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[Page 115-117 Hebrew] [Pages 289-292 Yiddish]

The Lemberg family

by Yaakov Lemberg

Translated by David Goren

With deep respect for their memory, I want to share these notes on my grandfather and my parents, who were known in Zychlin for their noble spirits. My brother and I were blessed with parents who gave us a traditional and general education as well as freedom to develop, something that was not common in the old times.

Before I write about my parents, I would like to describe my grandfather Reb Eliezer Lipsh Lemberg, an honorable figure that inspired everybody's respect in the town. He was a scholarly and spiritual Jew who did not rule out general knowledge and culture. He had a thorough acquaintance with Jewish and general literature and was attentive to the problems of the time. Of naturally democratic and noble spirit, he understood my father's aspirations when he left the beit hamidrash and went on to learn a profession. My grandfather was not a Hasid and did not belong to the shtiebel of any Rebbe, which was unusual in that period. He was a natural contrarian.

In Zychlin, my grandfather was known as Reb Lipsh. Everyone simply referred to him in that way, without a family name or nickname. They did not even reference his job. He began his public involvement in communal life as supervisor of the construction of the great brick synagogue. When the synagogue was built, he became the shamash. In that role, he made sure the synagogue was maintained and the budget was balanced. He was also responsible for assigning the aliyot for reading the Torah on Shabbat and the holidays. When he distributed the honors, he never ignored a poor person or gave preference to the rich.

In addition to his role in the synagogue, Reb Lipsh was responsible for registering the Jewish residents of the town. Back then, the Zychlin Jewish community did not have an elected governing committee, and the registration was a government job. The registration book of the community had to be kept in the Russian language, and my grandfather had learned both Russian and Polish, verbal and written, on his own. He held another post in the Kutno recruitment office, where all men had to appear for medical exams before entering the army. His job was to confirm the identity of each recruit.

Reb Lipsh was the kashrut supervisor when wheat was ground into flour for matzah, and he supplied the flour for shmurah matzah. He was also responsible for raising money for Eretz Israel in our town. His house was decorated with the pictures he received from Eretz Israel depicting the Western Wall, Rabbi Meir Baal HaNes[1] and the Rambam. Every day he would come to us to read the newspaper that came from Warsaw, despite the fact that the paper was condemned by the Hasidim. I remember my father and grandfather breaking out in bitter tears when they read in the newspaper that Theodor Herzl had died. They considered rending (tearing) their garments as a sign of mourning. My grandfather declared that rending was not required, but they still took off their shoes and sat on low seats for the rest of the day. He was known as a smart, kind and honest person. Many would knock at his door for advice or ask him to resolve disagreements, choosing him as a single arbitrator. Both sides trusted his integrity, wisdom and judgement.

My grandfather Reb Lipsh requested that sand from Israel and the ribbon distinctions he had received for his social services be placed with him in his grave. When he passed away at age sixty-eight, there was sadness in the entire town, including the Christians. The mayor, the heads of the police and fire departments, and other senior Christian dignitaries visited our mourners' house. All of the town's youth participated in the funeral.

My father, Avraham Mordechai Lemberg, made his livelihood in the sewing business. He hired workers who were local and from outside the town. We also had a leather business managed by my mother Bina (nee Storczyk). She made a good living until the start of the First World War, but she passed away in 1917 at the age of thirty-eight.

Our home was a place of culture, daily newspapers and “external” books. We received both a traditional and secular education, as much as that was possible in Zychlin. The house was always open to all, and needy people who came for help did not leave empty-handed.

My father was also active in public service, assisting travelers to find a place to sleep and in the selection of the Jewish authorities. He had a common language with the workers he employed. “Revolutionary” meetings were held in our house and my father was involved in Zionist activities.

I came to Eretz Israel in early 1926. My father also wanted to come, but the Mandate laws in Palestine did not allow him to get a visa certificate because he was too old to be independent and too young to be supported. His premature death put an end to our hope to see him arrive in Eretz Israel.

