Memorial Volume of Steibtz-Swerznie
and the Neighboring Villages
Rubezhevitz, Derevna, Nalibok
(Stowbtsy, Belarus)

53°29' / 26°45'

Translation of
Sefer zikaron; Steibts-Sverzhnye ve-ha-ayarot
ha-semukhot Rubezevits, Derevno, Nalibok

Edited by: Nachum Hinitz

Published in Tel Aviv, 1964



Project Coordinators

Janis Friedenberg Datz and Melissa Rubin McCurdie


Our sincere appreciation to Haim Lungin, of the Society of Former Residents of
Steibtz in Israel for permission to put this material on the JewishGen web site.

With much gratitude to those who have volunteered translations
and reviews of the chapters in this book:
Ann Belinsky, Osher Birzen, Janis Friedenberg Datz, Sara Mages,
Ruth Murphy, David Passman, Esther Libby Raichman,
David Rubin, Melissa Rubin McCurdie,
Harry Taibel, Yaffa Taibel, Harvey Spitzer z”l

This is a translation from: Sefer zikaron; Steibts-Sverzhnye ve-ha-ayarot ha-semukhot Rubezevits, Derevno, Nalibok
(Memorial volume of Steibtz-Swerznie and the neighboring villages Rubezhevitz, Derevna, Nalibok), Editor: Nachum Hinitz,
Tel Aviv, Former Residents of Steibtz in Israel, 1964 (H,Y,E, 560 pages).

This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
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JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material for verification.
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Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.


Yiddish TOC translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund
Hebrew TOC translated by Yocheved Klausner

Edited by Janis Friedenberg Datz

Since It Reached Me Zalman Shazar 5
Regional Map   7
Steibtz Town Map   8
Foreword The Book Committee 17
The Star of Steibtz David Zakay 18
Steibtz, My Town Zalman Shazar 19
Zalman Shazar – President of the State of Israel (From the Press) 24
The President's Words on Receiving Honorary Citizenship of Jerusalem, the Nation's Capital   25
On the Occasion of the Pope's Visit to Israel   26
The President, Honorary Member of the Capital's journalists   26
The Monthly – A Hebrew Newspaper   27
History of the City
The History of the Jews in Stoiptz Mordechai Machtey 29
My Town Steibtz Reuven Levine 31
With the Outbreak of World War One Mordechai Machtey 35
Rabbi Dovid Tevli M. Cinowitz 38
Rabbi Simcha Shmuel M. Cinowitz 39
Rabbi Binyamin Ben Shmuel M. Cinowitz 40
Rabbi Meir Noach Halevi Levin M. Cinowitz 40
Rabbi Shlomo Mordechai Brodneh M. Cinowitz 41
Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak “Maskil–L'Eitan” M. Cinowitz 42
Rabbi Yoel Carmel Sorotzkin M. Cinowitz 43
Rabbi Yoel Carmel Sorotzkin Yosef Dov Lechovitsky 44
Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Maskil–L'Eitan Rabbi Reuven Katz, of blessed memory 45
Rabbi Yoel Sorotzkin Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin 48
Rabbi Yehoshua Dov Lieberman Tzvi Stolovitzky 52
Rabbi Moshe Neifeld Yitzchak Lungin 54
Rabbi Yerachmiel Leizerzon Rabbi Elchanan Sorotzkin 54
Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz, the “Chazon Ish” Getzel Reiser 55
The Personality of the “Chazon Ish Tzvi Stolovitsky 56
The Gaon Rabbi Reuven Katz of Blessed Memory Tzvi Harkavy 58
Rabbis – Natives of Steibtz
Rabbi Yochanan Mirsky
Father and Son – Rabbi David and
Rabbi Moshe Vilentzik

