by Yisro'el Sanis, Roytburd
Translated by Yael Chaver
The best location on the street was that of Moyshe Zecherman (Yosl's son). He had a large house, whose entryway had apartments on both sides. The top floor of the house consisted of a labyrinth of unusually large rooms. It would be interesting to find out when and why such an odd house had been built. It was not a hotel, or apartments for tenants. On the other hand, the storey as we shall call the upper floor did not seem to be a palace for a rich and powerful man, or a landowner. During the decade from which I have clear enough memories of life in the town and before I left the town and the street, the storey was never occupied by permanent residents. The neighborhood changed from time to time, and went through various phases. Before World War I, Polish landowners ran a club there for a long time. They had wild parties with the eminent residents of the town. Music would be played, and people would spend long evenings there playing cards and drinking.
At the beginning of the RussoGerman war, when the uncle of Czar Nikolai, Nikolai Nikolayevitch, started to expel Jews from of the border towns on suspicion of treason, Zinkov became a haven for many refugees; many of these lived in the storey.  Some of the refugee families settled in Zinkov permanently. Most, however, only stayed in town for a while, and our Zinkov Jews displayed the admirable trait of hospitality. They opened their own poor, cramped homes to their homeless brothers, and helped them with whatever they could. Those refugees who settled in the town brought not only a natural increase in the Jewish population, but also an intensity
and liveliness to local commerce and community activity. They quickly became a familiar part of the Jewish community and made friends among its members.
During World War I, a small unit of prisoners of war was brought to the town from somewhere; they were quartered in the storey, which happened to be vacant at the time. These prisoners consisted of a mixture of Austrians, Germans, and even Turks. In the evening, they would sit on the metal steps of the building and sing songs. The songs of the Turkish prisoners songs were sad, with oriental tunes. Everyone stopped to listen. Even the glum Germans, who kept themselves apart from the Turks, would grow silent and listen to their songs.
It is impossible to provide a precise chronological account of events that happened earlier or later. Naturally, some details have become vague in my memory after so many years, especially years of suffering and painful experiences. During those years of unrest, revolution and counterrevolution, Zinkov was under several occupations; there were even intervals with no sovereign power. These intervals were the most tragic. There were days and nights of anxiety and fear, hunger and poverty, as well as major epidemics. Robbers and bloodthirsty bands rampaged freely, rushing into town and rushing away. But the excitement that the first years of the revolution brought into community life never waned, despite the conditions and the surrounding tensions.
The storey was constant witness to all the wanderings and upheavals. The Austrians came and took over the storey for their officers; the Poles returned and occupied it for their officers. By the way, when the Poles stayed in Zinkov, I saw for myself, and realized, what bullying Jews meant. One of these episodes happened at Passover. As I was walking on the street in the morning of the first day of the holiday, I saw a group of Polish soldiers surrounding several bearded Jews, thrusting brooms into their hands, and commanding them to sweep the street while dancing. All this time, they tormented them, pulling and plucking at their beards with mockery and derision. Watching this, I sensed the helplessness and impotence of the Jews' condition. I realized the significance of such paralyzed rage and forcibly restrained hate and disgust towards the animal in uniform holding a firearm, and towards the miserable creatures who were, unfortunately, so numerous. Thinking that this was no more than a minor game compared with
what happened 25 years later, it is hard to understand how this savage hatred and disgust could be instantly erased, and how our people the collective victim of the most horrendous outrages should be required to free the recent massmurderers of responsibility and leave their crimes unpunished.
