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[Page 187]

Yiddish Section

[Pages 188-189]

R' Leybush Halshtok of Blessed Memory

by Iser Boymfeld, Rio de Janerio

Translated by Tina Lunson

R' Leybush Halshtok z”l of Ostrovtse was my faithful friend, from whom I learned a great deal. In the last days of the year 1916 I left the Ger prayer–room where I had prayed and engaged in serious study for a long time. Having separated from the Ger shtibl, I was in search of a new subject in life.

During that time we founded the “Mizrakhi” in Ostrovtse. R' Leybush may he rest in peace threw himself heart and soul into that work. It was thanks

[Page 189]

to him the “Mizrakhi” in Ostrovtse grew day by day and was admired by all levels of the Jewish population in town.

In the summer months, R' Leybush z”l taught “Pirkey oves” [Ethics of the Fathers] on shabes afternoons with a large group in the local “Mizrakhi” venue, and later also “Ayn yakov” and every Wednesday evening he taught a chapter of Mishne [commentaries]. It turned out, however, that the local “Mizrakhi” was too small and could not accommodate the large crowd that streamed in to hear the lectures.

Without another alternative we had to transfer the lectures to the new bes–medresh [study–house]. But the “Agudas shlomey emuney yisroel” could not tolerate that , and they did everything possible to disrupt his work. They attacked him at every opportunity, everywhere, whenever possible.

R' Leybush z”l was head of the rabbinic court in Ostrovtse – his only bit of livelihood, from which he could barely support his household. Because of the attacks he was forced to resign from his office at the rabbinic court. A few months later they came to beg him to take the post again, and with that they ensured him that the lectures under his leadership, through “Mizrakhi”, could again take place in the new bes–medresh without disruption. And only then was he willing to take up the post as head of the court.

R' Leybush Halshtok was born in Kalish in 1884 and studied for many years in the kheyders and yeshives there. Later he married [a woman from] Ostrovtse and settled there. He was a close relative of the Ostrovtse Rebi, R' Mayer Yekhiel Haleyvi Halshtok z”l. He was known as a great Talmud sage and was called on for difficult decisions. He was secretary of the “Mizrakhi” for a long time and was the head of Jewish education. For a certain time he was also active as a member of the community council as a representative of the religious Jews. He was a social activist, beloved by all levels of the Jewish population and even his political opponents from various camps had great respect for him. He took care to see that his children were educated in the national–traditional spirit.

He was taken away with the first deportation in 1943 and went the last way with all the murdered Ostrovtse Jews.

Honor his memory!

[Pages 189-190]

Ruben and Khay'ele Shpilman of Blessed Memory

by Yehude and Mordkhe Rozenberg

Translated by Tina Lunson

Rubele Shpilman was a personality in Ostrovtse and the surrounding area. Everyone who knew him respected him greatly and he was beloved by all, both Jews and Christians.




Besides being a talented musician Rubele was also a very successful music teacher – among his pupils were great musicians who played in the Warszawa and Lodz philharmonic orchestras. A few of this students were later well–known in other fields in public life, like Minister Berner for example.

On the anniversary of Poland's liberation, Rubele conducted his orchestra along with the cantor and his choir in the great shul, in a performance attended by highly–placed government officials and all were inspired by it.

It was a great honor, really an experience, to be able to have Rubele Shpilman and his sons and grandchildren play for a simkhe.

Although Rubele was beloved in the Christian circles he strictly observed yiddishkayt. It happened more than once that a Christian group waited respectfully for the end of shabes, for the appearance of the stars, for Rubele and his orchestra because they knew that Rubele would not begin playing before then. Sometimes it happened that he interrupted his playing and went to a far corner where he stood praying minkhe or mayrev.

Rubele Shpilman and his wife Khay'ele lived well and modestly until the outbreak of the war and the Nazi murderers marched into the shtetl.