Rabbi Yaakov Vilentzik
M. Cinowitz 59
From the Press
Haskala and Zionism in Steibtz   60
Movements and Parties
In Those Days Getzel Reiser 66
Memories From My Life in the Youth Movements Dov Ben Yerucham 68
The Youth in the Working Zionism Baruch Aloni (Shatzkin) 70
Hashomer Hatsa'ir in Steibtz Tamar Amarant 73
The Dry Bones Dr. Yisrael Machtay 73
Public Institutions Mordechai Machtey 76
From All My Teachers Zalman Shazar 80
The Mir Yeshiva in Steibtz Mordechai Machtey 88
The Tarbut School and Its Teachers Eliezer Melamed 90
School Tamar Amarant (Rabinovitz) 91
The New Study Hall Mordechai Machtey 92
Religious Schools: Talmud Torah Chorev; Beit Yaakov; The Small Yeshiva; “The Tifferet Bachurim” Circle Tzvi Stolovitzky 93
Persons of Note
Introduction Aharon Machtey 95
The Appearance of the High Priest Mareh Cohen Dr. Yisrael Machtey 95
Alter the Teacher Menachem Halevi 98
In Memory Moshe Bar' Natan Akun 99
Nachum R' Elihas Getzel Reiser 100
Rabbi Yisrael Yehudah Ha–Levi Kapushchevski Rabbi Moshe Levin 100
Yitzhak Alter Yossilevitz Shmuel Epshtein 102
Rabbi Meir Chaitovitz Yitzchak Tunik 102
Torah Scholars and Men of Learning Tzvi Stolovitzky 105
HaRav R' Shlomo Chari 106
HaRav R' Dovid Shmuelovitz 107
HaRav R' Moshe Gitelis 107
HaRav R' Yaakov Domnitz 107
Rabbi Yehudah Leib Stolovitzki 108
Rabbi Moshe Melamed 108
Rabbi Yosef Miskov 109
HaRav R' Yeshayahu Borishanski 110
Itche (Yitzchak) Margolin Getzel Reiser 110
Hillel Akun
Shlomo Yosef Eichel
Mordechai Machtey 111
The Model Teacher Dov Ben-Yerucham 112
“One Kaddish” Rabbi Zalman HaLevi Ori (Fibushuvitz) 114
The Last Rabbi of Steibtz Rabbi Zalman HaLevi Ori (Fibushuvitz) 115
The “Mesharet Moshe Mordechai Machtey 115
The Image of a Dear Friend of My Youth Rabbi Yitzchak HaLevi Epshtein 117
The Rebbetzin, Chassiah-Miriam Sorotzkin-Carmel HaRav Eliezer Maskil-L'Eitan 118
A Matter of Dispute Zalman Shazar 120
Memories of My Childhood Days Mordechai Machtey 124
Untitled Poem Yehezkhel Ben Moshe (Plaksin) 127
Memories Gershon Rabinovitz 127
My Parents' Home Tamar Amarant (Rabinovitz) 128
My Parents' Home Chana Borsuk 129
Our Home The Prosinovski Sisters 129
Between Two Regimes
The Year 1939 Dr. Aharon Machtey 131
A Story of Wandering Avraham Borsuk 132
The Holocaust
My Small Town Steibtz Nachman Flaksin 134
My Escape To The Forest Shlomo Aginsky 135
How I Remained Alive Zalman Aginsky 137
Departure from the Ghetto David Levin 139
In the Camp and in the Forest Isaac Berkovitz 140
The Holocaust Eliezer Melamed 146
On My Brother's Death Isaac Berkovitz 169
And You Shall Tell Your Son David Levin 170
Dreamers and Fighters
Yosef Harkavy Eliezer Melamed 171
Moshe Zaretsky 172
Boaz Axelrod 173
Hirsh Posesorski 173
Yaacov Spiegel 174
Feiveh Aginsky Getzel Reiser 176
A. Yehoshua Pekker Dov Ben-Yerucham 176
B. Yaacov Riefler Dov Ben-Yerucham 176
C. Meirka Machtey Dov Ben-Yerucham 177
D. Asaf Shachnai Miriam Shachnai 177
Sarah Gershenovitz Eli and Miriam Shachnai 178
Tanchum Rabinovitz M. Neched 178
Elimelech Machtey Dov Ben-Yerucham 181
At the End of the War E. Melamed 182
