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[Page 139]

A “note” – a memento

by Yisrael Finkel

Translated by Sara Mages

The immigrants from Akkerman to Eretz Yisrael received emotional farewell from their friends and family members who remained in Akkerman. The joy of the immigrants, and the sadness of those who remained, mingled together. Tears of joy and sorrow mixed together. To this day I remember the sight at the train station in Akkerman on the day of my immigration as a member of “Gordonia.” Almost all the members of the movement came to accompany me and my friends, and a few moments before the train moved one on the members tucked a small note in my hand and it is kept with me to this day. When I had the time to look at the note after boarding the ship, it became clear to me that it was not just a note, but a poem written by my friend, Musia Rotenstein, and in it he expressed his strong emotions towards my migration. I keep this note as an amulet and it is worth bringing it to the knowledge of our townspeople as it was written.

I haven't heard anything about the author of this passionate poem since my immigration, and I have no idea what happened to him, but the emotions of the heart and the outpouring of his feeling in this poem are not only his, but of all the young people of Akkerman in those days (according to rumor the writer of the poem perished in the Holocaust).

This poem will be an everlasting memento for you!

To the immigrant

by M. Rotenstein

You, the immigrant to the homeland
To establish a home there for the suffering Jew,
Please carry the blessing of my trembling soul
Deliver the sorrow of my withered heart!

He cries in the daytime, and also howls at night
On the condition of his people living in exile:
Because joy moved away and happiness passed
He can no longer tolerate poverty…

Please deliver to the flourishing Land of Israel,
That we shed many tears for her,
Tell to every home, to the forest, to the grass,
That out of abundance of longings we walked away them!

Bring a blessing from me to Lake Kinneret,
To the mountains of Lebanon, to the valley, to the ravine,
Tell that my soul is thirsty for them
Say that I will be hungry for them the rest of my life!

Notify my people who are there in Israel
That I worried about them many times.
That I asked a lot, read, wrote
And even now I devote my life to them.

Kiss the land of our patriarchs for me.
Sing the anthem for you!
“Let your hands be strong – the immigrants to our country.
all of you, build the homeland.”

Akkerman 26.3.1936




[Page 140]

“I remember the days of old”
(From a letter from Siberia)

by Efraim Abramowitch, Siberia, the Soviet Union

Translated by Sara Mages

It's our mitzvah to tell, and not just a mitzvah, but an obligation to tell about the founders of our Hebrew School in Akkerman. The young generation must not think that everything came to us ready, as a gift of God above. It's the fruit of hard work of many people who devoted their life to one goal: educating the young generation. Indeed, in Israel, no one wonders when kindergarten children appear in a play or in a radio program in Hebrew. It's natural and obvious. However, imagine in your souls: a city in Southern Bessarabia, far from the center, the dominated languages in the area are Russian and Romanian, and within this environment the kindergarten children of our school appear on the stage in fluent Hebrew.

I now remember events from fifty years ago, and I was then a boy of five. Our kindergarten class prepared the play “Yitzchak and Rivka” in Hebrew, and although more than fifty years have passed since then – I remember to this day the words and melodies of this play. I see before me the hall full of people, the parents who draw satisfaction from their children, and our teacher – “aunt Manya” (so we affectionately called Manya Sharira who died a few years ago in Kishinev at the age of 93). She used to peek behind the curtain and followed the play, on which she invested a lot of work, with great excitement and anxiety.

Why did I start my memories from kindergarten? because it was the first link to the school that was established by “Tarbut” association in Akkerman. The initiator and founder was Yakov, son of Shmuel Berger z”l. He worked together with a dedicated group of teachers who tried to create something out of nothing. However, the birthright mainly belongs to – Berger. He knew how to instruct and guide in the right direction, was very knowledgeable in all areas of Judaism, knew foreign languages, and of course, all these helped him in carrying out his job. He was the organizer and coordinator of the “educational process” – meaning, the daily education program.

I remember how I looked at him with admiration. He knew everything. Here he appears in our class and gives us a Bible lesson, and a short time later he returns to us and teaches us the doctrine of laws. The treasure of his knowledge aroused a lot of wonder. To this day I remember his lessons and lectures about Shalom Aleichem and other writers of his time. Also his public activity was very extensive. The goal, which he placed before him, was that the school, under his management, would also be an educational institution that will help the students to foster their own personality.

