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[Page 79]

Library and School

by Avraham Ahron Sztern – Bogata, Colombia

Translation by Pamela Russ

[ ] translator's comments

 

 

The Silken [Cultured] Youth and the Simple [Uncultured] Youth

Our town was one of the most progressive towns in the Lublin gubernia [province].

Hershel Abales, Yankel Wajnreb, Moshe Ahron Leib Mekheles, were the Maskilim [enlightened ones] and the first subscribers of the Hebrew newspaper “Hatezefira” [“The Siren”]. But Yankel Wajnreb and Hershel Abales were the only ones who maintained the affirmative trait of not removing themselves from the Beis Medrash [Study Hall], read secular books as well, although in Hebrew, but did not stray past the four amos [steps, measurements] of Jewish law. They really behaved, as they say, for man and for God. They sat at the Lublin table and studied the Torah lessons with great enthusiasm. During the hours when there were few people in the Beis Medrash, that means during the lunch hours, they would read the Hatzefira newspaper at that same table, and sometimes even a Hebrew book. These young men were called “silken youth” [“cultured”]. Moshe Ahron Leib Mekheles sat and studied the tractate [in the Talmud] of “Avoda Zara” [“Foreign Worship,” laws of idolatry and interactions between Jews and non–Jews] at the Gerer table [for Gerer chassidim]. It was already just before ten o'clock in the evening and the gabbai [sexton] Mordekhai Mekhel had already turned off the gaslight over the podium, and looked at the tables to see from which tables the students at the Beis Medrash were leaving to go home – so that he could turn off the lamps. Moshe Ahron held a book over the Gemara [Talmud] and looked deeply inside

 

Leah'le Sztern, the wife of Avraham Ahron, Bogata, Colombia

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the book, so did not see Mordekhai Mekhel approaching. When he lifted his eyes from the book and saw who was standing near him, he wanted to throw the book off the Gemara and hide it, but Mordekhai Mekhel was already holding the book in his hands and began screaming: “Apikores! [Heretic!] Christian! Complete evil person! You bring total treif [non–kosher] into the Beis Medrash? And on top of the Gemara, no less?”

Hersh Gershons was also there and immediately the book was sentenced to be burned and thrown into the oven right away. It was a book of Peretz Smolenskin, titled “Ha–toeh be–darkhe ha–Hayyim” [“The Wanderer in the Paths of Life”], and Moshe Ahron was crowned with the title “the city heretic.”

This was in the winter of 1904, the first winter that I was in the Beis Medrash [as a student]. The year 1905 arrived. Strikes erupted in Warsaw, and many youths from our town, boys and girls who worked in Warsaw, were forced to return to Kurow because they had no work. Yosel Waczasz's son came back, as did Hersh “Polkownik” [“colonel”]. Yosel was already a well–known worker. He brought along with him some Yiddish literature. He brought Peretz's Yom–Tov pages and some of Sholom Aleichem's monologues. At night, when the people already left the Beis Medrash to go home for supper, he entered the Beis Medrash with full pockets and moved into a corner so that no one should see what he was reading. Ahron, my Uncle Yidel's, was also already reading books, and he gave me a book to read, titled “A World of Small Worlds.” At Nokhum Strasburg's, they were also already reading a newspaper. The newspaper was called “Der Weg” [“The Way”]. Nokhum Strasburg brought the book “Alt Neu–Land” [“The Old New–Land”] by Dr.

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From right to left:Khaim Teikhman (Israel), Avraham Ahron Sztern (Bogata, Colombia), Mekhel Tenenboim – perished, Shloime Likht (Israel), Hersh Loberboim (Argentina)

 

Theodore Hertzl, and lent it to my friend Moshele Henokh's. We read this together.

The family Strasburg. There were two brothers – Dovid Hersh and Nokhum Strasburg. Also, Moshe Strasburg, their cousin. Dovid Hersh Strasburg was the magistrate of the city. He was also a petition writer. Seeing that some boys and girls had the desire to read, and that reading would help with their earning livelihood, he acquired from some passing–by book seller all kinds of story books, such as “The Beggar Grefin,””The Iron Woman,” and some writings from Warsaw's SMR [Nachum Meir Schaikewitz] and Blutstajn, and then lent them out for reading for one gilden per month. At Nokhum Strasburg's, there was already more interest in books. Already in the winter of 1906, my friend Moshe Henokh's told me that Khaya Ester Strasburg was reading a book which, when people heard the readings from it, they would cry. I absolutely wanted to read the “good” book, but how could I, a Beis Medrash student, go to Nokhum Mote's, if sitting there near the machines were boys and girls and they were singing songs. But the desire to read the book won. Since sometimes in the mornings after prayers I went to Khaya Dina to buy a cake, and when I was going to Khaya Dina I passed the home of Nokhum, I gathered my courage and when I approached Nokhum's house, tightly grabbed hold of the doorknob, opened the door, and entered the house. Out of fear, I did not even say good morning to anyone. Nokhum soon came over to me, invited me to sit down, and asked what I wanted. The others began to whisper and laugh:

