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[Page 330, Volume 2]

Tarnow Jews in Israel and Abroad

 

10th of Tevet, General Day of Kaddish
and Remembrance of the Community of Tarnow

by Tzvi Ezrachi, Tel Aviv

Translated by Hannah Hochner

Edited by Yocheved Klausner

On the 10th of Tevet, the General Day of Kaddish, a memorial ceremony was held at the Moriah public school in Tel Aviv, with the participation of Holocaust survivors. In addition, the first step at memorializing the Holy Tarnow Jewish community was carried out.

At 8:00 am, Dr. Z. Kasif, a native of Tarnow, spoke about the city of Tarnow and its Jewish community. The 6th, 7th, and 8th graders were extremely moved by Dr. Kasif's words. At 12:00 noon, Dr. Avraham Chomet, Mr. Eliezer Hadas, Mr. Yosef Cornilu, and Mr. David Schif, representatives of the Natives of Tarnow Association, appeared before the children.

The 4th thru 8th grades school children gathered in the school's courtyard. The Aron Hakodesh (The Holy Ark with the Torah scrolls) was brought outside and they recited the afternoon prayer, Minha. The children learned mishnayot and recited Psalms in memory of Tarnow residents who perished in the Holocaust, may God avenge their blood.

Girls from the 7th grade read a report about Tarnow Jews, that they had written following interviews with Dr. Chomet and Mr. Cornilu about the Tarnow Jewish community that was wiped out by the Nazis. Mr. Malchiel, the school principal, spoke about the importance of memorializing this special, holy community. The teacher Tzvi Ezrachi, a Tarnow native, read the Memory Scroll.

The ceremony was brought to a close with the recitation of Kaddish by Tarnow natives.

 

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Religious articles from destroyed synagogues in Tarnow i collected by I. Bergman in Tarnow

[Page 331, Volume 2]

The Activity of the Tarnower Landsmanschaft[1] in Montreal

by Ahron Szporn (Montreal, Canada)

Translated by David Schonberg

The Tarnower Landsmanschaft in Montreal has behind it rich and worthy activities–accomplishments and since its founding in 1949 it has been led by the writer of these lines.

With strict punctiliousness there has been observed the fundamental principle of the Landsmanschaft: to commemorate each year the Yizkor [memorial] ceremony for our Tarnow heroes and martyrs. But, at the same time is also placed great weight upon the full realization of our further tasks. Thus we have tried to assist fellow Tarnowians who immigrated to Israel and had to struggle with the first difficulties of organising themselves in their new circumstances (conditions). With whole–hearted warmth (friendliness, cordiality) we have tried to keep a brotherly contact with all the various existing landmanschaft organizations of Tarnow Jews, in different countries. Till today we take every opportunity to participate in each event, in whatever form as may be, whose goal is to memorialise our Tarnow Jewry.

Thanks to the warm collegial (friendly) atmosphere which is manifest in our landmanschaft, we have been able to create a pleasant homely centre, as a symbol of our one time colourfully–rich Jewish community in Tarnow.

Of the fairly small number of Tarnow Jews who currently live in Montreal (approximately 30 families) they are almost all, with minor exceptions, members in our landmanschaft and there is a feeling of friendly closeness which unites us in sorrows and joy. At every opportunity, with the shared energies of our brothers and sisters belonging to the landmanschaft, is expressed our readiness to take part in every help–act (event) for the benefit of the survivors of Tarnow Jewry, and we respond with full devotion to every call (appeal), that comes to us and not merely from our landsleit (fellow townsmen) in Israel… We are always to be found in the ranks of those of the Jewish people who demonstrate by acts (actions) their warm and cordial feelings towards the State of Israel.

In the successful activities of our landmanschaft, we have much

[Page 332, Volume 2]

to thank the circle of our wives who have taken upon themselves the concern and the yoke to create the financial means that enable us to fulfil our tasks. It is worthwhile to note, that in America and in Canada has been introduced in the social organisations that upon the women lies the duty to be concerned with the finances of the organisation, and carrying this out though arranging various happenings (events) to bring in the necessary funds. In this area have the wives of the Tarnow landmanschaft have excelled with full devotion, in particular in arranging the traditional,

 

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Tarnow landmanschaft in Montreal

