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[Columns 503-504]

Yankaleh Baumgarten

by Shlomo Altman

Translated by Moshe Kutten

In the gallery rich with folksy characters called “Amkha[1] people of Zloczow”, the image of Yaakov Yitzkhak Baumgarten Z”L, who was called by the people Yankaleh Baumgarten, would capture an honorable position.

He was born in Zloczow in 1878 and had a difficult childhood. He received his traditional education in a “Kheder”, finished elementary school, and continued his studies on his own.

He was forced to acquire a profession from a young age, making copper candlesticks. He worked 12 – 14 hours a day of grueling work, with his master yelling and abusing him. As a result, he developed a mental and physical resistance to any exploitation and injustice.

He started his workday early at dawn and finished it in the late hours of the night. According to stories he used to tell in later years, his employer's wife used to move the clock hands backward to elongate the workday. Despite all of that, he managed to “steal” a few priceless minutes to read a book without his employers noticing him.

In 1904, after the “Big Fire” when he was already an excellent professional, he married and moved with his wife to Chernivtsi [Tschernovitz], where he worked until 1911. Later on, he immigrated to the “Golden State” and settled in New York.

He walked the path of honesty and justice and helped others, all his life. He remembered that the needy ate at his grandfather's and father's homes, and never left hungry, even if his parents had to save the last slice of bread for their guests. He remembered that and continued in their tradition.

Yankaleh Baumgarten was known for his good deeds. He could not tolerate any abuse or injustice. We have already mentioned that he acquired that in his youth. He undoubtfully also inherited that from his grandfather. who was nicknamed “Elimelekh Sheigetz[2]” (in a positive sense!) due to his defense of the weak and the deprived.

During the First World War, Ya'akov Baumgarten was among the founders of the Zloczow natives association in New York - “Makhizikei HaDat” [“The Keepers of Religion”]. He devoted a lot of energy to that organization and donated substantially to help Zloczow's Jews. He helped Jews all his life, particularly people from his native city.

In 1919 he returned to Poland and lost all of his money in a failed business. He was forced to return to the USA to start the beginning.

In 1938 he became sick with paralysis and fought hard to overcome his illness.

He did not live any property when he died, except his good name, which deserves to be inscribed in gold letters.

His son Harry and daughters Sabina and Anna remained faithful to ancestral tradition and they continue in a public activity like their father Z”L.

Translator's Notes

  1. The every-man, everyday people, the folk (as opposed to the elite). Return
  2. The term Sheigetz in Yiddish is used for a non-Jewish boy or young man. It is usually used disparagingly but sometimes as a compliment for a non-conforming Jew. Return


[Columns 505-506]

Dr. Yaakov Yehoshua Yosefsberg

by Mordekhai Deutsch

Translated by Moshe Kutten

Dr. Yehoshua Yosefsberg was born in Zloczow in 1892. He was the grandchild of R' Fishel Reis on his mother's side. Fishel was a descendant of the Gaon [R' Yaakov Yehoshua Falk, author of] “Pnei Yehoshua”, who served as a rabbi in Zloczow and Lviv. R' Falk published books about the Shas [Six books of the Mishna] and Poskim [legal scholars].

The father of Dr. Yosefsberg, R' Zeev, was a “Talmid Khakham” [scholar student] and a prodigy. He was ordained as a rabbi at the age of 18. He educated children in the spirit of the Torah and Zionism and dreamt about making Aliya to Eretz Israel. He did not live to fulfill his dream and died at the young age of 43.

The death of the father left the family without a guide and educator, and the burden fell on the elder son, Dr. Yehoshua Yosefsberg, who helped his mother to educate his brothers and sisters.

Dr. Yosefsberg graduated from the Zloczow's high school as an extern since he refused to go to school on Shabbat and study the manners of the gentiles. Along with his secular studies, he acquired knowledge of the Torah from selected Melameds in the city. When the First World war erupted, the family wandered to Vienna. Dr. Yosefsberg was recruited there to the Austrian army and was wounded on the Italian front. At the end of the war, he registered at Vienna University, where he completed medical school. He then returned to Zloczow with his family.

Following his upbringing and his father's dream, he decided to make Aliya. He arrived in Eretz Israel, in 1925, as a physician and a pioneer. In his heart, he carried the love of the homeland and the hatred for the diaspora.

Dr. Yosefsberg worked as a physician for “Kupan Kholim” [HMO of the labor movement], in the Galilee and [Jezreel] Vallee. Riding on his horse, he endangered his life by visiting the area's Kibbutzim and Moshavim. He was known to all the settlers as a figure bringing help, comfort, and medical assistance to the sick. He performed his work tirelessly, with love, in all hours of the day and night.

In 1935 he settled in Petakh Tikva. The Galilee and Jezreel Valley's settlers were sorry to see him leaving and even sent a petition to “Kupat Kholim” to bring back their beloved physician. In Petakh Tikva, he endeared himself to all patients and worked there until his last day.

He died in May 1961 and was eulogized by many.

Dr. Yosefsberg served as the chairman of the Zloczow landsman association in Israel. Like in other roles, he did not know what half-work was. His devotion and dedication to the job were exemplary.

He once invited me to his home to talk about publishing the memorial book of Zloczow. He was exceedingly interested that the immortalization of the city would be accomplished quickly. Our discussion was held after he recovered somewhat from his illness. A few more friends came to visit him that evening. He was kind to everybody. He was interested in their health and was even ready to examine me because he said that “it has been some time since I last examined you". Who would have thought that it would be his last day? I was astonished when his son called me the following morning to tell me about his father's passing.

Dr. Yosefsberg was an exemplary father and husband. He was also an exemplary son to his widowed mother, whose life was very hard. He treated her kindly and emanated his spirit over the entire family.

He reserved a special love for Israel's capital – Jerusalem, and the Western Wall. When the idea arose, before the establishment of the State of Israel, to purchase plots of lands near the Western Wall, he was among the first people who requested to participate and even sign on banknotes at the JNF. Sadly, the idea did not come to fruition.

