words of taste and pleasure he tried to instill his teachings in his students and he succeeded more than anyone else in the entire town.

Two incidents, which testify to the nobility of his soul, remain in my memory. In the fall of 1914, when the Russian army entered our city, they imposed on the flour merchants, including my father, to supply a large amount of bread to the army every week. In connection with this, the bakeries were forbidden to sell bread to civilians, and they all worked only for the army. Once, Pina'le approached me and whispered to me that his children are hungry and he has nothing to feed them with. I took advantage of the moment the officer turned his head and handed him a loaf of bread. After Pina'le managed to get away from the place, he took out his gun and threatened to shoot me. I escaped from the place and hid in Pina'le's house. He wanted to go to the officer and take the sin upon himself, but with all my strength I held him back and did not let him risk his life for me. In the end, the officer and I reconciled and everything worked out well.

In 1915, I fell seriously ill, when I regained consciousness, after several days of high fever, I saw Pina'le sitting next to my bed. When he saw me awake he asked me to promise him to set times for the Torah, and thanks to this a complete cure will come to me. I refused to promise him. As I learned, he asked my father to let him spend the night with me and watch over me during my illness. Many years later he praised the honesty of my heart, that even in the most difficult hours of my life I did not want to lie and did not agree to take on something that was far from my heart.


Aunt Feigale

One of the wonderful characters I knew in my childhood was aunt Feigale. She was born in the 30s of the last century and died childless in 1907. But, despite this, the name Feigale was well known in Ostrowiec and the entire surrounding area, because this righteous woman excelled in taking into her home children from good families who had lost their property, or the heads of the families died and the children were left without supervision. She adopted them as if they were her own sons, raised, educated married them off and took care of their financial support. These children, after they married and became owners of beautiful houses, took her name for themselves, like Meir Feigale's, Yehezkel Feigale's, Shlomo Feigale's and more. And so, this name was widespread in Ostrowiec, Opatow, Randomizer and Staszów.

Aunt Feigale, who was married to R' Nisan Mintzberg, excelled in her good virtues. I remember that once on a Friday, when I was free from studies she met me on the street and put a small package in my hand, saying: “give this to your father from me, he might need it!” The package contained 500 rubles, which was a very large sum at the beginning of the century. It was benevolence that my father needed very much at that time. Another time she gave me a large silver bowl and a large mug for washing the Cohanim hands.

I once told Mrs. Henrietta Szold about this wonderful woman who, already sixty years ago, took care of Aliyat Hano'ar [Youth Immigration] according to the accepted method in Israel.

HaRav R' Yechiel Blankman,
may HaShem avenge his blood

Translated by Sara Mages

HaRav D. Goldschmidt , son of HaRav R' Chaim zt”l,
presiding judge in Zamość, author of the book Zecher le Chaim

When HaRav, R' Yechiel Blankman, was accepted as rabbi in Szczebrzeszyn, a letter arrived from the Admor of Sokołów in these words: “A great light has risen in Szczebrzeszyn. Rejoice and shout for joy, the inhabitants of Szczebrzeszyn, for there's a great man in your midst.” My father z”l used to tell me about the greatness of R' Yechiel, who stayed in our house each time he came to Zamość. He excelled in his sharp mind and his talent for giving speeches and to argue with people.

His son, Meir'le, may HaShem avenge his blood, became widely known at the age of fifteen. He was among the outstanding students in Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva, and when the head of the yeshiva, our teacher the rabbi, Rabbi Yehudah Meir Shapiro zt”l, passed away he was the head of the eulogists.

HaRav R' Yechiel Blankman, and his genius son, perished together with all the Jewish community of Szczebrzeszyn in the hands of the Nazi oppressors.

[Page 182]

Rav Avrehme'le Brieftreger (postman)

by Yehuda Leib Zucker

Translated by Avi Borenstein

Ostrowiec was one of the few cities that had a Jewish postman. He was Rav Avrehme'le Brieftreger, who inherited the job from his father, Rav Yossel Brieftreger.

Rav Avraham Steinhart–no one called him by his true last name–spent his day, from morning to evening, bringing letters to Jewish households from their relatives from all over. It wasn't rare for the letter receiver, who didn't know how to read, to request to have the letter read to them and to answer it, because he wrote in a clear handwriting which he was known for throught the entire city.

