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[Page 482]

Yitzhak Levin

by Moshe Yuz

Edited by Alisa Klaus




On his way to his work at the pharmacy, he collapsed to the ground and died.

In our city of Sarny, R' Yitzhak was one of the most committed workers on behalf of the orphanage, was nominated to oversee the finances of the community, and served as a member of the municipal leadership. We worked for a short period together in Keren HaYesod; he was the living spirit of the branch, working and inspiring others to work, in all aspects of Zionist endeavor.

His oldest son, David z”l,who died a number of years ago, made aliyah to the Land of Israel in 1921, with the first group of Halutzim from Sarny. His second son, Aharon, to be separated for long life, made aliyah in 1930. Two years after this, Mr. Yitzhak Levin closed down his successful business and made aliyah as well. In Tel-Aviv he opened a pharmacy on Moriah Street and worked there, together with his son Aharon, until his last day.

He was a wise man, full of gusto and the stuff of life, in harmony with his surroundings, with a good nature and good to all. He was a man of the people, never saying the name of a fellow man in a pejorative way, and judged all people kindly. His home was open to all. He saw blessing in the work of his hands. He died at the age of 73, by a “kiss.”

David Levin

by Eliyahu Kharpak

Edited by Alisa Klaus




It was spring 1917 and the honey of the Russian Revolution was redolent. Auspicious signs were visible from all sides. The hope was great that this reformation of the world order would also resolve the issues surrounding the suppression of the Jew.

Many, among them the élite of the educated youth, took an active role in the revolution and assumed responsible positions in its conduct. It was especially at this time, that David Levin z”l had the wisdom to spurn the movement which had captivated the Jewish street. He sensed that this was not the way. He left the ranks of the revolutionary students and chose to become a Halutz. When a man is pure in soul, he commits himself to a new course of action without reservations. He removed the emblem of a Russian student, registered with HeHalutz and made aliyah to the Land of Israel, even before he had mastered the Hebrew language.

In the first days after arriving in the Land of Israel, David experienced his first trial of standing up strongly to the Arab predators during the events of 1 May 1921. The marauders burst into the home of the Halutz, which was in the Arab quarter of Jaffa. David defended the house with his body and was severely wounded by the shrapnel from an Arab bomb. He remained bedridden for more than a year in hospitals in the Land of Israel and elsewhere, and underwent many surgical operations until he regained his health.

David Levin z”l dedicated himself anonymously to community endeavors to benefit individuals and the general good and avoided making his name or himself visible. During the decades that he lived in the Land of Israel, David knew how to win the trust and friendship of all those that he encountered, and of others among whom he found himself.

I would see David in specific or general get-togethers, with a fleeting smile crossing his face upon encountering a friend or coming from a family simcha, without complaining about any difficulties he was going through or about any shortcoming he had experienced in an individual or people in general. We lost David suddenly.

Meir Levin

by Rachel Levin-Glick

Edited by Alisa Klaus




The beautiful and upright persona of our father z”l, constantly hovers before our eyes. He died the death of a “kiss” at the age of 67, on the eve of the establishment of the State of Israel. He was brought to his final rest on the Mount of Olives under the aegis of the English, but there were those among his dearest who refrained from accompanying him in this fashion.

Our father, in addition to being a Torah scholar, was exceptional in his beauty, both external and internal. His intentions and means were refined, his bearing self-effacing and modest. He was committed to the greater good and to helping those who had been brought low or were failing.

We know that our father z”l founded the Yeshiva in our city after the First World War, together with Hanina Drakh z”l. He gathered up yeshiva students from the area and orphans of the war, and took it upon himself to provide them with sustenance, clothing them and providing a roof over their heads. He was like a father and brother to them, offering them encouragement and strengthening their spirit with the ever-present smile on his lips, responding to each and every one in their distress. I recall how he ordered us to clean out a room in our home so that we could lodge a number of yeshiva students. He said to us: everything that we have is also theirs! We respected what he had said to us and we carried out his request. This is why the students loved him.