Greetings at the Celebration in Beit Hanassi Mordechai Machtey 185
The Editorial Board   189
Foreward Zalman Shazar 190
The Town and Its Development
Steibtz of the Past Motl Machtey 191
A Lifetime With My Little Village Zvi Hirsh Neifeld 196
a. Sixty Years Ago Mendl Machtey 216
b. The Ferry Over the Niemen River Mendl Machtey 220
c. Designating Borders Mendl Machtey 223
Movements and Parties
The Political-Social Life Mordechai Machtey 225
Zionist Organizations Shachne Shatskin 228
The Founding of Betar Shachne Shatskin 230
Social Activity Before the First War Mordechai Machtey 232
Stoibtz Firefighters Mordechai Mirsky and Betzalel Baskin 235
The Gemillut Chesed in Stoibtz – The Benevolent Society in Stoibtz Getzl Reiser 239
The Bikkur Cholim – Visiting the Sick (Society for the Care of the Sick) Getzl Reiser 243
The Artisan's Association Getzl Reiser 245
My “Shtetle” Stolpce Ben Yerucham 246
Wagon Drivers Mendl Machtey 255
Memories Shmuel Milcenzon 257
My Memories of Shteibtz Leibel Mirsky 261
a. He Kept His Word
b. My Last Lag Ba'omer in Steibtz
Yitzchak Russak 262
Stolpce My Shtetele Aharon Chayat 264
A Memory Roze Dvoretsky 268
The Family of a Village Jew Yisroel Proshtsitski 269
Gutkele Rozze Petshenik–Prusinovski 271
The Last Rabbi of Stoibtz – The Gaon Rabbi Yehoshua Dov Lieberman Rabbi Nissen Waksman 272
The Rabbi Reb Yehoshua Dov Lieberman Yitzchak Isaac Shapiro 278
My Stolpcer Melamdim (Religious Teachers) Mordechai Machtey 281
A Bundle of Memories Aharon Chayat 283
A. Two Communal Workers
B. Reb Leib Rozowski the Warden of the Yurezdikke Synagogue
C. The Kitayevicz Family
Getzl Reiser 287
Mulye Kaplan Chana Borsuk 291
Shlomo and Chiene Ruchl Mirsky Arye Leibl Mirsky 292
Elegy About Chazon Ishai Chaim Gradde 293
Pillar of Fire Chaim Gradde 294
Morning Stars
a. The Protectors of the Town Zalman Shazar 296
b. The Revenge of the Rebuke 301
c. Viera Yakovlevna 310
In the Ghetto and in the Concentration Camp Getzel Reiser 316
With Partisans Shmuel Leib Aginsky,
of blessed memory
Fragments from “Forest in Flames” Josef Reich 329
Of Those Terrible Days Nachema Inzelbuch 336
Fear and Pain Esther Bruchansky [Mednitzky] 338
A Terrible Day Dovid Slutzak 339
How I Survived Shimon Epshtein 341
The Death of the Jews in the Villages Mendel Machtey 342
Remembrance Basia Milcenzon 344
I Remember Betzalel Ben Moshe Baskin 345
How Can We Forget Nachman Flaksin 347
A. Back to Stoibtz in July 1944 Getzel Reiser 348
B. Protocol of the Mourning Session 350
A Letter Noakh Borsuk 351
The First Letters from Stolpce Rywka Kantorovitz 353
The First Letters from Stolpce Azriel Tunik 353
The First Letters from Stolpce Chava Tunik 354
A Letter from a Soldier of the Jewish Brigade Dov Germiza 354
Letters from Africa and Argentina Bashke (Basia) Milcenzon 355
Yehezkel Russak 355
Henie Kushnir 358
Our Organization in Israel The Editors 358
Articles of the Association The Editors 359
Landsmanschaftn – Association of Immigrants from the Same Region
A Short Report of Our Activities Rozze Dvoretzky 362