His wife Khay'ele had died before the war. For years before her death she had been secretary of the local women's union, which had very much helped the needy. She was clever and many people went to her to consult her about problems in the family and other of life's questions. With her great wisdom and deep understanding of human life dilemmas, she would help to properly evaluate the situation and so comprehend the background of their problems and somehow find a solution to them.

Here is one of many cases in which Khay'ele Shpilman solved the problems of the needy: On the tree–lived boulevard, near the bridge by the Greletskes, lived a poor and sick tailor, Meyshele, with his whole family in a wooden shack. This was in 1928 during the terrible freezes, and Khay'ele Rubele's – as we lovingly called her – found out about that family's unfortunate situation, and that they were hungry and sat through those freezes in the cold wooden shack. She sent her daughters Rokhtshe and Khantshe to give them fur coats and other warm clothing and told them to bring the children and the whole family to her home. She settled the family in her large salon, fed them and clothed them until after the freezes.

With that gesture of virtuous humanity Khay'ele aroused the pity of a group of people who donated and collected a certain sum of money and rented an apartment for that poor family from Erlikh the photographer. The inspiration was so large that they did not have to hire a wagon to move the family's belongings but carried their few poor possessions on their own backs to their new home.

On the first transport from the shtetl to the gas chambers, Rubele Shpilman and other Jews from the town passed by his fine house on the boulevard; under his arm he carried the violin that had accompanied him his whole life and created so much joy and happiness, and much honor and esteem.

Now that violin is silenced and its player has walked his last path…

May their memory be sanctified!

[Page 192]

The Rise and Destruction of a Family

by Moshe Zaltzman

Translated by Pamela Russ

… Let it be holy,
Not ploughed, not sown,
Let it be holy…

Y.L. Peretz, “The Golden Chain”

This paraphrase of “Let It Be Shabbath” by Peretz's Reb Shloime always comes to my mind when I even insignificantly shift my mind to our great national tragedy and to personal disasters, for which we have accustomed ourselves to use one word: Shoah [Holocaust]. It is unnecessary to underscore that this word and no other word contains even the smallest reference to the events, and does not express the size and weight that presses and squeezes – and will weigh on us to our final breath…

That which happened to our nearest and dearest is a symbolic “something” that does not allow itself to be set within the framework in which it is conceived, taken from the human lexicon, and beyond the human powers to even think about. Death. Catastrophe. Destruction. Loss. Darkness. Wasteland is still not the right shade, the right color of the “picture.”

The crime was of cosmic proportion and – so is the pain for the survivors.

* * *

We call them “sacred martyrs” and we count them in the millions. Yes, we are a nation of millionaires … No nation and language can compare to us … We have plenty of “miracles” and “sacred martyrs,” enough to export. With a light heart, we would gladly cede some of these to our enemy. Let them also save themselves through miracles and be a warehouse for “sacred martyrs.” We tremble, nonetheless, at the memory of each destroyed family.

I wish to tell about one such family, my cousin, a resident of Ostrowiec, Hersh Kleinman and his dear ones.


Hersh Kleinman

The majority of Polish Jews, with their respectful, decent lives and sacred death did not shame humanity … A traditional Jew, somewhat modern, with a neatly trimmed beard, careful with the immaculateness of his clothing, as with his external appearance. Sometimes, his short, so-called European clothing served only for his business trips. On some of those trips, he would also try and catch some time with the Rebbe of Ger. With time, when his children would begin their studies in the gymnasium [secondary education], not without their parents' consent, Hersh stopped going to see the Rebbe, in order not to become conflicted with himself, and mainly, [not to become] hypocritical. He used his Jewish attire from then on only on Shabbat and on the Jewish holidays and at family events.

