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The Boaz Family

by Avraham Boaz

(A wide-branched Zgierz family.)

The Boaz family was one of the largest Jewish families in Zgierz.

The founder of that family along with the Aharonson family was Reb Yisrael, or as he was called, Yisraelche. He was the son of Reb Avraham, one of the first residents of Zgierz, who settled in the city in the first half of the 19th century.

The only son who remained in Zgierz was Yisrael of blessed memory, the father of the so-called “Boaz Brothers”, the owners of the factory for woolen men's articles in Zgierz.

The “Boaz Brothers” firm had a name in mercantile circles in the cities and towns of Poland as a solid manufacturer of fine woolen merchandise. The Boaz brothers excelled at charitable endeavors. One of them, Reb Chaim, was a representative in the Jewish community council, and the other, Reb Avraham was a councilor on the town council.

At the time of the outbreak of the war in 1939, the large Boaz family, including their children and grandchildren, numbered almost one hundred souls. The largest portion lived in Zgierz – a situation which continued for approximately one hundred years.

Reb Yisrael Boaz and his wife Rivka died in Zgierz.

In 1927, a branch of the family, the children of Moshe and Shifra Aharonson, their brother-in-law Yitzchak Mintz and son Avraham Aharonson founded a large textile factory. It was also for woolen articles, and had the name, “Mintz and Aharonson”. The factory and stockyard were located on the main Pilsudski Street 45.

In 1938, the business revenue of the firm reached 5 million Zloty. At that time, this was a colossal sum.

The Boaz family, as well as the Mintz and Aharonson families, were known as Hassidic Jews, with their customary garb. They were also very charitable. Yitzchak Mintz was active as vice president of the merchant's union.

Another chapter about which it is worthwhile to write is the issue of employing Hassidic young men in the textile factory of the Mintz and Aharonson firm. Sine Jewish businesses were boycotted by the Polish population in the decade previous to the outbreak of the Second World War; many Jewish businesses were compelled to close. Hassidic Jews, formerly merchants and business employees, wished to work in the factories. Mintz and Aharonson were the first to take in Hassidic youths and young men into their large textile factory. They gave them employment and livelihood.

In the walls of the factory, one could see Hassidic weavers and shearers – with long tzitzit, beards and peyos. This was a new thing in Zgierz.

The Mintz and Aharonson firm was not plundered by the civilian population at the time of the invasion of the German army into Zgierz on September 7, 1939. The owners continued to operate the factory for a few weeks, until the military commander ordered the confiscation of all Jewish businesses and enterprises in the city.

The confiscation was enacted, and a Zgierz German was installed as commissar of the factory. The Jewish owners had to give over everything – merchandise, yarn, money – and leave the business with empty hands.

During the time of occupation, from the end of 1939 until 1943, the Mintz and Aharonson families resided in the Warsaw Ghetto. Afterward, the family succeeded in leaving Warsaw and moving to Vitel[1] France, where the renowned poet from Lodz, Yitzchak Kacenelson, was located. Their objective was to cross from there to Switzerland. A secret provocative denunciation to the Gestapo put an end to the plans of the Mintz and Aharonson families, as well as to the plans of the poet Yitzchak Kacenelson.

Early one morning, they were all arrested and sent to Auschwitz, from which they never returned.

And now, I will describe the murder of Fela Trocki (Boaz) and her child Ilana in Nieswiez (White Russia) in the year 1942.

The war-blizzard drove several families of Zgierz to Nieswiez. These included members of the intelligentsia in particular, such as the Horowicz brothers, Bolek and Fela Trocki and their daughter Ilana, Dr. Joszek Cohen, his sister and other Jews of Zgierz. At the outbreak of the German-Soviet war, this circle held together. With the arrival of the Nazi hordes in Nieswiez in June 1941, the entire Jewish population felt the blows of the Nazis.

Fela Trocki was yellow-blonde with blue eyes, and she was able to make the impression of an “Aryan”. She was able to be hidden with her child by a Christian. A White Russian anti-Semite knew about them, and informed the Gestapo. Fela and her daughter were shot in the middle of the market, as a warning to the non-Jewish population that they should not hide Jews.

Avraham Boaz


The Greenberg Family

by Fabian Greenberg

My uncle Gedalia Yedidya Zwikelski was doubly connected to our family. He was the husband of my father's sister, as well as my father's cousin. He, my uncle, was one of the best students of the first Sochaczewer Rebbe, Reb Avrahamele. He was sharp, knew how to learn well, and was known in the city as an intelligent man to whom people went to ask advice when one reached a crossroads and did not know which route to choose. He was a steadfast, rigid character. He could not remain in his office for long as a Chevra Kadisha Gabbai (trustee of the burial society). He was a city councilor for a long period of time.

He was cold and sedate, the opposite of my second uncle Noach Trocki, the husband of my father's youngest sister, who was impulsive and impetuous when he dealt with communal matters, in which he took great interest. He was a disciplined Zionist; he deserved to be elected as a member of the communal council from the Zionist organization. Unfortunately, he did not serve as a representative for long. He died young after an operation in 1928. He was buried in the Zgierz cemetery.

My great grandfather Yosef Zwikelski was bound to the land. He was a “farmer” as one calls it today. At the time, Jews were not yet owners of land. He leased the land from the poretz (landowner) of the city Proboszczewice, not far from Zgierz. My great grandfather built an oil press in Proboszczewice. The pure product was sold to the German factories in Lodz, and to the pioneers of the Lodz textile industry. His oil products were also sold in various parts of Poland and Russia. This was in the first decade of the 19th century.

His daughter Chana, my grandmother, married my grandfather Binyamin Greenberg in Sochaczew. They settled in Zgierz and opened a lumber business. Strangely, and I do not know the reason, Jews considered that line of business to be honorable. Sholem Asch describes this in one of his works.

My father Gedalia was also a lumber and forestry merchant. He was a sedate, peaceful and reasonable man, with an inclination toward philosophical thoughts, as a result of his intensive studies in his youth. In that time, he strongly felt the destruction of Zion, and therefore arose at midnight to recite the Tikkun Chatzot[2]. He changed under the influence Haskalah stream, through Mendelsohn's German commentary on the Torah. For him, modern philosophy took the place of the old books.

{Photo page 460: Fela Greenberg of blessed memory.}

My good Jewish mother, Feigele, came from Kalusz. However, she became bound with our city. She was deeply involved in philanthropic activity, and was also active in the affairs of the Dvora women's Zionist organization.

By Fabian Greenberg, America


Fabian Greenberg

by Z. Fisher

There were personalities in Zgierz who excelled in communal activity, and stood out in the community as expert intercessors and communal representatives, due to their personal virtues and honorable appearance, which imbued a suggestive influence upon those with whom they came in contact.

