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[Gimel]

[Yiddish and Hebrew]

Translated by Naomi Gal

Yed0003.jpg
May the book, “Yad Le-Yedinitz”, serve as a Yad Vashem, a memorial book also to the initiator and editor of this book who gave its wings and created its contents and images, to our unforgettable friend,

Mordechai Reicher (Z”L)

* * *

The book's committee and its editorial are deeply grateful to our Ilustre native of our city, the writer and literary critic Yisrael Zemura for his expert advice, supervision and guidance in editing and designing this book, and for reading the manuscripts and styling them.

* * *

A special thank you goes to the famous Jewish painter Ban, from Paris, for designing the cover of this book. While he was in Israel on the occasion of an exhibition for his Song of Songs illustrations and as an IDF's guest, Ban browsed the editorial's pictures and chose as a subject for the cover the photo of one of the tombstones (R' Isaac Meilechson, ZL”), which according to the artist, represents the style of popular-local Jewish art, something genuinely original (see page 695).

[Dalet]

[Yiddish and Hebrew]

Translated by Naomi Gal

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The committee for publishing the Memorial Book “Yad Le-Yedinitz” and the book's editorial

From right to left:

Standing: Moshe Dubrow (Haifa), Mania Schwartz-Gukovsky (Tel Aviv), Pinchas Mann-Meidelmann (Kibbutz Nir-Am), Zosia Roisman-Steinberg (Ramat Gan), Issachar Rosenthal (Kibbutz Masada), Yehuda Safri-Darf (Haifa), Chaim Horvitz (Haifa).

Sitting: Dr. Elimelech Blank (Tel Aviv), Efraim Schwarzman-Sharon (Tel Aviv), Alexander Meilechson (Tel Aviv), Yosef Magen-Shitz (Tel Aviv), Lea Mann-Pernas (Tel Aviv), Shalom Caspi-Serebrenick (Herzliya).

* * *

Editorial committee: Chaim Horvitz, Yosef Magen-Shitz (editor), Alexander Meilechson, Pinchas Mann-Meidelmann, Efraim Schwarzman-Sharon.

Financial committee: Shalom Caspi-Serebrenick, Yehuda Kafri-Daf, Alexander Meilechson, Lea Mann-Pernas, Issachar Rosenthal.

Committee for reviewing finances: Moshe Dubrow, Issachar Rosenthal.

Committee members: Dr. Elimelech Blank, Mania Schwartz-Gukovsky, Zosia Roisman-Steinberg.

 

The members of the committee and the editorial who passed away:

Leova Gokovsky, Shimshon Bronstein, Eliyahu Bichutsky-Naor, Dov Dori-Dondushansky, Mordechai Reicher (first editor).

[Vav]

Original Map
Reference Map
Map Index
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  1. The Large Shul
  2. The Public Bath
  3. Shmuel's Kloyz
  4. Sha'arei Zion and the Talmud Torah
  5. Husaytin Kloyz (prayerhouse)
  6. The New Hall
  7. The Old Gentile Cemetery
  8. Jewish Cemetery
  9. Mill and Electric Station
  10. The Church
  11. Book Store
  12. Telephone Station
  13. Kindergarten
  14. Seminary
  15. Dubrov's School
  16. Charnastrovsky's Cheder School
  17. Garfinkle's Hall
  18. The "Frummer" Shul (Likanyuk) / The Likanyuk Primary School
  19. Loybman Jewish Hospital
  20. Shmuel Druzner's Kloyz (prayerhouse)
  21. Frum [Religious] School (Gorayevsky) / The Gorayevsky Primary School
  22. Gymnazia
  23. A + B wells
  24. Gendarmarie [Police Station]
  25. Post Office
  26. Bank
  27. Premislav Oil Mill
  28. Ackerbaum Oil Mill
  29. Moshe Zamchaver's Shul
  30. Bronstein Pharmacy

Note: For presentation purposes we have provided the “Original Map” as produced in the Yizkor Book as well as the “Reference Map”. The Reference Map is provided as it is easier to read and to identify the locations of the sites indicated in the translation provided. The Reference Map is still missing Site Number 11 as it could not be found on the Original Map. If anyone can locate Site Number 11, please contact the Coordinator at which point we will adjust the Revised Reference Map accordingly.

