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[Page 313]

Passed Away

Translated by Ala Gamulka

In memory of my parents (may their souls be in paradise)

My father, Moshe, son of Yaakov, Rosmarin, z”l, was born in 1850 in Ustiluh. His parents were well–off and they educated him In Torah and good behavior. I was told that he was engaged at the age of 12. When he came for the first holiday to his bride's house in Trisk, he carved himself a wood whistle.

 

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The parents of the bride saw this as a natural phenomenon. They were proud that in addition to his knowledge of Torah, he had “golden hands”.

After the wedding, he did not wish to be dependent on his father–in–law. He rented the Vishtzteyn farm near Ustiluh. There he had a large family.

 

 

Two years after the birth of her sixth child, his young wife died. It can be understood how great was his sorrow and mourning, but he had to overcome it and to bring another woman into the household. His little orphans needed a mother and the house had to be managed. After a year he married my mother– she was a widow with a child.

Father learned farming and loved it and was devoted to it.

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He spent his spare time learning Torah. He finished studying the Mishna twice and he also read other scholarly books. He was an enthusiastic follower of the Maggid from Trisk– the author of Shield of Abraham. Later he followed the Maggid's eldest son Leibeinu. When the latter visited Ustiluh, he stayed in our home.

My mother had three children with him– my late sister Pessia, my brother Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rosmarin now in the United States and me.

My father really wished to make Aliyah and to work the land there. In 1920 he asked Norman Bentvitz, at the recommendation of Prof. Israel Friedlander, z”l, my mother's nephew, to help him make Aliyah. However, he was not fortunate to fulfill his dream. In the month of Iyar 1921 he became very ill. My mother and I spent a month in Warsaw with him. In spite of all the efforts of the doctors, we returned home without any hope for his recuperation. He died on 29 Tamuz of that year. He was 71 years old.

My mother Breindel (Brontzia), the daughter of Yossel and Hannah Erlich, was born in Kovel in 1862. Her family was an enlightened religious one. Once, the city of Kovel sent a delegation to the old Tsarina Maria and my mother's brother was part of it. He was Hershel Erlich who spoke Russian well. My mother had also studied Russian and could speak and write it.

My mother was first married to a young intellectual from the Izrael family, well–known in Brisk. She was pregnant with her second child when her husband died. Three years later she married my father who already had three children.

My mother was a beautiful woman, educated and very clever. My paternal grandmother used to say: “Anyone who speaks for an hour with my daughter–in–law will stay smart for a year”. My mother was gentle, energetic and intelligent and she captured the hearts of the family. It was many–faceted. Her step children adored and respected her. In town she was nicknamed “the one with the brain of a male”. She built her home with knowledge and intelligence. The house was open to the needy, be they family or strangers. I remember what father said before he died, that it was thanks to mother that he was able to bring guests for Shabbat, from the synagogue. He had a partner in all matters of charity and assistance. We, the children, were educated in an advanced, traditional manner. We were able to participate in our Zionist, cultural or philanthropic activities. We could bring home friends and to conduct meetings there. This is how life continued until the depression after WWI.

In 1920, when hundreds of young people immigrated, my brother and sisters went to the United States. A few years later, I made Aliyah. Soon, my mother joined us and lived with us until 1942. She had a clear mind until the end– age 80. A day before she died, when three doctors came for a consultation, she said to them:” Nu, doctors, what do you say? My daughter thinks that if there will be a few doctors

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my “passport” will be renewed. However, if the one above decides, no else can help”. The doctors were amazed at her manner of speaking. She died the next day– 25 Adar 1942.

May her soul be bound among the living.

Tzila Fleisher

 

 

Feiga from across the river (Eichenboim)

She was called Feiga from across the river because she and her family lived in a settlement on the other side of the Bug river–west of town. I knew her a little at home, but I really got to know her in Eretz Israel.

It is quite acceptable to refer to educated people as intelligent. She, Feiga, was not educated, but she had native intelligence. It must have been a gift from above that she was even more intelligent than learned people. She was modest and was always ready to help the needy. Her home was open to any passing guest and she was devoted to all those near her. These attributes she also implanted in her children– a son and a daughter who are with us in Eretz Israel. She made Aliyah in 1929 and died, at an old age, in 1948.

May her soul be bound among the living.

Tzila

 

Yosef Eidelshteyn

Yosef (Yozhi) Eidelshteyn, z”l, was a true son of the Jewish people. He fought for the freedom and independence of his homeland. From early childhood he could not accept the lot of the Jewery living in towns and villages in foreign lands. He was absorbed by the teachings of Jabotinsky and undertook the difficult task of imbuing the youth of Ustiluh with the recognition that the future of the people and the individual are in their homeland of Eretz Israel.

