Table of Contents

English Section

Typed up by Genia Hollander

Dear Fellow townsmen of Barniv and vicinity,

The present volume on our town of Barniv is being published upon an auspicious occasion. We feel as though a weight has been lifted from our hearts and it is with feelings of the greatest satisfaction that we turn the leaves of this book.

Ours was a poor and small community comparatively speaking, but it was rich in Torah, in wisdom, in Hassidut and in love of learning, in charity, in diligent toil.

The sons and daughters of Barniv were renowned throughout Western Galicia for their love of learning, their sense of mutual responsibility, their bearing and their good manners.

The intellectual and spiritual qualities of the men and women of Barniv, their simple ways and dignity, were passed on from generation to generation until that tragic day when every thing was engulfed in the calamity that overwhelmed European Jewry.

We, a handful, have survived the catastrophe and by a supreme effort, we have begun to weave the strands that bind us to our ravished community.

The years are passing and a new generation has grown to maturity. This new generation, children and grandchildren of the men and women of Barniv in Israel and other countries, know very little about the community from which their parents hail, while the number of townsmen and townswomen of Barniv is steadily growing smaller. It is for these reasons that we regard the establishment of this memorial to the martyrs who died in the crematoria of Belzec as a sacred duty. The resources at our disposal are two small to perpetuate their name in some more imposing edifice, and for that reason, we have endeavoured to do so in this modest volume.

Association of Barniv Townsmen

[Page V]


By Jacob D. Brand


The origin and early development of Baranow is difficult to trace. There is no documentary evidence available. In the checkered history of Poland, Baranow occupied no special position, notwithstanding its location on the Vistula (Wisla). The origin of the Jewish settlement is likewise unknown. It must be assumed that during the reign of Casimir the Great, in the 14th century, when Jews found refuge in Poland from persecution in Western Europe, they fanned out in its fertile plains and settled along the shores of the Vistula.

It is claimed that the cemetery contained monuments (uprooted by the Nazi during their occupation of the town) that bore names of Jews who died some 400-500 years ago. The accuracy of this claim was not established and actual names of the deceased are not available.

What is know for certain is that a series of major fires took place in the 90's of the last century. The most damaging one was that in 1898 which caused the central part of the town to burn down. The townhall went up in flames and with it all documents that might have shed some light on the history of the township.

Baranow was not long in rebuilding. In place of the old wooden hovels, new brick structures rose. Consequently, Baranow gave the appearance of a young town. The calendar was a casualty of the impact of the fires. Thus, for a long period, events in the community did not occur according to the calendar year but so many year pre-or-post the conflagration.

In the dismemberments of Poland, the southern part of the country known as Galicia (which included Baranow) was annexed by Austria.

Under the so-called benevolent Austrian regime, Baranow was a thriving community in which some 250 Jewish families lived. Its geographical location as a border town contributed to its comparative prosperity. World War I imposed changes on the town. Baranow was occupied by the Russians and many skirmishes were fought in and around it. Those who could, migrated deeper inland to more secure and peaceful locations, there to await the end

[Page VI]

of the war. Some acclimated themselves to the new environments and settled in the new localities, never to return to Baranow.

At the end of the war, Poland's independence was established. With it came oppressive laws undermining the economic position of the Jews. Moreover, Polish independence was celebrated in Baranow with pogroms. The young Jews who had returned from the wars quickly organized an effective self-defence and after several bloody encounters, the pogroms were stopped and order re-established.

The post World War I years witnessed a wave of emigration, particularly to America, and the Jewish population dwindled to a mere 125-135 families.



Baranow is located in what is commonly known as Western Galicia. The county seat (Starostwo) was in Tarnobrzeg (Dzikov) and was part of the province or state (Wojewodstwo) of Lvov (Lemberg).

In the centre of the town was a large rectangular area called “The Marek” or market place. It was surrounded by neat rows of homes with the front sections serving as stores opening onto the “Marek”. In the middle was a huge gas lamp suspended from a tall post which, when lit, shed a dim and weird light on the area. To the north and south were the water pumps from which the inhabitants hand-pumped their daily supply of water. These pumps rose from wooden structures which covered the wells from which the water was pumped. When in winter the pumps froze, or when, due to some mechanical malfunction, the pumps would fail to operate, a board was lifted up and the bucket dropped directly into the well and thus the water was drawn.

Rising above the rows of single-storied homes in the Marek were two taller structures each having two stories: one in the west and one in the north. Both owners used the lower floors as saloons and the upper ones for living quarters. The one in the north served also as a sort of hotel when circumstances imposed detention on an infrequent visitor.