One of these bright activists was without doubt Fabian Greenberg, today the last Mohawk of our communal activists.

He was born in Zgierz in the year 5653 (1893). His father, Reb Gedalia Greenberg, was a Maskil, a scholar and great philanthropist. He would delve into the content of the prayers, the hymns and psalms, and research their origins, eras, and authors. His home was an exemplary Zionist home. When Fabian, at age nine, was asked what his father did, that is to say, what is his occupation, he answered with childhood innocence, “He is a Zionist”.

From among the documents that remain from those days, we find written in the memorial book of the Chevra Kadisha, “As a token of thanks to Reb Gedaliahu the son of the late Reb Binyamin Greenberg of blessed memory, for the kindness that he bestowed upon the people of our community regarding the debt due to him from people of our community, of a value of approximately 2,000 silver rubles, we have decided to appoint him as an honorary member of the local Chevra Kadisha.” The document is dated “Saturday night of Parashat Shmot, 5669”. It is signed by Shlomo Yehuda Leib HaKohen, the rabbi and head of the rabbinical court, Shalom Zandberg, Mendel Finkelsztejn, Michel Prinz, Mordechai Shmuel Zudkowicz, Binyamin Szaransky and Yosef Hirsch Szpiro. Gedalia Greenberg concludes the list of signatories.

Reb Gedaliahu Greenberg was also appointed by the rabbi of the city as the head of the committee for improving and repair of the Mikva (ritual bath) in the year 5669 (1909). The other members of this committee were Reb Mordechai Shmuel Zudkowicz, Reb Yisrael Frugel, Reb Zeev Reichert, Reb Binyamin Szaransky, and Reb Aharon Yosef Berger.

In his childhood, Fabian studied in the cheder of Reb Wolf Leib Haltrecht, who was one of the most progressive teachers in the city. He completed his studies at the business school in Zgierz, and continued his studies in the business academy of St. Gallen, Switzerland.

The following people of the group of young people of Zgierz signed the letter of friends that was sent to him to Germany: Menachem Berliner (the founder of the group), Menashe Swarcbard, Aharon Cincinatus, Mordechai Szapszowicz, Yosel Krasnopolski, Yehoshua Raveh (today the writer Yehoshua Manoach, a founder and resident of Degania Aleph), Asher Klorfeld, Meir Preiz, Yehuda Weisbaum, Yechezkel Kojawski, Fishel Leczyski, Leibel (Leon) Rusinow, Michel Szidlowski, Yaakov Hirsch Waldman, Asher Goszdzyk, Chaimel Lerer (the grandson of the Admor of Brzezin) and others.

Fabian traveled to Westphalia, Germany to meet his family two days before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. He was kept there in confinement as a citizen of an enemy country until August 1915. There, he continued to maintain correspondence with his friends, and took interest in what was happening in his city. From there, he also sent articles to the Polish newspaper that was published in Berlin, Dziennik Berlinski.

Fabian Greenberg absorbed the Zionist atmosphere from the home of his parents and from the Zionist literature. His Zionism was particularly forged by the Polish anti-Semitism. In his memoirs, he writes that the prayer “Hineni Heani Mimaas” (“Here I am, poor in worthy deeds”) that the prayer leader recites prior to the Musaf service on the High Holy Days, penetrated to his soul, was absorbed therein, and served as a “compass” for him in his communal work throughout his life.

His first contact with Zionist activity was in 1908, at the illegal meeting that took place on the fourth memorial day of the passing of Dr. Herzl. He came with his father to this meeting in the “Gemilut Chasadim” hall. From then, he often participated in meetings and gatherings. He stood out in discussions, and was elected to the committee of the Zionist chapter and later as the chairman of the “Agudat Tzionim”. During this period of time, he gave a great deal toward the raising of the stature and influence of this honorable organization, until it became the center of the general Zionist movement in our city.

It is a natural phenomenon that when one stands out in activism and effort, additional tasks are placed upon him. With the expanding of communal activity in Zgierz, and as he spread himself into different realms, civic, philanthropic, cultural, etc., Fabian Greenberg bore this yoke, and quickly found himself in the center of all facets of active life in the city.

The demands of the life of activity took their toll. He had to conduct a continuous struggle in the social and communal realms against the theories of the Bund, and also against the Aguda camp. These were the days of the Balfour Declaration, and Greenberg did much to win over souls for the fortification of Zionism in the city.

He was elected by the communal factions as a member of the city council, and was very active on it. He was appointed as chairman of the cooperative union that took care of distributing food from the city council, and stood on guard to prevent shortages and deprivation in the distribution of food to the Jewish population during the first years following the First World War. The Jews of the city saw him as the protector of their interests, and would stop him on the street to ask for his assistance. He never refused anyone. His success on behalf of his fans encouraged him to continue along his path, and through this, he neglected his personal, affairs.

From the city council, he stood on guard for the Jews of our city. When an anti-Semitic member of the city council delivered a venomous speech against the Jews – he would receive an appropriate response from him. During the time of the pogrom of Pszitik, rumor spread in Zgierz that the Endeks (an extreme right wing party) were preparing to conduct hooliganism, and also have some “fun” in Zgierz. The Jewish community took these rumors seriously, and decided to turn to the police superintendent to avert the evil. Unfortunately, the superintendent was not present. He was on vacation in the village of Dombrowk, and it was forbidden to disturb him. Isucher Szwarc and Fabian Greenberg took the initiative and traveled to Dombrowk. The police superintendent listened to them, and the peace of the city was not disturbed.

For many years, Fabian served as the representative of the Jewish population in the civic court of the justice of the peace, and he stood on guard for cases that affected Jews, making sure that they would be conducted in a fitting, objective manner. The sittings would often proceed for entire days. Nevertheless, he dedicated all of his time to the Jewish community, without expectation of reward. He was also the impetus behind the plan for the creation of a civic council that would centralize and direct all communal work, in which all of the organizations would participate. His plan was well accepted by the community, but the plan did not come to fruition due to communal divisiveness.

It is important to point out in particular, with regards to his efforts in the fields of education and culture, the establishment of the first Jewish institution for the for the dissemination of knowledge and enlightenment to wide segments of the population – the Hebrew library, which raised the cultural level and enriched the spirit of the masses of the youth with the treasures of literary creations, original and translated. Greenberg, who was of the first founders of the library, which was later called by the name of David Frischman, worked greatly for it, and dedicated special attention to it, to develop, strengthen, and broaden it. This activity stood at the head of all of his communal work.

Fabian Greenberg was also one of the founders of the “Kinderheim” children's institution, that later became the orphanage. He dedicated him to this institution along with his wife Regina (the daughter of Reb Hershschel Kohn, an intelligent man, one of the city notables) with fatherly, dedicated care. They imbued the children with a warm family feeling, with concern, drawing near, and love. The few children who survived, today as adults remember their patron with gratitude and reverence.

