Table of Contents

 

Voice of Kremenets Emigrants in Israel and the Diaspora,
Booklet 6

 

List of Illustrations

Mordekhay Barmor (Motke Bishbeyn) 5
Lieutenant Colonel Barmor Reviewing His Troops 10
Installation Ceremony for the Mordekhay Barmor Torah 11
David Rubin 15
Zev (Velya) Shumski 16
Old Houses in the Foundry Neighborhood (drawing by A. Argaman) 22a

 

Name Index

Argaman, Avraham 1, 2, 22a
Avidan, Shimon 7
Bar-Mor, Mordekhay (Motke; see also Bishbeyn) 3, 5 (photo), 10 (photo), 5-11
Bar-Mor*, Sara 7, 11
Barshap, Fayvel 24
Barshap, Sonya 24
Bernshteyn, Aleksander 22
Bishbeyn, Manus 5
Bishbeyn, Mordekhay (Motke; see also Bar-Mor) 3, 5 (photo), 10 (photo), 5-11
Bishbeyn*, Reyzel (née Kopeyka) 5
Breytshteyn, Hela 24
Breytshteyn, Henig 24
Breytshteyn, Rina 24
Brik, Elazar 22
Denikin 5
Desser, Max 1, 2, 4
Desser, Nachman 14
Direktor, Yafa 25
Eydelman (see also Tamir), Yitschak 3, 18
Eydelman, Klara 18
Feter*, Lily (née Goldenberg) 19
Fingerut, (not given) 24
Fisher*, Chaya 24
Fisher, Moshe 24
Gad (husband of Chana Kahan) 25
Gelman, Rabbi 15
Gertman*, Gilah 24
Gertman, Beni 24
Gertman, Moshe 24
Gertman, Sonya (née Barshap) 24
Gindes*, Dvora (née Kugel) 18
Gindes, Fanya 18
Gindes, Irka 18
Gindes, Miron 18
Gindes, Munya 3, 18
Gindes, Tanya 18
Golberg, Yehoshue 1, 2, 16, 22
Goldberg, Leya 19
Goldenberg*, Chana 1, 2
Goldenberg, Elihu 24
Goldenberg, Lily 19
Goldenberg, Manus 1, 2, 3, 14, 18, 19, 43
Gonen (grandson of Avraham and Chana Mordish) 25
Goren, Azriel (see also Gorngut) 15
Gorngut, Azriel (see also Goren) 15
Grinberg, Nachum 25
Hershman, Shraga 5
Heylperin, Slova 25
Irit (daughter of Sara Taytelman) 25
Kahan, Chana 25
Kahan, Moshe 25
Katz, Marcos 1, 2
Katz, Mordekhay 3, 12, 19
Kaufman, Yehuda (Chulio) 25
Kesler, Heynikh 21
Kligman, Miryam Levit 24
Kneler, Pinya 25
Koler, Pesach 19
Kopeyka, Reyzel 5
Kremenchugski, Shila 21
Kroyt*, Chana 25
Kroyt, Shoshana 25
Kroyt, Simcha 25
Kugel, Dvora 18
Kutsher family 24
Likht (teacher and Torah reader) 22
Likht, Nachman 22
Litev, Pesach (see also Litvak) 19
Litvak, Pesach (see also Litev) 19
Mandelblat, Aharon 25
Mandelblat, Pesach 25
Margalit family 24
Margalit, Mendil 24
Margalit, Yosef 24
Menza, Yakov 19
Meyler, Chayim 25
Meyler*, Ita 25
Mordish, Avraham 25
Mordish*, Chana 25
Mordish, Shalom 25
Mordish*, Yehudit 25
Nadir, Rachel 1, 2, 13
Noa (granddaughter of Moshe and Sara Shteynberg) 25
Nusman, Ina 25
Nusman, Moshe 25
Nusman, Sozna (née Rubin) 25
Otiker, Mordekhay (see also Ot-Yakar) 1, 2, 7, 24
Otiker, Yisrael 22
Ot-Yakar, Mordekhay (see also Otiker) 1, 2, 7, 24
Ovadis 22
Pak, Leyzer 22
Pak, Yosef 4
Perlmuter, Fishel 22
Perlmuter, Ruven 22
Petliura 5
Port, Moshe 25
Port*, Yafa (née Direktor) 25
Portnoy, Yitschak 19
Prilutski, Tsvi 16
Rapoport, David 1, 2, 4
Rays, Tovya 14
Robert (husband of Ina Nusman) 25
Rokhel*, Chedva 25
Rokhel, Losa 25
Rokhel, Moshe 25
Rokhel*, Rivka 25
Rokhel*, Ruchama (née Shtemper) 23
Rokhel, Yitschak 1, 2, 3, 10, 15, 18, 19, 20, 23
Rokhel, Yoav 25
Rubin, David 3, 15 (photo), 15
Rubin, Hadasa 15
Rubin, Sozna 25
Rubinfayn family 24
Shafir, Yakov 22
Shapira*, Pinya (née Kneler) 25
Shapira, Shmuel 25
Shapira, Tila 25
Shepsel, Sender 22
Shnayder, Efraim 23
Shnayder, Shmuel 23
Shnayder, Zev (Velvel) 23
Shtemper, Ruchama 23
Shtern*, Yehudit 1, 2
Shteynberg, Moshe 25
Shteynberg*, Sara (née Vaynshteyn) 25
Shumski*, Frida 16
Shumski, Mikhael Duvidovitsh 16
Shumski*, Nadia 16
Shumski*, Neta 17
Shumski, Zev (Velya) 3, 16 (photo), 16
Shvarts, Katriel, R' 10
Shvarts, Sara 7, 11
Slovin, Mrs. 19
Tamir, Yitschak (see also Eydelman) 3, 18
Taytelman*, Bronya 25
Taytelman, Sara 25
Taytelman, Shmuel (Milik) 1, 2, 24, 25, 56
Toren-Feldman, Dvora 19
Tsukerman, David 4, 25
Tsukerman*, Sonya 25
Tsvi (husband of Mira Zilberg) 25
Tsvivel*, Margalit (née Vakman) 21
Tsvivel, David 21
Vakman*, Genya 22, 25
Vakman, Margalit 21
Vakman, Yitschak 21, 22, 25
Vaynshteyn, Sara 25
Vaynshteyn*, Vitya 25
Vaynshteyn, Yitschak 25
Vayntroyb, Chayim 24
Vayntroyb*, Miryam 24
Velberg, Sonya 19
Yampol, Moshe Ben-Meir 18
Yitschak (husband of Sara Taytelman) 25
Yuval (grandson of Yehuda Kaufman) 25
Zaremba, Professor 17
Zats*, Klara (née Eydelman) 18
Zilberg, Mira 25
Zilberg, Sara 25
Zilberg, Yakov 25

 

[Page 3]

Who's and What's in the Booklet?

Editorial Board

We have arrived at booklet 6. When we first published Voice of Kremenets Emigrants booklet in April 1967, we didn't think it would be a permanent periodical, and here we are already on the sixth issue in three years. The positive reactions from all sides and the interesting material that reaches the editors encourage us to continue. The rising demand for subscriptions has increased the number of booklets printed to 700!

Letters to the editors. Many letters come to the editor's desk. They reflect a longing and yearning for a past way of life that is no more and the desire to keep in touch with fellow townspeople in all the countries where they have settled. Some letters that stand out for their expressiveness will be published in a special section of the next booklet.

Not all material is offered in two languages. Because of the large amount of material and the desire not to exceed the optimal length, in this booklet we print part of the material in one language only (the Cold War, Letters to the Editor, Funds Received, Reincarnation of a Torah Scroll, Congratulations and Condolences), and we apologize to members who knowing only one language.

Five who passed away. Between the publication of one booklet and the next, a few of our members passed away. This booklet includes special looks at five of them: David Rubin, Mordekhay Bar-Mor-Bishbeyn, Zev-Velya Shumski, Yitschak Eydelman-Tamir, and Munya Gindes.

Local-color section. In every booklet, we will make sure to include local-color sections that bring back and refresh in our minds memories of Jewish Kremenets. In this booklet, our member Manus tells about the Cold War – the “war of the classes” between the simple, plain people in the old bathhouse and the “fine Jews” of the new bathhouse – a cold war that was not so cold …

Our colony in Argentina. Our member Mordekhay Katz presents a sociological review. Reading it gives us the opportunity to follow the flow of immigration, organizations, mutual help, the switch from crafts to commerce, the distancing of the younger generations, changes in political outlook, and more.

We will make an effort to continue to present such reviews of other Diaspora communities, but first we will cover the (comparatively) large Kremenetser tribe in Israel, as long as we have a member who is willing to take on this honorable job.

Everyday activities. As usual, we will review these in the Mosaic section. This time it is quite large, containing 18 segments collected by member Y. Rokhel.

[Page 4]

Our community approved of the custom of printing congratulations for family occasions, and it is spreading. We may not have successfully covered all events, but that's because we weren't informed of them. Members who would like to have their family events announced are requested to notify the editors early in a detailed letter (including the name of the newborn, the parents, the names of both newlyweds, etc.).

Regards from Kremenets. This section consists of two photographs we recently received as well as a short explanation.

We already have material for the next booklet, as it is said: “They will go from success to success” (Psalms 84:8). The material is the fruit of the labor of David Tsukerman of Haifa, David Rapoport of New York, and our veteran member Yosef Pak of Rishon Letsion, and more is coming.

“… Without flour, there is no Torah”: Our continual request for members to pay for the booklet punctually has brought results, although dozens of members still don't send their payments (which are minute in comparison); nor have we received payments from Canada. Please make sure to pay punctually. So far, we haven't raised the price in spite of cost increases, but this requires punctuality in depositing the payments in full and on time. We remind you again that payments can be made at any bank, including the post office bank, to account 52273 at Bank HaPoalim's main branch in Tel Aviv. You can also send a check to the order of Organization of Kremenets Emigrants.

Looking toward Passover. We send our blessings – the blessing of happy holidays – to all our members and readers.

 

Circulation of Voice of Kremenets Emigrants Booklets

In Israel: to members of the Organization of Kremenets Emigrants 375
In Israel: to assorted libraries, institutions, and individuals 75
In Argentina: through the landsmanschaft 100
In the United States: through the society and directly 75
In Canada: through Mr. Max Desser 25
In other countries: libraries and individuals 25
Total 675 copies

 

[Page 5]

Kremenetsers in Israel's Wars

 

Manus Goldenberg

Mordekhay Barmor (Motke Bishbeyn), of Blessed Memory

 

In this booklet, in the Kremenetsers in Israel's Wars section, we had set aside in advance a large space for our fellow townsman, Lieutenant Colonel Motke Bishbeyn. No one imagined that when the time came, we would have to add “of blessed memory” to his name to mark the end of his 45 years of life. Although these lines express all of our satisfaction and pride in his personality and deeds, the cloud of his untimely death lies heavy upon them.

* * *

It was about 20 years ago, during our organization's annual memorial. A young captain, erect and handsome, stood out among the assembled. When he was introduced to me as the son of Manus Bishbeyn, I was amazed at the close resemblance to his father at the same age; the same face was lit with a wise and lovely smile, and the same pleasantness and goodness shone on it. My mind was suddenly flooded with waves of memories.

