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[Page 266]

(of blessed memory)

Jehuda Riftin, of blessed memory


In his time Jehuda Riftin was a teacher of Bible studies at our school. I remember that he used to ask his students about expressions and sentences that they had learnt, where they could also find them in the prayer book. And the student who got the right answer was praised. This way, he gave his children the desire to pray and it was indeed his intention. Mr. Jehuda Riftin was a religious and observant Jew and requested that his students also followed his way, but as a noble person he did not try to force them, but looked for a pleasant way to influence them.

Mosze Majzels, Tivon


He came to Kutno from Pulawy, near Lublin, although he was born in Bielorussia. He became the private secretary and personal assistant of the famous wealthy Jew from St. Petersburg, Kopelman. As Kopelman was determined to establish a malt house (where barley is transformed into malt for beer) in Kutno, he appointed Jehuda Riftin as his representative and business head; he then became a Kutno resident. The Kutno Jews Timkowski and Turbowicz worked in Kopelman's company as accountants – reliable people.

Jehuda became a good scholar, a fervent Zionist and an intellectual. He became proficient in the Mishna [the six books of Jewish law] and interpretation. For some time, he studied in a yeshiva [religious school] in Volchin [now in Belarus], along with Chaim Nachman Bialik.

About his integrity, there was once the following story in town: as a teacher of Jewish religion in the “Podrzeczna” school, he also managed the kitchen, which survived thanks to the products sent by the American “Joint” [US Jewish charitable organisation]. A former priest was in charge of the foodstuffs, appointed by the Polish authorities. It is said that Jehuda Riftin once took some bag of products, brought it to the kitchen, and realised that in the bag there was... sugar! Jehuda didn't think for long, carried back the goods because the priest had thought it was rice. Not only was the priest astonished, but the staff were too, since in those times sugar was worth its weight in gold! The whole world laughed at this action, seen as ineffectiveness. This prompted Jehuda to resign from managing the kitchen.

A. Mendelewicz

In Memory of Abraham Riftin

by Jakob RIFTIN, Ein Shemer

Translated from the Hebrew by Carole Turkeltaub Borowitz

In memory of my brother, Avraham, who was murdered by the Nazis.

On the snow-clad wilderness, next to black thorns,
Death found you, Avraham.
You wanted your heart to call out a bit more – to beat
And it, your heart, was silent, slumbering.

Your body is all that is left in the endless fields,
A human speck on the snowy horizon.
From up above an eagle spied you.
He flew to the battle field
And defiled your body.

What is the value of your body, one poor white thing,
Compared to the masses of human bodies?
They crushed you, like an ant,
When they stormed, those divisions of iron!
Avraham, they trampled all over you.

Maybe from one burning village to the next,
You called your brother's name,
While your life blood flowed out –
“You forgot my life ! You abandoned my blood.
You threw my body away, to die unlamented!”

Maybe you cursed my name as you writhed dying.
Maybe you murmured a last goodbye.
I will never know
The path you took to the desolate pit.

Crying, I hold your loose clothes.
On the cold path I warm myself in them –
These clothes are all I have left from my brother
And I cradle them in my arms, like the holy Scroll of the Law

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The FALC Family


Alexander FALC

Alexander Falc was a descendant of a family established for many generations in Kutno. He was born in 1889 to his father Samuel and his mother Yocheved née Schlajfer. His parents, like most of the town's Jews, were religious and kept the family's traditional chain going. As was customary with such families, Alexander studied in a Cheder and later in the Beit Midrash of the town, from which he first drew from the cultural sources of our people.

At the end of the last century, echoes of Western European education began to reach our town as well, and the young Sender's parents realized that the time had come for a good Jew to receive a general education in order to survive the war of existence as a person, and especially as a Jew. So, Sender was sent to study secular studies at one of the gymnasiums in the city. But Sender Falc was destined for lofty roles in his life. Sender did not abandon the sources of our Jewish people; he had a strong desire to expand and deepen them. To this end, he acquired for himself the language of his ancestors ––– Hebrew, with the help of which he hoped to penetrate the sources of Judaism. From them, he also drew encouragement and courage to stand at the gate in time of need.

In 1911, he married Dwora née Berkowitz. He was an accountant by profession. But this work did not satisfy his spirit and soul. From a young age, he devoted himself to public activism in all fields. His house was a kind of labor bureau for all who needed it. He took care of bread and work and supported the needy secretly, from his own pocket.

Alexander was one of the founders of the Zionist Organization in his city and influenced relatives near and far to follow in his footsteps and work for the Zionist idea. He helped establish kindergartens, the Am–HaSefer Hebrew school, of which he was chairman for many years, and the Ahad Ha'am library. During the years of the First World War, when the famine in the Polish state spread, he extended his help to children who were in great distress, set up kitchens and took care of their education.

Thanks to his good name, he won a government franchise for the sale of liquor, which a Jew almost inevitably won in Poland in those days. But despite the policy of expropriation pursued by the Polish government against the Jewish population, Alexander Falc was elected, after the establishment of independent Poland, to the Kutno City Council on behalf of the Zionist Organization along with Mandelewicz, Wolf Asz, Dr. Finkelstein and others. He served in this position until the outbreak of the war, in 1939. By virtue of this position, he had influence in many institutions and worked extensively for the community, the synagogue and the Hebrew school in Kutno. He was able to obtain certain allowances for these institutions, but he did not spare money from his own pocket to help the various institutions.

With the Nazi occupation, he was appointed by the German occupiers together with Bernard Holcman and others to the Judenrat. Today we know very well what roles the Nazis assigned to the Judenrat and why they were established. But to the credit of Sender Falc it must be said that he immediately stood up to the plot of the hawkish murderers and vehemently opposed accepting this post.

One day, the Nazis demanded that the Judenrat hand over fifty Jewish girls, but refused to return the Jewish girls who had been given to them earlier. Sender, who was imbued with the love of Israel and the pain of his people, withstood the test that fate had given him. In his boldness and over–firmness, he objected to handing over more Jewish girls, if the girls taken by them were not returned. And with heroic decisiveness, refused to sign the degrading order of the Nazis and would erase their name on the handing over of the required women. Holcman also agreed with him, and he also refused to sign the low German order.

Sender Falc and his friend Holcman were taken to the Jewish cemetery and shot dead by the Nazi murderers in light of their alleged refusal. Thus, they gave their souls for the purity of our people and the holiness of G–d.

May their memory be exemplary for the whole house of Israel for generations to come.