As the commander of the Beitar branch in Ustiluh he loyally took care of the national education of the youth and the possibility of illegal immigration to the homeland.

In the midst of this blessed activity, WWII broke out and Yosef, z”l, arrived with other refugees in Vilna.

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He immediately dedicated himself to continue all Beitar activities. This was quite dangerous in Soviet times.

He was unafraid and his room became the center for meetings and for hiding people and arms.

In order not to become a burden on his friends, Yosef carried on a small business. He did not forget his friends who were suffering in jail in Vilna. His heart, his ears and his pocket were always open to any demand.

Yosef, z”l, was a good and loyal friend. He showed these traits during the most difficult times in the Diaspora and in Eretz Israel.

In 1941, after much suffering and tribulations, Yosef, z”l, arrived in Eretz Israel. He immediately offered his services to the Irgun which had waved its rebellion flag against the foreign rulers. He wanted independence for Eretz Israel.

Here, too, as in the Diaspora, Yosef, z”l, always stood with his friends, in hard times and good ones.

Yosef had a physical disability and it is quite common that such people become bitter, angry and indifferent.

Yosef, z”l, was the exact opposite. He was always full of energy, belief and dedication.

His friends loved and admired him because of these traits. They always found him to be a true friend who was ready with deed and advice.

During the rebellion against the British in 1947, he was arrested and held in Latrun detention camp. Later he was moved to Atlit together with mayors and national leaders.

In spite of the fact that detention was difficult for him he did not lose his sense of humor and was beloved by everyone who met him.

Yosef, z”l, was a talented organizer and he was successful in his position as the manager of a Workers Health clinic in Ramat Gan.

He also held positions as a member of the national Herut executive, a leader of the local branch and of the workers Union in Ramat Gan. For some time, he was also a member of work agency of H.E.L.

Yosef's friends were deeply shocked when they heard the tragic news that Yosef Eidelshteyn was no longer among us.

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It is with deep pain that we said good bye to him in the Kiryat Shaul cemetery. We will not forget him.

Yosef Eidelshteyn, z”l, will always serve as an example of friendship and loyalty. His family can be proud of their Yosef. His friends from his hometown will always remember him as a true member of the Jewish people who began his dreams in Ustiluh. He managed to fulfill some of them.

David Yotan

 

Aaron Dror (Shovalev)

 

 

He was the son of Simcha and Tzartel and was born in Ustiluh in 1899. His parents were religious, but enlightened. His mother died when he was 16. He had technical talents and studied carpentry. His father, Simcha, the teacher, had no way of earning a living during WWI and Aaron was very helpful to him. The two older sons had moved far away.

Unfortunately, he came down with a chronic illness in his leg and he had to be bedridden, at times. Aaron did not let it stop him and continued working.

When the branch of Hechalutz Hamizrachi was founded in Ustiluh, Aaron joined. In 1924 he received a certificate for Aliyah. Soon he was able to also bring his fiancée Leah, daughter of the cantor Akhiezer. A few years later he also brought his father. At first, he settled in Afula where he lived for 4 years. He then moved to Haifa and after 4 more years he built a home in Kiryat Haim.

In Eretz Israel he continued with his profession in a construction cooperative, in the oil distillery and in the Vulcan factory. His childhood illness finally overtook him and he died on 13 Nisan 1957 after much suffering. He was only 58 years old. He left a wife and two sons.

Aaron was a gentle person, like his parents. In spite of the physical suffering, he always had a smile on his lips. He took good care of his family and was totally devoted to all his friends and relatives.

May his soul be bound among the living.

A.A.

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Reuven Rotenberg

 

 

Reuven was born in 1902 to a religious family. His education was according to their beliefs. He was an excellent student and learned with Rabbi Wertheim, z”l. He studied Torah together with Pinchas, son of the Rabbi. When he grew up, he studied secular subjects privately, without his parents' knowledge. After we became family because my brother married his sister, he was able to read books and newspapers in our home. This is how he spent his spare time. After he finished dealing in business in the villages, he spent time reading. When the branch of Zeirei Mizrachi was founded in Ustiluh, Reuven joined and was an active member. In 1925 he received a certificate and made Aliyah, in spite of his parents' objections.