Seated from right, the women: Sala Geller, Regina Bleiweiss (Kaner), Mina Gelernter, Ahron Szporn [the author], Ruza Schildkraut, Klara Weizer
Standing, from the left: Abraham Goldman (Flink), Chaim Rubenstein, Moshe Birman (Nusboim), Eliezer Bienenstock z'l (passed away in 1968)– yvl'a[2] Regina Hazelberg (Roth), Ephraim Gelernter, David Weizer, Herschel Ziss, Mendel Hazelberg (Hoenig), Zalek Bleiweiss (Ziskind) and Shlomo Schildkraut

[Page 333, Volume 2]

already larger event–undertaking, which they carry out, year–by–year (yearly) with great success,

As I have earlier pointed out, the commemoration (marking) of the memorial–day for our kdoshim (the holy ones) of Tarnow is at the centre of our activities. Every year, when the day of the 26th Sivan draws near, we feel a deep sadness in our hearts… A sadness that brings us back to our memories– thoughts of our Tarnow home, that was cut down– where Jewish energy, Jewish spirit, Jewish creative force could be seen in every corner of the town.

With sorrow and pain in our hearts we remember on the Yizkor (memorial) day our Tarnow Jews, who were put to death so brutally by the German murderers. In this Yizkor (memorial) day we honour the memory of our tortured fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, children and friends.

They will always remain in our memory… Our landmanschaft will scrupulously observe the memorial–day for our Tarnow kdoshim (holy martyrs).

 

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Tarnow landsleit from New York and Montreal in a [joint] gathering in Montreal in July, 1965

On the photo: Family Berger from New York, Family Tellerman from New York,
Family Lebenkorn from Bridgeport, Ahron Szporn, Family Goldman, Family Bleiweiss and Family Geller

 

Translator's footnotes:
  1. Organization of people from the same town Return
  2. May be separated for long life Return


[Page 334, Volume 2]

From the Landsmanschaft in Toronto

by Abraham Singer (Toronto)

Translated by David Schonberg

Details as to the founding to the Tarnower Landsmanschaft in Toronto and its activities we already gave over in Volume 1 of the Yizkor–bukh (Memorial book), ‘Tarnow’ that was published in 1954.

In the 14 years of our existence we didn't save (conserve/ limit) any energy and efforts to fulfil our tasks, thus we held close contact with our brother–organisation in Montreal, which was

 

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Ahron Szporn and his grandchild, Chaiml, at his Bar–Mitzva celebration in Montreal in 1968

[Page 335, Volume 2]

since its founding in 1948 led by our important, and so worthy and devoted community leader– activist, Ahron Szporn.

How much he is valued (appreciated) and loved amongst all of the survivors of the Tarnow Jewry, not just by us here in Canada, was shown by the cordial greetings (wishes) and blessings that he received not long ago on the occasion of the bar–mitzva of his grandson, Chaiml…

The bunch of survivors from our Jewish Tarnow, that managed to reach the shores of Canada, could not forget the terrible Churban (holocaust– lit. destruction) of the Jewish Tarnow that was cut down and thus we, those that found our way to Toronto, Tarnow Jews– exactly as in Montreal– we kept together in our Tarnow Landsmanschaft together we grieved after our annihilated (destroyed) fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters..

With reciprocal (mutual) help we tried to overcome the various difficulties of ordering ourselves in life and work conditions.

And the most important: Thanks to the Landsmanschaft we didn't feel alone there was something of continuation of our old Tarnow home, that was so cruelly destroyed by the Nazi murderers and their accomplices.

We didn't forget our needy landsleit (fellow townsmen) who by hundreds of miracles were saved and still had to wait in Tarnow for the opportunity to go away (wander– refugees) from their now–destroyed home and especially we tried to assist our Tarnower brothers and sisters, who went (oleh– immigrated) to Israel and needed help in arranging themselves.

But the greatest efforts we always made, when it was concerning help for Israel. On every call we answered with broad hands (generosity) and a readiness to sacrifice. It is enough to show the fact that in the charity event after the 6–day War our Landsmanschaft with its small number of members, collected 1,100 dollars– besides the sums that each of us contributed to this goal, privately and in the synagogues and several social–public organisations and professional associations.

And in the end I would also like to mention (recall) that exactly as we were active, took part and assisted in the giving out of the first volume of the Yizkor–bukh (Memorial book), ‘Tarnow’

[Page 336, Volume 2]

also now we understood the importance of the work for the second volume and we have with our constricted (limited) powers added a few bricks to the holy monument to our one–time lovely Jewish Tarnow town.