In my mind's eye, I saw the days of 1917–1920. These were days of blood and fire – of pogroms and slaughter by the armed troops of Petliura, Denikin, and all sorts of gangs. Manus, Motke's father, was a frequent visitor at our home then. The jewelry and watch store in the house had long been a desirable target for Petliura's ruffians, whose bands roamed the street waiting for a signal. Throughout that time, Manus hardly left our house. It was clear that he was endangering himself purely out of friendship and devotion. Having some practical experience, he guided our friends and us in various ways, particularly in defending against the rowdiness of the young, non-Jewish hoodlums.

Those characteristics of Manus stood out in Motke everywhere and at every opportunity.

Shraga Hershman, a schoolmate of Motke's, a refugee boy who came to Kremenets from German-conquered Poland, told me, “Three wooden steps took my friends and me, all refugees, into the warm Bishbeyn family's home. Behind the door, his parents greeted us with smiles on their faces. The mother, Reyzel (née Kopeyka), wearing a white apron, would serve us hot and nourishing soup – a priceless item in those days. She would mother us, a thing that we really missed.”

Motke's life during that period – under Russian rule after the fall of Poland – was intertwined with an interesting chapter in events in Kremenets. Every one of our townspeople remembers the name “Bielokrinitse”[1] well and all it entails, particularly during the period of Polish rule.

[Page 6]

In Bielokrinitse, 7 kilometers from Kremenets, on the Vishnivetski princes' large estate, there had been an agriculture and forestry college of since the days of the czar, but no Jews were accepted there.

Now, with the Russians entering the area in 1939, the gates to the college and its dormitory opened wide to Jewish students, who now numbered about half of the pupils. Among the students, the youngest one was Motke, who had received his previous education at the Tarbut School. Being very attached to home, he would walk the 7 kilometers to and from school almost every day. Our boys studied there for about two years, and after the German invasion, they immediately decided to escape.

A great panic enveloped the town, and the escape began. Urged on by his parents, Motke was in the first group of students to escape. His road of affliction and hardship then began.

Motke was then about 15 years old. He made his way through life-threatening danger to his uncle's home in Bilotsirkov[2], where he had lived with his family since leaving Kremenets in 1920, when the Red Army retreated from there.

For just a short time, Motke found peace there, as the Germans arrived soon afterward, and during the panic of the retreat, they lost each other. It was 1942, and Motke, now 16 years old, decided to volunteer to join the Red Army. In his diary, he wrote,

“I spent the World War II years in the Red Army. In my unit, I was the only Jew among soldiers of the many nations and languages in which Greater Russia is so rich. To a great extent, my reason for volunteering was the deep contempt many Russians had for the Jews. Most Russian Jews had escaped deep behind the front lines in an effort to save themselves from the Nazis' claws. As a result, all sorts of jokes and amusing stories circulated among the Russian people about the Jews malingering to dodge the front …

After the war, in villages in Lithuania, Latvia, and western Ukraine, I met hundreds of war-disabled Jews who had seen combat and been wounded several times, and I saw Jews with decorations for heroism. But those Jews did not stand out in the eyes of people who saw Jews only 'far behind the front lines.'

During the war, I went through an unusual crisis. In 1944, after finding out that none of my family members had survived, I committed a few acts of revenge, and it was only thanks to my good commander that I was not punished severely.

This and other things helped me resist the enticements to stay in the Soviet Union. My uncle, a veteran Communist who lived in Russia, did everything to make me understand that I must immigrate to Israel, no matter what. From my other uncle, Yehoshue Zeyger, of blessed memory, I received loving letters in which he demanded that I immigrate to Israel, where a warm home awaited me, not to mention that it would fulfill the wishes of my parents, of blessed memory, during their last years.”

Motke took part in heavy combat during the invasion of the Crimea and other détentes, and he came out of it alive and whole. Loneliness lay heavy upon him, particularly since his friends often received letters from their families, while he had no one to write to him.

Page 7]

In 1946, he was discharged from the Red Army and moved to Germany, where he joined the ranks of the Haganah. There he met instructors from Israel and the Jewish Brigade, who aroused his admiration for their energy and organizational ability. He was greatly influenced by Shimon Avidan.

A short time later, Motke was promoted to training course instructor and Haganah commander of one of the camps.

In 1948, Motke arrived in Israel, where I first met him, as I said, at the memorial to the martyrs of Kremenets. Based on the background of our mutual memories, our feelings about the Holocaust in our town, and all that had happened to our families there, strong ties developed between us. Each encounter with him and his wife Sara – who fully shared his feelings – turned out to be a special experience for us.

Motke never skipped any of our memorials, and he participated in other meetings unless his duties in the Israel Defense Forces prevented it. He encouraged us, in writing and in person, at every opportunity. It made him very proud that, with Sara's help, he succeeded in instilling in his lovely son and two daughters his own attitude toward his murdered family and his birth town of Kremenets. Happily, he would tell me that his children read the organization's publications with interest, and, truly, you could see the results of this education during the meetings.

Throughout the years, Motke tried to work for our organization, but he couldn't. I remember very well the evenings a few years back when Motke volunteered to collect donations for the memorial to the martyrs of Kremenets; after a long workday, he would arrive in his jeep to pick me up, and together we would circulate among Kremenetsers' homes for four or five hours each evening. With the warmth that Motke managed to bring with him, it wasn't easy to leave any of the Kremenetser families we visited.

In one of my few meetings with him after the Six-Day War, he told me joyfully, “The day is near when I'll be discharged, and then I'll repay all my debts to the organization.” We waited for him anxiously. He wanted very much to share the impressions he had accumulated during his last years of making war and of other activities, but bitter fate decided differently. A few days before the annual memorial, we a received letter in his clear handwriting in which he expressed his admiration of booklet 5 of Voice of Kremenets Emigrants and apologized for having to be absent from the annual memorial, as he would be recovering from surgery at that time.

We didn't know then – nor did he – that his days were numbered. Only his loyal wife, Sara, who carried her heavy calamity with strength and dignity, knew.

Motke will never return to us; his place in the Kremenetser family is empty, just like a house after the death of a beloved son.

His alluring and charming personality will always be with us.


[Page 8]

Lt. Colonel Mordekhay Barmor,
of Blessed Memory – Man and Soldier

Mordekhay Ot-Yakar

Mordekhay, or Motke, as everyone called him, was an army man most of his life. We say “man and soldier,” and it is clear that there's no contradiction between the two – the way they were formed in him was a wondrous blend that often caused his friends and acquaintances astonishment at the cause the spiritual core from which he derives.

Mordekhay arrived in Israel in 1948, and not long after, he was already taking part in the battles in different parts of the country. “On the eve of the declaration of independence” – he wrote in 1949 to his future wife – “I felt a duty to be among our country's defenders. On the morning of May 14, 1948, I asked my aunt (in whose home I lived at the time) to pack a few military items in my backpack, and that evening, I was already participating in an attack on a village in the Efraim Mountains.” Mordekhay was wounded in one of the battles, and the personal story attached to it is one that he could never forget while in the line of fire: In the Barmor home is a napkin stained with Mordekhay's blood, which flowed out of his chest from a wound right next to his heart, which escaped injury. H kept that napkin with him all through the World War II years and during the battles in Israel in which he participated. His mother had given him this napkin when he left home, wrapping some sugar to for him to eat when hunger threatened to overcome him. This napkin, he believed, protected him from the enemy's bullets …

In Israel, he began from the beginning. Bishbeyn – as his name was then – came to us as a Red Army officer with much hardship and experience behind him, as witnessed by the documents he carried. But he didn't take advantage of them by demanding an officer's rank, and he certainly didn't present himself as an “expert on high strategy,” something we were getting from time to time in those days. It seems that he was one of a few experienced military men from overseas who were willing to start low and climb up the ladder of ranks while participating fully in battles during the War of Independence, the Sinai War, the Six-Day War, and those wars “in between the wars.”

In May 1948, he was assigned to the Fourth Battalion of the Golani Brigade. This battalion played a very important role in the country's liberation and pushed all the way to Eilat. Speaking about that period, with its hardships and achievements, a friend testified that Mordekhay “was found by his friends-in-arms in Golani to be a friend, a devoted comrade, and intelligent, and to have an aptitude and the ability for organization and leadership.”

In 1949, he was already a first lieutenant, moving with his battalion to any of the battlefronts in which the Golani men were called to fight. The battles, the efforts, the fall of close friends, and personal danger – these were his companions, and they left their impression on his personality to his last day.

[Page 9]

Each person has his own special sentimental attachment. Each soldier has a unit or corps to which his first “love” is given, even though he may be moved to a few other corps during his service.

For Barmor, it started at the end of summer 1950. He “fell in love” with anti-aircraft. By chance, he was posted to a battalion whose function was to activate its weapons against the enemy aircraft that visit Israel's sky. There was hardly a task for that battalion in which he was not involved, until he rose to the rank of battalion second-in-command and then – to his pride and joy – to the rank of battalion commander.

His days and nights were completely devoted to his battalion: training, weapons, machinery, improvements of all sorts, and above all, the men – the private that his command could – with love and suffering – change into an exemplary army man. One of his men – one of many to whom he devoted his ability and energy – who was in the United States when he found out his commander had died, wrote to Mordekhay's wife, “I heard the name of your husband, of blessed memory, from other soldiers at the start of my service as a private. The speaker always mentioned his name with a warm glance or a good word. I learned the secret after I graduated from officer training, met him, and was privileged to get to know him. Of all the army officers I have met, I have not found one who could blend commanding with parenting in such a wondrous way.”

In 1951, the Barmors gave birth to their firstborn, a son. At that time, they lived in Jaffa's Menashiye section, and their home was not in the best of conditions. At midnight, during one of winter's raging stormy nights, when Menashiye's roofs were about to come off in the strong wind, the commander remembered his men in the field. What would happen to them in their tents on such a frightful night? Was he just to continue sleeping under “ideal conditions” when his soldiers were wallowing in mud and water? He rushed to his unit, and when he felt reassured, he returned home, soaking wet, before dawn.

The dawning of 1956 found Barmor taking a supplemental course. His heart told him that something was “cooking,” and he was restless. He felt that he should be someplace else. Sure enough, on the eve of the Sinai project, he was summoned to take part in the war against the Egyptians.

We have not listed each and every one of his activities in the army: all the battles, all the courses – learning and teaching – and all his advances up the ranks to second-in-command in the Israeli army, which he loved so much. But we will say that in August 1966 he was appointed second-in-command to the top artillery officer. His friends in his previous unit had mixed reactions to that: sadness over his leaving and gladness over his opportunity to advance toward greater responsibility in the IDF.

Page 10]

The man was 45 years old at his death. Mourning with his family were his friends, pals, and acquaintances, and the many who were under his command, to whom he was not just a commander but first of all a friend, a man!

On the 30th day after his passing, his friends, those in the Organization of Haganah Members in Europe and North Africa, had his name inscribed in the Golden Book[3] and wrote these words:

“Lieutenant Colonel Mordekhay Barmor, of blessed memory, one of the surviving remnants of the Holocaust, who came forward to serve his nation with all his soul and all his being, a man of the Haganah in the Diaspora of Europe and a man of the Israel Defense Forces, who stood guard from the day of his arrival in Israel to the day of his untimely death.”


