by Tzvi Resnick
Translated by Ala Gamulka
An entire book can be written about the contribution Kovel expatriates made in all productive areas in our country: agriculture, construction, paving of roads, literature, art, education, defence, during the War of Independence, illegal immigration, struggle with the Mandate authorities, providing work, professional organization, cooperatives, public service, factories and workshops. There is almost no area free from the activities of our townspeople. Perhaps, one day, such a book will be written, and it must be done.
However, our present book is meant to commemorate, for eternity, our dearly departed and we cannot add the other content. We confine ourselves to the internal activities performed since the founding of our organization.
The organization was actually established as the first terrible news came about the annihilation of the Jews of our town. We all felt the need to get together and to offer help to the remaining embers who were saved from the horrible inferno. In the main, we wanted to preserve the memory of the town so it would not be lost.
Until 1951, there were several committees. They consisted of the following members: Asher Lublinsky, Mordechai Mokrin, Moshe Weisbrot, Zalman Tsin, Yaakov Kaminer, Eliezer Roitenberg, Shlomo Khari, lawyer Yitzhak Eisen, PIntsie Pantorin, Devorah Reichstol, Eli Mendel. May the memory of the following who are no longer with us be preserved: Baruch Tenenbaum, Meir Kaditz, Mendel Kotovsky and Pinchas Schwartz.
These members were the first pioneers of the organization which they formed from thin air. They were totally devoted and did their best to broaden and glorify the activities of the organization.
At the general meeting held on 10.11.51, a new committee was elected. It had mainly young and fresh participants. These were energetic people who were capable and willing to work. Among them were: Pinchas Drori (chairman), Moshe Gitlis (secretary), Moshe Weisbrot (treasurer), Bluma Shapiro, Shmuel Vikum, Mordechai Erlich, Tamar Kravitz, Pinchas Kopelberg, Pinchas Pantorin and Elyhau Mendel.
This committee must be recognized for several important achievements: the establishment of a fund for mutual aid, election of various committees, bringing in members from outside of Tel Aviv to the committee. They were Yosef Bronzaft (Haifa), Pintsie Pantorin (Jerusalem) and Mendel Kotovsky, z l (Hedera). In addition, an audit committee was elected. Its members were: Zeev Gasco, Yitzhak Margalit and Dr. Avraham Gorali, who died young.
This committee commemorated itself with an important project planting an orchard in memory of the martyrs of our town.
|Orchard in the name of the Kovel martyrs
Member Kuna Atlas, very active in this project writes:
The idea existed already in 1954. Even before that, our brethren in Argentina donated a considerable sum for this purpose. However, it was not enough to start as more funds were required 1000 pounds in order to erect a monument in the orchard of martyrs of Kovel in the general forest of the martyrs of Poland.
We saw in this project an opportunity to show our desire to commemorate and never to forget the victims from our town. They were cruelly taken from us and were annihilated through no fault of their own.
We selected a committee that attracted active people. They visited the homes of our townspeople and received donations for trees to be planted, the number being equal to the number of family members who were killed in the Holocaust.
We budgeted a certain percentage of the donations to commemorate the unknowns who had no surviving family to remember them.
After a year, we came, on Holocaust and Bravery Day, to a planting ceremony and dedication of a sign in the name of the martyrs of Kovel.
Every year we visit, on that day, this symbolic cemetery to remember our dear ones who died sanctifying the name of God.
In August 1953 a new committee was elected: Elyhau Mendel, Bluma Shapiro, Mordechai Mokrin, Shamai Frankovitch, Kuna Atlas, Yekhezkel Goldberg, Shlomo Sirk and Tzvi Resnick. David Blitt also joined them. At the first meeting, Tzvi Resnick was elected secretary and Yekhezkel Goldberg treasurer.
This committee completed the project of the orchard in the name of the martyrs of Kovel. The committee must be commended for the dedicated and fruitful work in this area. It was done with great energy. A monument was erected to the memory of the community of Kovel in the Saints Forest in the hills of Jerusalem.
On Friday, 25.6.54, a celebration took place In honor of the completion of the project and the visit of Mr. Zissia Werba from Uruguay. He donated $50 to the organization.
That year assistance was given to chronically ill patients and to the unemployed. Loans were awarded to the needy. We had an extensive correspondence with our brethren in Argentina about sending parcels to those who needed them. Preparations were also made for the annual meeting and memorial assembly, as was done every year.