In 1929, when he heard that I had participated in the defense of Hulda, I received a short letter from him: “I am proud of you for fulfilling your duty to the motherland, if I had been there, I would have done the same…”

My father excelled in his deep love for the Land of Israel. He had a progressive world view that he passed on to us. Looking back, I view him mainly as a spiritual advisor and an honest person. He handed down his spirit to us, giving us his vision for feeling an integral part of society and participating in Tikkun Olam (repairing the world). A proper life is primarily based on fair relations among people and caring for others. He educated us to fulfill the commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself”.


Translator's footnote

  1. Rabbi Meir Baal HaNes was a sage who lived in the time of the Mishna. He is considered one of the greatest Tannaim of the fourth generation. Return

[Page 118-120 Hebrew] [Pages 293-294 Yiddish]

My friend, Avraham Getzel (Ben-Yaakov)

by Yaacov Lemberg

Translated by David Goren

Avraham Getzel had left Zychlin before the First World War. Feeling too confined in our small town, he had moved to Warsaw, where he worked as a salesman in a garment store. But he decided to return to Zychlin when the Germans captured Warsaw during the war. He entered public service and was elected as a member of the first committee of the sports organization Turen Farein in Zychlin. In 1918 he was among the founders of the Bnai Zion Association, which attracted youngsters who had not found their place in the other Zionist parties. He was always in a good mood. His soulful balance, congeniality and good temper always illuminated his environment. He captured all our hearts.

Avraham was sent to represent Zychlin at the 1918 regional meeting of Tzeirei Zion in Plock, where he was elected as the organization's secretary for the region.

With the restoration of Poland's independence, elections were held in Zychlin for a Workers' Council. We decided to participate in the elections, despite the fact that our organization's center in Warsaw had not yet issued a positive opinion regarding participation in the council.

 

Avraham Getzel (Ben-Yaakov)

 

Poalei Zion and the Bund, which were also operating in Zychlin, took advantage of the unclear position of our Warsaw centrer to disqualify our participation in the Workers' Council, saying that we were just “children” and not “kosher” proletarians. We sent Avraham Getzel and Avraham Wrontzberg to Warsaw to convey our decision and convince the center to approve our position. After heated discussions, the center decided to allow the decision to be made locally. After receiving this approval, we participated in the stormy election and succeeded in placing two members on the Workers' Council – Avraham Getzel and myself. In the first May Day public demonstration there was great participation of factory workers and farmers of the area. Avraham gave a speech on the importance of the holiday and blessed the meeting in the name of all the Jewish workers of Zychlin. His speech made a deep impression and he was elected as secretary of the Workers' Council.

Deeply shocked by the terrible news of the pogroms in Pinsk and Lviv, Avraham embraced the cause of emigration to Palestine. He came in 1919 with the third aliyah, and his first job was working on the highway between Haifa and Jeda (today Ramat Yishai). When the road was complete, he settled in Haifa and learned masonry.

He entered public service in Eretz Israel with great enthusiasm. He was active in labor politics, in the Histadrut, and in the Haganah. In 1921 he was sent to defend Hulda during the Arab riots. In 1925, on his way back home after receiving medical care in Vienna, he paid a short visit to Zychlin. His mood was uplifting. He taught Israeli songs and dances to the youth.

I came to Palestine in 1926, arriving in Haifa in the midst of the great financial crisis. Despite his difficult economic circumstances, my friend Avraham hosted me for several days. He was in his usual great mood – one of the Trask Troupe.[1]

Avraham Getzel eventually established a family and had two children - a son and a daughter. But life did not pamper him. He fell ill with a serious disease and became handicapped on both legs. He took a senior job at the construction company Solel Boneh in Haifa and, for a hobby, he installed in his home a large aquarium. Through this hobby, he was in contact with people from around the world, which gave him comfort.