Lieutenant Colonel Barmor Reviewing His Troops

 

The Reincarnation of a Torah Scroll

Yitschak Rokhel

R' Katriel Shvarts, a resident of Chodorov[4] village in Galicia, left for exile with remainder his villagers during the Holocaust, and they wandered for years through forests and refugee camps. When he left his village, he took the Torah scroll out of the ruins of the synagogue and vowed to bring it to Israel. Throughout his wanderings, he kept the scroll with him, guarding it fiercely. Some say that the Torah scroll safeguarded him and his family. After all their tribulations, they arrived in Israel, the Torah scroll with them. They settled in Jaffa and gave the Torah to one of the synagogues there.

[Page 11]

During the family's wanderings, R' Katriel Shvarts's daughter had met Mordekhay Barmor of Kremenets, and after they arrived in Israel, she married him. R' Katriel lived in Jaffa for a few years and then moved to Tochelet village near Kfar Chabad. When his time came, he went the way of all flesh.

Mordekhay Barmor grew up in Kremenets in a family of Bund members and did not receive with a religious education. But the twists of the war and the Holocaust, and the atmosphere in the Shvarts home, drew him toward Jewish tradition, and when they settled in the officer's town of Neve Magen, their home life had the spirit of the tradition. His wife, Sara, was a help in that, as she had been educated in an Orthodox religious school and later at Bar-Ilan University. On the Sabbath and holidays, Mordekhay prayed at the synagogue in their town, where he had a permanent seat.

After Katriel Shvarts's death, the Barmor family decided to install the Torah scroll in the Neve Magen synagogue. They hired a scribe, who proofread the scroll and repaired the damages, and they made a cover and all the traditional decorations for it. When Mordekhay fell ill and then passed away during that process, Sara decided that the scroll would carry her husband Mordekhay's name as well as her father's.


Installation Ceremony for the Mordekhay Barmor Torah

 

The ceremony, which took place on 26 Shevat, was very well attended. The Torah was carried out of the widow's home under a canopy and accompanied by songs and dancing, with people celebrating – young and old, soldiers and civilians, among them some Kremenetsers – while fire torches were carried on both sides of the parade. The synagogue's seven Torah scrolls were carried to the entrance of the house to welcome the newly arrived member. The widow crowned the Torah with a coronet and trees of life, and that is how the scroll entered the house. Hundreds of local people where waiting there, including many soldiers – Mordekhay's commanders and subordinates. His oldest son, Amos, a new soldier, said the Kaddish prayer. Verses appropriate to the occasion were read from the book of Psalms, and with the reading of the verse “When the ark set out …,”[5] the scroll was put in its place in the Holy Ark in memory of Mordekhay Barmor and his father-in-law Katriel Shvarts, whose names are etched on the cover of the Torah scroll.


[Page 12]

Kremenets Emigrants in Argentina
(A Sociological Study)

Mordekhay Katz, Buenos Aires

Translation from Yiddish [into Hebrew]: Rachel Nadir-Otiker

According to the memorial book of Kremenets[6] published in Buenos Aires in 1965, there were about 70 families there already in 1926. During the 1930s, as result of the economic crisis and increasing anti-Semitism, a, mass exit of Polish Jews began. Our congregation in Argentina received this supplement and numbered about 300 people. That was the number I found when I arrived here in 1937. By then, the immigration gates were closed, but in 1946, we succeeded somehow in bringing about 10 surviving families in via Paraguay. With the horrible Holocaust, all the sources of our life over there were destroyed and buried. I can do nothing more but proceed into the present.

Today, the Organization of Kremenets Emigrants in Argentina lists about 110 families. Besides them, there are about 20 families who don't belong to the organization.

About 40 years have passed since the beginning of emigration from Kremenets to Argentina, and the average age of the people, obviously, is quite high. Of them, 90% live with their children's families (two, three, and four) and their grandchildren, may their number multiply!

But can they be considered Kremenetsers? This is a difficult question to answer. When young, they were close to their parents' daily life and interests. But as they grew up, integrated, and blended into the general flow of life in Argentina, the older generation was left alone on the edge of life's bustle.

A typical fact in the behavior of some of our community's progeny, who grew up with the purism of the Spanish language and culture, deserves mention: that same youth who years later were parents to their own children saw a need to send their children to Hebrew and Yiddish schools so as to draw them closer to their nation's culture. In addition, they themselves volunteered for school board activities and even tried to influence their parents (the grandparents) to join them.

During the first days of immigration, a large number of our people held “Leftist” opinions and ideas and believed “for the Torah will go forth out of Moscow.”[7] Some even brought those opinions with them from home. The economic and political situation at the time helped to develop and deepen those ideas. A certain number of Kremenetsers, who were active in the Mendele Cultural Center, were far removed from Zionism. Only a very small portion were active in the Zionist movement.

After some time, the Kremenets emigrants joined the people from Potshayuv[8] and Vizshgorodok, and together they established a proper landsmanschaft, where they began organizing cultural activities and helping needy members. It was considered one of the best organized in Buenos Aires.

[Page 13]

Today, our people are active in many institutions and in important, well-known organizations like the Jewish National Fund, the Women's Zionist Organization, YIVO, the Bialik School, the Perets School, and others.

The older generation consisted mostly of merchants and manufacturers. They didn't lack for money, and several also managed to become rich. A certain percentage were craftsmen, and their economic situation was also quite good. But as in any group, a number of people did not manage to gain suitable positions, and their economic situation was hard. Of course, they were supported by our organization.

As for education level, most people who came here with a certificate of graduation from primary school, and some with even more than that, did not manage to continue their education. Making a living and taking care of their basic needs occupied all their time and effort. When they were finally settled and ready to relax, the time for higher education had passed. Their children, though, received a comprehensive education, and many of them became physicians, attorneys, engineers, and accountants.

Again, the question arises in all its seriousness: will they continue and stay with us? Will they remember what happened to their parents and families?

To be fair and objective, I have to mention the fact of mixed marriages among our people. It is true that the percentage is small, but we cannot ignore this contagious malady – who can envision its results? But we are happy that most of our youth are proud Jews and anxious to immigrate to Israel. Some of them are already there, and others are getting ready to go.

The revival of the ancient country of Israel, its wars, and the heroism of the nation that is living in Zion brought many who were distant and denied the Zionist idea closer. Suddenly, a feeling of responsibility and self-respect awoke in them and moved them to join our ranks. But the younger generation is attracted only to the glamorous chapters of history – to the victories – and push the Holocaust visited on our nation out of their minds. They don't see any glory and greatness in it, and so it is natural that they can't crawl under our skin and feel and remember as we do. With all the respect, awe, and sadness that they feel toward what happened, they aren't willing to join our Kremenets Diaspora community's activities.

* * *

In sum, I would like to note that as of now, the Organization of Kremenetsers in Buenos Aires and its environs, where 90% of our people are concentrated, is clear of any and all leftist sympathy and political activity (except for a minute number of irregulars). At the top of the leadership are persons from the rank and file, who have an unequivocal and clear understanding of our reality there and in Israel.

Our prayer and desire is long-awaited peace, a true peace, where muses instead of cannons speak.

May peace reign in Israel and the whole world!


[Page 14]

Regards from Kremenets

M. G.

 

School of Commerce

Our honorable landsman Nachman Desser, who lives in the United States, has given us a few photos of public buildings in Kremenets taken in 1964. Each of them awakens memories of the past – especially the one of the School of Commerce. Many of Kremenets' survivors spent their childhood and youth between those walls and in the adjacent park.

Elsewhere in this booklet, Mikhail Duvidovich Shumski is mentioned. He and Yisrael Margalit were linked closely to this school, being its founders and members of its administration. It is no exaggeration to say that this school was their cherished child.

The photo is on page 48 of the Yiddish section.

 

25 Years since Town's Liberation from the Nazi Occupation

One of our fellow townspeople, today a resident of Odessa, gave us the invitation he received from the Kremenets Town Council to the ceremony celebrating the 25th anniversary of the town's liberation from the Nazi occupation.

The invitation was sent to all Kremenets emigrants throughout Russia. This document evoked great sadness in us, reminding us once again that for the Jewish population of the town, liberation came when only about 20 living skeletons, wrung out and starving, crept out of their secret hiding places.

Our fellow townsman Tovya Rays, recipient of the title Hero of the Soviet Union, the highest decoration given for heroism in the Soviet army, received a special invitation to the ceremony.

See the photo on page 49 of the Yiddish section.


[Page 15]

In Memoriam

 

David Rubin,
of Blessed Memory

Translated [into Hebrew] and completed by Y. Rokhel

 

On 23 Tamuz 5729[9] (August 9, 1969), the Kremenetser community in Israel lost one of its honored members. On that day, 87-year-old David Rubin, of blessed memory, passed away after a long life filled with satisfaction and hardship. He was the oldest person from our town in Israel and the Diaspora.

He was born in 1882 in the village of Yampoli[10], near Kremenets. He spent his childhood and youth in the cheder and the small synagogue. Although he rebelled against the way of life of that period, he continued to draw from those same sources; from them, he absorbed, particularly in the cheder and the small synagogue, influences that entered his own original crucible.

In actuality, he was never cut off from the past, either in ordinary discussions or in his literary writings, which are found in assorted publications. During his years in Israel, his works were published mainly in Letste Nayes[11] and Yeda Am. He liked folklore and described with an artistic flair the pre-Holocaust lifestyle in the Jewish village. The memorial book for Yampoli published a few years ago was edited by him, Azriel Gorngut (today Goren), and Rabbi Gelman, who are all from Yampoli.

As soon as he his family moved to Kremenets, the county seat, and settled in the Rovno[12] section, he was integrated into the town's social life. He much favored the Zionist circles in which he functioned, but he was very tolerant of the other factions.

After the destruction of Jewish Kremenets, he went back there to live for a few years. He described his impressions in various articles and in conversations.

From his youth, he attached himself to the Zionist movement. His immigration to Israel at the age of 75, alone (his three daughters were still living in Poland), was a natural continuation of the faraway world of yesterday, which never left his heart.

His love for Israel was deep, and he reacted with youthful excitement to events in the country, both when he felt they were right and when he felt they were wrong.

He was blessed with a clear mind and a wise, practical attitude toward life's events, and at the same time, he was a man of dreams, a farsighted visionary.

His intellectual curiosity about what had happened in the past, what was happening in the present, and what might happen in the future gave him good standing in his struggles with old age. His clear mind and sight stayed with him, bright and whole, until his last moment.

With his passing, one of the most interesting and colorful personalities from the Kremenets of old has left us. He leaves three daughters and their families, among them the poetess Hadasa Rubin. In Israel, he resided in Kfar Chasidim, where one of his daughters and her family live.

May his memory be blessed.


Page 16]

Zev (Velya) Shumski

Yehoshue Golberg

 

You can't talk about Velya Shumski without mentioning his parents' home, where he grew up, and its atmosphere.

The home of Mikhael Duvidovitsh Shumski, Velya's father, was a progressive one, mingling with Russian and later with Polish society, but at the same time adhering to Jewish customs and traditions. On Sabbath eve, the whole extended family – sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren – would assemble at Grandmother Frida Shumski's, light the Sabbath candles, say the blessing over the wine, and have a feast worthy of the Sabbath. Mikhael Shumski was not a religious man, although he did pray in the Great Synagogue every Sabbath and was a member of the Talmud Torah board, the Burial Society, and the Pallbearers. The functionaries of those institutions would meet in his house and discuss their assorted problems, as did the functionaries of the School of Commerce, of which he was a founders and board member for many years.