All roads led to or emanated from the “Marek”. Southward was the heavily cobbled road leading to the railroad depot, some seven miles off. Midway, to the depot was the Jewish cemetery.

The road to the west was tree-lined. On its right was the stately school house with well kept grounds and picket fence. Somewhat diagonally across was the magnificent church with its tall steeples towering over an extravagant wind-swept park. Further down the road was the post office, an un-assuming low-roofed wooden shed, the terminal point for Jewish strollers. Beyond it were concentrated non-Jewish residents and only the rugged and venturesome would risk a leisurely walk in the area.

[Page VII]

On the east was the road leaving to the “Wasserlach” (a body of stagnant water) and to Tarnobrzeg (County Seat). The “Wasserlach” also served modest economic and social functions. Its polluted waters furnished a limited supply of fish for the community. In winter it was used by the non-Jews for ice skating and on Rosh Hashono by the Jews for Tashlich.

The narrow lane in the north, paved with broad flagstones, led to the cluster of Jewish institutional buildings such as the Bes Midrosh (Synagogue), the Rabbi's residence and the Mikveh. The road on the north-western corner pointed to Dolansky's 'Castle' (the Hoif). This was an imposing medieval palace of gargantuan size.

During the formation of the Polish government in the days immediately following the conclusion of World War I, Drs. Reich and Sommerstein (subsequently elected members of the Polish Sejm) were held here in a form of house arrest as their ideas were held by the politics to be contrary to the best interests of the country. The “Castle” was “the” landmark of the town.

Adjacent to the “Castle” ran the Krzemenice, a beautiful, rapidly flowing streamlet which meandered its way to the Vistula. Parallel and a mile to its rear, rushed the Vistula, the major water artery of the country, which after absorbing many tributaries, made its way to the Baltic Sea.

This fortunate geographic location which bestowed on Baranow, two streams within its boundaries, gave it distinction and stature. Owing to this fact, a “Get” (Jewish divorce document) could be processed here, though no one remembered that such document had ever been executed in the community.



The Jews were the shopkeepers in town and the purveyors of needed goods for Baranow and its environs. With the exception of one tobacco store, a saloon, a grocery store and a candy booth, all stores were owned by Jews. Three or four tailors, three bakers, one roofer and one bal agolo (drayman) constituted the Jewish proletariat, though they would have strenuously objected to being classified a such. In addition, there were the Shammos (sexton) and the bathhouse keeper, both of whom belonged to a socio-economic category that defied classification. Baranow had no industry; it was a town of shopkeepers. There were about a half-dozen well-to-do families. The majority eked out their livelihood from selling an assorted type of merchandise, from groceries to textiles and house furnishings. A substantial number of merchants required additional income to make ends meet. Financial assistance usually came from relatives in America.

The youth, intelligent, alert but having neither trade nor profession, was hopelessly unemployed. Its only prospect was to get married, collect dowry, open a little store and hope for trade to come in.

[Page VIII]

Tuesday was market day. The merchants looked forward to this day. A good market day meant that they would meet their financial obligations and their creditors' pressure would be eased off for a spell. The farmers brought their produce on horse-drawn wagons. These were surrounded by prospective buyers who felt out the livestock, checked the size of the eggs and sampled the fruit or vegetables. Hard bargaining followed and the trade was consummated. The farmers then spent their income in the various stores or open stands which cluttered the “Marek”, and thus secured the necessary items for their households.

The social status of the Jew in the community usually followed his financial position. But this was not absolute – general erudition, knowledge of the Talmud or “good” children, would contribute to the elevation of one's status. The social line, in general, was not too finely drawn.

Laws governing the economy grew steadily more oppressive. No Jews was to get license to sell tobacco. The Jewish saloon keepers found difficulty in having their licenses renewed, notwithstanding the intervention of the Jewish members of the Sejm (parliament). In addition, the non-Jewish element made serious attempts to establish businesses. The famous slogan “Swoj do swego” (each to his kind) was much exploited. The clergy too took active part in this campaign.

The existing laws prohibiting stores from doing business on Sunday were frequently circumvented. The Jewish merchant would find a way to bring the customer into his store through a side entrance. The clergy was not unaware of this. The priest would leave Mass in church and, in his priestly garb, swoop down on the “Marek” and publicly castigate the visitors to the stores.

However, in spite of the oppressive governmental measures and clerical interference, the Jews in Baranow somehow managed to survive economically.