We will not deprive the rights and contributions of other teachers. Is it possible to forget the lessons of our literature teacher Meir Grozman? Or the math lessons of our teacher Yeshayahu Neiman? I'm jumping from one to the other because the chronological order isn't the determining factor. I just wanted to highlight the impression that the school had left on me, and for sure, also on each of the students. We grew, matured, and the chain of life continues. We became parents and grandparents, but the school's place in our life remains firm and abiding, as a lighthouse from the days of our youth.

The last years, 1937–1940, were very sad years. In 1938, the Goga–Koza government rose to power and the school was closed. It was a difficult blow to the Jewish population. Among the decrees of that time was a decree which required each Jew to prove that he was born in the place. It was a condition for citizenship. In those years I've seen Berger in his work at the Jewish community as Rav MeTa'am [the rabbi on behalf of the government]. He had to search hundreds of documents. Dozens of people visited him every day because many were afraid to lose their citizenship and rights. He worked hard, above his powers, and tried to help those who turned to him. I see him with a satchel full of documents. He rummaged through them after he returned home from a day of hard work.

The Goga–Koza government fell and its evil decrees were abolished. Many appreciated the great help that they've received from Berger during the difficult period.

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I envision Berger's work room and the large bookcases along the walls. He was always absorbed in his work and I've never seen him idle. In July 1940, when we separated, he left me several books as a gift, among them were the history books of Dubnov. He was 48 years old when he was expelled from Akkerman. In an instant, all that has been achieved over many years was destroyed.

Until the beginning of the war he worked as an accountant in a place that was a distance of 40 kilometers from our city. Somewhere it's said that whoever planted a tree or left behind a student – his life had not been wasted. Berger's memory will never be forgotten because he didn't leave one student, but hundreds of students who will always remember him. Although his burial place is unknown, his tombstone is stable because each one of his students who survived carries his memory with him.

When I happened to be in Akkerman together with David we went to visit the school building. Now this building is used as a hospital. Indeed, this is also a vital and important institution, but I said to my son at the time: look, this was the nest of our education, the spring from which we drew our youth, and now – it's destroyed and gone.


Efraim Abramowitch on his visit to Akkerman in 1981
Against the fortress' background


[Page 142]
Childhood and youth in Shabo and Akkerman

by Baruch Kamin

Translated by Sara Mages

The story of my life – the days of my youth

From my youth I remember the thunder of the cannons of the Red Army who retreated to the eastern side of the Dniester River, and the thunder of the cannons of the Romanian Army which entered the town of Shabo, a distance of 5 kilometers from Akkerman. In the cellar of the house of my grandfather, who was a rabbi and a slaughterer, I saw my frightened family and…I was afraid with them. It was dark in the cellar and only faint rays of light penetrated into it. At night, a lantern threw dim light and black shadows which increased the feeling of fear in me. Our days and nights were difficult and scary. After a few days we left the cellar and returned to our homes, to the yards and the streets that were full of sand. Silence prevailed in the area… the sun rose again for us and there was light. Romanian soldiers rode their horses through the streets and threw candy and sugar – commodities that we didn't have during the days the war.

We, the children, ran through the streets and collected the candy and sugar cubes. We were very happy to see the beautiful horses of the Romanian cavalry. My father, mother and I returned to our apartment which was at the upper part of town. Next to the apartment was a large sandy square and in its center stood a deep well. A large wooden bucket was tied to a long pole and large stones were attached to one of its ends. The bucket was lowered into the well and cold fresh water, which revived the soul of a man and beast, was drawn from it. Next to the well was kind of a wooden sink which was used to water the animals. The children always found interest around the cold water well, especially in the horses and cows that stood next to it. In the building where we lived (a new building with many apartments), one of the apartments was confiscated for a Romanian captain, a commander of a company of soldiers. Twice a day he conducted a roll call in the sandy square as he was riding his beautiful horse. All the neighborhood children watched the spectacular parade and all of us wanted to be a captain riding on a beautiful horse, dressed in magnificent uniform and adorned with gold and silver medals. At night, we dreamt about soldiers, horses, guns and waged wars…