During the summer months, Kremenets-born Tsvi Prilutski, editor of Moment, would come for vacation in a cottage on Mount Vidomka, and he made it a habit to visit with Mikhael Shumski. While they discussed current world events, young Velya would listen and absorb knowledge about life in the larger Jewish world.

Velya's mother, Nadia Shumski, was an excellent housekeeper, as demonstrated by the good taste and elegance of her home. At the same time, she busied herself with community needs: she organized women from the intelligentsia class into the Women's Club (in Russian: Damski Kriz'ok), which oversaw various relief institutions.

This is the kind of home in which Velya grew up. He was a proud, goodhearted Jew, with tendencies toward helping people and being sensitive to the community's needs. He was associated with Polish high society and was invited to take part in the winter's Grand Hunt. From time to time at a meeting in the forest during the hunt, he managed to prevent an outcry against some Jewish institution. For example, the town decided to close the Talmud Torah for “sanitary reasons,” but Velya's interference during a hunting trip eliminated the threat; matters were taken care of, and the Talmud Torah continued to function.

Page 17]

He also had a great influence on Professor Zaremba of the Lyceum (a great mathematician and a great drunkard), and thanks to that, many more Jewish students were accepted to that school than was the “norm.”

During World War II, I ran into Velya while we were both refugees. He was in a very bad situation then, and I had been lucky. I offered to help, even by way of a loan, but his sense of pride made him refuse.

After the war, he settled in Pozen[13]. His small apartment was always open to any Kremenets survivor, and any former Kremenetser who passed through Pozen had to visit Velya's home, where he and his wife Neta would receive him in a friendly manner. One day I, too, needed his help: while on a trip from Berlin to Warsaw, my truck ran out of fuel. Naturally, my traveling companions and I were invited to stay overnight in their home. The next day, Velya “organized” a can of fuel for me, and I was able to continue on my way; in Pozen, too, Velya had succeeded in making good contacts and helping people. He was naturally excellent at mixing with society, a talent that he inherited from his father's home.

Velya arrived in Israel with his family in 1951. When he could not get settled in a job in his profession of electrical engineering, he accepted the job offered to him without complaining, doing his work with reliability and devotion until his last day. He was a handsome, good-natured, optimistic man who was popular and involved in community life.

His education did not prepare him for Zionism and Israel, but as soon as he arrived, he formed an attachment to the country, adjusting easily to his new environment without complaining or arguing or suffering painful adjustments. He proved his loyalty to the country on many occasions when, more so than many others, who, even though they were brought up on Zionism, when they come to Israel have as many demands as a pomegranate has seeds. He didn't think he deserved anything special and never saw himself as discriminated against.

Velya was active in the Organization of Kremenets Emigrants from the time he came here. He served on the board, worked on Pinkas Kremenets, and performed any job asked of him.

He can be defined as a proud Jew of gracious personality and demeanor. He stood straight and proud, even among non-Jewish anti-Semites. He was a healthy man; he never had a sick day in his life, and at the age of 75, he died suddenly and peacefully. His wife passed away six years ago, and he mourned his loss courageously and privately. He left a married daughter and grandchildren.

May his memory be blessed.


[Page 18]

Yitschak Eydelman (Tamir),
of Blessed Memory

Y. Rokhel

At the age of 74, Yitschak Eydelman, who changed his name to Tamir, passed away. In his youth, before World War I, his father, a staunch Zionist, sent him to study at the Hertseliya High School in Jaffa (before the founding of Tel Aviv).

Because of the war, he spent a few years in Kremenets. His presence there – his appearance, his Sephardic-accented Hebrew, and the songs from Israel that he sang – was an education for the Zionist youth in the town. He also took an active part in developing sports in Jewish Kremenets. When the war was over, he returned to Israel with the first group of pioneers from Kremenets. He resided in Tel Aviv with his family and worked in the offices of the Solel Bone company. In his last years, he suffered from serious illnesses, and as he was getting ready to move into a retirement home, he passed away. He was a very gregarious man, although his interests did not lie within the framework of Kremenets emigrants in the Land. He leaves a wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He also leaves a sister – Klara Zats, née Eydelman.

May his memory be blessed.


Munya Gindes,
of Blessed Memory

M. G.

Kremenetser Munya Gindes passed away a few months ago in Turkmenistan. In Kremenets, he was the secretary of the ORT School until the Russians retreated, and he was active in the community, particularly in the trade union. He had many friends who adored him, thanks to his sense of humor, warmth, and fairness.

We, too, had the opportunity to enjoy those qualities when we welcomed him to the RYB”L Library on his visit to Israel a few years ago. He told us then of his 1961 visit to Kremenets; he went there from Turkmenistan with his wife, Dvora (née Kugel) to spend the summer in a cottage in his native town. At that time, he saw Moshe Ben-Meir Yampol, who had come from Leningrad, and together they went to visit the killing field. He told us how dismal the sights and the things he heard from the non-Jews in the town were; they were completely untouched by the Holocaust.

He left a married daughter (a physician) and grandchildren in Russia as well as his sister, Fanya, and two nieces, Tanya and Irka, Miron Gindes's daughters, in Israel.

May his memory be blessed.

]Page 22a]


Old Houses in the Foundry Neighborhood (drawing by A. Argaman)

[Page 24]

Condolences

To the Margalit family, of Haifa, and the Rubinfayn family, of Pardes Katz, on the death of Yosef Margalit, 56, son of Mendil Margalit (of the Dubna suburb).

To Chayim Vayntroyb and his children, of Tel Aviv, on the passing of their wife and mother, Miryam Levit Kligman, 59, at Beit Rivka Hospital, Petach Tikva, after an extended illness.

To Chaya Fisher, the immediate Kutsher family, and the extended Kutsher family on the death of the head of the family, Moshe Fisher.

May they be comforted with the rest of the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem, and may they no longer be anguished.


Congratulations

To Hela and Henig Breytshteyn, of Haifa, who celebrated the marriage of their daughter, Rina, in Tel Aviv, and the birth of their granddaughter in Kibbutz Yagur.

To Payvel Barshap and his family, of Kibbutz Yagur, who celebrated the marriage of their daughter.

To the Gertman family, Moshe and Sonya (née Barshap), Haifa, Neve Sha'anan, who celebrated the marriage of their son, Beni, to his fiancée, Gilah.

[Page 25]

To Yitschak and Genya Vakman, New York, on the birth of their first great-grandchild.

To Sara and Yakov Zilberg, Haifa, Neve Sha'anan, on the marriage of their daughter, Mira, to her fiancé, Tsvi.

To Bronya and Shmuel (Milik) Taytelman, Bat Yam, on the birth of their first granddaughter, Irit, daughter of Sara and Yitschak, and to grandfather Nachum Grinberg on the birth of his first great-granddaughter.

To Moshe Kahan, Kibbutz Ma'anit (husband of Slova Heylperin, of blessed memory), on the marriage of his daughter, Chana, and her fiancé, Gad.

To Aharon Mandelblat and family, Petach Tikva, on the marriage of his son, Pesach.

To the Nusman Family, Moshe and Sozna (née Rubin), Kfar Hasidim, on the marriage of their daughter, Ina, to her fiancé, Robert.

To David and Sonya Tsukerman, Haifa, on the birth of their grandson.

To Yehuda (Chulio) Kaufman and family, Ramat Aviv, on the birth of a grandson, Yuval, in London.

To the Shapira and Kneler families, Ramat Gan, on the marriage of Tila, daughter of Shmuel Shapira, and Pinya (of the Kneler family, of blessed memory).

To Chayim and Ita Meyler, Afula, on the marriage of their daughter.

To Avraham and Chana Mordish, Kibbutz Yad Mordekhay, on the birth of their grandson, Gonen.

To Shalom and Yehudit Mordish, Kibbutz Afek, on the marriage of their daughter.

To Simcha and Chana Kroyt, Lod, on the marriage of their daughter, Shoshana.

To the Shteynberg family, Moshe and Sara (née Vaynshteyn), on the birth of their granddaughter, Noa.

To Yafa Port (née Direktor), Tel Aviv, on the birth of her first granddaughter, daughter of Moshe, and on the birth of twin granddaughters.

To Vitya and Yitschak Vaynshteyn, Tel Aviv, on the birth of a granddaughter in Nairobi, Kenya, and on the birth of a grandson in Haifa.

To Moshe and Rivka Rokhel, Tel Aviv, on the birth of their grandson, Yoav, son of Losa and Chedva, Jerusalem.

May they all be blessed, and may celebrations be plentiful in our midst.


Editor's and Translator's Notes:

  1. Bielokrinitse, now known as Belaya Krinitsa, is at 50°09' N 25°45' E, 3.8 miles NNE of Kremenets. [Ed.] Return
  2. Bilotsirkov may be the town now known as Bila Tserkva. It is at 49°47' N 30°07' E, 196.7 miles E of Kremenets [Ed.] Return
  3. The Golden Book records moments in the lives of inscribers or those they wish to honor. The books are housed at the Jewish National Fund headquarters in Jerusalem. [Ed.] Return
  4. Chodorov, now known as Khodorov, is at 49°24' N 24°19' E, 79 miles SW of Kremenets. [Ed.] Return
  5. “When the ark set out …” (in Hebrew, vayehi binsoa ha'aron; Numbers 10:35) is the verse traditionally recited upon the opening of the ark in which the Torah scrolls are kept. [Ed.] Return
  6. The memorial book referred to here is Kremenits, Vishgorodek un Pitshayev; yisker-bukh [Memorial Book of Krzemieniec, Vishgorodek, and Pochayev], ed. P. Lerner, Buenos Aires: Former residents of Kremenets and Vicinity in Argentina, 1965, 468 pp, Yiddish. [Ed.] Return
  7. “For the Torah will go forth out of Moscow” plays on the verse ki mitsion tetse Torah (For the Torah [law] will go forth out of Zion; Isaiah 2:3). [Trans.] Return
  8. Potshayuv, now known as Pochayiv, is at 50°01' N 25°29' E, 11.8 miles WSW of Kremenets. Vizshgorodok, not known as Vyshgorodok, is at 49°46' N 25°58' E, 25.6 miles SSE of Kremenets. [Ed.] Return
  9. 23 Tamuz 5729 corresponds to July 9, 1969, so either the Hebrew or the Gregorian date is incorrect. [Ed.] Return
  10. Yampoli, now known as Yampil', is at 49°58' N 26°15' E, 25.4 miles ESE of Kremenets. [Ed.] Return
  11. Letste Nayes (Latest News) is an Israeli Yiddish-language newspaper, and Yeda Am is the journal of the Israeli Folklore Society. The memorial book mentioned is L. Gelman, ed., 1963, Ayara be-lehavot: Pinkas Yampola, pelekh Volyn [Town in Flames: Book of Yampola, Wolyn District], published in Jerusalem by the commemoration committee for the town with the assistance of Yad Vashem and the World Jewish Congress (154 pp., Hebrew and Yiddish). [Ed.] Return
  12. Rovno, now known as Rivne, is at 50°37' N 26°15' E, 42.7 miles NNE of Kremenets [Ed.] Return
  13. Pozen, Poland, now known as Poznań, is at 52°25' N 16°58' E, 410.2 miles WNW of Kremenets. [Ed.] Return


[Page 26]

What's in Voice of Kremenets Emigrants No. 6

Editorial Board

Translation by Theodore Steinberg

We have already reached the sixth booklet: When we put out the first issue of Voice of Kremenets Emigrants, we never dreamed of a periodical publication. And now, after three years of work, we have already reached number 6. The positive reviews and enthusiastic reception from everyone that have reached the editors encouraged us to proceed and to increase the number of copies to 700.

