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[Page 151]

At Home and in the Area


A Few Memories

Yoel Schwam (Charap), Tel Aviv

Translated by Ornit Barkai

Four decades have passed since the day I left Jezierna. Quite some time!

In the meantime, the shtetl was destroyed by the Nazi enemy along with many other similar towns, and I was left only with memories of the good old days.

I remember well our life in this small town, especially the group of youths I was a part of. After World War I, new winds swept through the youth in our town, but we did not let them affect our Limudei Kodesh [Judaic studies]. These lessons took place at Rabbi Shloime'le's Bet Midrash [House of Study].

There we learned. Thanks to a bunch of young men who got together each day and studied Gemara [rabbinic commentaries]. Together with me studied Moshe Bik, Naftali Zeidman, Shimon Scheinhous and Abraham Danzer. Leading us was Itche Paket, David's son, who had just returned from his yeshiva [school for religious studies], where he had received his Rabbinic ordination. He taught us “not in order to receive a reward”. His teaching contributed greatly to the enrichment of our knowlege.

I also remember very well our studies with the shochet [ritual butcher] Hersch Leib Stokheimer, of blessed memory. A few youths, we used to go to his home in the evenings to learn; we were given a very friendly reception in his home. His wife Ruchama, a modest woman, was happy that her husband was performing the mitzvah [good deed] of teaching Torah to young Jewish boys.

All the while, we did not neglect other activities; we were all members of the Zionist movement. The only youth organization was the “Hit'achadut”, the pioneer movement. My group leader was Motl (Mordechai) Bik; he would direct the conversations toward pioneering education. It was also very interesting when members from the secretariat would come to talk to us. Sometimes Berl Stock (now known as Professor Dov Sadan) would come to talk about national liberation.

We actually, then and there, started doing physical labor tasks in preparation for implementing our pioneering aspirations.

[Page 152]

Peretz Melamed

by M.D.

Translated by Dorothy Wolfthal

Transcribed by Zeneth Eidel

His name was Peretz Schwartz, a learned Jew, a Talmudist. He had a phenomenal memory and was a ‘melamed’, a teacher of Gemora.[Rabbinic commentary]

He taught several generations, among whom many delved deeply into the realm of Torah. Students treated him with respect; it was an honor for them to be in the presence of such a scholar. If someone forgot a father's or mother's yahrzeit–day [memorial date of death], they would ask Peretz – he remembered everything – a living calendar. And if someone got sick (caught an ‘evil eye’), to whom would he turn, if not to Peretz, for an 'exorcising'. One could also come to him if they needed good advice.

But a melamed could not live only on tuition fees – he needed additional ways to eke out a living. In those days there was nothing like social security, no pension, no health insurance and so forth. Truly, the old age of such a melamed, if he was unable to work, was bitter. Oh, how well we understand [the prayer] “Do not forsake us in our old age …”


These are the names of his grandchildren and great–grandchildren who live in Israel: Pesach, Michael and Samuel Altman; Devorah, Reisel and David Landsman; his son–in–law is a lieutenant colonel in the Israeli army.


List of names and birth years of students from the Feiering family – 1879–1898


Blessings for the New Year 1922

[Page 154]

In The Surrounding Villages

by Yisrael Schapira, Ashkelon

Translated by Dorothy Wolfthal

Transcribed by Zeneth Eidel

Within a circle of a few kilometers surrounding Jezierna lay the little villages and hamlets whose inhabitants were peasants – Ukranian/Ruthenian and Poles. And in this sea of goyim [gentiles] there were also a small number of Jews who had been there for generations, who lived their Jewish lives, though not unaware of worldly matters.

To the west of Jezierna were the villages of Polowce–Wielka and Polowce–Biala, Glinna and Krasne. These villages were about a kilometer apart, and within these settlements lived about forty Jewish families. The center was Polowce–Wielka where there was always a minyan [quorum for prayers] in Reb Schmelka Weissman's house, may his memory be blessed. It was he who led the prayers and read the Torah on the Sabbath and on holidays. This was the gathering place for people of the neighboring area. Also, at Jaeger's in little Polowce, minyans would come together.