Religion and Culture

The Jewish community in Baranow was Orthodox. The Sabbath and holidays were strictly observed. In the homes, the dietary laws prevailed and the Bes Midrosh (Synagogue) was the centre of social and political activity. The Bes Midrosh also had an imposing array of religious books. The morning and evening hours found the boys poring over them absorbingly. During the Sabbath and holidays, the long tables were occupied by the baale batim (citizenry) leisurely learning from the various tomes. There was no overt deviation from the accepted norms of traditional Judaism.

Yiddish was the spoken language. With few exceptions, the Jews knew Polish – though few spoke it sufficiently well to pass for native Poles – but used it only in their business intercourse with the non-Jewish population.

[Page VIX]

Analphabets were non-existent. There was no Yeshiva in Baranow but there was a Cheder, and each youngster attended it up to Bar Mitzva age. By this time, he was assumed to have absorbed sufficient knowledge to enable him to learn “on his own”, in the spacious Bes Midrosh, sometimes with the assistance of the older boys.

The post World War I years ushered in a cultural fermentation which left its mark on the Jewish youth. In Baranow, this was reflected in the way the youth took to avid reading of secular literatures. Time was now divided between the study of the Talmud and that of modern Yiddish-Hebrew-Polish literatures. The synagogue, which earlier emitted echoes of voices of boys poring over the Talmud, was becoming silent part of the day. The midday hours were now devoted to reading newspapers or books of secular content. The mail brought in daily ten Yiddish (Haint), three Polish (Novy Dziennik) and two Hebrew (Hatzfirah) newspapers. These were all Zionist oriented newspapers. Later, there was also a subscription to “The Yid” a Yiddish paper of the Agudas Yisroel. The Zionist organization “the Farein” (as it was popularly called) in addition to subscribing to a series of periodicals, maintained an extensive library – a library whose books were studied voraciously and made available to the youth at a minimal fee.

The ”Farein” whose membership was of both sexes and whose library contained books whose contents were at a variance with the accepted concepts of religion, was declared “off limits” to the Orthodox youth. To overcome this development; which deprived a section of the youth from the benefits of secular education, an understanding was reached that the names of the Orthodox boys who borrowed books were to be withheld from public view lest they be exposed and thus make their position uncomfortable with their parents of the Rabbi.


Political Parties

There were basically two politically oriented sections with gradations of shadings in each: those grouping around the Rabbi – the Rov's Party – consisting mainly of the older, more conservative, more or less economically well-to-do elements of the population; and the younger generation, liberal minded and sophisticated, who largely followed a Zionist orientation.
In the early days, the main issues in the election of members of “Kohol” were those of personalities, method of governing the community institutions, or the personal integrity of the prospective candidates. In time, the issued crystallized along party lines.

The Rov's Party preferred social, cultural and political status-quo. It viewed with suspicion any attempt to alter is position in the community.

The Zionist, an aggressive and grasping group, made every effort to

[Page X]

Arrogate unto itself all dominant positions in Jewish life and was therefore the former's natural adversary. Election campaigns and electioneering constituted a lively interlude in the otherwise monotonous life in town.


City Government

Baranow was administered by a council elected by universal suffrage. At the head of the council was the Burmisz or Mayor who was elected to his office by the councilmen. The council levied taxes, maintained a police force, jail, public pasture lands (this privilege was enjoyed by the non-Jewish elements only), and in general, carried on such activities as normally belonged to such a body. City ordinances assured the maintenance of cleanliness and hygienic conditions. These ordinances became frequently the cause of complaints as they were not uniformly applied. Since the laws were enforced by the non-Jewish policemen, discrimination in issuing fines for violations were not infrequent. Often it became the task of the Jewish Councilman to intervene on behalf of the victim to either cancel or reduce the fine.

The meetings at the City Council were often stormy as some of the Jewish members would expose ordinances to be anti-Semitic in intent and execution. The position of the Jewish Councilman was an unenviable one. He fought the subtle and overt ani-Semites in the City Council and defended Jewish rights with vigour and dignity.



The original meaning of the term Kohol – community – went through a series of changes. It was finally applied to mean organized leadership of the Jewish community.

In Baranow, “Kohol” consisted of a number of members whose presiding officer was the Rosh Hakohol. This body was elected periodically by universal male suffrage. The periods preceding elections were marked by heated arguments between the factions, which occasionally reached face slapping proportions.

