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[Pages 109, Volume 2]

In Memory of the Departed

In memory of the sons of Tarnow who fell for the motherland

Translated by Daniel Kochavi

In the first volume of the “Tarnow” memorial book we remembered the heroic members of our town, who fell during the war of independence in 1948–1949.

Tarnow Jews also gave their precious lives in the Sinai campaign of 1956 and in the Six Days War in 1967.

Much to our regret we do not have the names of all the Tarnow soldiers, or of their parents, who fought and died on those fronts.

They all fought heroically….

Honor and praises to the Tarnow heroes!

Honor and condolences to their Tarnow parents!


[Page 113, Volume 2]

Yoseph Umanski z”l – devoted to Hebrew language

by Ben–Tzion Uman, Israel

Translated by Daniel Kochavi

 

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Yoseph Umanski, of blessed memory (z”l), was born on the 28 of Teveth (1870) in Ukraine. He received a traditional Torah–based education as well as a wide ranging one in all Jewish and general knowledge. He became a Zionist in his youth and was very devoted to Eretz Israel and to Hebrew.

More than seventy years ago when still living in Russia he asked Dr Mandelshtam in Kiev for permission to emigrate to Israel. He received a negative reply because Dr Mandelshtam doubted that he could support his wife and child there.

In 1903 (63 years ago) he obtained a permit from the Russian authorities to open a licensed Hebrew school in his home in Dubnow (Uman district, Kiev province?). A Jewish student named Krimeski(?) taught arithmetic and Russian in there Russian. This teacher was paid a salary but Umanski and two friends (David Weinstein, now in the USA, and Yoseph Wakselman who stayed in Russia) taught, free of charge, Talmud, literature, history etc in Hebrew using the Berlitz method. He spoke only Hebrew to the 3– and 4–years old children. In his home Hebrew was the main language spoken.

He hated the tsarists government and looked for ways to leave Russia. The opportunity came in 1906 when he was invited by the society of Hebrew teachers in Galicia and Bukovina to become a teacher and the principal of the Hebrew school in Vizhnitz, Bukovina.

Although he knew Yiddish, Russian and German he insisted on speaking only Hebrew with the Russian Jews from the day he left in1906– He insisted that every Jew must learn Hebrew. In the years 1906–08 he taught Hebrew as a teacher and principal in the Vizhnitz school (Bukovina?) near Lvov (in eastern Galicia) and starting in 1908 in Tarnow

[Page 114]

Western Galicia. For a time, he was active in the “Ha Mizrachi” federation in Tarnow and in 1911 he was chosen as a representative to the world “Ha Mizrachi” council that took place in Vienna. During the years of WWI, he lived in Vienna and taught Hebrew to the refugee children. He returned to Tarnow in 1918 and remained there until he emigrated to “Eretz Israel” (Palestine) in April of 1934.

For the first two years he lived in the “Genigar” settlement. There he taught Hebrew to the members' parents. His many students included professors, physicians, teachers and other well– known people who lived in Israel and in other countries.

While he was still in Russia he started writing about the “Amoraim” and published in 1896, in an anthology titled “Literary Treasure”, a comprehensive article “Stories of Rav**”. Later, while in Tarnow from 1929 till 1931, he published two books: “Levi Ben Sisi” and “Rav” that included the history of the “Amoraim” and their commentaries arranged alphabetically. In Israel the Rabbi Cook Foundation published in 1949–1951 two of his essays “Sages of the Talmud” that included all the Sages and detailed locations of where they appear in the Talmud. His other essays remained in his private papers.

He was very strict in observing the commandments, but respected people who had more liberal views. He lived a long and good life and was fortunate to see a fifth generation in Israel.

His memory will remain with us forever.


[Page 115, Volume 2]

Dr Shmuel Szpan of blessed memory (z”l)

by Yaakov Fleisher (From Rechavia)

Translated by Daniel Kochavi

We have lost one of our most revered members, an early Zionist in Galicia, beloved and respected by his friends and his rivals.

He was involved in Zionism from an early age, an exemplary leader– untouched by the pursuit of honors, dedicated totally to his public role– as a Zionist leader in western Galicia –and as an official and president of the Tarnow community.

Shmuel Szpan was a self–taught intellectual and lawyer.

 

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Dr Shmuel Szpan, z”l

 

He loved people, and fought courageously for justice and the rights of people and the simple Jew.

He considered his work not just a profession but a mission to be accomplished with devotion and zeal.

From 1913 on he participated in every Zionist congress as a representative from Western Galicia for many

[Page 116]

years. In that year (1913) he enjoyed his honeymoon in Eretz–Israel and, among other activities, he was involved in the founding of Rechavia.