Rav Avraham worked hard to make a living. He didn't get a salary, but he made money from the receivers of the letters: one penny for a postcard and two pennies for a letter. Many didn't have a penny to give, and the receivers would push off payment to the future; it was clear that it was an illusion that would never come to terms. And so, he took care of his large family and continued with his taxing job, lived in a dark suffocating basement apartment living in hunger and needy conditions As a G–d fearing man who accepted his situation with love, as if it were determined by the one above and who was he to question the will of G–d.

Once he rebelled and tried to better his situation; he left his city and moved to Brazil. But because he could not find a kosher restaurant to help him refrain from non–kosher food, he returned to Ostrowiec and his difficult economic status, just so he could continue his traditional life, as he had done in his youth.

He felt that the journey of his oldest daughter to the United States was a personal tragedy and did not accept her until his last days: “a Jewish girl who reaches a certain age must marry, and her parents are required to escort her to the chuppah. But to travel to a land of Shabbat violators–that is not the custom of Bnei Yisrael.”

It was hard for him to accept to the money that his daughter sent that she had saved from her job, in order to lessen his family's distress.

His biggest dream was to live in Israel. After he counseled the Ger (Gur) Rabbi, as he was one of his disciples, he joined “Avodat Yisrael,” donated his last few pennies, and hoped to make Aliyah and live on its land. But he did not achieve that goal; in the year 1924, a heart attack cut short the life of the last of the Mohicans, the last Jewish postman in Poland. He was only 51 years old.

[Page 183]

R' Avraham Mordechai Alter

by Naftali Alter

Translated by Sara Mages

Our father, R' Avraham Mordechai Alter, was known in Ostrowiec for his noble virtues and especially in matters of charity. His door was open to those in need of monetary relief and charity. There were Jews who regularly received certain sums from him on Sundays as charity, and returned them on Friday, and so forth every week. At the end of the summer he made sure to provide heating needs for the poor for the winter, so that they would not suffer from the intense cold that prevailed in our environment. He also motivated other people to donate money to alleviate the suffering of poor Jews in the city.

The city Jews treated him with great respect. His appearance in the market on Shabbat eve, on his way to the synagogue, was enough to speed up the shopkeepers, who were late to welcome Shabbat, to close their shops and greet him with the blessing “gut Shabes R' Avraham Mordechai!”

After the Nazi oppressor occupied the city, our father completely abandoned his material business and took it upon himself, in complete secrecy, to provide food for the city poor and also for the refugees who came to it. He also managed, with great efforts, to deliver food parcels to Warsaw Ghetto which was dying of starvation.

According to information told by survivors from the city, at the time of the deportation our father gathered a minyan of Jews in the place of concentration in the market, and fled with them to the Great Synagogue, and there they prayed the last prayer. At the end of this prayer they all met their death...


R' Yehoshua Riba

Yehoshua Riba was known as an educated and progressive Jew. As a member of the city council he helped many Jews who turned to him in various matters. He served as expert on behalf of the Polish government in matters of grain export and traveled abroad. When the Germans imposed on the city's Jews to deposit a large sum of money, they took several hostages, among them also Yehoshua Riba. When his wife died the entire burden of upbringing and educating their sons, one of whom is Dr. Susak Riba, fell on him. He educated them to be useful people to society so that they would continue their father's public activities.

The sons: Natan, Yosef, Susak, Leibek.
The daughters: Mania and Hela Riba.

[Page 184]

R' Leibush Pesach and Chaya Fuchs

by Shprintza Matel Blumenfeld, Tel Aviv

Donated by Tania Kac

They were born in Ozarow in the 1880s and lived there till the end of World War I. When the town's Jews were deported, they moved to Ostrovtse (Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski) as refugees with their seven children. In 1918, they suffered a great loss when their two sons, Avraham and Moshe, fell as soldiers in the Polish army in the war against the Bolsheviks.

Leibush Pesach was a God-fearing Jew, who was careful about every Mitzvah small or big. At 3 am, he ran through the empty streets to the bath and to the synagogue. His life was devoted to learning Torah and to prayer. His livelihood came from trade in lime/plaster. He passed away at age 70 at the time of the Jewish deportation from the Ostrovtse ghetto by the Nazi troops.

