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[Page 343]

Dr. Aleksander Steinhardt

by Dr. Binyamin Weintraub


Dr. Aleksander Steinhardt


Dr. Aleksander Steinhardt was born in 1884 in the city of Chocim in Ukraine. He was educated in cheder, as was the custom among parents who maintained tradition. At the age of 13, he crossed the Austro-Hungarian border illegally and arrived in Tarnopol, with the aim of continuing his studies and attaining high education.

He studied at the gymnasium in Tarnopol and earned his livelihood by giving private classes in the Hebrew language, with which he was fluent.

In 1903 or 1904, after taking the matriculation examinations in Tarnopol, he traveled to Vienna, studied at the faculty of medicine, and received the degree of doctor in 1910.

Starting from 1905, Dr. Steinhardt, who was called by the first name Sacha [Sasza in Polish – ed.], participated in organizational Zionist activities. He was an enthusiastic member of the Zionist movement, and remained faithful to his aspirations and Zionist feelings until the day of his death in 1947.

Dr. Steinhardt settled in the city of Przemysl at the end of the First World War in 1918. He was a physician not only by profession, but also out of a sense of mission and a desire to help anyone in need, especially the Jewish poor of the city of Przemysl. In 1919, with the help of the Jewish communal council, he established an ambulatorium (clinic) for free medical advice. Its address was on Dworskiego Street, 36.

Dozens of ill people, of the poor of the city who did not have a livelihood, would visit it daily to seek medical assistance.

This ambulatorium for medical advice, into which Dr. Steinhardt dedicated all of his energies, existed for approximately two years, until the founding of the Jewish hospital, which also started its operations thanks to the initiative and efforts of Dr. Steinhardt, who made the chairman of the Jewish communal council in the city enthusiastic about this enterprise.

We should note that Dr. Steinhardt succeeded in enlisting most of the Jewish physicians in Przemysl to his work, both in the ambulatorium for medical consultation and in his plans for the establishment of a Jewish hospital. They joined together in their medical efforts for the poor of the city.

With the opening of the hospital in 1924, the community appointed Dr. Steinhardt as its director. He served in this role until the outbreak of the Second World War.

Dr. Steinhardt dedicated all of his time and energy to the development of the Jewish hospital and to the healing of the poorest of the people. He tended to the many ill people who visited him in his home, without expecting a reward. He barely had any time to rest from his intensive work, for various people connected to the running of hospital visited him throughout the day. He often had to offer advice about supporting the institution. His labors were a faithful expression of his feelings of membership to the nation on whose behalf he toiled and for whose health he devoted the best of his energies and efforts.

I was in constant contact with Dr. Steinhardt with respect to my Zionist work. I found support for my efforts from him. He joined me in “Greater Zionism”, the Jabotinsky movement, and was a member of it until the day of his death. His thoughts and aspirations were directed toward aliya to Israel and building its future and the future of his children in the Land. Despite his great efforts in his profession as a physician, Dr. Steinhardt did not abandon his connection with Jewish culture. I often found him in his home sitting and studying from a Gemara, and I often saw him together with Chaim Klagsbald, sitting in the library, looking into a Gemara, and debating.

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In February, 1933, Dr. Steinhardt and his wife joined our tour of the Land of Israel. Dr. Steinhardt looked enthusiastically upon every village, settlement, city, upon every plant, upon the children of the land. In his excitement, he turned to me breathlessly and said, “Benno – I sense the footsteps of the Messiah.”

To my sorrow, for various reasons, Dr. Steinhardt did not succeed in making aliya to the Land of Israel prior to the outbreak of the war.

The war years were full of hell and tribulations for him. They were years of fear and worry for the wellbeing of his wife and children. During those years, he hid in a village near Sambor, where he worked in physical labor on an agricultural farm. The first tragedy that afflicted him was the death of his wife. She was hiding in Lvov, and as she ventured out to join her husband near Sambor, she was captured during the journey and murdered by the Nazis.

At the end of the cruel war, he prepared to make aliya to the land with his children. He had in his hands an aliya permit, but his health had been badly damaged by the war, and his heart ceased beating before he was able to make aliya.

The son and daughter of Dr. Steinhardt live in Israel. His son Alfred is well-known in the Land as a movie producer.

Wilhelm Haspel

by Y. A.


Wilhelm Haspel


He was born in 1892. He was active in the national movement from his early youth, at first in the ranks of Hashomer, and later as a secretary to the local Zionist organization in Drohobycz, where he served as a senior official in the Galicia petroleum company. He settled in Przemysl in 1919, where he founded the Artasia technical-commercial enterprise. Immediately after he moved to Przemysl, he became prominent as the most dedicated and diligent Zionist activist in the city. He was active in all branches of Zionist work, an activist and successful canvasser for Keren HaYesod, and a patron for the pioneering youth until the outbreak of the Second World War. He was a member of the local leadership of the general Zionists and of the national council in Lvov. He also devoted his energy and organizational talent to Jewish educational and cultural institutions. Haspel was numbered among the members of the directorship of the Hebrew gymnasium and the professional school for girls. His place as an activist was also not lacking in the Jewish economic organizations: Hitachdut Hasochrim (Merchants' Union), and Moetzet Habank Shel Hasocharim Vetassayanim (The Council of the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Bank).

