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The Society of Emigrants
from Akkerman and the Diaspora

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Guests from the United States at a memorial gathering for the martyrs of the Akkerman district, M. Ginzburg and his wife

 

The Society of Emigrants from Akkerman in New–York

Translated by Sara Mages

It was only natural that the first immigrants from Akkerman to the United States will try, immediately upon arrival to the “Golden Land,” to locate those who came earlier from their city to this country, to try, with their help, to pave a way for themselves in the new conditions that required a lot of effort: difficulties in acquiring a new language, difficulties in adapting to the new environment, to new professions, etc. So it was with former residents of other cities – and so it was with former residents of Akkerman.

The first gathering of former residents of Akkerman in the United States took place on 21 January 1905, at the home of Mr. Pesach Ginzburg on 219 Foresight Street, Manhattan in New York, and this is how the history of the Society of Emigrants from Akkerman in the United States began. Among the participants in this meeting were: Ben Berkov, H. Zepllin, Yosef Brenard, Chaya and Harry Krausman, Nathan Fildman, Willie Prachtenberg, Pesach Ginzburg, Charles Prachtenberg, David Goldstein, Morris Gobsevich, Harry Grazenstein, Kishiniovski, S. Krasner, Isaac Litvak, Akivah Margolin, Prelis, Issac Rosenblith, Lewis Shechtman, Philip Seibleband, H. Spitzirman, David Tabachnik, Harry Weinzweig. The chairman of the meeting was Ben Berkov, the secretary and the register of the protocol – Akivah Margolin.

This group laid the foundation for the Society of Emigrants from Akkerman in New–York and their names should be remembered for the sake of history. The first step was to call a special meeting for the election of committee members. And indeed, the elections took place on January 29, 1905, in Mr. Spitzirman's shop on 14 Canal Street in Manhattan. The first members of the Benevolent Association of former residents of Akkerman were: chairman – Kishiniovski, vice chairman – Bernard Krausman, treasurer – Grazenstein, secretary – Akivah Margolin, secretary registrar – Berkov. Trustees: Kipnis and Harry Krausman.

It has not been long since the organization was founded, and it proved its right to exist by responding to various requests for assistance that came from Akkerman, and among others – assistance to the victims of the pogrom following the 1905 revolution.

Nine years later, in the summer of 1914, the First World War broke out and left orphans, widows and great distress in Akkerman. The former residents of Akkerman in America saw it their duty to provide help. And so it was after the February 1917 revolution, which overthrew the Tsar and the House of Romanov dynasty,

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when pogroms befell Akkerman and the men of Denikin, Petilura and Semyonov vented their anger on the Jews and their property.

As is well known, in November 1918 Bessarabia was annexed to Romania – and again the Jews in Akkerman were put to a bitter test. Many fled for their lives, some to Eretz Yisrael, some to the Soviet Union and some to the United States. Also, at this time, the Akkerman Benevolent Association, proved its solidarity with the Jews of Akkerman, whether by sending aid to the victims of the pogroms or by assisting the new immigrants who arrived from Akkerman.

The organization undertook a major task after Akivah Margolin and his wife visited Akkerman and realized that it was necessary to establish a new hospital in the city. The organization set up a special fund for this purpose, and from 1925 to 1932 managed to raise over fifty thousand dollars for this purpose and the money was transferred to the hospital building committee in Akkerman. In September 1934, we received an invitation to the inauguration ceremony of the new hospital building.

Also after that, we continued our humanitarian activities for various constructive projects in Akkerman, and one of our most important operations was the assistance to the Jewish Cooperative Bank in Akkerman by depositing some of our savings in it.

After the Second World War, and the great Holocaust that befell the Jews of the world, including Akkerman, we conducted a relief operation for the surviving members of our city. After locating the survivors' addresses, we sent packages to faraway Siberia and Turkestan, a place where our townspeople found temporary refuge. With the end of the war, and in cooperation with the War Refugee Council in Russia, we sent several hundred packages with food and clothing to the Jews in Akkerman whose name was changed to Bilhorod–Dnistrovs'ky. When we started to receive information about the survivors who returned to Akkerman, the survivors of the concentration camps and various refugees, we sent personal packages, food and clothing, according to the addresses we had, and we received confirmations and letters of thanks from those who received the packages.

 

M. Ginzburg and his wife at the memorial service in Israel

 

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The Society of Emigrants from Akkerman and the vicinity in Israel

Translated by Sara Mages

 

 

In the first years of the founding of the State of Israel, various conversations took place among the former residents of Akkerman about the establishment of the organization. For some time there was a need to establish this organization to create a contact among the former residents of Akkerman, for mutual aid in the economic sector, for the preservation of the rights of the first members of the Zionist movement, etc., but this only came to fruition in 1950.

