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[Page 304]

Reb Elazar Regenbogen and his family

by Azriel Regenbogen

Translated by Jerrold Landau

My father Reb Elazar Regenbogen of blessed memory was born and raised in Tarnów. After marrying my mother Lea, nee Luksner, of blessed memory from Krakow, they moved to Sanok in 1890. Father learnt basic business principles in the home of his father, my grandfather, who was the textile merchant in the area. Within a short time, the textile factory became a well–known firm throughout the region. He was successful, and became a wealthy man. Father of blessed memory was an upright man with pleasant mannerisms. Therefore people liked him very much, and anyone who came in contact with held him in esteem. He absorbed a great deal of Torah and knowledge during his youth in his father's home. Nevertheless, he was a very modest and refined person. He always greeted his friends and acquaintances. He had a soft heart, with an abundance of feeling and delicateness to every thing, even when he played with his children during the time he was not involved in work and study. If it happened that a child angered him with his behavior and he had to hit him – at time even to the point of crying – my father immediately regretted it. He moved away to a corner with his eyes filled with tears. Every Sabbath after the Sabbath nap, he took interest in what I had studied during the week, and tested me on my knowledge. He then studied with me a chapter of Midrash Rabba on the weekly Torah portion. His nature was to delve deeply into everything that he studied. He lived by those words and was immersed in the atmosphere of every topic that he studied. I recall that once, when we were working on the section of the sale of Joseph and we reached the revelation of Joseph to his brothers, my father wept like a child from emotion as he reached the verse “And he went into the room and wept there.”[1] .

Every day after finishing work at his business, he would sit to study Torah in the house or in the Sanzer Kloiz, which was his usual place of worship. He was devoted to his thoughts on Torah, and lived a life of Torah in all of his dealings with G–d and people. He observed the customs of Hassidism with every step, and lived in accordance with them, even though he did not set a Rebbe for himself and did not travel to any Hassidic Admor. Nevertheless, he was considered in the eyes of the veteran Hassidim among the worshippers of that kloiz as a Hassid with a high level of Hassidism.

My mother of blessed memory was a beautiful character of a “woman of valor” who served as father's helpmate in the full sense of the term, both in the home with family matters and in the shop with business maters. She was an intelligent woman, who was fluent with the Polish language and literature, even though she loved the Yiddish language and was expert in Yiddish literature. During her free time, especially in the evenings, she would read to us the stories of Y. L. Peretz and Shalom Aleichem, which were found in our bookcase. Thus, the children absorbed a connection and love for the Jewish experience already during their early days. We should note that my mother was concerned with the general and Jewish education of her daughters, my four sisters. They began to study Hebrew, Bible and sections of the new literature already from their childhood. Later, they were among the first people of young Zion through whose efforts the Zionist movement arose in our city. It would seem to me that it would not be out of context to give over some details of the lives and fates of the four daughters of blessed memory.

My oldest sister Rachel was among the first of that era who knew good Hebrew and Bible. She married a young maskil, and decided to make aliya with her husband already in 1920. Her husband Yacov Rebhuhn traveled first as a tourist, purchased a farm in Bat Shlomo next to Zichron Yaakov, and returned to Poland to organize and prepare his family for aliya to the Land. However, the aliya was postponed due to the events of 1921[2] . Their plans of settlement were pushed off, and carried out later by their son Shmuel, who today is one of the veteran engineers of Solel Boneh[3] . Shmuel raised a family in Israel, consisting of two sons and a daughter. He is fully immersed in the life of the Land and active in all areas of renaissance and upbuilding, from his participation in the Haganah,

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including in the War of Independence, to the service of his two sons in the Israel Defense Forces. His daughter's husband works in scientific research in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Finally, the son Shmuel succeeded in bringing his father to the Land right after the Second World War. His father succeeded in surviving, living in the Land of Israel, and enjoying contentment from his descendents the development of our nation. However, my sister Rachel was murdered by the Nazis.

Photo page 305: Reb Elazar Regenbogen – a photograph from a picture drawn by his son Azriel.