“What does this religious fanatic want, the clown [derogatory term for chassid]?” But by that time, I came to myself and said, if Moshe Henokh

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Melamed's had a book here titled “The Black Young Man,” then I wanted to borrow it from them.

And now, Khaya Ester stands up from her machine, and with her father's consent, she gave me the book “The Black Young Man” by Yakov Dinenson. A group of us friends read this book, and I and Yermiye Fridmakher, Moshe Litvak, Elye, Avrohom Mordekhai Mekhel, became even more interested in such a book. I had even already been to Moshe Strasburg's, because we as friends thought that since Moshe is a Zionist he probably was reading books as well, and I actually set myself up in a late night hour and quietly sneaked in to his house with a discrete good evening. Moshe Sholom's soon came to me and asked:

“What do you want, you Beis Medrash student?”

 

If It Is Appropriate for Dr. Hertzl…

I tell him openly, that I have come to him – perhaps he has some Yiddish or Hebrew books for me to read. Moshe asks me if I am interested in Zionism, and I don't know how to reply. So he says the following to me:

“If it is fine for Dr. Hertzl and Max Nordau to be Zionists, then it is fine for you as well. It has to be right for every Jew!”

He lends me a book of songs by Eliakum Zunser [Elikum Tzunzer] and tells me that we have to sing the “Die Sokhe” [“The Plough”], immigrate to Israel, and become farmers, land workers.

We did not have any interest in learning this, and we only looked around and thought about where to find Yiddish books. We, several Beis Medrash students, decided to establish a library. These Beis Medrash students were:

[Page 83]

I, the author of these lines, Yermiye Fridmakher, Moshe Litvak, Hershel Yoine's, Elye, Gershon Weide, and Yeshaye Leyb Khanesman. And where do you get money? We had an idea. Since every day during the winter each of us receives a kopek for a cookie, then we should take a small chest, lock it up, and throw the key away into the Slizhi box (at the river). Every second coin that we receive every day should be put into that box. At the same time, every Thursday, two of our Beis Medrash students should go around with a hanky as if collecting for a respectable poor Jew, and then put this money away into the chest.

 

Actors and Disguised Ones

This was in the year 1907. We collected money all winter, and on Purim, we, four friends, disguised ourselves as Germans, received Purim monies, and added this to the monies that we had collected for the library. On chol hamoed Pesach [the interim days of the Passover holiday], we opened the chest and counted the money. There was a total of 22 ruble. So we bought and read all the Yiddish daily newspapers. I subscribed to “Der Freint” [“The Friend”], Gershon Weide subscribed to “Der Moment” [“The Moment”] (ed. Note – “Der Moment” was not yet published in 1907, but only in the year 1910. It is definitely referring to a different newspaper.) We exchanged newspapers. That's how we became knowledgeable in everything that was happening in Jewish life and at the same time in world politics.

Seeing the announcement that there was a publishing house “Hashakhar” [“The Star”] in Warsaw on Nowolipki 7, and a publishing house B. Gitlin on Nalewka 2, my friend Yermiye Fridmakher wrote two letters to the two publishing houses to send us catalogues (to be sent to my address), because we wanted to establish a library.

One Shabbath evening, when all of us friends were standing at the post office on Lublin road, and were waiting impatiently for a reply [from the publishing houses], Moshe Khanisman came out of the post office. He was the postman at the time, and he handed me a package containing catalogues and brochures from both publishing houses. On Sunday, midday, we assembled in the women's section of the Beis Medrash and we began to select which books to get. We could not place an adequate order because there was not enough money. With a small total of 22 ruble we could barely purchase some monologues and stories, but no books that we wanted, such as Mendele's works, Peretz's works, and books by Russian writers – this was impossible with the monies we had. We realized that with this money it would be impossible to do anything, so we decided to approach the older Maskilim [“Enlightened” people] from the city, and ask them for help. But they could not help us. They simply did not have the means.