The death of his son during the War of Independence devastated him. He walked around like a lunatic. He ruined his aquarium and could not find comfort. In addition, the passing of a dear and loyal friend influenced him a lot. Melancholy took over him. He died while visiting his brother during a trip to the United States.


Translator's footnote

  1. The Trask Troupe (Hevra Trask) was a group founded in Tel Aviv in 1917. Its purpose was to bring joy to Tel Aviv at a time when there were not enough places of entertainment in the city. The group, which was active until the late 1920s, was famous for its big parties, its Purim costume parades, and the pranks of its members (such as locking Meir Dizengoff, the mayor of Tel Aviv, in his office). Return

[Pages 120-121 Hebrew] [Pages 295–296 Yiddish]

My father, Anszel Tzinamon

by Helena Tzinamon-Bodek

Translated by David Goren

My father, the teacher Anszel Tzinamon, was the first victim of the Nazis in our town. It happened a few months after the Germans occupied Zychlin. On April 14 1940 – the most tragic day of my life – I was awakened by loud ringing. Frightened, I opened the door. Three cursed policemen – an old gendarme and two Polish police. They confronted my father and ordered him to dress. My appeals and those of my mother were useless. Bourscheka, a Czech with a friendly face, explained that he had received an order to arrest my father and he was responsible that nothing bad would happen to him.

They took my father out to the street, I desperately ran after them. There was great panic in the town. Everywhere you looked, there were police dragging scared men. This was the mass arrest of the Polish intelligentsia: doctors, engineers, teachers and priests. Among them was my father and two other Jews. The teachers had submitted a request to the German authorities to re-open the schools and my father was in the list of those who signed the request. He had dedicated his life to educational work and could not accept the closure of the school that he had founded.

It was not easy to keep a Jewish private school going in Zychlin. It was a constant battle to balance the most modest budget. My father faced frequent problems and impediments posed by the principals of the Polish schools and the local government. He was thrilled with every accomplishment in purchasing educational materials, passing inspections, and recruiting new teachers. He founded the school in one small room, and through his persistence and stubbornness as the school's principal, he managed to acquire a modest building that was the property of the school. My father's life vocation was teaching. He loved all of his students equally, whether talented, diligent or slackers. The students also loved him and treated him with respect.

My father worked more than twenty years in teaching. He raised and educated three generations of students. He dedicated his free time - of which there was not much - to Jewish public service. In addition to being a member of the management of the Gmilat Hessed fund, he gave Polish language classes in the heder and financially supported the Zionist movement as much as he could. He had learned Gemara in his youth and was fluent in Hebrew. He was proud of all the Jewish accomplishments in Palestine and dreamt of visiting. Unfortunately, he could not witness the establishment of the State of Israel.

A short time after his arrest he was brutally murdered by the Nazis. The whole town of Zychlin deeply mourned his death.

[Pages 124-125 Hebrew] [Page 297 Yiddish]

Eliyahu Goldfarb

by Helena Tzinamon-Bodek

Translated by David Goren

Eliyahu Goldfarb was born in Zychlin during the First World War. He grew up absorbing the influences of traditional and modern Jewish Poland, learning to live as a quiet, modest Jew who was proud of his origins. Maintaining these characteristics throughout his entire life, he was able to overcome difficulties, fight during the Shoah, arrive in Israel in 1949, and start a new life participating in the construction of the country.

 

Eliyahu Goldfarb

 

Eliyahu had a difficult beginning in Israel. He struggled a lot until he began working for the Israeli Electric Company in 1952. He reached a good level there but he was not at peace. He worked shifts, morning, evening and night, Shabbat and holidays, always motivated by his desire to advance and carry the burden of responsibility. He had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances who valued his qualities and knew that he had a warm Jewish heart. He was always willing to help the less fortunate as much as he could, if not beyond that.