[Page 1]

Introductory Section

[Pages 5-6]


Yosef Magen-Shitz

Translated from the Hebrew by Ruth Luks

Born in Yedinitz in 1909. He finished the local high school and studied law and philosophy at the University of Czernowitz. From 1931 he was the central secretary of the “Poalei Zion” and its youth movement in Romania.

From 1935 he was secretary of the unity party “Poalei Zion - Zeire Zion”/ Romania. Editor of its newspaper (Arbeiterzeitung, Oifboi, Tribune) and others.

Administrative member “Hachaluz” and delegate at the 20th Zionist Congress ( Zurich,1937).

From 1926 he published newspaper articles in Yiddish, Hebrew, and Romanian.

From 1936 he wrote in “Our Time” (Kishinev) in Czernowitz. Editor of several magazines (Machshawot, together with Sisha Bagish) and of “Jugendstimmen”.

Came to Israel in 1938 to Kibbutz Jagur and was a member of the Hagannah.

1941 – 1942 – Secretary of “Moezet Poalei Kfar Saba”.

1942 – 1946 – Volunteer in the Jewish brigade and fought in the Italian front.

After the war, he was active in the “Bricha” Zionist movement and in “Chaluz” in Western Europe. He published a series of 15 articles about the brigade in “Morgenjournal” (New York). Also published editions in Yiddish and English.

In 1946 he became a professional journalist and worked at “Chadashot Haerev, Yom Yom, Hador, Hapoel Hatzair, Giljonot, Ashmoret, Maariv, Dawar, Dwar Hashawua, Das Weert, Wjjeze” and others.

In the years 1955 – 1959, he was correspondent for “Unser Weert” in Paris.

1960 – 1961. He was the Mapai Speaker.

1959 – 1969. Editor of the weekly magazine “Do Woch Illustriert” and from 1961 editor of “Illustrierte Weltwoche” (Tel-Aviv), reports and monographs “Eilat”, President Ben Zwi”, “Prague Trials” and others.

Married to Chana Taedovnik Matorka.

Son: Dr. Ezra Magen.

Bibliography: Encyclopedia “Who Is Who in Israel” / Lexicon of Jewish Literature (NY)

[Page 9]

“My Hometown of Yedinitz”

by Yisrael Zemura, Tel Aviv

Translated from Hebrew by Shlomo Sragovich

Donated by Shlomo Sragovich in memory of his great-grandparents Yankel and Riva Bronstein
and all the Bronstein family who perished in the village of Zaicani during the Holocaust in Bessarabia

* * *

I admit, and am not ashamed: for many years since I came to Israel, I thought that I have deleted all my ties to the past, and I am no longer bound to the country in which I was born and to the place where I grew and received my education. I thought I was an Israeli and nothing else. As the years went by, I learned to know that this was not the case. A person cannot deny his past, since the past is one of his foundations, whether he wants it or not.

With time, I have changed my opinion about my exiled past! One should never deny it, but reconcile and domesticate it. It is better to produce the best out of it, acknowledge the positive and distance the negative.

* * *

Naturally, I got back again in the cycle of my Landsmanshaftn (coordinator's note: hometown society), which I denied. This time, I was attracted to the people of my hometown Yedinitz, and was requested to assist in the writing and publication of a Yizkor book for Yedinitz. When I started the work and went through the lists, articles, memory chapters and the descriptions about the town in which I grew up and was educated at (although I was not born in it), I realized that I did not forget this town. It was hiding somewhere inside me. When I read, I remembered, and a whole world - colorful, eventful, full of portraiture- rose in front of me, active and influential as it used to be. Who knows, if the qualities of which I am so proud are not the same qualities this city imparted to me. Now, I am not afraid of the past competing with the present, and I do not suspect myself of a possible weakness of mind or bond, God forbid, to the very same past and city.