Sender Falc had two sons and a daughter. His daughter Nacha died in 1938 and Shmuel perished in the Holocaust along with the entire Kutno Jewish community. Only his son Abraham immigrated to Israel and lives there, with us.


Yaakov FALC

Yaakov Falc was born in 1892 and married Paula née Berkowitz in 1916. He was a well–to–do and kind–hearted man, active in a charity fund. He was a wealthy merchant and had two sons, Shraga (Felek) and Shmuel (Samek). These two boys were active in youth movements and sports organizations in the city. Shmuel survived the Holocaust and his name in Israel today is Laron.


Yehoshua FALC

Yehoshua Falc was born in 1895, married Rosa née Fuks. He was a wealthy merchant, a partner in a flour mill in Kutno, and a member of the “Guild” in Warsaw. From an early age, he was active in the Zionist movement and was one of its founders and already at this age served as chairman of the community committee in Kutno until 1939, when World War II broke out. During his tenure he made various changes in community life. The burial society, which until those days was a kind of “sovereign kingdom”, independent of any authority and having its own bookkeeping. It was placed under the supervision of the community committee. He was one of the founders of the Jewish Commercial Bank in Kutno.

During the Nazi occupation, all his property was confiscated and he was taken hostage along with all the heads of the community and only after payment of a large sum for the “redemption of the captives”, they were released from the hands of the murderers, beaten, tortured and wounded in all parts of their bodies, until it was difficult to recognize them, for indeed these were the people who were uninjured when they were taken from their homes.

His relatives decided that he should flee to Warsaw with her family but Shia did not find him a place in Warsaw as he was cut off from his city and relatives. Nevertheless, he devoted himself wholeheartedly to the public action that was so necessary in those days and under the conditions in which the Jewish people in the whole of Poland were. He worked at the JDC [1], assisting in the construction of public kitchens for the needy and in any act that might have eased even a little bit the bitterest fate of the masses of Jews under the Nazi boot. When he was offered to flee Poland and save his life, he vehemently rejected the offer because a man like him should not run away, and he said he would not save his life and leave his brother to their bitter fate.

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Indeed, one day the Germans abducted Jews in the streets, and among them his most precious children were abducted. He appealed to the Germans, as a JDC employee, to release his sons. The Germans did not even want to hear his words and threatened that he too might join them. Shia Falc, the father and husband did not hesitate much and immediately joined his wife and children. Only his son Yechiel, who immigrated to Israel in 1935, is alive today in Israel. His son Nachman, who was known as “Pnuel,” [2] fell in the War of Independence during the Battle of Yehudiya.

Translator's footnotes

  1. US Joint Distribution Committee. Return
  2. see on page 315 of this book. Return

The Rabbi Abraham Borenstein


Rabbi Avraham Borenstein (h”yd[1]), a young and energetic student, was received in the year of 5695[2] (?) as a adjudicator in Kutno. Acute, smart and witty — liked in all circles. His honesty, great understanding and pleasant demeanor brought him many friends in all circles of the public and even beyond the Chassidim from whom he grew up and of which he was one.

Descendants of the famous Rabbis — son of the Rabbi of Sochaczew R. Shmuel ztz”l (famous for his book “Shem Mishmuel[3]) and grandson of the Gaon R. Avraham ztz”l (author of “Avnei Nezer[4]), he inherited from them their sharpness of mind and depth of thought, along with the chassidic devotion. He endured with a lot of perseverance and despite his young age he acquired an extensive and deep knowledge of the Torah, and he even managed to 'perfume' himself with the Jewish occult.

Born in Sochaczew in Heshvan 5761 (1910[5]) and educated on his Admor father's lap, from whom he sucked the teachings, he was one of the distinguished students of the Gaon Rabbi Avraham ztz”l Weinberg, one of the rabbis of Warsaw. He married Roisa[6]-Mindel, daughter of Rabbi Yaakov Binem Danciger z”l, son of the Admor R. Shmuel Zvi ztz”l of Alexander (author of “Tiferet-Shmuel”) and as was the custom in those days he was near his father-in-law's table at Alexander[7] for many years. Sank in the Sea of Torah.

Rabbi Yitzchak Yehuda Trunk z”l was his brother-in-law (his wife Mrs. Frumet was the daughter of the Rabbi of Sochaczew) and guided him in his first steps in the rabbinate. After his death (in the year 5699[8]), Rabbi Avraham succeeded him, at only thirty years old. However, the peaceful days that R. Avraham won, which so many promised, unfolded and bore fruit, did not last long. The deluge of blood flooded the land and also swept the Kutno community within them Rabbi Avraham and his family. It is rumored that he was hit by the murderers' hand in Otwocz, near Warsaw, where he had fled with his family in 5702[9]. Together with his wife and two children, they died in Kiddush HaShem, and nothing of them remains. hy”d.

Translator's footnotes

  1. Hebrew abbreviation, “May HaShem avenge his blood” usually applied to those who died as a result of antisemitism. Return
  2. 1934-1935. Return
  3. wrongly mentioned as “Shem Shmuel” in original text. Return
  4. wrongly mentioned as “Avi Nezer” in original text. Return
  5. November-December 1910. Return
  6. wrongly mentioned as “Poisa” in original text. Return
  7. Aleksandrów Łódzki. Return
  8. 1939. Return
  9. 1941-1942. Return

Yekhiel-Shaye TRUNK

(March 15, 1887-July 7, 1961)

by Chaim Lajb FUKS

Born in the village of Osmólsk, near Łowicz[1], Warsaw area, Poland, into a family of Rebbes, rabbis, and landowners. On his father's side — the grandson of the Chassidic Rebbe, Mr. Yitzchak Worker, and of the gaon, Mr. Yehoshele Kutner; on his mother's side — a grandson of Baruch Grzywacz, one of the richest Jews in Poland. In his early years, he moved to Łódź where he studied in cheder with private melamedim and teachers and, through self-education, secular knowledge and languages. He married a granddaughter of Yeshayahu Prywes, the “iron king” of Poland. On many occasions, he traveled through Europe, Asia and Africa. In 1913-1914, he lived in Israel.

Under the influence of his father who, despite being a Chassidic Jew, wrote poetry, knew European languages and literature, and was an admirer of Y. L. Perec — Trunk became a guest at the home of Perec, who influenced him to abandon writing in Hebrew and try to write in Yiddish. “Why don't you write in Yiddish?” Perets asked him. “Shouldn't you, a son-in-law of the Prywes, write in the language of the tailor's children?” (Trunk, Poyln, Vol. 4, p. 289).