Dr. Yosefsberg had an additional special love for music. He played several instruments in his youth, and when he matured, he began to collect classical music and opera records. He knew every musical work by heart and used to listen to his records often.

The house of Dr. Yosefsberg in Petakh Tikva was a meeting place for scholars, music lovers, and friends from all walks of life.

With his death, we lost a good friend and a beloved landsman. Zloczow natives, pained by his death, will remember Dr. Yosefsberg and his work for a long time.


[Columns 507-508]

Dr. Kalman Shweig

by Leah Raviv

Translated by Moshe Kutten

Dr. Kalman Shweig was known and dear to any agriculturalist in the Galilee and [Jezreel] Valley. He used to visit their fields and vegetable gardens as a friend and teacher. Everybody used to gather around him and present questions such as: ”How to exterminate this pest? Or “How to take care of that species?”

His head was adorned with a silver forelock for years, although he was only 60 years old when he died. His body was bent somewhat, his eyes surveying the area around him and ears tuned to listen to any questions directed at him.

His answers were encouraging and compassionate, delivered with a confident and calm voice. They showed how immense his knowledge and scientific understanding was and how close he was to the flora world.

Dr. Kalman Shweig was born in Zloczow in 1900 to a large and tradition-keeping family. When he was young, he stood out in his talents and his craving for knowledge. He fell sick in his childhood with a disease that caused a partial disability. However, his disability did not detract from his vigor, diligence, and learning ability. In later years, it did not detract from his ability to teach others.

He studied at the Ukrainian high school (when the Ukrainians ruled the city) and later at the Polish high school. He passed the matriculation exam in Zloczow in 1918.

After graduating, he was admitted to the Vianna University, where he received a doctorate in natural sciences. In parallel, he also completed studies in the English and French languages. His studies years were filled with Zionist activities. For these activities, he trained in the seminary of Rabbi Khis[?].

After completing his studies in Vienna, he served as a teacher in the Jewish gymnasium in Pinsk for several years and later in Mukcebo [Munkatch], Hungary. In 1929, he fulfilled his dream of making Aliya to Eretz Israel.

He married Nekhama [Nusya] Yosefsberg from Zloczow.

In Eretz Israel, he first worked in an agricultural school in Mikveh Israel. In 1932, he was accepted as an entomology researcher, by the [British] Mandate government, at the experimental station in Jerusalem. He was later transferred to become the manager of the experimental station in Akko.

In his work, he won the respect of his supervisors and students. He divided his time between the research work at the lab and self-observing of the plant life in Eretz Israel.

He wrote books about pests and their eradication. He published articles in agricultural journals in Israel and abroad. He also worked as a biology instructor in the Technion [Israel Institute of Technology] in Haifa.

During the War of Independence, The Haganah stooped an Arab car near his home that carried weapons. That car and its content exploded. Dr. Shweig and one of his two sons were injured, and their house was demolished. After two months of unimaginable suffering, he returned to his work.

With the establishment of the State of Israel, he became the manager of the ministry of agriculture's entomology institute. He served in that role until he died in 1958. He lived to receive, in person, the Haifa municipality's Ruppin award for his book on chemicals for the eradication of pests. The [Ruppin] Academic Agricultural College established an institute for entomology studies named after him.

His colleagues noted his culture, knowledge, and his modest and noble demeanor. May his memory be blessed.


[Columns 509-510]

Trifles from the City of Our Youth

by Dr. Eliezer Boneh (Bauman)

Translated by Moshe Kutten

The experiences of our childhood, even the tiny ones, are etched in our hearts. We bring them up here willingly since we cannot fully evaluate the present, and the future is obscure and incomprehensible.

Although 35 years after I had left my city, these experiences became blurred somewhat, they could still portray our youth (nurtured by our loving and devoted parents).

Some of my friends paved their path in life for themselves even before the Holocaust. These lines would certainly arouse longlining in them. However, others among my friends perished in the Holocaust - murdered by the Nazi human beasts. May their memory be blessed.

 

A. How I Met One Graceful Girl

The building of the state elementary school in Zloczow, named after [the Polish poet] Adam Mickiewicz, was divided into two wings – one for the boys and one for the girls. The school set a goal for itself to encourage social activities among the students. One of those activities was a cooperative managed by students and supervised by a teacher.

In that cooperative, students could purchase school supplies, sweets, and alike. I was chosen, along with a Christian friend, to sell pretzels at the girls' wing. And so, we stood there daily during lunch break, holding the fresh pretzels basket. Our role was enjoyable and evoked a feeling of superiority in us since the boys were usually forbidden to enter the girls' wing. We should note here that we were only 12 years old at that time.

Admittedly, most girls brought their lunches from home, and only the wealthy among them needed to purchase our pretzels. These girls knew how to show off their richness by walking along the corridor while eating their pretzel during the entire lunch break.

During one of the days of May 1925, we stood there as usual, at the girls' wing, when a graceful girl approached me. Her heartwarming smile revealed two dimples. Her brown eyes shined like two diamonds, and her dark blond hair fell down her shoulders in waves. She took a pretzel from the basket and took a bite of it with her white teeth.

Suddenly, she became pale. It turned out that she forgot her money at home and could not pay for the pretzel. My Polish friend, who was in charge of accepting the payment, began to scold and insult her. He alleged that all she wanted to do was to show off and pretend to be wealthy in front of her friends, despite not having a penny in her pocket. The girl looked down, and when she raised her head again, I saw tears in her eyes. I could not bear her humiliation. I also felt close to her, attracted by her grace and innocence. I took out the required amount and told her that she could pay me back the next day.

The “noble act” made a deep impression on her, and she rewarded me with a smile of admiration and gratitude. She did not wait for the next day and appeared in our house in the afternoon, accompanied by her mother. She thanked me again.

Since that day, we had exchanged childish admiration glimpses, which turned into a friendship. When we finally studied in the same class at the state high school in Zloczow, our friendship deepened to such an extent that every boy knew that she was not “available”.