[Page 10]

When I was close to my Bar-Mitzvah age, my parents (from the village of Pochumbautch, Beltz county, where I was born) moved to Yedinitz. I lived only four consecutive years in this town, which made a mark for me, not less indelible than the village. In the village, I lived during my childhood, while in Yedinitz, I lived as a teenager, the age of recognition and awareness education. Only after living in Yedinitz, and receiving education in Torah, Zionism, literature, did I go to pursue the maturity path (coordinator's note: higher education), went to the cities of Russia (Odessa and Petrograd) and to the world.

Yedinitz educated me not to be a Yedinitzian, but rather…a Tel Avivian.

Having fulfilled the ideal, and while living in Tel Aviv, I returned to Yedinitz in my mind, after thoughts and considerations. I neither miss my town nor admire it: I remember it the way a person remembers his youth, the important primary, natural, forming factors, for which we are grateful – it is possible to say, grateful to our fate.

Now, it is obvious to me that unless I had received my education at Yedinitz the way I did, I would not be the same person I am. Three Yedinitzian personalities affected me greatly:

  1. The wise teacher, the “Rabbi” of the “fixed cheder” in which I studied – Moshe “Zamchover” (Lederman) z”l, who was a great man and a wise pedagogue. Except for regular studies, he led “special teaching” to knowledge-desirous students, whom he taught twice a week the interpretations of Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra and the “Light of Life”. For these classes, we woke up early morning and came to his house at 4 AM. I remember these days as wonder days, and days of sanctification, full of words of wisdom, intended for outstanding individuals, according to the “Rabbi”. Upon his “initiative”, I began writing songs.
  2. A. L. Yagolnitzer was a famous teacher and writer in our town. I was not a student at his school, but we became friends, given my interest in literature and writing. He taught me a chapter in poetry and story writing, and he did it with much simplicity and knowledge. Following his recommendation, my first song was printed in “Ha'Prachim” of Rabbi Y. B. Lebner in Lugansk. the way, one of my teenage friends, who was envious of me, sent songs to “Ha'Prachim” and was denied. He continued sending songs, and when he got no answer, he threatened to commit suicide… and for this, the editor Y. B. Lebner answered him in a postcard, on which a Jobian verse was written, “Ha'Shem natan, Ha'Shem lakach”; the lord has given, and the lord has taken away).
  3. The dentist Liza Karnass was a famous, intelligent woman in Yedinitz, whom I visited several times a week to speak in Russian. Upon her initiative, I published several correspondences from Yedinitz in the Russian paper “Belitzkaia Missl”.

[Page 11]

I would not know how to answer a daring question: how different was Yedinitz, for the better, from other similar towns in Bessarabia, or other counties of Russia. On the contrary, I think that there was no general, important, and visible difference. Perhaps there is a virtue in it since all Jewish towns in Russia excelled in a high quality national and social education. In all towns, students learned Hebrew as a main language, despite the private interests which favored the state language as a main language. However, the state language was neither neglected nor underestimated, and in this way, a known and respectable layer of Jewish intelligence was educated. In addition, there were good teachers and schools in the town, many readers in all languages, journalists, famous Hebrew writers, amateur actors, proper social activity, national Jewish activity, etc'.

Another important attribute of Yedinitz was the Jewish population, who knew that the town was provincial but was not ready to settle for it. Instead, teenagers were educated to aspire to the “Great World”, including both, the Jewish and the general worlds. Many went to study, gain knowledge, and to get to know places with a higher culture.

The same happened to me. I have left Yedinitz several times, to make Aliyah, to study in Odessa, to get to know the capital, Petrograd. This way, I was a student of the modern “Yeshiva” in Odessa, a Hebrew teacher for the children of Yitzhak Grinboim in Petrograd, as well as married a woman from Odessa.