During the years of WWI, he lived in Switzerland and then, in 1919-1925, in Łódź where he was involved in a textile company. He then lived in Warsaw. He was the president of the Yiddish PEN Club in Poland in the 1930s. When the Germans occupied Poland in 1939, Trunk moved with the general flow to the East, until mid-1940 in Vilnius where he worked on a YIVO show based on Perec's “A Night in the Old Marketplace”. Then, through Russia and Japan, he came to the United States. Since 1941, he settled in New York.

He began writing in Hebrew with the “Diary of the Revolution in Łódź” (1905), in which he described the Jewish revolutionaries at the barricades fighting against the Tsarist rulers (perhaps had begun at this time his faith in the Bund, to which he belonged organizationally since 1923 and to which he remained a loyal follower until the end of his life), then wrote an autobiographical novel in Hebrew. In 1907, he published (under the name “Teyl”) an essay (in which portrayed allegorically and affectionately Jewish revolutionaries) in the Orthodox “HaKol[2] Warsaw, which was published under the supervision of Trunk's brother-in-law, Mr. Mendele, a brother of the Gerer Rebbe. Y. Y. Trunk published there, aside from a series of essays entitled “Mitoch Pinkasim[3], poetry, short stories, and nature scenes. Since 1908, he switched completely to Yiddish. He wrote landscape descriptions, travelogues, and nature scenes in Perec's publication, “The Yiddish Weekly Writing”: “Amid the Mountains”, Warsaw, 1908; “Gypsies”, in anthology “Yudish”, Warsaw, 1910; and “The Sea”, in “The Book and the Reader”, Warsaw, 1911; etc. Since then, he has published poems, essays on literary philosophical and social topics, descriptions of nature, stories, historical novels, popular stories, novels, scientific critical considerations, and articles in “The Friend”, “The Free Voice, in Geneva (1917), ”Today”, “People's Newspaper”, “Literary Pages”, “Weekly Writing for Literature, “Onward”, “The Globe”, “Warsaw Almanac”, “Warsaw Writings” and “Writings” edited by Sh. Zaromb[4], in Warsaw; “Letter” in Łódź-Warsaw; “Łódź Alarm” in Łódź; “Vilnius Day” and the anthology “Pathways”, in Vilnius; “People's Newspaper” and “Links” in Kovno; “Future”, “Anthologies” edited by H. Leiwik and Y. Opatoshu, “Day”, “Day Morning Journal) and “Our Time” in New York; “Life issues”, “The Golden Chain), “My Home׆, “Davar” and “HaBoker” —in Tel Aviv; “Jewish Newspaper” and “Our Idea” in Buenos Aires; “Existence” and “Our Voice” in Paris; etc.

In book form: “From Nature: Designs and Landscapes”, with illustrations by Artur Szyk, Warsaw, 1914, 110 pages; “Fig trees and other stories” (includes his free translation of the Babylonian epic “Gilgamesh”,

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Warsaw, 1922, 144 pages; “The world — A Dream” (essays) “Dreamer”, “On the Psychology of Jewish History, “On Shalom-Aleichem”, “The Book of Job”, “Death”, “On Knut Hamsun”[5], “Yiddish” —a justification for Yiddishism, and “On Y. L. Perec”, Warsaw, 1922, 116 pages; “Weary”, stories — (“Ruins”, “In the Mountains and “A Tale of Love“), Warsaw, 1923; “Dorian Gray” (treatises on art and reality, with a few words on the subject of “Dorian Gray” by M. Vanvild[6]), Warsaw, 1923, 64 pages and 18 pages; “Idealism and Naturalism in Yiddish Literature”, Warsaw, 1927, 234 pages, with a 28-page portrayal, “Y. Y. Trunk in Profile and Full Face” by M. Vanvild; “Josephus Flavius of Jerusalem and other historical novels” (“The letter to Novatus”, “Symposium”, “Superstitions”, etc.), Warsaw, 1930, 206 pages; “Between Will and Impotence — H. D. Nomberg”[7] (attempts at analysis and characterization), Warsaw, 1930, 185 pages; “Jewish cultural issues and socialism, for our house” (with a preface where Trunk brings out his way of believing in socialism), Warsaw, 1935, 55 pages; “Near and Foreign”, essays, Warsaw, 1936, 177 pages; “Shalom-Aleichem, His Essence and His Work”, with a preface “To the Reader” where Trunk brings out the motifs of his literary trilogy (“Idealism and Naturalism in Yiddish Literature”, “Between Will and Impotence” and “Shalom Aleichem”), Warsaw, 1937, 434 pages and 4 pages; “World Account”, prose and poetry about the world, Warsaw, 1938, 80 pages and 2 pages; “Socialist impressions”, Warsaw, 1939, 45 pages (given as a prize to the Bundist literary magazine “Forward” in Warsaw); “Tevye the Dairyman, Fate and Confidence”, “A Psycho-Philosophical Insight into the World of Tevye With the Background of the Jewish Spirit” (Vilnius, 1939), 208 pages (published later in a new edition with “A Word to the Reader”, New York, 1944, 302 pages); “Leaves in the wind”, poetry, (“Songs of the Old”), New York, 1944, 126 pages. Especially impressive was the publication of his epical work, “Poyln[8], in seven volumes, Our Time Publishing House, New York (chapters of it were published in the Yiddish press throughout the world) — in which he describes “the picture of my life in the frame and in the relation to the image of Jewish life in Poland” (from the preface to volume 1). The order of the seven volumes is: 1) “Genealogy of the Fathers”, New York, 1944, 352 pages; 2) “Childhood Years”, New York, 1946, 318 pages; 3) “Youth”, 1946), 287 pages; 4) “The Prywes”, 1949, 304 pages; 5) “Perec” (it also deals with the environment and the emerging of Yiddish literature in those years in Poland), 1949, 308 pages; 6) “Lodz Between the Two World Wars”, 1951, 244 pages; 7) “Warsaw between the two world wars” (with “some words” by the author about the fact that this work was written “not only ׆in the light of objective truth, but also in the light of subjective poetry”), New York, 1953, 275 pages — for which he received the Louis Lamed Prize (“ 'Poyln' is first and foremost a work created by an artist and his artistic meditative spirit, created over the ten years of the Holocaust in Europe. This is a book that gave a profoundly sensitive writer the opportunity to speak about the deep-rootedness of Jewish Poland and at the same time avoid speaking about being uprooted.” — Shmuel Niger[9]).