After the victory of the nationalist block in the elections to the city council in 1930, Wilhelm Haspel was elected as the second Jewish member of the city leadership (in addition to the vice mayor Dr. Reichmann). Until the Holocaust, he served in the role of “lawnik” in the second cadence as the only Jew in the city council. In this role, he fought strongly against any attack against the Jews, and fought valiantly against the anti-Semitic gangs in the city that organized boycotts of Jewish businesses and posted guards outside Jewish stores.

Haspel was the head of the Zionist faction in the communal council from 1936, when it was led by the Zionists. We should especially note his effective activities in the elimination of begging in the city by setting up constructive orders and assistance for support. He was among the first who introduced a Zionist atmosphere into the Bnai Brith movement, which was far from Zionism.

He fled to Lvov in1939. Miraculously, he was saved from the Holocaust along with his two daughters. His wife was murdered by the Nazis.

He lives today in the United States.

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Engineer Tzvi (Herman) Mendel Jawetz


Ing. Herman Jawetz


Tzvi Jawetz was born in 1878 in Haluszczynce in the region of Tarnopol. He was a descendent of Rabbi Yaakov ben Tzvi. He studied in the gymnasium in Tarnopol and graduated as a mechanical engineer in the Polytechnion of Lvov. While he was still as student of the gymnasium, he organized Zionist groups among the studying youth, despite the danger that he might be expelled from the school. He continued his Zionist activities when he studied at the Polytechnion. After he concluded his studies, he was accepted as an engineer in the railway company, at first in Lvov, and later in Przemysl. He reached the position of senior (advisory) engineer.

A Jew who was in the public service had to have strength of heart in order to publicly express his Zionist outlook and to participate in Zionist activity in the city. Jawetz bore the Zionist flag with pride. When he moved to Przemysl, he immediately attained a position in the Zionist movement of the city. In 1918, he was a member of the Volksrat from the Zionsts for a period of time, and he headed the local committee of the general Zionists. Jawetz was one of the initiators and founders of the Hebrew gymnasium, as well as one of the founders of the Hagibor Jewish sports association.

He had the character of a dedicated Zionist activist. He did not pursue honor, he had a pure character, and was prepared for sacrifice in his struggle for the ideal. All classes of the Jewish and Polish population related to him with honor.

He died in 1942 in the Przemysl Ghetto, broken and crushed among his imprisoned nation.

Chaim Elias

by Yosef the son of Eliezer


Chaim Elias


Chaim Elias was the living spirit in the midst of the Socialist Zionist movement in Przemysl during the interwar period. Thanks to his dedicated and faithful work, Jewish cultural institutions arose in the city, Zionist funds and other Zionists institutions were founded, with every faction competing with its fellow. In general the Zionist Workers' movement had the upper hand in this competition thanks to the energy of Chaim Elias and his assistants. Important central activities were given over to him. To him, Zionist and communal activities were as necessary as air to breathe.

For almost all of the years until 1939, Chaim Elias served as the chairman of the Hitachdut Zionist party, and after its union, of the Poale Zionist United Organization. Throughout a long period, he was the delegate of the party to the city council, the chairman of the Jewish National Fund committee, an active member in the leadership of the Keren Hayesod in the city and of the assistance organization for the pioneers, a member of the Gemilut Chesed (charitable) fund, and other roles.

Chaim Elias had one aspiration in life, which as to be a delegate to the World Zionist Congress. He succeeded in achieving this aspiration and in participating as a delegate from the Hitachdut Poale Zion to the 19th Zionist Congress.

The community saw Elias not only as a veteran party man, but primarily as a man of conscience, justice and uprightness. He earned the trust of all the factions.

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The power of Chaim Elias was able to give a great deal to the Jewish community of Przemysl and to its Zionist movement.

In 1939, he was arrested by the Soviet authorities of the city as a threat to the proletariat revolution, and was exiled to Siberia. There, in the tundra of the “World of Tomorrow” one of the finest of the Zionist-Socialist activists of the Jewish community of Przemysl died.

Mordechai Hacke


Mordechai Hacke


He was born in Debica in 1875. He settled in Przemysl in 1897, and was among the manufacturers of the city.

During the First World War, he, along with his wife, organized assistance for the Jewish prisoners of war from Russian who were imprisoned by the Austrian Army. In 1918, he assisted Dr. Tzvi Luft in organizing the Jewish militia in the suburb of Zasanie. He worked a great deal in arranging the aliya of pioneers from Russia who were detained in Przemysl in 1919.

He was a member of the Jewish communal council of Przemysl, and served as its vice chairman. He was also a member of the city council. He assisted in the support of the Jewish hospital of the city. He founded a Hebrew school, established a Talmud Torah in the suburb of Zasanie and concerned himself with its upkeep as the chairman of its supervisory committee. He was one of the initiators of the establishment of a professional school for girls in Przemysl, and a member of its directorship. He was a member of the directors of the credit fund of the city of Przemysl. He educated his two sons and three daughters in the Hebrew-Zionist spirit. Of them, the two sons and one daughter are in the Land. He was a dedicated Zionist activist who actualized the Zionist idea in practice and deed.