The Jewish National Movement was not overlooked in the villages. The young people were active and would gather from time to time. And there would be discussions concerning problems in the Zionist Movement. The Keren Kayemet l'Yisrael committee was active under the leadership of Jakob Katz from the village of Krasne. The fund–collection job was widespread; in every household one could find a J.N.F. pushke [collection box].

The meetings would take place in members' homes, and when the weather permitted – in summer – also in nearby woods, in nature's bosom. This would usually happen on the Sabbath and on holidays. The surrounding meadows were adorned with colorful grasses and blossoms. At holiday times many of the young people would come home from the cities where they were studying or working, bringing fresh life into the community.

The neighboring gentiles treated us with respect; they knew that it was a holiday time for the Jews. They were busy with their work in the fields and they would look upon us and greet us like good neighbors.

[Page 155]

Jezierners In Various Armies

Compiled by Lipa Fischer, Yizhak Charap, Azriel Zamora

Translated by Dorothy Wolfthal

Transcribed by Zeneth Eidel

Jezierna was, throughout the years and periods, under the rule of various governments; and since some wandered away to other lands – it followed that Jezierna Jews served in various armies and participated in the wars of these countries. We are not able to list all of those who served in those armies or who fell in battle. We will limit ourselves to a partial listing.

In the mobilization of 1914 many Jezierna Jews were called up. I remember Corporal Gerschon Kurzrok with the gingi–kop [redhead], a gun over his shoulder. Also Aaron Blasser and others.


Listed among the fallen in the first World War are:

1. Buni Eidel, fallen as a hero; 2. Josef Fuchs, Elka's son; 3. Fuchs, Hencie's son; 4. Hirschhorn, Rivka's son; 5. Lotosky; 6. Mosche Bomze, Pinchus–the–shochet's grandson; 7. Blasser; 8. Bien, Moshe Bien's son; Pinchas Schapiro from Polowice.

Also Jews, even those who had been prisoners of war, enlisted in an army after the war. A few who had been in Italy joined the Polish army, even under General Haller (Schuli–Scholem Fuchs was a sergeant in Haller's army). A Jew as a ‘Hallerchik’? This is shocking! The ‘Hallerchiks’ had authority to beat up Jews and cut off their beards.

Among the prisoners in Russia, I remember Leib Bleich and Ruben Willner – they lived through the revolution there.

Some who served in the Polish army: Yitzchak Charap, Godel Fuchs, Velvel Rosenfeld, Yisrael Hoch, Abraham Danzer, Aaron Charap, Motl Spindel, Mosche Scharer, Wolke Laufer.

Those in the Polish army who fought the Germans were: Hersch Spindel, Dovid Fuchs (fought in Warsaw), Wolf Laufer, and others.

At the outbreak of the Soviet–German war many Jews were conscripted into the Russian army and fought the Nazis: 1. Muni Steiger, Chaim's son; 2. Mosche Byk; 3. Chune Fuchs; 4. Mosche Wieseltier; 5. Muni Zamojre; 6. David Feiering; 7. Simcha Katz; 8. David Kurzrok; 9. Muni Blasser; 10. Yisroel Hoch; 11. Ejmek Falk; 12. Manek Margulies; 13. Muni Steiger, Yekil's son; 14. Yakov Kurzrock, Mosches son; 15. Schmuel Bien; 16. Yakov Broize; 17. Schmuel (Schmulik) Fuchs; 18. Mosche Kellman; 19. Hersch Rosen; 20. Dr. Heiman (medic); 21. Yisrael Schapira, Bina Fuchs' son–in–law; 22. Yehosche Gelbtoch; 23. Avraham Charap; 24. Feiwel Pollak.

Some died, some enlisted in the Polish army.

Those who fought in the [Jewish] Brigade: Itamar Caspi (Zilberman), Yakov Kritz, Beno Steiger.

Those who fought the Nazis in the American army: Joseph Fuchs (in Japan), Chunke Fuchs (Normandy); Arnold Lachman–Feiering (on the European front), and others.