A special feature of Trunk's artistic creations was the unique popular novels he wrote in his last years. These are: “Simcha Plachte of Narkawe, or the Jewish Don Quixote” (“based on the wonderful tales of Yankel Lehrer”), received the Zvi Kessel Prize, Buenos Aires, 1951, 375 pages (published initially in installments in “Day Morning Journal” in New York, “Yiddish Newspaper” in Buenos Aires and “Our Voice” in Paris, etc.); “Wise men of Chełm, or Jews from the wisest city in the world” (stories from the Chełm records which were recently found in an attic a mikveh), with a preface by the author and drawings by Y. Shlos (Buenos Aires, 1951), 348 pp. (Y. Shlos's drawings also appeared in a special album under the same title: Chełm Wise Men, Buenos Aires, 1951, 20 pages); “The Happiest Jew in the World, or Hershele's School Year”, a popular novel from the life of Hershele of Ostropol, with “some words” from the author, Buenos Aires, 1953, 378 pages; “The world is full of miracles, or a story of the Gimmel brothers” (popular novel from Yankel Lehrer, also known as Morgensztern, from the city of Łódź), with a introduction essay, “Jewish myth” and a poem, Buenos Aires, 1955, 327 pages; “Messianic-Weather, historical novel from the times of Shabbetai Zvi”, in eight parts an added “ninth part”, a dialogue between a reader and the author, pp. 234-265), which deals with various philosophical problems of Jewish history and Jewish nationality. The novel was published with “Jews looking out from the window”, eleven stories of the Bal Shem, (New York, CYCO publishing house) and (Buenos Aires, Yidbuch, 1961), altogether 357 pages. A preface was also added to the front of the novel, entitled “Personal accounting”, in which the author gives a philosophical-artistic account on his own writing career and his writing path until this novel. At the end of the eleven stories of the Bal Shem Tov, was added a “Glossary of Kabbalah Terminology” used in the book. In 1958 Trunk also published “Springs and trees”, historical novels and essays, a selection of new and freshly adapted historical novellas and essays, New York, 468 pages. Trunk (together with Aaron Zeitlin) also compiled an “Anthology of Yiddish prose in Poland between the two world wars, 1914-1939”, New York, 1946, 637 pages and himself published “Yiddish prose in Poland in the era between the two world wars”, essays on Jewish writers in Poland from the classical writers to the youngest, New York, 1949, 154 pages. He edited (with Noah Prilucki and Israel Rabon) a collection of Jewish writers refugeed in Lithuania: “Byways”, Vilnius, 1940. His work on antisemitism was published, in English translation, in a periodical for psychiatrists, The Psychiatric Quarterly, New York, March 1958. Some of Trunk's works were also published in Commentary and others Yiddish-English magazines in America. Trunk translated Nietsche's “Zarathustra”. His rewriting of Rabbi Nachman Braslaver's “Story of Seven Beggars” was published in Hebrew translation by Aharon Wajsman as “Seven Beggars”, Tel Aviv, 1957, 50 pages. Several letters from Perec to Trunk were published in “Pages from YIVO”, Vilnius, 1937, pages 183-190. In June 1961, he began to publish in “Day-Morning-Journal”, New York, a long novella on the life of the Bal Shem Tov and his tales.

On July 7, 1961, Trunk died of a grave illness at “Mount Sinai Hospital”, in New York.

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The elder writer and thinker knew that he was dying and calmly said goodbye to his friends. His death made a deep impression on all Yiddish writers and readers in countries around the world. The obituaries and articles about the deceased in the newspapers and magazines were incredibly numerous.

“To a large extent, Y. Y. Trunk was not appreciated in our literature. One had first to 'unearth' his writings, then dig deeply into them as they deserve and then, one will see in full the great scope, what Y. Y. Trunk meant and what he was in Yiddish literature (…) Y. Y. Trunk lived his entire conscious life with the fate of the Jewish people and the Yiddish language. The tragic national way of history continuously and repeatedly haunted him. The catastrophe of Polish Jewry — intertwined with a lot of personal suffering — caused him an incurable wound. It was often difficult for him to find the form, to give tongue to his inner pain. He swayed between the grotesque and the folkloric; seeking a haven in irony.” (A. Glanz-Leieles)[10]

“In his seven-volume biographical work 'Poyln' (…) one sees the Polish Jews in all of their colors and with all their virtues and weaknesses. When Trunk fantasizes, when he tells strange stories and exaggerations, you see no less the Polish Jew than when Trunk tells true facts. (…) In exaggeration, in extravagance of colors and sounds, you see Trunk's genuine Polish Jew, with his large scope, his great appetite, his chassidic enthusiasm, his abundance of ideas and imagination.” (B. Szefner)[11]

“The aim to which Trunk aspired in virtually all his works was, as is the case for the great masters: to delve into the mysteries of nature, into the mystery of life and to discover the cosmic link between temporary people and eternal nature. (…) The philosophical idea was for Trunk always moving forward. And the way of his philosophical conception was irrational, metaphysical, even mystical. (…) Through the irrational world, he sought to find the answer to the riddles of the rational world. It so happened that Trunk moved in the world of ideas in two planes simultaneously: in a higher, metaphysical plane, and a lower, realistic plane, in the world of matter.” (Yitzhak Kharlash)[12]

“Y. Y. Trunk's entering of the 'Bund', followed a natural, safe way…. He carried all his life in his memory the images of enthusiastic and stormy demonstrations of the Bundists through the streets of Łódź, which he observed through the window of his spacious home. (…) He joined the Bund in his mature years, with a unique life experience and an independent philosophy of life. Bundism coincided with his entire worldview, with his view of Jewish history, Jewish fate, and life.” (Y. Sz. Hertz)[13]

“Trunk's Bundism did not match his literary spirit. (…) Trunk tried to combine ideas which could by no means be combined. (…) Trunk was philosophically a monist. He often repeated these words, that the truth is one, (…) that there is no such thing as coexistence of two ideas that deny each other. With the power of analysis, Trunk was able to make peace between fire and water.” (Yitzhak Warszawski)[14]

“Y. Y. Trunk had within himself all the qualities, all the attributes of a leading (…) figure in our Yiddish literature. And, the only virtue he was missing, was the ambition to be a leader. (…) Trunk was one of the greatest storytellers in our literature. (…) He was one of the deepest commentators of our classical writers, especially on Shalom Aleichem. He was a student of and, in a certain sense, a successor to Perec and Shalom Aleichem. They were both, in their own unique way, integrated into his abundant writings.” (Melech Rawicz)[15]

Chaim Lajb FUKS
Lexicon of Modern Yiddish Literature,
Volume IV, New York, 1961, p. 116.