He was a distinguished and committed Hasid to the Rebbe of Stolin k”mz and his court, and more than once he provided provisions to them when they were mired in distress. He participated very personally in this and in many other ways, always modestly and secretly. In this manner he would provide packages of food, clothing, wagonloads of wood, and money to straitened families or people who had lost their fortunes. These families certainly did not know that all this help came from the hands of our father z”l, since he did it all anonymously.

After his aliyah to Israel, he settled in Jerusalem, where he continued with his good deeds on behalf of the general public. It is no wonder that at the time of his large funeral, in a pouring rain, from his home to the Bikur Kholim, there were many people who told of our father's z”l acts of charity, all of them secret.

Avigdor Murik

by Sonya Tarass

Edited by Alisa Klaus




“...for I have acted with integrity...” is carved into the gravestone of Avigdor. This verse from Psalms [26:1] expresses the essence of his orientation and the quality of his life, from its beginning to its end.

He walked with an integrity of his own. With this integrity he traversed the streets of Sarny, the city of his birth; with this integrity he comported himself among his comrades in Vilna, at the seminary, and also after he left it to follow the dictates of his heart – the work of art. He served in the Polish army with integrity. He bore the indignity of hunger with grace, in the towns of Poland when he was cast from one place to another in his persistent desire for artistic creativity. With integrity, he bore the suffering of the war and the Holocaust and performed his artistic mission in Russia and the displaced persons camps in Germany. His integrity fed his desire to make aliyah to the Land of Israel, which he yearned for and eventually accomplished.

And again, with integrity he went to work in the ranks of the broadcasters and made his voice heard in Yiddish, with a Hebrew work, obtained here and there, in the Yiddish context, that would emerge alive and clear from his mouth, full of meaning, content and substance.

What a paradox! Avigdor, a man of Hebrew, who loved Hebrew, who wrote it with such electrifying meaning, who was able to recite lines of the Tanakh to every friend and acquaintance – it was he who, in this land of Hebrew, in Israel, would read in Yiddish on “Kol Israel.” And perhaps it was fate that dictated this, so that the sensibilities that connected him to the masses - the newly arrived immigrants, whose lives he had lived and with whom he shared all the tribulations of getting settled in the Land of Israel - not be ruptured.

And this is how he confronted all paradoxes, with integrity and a smile. It was said of him that he had two kinds of smiles: of a good heart, and of humor. The smile from the heart drew all people to him with affection. The joking smile related to the foibles of a person of the public at large, all in a good humored way and pointedly not to arouse enmity or envy, a smile that enticed the intellectually sharp person and whoever thirsted for a spark of lightning wit.

He smiled, suffered and rejoiced with integrity.

How he took joy in his small family, his wife and his children! How he yearned for the aliyah of his relatives, for a chance to do a favor for someone, small or large.

Joy and suffering, until that final illness, and to the end – all with a heart of integrity.