Shabo was an interesting town in terms of its beautiful nature and diverse population which included several thousand Russian and Ukrainian residents, and also about sixty Jewish families. The environment was rich in vineyards which stretched for tens of kilometers. The soil was fertile and produced wheat, corn, fruit–trees, watermelons, melons and vegetables. Along the way, from Akkerman to Shabo, there were vineyards with a special variety of medicinal grapes. Near Shabo was a Russian–Ukrainian–Jewish town, the “Colony,” which was name after the Swiss colonists who spoke German and French and were Lutherans, Catholics and Calvinism. Each religious sect had its own church. The Lutherans, who were the majority, had the largest church in the middle of the colony. The Calvinism had a small and modest church at the entrance to town. The colony was beautiful, well planned, its streets were wide and straight and beautiful trees lined both sides of the street. The beautiful buildings were built in a western Swiss style with big yards and wide warehouses… The yard of the big Provoslavit Church separated the town of Shabo from the colony. All the residents of the colony had a yard with chickens, horses, cows, dogs and cats, all by example and pattern of Western–Europe. The entire colony was immersed in greenery. The Swiss brought with them many varieties of fine grapes which acclimatized well in Shabo's sandy soil. Fish was also in abundance. Different species of fish were raised in artificial ponds at the mouth of the Leman River. They were used as food for the many vacationers who flocked here during the summer season. The smell of wine and fish rose from each yard. Traders came in droves from all over the country and even from abroad (especially from Poland and Czechoslovakia), and conducted large export businesses in fish and wine. Among them – many Jews who were interested in kosher wine. My grandfather, who was a rabbi and slaughterer, was also among the kosher wine producers because the income from the rabbinate and slaughtering was insufficient to support his large family of seven children. A large warehouse, which was used for storing hundreds of liters of kosher wine, stood in the yard. The wine was produced by Jewish workers and under my grandfather's supervision. Most of Shabo's Jewish residents engaged in trade and wine production, and only a few engaged in craft.

[Page 143]

I remember two shoemakers. One of them, Yitzchak Veler, was short, plump and highly active in public and cultural life. He was a talented actor in the Yiddish theater that was established in the place. Over time, the town of Shabo and the colony got closer to each other. The educated young people married each other, and the adults traded and worked together. On winter evenings, young people from the town and the colony climbed on top of the hill to watch the magnificent scenery of the Leman River and its frozen waters which glistened in the moonlight, or to skate on the frozen lake. On Sunday and holidays they played “cricket” in the town and in the colony. This game was brought from Switzerland and became the primary game of the place.

On the shores of the Leman, a distance of a few dozen meters from grandfather's house, were ornamental trees, tall reeds and natural recreation and bathing places. During the spring and summer we were able to sail and swim in the Leman, while in the winter the Leman was covered with a thick layer of ice and snow and strong cold winds blew from the river. This area was used as a place of crossing for the Communists who fled to the Soviet side and quite often shots pierced the air. More than once the bodies of the victims were left lying on the ice till dawn. Thereby, the river was a source of calamity for nature and man.

When the war ended, and I was then a boy of four, our family moved to live in the county city of Akkerman, while my grandfather's family continued to live in Shabo. My grandfather had seven sons and daughters and my father was the eldest. My grandmother was a beautiful woman, a diligent worker, and her children and grandchildren enjoyed her excellent food. She was a devout and observant and at the same time also progressive. She accepted the changes of times and advanced in everything that was related to the children's education. Grandfather was a scholar, the son of Rabbi Velvel from Zhabokrich (Podolia), and grandson of HaRav Pertz who came to Bessarabia to serve as a slaughterer and established a home and a family there. He got up at dawn to study the Torah and the melody of his Gemara blended in perfect harmony with the chirping of the birds. I liked to lie in bed in the morning and listen to the melodies and the chirping, and with them, the strong smell of the morning and the blossoming acacia trees. After the prayer and the meal, grandfather slaughtered chickens that the local people brought to him, and around 10 o'clock he devoted himself to the production of kosher wine. At four o'clock he went to the slaughterhouse and when he returned home he brought “pieces” from each animal that he had slaughtered [legs, liver, intestines, heart, tongue, lungs etc.) which, according to custom, belonged to the slaughterer. Grandmother sold some to the neighbors and used the rest to prepare tasty meat dishes for the entire family. The menu on Sabbath was varied: “holodez” [jellied meat], “pizya” [chicken wings in lemon sauce], liver, knishes, intestines, etc.

During the inflation, after the war, my father bought a large building with seven apartments on 35 Kischinovsky Street in Akkerman. It was across from the Russian bathhouse of the Gentile Bishlaga, who was rarely sober.