Translator's footnotes

  1. probably Osmólsk Górny, near Sanniki, G¹bin and Gostynin. Return
  2. Hebrew, “The Voice”. Return
  3. Hebrew, “From the Notebooks”. Return
  4. Shmuel Zaromb, pen name of Moshe-Zwi Fajncajg (1896-1942). Return
  5. Knut Hamsun (4 August 1859 – 19 February 1952). Norwegian writer, Nobel Prize in Literature 1920. Pro-Nazi. Return
  6. pen name of Moshe Yosef Dickstein (1889-1940s, in Warsaw ghetto). Return
  7. Hersh David Nomberg (14 April 1876 – 21 November 1927). Polish writer, journalist and essayist. Return
  8. “Poland, Memories and Images”. Only partially translated in English. Return
  9. pen name of Samuel Charney, (1883-1955). Yiddish writer, literary critic and historian. Return
  10. Aaron Glanz, aka A. Leieles (March 5, 1889-December 30, 1966), Yiddish poet and writer. Return
  11. Baruch Szefner (September 26, 1896-August 18, 1977), journalist and feuilletonist. Return
  12. Yitzhak Kharlash (July 13, 1892-February 18, 1973). Bundist activist, journalist, Yiddish and Hebrew playwright and lecturer. Return
  13. Yaakov Shalom Hertz, (August 6, 1893-April 18, 1992, New York). Bundist activist, Yiddish writer. Return
  14. Yitzhak Hersz Zynger aka Isaac Bashevis Singer (November 11, 1903-July 24, 1991). Yiddish writer, Nobel Prize in Literature 1978. Return
  15. pen name of Zechariah Choneh Bergner (November 27, 1893-August 23, 1976, Montreal). Yiddish writer and poet. Return


Israel Yehoshua TRUNK

by Chaim Lajb FUKS

Translated from the Yiddish by Carole Turkeltaub Borowitz and David Shirman

Yisrael Yehoshua Trunk: pseudonym - Y.Y. Trunk. Born in Kutno on 22nd of November 1901. Literary critic, teacher and psychologist; son of the rabbi of Kutno.

He studied in the Cheder [infants' school], Bet Hamidrash [religious school] and graduated from the seminary for Jewish religion teachers in Warsaw. During the years 1925-1929 he was a teacher of Hebrew and Bible at the “Am Hasefer” high school in Kutno and also at Mrs. Iberal's* private high school for girls. During the years 1932-1939, he was a Bible and Hebrew teacher at the high school of Icchak Kacnelson in Lodz. He was a member of the Lodz literary association, paid a salary to lecture in the “Jewish Intellectuals' Club” on psychological and educational subjects.

He started writing for the Yiddish literary periodical “Globus” with the dissertation “A psychological study of Szalom Asc's book The Mother” which was included among literary criticism works in the journal “Literary Papers”, and “School Ways” which were published in Warsaw. He was editor of the scientific section of the journal “Ot” (Lodz-Warsaw) and he also wrote for the Lodz paper “Najer Volksblatt”, and in other magazines.

One of his greatest written works was on the psychological method of Sigmund Freud. A part of this was printed in the “Literary Papers” of the 29th of May, 1936, when it was published by the same printer in the book “Alfred Adler, the man and his teaching” Warsaw 1938, pp. 194.

At the beginning of the war he fled to Bialystok and in June 1940 was a teacher at the Jewish secondary school in Grodek, near Bialystok. Following the compulsory order [to take up Soviet citizenship and receive a Soviet passport[which was carried out by the occupying Soviet rule, together with thousands of refugees he was arrested in Bialystok and together with his brother sent to the Comi region of the Soviet Union., in the northeast. There he worked in the forests, suffering distress and starvation. In September 1941 at the time of the amnesty of Polish citizens, he arrived in Syktivkar the capital of the region and was sentenced to hard physical labour. By mistake, he was sent to a punishment camp where he was ill. He was sent back to Syktivkar and at the age of 42 died of hunger on the 29th of April 1943.

His wife, Sarah (nee Goldsztein) from Zgierz and their young son Raphael (7 or 8 years old) died in the accursed ghetto in Poddebice on 14th April 1942.

* Note (1) from D. Sherman - “Iberal” is the most correct spelling in English.

[Page 271]

Yeszayahu TRUNK

by Chaim Lajb FUKS

(There, pp. 128-130)

Born in Kutno, the son of Kutner Rabbi, Mr. Yitzchak Yehuda Trunk. Up to 15 years teaching in classrooms and with private tutors. 1923 Completed the Hebrew-Polish Humanist Gymnasium in Łódź. 1924-1929 studies history at Warsaw University. He graduated with a master's degree and devoted himself to researching the Jewish past in Poland. Been active in the student circles of “Bund”. Teacher of history and Latin at the “TSYSHO”[1] schools, a Jewish middle school in Białystok and Warsaw. Member of the YIVO[2] Historical Circle in Warsaw.