From the Accounting of the Life of Avigdor Murik

Edited by Alisa Klaus

Sarny: Educated at a reformed Heder and the Tarbut School. In school, he stood out in his knowledge of Jewish subjects and exhibited a “weakness” for the arts. He participated in the Hebrew stage presentations of the young students. He would appear at artistic evening readings, taking selections from Hebrew and Yiddish literature, especially chapters from the Tanakh.
Vilna: He was a student at the Teachers' Seminary. He was a student and member of the Hebrew drama studio under the direction of the Polish actor Ibo Gal. He was the director and player in drama clubs in the Tarbut schools of Poland.
Lvov: A teacher at the Safah Brurah school, under the leadership of Naphtali Ziegel. He put on plays for children and adults and would appear at evening readings, reading from the Hebrew and Yiddish literature.
Warsaw: Dubbing of the movie, “The Dybbuk,” into Hebrew, with the participation of the actor Abraham Muravsky.
Djamboul (Kazakhstan, USSR): Director of the drama club for the children of Polish refugees. Produced and presented scenarios from Polish and Russian literature, among themKonrad Wallenrod” by Mickiewicz, “Dyadya Vanya” by Chekhov, and others.
In the American Sector of the occupation in Germany:
Farenwald: A volume dedicated to the memory of Holocaust victims at a graduation ceremony for the young survivors of the Holocaust.
Lindenfeld: Evening readings from the works of Sholom Aleichem, the production and presentation of “The Knight of Onions, and the Knight of Garlic,” by Bialik.
Frankfurt: Leader of an art class associated with the regional committee for the survivors in Germany. Participated in organizing pedagogic assemblies for the teachers of the Hebrew schools for the children of survivors, and introduced arts education in the schools. A participant in the arrangement of the teachers' place in the clandestine immigration, Bricha.
Switzerland: Directed the children of the youth aliyah from Lindenfeld in their participation in the movie “Ayeh Bni” in which he also appeared personally.
Israel: Reached the Land of Israel right in the middle of the War of Independence. He was taken in as a reader for Kol Israel LaOleh, supported the organization of Kol Tzion LaGolah, and devised content for broadcasting and presentations.

Rachel Price

by Zippora & Joseph

Edited by Alisa Klaus




Born in Sarny in the year 1921, into a family rooted in Judaism and its traditions. It was in these surroundings that she grew up and was educated as a daughter loyal to her people. At the age of sixteen, she made aliyah to the Land of Israel, to realize her life's desire. She joined in, and was tied with her entire soul, to the youth groups, all of whom respected and praised her.

She was plucked from life while young, barely 17 years of age.

Her parents and those she left behind were all exterminated by the Scourge, and only one brother and one sister in the Land of Israel survive.

Moshe Kolodny

by Sh. Zandweiss

Edited by Alisa Klaus




Moshe ben Yitzhak-Isaac Kolodny was born in 1896 in the shtetl of Kurèy. In the year 1899, his parents moved with the entire family to Stepan, where he was educated. In Stepan, he studied with the best of the teachers, first and foremost the scholarly teacher and enlightened person, R' Mordechai Edelstein. From Stepan, Moshe traveled to Ostro where he was accepted as a student at the Russian gymnasium, and there he completed his course of study.

While still a youth, Moshe excelled in his diligence, his integrity, the pleasantness of his disposition, his dedication to Zionism and his love of the Homeland. While still in Stepan, with the help of some of his friends, he organized the first Hebrew library and the Drama Section.

Moshe came to Sarny from Kiev in the year 1920. A short time later, he married Zippora Halperin, separated for long life, whom he knew while still in Stepan. In Sarny, Moshe worked for a number of years as the accountant for factories dealing in forest products and sawmills, and afterwards became an accountant in the Sarny Retail Merchants' Bank.

As a member of the Poalei-Tzion Branch, Moshe was active in the Zionist initiatives in Sarny. For a number of years, he was a member of the Parents' Committee of the Tarbut School.

It is questionable whether many people knew him, apart from those who came in contact with him, because he was quiet and by nature avoided the limelight. He committed himself with his entire heart and soul to three things: his professional work; his family; and especially to the reading of various books and newspapers. He was a man of culture and was fluent in Hebrew as well as Russian and Polish.

In June of 1941, Hitler's hordes drew near Sarny, and Moshe and his family fled to Soviet Russia. There, he and his family went through extremely difficult days. They knew suffering, hunger and disease, but Moshe did not give up. The essence of his objective and hope was that when the war would end, he and his family would finally reach the Land of Israel. His hopes were not disappointed. As part of the Aliyah Bet, by direct and indirect means, he and his family reached the Land of Israel in 1949.

As was the case with most of the olim of that time, Moshe was allocated the use of run-down quarters in the camp in the Carmel region. I visited them once in their dwelling after a particularly heavy rain, when all of their thin belongings were soaking wet from the rain and they were all shivering from the cold. His wife, daughter, and grandchildren complained about their terrible conditions, but Moshe was full of joy and hope – hope that this was only a temporary state and that he would receive work in his profession, as an accountant. He was already registered for more permanent housing in Romema.