When I came back to Yedinitiz, I was a teacher at the “Talmud Torah” school, together with Eliezer Shteinberg and Israel Toporovski.

At the same time, I was active at the “Tzeirei Tzion” movement, and was elected as the chair of the branch in town, together with Eliezer Shteinberg, who was my deputy (at the same time, he was still a Zionist).

I also remember: besides Jewish newspapers (from Warsaw and Eretz Israel), which were common in town, especially “Ha'Tzfira”, there were Russian newspapers, including high-level newspapers such as “Kievaskaia Missl” and “Bejeveye Vedomosti”, etc'. In other words, the town not only had a respectable layer of “intelligent” people but also exemplary intellectuals.

Formally, the town was linked with the region's capital, Kishinev. But, in fact, there were stronger ties with Warsaw and Odessa (Jewish cultural centers), as well as with Moscow and Petrograd (Russian cultural centers).

I remember an episode in my Yedinitzian biography. One day, I went out of my house, before noon, and passed by the house of the town's judge Shmuelikel, who sat on the porch and drank tea. He called me and said: “what is this bruise on your forehead? I am confident that this a punishment, since today you have not put on Tefillin”. Indeed, this was the case. It was the first time I renounced and did this violation.

[Page 12]

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Yisrael Zemura

 

Yisrael Zemura was born in 1899 in the village of Pochumbautch (coordinator's note: today this village is called Pociumbeni or Pociumbăuți, Moldova). In 1912, his parents Aharon and Nechama settled in Yedinitz. He received traditional education in Yedinitz and continued his studies in a Yeshiva in Odessa. He learned different languages and acquired a general broad education. When he returned to Yedinitz, he became a teacher at the “Talmud Torah” school. After living in Botushan (coordinator's note: today's Botosani, Romania) and Bucharest he made Aliyah in 1925.

His first song was printed in “Ha'Prachim” (1914). Later, he published songs and prose in various Hebrew, Russian, Yiddish, and Romanian journals. In Israel he became famous as a clever and profound literature reviewer. He was a member of several groups of novel writers, focused publishing his works on journals such as “Ktuvim” and “Turim” in the 1930s (together with A. Shteinman, A. Shlonski, N. Alterman, and others) and was an editorial member of “Moznaim”. He also founded and edited the bi-monthly journal “Machbarot Le'Sifrut” (1940-1954) and established a publishing house bearing the same name, which printed mainly dozens of classical books, ancient and new. He published poetry, criticism, philitones, and thoughts in different newspapers and journals.

His main books were: “The Poetry of R. M. Rielke”, “The Poetry of A. Shlonski”, “Two Story Tellers: H. Hazaz and Y. Horowitz”, “The Story Teller A. N. Gnesin”, “Al Parashat Drachim” (A collection of critical studies in three volumes, a poetry compilation named “30 Sonatas”, etc'. He translated dozens of poetry books, prose, as well as Russian, German, French, English, Romanian, and Yiddish thoughts. He was awarded the “Fichman Prize” in 1967. His wife Ada, née Barberman, passed away in 1966. His sons were Tzvi and Ehud (editor of “Dvar Ha'Shavua”).

Bibliography: “Encyclopedia for the Pioneers of the Yishuv” for D. Tidhar, “Encyclopedia for Literature” for B. Kro, “The Hebrew Literature Lexicon” for G. Karsel, “Who and who in Israel”, “The Origins of the New Hebrew Literature” for A. Ben-Or, etc.

[Page 13]

My life experience taught me that a man is affected in his life: a) by the people he meets b) by the places he lived in and engaged at (this is how wise is the ancient Hebrew saying: “Meshane Makom, Meshane Mazal”, which means that trading places, changes luck).