A special chapter in his communal activities for Zgierz Jewry was his dedicated work for the survivors after the Holocaust, and especially his interest and dedication to the “Book of Zgierz”. Immediately after the conclusion of the war, when the Zgierz natives organized themselves in America, his requests for appropriate assistance for the refugees of our city were not answered generously. He did not hesitate to leave the organization with a reprimand against the stubborn committee. Yaakov Grand and others left the organization with him.

Greenberg remained in constant connection with us in the Land. Thanks to his wonderful memory, he enriched the Zgierz book with his interesting memoirs and other interesting documentary material, which added historical and cultural value to the book. Even in his country of residence, the United States, he from time to time published articles in the American Yiddish newspapers on social topics, including memories of his birthplace of Zgierz. Despite the distance in time and place, he today remains the Zgierz activist who works on behalf of the Holocaust survivors with love and dedication.

When he visited Israel in 1959, the Organization of Zgierz Natives in Israel arranged a festive reception in his honor.

Z. Fisher


The Reichert House – The First Zionists of the City

by Tamar Itinson-Reichert

Zeev Eliahu was one of the dear ones of Zgierz, and one of its first Zionist activists.

He was born in Ozorkow in the year 1882, to his father, the wealthy Hassid Reb Eliezer Chaim Reichert, who was generous and pursued justice, and was one of the pioneers of textile manufacturing in our city. His mother was Ruchama the daughter of Chanoch Kriszk, one of the wealthy, honorable people of Ozorkow. His father's family was very wide-branched, of the descendent of the Maharal of Prague[3]. One of the early patriarchs of this family was the generous Re Leib Koszmirak, of the same generation of Sir Moses Montefiore, who began to redeem the land of the Jericho valley already ninety years ago. To this end, he transferred 100,000 rubles to Jerusalem, to the hands of Rabbi Meir Auerbach, which was not effective.

Zeev Reichert was educated in the Cheder, the Beis Midrash and the Yeshiva. He obtained general education from private teachers, and gained great expertise in old and new Hebrew literature, as well as world literature. He took particular interest in Jewish history, which attracted his heart. This delving into the history of his people brought him to a love of Zion. When Herzl appeared on the stage of Zionism, he was one of the first to join the ranks of active Zionism. He became one of its dedicated fighters.

When he was still young, he married his relative Machla, the daughter of the scholar and Maskil Reb Moshe, who owned an estate in the village of Dronzwa, in the Makow region. He was known as being very hospitable, and honored among his acquaintances. He was chosen as an arbitrator to the Russian Duma in the Ostrolenka region.

He settled in Zgierz after his marriage. Along with his brother-in-law Reb Zeev Michel Reichert, he founded a textile factory there in 1905. This was one of the largest factories that was established in Zgierz. That factory was engaged in the cleaning and dyeing of wool. Approximately fifty workers, all gentiles, worked in that factory. The Polish worker's union opposed Jews working in manufacturing. After the First World War, Jewish workers worked in the factory despite this fact – especially those who came from Russia in an illegal fashion, and pioneers who were preparing to make Aliya to the Land of Israel. There were many female Jewish workers.

{Photo page 465 right: Zeev Eliahu and Machla Reichert.}

{Photo page 465 left: Ezra Reichert.}

He stood out as an enthusiastic activist and Zionist immediately after his arrival in Zgierz. The well-known scholar and lover of Zion, Reb Isuchar Szwarc, was among his friends who remained in close contact with him.

After he gave himself over to the service of the Zionist movement, was one of the founders of the Zionist union of Zgierz, and was even elected as its chairman, he subsequently was one of those who laid the foundation stone for Mizrachi of Zgierz. He was always one of the greatest donors and canvassers of the Zionist funds, and one of the distributors of shares for the “Treasury for Jewish Settlement”. He did not spare his time, money or efforts. The fact that he was a traditional Jew and worshipped regularly at the Shtibel of the Hassidim of Ger who did not look favorably upon his Zionism, did not distract him from working diligently on Zionist matters. He attracted many of his opponents due to his complete and convincing personality, and he acquired souls for Zion both publicly and privately, even from within the shtibel.

His home was imbued with a strong Zionist spirit. He gave his children a Zionist education, and taught them to speak Hebrew. Most of the Jewish enterprises such as Hendeles' spinning mill, the weaving factories of the Boaz brothers, Leczyski, Kaufman, Haron and others were located in his courtyard, as well as most of the Zionist organizations in the city, including the Zionist union, and the Dvora women's organization, of which his wife was the life spirit and chairwoman. The Hebrew scouting group Hashomer Hatzair, the Maccabee organization, the public library and the first Hebrew kindergarten, which was supervised by his wife, were also located there. All of these institutions and organizations that were centered within the precincts of Reichert's courtyard gave the place a special government status both among the Jews of Zgierz and among the Poles, who looked at all that was transpiring with an eye of indignation. Not infrequently, the children of the shkotzim[4] threw stones into the courtyard, and engraved the word “Palesztina” upon the words of the sanctification of the moon that was on the gate of the house[5]. Indeed, this was the nickname that was generally given to that Zionist fortress, “Palesztina”.

{Photo page 466: The Reichert house, “Palesztinka” in Zgierz.}

Zeev Eliahu actualized his love for Zion by making aliya himself. He made his first visit already in 1906. In the diary that he left after him, he wrote that in those days, he felt a need to see with his own eyes the Land of Israel about which he had always dreamed. This trip was a fulfillment of his dream. He went there with a group of four people, including his two brothers-in-law Zeev Michael Reichert and Tzvi Tenenbaum. Despite the fact that the details of the journey were kept secret so that the plan would not be disturbed, news of the journey spread in the community within a few days. There homes began to bustle with visitors. The people of Zgierz literally became overexcited, for in those days, the arranging of a trip to the Land was a great event. Hundreds of people surrounded him, wishing to know about the itinerary, about the possibilities of investing money in the Land, and about whether such an adventure was not dangerous, etc. There were also those who gave him notes to place into the cracks of the Western Wall and Rachel's Tomb.

Many came to the Lodz train station to take leave of him – family members, friends, Zionist, and communal activists. Among them was the Hebrew writer Ezra Golden.

The group traveled to Odessa, and from there set sail to Jaffa. In Odessa, they met Menachem Ussishkin as well as A. Droyanov, the secretary of the Odessa committee of Chovevei Zion. Zeev Eliahu consulted with him about the plans for the trips and the possibilities of investing money in the Land.

The trip to the Land of Israel lasted approximately four months. They crossed the length and breadth of the country on a stage-coach, on a horse drawn carriage, on the saddle of a donkey, and also by foot. They were strongly influenced by the beauty and charm of the Land.