Always aware of everything that was happening in Israel, he liked to engage in discussions and arguments, always in a gentle, calm, modest and responsible way. His friends of the Electric Company's workers union do not recall Eliyahu making claims or demands. They remember him as someone who made professional and social requests politely and with integrity. This inspired others to treat him in the same manner. There was a desire to listen to his way of defining problems and finding solutions.

Eliyahu liked to act according to the notion that “the words of the sages should be heard in peace”. What he did came from his heart, and he always found ways to be heard.

He raised a family in Israel, with two daughters of whom he was very proud. He saw them build their own homes and contribute to Israel's progress. When he died, he was still working and he had great hopes for the future.

May his memory be blessed.

[Pages 122-123 Hebrew] [Pages 298 Yiddish]

Reb Itche Jakubowicz

by Shmuel Jakubowicz

Translated by David Goren

My father, Reb Itche Jakubowicz, was known in Zychlin as a man of noble spirit. People interacted with him politely and with respect. He was an observant, God-fearing Torah scholar, but he did not disqualify secular culture, from which he derived much insight. He had a broad, deep knowledge of classical literature and Jewish and general philosophy. And he was interested in the issues of the time.

In his youth, he attended the beit hamidrash and learned Torah from morning until night. After marrying he persisted in his learning. Earning a living was problematic in our home. My father tried his hand at trade but was not very successful. We found some livelihood supplying paper bags to the grocery stores. There were six children in the home and my father had trouble making ends meet. Despite that, when I decided to learn the sewing trade to help the family's finances, my father did not see it as a good thing.

My father supplied the whole town with flour for shmurah matzah, the four species for Sukkot and willows for Hoshana Rabbah. He was the shamash in the synagogue. He inherited this job from his father-in-law, Lipsh. He maintained the synagogue and distributed the honors of going up to the Torah on Shabbat and holidays without giving preference to wealthy Jews over poor Jews. He fulfilled this role with honor and dignity, never raising his voice. He respected others and they respected and appreciated him.

The writer, Shalom Asch, who was born in nearby Kutno, would visit Zychlin periodically, and when he was in town he visited my father and discuss literature and philosophy. The yeshiva boys who attended these meetings thought that they were discussing the Talmud when in fact they were dealing with general issues of study and thought.

My father did some writing as well. He authored lists and stories which he never revealed to others out of modesty. That secret remained with him.

He understood and made peace with our aspiration to leave the beit hamidrash and join the movements that were flourishing among the Jewish youth. He gave me his blessing when I became an activist of Hechalutz and went to training, and he was truly happy when I later left to Eretz Israel. He wanted my three sisters to join me, but the war broke out and they were murdered in the Shoah.

May his memory be blessed.

[Pages 299-300 Yiddish]

My brother Yaakov Iashchemski

by Blumeh Iashchemski-Schwartzberg

Translated by Janie Respitz

Edited by Leon Zamosc

 

Yaakov Iashchemski

 

My brother Yaakov Iashchemski of blessed memory was born in 1913. When the Second World War broke out in 1939 he was participating in military exercises of the Polish army near the Lithuanian border. From there his regiment was sent west and he took part in the battle of Warsaw, where he was taken prisoner and sent to Germany.

In 1941 he returned to Zychlin. In 1942, a resident of Zychlin whose family name was Sloma was shot by the Germans while standing in line to buy some bread. The Germans ordered that the body be taken to the cemetery. They sent my brother Yaakov and his friend Avraham Glotzer to bury him. After they dug the grave the Germans ordered both of them to jump into the grave and they shot my brother and his friend.

My mother, Soreh Rivka Iashchemski was taken to an unknown place when they liquidated the ghetto in 1942 and killed.

[Pages 125-126 Hebrew] [Page 300 Yiddish]

Yosef Rozengarten

by Yeshayahu Meiri

Translated by Janie Respitz

Edited by Leon Zamosc

His heart was filled with love for his people, his homeland, and the workers' movement. Yosef Rozengarten of blessed memory absorbed all of that in his old home, his birthplace Zychlin. The historical context of his youthful years and his strong will formed a Jewish man who relentlessly fought for high ideals.