Now, reviewing my life, I intend to understand better the effects of the four places in which I've lived at:

  1. The village Pochumbautch, where I was born and lived during my childhood until the age of 12. There, I gained the most important foundation of my world: the connection to nature and naturalness, providing me with the scale for every phenomenon and degree of organicity in it; only strong and important naturalness determines the taste and weight for everything. I cannot recognize any artificiality, lacking growth which seems to me precarious, and set for annihilation.
  2. Yedinitiz – where I lived as a teenager and was educated for ideals, ideology, cultural curiosity, aspirations to the “Great world”, nationality, as well as universality. In Yedinitz, I had hunger and thirst for knowledge, to understand, to think, to consider, and to admire the literature and poetry creation.
  3. Odessa – where I studied the world and Jewish studies. My teachers included Y. Y. Glas, Kozak, Dobrin (the son in law of Mendele Mocher Sforim), Yom-Tov Helman. All of them had a great influence over me, and made me like the subjects of Language, Geography, and Talmud. In Odessa, I met H. N. Bialik, Yaacov Fichman, Yosef Klausner, etc. They also affected me greatly with their personalities and their cordial attitude to love literature.
  4. Tel Aviv, where I have lived for 47 years and became a writer and a literature reviewer.
I have no doubt, that if I had a different luck, and one of the places mentioned above had been replaced with another, it would have changed the course of my life.

Since I am a fatalist, I assert with satisfaction that this was the way it should have happened and not otherwise. I am also obliged to stress out: Yedinitz is a significant cornerstone in my life - as an Israeli, as a writer, as a Jew.

* * *

The first editor of the book, the late Mordechai Reicher, devoted to it great vigor, spiritual powers, love for the topic, understanding, and invested a lot of work to portrait and characterize this book. Unfortunately, Mordechai Reicher did not complete his work; he died before his time, and left piles over piles of “material”, both raw and in process of editing.

The book seekers then assigned the task of completion – re-scanning, sorting, re-editing, getting new material, and finally asserting the portrait of the compilation to my friend, Yosef Magen – Shitz.

Yosef Magen devoted plenty of work and time to the compilation; he pulled through everything given his experience and understanding in editing, writing, as well as loving the deed and its importance. He controlled whatever was found, and ordered what was necessary to do, scrutinizing and inspecting - and as a tasteful architect, he completed the task to the joy of all Yedinitz people, and for the benefit of the Jewish history and its different incarnations.

[Page 14]

It is also necessary to sincerely thank all the people in Israel and the people of our town around the world who assisted, remembered and described, and to all who managed to revive the character of the town and its different aspects.

This book not only serves as a monument and memory to the town, but also to known and praised people, as well as simple and anonymous people, who either died naturally or by a vicious enemy; in case someone was omitted or not mentioned, this was not intentional, but by mistake, and may the forgivers forgive.

[Pages 15-16]

Captions translated from the Hebrew by David Goldman and Ruth Luks

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Hazkara for the holy and dead

 

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Rav D.B. Burstein eulogizing the destroyed community

 

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Mordechai Reicher z”l giving his speech

 

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Eliyahu Naor-Bitchutsky giving his speech
Second meeting of
former Yedinitzer in Israel

7.3.1967

Next to the president's table from right to left:
Mina Dubrow, Asher Goldberg, Pearl Shir – Goldberg (z”l), Lea Mann-Pernas, Alexander Malchzin, Chaim Horvitz, Shalom Caspi-Serebrenick, Shimshon Bronstein (z”l), Mordechai Reicher (z”l), Chazan Unger, Efraim Schwartzman-Sharon, Eliyahu Naor-Bitchutsky הי”ד, Dr. Elimelech Blank (Chairman)

[Pages 17-18]

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Statewide meeting of former Yedinitzer in Israel

7th March 1967

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The audience in the auditorium

 

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Anniversary of the death
of M. Reicher z”l

“Beit Notta” – Petach Tikvah

At the head table:

1. Yitzchak Shapira (Agricultural Center). 2. Chaim Billi (Secretary, M.P. [probably stands for “Merkaz or Machon Poalim” or something similar – Workers' Center or Institute.], Petach Tikvah. 3. Shalom Kaspi (on behalf of people from Yedinitz). 4. Yosef Chanani (Author and educator). 5. A. Reuveni (Director, Beit Notta, after the death of M. Reicher).