[Page 84]

Moshe Strasburg – perished

 

Moshe Strasburg approached us with a plan:

 

Instead of a Library, Two Plans with the Colonial Bank

Since we could not create a library with these monies, we should give him 20 ruble and he would buy two plans from the Jewish Israel Bank, and just as a library was created with Mendel Frim in Pilew, he would go to Pilew with one of us, and under his responsibility, they would give us books to read in Kurow. That's how it went. We bought two plans, and I and Moshe Sholom's left to Pilew.

When we entered the library of Mendel Frim, a student approached me and began asking me what sort of literature I wanted, and how many readers there were. He gave me ten book to take back to Kurow, and every two weeks, another one of us went back to exchange the books. Two new female readers joined our small group of readers, they were Khaya Sima Bubes and Khaya Ester Strasburg.

In the year 1908, Moshe Najmark came to Kurow for military conscription. All the years he worked in Warsaw as a spat [gaiters, boots] maker, a social democrat, and he brought along many books. A large part of his books were socialist, about class struggle, but he also brought books by Sholom Aleichem and other Jewish writers. Moshe Najmark left to serve with the Russians and the books remained in our home. He did not allow the books to stay with his bride, Brokhe Etty, because her parents were fanatically religious and her brother Moshe Mendel would certainly have burned them. They were assured safety in our attic. In the year 1909, we left Kurow for Warsaw, and the books that Moshe Najmark had left with us were hidden away by his bride Brokhe Etty at the home of Moshe Strasburg. I and Hersh Dan Elenboigen, in Warsaw, collected money and books from the boys and girls of our home town, from those who were working in Warsaw.

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Every Friday night, when the youth appeared on the corner of Genshe and Dzhike with sacks of books to sell as bargains; or when the publication company Lidski, would announce a sale of all kinds of books, then I and Hersh Dan Elenboigen, and other friends, would buy the books right away and immediately send them off to our friends in Kurow. By this time there was already a large number of books in our town.

 

Finally Our Own Library

Moshe Najmark returned from military service and married his bride and took the books back to his home. Together with Gershon Weide, Yeshiye Leib Khanisman, Devoirele Tajtelboim, Yermiye Fridmakher, Khaya Sima Bubes, Khantche Strasburg, Moshe Strasburg, Nokhum Strasburg, Hersh Nirenburg, and the heretic Moshe Ahron Lorberboim – undertook intensively to collecting money in order to buy books. It was Khannuka of the year 1913. We lived in Warsaw on Karmelitzka 5, in a snowy area, there was a knock at our door. I was asleep in the kitchen. Along with the frost, Moshe Najmark rushes in and with a joyous cry says:

“Avraham Ahron, I brought 300 ruble with me! We finally have the opportunity to set up a library!”

A little later we went to Nowolipki 7 and organized our library, and some things we bought at Gitlin's on Nalewki 2, and with mazel [good fortune], our Kurow now had a library. But the library was not legalized because the Tzarist government did not want to legalize any Jewish library.

In August 1914, World War One broke out

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and Moshe Najmark was mobilized in the army to Kharkow, and his wife went with him. On chol hamoed Sukkos [the interim days of the holiday], I arrived in Kurow, because on isru chag Sukkos [the day after the Sukkos holiday] I was conscripted to go to Pilew. They took me on as a solider. When they were taking the party recruits to the train station on the Pilew highway, it was at night, totally dark there where you turned into the station, and I remained behind. The party went to the train station, and I went directly to Kurow. In Kurow, Moshe Mendel gave me the key to Moshe Najmark's house, and I slept there almost the entire winter. I was hiding away from going to join the Russian army. The library remained dormant and a few books were left with the readers.

I went to join the Russian military on isru chag of Pesach [day after the Passover holiday] 1915. When I returned to Warsaw at the end of the summer, Kurow was taken over by Austria. Warsaw was taken over by the Germans, may their names be blotted out. Very soon, hunger was felt in Warsaw, and we decided to leave to Kurow. Moshe Najmark was already in Kurow with his wife and child. The entire holiday of Sukos, we, the youth, gathered in the house of Nokhum Strasburg.

On Shemini Atzeres of Sukos [day before Simkhas Torah] 1915, the society “Hatkhiya” [Zionist Youth Organization] was founded and the library opened in the home of Nokhum Strasburg. Books were distributed and exchanged three times a week: Sunday evening, Tuesday evening, and Thursday evening. The librarian was Hershel Nirenberg. Exchanging and distributing books, and registering new readers – was Khaya Sima Bubes, Ester Rokhelsman, and Khantche Strasburg.