He made aliya in 1935 and in 1937, he settled as a farmer in Beit Yanai next to Kfar Vitkin. There he helped found the central synagogue in Kfar Vitkin, and collected the needed money to properly establish the Heichal Mordechai synagogue. He worked in his garden and orchard in Beit Yanai until his last day. He died in 1954.

Josef [Jozef] Rinde

by Y. A.


Joseph Rinde


He was a modest activist who did not pursue honor. He was born in 1867 in Glogow near Rzeszow. He settled in Przemysl in 1890. Josef Rinde was one of the largest and most honorable merchants in the city. His wholesale toy shop was famous outside the city as well. During the interwar years, he also founded a toy manufacturing enterprise called Minerva, in which Jewish employees were employed.

His communal work was especially centered in the merchants' organization. Rinde was among the founders of the merchants' bank and was a member of its directorship until the destruction.

In 1925 he was also a member of the Lvov chamber of commerce as a representative of the Jewish merchants of Przemysl. As a member of the assessment committee, he protected

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the community of merchants from the imposition of unjust taxes. In 1928, he was elected as a member of the city council from the general Zionist faction.

Josef Rinde was also a generous philanthropist. Memorial tablets were erected in the old age home and the hospital in recognition of his large donations.

He was the father of a large family of four sons and three daughters. One of them was the wife of the chief rabbi of Lvov Dr. Levi Freund. A Zionist atmosphere pervaded in his home.

At the time of the Soviet occupation of the city, he was forced to leave because of persecutions. He returned to Przemysl in 1942 and was imprisoned in the ghetto. He died a tragic death there in 1942: he and his wife took their own lives so as not to fall into the hands of the Nazi troops.

Abraham Schachter


Abraham Schachter


He was the son of a well-known family in Przemysl. He was born in 1883. At first he worked as an official, and after some years, he acquired an estate in Rokszyce near Przemysl. This farm served as a site of Hachshara for chalutzim (pioneers). He began his Zionist activities even before the First World War, and continued with them constantly. In 1918, he joined the community council (Volksrat) that was established in place of the community that had disbanded. As a member of the council, he excelled in his dedicated work in the areas of assistance for those in need. Schachter organized and directed a low priced public teahouse and kitchen for families of the middle class who had become impoverished. During a later period, he was elected as a member of the communal council in the city, and dedicated himself energetically to the restoration of the old cemetery. He was among the diligent activists in all of the institutions of the general Zionists. A. Schachter was also active in the Hagibor Jewish sports organization. He was miraculously saved from death during the time of the first conquest of the Germans. After the expulsion of the Russians, he was a member of the Judenrat and directed its financial office.

Meir Honigwachs


Meir Honigwachs


Meir Honigwachs was born in Gorlice in 1877. From the time he settled in Przemysl in 1900, he was numbered among the Zionist activists in all areas of communal work.

In 1918, he was a member of the Volksrat from the Zionist faction, and he continued his communal work also during the later era in the communal council and the city council, where he served as chairman of the budgetary committee. As a representative of nationalist Judaism in the council, he also served as the chairman of the civic credit fund.

He was among the most prominent activists in the local chapter of the general Zionist organization. He served in many leadership roles in all fields of Zionist activity.

As a manufacturer and merchant, he worked a great deal for the Jewish economic institutions in the city. He made aliya to the Land with his entire family.

He died in Tel Aviv in 1946.

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The Mieses Family

This large family was well-known for its sons and daughters outside the bounds of the city of Przemysl. Separate articles in a different part of this book were written about the most prominent of them, Matityahu [Mateusz] and Dr. Josef Mieses. Here we will mention in brief the rest of the members of the family. All of them had unusual talents.

Esther Rappaport, the eldest daughter, was fluent in 18 languages and translated literary creations from various languages into others, including also Hebrew and Yiddish. She possessed broad and deep knowledge in Jewish subjects.

Chana Winkler was a talented artist. Her favorite topic was Jewish characters.

Rachel, the chemist, worked in the Jewish hospital of Przemysl before the Holocaust.

Eliezer, the youngest of the family, was a great Torah scholar and religious to the point of zealotry. He occupied the rabbinical seat of Sambor despite his young age.

And may she live long, the only survivor of this large family, who lives with us today in Israel: Dr. Miriam Mieses-Reif, who is an ophthalmologist.

The Axer Family

by Y. A.

It is appropriate to note one honorable Jewish family in Przemysl, whose children were prominent in the city despite being distant from the nationalist movement. This is the Axer family.

The head of the family was Leon Axer, one of the few Jewish officials in the Przemysl city council. He had four sons and one daughter, all possessing academic knowledge and who excelled in their characters or their businesses.

The eldest, Dr. Aleksander Axer, was an expert mathematician and intellectualist, with extraordinary qualities of dedication. He had the personality of a lone hermit. He left the city during his youth and settled in Zurich, where he served as a mathematics teacher. He died childless in Zurich in 1949.

