A. Z. Berlinsky
by Shlomo Zandweiss
Edited by Karen Leon
R' Azriel-Leib ben R' David Berlinsky arrived in Sarny with is wife, Batya, in the year 1900, from Zhitomir, with the beginning of the building of the city.
As a young man, full of energy and effort, he began to engage in his profession the development of forest products from the forests of the area. Together with his respected and prosperous partners, the Messrs. Lev and Yaakov Alexandrov, he was among the first of the builders of the city.
As the city prospered, so did the economic and family circumstances of Berlinsky. Sons and daughters were born to him. He built a house that was generously appointed, that was open to all passing guests. Together with his wife, they opened their hands to the poor, and they gave to the indigent, because by nature, R' Azriel was a man of justice and good heart, and because of this, he was loved and respected by others.
And, in this way, all went well with him, until the outbreak of The First World War in the month of Av 5674 (1914). The news of the killing and destruction coming from the front, of the Czarist Cossacks aggravated the gentle soul of R' Azriel.
As is known, from Av 5674 (1914) to the summer of 5675 (1915), and invasion of German-Austrian forces penetrated Wolhyn. The Russian forces suffered severe defeats. The front drew closer to Sarny. In the months of Elul-Tishri a great panic and fear arose and spread through the city. On the one side, many families left the city, and went off to Kiev and other places inside Russia. And on the other side, a stream of refugees began to come into Sarny, with their effects, from the areas around the front.
R' Azriel experienced great difficulties in dealing with the question of whether to leave to Kiev or Zhitomir, or to remain in Sarny, or perhaps to leave for some nearby village, and wait for the storm of war to pass.
And it was on 23 Elul 5675 (1915) that retreating Cossack brigades began to enter the city. When he saw them passing beside his house, he fell, fainting beside his window, and gave up the his gentle soul, he being only 46 years old.
by Yekhiel Salutsky
Edited by Karen Leon
Moshe'l, dem Shokhet's was a relaxed and pleasantly tempered individual. His courteous demeanor to the public at large, came from his father's house, Ziskind, the Ritual Slaughterer and Meat Inspector who wanted to train him to take over his work once he had himself retired. But Moshe'l the son thought otherwise. The big city drew him, and he left Sarny in order to find his purpose in life, in the big city of Warsaw.
After he returned from Warsaw, Moshe'l participated in community work and Zionist activity in the city. With the outbreak of the First World War, and the changes in régime that ensued after it, the waves of refugees began to flood the town. Also, the economic circumstances of the residents of the city dropped precipitously, and there was a need for pressing assistance. Moshe'l Gamerman committed himself to this work. He gave special attention to orphans and hungering children.
With the establishment of the Joint committee in Sarny, Moshe'l was designated as the director of the central office. He excelled at his position, and earned the trust of the populace and the senior leadership.
With the change in régime, Moshe was arrested by the Russians for his responsible position at the Joint. After long and drawn out investigations, during which the innocence of his deeds and good deeds were revealed, he was released from imprisonment.
In the end, the city of Sarny became included within the borders of Poland. Zionist activity was renewed, the Halutz movement arose, and preparations were begun for the aliyah of the first group of Sarny youth. Moshe, and his choice of life partner, Bayl'keh were picked to be part of this group.
On the Eve of Passover in the year 5681, he reached the Land of Israel, and was active there for more than eight years. In establishing a family, he had a daughter. His life in The Land was hard, and at the advice of his uncle, he emigrated to Africa, but even there, he found no surcease. After three years, he returned to The Land, and looked for opportunities to settle there. When he returned to Africa, he took to bed ill, and did not get up from there.
May his memory be for a blessing.
by Yaakov Cuk
Edited by Karen Leon
About three of four Glekl brothers lived in Sarny. Most of them worked at wagon drivers. When we came to live in the neighborhood of Mr. Yitzhak Glekl, he was no longer involved with wagon-driving, even though he had a solitary horse that stood in his stable.
I was drawn to R' Yitzhak, and I would imitate his deeds, because of his efforts, and I wanted to open and found home-based workplaces.
R' Yitzhak was frail in body, and was particularly plagued by asthma, which made him try to spend his time in fresh air. At the outset, his house served as a home for members of his family, but in the fulness of time, additions and modifications were added, until its appearance was not recognizable.
In Sarny, as was the case in the remaining towns of Wolhyn, matzos for Passover were baked by hand. Tens of young girls and women, boys and men, waited with anticipation for the matzo season, that began with the end of the Purim holiday, and continued up to the Eve of Passover. And here, R' Yitzhak brought a revolution to the matzo baking process. Instead of rolling out the matzos by hand he brought machines from the capitol city, that eliminated manual labor, and increased production.