At the beginning of the German occupation of Poland (1939) he fled to Białystok. In 1946, he returned to Poland. Until 1950, he was active in Jewish social life in Warsaw. Board member of the Jewish Historical Institute in Poland. He lived in the State of Israel from 1951 to 1953, where he worked at the Yitzhak Katznelson Kibbutz Lohamei HaGhetaot[3]. He came to Canada in 1953, and was the director of the Peretz School in Calgary. Since 1954 — in New York. Member of the Scientific College of YIVO. Started in “YIVO Pages” (1931) with a review on R. Mahler's and E. Ringelblum's “Selected Sources for the History of Jews in Poland and Eastern Europe (Medieval)” and has since published historical and pedagogical research papers and reviews in: “Ivo-Pages”, Vilnius; “Historical Writings” (vol. 2, 1937, “Study of the History of the Jews in Mazovia in the 15th Century”), “Pages for History” (1934-1937), “Land Survey”, “Literary Pages”, “Weekly Writing”, “School Ways”, “Popular Newspaper”, “Yiddish Writings” “The New Life” (a series of articles about Jews in the 1848 revolution) — all in Warsaw; “The Book of Lublin”, Paris, 1952 (“History of Jews in Lublin from the Earliest Times to the End of the 18th Century”); “Encyclopedia of Diaspora communities”, vol. 5 (Lublin) and vol. 6 (Warsaw), Jerusalem - Tel Aviv, 1957, 1959: “Pages for the Study of the Holocaust and the Rebellion” (vol. 2), and “Yediot” by Beit Lohamei HaGhetaot, “Questions of Life”, “Golden Chain” — State of Israel; “Future”, “Our Time” — New-York; “Kenneder Adler”[4], Montreal, and others. Distinguishes itself with research on the Holocaust era, such as: “Study of the History of Jews in Warteland, in the Age of Destruction”; “Jewish Labor Camps in Warteland” in “Pages for History”, Warsaw, pp. 1 and 2, 1948, 1950; “Western European Jews in Eastern European Ghettos” (“Golden Chain”, Tel Aviv, January-April, 1953); “War Against Jews by Spreading Diseases” (“YIVO Pages”, vol. 37, New York, 1953); “The Problem of Resistance in Our Holocaust Literature,” “Why Did the Nazis Kill Six Million Jews?” and “Problems of the Lesser Ghetto Life”, “Polish-Jewish Relations in the Period of World War II”, in “Future”, May-June, 1953, April, 1955, April, 1960, April 1964 and others. In book form: “A Jewish Community in Poland at the End of the 18th Century”, Warsaw, 1934, 50 pages; “History of Jews in Płock”, vol. 1 (1237-1651), YIVO, Warsaw, 1939, 174 pages; “Textbook of Jewish History” (Systematic Course for Sixth Grade), Warsaw, 1947, 116 pages. “Figures and Events” (Historical Essays), Buenos Aires, 1962, 274 pages; “Lodz Ghetto — A Historical and Sociological Study”, Yad Vashem and YIVO, New York, 1962, 528 pages; “Studies of Jewish History in Poland”, Buenos Aires, 1963, 328 pages. Co-editor of “Pages for History” and “Pages for the Study of the Holocaust and the Rebellion”. He also participated in the collections: “The Book of the Ghetto War”, Tel Aviv, 1950 (on the uprisings in the extermination camps); “Vitebsk Once”, New York, 1956 (“History of Jews in Witebsk”,14th-16th centuries); “History of the Bund”, vol. 1, New York, 1960 (“The Beginnings of the Jewish Labor Movement”); “Книга о русском еврействе”[5] (Russian), New York, 1960 (“On Russian-Jewish Historiography”); In the Yizkor-Pinkasim (Włocławek, Piotrków, Vitebsk, Plock, Sochachew, Lublin and others). Was involved in the joint Holocaust projects of YIVO and Yad Vashem.

Translator's footnotes

  1. TSYSHO, Yiddish acronym for “TSentrale Yidishe SHul-Organizatsye.” Return
  2. acronym of “Yidisher Wisenshaftlecher Institut”, (“Yiddish Scientific Institute”) Return
  3. Hebrew, “Kibbutz Fighters of the Ghettos”, a Kibbutz north of Acre. Return
  4. “Canadian Eagle”, a Yiddish newspaper. Return
  5. Russian, literally: “Book on Russian Jewry”. Return


Israel TRANK
(22nd Nov 1901 – 29th April 1943)

by Israel GOLDKORN

In the mid-1930s, around 1935, the Łódź Jewish literary family was enriched with a new, respected writer – Israel Trank. The name Trank was a pseudonym, a variation of Trunk – the renowned rabbinical-writer family. I first saw Trank at the end of the summer of 1936, at a writers' meeting on the premises of “ORT”, during which the origin of the magazine “Ot”[1] was initiated. The first issue of the magazine was published in December 1936. And the last --- in 1929, a short time before the outbreak of the war. The “Ot” radiated with fairy-colored rays of artistic word and image, the sunset of Yiddish culture, before descending into the “western night”.

At the meeting, Trank was selected by the Ot's editors, along with Moshe Broderzon and Israel Rabon. I had heard of Trank before, as a writer on unique topics, a philosophical-popularizer of the modernist theory Sigmund Freud called psychoanalysis. Incidentally, the “Torah” was supplemented with a whole “Talmud” commentary written by those who, based on the Freudian Bible, were anyway disagreeing about it. Commentator-Talmudists, such as Adler, Young, and others, pondered the subconscious questions – each in its own way, and separate “yeshivot” were formed: adherents of “Beit Adler,” “Beit Yung,” and the like.

[Page 272]

… He was of impressive appearance. A tall, well-built fellow in his early thirties, with a dark brown oval face that made an oriental impression. The look of the beer-brown eyes was in harmony with the good-natured, gentle-ironic expression on his face, and with the hearty smile, which often resonated. He was a teacher by profession. This gave him modest means of subsistence. He joined his profession without difficulty, gaining a position in a Jewish school, as well as in private lessons.

Between Trank, the co-editor of “Letter”, and I were established, so to speak, “business” relations. I was a “Letter” subscriber-advertiser, touring dozens of Polish cities and towns. Gradually, a warm friendship developed between us: appetite came with eating[2]. Naturally, among literati the axis of collegiate conversations should be literature, art; But with Trank, as a literary scholar, the backbone of the conversations formed about his modernist-scientific acceptance, although he also showed proficiency and interest in the spheres of fine literature – in all its forms.

Being between a kind of cabinet-man and a scholar-sage, who continues the learning of his ancestors in his own, modern way – Trank was at the same time very socially active. He has taken part in various cultural activities: the “Friends of YIVO”, “KiŻ” (“Klub Inteligencja Żydowski”), where he also participated in public discussions on various topics. From time to time, he also used to go into cafes and like to take part in the easy-going conversation of a circle of young writers – a conversation that could have been really easy, spicy, but never vulgar. He had a humorous “trance” in his speech, and easily shared a gesture or characteristic expression in anyone – not with any toxicity, gall, but with that kindness that softens the humorous “sting.” We are left with many of his humorous accents. Once, he recounted, in his characteristic diction, the words of his rabbinical relative, who came to Łódź for a short time, and saluting Trank with an “aleichem shalom”, exclaimed: “Israel, I have heard that you are working on psyche?”. Although the popular rabbinic-scholarly expression “psyche” was not Trank's but the relative's, the young scientist became associated with the expression, through his unique interpretation.

Trank has published in “Letter” several essays. Which have attracted the attention of intellectuals, with their psychological analysis, as well as with the clarity and simplicity of their style. It is not uncommon for writing to be clear and concise – and at the same time vague – about complex issues. Many works in the field of science and art are like sharp essences – not to be used; first, the talented “laboratory technician”, the popularizer, dilutes them in clear water “commonsense”, making them acceptable and enjoyable. In this sense, the commentator is a partner in the original genius.