Letters to the editor: Many letters have come to the editor. They speak of longing for our destroyed home and the strong desire to be in contact with fellow citizens around the world. Some of the letters describe the moving experiences of our comrades as they read the booklets. They will be published in the next issue.

We do not publish everything in two languages: Because of the overflow of material and in order not to go beyond our abilities, we print some things in the booklet in only one language (“The Cold War”), and we apologize to those who read only Hebrew.

Five who have left us: Between the publication of Booklets 5 and 6, we have lost several friends. We are publishing obituaries for five of them: David Rubin, Mordekhay Barmor-Bishbeyn, Velya (Zev) Shumski, Yitschak Eydelman-Tamir, and Munye Gindes, may their memories be a blessing.

Life experiences: We try to recall the ways of life in Jewish Kremenets. In this booklet, our friend Manus [Goldenberg] tells about the “cold war,” “the class war” between “your people” in the old bath and the “fine Jews” in the new bath. The “cold war” certainly was not cold.

About our colony in Argentina: Our friend Mordekhay Katz gives a sociological snapshot. As we read him, we recognize the streams of immigrants, the ways of organizing mutual aid, the transition from labor to commerce, the distancing of the younger generation, the change in political stances, and more about Kremenetsers in Argentina.

[Page 27]

We want to try to analyze further other diaspora Kremenetsers–but to do this for the relatively larger Kremenets landsmanshaft in Israel, we need someone who will take on this heavy burden.

Things that are happening in the “Mosaic” section have been expanded. They have been gathered and cultivated by Y. Rokhel.

Our readers have been happy with our custom of wishing “mazel tov.” This custom is growing and spreading. It is possible that we have not recorded everything because not everything was known to us. People who are interested in having their family events publicized should immediately let the editor know in a letter the name of the newborn, of the parents, names of the ancestors, etc.

Greetings from Kremenets along with two new photographs that we have received.

We already have material for publication in a forthcoming booklet. In order to fulfill the mitzvah “They go from strength to strength” (Ps. 84:8), we will publish in the next booklet articles by Duvid Tsukerman from Haifa, Duvid Rapaport from New York, from our friend the veteran Yosef Pak from Rishon Letsion, and we have only just begun.

If there is no flour, there is no Torah. Our repeated message to our friends that they should keep up with payments for the booklets has had results. But there are still several score who have not sent the relatively small payment. We ask that you give this your attention. We have not raised the price despite rising publication costs. It is more important that we receive payment on time. We remind you that you can pay in any bank, as well as in the Bank HaDoar. Our account is 52273 in Bank HaPoalim, Merkaz branch. You can also send a check through any bank to “Organization of Kremenets Emigrants.”

And in honor of Passover, which is well upon us, we send our traditional blessing, “Let our assemblies be a joy!” to all of our friends and readers.


[Page 28]

Mordekhay Barmor-Bishbeyn, of Blessed Memory
A Kremenetser in the Fight for Israel (Motke Bishbeyn)

Manus Goldenberg

Translation by Theodore Steinberg

In the sixth booklet of Voice of Kremenets Emigrants we set aside an honored place for our landsman Lt. Col. Mordekhay Barmor (Motke Bishbeyn) in the section “Kremenetsers in the Fight for Israel.”

No one foresaw when we were writing about him that we would have to add the initials “of blessed memory” that would indicate the end of his brief, 45-year life. And with those lines that showed our pride in his heroic deeds, there would also come our woe and loss.

It happened 20 years ago. At the memorial service for our countrymen, I noticed from a distance a young man, a good-looking Israeli army captain. People presented him to me as the son of Manus Bishbeyn. I marveled at how the son resembled his father at the same age. His handsome, bright face, the same clever smile–radiating grace and good nature.

Before my eyes passed the events of 1917-1920, the days of fire and blood, pogroms and slaughters led by the warriors of Petliura, Denikin, and other groups. Manus, Motke's father, our friend, was then a welcome guest in our home, which also housed our watchmaking and jewelry business. The Petliura bandits had their eyes on these goods. They gathered as a group in our street, waiting for a sign to kill and rob. Manus did not abandon us in that threatening time, thereby risking his life.

Although he was young, he was experienced. Manus taught us about his amazing audacity in effectively combatting the hooligans.

The same characteristics marked Motke's every movement.

[Page 29]

Shraga Hershman, Motke's school friend who had fled from the Germans to Kremenets from occupied Poland, said this about Motke's parents: “Three wooden steps led to the Bishbeyn's dwelling. Inside, waiting with a smile for us refugees, were Motke's school friends. His mother, Reyzel, dressed in a housecoat with a white apron, revived us with a good warm soup. She was wonderful. In her we found part of that motherly love and warmth that had been taken from us.”

Everyone from Kremenets remembers well the name “Belaya Krinitsa”–especially from the time when Poles were there. We have no pleasant associations with that name. Belaya Krinitsa was 7 km from Kremenets, a farm that belonged to Duke Wisniowiecki–there was a kind of training school for forestry and land management that was still there from czarist times. But the Poles had never allowed the foot of a Jewish student to cross the threshold. With the arrival of the Soviets, the school and dormitory doors were opened to Jewish students. Fifty percent of the students there were Jews, the youngest among them. He had received his earlier education in a “Tarbut” school. Being very attached to his family, Motke would travel on foot almost every day, 7 km to school and then back. Our children studied there for only two years. The Germans invaded, and they barely allowed an escape to Kremenets, where great confusion ensued.

Manus sent Motke, together with Hersh Geker, of blessed memory, and Yidel Senderovitsh, to his brother in Belaya Tserkov. In the confusion that was created, the Germans sent paratroopers after the Red Army, and many innocent people were arrested as suspects, among them Motke, with Hersh and Yidel. Their passports from Kremenets did not help. The order had already been given: “Put them against the wall and shoot!”

By a miracle, a Jewish major saw them–and at the last moment they were released.

Horribly frightened and weakened, Motke came to his uncle in Belaya Tserkov, who had left Kremenets in 1920. A few days later there was another German incursion, and in the confusion of escape, they were separated. Now Motke's wandering and suffering began. He was alone. In 1942, at age 16, he voluntarily joined the Red Army.

[Page 30]

We read in Motke's memoirs: “In the World War II years, I was the only Jew in my unit, among soldiers from different nationalities and languages. One of the reasons I enlisted was because of the mockery of the Jews, that they fled from the front and stayed in the hinterlands.

The truth was that the Jews, fearing the Nazis, fled deeper into Russia trying to save themselves.

After the war, in the cities of Lithuania, Latvia, and western Ukraine I met tens and hundreds of Jewish invalids who had fought and been wounded multiple times. I saw Jewish warriors with significant decorations for bravery. But non-Jews did not take note.

In 1944, when I had not found anyone from my family, I permitted myself to take some revenge, but thanks to my good senior officer, I avoided severe punishment.

I was offered a military career if I remained in Russia, but several factors worked against that plan–my uncle in Russia, an old communist, told me that I should go to Israel. My other uncle, Yehoshue Zeyger, of blessed memory, wrote me heartfelt letters from Israel and said that I should come to him, that a warm home awaited me, and that I would be fulfilling the desire of my elders.”

Motke had participated in many battles, from Russia to Germany. He was wounded and almost killed at the front.

He felt the sorrow of loneliness, since his soldier friends would receive letters from home, but there was no one to write to him.

Motke left the Red Army in 1946. He was repatriated to Germany. There he volunteered for the Haganah. He met with mentors from Israel and the Jewish Brigade. He marveled at their energy in organizing and teaching self-defense to the young people who were the remnant of our people. They had a great influence on him, especially Shimon (Kuk) Avidan.

[Page 31]

Motke completed the first Haganah course in Wildbad and was sent as a mentor to the Haganah school in Hochland. Later he was nominated to be an instructor and commander in the camp at Wetzlar in the Frankfurt district.

In February 1948, his dream was realized and he came to Israel. That year I met him at the memorial service, as I said earlier.

Our joint memories of the past, our mutual mourning for our beloved martyrs who were killed in the destruction of our city, established a close bond between us. Every encounter with him and his dear wife Sore was a treasured experience for us.

Motke almost never missed a memorial service. Even when he was at the other end of the country, he would fly there in in a military plane.

Motke gave us strength in our goal of memorializing the names of our martyrs and their rich folklore.

His love for his family and the memories of his childhood years in Kremenets he succeeded, along with his wife, in implanting in the young hearts of his three dear children (a son and two daughters). He would say proudly how they would read Pinkas Kremenets and Voice of Kremenet Emigrants with interest. As I spoke with them, I could feel the effects of their education.

Every year Motke actively strove to aid our organization, but he did not always have the possibility. I remember the evenings when he arrived in his military jeep after a long, hard day at work in order to accompany me on visits with people from Kremenets to discuss the memories of their martyred ones. These evenings would last four to five hours, and it was not easy for him to leave the Kremenetsers after the good atmosphere that he brought with him.

After the Six-Day War, Motke said to me, “The day is coming when I will leave the military and I will repay the ‘debts’ of the organization.” We waited for him ….

He also dreamed of finding free time in the future to share the experiences of his many battles and deeds with his nearest landsmen.

[Page 32]


Mordekhay Barmor receives the “Immigrant” award from the president

[Page 33]

Lt. Col. Mordekhay Barmor, Man and Soldier

Mordekhay Ot-Yakar (Otiker)

Translation by Theodore Steinberg

Mordekhay, or Motke, as everyone called him, was a military man for almost his whole life.

He was a combination of man and soldier. “The two aspects in him derived from a single source and shaped his ideal soul, as his acquaintances and fellow soldiers recognized.”

Motke arrived in Israel in 1948 with the dream of building a new home, after years of wandering, woe, and war. Some days later he had already taken part in the battles in various places in the country. We learn this from his letters to Sore, his future wife, when in 1949 he wrote:

“I felt it was my duty to be with the defenders of my country, and I volunteered for the army. Early on May 14, I asked my aunt in Merhavia, where I was living, to prepare a few things for my rucksack. That same evening I was already fighting in the hills of Ephraim.”

Motke was wounded in one of the battles–this episode involved an interesting story, which he recalled for his whole life.

In Motke's house there was a napkin flecked with his blood, from when he was wounded near his heart. When he fled Kremenets, his mother had put a bit of sugar in that napkin. This precious memory of his mother had remained in his left pocket through all his wandering and battles.

He started his path in the Israel Defense Forces at the bottom. His former commander explains:

“Bishbeyn came to us as an officer from the Red Army with extensive experience–as his documents showed–but he did not rely on his papers and he sought no rank different from everyone else.”

He did not want to be a specialist–“the great strategist.” He was one of those who, despite his great military experience, began his service in the Israel Defense Forces as a simple soldier, moving step by step to the rank of high officer.

[Page 34]

Motke fought on different fronts during the War of Independence, the Sinai War, and the Six-Day War, as well as in operations between the wars.