My sisters Rivka and Tzila, may G–d avenge their blood, were also killed in the Holocaust. Only my sister Devora of blessed memory, who married the lawyer Dr. Schomer in Sanok, survived and made aliya with her husband in 1950. After they both endured the well–known path of tribulations of the Nazi conquest deportation to Russia, Siberian exile, etc. that left their mark upon my sister's health, she died in 1957 after a brief illness. (For more on Devora, see also page 460.)

To complete the details on the fate of my parents, I will add that my father escaped to Skula during the war and lived there with his sister. He perished at the hands of the Nazis along with the local Jews in the year 5703 / 1943. My father remained in Sanok and perished at the hands of the Nazis already in 5702 / 1942. May their memories be bound in the bonds of eternal life!

Simcha Roth – was one of the most piously observant people of the Sadagora Kloiz. He loved prayer, especially public prayer. He loved to befriend the Torah scholars. He distanced himself from the idlers and those who speak evil tongue and gossip. Whenever he had free time, he looked into books of Hassidism and fear of Heaven. He raised his sons in Torah. When he was able to afford it, he gave charity generously. He loved his friends and comrades deeply, and related to them with boundless dedication.

Reb Avraham Rosner – was a scholarly man, one of the veteran worshippers of the Large Beis Midrash. He filled various roles there, including serving as the regular Torah reader on the Sabbaths in front of this large congregation for a long period. Incidentally, his reading was in fine form and with

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great professional knowledge. As a native of Linsk and a member of a family that belonged to the Dynower Hassidic dynasty, Reb Avraham Chaim belonged to the Hassidim of the Admor of Bukowsk. However, he comported himself with respect to his Hassidism with modesty and quiet both internally and externally, as he did in all areas of his private life. These were his defining characteristics.

Photo page 306: Reb Avraham–Chaim Rosner.

Reb Yosef Roth – served as the gabbai [trustee] for the final two Admors of Bukowsk, and accompanied them throughout their lives as Admors. His work in this task not only served as a source of livelihood, but was conducted in the pattern as the majority of those who served their Admors in holiness – with deep feelings of faith and dedication for the Admor as well as for his household, his court, and his family. For this reason, Reb Yosef's house became part of the household of the Admor, and his image was part of the landscape of the court. Reb Yosef Roth was also a confidant of these two Admors, as a wise man, with a good sense of humor that was somewhat rare in that environment, and also an above average prayer reader. He dedicated no small amount of these traits in various ways to the atmosphere of the court and the running of the household.

Reb Chaim Rothenberg – see about him in page 60 and in the appendices.

Shimon Scheiner – was always in a good economic state, even though he never attained the status of wealth, even by the standards of those times. He feared Heaven and loved scholars. Among his good traits was his willingness to intervene with banks for those in needs. This was a great help for no small number of Jews in firming up their businesses and sources of livelihood. As a lover of scholars, he took as a son–in–law Rabbi Avraham Weiner, a great scholar who became a rabbi in Jazlowic and later Czortkow.

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Translator's Footnotes

  1. Genesis 43:30. return
  2. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaffa_riots return
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solel_Boneh return


[Page 307]

The Brothers Shlome and Yitzchok Schiff
of blessed memory

by Ascher Schiff

Translated by Jerrold Landau

My two brothers Shlome and Yitzchok of blessed memory were two sublime personalities, each with their unique qualities, each with their dedication to our nation and faith to holy ideals and Zionist aspirations. Both excelled with their strong alertness to civic matters and to their dedication of time and energy for the benefits of its Jewish residents. Both were beloved and revered by the entire Jewish population of our city, with all of its strata and factions.

I will attempt here to give over some description, to the extent that my memory will permit me, of the personalities of my two brothers are well as some of their life events in brief.

Shlome, my eldest brother was a Yeshiva student in the Sadagora Kloiz, together with Rabbi Alter Meir of blessed memory. They were diligent scholars who made the Torah their occupation. Together with this, Shlome already had developed a connection to Zionism. He began to dedicate himself to that idea from his earliest youth.