Hersh Kleinman was not a squanderer; he did not spend his money frivolously … He worked very hard for the money he owned, with a lot of strength and hard labor, and had to provide for his four young children, for their education. But Hersh never forgot about the needy people, about the “help the brother of your people.” Whenever he would meet me in the street or at home, after asking about his parents, about my mother – his aunt, and about the children of his sister Chana'le who died young, he never forgot to give me a valuable coin:

“Here Moshe, give this to them, to the children.”
This was done at every opportunity, in addition to the permanent help that he himself used to send or bring each month.

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* * *

His brother-in-law, the Rosh Yeshiva [dean/head of the yeshiva] Reb Matisyahu Weitzman, may his blood be avenged, used to say about him:

“Hersh is a refined young man.” He would then immediately add: “But his house and even he himself are too fancy …” That meant, that in issues of God and man, he was not particularly careful… Understandably, the idea of the Rosh Yeshiva, who was totally stripped of the materialism [of this world], was that his brother-in-law was insufficiently religiously guarded – too much into worldly materialism… with his shaven beard, the above-mentioned shorter clothing [frock/coat]. Perhaps, those who stood too close inside the house and asked for help, also seemed too fancy through the eyes of the extremely devout brother-in-law.
Truthfully, Hersh Kleinman was [a person] of great detail. He certainly never missed mincha or maariv prayers [for evening and nighttime], let alone other, more profound mitzvos. But in his potential, he was already the new, more modern Jew, with great tolerance, and mainly – he already understood then what other pious Jews, chassidim, and those active in good deeds only began to understand with difficulty before the destruction [of the war]. Perhaps he did not recognize [the advancing of] the physical destruction of our nation; but he understood and openly accepted that without having control in our own country, we would not be able to maintain our own place, our own Jewish face as a nation. He actually belonged to the traditional part within Zionism – “Mizrachi.” But for his brother-in-law, and for his father, the religious Jew and Ger chassid, Noach Kleinman, this was a little too much:
“What does this mean?” they asked. “Are you really going to speed up the coming of Messiah with this? And with whose energy… with the energy of Hertzl? [referring to Theodore Hertzl, known as “the father of the State of Israel”]…
Other than being an active and respectable businessman, Hersh Kleinman was also a scholar [book lover]. He never studied in any yeshiva, and therefore he left home at the age of twelve and came to our uncle, a well-known bookseller and publisher in the Jewish world, Simcha Feder in Lublin. He himself, Simcha Feder, was a Torah scholar and devout Jew with a world-wide known name, and he implanted good character traits into this young boy, as well as a rare refinement. Hersh worked in his uncle's store until his marriage to the wonderful girl, Sarah Meisels. After the wedding, they opened a small book store in Ostrowiec. Thanks to their diligent work with high business standards, the Kleinmans, after a few years, understandably attained a higher level, and with time, they grew the business, and built a two-storey house on Kosczielny Street. That house is still standing, to this very day.


Sarah Kleinman

It is time to dedicate a few words to the other half of the family. The wife Sarah or “Soro'le,” as she was warmly called, Sarah Kleinman Meisels, came from an old Jewish lineage, from the Meisels. Her great-grandfather, Harav Reb Dov Ber Meisels, was the Rav [chief rabbi] and leader of the real Jewish city of Krakow, and later, of the Polish crowning city of Warsaw, and was also a revolutionary and great Polish patriot. The famous Polish patriot (Lubomirski?) said: “The Rav brought to our regions the spirit of the Maccabees…” Her father, Yosel Kowkes, belonged to the most refined Jews of Staszow, with a good reputation in the entire area. Her mother – came from the Halberstams and Eigers [prominent names in the Jewish scholarly world]. Sarah's brothers: Leibish, Itche, Chaim, and Pinye, all prominent Torah scholars with great reputations – with the Poles as well. Not one single decree was carried out as a result of their efforts. A particular thanks to Leibish, who not only was an activist, but an advocate as well. Today, her sisters: Dobra, Freide, and she herself, Sarah – an example of Jewish pride and modesty.