 

From left to right: Khaya Sima Bubes – perished, Raizel Tzerderboim – perished, Silke Morgensztern – (New York), Yehudis Aszpis – perished, Ester Rokhelsman – (Israel), unknown

[Page 87]

The society “Hatkhiya” was a Zionist organization. After two months of its existence, it was decided that a school for boys and girls should be established. There was no official school at the time in Kurow, other than the traditional kheders [religious elementary schools] – such as Borukh Zisele's, Getzele the melamed [teacher], Simkha Pesakh's – either all in one room or in an alcove along with a broom and a slop pail, and sometimes with a few chickens which planted themselves under [the students'] feet and they tossed them crumbs.

 

A School: One Pole and Three Hebrew Teachers

On Khannuka, a meeting was called in the house of Nokhum Strasburg, and it was decided to establish a school for boys and girls. A group by the name of “Friends of the School” was created and a little bit of money was collected. And where does one find a teacher? The main subjects had to be Hebrew and Polish. So, for Polish, very quickly a Polish teacher was found. And where do you find a Hebrew teacher? G–d sent us three Hebrew teachers at once: Bristman, Hokhman, and Beigelman.

These were intelligent Jewish young men whom the war had left homeless. They, along with other Jews from Pinsk, helped us organize the school. We rented a large house by Khaim Rozen, and actually these above–mentioned three young men were the first teachers in the school. A Purim evening was held in order to collect money and so that the school could open right after Pesakh. It was a very successful evening.

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The meeting was chaired by Moshe Najmark and I recited “Monish” [poem] by Y. L. Peretz and I, Khaya Sima, Sheindele Strasburg, Yermiye Fridmakher, and Khantche Strasburg performed “Mit Strum” [“With Power”] by Sholem Asch. To close, there was a French mailing [?] with a prize for the person who would get the most letters. The prize was a book by Sholem Asch. The winner was Raizel Tzederboim.

On khol hamoed Pesach [interim days of Passover holiday], we began to register children in the school and it opened right after Pesach with more than a hundred children. The tuition was divided into categories:

The wealthier – five crowns a month; middle – three crowns, and poor – completely gratis.

It seemed that there were hardly any wealthy people. There were a few but they didn't want to send their children to this school where they would be learning together with boys and girls. And really, was it appropriate for rich children to go to school and sit alongside the poor? Of the middle class, there was about 25%, and the rest, were all poor and had no money to pay and also did not have money for notebooks and textbooks.

 

A Women's Society

Khaya Esther Strasburg had a plan: She gathered many young women and older girls and created a Women's Society in order to collect money to help the poor children with writing materials, and then everything became fine. But there was always missing

 

The Women's Society in Kurow
Standing from right to left: Perl Strasburg, Rivka Goldszleger, Laya Federbusz, Shaindel Tenenboim, Faige Rokhel Ritzer
Second row: Ester Rokhelsman, Laya Hopenheim, Khaya Ester Strasburg, Khaya Elke Sztern, Soroh Weide
Third row: Mindel Strasburg, Soroh Nudelman
Of these still living: Laya'le Sztern (Federbusz) Colombia; Ester Rokhenszwalb (Rokhelsman), Israel; Soroh Weide, Los Angeles; Mindel Strasburg, Brooklyn; Soroh Nudelman, Montreal; Faige Rokhel Ritzer, Buenos Aires

[Page 89]

money for paying the teachers. Well, there had to be money for paying the Polish teacher, he was the first to receive the loan, but for the Hebrew teacher there was always missing at least half. This remained so until we created a well–organized drama circle, and every two months we held a performance, and this helped us sustain the school.

Summer of 1916, we decided to create a non–partisan society, which all the youth in the city would be able to join: workers, merchants, and regular working children. With the initiative of our comrade Hershel Nirenberg, we went to Warsaw, to the Warsaw “Hazamir” [“The Nightingale”], and requested a copy of their statutes, which we received right away. We gathered in the school and Yermiyhe copied over the statutes for the regional commandant, and the signators for the request to Pilew were:

Nikhum Strasburg, Moshe Ahron Leyb Mekhale's, Moshe Strasburg, Khaim Shmuel Lustman, Shiye Strasburg, Hershel Nirenberg, Yermiyhe Fridmakher, Moshe Najmark, Gershon Weide, and me.