In 1927 he became a member of the Congsay court till the start of WWII, and chairman of the parents committee of the Shomer Hatzair in his town; he worked tirelessly for all Pioneer youth movements; he was among the founders of the Hebrew school in Tarnow; the Hebrew cultural center, the popular Zionist library, named after him, which included all the literature related to the movements in the town, sports organization and more.

His personal efforts led to the Zionist victory in the Tarnow election and he was appointed head of that community. In that position he was active in the social area, establishment of a Jewish hospital, an orphanage, sport organizations and various charitable organizations.

During all this time he never gave up his desire for self–fulfillment and emigration to Israel. At the height of his career he and his family emigrated to Israel (1934) and then began the hard struggle to survive. The veteran leader limited his activity to the “committee of Tarnow emigrants” in Haifa; he established funds to assist needy emigrants. He also initiated the publication of a wide–ranging memorial book of the Tarnow Jewish community.

At the same time, he engaged in a daring attempt to become a farmer in spite of his age. We watched him near his home in Givat–Ada raising chickens, lambs and calves– full of the joy of creating.

Dr S. Szpan passed away at the age of 86. He died when mourning a friend in the committee of Tarnow emigrants at his house in Haifa.

People from all corners of the country attended his funeral –intellectuals and simple folks, from cities, villages and Kibbutzim. They all came to honor their friend in his ultimate journey.

(“Al Hamishmar” 14.3.67)


Daniel Leibl of blessed memory

by Krassel

Translated by Daniel Kochavi

Not long before best wishes for his 75th birthday came from all corners. All his admirers hoped that his scattered research would be gathered and published as one – but this was not to be.

Ten years ago, I met him and a friend in the “chambers” of Prof Shalom Baron, one of the great historians of our generation. I listened to a lively discussion about Tarnow (Tarnoff in Yiddish) where both grew up. He was born in Dembitz the town mentioned in the memorial book that he edited. But his youth was spent in Tarnow, a town that in the days of the enlightenment (Haskalah) was illuminated by the personality of Brandstetter.

[Page 117]

and the days of national awakening and the practical Zionism at the close of the 1890s: the “Ahavat Zion (Love of Zion)” society and the founding of Machanayim.

The next generation of the national and Hebrew–Zionist awakening was a group of Yeshiva youth, “Ha Shachar (The Dawn)”, that concerned itself with the growth of Hebrew and Zionism. Members of “Ha Shachar” dispersed –– some to Palestine as part of the second Aliyah (immigration in the 1920's) (Lofben and Dov Kimchi), some to “Chochmat Israel” (his childhood friend–I. Pris–Chour). But he was different. The youngest member of the group he was attracted to the “Poole Zion” movement at a young age. The “rabbis” were Yaakov Kenner and Yitzchak Shifer. As is well known, Tarnow was the cradle of the “Poale Zion”* movement in Galicia. However, those who were looking for wider horizons left and Leibel was one of them. He became active in the movement in Poland Especially in writing – in polemic publications and editing – all in Yiddish. He abandoned his research interest. Under the influence of Shifer he became interested in Yiddish research and a practical goal: developing a spelling system that he pioneered early on. In addition, he had a deep love of and wrote poetry (His Yiddish poetry was the main feature of a gathering in the early 1920s). Hence his interest in Bible tales and its treasures. In Poland, after WWI, he edited the “Poale Zion” newspaper and after the split in the movement he joined the leftist Poale Zion movement. He first met Bialik (a major Hebrew poet) in Berlin on his way to Palestine. They remained close friends until Bialik's death. His recollections of Bialik (in “Golden Chain”) are the most wonderful one's ever published. Bialik's influenced his participation in folklore. In Palestine he remained active in the leftist” Poale Zion” group and with the party he joined “Mapam” and then “United Labor “parties. While working with the newspaper “Davar” he participated in the Yiddish “Poale Zion” journals He also published under an assumed name, articles and investigations in “Davar”. (recall his article about Nathan Lowenstein, the guiding light of the assimilation in Galicia, published in “Davar” upon his death that included an in–depth account of the assimilation in Galicia as well as an elegy of this remarkable personality.)

He published his own poetry as well as translated poetry under an assumed name; among those was a translation of “Anhali” by Slobetsky (first in as part of the “Mincha” volume and later separately in 5722) He always yearned for free time to engage in reading and language research. He was able to achieve this goal after his retirement from “Davar” (an Israeli newspaper) several years ago. He moved to Jerusalem and then published results of his research that included the” hidden megillot”. These studies were remarkable in innovation and deep understanding of the mysterious connection between the text and the language that seemed to be unrelated. He enjoyed discussing topics of language and bible as well as current and past events. He was deeply interested in the many diverse topics threaded by a common silk – Jewish roots with varied implications for the past and present both.

(“Davar” 11 Adar I–5727)


[Page 118, Volume 2]

Zev Bloch (Webtchyu) z”l

by Y. Fleisher

Translated by Daniel Kochavi

He passed away in Bet Alpha on 6/26/1963 at the age of 64.