Dr. Josef Axer


Dr. Josef Akser


The second, Dr. Josef Axer had a warm Jewish heart despite his closeness to the Polish socialist party P.P.S.D. He was a lawyer by profession, who studied from his teacher, the famous lawyer Dr. Liberman. He loved music and possessed artistic talents. He was one of the founders of Yuval, the Jewish organization for music and theatrical arts. He served as its chairman for a significant period. He was the head of its dramatic section and the producer of several performances. Josef Axer was also dedicated to Jewish nationalist sports, and served for some time as the chairman of the Hagibor sports organization. He was also active in social organizations. He served as the chairman of the Jewish social meeting place and the Bnai Brith chapter. He died in Tel Aviv in 1957.

Dr. Filip Axer was a man with musical culture. He was a mathematics teacher in the government gymnasium of Przemysl. After the First World War, he was the principal of the Jewish gymnasium of Czestochowa. He perished during the Holocaust.

Dr. Maurycy (Manek) Axer was a well-known lawyer in Lvov. He was an attorney for litigation cases and a defender of Communists. He was an activist in the Polish Socialist movement. He was a theater aficionado, and was close to the theater in Lvov. His son Erwin who survived the Holocaust is today a well-known stage producer in the national Polish theater of Warsaw.

The youngest of the family, Roberta Schutzmann (nee Axer) was married to a dedicated Zionist activist. She was a women of energy and talents, and

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a fan of music, like the rest of the family. Roberta Schutzmann was very active in all branches of activity – in Yuval, in the Zionist women's organization, in social organizations, and in the Bnai Brith chapter.

Leon Axer's brother, Saul Axer, owned and taught in a music school. He had the personality of an “absent-minded” artist in his external demeanor as well. He was an idiosyncratic personality in the city. His son Otto Axer, a talented artist, served as a scenery artist, at first in the great theater in Lvov and today in Warsaw.

Dr. Dawid Sack


Dr. David Sack


He was born in Przemysl in 1894. He was a member of a wide-branched Zionist family. He completed gymnasium in Przemysl and continued his studies in the faculty of medicine of the University of Prague. There, he received the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1924. He was a member of the Zionist youth from his earliest youth. He was a member of the Yehudia academic organization and Agudat Herzl. He actualized his Zionist ideas immediately after completing his studies. In 1925, he made aliya to the Land as a pioneer (chalutz). At first he served as a physician in the Hadassah hospital in Safed. There, he immediately became prominent as an expert physician, dedicated to his tasks.

After some time, he moved to the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, where he was appointed as assistant physician to the surgeon Dr. Wunderlich. During those days, he published scientific articles about concrete problems in medicine in the Land of Israel.

Dr. Sack moved to Tel Aviv in 1932. There, he continued his work at the Kupat Cholim and in private practice, and he continued to acquire for himself the name of an excellent physician. He was beloved and revered by his patients. The number of those who were healed by him continued to grow. In a large number of cases, he worked pro bono and voluntarily. He was modest in his ways, and satisfied himself with little. He died before his time in Tel Aviv in 1944.

Dr. Nisan [Nissen] Stein-Goldstein


Dr. Nisan Stein-Goldstein


Dr. Nisan Goldstein was born in Przemysl in the year 1879. His father David, the son of a rabbi, educated his children in the spirit of tradition and Hassidism. His son Nisan became known as a genius at a young age.

When he was nine years old, he was tested by Rabbi Yitzchak Szmelkes, the rabbi of Przemysl. The youth astounded him with his talent and knowledge. Nisan Goldstein continued his studies to be a rabbi. He studied at the Yeshiva of Belz in 1892. When he was 16, he got married and was supported at the table of his father-in-law. His wife was employed in her father's flourmill and he continued with his studies. He was given his rabbinical ordination by the following rabbis: Gedalia Szmelkes of Przemysl, Shalom HaKohen of Podhajce, and Aryeh HaKohen of Czerniowce.

After a year of intense preparations, he took his matriculation examinations at the German gymnasium of Lvov in 1904. At the time, he was the father of four children. His appearance at the school before the team of examiners

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in his traditional garb, with his beard and peyos, left a strange impression. After he received his ordination, he served as a rabbi in the city of Rohatyn. His sermons on Jewish law were received enthusiastically by his audience; however an abyss was quickly created between the rabbi with secular education and the Hassidic surroundings. This influenced his religious outlook, and he was forced to leave his position. His candidacy as the rabbi of Jaroslaw failed for the same reason. He moved to Lvov, where he served as a librarian in the Jewish community library and as a private teacher for students of the gymnasium. He registered in the university in Lvov and he graduated with a degree of doctor of jurisprudence in 1913. Two years before the outbreak of the First World War he lectured on Jewish history in the seminary for Hebrew teachers in Lvov.

In 1914, he fled with his family to Vienna. There, he completely abandoned his rabbinic career and worked in the legal profession. He won acclaim as a lawyer from the greatest judges and jurists, on account of the sharpness of his mind and his broad knowledge. Despite his involvement with his profession, he did not sever ties with Jewish studies.