Zeev Eliahu made plans to acquire plots of land, to set up a factory, etc. However his plans were not actualized as he had wished.

In 1910, he tried to establish, along with his two aforementioned brothers-in-law, the first factory for the cleaning of wool in Rishon Letzion. Through the intermediary of Zeev Gluskin, Baron Benjamin Rothschild rented them a place for this enterprise in the buildings of the winery, and also agreed to provide them with steam from the engines of the winery. Due to the inappropriateness of this wool for textile manufacturing in Poland, it was difficult to sell the cleaned wool, as he had planned.

The second plan of Zeev Reichert to establish local textile manufacturing and to use the wool of the Land also did not work out well do to Turkish tax regulations, which did not protect local products at all. This hindered the progress in this area, and the enterprise closed.

His wife Machla and sister Eida, the wife of Michael Zeev Reichert, also joined him on his tour of the Land. They wished to check out the situation with regard to the plan of settling the Land. The First World War that broke out in 1914 thwarted all plans. There was also a plan to set up a garden city on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Through the efforts of Reichert, a group of Jews from Zgierz and Lodz purchased plots from “The Organization of Preparation of Settlement”, and the plan reached the threshold of fulfillment. The war that broke out dried up all plans, and left everything to naught.

A strong national movement was awakened in Zgierz in the wake of this journey. Many made aliya on account of its influence, and no small number were helped by him. Thanks to the efforts and influence of the Reichert family, Menachem Berliner of blessed memory made aliya. He was one of the first of the dedicated workers of the Land, and met his death by yellow fever. As well Yehoshua Manoach, one of the founders of Degania who served as a Hebrew teacher in the Reichert home, was led to aliya by the spirit that he drew from that home.

Reichert not only worked in the Zionist movement. He also fought for the local rights of his fellow townsfolk. He was a member of the city council of Zgierz, and the Jewish community council. He concerned himself with the needs of the locals.

During his free time, he would take a book into his hands. He would also occupy himself with scientific work. In his large library, various books on Jewish subjects stood out. He also translated “The Wars of the Jews” of Josephus (Joseph ben Matityahu) into Hebrew, published articles in the Jewish newspapers, corresponded with researchers of Hebrew history, and wrote a book on the life of the Jewish during the time of the Second Temple, which was not published.

After the First World War, fate turned against him. In the year 1919, his dedicated wife, the great lover of Zion who always assisted him, took ill and died, after much suffering. She was a young woman of 39. Her longing and love for the Land did not dissipate even as she lay on her sickbed. A few days before her death, she asked her husband to transfer her remains to the land of Israel. She was buried in a wooden casket. Her funeral was one of the biggest that the city of Zgeirz had ever witnessed. Thousands of people followed her casket. The concerns of the times and the opposition of the rabbis to disinterring her casket from the grave prevented the fulfillment of the wishes of the deceased. This crushed the spirit of Zeev Eliahu and left him in sadness. Many Jews of Zgierz and family members planted a grove of trees in the Herzl forest in her memory.

At the end of 1918, Zeev Eliahu was chosen as a delegate to the national convention of Polish Jewry that convened in Warsaw. At this meeting, it was decided to found a high national political organization that would stand on guard for the interests of Polish Jewry. Participants would include the powerful people of the various parties, communities and institutions from all parts of Poland. When he returned, he presented a detailed accounting of the proceedings of the convention in the Zionist hall of Zgierz, on January 9th, 1919.

In 1921, the children of Zeev Eliahu along with the family of his brother-in-law Zeev Reichert, made aliya to the Land. They brought with them a complete array of new machinery for the textile factory. His brother-in-law remained in the Land to direct the factory, which was perhaps the first one in the textile field, and paved the way for others. He, Zeev Eliahu, remained in Poland to liquidate the property that he had in Zgierz.

{Photo page 469 left: Zeev Michael Reichert.}

{Photo page 469 right: Yehudit Reichert.}

In 1925, Zeev Eliahu made aliya to the Land once again, and remained there for over a year. His intention at that time was to set himself up in the Land and firm up the well-being of the factory. When he returned to Poland to liquidate the remainder of his affairs, the general economic depression in Poland overtook him. He lost his fortune and his situation became desperate.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, he was brought low along with the rest of his people by the flames of the terrible Holocaust that engulfed them from all sides. As his family found out, he wandered from Zgierz to Lodz and from there to Czestochowa and Warsaw. The last communication from him was received by the Red Cross in Sweden in 1944, that contained the following plea, “Save me!… Take me out of the vale of murder!…” From then, nothing more was heard. He met his bitter end along with 6,000,000 of his brethren, prisoners of the inferno, who were murdered and burnt in the gas chambers.

This was the peculiar end to the man whose lot was great within the Zionist renaissance movement and the personal actualization of the return to Zion. May his soul be bound in the bonds of the eternal life of our nation, which he so faithfully guarded.

Machla Reichert of blessed memory

Mrs. Machla Reichert, the wife of Zeev Eliahu Reichert was a native of the village of Dronzwa in the Lomza region, where her grandfather had an estate.

As a pretty, intelligent, and talented girl, she married her cousin Zeev Eliahu at a young age, and moved to Zgierz. There her husband and his brother-in-law set up a factory for the dyeing and manufactory of wool. Her life was harmonious and full of content. She assisted her husband in Zionist activities, as well as in his scientific and literary pursuits. She gave birth to six children. She was a pleasant and splendid woman in her externals as well as in her behavior. Despite her weak health, she was dedicated completely to communal matters, and did not spare any toil.

She founded the Dvora women's Zionist hall along with her sister Aida, and stood at its head. She also founded the first kindergarten in Zgierz. She gathered money and jewelry on behalf of the Jewish National Fund. She also excelled in her proper expression, and spoke with talent and grace at many meetings.

A certain winter's day is remembered by the family. A meeting of the organization was supposed to take place. She suddenly disappeared beforehand. They found her in the same room that was set aside for the gathering place. She was exerting herself to light the oven, despite the fact that she was not supposed to exert herself.

Her soul desired to settle in the Land of Israel throughout her short life. She always dreamed of setting up her home on the banks of the Sea of Galilee, so that she could swim with her children upon its blue waves. Despite the fact that she visited Israel twice, she did not merit reaching the shore of her desire. After the war, her illness worsened. She returned her spirit to upon high when she already owned a passport for the land of Israel. Her request that her remains be brought to the Holy Land was not fulfilled. She was buried in the Zgierz cemetery.

Her resting place was destroyed by the enemies. The gravestones were used to pave the streets of the city.

In the Lodzer daily “Lodzer Tagblatt”, of January 26th, 1920, an account of the memorial evening was published. This evening was dedicated to the late Mrs. Machla Reichert, the founder and directory of the Dvora Zionist women's organization. Isuchar Szwarc and the chief cantor of Lodz, H. Alterman, participated. Dr. Sterman portrayed the refined personality of the deceased, and her activities for the Zionist idea and the Zionist “Prevl School” in our city.