Some of the older high school students certainly tried to “steal” her from me since her grace, character, and noble manners attracted many. However, our “romance” lasted until I reached 18, despite the ups and downs in our relationships, mainly “quarrel games” due to jealousy.

In 1930, I left Zloczow to study abroad. Two years later, I left my studies at the university, and under the influence of students from Eretz Israel, I made Aliya. My connections with age group friends in Zloczow loosened, and a while later severed altogether. I received only echoes about the beauty and success of that graceful girl of my youth.

About a year before the eruption of the Second World War, I received a letter from her, when I had already struck roots in Eretz Israel, experiencing its life rhythms intensively. In that letter, she described her situation and predicted a dark future for the youth of Zloczow. She also wrote that she wanted to change her way of life and make Aliya to Eretz Israel. I encouraged her to do so. However, her doubts and indecision may have lasted too long. The war broke, and the Nazis conquered Zloczow. Among the young people who paid with their life was that graceful young woman. Her name was Ginia Blum.

[Columns 511-512]

Many of my friends would have escaped the Holocaust if they would have taken the path leading to Eretz Israel one hour earlier.

However, in our youth - the period of rejoicing and happiness, with no material concerns about material survival, who could have predicted the future?

 

B. The Convert Teacher

The high school in Zloczow was a Polish state school, and only a few Jewish students attended it. Although there was no official and open discrimination, a Jewish student admitted to that school could consider it a substantial achievement.

There was another high school in our city – a private Ukrainian institution. However, Jews did not study there since the level of study was low and because the teaching language was Ukrainian (and not Polish).

A new literature teacher with a typical Jewish surname arrived one day at the school. We found out quickly that the teacher was a convert who changed his religion for career reasons.

We should note that Jewish teachers were a rare occurrence in that school, except for the Jewish religious teacher. At that time, conversion to Christianity was a widespread phenomenon among Jewish teachers looking for a position at the high school. However, not all the converts intentionally antagonized the Jewish students like that literature teacher.

The Jewish students attended the Polish high school on all Shabbats and Jewish holidays, except for Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur. And there, that teacher chose Rosh HaShana, from all other days, to lecture about Homer's epic poem Iliad. Straight after the eight Jewish students had returned to school from the holiday break, he began testing them about the poem.

His first victim was Ginia Blum. The teacher gave her a failing grade and wrote it down in his notebook. She accepted the verdict silently. However, when I realized that the teacher was not going by an alphabet order of the class students but tested only the Jewish students who were absent due to the holiday, I stood up and explained the reason for our absence. I asked for a delay of two days to prepare for the test. The teacher answered that he was not interested in Jewish holidays and demanded that I answer the question. I repeated my explanation one more time, and so did the teacher. I blabbed innocently, without any intention to insult, that teacher used to be Jewish and that he was aware of the significance of Rosh HaShana. The teacher was filled with rage and anger and sent me to the principal claiming that I was insolent.

The principal listened to the versions of the teacher and mine and ruled that I should spend eight hours of detention in school during Sunday (our day off). The punishment did not frighten me since I had already accumulated many detention hours (“Kertzer”). If I had been in Zloczow today, I would still have to complete these hours.

Yet, I was still enraged that Ginia Blum received a failing grade since she was an excellent student, and the humiliation in front of the other students hurt her. I found it to be my duty to teach that teacher a lesson.

As noted, my actions stemmed from romantic and personal reasons. However, the national spirit also played an unconscious role.

As early as the same day, I organized a few students from among my very best friends. Among that group, Olesh Mroz and Stephen Melgoshovitz were Christians, while Lunek, Linsker, Oskar, Shalit, and I were Jewish.

Although we were not all from the same class, the one thing that unified us all was the antipathy we felt toward that teacher, who showered us with failing grades.

We hid in the ally where that convert resided, equipped with a large sack. When the teacher approached, Olesh emerged from his hideout and threw the sack on top of the teacher's head. It was raining a short while earlier, and the water was still standing. The teacher panicked and fell in the mud. We threw at him rotten tomatoes, prepared in advance for that purpose. We then ran away from there.

The story would have never been discovered if not for Mroz. He boasted about it to his girlfriend, our classmate Irenka Gvendzinka. She was a beautiful girl but exceedingly talkative. She even used to talk about the card games of her father, the vice “Starosta” [District Administrator], and about the amounts of money he lost.

The five of us were ordered to appear in front of the principal in short order. We named the principal “Bidko” [“the poor guy”] because he had to solve the problems of all the students sent to him. He was a kind and pleasant person but stringent.

We denied any involvement and brought Lunek Rott, who testified that we spent the evening in his house developing pictures. The principal ordered to bring Irenka to him. However, she has been “worked on” by her boyfriend, Olesh Mroz, and denied everything.

[Columns 513-514]

We held a meeting on of the benches located at the “Kempa” [a park on top of a hill in Zloczow] to celebrate the event. In that meeting, the four girlfriends awarded Irenka with kisses for her “courage”. Needless to say, that we escaped any punishment.

However, the story about the convert had a curious continuation. During the Second World War, a part of the Polish army, under the command of General Anders, arrived at Eretz Israel on their way to England, where a Polish government in exile was forming.

One day I met that convert teacher on a bus in Haifa. When I called his name, he asked me where I knew him. When I told him that I was his student in high school, he opened his heart. He told me about his hardships and suffering. He did not hide his conversion to Christianity but explained that he would fight for Poland in England. Nevertheless, he expressed his regret that he could not stay in Eretz Israel, a place he heard a lot about during his childhood.

During the bus trip, I reminded him about his treatment of the Jewish students and disclosed the identity of those who had attacked him. He pretended not to remember that e event but mumbled something about making mistakes while he was young. He said that he would have chosen another path if he could go back 35 years. I did not feel sorry for him because converted people who intentionally antagonize people of their old religion are probably incurable.

 

C. A Brawl Between the Poles and the Ukrainians

Three sleds tied to each other and pulled by two horses, adorned by various ornaments, went out on a traditional sled ride [Kulig in Polish] on New Year's Eve. 1928. As customary, the girls who participated in that trip took care of the food, and the boys brought blankets and musical instruments.