 

In the audience:

First row, among others: 1. Shoshana Reicher. 2. Polia Sharon. 3. Chanan Magen. 4. Yosef Magen-Shitz.

 

[Page 19 - Yiddish] [Page 1 - Hebrew]

Introduction

Blessings Upon Completion of the Yizkor Book

by Yosef Magen – Shitz

Translated from the Yiddish by Leib Kogan

Donated by Leib Kogan in memory of his grandmother Tzirl Fishman z”l,
her brother Yechiel Fishman z”l, and his family member Nethanel Shachar z”l

* * *

With fear and compassion, we carry this book of remembrance and Yizkor to the remnants of the exodus of the Jews. This book will be a kind of “Yad Vashem” for the daily gray life and for the life of a lot of human beings and Jewish fellows who swarmed in the town. This book will be a memorial for gifted people and for ordinary folk who left the world, who passed away naturally, and who have been despised by their neighbors, the gentiles, and by murderers, emissaries of tyrannical villains; for whoever died in the bloody years in his birthplace and who passed away far away, abroad, sent away, and in deportation; for whoever died or fell in our old homeland, who survived, and for whose children fell in the battles for Israel. That is why we gave this book our name, with a little rhetoric, “Yad Le Yedinitz,” which means, a memorial, a remembrance to Yedinitz and its Jews.

* * *

From here and there, one hears that the time has come to listen to the publication of memorial books and memorials for Jewish towns and cities that were destroyed in the Holocaust. They say, after all, that the books are like one another in structure, character, and even content. This argument may be valid among the professional critics and chroniclers, but also the townspeople. In the latter case, their hometown is not just one of many. After all, they took their roots there, grew up, budded, and blossomed.

They love the memory of every muddy street, dusty road, narrow curb, every solid wall and every fallen hut, the lingering smoke from chimneys and every dust in the air, the memory of childlike joy, mothers' tears, livelihood. Sighs from fathers, neighborhood quarrels, screams from teachers and the rabbi's rebuke, the gurgling of the cantor and the echo which reached the town from Promised Land, and even every screaming sound of redemption opponents.

All, the Chasid and the grandson of the opponent, the rabbi and the maskil, the observer of the Mitzvot and the one who ate forbidden animal fats to anger the people, the Zionist and the Communist, the chosen one and in contrast the buyer of stolen goods, the Jew who is ready for Kiddush-Hashem and, by contrast, the apostate. All are flesh from our flesh, blood from our blood. The ones who hated us did not differentiate between these and the others because the concept of innocent and guilty regarding the Jews, was foreign to them.

[Page 20]

We could not and did not want to discriminate between a man of virtue, a righteous and an innocent man, a sharp-minded man and a knowledgeable in the mechanics of life, and Jewish and a human creation; and the lowly, the infirm, and the despicable. The latter, too, surpass in morality their murderers among whom were educated people, musicians, poets, and university professors.

The book was written by the people of the city, mainly, for the people of the city, by the survivors for the survivors of the exile. Both, the expression and the absorption, and listening to this recount, is a mental need for the survivors of Yedinitz and there is no question about that.

Some denounce the memorial books for the small towns as “provincial”. Certainly, the larger the immortalized city, the less “sentimental”, more inquisitive, more scientific, and accurate is the memoir. However, the less “provincial” it is, the less romantic, less intimate it is, that is, the less it will be read.

Insiders know that in Eastern and Central Europe (Yiddish-speaking area - “Yiddish-Land”, as the saying goes), in the Soviet Union, Romania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, etc., there were more than 2,000 Jewish towns (Shtetlech). Aside from the common social and public denominator, each town had something unique and special.

