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[Page 351]

A Letter

by Noakh Borsuk[1]

Translated by Esther Libby Raichman

6 August 1949

Budapest. 21. 3. 1940

Shalom B,

I received your letter for which I thank you very much and you will please pardon me for my long silence. It was simply not possible in our life situation and our conditions, to concentrate on writing. As I do not wish you to be angry with me, I will try to tell you that which I know but I ask only that you forgive me for my illogical writing.

I will recount the scene chronologically from before the war.

As you know the relationships with the neighbor [Germany] became worse from March onwards. From that time on, the disturbances had already begun in our small shtetl's little world and our politicians used to gather in the bank and deal with questions. This continued until the 31st July when the first mobilisation occurred. Then darkness came to the shtetl, people cried. The whole town took to the streets, stood at the posts and argued about the situation in the bank. You can just imagine what took place. And in such circumstances I had to work, at a time when I anticipated that at any moment they would bring me the note (to mobilise). Every night I used to sit at Chaim's place and listen to the news. The outbreak of war was unfamiliar to us. We received the news that on Friday 1st September at 10 o'clock there was bombing and destruction. From that time on, normal life ceased. The farmers who obviously knew that the neighbor would also come, began coming into the town and buying unusual quantities, whatever they could, even bottles of perfume, as long as they spent the money. Every day when I lay down in bed I used to think that this would be for the last time. We lived in these frightening circumstances for the entire period of the next 16 days. They bombed Baranowicz three times on yomtov. You cannot imagine what went on here. We were expecting them. At night the town was dead, dark. It was forbidden to go out into the streets after 7 in the evening. Only those who were mobilised and guards were allowed out. During the day there were frequent alarms and people would run like madmen. Pits were dug throughout the entire town, to be used as hiding places. They were in the market place, next to the old girls where Vinereich was the commander, next to Sarah the daughter of Minke, behind the Bet Midrash and in various other places. I am writing all this to you in brief because if I survive I will tell you everything exactly. We lived in this way until the famous 17th September.

I am sending you the names of those persons whom I remember were taken into the military: into the active-military-service of course, Ze'ev Tunik's son Nakhe, Y. Brukhansky the son of Berel, Hirsh Milcenzon, Tzivia Stragonowicz's husband, Eliyahu Machtey's son, Leibl Ruditzky son of Prusinovke, Fytl and Velvel Bernshtein sons of Yosef Chaim, Velvl Reiser the shammos's son, Boaz Akselrod, Mikhl Brukhansky's son, Kliatshuk on Yurezdik the son of Melamed whom I think is a relative of yours. Also Borukh the son of Ozer, Menakhem the son of Kushner. Slutshak, Aharon Tunik, Yaakov Brukhansky the tailor, Esterkin's two sons, the younger son of the Priziers, Namme's grandson the son of Gershonowicz, Leibl the son of Yentl. In the meantime, from them (the enemy) no one came. Those that I underline until the 25/10, it is possible that they had already come. At the same time Tzipke and Yocheved Machtey, Aharon's daughter was in Warsaw to give birth. We don't know about them. But I ask you that no one should know about this and no one G-d forbid, should see this letter.

At about 3am my landlady woke me saying that I should dress quickly because German planes were flying over the town. I ran out and saw 9 planes but remarkably they were flying from an easterly direction, westwards and each time there were new ones and they were constantly flying westwards. There was a commotion in the town. The anti-aircraft-protection team, with bare hands to light up, were ready at their places. All the people are lying in the pits but Metsanes B runs up to me and says that the neighbor has moved and everyone is running to the market place because they are saying that their tanks are already there. It is understandable that I was also there but as one came into the market place, shooting could be heard, so you can understand what was happening in the market place. People were running like madmen to hide. The retreating “head” did the shooting. In the meantime the police started gathering in our street, Potshtovve Street, on bicycles that were taken from Khatze Dovid Ruditzky and Berkowicz and fleeing in vehicles. I go to Pilsudski Street where people are whispering to each other and wheels are standing still. Suddenly a commotion can be heard from the corner of Shpitalne Street and iron bodies (defense forces) can be seen walking. At the corner of Pilsudski Street they were met with cries of joy because you cannot imagine how frightened we were by the Germans and they were only 100 km from us.

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They were showered with flowers but in a few days the enthusiasm disappeared. The reality and its tragic circumstances became evident. They came into the market place and stood still. Eliezer Radunsky started to kiss the tank and the hand of a soldier. At the same time they kept Yaakov Bernshtein and Shkolnik in a Kartuz Bereze and M. Machtey at Kovel. They all came back.

After staying a couple of minutes they went on further. In about 10 minutes the cavalry began to come, then motorised infantry, cars and canons without an end. The shop keepers indicated that they wanted to give up the keys of their shops because it was not possible to sell the merchandise – they were looting by force day and night. When I awoke at 2am, people were already standing at the little railroad, waiting. So they told them that they must sell. A Militia was formed. They entered Berel P's shop and told him to give them a silver service and he gave it to them. For many people now it was a free-for-all. They would simply go into shops, dress themselves in whatever they needed and leave and still say that they have a good hand. In short, this is the situation. I have no more patience. Next time I will write more.