The girls in the group were Ceska Shotz, Etka Cyzer, Ginia Blum and Esterka Reis. The boys included Salek Parness, Lunek Linsker, Oskar Shalit, and myself. We went on our way, joyful and happy. Each boy sat behind his girlfriend. The waggoneer was a Ukrainian from the neighboring village of Sasiv. We progressed toward the Zamek [Polish for the castle] when our waggoneer suddenly stopped the horses. A group of about 12 brawling people appeared in front of us. Two Ukrainian students lie down on the ground while a group of Poles was kicking them.

The Poles Staszek Paulo and Zboczek Pshebislavski appeared to be the leaders of the group. There was a lot of commotion, and the screams of the beaten students reverberated throughout the entire area, which was not populated.

We quickly realized that the background for that brawl was the hatred that existed between the Poles and the Ukrainians. Our first concern was to ensure the safety of the girls. We left the sleds and backed away from the main road towards the nearby trees to find shelter. Our waggoneer untied the horses and ran along with one of the brawling Ukrainians towards the Poles. The horses raved and kicked the Poles, who ended up on the ground a few minutes later. All the Ukrainians ran away along with our waggoneer and his horses.

We waited a while until a complete silence descended. We came out of our hideout and turned towards the sleds. Since we were on the top of the hill, we could have easily slid down, almost to the center of the city. However, we could not realize our plan because the Poles recovered, approached our sleds, and intended to brawl with us. They thought that we sent the waggoneer and the horses toward them.

The Poles intended to repay us for the humiliation they endured at the hand of the Ukrainians. However, we avoided using any force because of the worry about the safety of the girls. The Poles knew that we were not scared. They knew us well and learned to appreciate our ability to defend ourselves.

I approached Zboczek Pshebislavski and told him to collect his friend and leave us alone. I had encountered that Pole often, on the soccer pitch, as a player for the Z. K. S. team. He played for our rivals “Yanina” team. Since we were both known as aggressive players, we reached an “understanding” of each other. Although he was a few years older than me, the sides seemed even as we had Salek Parness with us. He was tall and athletic and could block any attack.

We explained to the Poles that the waggoneer was a Ukrainian, and he ran to help his people without our knowledge. As proof, we claimed that we remained without horses. The Poles were convinced but refused to move away. In the end, Ceska intervened. Staszek Paulo was her neighbor, and his parents maintained good relations with her parents. She spoke to him softly. Paulo was known to be a thug but confronted with the charm of the pretty girl, he lost his audacity. In the end, the Poles left, and we prepared to return to the city.

Suddenly, we heard the galloping of the horses and the ringing of the bells. Our waggoneer returned. It turned out that he stood on a hill and waited for the Poles to leave. He did not want to lose the fee we promised to pay him for the trip. We were happy to see him back, as our adventure ended peacefully. When the horses responded to the whipping and began to move, we continued our trip toward Zboriv during that eventful New Year's Eve.

During the entire rest of the trip, the waggoneer did not stop explaining why he was quick to help

[Columns 515-516]

the Ukrainian youths. At the time, we did not appreciate his reasoning since we concentrated on our enjoyment of the trip.

On the following day, we found out that the Poles recognized the waggoneer, who used to transport passengers from Zloczow to the train station, about 2 – 3 kilometers from the city center. They waited for him outside of his stable and attacked him and beat him to the pulp. He was collected by passersby and brought over to the hospital, where he stayed for many weeks.

When he recovered, I met him on his wagon and approached to console him. However, he did not need consolation. Although he did not specifically say so, it was apparent that he did not regret helping his allies. On the contrary, he seemed delighted.

That waggoneer endeared himself to me that day. I learned from him a chapter about solidarity with him, despite the risk for himself. That lesson stood in front of my eyes in later years, before we achieved our national independence when fights between Jews and Arabs were quite frequent.

Indeed, memories from our childhood and youth are rooted deep in ones' heart. Even decades later, they evoke many associations, although our way of life has changed from one end to another.


[Columns 517-518]

The Jews and the Municipal Authorities in Zloczow

by Dr. Altman

Translated by Moshe Kutten

During the days of the Austro-Hungary regime of Eastern Galitsia, Jews could serve as mayors since they were considered loyal to the empire.

A Jewish mayor served in Zloczow at the end of the First World War when the empire fell. The mayor was Dr. Yosef Guld, a successful physician and a descendant of a family of estate owners. He belonged to the assimilating intelligentsia. Even when he was elected to the Austrian parliament, he benefitted from the support of the national democratic party of the Polish population. He was a member of that party, even before Poland became independent.

Dr. Guld was respected and popular among the people since he was agile and because he took care of people regardless of their race or religion.

However, despite being an assimilator and far from the Jewish faith, he maintained relations with the famous Rabbi from Sasiv, R' Shlomo z'tz”l. He traveled to the Rabbi often and loved to talk to him.

Dr. Guld was our family physician. I recall that many years after he ceased to serve as a mayor, he confessed to me that he realized, too late, that assimilation was not a solution for the Jewish problem. He also conceded that he was rescued from a total disconnect from Judaism only because of his relationship with the Rabbi of Sasiv.

That served as a consolation for him at his old age. He told me about a question he once asked the Rabbi from Sasiv, a question that showed him as a person with a good sense of humor.

One day, he passed by the Rabbi's house and decided to enter. Since the Rabbi was in good spirit, he asked him: “Why are Jews allowed to eat chickens, geese, and cows, but pigs are forbidden? While a chicken provides only eggs and meat and the cow only milk and meat, the pig provides meat, fat, skin, guts to make strings, and even the hoofs could be used to make glue. Hence, the pig is much more useful than any of the other animals. Why are Jews forbidden to eat it?”

The Rabbi did not hesitate and replied: “Other animals provide while they are still alive, while the pig provides whatever it provides, only after its death.”