The year after this, came a second revolution. Instead of running the machines by hand, R' Yitzhak Glekl built a wooden wheel, of large diameter, which he moved with the help of a horse. This wheel was connected to a transmission that moved the machinery. In this way, the manual labor, in preparing matzos in Sarny, was almost totally eliminated.
The residents of the city accepted these changes in work, with the assessment that here was a case of technology having reached even their town. It was only the Stolin Hasidim who continued to bake their Shmura Matzo by hand, while singing various hymns and the inspiration that comes with ecstasy.
The big wheel didn't rest for a very long time. R' Yitzhak Glekl put up a mill for grinding flour, and a machine to cut up straw. Once again the clacking of the millstones was heard, and the throbbing of the machinery. The yard became full of the wagons of farmers, and the quite street pulsed with life.
People with initiative, and ideas were drawn to R' Yitzhak. They would come to propose a variety of ideas and business propositions. In the decade of the 20's of our century [sic: the twentieth] and expert in the manufacture of combs came to him. The city, at that time was cut off from the capitol, and one could not find combs there, and R' Yitzhak went into partnership in a comb manufacturing facility. The entire vicinity began collecting animal horns, and horses' hooves. Ovens and boilers were added to the rooms. In place of the big wheel, a less big wheel was installed, which, in this instance was being run by a boy from the outside. Once again, the transmission moved, and the machines for polishing the material and cutting it could be heard in the distance, as a sound of shrieking and tumult that was deafening to the ears. But the neighbors accepted this noise with affection, because they knew that soon this new manufacturing facility would enrich the city.
R' Yitzhak Glekl's yard was a wellspring and foundation for us young people. At every opportunity, we would enter it, and come to visit. Occasionally, especially in the off seasons, we would be invited inside to look after the horse, or run the wheel. Works of this nature ???
R' Yitzhak Glekl and his wife were modest people. Never did they lord it over others, and in a self-effacing manner, would regularly extend help to the needy.
Their two sons, Mordechai and Yaakov, were educated in Torah and taught to work. The eldest son, Mordechai, educated at a Yeshiva and Teachers' Seminary, served as a Headmaster, and ran Tarbut schools throughout the cities of Wolhyn. The son, Yaakov, continued in the family tradition baking of bread and matzos.
by Sh. Zandweiss
Edited by Karen Leon
From the rich gallery of genuine personality types that the shtetl possessed, the persona of Miriam Gittl stands out, or, as she was called, Asher Getzl'ikheh after the name of her husband Asher Getzl, a Jewish woman who committed herself to the giving of Tzedakah silently, and without fanfare.
Miriam Gittl had internalized within herself, the ancient just Jewish value of Matan Baseyser. She knew all of the poor people in the city, and she would quietly help them out, assuring that none of them would know from where the assistance came.
When I came to know her, she was an elderly woman, close to sixty. She had the good-humored smiling face of a Righteous Woman, from which there shone a surfeit of goodness. She was always dressed cleanly. Her modesty had not the slightest trace of artificiality to it. Whether it was in her relationships, or in her deeds, she was authentically natural.
Miriam Gittl constantly looked after her poor people and for her sick people, but Thursday and Friday were the two days when she worked the most. How could she take it easy, with the nearing of the Holy Sabbath, and one had to worry, God forbid, that her poor and sick people not be without something or another. So she would go out into the city at large, to gather up whatever she could obtain. And she achieved good results when she gathered donations for the Sabbath and Festival Holidays.
Asher Getzl'ikhehheld that all Jews, without exception, whether they are the ones who give, or the ones who take, have to welcome the Holy Sabbath in a respectful manner, as God had ordered, with meat and fish, with Challah and wine for Kiddush. And if the poor people don't have this well then those with means have to help, and this is one of the greatest mitzvot in the Torah.
Asher Getzl'ikheh, was religiously very observant. Apart from the mitzvot of Tzedakah, she went every day to pray at the Stolin synagogue, morning and evening, carrying with her, the large Korban Mincha Siddur.
She had a friend, who was the second most religiously observant Jewish woman in the city. She was called Machlah Mush'keh's (the sister of R' Zadok and Pinchas Zandweiss). Both were very ardent followers of the Rebbe of Stolin, the Rebbe, R' Israel'keh Perlov. The week during which R' Israel'keh was in Sarny, they practically could not be found at home. They prepared the Tisch foods for the Rebbe and his Hasidim, and they felt fortunate when they could hear the prayers and Hasidic folk tales about the miracles performed by saintly Tzaddikim, and at the very least, from a distance, be able to gaze on the venerable countenance of the Rebbe.