One of the fortress' towers


Behind the bathhouse, across the street, lay the Leman River, a tributary of the Dniester River. Most of the apartments of our building faced the street and a wide circular yard surrounded them. There were large warehouses in the yard and the fishermen used them to store fish. The tenants also used the cellar, especially on hot summer days. One of the warehouses was leased to the soap factory. North of the Russian bathhouse, across the street, on the shore of the Leman, was an artesian well with a hand pump that supplied water to the residents. During the winter, when snow storms raged on the shores of the Leman, it was difficult to draw water from this well. South of the bathhouse, across the street, was a large empty plot and pigs ate the tall weeds that grew there. The neighborhood children rode on the pigs and organized racing competitions. The pigs immediately felt the uninvited guests who were riding on their back and started to gallop and jump. Whoever sat the longest on the pig's back – was the winner of the race. The Jewish children were always carful that their parents wouldn't notice them because riding on a pig was also considered an offense.

The fishing village of Turlaki was three kilometers from our building. The reeds that grew there were used to cover the roofs and also to heat the ovens on cold winter days. The Leman was a good source of income and hundreds of fishermen left day and night to fish in its waters. At the same time, the Leman was a place for bathing and recreation. Thousands of people spent time, ate, swam and rested on its long beach. Sailing a sailboat or a rowboat was an impressing sport, and it was a pleasure to see the many white sails on the horizon. We always had to remember not to cross the four–kilometer area of water

[Page 144]

which belonged to the Romanians, and not to enter the Soviets' territorial water. In the winter, the Leman was also used as a place for ice skating. To sum up: the Leman was a natural treasure, an asset to all the residents of Akkerman and the surrounding area.

During spring and summer the sound of singing came from the river day and night. The area was well–guarded by border guards because it was a border region. At night, the lights of Turlaki, Iaki at the mouth of the Dniester, and Ovidiopol on the Soviet side of the Leman winked at us from a distance. The southern end of our street, Kischinovsky, reached the foot of the ancient fortress that the city was named after – the white fortress – although the fortress ceased to be white and blackened over time from all the wars that were raged around it and on it. The water of the Dniester River surrounded it on three sides and the water channels, which were blocked over the years, tied it to the shore. The area of the fortress was huge, there were residential areas, military batteries and mysterious underground caves. Various legends circulated about the fortress and excited the imagination of young and old, and especially the women who believe… These legends passed from generation to generation and became an inexhaustible source of stories that were told by veteran fishermen and sailors.

In this area, at the bosom of nature, I grew and absorbed the love of landscape, nature, water, vegetation, fisheries, history and romance. It was an inspiration for my small and large acts for others. In my thoughts I often return to Kischinovsky Street in Akkerman, my place of residence in the distant past, and I draw from its special atmosphere.


Gordonia's summer colony in Bodki – 1934


[Page 145]
Names and Nicknames

by Z.M – Y.S.

Translated by Libby Raichman

Z. M. and Y. S. got together and raised from the abyss of oblivion a long list of names and nicknames of the Jews of Akkerman. Even after they checked the list and took out insulting nicknames – we can see there is still a long list left. Since most of the nicknames are based on the Yiddish language, we also give the introductory to this list in this language, because the taste and the charm of the nicknames will be impaired if we try to translate them into Hebrew.

* * *

Tz. M. and Y. Sh got together and saved a long list of names and nicknames of the Jews of Akkerman, from oblivion. Even after they refined the list and removed offensive names – as we see, a long list remained.

In almost all the towns and villages in Bessarabia there were Jews with nicknames and assumed names that the town or the village attached to them, but nowhere, were there as many nicknames as there were in the Jewish town of Akkerman. Without exaggeration: there were hundreds. As it says in the verse: “there was no house without … a nickname”. The reason for this, one might assume, was that in our town of Akkerman, there were great champions in this area, who were qualified to detect the faults, or the weaknesses of every Jew, and on this basis attached a nickname to each one. These “champions” came from among the wholesalers and the young men in the prayer houses, who saw to it that no Jew in Akkerman, God forbid, would remain without a nickname… .

For the compilers of the nicknames, it was not so easy to evoke all these nicknames, that reflect to a certain extent, the specific folklore of the Jews of Akkerman. Aside from this, one needs to take into consideration that certain nicknames cannot be printed for aesthetic reasons, that the “champions” of the nicknames did not consider, but we must consider them… .


A א

Avraham Anatre: Avraham Goldenshtein, lived in Izmialsky Street.

Aharon Hak [an axe]: His face had the shape of an axe.

Utshette [Itshe]: Meir Kagan. His father Reb Fyve called him Itshe–Meir and with time he was called Utshette.