In May 1948, Motke was sent to the “Golani” Brigade, which played an important role in liberating our land from the north to Eilat.

One of his comrades tells of that time: “We could learn in the Golani what a good comrade Motke was, a good, intelligent organizer and leader.”

By 1949 he was already a lieutenant. He traveled with his division to all the fronts where the Golani Brigade fought.

Comrades were wounded, and comrades fell in battle–his sorrow and concern for them stayed with him his whole life.

Every person has a first love, and every soldier has his first unit that is his love, even if he serves in many others.

In 1950 Motke was sent to the N”M, an artillery regiment. This regiment was Motke's first love. He filled various roles there, until he himself became the commander.

He devoted his days and nights to the regiment–to the military and technical education of the soldiers, to the weapons and the buildings. Motke was a father to his soldiers. Through love and discipline he molded them into specialists and heroes of the Israel Defense Forces.

One of them wrote to Motke's wife when he heard the tragic news in America, where he was studying: “The name of your husband, of blessed memory, I heard from others as I began my service. People said his name with love and a sparkle in their eyes …. When I finished officer's school and I was fortunate enough to know him personally, I understood why …. Of all the officers I met, I never met another who knew so well how to combine discipline and fatherly love.”

In 1951, the Barmors had their first child, Amos. At the time they lived in difficult circumstances in Monashiyal-Yafo. One night during a terrible storm, when they thought their roof would fly off–Motke thought of his soldiers who were in the “Flood” and hurried off to them in order to care for his “children.”

[Page 35]

He came home in the early morning soaked to his bones.

In 1956, while Motke was away taking a course, he was called back to take part in the Sinai campaign.

We cannot mention all the battles and operations in which he took part, nor all the courses that he took both at home and abroad.

He advanced in the Israel Defense Forces–earning his rank through hard work. He loved the army, to which he devoted his strength, energy, experience, love, and the best years of his life.

In 1966 he was named representative of the chief commander of the Israel Defense Forces artillery.

His coworkers were proud that their commander had been advanced, but they missed him.

Motke was 45 years old when he was taken from us.

We mourn with his family and his friends, his acquaintances and loved ones, together with all of his soldiers, for whom he was commander and friend–and above all, a mentsh.

The “Organization of Friends of the Haganah in Europe and North Africa” wrote in the “Golden Book of the Foundation Fund on the occasion of the 30th day after he was buried.

They wrote:

“Lt. Col Mordekhay Barmor, from the remnant of the refugees, gave his soul and his strength to the service of our regiment in the Haganah in Diaspora Europe. And as a soldier–on guard over our Fatherland, from the first days when he came to the country.”


[Page 36]

Kremenets Emigrants in Argentina
(A Sociological Study)

Mordekhay Katz–Buenos Aires

Translation by Theodore Steinberg

We will begin in 1926. At that time there was already a group of 60-70 Kremenetsers (according to what was written in the yizkor book [Kremenits, Vyshgorodek, un Potshayuv yizkor bukh] that the Kremenetsers published in Buenos Aires in 1965). In the 1930s, when the emigration of Polish Jews increased because of severe antisemitism and a difficult economic crisis, there were about 300 Kremenetsers in Argentina. When I arrived in Argentina in 1937, I met about that number. Then the doors of Argentina were shut, and the number of immigrants from Kremenets could not increase, with few exceptions. It was our duty in 1946 to rescue 10 families from the remnant of refugees in Paraguay.

Since there was no longer a flow of Kremenetsers, because the great murderer, may his name and memory be blotted out, slaughtered them–we will turn to what is happening now.

Today's Kremenetsers include about 110 families. Aside from Kremenetsers, there are also about 15-20 families who do not belong to the Kremenets organization.

As we know, most Kremenetsers arrived in Argentina in the 1930s, not counting the 60-70 people who were here earlier, of whom few remain, since almost 40 years have passed since then. The average age of our immigrants to Argentina will be clear to us. And understand that today the Kremenetsers are branched out in families. Ninety percent have two, three, or four children, as well as grandchildren. Thus have they multiplied.

But can we count them as Kremenetsers? This is a big question that is difficult to answer. When they were small, they stayed with us. But later they swam away and left us alone on the shore. But we must emphasize a characteristic fact, that a portion of the children of our countrymen grew up with the Spanish language.

[Page 37]

When these young people became parents, they sent their children to Yiddish and Hebrew schools. Furthermore, they themselves began to be active in directing the schools and enlisting their parents and grandparents to help.

At that time, most Kremenetsers were Leftists and believed that “The Torah came forth from Moscow ….”[1] Some brought that feeling from Kremenets. Political and economic conditions in Argentina fostered this attitude. Another division of Kremenetsers were active in the “Mendele” cultural headquarters, which was also taken up with Leftist thought. A small number were involved in the Zionist ranks.

Then the Kremenetsers, along with the Pochayevers and the Vyshgorodokers, formed a strong organization that conducted fruitful cultural activities, focusing on social welfare. It was considered one of the best organizations in Buenos Aires. Our fellow Kremenetsers were active in many important organizations: the Foundation Fund, the Women's International Zionist Organization, YIVO, Bialik schools, Perets schools, etc.

Most of the older generation of Kremenetsers were merchants or manufacturers. They did not lack for income, and some were wealthy. (Good for them.) Some were workers, but they also did well. And we should not omit that there were some who were needy, who had to come to the community organization and to our group for aid.

As for education, you must understand that none immigrating countrymen had time for study. Even if some brought a diploma from the public school or the commercial school from Kremenets, they forgot about it, because economic conditions forced them to work terribly hard for very little income. By the time they achieved anything, it was too late.

But their children learned: doctors, lawyers, engineers, bookkeepers, etc. Willingly or not, the ever-present question comes to our minds: “Can we count our children as Kremenetsers? Will they perpetuate the memory of Kremenets?”

To be sincere and complete, I believe we have to remember that the general illness of mixed marriages also has seized our countrymen, but only slightly. You can count them on your fingers. All the others are proud Jews. Some have gone to Israel, and some are preparing to go.

[Page 38]

Thanks to the rise of the state of Israel, even our non-Zionist youth take pride in being members of such a people. But it appears that the so-called “new generation” like to think only of their people's victories and not its tragedies. We have indications that they will not be part of our landsmanshaft. Naturally they cannot feel what we feel. They only respect our feelings. Thus, we cannot know whether they will perpetuate the memory of Kremenets.

To conclude this short analysis, I will propose that the current “Organization of Landsmen from Kremenets and Vicinity” in Buenos Aires, which includes 90% of the landsmen, is free of politics and fanaticism. We do not discuss trivia because such things are insignificant. Our leaders are people with a clear awareness of daily realities. Opposing all extremism from the Left and the Right, looking to the land of Israel and the people of Israel, looking toward our countrymen around the world, and especially toward our brothers and sisters in Israel, whom fate has allowed to live in order to forge further the chains of memory of Kremenets.

We ask for true peace. The cannon should stop talking so that the muses can speak.

“For from Zion the Torah will come forth and the world of God from Jerusalem.”


Translator's Note:

  1. “For the Torah will go forth out of Moscow” plays on the verse ki mitsion tetse Torah (For the Torah will go forth out of Zion; Isaiah 2:3) Return


[Page 39]

In Memoriam

Translation by Theodore Steinberg

David Rubin, of Blessed Memory

On 23 Tammuz 5729 (9 August 1968), the Kremenets community lost a member.

On that day a man died who filled us with joy and now with sorrow, the 87-year-old elder of our city both at home and abroad, Duvid Rubin, of blessed memory.

Duvid Rubin was born in Yampol, Russia, in 1882. His childhood and teenage years he spent in cheder and the study hall. Although early on he rebelled against his current lifestyle, until his final hour he drew from spiritual sources that he had absorbed, whether in cheder or study hall, modernizing them in his own style.

Truthfully, Duvid Rubin never separated himself from the past, neither in conversation nor in his literary work, which appeared in scores of journals.

His arrival in Israel at age 75, all alone, as an old man (his daughters lived in Poland), was like a continuation of a broad but intimate past.

He loved the country with a fervent, active love. He reacted with youthful temperament and fervor to everything that involved the country, both good and bad.

And although he had a sea of common sense and practical folk wisdom, he was no stranger to the dream, the vision, of the latter days.

His creative curiosity about everything that was, is, and will be successfully fought off the destructive symptoms of old age. His eyes, like his thoughts, remained clear and bright until his last minutes.

With the death of Duvid Rubin, of blessed memory, we have lost one of the most interesting and colorful pillars of our past Kremenets.

May his memory be blessed.

[Page 40]

Zev (Velya) Shumski

Yehoshue (Shike) Golberg

One cannot write about Velya Shumski without recalling the house and the atmosphere that reigned in the home where he was raised.

The home of his father, Mikhael Shumski, was progressive. He simultaneously cultivated Jewish tradition and secular culture. Every Friday evening the whole family, including the daughters-in-law and grandchildren, came to their grandma Freyde Shumski to light the candles and say kiddush at the Sabbath table. Mikhael Shumski was for a time a sexton in the Great Synagogue and an active member of the Talmud Torah, the Burial Society, and pallbearers. The important business of these organizations was almost always handled in Shumski's house. Shumski was the founder of the School of Commerce and its supervisor. When, during the summer, Tsvi Prilutski, the publisher and chief editor of Moment, would come to his “dacha” in Kremenets, he would be a guest in Mikhael Shumski's home. Then Mikhael and Velya would ”lick their fingers,” hearing the tales and news that Prilutski brought from the Jewish world. Thus was encouraged in that home “essential Jewishness,” which did not permit the children to assimilate.

Velya was a proud Jew with an open heart, always ready to help someone in need. Thanks to his influence in higher Polish society, when he was invited to go hunting in winter, it often fell to him to have a decree revoked that had been imposed on a Jewish organization. For example, the mayor had tried to close down the Talmud Torah because it lacked basic sanitary facilities. At a post-hunt meal, Velya worked at having the decree revoked. The mayor was satisfied with their primitive facilities, and the Talmud Torah was not closed. Often he had to put pressure on Prof. Zaremba from the Lyceum (a great mathematician and great drunkard) to increase the number of Jewish children in the school.

In wartime I accidentally ran into Velya in Russia when he was in distress and we were a little better off.

[Page 41]

I offered him help, but his self-esteem did not allow him to take anything from me.

After the war he settled in Poznan, where his apartment was always open and survivors from Kremenets who were returning, whether from the camps or from the front, had to visit Velya. I myself, traveling by truck in 1946 from Berlin to Warsaw, with a chauffeur and an older Russian woman, a doctor, found ourselves without a drop of gas in a Poznan suburb. I went off to Velya and told him our situation. Velya immediately invited us to his small lodging for the night. His hospitable wife, Nete, prepared a fine dinner. In the morning, Velya provided us with gas and with food for the road.

Velya and his family moved to Israel in 1951. He had an engineering diploma. He had studied for several years in the Kharkov Polytechnic along with Shar Bar-Yehuda, of blessed memory, and Yisrael Ritov. He would visit Israel with them. Without regard to his academic education, he worked as a clerk in the firm “Chirot,” where he was set up by a landsman. He did his job responsibly and with great devotion.

After he retired, he happily did the same work when he was asked to.

From the beginning, Velya was beloved in Israel, and he took great pleasure in all our accomplishments. He had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances that he and his wife had formed.