I met him when he worked in the Tel Aviv workers' council, first in the “Red House” and later in Beit Brenner. I saw his devotion and loyalty to his work as a community activist. His sincerity was renowned and all his friends learned to respect “Yosef's truth”.

 

Yosef Rozengarten

 

We learned a lot from him about how to promote a honest way of life in the community. How to value and respect the rights of others while at the same time not abandoning your commitment to the social issues dear to our party.

In a conversation with him, you knew that Yosef was listening attentively and that his advice was always honest and friendly.

Until the last day of his life he was active in providing for the needs of the people. On the day of his death he attended a meeting which took place in Tel Aviv's city hall. Upon returning home he died at the threshold of his house.

We all honour his memory.

[Page 123 Hebrew] [Page 301 Yiddish]

An artist in town - Israel Zafran

by Moshe Lemberg

Translated by Janie Respitz

Edited by Leon Zamosc

It is with great reverence that I want to perpetuate the memory of Israel Zafran of blessed memory. With his artistic – theatrical talent he contributed a lot toward the cultural work in our small town, instilling joyamidst a difficult reality.

His was of short stature but his small body was filled with spirit. I left Zychlin in 1926 as a young man, but I will never forget the magnificent Friday artistic evenings of Poalei Zion Right, where he read monologues from the classical Yiddish repertoire.

The club was always packed. Young and old came to hear him and enjoyed his performances. It was a true recreational gathering in honour of the Sabbath.

Besides that, he founded a drama circle which from time to time performed under his direction with great success.

Those artistic evenings left a big impression on me. I remember how we impatiently awaited the Sabbath, when Zafran would perform. Even today I often recall the sheer enjoyment of it all.

Let his memory be honored.


[Pages 301-302 Yiddish]

The Shatin family

by Bar-Yosef

Translated by Janie Respitz

Edited by Leon Zamosc

At the end of the 19th century Reb Moshe Aron Shatin lived in Zychlin, a young Hasid, a great Talmudic scholar and a passionate follower of the Ger Hasidim.

Twice a year he would put aside his business, wife and children and leave town, freeing himself from all things material in order to travel to Gora Kalwaria and visit the Ger Rebbe. For weeks after coming back he would tell stories to the other Ger Hasidim in Zychlin about the Rebbe's family table, his teachings and behaviour.

His wife Roza was a woman of valor and a beautiful woman. She descended from a respected family of rabbis, Rebbes, and prosperous businessmen. Reb Moshe Aron Shatin died young leaving the widow Roza and six children, four sons and two daughters. His son Yosef Avraham married the pretty Soreh Layele, the daughter of Sholem Zyger. After their wedding they moved to Plock, where he ran a small sausage factory. He was a great scholar and also a follower of the Ger Hasidim. For years he was the manager of their prayer house in Plock.

Two of Reb Moishe Aron's sons, Menachem and Shmuel, left for England. Shmuel, who had settled in London, died there leaving a son.

Reb Yosef Avraham and his family in Plock were killed by the Nazis. The only survivor was Reb Yosef Avraham's son Moishe Aron, who has been living in Israel since 1934.

The fourth son of Reb Moshe Aron Shatin was Meir, who also perished in the Shoah with his wife Iteh and their children, Royzele and two boys whose names I never knew.


[Pages 57-58 Hebrew] [Pages 302-304 Yiddish]

Avreymele Gelach

by Yaakov Ben-Binah

Translated by Janie Respitz

Edited by Leon Zamosc

In our town there was a wagon driver who was called Avreymele Gelach. In Yiddish, “Gelach” was one the words used to refer to a Catholic priest or bishop. Nobody knew why he got this nickname, just like no one knew his family name. He himself did not know. He never signed a promissory note or a cheque, because he did not know how to write either.

