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Figures and Types

 

[Page 182]

Rav Avrehme'le Brieftreger (postman)

by Yehuda Leib Zucker

Translated by Avi Borenstein

Ostrowiec was one of the few cities that had a Jewish postman. He was Rav Avrehme'le Brieftreger, who inherited the job from his father, Rav Yossel Brieftreger.

Rav Avraham Steinhart–no one called him by his true last name–spent his day, from morning to evening, bringing letters to Jewish households from their relatives from all over. It wasn't rare for the letter receiver, who didn't know how to read, to request to have the letter read to them and to answer it, because he wrote in a clear handwriting which he was known for throught the entire city.

Rav Avraham worked hard to make a living. He didn't get a salary, but he made money from the receivers of the letters: one penny for a postcard and two pennies for a letter. Many didn't have a penny to give, and the receivers would push off payment to the future; it was clear that it was an illusion that would never come to terms. And so, he took care of his large family and continued with his taxing job, lived in a dark suffocating basement apartment living in hunger and needy conditions As a G–d fearing man who accepted his situation with love, as if it were determined by the one above and who was he to question the will of G–d.

Once he rebelled and tried to better his situation; he left his city and moved to Brazil. But because he could not find a kosher restaurant to help him refrain from non–kosher food, he returned to Ostrowiec and his difficult economic status, just so he could continue his traditional life, as he had done in his youth.

He felt that the journey of his oldest daughter to the United States was a personal tragedy and did not accept her until his last days: “a Jewish girl who reaches a certain age must marry, and her parents are required to escort her to the chuppah. But to travel to a land of Shabbat violators–that is not the custom of Bnei Yisrael.”

It was hard for him to accept to the money that his daughter sent that she had saved from her job, in order to lessen his family's distress.

His biggest dream was to live in Israel. After he counseled the Ger (Gur) Rabbi, as he was one of his disciples, he joined “Avodat Yisrael,” donated his last few pennies, and hoped to make Aliyah and live on its land. But he did not achieve that goal; in the year 1924, a heart attack cut short the life of the last of the Mohicans, the last Jewish postman in Poland. He was only 51 years old.


 

[Page 184]

R' Leibush Pesach and Chaya Fuchs

by Shprintza Matel Blumenfeld, Tel Aviv

Donated by Tania Kac

They were born in Ozarow in the 1880s and lived there till the end of World War I. When the town's Jews were deported, they moved to Ostrovtse (Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski) as refugees with their seven children. In 1918, they suffered a great loss when their two sons, Avraham and Moshe, fell as soldiers in the Polish army in the war against the Bolsheviks.

Leibush Pesach was a God-fearing Jew, who was careful about every Mitzvah small or big. At 3 am, he ran through the empty streets to the bath and to the synagogue. His life was devoted to learning Torah and to prayer. His livelihood came from trade in lime/plaster. He passed away at age 70 at the time of the Jewish deportation from the Ostrovtse ghetto by the Nazi troops.

His modest wife, Chaya, was known as God-fearing, a peace-maker and as a social activist. She adopted two orphan girls, daughters of a sister from Ozarow: Esther and Sara Klaus. She died at age 67, in her beloved Ostrovtse, and she merited to be buried with a proper Jewish burial. Her funeral escorts wished each other that they should also merit to be buried in proper Jewish burial as Jews, and not have their bones spread to all directions by the dreadful Nazi murderers.

Their eldest son, Yaakov, and his wife Sheindel, were known as people who followed in their parents footsteps. Yaakov was a shoemaker, but holy learning was his main pleasure. Out of his six children only one son survived by a true miracle, Avraham Chaim, who lives now in Brazil. On Shabbat night, at the time they were sitting at the Shabbat table, Kapo Wishlitzki showed up at their door. Kapo Wishlitzki was notoriously cruel among the town's Jewish residents, and he extracted Avraham Chaim from the house, despite pleas and begging from the family.

Fate chose him to be the last surviving member of this large family, despite all his great suffering. The eldest son Moshe, who went to Russia in 1941, returned to his town and family after a year, and he perished together with all the other family members.

Yosef was the second son in this glorious family, and he had 4 children: Shimon, Rachel, Shmuel and Chaim. When his wife Chana and his small children were sent to their deaths, Yosef and his eldest son Shimon made their way towards their wife/mother and they were murdered together with them. May their souls be bound up in the bond of everlasting life.

From this broad family remains the following survivors:

  1. Shprintza Matel Blumenfeld (nee Fuchs), Israel
  2. Aaron Fuchs, Brazil
  3. Yitzchok Fuchs, Brazil.

 

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