He was appointed as a lecturer of Talmudic jurisprudence when the Maimonides institute of Jewish studies was founded in Vienna.

Goldstein was one of the great commentators of Talmud, and was considered a genius in academic circles. He published many articles in professional journals, which enjoyed wide acclaim in the academic world. He died at the age of 54.

(From an article that was published in his memory in the Der [Die] Stimme Zionist newspaper in Vienna on October 27. 1933 by Rabbi A. Kaminka.)

Victor Emanuel Pordes

by D. N.

He was the son of the physician Dr. Meir Pordes and his wife Cecilia (nee Haskler). He was born in 1881 in the town of Sadowa Wisznia (on the Przemysl-Lvov railway line). It is not known when his parents moved their place of residents to Przemysl. In any case, he attended the gymnasium in Przemysl, where Victor's father worked. He was a talented student, and he passed his matriculation examinations with excellence. We should note that among his Jewish friends in his class there were such talented people as Rafael [Rafal] Taubenschlag, Leib Landau, and I. Krieger, among whom it was not easy to excel. Pordes especially displayed literary talents and complete mastery of the Polish language in prose and poetry. Despite this, he never attempted to present himself as a Pole, even though he brought with him virtually no Jewish tradition from his home and did not receive any serious Jewish education. Even though he was not a member of a Zionist organization, he published fine articles and poems in Zionist publications in the Polish language. Pordes joined the territorialist camp[1] and fought orally and in writing for its aims. When the movement did not succeed in realizing is aims, he moved to the Poale Zion camp, in which he remained.

Pordes earned a doctor of jurisprudence in 1903, and he became a lawyer in 1912. At first he was in Przemysl, and he moved to Vienna in 1919, where he worked in that profession until his death. During the time of the Russian siege of Przemysl in the First World War, he remained in the city and wrote his memoirs of those days[2]

Pordes the lawyer never removed his mind from issues of the spirit and literature. He lectured on various problems, wrote essays, articles and poems, and published several books in German, including Das Lichtspiel (1919) and Menschen um uns - Typen und Charaktere (1934)[3]. From 1946, Pordes served as a member of the Jewish communal council of Vienna, and from 1954, he was the chairman of the Poale Zion organization[4].

Despite his living in Vienna for a long period of more than 44 years, Pordes considered himself as a Polish Jew. He represented the Polish Jewish survivors of Austria in the convention of Polish Jews in Israel at the beginning of 1961. He died in 1963.

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Reb Shmuel Babad

by Y. A.


Shmuel Babad


He was one of the diligent and energetic activists of Orthodox Jewry of Przemysl. Samuel Babad was born in 1978 in Trembowla to his father Rabbi Moshe [Moses, Mojzesz] Babad who was a rabbi in Trembowla and later in Lvov. He studied Torah from his father and also received a general education. He was a man of culture in all of his ways. He settled in Przemysl in 1904.

His wife Golda was the daughter of Rabbi Itzhak [Isak] Jacob Thumim, the son of the Gaon of Buczacz. She was a social activist and worked a great deal on behalf of the poor of Przemysl.

He worked in banking and later in business prior to the First World War. Along with this, he worked a great deal at communal affairs. He was one of the founders of the local branch of Agudas Yisroel, and served as its chairman. He was elected to the communal council on behalf of Agudas Yisroel, and he served as chairman of the community after Dr. Leib Landau, who preceded him, moved to Lvov. During his tenure as chairman of the communal council, he worked a great deal for the support and improvement of the Jewish hospital.

He dedicated a great deal of his energy to the dissemination of Torah among the youth, and was one of the founders and principals of the upper level Yeshiva in Przemysl.

He was a member of the Judenrat during the Holocaust. He fell on the line of duty and died a martyr's death.

His son Fishel was an activist in the Revisionist movement. He was exiled to Siberia by the Russians, where he died. His daughter lives in Israel.

Reb Shmuel [Samuel]
the son of Reb Dawid Knoller


Shmuel Knoller


Reb Shmuel the son of Reb David was born during the second half of the 19th century in Przemysl, where he was educated in Yeshiva, studying from the halachic decisor Rabbi Yitzchak Szmelkes. As well, he established his household in that city and raised his children on the lap of tradition as well as in the spirit of the new Hebrew Haskalah. Already from his youth he was numbered among the first Zionists in our city, and was active in organizations and movements. He did not send his children to cheder, but rather to the first Hebrew school that was established in Przemysl, called Tikvat Yisrael, known also by the name of The School of Marmelstein. He hired a private tutor for his daughters, so that they would learn Hebrew at home. He had a fine custom with his sons – he would teach them a page of Gemara daily, early in the morning before he set out for work. He also gave his sons a general education, enabling them to prepare for the annual examinations in the gymnasium and later for the matriculation examinations. He permitted his eldest son Jozef to continue on with the study of medicine at university. This was a revolutionary step in those day for a Jew who worshipped in the kloiz.