Of course, we could have done a lot more in various areas of our tasks in the Landsmanschaft of Tarnow Jews in Toronto. But this in a large extent is dependent upon our Tarnow landsleit … Let us hope, that in the future our activities will increase (grow) and there will be greater interest in our Landsmanschaft and thus we will be able to develop broader activities for the benefit of the she'eris hapleita (the remnants– the survivors) of Tarnow Jewry that has been cut–down… For the efforts to observe the memory of our past dear Jewish town of Tarnow and primarily for the benefit of our State of Israel.


[Page 337, Volume 2]

From the Tarnow Landsmanschaft in New–York

by L. Gottleib (New–York)

Translated by David Schonberg

 

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Leon Gottleib

 

As to the Landsmanschaft of Tarnow Jews in New–York and its activities until approximately 1955 a great deal has been written already in the first volume of the of the Yizkor–bukh {Memorial boo], ‘Tarnow’.

Notwithstanding the good and useful help and work of Tarnow landsleit in New–York, which since 1945 has been organised within the framework of the ‘Relief Committee of Tarnow and Outlying Areas’, in favour of our brothers who came in the post–War immigration stream, and also for the Sh'erit ha–Pletah [Surviving Remnant] of Tarnow Jewry who built for themselves a new life in Israel, or those who still were in Poland – unfortunately in later years this significant work has of the Relief Committee has declined. There has been a waning of interest for the tasks of the organisation which had a very lose character lacking organisational structure and in particular lacking funds to pay monthly costs. Without labouring a sad fact though, there is today in New York and surrounding area about 1000 Tarnow Jews it is not possible to bring together a few tens of landsleit to a gathering and when a meeting of the Relief Committee is called, to which belong 15 members, only between 3 and 7 come to the meeting.

The result of this is that the relief finds itself in a very difficult financial situation. We cannot even allow ourselves to rent a premises for

[Page 338, Volume 2]

a gathering or meeting as the costs can reach between 25 to 140 dollars. In such a situation it is no wonder that not once we have found ourselves in a situation that we cannot answer to requests for help, which come even now from different directions from Tarnow landsleit. The main reason for this, as we have earlier mentioned, is that one pays no monthly contribution to make a fund for even a limited relief–work.

In general, there is –amongst our Tarnow landsleit– a tendency to forget their former Jewish home in Tarnow… a tendency to run away from memories of the tragic past that enwraps the dreadful nightmare of hell – the life that was, at the time of the Nazi occupation… and thereby one has a pretext not to come to a Yizkor event, which we arrange each year in order to commemorate the memory of our lovely Jewish town, of which nothing has remained.

Difficult and full of responsibility is the task of the few members of our Relief Committee. Despite all the obstacles which we face in our activities we try to explain to our Tarnow landsleit that the bloody wounds have not yet been healed and the tears for our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, children and friends, have not yet dried out– they who the Nazi murderers bestially annihilated, gassed, burned or buried alive.

Therefore we call from this place all our Tarnow landsleit wherever they may be, not to forget the cruel Churban (Holocaust) of the Tarnow Jewish community… and in particular we call upon our Tarnow Jews in New–York, one time a year, to hallow the memorial day of the [mass]death of Tarnow Jewry. Let us hope that Tarnow Jews of New York and its vicinity will follow our call to come together on the Yizkor day to unite with the souls of Tarnow's kaddishim, holy ones, who were killed.


[Page 339, Volume 2]

From the Tarnower Landsmanschaft in Paris

by Abraham Chomet

Translated by David Schonberg

The activities of the Tarnower landsmanschaft in Paris have been very vibrant and valued.

Since 1948 the Tarnower landsmanschaft in Paris has gone under the name ‘Friends of Tarnow and Its Vicinity’ which gave out in 1966 a modest Memorial book in Yiddish and French, with a preface by the active public figure in the Paris Tarnow circles, Shlomo Klapholtz. As he states in his preface to the above–mentioned Memorial book, whose Yiddish section has 40 pages, the Tarnower landsmanschaft in Paris has dual goals – material and cultural. Thus an important place in its activities, besides help for the Land of Israel, has been the matter of a cemetery, which in the particular local circumstances has been a complicated issue, since the Jewish community has not a Jewish cemetery of its own and each Jewish landsmanschaft need buy or lease for a long term a particular site in the general cemetery and there build (develop) a burial place for its members on their passing.