Dr. Guld, the assimilating physician and famous mayor, passed away in 1940 in Lviv during the Soviet regime, poor and forgotten by the Poles and Jews alike. Nobody remembered his days of fame.

With the consolidation of the regime, after Poland had won its independence in 1918, the situation of the Jews worsened. After that time, it was very unusual for a Jew to serve as a mayor. However, due to the organization of the Jewish nationals, many Jews managed to reach high-rank positions of deputy mayors or members of municipal councils.

In Eastern Galitsia, Jews constituted a substantial portion of the population. Also, the Poles supported Jewish candidates over the Ukrainians because of the Poles struggle against the Ukrainians. In consequence, The Jews reached high-rank positions.

Dr. Meiblum served as the deputy mayor in Zloczow under Mayor Dr. Moszynski [or Moszcenski], about whom we should devote a few words.

Dr. Moszynski was a descendant of the noble family of the Knight Von[?] Moszynski. He began his career as a prosecutor in the civil service.

When he left that position, he settled in Zloczow and worked as a lawyer. He acquired a name of a skilled and clever jurist and endeared himself on the entire population, Jews and gentiles alike. He too, liked the Jews, and he used to say that he preferred one clever Jew over ten stupid Poles. He did not hide his affection for the Jews, the poor, and the common masses. His partner was Jewish, Jewish interns worked for him, and most of his office workers were Jewish.

When I settled in Zloczow in 1925, Dr. Moszynski had already served three terms as a mayor. Since he was a brilliant speech-giver and was a very active public figure in Zloczow, he succeeded in being elected as a representative to the Polish national assembly.

Very quickly, he became a central figure in the district of Ternopil, which Zloczow was part of. He was able even to remove the district governor when disagreements arose between them. The central regime had to support Dr.

[Columns 519-520]

Moszynski, because the city population supported him.

As mentioned, the deputy mayor was Dr. Meiblum. The deputy served as the right-hand man of the mayor and provided ideas for the city's improvement. His initiatives led to the enlargement of the power station, the construction of a beautiful stadium, and the establishment of industrial plants. Together, they made efforts to improve the roads, maintain the sports facilities, and cleanliness of the city (which was considered exceptionally clean).

Dr. Moszynski worked in complete harmony with the rest of the members of the municipal council. The [Jewish] members included Dr. Schutz, Yaakov Vilig, Yosi Tzimmer, Dr. Gruber, Dr. Prager, Khanokh Tzimmend, Monish Margalit, R' Shaul Ruler, A. Ort, Mensberg, and others. The Zionist block was always on top and contributed greatly to the development of crafts, industry, and education in the city.

In 1936 – 1937, the Moszynski – Meiblum coalition collapsed. The reason for the collapse was the disagreements between Dr. Moszynski and the district administrator, Plakhta.

The background for the disagreements was the new winds that began to blow in the political arena after the death of Pilsudski. His heirs began to drive the Jews out from high-rank positions. Poles who were supporters of the Jews suffered too. In the following election to the Sejm, Dr. Moszynski failed to preserve his seat in the parliament.

Among those who subverted against Dr. Moszynski was the priest Lagosh. He deceitfully took advantage of the disagreements between Dr. Moszynski and the district administrator. During the second half of the 1930s, he succeeded in attracting some elected Jews by promising them positions (including deputy mayor) in his municipal administration.

As a result, the rival of Dr. Moszynski, officer Bzhezinski was elected. His deputy was Dr. Hilery Tzverdling (the heir of the famous Tzukerkendel publisher and book store).

Following the take-over of Zloczow by the Soviets, Dr. Moszynski escaped to Lviv and secured, after a great effort, a position as a doorman for a small Polish theater. After World War II, Dr. Moszynski married the widow of the former district administrator, Mrs. Pshibislavski, who was known to be his good and intimate friend for decades.

After her death, he survived with the help of an allowance he received from her son in Katowice.

Dr. Moszynski's deputy, Dr. Meiblum, died as a martyr, during the liquidation of the ghetto, on 2 April 1943.

 

Zol519.jpg
The Market with its Stalls

[Columns 521-522]

The Zionist Movement in Galitsia and Zloczow

by B. Tzverdling

Translated by Moshe Kutten

In 1858, the [Zionist] association “Khokhma Ve'Haskala” [“Wisdom and Education”] was founded in Zloczow. It did not last long due to resistance by zealous Hasidim,

Another Zionist association was founded in 1885 by Itamar Idelberg and Aharon Rapaport. They established a Hebrew library with a reading room containing Hebrew Journals. The objective of the association was to disseminate the knowledge of the Hebrew language. Over time that association ceased to exist.

In 1894, a gathering took place, headed by Dr. Aharonfreiz and Dr. Yehoshua Tahun. Mr. Moshe Aharon Neiger, the father of the fame Zionist activist R' Khaim Neiger, served in the steering committee established at that gathering.

Mr. Moshe Aharon Neiger was a pious Jew but educated, who dedicated himself to the Zionist movement. Thanks to him, the association “Degel Yeshurun” [“Flag of Yeshurun” – Yeshurun is a poetic name for the Jewish people], unified the best of the Haredi Jews in Zloczow. It included people like Yitzkhak Schwadron (the father of Dr. Avraham Sharon), Shmaria Imber (the brother of the poet Naftali Hertz Imber) - a teacher at the school named after Baron Hirsch, who educated the youth in the national-Zionist spirit, and Igel Barash. The association “Degel Yeshurun” managed to survive despite the resistance by the extremist Haredim.

During the Sukkot holiday of 5655 [1894], “Degel Yeshurun” held the first Zionist ball, in which the author Reuven Asher Broides, Yitzkhak Schwadron, and Khaim Neiger gave speeches.

One of the initial activities of the Zionists was the fight against the school founded by Baron Hirsch, which intentionally neglected the teaching of the Hebrew language. Rabbi Shraga Faivel Rohatyn, Shrued Garfunkel, and Tzukerkendel left the school committee in protest.