His work place was in the market beside the well. He stood there with his horse and wagon, day after day, summer and winter. His mare was blind in both eyes. He stood and waited until he had something to transport or was asked to bring merchandise from the train arriving from Warsaw. Neither he nor his mare ever ate to their fill. From all his hard work he barely had enough for some potato soup and a piece of dry bread. But on the Sabbath he allowed himself to buy a piece of meat.

Avreymele's destitution did not affect his gentle character. He was honest and kind. He never complained about his situation because he believed this was his fate, God's will. He was happy with what he had and did not ask anyone for anything.

His mare was his best friend. They understood each other. He never whipped her. In fact he did not even have a whip. He had a rod without a strap.

If the mare had difficulty pulling the wagon he harnessed himself to her and spoke to her like a kind brother and promised her that if they returned home safely, with God's help, he would give her a double portion of hay. He did not promise her oats because he could not afford them. And so, with joined forces, they would pull the wagon with the load.

In the morning, after placing the horse and wagon in the designated spot, Avreymele ran to the beit hamidrash to pray. In the evening, after finishing his work, he unharnessed the mare who knew her way to the stall where her meal was waiting. Although he was hungry and tired, he would then hurry to the beit hamidrash for evening prayers. On the Sabbath he was the same as all other Jews, a king. He would put on his Sabbath coat which he had used for many years.

In the beit hamidrash Avreymele did not stand by the eastern wall, but rather together with the common folk, behind the platform where the Torah is read. Perhaps once in a while he obtained the privilege of removing the Torah or lifting it up. On Simchat Torah he would take part in the traditional procession, without any special honours.

He was one of the regular listeners at the table in the beit hamidrash when Reb Aaron Yehuda read the Torah portion of the week for the common folk. It is hard to know how much he actually understood. In any case, he would listen attentively, not missing a word of what Reb Aaron Yehuda said.

This is how this simple, kind, honest, God fearing Jew lived.

Avreymele never complained, not to the Creator or to other people.

This was his fate. This was his luck. Apparently, this was how it should be…


[Pages 114-115 Hebrew] [Pages 304-305 Yiddish]

Yitzhak Kelmer

by Yaakov Ben-Binah

Translated by Janie Respitz

Edited by Leon Zamosc

Yitzhak Kelmer was well known in our town. Old and young knew him. He was devoted to the Zionist ideal. He was not an ideologue or a party speaker and he did not push himself to the front, he only wanted to work for others. He belonged to the Bnai Zion Association, but was ready to help, without exception, other Zionist groups when they came to him for assistance.

Everybody in Zychlin loved Yitzhak. There was always a gentle smile on his face. He was blessed by God to be a community worker and he was around the Bnai Zion's clubhouse from the time it opened until it closed. Because of this, he neglected his family life. His main efforts were devoted to the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund, for which he worked as the local agent.

 

Yitzhak Kelmer

 

Yitzhak would accompany every Zychliner who emigrated to Palestine to the train station. When people said that the whole town was “on his shoulders”, it was not an exaggeration. He dreamed about going to Eretz Israel after achieving his goal of seeing that all the Jewish shops on Budzyner street had been closed and everyone had gone to Palestine. Unfortunately, his dream was not realized. He shared the bitter fate of the Zychlin Jews who were killed by the Nazi murderers, may their names be blotted out.

Yitzhak Kelmer had been elected as a member of the Jewish community committee as a candidate of the Bnai Zion list. Even in the ghetto, Yitzhak continued his Zionist activism. From time to time, as much as the conditions permitted, he organized gatherings and meetings.

His memory will always accompany us.


[Page 121 Hebrew] [Page 305 Yiddish]

A memorial candle for my father and family

by Yehoshua Wojdeslawski

Translated by Janie Respitz

Edited by Leon Zamosc

It is difficult, very difficult to take the pen and write about my parents, sisters and brothers who were killed in the Chelmno death camp.