Reb Shmuel wore a long bekishe, fine fur coat in the winter, and a streimel on his head on Sabbaths and festivals. He was well liked and honored in his city, and was numbered among the closest friends of Gedalia

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Szmelkes, the rabbi of the community. They grew up and studied together, and wove the dream of Chibat Zion together.

My grandfather merited something that Rabbi Gedalia did not – to make aliya to the Land of Israel. He arrived in the Land in 1933 and joined the household of his son Dr. Josef Knoller in Tel Aviv and later in Haifa. He busied himself with all sorts of work in the house and in the garden, but he primarily studied. He completed his book “Letters to my Brother” in Haifa. This was an anthology of commentaries on the Torah that excelled in their clarity of thought and exactitude. He did not cut off his connection with his native city while in the Land, and he even had the privilege of representing it at the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the founding of Tel Aviv. His joy was great when he had the privilege of teaching his grandson the biblical cantillation trope, and listening to his reading of the Torah each Sabbath for five years.

He died in Israel in 1938.

Mordechai Gottfried

by Rabbi Alter Meir[6]


Mordechai Gottfried


An artistic personality disappeared from the landscape of Tel Aviv. His poetry booklets dropped out of his knapsack at all times. He published approximately 170 booklets filled with poetry and verse. He would distribute them along the benches on the paths and the people sitting in the coffeehouses. Where did he find the time to study, to correct, and also to write? This man had a phenomenal memory. Anything that he saw or heard, even once, remained in his brain forever and did not blur. His life, both his spiritual and physical life, was tragic. There were many causes, internal and spiritual, for this life which was no life. Intermingled in his personality were a philosopher, a poet, a scholar and a kabbalist. His poems were colorful, his soul was rich, his fiddle never stopped playing, and he knew no rest. He was always hurrying and running, as if someone was urging him on. His manner of speech was also hasty. He would utter a sentence from across the table as he sped by, and before he even finished his last words, he was already scurrying among the nearby tables and chairs, making piles of booklets among the plates that were on the tables.

He earned his livelihood from proposing ideas and writing critiques. He barely earned enough for a modest meal. He wrote publications of morality and beauty about the State of Israel and the problems that were current at any time. He had a talent in coming up with names for his multitude of booklets that flew out from his hands every week. The names attracted attention.

One could recognize him from afar by his unique garb. A multi-rimmed hat adorned his head, and even during the heat of the summer he did not part from his winter cape. When he had money in his pockets, he would empty them and give something to whoever extended his hand. During his final years he suffered from want, but he uttered no complaints either to the One Above or the people below. He was not jealous of anyone, and he bore the lack of honor and the suffering in silence. He was a scion of a wealthy family, and he possessed spiritual treasures, but he himself did not succeed in benefiting form the sparks of greatness that were hidden inside of himself.

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An addendum from the editorial committee

On various occasions, many articles were written in newspapers about the life of the man. At times these included imaginary or semi-imaginary details. We give over the following details:

Gottfried was the son of an honorable and scholarly family. His grandfather Reb Tzvi Gottfried wrote the Torah book “Likutei Tzvi”. He was born in Przemysl and received his Torah education at the home of his father Reb Azriel. He left the city in his youth, once to study from the rabbi of Lvov and a second time in order to study Torah in Tarnow. He had to leave there, for he was considered to be a Maskil, and he was castigated for this by the Orthodox. In the year 5670 (1910) he published a book of poems entitles “Zimrat Yah” After serving in the army at the beginning of the First World War, he settled permanently in Vienna, and lived the life of a Bohemian there. He began to publish works of poetry and philosophy in small booklets. He was assisted financially by various literature afficiados. He made aliya to the Land of Israel after the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany, and he remained there until the day of his death. The literary value of his work is embedded in controversy.

The Magid Rabbi Pinchas Shlomo [Salomon]
Schussheim [Schusheim]

by Meir Henish

Regarding the activities of the Magidim in Galicia, the preachers whose calling was to preach regularly on Sabbaths in the synagogues on issues of morality and religion, we know very little about preaching activities about the idea of the return to Zion and the reestablishment of the nation. One of these types of Magidim, of the first of the Zionists, was the Magid Rabbi Pinchas Shlomo Schussheim, who was born in Przemysl in the year 5614 (1854). He was from among the students of the rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Yitzchak Szmelkes. After his marriage, he lived in the city of Radymno near Przemysl, where the young man devoted time to give classes in Torah to the local craftsmen on a voluntary basis. From Radymno he moved to Lvov where he served in the position of Magid for various Beis Midrashes.

Later, he established his residence as a Magid in my hometown of Zbulitow, where I had a chance to get to know him already in my youth. He was a noble personality, wearing modest unstained garb, with polite manners, a pleasant demeanor, who acted pleasantly to every person. Not only would his followers go to his house to hear his words, but also intellectual youths and those who attended the Beis Midrash. After living in Zbulitow for four years, he was called to Tysmienica in order to serve as a Magid in the Great Synagogue. When, after many years, I went to live in Stanislawow, I found him there as a regular Magid in the Agudas Achim synagogue, which was know as “Dem Magid's Shul” (The Magid's Synagogue). There he was very beloved by the congregation, who enjoyed his presence very much. There he was also active in Mizrachi, and during the time of the elections to the Austrian parliament, he served as a publicist for the Zionist candidates. May the memory of this sublime Magid be blessed.