[Page 21]

The number of memorial books on the towns that have appeared so far is estimated at 600, a spontaneous and popular commemorative project that has no precedent in Jewish and universal history, and the hand is outstretched. Dozens are in print and many more will appear until the last generation of extermination and the Holocaust passes away. Only then, will the books move to the desks of historians who will retrieve pearls of richness and the spirit of life in the shtetl despite the atmosphere of sunset and the fate of decline that surrounded the towns on the eve of the Holocaust. Because, the Jewish town had no future, anyway.

The Jewish town and the popular suburbs in the big cities, they too, were just villages of the “Jewish territory”, one of the hallmarks of this territory, was according to various theorists (usually hostile to the idea of ??our national revival) proof to the existence of a Jewish nation (and not the land of Israel). There, in this “territory”, we lived according to our tradition, “A people to live alone”. It was there that the special “style of life” was found, where Dov-Ber Borochov, the teacher of the generation, saw as the main determinant in his Marxist-scientific definition the concept of “nation.”

With the fall of the ghetto walls, with the emergence of the buds of capitalist development in Eastern Europe, the town began to lose its power as a unifying and isolating factor, as a “territorial hallmark” of the Jewish nation. No ideological assimilationist currents were found in the town. However, the departure of the youth and its graduates going from the town to the big cities, and the migration to big cities, undermined the foundation of the separate Jewish existence. The big city made it easier to assimilate. There, the nomads and immigrants lost their language, their religion, their connection to the Jewish people.

The second generation of nomads and immigrants to the nearby Chernivtsi or Bucharest, to the distant Paris or London, to North and South American countries, still maintains an affinity of memory for Judaism. In their grandchildren, this affinity becomes weaker and weaker, and the chain will soon be severed. We are witnessing this process at a very advanced stage in North America (where the third generation of the town's natives have already matured), in Paris, and South America.

[Page 22]

Because a person communicates with his people (in our case the Jew) through an affinity to somewhere. An abstract connection with his people, that without a real connection, a link may not last.

Thus, the “Landsmanshafts” chapters constitute a very strong link of the organized Jewish public in the Diaspora. The deterioration of this link is dangerous to Judaism. The synagogue of the generation of immigrants, its fate as the fate of the “Landsmanshaft” and the synagogue of the next generation, has not yet proved itself.

In Israel, there is no such problem. A new surrounding, a national affinity, is created here. There is no danger of assimilation here. However, there is a problem with the continuous loosening of generations for which everyone is complaining about. We want to instill in our boys and girls a sense of information about the sources of their parents' national upbringing. Let the next generation know after us. Especially, the one who grew up in Israel, that the shtetl, although exile was, however, it was rich in spirit and soul, in uniqueness, and its roots.

Some say that the boys will not read memorial books of their parents' town. Also, this claim I doubt. But I am sure that the grandchildren and great-grandchildren will investigate them because they will want to know what their origins are. Memorials to the towns that the parents will inherit in no way be “thrown away” from the homes of the sons, grandsons, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and future generations. The book about the town of grandparents will be passed down from generation to generation and will become a sacred book in every family in future generations. I would like to quote a soulful Jewish writer like King Ravitch:

“The memoirs are, in a sense, a sequel to the book of books. They carry a mission for the people of Israel, no less than that, a mission for the entire human race across the globe.”

In this book, we have tried to describe all the manifestations of life and existence in the town, to its period and social levels. We tried to penetrate the depths of its history. We retrieved all that we could from what the poor archives could provide us about the town until its Jewish uniqueness disappeared, and even beyond that, the post-war Soviet period.