He was born in a village near Tarnow, Galicia that nurtured his love of nature and people. His superior intelligence was apparent already at a young age. He completed his early education in religious class and the “Kloyz” school in Tarnow.

A graduate of the Tarnow gymnasium he was one of the founders of “HaShomer Hatzair” in town. He was the leader of town group and one of the organizers of the Hagganah (defense troop) in Tarnow against the Polish thugs who ran wild when the new nation was founded at the end of WWI.

He was one of the first (and illegal) HaShomer Hatzair group of Olim (emigrants to Palestine) in January of 1920. He walked for a number of months through the Carpathians in Romania and reached Palestine on May 17,1920.

Here he labored in road building, in the Galil in Upper Bethania. He was one of the founders of “Shomrei Rishon” kibbutz, Bet Alpha and the National kibbutz. He went as an envoy to Romania and Poland. He was active in the National Kibbutz and in the Histadrut (worker organization) in the cultural and ideological areas. He lectured in Seminars, was a skilled publicist and wrote many articles and books. He was very devoted to the ideology of his movement.


Dr Naftali Szwarc z”l

by A.Kh.

Translated by Daniel Kochavi

He passed away in Tel Aviv at the age of 67 on November 18 1967. He was born in Tarnow to a family devoted to Zionism. A student in our town High School, he became acquainted with Judaism and Zionism.

After receiving a PhD in philosophy from the University of Vienna he went to work for a Jewish bank in Tarnow. After working as a banker, he moved to an Insurance company. His outstanding skills were quickly recognized and he became a senior member of insurance companies in Lvov and Warsaw.

Dr Naftali Szwarc was very active in the Zionist movement and various community affairs. During the debates in the 1930's concerning the merging of the “Histadrut” (Unity) and “Poale Zion” party's Dr Szwarc was one of the major leaders in the “Histadrut” movement in eastern Galicia which was opposed to this merger and remained committed to the “Hitachdut” as envisioned by A.D. Gordon.

Dr Naftali participated in several Zionist congresses and emigrated to Palestine in 1940. In Israel he worked at “Sneh” an Israeli insurance company.

[Page 119, Volume 2]

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From the left: Naftali Szwarc, Shmuel Vandstein

 

After some time, he occupied an important position in this company. He published several books on insurance issues and was a lecturer at the “Insurance Institute”.

Until his death Dr Naftali Szwarc was active in the National council for the prevention of traffic accidents and was a member of the Israel organization of insurance companies.

His friends and acquaintances valued his integrity and simplicity.


In memory of Ehud Shachar (Schwarz)

by A.Kh.

Translated by Daniel Kochavi

Ehud Shachar (Schwarz) was born in the year 5696 (1936) in Kibbutz Merchavia. His father Aron (Artek) Schwarz, a native of Tarnow, became an active member of “The Shomer Hatsair” after WWI in his native town. He emigrated to Palestine in 5685 (1925) and settled in Merchavia with his wife, Eliza, member of the Zaberski family, one of the founders of this Kibbutz.

Ehud studied at Merchavia Institute. He was, even as a youngster, “a mischievous and brave Tsabar (native Israeli)”[1]

In August 1954 he enlisted in Tzahal (Israel Armed forces). He was killed during the Gaza battle on 7 Adar 5715(February 28 1955). He was 19.

His parents, relatives and friends in the Kibbutz mourn him deeply.

[Page 120]

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Ehud Schachar (Swarch) z”l

 

His father–Artek recited the following at his funeral:

Ehud, Ehud
We raised and taught you
We gave you all we could,
We taught you to overcome the hardest trials,
However, you overcame at much too high a price
We are proud of you.
You fell while doing your duty, as we taught you.
They came from all parts of the land to honor you as befits you.
You left us broken and shattered.
For your sake, honor and memory we will go on living and working
in the spirit that we taught you
Goodbye dear son Ehud, rest in peace.[2]

His friends from the kibbutz also eulogized him: “Ehud was always the first to carry out the most difficult tasks required, with great joy, eagerness, devotion and great productivity”.

Ehud was “a faithful member of the movement, devoted to the homeland, society, the Kibbutz, his family and his beloved group and all its members”. [2]

His girl–friend from the Kibbutz wrote in the memorial pamphlet:

“He fell heroically and we are proud of him. We will continue our just fight to go on with life, and achieve the just peace we long for. Ehud will remain in our memories forever.” [2]

We people of Tarnow are also proud of him, Ehud Schachar (Schwarz) Son of Artek Schwarz, a native of Tarnow.


Original footnotes

  1. From the eulogy by his friends at his burial (Pamphlet in memory of Ehud Schachar published by “Hashomer Hatzair” Merchavia) Return
  2. From the memorial pamphlet mentioned above. Return

 

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