He had difficulty being absorbed in Eretz Israel. For the first two years, he was ill and unemployed and stayed in Haifa. He then moved to Binyamina and went to work at PKA in Habara. He worked hard for 4 years in order to receive land for settlement. During that time, he also dreamed of having a family. There was less work and his dreams were not fulfilled. He was let go and returned, disappointed, to Haifa. After a few difficult months he began a steady job. In 1932 I made Aliyah and joined him. Slowly, our family life began. In 1934, our daughter Hadassah was born and a year later we moved to Kiryat Haim. Time passed with hard work and various difficulties. The war between Ethiopia and Italy and the events of 1936 brought their own desperate times. In the meantime, our son Dror was born in 1945. The next few years brought economic success and we overcame our problems. Reuven was taken suddenly from us. He was only 52 and had not yet seen true happiness.

Reuven was an honest and modest man in everything he did. He was warm and kind towards others. He was always ready to help with good advice, money and his own efforts. He was devoted to his family and beloved by all who knew him.

May his memory remain with us forever.

Sima

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Yenta Gurevitz

Yenta knew suffering and hard work from an early age. Her father was a trusted employee of a Jew who leased the whiskey distillery of the wealthy owner. He died young and left a wife and three daughters. There was also a son who had polio and remained incapacitated for the rest of his life. The father's boss, a generous man, helped the family to open a tavern and Yenta was the manager. The business flourished thanks to her intelligence, honesty and energy. Everyone, Jews and gentiles alike, loved and respected her. Unfortunately, her mother did not live much longer and Yenta had to take the place of both parents for her young sisters and invalid brother. Yenta was so devoted to her family that she did not want to get married before her sisters. When it was her turn to be wed, her condition to her groom was that her brother would live with them. Her husband was an honest person and had a good trade and he agreed. They lived together happily and raised their children in a proper way. They prospered until WWII broke out.

It is said that Yenta's family was killed in the first action, but that she, herself, miraculously remained alive. After much wandering and frightful experiences– she was on the “Exodus”– Yenta arrived in Eretz Israel at the end of the War of Independence. She was completely worn out physically and emotionally. Her situation here was difficult because she depended on assistance from the Welfare department and from former residents of our town. (Help came mainly from those of us living in Haifa), Eventually she received funds from the Claims Conference in Germany.

Her bitter lot did not allow her to enjoy an easier life. This lonely woman was suddenly afflicted with a disease and she died quickly.

May her soul be bound among the living.

Daughter of Moshe

 

Zehava (Golda) Eidelshteyn

 

 

She was born in Ustiluh in 1911 to an important and wealthy family. However, her parents died when she was quite young and she and her little brother were raised by an uncle. He was their father's brother and they had, together, owned a large commerce. A few years later, her brother died and she was left alone. Zehava grew into a beautiful and clever young woman. Se was a member of the Zionist organization and made Aliyah in 1935. Here, she married a very fine young man, but the marriage did not last. Zehava married a second time and was very happy.

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Sadly, the good days did not last. She became ill and died at the age of 37.

May her memory be a blessing.

M.K.A.

 

Heroism of a Mother
Memories of Rivka Reiter, z”l

 

 

Rivka was born in 1911 in Ustiluh. Her family was modest and poor. Her father was a teacher of young boys and her mother ran a notions store. The father died young and left his wife a widow with young children. They grew up and were educated and learned trades. One of the sons even became a Hebrew teacher.

Rivka was a member of Hechalutz and made Aliyah in 1936. She married a fine young man and they had a son. They were quite happy. Her cruel fate was to become deathly ill. Prior to being taken to the hospital she asked the doctor to test her husband and three–year–old son. She was afraid that she had infected them.

When I came to visit her in the hospital, just before her death, she said to me: “I wish to die in peace and this is why I asked for the tests”. She added: “Believe me, I have not kissed my son and he is almost four –years–old…”

I was astonished by her generous spirit. She fought her illness and was fearful for her child. She managed to overcome her feelings and denied herself a last enjoyment– the kiss of a young dying mother to her child!

Her soul returned to God on 15 Adar 1944.

She was 33 years old.

May her memory be a blessing.

Her townmate

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Ben Zion Goldhaber

 

 

He was born in 1900 in the village of Ludin, near Ustiluh. His family was a well–off rural one. His grandfather, Baruch Ludiner, was well known as a donor of potatoes to the needy before Passover. (Another donor was Shmuel Leib Bortnover). Just before WWI, Ben Zion's mother died and his father was left alone with five children. The oldest, 14 years old, showed a talent in art. He studied at the Art Schools in Warsaw and Krakow and became a famous artist. Ben Zion and the other children were also talented, but the war stopped them from continuing their education appropriately. They attended a regular school. In 1928, Ben Zion married a teacher of Polish from Zmushets. They had a son and lived happily together until WWII broke out. Many difficulties pursued them. They hid in bunkers and in displaced persons camps. They made Aliyah in 1949.