When I told Khaim that I was going away and time was short because with each passing day the borders were more guarded, he wanted to go and bring me a note but it was impossible to travel. He informed me that the person was in Tel Aviv and not in Jerusalem. From him you will learn the address of the person in Tel Aviv. In the evening I was at your house. Your Mother cried from happiness that you would receive personal regards from her. There Khaim gave me, you know how much. Everyone looked well. Of course it would be fortunate for them if they could be where you are. I saw Maishe and Sholem almost every day. Of course you understand that there is no work at the bank. On the 15th they began working but only to collect money. Whether there is now something there, I don't know.

I saw Gruntshen often with his children. The man came from Warsaw a few days before the invasion, ragged and hungry, the same Shepsl Kitayevicz and Zimme.

You understand yourself (Yenkele's words) what I can write about them that you know and that I know.

I believe that you will forgive me for ending. I believe that perhaps we will see each other soon. Then I will tell you everything, exactly.

Greetings to you from my brother. I am ending. Be well.

Your friend Noakh

Regards to your sister, her husband and child, Khanne, Mordekhai, his wife and children.

PS. Get to know the teacher's children regarding what you wrote to me and tell Maynikke that I wrote to them yesterday and they should see to taking care of everything.

Yesterday I wrote a letter to Khaim.

From right: Noakh, Shashe, Avrom Borsuk

The grave stone reads:

An upright and respected man
Shaul Moshe
Son of Khaim Yitzchak
May his memory be blessed
Died 12th Kislev 1879

Translator's footnote

  1. The writer of the letter is Noakh Borsuk, may his memory be blessed, and who searched for a way to Eretz Yisrael through Romania, Hungary and Yugoslavia. Return

[Page 353]

The First Letters from Stolpce

Translated by Esther Libby Raichman

Rywka Kantorovitz 15. 2. 45

By chance I find myself amongst the living. How this happened – I don't know myself. This is how it was destined to be. It is possible that it would have been better if I had perished with those who were so beloved and dear to me.

But I am full of hope that we will one day meet again and I will be able to tell you exactly what they did to us, how the German murderers destroyed our people in a bestial manner.

You cannot possibly imagine how broken I am. It is already 3 years that I have been without my beloved Nissen. I managed to raise a lively, blond curly–haired daughter before the murder. I should write to you and separate the stories of how they perished, but I cannot . But you already know a little about everything. Only 60 of us survived in Stolpce … there is no limit to our misfortune.

Grunye together with her lively daughters perished on July 8, 1943. I lost my Mother, Baylke and the children in the gruesome pogrom of 1942 when 3000 Jews perished.

I will restrain myself from writing to you about all the cruelties because my heart is heavy, yet it wants to share with the remaining Jews who will never be able to imagine what was done to us. It is very difficult to start building a life anew but one has to. One cannot go to the grave alive yet the murderers had the savagery to throw our children into graves when they were still alive.

I hope that this letter will bring us closer to one another. Be well. I kiss you thousands of times,

Your best friend,

P.S. This is the first letter in Yiddish that I am writing after so many years.

Azriel Tunik

Translated by Esther Libby Raichman

Stolpce 20. 9. 44

My dearest and most beloved,

After more than 3 years of suffering and pain, after more than 3 years of experiencing events that have never before happened in world history, after 3 years of enslavement, I have today the possibility of writing to you as a free person, my dear ones. Yesterday I received your postcard of July 3. It makes me very happy that you are all alive, my dearest. Now the question that confronts me is what shall I write to you? I am now not in the right frame of mind to begin to write in detail about the great tragedy of our people.

Perhaps a time will one day come when we, the few surviving souls of millions of people, will be able to cry out a little to the world or on the contrary it is not we, who have something to tell. The earth that is soaked with our innocent blood, she can be witness and tell all. We the survivors are no longer normal people at all. It is difficult after what we have been through and losing so much, to remain human. We have already lost everything. The German thugs slaughtered us in the middle of the street. Our most dear children, our parents, our wives, they murdered in the most bestial manner. Today we wander around on our graves downcast, disappointed, ashamed to show ourselves to others, as if we had committed the worst crime. It is however a fact that that nothing has become of us. They robbed us of the most beautiful and best of what we possessed.

You my dearest, are surely interested in who remained alive? Do you still have your father, mother, brothers, sisters, friends and acquaintances? I decided after much deliberation to write the truth to you. Of Velvl Tunik's family we have all remained orphans. Together with all the other Tuniks of Stolpce, only Azriel, my dearest and most beloved sister Chavah and I, remain. I no longer have any tears. My soul is covered in blood. Better said, I no longer have a soul. Of the Milcenzon family no one has remained alive. Of Merre Proshtsitskis family that lived in Stolpce, no one is alive. Her two brothers, who lived near Pinsk, are both alive, I think. Console yourselves and take strength my dear ones. It is difficult to write such things but once and for, all one must know.