Already prior to the First World War, he was among the first founders of the Hashachar Zionist organization in Sanok. When he reached adulthood, he was also active in other political communal areas, including the elections to the Austrian Parliament. He was the first to be concerned with organizing activities to that end, inviting speakers to gatherings, and the like.

Photo page 307: Shlome Schiff (standing), Yacov Lerner, and his son Izik.

[Page 308]

He was also one of the first founders of the Hebrew School in Sanok, which was then almost the only one in all of Galicia. Despite the opposition of the zealous Orthodox people, this school did well. Later, he was elected as the chairman of the Zionist council and was registered in the Golden Book of the Keren Kayemet LeYisrael [Jewish National Fund] as a token of thanks for his dedication.

Shlome enlisted in the Austrian Army at the outbreak of the First World War. When the army retreated, he arrived in Hungary, where there was a dearth of appropriate Zionist activity at the time. There, he found a broad arena for his Zionist activity. In accordance with directives that he received from the Zionist headquarters in Vienna, he set out for Budapest, collected material for the Keren Kayemet LeYisrael, and served as the liaison between the small Hungarian towns and the large city of Budapest for intensive Zionist activity.

He remained in Hungary until 1918 and then returned to Przemysl at the end of the war.

When he returned home to Sanok, he was again one of the founders and organizers of the Jewish citizen's guard, whose members received weapons for the needs of defense of the city. He was authorized to carry a pistol. He would accompany and guard Jews who were afraid to go out at night.

Aside from this, he also did not abandon his Zionist and communal activities. He continued to invest great effort for the advancement of the Hebrew School, and also excelled in his cultural and social activities for the Jews of our city, such as assisting with food from America, etc.

Then the typhus epidemic broke out in the city. There too, Shlome found himself at the forefront. He helped to set up a hospital in the Yad Charutzim building, and fed the sick. In this manner, he too was afflicted by this terrible illness, and took to his sickbed from which he never arose. Despite his very serious situation, he took interest in all matters relating to the Jews, and especially in anything connected to the Land of Israel. When his hands could not hold a newspaper, I stood next to him and held it, as he read with joy and enthusiasm about the decisions of the San Remo Peace Conference with regard to giving the mandate of the Land of Israel to Britain. With his last strength, he expressed his hope and request to make aliya to the desired Land.

Photo page 308: Shlome Schiff in the Austrian Army during the First World War.

His final words were, “Dear Mother, bring me your hand as a token of agreement that once I recover, I will make aliya to the Land of Israel.” Mother responded with weeping, “Yes my son, and may we merit this.” He returned his soul to his Creator in the prime of his life, at the age of 29, with hope pulsating in his heart.

[Page 309]

My second brother Yitzchok of blessed memory continued on the path and with the activities of Shlome. He was an especially enthusiastic and active Zionist. He was a candidate for the Akiba Zionist organization that was set up, and was elected as a delegate to the Zionist congresses. He became friendly with the Zionist greats of the Land of Israel. Dr. Yehoshua Tahon and Nathan Bistritzky frequented his home.

Aside from all this, he was very talented in the field of business. With the assistance of the American philanthropist Jonas, he founded two banks in Sanok: Podkarpacki, and Polsko–Amerikanski.

Yitzchok did not like remaining in one place for a long period. He changed his residence from time to time, starting with Przemysl and ending with Katowice. There, he established a factory for bicycles and sewing machines called As–Ka.

He was married to a dear woman, Matilda Schiff of blessed memory, the daughter of David. She was forged from the same material. Zionism pulsated through the veins of the members of the Schiff family. She always assisted her husband with his Zionist activities.

Matilda Schiff of blessed memory was one of the young people of our city who organized and led the work on behalf of the Zionist funds, founded Ivriya and worked to disseminate the Hebrew Language and national consciousness to all strata of the Jewish residents of Sanok. Matilda continued those efforts in Katowice.

Photo page 309 bottom: Yitzchok Schiff, Matilda Schiff.