We lived together for many years, connected like children to a father, and suddenly, everything was torn apart. I knocked on many doors of Poles in Zychlin. Later, I wrote to the mayor, who was then Edmond Dembowski, to find out who survived. But until now I have not received an answer about the fate of those closest to me. For me, it is clear that they are no longer among the living. They shared the fate of all the Jews who were in Zychlin in the moment of the deportation.

According to other information I received, my father Yaakov David Wojdeslawski and one of my brothers died on the same day. My mother Gitel of blessed memory as well.

My father worked as the head warehouse keeper at the mill of my grandfather Moshe Mendel Wojdeslawski. He belonged to the Piltz Hasidim (Piltz, Pilica in Polish, was a town near Zawiercie). Twice my father brought me to his Rebbe Mendele Piltzer of blessed memory. He wanted me to become a Hasid, but without success. I was attracted by the Zionist movement, especially because my closest friends Zhukhovski, Wrontzberg and Lemberg were the founders of Tzeirei Zion in Zychlin.

Thanks to my father, our home was always open to the poor and needy. Father was a kind hearted, fair man. My mother always gave her consent to his actions. Their memory is engraved deep in my heart.


[Pages 306-307 Yiddish]

Michael Schwartzberg

by A. Z.

Translated by Janie Respitz

Edited by Leon Zamosc

Australian Jewish News

The news of the untimely death of Michael Schwartzberg hit the Yiddish-speaking community of Melbourne like a thunderbolt. He was a dedicated Jew from old Polish stock. In Melbourne, he was active in the Kadimah Cultural Centre, the Zionist council, the Labour Zionists and other Jewish institutions. He firmly believed that in the far reaches of Australia he could keep alive the golden chain of the millennium of Jewish life that had been destroyed in Poland. He held this belief until the moment of his sudden death on June 6, 1971.

 

Michael Schwartzberg

 

Michael Schwartzberg was born in Zychlin in 1907. His father, an old timer who belonged to the Hovevei Zion, instilled in the young Michael a deep feeling of love and responsibility for the Jewish people, which would take him to all sorts of Zionist undertakings. In his youth, Michael was a member of Tzeirei Zion, representing his party in various Zychlin delegations to conferences and negotiations.

When the Second World War broke out, Michael Schwartzberg and many others fled to the area of Poland that had been occupied by Russia, knowing that they would have a better chance to survive than under the Germans. Unlike other refugees, however, Michael took the enormous risk of returning to Poland in order to rescue his wife and smuggle her, along with many friends, back across the Russian border. While in Russia he devoted himself to social work in faraway regions of the country.

When he returned to Poland after the war, Schwartzberg went to Zychlin and found out that the Jewish community had been completely destroyed. He temporarily settled in a different town of the western region of Poland, where he helped establish the first Jewish school and youth organization.

After immigrating into Australia Michael Schwartzberg remained true to his lifetime goal to live out his final years in Israel, a goal that had been frustrated twice at the last minute. The first time was when he was in a Zionist training camp in Grochow and his immigration certificate to Palestine was given to someone else. Then, after the war, he had been set on finding a way to go to Eretz Israel, but the plan was called off when his wife's cousin, who was a close friend, asked them to come to Melbourne with him, so they could be together.

One week before he passed away, Michael sold his house and began to pack his bags for the third time in preparation to go the Jewish state. He already had a departure date for November 1971. However, once again he was unable to realize his dream. Death took him from us quickly and unjustly.

Hundreds of people came to his funeral in Melbourne. Friends from Kadimah, the Zionist Council and his party Poalei Zion delivered eulogies by his grave.

Honor his memory!


[Pages 307-308 Yiddish]

Nicknames from our town

by Yosef Propen

Translated by Janie Respitz

Edited by Leon Zamosc

Various characters from Zychlin stand before my eyes, some of whom were treated with derision by the younger generation.