The Righteous Woman, Asher Getzl'ikheh passed away in Sarny during the years of the Petlura pogroms, when a typhus epidemic raged through the city, which at that time, had cut short the lives of any number of tens of Sarny residents.
In her old age, the Righteous Woman, Machlah, emigrated to America in the years 1922-23 to her children, together with her husband, Eliezer Frenkel.
by Shlomo Zandweiss
Edited by Karen Leon
My father was one of the first of those who took up residence in Sarny, and one of its activists. He gave a hand in the building of the first institutions such as: The Synagogue of the Stolin Hasidim, the synagogue on the Polesia side, Hevra Kadisha, [Hevra] Shas, Tehilim, etc. He was a member of the board of the first bank in Sarny, The Sarny Mutual Credit Group. In a like fashion, he was known as a praiseworthy leader of prayer, making the singing pleasurable, among the ??? in the Rebbe's courtyard. No event of any significant came up in our house that did not include a prior consultation with the ADMOR of Stolin, R' Israel'keh Perlov kmz. Whether in the instance of a happy event, or a time of trouble, our father vg would immediately turn to the Rebbe to solicit advice. And my father followed this tack also before he took the decision to uproot himself from Bereznica, after the great conflagration there, as a result of which, our family as well, remained without a roof over their heads, left naked, and having lost everything. My father left the members of the family with our relative, R' Mordechai Winiar in D¹browica, and himself set his sights on going to Stolin to the Rebbe. The Rebbe's advice was to take up residence in Sarny, in which the construction of the new railroad tracks for the Kiev-Kovel' railroad had begun to be constructed.
We packed up the pillows, the coverings, and whatever was left for us, we seated the members of the family into a wagon, and we reached Sarny. Where were we to lodge until we find a residence? Experience said, it should be with people whom we knew. The family found temporary refuge in the home of R' Naphtali Goldman, the son of the Rabbi, R' Yom-Tov Simcha, the Rabbi of Lohyszyn, who had taken up residence in an expansive house not far from the crossroads. Our father vg began to investigate the railroad station. Merchants began to turn to him in connection with matters requiring intermediation, buying and selling of wood products, train fixtures, etc. The level of commerce developed, and there was enough earnings to be had, that withing a relatively short period of time, it was possible to approach the task of building a residence [for ourselves].
As the Good Lord helped with making a living, and the children got bigger with the passage of the years, we reached to period of call to military service, and to arrange marriages. It is understood at the outset, that in connection with all of these important matters, it was necessary to travel to Stolin and seen the counsel of the Rebbe. In addition to all of the Sabbaths and Festival Holidays, which were considered obligatory visits to the Rebbe, which included: The High Holy Days, the first candle night of Hanukkah, the feast of Purim, Shavuot, and all memorial days, the Yahrzeits of all of the Tzaddikim, R' Aharon HaGadol, and R' Asher kmz, to all the weddings, the ritual circumcisions of all sons and grandsons, and other celebrations in the courtyard of the Rebbe. It emerged somehow, that our father vg would spend most of the festival days and the rest of his days of leisure in the courtyard of the Rebbe in Stolin.
In general, our mother was not entirely amenable to all of this, and she had right on her side. For most Sabbaths and Festival Holidays, she would be left alone at home with the children. In addition to this, she would exhaust herself before every holiday, because the Hasidim, as was their custom, would stop off at our house on their way to the Rebbe.
Or the Rebbe, in his personal eminence, when coming to Sarny, would lodge with us. My father possessed all of the means to mollify our mother. When he returned from the Rebbe, he would bring beautiful presents home, and especially for her. However, all of this did not help, until he promised her, ??? that when a toast was drunk, that half the reward that comes from the mitzvah would be reserved for the future to come.
My father obtained special considerations from the Rebbe, who would bestow important missions on him. The Rebbe especially valued the Hasidim of Sarny, and gave my father the task of finding a house for him in Sarny, on the Polesia side, not far from our own house. After the Rebbe died, in the year 1921, the house was sold to the Cirulnik family. When the nobleman of Stolin was compelled to sell off part of his estate for development, he turned to the Rebbe, and asked his advice in which he asked for a proposal of a person from there, to deal with the division of the land and its sale. The Rebbe invited our father in a flash, so that he could accept the task of directing this undertaking. Together with Zorkhowicz, our father engaged in this sale over the course of several years.