His modest wife, Chaya, was known as God-fearing, a peace-maker and as a social activist. She adopted two orphan girls, daughters of a sister from Ozarow: Esther and Sara Klaus. She died at age 67, in her beloved Ostrovtse, and she merited to be buried with a proper Jewish burial. Her funeral escorts wished each other that they should also merit to be buried in proper Jewish burial as Jews, and not have their bones spread to all directions by the dreadful Nazi murderers.

Their eldest son, Yaakov, and his wife Sheindel, were known as people who followed in their parents footsteps. Yaakov was a shoemaker, but holy learning was his main pleasure. Out of his six children only one son survived by a true miracle, Avraham Chaim, who lives now in Brazil. On Shabbat night, at the time they were sitting at the Shabbat table, Kapo Wishlitzki showed up at their door. Kapo Wishlitzki was notoriously cruel among the town's Jewish residents, and he extracted Avraham Chaim from the house, despite pleas and begging from the family.

Fate chose him to be the last surviving member of this large family, despite all his great suffering. The eldest son Moshe, who went to Russia in 1941, returned to his town and family after a year, and he perished together with all the other family members.

Yosef was the second son in this glorious family, and he had 4 children: Shimon, Rachel, Shmuel and Chaim. When his wife Chana and his small children were sent to their deaths, Yosef and his eldest son Shimon made their way towards their wife/mother and they were murdered together with them. May their souls be bound up in the bond of everlasting life.

From this broad family remains the following survivors:

  1. Shprintza Matel Blumenfeld (nee Fuchs), Israel
  2. Aaron Fuchs, Brazil
  3. Yitzchok Fuchs, Brazil.

[Page 185]

Leon Beigelman

by Helena Vasko

Translated by Sara Mages

Leon (Leizer) Beigelman was born in Ostrowiec. He lived in the city center at the home of his father and grandfather. After completing his studies he began his activity as the secretary of the Jewish community. He devoted himself to Jewish public work and became one of the central figures in the Jewish community of his city. He moved his place of residence close to the community office, so that all those who need him will be able to find him easily. His wife, Rosa, saw the education of her daughter, Ruth, as her life's work. All the Jews of Ostrowiec knew that they could turn to Beigelman at all hours of the day, morning and evening, with all sorts of requests, complaints and efforts. He was quick to come to the aid of all who needed him, the poor and the rich alike. In Ostrowiec there were fierce party struggles among the Jews, but he did not interfere in them. A strong anti-Semitic atmosphere prevailed in the city, and he frequently received threatening letters from the anti-Semites. Because of the threats to his life he was given a license to carry a gun for protection. He was the only Jew to be granted such a license. Over time, he was appointed as the only Jewish member of the municipality of Ostrowiec. There, he represented all the Jews in his city and fearlessly defended their affairs. He was a gifted orator, and knew the depth of the problems of the Jews in his city.

Despite the threats of the Polish anti-Semitic hooligans, he often left on his errands at dawn, from the train station outside the city to the Polish capital, Warsaw. There, he stood before the representatives of the Sejm to protect the interests of Ostrowiec Jews.

He was a progressive Jew, but being imbued with the sense of his Jewish mission, he cherished the Jewish tradition. So that his only daughter, Ruth, would receive a Jewish education, he sent her to the Jewish gymnasium of Stephanie Wolman in Kielce, which was known for its high educational level. During the Second World War,




with the Polish authorities calling to men in Poland to leave the places that might be occupied by the German Wehrmacht, he fled together with his brother Yehezkel and his son, to Lwow [Lviv], meaning, to the half of Poland that was under Soviets rule, while his wife and daughter remained in Poland which fell under the Nazis' yoke. His daughter worked in the Jewish community in Kielce and twice fell ill with typhus. Leizer Beigelman made great efforts to return to his family and share his destiny with them. He, and other Jews like him who wanted to return and be reunited with their families, were loaded onto a train that was supposed to return them to their families. However, the traces of all these people have since disappeared, and their fate is unknown to this day. Rumors spread that they were all shot outside Lwow, while his wife and daughter were taken with all the Jews from Kielce Ghetto to the Treblinka extermination camp.