In the second election for the community leadership, in 1901, the Zionists managed to prevail over the assimilators and win in the election with four Zionists candidates: Dr. Itamar Idelberg, Fabius Leiter, the president of “A'havat Tzion” [“Love of Zion”] organization, Avraham Igel, and Shmuel Lev.

The years 1903 – 1904 were a turning point in political life in Austria and particularly in Galitsia. On the agenda was the issue of awarding the right to vote (for the Austrian parliament in Vienna and the Sejm in Galitsia) to all citizens. As a result, the Zionist movement was forced to clarify its political position.

In 1903, the Zionist movement began to spread more and more. The local political trends brought closer even circles, which previously did not show interest in Eretz Israel or exhibited any Jewish historical national orientation.

When in 1905, when Dr. Emil Bik, who served as the parliament representative from the district of Brody- Zloczow, suddenly died, the Zionist party decided to advance the candidacy of Adolf Shtand. That was how it discovered, to its surprise, that Zionism had taken roots in the hearts of the Jewish masses.

The initial [Zionist] election rallies, held in the largest halls in Zloczow, attracted large crowds and the speakers received enthusiastic applause. The Jewish leaders, who until then considered the Zionists as a gang of reckless youths, were caught off-guard in their political routines, and they began to worry about their seats.

The local authorities recognized that concern and began to impose a series of administrative restrictions according to the famous Galitsian method (like prohibiting renting the large halls for election rallies).

The assimilators chose a candidate who received the approval of the Poles and the authorities – Dr. Yosef Guld. He was a physician in Zloczow and a formal mayor and announced himself as a national-Polish candidate. The entire state apparatus was made available to him, including the means for coercion.

The support of a national Jewish representative from Chernivtsi [Tzernovitz], Dr. Benno Straukher, in the middle of the stormy campaign to the candidacy of Adolf Shtand, should be recognized. Although he was not a Zionist and his nationality was not based on any historical orientation, he was a good-hearted Jew with national dignity. These traits helped him conquer the hearts of the Jewish masses in Chernivtsi against the powerful who leaned on their wealth and social standing.

Dr. Benno Straukher considered the Zionist movement as a

[Columns 523-524]

widely popular movement, and agreed to travel to Brody and Zloczow to support the candidacy of Adolf Shtand.

The Zionists took advantage of the popularity of Dr. Benno Straukher, advertised his visit, and secured a large hall for a rally. A large crowd went to greet him at the train station and accompany him to the hotel. However, when they reached the hotel, they found the doors locked with two gendarmes and a government official standing in front. They notified the crowd that the municipal sanitary committee hotel closed the hotel. They stated that the closure was because of the hotel owner's daughter, who resided on the upper floor with her family. They claimed that she fell sick with the flu, and there was a risk of transmission.

This scoundrel act by the authorities invoked anger in the crowd who wished to break into the hotel by force. Most of the anger was directed at Dr. Guld, who utilized such acts to prevent his rivals from succeeding in the election.

It was Rabbi R' Shraga Faivel Rohatyn who saved the day. The Rabbi, who was a wealthy man, notified the Zionist party that he would make his spacious apartment available for the guests. The offer was accepted with great joy, as it solved the lodging problem and symbolized a moral victory.

In actuality, there was another development resulting from that offer. Rabbi Rohatyn z”l won the hearts of the crowd and the party, which until then did not consider him a friend. The rally with Dr. Straukher ended in unprecedented success.

After the rally, the crowd lifted Dr. Straukher and carried him on their shoulders in a festive parade that ended at the house of Rabbi Rohatyn.

A [Zionist] convention was held in Lviv on 15 November 1903, headed by Dr. Pordes. Dr. Groskopf (from Zloczow) was elected as the president, and P. Kornegrin (from Ternopil) was elected as his vice. In that convention, they mainly debated about the political position of the Zionists in Galitsia and the Uganda proposal.

In 1905, when the seat occupied previously by Dr. Bik became available, a parliament representation special election for of the curia [district] of Brody – Zloczow was held. It was an opportunity for the Zionist Union to realize its political standing with the Jewish masses.

Dr. Braude was nominated as the campaign manager and Shtand as the candidate the party candidate. That was the first time that the Zionists could demonstrate their political power. The announcement itself about the Zionist candidate generated tremendous enthusiasm among the Jewish population.

The assimilators nominated the Jewish national-Polish figure, Dr. Yosef Guld as their candidate. The latter was elected as the representative to the parliament, but only with the help of forgeries and fraud.

Zloczow's Zionists - Dr. Zilberstein, and Heinrich Reitzes were elected in a secondary election in 1907. In the municipal elections of 1912, the Zionists secured three seats: Dr. Idelbergh, Dr. Groskopf, and Dr. Lansberg. Dr. H. Hirschhorn and Yitzkhak Schwadron were elected as representatives to the eleventh [1913 Zionist] Congress.

In 1911, the Zionist commercial assistances in Zloczow formed a club called “Bnei Tzion” [“Sons of Zion”]. In 1913, the “Hamizrakhi” chapter and a Union of Zionist Women were founded in Zloczow.

As mentioned, Dr. Yosef Guld won the parliament representation election. However, the election campaign served as proof that neither the assimilators nor the government circles could ignore the power of the Zionist movement.

In the meantime winds of change began to blow as the general election for the Austrian parliament approached. That election was based on a new constitution, in which the curia-method was eliminated.

Instead, all the state citizens were awarded equal voting rights.

That political change thrilled the various parties, and all of them embarked on a feverish campaign work to consolidate their powers.

The Jews, with the Zionists included, sprung into organizational action. Since the Zionist party was young, preparing for its first major campaign, it had to make a fresh start in developing its political platform.

The [Zionist organizations] of the three Galician districts united and formed a national union. A national Galitsian committee was elected. Three people were given full authority to manage the campaign: Adolf Shtand, Gershon Tzipper, and Dr. Brodai.

The election in the Brody-Zloczow district was among the most successful. Adolf Shtand was elected with an overwhelming majority in the first round.