Even these hopes came to pass. After living in their shack for close to a year, in the summer of 1950 the family moved to a house of their own in the Romema settlement. I visited them in their new home. Their joy knew no bounds, but none of us thought this would be the last time we would meet. A few days later, on his way to his daily work, he was hit by a truck and was fatally hurt. For three days, he hovered between life and death, and on 7 Tammuz 5710 (1950) he died.

Nechama Kolodny

by Moshe Yuz

Edited by Alisa Klaus




My aunt Nechama z”l was a resident of the village of Horodets. She was widowed early in life but she knew how to support her family in a dignified manner and looked after the education of her children. Everyone who engaged with her in matters of commerce knew how to value her honesty, her temperament and understanding.

When her son, Shmaryahu, now a watchman, called to her to make aliyah to the Land of Israel, she liquidated all of her assets and her business and made aliyah. In the Land of Israel, the crisis of assimilation did not pass over her, and she tasted tribulation. However, notwithstanding these difficulties, she learned Hebrew and became fluent through her day-to-day contact with her grandchildren.

The loss of her two sons darkened the last years of her life. She mourned them bitterly and from that time on, she lost interest in life.

On 18 Sivan 5720 (1960) she died at the age of 78. With her passing, we lost an interesting personality from the older generation, the Jews who lived in villages, who succeeded in creating islands of Jewish life in the sea of an alien Diaspora.

Asher Rabin

by D. Attstein

Edited by Alisa Klaus




At the age of 8, Asher Rabin lost his father, who died from the typhus that spread in the wake of the civil war in Russia. The education of the young boy was turned over to his grandfather, R' Pini, who diligently assured that his grandson would go in the straight path, a path of traditional Hasidism.

Members of Asher's family were among the first settlers of the city of Sarny, his grandfather having a large house on the Wide Boulevard. R' Pini was considered to be the senior among the Stolin Hasidim in our city, and the ardent Hasidim of Karlin flocked about him. This was a family with many branches who were highly visible in all the Jewish settlements adjacent to Sarny.

Asher's teacher also was drawn from the Karlin group. Asher was an understanding student, quick to learn, and the Rebbe did not give him much aggravation. The lad was quiet, was not quick to participate in games and the “battles” that the boys organized among themselves, but he liked to converse with the lads of his own age and carried on such conversations at length.

The lad was delicate in constitution; his body was not stout enough to face the assault of disease. Every sickness that could strike a child would stick with him and would sap his strength considerably, causing his mother, members of his household and relatives a great deal of worry.

The spirit of the times reached this literary town as well. Secular schools for education sprang up quickly. The first was a Russian-Jewish gymnasium, that later was transformed into the Tarbut elementary school. This school had many parallel classes with more than 500 students. It became the foundation on which various youth-oriented institutions grew: first Yaldei Tzion, and Agudat Dovrei Ivrit, and then HaShomer HaTza'ir, HeHalutz, and HeHalutz Hatza'ir. Then, because of Tarbut, a library was established in the city; Asher, who loved to read, was one of its earliest patrons. His father, while still living, was a book seller. After she was widowed, his mother continued in this occupation, especially in the sale of secular books to the students. Asher the lad loved to stick his nose into a shelf or a pile of books, and to take out a book and immerse himself in it. His grandfather did not prevent his grandson from reading, but only kept watch to ensure that he visited the shtibl and that his habits were in accordance with Jewish tradition.

While yet a lad of about fifteen, he began to feel the pressure to make a living. He did not suffer from want but he could not make peace with the fact that he was tied to his mother's table. He was accepted as an assistant at the local Merchants' Bank but he did not see a path for personal advancement as a bank employee.