Angie Meisels

Their sister Angie Meisels stands completely on her own. I saw her only twice at the Kleinmans. Oh, and once in her modest, two-room residence in the “Savoy” in Lodz. I don't know why, but along with her beautiful face and name, there comes to my mind names of other famous women: Henrietta Szold, and Angelica Balabanova, without allocating any similarities within this trio. An unusually beautiful face. Her head shone with a white light – a light from other worlds … The same for her eyes – wells of goodness, love, and mercy. In her young years, Angie left the Jewish ways while still in her parents' home.

[Page 194]

During the years of the Russian Revolution, she suddenly appeared in Peterburg and in Moscow, circulating there in the highest circles of the revolution. Angie found herself in the company of [Anatoly] Lunacharsky [Russian Marxist revolutionary; helped establish the Bolshoi Drama Theater 1919], Dzherzhinski, [“Iron Felix”; Bolshevik revolutionary and official], Lenin, [Grigory] Zinoviev [Russian revolutionary and politician], and others.

After the victory of Bolshevism, Angie returned to Poland. Confused, with her humanitarian feelings wounded, she separated herself from people, and spent the rest of her life alone in the Savoy Hotel in Lodz.

Her contacts in Poland – other than the Kleinmans – her sister, brother-in-law, and other relatives – were exclusively with intellectual circles. They knew about her friendship with the progressive writer and thinker Andrej Strug, and about the then young humanities professor [Tadeusz] Kotarbinski [Polish philosopher, logician, ethicist], and others.

During the time of the ghetto, Angie went into a trance of her own individual faith, for example she believed strongly in her own, personal salvation. Her Polish friends made efforts to keep her on the Aryan side, but without success. She was sure that God was with her in every step and move, and with all her 248 limbs, she believed in her own positive fate … Was it really such a deep belief? And maybe – it was an expression of her own deep humanism that did not permit her to trouble others? Who knows…

Very likely, Angie perished in Auschwitz, together with millions of other Jews, may their blood be avenged.

* * *

Getting back to the Kleinmans: It is no wonder that the house of the Kleinmans became a house of scholarship. The leaders of the Ostrowiec Jews gathered there; also the gentiles: professors, teachers, and priests were frequent guests in the house. The Kleinmans, particularly Soro'le Kleinman, showed tact, simplicity, and intelligence in their behavior – their house quickly became an attraction for all those who searched for solutions, comforts during tragedies, or easing of their difficult worries. Later, when the Kleinman's children grew up, the house also became a gathering place for youth.

The first time, I remember the Kleinmans from my sister's wedding. I was eight years old at the time, it was already after the speeches and dances with the bride and groom. I was still under the spell of the dance on the table of 90-year-old Yehoshua Heschel. The old man danced a Chassidic “kozatska” [Ukrainian (Russian) folk dance] between glasses, bottles, and plates of fruit. His left hand was pushed into his gartel [sash] and his right hand – holding his red scarf which he waved in all four directions like a fan…

The crowd clapped their hands and gaped as they watched the old man juggle his old feet between glass and porcelain, not budging one thing.

I too could not tear myself away from the magical show of Arish Klezmer and his sons, and from the show of the great performer, the pious Jew, Meir Volf Levak, who, with his fiddle, created and broke down worlds. I will never forget this vision. I already wrote about Meir Volf in connection with my sister's wedding, somewhere else.[1] But I cannot help myself, so I have to tell about it again:

I still see him right now, Meir Volf, as he closes his eyes, throws away the bow, and as if his fingers were on fire, they run across the strings … Anxious, heavy drops of sweat fall from his forehead, from his cheeks, circling into his dense beard. His fingers run quickly across the strings, as if on hot, fiery coals … You think the fiddle is on fire, as smoke comes out from his fingers…

Suddenly, the wedding guests grow silent. Even children are holding their breath and looking at the fiddle in fear. They look at him, as if at a sorcerer… I look around – everyone is holding their eyes fixed; chassidim, pious Jews, are experiencing Divine revelation, and he himself, Meir Volf, even though I see he is playing among the wedding family, among the guest, you still feel as if he is not here, it is only his shadow that is present … He himself is somewhere distant, in heaven, speaking to the Creator through his fiddle. And he is running – with the consent of God – to greet Elijah the Prophet, who came to announce the news of the coming Redemption.