Our people are already so hardened that it is already quite natural to speak about it. We are more tied to the dead than to the living. There we have our most dear and our best.

You are surely interested in how I and my Chavale managed to stay alive. . For more than 2 years we were Partisans. I believe that you have heard about Partisans. All 70 (70 Jews) who are today in Stolpce, we are all Partisans. Perhaps the day will one day come when we will be able to talk about all of this. A couple of weeks ago I was in Moscow. From there I sent a telegram to the “Davar”. Upon us lies a great task. Firstly, to take revenge and secondly, to establish a nation.

Your brother and friend
Azriel Tunik

[Page 354]

A Letter

by Chavah Tunik

Translated by Esther Libby Raichman

My dear brothers and sisters

- - - You must certainly have read about the cruel crimes of the fascist dogs and the manner in which they destroyed our dearest and most beloved. It is understandable that no human mind can imagine how anyone could live through this. We lived through such terrible years. We had to see with our own eyes how they led our parents, brothers and sisters to the slaughter, as we waited for death at any moment. We are now no longer human. Our hearts are aching and there is no consolation.

My dear ones, I will now tell you briefly about myself. In 1941 when the Germans occupied Stoibtz, our town was burned down. To find homes and produce was difficult so I, Ya'akov-Shlayme and little Leah went to Ruven in Horodishtz. We lived quietly and peacefully until that terrible day when the whole town with 1500 Jews, was destroyed. Amongst them was our dear little brother Ya'akov-Shlayme, Merel and little Yisroel. Little Leah, Ruven and I managed to escape, struggling for 6 weeks in fields and forests. We returned hungry and barefoot to Stoibtz to find out about the fate of our parents and brother. For us it was such luck to be together with our parents. It was easier for us to suffer. There was someone from whom to hear a word of comfort. But our luck did not last long. It happened in Tammuz 1942. In what was a dark morning for us, drunk Lithuanians barged into our house and shot our dear father? In one minute the crown of our home was taken from us. There was no longer a father, no word of comfort. A short time after this great misfortune the Germans took away skilled working youth, amongst them our dear little brothers Maishel and Ruven. They sent them to Minsk where they worked very hard. A short time later, a general slaughter took place in which we lost everyone. Only Azriel and I remained and also not together. We escaped together but for 2 years we didn't know anything about one another.

Suddenly we were orphaned. We remained alone, torn away like a lamb from its flock that strays and wanders around in the field looking for her flock, her home. But we did not find a home. There was no home, none of our innocent blood. Seven days after escaping only one thing remained: revenge - to take revenge for our innocent blood. Seven days after escaping, a few people from Stoibtz and I, arrived at a Partisan group. It was easier for me here. It is understandable that not only one Partisan fell in battle but he knew what the risks were and why he might fall. He knew before his death that he was taking revenge for his most beloved. Our Azriel also went with me to the Partisans but in a short time he perished.

Yes, my dear ones, I have lived through a lot. Although I lived for 2 years in the forest under free skies, more than once during the winter we lay in the snow, barefoot and even hungry but everything was dear to us. We knew that we Partisans were sitting among the Germans, hundreds of kilometres from the front and that we were helping the Red Army. And we knew that only they can and will free us from the teeth of the dog. Yes, you are reading and you cannot believe it. And the day of liberation came and we Partisans were leaving the forests and were going to occupy towns. So a question arises for me: Where am I going? Who will greet me when I return home? To whom am I coming? There is no home, there is no one. All that is awaiting me are graves and ruins.

As I was returning I met Azriel. You can imagine our meeting. We each thought that the other was dead. You can imagine how it was for us in our own home town. We have to live and see where we once were together. Each little road, each path where blood was shed, reminded us of so much. We were turned to stone, numbed.

Stolpce 7th March 1945

Chavah Tunik

A Letter From a Soldier in the Brigade

by Dov Garmizze

Translated by Esther Libby Raichman

With the end of the war. A soldier of the Jewish Brigade on Italian soil. Initially we will meet with the survivors of his home town and the surrounding areas and convey this information to his brethren in Israel.
These lines testify to the great yearning, the spiritual closeness and the sincere desire to receive them and to encourage them.


Somewhere in Italy 20. 7. 45

Peace and blessing,

I decided to write to you without waiting for a reply to my previous letter, and more importantly, at the request of one of the survivors of the people of Nove-Shverzne – Gaga Yosselevsky. I am still in the same labor council in the Alps and feel all right. Soon we will leave this place and go far away from here. . . . .

During these days I met the Melamed brothers – and I immediately informed Noach Tunik. We learned many important details and soon you will also receive general information. According to what they said they met them in Lodz – and they (the Melamed brothers) arrived here from Lodz via Budapest. We must hope that we will still manage to meet them here before we leave this place. A few days ago I met Gaga Yosselevsky and her husband. From them I learned new details and also about the number of survivors from this village. And they are: Rivkah and Nyumkah Vilitivsky, Dovid Kubitz, Gaga and Munyek Yosselevsky, Avrom Doktorovicz, Berel Gershovicz, Chaim, Hirshl and Rayzl. Avrom Dovid and his family, Yitzchak Liebson, the brother of Mayer Shvartz – from Stolpce and others . . . . Please inform the committee of the immigrants from this village. Regards to all the people of Stolpce. Write about their news and generally about everything and I will be very happy.