Enoshl: This means a small person, the diminutive Danielovitz Rivkin.

Avraham Gezetshik [a newspaper]: Avraham Edliss was the “distributor” of all the newspapers that used to arrive from Odessa before the First World War.

Isaac Bublitshnik [bagel maker]: Isaac Perlin. He was the main baker of bagels in the town and for the entire vicinity.

Asher Karpovitz [a carp]: Asher Bronshtein who was caught, not to be repeated, when he tried to carry off a fresh, wriggling, large carp and binge on it himself.

Ugolnikkes [ugol is coal]:They were grain and wine merchants. Their exchange was at the “Ugol”, sometimes at Motl Fagin's tavern and later at Eli Krasniansky's store. They were big jokers.

Alter of the Kosse:originally from Kosse, a suburb of Akkerman – The Kosse.

Avraham Shabolatter: Avraham Zektzer, originally from Shabolat (Sergyevky).

Alter Chazan [cantor]:Alter Melnik.

Aharon Kuzniyetz [a forge]: Aharon Grinshpun – a blacksmith.

[Page 146]

Avraham Moshe Fyvelles [son of Fyvel]: Avraham Riebak.

Avraham Yuchentzes: Avraham Prechter.

Aharon Fyvelles [son of Fyvel]: Aharon Kogan.


B ב

Berel Bik [an ox]: Berel Rabinovitz. The entire summer he kept an ice–room, packed with ice to sell .

Bronzeboi [froth]: David Berman. He would spray every face when he spoke.

Boruch Voyenne [soldier] : Gamshiyevitsh, dealt in rags, a thief, a drunk.

Binyamin Semmen: originally from a village called Semmen.

Berel Slon [elephant]: Berel Bezprozvanne. His face with his long nose resembled an elephant's trunk.

Benny Hikkevotte [stutterer]: Benny Rubtzinsky, was a stutterer.

“Barulke”]: Motti Parladansky.

Ber Akkerzsher: Ber Kolyesky, originally from a German colony called Akkerzshe, between Avidupol and Odessa.

Benny the Roiter [ruddy]: Ben Tzion Vassilevsky.

“Bureshke”: Hersh Elberg. Why “Bureshke”? – not clear.

“Bobtzi”: The Bass family. She was the Madame of a brothel on Starobazarny Street.

Brynne the Modistke [Milliner]: a famous milliner in the town.

Benderer: Parkansky, originally from Bender.

“Bufty” [an actor, a buffoon]: Yisroel Sverdlik

“Benny Getz”: he came from a many branched Chassidic family. His great–grandfather was Aharon–Getzy

Bobbe Gelly [yellow/ginger]: Famous for her cows. She provided kosher milk for the religious folk.

Boruch Hurtzele: Boruch Gelman.

Ben Tzion Chave Liebe's [son of Chave Liebe]: Ben Tzion Shildkroit.


G ג

“Genzele” [a little goose]: Yisroel Lazar, who looked like a goose.

“Garlotshov” [neck]: Fishman, a staroveshnik [an old mind]. He and his sons were all thieves and drunks.

Gittel the Gannefte [the thief]: Gittel Tzibulevsky, simply had a “weakness” for stealing.


D ד

Dovid Kapelush [man's hat, a fedora]: Dovid Ginzburg. He would “dress up” during the week, summer and winter and wore a hard, black hat (kotyelyok).

The Bikl [the ox]: Yisroel Spivak.

Dovid Hon [rooster]: Dovid Braverman. He would run around the marketplace, shrieking and crowing like a rooster while selling bruised and rotten fruit of various kinds.

The Reiche Kabtzinte [the rich pauper]: Mrs. Nudelman was very poor but had the presence of a rich woman.

Der Trespolyer: Motl Ratner, a handsome Jew, proprietor of houses, originally from Tiraspol.

Der Lekachbekker [the honey/sponge cake baker]: he and his children were famous as specialists in baking these cakes.

Dovid Chave–Liebe's [son of Chave–Liebe]: Dovid Dorfman.

[Page 147]

Dovid Kotter [a male cat]: Dovid Zonnis, served the gentile nobleman Navrotzki. He had bad luck from a black tom cat.


H ה

Haman Vodovoz [transporter of water]: a sham, a water–carrier, who would not give a drink of water even in the greatest heat. He was therefore crowned with the name “Haman”.

Hersh Moldovon: Hersh Kardonsky, originally from the village of Moldavonesh, in the vicinity of Akkerman.

