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[Page 90]

Gordonia” – the last chapter

by Chaim Zamir (Fima Chemerinsky)

Translated by Sara Mages

Forty years have passed since we, my friends and I, parted from the city where we grew up, where we experienced childhood and adolescence experiences, and from which we have only memories, sad and joyful, and also longings. For us, born in the forties, Akkerman is not only streets, Kishinovskaya, Sobornya, Yevreyskaya, etc. Not even the Jewish businesses in Nikolaevskaya rise in our thoughts with the mention of the name Akkerman, but the first association, when we hear the name Akkerman, is - Gymnasia “Tarbut” which served as a spiritual and Zionist center for youth and adults alike. Yes, this building, the gymnasium building, had deepened our Jewish feelings, planted the love of the homeland in us, guided us in all our ways, formed the adult circles and all the youth movements centered around it. I cannot be objective. I know that there were important movements like “Maccabi,” “Hashomer Hatzair,” “Betar” and “HaOved,” which gathered older members and was headed by Yisrael Schildkraut and Tzvi Miniali, but it is possible to say that the “Gordonia” movement “surpassed them all,” in the number of its members, in its accomplishments, the number of immigrants and those preparing for immigration, and by everything that the movement contributed to Jewish life in Akkerman. Our adult counselors, Baruch Keminer and Yanchik Tzukerman, did not spare any efforts and were devoted, heart and soul, to the movement. They taught us, day and night, the pioneering Zionist doctrine and we can definitely say that they saw the fruit of their labor. After them came the turn of the younger counselors - the second generation in the movement's leadership - and they are: Vorobeichic Kaminker, Dudik Kogan, Efraim Abramowitch, Chava Kaminker, Kasya Roizman and others.

I remember, to this day, the conversations we had at the branch of “Gordonia” in Akkerman, as I also remember the sailings and the trips that we organized to the branches of “Gordonia” in the area - and we got as far as Shaba - for the sake of mutual acquaintance, the tightening of the movement's ties, etc.

After Kasya Roizman and Chava Kaminker immigrated to Israel and Efraim Abramowitch left to work for the movement's main leadership, we were left without guidance, but we did not stop to exist. Although, at that time, 1939-40, the persecution had already begun against everything related to Zionism and various movements (“Maccabi,” “Hashomer Hatzair” and “HaOved”) ceased their activities, we continued to operate on a very limited scale, without the same momentum and joy of life that were typical of our activities before, but we did not stop to exist, under no circumstances!

On winter evenings we gathered in one of the small rooms in the gymnasium, reminisced about days gone by, embroidered dreams of days to come, which will be better than the gloomy days of the present. During the summer evenings we sat on two benches outside, which were enough for all who came, and sang very sad songs that suited our mood in those days. I will only mention the names of those I remember from those days: Roska Gordon, Katya Abramowitch, Dvora'le Bilinowitch, Dudik Kogan, Vebtchik, Ayza Tzukerman, Aharonchick Trachtman and I, your servant.

On 28 June 1940, the city was captured by the Soviets. Our activities came to end and everyone went his own way.


Group of young members of “Gordonia” (scouts) in the late 1930s


[Page 91]

“Hashomer Hatzair” branch in Akkerman

by Tzvi Giladi (Grisha Misionezhnik)

Translated by Sara Mages

The federation of “Hashomer Hatzair” in Akkerman was founded in 1928 and its founders were students of the Hebrew Gymnasium “Tarbut.” It was a grassroots movement, which spoke to the heart of the working youth and managed to capture it to the Zionist idea. We gathered, around the branch, the Jewish youth who aspired to fully realize the Zionist idea. The Jewish residents in Akkerman lived under the harsh hand of the Romanians who lived right on the border. The separating Liman River winked to the youth… we were influenced quite a bit by the Russian youth. At the same time that “Hashomer Hatzair” was founded the rest of the youth movements were also founded: “Gordonia,” “Maccabi” and “Betar.” We acquired he inspiration and the values, on which we educated and were educated, from the Hebrew Gymnasium. In one respect, our activity was more difficult than that of other youth movements. We mainly absorbed the working youth while “Gordonia” mainly concentrated on the gymnasium students who spoke Hebrew fluently and it was easy to educate them. Our counselors knew that they had to work hard with these youth and only thanks to their loyalty, and boundless dedication, they overcome the difficulties.

Our branch was well organized and our members enjoyed their time there and also acquired knowledge and education. The members of the branch were also members of “Maccabi” and engaged in many sporting activities. Our performances, and parades in the city streets, delighted the hearts of the Jewish residents, especially on the holidays and festivals.

We were blessed with talented youth and did our best to encourage them. Our members were active in the “Yiddish Literary Theater Corner” under the guidance of Pesach Kleiman. We participated in many plays at the Municipal Theater and the proceeds from the shows allowed us to maintain our club. We considered it our duty to do everything possible to ensure our existence and published “Hashomer Hatzair” newspaper which helped to acquire members and fans for our branch. We became involved in the general Zionist activity in the city and the activities for the National Funds.

The world conference of “Hashomer Hatzair,” which was held is Vrútky (Czechoslovakia) in 1929, provoked unrest among our members when NEZAH (Pioneering Zionist Youth) left the movement. There were heated arguments following the split on the direction, and the ideology, of the movement, but we wisely and boldly tackled the problems and came out stronger because we knew how to direct our older and established members to help those who had ideological doubts.

We were helped by the emissaries who came from Israel. From among them I especially remember: Natan Bistritzky, Tzvi Zohar, Zev Bloch, Givony and Shadmi from Kibbutz Ma'abarot. The summer colonies that we arranged in the Carpathian Mountains, especially the summer colony in Kushna which ended with an executive day with the participation of Tzvi Zohar, left their strong impression and were a source of inspiration for the activities of our branch.


Counselors of “Hashomer Hatzair” branch in Akkerman

Standing right to left: Grisha Misionezhnik (Tzvi Giladi), Shmuel Miniali, a counselor from the city of Bielce [Belz], Pusia Yarnowski, David Malkin

[Page 92]

A meeting of “Hashomer Hatzair” in the Akkerman region


Graduates of “Hashomer Hatzair” in Akkerman

[Page 93]

In the course of time, youth from the studying youth circles joined the branch and the number of members considerably increased. There was a lot of cultural activity. Literary evenings and joint reading were held, as well as many entertainment and social activities. We also initiated the establishment of “Gordonia” branches in the immediate vicinity and helped to develop them. In 1932, the first group left for Hakhshara [training], and a year later our first members immigrated to Eretz Yisrael. The activity in the branch continued until 1940 with the Russian occupation.

We can now find the members of the branch in Akkerman in Kibbutz Kfar Masaryk, Kibbutz Ruhama, Kibbutz Shamir and other kibbutzim. They remained loyal to the movement that raised them and continued on their way.

Of the instructors who worked at the branch it is worth mentioning: Shmuel Miniali, Tzvi (Grisha) Misionezhnik, David Malkin, Pusia Yarnowski and Shifra Ternopol.


Group of graduates and administrators of “Hashomer Hatzair” in Akkerman

Right to left (seated): Pusia Yarnowski. Ida Gordon, unidentified, Shifra, Manya Gordon, Yisrael Ganpolsky
Second row (standing): David Malkin, Shmuel Miniali, Grisha Misionezhnik, Batya, Liuba Shmoish, Chana Manos



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