Some time later, Trank stopped collaborating on “Letter”.

Rabon remained the magazine's editor and owner, as Broderzon was the only editorial editor.

In 1938, Trank's book was published in the publishing house “Literary Pages”; a study of “Alfred Adler – The Man and His Teachings”, I believe, was the title of the book of which I have, unfortunately, no copy. For as long as I can remember, this book has received good reviews from competent circles – writers and intellectuals, who have deep knowledge and interest in modern psychology.

My overview of trunks literary and cultural activity, would not be full, if I did not to mention editing a special issue of “Literary Pages”, dedicated to young Łódź. This issue was to feature poems, novels, essays and dramatic miniatures by young Łódź writers, in particular. Incidentally, nothing came out of the whole thing. Nachman Majzil, the editor of the “Literary Pages”, was not in Poland at the time.

* * *

Shortly after the outbreak of war, I came across Trank. This was in the early days, when people could still move on the street, without the risk of being caught at work. The dreadful news stunned and surprised us all, like a thunderclap in a sunny sky – even though the sky had been darkened for several months by the black clouds of toxic demagogic propaganda coming from the West, leaving us stunned by the mound of poison, making no sense. All were shaken, especially Trank.

This did not bother him in his psychological observations. Walking down the street, he told me about sexual orgies of Polish recruits, before heading to the front, describing the drastic scenes with the neatness of a scholar, giving them nevertheless such a reality that they became more convincing than any theory, showing the relationship between “love and death.”

When he left, Trank addressed me with the words, “We will not survive the war.” These words expressed some kind of echo of a clear-sightedness coming from the depth of his mind. He did not survive this war.

After my release, I heard that Trank had been sent to a labor camp in northern Russia. As I was told, his sad ending was this: he worked in a knitting cooperative. One night he fell asleep – he had the job of a guard – falling asleep smoking a cigarette. A fire broke out and the business burned. He appeared in court: ten years in prison for “sabotage”. He was sent from one “department” to another, worse one, but quickly and unexpectedly released from there and sent “home”, to the relative “paradise”, the “labor camp”.

His relatives and brothers in need, welcomed him with joy and wonder at his quick release. But neither the joy nor the wonder lasted long. A short time later, Israel Trank expired. He “returned home” from prison only to die.

Thus perished in the cold northern distances of Soviet Union, one of the most colorful figures in the Łódź Jewish cultural environment, a writer-researcher by scope, a noble man and an outstanding neighbor.

Honor his memory!

“Łódźer Portraits”, “Menorah” Publishing House, Tel Aviv, 1963

Translator's footnotes

  1. Hebrew, “Letter”. Return
  2. Hebrew, from Gemara, “Mitoch shelo lishmah ba lishmah”, i.e., “Good intentions will follow good actions.” Return

[Page 273]


by Prof. Rafael MAHLER,
taken from his book “Historians and Guides”, Yisrael Buch Press 1967.

Translated from the Yiddish by Carole Turkeltaub Borowitz and David Shirman

Lipman Comber was born in Kutno and was the eldest among the members of the group [Note: see ABOVE for starred comment]. A pupil of Prof. Handelsman, he completed his studies for doctor of philosophy at the age of more than 40 years. He was a member of the “Bund party”, and was active in the “Culture League”, the organization for the cultural activities of the party. He was employed as a teacher in the school of the central Jewish school organization, used in the summer vacations as an area rest house for the Warsaw region. He was already involved in the first collection [of literary articles] of the league with an article about the burial society in Kutno at the beginning of the 19th century [NOTE: see ABOVE for starred comment], which was the start of the documentation that he found. His doctoral dissertation was about the Jews in Poland in the area under Prussian rule in the years 1795-1805, two chapters of which the culture league published in two and three volumes. In the Warsaw ghetto he set up and managed a shelter in connection with the “Centos” - the Central Organization for Orphan Care, an asylum for children from the streets. He was deported to Treblinka during the first “action” in the summer of 1942 in especially tragic circumstances: while he was there his daughter was carried away to the “Umschlagplatz” - the special train station in Warsaw used for deporting Jews to the death camps. He ran into the “Centos” to get money to bribe the Jewish police but he himself was caught by them. His daughter had already been taken away.

Ringelblum [the famous Jewish Polish historian] wrote a very warm eulogy, which appears in “Writings from the Ghetto”, volume 2, chapter 9, pages 175-176.

[Page 273]



Translated from the Yiddish by Carole Turkeltaub Borowitz and David Shirman

Bajnisz Zylbersztajn has been known to me for some years, from that time on, when he had sent me a few poems and I had them published. His current book, a novel entitled “A Life Sentence”, was about a new topic which had not yet been written about in our world. At that time, I was familiar with the romance novel titled “Food” but, in my opinion, this is an artistically more mature novel than his previous novels. I am convinced that Bajnisz Zylbersztajn does not stand still in one place but steadily develops and improves.

“A Life Sentence” portrays life in a hospital. The well-known content of the novel is illness, which is a difficult subject to deal with. On every page you can feel the breath of death and its dread, hanging over the heads of all those being tortured, together with the powerful drive to live, and the longing for the home town and the existence of the spiritual world, which is an analysis of physical and mental suffering. The author delves into the soul of the sick person and describes different types: Those who have given up, the angry, the patient, the amazed. A whole gallery of doctors, would-be medics and officials pass before our eyes. In one word: reading this novel gives me the true definition about people, who are damned for ever. Bajnisz Zylbersztajn has successfully captured the character of his hero and has a talent for describing him.

(from the foreword of Bajnisz Zylbersztajn's book “A Life Sentence”, published in Warsaw, 1928, by Bibliotek Mark Rakowski).

Yaakov OSOWSKI and His Family

by Ruth HOLANDER-OSOWSKI, Jerusalem

The late Yaakov Osowski left his hometown — Kutno — on his way to Jerusalem, to study in a yeshiva there, but instead of reaching his destination, he got stuck in Germany and studied political economy from Prof. Werner Zumbert in Berlin. He earned his living as a carpenter in a factory. During his stay in Germany, Yaakow Osowski joined the left-wing organization Spartacus until he was imprisoned in 1918. After a while, my father managed to escape to the Soviet Union, joining the Communist Party there and working as an economist. At that time our financial situation did not improve (Mom and I got there three years after Dad's arrival).