It would be a sin not to mention the essential role that the [Yiddish] newspaper – the “Togblatt” [“Daily Newspaper”] played in that election. The newspaper, published in Lviv, was the only newspaper that was read in every Jewish home, regardless of the orientation, from the Belz Hasidim to the assimilators. The “Togblatt” was the mouthpiece of the Zionist Union. The editor Moshe Gleinman and his chief assistant Meir Hertoner worked miracles for the campaign.

And that was how the bootlicking assimilators suffered a callosal blow while the Zionist movement was on its way to prominence.


[Columns 525-526]

Artisans and Workers in Zloczow

by Shlomo Bar – Am

Translated by Moshe Kutten

Most of the residents in Zloczow worked in commerce or business brokerage. However, some owned or worked in industrial plants (such as leather making and vinegar production). Other workshops belonged to independent artisans.

Zloczow municipality had jurisdiction over about 70 villages that surrounded it. That resulted in good conditions for the development of workshops and artisan shops. These workshops addressed the needs of the entire Jewish and non-Jewish populations. According to my estimate, 20% of the Jews in Zloczow Jews worked in crafts, and their influence was substantial. There were also public figures who made sure to establish an umbrella organization for all the artisans – “Yad Kharutzim” [“Diligent Hand”]. The building of “Yad Kharutzim” also served as a synagogue, which unified its members spiritually.

The name itself is evidence of the skill of those artisans, and it is appropriate to raise a memorial for them.

 

A. Kilned Brick Producers

In 1903, a kerosene lamp fell in one of the houses, and the entire city burnt. The damages from that fire were so enormous that people began to count days before and after “the big fire”. It also affected the economy of the city. After the fire, A vigorous construction boom began, which required professionals in many construction-related fields. The capital for building the new homes became available through long-term and low-interest state mortgages.

To rebuild a city safe from any future fires, they ceased building houses from wood and began using bricks. In the southeastern side of the city, they found suitable material for producing bricks. Jewish entrepreneurs such as Leib Fishman, Buchacher, and others arose quickly, and they established an industry of kilned brick. The area was named “Tziglana” [Tzigle = a brick in Yiddish]. Over time it became a location for trips, games, and meetings for youths. Several tens were employed in producing kilned bricks, and the industry attained substantial achievements.

 

B. Carpenters

Jewish craftsmen rose to fill the demand for carpenters at the newly constructed home. The established carpentry shop for producing lintels for the doors and windows. At the beginning of the 20th century, all of the carpentry work was done by hand. Almost all of the construction carpentry profession was at the hands of Jewish craftsmen. The famous carpentry shops were those of Velvel Akerman and David Kaleb (Mazor). We also should mention the carpenter Yaakov Rekht, who was also active in public affairs (during the municipal and the Austrian parliament elections). Other carpenters belonged to the Mistler and Shulder families, who also produced furniture. Some carpenters found a good living by doing repairs. Among them, we should mention Wolf Bernos.

 

C. Locksmiths and Tinsmiths

The locksmith workshops produced railings for terraces and staircases and also steel shutters for the stores. The better-known locksmith workshops were of Hoffman and Reuven the “Schlosser” [Locksmith in Yiddish]. The son of the latter also worked as a locksmith. Also known were the locksmiths from Daniel Zaurhof's family, whose workshop was located near the “Kempa” [park]. Most of the workshops of Zloczow's locksmiths and ironworkers were built around a large yard. The sounds of hammers poundings on the large anvils could be heard from far away.

To prevent fires the roofs were covered with tins sheets. The tinsmith industry developed as a result and branched into other needs in the house. That profession was held exclusively by Jews. They even worked in monasteries and churches. Eaves and gutters of various shapes and galvanized roof sheets produced by artisans in the workshops.

There was also a demand for milk jugs, cooking pots, samovars, water barrels, and pails. The tinsmiths had a significant influence within the organization “Yad Kharutuzim”. Some of them, like the families Negler and Tzipper, were the leading activists of the organization. Other tinsmiths in the city were Steinhaur, Bressler and Gruber.

 

D. Glaziers and Painters

To complete the discussion about crafts related to construction, we should also mention glazing and painting. Almost all of the famous glazers in our city belonged to one family – the Imber family.

[Columns 527-528]

There were also importers of glass, such as the families of Schorr and Fishel. They supplied glass to all the villages around Zloczow.

The painting was also at the hands of the Jews. They performed all painting work in Zloczow houses and the surrounding villages. The known painters were Teichman, Zusman, Shulder, Zilbershits, Pepper, and others.

 

E. Eggs Sorting and Packaging

As mentioned, Zloczow was located in a large agricultural area. One of the occupations held by Jews was related to chicken growing. A few Jewish families owned eggs warehouses. These families were also engaged in sorting, packaging, and marketing eggs. The following families excelled in that occupation: Mansberg, Tenenbaum, Nusan, Teibeh, Kirshen, Shmeterling, Meir, Bozes, and others. They used to purchase enormous amounts of eggs from the neighboring farmers and market some to Germany. Surpluses were stored in lime water. Every egg was tested under a flashlight to check for any defect. Egg sorting methods were not developed in those days, and the packaging method was quite primitive. However, professional know-how was required, and the Jews were very successful in that field.

 

F. Bakeries

Another occupation developed by Zloczow's Jews was baking. The owners of the bakeries in the city were: Peres, Bauman, Kaczik, Ettinger, Faivil “the Baker”, and others. These bakeries employed many Jewish workers. The occupation was not mechanized, and everything was done by hand. However, the products were of high quality. All sorts of bread, rolls, and other baking products were produced in these bakeries.

The cakes were exceptionally very well known. They were baked by women who made a name for themselves. Among them were Bluma 'di Bakrin” [“the baker”], Krintzki, Dvora Schorr, and Khaya-Sara Masher, the wife of Shimale the waggoneer.

They obviously baked matzoth in Zloczow. They would make the oven Kosher for Passover, immediately after Purim, or built special ovens for that. The work progressed day and night. Matzoth were supplied not only to Zloczow's Jews but to the entire rural area. The baked matzoth of various shapes: square, round, and Matza Shmura. Many Jews made a living in that occupation.