Horbetsh [hunchback]: Alter Sapoznikov, the boot polisher who had a hunchback.

Hersh Guzmanzogger [exaggerator]: Hersh Shainer.

Hershl Shaibes: Hersh Blinder.


V ו

Voyenshiche [tailor]: Sorre Gamshiyevitsh. Her husband, a tailor, patched clothing. She hung up a sign “Tailor to the Army” and was therefore called Voyenshiche.

“Vodyanke”: Dovidke Feldman. Why he was called “Vodyanke”, is unknown.

“Vatuti” [“vatte” is padding]: Shlaymele Missonzshnik, a tailor.

“Varenik” [a dumpling]: Izenber, a shopkeeper, had a face like a dumpling.


Z ז

Zeleny [green]: Segal, the printer. Why “Zeleny”, is unknown.

Zundel Pakkenarreger [itinerant bookseller]: Zundel the bookseller used to carry a large woven basket with all kinds of books and story books. Originally from Lithuania. Familyunknown.

Zynvil Vattenmacher [cottonwool and padding maker]: Zynvil Zaslavsky. He had a machine to produce padding.

“Zigotte”: Yankel Ziggelvaks. He was a big clown at school. His friends compared him with great envy – to the comedian, the artist, Zigotte.

Zeidl Puziniok [big belly]: Zeidl Averbuch, the treasurer in the synagogue, coarse and fat like a big belly.

“Gendarme” [policeman]: Shmuel Berger. He was a tall, strong, respected Jew. He walked tall like policeman.

Zeilik Mukumel [flour grinder]: Zeilik Milman, a story, a tale. His father had a mill at the “Vershinne”.

Zeilik met a farmer, an acquaintance who asked: How is your father? Zeilik answered: “mukumelle” meaning – he is grinding flour. Since then, the nickname “Mukumel”.

Zeilig Eli–Chaims [son of Eli–Chaim]: Zeilig Gurevitsh.


CH ח

Chaim the Langer [Chaim the long one]: Chaim Klurfeld.

Chayenke Shtink: Chayenke Magalnik was, not to be told to anyone, a very smelly person.

Chaim Balebottish [right, respectable]: A tailor, a big bungler who would make excuses for the defects in his tailoring with the motto: it should be right.

“Charitke” [mistress]: Avraham Krasniansky. Why “Charitke”? – because of a matter with a gentile girl.

Chaim the Meshugenne [Chaim the madman]: a good–natured madman, whom they would tease and with whom they would clown around and then provide him with all his needs.

“Chunchuzn”: This is what all the Chassidim in the town were called. How they came to have the name of a wild tribe of the Asiatic steppes, is unknown.

Chaim Chava–Liebes: Chaim Kaminker, son of Chava–Liebe.

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T ט

“Titulesku”: This is what Pinny Tultshinsky was called.

“Tshempulyetti”: Yisroel Rabinovitz.

“Tshornomazi” [blackbeard]: Abramovitsh. His face had a black overgrown beard.

“Tuste”: Alterman. A somewhat dazed character and a drunk.

“Tentzer” [dancer]: Nachman Reznik, would hop, and dance a little when he walked.

“Tshubuch”: Fiddelman, a sheet metal worker. Why he was called “Tshubuch”, is unknown.


Y י

Yisroel the Toiber [the deaf one]: Yisroel Tultshinsky.

Yossele Nidde: Yossele Segal – a bit of a broker, a bit of a matchmaker, a small petite Jew with a yellow lined face, like Nidde.

Yankel the Heizerikke [the hoarse one]: Cantor Yankel Gottloib, a well–known leader in prayer. He prayed all his years in the synagogue with much warmth and pleasantness, with a hoarse voice.

Yehoshua Kaloshnik [galoshes]: Yehoshua Bailis, the greatest specialist in the town for repairing galoshes.

Yisroel Bolgar [from Bulgaria]: Yisroel Brodtzky, originally from Bulgarian village in the vicinity of Akkerman.

Yankel the Viser [the white one]: Yankel Kogan the watchmaker who had an unusually clear white face.

Yankel Krassiltshik [dyer]: Yankel Zilberberg. He was once a painter but recently he dealt with fish.

Yashke Starozumne [old way of thinking]: Yashke Gelman because he was cunning.

Yashke Gazettshik [newspaper seller]: Yashke Vineberg, semi crippled. He would drag himself around all day in the town, with great difficulty, selling newspapers.

Yossel Leibeles: Yossel Levin, son of Leibl.