They were well absorbed here. Ben Zion worked in a canning factory in Haifa bay. They lived in Kiryat Haim. Everyone, bosses and co–workers alike, liked and respected him. He was a pleasant man with a good disposition.

One morning, on 7 Tishrei, 1961, he did not feel well. He did not want to scare his wife and he left for work. He felt worse there and a doctor was summoned. He had died, by then, He was 60 years old.

May his memory be a blessing.

TZ.P.

 

Pinhas Sapir–Chen

My father, a dear man, Pinhas, son of Eliyahu Sapir–Chen, z”l, was born in the village of Osvoba, near Stepan, Volyn, in 1912. He was sent to learn in a Heder at a young age, as were all other children. At the age of 12 he went to study in the Yeshiva in Koretz. He stayed there for two years and returned home. He began to look for new horizons, but he could not find them in his village. He decided to go to Warsaw. He was only 14 years old, but he was accepted in the Seminary for teachers and rabbis– Tachkemoni.

Conditions at home were bad and young Pinhas did not receive any funds from them, unlike his colleagues. He studied in the seminary, but he had to earn his keep.

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He gave private lessons until late at night. Only then was he able to do his own homework. There were nights when he did not sleep, but he kept up his school work.

A year after he came to Warsaw, his father also sent his younger brother to study. Understandably, the older brother received the younger one in a grand manner. He even gave up his own food to him. This is how he managed during his studies.

He studied in the seminary for 6 years. After successfully completing his studies he began to teach. At first, he taught at the high school in Kovel and later in the Tabut school in Lublin. It was run by Israel Shalita.

He especially loved Hebrew literature and he spent many nights researching the language. He taught his students in the spirit of renewal of the Hebrew language.

In 1936, 24–year–old Pinhas decided to fulfill his dream and make Aliyah. And so, he did.

Here, in Eretz Israel, he devoted himself completely to work in the field of Hebrew literature. At first, he worked in the Masada publishing house and then in other houses. He continuously worked in editing, punctuating, proofreading and translating. He did this work with great love and devotion.

Many different books went through his hands. Each book had its own difficulties until it came out of the printing press. Each book was prepared by father in his easy, pleasant and simple style. He was appreciated in every publishing house in which he worked for his love of Hebrew books. For certain, every book lover with taste would have liked him, but to them he was anonymous. His name was not listed in the book. He was very modest.

His friends all knew him as a noble soul. He radiated love to his surroundings. He was honest and bright. Many people turned to him when they were in trouble. He, in turn, would comfort and encourage them.

Even when he was on his death bed, he managed to seem calm. He knew what was coming, but he never complained. He did not bother anyone and behaved with kindness towards all.

Many people cried when this special man left us at the age of 47. Just as he never wished to bother anyone, even on the day he died, he continued in that vein.

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He died on the first day of the month of Elul 1960. On that day, there are no eulogies, so no one had to be disturbed.

May his soul be bound among the living.

His son Gideon

Pinhas Sapirstein, z”l, as described above, was not born in Ustiluh. However, after he married Yehudit Helfman from Ustiluh, he became close to the former residents of our town. He participated in happy and sad events. He attended our activities as if he were one of us, even though he had never been there. He knew much about it and spoke of the town with great love and interest. This is why we considered him an adopted son of Ustiluh. It was our blessing. We feel his absence and we are mourning his death together with his family.

M.K.A

 

Rivka Ingber

 

 

My mother, Rivka, daughter of Liptche Eisenberg, made Aliyah with her family in December 1935.

During the bloody times after the Russian revolution, she lost a husband and three children. Still, her spirits were high. She remarried and began a new family. Here, in Eretz Israel, life was not easy and she suffered during the attacks. In spite of everything, she remained hopeful. She was in dire economic conditions, but she managed to give her children a good education.

My mother resembled her father – she was gentle, bright and kind. She inherited, from her mother, a sense of humor. This is why she was beloved by all who knew her.

During the War she suddenly became ill. After three days, on 14 December, 1941, she died at the age of 52.

May her soul be bound among the living.

Miriam Blechman

 

Rivka Wasserman

I met her under special circumstances, when she was three–years old. When we began our charitable work, as I mentioned in my article “Kindness of Youth”, we decided to give assistance to

[Page 325]

orphaned and neglected children. This was in the years 1919–1920. The first activity was a visit, in twos, the poor sections in order to research the economic and familial conditions. In one house, on Danche street, we found (my partner was Mordechai Privner, z”l), little Rivka enveloped in rags. Her body was full of sores caused by hunger and dirt. After a short conversation with her, we discovered that she had no mother or father. Her older brother was learning tailoring and her sister was a maid in one of the houses down town. She, this little girl, was all alone all day at home. On a nice day she went to the neighbors to ask for food.