But the darkness that spread over our town in those days was infiltrated by rays of bright light and happy statements. Zecherman's house with its storey found its rectification when it was taken over by Zionist youth and became the town's center of Zionist activity and culture.  The large rooms of the storey were now transformed into classrooms. Benches were set around long tables, for the enthusiastic students who learned to read and write Hebrew and Yiddish. There was no shortage of students, but a shortage of books, and a great lack of teachers. However, studies progressed briskly. Those who already knew something shared their knowledge with those who knew less. Teachers who came to Zinkov from other places, such as Shteynberg and Fridman, made their contributions to enlightenment and education in the town. Students, who appeared out of nowhere, also began sharing local cultural life and were especially
|Amateur drama club in Zinkov|
active in political gatherings. The upper level of the firehouse resounded with fiery arguments between Zionist and Bund speakers in a hall packed to the rafters with excited listeners.  However, the atmosphere on the upper storey of the Zecherman house was quite different. It was a place of study. Halutzim did exercises and sang their songs.  Amateurs prepared theatrical performances and a choir rehearsed concerts. The concertmaster was a student from the Odessa Conservatory of Music, who had left Odessa because of the widespread famine there. He had two good qualities: he made gaiters, and he was a fiddler. An audience gathered the moment he began playing; and his music was very affecting. He enthusiastically organized a choir, and was remarkably good at working with groups of boys and girls, and even 1014yearolds on beautiful melodies. His repertoire consisted of songs such as Do you know the land where lemons bloom and goats eat carobs like grass, and Hatikvah  with variations and as a duet. He also taught them a prelude; the Hebrew Shabbes song The sun has left the treetops; a landscape themed Autumn is over and spring has returned to our country, and other melodies. Natives of Zinkov who participated in the choir in those days carry the melodies of those songs in their memories and occasionally hum them nostalgically. When they meet, they sing these beloved songs and remember that period of cultural revival, which continued regardless of the widespread unrest.
As we have already noted, the center and main location of all activities was Azi Zecherman's house. However, our cultural work was not limited to the storey; it spread throughout the town. Two groups of halutzim had prepared themselves to emigrate to Palestine, and signs of their goal were visible everywhere in the town. On the street, they always walked together in a group. The only employment they could find in town at that time was occasionally chopping up a cartload of wood so that is what they did. There was a vacant plot of land overgrown with weeds and surrounded by a tall fence near Shloyme Helman's house, at the edge of town. The halutzim who were preparing for pioneering work in Palestine organized in a kind of hachshara group and got permission to create a garden on that plot.  They started work enthusiastically, clearing the area, plowing with dull pickaxes, and planting a garden with things they brought from home: a few potatoes, several
onions and heads of garlic, some kernels of corn, and cucumber seeds they somehow obtained. None of the eager halutzim knew about gardening, and there was no one to teach them. However, they worked with love and gusto, and achieved some results. They dug a large earthen pit, where they could store equipment and other things as well as shelter from rain and even spend a night. They guarded the young plants from the goats that eyed the fruits of the enthusiasts' work. The garden existed for two summers. The good, dark Ukrainian soil yielded abundant crops; there were enough vegetables to distribute freely to those interested. We can definitely say that the garden played an important role in feeding the poor of the surrounding villages in addition to the poor of the town.
|The Zinkov Hazamir club
Middle: the conductor, Ziegerman 
At the end of the second summer, there was almost a tragedy. One of the groups of hooligans rampaging in the area decided to shoot a bomb into town.  The bomb landed right in this garden. Luckily, it did not explode, and no one was injured. However, the garden was abandoned because of the unrest, bringing that happy and productive work to a stop; the young enthusiasts no longer enjoyed the wholesome feeling that comes with farming, which was their endgoal. Unfortunately, this was also the end of the hachshara, although no one expressed it at the time.
Another project worth mentioning is the tobacco plantations (as they were termed). A virtual epidemic of plantations broke out at that time. Every vacant plot was soon occupied by a tobacco plantation. Outside the city limits
large areas planted with tobacco suddenly appeared. The halutzim quickly applied for work, and they killed the tobacco babies. They didn't know how to use the swing plow; instead of plowing under the delicate plants they often cut them down. Whenever that happened, a cry of regret was heard: they killed a tobacco baby! This phrase became an expression that many Zinkov natives of our generation remember to this day.
|A group of Zinkov emigrants en route to America|
Political activity in the town was also organized and coordinated inside the storey. Preparations started for the constituent assembly and for the elections. The first elections for the local municipality also took place. The election campaign was lively and heated. Each group and party put forth its list of candidates. By that time Moyshe, the town elder's son, had a printing press.  I believe it was the first printing press in Zinkov. He quickly had enough work, printing flyers and calls to action. His printing press was a center of activity and liveliness. The manually operated wheel of the machine never stopped clacking.
However, the elected town municipality unfortunately had only several stormy meetings, and was unable to continue functioning. The unrest caused by the Petlyura bands and other marauders destroyed the course of normal life, and only intensified the fear and terror of tomorrow.  Young people started to think seriously about the future. Many decided to leave, encouraged by their parents; and primarily for eretzyisro'el (then Palestine). 