Moreover, the elections were not always conducted in the best democratic traditions. Since the law prescribed that the elections were to be certified by the Starosta (head of the county), the party favoured by the government (the Rov's Party) usually won. An election which gave the Zionist party majority was invalidated – a new Kohol appointed – and new elections ordered by the Starosta.

The functions of “Kohol” were many and complex. It was charged with the maintenance of the rabbinate, welfare, the Synagogue, the bathhouse,

[Page XI]

Shechita, etc. It derived its income from Shechita, moderate taxation, donations, burial fees and financial assistance from the “landsleit” in America.


The Rabbinate

Son succeeded father to the office of Rabbi in Baranow. The first of whom we know to have assumed the rabbinical position was Reb Srultche, son of Reb Lezerel of Dzikov and grandson of Reb Naftolie, founder of the Ropchicer Hassidic following. Upon the death of Reb Srultche, there was a feud between his son, Reb Simcho the Yerushalmi (so named because at an advanced age he migrated to Eretz Isroel to end his days there) and his son-in-law, Reb Yankiv. It was said that the latter was the more capable of the two but due to some irregularities in the elections, Reb Simcho won and assumed the mantle of the rabbinate. He had two sons, Reb Itzele and Reb Alterel.

Upon Reb Simcha's departure to Eretz Isroel (he had apparently neglected to leave explicit instructions as to which of his sons was to succeed him), there ensued a conflict for the succession. For a number of years, both sons “held court” in Baranow, the pages and followers fighting it out, often in most unsavoury methods. Finally, elections were held, resolving the conflict in favour of the older son, Reb Itzele. Subsequently, Reb Itzele acquired the rabbinate in Zavichost, Congress Poland and his son, Reb Avigdor, succeeded to the rabbinate. He was the last Rabbi Baranow was privileged to have.

Unlike his predecessors, Reb Avigdor was social minded. Though lacking the scholarly eminence of his father, he was the one instrumental in converting the large Besdin room into a centre of learning. Here the “better” boys spent many hours poring over Talmudic tomes. The Rov himself conducted a shiur with some of the more promising boys. He saw in Zionism the very antithesis of Orthodoxy. The restlessness of the younger generation, its flight from the Talmud to secular education, its becoming lax in observing the mores and taboos of tradition he attributed to the Zionists.

Undismayed, the Rov continued in his set ways, never deviating from his position until the Nazi Holocaust put an end to him and his efforts.


The Zionist Organization

Zionism in Baranow was not a party label. It was an orientation, a way of life, almost a religion. It took hold of the youth primarily and infused in it a spirit of self- importance and self -reliance. It opened new vistas. Zionism offered the youth Eretz Isroel, culture, a new outlook on life and aroused in him the latent revolutionary zeal, a dissatisfaction with existing political and social conditions.

[Page XII]

The Zionist Organization in Baranow was embodied in the “Farein” (the club house). An extensive library in three languages: Yiddish, Hebrew and Polish, was maintained in “The Farein” and youth read its books avidly. If a boy or girl manifested histrionic ability, the occasional play or skit would test his or her talent. Authors and their literary works were earnestly discussed. Here, the youth listened to an itinerant lecturer on a Zionist or literary topic. Those who needed assistance in the study of the Hebrew language, found it in “The Farein”. Meetings were conducted in the best democratic traditions and the interest of youth found expression. Deprived of economic future and exposed to oppressive laws, youth found in Zionism and its instrument, “The Farein”, significance and content. Thus, Zionist influence in the community transcended the number of its actual members.

The Zionist Organization consisted of three major factions: the General Zionists, Revisionists and Mizrachi. With the exception of the periods preceding elections to the Zionist Congress, the three factions lived in complete harmony. In general, the individual factions were not too partisan in their ideological distinction.


Care of the Poor

As the economic conditions of the Jews in Poland deteriorated (mainly as a result of deliberate discriminatory legislation by the government), ever increasing numbers of Jews 'took to the road'. These destitute Jews would travel from town-to-town, stopping in each one long enough to have a meal and make their rounds from house-to-house, collecting measly Groshen. They then moved on to the next town where they would repeat the process. On the average, around 70 such transient economic outcasts passed through Baranow weekly.

A voluntary committee was organized to handle this phase of activity. A tax was levied on the Jewish community and each family was obligated to pay a certain amount of money and two meals weekly for this purpose. Thus, the transient poor was taken care of in an organized fashion. He received a sum of money plus two meals and a nights lodging if he 'stayed over'. This averted the spectacle of migrant poor parading from door-to-door. It saved him time and effort and he was able to move on and cover more 'territory'.