From he who wishes you peace and everything good from the midst of his heart,

Your friend
Dov Garmizze

Letters From Africa and Argentina

Translated by Esther Libby Raichman

6 August 1949[1]

Dearest friends Maysl and Getzl!

I received your letters and read them immense joy, when I learned that slowly our survivors of the mass slaughter are getting together – exhausted, suffering brothers and sisters from Stoibtz. May we hear better news from each another. Our Jewish people should already be able to seal the pages of our history, written in blood. Forgive me for my late reply to your heart-rending letter. This was not due to any ill-will on my part, G-d forbid; I had an accident with my arm, and could not write, but I attended to everything that was necessary.

My dear brethren, I can tell you that since the great misfortune that befell our Jewish people, we cannot rest with the thought, aware that remnants of my flesh and blood are still wandering around somewhere. We are in the process of collecting money so that we can support our brothers and sisters. All this fundraising is taking place in my house, together with the assistance of Chatshe Russak who is always with me, and my daughter Broche who is the secretary of the Stoibtz Society.

When we received your letter telling us that you want to establish a Gemillut Chesed[2], we called a meeting immediately. As we already have a little money, we wanted to hear the opinion of all the members, because some proposed that the money be divided among those in need of support, without any other specific aim.

In the meantime, we raised money again; then Chatshe and I called another meeting to inform the members of the purpose of the benevolent society and we had their approval to confirm your plan; we wish you much success in your work.

As we were not together with you during those cruel and terrible days of suffering, pain and death, we have a duty to be with you today; to help you in whatever way we can, to build up anew, with the feeling that the lone, few remaining members of our family of brothers and sisters of Stoibtz, are taking part in the rebuilding of our ancient land, Zion and Jerusalem.

I am sending a list of members who have become involved and contributed for the benefit of the Gemillut Chesed, in the name of the martyrs of Stoibtz:

Broche Klatzko (Milcenzon) and her husband, Bashke Milcenzon, Avrom Russak and his wife, Chatshe Russak and his wife, Yakov Boruch and his wife, Hirshl Neifeld and his wife, Nochum Malbin and his wife, Berel Bernshtein and his wife, Izzl Reiser and his wife, Yosef Renzon and his wife, Mordechai Matityahu Ruzovsky and his wife, Yedidyah Bernshtein and his wife, Zissl Dvoretzky and his wife, Hershl Dvoretzky, Rayzl Neifeld, Yehudit Melamed (Russak) and her husband, Luba Shapiro (Russak) and her husband, Minne Zeidel (Reiser) and her husband, Shoshe Kapyan (Lublinsky) and her husband, Yoel Lublinsky and his wife, Yosef Lublinsky and his wife, Paula Cohen and her husband from America, who are visiting here.

May you all be well and warmly greeted by all the people of Stoibtz in Africa. Be strong, we are with you!

Bashke Milcenzon


Johannesburg, 2.2.45.

Dear brethren of our shared misfortune,

I cannot describe to you, the impact of your letter that I received; like you, we were shocked at the consequence of the horrors.

Now regarding assistance for our unfortunate brothers - we began to do something many months ago in this regard, even before we had some kind of news from home.

I think that you are not aware, that we in Johannesburg, have had an association of immigrants from the Minsk province for tens of years, to which all the people of Stoibtz and its vicinity, belong. The duty of our Agudat Achim [Association of Brothers] is not to be estranged from one another, and also on certain occasions, to assist fellow members who have fallen on hard times.

Some months ago when the Russians recaptured

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White-Russia and also liberated Stoibtz, we began to raise money, so that when the time comes, the money would be ready to provide assistance, for the survivors from our hometown. Now that we have heard from you, and also received a copy of the letter from Azriel Tunik, we had a meeting yesterday, where we discussed the dire situation in depth, and agreed to send prompt assistance to the survivors of Stoibtz.

We have taken the following steps:

  1. We will immediately send parcels to the people of Stoibtz that we know have remained alive, namely: Azriel Tunik, his sister Chavah, Mendl Eisenberg, Maishl Esterkin, Azriel Ginzburg and his wife Bashe Ginzburg. The parcels will be sent specifically to the office that has been established in Teheran, whose purpose is to send parcels of food and other articles to Russia.
  2. Send a telegram to you, to let you know what we are doing in this regard.
  3. In the name of our Agudat Achim[4], I will write a letter to you, to request details of names and addresses that you possibly know, of those who remained alive from Stoibtz.
  4. We will enquire from the Russian consul whether it is possible to send parcels direct from here, to Russia. If yes, we will do it ourselves, because everything can be bought here with ration cards, at a very moderate price. We have heard that the price of foodstuff and clothing has risen sharply in Israel, but if we are not able to send the parcels directly to Russia, then we will send the parcels through you, in Israel.
  5. We will work diligently to raise more money and be prepared to assist, in every hour of need.
I am very grateful to Dr. Isidore Tunik, of New York, for sending you my address, and also to you for letting us know the shocking truth.

