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[Page 474]

Kutner Compatriots in the United States

(according to a press report)

Several years ago, the main activity of the Kutner compatriots' society [landsmanshaft] in New-York was concentrated around the preparation towards publishing our Yizkor book – the memorial book to perpetuate the echoes of the Jewish community in our country. The publication of such Yizkor books was, in the land of America, directly the result of the joint work of earlier Jewish immigrants and newly-arrived Kutners, after World War II. All undertook the holy work with enthusiasm and tenacity, causing the renewed activity of our society in New York.


Memorial meeting of the former Kutno residents in New York. On the right – a view of the attendance
The organizers (from left to right): Bibergal, Gajer, Trunk, Z. Zumer, R' Lubart and G. Fogel (speaking)


On the 22nd anniversary of the Kutno martyrdom, for the first time in America, a funeral ceremony was held in honour of the Kutner Jews who died, assassinated by the Nazis murderers. The ceremony was impressive and with traditional dignity. On the 9th of May, the compatriots met again, this time in a festive meeting commemorating the 19th anniversary of the liberation from Hitlerism and the 16th Independence Day of the State of Israel. After the speakers talked about the two topics, the question of the Yizkor book was tackled. And then occurred a truly moving scene. Among the attendance was a compatriot who had left Kutno after the end of the previous century, Hajman Elbaum of New York. Our friend Elbaum was greatly touched by the work of the Kutner former residents in the big American city and declared his unending support for the publication of our Yizkor book, to which he contributed 200 dollars and promised to give more. He took that opportunity to relate interesting details from the old Kutno times and on his part in the relief action for the city, which had greatly suffered from a fire in the year 1906.

In New York up to this day a Kutner committee was active was active, head of which were: the historian and writer Jeszayahu Trunk, Rabbi Lubart and the journalist Gerszon Fogel. All efforts have been made so that those born in America, with their specific conditions and limited opportunities for social work, to continue the “Kutner spirit” so as to keep contacts between compatriots in New York and maintain solidarity, cooperation and assistance to the former residents in the State of Israel and other countries.


Invitation to the memorial meeting from the Yizkor Book Committee

[Page 482]

The Homeland Society in Canada

(from the press)

The concept of homeland society, as it is understood in America, was foreign in the old home, which the Hitler assassins had cruelly destroyed. Homeland societies are an American creation. Their main purpose was to help their brothers in the old home. To a certain extent, they were the bridge between the immigrants in America and the countrymen on the other side of the ocean. They were the stations for new immigrants, who were received with homely warmth and at the same time taken care of by their society.


Kutner fellows in Montreal – Canada

(Sitting from right): B. Balzamowicz, I. Mamlak, M. Erdberg-Szatan, M. Ch. Szatan, H. Celemenski
(Standing from right): M. Szer, A. Manczyk, I. Golberg, P. Manczyk-Goldberg, M. Krasny, L. Kofer-Krasny, L. Sznurbach and Lewitan

[Page 482]

The precepts and obligations incurred in rescuing all previous statesmen were, unfortunately, overruled by the resurrected Kutner-Wloclawek Homeland Society in Canada. With this homeland society, its founders, the Sh'erit HaPleta[1] and a number of individuals, local long-time residents of the mentioned cities, intended to create a wider family circle, which should in a sense represent the lost families and relatives and mitigate the cruel loneliness. It has set itself a mission to preserve the memory of the lost lives of our own and loved ones, with whom we have been bound by irreplaceable family ties.

Throughout the years, from the beginning of the fifties, from the founding of the homeland society to the present day, the Ner-Tamid, which mentions the next martyrs, is maintained with the utmost care.

The large number of photographs brought by some rescued Nazi victims, which represent the Holocaust and the suffering of the Jews, do not help to bring to mind the great tragedy. The streets, the houses and the different places, reminiscent of the spirited and colorful cut-out life, evoke nostalgia, which often turns into pain because of the disappointed hopes.


At the recently held memorial service of the Kutner-Włocławek homeland society, came L. Sznurbach and M. Krzanskowski, both rescued from the Nazi hell. And although it is not the first time that they recount their dark experiences, they did, at the aforementioned mourning meeting, portray unspoken Nazi atrocities, which broke their spirits to the deepest depths.

The burning six memorial candles commemorate the path of hell that the six million saints have traveled. Before their eyes, appeared the faces and figures of those closest to them, who were squeezed together in a large crowd, driven to burning pillars of fire. The blazing fires engulf them and huge ash mountains grow. From here the mountains bear tormented voices, voices from just-born infants to the elderly.

Regarding the Holocaust with all its dark accompaniments, which is difficult to understand with human understanding, P. Wolkowicz explains that this could only come at a time when the world is in a state of responding to this kind of person in general.

M. Hertz, who recently visited Poland and wanted to visit ancestral graves at Lipno cemetery, where his father fell victim, said that not only he found no sign of living Judaism in his former hometown of Lipno, but not even a reminder of a Judaism that should be the remembrance of a Jewish death.

M. Szatan, who spoke about the hometown of Szolem Asz, struck the right note at the opening of the mourning session.

Ms. Trepman took part in the artistic part by playing ghetto motifs on the piano. The poetess M. Shatan read from her works – two poems, dedicated to the victims from the cities of Kutno and Wloclawek. Y. Gonszer read Melech Rawicz's moving poem “My Mother”.

Translator's footnote

  1. organization of survivors of the Holocaust. Return


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