Part of this levy was designed for the local poor. In addition, the income from Moos Chitim and contributions from the “Kehilla” made the life of the local poor, if not comfortable, at least tolerable.

For a community the size of Baranow, this was an achievement worthy of note.

[Page XIII]

The School

The school (Shkole) was a modern two-story structure. The classrooms were large, airy and clean. The law imposed compulsory education. The school system provided four years of elementary education and two years equivalent to junior high school. Only a few of the Jewish boys attended more than the required four years of elementary classes. (Among the girls, a large percentage attended six classes).

Open discrimination against Jewish children was a common practice. Roughly one-third of the school population was Jewish. For reasons of safety, Jewish children sat together occupying the rear seats – a form of voluntary ghetto. The Jewish children did not get marks commensurate with their scholastic attainments. They were subjected to frequent harangues by the teachers that challenged the morality and integrity of his race and religion. Stories of the Jews using the blood of Christian children for ritual purposes were related by some teachers in the classrooms as historical truths.

There was the notorious Wishka, a local girl, daughter of the apothecary who was a teacher of violent anti-Jewish sentiment and imparted them to the class at frequent intervals. When communism was considered a threat to Polish interests, she represented the Jew as a communist. When unemployment and strikes in the industrial cities were the scourge of the country, the Jew was painted by her as the plutocrat who exploited Poland's sons of labour. A Jewish boy who protested and branded her allegations as untrue was severely punished.

Fight between Jewish and non-Jewish boys were occurrences that surprised no one and the teachers invariably blamed the Jewish boys for provoking them. Punishment was severe and immediate. The sharp edge of the meter across the palms and fingers of the hands! It was considered a mark of distinction for the victim not to have screamed in pain. The boys developed a method to ease the pain. The victim would run a wet tongue across the painful areas then rub his hand hard against his things to mitigate the sting then march back to his seat in a state of defiance of his teacher.

If in view of these abuses the Jewish pupil nevertheless obtained considerable education, it was not due to the efforts of the teacher but in spite of her. The Jewish child 'had' to excel if he was to endure in this atmosphere.


The Cheder

Baranow had three Hebrew teachers (Melamdim). One taught beginners, from Aleph-Beth to Chumosh. Another Melamed taught the next age group from eight to eleven. These boys learned Chumosh-Rashi and Gemoro. The teachers were of local origin whose only claim to teaching profession was their inability to earn a living via any other means.

[Page XIV]

For the older boys already advanced in their studies of the Talmud, an itinerant Melamed was engaged. He was invariably a considerable scholar and was treated by the community with kindness and dignity. Since he did not have his family with him, his tuition price included in addition to his regard agreed weekly fee, the eating, one day a week, at the home of one of each of his pupils.

The Melamed of the beginners' class conducted classes (Cheder) in his own dingy apartment which often consisted only of a kitchen and bedroom. The two higher classes were conducted in the women's section of the Synagogue.

At the age of 3 the child got his first haircut. Then, the mother took him to Cheder. The Melamed would seat the child at the table and start teaching him Aleph Beth. This was a mere formality. The mother would distribute candies among the children. Several months later (some would wait a year or more) the child was put in Cheder in earnest. At the age of 5, or thereabouts, the child would begin to learn Chumosh (Bible). The traditional starting was “Vayikro” (Leviticus). The child's beginning to learn Chumosh was an occasion for celebration. Candies and cookies were to be distributed among the classmates and on the Sabbath, neighbours and family were invited to share in the celebration.

The child sat in Cheder all day. Contrary to supposition, it was not too strenuous on the child. The studies weren't difficult and the time spent over the Sidur (prayer book – primes were not available in Baranow) was in short intervals. On the other hand, the child was always in company of friends – children of his own age and from early childhood, he acquired the social habit of adaption and accommodation.

The older the child became the more strenuous his studies and the more severe the discipline. At the age of 9 he would rise at about 6 a.m. and learn until about 8, davin, go home for breakfast and was off to school. By 2 p.m. he was back in Cheder until 4. He then was free until after the evening services when another two-hour session in Cheder followed. Somewhere in between, the child squeezed in his homework for school and Cheder and enjoyed such relaxation as was available to him.

The lot of the girls was easier. They were not required to attend Cheder, neither were they subjected to its discipline. They obtained some private tutoring in Hebrew reading and attended the regular public school.