If you write a letter to Azriel Tunik in the near future, please send greetings from me; also tell him that they have not remained orphans, but that they have devoted brothers who will not forget them and not let them down.

Yechezkiel Russak


A meeting in Africa in honor of the guests from Israel

Sitting from right, row 1: Fima Klatzko, Sarah Rabinowitz, Rozze Russak, Yehudit Melamed, Chayenke Sagalowich
Sitting from right, row 2: Solly Per, Tzipporah Per, Leibl Borsuk, Broche Klatzko, Bashke Milcenzon, Yakov Boruch, Hirshl Neifeld, Eliezer Reiser, H. Aginsky
Standing from right, row 3: Chaye Boruch, Luba Shapiro, Mordechai Pesach Rozovsky, Shayne Neifeld, Luba Dvoretzky, Yakov Neifeld, Bertze Pozniak, Shlayme Rozovsky,
Fraydl Rozovsky, Minne Zeidel, F. Aginsky, Henye Neifeld, Yakov Rubentzik, Shimon Pozniak
[3], Nachum Melamed, Shimon Epshtein, Shmuel Milcenzon, Yechezkiel Russak


15. 4. 45.

Dear brothers and sisters,

We received your two letters and thank you for informing us of the progress to assist our brothers.

I handed over your letter, to our society and we will write to you soon and report about everything that we have decided.

Please let us know exactly what measures you have taken to help solve the question of the existence of those who have survived. I personally agree with you,

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about bringing them to the Land of Israel. Assuming that there is enough money, is it now possible to bring them to the Land of Israel? If yes, what are the plans? In the meantime, we are raising funds here, and we already have a considerable sum.

I am very happy that a few people from Stoibtz have already arrived in Israel. Last week, I read in the African Revisionist newspaper, that unfortunately, Tanchum Rabinovicz fell in battle, in Italy. I was deeply upset by the news, but at the same time, I was proud that a friend of mine from my youth fell in battle as a Jew, of the Jewish Brigade, and not as one without a name . . . his name, as well as the names of the rest of the friends who fell, will always live in our hearts and also in the future Jewish Land of Israel.

I end my letter with the hope of hearing from you soon. After our meeting, we will write and tell you exactly what we have decided and at the same time, we will thank you for the names of the rest of the Stoibtz residents, to whom we will soon send parcels.

Send warm greeting to all our fellow townsfolk; we the locals, send sincere greetings.

I wrote a letter to Dr. Isidore Tunik in New York and asked him to write to me and tell me exactly what they are planning to do, with regard to the survivors.

Yechezkiel Russak.


A Group of High School Students

Sitting from right: Yashe Prass, Rayzl Mazze, Broche Milcenzon, Dovid Goldin
Standing from right: Noach Tunik, Hershl Radunsky, Yashe Lusterman, Shachne Reiser


18th June 1953 Buenos Aires

Aid Organization of fellow townsfolk of Stoibtz.

Dear friends, fellow townsfolk of Stoibtz!

We read the letter from Shlaymke Visotzky with great interest. In it he describes to us, the enthusiastic housewarming in your own home, and about establishing a library. You can be sure that we will not lag behind in our support, and that we will add our contributions, as we regard this as a very important initiative on your part. In general we follow your activities closely, even though we do not write often. This is due to the special circumstances in which many of us find ourselves. However, be assured dear friends, that we think of you constantly. All our hearts are drawn

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to our brethren who are in Israel. Perhaps one day, the hour will strike when we will all be able to be together. That would be everyone's greatest joy. In the meantime, we will try to maintain written contact from a distance. On Sunday 14th June, we had a meeting and decided to make an appeal for books. We will be happy when your library will house a cupboard of books in the name of our fellow townsfolk society in Buenos Aires. We hope that we will be successful. In the meantime, we send sincere greetings from all of us.

In friendship

Henye Kushnir


From right: Yitzchak Tunik, Betzalal Baskin, Noach and Henye Kushnir

Translator's footnotes:

  1. Written from Johannesburg, South Africa. Return
  2. Gemillut Chesed – Hebrew - benevolent organization. Return
  3. Row 3 from the front: this is not a straight row and some people with the men standing at the back.
    From Right to Left, beginning with a lady with dark hair; Chaye Boruch, Luba Shapiro, Mordechai Pesach Rozovsky, Shayne Neifeld, Luba Dvoretzky, Yakov Neifeld (standing in the middle of the row in a white open neck shirt), Bertze Pozniak (looking between the shoulders of the two men), Shlayme Rozovsky, Fraydl Rozovsky, Minne Zeidel, F. Aginsky looking over the shoulders of the two women infront of her, Henye Neifeld, (in a white dress), Yakov Rubentzik (on extreme left in a dark suit).
    Row 4 from the front: Just two men standing in what is row 4: Right to Left; Shmuel Milcenzon, (his chin is obscured by a lady with dark hair, he is wearing a white shirt, he is the guest from Israel in whose honour this Stolpce Society meeting took place Johannesburg South Africa in the home of Basia (Bashke), standing next to him to the right is Nachum Melamed whose chin is obscured by a lady with blonde hair.
    Row 5: Very back Row: 3 men standing taller than all others, Right to Left; Yechezkiel Russak (wearing a dark jacket and white open neck shirt, Shimon Epshtein (wearing a dark tie) and Shimon Pozniak (wearing a bowtie).
    Note: I am Melissa McCurdie (née Rubin), the granddaughter of Basia and Meilach Milcenzon and I clearly remember that visit in 1962 of their nephew, Shmuel Milcenzon, from Israel. Shmuel had made Aliyah in the early 1930 and my grandmother had not seen him since then. Sadly my grandfather, Meilach had died by then. This picture was taken in my grandmother Basia's dining room. I was only 6 years old at the time and we lived in my grandmother's house. I remember many such Stolpce Society meetings to raise funds to help the Stolpce landsleit and survivors in Israel. I feel honoured to be one of the co-coordinators of this Yizkor Book translation project. Return
  4. Agudat Achim - Hebrew – Brothers' Association. Return

Our Organisation in Israel

by The Editors

Translated by Esther Libby Raichman

Our organisation in Israel was established as soon as we received the first sad news about the fate of our town (Sukkot 1944). The founders were: Shneier Zalman Shazar – the current President of the State of Israel, the Milcenzon family, the Borsuk brothers and Ben–Yerucham. Their first aim was: to connect with the survivors and provide initial assistance.

The intensified immigration to the Land of Israel, of those liberated from the ghettos and the concentration camps, brought with it, many fellow townsfolk. Our task was to care for the people from our town and to help them as they took their first steps into the country. The aid consisted of financial support, loans and clothing.

Our fellow townsfolk organisations in America, South Africa and Argentina, have responded very warmly to assisting us, in this sacred work. We value their help greatly, as well as the brotherly contact that they maintain with us constantly.

Currently, there are approximately 150 Stoibtz families in Israel: on Kibbutzim,[1] Moshavim,[2] and in the towns. Many of them can be found in farming, as building workers, supervisors, and in various other workplaces. Every year we meet at a memorial service on 12th Tishrei to pay our respects to the memories of our holy ones. Last year, we received recent greetings from Stoibtz from our honoured current President Zalman Shazar, who attended the memorial event.

On Mount Zion in Jerusalem, we unveiled a memorial plaque for Stoibtz and Swerznie in the museum, the Chamber of the Holocaust.[3] The committee has a Gemillut Chesed fund – to eternalise the martyrs of Stoibtz. It was founded in 1949 at the initiative of the following members: Yechezkel Ben–Moshe, Moshe Borsuk and Getzl Reiser. The fund was of great help to the new immigrants, and to this day, the fund serves the people of Stoibtz, providing them with loans for various purposes. The fund has at its disposal


Mr. Zalman Shazar and his wife Rachel, at a celebration of the Organisation Committee, where he was presented with a certificate from the Golden Book of the Jewish National Fund on the occasion of his inauguration as the first Minister of Education of the State of Israel

[Page 359]

a sum of 17000 Israeli Lira. Most of the money was sent by our fellow townsfolk living abroad. Our synagogue in Tel–Aviv that has already been in existence for 10 years was founded after the dissolution of the Stoibtz synagogue in America, thanks to the initiative of the respected Karl Hayman, of blessed memory. People from Stoibtz, as well as those from the surrounding areas, come to pray and also those who enjoy praying according to the former Lithuanian custom. After prayers, the blessing for wine is recited, people drink a toast and recall former memories. A spiritual uplifting of the soul is evident on festival days, especially on Simchat Torah[4], when more people from Stoibtz gather in the synagogue.

The organisation has a folk library for children and for the youth, that is named after the eminent teacher and educator – Alter Yossilevitz, of blessed memory.

The managers of our organisation are:

  1. Executive: Zalman Shazar (honourary chairman), Mordechai Machtey (honourary vice chairman), Irving Kumak, of blessed memory, and Rozze Dvoretzky (America), Batya Milcenzon and Yechezkiel Russak (South Africa), Betzalel Baskin and Nachman Flaksin (Argentina).
  2. Managing committee: Advocate Yitzchak Tunik (chairman), Dov Ben–Yerucham (vice chairman), Moshe Borsuk (treasurer), Getzl Reiser (secretary).
  3. Committee members: Yechezkiel Ben–Moshe, Arye Milcenzon, Rivkah Reich, Shmuel Aginsky, Eliezer Melamed, Tzvi Stolovitzky, Mendel Machtey, Betzalel Borsuk.
  4. Revision committee: Advocate Noach Tunik and Shmuel Milcenzon.