In the town everyone had a family name that appeared in official records and passports, but many had nicknames that were used in everyday life, when people rarely called each other by their official names. The nicknames described the character of the person according to occupation, individual peculiarities, family traditions, or other special circumstances. The following are some examples.

The Old Goat Yoyne the Hat Maker
David the Old Goat's son Yukele the Shoemaker
Reb Chaim the Teacher with a Goose Feather Mates the Hat Maker
The Gombin teacher Yehoshua the Cork
Tuviya the female teacher (he was a man) Mendl Blachazh
Chaimke Dumpling The Red Head Blachazh
Yankl the Nobleman's Teacher Chil Tziviye's
Zelig Tzivye's The Little German
The Budzavaner Nute the Butcher
The Aforementioned Nute's Zalmen
The Little Rabbi Skygazer Nute's Eliezer
Simpleton The Red Head Sholem
Auntie Yoyne Mordkhai the Butcher
Khaim Khume's Shmuel the Non-kosher Butcher
Yakov Khume's Leibish the Butcher
Zechariah Khume's Gilye the Butcher
Itche Aron Tuviya's Raytze the Borscht Lady
The Red Head Watchmaker Raytze's Chave
Yehoshua Feyvl of the Community Committee Shprintze Neche
Shloyme Khaya House Moishe Aron the Cake Baker
Avrom Yitzkhak the Watchmaker Chanuke the Baker
Henekh the Watchmaker The Dirt Road
Berish the Goldsmith The Goat
The Deaf Brukyazh Fraitche the Dirt Road
Reb Mendl Meir the Ritual Slaughterer Golda Yerl the Herring Lady
Reb Feyvish the Ritual Slaughterer Golda Feyge
Avrom Moishe the Boot Stitcher The Crazy Mckhliekhe
Efraim the Tailor Royze's Dobrish
The Glazer Royze's Rashi
The Mechanic Chane Shtrontze
The Miller Mashke's Esther
Yosele with a Growth Chanele the Rabbi's Wife
The Sugar Maker Mrs. Balbuna
The Frantic One Itzik the Baker
Itche the Brat Yukele the Baker
Moishe Cham Yakov Wolf the Baker
Khaim Yuvin Moishe the Stallion
Ayzik Meir with the Cold Feet The Four Sisters
Kasriel the Hat Maker Zalmen's Chayele
Columbus Kola the Impulsive Tzemach's Ronye
Sholem Bomb Yakov's Moishe
Aron the Groper Shloymke the Baker
Mendl Zumbul Noiech his Son
The Red Head Manufacturer Avreymele the Ladies' Tailor
Simcha the Silent Leibishl the Tailor
Esther Khaya the Silent Zelig Moishe the Tailor
Yakov Tumek Skurke the Patchlayer
Moshe Aron Yakov Tumek's Hershl the Tailor
Berl with the Goiter Bobsel the Shoemaker
Hershl Brayne Gitl's Bovele the Shoemaker
Moishe Bogder Dovid Chudiel
Avreymele the Priest Wolf the Shoemaker
Yisroele with Ringworm Yitzhak Aron the Shoemaker with a Bastard
Leibele Niemolovaniye Wolf's Berish Yaakov
Itele Yisruel's Wolf's Moishe Yaakov
Khaml the Water Carrier Aroniche Fisher from Zychlin
Matis the Hunchback Hershele from Ostropol
Shimen the Hunchback Itzik's Leah
The Great Sabbath with a Short Friday Lipesh the Beadle
Aronke the Cigarette Seller Itche the Beadle's Son in Law
Mordkhai Vaynacher Zalmene the Beadle
Dovid Blacksmith Cantor Pomerantz (Orange)
The Rabbi's Assistant Avereymele the Shulklapper
The Stork The Gombin Medic
Anshl the Rag Dealer Chaim Leyb the Enema Maker
Aronke the Governor Gershon the Medic
Avreyml the Governor Shaul the Pigeon Catcher
  and many others…

 

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