He was a member of Freiheit, and one of the active ones in the local branch. As it happens, there are inner forces in the emotions of every human being which an observer cannot explain. Considering his aversion to making himself visible and his inculcation into the most stringent aspects of the tradition, it is difficult to understand why this retiring young man joined up with the newly organized Freiheit branch.

Those active in the town at that time were largely under the influence of the extreme left. The youth aligned itself with the MOFA'R section (the fund for the assistance of prisoners established by the communists). There were a few middle-of-the road people from the town who also joined them, the “Middle Class types,” as they were called in the jargon of that time. These were opposed to verbal revolutionary tactics and wished to become the leaders of proletarian youth. Everything outside of their area of interest was considered to be counterrevolutionary, bourgeois, and the like.

Klesow is located a few kilometers from Sarny and was the location of the renowned granite quarry. A small group of Halutzim came to this station, Klesow, with the purpose of engaging in the type of work that would prepare them for the life of a Halutz, and to prepare themselves to make aliyah to the Land of Israel.

These were the days after the crisis of the Fourth Aliyah in the Land of Israel. One by one, members were drawn to HeHalutz in Sarny, wanting to ensure the continuation of the movement. To this end, they began to draw in young boys and girls, and in this way the branch of HeHalutz HaTza'ir began to develop.

The Klesow experience captured the young people. It intensified the struggle that took place in the soul of each of them. Consequently, most of the youth organized itself into pioneering groups, each according to their differing forms. HaShomer HaTza'ir, HeHalutz Hatza'ir, and HeHalutz had already attracted hundreds of members. While all of these groups based themselves on the teachings of the Tarbut school, they also began to penetrate and influence the young working people. At the beginning, these groups were suspicious of the Freiheit youth group, which was established at the same time, as if they placed no value on the few young people organized in this way. Asher Rabin was one of those who carried the burden of the work in this organization.

It happened that the Labor League of the Land of Israel arranged a gathering of the young people in which emissaries from the Land of Israel participated. Members of our various youth organizations were invited from the “Middle Class segments,” and they came. The emissary from the Land of Israel who opened the proceedings talked to us about what was transpiring there. Every youth organization felt obligated, as was the custom in those days, for at least one representative to participate in the discussion. A number of such members spoke; at the end, the floor was given to the Freiheit branch representative, Asher Rabin. To this day, the impression of the speaker and his words remains alive in my memory. He had some difficulty speaking, as he spoke with a Hasidic sing-song. In rhythmic sentences, substantially thought out and persuasively delivered, he revealed himself to be knowledgeable, with a broad and encompassing view of the movement. And his overview was – the Zionist undertaking in the Land of Israel, as a means to provide for the education of the young. We sensed the truth of what he was saying, and all of us were surprised at the time. Thanks to that presentation, that evening Freiheit earned a full standing in the town, beside all our other pioneering institutions. From that time on, the ties between us were strengthened.

Within Freiheit itself, internal struggles developed over the fundamental question of what it meant to be a Halutz and how to implement it. A little at a time, the members of this organization transferred their allegiance to HeHalutz. Among the first to do so was Asher Rabin.

I did not work with him in the movement for very long. From training to work in the movement, I trailed behind that which was already done among the youth in the town. Asher's name was mentioned in every letter that reached us. He worked for a while for the Labor League of the Land of Israel, organizing, directing, and orienting the activities of HeHalutz. This was the crowning achievement of his work in the town, and it brought hundreds and hundreds of members to HeHalutz and to the Land of Israel. Many of these were the first to realize the Kibbutz initiative.

(From the Folio of 'Ramat Rachel')

Shmuel Zvi Sadah

by Yekhiel Salutsky

Edited by Alisa Klaus

Sadah came to Sarny during the years of anarchy, revolution and pogroms.

For him, the solution was Zionism – making aliyah by all means available. Even among his comrades, he was viewed as one who pushed the limits. We did not believe that the time had arrived for a mass aliyah, while he, speaking at gatherings of friends and in synagogues, maintained that it was necessary to get ready for aliyah immediately. In my view, and in the eyes of many others, Sadah was thought to be distracted by speculations.