That evening, when the investigators met, the idea of founding a special home for the neediest was born. We did not have the budget for a large home. The institution was opened and Rivka was among the first to arrive. Soon, her sores healed and she became a beautiful girl. When I made Aliyah, she was still in the orphanage– healthy, happy, a good student learning a trade.

I did not know what happened to her afterwards for some years. She made Aliyah with her husband and children, about three years ago. She came to visit us. We were very happy to see her. She told us how she and her family survived and how happy they are. The main purpose was to invite us to her daughter's wedding. We were delighted to be invited. Rivka was even more beautiful and shone with contentment when she introduced her family. We all rejoiced together.

There is a saying: when a person is in a bad situation and eventually conditions improve, Satan interferes and takes his life. This is what happened to Rivka.

She was suddenly taken from us about six months after her daughter's wedding.

May her soul be bound among the living

Tzila Fleisher

 

Yossel and Nachman Burlyant

As the book was being prepared for publication, we received the sad news from New York. These two brothers died young. They were among the elite of Ustiluh during the period between the two wars. Their articles are included in this collection.

Readers will find a description of the Burlyant family in the article by A. Schlachter – “Figures”. Another article about Nachman, in Yiddish, is by Tz. Fleisher.

May their memories be blessed.

The Editors


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Vision of the Dry Bones
Ezekiel 37

Translated by Ala Gamulka

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley, and that was full of bones.

And He made me pass by them round about, and lo! they were exceedingly many on the surface of the valley, and lo! they were exceedingly dry.

Then He said to me; “Son of man, can these bones become alive?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You [alone] know.”

And He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’

So says the Lord God to these bones; Behold, I will cause spirit to enter into you, and you shall live!

And I will lay sinews upon you, and I will make flesh grow over you and cover you with skin and put breath into you, and you will live, and you will then know that I am the Lord.”

So I prophesied as I was commanded, and there arose a noise when I prophesied, and behold a commotion, and the bones came together, bone to its bone!

And I looked, and lo! sinews were upon them, and flesh came upon them, and skin covered them from above, but there was still no spirit in them.

Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the spirit, prophesy, O son of man, and say to the spirit, ‘So says the Lord God: From four sides come, O spirit, and breathe into these slain ones that they may live.’”

And I prophesied as He had commanded me, and the spirit came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, a very great army, exceedingly so.

Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are all the house of Israel. Behold they say, 'Our bones have become dried up, our hope is lost, we are clean cut off to ourselves.'

Therefore, prophesy and say to them, So says the Lord God: Lo! I open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves as My people, and bring you home to the land of Israel.

Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and lead you up out of your graves as My people.

And I will put My spirit into you, and you shall live, and I will set you on your land, and you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and have performed it,” says the Lord.

And the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

“And you, son of man, take for yourself one stick and write upon it, ‘For Judah and for the children of Israel his companions’; and take one stick and write upon it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions.’

And bring them close, one to the other into one stick, and they shall be one in your hand.

And when the children of your people say to you, saying, ‘Will you not tell us what these are to you?’

Say to them, So says the Lord God: Behold I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim and the tribes of Israel his companions, and I will place them with him with the stick of Judah, and I will make them into one stick, and they shall become one in My hand.

And the sticks upon which you shall write shall be in your hand before their eyes.

And say to them, So says the Lord God: Behold I will take the children of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side, and I will bring them to their land.

And I will make them into one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be to them all as a king; and they shall no longer be two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms anymore.

And they shall no longer defile themselves with their idols, with their detestable things, or with all their transgressions, and I will save them from all their habitations in which they have sinned, and I will purify them, and they shall be to Me as a people, and I will be to them as a God.

And My servant David shall be king over them, and one shepherd shall be for them all, and they shall walk in My ordinances and observe My statutes and perform them.

And they shall dwell on the land that I have given to My servant, to Jacob, wherein your forefathers lived; and they shall dwell upon it, they and their children and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever.

And I will form a covenant of peace for them, an everlasting covenant shall be with them; and I will establish them and I will multiply them, and I will place My Sanctuary in their midst forever.

And My dwelling place shall be over them, and I will be to them for a God, and they shall be to Me as a people.

And the nations shall know that I am the Lord, Who sanctifies Israel, when My Sanctuary is in their midst forever.”

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Memorial Assembly for Victims of the Holocaust from our town 1961 Tel Aviv

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Participants in the Memorial Assembly

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Board of the Organization of Former Residents of Usiluh in New York

 

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