In the Haskala literature, one reads about the gruesome discipline attending the Cheder, the severe beatings received by the children from inhuman teachers. Baranow had Melamdim, kindly souls devoted to the children, sincerely and wholeheartedly interested in implanting in the children a love for the Torah and the Jewish people. They manifestly succeeded.

[Page XV]

Amusement and Relaxation

The tempo of living was slow in Baranow. The stores were part of the homes. A man opened the store when he got up in the morning and closed it when he retired for the day. This was daily routine.

The Bes Midrosh was the focal point of activity, religious, social and political. If one wanted to meet a person, he went to the Bes Midrosh toward dusk, met him there and talked over the subject matter. The periods before elections, whether local or national, had the Bes Midrosh a buzzing. In the front pews, people would do the praying, but in the rea, the din of political or private discussions or deals would drown out the sounds of the prayers.

Saturday afternoons would find circles of Jews congregating in the “Marek”. A good deal of verbal bantering would be heard here. The kibitzers would analyse the week's activities of the “Kohol”, the distribution of the Alyioth and intersperse their observations with mild gossip and off-colour jokes. The town enjoyed these 'open air forums' and one looked forward to these sessions.

Later in the afternoon weather permitting, the women moved out their chairs and sat in front of their homes and exchange Sabbatical greetings with the men strolling leisurely to Shuhl. Subsequently, the sitters would close up thus forming clusters of female gatherings in “The Marek”. Here, confidences were exchanged, the latest styles discussed and attempts at match-making made. The Baale batim sauntered into the Bes Midrosh. Some would pull out a book from the shelf to suit his mood and degree of learning, settle down at the table and enjoy its contents. Soon, another would join him and together they would indulge in relaxed conversations.

The “Farein” occasionally produced a short play of skit for the enjoyment of its followers. To those of the opposing camp, this merited excommunication.

During the summer, the town was visited by a touring carousel and the youngsters would be busy riding it. The sturdier youngsters who helped turn the wheel for nine rides, would get the tenth one free.

Also in summer, swimming in the clear waters of the Krzemenice was a daily occupation of the youth, but on Fridays, almost every able-bodied person went bathing. In order to reach the bathing point, one had to go through the area inhabited by the Dolansky's peons. To avoid being molested by them, Jews went in groups for protection and safety.

The more venturesome among the youth went bicycling or indulged in the game of soccer. But sport activities were considered by a good many as fitting only for “Goyim” and as a deviation from the 'right path' and were discouraged.

[Page XVI]

Kinian Sefarim

A very interesting institution in Baranow was that of “Kinian Seforim”. (The purchase and maintenance of the religious books in the Bes Midrosh). This institution was unique in that it was administered entirely by boys between the ages of 12 and 18. Somehow, by common consent of the boys who learned in the Bes Midrosh, one of them was elected as Gabai and charged with the responsibilities of this institution. He would make up a list of boys, appointing them to collect money from the Jewish merchants in town. Each boy would have his Friday assigned to him in which to make his rounds. Another list was drawn up designating one boy a week to collect the books strewn on the tables and place them in their respective shelves. They money collected was turned over to a treasurer, usually a merchant of good reputation. The money was withdrawn only when needed to buy new books or mend the old ones.

The purchase of new books was a matter that required serious contemplation. For there were always more 'necessary' books to buy than there was money with which to buy them. The Gabai and the older boys with whom he consulted on such matters would have to be discriminating in their selection.

To the credit of “Kinian Sefarim”, it should be noted here that though it was run by mere boys, it was administered efficiently and with integrity. There was never a shadow of scandal associated with the administration of this institution.

In the final analysis, Baranow, in the last two decades before its destruction, represented a civilization in transition. To be sure, Baranow was not alone in its groping for new concepts and orientations. Almost each town in western Galicia, and for that matter, in the entire country, was faced with similar situations. But Baranow was different, unique. It was like the other towns of similar size, yet was an entity unto itself and had a soul all of its own. Basically, it was not a small town; it was a big city in miniature with its socio-cultural and economic problems. But its deep interest was in large issues. Such topics as Orthodoxy and Radicalism, Zionism and Assimilation, cultural progress and stagnation, loomed important in the community. Their severity was not diminished by the fact that they did not concern Baranow either directly or remotely. Its own pressing day-to-day problems were handled in a manner and degree of importance and immediacy but the discussions of the larger, abstract issue were the spice of life in Baranow, and were treated with the seriousness and heated dignity befitting them.

Nazi brutally ended a civilization of a unique quality – Jewish life in the small-big town with its organizations and institutions – which took centuries to develop.


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