[Page 310]

She arranged courses for the study of the Hebrew Language without expectation of remuneration. She also supported the hachshara members around Katowice by visiting them frequently, offering them assistance and advice, and responding to any requests.

In our city of Sanok, Matilda and Yitzchak of blessed memory were also the founders of the drama club and were even its first actors.

They lived in Katowice until their final days. They perished during the Holocaust along with six million of our brethren.

Their daughter Mina survived. She realized the dream of her parents by building a home in Israel. She established a family that was involved in agricultural work in their farm in the Moshava of Gan Shomron.

* * *

Now I will discuss the precious memory of our father, Reb Yisrael Schiff of blessed memory. With him as well, we saw the connection to the community and the readiness to offer assistance and support to those in need. Since he was even considered a dear and beloved man among the local gentile authorities, he served as an intercessor to them for the benefit of Jews who found themselves in difficult situations.

Our father of blessed memory was a very Orthodox man. He was one of the gabaiim of the Sadagora Kloiz and a member of Mizrachi. He died in exile in far–off Siberia. His wife, the beloved mother of his children, died one week later. May their souls be bound in the bonds of eternal life.

Reb Alter Schechter – one of the elders of the Hassidim of Blazowa. He was one of the regular, honorable worshipers of the city Great Beis Midrash. He was active in the Talmud Torah from the time of its inception, and continued his activity in that area through the setting up of the splendid building of the Talmud Torah. He served of one of its chief gabbaim. He revered rabbis and Admorim, and hosted them in his home.

The Admor Rabbi Mendel Shachner of blessed memory was a native of Sanok. He went to study in the Yeshivas of Hungary during his youth, and returned to Sanok about 15 years before the Holocaust. He was noted for his strong piety and fear of Heaven. He was regarded as a sort of Rebbe and Admor. He lived a life of tribulation, earning his livelihood by giving classes in Torah and Gemara, as well as instruction in morality and character traits. He had many children. He never accepted money from anyone without a proper exchange. As the enemy approached and they came to ask whether it was allowed to desecrate the Sabbath during a time of danger, he permitted such to anyone who asked, whereas he and his family did not do so.

Reb Yitzchok Schnitzler – was a Hassid of Boyan. He worshiped in the Sadagora Kloiz. He served for many years as a prayer leader on the High Holy Days. He was also a veteran Torah reader. He was one of the activists and gabbaim of the Talmud Torah. He would sit with Rabbi Yosef Horowitz on Sabbath and festival evenings to hear the spiritual words of Hassidism from the Admorim. He had his own unique way of doing things, but with a strong Hassidic tendency.

[Page 311]

The Engineer Stanislau Scheinkauf

by Yisrael Lembach

Translated by Jerrold Landau

He was an only child, spoiled and dandled. He was a darling child to his parents who were immersed in the 49 gates of assimilation [1]. They raised their son in the same manner. His light blond hair, straight, Greek–style nose, and blue eyes gave him an Aryan appearance. The native tongue of all his townsfolk and surroundings, the Yiddish language, was also foreign to him. This was all with regard to the outside. However, in terms of his internals and content, the inside of his soul, he was still like the youthful image of one of the thousands and myriads of Jewish youth who were finding their way in Judaism. The Jewish street was vibrant, with various aspirations flowing through it. The hearts and souls of the myriads and hundreds of thousands of Jewish youth led to a deep, strong battle of the spirit regarding various world outlooks, far from each other and contradictory of each other, that pervaded the Jewish world. This also influenced the heart and soul of Scheinkauf. He became an enthusiastic devotee of the Jewish, working Land of Israel. Along with this, he became a dedicated fighter for a fully autonomous Jewish life in the Diaspora. With broad steps, he marched and moved his path from a life of assimilation toward the arena of the problems of the Jewish nation. He drew near to the books and doctrines of Dr. Herzl, Gordon, Borochov, Sholom Aleichem, and other Hebrew and Yiddish writers. The square letters and the Jewish language, which had been strange and distant from him, became close to his heart – to the point where he used them in his day–to–day life. Quietly and without fanfare, he participated in his charitable activities, and with fundraising. Many received his assistance even without knowing from whom it came. He was not one of those who pursued honor and fame. He always wanted to remain in the shadows, content among the masses of the common folk, among whom he lived his life, rejoiced on their happy occasions and bore their anguish.