May her soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life.

Zeev Michael Reichert of blessed memory

Zeev Michael Reichert the son of Avraham Gershon was born in Kodkow near Krosniewice in 1861. (According to written and oral information, he was a descendent of the Maharal of Prague.)

From his early youth, he wandered around his father's estate in Dronzwa and dreamed of the land of Israel. He married the daughter of his sister, Eida the daughter of Moshe Reichert (the sister of Machla Reichert). They moved to Zgierz after a short time. There, he and his brother-in-law Zeev Eliahu Reichert established a factory for dyeing and wool manufacturing. In 1919, along with his brother-in-law Zeev Eliahu, he founded a textile company in Zgierz with the aim of transferring it to Israel. He was the emissary to set up the operation of this factory. He moved with his family to Tel Aviv in 1921, and established a factory for the sewing and weaving of cotton. He worked on it with dedication until his old age, despite the difficulties in operations and in livelihood. He would arise each morning and direct his enterprise. His children urged him to sell the enterprise and rest from his work. With difficulty, he acceded to the wishes of his children. He was a man of action, and without activity, he was depressed and broken. He died at the age of 92.

Eida the daughter of Moshe Reichert of blessed memory

Eida Reichert, the wife of Zeev Michael, was born on her parents' estate in Dronzwa, in the region of Lomza. She was a refined woman, and following the leader of the family, she married her uncle Zeev Michael. Her family moved to Zgierz along with the family of her sister. She was very talented, pleasant and energetic. She founded the Dvora hall for Zionist women along with her sister Machla. She collected money and jewelry for the Jewish National Fund. She was a delegate to the Zionist Congress on two occasions. She was an excellent orator. She worked on behalf of the Land of Israel with enthusiasm and love. After the First World War, in 1931[6], she took her family and the family of her sister Machla of blessed memory and traveled to Israel. Her two sons were among the first employees of the electric company.

She was not too involved in communal work in the land, since her diabetes that she contracted at a young age distracted her. He house was open to everyone, and the extended family would gather in her house on every holiday and festival. He house served as a refuge to many when they arrived in the Land. May her soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life.

Ezra Reichert of blessed memory

Ezra Reichert was born in Zgierz to his parents Reb Zeev Eliahu and Machla Reichert. He received his early education in the traditional cheder, as was customary in those days, as well as from a private teacher, Mr. Yehoshua Manoach may he live and be well, a member of Kibbutz Degania Aleph. Ezra continued his studies in the Yavneh Gymnasium of Lodz.

His father Reb Zeev Eliahu, one of the first active Zionists of Zgierz, toured the Land of Israel prior to the First World War, and also purchased a lot with the intention of settling in the Land with his family. His desire did not materialize, however his children, Ezra included, made aliya to the Land of Israel in 1921.

In 1923, Ezra was accepted as a student to the agricultural Mikve Yisrael School. There, in the variegated community of students and activists imbued with vision, the youth Ezra tried his hand at writing poems. After that, he began to publish articles in the monthly student newspaper regarding research into the topic of improving the security and life situation in the institution. His writings were esteemed and revered by the community of students. They exposed his spirit, his proper outlook, and his alertness to all that took place in his environment, despite his personal modest and retiring demeanor. Ezra frequently toured the Land, and he described his experiences with great talent. He sent the fruits of his pen on many topics to various venues. Readers in the Land and in the Diaspora benefited from no small number of his writings. He also wrote greatly about his impressions of the travels of daring explorers, who wrote of their experiences and adventures in books that are in the annals world literature.

During the Second World War, he served as a librarian in the periodical section of the Massada library. Later, he served in the Ohel Shem Library in Tel Aviv for seventeen consecutive years, until his final illness laid him low.

One can learn about his feelings during his final days from a segment of his writings that was written before his death, in which he bares the stirrings of his soul and his unfulfilled desires.

He died on the 4th of Cheshvan 5729 (1969), and was buried in the area of the graves of the Reichert and Tenenbaum-Arzi families in Kiryat Shaul. May his soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life, and may his memory be for a blessing.

Yehudit Reichert

She was the daughter of Wolf Reichert. She was born in Zgierz. She was a well-known artist and teacher. She made aliya to the Land in 1936. She regularly participated in the exhibitions of the organizations of artists and sculptors in the land. She also set up five solo exhibitions in the Land and also several exhibitions in the Diaspora, in Sweden, Paris, etc. between the years 1958-1966.

By Tamar Itinzon-Reichert


Grandfather Reb Fishel Bunim Hollander, the Shochet of blessed memory

by David Wechsler[7]

Reb Fishel Bunim Shochet – or has he was simply called, Reb Fishel Bunim – was without doubt one of the honorable people of the city, and also one of the most popular personalities in the former Jewish life in our city. His patriarchal gait and mannerisms of importance evoked respect and confidence. He was one of those few people who grew together with the city, shared its birth pangs, and also made frequent efforts to formulate the religious life of the young Jewish settlement. As a student of the first Zgierz rabbi, the “Old Tzadik” , may his virtue stand us in good stead, he was one of the first of the young people who absorbed not only Torah and Hassidism, but also good character and love of Israel. He related to his job as a highly responsible mission, like holy work. He interacted pleasantly with his fellow, and was greatly beloved by the members of the community. Among other things, Reb Fishel Bunim was known for leading services in the synagogue on the High Holy Days. With is unique, loud voice, in the old Jewish prayer style, his prayers moved every Jewish heart and left the worshippers with a deep impression for a long time. His house on the Jewish street was known in the entire city. It was imbued with Torah, Hassidism and fine Judaism.

We bring here a memorial in words for a respected grandfather, written by his grandson Reb David Wechsler (today in America), which he writes with reverence and love. He reminisces about a piece of life from a time that is now relegated to eternity.

V. F.

My grandfather Reb Fishel Bunim, aside from being a great scholar and fearer of Heaven – which were once the primary qualifications to be a shochet in a city – also personified a slice of history of Jewish Zgierz of two or three generations ago. His father's arrival from the large and old city Leczyca to tiny Zgierz which was just beginning to be built – was bound with the Hassidic ways that were so characteristic of those times.