As mentioned earlier, it was already after the speeches and after the mitzva dance [with the bride and groom]. The majority of the wedding families and guest had already left. Only the close relatives of the bride and groom remained. Hersh and Sarah

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were now the center of the district. Outside, it had already begun to dawn, and the Kleinmans were waiting for the designated wagon that would take them back home to Ostrowiec. They had to leave to go open the store. Meanwhile, they were talking, singing a folksong, and I remember one of them, “Meir'ke my son,” and Frug's song, “The Wine Cup.” Sarah sang with great passion:

God in heaven, have mercy
Drop a tear into the cup!

I thought I saw God's tear in the cup that was almost full, and the next day God's last tear would fill the cup and … the Messiah would arrive. I was still under the spell of Meir Volf's fiddle, and from the unusual dance on the table done by 90-year-old Yehoshua Heschel. This mysterious dance, and the fiddle, carried us to distant, strange worlds.

Suddenly, I feel a soft, warm woman's hand around my neck. I had not completely awakened from my thoughts – a kiss is pressed to my cheek… I look, and it's Sarah. But it's still a woman, I rubbed the kissed spot with my hand as if the kiss burned me…

My mother recognized my fear, and said smilingly:

Moshe, it's only your aunt!

These were the Kleinmans and that's how they remained in my memories and in my heart forever.

* * *

And this is what their two surviving daughters wrote about their parents:

From about the beginning of the war, our house was filled with refugees from Konin, Lodz, and other cities. My parents helped everyone, both materially and morally. Our mother cooked daily for the unfortunate refugees and for those who were sick with their kidneys and with sugar issues – in the hospital, even though often it was very difficult to acquire products. She herself had chronic stomach catarrh [gastritis], yet our mother worked tirelessly in the store and at home, hiding her husband and son from the German “lapankes” [round-up games] for forced labor.

Her older son, our dear brother Yosele, lived in the Warsaw ghetto, worked as a bookkeeper until the war in the public office in the well-known pharmaceutical company Pszczolki. In his frequent letters, Yosele lamented over the forced separation among his dear ones. Regardless of the reassurances of the German “trustees,” that work would save his life, Yosele went to his death as early as June 1942, during the first great evacuation of Warsaw. News of this came to our house like a thunder.

After losing her oldest son, our mother fought like a lioness to save the rest of her children. With her own life being threatened, she put forth great and lengthy efforts to acquire so-called “Aryan” papers for her two daughters and son-in-law, and a work position for her second son, our dear, unforgettable brother Leon.

After a heartbreaking eternal parting, Hirsh and Soroh Kleinman first pushed forward their only, adored grandson, then later us two, their daughters and a son-in-law.

Now they waited with a stoic calm, with resignation, for their own inevitable end…

On the day of the evacuation, they went with stony looks in a row to the wagons, holding their hands. Suddenly, our mother, from among the crowd of curious, Polish neighbors, caught the glance of a Polish neighbor. She threw a package into his hands. “These are shoes for Leon!” This was the sum total of baggage that my parents took with them on the way to Treblinka…

Also, Leon (Leib Ber, who proudly carried the name of our great grandfather, the Rav of Warsaw; Ber Meisels) did not survive the war. In March 1943, he fled from the factory to Warsaw. But it was not for long that he celebrated this freedom. Polish blackmailers informed on him and gave him over into the hands of the German thugs, who shot him in one of the nearby Warsaw forests, May his blood be avenged.

God, where are the gravesites of Hersh, Sarah, Yosel, and Leibel Kleinman?