The talks on the establishment of the organization were conducted in the meetings between Yisrael Schildkrauth, Dr. Zerling (a Zionist activist who immigrated to Israel and worked here as a doctor), Leib Stambul (father of Nissan Amitai), Sheraga Cohen (of the senior workers at the Agricultural Center) Utca Cohen and others. After a preparatory operation, former residents of Akkerman in Israel gathered at the Pioneer House in Tel–Aviv (1950), and in this meeting the foundation was laid for the Society of Emigrants from Akkerman and the vicinity. The chairman of the conference was Dr. Zerling, the secretary – Yisrael Schildkrauth, and apart from them sat in the presidency: Leib Stambul, Leah Krolik, Leah Rabinowitch, Dina Bass, Moshe Zukerman (Nachum's father), Yanchik Zukerman from Kibbutz Nir Am, Avraham Schechter (Tzvi Schechter's father) and Matya Lifshitz.

At this meeting the national committee was elected in this composition: chairman – Dr. Shaul Zerling, secretary – Yisrael Schildkrauth, Leib Stambul and Sheraga Cohen. Moshe Zukerman from Herzliya was elected honorary president of the organization. After the death of Dr. Zerling, Yisrael Schildkrauth was elected chairman of the organization and Tzvi (Hershel) Gronich as secretary. Leib Stambul and Sheraga Cohen were members of the committee.

In 1962 Schildkrauth resigned from his duty and the engineer, Yakov Trachtenbroit, was elected chairman in his place. Zev Kamin was elected chairman after him and he served in this position until his death. From 1967 to this day (1982), Baruch Kamin serves as chairman of the organization.

From among the activities of the organization we must note in particular: assistance in the absorption of immigrants from Akkerman and their guidance, financial help to the needy through the organization's Kupat Gemilut Hassidim, annual memorial services for Akkerman's martyrs, publication of the Yizkor Book – Akkerman and the Towns of its District, issuing certificates of approval to Akkerman immigrants for Zionist and public activities for the purpose of calculating the pension, etc.

The memorials are held every year and the number of participants varies from 200–300 people.

The largest operation, which required maximum efforts of the committee and all the activists, is – Akkerman and the vicinity book. From the beginning there were many concerns about the possibility of implementing this task, both due to lack of financial means and due to difficulties in gathering suitable material for the book, but the committee did not give up. In recent memorials the members were encouraged to write and submit appropriate photos, and after Nissan Amitai was chosen as coordinator of this operation, the matter was given serious impetus and the doubts and fears disappeared.

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At the last meeting a committee of the following composition was elected: Baruch Kamin, Herzlia (chairman); Nissan Amitai Hadera (coordinator of the book committee); Yisrael Schildkrauth, Tel–Aviv; Yakov Steinberg, Tel–Aviv; Chava Barnea, Tel–Aviv; Bruriah Har–Zion, Hadera; Binyamin Girshfeld, Neta'im; Reuvan Manos, Kfar Haim; Binyamin Giker (Tatarbunar), Haifa; Geber Shmuel, Rishon LeZion; Shmuel Gorfil, Moshav Nordia (Artsyz); Shmuel Brilliant, Tel–Aviv (Tarutino); Menachem Beider – Petach Tikva (Artsyz); Shoshana Ramba, Tel–Aviv (Byeramtcha); Tzvi Schechter, Ramat–Gan (Sarata).

To the audit committee were elected: Shmuel Naamani, Tel–Aviv; Asher Brodsky, Rehovot; Shmuel Miniali, Natanya. To Kupat Gemilut Hasadim committee: Baruch Kamin, Yakov Steinberg and Binyamin Girshfeld.

The Loan Fund, of former residents of Akkerman and the vicinity, was established in 1952 with the initiative of Y. Schildkrauth and L. Stambul. The sum of 500 Israeli pounds was collected in an internal fundraiser, and later the sum of 1000 Israeli pounds was received from the organization of former residents of Akkerman in the United States. The fund was named after Mendel Komarovsky, one of the major activists of former residents of Akkerman in America. After a while, the fund was changed to “Keren Gemilut Hasadim in memory of Marta,” the late daughter of Mr. Ginzburg who donated 1000 dollars to the fund. The fund helped many former residents of Akkerman with minimum interest rate loans. Over time, inflation eroded the value of money and the value of the loans that only a few needed, and with the start of the publication of the Yizkor Book for Akkerman and the vicinity the committee decided to buy paper with the fund's money, and with that the fund ceased to exist. What was left of it is used for the existence of the organization and its ongoing operations.

 

A conference in honor of the first halutzim from Akkerman on the 40th anniversary of their immigration to Eretz Yisrael

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A conference of former residents of Akkerman: Leib Stambul speaking

 

Rabbi Ingerleib speaking

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[Caption inside the photo:Welcome teachers and students of the “Tarbut” Gymnasium]

 

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