Translator's Footnote

  1. Kibbutzim – Hebrew: (kibbutz singular) – collective settlements. Return
  2. Moshavim – Hebrew: (moshav singular) – co–operative settlements. Return
  3. The Chamber of the Holocaust – a museum established in 1948, on Mt Zion in Jerusalem, opposite the Tomb of King David. Its walls are lined with plaques memorialising over 2000 Jewish communities destroyed during the Holocaust. Return
  4. Simchat Torah – The Rejoicing of the Law – celebrates and marks the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings, and the beginning of a new cycle. Return

Articles of the Association[1],[2]

Translated by Ann Belinsky


Irgun Yotzei Steibtz Be'Israel[3]



Mr. Getzl Reiser, Eilat St. No. 38. Tel-Aviv-Jaffa, Israel.


Objects of the Association:
  1. To observe the memory of the Steibtz Community and to set up cultural and social enterprises in its name.
  2. To organize and concentrate around it the remnants of the Steibtz Community and all those people originating from Steibtz and domiciled in Israel, and to keep contact between them and the Steibtz people in the whole diaspora.
  3. To assemble and concentrate all materials connected with the Steibtz Community; its establishment, development and liquidation, in order to observe its memory for ever and ever.
  4. To encourage and foster literary works and collection of memoirs, having as their subject the Steibtz Community, its inhabitants and defenders, and the chapter of their heroism in the critical period.
  5. To take into its possession the assets of Irgun Yotzei Steibtz, presently kept with trustees.
  6. To maintain a Gemilut-Hessed[4] Cash (grant of loans without interests) in the name of the Steibtz martyrs, for granting loans without interest to those needing them from among the Steibtz people in Israel.


Ways of Realizing the Objects:

The Association shall be maintained by membership fees and contributions from any source in Israel and in the diaspora in the form of a gift, will, consecrations and in any other form.


  1. The Association shall be entitled, for the purposes of realizing its objects, to acquire and register in its name any immovable and movable property and any rights whatsoever, either existing or due, with or without consideration, to keep any property whatsoever, to sell and transfer same, and to that effect to appear before any Government, Municipal and other institutions, before the Land Registry Offices, Courts, Notary Public, to claim and be a defendant in any legal proceeding, to submit any application, to sign any document, declaration etc. through the competent Committee Members authorized to this effect under these Articles.
  2. The Association shall be entitled to borrow moneys and sign any promissory notes and other writs of undertaking, to mortgage its movable and immovable property, either in whole or in part, to lend moneys and receive mortgages and to transfer to others mortgages registered in its favor.


  1. Every Jew of 20 years of age and over, who complies with the provisions stipulated from time to time by the Committee of the Association, with the approval of the General Assembly, shall be admitted to the Association.
  2. The Committee shall be entitled to discontinue the membership of any member who, in the opinion of the Committee, is liable to bring about material or moral damage to the Association, and any member considering himself affected thereby, may appeal in writing against the decision of the Committee to the General Assembly. Such appeal shall be put on the agenda of the forthcoming General Assembly.


Institutions of the Association:

Association shall have the following institutions:

  1. General Meeting;
  2. Committee of Association;
  3. Management of Gemilut-Hessed Cash;
  4. Audit Committee


General Meeting:
  1. A General Meeting of the members of the Association shall be convened at least once annually, and the first General Meeting shall be convened not later than April, 1951.
  2. The General Meeting shall be the controlling institution of the Association, and every decision must be ratified by it.
  3. Every member in the Association who has duly paid his fees to the Association shall be entitled to one vote at the General Meeting.

[Page 360]

Members praying in the Steibtz Martyrs' Synagogue in Israel


  1. The General Meeting shall decide upon every question brought before it, by majority of votes of those taking part in the voting, save changes in the Articles of the Association, for which a majority of 2/3 of the participants in the voting shall be required.
  2. One half of the number of members of the Association present at the General Meeting shall constitute a legal quorum[5].


Committee of the Association:

  1. The Committee of the Association shall consist of 9 members or of any other number of the members of the Association at its General Meeting.
  2. The Committee shall be in office from the time when it has been elected by the General Meeting until the election of a new Committee by the forthcoming General Meeting, provided that the period for which the Committee shall be in office shall in no case exceed 15 months.
  3. The Committee shall concentrate in its hands and manage all running affairs of the Association pursuant to the resolutions of the General Meeting, and it shall be liable for its activities to the General Meeting.
  4. The Committee shall be liable for convening the Ordinary General Meeting of the Association in due course, and the interval between one General Meeting and the other shall not exceed 5 months.
  5. The Committee shall hold its sittings at least once monthly and all its members present in Israel shall be invited to all sittings of the Committee. Five members shall form a legal quorum and decisions shall be passed by a majority of votes.
  6. The Committee shall elect 3 of its members who shall constitute the Management of the Gemilut-Hessed Cash of the Association. One of them shall be the Manager, one - the Deputy-Manager and one - the Treasurer of the Cash.
  7. The Committee shall draw up the rules for managing the Gemilut-Hessed Cash of the Association and shall be authorized to vary them from time to time, subject to the resolutions of the General Meeting.