As a result of his efforts, a Land of Israel Committee was established in Sarny. Its objective was to register all those who wanted to make aliyah immediately. He passed around questionnaires for everyone desiring to make aliyah to fill out. After about two hundred such forms were completed, Sadah traveled to Warsaw. Two months later, he let us know the names of the people in the first group to be granted the privilege of making immediate aliyah.

In the year 1921, a day after Purim, a group of 13 comrades left Sarny for Warsaw, and from there to the Land of Israel. After wandering for a month of days, on the Eve of Passover, we arrived at the port of Jaffa.

Then, on 1 May 1921, days of rioting and pogroms by the Arabs followed. We lived at the residence of Halutzim in Jaffa, where 12 dead fell and many were wounded. After a month, we got our first work in Petakh-Tikva: the excavation of ditches in parks, one of the most physically demanding of all the types of work. From the standpoint of physical capacity, Sadah was weak. In order not to fall behind in his work with other comrades he had to make an extra effort, that was generally greater than his own capacities. This had a deleterious effect on his health and he was compelled to abandon all forms of physical labor. He transferred to work at a library in Tel-Aviv and then, after a few years, to direct a school in Haifa.

He developed a heart ailment. After being confined for a few days in the hospital, he conveyed his wish to return home and be cared for by his wife. The doctors agreed to this. Even in the days when he was ill, he traveled to and from work by taxi. “I want to die during a lesson among my students,” was what he said. And this actually happened. One day, he suffered a heart attack during a lesson, returned home, went to bed, and never got up again. He was taken from his family and his many friends at the age of 54 on 16 Tevet 5709.

All the émigrés from Sarny and its vicinity, especially those who were close to him in those years, will remember his work in the Zionist organization and the efforts that he put into the first aliyah from Sarny, which paved the way for the many who made aliyah in later years.

Meir Stein

by Moshe Yuz

Edited by Alisa Klaus




He was a man of the people and was active in Tze'irei Tzion and a member of ORT, (Organization for Rehabilitation through Training) and TOZ (Society for Safeguarding of the Health of the Jewish Population). There was not a Zionist or cultural endeavor in the city in which he didn't take part.

Occasionally, he would neglect his living for the sake of community work. His home served as a focal point for various professional and cultural groups, even those that were anti-Zionist, and he was the spokesperson who confronted the anti-Zionists.

He was privileged to reach the Land of Israel in the year 1933, later bringing his wife and family to join him. The laundry that he opened on Rehov Scheinkin in Tel-Aviv served as a gathering place for émigrés from Sarny when they reached the Land, and he counseled many of the scions of our city.

He passed away on 8 Adar 5712.

Aharon Szmukler

by Shlomo Nevo

Edited by Alisa Klaus




A scion of Sarny, a Jewish and Zionist town in Volhynia, in Poland, and a product of the HeHalutz Hatza'ir youth movement, Aharon Szmukler left at the age of 16 to receive training as a Halutz in one of the training kibbutzim. Before he reached the age of 18, he left the town where he was born and reached the Land of Israel in 1928. He was among the founders of the Kibbutz Ramat HaKoveysh. After a number of years of belonging there, he left the Kibbutz and went out to embrace work in the orchards surrounding Kfar-Saba. After a short time, he joined a communications cooperative and settled in Giveat Rambam.

His desire was to bring his entire family to the Land of Israel. To this end, he even visited his home town near the outbreak of the Second World War. However, his wish was not realized. After the war, when the remnants of the family began to reach the Land of Israel, he received all of them in his house, concerned himself with providing for their needs and helped them with their initial steps in the Homeland.

He spent only two days in the hospital. He was uncomplaining in illness as he was in good health and did not inflict himself on any other person. On the day he died, on Independence Day, he still said to his children, who sat beside his bed: “Today is Independence Day, go see the parade.” On the evening of the same day he passed away.


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