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[ Page 105 ]

[photo:] The Bishop of Polesia greets a Jewish delegation.

The Bishop of the Pinsk region receives a Jewish delegation from Drohitchin on August 13, 1937. From right: Zechariah Schmid, Rabbi Kalenkovitch, Dr. Lampa, Gedaliah Grossman and others. This photo was printed in Nash Pshegland, September 20, 1937, Warsaw. (From Warshavsky's archives).

        The esteemed rabbi thanked him for his friendly blessing. The anti-semites were very disappointed. They never imagined this would happen. The left the market embarrassed and went home without spoils, since the bishop warned the Poles not to harm the Jews of Drohitchin, because of the fact that Jews are good citizens of all countries.

        These words were like a bright star in a dark night in which we lived in fear. The bishop's speech were soon published in the Polish press, and created confusion in the minds of all the anti-semites, who constantly embittered the lives of the Jewish population.

        As a result of the fact that he blessed the Jews and didn't allow any bloodletting, the bishop was removed from his position and sent off to another region.


An American citizen who was in the area of World War I (1916) published his impressions in the Tagblatt.

Harry Marcus (a son of Moshe Paritsker Valevelsky from Drohitchin), an American citizen who traveled on a pleasure trip to Russia and was detained because of the war, finally left Europe on the ship, New Amsterdam, from Rotterdam. Mr. Marcus, who visited other cities and towns in Lithuania and Poland such as Brisk, Kobrin, Antapolia, Drohitchin and Warsaw, described the tragic situation of the Jews on the other side of the ocean to a representative of the Taglblatt.

        "It is impossible to put into words what I saw with my own eyes in that country that is called Russia," Mr. Marcus said with a tear in his eyes. "I spent two years among the refugees and war victims. Not only did I experience and see their suffering and trouble, but I also survived it. I arrived in Russia exactly one week before the war, and got stuck in Drohitchin, Grodno gubernia. Drohitchin is a small town with 700 Jewish families. Their businesses before the war? The usual ones: shops, small business, timber merchants, etc. Before the war the Jews managed to make a living, but now they suffer from hunger and hardship."

        "The Germans arrived there in August, 1915. Four days before the Germans arrived, the Russian Cossacks destroyed and annihilated everything they got their hands on,

[ Page 106 ]

and pillaged all the stores. For the entire four days, there was war in Drohitchin. There was an awful battle, and the Germans finally won. Eventually, we the residents remained in trenches that we had dug, and for those four days we didn't even drink a drop of water."

        "The Germans arrived, and there was a cholera breakout. Hundreds of Jews died in the epidemic. However, the situation of the survivors ended up being much worse, since every day death stared them in the face. It's interesting that the fire that the Russians started in town didn't provide any benefit, because the army that was trying to escape couldn't get out of town because of the fire, and were taken prisoner."

        " Besides the hunger suffered by the Jewish population, both the Germans and Russians armies took horses and livestock from the Jews. I should give credit to the Russians because whenever they took a horse from a Jews, they would pay for it – perhaps not the full price, but they paid. The Germans took the horses, and gave receipts instead of money. We later had to examine the receipts, and most of them carried the following words: 'Nikolai isn't too sick to pay for the horses.'"

        "Before I left, I visited Brisk. The town became a heap, a ruin, with no Jews because they were expelled. The small towns awaited help from the United States. They live with the hope that you will soon send them aid. Unfortunately, they don't receive anything, and are dying of hunger."

        "And what about the efforts of the Relief Committee to send aid?" asked the Tagblatt reporter.

        "The victims in the military battles never benefited from that aid – not even a glass of water. Simply put, we didn't get a cent from the Relief Committee. Woman in Lithuania, whose husbands were in the United States, suffered more than anyone. They don't get anything from their husbands, nor do they get anything from anywhere else. The men whose families are in Russia should send them help as soon as possible, otherwise they'll certainly die of hunger."

Herman Grossman (New York)
[Photo:] Herman Grossman


Those sweet little towns were greeted,
They swam the seas the you,
Those sweet little towns were greeted,
I also came to visit you.

I bring you regards from your children
Who are across the world,
And I come to you from a rich and illuminated country,
Where many of them are living.

We miss your fields,
Where we spent our youth,
We miss your fields,
That stretch across.

We also miss the old cemetery,
Where a multitude floats,
And in the shade of its large trees,
Dreams were fashioned.

In large cities of steel and iron,
Your children work happily,
Hoping and aspiring to show you,
Dear towns, that they will return.

Your trustworthy children surely
Never forget you at any time.
They love you then and now
From near and from far.

Printed in Pinsker Shtima [Voice of Pinsk], 1931
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