His eldest son Aharon Leib, who was born in 1879, was known as a publicist in Yiddish for Poale Zion in Galicia.

[Page 354]

Professor Dr. Manes Kartagener

by D. N.

Professor Kartagener was an important intellectual with two crowns – the crown of a religious scholar and the crown of a Maskil. He was born in Przemysl in 1897, the only son of Reb Eliezer [Lazar] Kartagener and his wife Tzluva [Cluwa], the daughter of Reb Manes Gut [Guth] of Przemysl. His father was a native of the San-Wisla triangle, the region of Rabbi Naftali of Ropczyce. He was a scholar, and even though he was not a Hassid, he would travel at times to the Admor of Rozwadow. He even went twice accompanied by his son. Professor Kartagener's wife was wife Roza (nee Intrator), whose father and grandfather were natives of Przemysl. His sister Minda was married to Yeshayahu Sonne, the well-known researcher and writer of Jewish studies, who was a professor of the rabbinical seminary in Cincinatti. His second sister Mashia [Machla Chaja], a medical doctor, was married to the writer Dr. Yitzchak Mann.

Professor Kartagener received an excellent education both in written and oral Torah as well as in general subjects. He also knew how to play the violin. He studied Bible and Hebrew grammar from the well-known teacher Hendler, who also read with him Milot HaHigayon (Words of Logic) by Maimonides and HaEmunot VeHadeot (Beliefs and Opinions) of Rabbi Saadya Gaon. His teacher of Talmud and Jewish law was the Dayan Rabbi Moshe Feldstein. Kartagener never attended a general public school or a gymnasium. He prepared for his examinations in those schools as a “privatist”. He took his matriculation examinations in Lvov in 1915, after he and his parents endured two periods of siege in Przemysl.

The aim of his studies was to receive ordination as a progressive rabbi, but this plan changed, and the youth transferred over to study medicine, which he complete in 1924 in Zurich. There, he served as the chief physician of the polyclinic of the university from 1929-1937. In 1935, he was appointed as a lecturer in the faculty of medicine, and in 1950 a professor. Kartagener began private practice in 1937. He published several scientific works on heart and lung disease. Two of these diseases were named after him[7].

Despite his work as a physician and university lecturer, Professor Kartagener found time to take interest in problems of the spirit of Jewry and mankind. He never forgot his childhood learning, and used to read a great deal. He possessed a splendid, up-to-date library, which also contained books in the classical languages. In 1962, he published a linguistic-philosophical essay in German entitled “The Foundations of the Hebrew Language”, in which he demonstrates extensive and deep knowledge in the area of the origins of thought, as expressed through the Greek and Hebrew languages. The Jewish reader will be dismayed that this important physician “got lost” as a high level researcher into Jewish studies. It is appropriate to point out, not only on the basis of the aforementioned essay, that he believed that the fundamental idea of Judaism was based on the idea that religion is the prime expression of Judaism. His answer about what impressed him most in his last visit to Israel in 1962 was “My meeting with Rabbi Kahaneman”. With him I found Judaism to be unadulterated and problem free. He was goodhearted, modest and upright. Professor Kartagener was not a religious activist, and was not numbered among the members of any Jewish political organization.

[Page 355]

Professor Dr. Maximilian [Maksymilian] Rose

He was born in Przemysl in 1883, the son of Eliahu and Leah (nee Israelowicz). He was forced to study in the gymnasium in the town of Wadowice, due to the difficult economic situation of his parents. From the age of 13 he supported himself as a “governor” (educator). He concluded his course of studies in the University of Krakow. Until the end of his life he would visit his native town of Przemysl, to which he was connected with all strands of his heart. His life was intertwined with Przemysl and Krakow more so than any other city. In Przemysl he inherited the spirit of revolt and Socialism. In Krakow his personality was forged as a scholar and a researcher.

After he graduated as a doctor of medicine, he trained in Krakow, Berlin and Switzerland. There he became a canton doctor for mental illness. Rose's work under Professor Brodmann in Tubingen influenced his manner of future scientific and professional work. From that time, Rose dedicated himself to the research of the cytoarchitecture of the brain.

During the First World War, Rose was the head of the division for mental illness and nerve diseases at the central hospital in Przemysl, and later in military hospitals in Krakow. He moved to Berlin during the years 1925-1928, where he directed the division of psychiatric examinations at the Wilhelm Institute. During this time, he was the editor of a psychiatric journal. He was called to Warsaw in 1929, where he dedicated himself to leading the division of psychiatric examinations that was founded by the Polish committee to assist research of the brain. When Maksymilian Rose attained the chair of psychiatry at the University of Vilna, the institution moved along with him to Vilna. During this era, only very few Jews succeeded in attaining the honorable position of a university professor. In Vilna, Rose began broad ranging scientific research in addition to teaching and directing the neurological clinic.