Yeshia Nachmans: Yeshia Rabinovitsh, son of Nachman.


L ל

Lechtzieren: Tinkelman, used to produce lecht.

Leib Daitsh [German]: Leib Kelzon, originally from Austria – Hungary.

Luzer Sposov [a trick]: Luzer Vladimirsky. Everything that he made, he said, was made with a trick.

Leizer the Blinder: He was blind and very popular in the town. He was involved in the community. No one knew who his family were.

Leib Goy [ignorant of Jewish traditions]: Leib Perlis, a somewhat rich Jew, but he was a wild, coarse man, an ignorant person.

Leizer Nusatte [large nose]: Leizer Grinshpun. He had a big nose and therefore had the name Nusatte.

Leah the Shvartze [the dark one]: she was dark like a gypsy.

Leib Sussy: His family were unknown, only that his name was Leib and that he sold soda–water.

“Liyustra” [chandelier]: Elyusha Bendersky.


M מ

Morskye Grabittel [sea port]: Brodtzky had a buffet on a steam boat at the port, and would fleece one's skin with his prices.

Moshe Havdolah: Moshe Kogan. He was long and narrow like a Havdallah candle.

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Motl Chalomot [dreams]: Motl Weiss. Why dreams? Unknown.

Mendel Shpan [stride]: Mendel Milman, a locksmith. He had long feet and a broad stride.

Moshe Bass: Moshe Vineshtein, a metal worker who was the bass voice in the synagogue choir.

Moshele Veggele–Shtuper [wagon–pusher]. No one knew who his family was. He was only a small Jew with a sparse beard who would drag a huge wagon on 2 wheels and served all the established members of the community.

Motti Pegger [a corpse]: Motti Goldenshtein, unemotional, therefore like a corpse.

Motl Litvak [Lithuanian]: Motl Zarchy, originally from Lithuania.

Mal'ach HaMavet [the angel of death]: a strange Jew, a teacher of Gemarah, a sick man, an asthmatic. While ill he would beat and pinch the students until they bled. He beat one student to death and then he himself fell and died.

Mottele Beider [bath attendant]: Motl Weisberg, a heavy drinker, was the bath attendant in the town's bathhouse.

Moshe Mamenyu [mommy]: Reb Moshe Vytzblit. He would always groan: Oh, woe, Mamenyu.

Marke Varrenik [dumplng]: Markus Kutshiuk. Why “Varrenik”?

Motl the Shvartzer [the dark one]: Motl Shechtman, a shoveller. He was very dark.

“Malyutke” [baby]: Magalnik, a boot polisher. Why “Malyutke”?

Motl Eigenheim [own home]: A fine man, a home–owner, Motl Berkovitz, originally from the German colony in the vicinity of Akkerman.

“Megege” [idler, dawdler]: Grinshpun. Why “Megege”?

Max Linder [soothe]: Issachar Gamshievitsh. Why “Max Linder”?

“Mazzieppo” [a hero] Reuven Gelman. Why “Mazeppo”?

M'shumedet [destroyed]: Nemtshenka, committed suicide as a young girl.

Moshe Pippik: The pharmacist, Moshe Pippergal.

Mendel Munishes: Mendel Malkin.

Moshe Itzelles: Moshe Vytzblit, son of Itze.

Meir Shikkeles: son of Shikke – a name derived from Yehoshua.

Moshe Aharon–Getzis: Moshe Shinkarovsky, son of Aharon Getzy.


N נ

“Nydenne” [found]: Itzkovitsh. He was employed to remove the garbage from the town, and he dealt in goats. Once he lost a horse, a mare, so he ran around looking for it and finally found it. Whomever he met, he told the news: Nydenne kobille! [I found my mare].

Nachman Kelbel [small calf]: Nachman Perliss.

Nachum Zsheliyenzshik [mender of pants]: Nachum Gershkovitsh. Dealt with old pants.

Noach the Izenner [the metal one]: Noach Zaltzman. Had a metal store at the marketplace.

Nuske the Toiber [the deaf one]: Natan Moisyevitsh Goldshtein.


S ס

Sonky Zolotye Rutshka [golden pen]: Sonki Gershkovitsh. She was simply, a thief.

“Skazshenne” [crazy]: Finkelshtein, was a skazshenne, a crazy person.

Smiyetsa [smile]: Avraham Weisberg always had a silly smile.