In the year 1919 when the cohorts of the Polish Army the soldiers of General Haller penetrated into Sarny, they arrested tens of Jews, among them my father and myself. After days of torture in the place were we were incarcerated, we were sent in sealed train cars to the prison in the city of Kovel'. When we entered the dark and damp dungeons of the prison, I asked: Father, is this the Torah, and is this its reward? but how re we better he replied to me from those who are more righteous than we are: Joseph the Tzaddik, the author of the Tanya and others, and if they received their lot in love, how much more must that apply to simple Jewish people like ourselves.
His heart prophesied to him that he would not emerge from this incarceration in a peaceable manner. While still in Sarny, after we had absorbed terrifying beatings by the Polish gendarmes, who cut off his beard and side locks, he begged me to bend over and to gather up the strands of hair from the floor, and to bury them with his remains, after he died.
From the prison in Kovel', we were sent to the concentration camp in Wadowice, There we contracted the spotted typhus, and on 28 Av 5679 (1919) my father, R' Zadok ben R' Asher Chaim zl, expired. He was 52 years old when he died.
After my father's death, my mother, Dvorah-Kars'l zl continued to run the house as before, and reached the age of 75.
This beautiful and respected lady did not earn the privilege of a natural death; she was taken to the killing valley together with all of the Jews of Sarny, and was murdered in those terrible days of the Holocaust, 14-15 Elul 5702.
by the Committee
Edited by Karen Leon
[Translator's Note: This section appears as two identical pieces of writing, in the original Yizkor Book, once in Hebrew and once in Yiddish. Only one English translation is provided below.]
The scions of Sarny and its vicinity who made aliyah to The Land of Israel before the outbreak of the Second World War, were largely members of Zionist and Halutz-oriented organizations. Immediately upon their arrival in The Land, they were absorbed into the social and economic ranks of the Yishuv, and became fully vested citizens with all the applicable responsibilities.
The attempts on the part of individual landsleit to organize the emigres from our vicinity into a societal construct did not succeed because of the general opposition to the idea of landsmaschaften.
The idea of creating a Sarny Union developed after the Second World War, when the surviving remnants of the Great Catastrophe began to come into The Land. The arrival of the survivors in The Land made the size of the tragedy that befell the entire community, and each individual separately, that much more real. The heartbreaking stories that were told about this catastrophe, by those who were saved, and what had happened to our families, deepened the feeling of solidarity in the profound need to provide a collective-community expression of the shared sadness and sorrow.
As soon as Sarny was liberated from the Nazi occupation, the remnants of those who were saved emerged from their hiding places in the forests. And when that remnant of the saved began to concentrate in the destroyed city, they gathered together at the mass grave on 14 Elul 5704, 1944, for the occasion of the second Yahrzeit, and carried out a memorial event in honor of the martyrs.
Those who were saved and who reached the American occupied zone in Germany, conducted a memorial service there also. It was this group that originated the idea to organize the survivors, and to unite in a partnered initiative.
When the gates of Israel were opened, and the survivors of Sarny and its vicinity streamed into The Land, the memorial service of 14 Elul 5709, 1949, the seventh Yahrzeit to honor the martyrs, was conducted in Tel-Aviv for the first time. Those who participated in the memorial service were varied. People came from the Third and Fourth Aliyah, the elderly from the towns, people from the Moshav and Kibbutzim, and most importantly, the new olim, who saved themselves from the Nazi talons. They all brought with them the idea to memorialize permanently, the memory of the martyrs and the community, and to erect a monument for Sarny. It was a community in which a substantive Jewish life blossomed and thrived, full of ardor and commitment, in which our martyrs were born, were raised, fought for their existence and human rights, and in which they met their gruesome death.
At the memorial service the following year, in 1950, The Organization of Emigres from Sarny & Its Vicinity in Israel, was established, and its first Committee was elected.
The members of the Society are spread throughout various parts of The Land, in the cities, villages, Moshavim and Kibbutzim. The list of the members has been included in this book. We think, however, that this list is not yet full, because despite our consistent approaches to people, many of our landsleit haven't reached an understanding with us. Also, we are sad to say that despite our efforts, we have not been able to implement contact with our landsleit outside the country, especially with those who remained in the Soviet Union and the People's Democratic countries, with whom our contact has been broken.
In addition to the memorial services which are conducted and observed annually, and have been transformed into a sacred tradition, the landsmanschaft has done a great deal to create a permanent memorial to the memory of the martyrs. Here are a number of the important steps taken:
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