Extraordinary General Meetings:

From time to time, the Committee shall be entitled to convene an Extraordinary General Meeting at the written request, signed by at least 25 members of the Association, wherein the questions to be discussed at such General Meeting shall be specified.

Should the Committee fail to convene such Extraordinary General Meeting in spite of the written request as above, then the subscribers of the written request shall be entitled to convene a General Meeting, provided that their invitation shall include the questions for which the General Meeting is being convened.

The proceedings at an Extraordinary General Meetings shall be the same as those at Ordinary General Meetings; the same applies as to the number of members forming a legal quorum.


Seal of the Association:

  1. The seal of the Association shall bear the name of the Association together with any design or symbol determined by the Committee.
  2. An extra seal shall be used for the purposes of the Gemilut-Hessed Cash of the Association, which shall also include, apart from the name of the Association, the inscription; Kupath Gemilut-Hessed al shem Kedoshei Steibtz[6].


Signature and Representation:

The signature of the Chairman of the Committee or of his Deputy, or of the Manager of the Cash or his Deputy, jointly with the signature of the Secretary and the seal of the Association or of the Gemilut-Hessed Cash respectively, shall be binding upon the Association.


Audit Committee:

  1. The General Meeting shall elect an Audit Committee without referring to the Committee, to convene as elected until the election of a new Audit Committee by the General Meeting.
  2. The Audit Committee shall have as its task to supervise the institutions of the Association and shall be answerable only to the General Meeting and shall submit a report on the activities of these institutions to the General Meeting.
  3. The Audit Committee shall be competent, without referring to the Committee, to convene an Extraordinary General Meeting at any time and to send invitations in its own name for such a General Meeting, to all members of the Association.
[Page 361]

Members of the Present Committee:[7]

1. Zalman Shazar Honorary President
2. Mordechai Machtey Chairman
3. Yehezkel Ben Moshe Manager of the Benevolent Fund
4. Azriel Tunik Deputy Chairman
5. Shmuel Aginsky Deputy Manager of Benevolent Fund
6. Getzel Reizer Secretary
7. Moshe Borsuk Treasurer
8. Noach Borsuk Member
9. Moshe Esterkin Member


Tel Aviv, 24th of the Menachem-Av month, 5710 (August 7, 1950)

Members of the original committee[8]

Official Registration of the Association

The State of Israel[9]
Offices of the Regional Director
Tel Aviv P.O.B. 1763

No. 487/99
Date: 30th Tishri, 5711
11th October 1950.

"The Association of Former Steibtz Residents in Israel"
c/o Mr. Y. Tunik, Adv.
P.O.B. 100 Jerusalem

Dear Sir,
In reply to your letter of 8.8.50 I am honored to confirm receipt of the following documents:

  1. A declaration of the establishment of an association named "The Association of Former Steibtz Residents in Israel"
  2. The Articles of the Association
Yours faithfully
(–) Y. Kuperman
Tel Aviv District Commissioner


The lectern in our synagogue
(A present from Avraham Russak,
of blessed memory)


Victims of the terrible Sunday on Shpitalneh Street
Right to left: Hirshel, Guttel, Itkeh, Basha, Musha Manishevicz   Right to left: Shmuel, Beyla, Golda,Yosef, Hirshel, Musha and Fruma Parkin


Translator's Footnote

  1. This document also appears in the English section on Pages XIX to XXI. There are several slight differences which have been footnoted in the text. Return
  2. Articles - Bylaws. Return
  3. The Association of Former Residents of Steibtz in Israel. Return
  4. Gemilut Hessed- Benevolent Fund. Return
  5. This paragraph does not appear on Page 360, but appears on page XX. Return
  6. The Steibtz Martyrs' Benevolent Fund. Return
  7. These names appear in the Hebrew section of the original Yizkor book and are apparently updated from the original document to 1964 when this book was published. See Footnote 8. Return
  8. The following names apparently refer to the committee members when the association was founded, and appear in the original document, as in the English version on Page XXI.  The leaders of our society are:
    1. Executive: Zalman Shazar (Honorary Chairman); Mordechai Machtey, Vice-Chairman; the late Irving Komak (see XXIII as there is a memorial light to Mr. Irving Komak); Sam Ginsburg, Guy Harkavy and Rosa Dvoretsky (U.S.A.); Batia and Yehezkel Russak, South Africa; Bezalel Baskin and Nahman Flaksin, Argentina.
    2. Actual committee: Advocate Isaac Tunik, Chairman; Ben Yerucham, Vice Chairman; Moshe Borsuk, Treasurer; Getzel Reiser, Secretary.
    3. Committee members are: Yehezkel Ben Moshe; Arieh Milcenzon; Rivka Reich; Shmuel Aginsky; Eliezer Melamed; Zvi Stolovitsky; Mendel Machtey; Bezalel Borsuk.
    4. Audit Committee: Advocate Noah Tunik and Samuel Milcenzon.
  9. This letter does not appear in the English section. Return


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