 

General Von Kook Greets Us…

We had to have ten signatures. A few days before Sukos we were summoned to the office of the constable. Dom Engelsman and the Gendarme Heineman asked us what we want to set up, if it in any way was something political. We explained the goal of the society, to raise the state of the morale of the Kurow youth. Four weeks later, a telegram arrived from the General Governor with these words:

“We welcome the establishment of the Culture Society of Kurow,” signed General Von Kook.

We summoned a large gathering in the school, and began to canvass members. Everyone who wanted to become a member of the Culture Society submitted a written request that he wants to become a member

[Page 90]

and required a recommendation from two people who were already members, such that the person who submitted the request – is appropriate in morals to be a member in the Culture Society. The requests were reviewed at the earliest meeting of the temporary administration. Within about four weeks, the society numbered over 200 members. We rented a location on the “hoifulitza” (Court Street). On tu b'shevat [15th of the month of Shevat], the opening of the “ Kultur ” [“Culture”] took place.

In a crowded hall, the teacher Britzman spoke a few words, and with successful greetings he explained that the Culture Society was open to anyone who wanted to become a member. There was singing all night and discussion, and before the crowd left, they informed everyone that on Purim there would be a General Meeting and a permanent administration would be elected. On Purim all the members came to vote. As chairman to conduct the meeting Yankel Hersh Nisenboim was elected (later he became the husband of Bela Shapira of Lublin). The elections were already a little too intense, because the majority of Zionists wanted the administration to be purely Zionist, but there were all types of groups, also non–Zionist. They also wanted to be represented in the administration. Hersh Dan Elenboigen was the representative of the Bundist group. Yakov Hersh Nisenboim represented the Poalei Tziyon, and Shiye Leib Khanisman the non–partisan. The elections took place late at night. They were so preoccupied with the heated debates that they forgot to go home and partake of the Purim seuda [festive meal].

The Zionists won. The first legal administration was comprised of the following people:

President – Khaim Shmuel Lustman; vice president– Shiye Strasburg; treasurer – Gershon Weide; financier – Nokhum Strasburg; librarian – Moshe Khanisman; assistants – Ester Rokhelsman, Khaya Sima Bubes, and Mindel Strasburg; revisions committee – Moshe Najmark, Moshe

 

 
Fishel Brutman, Israel   Copy of a certification of the “Kultur

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The first row in front, from right to left: Moshe Avrohom Kenig, Khantche Strasburg (now Kenig); Khaya Sima Bubes (daughter of Hershel Bubes – perished); Strasburg Shiye (son of Dovid Hersh – perished); Ester Rokhelsman (now Rokhenschwalb, in Israel); Raizel Tzederboim (Shaul Levinson's grandchild, perished)
Second row, from right to left: Mekhel Brutman (killed in Israel); Yermiye Fridmakher (in Los Angeles); Khaim Shmuel Lustman (medic, died before the war); Nokhum Strasburg (died before the war); Hersh Nirenberg, Meyer Eteles, died before the war; Hersh Dan Elenboigen (son of Leizer the carpenter) perished
Third row, right to left: Yankel Rokhelsman (Leibish Lozer's son, perished); Avrohom Ahron Sztern (Bogata Colombia); Naftoli Zaltzberg (Motel Kanner's son, New York); Itche Strasburg (Dovid Hersh's, perished); Gershon Weide (Sholom Wolf's, Los Angeles); Moshe Khanisman (Rio de Janiero); Shiye Leib Khanisman, perished

[Page 91]

Ahron Lorberboim, and Yermiyhe Fridmakher as secretary. I and the teacher Britzman were elected to establish a literary circle.

The library was brought into the Culture Society, and feverish work began. Every Shabbath at three in the afternoon, almost all of the members gathered in the “Kultur.” Nokhum Strasburg studied a chapter in Tanakh [Torah, Prophets, Writings], Britzman gave a lecture about the Jewish prophets, and to close, I would read something from Sholom Aleichem or Peretz, or another Yiddish writer. We would bring the writer Shlomo Shajnberg from Pilew, and he would lecture on various themes. The poet Leib Malakh from Radom visited us, as did Y.M. Weissenberg from Zelekhow, Yakir Warsawski from Warsaw. Membership was half a crown per month, but this did not cover all the expenses because the school was always in debt. We approached the regional commandant in Pilew and requested a permit for a flower sale in the whole Pilew region. We

[Page 92]

received the permit and our couples went happily into the towns of the Pilew circle, not leaving out one single town. They returned even happier with bags of money. These flowers gave us the means to cover several months' expenses.