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Yes, maybe we should not have gone back to a “civil” life…

That is not what happened, but we go on with life: We celebrate a yahrzeit [anniversary date of death], publish Yizkor books, cantors make a living from reciting “El Moleh Rachamim” [prayer for the dead], and others also take compensations…

Maybe it's better like that! Maybe it's a piece of my cousin's “good” nature? Maybe it's better to rejoice with the living? …


  1. See “Sefer Apta” [Memorial book of the city of Opatov (Apt)], pages 328-329 Return

[Pages 196-198]

Ostrovtse Barber–Surgeons

by Mayer Blankman

Translated by Tina Lunson

The Beynerman Dynasty

The first Jewish barber–surgeon in Ostrovtse that I remember, was Alter Beynerman. I do not know why, but in town we used to call him, “Alter Buliok”.

A robust, broad–shouldered Jew, fleshy and with a fine trimmed beard, and always with a fat cigar in his mouth. And he spoke with a thick bass voice. That's how he remains in my memory. The Jews in Ostrovtse trusted him greatly and he was no less popular with the Christian population.

As Alter said, so people did and nothing other. Even when a Jew in town was so sick that he had to go Doctor Malinger, people still first asked the advice of Alter as to whether they should take the medicine that Dr. Malinger had prescribed. And there were cases in which Alter advised, “I say you do not take this medicine. I will prescribe something else.” And people did put aside the medicine that the doctor had prescribed and took the one that Alter Beynerman had prescribed. That is how great the trust was in him among the Jewish masses in Ostrovtse and especially among the Jewish women.

And to whom did people go when they had a tooth–ache and a swollen cheek if not to Alter Buliok? At that time in Ostrovtse they did not know about dentists and filling a pitted tooth. With a swollen cheek one ran immediately to Alter and he did not any hesitate before he gave the order, “Open your mouth.” He took the tongs in hand and tore out the offending tooth on the spot.

I remember to this day how I laid at home with my face swollen like a mountain, tossing in agony. Mister Alter came to our house, came up to me and ordered strictly, “You should open your mouth now!” He took the little pliers and with one blow ripped out two teeth. I really saw stars. And to this day it makes me shudder went I recall the terrible pain in pulling those teeth out, although it did not last for long.

Alter was very popular with the town peasants and those of the surrounding areas.

There were fairs twice a week in Ostrovtse – Monday and Thursday – and many peasants traveled into town those days from the villages, and brought the products of their agriculture.

On those two days Alter and his sons had work up to their necks. Each peasant man and woman used the opportunity to go to Alter the barber–surgeon – one with an upset stomach, one with a cheek swollen from a tooth–ache and one with a stiff shoulder.

Peasants lay about on the floor in his barber shop in a narrow lane. Alter and his sons stood with rolled–up sleeves and pulled teeth, salved shoulders, placed cupping glasses and leeches and gave enemas one after another.

[Page 197]

Mr. Alter had a system for healing the sick. He believed strongly in the enema. If someone came to him with an injured finger he would first recommend giving an enema. “Because all trouble and pain,” he maintained, “comes from a poor digestion.”

After Alter died the same trust of the town was invested in his oldest son Avromtshe. And the Ostrovtse Jews believed more in him that in all the doctors. As Avromtshe said to a sick Jew, “I tell you, it won't come to anything”, that is, he would soon recover on his own.

It often happened that there was an epidemic in town: children coughed, got red throats and loose bowels. He would literally not be able to walk down the street in peace. From every side women kept shouting at him, “Mr. Avromtshe, have mercy, my child is fading away, heaven forbid!” In that case Avromtshe mobilized all his brothers: Shamay, Ayzik, Eyver and Naftoli. All of them went to the Jewish houses and painted throats, placed cupping glasses, applied compresses, ordered people to drink hot tea and take a powder a few times a day.