As we learn from the above–mentioned Memorial book the committee of the Tarnow landsmanschaft in Paris has developed (built) in the general cemetery a burial site for itself with a matzeiva that overlooks it which, at the same time, serves as a monument to the memory of the Tarnow Jewish heroes and k'doshim [holy ones, martyrs].

There are also incised there the names of the Tarnow leaders who died as martyrs [al kiddush haShem – sanctifying G–d's name].

The Tarnow Jews in Paris– states Shlomo Klapholtz at the end of his preface ‘try to carry out faithfully the duties that they took upon themselves at the foundation of the association in the framework of their possibilities’.


[Page 340, Volume 2]

From the Tarnower Landsmanschaft in Israel

by Abraham Chomet

Translated by David Schonberg

In Tel–Aviv

The Tarnower Association in Tel–Aviv has developed regular activities. Besides the annual commemorations in memory of the destroyed Tarnow Jewry which has already become a tradition, once or twice a year we have a gathering of Tarnow landsleit.

The charity [gemillus chesed] fund, handled with exemplary order, gives out non–interest loans with light payment terms–conditions.

Together with the Yad Vashem activity to adopt destroyed communities by Israeli schools the State religious school Moriah in Tel–Aviv has adopted our cut–down community, the Jewish Tarnow of the past.

In order to move forward the decision of this school to adopt the Tarnow community much was done (brought to bear) by our Tarnower landsman Zvi Ezrahi (Meth),

 

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Memorial of the Tarnow k'doshim [holy martyrs] – Tel–Aviv, Beit HeHalutzot, 1964

On the platform, seated from the right: Dr. Isler, Mrs. Deborah Abramovich–Arnon, Dr, (Mrs.) Sroka, Dr. Yeshayahu Szpira, Dr. Abraham Chomet (speaking), Attorney Yaakov Bienenshtock, Feld A., Maria Dirdalowa (guest from Tarnow– one of the Righteous Gentiles), Yosef Kornilo, Dr. Z. Kasif

[Page 341, Volume 2]

who works there as a teacher and who has expended much effort to arrange the carrying out of the forming of the ties between the school and our cut–down Tarnow community. He writes about this separately in another place in this Yizkor–bukh [note: see page 330].

In order to express gratitude for the readiness of this school to memorialise our Tarnow community and to awaken and strengthen the interest of the schoolchildren in the history of the Jewish community of Tarnow the leadership of the Tarnower association in Tel–Aviv established two awards– one of 200 Israeli–lirot and the other of 100 Israeli lirot for the best school–work (essays) on the theme related to the life and destruction of Tarnow Jewry.

 

In Haifa

A painful loss have suffered our Tarnower landsleit in Haifa in March 1967 with the passing of Dr. Shmuel Shpan z'l, the long–standing chairman of the Tarnower landsmanschaft in Haifa. The popular and overall cherished leader from the Tarnow Jewry of the past, the successful and veteran leader of the Zionist movement in pre–War Galicia and for many years a member of Zionist–Congress court.

 

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On the Jubilee–celebration in Haifa in 1955 – of the 75th birthday of Dr. Shmuel Shpan, z”l

[Page 342, Volume 2]

For the shloshim (30 days after the burial) of the departed one the Tarnow landsmanschaft in Israel together with “Brit Rishonim” and the general Zionist (liberal) organisation in Haifa organised a memorial ceremony, to which came a large number of Tarnowers from Tel–Aviv and other places in Israel.

Also hard hit were our Tarnower landsleit in Haifa with the death of David Baum, z”l, the active long–standing leader of the Tarnow landsmanschaft in Haifa. Thanks to his devotion the Tarnow landsmanschaft in Haifa developed very active relief–activities for needy landsleit, hence the departed (David Baum z”l) put much weight behind efforts to uphold cordial brotherly contact with Tarnowers in other parts of the country and in the diaspora.

 

In Jerusalem

A general sadness was in the hearts of Tarnower Jews in Israel with the death of Daniel Leibl, who for many years (from before the First World War till 1919) lived in Tarnow and was there active in the Poalei Zion movement, while at the same time being active in Tarnow's Jewish public and cultural life.

Though born in Dembitz he always proudly put himself [associated himself] with Tarnow Jewry and took part in all memorials and other ceremonies of the Tarnower association in Tel–Aviv and Haifa.

 

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