 

G. Meat, Fish, and Milk

The supply of meat for the Jewish population came from the slaughtering of chickens and cows. The slaughterers were: Gedalia, Nakhtzi, and Yankle. They ensured that the slaughtering followed the Kosher rules. The meat was sold by Jewish butchers, among them the families: Ox, Wiederhorn, Schwadron, and others. Other workers that were employed in these butcher shops included purgers, skinners, and delivering people.

There were no fish in the Zlotzovska – the small stream that flew in our city. They were brought from great distances, from lakes and rivers. They were stored in wooden barrels in the river, not far from the road that led to Brody. The families of Shustak and Krug worked in that occupation which required substantial oversight, sorting, and marketing the fish.

We should also mention the milk distributors in our city, most of which were women. Ester-Golda, Shibi, Spodak, Shpetz, and others could be seen loaded with milk jugs in the morning, hurrying up to distribute the priceless liquid. Years later, the milk distribution was done by the farmers themselves, and the occupation disappeared.

 

H. Tailoring and Shoemaking

Another craft held by Zloczow's Jews was tailoring. Some tailors produced new clothing from measures, and others worked in mending and alterations. Some tailors sew suits from journal patterns, and others specialized in women's clothing. Among the distinguished tailors was Zalman Lifshits. Everybody marveled at his ability to tailor clothes that fit the body measurements. Other tailors were Nadel, Tzvikle, Tabak, and Shpringrol. The distinguished seamstresses were: Yiti, Bintzi, Rozhi, and Pepper.

Except for suits and dresses, the tailors also made undergarments. Etil “di Schvetzkeh” [“the perspiring”], was the one who made the new brides, their undergarments.

Shoemaking was also a common occupation in our city. Avigdor “di Shuster” [“the Shoemaker”], Moshe Fein, and Hekht, sew, repaired, and sold shoes. They were all outstanding craftsmen. There were also some shoe stores for which shoes were imported from larger cities. However, their owners were shopkeepers rather than craftsmen.

 

I. Barbers and Watchmakers

Some barbers considered themselves “physician assistants” because they laid cupping glasses and leeches, and extracted teeth.

[Columns 529-530]

Some barbers were called “der Rofeh” [“the Doctor”], such as the brothers Lercher, Meginzi, and others. Known barbers in our city were Leider, Fergangk, and Lubek.

Yekhiel Blumenthal worked in watchmaking and Jewelry. He bent over the complicated mechanism of watches until he reached old age. He was also responsible for the clock on the church tower. The families of Weis, Kromkhel, Mesher, and others also worked as watchmakers-Jewelers. There were many jewelry stores in the city, selling all sorts of watches. One could see the watchmakers doing their work through the display windows, with a watchmaker's magnifying glass stuck in their eye.

 

J. Turnery, Printing, Cobbling

Wood and metal turnery was one of the occupations in Zloczow. The turnery workshop of Hersch Mesher produced pestles, hammers, candlesticks, weights, and the like. The man was a true professional, and he left the workshop for his son, who modernized it and introduced machinery. After them, Avrumtzi Avend continued in that profession. He was known by his nickname “der Leichter Macher” [“the lighter maker”], but he also produced weights and exported them outside of Zloczow.

The wood turnery belonged to the family Dreksler. They produced creative work despite the primitive machines.

A few printing houses existed in Zloczow. The most famous one (known outside of Zloczow) was the one of the Tzukerkandel. They printed textbooks and science books. There was also an advanced printing house that belonged to the Landsberg family and a smaller one of the Zaltz family.

The cobbler shops were concentrated in “Cobblers Street”. Jewish artisans worked there to produce various accessories such as saddles, harnesses, and the like. Many Jewish artisans worked in cobbling, including the Akselrod, Pfau, and other families. The customers of the cobbling shops were the owners of the carriages and wagons, who were numerous in Zloczow.

 

K. Conclusion

I have not mentioned all of the craftsmen and workers of our city because the list is long, and the number of occupations is vast.

For example, I did not mention the bookbinders (the most prominent was Buchbinder, whose name pointed to his occupation). I also did not mention the water carriers: Yosa'le “der Vassertreiger” [“water carrier” in Yiddish], Barukh “Behemeh” [“the animal” in Yiddish], Hershel'leh Mattes, and Henili Fauker. They were all figures that the entire city knew. I did not mention the midwife, nicknamed “di bobeh”, [“grandmother”], who helped in the birthing of generations of children. I also did not mention the gravestone engravers who performed their work with reverence.

There was a city, and its name was Zloczow. Thousands of artisans and workers lived and worked there. These lines, which I devoted to the various occupations, serve as an eternal memorial for them.


[Page 537]

My Memories of Zloczow

by Shlomo Buchacher

Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund

The shtetele [small town] Zloczow will forever
Remain in my memory
There where I spent
My most beautiful childhood years.

I also will never forget
The small house of pasted lime
Where I lived
Happy and content with my mother.

It is impossible to describe
Her devotion
She would have gone
Through fire and water for me.

She did not close her eyes
The entire night
When I was sick
Or felt bad.

She sat the entire time
Bent over my bed
Did not take from me
Her tear-filled eyes.

Her words still
Ring in my ears;
I should have your pain
My dear, dear child.

Fate wanted
To separate me from my home
Cast me to Russia
Thousands of miles away.

[Page 538]

I lived there
In poverty and in need
Through entire weeks
I did not see a piece of bread.

And, after hearing
Cruel news from my home
My bed was
The cold, naked ground.

Life was so ugly
Death was preferable
Only the small spark of hope
Kept me on my feet.

That perhaps I would
Travel home to my mother
And with her as before
Again be happy together.

I consoled myself
Did not want to believe
In the dreadful news
Written in the newspapers.

It was impossible
That people could
Burn alive
Innocent children.

Bury them alive?
This must be a lie
Because the entire world
Would not have been silent about it.

 

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