Our literary evenings and theatrical performances would attract the youth from the neighboring towns – such as Pilew, Konskowola, and of course from Markusow. When the notices were posted in the towns, that on such and such a night there would be a literary evening in Kurow, or a theater performance, if it was not a Shabbath evening, but a regular weeknight, when one is permitted to ride in a wagon, we were already certain that the financial success would be assured.

At the end of 1917, the war front left Pinsk and went deeper into Russia, and our teachers asked to be let free from school. We went to Warsaw to the school board and they sent us a teacher named Yakov Tagfoigel, a very

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Avromtche Zimmerman, his wife Shaindele – with their Froebel–school during the last years before the war

 

good pedagogue and simply a nice man. From Lublin cam Avromtche Tzimerman as a Polish teacher, and the group of non–Zionists specifically wanted everyone to study Yiddish as well, and my friend Yermiyhe became the Yiddish teacher in the school.

In our town, the youth in Markusow and Wonwolyc was envious, and I had to go with some of those youths to Warsaw to buy

 

From right to left: Standing: 1) Unknown, 2) Naftoli Zaltzburg
Seated: 1) Yankel Loberboim, Bogata; 2) Khaim Loberboim, his brother, perished

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a library and to give them some literary readings.

Our literary circle grew. Under the direction of Shloime Shajnberg, we performed “The Intellectual” by Peretz Hirshbein, “The Family” by H. D. Nomberg. Other than the fact that we had a wonderful success, we actually had the opportunity now to support the school with its 375 children of which hardy even one third paid any tuition fee.

In the year 1917, the worker groups became leftist and many members of the Culture Society also became leftist in their leanings. There began disputes in their Society. In a race for the leadership seat, Yosel Lerman and his friends of the Poalei Tzyon tried to overtake the institution forcefully. At the Annual General Meeting of January 1918, there was already in the administration Hersh Dan Elenboigen of the Bundist group and Yankel Ritzer of the Poalei Tzyon. Reb Nokhum Strasburg withdrew from the “Kultur” and dedicated all his work to the school. In March 1918, our friend Hershel Nirenburg became sick with typhus. He was one of the founders and active assistants of our Society work, and after being sick for ten days, he died. All the children and teachers of the school attended the funeral. As we were returning from the funeral, a Polish demonstration with transports came towards us:

“Down with the guilty ones [?], and liberate Pilsudski!”

Soon the Austrian gendarmerie rushed in and shooting broke out. We hardly managed to escape with the children into the school.

In the summer of 1918 we extended our library

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Avrohom Ahron Sztern, at a banquet in Israel in 1952. He is reciting “Monish” from Peretz

 

We already had more than 1500 books. On November 11, 1918, the Austrians left and Poland became independent. We presented our Cultural Society work. We established a public university and every Friday night there were lectures in the school about all types of literary themes.

It was one Friday night when we were all in the school, and Shlomo Shajnberg was giving a lecture about literature in general, and Yiddish literature specifically. The hall was full, as usual. Suddenly, we heard a bang on the doors, and a shout is heard:

“All the Jews out! [Polish?]…!”

We went out of the school and they placed us in rows of four. The frost was biting. And we were standing with our hands up. Gemblewycz and his other thugs, with their guns aimed at us, screamed:

“Jewish Bolsheviks!”

They searched for weapons. When they finished searching for weapons and found nothing, they wanted to enter the school and search further, but Avromtche Tzimerman positioned himself at the door of the school and said he will not allow them entry. They can throw away their guns away [shoot] at the school.

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He wanted them to call the bailiff with the magistrate and only with their permission would they [the thugs] be allowed to search. They beat up Avrohom Tzimerman very badly, but he won. Of course, they found nothing. But we could no longer work freely as we did with the Austrians. The owner demanded back the location of the “Kultur,” and we rented a room by Mekhel Brutman.

We had hardly moved in and were lending out books to our readers, when an order came from the administrator to terminate our work until we would receive a new permit. Thanks to Yeshaye Leib Khanisman, with great efforts he received the certification.

In 1920, the war between Poland and Russia was igniting, and all those capable of military service from our town, and I as well, went to the army. In the first months of 1921 there was peace, and we came home. The school no longer existed. I married and left to settle in Warsaw, then to Colombia.

Our Kurow was destroyed! Everything was lost! Everything that was created out of need and with self–sacrifice!

 

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