It is interesting to note that the varied and lively activity of the different social groups and circles in town at the time had no designated leader (except, possibly, for the Bund). There were many active workers, but no one gave orders and there was no hierarchy. Clear ideological groupings started to form. The group of halutzim set up productive work and proletarianization as its ideal.  They categorically renounced commerce as a profession. Collective farming was their ideal, and Socialism was their goal.
|The family of Zusia and Babe Segal in 1926|
The local bosses, who had their own ballots even during these elections, were primarily concerned to hold on to the town's management, and were not pleased to see the young folks' interest in abandoning them. The activity of the local Bund was focused on the elections, and gave the impression that its members were really involved in the revolution and were the spokespersons of the local proletariat that opposed the householders. However, there were no true proletarians in our town. There were only artisans, manual workers who worked independently;
some of them even employed several trained workers. Ideologically, they strongly opposed the Zionists; but in our town, at least, they had no longrange plans.
We cannot conclude this chapter on social life in Zinkov shortly after the Revolution without mentioning one joyous day that we experienced in that period: the celebration of the Balfour Declaration and of San Remo.  The celebration was organized and prepared inside the storey. The crowd marched ceremoniously by the storey. On the balcony, the most important people of the movement, as well as teachers and activists, stood among fluttering blueandwhite flags.  All faces glowed, as though salvation had already really come, and all problems were over. The young folks who joined that mass march surely felt that very soon they would surely fly to that land on the wings of eagles, the land that was the subject of such beautiful songs, and the focus of such wonderful dreams. 
The way in which the celebration was carried out is fixed in our memory. Ten young folks, with Nokhem Yoshpeh at their head, went into the forest early one morning several days before the march. The forest lay on the road between the villages of Riventchke and Bebekh, about half a kilometer from town.  The way there was through a narrow road that continued as a path between fields. They sang as they went. It was a lovely summer day, and the wheat stalks in the fields greeted the happy youths, who marched, rosycheeked, with unbuttoned shirts. They grew silent when they entered the forest, fearing the forest guards, who could have punished them badly for what they were about to do. They could even have been beaten. The guys weren't afraid of the nonJewish kids. Even if it came to blows, they had Nokhem with them, after all; he was far from a weakling, and could land a serious blow. The others would also not have held back.
The guys started in on the saplings, quietly and carefully. They would bend a sapling tree to the ground. Once the bark cracked, they would cut through the rest of the trunk with smaller knives. It didn't take long for them to make off, marching out of the forest through the fields, holding the broken saplings, on their way back to town. They wove the saplings into a garland, which they took up to the women's section of the synagogue and hung through the windowlike openings in the wall. They decorated the entire synagogue in this way. It had never been so beautifully decorated. Nokhem Yoshpeh was a natural artist and decorator. He would paint beautiful pictures
and had an artistic sense. There were additional decorations on the bimah and the menorah.  He also assembled a group of guys in costumes and bluewhite caps whom he would drill. When the day came, they gathered on the street near Azi Zecherman's house. The costumed honor guard stood there holding flags and placards. All the important leaders stood on the balcony of the storey. A crowd gathered, and the procession set out for the synagogue. Once they got there, the marchers stood around the lectern with their flags, while the speakers took the platform. The synagogue was large enough to accommodate the crowd, and the entire town came. In this way, Zinkov welcomed the first news that a Jewish homeland would be created in Palestine, and hopefully a Jewish state as well.
In 1918 or 1919 two groups of halutzim left Zinkov. They set out with no money, no passports, and no permits, relying on God's mercy to reach eretzyisro'el. They stole across the border to Galicia, made their way to Vienna, and then travelled to eretzyisro'el with the help of Zionist organization offices. 
|A group of Zinkov natives in Haifa, 192223|
Berl Saliternik, Mune Averbukh, Fishl Zaltzman, Mune Averbukh, Shiyeh Shteynbas, Shloyme Goldberg, Shamai Shur, Mendl Vaysman, Aba Nesis, Mintz, Eliezer Shvartsman and his wife, Yitzchak Fayderman, Dovid Fuks
The first group of halutzim consisted of the following members:
Nokhem Yoshpeh, Yitzchok Frenkel, Basya Shterntal, Berl Saliternik, Mune Averbukh, Avrom Shenkelman, Yisro'el Shvartzman, Yoyne Zayontshik, Mendel Kurtzman, Moyshe Zaltzman, Fishl Zaltzman, Dovid Feldman, Yitzchok Feder, Khayke Fenkel, Yisro'el Vekselman.