[Page 155]

WW1 soldiers in Jezierna, 1916

[Page 156]

Bertchi Heliczer

[Page 157]

1914–1918 [Yakov Charap]


In the Polish Army: 1. Yizchak Charap [center], 2. Leibusch Gottfried [right], 3. Izio Katz [left]

[Page 158]

M. Katz, Polish army
M. Katz, guard at the Dead Sea Works
Yizchak Charap, civil guard


Beno Steiger 1946 – Israel –service in the Jewish Brigade

[Page 159]

Bunio Eidel – fell in WW1, while serving in the Austrian army

[Page 160]

In the Struggle Against the Nazis

by David Kurzrok, Toronto, Canada

Translated by Dorothy Wolfthal

Transcribed by Zeneth Eidel

By the month of June, 1941, the Soviets mobilized the Jews and Ukrainians of Jezierna into the army; I too was among them. And when the German–Soviet war broke out, June, 22, 1941, I was already a Soviet soldier. We were formed into units in Tarnopol; I was assigned to a tank unit and sent to the front.

Hitler's army attacked fiercely, from air and from land, and there was great confusion. Many Ukranians ran back home to Jezierna. I stayed, but the Russians took the few who remained, loaded us into small railroad cars and sent us to Siberia. There we were formed into labor squads.

The work was very hard. After a while I got a more responsible assignment and later they transferred me into the army, to the front. I was assigned to the Third Ukrainian Front.

My first battle was at Orsha, White Russia, and then further, in the direction of Lithuania. Severe battles took place there. I was a ‘rozvyetchik’ [combat intelligence]. Thirty–five of us went ahead to discover the strength of the enemy. In German territory we were discovered and shot at – thirty–two died and three of us escaped. We managed to make our way back to our unit. I was wounded and spent time in the hospital. Then I received a commendation.

In 1945 I demobilized myself and traveled to Jezierna. I longed to see my family. But I found no one there; they had all been done away with by the Nazi murderers.

My father Szymeon and my mother Reisel were pious, industrious people who helped the poor and the sick. The older brother, Avraham–Chaim, the sisters, Leah and Chana, the youngest brother, Henik – I did not find them. All were murdered. I cannot forget them.

With a broken heart I left Jezierna and went out into the world.


David Kurzrok

[Page 161]

Russian notification of award for D. Kurzrok – a partial translation:

To: Kurzrok, Shimon, son of Abraham
From: Colonel Dikurov
Date: 07 December …?
Message: Kurzrok David, son of Shimon is awarded a Medal of Valor, third degree

[Page 162]

State of Israel

Ministry of Defense, Department of Rehabilitation

The Unit for Commemoration of the Soldier

24 April 1969, 6 Iyyar 5729 Number: 22/7/1289

Mr. Menahem Duhl
44a HaGalil St.

Dear Sir,

Re: Edward Gruber z'l, 16872

In reply to your letter of 14 April 1969 we hereby inform you that our list shows an IDF fatality by the name of Edward Gruber z”l.

Below are his personal details:

Parents' names: David and Helena
Date of Birth: 8 June 1925
Date of Aliya: Immigrated from Cyprus on 4 February 1948
Fell in battle near Manara, 23 October 1948.
Buried in the Haifa military cemetery.
We believe this is the deceased soldier that you referred to.


Eliezer Leoni
Assistant to the Department Manager

Edward Gruber z”l

by Menahem Duhl

Translated by Dorothy Wolfthal

Transcribed by Zeneth Eidel

On the Jezierna estate almost all the skilled tradespeople were Jews, among them were Bitterfeld and Falk.

Bitterfeld had a son, David; Falk had two daughters, one was called Helena. David (he named himself Gruber) and Helena grew up together, and married. They had a son, Edward. This was in 1925.

Years passed. David owned a pharmacy. Edward was a student at the gymnasia (high school) until 1939. The war broke out. David died before the war and Helena was killed in the Shoah. Edward was homeless; wherever he spent the day, he did not stay the night; he wandered through woods and fields, and survived. In 1948 he left Europe and emigrated to Israel.

Edward fell in the War of Independence. In the cemetery in Haifa, among the headstones of other freedom fighters, one can find the grave of Edward Gruber.



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