[Page 186]

R' Chaim Yakov Yosef Nagel z”l

Translated by Sara Mages

On 14 Tamuz 5127, the coffin of Rabbi Yosef Nagel z”l was brought to Israel about a year after his passing in Antwerp. Many of his friends, relatives and family members gathered at Lod Airport to accompany him to Har HaMenuchot [Givat Shaul Cemetery, Jerusalem] where he was buried for eternal rest.

R' Yosef Nagel z”l was loved by his many friends and acquaintances for his gentleness, and his devotion to the Torah and Eretz Yisrael.

R' Yosef Nagel z”l was born in Ostrowiec in Poland, to a well known family of Kielce and Ger Hasidim. He was educated in Beit HaHasidim of Ger in his birthplace, where famous sages and Hasidim studied and taught.

In his youth he moved to Berlin where he specialized in the textile trade, in which he was dealt during his entire stay in Germany. In Berlin, he married the daughter of the famous Hasid, Rabi Yisrael Rand z”l. He devoted himself to educational work among the youth and brought many closer to the Torah and true Judaism. He was active in the ultra-orthodox youth movements, participated in all congresses, youth conferences, etc., and was attached with all his heart to the work for the Eretz Yisrael. This is how he got closer to the path of Poalei Agudat Yisrael movement and its activities.

Before the Second World War Rabbi Yosef z”l arrived as a refugee in Antwerp. During the war he suffered in Mechelen transit camp and Vittel internment camp. When the war was over, he returned to Antwerp. There, he rebuilt his home and was accepted by all strata of the public. He was one of the leaders of the ultra-orthodox community, Machzikei Hadath, in which he worked for every good thing, and tried to strengthen the cooperation between all the ultra-orthodox circles in the city. In Antwerp, R' Yosef z”l joined Poalei Agudat Yisrael, participated in its activities and helped it in all areas.

His eldest son, R' Yisrael, may HaShem preserve him and keep him alive, accompanied his coffin from Amsterdam. All the family members, friends, relatives and public figures came to participate in the funeral. R' Yosef Nagel z”l left behind a blessed upright generation, daughters, a son-in-law and learned sons, who continue in his entire glorious religious path.

May his memory be blessed!

Henech Halpern

by I. Birnzweig

Translated by Sara Mages

It was about a month after the occupation of Ostrowiec by the Germans. The Nazis terrorized all the city's Jews who hid in their homes and did not dare to go out into the street. Only a few dared to leave their homes, to meet with Jews and check the situation in the city. And here, Henech Halpern (Henech Shlomo Yoderles) appeared in our house and turned to my father with these words: “David, from what the carters and porters live on at this time, when the trade is completely paralyzed? I don't think they have any savings to support themselves right now.” And while he was talking, he took out a bundle of money from under his coat and handed it to my father. I am not asking for a signature or a receipt from you, all I want is for you to divide the money among those in need as you see fit.” This incident was deeply etched in my memory because of the great impression it made on me. I believe it is appropriate to raise this case and commemorate it in the book, to indicate the kindness of a Jew, and the greatness of his soul, even in times of calamity that were unprecedented in history.

My girlfriends

by Chana Hurwitz née Friedrich, Ramat Gan

Translated by Sara Mages

We were a group of girlfriends, who grew up, studied and matured together in my hometown, Ostrowiec. They were: Frieda Milstein, Tova Friedman, Keila Bulka, Feige Berman, Dvora Gitel Horowitz, and Sara Leah Zilberman .All of us from traditional and religious homes. Together we traveled, together we talked, and together we dreamed of a better future for the Jewish youth in Poland. Sometimes, on Sunday, we would stand by Aaron Milstein's trading house, which was next to the Christian church, and saw the multitudes of Christians returning from their prayers in the church. Among them were officials, teachers, workers, all satisfied and happy, because they had a homeland and solid ground under their feet. And for us, the Jewish youth in Poland, a very uncertain future was expected. In 1933 I immigrated to Israel. We corresponded all the time, and my girlfriends informed me of everything: one is getting engaged, one is getting married, while another describes the life in the city at that time… and suddenly the Holocaust came - and everything was over and gone…


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