At the annual meeting on 4.9.54 a new committee was elected: Bluma Shapiro, David Blitt, Luba Goldberg, Kuna Atlas, Tuvia Weisbrot, Avraham Vikum and Tzvi Resnick.
The latter continued in his position of secretary and Luba Goldberg, as treasurer. The committee continued its regular work, i.e. assisting the needy and granting loans.
On Friday night, 7.5.55s a party in honor of the guests from Argentina: Mr. Haim Winter (chairman of the committee of our brethren in Argentina) he donated 100 pounds for activities of the organization; Mr. Feldman who donated $25 and Mr. Balech, the editor of Pinkas Kovel that had been published in Argentina, in Yiddish.
After the party there was a discussion with Mr. Winter and, as a result, we were sent 20 copies of Pinkas Kovel. We sold each copy for 10 pounds.
At the annual meeting on 24.8.55, a new committee was elected: David Blitt, Bluma Shapiro, Pinchas Pantorin, Luba Goldberg, Avraham Vikum, Tuvia Fried, Tamar Kravitz and Tzvi Resnick. Luba Goldberg continued as treasurer and Tzvi Resnick as secretary. An audit committee was chosen Mendel Turtchin, Shlomo Khari, Yitzhak Margalit and Bernstein.
At the end of the term of this committee the great project was begun the publication of Sefer Kovel.
All previous committees dreamed of publishing the book. The idea never left their agenda. An editorial board for the book was elected and several active members were chosen to send letters and memos. The expatriates were asked to write down their memoirs but nothing happened. The book was waiting for its redeemer. The committee managed to draft our town member, Eliezer LeoniTzuperfein. He agreed to devote himself to the publication of the book. The choice of Mr. Leoni had an unbelievable success. Thanks to constant work, Mr. Leoni managed to obtain great material . as well as, give his own input and all this resulted in this book. Our towns folk took part and our destroyed town earned a memorial, as deserved.
When the idea of the book came to fruition and the editor had a massive file, the committee was required to do the next step collect necessary funds to accomplish this memorial project.
The first task was to have meetings where sections were read and people signed up with orders. In Haifa, there were three such meetings and they were quite successful.
In Jerusalem there was one meeting. The local committee undertook to publicize the book among our brethren in Jerusalem.
In Tel Aviv there was a meeting of active members in Sailors House. A large crowd attended and listened intently to the readings about the destruction of the town. They immediately paid 5 Shekels for the book.
The second activity was a Purim party with all proceeds going towards the publication of the book. There were two such parties and the income served to provide sources for the funds needed. In addition, there was a flyer in Yiddish that was sent to our brethren in the United States. Mr. Meitze Levin was the first to contribute $25.
However, we received important help from another corner of the world from France. They sent memoirs as well as money. Our townsman, Meir (Miron) Rosenblatt headed this task. He collected funds and created a good atmosphere around the book. The local expatriates from Kovel, in Paris, carried out their duties.
At the annual meeting of 13.8.56, a new committee was elected. Among its members were: David Blitt, Bluma Shapiro, Sima Pantorin, Luba Goldberg, Tuvia Fried, Leah Fidel, Noah Bein and Tzvi Resnick. The audit committee consisted of: Eliyahu Better, Yekhezkel Goldberg and Asher Lublinsky. Secretary Tzvi Resnick; treasurer Luba Goldberg.
This committee stepped up its efforts to obtain funds for publication. They visited townsfolk in their homes and signed them up.
An important contribution towards the publication was given by Mrs. Gutcha (nee Rubinstein) and her husband Boris Goldstein, from Honduras. They donated 50 pounds. Also, Sossel and Avraham Lichtchin from Mexico who gave $50 pounds/
The activities of the committees were multifaceted. We never went off track from our main goal. It was to help survivors, the last remnants of beautiful Kovel. They arrived broken and without anything. We helped them with small loans and with finding jobs.
We must note the names of those members who helped the newcomers in finding jobs: Uri Alpert, Dr. Yaakov Khassim, Yitzhak Margalit, Masha Greenblatt and Baruch Avivi.
We must note that with the publication of the book, the work of the organization did not end. After we fulfilled our debts to our dear ones, we had to increase our help to those were alive, to help the newcomers and those oldtimers who were needy.
Our dearly departed commanded us to love each other even more since so few of us remained alive. This heiitage forced us to make the organization even better.