I remember what my mother of blessed memory told me about him:

My great-grandfather Reb Leizer (Reb Fishel Bunim's father) was once held over in Kock, and was unable to return home for the Kocker Rebbe did not bid him farewell for several weeks. Indeed, what Hassid would go home without being bidden farewell by the Rebbe? He waited. One day, his door opened suddenly – and the Rebbe came in. Reb Leizer was there. At the leave-taking, the Rebbe told him: “In Zgierz, they need a Shochet. Go there and be successful”. Generally, one first goes alone. One must get to know the people and set up contact with the community. At first, Reb Leizer lodged in the Kocker Shtibel. When the matter became known, there was a din in the town – is it a small matter? The Kocker Rebbe himself sent a Shochet! He was immediately accepted as the Shochet of Zgierz, and asked to bring his family. There were no trains at that time. They traveled for several days with horse and buggy – this was in the middle of winter – until they finally arrived in Zgierz. This was in the year 5607 (1847). Since a house was not yet prepared for them, the Hassidim set them up temporarily in a side room of the Shtibel until a home could be found. Thus began the life of our family in Zgierz.

Already from his youth, Fishel Bunim exhibited great diligence in learning, and became a genius. He studied in the famous Yeshiva of the first rabbi of Zgierz, Reb Shalom Hirsch HaKohen of holy blessed memory, which was known throughout Poland. Simultaneously, he studied the laws of Shechita (ritual slaughter), and after the death of his father, the city took him on as a slaughterer in his father's place. At that time, he got married to the daughter of a resident of Zgierz, Reb David Mordechai. Her name was Keila (that was our grandmother Keila of blessed memory). They purchased a house on the Jewish Street, where Jewish life was concentrated in our city. This was in close proximity to the synagogue and Beis Midrash, whose highest window overlooked grandfather's court. I still recall the days of summer, when one could always here the melodies of Torah and prayer from the open window.

Grandmother and grandfather had eight children.

It is superfluous to state that their children received an upbringing in careful observance of Judaism. Their sons and sons-in-law were all known as scholars and sharp Hassidim. Our grandfather used to travel to Chidushei Harim, and later to Reb Henech of Aleksandrow, the Sfas Emet and to his son Reb Avraham Mordechai, all of blessed memory. He would always take a son along on every trip in order to educate them in Hassidism. The daughters were also permeated with the observant Jewish spirit, and were considered to be righteous women in the city. They paid no attention to the various spirits of the times that went through Grandfather's home with its growing family. Respect for parents was always on the highest pinnacle, and a word from the parents was treated as a command. It is difficult to think of anything that the children did not do in accordance with the will of their parents – and it was all with sincere dedication. Even later, when they themselves had grown children and were householders with daily concerns, it was not difficult for them to bestow goodness and love upon their parents.

Grandfather's custom was that when a daughter of his got married, he would support her with her husband and children for three years in his house. During that time, the son-in-law would find his means of livelihood and then would vacate the dwelling for another daughter. When my mother got married, Grandfather built a dwelling for them in the large yard of his house. They lived there for thirty years.

The personality of my Grandfather is etched in my mind when I saw him as a prayer leader in the synagogue or the Beis Midrash on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. He stood at the bimah wearing his white kittel, adorned with his tallis with a silver band over his head. His face was flaming and his white beard trembling – apparently out of fear. He began with a prayerful voice, and then the Hamelech[8]. A shudder went through the bones, and the congregation appeared flustered. One could hear a lament from the women's section, and Fishel the Shamash would bang his hands on the table and shout, “Sha Sha!”.

Thus did Grandfather worship.

After Grandmother Keila died, Grandfather lived with his youngest daughter Glika, his son-in-law Chaim Yaakov and two grandchildren Avraham Mordechai and Shmuel Leizer. Later, when he retired, he sat day and night and learned.

Grandfather felt that his time was nearing. He summoned several of his relatives who were members of the Chevra Kadisha (burial society), and told them his wish. Since an unused plot was still available next to the old Tzadik, he would like, as his student, to lie next to his Rebbe.

On the 7th of Shvat 5683 (1923), Grandfather died. A snowstorm raged that day. The trains were not running normally, and the Lodz-Zgierz tramway stopped completely. Therefore, all of the grandchildren from Lodz came by foot to Zgierz in order to pay last respects to their grandfather. The funeral was delayed until evening for another reason. The children of Reb Yisraeltche Boaz claimed that the plot that was near their father's grave should belong to them. A rabbinical judgement was solicited from the Zgierzer Rav, Rabbi Shlomo Leib HaKohen, at which it was decided that the land belongs to Grandfather. The funeral took place from the Beis Midrash in which Grandfather had been the prayer leader for many years. My father Reb Mendel Wechsler was the first eulogizer. From the Beis Midrash, they took him to the synagogue courtyard where he was eulogized by the Zgierzer Rav. This did I bid farewell to our illustrious grandfather, who graced the entire family with his good name.

Woe regarding those who have departed and are not forgotten.

David Wechsler


Rabbi Mendel Wechsler may his blood be avenged

by David Wechsler, et. al.

Rabbi Mendel Wechsler, a scion of illustrious forbears, of the descendents of the Maharal of Prague, was born in the city of Zawiercie in the year 5641 (1880) to his father Reb Yitzchak Wechsler. His grandfather Rabbi Leibe Hirsch and great-grandfather Rabbi David Dayan all served in the rabbinate in the city of Czestochowa, Poland.

Reb Mendel stood out as a genius in his youth. He studied in the Yeshiva of the Rabbi of Amstrow, and from there he transferred to the Yeshiva of the Admor Reb Avraham of holy blessed memory of Sochaczew the author of the Avnei Nezer and Eglei Tal. He was one of his finest students. After his marriage to Chana Sara the daughter of Reb Fishel Bunim the Hassid, the veteran Shochet of Zgierz, he moved to Zgierz (in 1900) and was supported for several years at the table of his father-in-law. He was known in town as Reb Mendel Fishel Bunim's.

{Photo page 477: Reb Mendel Wechsler.}

On account of his diligence in his studies, he gave lessons to the students of the Yagdil Torah Yeshiva. The students considered it to their merit of they attended a class of his. A few years before the First World War, he acquired the rights for the sale of salt from the Hassid Reb David Bendekowski. When a competitor schemed against him and disturbed his peace with threats, Reb Mendel turned to his Rebbe from Sochaczew and poured out his worries and anguish to him. The Rebbe promised him Divine assistance. The situation ended with Reb Mendel on top, and his tormentor going bankrupt.

With the invasion of the Germans to Zgierz in 1914 and the closing of sources of livelihood, the end of the salt rights of Reb Mendel also came. Having no recourse, he began to earn his livelihood from teaching. At that time, the modern cheder called “The School for Torah and the Ways of the World” was established. Reb Mendel joined this institution as the teacher of the upper grade. Among his students were Pinchas Sirkes, the brothers Yitzchak and Meir Szaransky, Tebil Elberg (all of them today in Israel), and, from among those who perished in the Holocaust: Avraham Aronson, Yaakov Szpiro, David Baum, Shimshon Szabszowicz, Avraham Yaakov Celnik, and others.