The second group included:
Mendl Vaysman, Dovid Fuks, Shloyme Goldberg, Shamai Shur, Ruvn Rozental, Velvl Nesis, Habe Nesis, Arke Nesis, Yoyne Zayontshik, Bunye Feder, Pinye Averbakh, Eliezer Shvartzman, Rokhl Rapoport, Pesye Fayerman, Shmuel the Rabbi's son, Karin.
Entire families of the town followed the groups of halutzim and emigrated to eretzyisro'el. These were:
The Blinder family, Friedman the teacher, the Zaltzman family, the family of Arke Shenkelman, Shimen Saliternik and his wife, the entire Saliternik family (Shimen's father), Arke Frenkel with his wife and family, the Vertzman brothers, Khayke the daughter of YoysefLozer (the butcher), the Yoshpeh family, Nokhem Katz. The others, whose names I have forgotten so many years later, or never knew, will certainly forgive me. Most of the ones mentioned are now established citizens of Israel, with extended families. Only a small number later left eretzyisro'el, because of various reasons and situations, and settled in America. A few became ill in eretzyisro'el and died at a young age. Let us honor their memory!
The children of our Israelis, as well as their fathers, took part in the defense of Israel when it became independent and was attacked by the Arabs. Along with all their Israeli brothers, they made sacrifices for the land and were wounded. Nokhem Yoshpeh lost his son, a bright young man of seventeen. Some of our fellow Zinkov natives, who visited Israel and came to visit Nokhem, saw a special corner of his house dedicated to the memory of the beloved, fallen son. The family placed his rifle, his helmet, and other objects that he left behind, in that corner. We honor his bravery and the holy sacrifice that he made while defending the honor of his people and the existence of the State of Israel.*
* See In Memoriam: Yekhiel Dovid Yoshpeh. 
by Moyshe Grinman
Translated by Yael Chaver
The years following World War I were difficult and impossible to forget. These were years of revolution and counterrevolution, years of massacres against Jews, such as those at Proskurov, Felshtin, and other, smaller, towns throughout the Jewish Pale of Settlement.  They were years of hunger, epidemics (typhus and scarlet fever); years during which Jewish lives were free for the taking, Jewish women were raped and tortured, and Jewish property was robbed. These are all facts that we natives of Zinkov, who lived through it all, can only remember with agony, and pass on in every detail to the next generations. Let me try to present a few memories of that time.
It is hard to describe how the Jews of Zinkov were able to navigate between the various rulers who constantly changed, in order to save themselves from extreme dangers that lay in wait
almost daily. Armed bands, equipped with ammunition coming in from outside as well as with armaments left behind by Czarist army soldiers during their defeat, attacked the town repeatedly. Apparently, all the new rulers were only out to strangle the revolution and drown it in blood, and to eradicate the Jewish Bolsheviks. In their drunken state, having spent all their money on drink, they were busy only with robbing, terrorizing, and murdering the civilian populationbut not concerned with establishing any kind of order or normal life and work.
|Family of Avromke Nesis, the son of Netta Belhus, with his wife and children|
And if a regime was successfully established in our town for any length of time, it spelled the start of a great calamity for the Jews of Zinkov. The commander and his guardians of the law those undisciplined, lawless robbers held the fate, life, and death, of our brothers and sisters of Zinkov in their hands, as well as their meager properties. A series of demands and ultimatums began. With each successive ultimatum, the appetites of the commander or the hetman grew. When previous requirements had gradually been met, they came up with more demands of food for their soldiers and their horses, boots, cloth; and above all special sums of money and other things for the commander himself.
People needed to have courage and strong nerves, resignation and readiness for anything in order to negotiate with the bands. The townspeople also had to be patient, and ready to trust the emissaries they sent out on this perilous mission. The representatives had to be courageous enough to go into the den of lions, negotiate with the bandits and argue with them in order to avert the terrible decrees; it was quite impossible to yield to all the demands. The main person active in all these missions was Motti Fayerman who, by the way, was killed along with his brotherinlaw on the road from Derazhne to Zinkov. At the time, he almost had the chance to leave the country and go through Galicia to Vienna; his wife and child were already on the other side of the border, near Lemberg.  Other emissaries were Yisro'el Aynkoyfer; my father, may he rest in peace; Gusakov the dentist; Avstravnik the lawyer; Trachtenberg; and the Christian Markivski, who lived in the town and had good relations with his Jewish neighbors.