He regarded our old home with special reverence and greatly mourned its destruction. As soon as he arrived, he took an active role in the Organization of Kremenets Emigrants in Israel. He was a member of the board until his final days.

Velya never lost the elegant appearance and the aristocratic manner that his father, Mikhael Duvidovitsh Shumski, had also exhibited.

And remarkably–Velya died in the same month his father had, 41 years earlier, and in the same way–suddenly, at the age of 75, after an evening spent with friends. Velya left behind a married daughter and grandchildren.

May his memory be a blessing.

[Page 42]

Yitschak Eydelman (Tamir)

Y. Rokhel

He left us and went to his eternal rest at 74 years. He was the first to go up to Israel from Kremenets, Yitschak Eydelman, who changed his family name to Tamir. When he was young, his father, the well-known Zionist activist in Kremenets Moshe Eydelman, sent him to study in the Hertseliya school in Yafo, before there was a Tel Aviv, before World War I.

When the war broke out, he returned to Kremenets, and the mere fact of his presence in Kremenets, his Sephardic Hebrew, his songs from the Land of Israel, served an educational role among the youth of Kremenets. He also worked in the development of sport among Jewish youth.

After the war he returned immediately to Israel with the first groups of pioneers from Kremenets. He settled with his family in Tel Aviv and for many years worked in battery manufacturing. In his last years he suffered from a serious illness.

Over all he was a community-minded person, although the activities of the Kremenets organization were not of special interest to him.

He left behind his wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

May his memory be a blessing.

 

Munye Gindes

M.G.

Several months ago in Turkmenistan, Munye Gindes passed away. During all of his years in Kremenets, Munye was active in community affairs, especially in professional unions. He was secretary of ORT until the Russians' arrival. Munye was beloved in Kremenets for his everyday humor, warmth, and open heart. We took great pleasure in his humor when we received him in the Levinson Library some years ago. He then visited Israel and his family there. When we met in 1961, he told us that he came from distant Turkmenistan together with his wife Dvore (Kugel, of blessed memory) to a dacha in Kremenets. There he met Meir Yampol's son Moshe from Leningrad. He related what he saw there and what he had heard from the non-Jews. Munye Gindes left behind a married daughter, a doctor, and grandchildren–and in Israel his sister, Fanye, and nieces Tanya and Irka, Miron Gindes' daughters.

May his memory be a blessing.


[Page 43]

The Cold War in Kremenets

Manus Goldenberg

Translation by Theodore Steinberg

Dedicated to the “Good Young People” with whom we had mutual sympathies.

Ecclesiastes tells us, “That which has been is that which shall be, and that which has been done is that which shall be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”

We all think that the cold war between the East and the West is a new thing, but it is not so! In our little old Kremenets there was a cold war long ago.

Here is the story. There were two bathhouses in Kremenets, two separate worlds, the old bath, the “Eastern Bloc,” and the new bath, the “Western Bloc.” Between these two blocs there was, just like now, an Iron Curtain that created a deep separation. It was called the “Smetana” [sour cream].

The old bath was at the corner of Yatke Street by the eastern edge of the famous Potik [stream]. And the many houses that bordered there along the east side harbored hundreds of working families. They worked hard and had difficult lives. The greatest pleasure of their whole week was their Friday bath.

And the bath was not just for washing. For every father and his children it was a kind of entertainment. They spent long hours there. There were people who came in the morning and left just before candle-lighting time. They would bring meat and challah from home. And even if it was 20 degrees outside, they would eat their meal with pleasure, naked, in the freezing antechamber. They cooled off and drank a glass of seltzer water that Mordekhay Chayim-Yos the gravedigger sold. This Mordekhay, whose income did not amount to much, overflowed with humor and quips, so that everyone rolled with laughter.

When a person entered from the street, before he could undress, Mordekhay would give him a “welcome,” as everyone cracked up

[Page 44]

And then, after a long pause, they would cry out, “Oy” in a chorus. Their “victim” would take this in a good spirit and even join in.

The steps in the old bath were strong and wide, as wide as the ruddy, sturdy Jews who traversed them.

The heat in the bath was not unbearable, so that when someone would come in from the street, he would soon cry out, “Gentlemen, it's cold!” and with a broad gesture would pour hot scoops of water over the glowing stones in the oven to raise the temperature.

The steam would be so thick that you could not see your nose in front of you. And in order not to scald each other with hot water, they would call out warnings. Louder than everyone was Moshe Shive with his nasal shout, “Watch out! Boiling water!” in Polish in order to warn the non-Jews who were meekly scattered among the dominant Jews.

Then there was the second bath, “the new bath,” which was built at the urging and with the help of the wealthy Hersh-Mendel Rokhel. It was quite different.

The “new bath” was at the other end of town, on the west side of the Potik. It, too, was bordered by houses. But these were nice houses, many with multiple stories. Their inhabitants were also quite different, upper class. They were merchants, brokers, shochets, cantors, prestigious men with dignified gaits, fallen chests, and a sophisticated cough ….

They would go to the bath quickly. They would bathe absorbed in a newspaper. And they washed with a washcloth, not, as the custom had been for generations in the old bath, with a dirty shirt.

The steps in the “new bath” were made of fancy wood, beautiful and slippery. When one spoke of it, “west” seemed hardly appropriate.

The smetana (the “iron curtain”) that separated the “east” and “west” baths occupied most of Yatke Street. The brave young men of Yatke Street, armed with rocks, stood guard, aided by the fierce dogs of Yatke Street, which the “western” Jews feared.

[Page 45]

We lived in the neutral zone between the two blocs. My brother and I told our father he should go to the old bath, and since we used to persuade him, we were quite pleased, because of the comparison between that bath and the more refined, more decorous “west” bath. In the old bath, one bathed amid noise and uproar, with tumult and carrying on. Every Yatke young man, every Yatke child would scream like an animal facing slaughter, until one's ears would burst. Without shouting, a person could not bathe. It was great when Ikhele Katsav with his thunderous voice tried from the highest bench to out-yell Moshe Shive when he called out, “More steam!”

And it might happen any minute that the cold war in Kremenets could turn into a hot war.

One Friday in the winter, the best season for a bath, the pump in the old bath broke, so it had to close down. Such a disaster, Friday without a bath! There was no alternative. One had to cover one's head and go shamefully to the “new bath.” And this happened on a “short” Friday [when the Sabbath came early], when there was already confusion in the bath and darkness came quickly.

In the half-dark steam room, on the highest bench, lay Noach Katsav, in all his glory. Half-lying and half-sitting around him was his extended family: Meir Tsan, Chicory, Mekhel Tadis, Yosel Barkes, Avraham Kivtsikhes, Meir Bezruk. And, to be sure, their constant right-hand man, Moshe Shive. Each of these fellows was ashamed of his manliness, which was legendary among us young folks.

Noach, you should know, considered himself a king in the bath. Everyone in his family lorded over him, but when he was in the steam, they all served him. Anyone who lashed his gross, fat body with the large broom, anyone who soaped him down, anyone who splashed him with a dipper of cold water, anyone who poured hot water over the stones to raise the heat–at these “labors” Noach would bellow like his oxen when he took them to slaughter–at those times we young ones would not withdraw, for what could be more amusing to us in the whole world than to see Noach in the bath?

And now he sits all scrunched up, our Noach, on the highest bench in the new “little bath” with his retinue, gloomy and bitter.

[Page 46]

The upper-class bathers were almost all laughing, some at his deeds and some out of fear of the savages from the “Eastern Bloc.” Noach's group went to pour hot water on the stones. For the “westerners” the heat was growing unbearable, but Noachke sat there shivering from the cold. Soon he began to lament out loud. “Mamanyu, it's so cold that I'm going to freeze!” His retinue became so restless that people began to look askance at them.

At first they began to yell at each other, but then they tired of that, so they took to banging with the dippers on the wooden window and door frames. The bath shook like a lulav.

In a great panic, R' Itsi, the overseer, came running, but he did not dare show himself in the steam room. Trembling, he waited in the cold coatroom. With silent, majestic steps, as if he were Caesar Nero himself, Noach suddenly descended the steps, making his way through his family. Two of them cleared the way and took positions by the door that led to the coatroom. Noach could hardly get through. He approached a bench and sat down with a deep groan. Steam came off of his hot body as if from an erupting volcano. And so, too, from each of his companions. Opposite him stood the poor overseer, whose teeth were chattering.

Everyone remained still for a moment. One could hear steps on the cold snow outside. Noach smiled sweetly and, in a pleading voice, he began to say honey-sweet words: “Nu, how will this end, R' Itsi, my dear? Do you want to freeze me? What did I ever do to you? Why do I deserve this craziness? Why should my wife become a widow and my children, my little birds, become orphans? Tell me, tell me, dear R' Itsi!”

Remaining immobile during thus speech, his crew shot sharp glances at the overseer, who was as pale as the walls. Some muttered through their lips. And suddenly, confused through fear, he pulled a large key out of his pocket.

One of the family jumped at him like a cat and seized the key. Then they all, naked as when they were born, ran into the dark and snowy corridor. The scraping of an iron door was heard. And from there the group began to carry huge wooden beams that went into the flaming stove.

[Page 47]

In the reflection of the red flames, their naked bodies looked like a scene from Dante's Inferno. The stones in the oven gleamed so much that one thought they might flow out. In the bath itself, people doused themselves with hot water. The steam was so thick that one could barely see the lamps.

Now there was “whipping,” accompanied by hacking and whistling, and a renewal of shouting. An extremely happy Noach yelled, “That's it, Jews, that's it. A spirit in your bones, children!” For the “children” there was no better reward than praise from Noach's mouth.

For the “western” bathers this heat was like a tight jacket on an athlete's shoulders. They were plotzing.

Sometime later, this bath had to be renovated, so many of its big shots, poor them, had to come shamefully to the old bath. Amid loud laughter they were taken to Mordekhay Chayim-Yosil's freezing coatroom, where a heated-up, naked group gathered around the water container for a short rest. Mordekhay then found a good opportunity to demonstrate his sharp wit.

Our Noachke, after downing several glasses of seltzer, felt great and called out, “Oy, a plague should afflict you, my princes, with your bath!”

Everyone knew that he meant this in a friendly, good-natured way, even those from the “west.” But Moshe Shive always found it necessary to add something special: “Do I feel sorry for you!”

 

[Page 48]

Greetings from Kremenets

Manus Goldenberg

Translation by Theodore Steinberg

The School of Commerce

Our most important landsman in America, Nachman Desser, sent us photos of buildings in Kremenets that were taken in 1964. Each of them brings up memories of the past, but most of all, of the School of Commerce.

Many are the surviving Kremenetsers whose childhood and teen years were spent within the walls of the school and the surrounding park.

In this Voice of Kremenets Emigrants, we recall Mikhael Duvidovitsh Shumski. His name, and that of Yisrael Margolis, is tightly bound up with this school. It was, one could say, their child.

 


The School of Commerce

[Page 49]

25th Anniversary of the Liberation of Kremenets from the German Occupation

At the end of 1969, we received from a Kremenetser who now lives in Odessa an invitation that he received from Kremenets authorities to the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Kremenets. The invitation was sent to all Kremenetsers in Russia. We received this document with great sorrow, because for Kremenets' Jews the liberation came too late, except for about 20 starving and worn-out of our brothers, living skeletons, who emerged from their hiding holes.