A Report from Our Committee Betzalel Baskin 363
“The Stoibtz Mirror” Harris Malbin 365
My Memories of 30 Years Sam Tunik 366
Scenes from My Birthplace Dr. Zeyfert 369
A Story of Childhood Years H. Lempert 370
The Story of My Childhood Nachum Rozowsky 372
Stoibtz As I Remember It Dr. Zeyfert 373
A Jewish Fellow–Countryman Society Dismantles After 60 Years and Sends Its Torah Scrolls to Israel Forverts 374
Reb Yosef Yeshayahu Cohen [Yossel Shaya The Teacher] Mordechai Machtey 375
To All Former Stoibtz Jews! The Committee 376
I Turn Around Zalman Shazar 377
Poems Nachman Flaksin 377
Two Stoibtz Golden Weddings The Association of Former Stoibtz Residents in Israel 378
The Book of Swerznie
The Book of Swerznie   379
Members of Editorial Board   380
Table of Contents   381
First Memorial Service to the Martyrs of Swerznie A. D. Shkolnik 382
Swerznie, the Dear Town of My Birth Reuven Sperans 385
From the Life of the Town Swerznie As I Remember It A. Rozansky 387
The Rabbis of Swerznie M. Cinowitz 387
Sounds of the Past
(Impressions of the Way of Life in Swerznie)
Yaacov Shalom Katzenellenbogen 389
Memorial to a Life – There Once a Jewish Town of Swerznie A. Rozansky 392
From the Life of the Town Swerznie – There Was Once a Jewish Town Swerznie A.D. Shkolnik 393
From the Life of the Town Yekhiel Shmushkovitsh 441
Memories of Our Little Town of Swerznie Manya Protas 441
Social Life and Youth Movements in the Town of Novy-Swerznie Simchah Reznik 443
Refugees in Swerznie Chanah Vineberg 447
Jews in the Struggle Against the Nazi Occupier A. Kaplan 452
The Holocaust and Heroism - Memoirs From the Nazi Occupation Peysekh Epshtein 454
Swerznie in its Agony Yisrael Tzelkovitz 456
The Last Night Michael Grandde 463
“Not Like Sheep to the Slaughter” Munia Yossilevski-Yaron 464
A Memory To Those Who Fell Heroically Munia Yossilevski-Yaron 477
The Final Liquidation of the Svershzne Jews Khave Bernshtein 480
Other Towns
Rebzevitsh (Rubiazhevichy, Belarus) Mendl Machtey 485
The Destruction of the Jews of Rebzevitsh and its Vicinity Gishke Polayesh 486
From the Press  [H] M. Cinowitz 488
HaRav R' Arye-Leib Pupko, son of the Chofetz Chaim, a resident of Rubezhevitz   489
My Little Town Derevne Aharon Broide 490
The Town Nalibok, Its Life and Extermination Chaim Shlosberg 491
* The Publishing Committee 494
Alphabetical List of Martyrs   495
There are the Names of the Martyrs of Swierzne   503
List of Partisans Who Have Fallen in the Forests and in battle   506
List of Former Stolpce Residents Who Died in Israel   507
List of Former Stolpce Residents Who Died in Argentina   507
Obituaries - For Their Holy Remembrance   508
Family Photographs   517
English Section at the end of the book
Foreword Zalman Shazar IV
The History of Steibtz   VIII
A Short Report of Our Activities Rosa Dvoretsky IX
A Short Report of Our Activities Icheskel Russak XIII
Germiston Pioneers Celebrate Golden Wedding   XIV
How Steibtz Was Destroyed   XV
The Founding of Our Society in Israel   XIX


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