[Page 23]

We surveyed, more or less, the internal organization of Jews, public institutions, religion, charity, mutual aid, education, its national and ideological currents, Zionism, youth, the economy and livelihoods, the way of life, and their desires, and so on. However, the book lacks a description of the economic and social situation. We told more about the merchants and landlords, that is, about the so-called “class” of the landlord and less about the poor of the city, their workforce, the artisans who were at least half of the Jewish population. But in a nutshell, we reported on the currents of the anti-Zionist “left”, especially the Communists, who were in the late 1920s and 1930s a significant portion of the local Jewish youth and youth - an educated youth, homemakers, and artisans. The communist and revolutionary movement in the field of the Jewish moshav was, for me, part of the general Jewish nationalist movement (I almost said part of the “nationalism”). The devotion of the Jewish Communists and revolutionaries to their ideas, their willingness to sacrifice themselves for them, even for me, is an unwavering part of the sanctification of the historical Jewish name. Such manifestations of heroism and idealism were not present in their comrades, the gentiles' Communists.

Yedinitz was not like its neighbors on all sides, a town inhabited only by Jews. In the time of the Tsars, it was mostly Jewish. During the Rumanian period, the percentage of Jews dropped to half the population. The process would surely have intensified, even if it had not been for the Holocaust.

What constituted the non-Jewish part of the town, not in terms of relations between Jews and gentiles, but in themselves? What was the public weight of the non-Jews, in self-organization, in mutual aid, in the field of charity? Culture and community activities? The gentiles, who lived in parts called “the village” (“Dorf” or “Mahala” - this is a reason

[Page 24]

for scholars to think that apart from the Jewish town there was also a separate village called “Yedinitz”), did not show any self-initiative over the years. They set up no cell of education, no library, no philanthropic institution, no religious institution, nothing.

The so-called “educated” of the local Christians, the teachers, the clerks, and the saints, were in this crowd and were not interested in it. Everyone, including the priests, they were drunk, and the meeting place was at the tavern. And by the multitude among them prevailed apathy and the backwardness. Most of them were captured in the days of the Tsar under the influence of the “Black Century”, and in the days of the Rumanians, the cuzists, and the like. They were the pogromschiks in the previous century and during the First World War; and in the return of the Rumanians to the town in 1941, they were among the first murderers of the Jews, their neighbors across the fence and the street. There was no case where a goy saved a Jew, not just one single case. Not even one!

This book is the fruit of an “ant work” for many years, collecting materials, finding witnesses to events, encouraging writings, encouraging recollections, interviews, conversations, meetings, travels, rummaging through archives and libraries, albums and private drawers, recordings by witnesses, rewriting, copying and rewriting, correcting and editing. Not all the material collected entered the book.

Certainly, there are naturally excesses and deficiencies in what came in, and there may be in the material left out of the book, things that were worthy to be included. But time sped up. While working on the book, it came from time-to-time bad news; that this one and that one was gone from the world. After all, the makers of the book do not intend to stay last on the wall. The budget that swelled and exceeded all planning and size also set a limit to the material.

Several hundred pictures are published in the book, group photographs, and individuals. We did not publish all the photographs we collected because not everyone had what is called “public value”, and there were many duplications. Publishing pictures is also a question of multiple expenses, which the book committee was not able to bear.

Most of the photos were taken from private collections. The photos are also fire sticks saved by the fire. Along with the Jews and their property, all the private albums and collections, and archives were from the local photographers (archives were destroyed). The pictures were kept only by those townspeople who left the town before the Holocaust. Thus, the impression was created that the work of photography in the town was stopped in 1939 or weakened greatly on the eve of the war due to the Cossack and dictatorial regime. We did not receive any pictures taken during the first Soviet occupation, in 1940/41, not so much, as a Holocaust survivor.

Most public images are of Zionist activity. “The Zionists were often photographed,” said someone. We did not obtain, for example, photographs of the economic activities or community life or individual photographs of streets and buildings from before the Holocaust. In the memorial books of the nearby towns, we found pictures of the streets of the town. Where do they come from? Usually from tourists, from the townspeople who immigrated to the far countries and returned to visit the town. We were told that such tourists also photographed the streets in Yedinitz, but we were unable to locate them.

 

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