Headquarters, from which the representatives were sent to the commander, and where the major deliberations took place, was the house of the Rabbi, Moyshele, may his memory be for a blessing, who took part in the meetings himself; he was a very liberal person, and a true leader of the community. He was beloved by all and his house welcomed everyone: householders, artisans, students, and all young people. Among the attendees were Khayim (Royze's son), Arke Shenkelman, Sani Alter Sanis, Itzik (Binem's son), Yekhiel Yoshpeh, Yehoshua Fayershteyn, Fukelman the bookkeeper, Berl Kubrik the town elder, and others whose names escape me after such a long time. Meetings were also held at the house of Gusakov, the dentist. What the delegations endured defies description. One thing is certain: at the time, Zinkov didn't do too badly, after all. Compared with other Jewish towns, the number of fatalities was relatively small, and the delegations saved our town from mass slaughter more than once. 
From time to time, an elected committee, or municipal council, also functioned in the town. The participants came from all strata of the population storekeepers, artisans, merchants, and laborers. The representatives on behalf of the artisans were ShmuelLipe, Idel Koval, Abramovitch (who was also the leader of the Bund), Levi Stoler, and the dentist Gusakov who identified with the socalled Leftist elements of the town and was their spokesperson, speaker, and representative.  In general, there were no serious differences of opinion or major opposing interests among the townspeople. The merchants and storekeepers (with a
few exceptions), artisans and journeymen all were similarly poor, more or less, and there were no terrible class conflicts.
As early as during World War I, great hardships developed in the town. Worst off of all were the children of mobilized soldiers, and the women whose husbands had gone away to America before the war, were later cut off from their families by circumstance, and could not send them money for living expenses. A relief committee was formed in town. Every week, pairs of people would go through town with a list of people who had committed to weekly contributions to help the women (who were nicknamed the American wives). Almost all the donors were locals, and the pairs would actually go from house to house and collect the money that was then distributed among those in need.
|Berl Kubrik, the town elder, and his family|
The situation became much worse during the periods of unrest following the war. The town was cut off from its environs. Peasants were not able to bring their products into town, and merchants and storekeepers couldn't take wares into the villages to be sold to the peasants in return for their products. It was impossible even to get salt. At one point there was such a shortage of salt that major epidemics broke out for lack of salt in food, and there were many deaths.  There were no
sugar, kerosene, or bread either. In addition, there was an influx of immigrants (bezhentses).  These were the Jews whom the Czar's uncle Nikolai Nikolaevich, as commander of the army, expelled from the border areas of the former Austria and Russia, considering them all to be spies.  All these new arrivals came with no possessions and were penniless, starved, and terrorized, and did not know where to turn. But Jews, after all, are Jews; the Jews of Zinkov took their brothers and sisters into their own homes, cramped and impoverished as they were, and shared food with them.
The relief committee was swamped with work. The activists were the same as before. Gusakov, the dentist, was also a committee member and did remarkable work. For their part, the committee linked up with a central relief organization in KamianetsPodilskyi. Aid indeed came: money, and clothing. Not too much, but nonetheless aid. It might have come from a Jewish relief organization in America, or in Russia proper. We were never told the details of how the aid reached us through all the fighting and the insecure roads; the Red Cross may have been involved. At the initiative of the committee's leaders, Abramovich and Gusakov and their group, as well as the artisans and others, a cooperative store was established. This store somehow managed to obtain flour, salt, sugar, soap, and other necessities, and thus slightly alleviate the shortage of elementary products. This is how Zinkov survived the difficult times after World War I, days of revolution and counterrevolution.
But the later and much worse problems during the rule of Hitler, when death lay in wait at each and every house, almost obliterated the memory of earlier shortages and suffering. All the brave and devoted activists of Zinkov were wiped out: my father and the entire family were murdered by the Nazi killers. Khayim Royzes, Abramovich, and Motti Fayerman were murdered, as noted elsewhere in this memorial book. The Rabbi, Reb Moyshele, died in Zinkov when young.  Arik Shenkelman and his family made their way to Israel. Sani Alter Sanis and his wife made their way to America, to their son Yisro'el. Gusakov and his wife emigrated to America. Here, in America,
he had trouble adapting himself professionally to local requirements. In addition, there was a state of crisis.  He found no way to do community work, lacking the language, friends, and a familiar environment. He remained withdrawn, disappointed, and embittered and eventually died here at an advanced age. The natives of Zinkov in New York gave him a plot in their cemetery, though he did not join our local organization. The merits of his earlier activity and devoted community work served him well.
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