Dad became very involved in the life of the Soviet Communist Party and took an active part in the heated debates that took place in the party at the time. But in an argument in 1929, Dad came out against Stalin's opinion and as a result was forced to leave the party. I have in my possession another pamphlet expressing my father's opinion on the management of the economy and a fatal critical answer against him on behalf of the party.

After leaving the party and the death of Mother z”l in 1929, our material condition greatly improved. He was appointed a lecturer in economics at the Superior School of Economics and we knew no more shortage. At that time, Dad became interested in Jewish problems and devoted himself to the study of Jewish sociology. Then the decision came to his mind that we, his daughters, must leave the Soviet Union and immigrate to Israel. Thanks to the intervention of Prof. Harold Laski, to whom Dad turned for help to allow us to leave the Soviet Union, and after much effort — we finally arrived in Palestine in 1924. (We were three girls aged ten, twelve and sixteen). The authorities did not allow our father to leave Russia, although the certificate was registered in his name, and we, his three daughters, made aliyah in his place. Here in Israel, our grandfather received us and we also lived in his house. For a long time, Father did not stop his efforts to join us and even addressed the President of the Soviet Union of those days, Kalinin, who signed his name on the recommendation — but to no avail. Dad stayed in Russia. We kept in touch with him for four years, until we learned that Dad had passed away.

Until his death, Dad wrote many studies on the world economy,

[Page 274]

including a study on the development of American industry (this article was translated into English and appeared at the time in English journals).

Father z”l had a multifaceted education and his areas of interest were very numerous — worldwide — general and social, as well as in Jewish areas of life. Recognizing the trends of development within the Soviet Union, he made every effort so that his daughters could live within their people lest they be assimilated into a people not theirs and thanks to his understanding I am a resident and citizen of the State of Israel.

Michael Ostrovsky (David Misza) was wounded in World War I and suffered a profound mental shock, but he recovered from his illness




and devoted himself to studying mathematics, physics and mechanics. He authored a book on a special type of tractor and in 1927 was sent for further training to the United States, where he worked in a Ford factory. On his return to the Soviet Union, he served as a lecturer in the military academy, even though the Russian language was familiar to him. He married a woman in Russia and they had a son, who now lives in Moscow, but we have no contact with him.

Uncle Misza also fell victim to trials that took place in Russia in those days and was executed in a trial against Soviet army officers in 1937.

Aunt Lifsza came to Russia in 1932. She worked as a seamstress in a dress factory. It seems that she was not satisfied with work alone and approached the Jewish writers in Moscow. We, the little girls, could not speak to her, because we did not know Polish — and she did not know Russian.

During the years of World War II, she fled to Kazan[1] and a few years later the connection with her was renewed, which we maintain to this day.

Uncle Mosze — Dad's youngest brother. He came to Israel in 1935 and worked in his profession as a baker. According to my impression, he was most engrossed in the signs of the disintegration of the family that had existed since his childhood. In the last years of his life he worked as a porter in the port where he was killed in one of the airstrikes in the War of Independence. He left a wife, son and daughter.

I would not be complete if I did not express my gratitude to all the people of Kutno who assisted Grandpa at the time, in his efforts to bring us to Israel. Our grandfather living in Jerusalem spared no effort to get us — father and daughters — out of the borders of the Soviet Union where our father saw, in the days of his freedom the land in which all his dreams of a more just human society would come true. But as is well known, he was not the only one to be disappointed.

The Kutners who assisted my grandfather are: Dr. Bromberg, the director of Hadassah at the time, his sister and her husband Mr. and Mrs. Turbowicz, Mr. Elberg; we will also remember the good Yosef Wolsztein z”l and Franz Wolsztein, may he live a long life, who encouraged and assisted us in our first steps in the Land of Israel and who opened their home to us wide open — our first home in our new land.

On this occasion, our heartfelt and most sincere thanks are extended to all the families who received us so cordially in their homes. We also extend our gratitude to Mosze, Avraham and Bella Lustigman and the Kolski family for their pleasant and cordial treatment of us. It was pleasant and handsome to meet these people of the city who knew my father and knew how to tell about him and revive his image before our eyes. Congratulations and thanks to everyone!

Translator's footnote

  1. Capital city of Tatarstan, Russia. Return


— The Stage Artist and Writer

by Henech SZLAJFER, Paris

She came from the well-known Lipski family in Kutno. Her father and grandfather were of lovely pedigree, pious and preserving traditional traditions. The old Lipski, the devout Chassid, even believed that this would last forever. His daughters, however, began to look at the world differently.

The eldest left her husband, came to Paris, settled in Montparnasse bohème neighborhood and completely broke with her parents' ways. The second was attracted to the dance-art. She dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer. Her third daughter, Tea (or by her nickname — Totshe), wanted to become an actress. Ever since she was a child, she had been attracted to the stage. As a child, she dreamed of her roles, posing in front of a mirror. And so, dreamy and stubborn, she approached artistic perfection.



When Y. L. Peretz discovered her, he saw in her the soul of the rising Jewish theater. She did not return to the shtetl anymore, even left it far behind — but did not seek to forget the old home, did not want to tear herself away from her past.

I do not know by what means the Muses arrived at the strictly orthodox home of the Lipskis, the merchant of glassware on the broad street in Kutno, or at the other humble homes of the Trunks, Aszs, Glicksmans, Erdbergs, and others — where they appeared unexpectedly. One thing is certain, however: all of our esteemed members of the city have been inspired by the great spirit of the well-known Rabbi Shie'le Kutner.

She clung to Jewish history, to the ancient Jewish traditions and customs, symbols and wonders, thus showing all this authentic Jewish, deep beauty. She considered herself as a branch of the five-hundred-year-old Kutner-Jewish tribe. And she was one of its prodigal [page 275] children. She spoke Yiddish with Kutner's taste, as our Shalom Asz spoke, as our fathers and mothers spoke and as the surviving Kutners still speak today. She loved meeting and chatting with her peers, feeling at home in the Kutner family. It was good for us to know that we had such a good friend here --- and she really wanted us to keep her as our own.

The Jewish Kutno will no longer rise from its catastrophe, such beauties as Tea Arciszewska will no longer grow up with us. Later generations will take over part of the great spiritual heritage, from the accumulated treasures — and of course meet Arciszewska's immortal work “Miryaml[1], with which she got inscribed in golden letters in Yiddish literature.

Kutner Jews are proud of their spiritual personalities and we will bow our heads in awe at the glorious memory of Tea Arciszewska.

Translator's footnote

  1. "Little Miryam", a dramatic cycle in fifteen scenes. Return


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