Rose published dozens of scientific works in Polish and German. Most of them were about the anatomy of the brain from the cytoarchitectural viewpoint (understanding the grey matter of the brain).

The crowning achievement of his scientific work was the cytoarchitectural examination of Marshal Pilsudski. Rose took pride in this work, but he did not succeed in completing it. Maksymilian Rose died in 1938, while at the pinnacle of his scientific work.

(From a lecture by Professor [Kazimierz] Orzechowski about Maksymilian Rose from November 24, 1938.)

Professor Dr. Henryk Meisel

He was born in Przemysl in 1894. There, he took his matriculation exams in 1912. After completing his course of studies in medicine in Vienna, he dedicated himself to research. During the 1920s, he trained at the institution of the well-known researcher of the typhus disease, Professor Weigl of Lvov.

He was saved during the Holocaust thanks to the assistance of his teacher Professor Weigl, after he endured tribulations in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald camps. At the end of the war in 1945, he was appointed as the director of the institute for bacteriological and experimental medicine in Warsaw, and later as a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Warsaw. He was an expert on the clostridia bacteria. He published approximately 100 research works on that topic, and he lectured a great deal and international congresses. Professor Meisel is a member of the Polish Academy of Science, the Royal Institute of Medicine in London, and the committee of the International Union of Microbiologists and the Regulatory Institution for the Standardization of Vaccines (Nisenbaum). He earned several tokens of excellence for his fruitful scientific work.

[Page 356]

Professor Ludwig Bruno Sohn

He was born in 1914. He was the son of Dr. Yitzchak [Joseph] Sohn, a physician and activist in Przemysl, and Dr. Fryderyka of the Hescheles [Heszeles] family. He was educated at the Polish gymnasium in Przemysl. He studied law at the University of Lvov and the Institute for Diplomatic studies, and he received a Master of Laws degree. During the period of 1935-1939 he worked a private institution for international law in Lvov. He published reviews of books on this topic, which appeared in Germany, France, Italy, the Latin American countries, the United States and Great Britain. During his studies, he suffered and was beaten twice by the anti-Semitic students who were his “fellows” in study. After completing his course of studies in Lvov (1939), he continued his studies at Harvard University in Cambridge, United States, and graduated as a Doctor of Laws from Harvard. Ludwig Sohn continued his research in international law and published many works on this topic. He served in various honorable roles during the course of his work, including – as a member of he delegation to the International Court of Law at the United Nations convention in San Francisco (1945), and an advisor to the secretary of the United Nations on the issue of agreements for solving dispute in peaceful manners (1948).

From 1951-1953, he served as an assistant professor of law, and in 1953, he was appointed as a professor of law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He also lectured as a visiting professor at the faculty of law and international organization at the University of California.

Professor Sohn earned international acclaim for his work and many publications in the field of international law.

Dr. Helene Rosenbach-Deutsch

She was a native of Przemysl who became renowned in the scientific world as a researcher and writer in the field of psychoanalysis and psychology. She was the daughter of Dr. Rosenbach, an honorable lawyer in the city and a member of the city council before the First World War. She received a comprehensive education relative to the education of girls of the bourgeois class of those days. In opposition to the will of her father, she continued her studies at university and completed her course of studies as a medical doctor at the University of Vienna. She trained in the field of psychoanalysis under Dr. Freud. She married Dr. Deutch, a lecturer at the faculty of medicine at the University of Vienna, who was a member of the Zionist Kadima organization in Vienna (he died a few months ago). She was active in Vienna until the time of the conquest of Austria by Hitler. There, she published a number of books in German on psychological topics. After she moved to Boston, she continued publishing articles in English in professional journals. Among other things, she published a comprehensive work on George Sand. Her books were translated into various languages. Two of her books were translated into Hebrew: “The Psychology of a Woman” that was published in 1961 (Merchavia) and “The Psychology of the Matriarchs” that was published in 1962 (Merchavia)[8]. Her many publications in psychology and psychoanalysis earned her the status of a scientist with international renown.

Translator's Footnotes

  1. Territorialist Zionists would accept a Jewish region anywhere, not necessarily in the Land of Israel. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorialism Back
  2. There is a footnote in the text here, as follows: We include excerpts of these memoirs in a fine chapter in this book, entitled “Yom Kippur in a Fortress”. They were published in Polish in Moria, a Zionist youth monthly. (Translator's note: see page 178) Back
  3. We couldn't find the title of English version – ed. Back
  4. There is a footnote in the text here, as follows: Some of these facts were taken from the bibliographic dictionary “Who is who in World Jewry”, New York, 1955, page 590. Back
  5. There is a footnote in the text here, as follows: From the memoirs of his grandson Gabriel the son of Reb Josef Knoller. Back
  6. There is a footnote in the text here: This article was copied from the newspaper HaPoel Hatzair number 45 with the kind permission of the author. Back
  7. See information on Kartagener Syndrome at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_ciliary_dyskinesia Back
  8. We were not able to confirm if this is proper title of the book - “The Psychology of the Matriarchs”, nor find details about publisher – Merchavia - ed. Back


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