In summation, we must remember those of our townsfolk who died in Eretz Israel or other countries and who did not merit to see Sefer Kovel with their own eyes. This was something they so wished to accomplish. In their lifetime they waited for the commemoration, in pictures and in words, of their beloved town. They imagined that thus they would merit to see comfort for the terrible suffering we had all gone through. Let us hope that these words will refresh their lips in their graves.
Translated by Ala Gamulka
Among the active members of the organization whose names are etched in eternity and who looked after our people, the name of Dr. Avraham Gorali, z l, stands out. He died young and was still full of energy and ready to work.
Dr. Gorali was always prepared to listen to the needs of the organization. He tried hard to help anyone who needed assistance. His heavy load of work as a lawyer did not interfere.
He was friendly and lovable. These were special traits that came from his love of mankind. He was always happy to help due to his kind heart. These traits were said about Avraham his whole life. Avraham chose to study law after he graduated from high school. He never used the fancy term advocate. He attended the Hebrew high school and was imbued with a Zionist and pioneering spirit. He wanted to study the law in the broad sense of the word. After he completed his studies at the Vilna and Warsaw universities, he made Aliyah. He continued his studies as a research student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He studied international law and received the title of PHD for his work on international relations. His thesis was entitled The Jewish Minority Among the Nations. Prof. Gorman Bentwitch wrote a forward full of praise. The thesis was well received by others in the field.
From the beginning, Avraham Gorali was noted as an exceptional jurist. He had all the outstanding traits that could be found among Jewish jurists: a deep knowledge in the field of law, a sharp intellect and quick mind, an exceptional intelligence, a sense of justice and above all- a sensitive and warm heart. In addition, he had a sound feeling for the needs of the public and the nation. He soon had a good name in Jerusalem as an outstanding jurist and lawyer. Many sought his services- some were needy and without funds. He never dismissed them, but he undertook their issues and defended their rights pro bon and with great dedication. He was highly respected by judges as they accepted his arguments to be well-thought out and clear; short and interesting.
He joined the Hagana as soon as he made Aliyah. Most of his time was not spent on the law, but doing public and political work.
The more he dedicated himself to political work, the more there was a demand on his time. He worked tirelessly in the field of public relations in the Jerusalem district. He especially dealt with liberating Hagana members who were arrested. The Mandate authorities pushed hard and there were many arrests for carrying weapons. There were more and more Hagana prisoners who were placed in various prisons, especially in Jerusalem. It was a tiring task, nerve-wracking for having to deal with stubborn British officials. Many Hagana members, old and young, were freed from prison and from the hands of the secret police, thanks to the courage and effectiveness of Avraham Gorali. He never tired of his work.
In addition to his legal work, public service and work for the Hagana, Avraham Gorali also developed a career as a journalist. He was a political commentator with a clear spirit and also an editor of legal journals. For several years (1936-39) he worked on the editorial board of Davar. He wrote articles and commentaries on political and international affairs. He fought for the legitimacy of the Jews in Eretz Israel. He was one of those who foresaw the establishment of the State of Israel when many had misgivings. Many of his commentaries were printed as leading articles in Davar and many were published anonymously as if written by the editorial board.
As time went on, he had too many commitments and he had to give up his journalism. He devoted himself to his legal work and he began to publish the rulings of various high courts in the country. These rulings were like legislation. He saw the future need for laws and regulations once the State would be established. Avraham Gorali founded and published the Legal library. He did this work with great dedication, love and ability. He published his own legal books, as well. The Legal library was his personal project and in it he invested all his might. It was difficult work which consisted of juristic professional editing and also the use of proper language. Often new words had to be coined for special terms. (He also published some language research articles and participated in preparing professional terminology for the New dictionary of A. Even-Shoshan). There were 13 books in the Legal library and he wrote a forward for each one of them. These forward introductions were special in themselves. The best of the legal books that were published as part of the legal library, edited by Avraham Gorali, touch on different aspects of the law. They are cornerstones in legal literature in Hebrew.
When the War of Independence began, Avraham Gorali was appointed head of the legal department of the Israel Defence Forces. He became the first chief prosecutor. He wrote the laws of military legal work of 1948.
When the State was established, he became a member of the justice section. His main worries were law, justice and security of the state.
He was full of plans and hopes. One of his many programs, that he did not achieve, was the publication of a collection called Justice in Hebrew and universal literatures. He had collected dozens of articles.
He was full of energy, plans and ideas. A kind man, full of good humor. He was taken in the middle of his life, before he turned 43. On his way to Beer Sheva, a road accident caused his death. He had lived a life of devotion to his people and to his country.
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