Specially invited to this celebration from Moscow was our countryman Tovye Rays, “hero of the Soviet Union” (the highest military decoration for bravery).

[The inscription reads: Twenty-fifth anniversary of the liberation of Kremenets

Dear Comrade,

The Kremenets District Committee Communist Party Ukraine, and the Executive Committees of the District and City Council of Worker's Deputies, invite you to a solemn meeting, dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the liberation of the city and district of Kremenets from German-Fascist invaders.

The solemn meeting will be held on March 19 at 20:00 in the regional culture hall.

Kremenets District Committee Communist Party Ukraine
Executive Committee of the District Council of Workers' Deputies
Executive Committee of the City Council of Workers' Deputies]

 


Half-Jubilee of the liberation of the city of Kremenets from the Nazi occupation

[Page 50]

Miscellaneous

Translation by Theodore Steinberg

The annual memorial service for the martyrs of Kremenets was held this year, as in the past, in Tel Aviv on August 14, 1969, in the hall of the Kibbutzim College in the presence of Kremenetsers and their families.

This year the directors found it necessary to invite new people to the presidium, and the members of the council mixed with the numerous guests.

The chair this time was Pesach Litvak, who is a distinguished activist and an important fixture in the society.

The following members appeared: Yitschak Portnoy from Haifa; Pesach Koler from Petach Tikva, who spoke in Yiddish; and Sonye Valdberg, who spoke in Russian.

Manus Goldenberg's daughter, Lili Feter, read poems by the poet Leye Goldberg and others, the musician Yakov Menze played solemn music on the cello, and the cantor sang “God, Full of Compassion.”

Friends who had passed away were eulogized by Mr. Portnoy.

Great interest was aroused by the appearance of Mrs. Slavin, who arrived not long ago from Soviet Russia. She spoke (in Russian) about the nationalistic and Zionist revival among Soviet youth and how the young people strive to immigrate to Israel. Mrs. Slavin was invited to appear by Mr. Litvak.

 

World Conference of Kremenetsers Is Postponed

The initiative to organize a conference for Kremenetsers around the world originated with the Israeli organization. (See Booklet 4.) The branch in Argentina received the idea enthusiastically and began preparatory work. (See the article by Ch. Katz–Booklet 5.)

Further preparations also began here in this country, and much was accomplished. It appeared that the idea would soon become a reality.

The smaller landsmanshaft in America and Canada also appeared interested in the idea.

But because of unforeseen difficulties and disorders in Argentina (including changes in the value of the Argentine peso), the conference has had to be postponed.

[Page 51]

Inquiries about Our Journal

The Voice of Kremenets Emigrants booklets are read and ordered not only by Kremenetsers. The booklets are sent to numerous libraries and learning institutions in Israel and abroad.

When copies are not sent on time, we get many letters and inquiries. Our publication holds interest for researchers into the time of destruction and researchers on Jewish folklore.

Recently we sent five copies of Booklet 5 to the American embassy (through Bronfman Publishers) at its request.

Particularly interested in our work are our landsmen who live in different countries and cities. Our journal is the only connection to and source of information about Kremenets' past.

They send many letters to the editor, and some of those letters will be published in “Letters to the Editor.”

 

In the Library Known as the RYB”L (Y.B. Levinzon)

The library, which was founded to preserve the memory of the martyrs of Kremenets, was created by our organization at the Kibbutzim College in Tel Aviv, and the circle of its readers are students and teachers who study Enlightenment literature and history.

In order to broaden the circle of readers, we are establishing a catalog of books in the library. The catalog is in alphabetical order by author and has three sections:

  1. Periodicals
  2. Anthologies
  3. Books
The catalog will be assembled by the librarians, under the direction of Y. Rokhel.

 

Books from A.M.S. to appear in Israel

In Booklet 4, pages 21 and 56, we wrote about the forthcoming appearance of 118 books from the Enlightenment by the publisher A.M. S. in New York, initiated by B'nai B'rith and other scholarly influences in America.

Our RYB”L Library, which specializes in Enlightenment books, greeted the idea with interest and even suggested works to be included.

[Page 52]

Several Kremenetsers in America raised a sum of $130, and our friend Henikh Kesler in New York is in touch with the donors.

But because of difficult circumstances, publication of the books in America was delayed, and now the books will actually appear in Israel.

We understandably await publication, and the abovementioned sum will be used for that purpose.

Our friend Yisrael Otiker has received a BA degree in literature and community studies, with honors, from the university in Jerusalem.

He is now working on earning a second degree.

We send our hearty blessings to our friend Otiker and his family, and we wish him many years of successful work in his beloved calling.

 

Zev Shnayder, Literary Researcher

Our friend Velvel Shnayder from Detroit, who has spent years writing, has recently dedicated himself to researching Jewish literature in different languages. He published his research in the monthly journal Zukunft in New York (in Yiddish) as well as in an English weekly in Detroit. In Zukunft he presents a deep analysis of the work of Abraham Sutzkever (a famous Yiddish writer who lives in Israel, editor of The Golden Chain) as well as much other research in Yiddish and English.

Correction!

We beg pardon for the errors in Booklet 5 in the notice “Stipend in the name of Shnayder” in Hebrew and Yiddish. We wrote, “Efraim Shnayder” instead of “Shmuel Shnayder, of blessed memory,” the father of Zev Shnayder, who gave the stipend to memorialize his name.

For this grievous error we beg your pardon.

 

A Book in Memory of Ruchame Rokhel, of Blessed Memory

For the second anniversary of the death of Ruchame Rokhel, of blessed memory, née Shtamper, our friend Yitschak Rokhel's wife, a book has appeared–144 pages, splendidly done, with many pictures from various times in her life. The first section is devoted to the home of the Shtamper family, a family that has a story in the building of Israel in creating the first Jewish settlement in Petach Tikva in 1878. The other sections describe the life and activities of Ruchame, her life and times.

[Page 53]

The book ends with a eulogy by Golda Meir that was delivered at the observance of 30 days after burial and with a poem by the writer Rachel, who was beloved by the deceased.

The book was published in a limited number of copies–because the book is of an intimate family nature.

Those from Kremenets who knew and were befriended by the deceased have received copies of the book

 

New Immigrants from Kremenets

In this issue of Voice of Kremenets Emigrants we have the opportunity to greet several Kremenetsers who have come to live in Israel. Let us hope that with every issue that number will increase.

The Tsveybel Family: Vakman's daughter Margalit, with her husband Duvid Tsveybel and their four children, have already been in Israel for half a year. Both are associated with Yeshiva University in New York, speak fluent Hebrew, and look like native Israelis. We wish them an easy transition and much success.

Shelya Krementshugski: Some months ago, Shelya Krementshugski came to Israel from Leningrad. A long-time member of Youth Guard in Kremenets and having grown up in the Zionist Krementshugski home, she felt from her first moments here like a proper Israeli

Shelya came to Leningrad right after the German attack on Russia.

Shelya served as a nurse in a first-aid station at the front. Over time she was injured and was awarded several military decorations.

In one of her stations at the front, she by chance learned that in the same place, her aunt from Leningrad, who she thought had perished, was serving as a doctor. They worked together until they were demobilized.

When Shelya was taken by Kremenetsers to the Chanukah evening in Tel Aviv, people could see how devoted she was to our old home, Kremenets. She works as a nurse in Jerusalem. Let us wish her much success.

[Page 54]

Landsmen Who Are Guests in Israel

“Landsmen are like relatives”: so declared a well-known Yiddish writer, describing his lamented town of old.

During the past several weeks, a number of relatives have visited. The mutual feelings at our encounters were now, as always, like those with relatives.

Reuven Perlmuter-Avidor. The son of Fishel Perlmuter, advising partner to the mill and iron foundry. He was away from Kremenets for many years. He lived in Egypt until World War II. He was an officer in the English army on behalf of the agency. After that he spent many years in Israel, and now he is in Paris at the Israel Bond Agency. As the legal authority in this agency, he has spent much time in North and South America, where he also met with Kremenetsers. He has visited our library.

Nachman Likht, Washington. The son of the teacher and Torah reader last visited Israel with his wife and daughter, who was studying at Jerusalem University. In a warm and comfortable atmosphere, more than 10 Kremenetsers met with him late into the evening at the Levinson Library, that little bit of Kremenets in Tel Aviv. Shike Golberg recalled interesting and exciting memories of the time when he, Shike, Nachman Likht, and Aleksander Bernshteyn, son of “Shefel Shepsel's” son, with a Polish army division, fought against the Germans until the conquest of Berlin.

Yitschak and Genye Vakman came this time especially to visit their daughter and her family, who live in Israel, and also to make the necessary preparations for their own immigration. We met with them several times. The Vakmans have been here often. Contact with them has always been a pleasure.

This time, like every time, he was sure “to honor the face of the aged” [Lev. 19:32] by visiting the community elders Yankel Shafir and Leyzir Brik, who are confined to their rooms. Both of these elders were greatly moved by the visit and by the attention.

[Page 55]

The Chanukah Evening

About 100 Kremenetsers took part in the prodigious Chanukah evening held in Tel Aviv on December 7, 1969.

The conveners for the evening, our friend Mordekhay Ot-Yakar (Otiker) and the decorator Eliyahu Goldenberg (from the town of Belozirka) attempted to present in Yiddish and Hebrew the past of Kremenets and Kremenets types from Pinkas Kremenets and the Kremenets yizkor book published in Argentina, and from other sources.

Also Mrs. Fingerhut from Petach Tikva brought great pleasure with her performance of Yiddish and Russian songs. There was also a three-person orchestra.

This was a captivating evening. Everyone who attended felt like part of a single Kremenets family and celebrated with singing and dancing well into the night.

Many remarkable and interesting things were shared with the guests by the new arrival in Israel, Shelya Krementshugski, who participated in the evening. The evening was organized by our friend Shmuel Taytelman with the help of volunteers who prepared the delicious refreshments and presented them beautifully.

 

Donations from Abroad

Translation by Theodore Steinberg

We have recently received the following sums from landsmanshafts and individuals from abroad. (There is an earlier list in Booklet 5.)

For the benefit of Voice of Kremenets Emigrants

9/69 Dr. Volf Chasid, Berkeley $30.00
11/69 New York Landsmanshaft, via Duvid Rapaport $31.00
12/69 New York Landsmanshaft, via Duvid Rapaport $ 5.00
11/69 Norman Desser, New York $10.00
11/69 Leye and Dvore Gold, Washington $20.00
11/69 Nachman Likht $10.00
11/69 Argentine Landsmanshaft, via Mordekhay Katz $58.25

 

For Necessities

3/70 Yitschak Vakman, New York $120.00 $58.25

 

For the Levinson Library and General Expenses

9/69 Bella Bernshteyn-Kodlash, Buenos Aires $30.00
9/69 Norman Desser, New York $25.00
11/69 Morris Medler, America $45.00
  TOTAL $384.25

 

In Israeli Lira

3/70 Nachman Likht, on his visit to Israel 100 lirot

A hearty thanks to our friends and donors.

 

Circulation of our Booklets

Israel, members of the Kremenets organization 375
Israel, various institutions, libraries and individuals 75
Argentina, through the Kremenets Union of Landsleit 100
United States, through the Society and direct to friends 75
Canada, through Max Desser 25
Other countries, libraries, and individuals 25
TOTAL 675

 

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