Muni Sprecher – was a faithful member of the Mizrachi Organization, and one of its dedicated activists with no ulterior motives, but rather because of a personal conviction that Zionism is true, or more accurately, that the true Zionism is that of the Mizrachi Party – this party and none other. He did not give in to the pressure from his large family, who were mainly members of other parties. Some of them were Hassidim who rejected party affiliation entirely. He heeded his inner urge and command. He was one of the first Holocaust victims in Sanok, when he was murdered by a Nazi who shot him while he was standing next to his house in the field next to the courtyard of the Admor of Dynow. May G–d avenge is blood.

Moshe Schapira – the son of Reb Elazar, was one of the precious people and primary activists of the youth circles of Orthodox Judaism in Sanok. He grew up with powers from his parental home, but even more than that, through his own powers. He continued to rise, and became one of the fighters for Torah Judaism. He was vibrant and enthusiastic with his activities and deeds. He was zealous for his ideals, and he was pleased to engage in debates in order to clarify, explain, influence, and convince. Along with this, he had a calm and straightforward temperament, and was level–headed in his deliberations.

Above all these traits, Reb Moshe Schapira excelled in his sublime outlook with regard to performing acts of charity and benevolence, and his willingness to engage in charitable activity. Moshe Schapira reached the pinnacle in this arena during the time that our city of Sanok was under the yoke of occupation of the Nazi beast, and suffering from the oppression of the Nazi troops. It is known that any activity of this nature would be fraught with risk to his life, but his heart and soul were dedicated to giving assistance and support to our suffering brethren, without any differentiation between people, without any sign of fear, and without any concern to the risks involved. This strong drive to participate in the anguish and to offer assistance imparted sublime strength of spirit, and kept him from faltering. However, to our sorrow,

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Hitler's wild beasts, may their names be blotted out, carried out their verdict with their customary cruelty. They found it insufficient to send him to Zaslaw, as they did with many other thousands of people. Rather, they carried out the sentence against him, his wife Esther, and sister Hentshe in their own home by burning down their house with everything in it. May G–d avenge their blood!

Photo page 312: Reb Moshe Schapira.

Reb Yosef Springer – was trained in the smelting of copper and brass. His handiwork was the basis of his livelihood, and he became independent, and not subordinate to anybody. Therefore, he guarded his own way of thinking, and held his stand in all areas of communal life in which he was active, without accepting influence from anybody. He had fundamental, independent ideas. Along with this, he related to his fellow with honor, and listened carefully to the opinions, advice, and guidance of others. Whether he was busy with his work or occupied with communal matters – for he was also a gabbai and an activist in the Talmud Torah – he attended the public prayer services daily in the synagogue or the Beis Midrash.

He raised and educated his children to be faithful to their parental heritage, and guided them to a life of service with pure character, teaching them that politeness is a necessary component of Torah observance. One of them, Avraham Tzvi of blessed memory, was exceptional. He sat all day in the Beis Midrash studying Torah.

Reb Yosef Springer loved to offer assistance in any manner to anyone in need. He would give charity and perform benevolent acts. He instilled these character traits in the hearts of his children. We cannot fail to see the exemplary results of this education in his son Pesach Springer of blessed memory, who lived in America but did not forget the knowledge and Torah of his parental home. He visited Israel often, and with every visit, he strengthened the connection with the Sanok natives by giving monetary donations for the various needs of the Sanok natives in Israel.

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Translator's Footnotes
  1. Jewish tradition has the concept of the 49 gates (i.e. levels) of purity as well as the 49 gates of impurity. The usage here is a play on that concept, interchanging impurity with assimilation. It would signify an extreme level of assimilation. return

 

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