The children of the Admor of Sochaczew, Reb Shmuel of blessed memory, the author of Shem Mishmuel, studied Torah from him in a private lesson. One of them was Reb Aharon Yisrael Bornsztejn lives today in Israel, and another was his brother Rabbi Avraham the Rabbi of Kutno, may G-d avenge his blood.

On Sabbaths and festivals, many people streamed over to the Beis Midrash to hear Torah lessons from him. He never stopped studying. He dedicated his entire life to the study and teaching of Torah.

From the year 5680 (1920), he served as the head of the Yeshiva in the largest Yeshivas of Poland: Yeshivat Beit Avraham of Lodz, Yeshiva Beit Avraham of Kalusz, and between 1929 and 1939 (5689-5699) at the large Yeshiva Beit Meir founded by Reb Meir Rappaport in Krakow. There, he found a wide field for his work. Several of his students survived the Holocaust and serve today as rabbis and Yeshiva heads in Jewish communities in the Diaspora and also in Israel.

Reb Mendel loved his fellow Jews. He pursued peace, inspired peace, and drew hearts near. He was of the students of Hillel[9]. His ways were ways of pleasantness. He behaved nobly, and served as a fine example of a Hassidic Jew and scholar.

At the time of the Holocaust, he was exiled from Krakow to the city of Wolbrom. From there, he was brought to a concentration came in the city of Stryj, Galicia. When he was called to meet his fate, he refused to look into the face of the enemy, and turned his face from them. They then shot him in the back and he fell, holding a Bible to his heart. May G-d avenge his blood. May his soul be bound in the bonds of the eternal life of our people.

David Wechsler

As a student of our teacher Reb Mendel Wechsler, from whom I studied for about four years, first at the Beit Ulpana and then at Yesodei Hatorah, and after that also in Yeshivat Beit Avraham in Lodz, I see it as my pleasant obligation to dedicate a few words to his personality.

His style of teaching was didactic and sharp. He was sharp, and an “uprooter of mountains”[10]. He would present his lesson and bring us to the point where we would come up with questions on the difficulties of the Maharsha, the Pnei Yehoshua, and other commentators. He would express his joy when one of the young students would come up himself with the words of the master of didactics. He would take out his notebook, the book of “marks”, and write a praiseworthy note about the student. He had great prowess also in Hebrew and grammar. He would encourage us and assist us in progressing. He would recommend books of study, and offer his comments.

His face was always bright, with a smile. He was one of the veteran students of Ger, under the influence of his father-in-law. At first, it was difficult for him to travel to Ger, as he was a student of the Avnei Ezer, the prince of Torah, so why would he need Ger. However, when he finally went to Ger, something novel was exposed to him there, and he continued to travel there.

P. Sirkes

From the words of his students in Krakow: Rabbi Kopel Zylberberg of Jerusalem, Reb Moshe Zylberberg of Bnei Brak, Reb Simcha Szklarcyk, Reb Moshe Sheinfeld, Reb Dov Englard of Tel Aviv.

Even though more than twenty-five years have passed, and many things were forgotten or erased by the Holocaust, we are duty-bound to offer some impressions and outline some notes about the noble personality of one of the unique people and bright personalities of that generation, who departed from us and is no longer here.

Reb Mendel Wechsler sent out his splendor to the people of the generation, and his name went before him everywhere that he went. When he was in Krakow, a city of scholars and writers, a center of giants of Torah and fear of Heaven, he was always the first one to whom all of the institutions of Torah and education turned to honor and involve in every event and festive occasion. If a guest passed through Krakow, he would immediately feast his eyes upon the name of Reb Mendel Wechsler who graced the headlines of the newsletters of the Torah institutions on occasions of his appearances and lectures. He was also an examiner in the Beis Yaakov teacher's seminary, and the living spirit in the Torah atmosphere eof the city. May his memory and activities be blessed forever!


Reb Aharon Yosef Berger of blessed memory

by Zeev the son of Shimon

{Photo page 479: Uncaptioned. Reb Aharon Yosef Berger.}

Reb Aharon Yosef the son of Reb Yechezkel Berger was numbered among the honorable people of the city and the people of deeds. His name went before him as a faithful man of the community, to whom the good of the public and the foundations of social justice were always his guiding light, to which he dedicated his efforts and strength.

Reb Aharon Yosef was born in the city of Podamwice[11] in the year 1878. He grew up and was educated upon the knees of his maternal grandfather, the holy Rabbi Yitzchak Yaakov Kaufman of blessed memory, the head of the rabbinical court of the holy community of Podamwice. When he was still young, at eighteen years old, he arrived in Zgierz, to his uncle the manufacturer Reb Mendel Kaufman, who was one of the important householders of the city.

Aharon Yosef quickly acclimatized himself to the unique atmosphere of Zgierz, to its culture and industry, and went from success to success. As a man of pleasant mannerisms, he acquired a good name in the community of merchants and manufacturers. People had faith in him and valued his rightness and levelheaded opinions, even though he knew how to stand strong and defend his ideas when he saw them as correct. He also had a charming appearance, and the people of Zgierz related to him with appreciation and politeness.

His name was first mentioned as a communal activist in the year 5669 (1909), when the rabbi of the city, Rabbi Shlomo Leib of holy blessed memory, appointed him as a member of the committee for the community Mikva (ritual bath). The institution of the Mikva was one of those institutions upon which Jewish life in the communities of the towns was based in those days. The rabbi therefore made sure that the heads of this institution would be responsible people, G-d fearing, proper, and acceptable to the public. Members of this community included Reb Gedalia Greenberg, Reb Mordechai Shmuel Cudkowicz, Reb Yisrael Frugel, Reb Zeev Reichert, Reb Binyamin Szaranski, and Reb Yosef Berger, the youngest in this committee – all of them were prominent people.

He became especially close with the rabbi, who recognized him as a generous man, and understood his serious relationship to the values of Judaism. Without doubt, he also took note of his rabbinical origins. They had a friendly and understanding relationship throughout the years. In the years of 1910-1912, when the rabbi was involved in a serious battle against the powerful manufacturers over the issue of hiring Jews in the Jewish factories (an issue that was fraught with certain difficulties) Aharon Yosef stood at the right side of the rabbi in his battle, along with the well-known just, upright manufacturer Reb Moshel Eiger. The first people who transferred all of their work in their factories to Jewish hands were the manufacturers Moshe Hendeles and Eliezer Shlumiel.

During and also after the years of the First World War, Reb Aharon Yosef stood in the communal field for the benefit of the Jews of the city. This was true especially at the outset of the war, with the destruction of manufacturing and an alarming economic situation, when illness and hunger pervaded among the residents and there was a need for special measures to organize communal life and relieve the pressure. He was a member of the important committee, the financial and taxation committee, which was chosen at the first meeting of the communal council that took place on August 1, 1915. At the beginning of 1918, he was elected to the communal council in accordance with the official electoral law, along with Messrs. Daniel Sirkes, Isuchar Szwarc and Zeev Eliahu Reichert. From then, he could be found on almost all of the important committees that were chosen by the community for various communal and national purposes.