Skory Pomoshtsh: Feige Ladizshensky would carry 2 full baskets with fresh bread for sale call out: ”spasytiye, spasytiye, svizshi chliev”– “save, save, fresh bread”.

[Page 150]

Sanni the Roiter [the ruddy one]: He used a wheelbarrow to distribute his merchandise. He had a ruddy face. No one knew his name.

Suslik: Gritshevsky traded with felechlech of suslikkes.

Smakartinnef [junk]: Dr. Markotin.



Eli–Ber Blecher [metal worker]: Eli–Ber Kizzelman, a metal worker and trustee of the synagogue.

Azriel Leibeshis: Azriel Helman, son of Leibesh.


P/F פ

Peremishl: Avraham Shpiegelman. Why “Peremishl”? unknown.

Feige the Sarvern [maître d'/waitress): she would bake layered cakes with fruit, for the weddings of wealthy Jews.

Poltora Zshida [a 1½ Jew]: Reb Sholem Finegersh, a merchant. He was exceptionally large, tall and broad and wore size 55 shoes.

Fyvl Turlakker: originally from the village Turlak, close to the town.

Pinny Kabak [pumpkin]: Advocate Pinny Shteinberg. He was fat, coarse, with a big stomach. He took on the appearance of a pumpkin.

Polkovnik [colonel]: Feldman, a metal worker. He was a soldier in the Nikolayev army. He took long firm strides like a member of a regiment.

Purishkevitsh: Zbarsky the pharmacist. Why “Purishkevitsh”? He was a very bad Jew and did not respond to any hardship in the town.

Fonfish [nasal]: Avraham Goldman, he spoke nasally.

Parah Adumah [red cow]: Mrs. Tabatshnik. She had red hair and was ‘a big cow’ – very stupid.


TZ צ

“Tzelke” [virgin]: Yisroel Kushnir. He received the “beautiful” pleasant name Yakobu because he did not have children for many years.

Tsegynirte [gypsy]: Chaike Segal.


K ק

Kuter [male cat]: Velvl Zonnis, a shopkeeper who had dark angry eyes and resembled a black cat.

Kishkelech [intestines]: Azriel Helman. His father was a ritual slaughterer and he liked fat, slaughtered intestines.

“Kolokoltshik” [a small bell]: Radzivitzke, a metal worker. Why? Unknown.

Krivorutshke [deformed]: Leib Schvartzman, had a crooked hand.

“Kurotshke” [hens]: Puli Feld. He would walk around nodding his head, like a hen.

Kvatshke [brooding hen]: Zelik Milman's wife. When she spoke, she cackled like a brooding hen.

“Kitayetz” [Chinese]: Puntshik Buchner had a yellow face like a Chinaman.

Kressy the Chazante [wife of the cantor]: The widow of the well–known cantor, Yankel the hoarse one.


R ר

Rayze the Horbotte [hunchback]: Rayzi Glazman was a hunchback.

Rieve the Goldshmideche [Goldsmith, fem.]: Rieve Izbelinsky, because her husband was a goldsmith.

Rayzi the Milchikke [milk]: Rayzi Elishkevitsh. A very pious woman who kept cows to provide religious Jews with kosher milk.

Ribono–shel–olam [God of the universe]: Yisroel Chacham and his son Pinni. Why?

[Page 151]

SH ש

Shlomo Shtukes [ruses]: Shlomo Zilberman, a wine merchant. He used to say that everything isdone with ruses.

“Shotambula”: Hersh Cheikis. Why? Unknown.

Shimon “Butz” [fat slob]: Shimon Rabinovitsh because he was a fat slob.

Shalom Slabay: Shalom Riebak, a tall, strong man. Out of curiosity he was called “Slabay”.

Shmuel Neizl [nose]: Shmuel Milman, because he spoke nasally.

Shuel Karnaliyevikker: Shuel Itzkovitsh, originally from the village Karnaliyevki, in the vicinity of Akkerman.

Shuel Kozak: Shuel Mutshnik: originally from a village in the vicinity of Akkerman – Kazatshe.

Shalom of the Bolnitze [hospital]: For many years, he was head of the hospital.

Sharik [means of contraception]: Dovid Moshe Yaroslavsky. His mother used “Sharikkes”, to prevent her becoming pregnant but the little boy Dovid Moshe, broke through the Sharikkes so he was called Dovid Moshe “Sharik”.

Shlomo the Toiber [deaf]: Shlomo Rottenshtein, a hat–maker.

Shmuel Yisroel Avromtzes: Shmuel Berger, son of Avrom.


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