Exactly like his father Avromtshe did not believe in the medicines that Dr. Malinger prescribed. He told people to put such medicines aside and to take what he prescribed. “If you want to get better,” he used to say to patients, “then do what I tell you, and don't let the doctors mix up your head because they know an illness.” And they obeyed.

Avromtshe was also active at the poor house where he donated much of his time and energy. He sat there and took in poor Jews and women with sick children who benefitted from the free medical help. All knew him well, because he allowed conversations and in Yiddish. He was a true folks–mentsh, and man of the people in the full sense of the word.

Besides that Avromtshe was a social activist. He was the leader of the Left Poaley Tsion in Ostrovtse, supporting that organization with a broad hand and maintaining it as his expense.

In the old Ostrovtse shul, they used to hand a splendid silk curtain over the ark of the Torah for every holiday. That curtain was a gift to the shul from Avromtshe Beynerman and stitched into the curtain in big gold letters was “Donated by Avrom Beynerman son of Alter of blessed memory”.

I last met Avromtshe Beynerman during the German occupation of Ostrovtse. The German soldiers had captured us, a large group of Jews, for work and had taken us outside the town. There they forced us to clean military toilets with our bare hands and we were forbidden to use rags and pails, which were available there. Later they took us to a large place that was filthy with horse manure and we had to clean it up in a short period of time. Avromtshe was wearing a big, tall fur hat, and they forced him to take off the hat and fill it with horse manure and so carry it there and back again. And they, our Nazi overseers, were standing at a distance, quacking with laughter and beaming at the spectacle, which they dubbed the “shitty Jew”.

I also recall the old Mendl, a barber–surgeon with his eyeglasses tied on with string behind his ears. His barbary was on Kunover Street near Ayzik Mendl the slaughterer. He also lived from placing cupping glasses, painting throats and giving enemas. In his later years an adult son helped him in his business.

And who of the older generation of Ostrovtse Jews does not remember Malia the healer? How she used to go through the town on the cold winter nights with a lantern in her hand and seek out sick Jewish women. She was a big specialist in her “trade” and she could say exactly when one should call Feyge Mindl the midwife, who birthed all the children of Jewish women in Ostrovtse.

I remember Moyshe Beynerman too – also a barber–surgeon. He had a barber establishment across from the church. One had to go up several steps to get into his “barbery”. The little I remember is that he was tall, slender, and solidly–built man.

Later there arrived in Ostrovtse from Tarle

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one Nakhum Alan [sp. sic] – a grandchild of Alter Beynerman. He was also involved with the barber–surgeon trade and became very quickly popular in town with Jews and Christians. He would go around with a satchel in which lay his instruments and several salves for making inhalants and oral potions. In Ostrovtse and in the surrounding areas there was never a lack of sick people and there was enough work for all the Jewish barber–surgeons.

Interestingly, all the members of the Beynerman dynasty were both barber–surgeons and hairdressers. Those two trades were paired with them and the one complemented the other.

After Mr. Alter died the work in the shop in the small lane was taken over by Shamay and Eyver and later, Naftoli.

Nakhum Alman [sp. sic] had his shop on Staro–Kunovske Street, not far from the market and on the other side bordered by the GUZSHUSTE, not far from the river. I went there for years for haircuts and I remember that shop well. Later, when Ayzik Beynerman opened a shop near us on Drildzsher Street at the corner of Sheroke – I moved over to him and became a steady client.

In those barber shops in Ostrovtse they did not just cut and shave, but also had debates about everything and everyone. Passionate discussions took place there among the young people from every direction, who came in for a cut or a shave. They discussed Zionism, communism, the Bund, Poaley–Tsion, religion – what was not discussed? Each person defended his party and his conviction with fire and heat and did not let anyone tread on a single hair. And more than once one was late home for lunch because of those very discussions.


With the tragic murder of Jewish Ostrovtse by the Nazi hangmen, the barber–surgeons were also killed, the members of the large Beynerman dynasty with their wives and children, who were tortured in a hideous way in the death camps of Hitler's gehena.


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