Aside from his work on the communal council, Reb Aharon Yosef also played an active role in other communal institutions of the city. He signed a certificate dated June 30, 1926 as the chairman of the “Jewish Union of Manufacturers and Merchants in Zgierz”. Similarly, he was among the founders of the Bikur Cholim of Zgierz, and was also active in the field of traditional education. He did a great deal of work on behalf of the national funds for the Land of Israel.

He died on the 29th of Kislev 5684 (1934) at the age of 56.

Honor to his memory.

Zeev the son of Shimon


Reb Fishel Russ

by Yitzchak Szaransky

{Photo page 481: Uncaptioned. Reb Fishel Rus.}

Zgierz had many “fine Jews” and also many Torah scholars. However, people did not have too much time to dedicate to the study of Torah, for they general were preoccupied with worries of livelihood.

Reb Fishel Rus was certainly a fine character of an Aleksandrow Hassid and scholar. He was well-known by every Jew of Zgierz on account of his sweet prayers on the High Holy Day Musafs in the city Beis Midrash.

Reb Fishel Rus, a scholarly Jew, would sit in his dyeing workshop with a book in his hand. He was not a communal activist or an opinion giver in the city. He had no airs about him.

Fishel's discussions of Torah were intelligent and matter-of-fact, calm and peaceful. Everyone around him had to perk up their ears in order not to miss a word of his. His every word was like a precious pearl sliding out of his mouth.

He was so straightforward and honorable in his dyeing shop, with matters of selling and regarding the dyes – so straightforward was he with his Torah discussions. He did not hold himself high. He did not show off his knowledge. On the contrary, he made efforts to understand others.

With Fishel Rus, the bookshelves did not stand orphaned as they did with other wealthy people of Zgierz, who had lovely bookshelves with glass doors, where the Vilna Shas[12] stood forlorn, like a mere decoration. With him, the bookshelves had a proper use. They were often opened by the hands of the scholar in order to take out a book.

When Fishel, the Aleksandrow Hassid, would come to worship Mincha and Maariv in the Gerrer Shtibel, it was a joyous occasion there. The learners derived pleasure from having a conversation with him about significant matters. At such a moment, they forgot about the divide between Gur and Aleksandrow.

May his memory be blessed.

Yitzchak Szaransky


Reb Avraham Klorfeld of blessed memory

by Yoav Katz

He arrived in Zgierz from Kamenetz-Podolsk. He worked as an employee in the weaving factory, and was quickly exposed as a visionary, who had great influence upon the younger generation. He encouraged those who rebelled against and despised the life in the exile, who struggled for “renewal”. Incidentally, he struck fear into the hearts of the fathers who were unhappy with their children turning to deviation, to Zionism, from whence a whiff of danger to Judaism emanated. He joined forces with the Hebrew teacher in order to instill the language to those who wished to learn it. He himself fulfilled his own preaching, and sent his son and daughter to the Land of Israel when they got older.

He himself prepared daily for aliya, and set times for the study of Torah. His home was a meeting place for Zionism. Menachem Berliner of blessed memory, and may he live, Yehoshua Manoach, today of Degania, could be found in that house. In that house, it was always possible to find a Hebrew book, the Hatzefira newspaper, and to hear the latest news from the “colonies” in the Land of Israel.

During the time of the “kulturkampf”, money for assistance was collected in that meeting place. At the end of the First World War, he actualized his desire and made aliya to the Land with his family. Despite his advancing age, he was not adverse to difficult physical labor. He loaded zifzif (coarse sand) onto the backs of camels and dragged bags of sand. He did this all with love.

In his latter years, he merited to see children and grandchildren working the fields and vineyards in the State of Israel, something that he did not do himself even though he dreamed of this for all of his days. His memory will not depart from us. May his soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life.

Yoav Katz

(“Davar”, May 25, 1958, the day of the death of A. Klorfeld.}


Zalman Feldscher

by Yitzchak Szaransky

Zalman Grondwald, even though he was only a feldscher[13], indeed a Starshi[14] feldscher, with three brass plates over his entrance – was known in the city, and furthermore in the surrounding villages as a great professor. His face, with a pointed gray beard, always shone with a splendorous friendliness, as if born to heal and calm the ill.

On occasion, a carriage or horse drawn coach would come from far off villages to take the feldscher Grondwald to a farmer or an ailing landowner. The farmer's wife would wring her hands and murmur that Grondwald could not help, that the priest must come to administer the last rights to the sick.

He was a renowned person in the city. Jews and Christians knew that Zalman Feldscher understood medicine more than the doctors to whom one removes one's hat if they actually come to a sick person in the house.

Zalman Feldscher did not only use cupping glasses, leeches, administer an enema or excise wild flesh. He also wrote prescriptions that were tolerated by the Christian pharmacists in the city.

For complex diseases, when the doctors decided to convene a conference, they would invite Zalman Feldscher as one of the consultants, and they would take his opinion into account.

When Zalman Feldscher came to the home of a Jewish ill person, he acted joyously. His simple Yiddish discussion with the sick person, and his calming of the family greatly lightened the illness, and lessened the somber mood of those around.

If there was an epidemic in town, Zalman Feldscher would run from one sick person to another without tiring. He would write prescriptions and administer massages. He would literally give of himself, and, unlike the other doctors, he was not afraid of catching the illness.

Zalman would demonstrate his deep humanity to poor Jews. Not only would he not take money for the visit, but he would also give money to purchase the prescription. His memory should be honored.

Yitzchak Szaransky


1. This is the name of a transport camp in France. Back

2. A midnight service, non-obligatory and generally only recited by particularly pious people, in which one laments the destruction of Zion. Back

3. Maharal is the acronym for Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague, 1525-1609. Back

4. A derogatory term for gentiles. Back

5. The sanctification of the moon is a blessing recited outdoors each month a few days after the sighting of the new moon. Given that it is recited outdoors, the text was engraved on a tablet outside the home. Back

6. I believe that this is a typo, and 1921 is intended. Back

7. This introductory section, in smaller font, was written by Vove Fisher, the editor of the book. The article itself is written by Reb Fishel Bunim's grandson. Back

8. The opening word of the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur morning service, following Psukei Dezimrah. Back

9. A reference to the Talmudic sage Hillel, who was known for his fine character. Back

10. A Talmudic term for one who delves deeply into his studies. Back

11. Perhaps Putnowice. Back

12. A set of Talmuds. Back

13. A barber-medic. Back

14. Starshi means 'able' in Russian. Therefore a Sarshi feldscher would be a designation for an 'able feldscher' or perhaps a 'senior feldscher'. Back

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