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[Page 187]

Zavel Averbuch

[photo:] Zavel Averbuch

        Zavel Averbuch, the eldest son of Meshel and Chava Averbuch, was born in Drohitchin, studied in yeshiva, and then attended university. He lived a very stormy life. His good abilities and especially his effervescent temperament and revolutionary character didn't allow him to limit himself to his own private world. Even as a teenager he developed a rare talent for speaking, and traveled to cities and towns to give speeches pertaining to various Jewish issues.

        Zavel then became involved in the revolutionary movement in Czarist Russia and fought against Czarist despotism. In Drohitchin, Zavel was the main founder of the S. S. (Socialist Zionists), and together with Yaakov Sidorov, educated and taught the working youth in town. They opened a library for the young people and offered evening courses and theater performances. Zavel traveled through towns and cities and gave revolutionary speeches. He railed especially against the Czarist pogroms against Jews. Following the Kishinev pogrom, Zavel gave fiery speeches against the Czarist regime in the central market and House of Study in Drohitchin under the watchful eye of the Czarist police. He was later a delegate to the Kiev Convention, which addressed issues relating to Jewish emigration.

        In Polotsk (Vitebsk gubernia), Zavel was one of the leaders of the Jewish self-defense force, and was wounded in the foot. He then had to go for treatment to Lousanne, Switzerland. Later, Zavel tried his luck in manufacturing in Byalistock, but he was unsuccessful. He lost his money and left.

        After he married his wife, who was originally from Polotsk, Zavel opened a gymnasia in Semiatitz, but didn't remain there long either. He traveled to Warsaw and began writing articles in the Jewish press. He accompanied the writer, Sholem Aleichem, on his reading tour, and Sholem Aleichem respected Zavel immensely.

        During World War I Zavel Averbuch traveled through Russia, but exactly what happened to him is unknown. Some say that he was a commander of a revolutionary unit in Astrakhan, was hot by the Russian White Guards in 1918, and buried there.

        Zavel left behind a wife and three children. His two daughters currently work in journalism in Russia, and his son held the rank of captain in the army, and is probably a higher officer today. (see pp. 188, 211).

Bashke Berezovsky, may G-d avenge her blood!

[Photo: Bashke Berezovsky]

        Bashke Berezovsky, the daughter of R. Shimon and Lotze Weissman, was born in Drohitchin in 1887. She married Yosef Berezovsky of Yanova. Both were cultured people, and the whole time they lived in Drohitchin they were active in the cultural and community life of the town.

        In January, 1937, Basha arrived in Chicago, and remained there until July, 1939, when she returned to Vilna, where she married a second time. She died in the Vilna ghetto. May G-d avenge her blood!

        Bashke's first husband, Yosef, died a few years before the war in Drohitchin.

[Page 188]

Menachem Averbuch, may G-d avenge his blood!

Menachem Averbuch, the youngest son of Meshel and Chava Averbuch, was born in Drohitchin. He studied in kheder and later graduated from a Russian gymnasia in Warsaw. In 1914 he was a student at the Conservatory in Poltava.

        Ideologically, Menachem was a “Yiddishist” and a tended toward socialism in contrast to the average person. He never married, and assisted his parents some in their business. Menachem had a straight mind, spoke well and knew languages. The town authorities often called on him as an advocate with outside authorities.

        In 1919, the Poles arrested Asher Schwartzbard and sent him to Kobrin. During that frightful time, when the Poles suspected every Jew of being a communist, Asher was playing with his life. The community sent Menachem to Kobrin, where he exhibited self-sacrifice in working to free Asher.

Throughout his life, Menachem was affiliated with the Union of Jewish Cooperative Societies in Poland, and would travel to many towns as an auditor to examine the books of the savings accounts. In this capacity he also served as a member of the administration of the Drohitchin People's Bank.

Menachem was also involved in writing. He wrote poems, collaborated on the Pinsker Shtimma [Pinsk Voice, and wrote articles in the Warsaw Moment. He was also an active collector of folklore for the Vilna YIVO office. In 1941, when the Russians were planning to send his family off to Russia, Menachem hid out in Lemberg. Later, when the Germans took over Drohitchin, he returned to town and worked with the Jewish Committee (See Yizkor Section).

Nothing specific is known about what happened to Menachem. According to reports, Menachem succeeded in breaking out of the Drohitchin ghetto and getting to Lemberg, where the German killers murdered him.

His brother, Avraham, wrote regretfully: “Menachem, who had so many friends and acquaintances among the gentile population, and who owned so much gold and valuable assets, couldn't even find a hideout to save himself from death. May G-d avenge his blood!”
(See pp. 78, 187 and 211)

Moshe Sapozhnik

[photo:] Moshe Sapozhnik

        Moshe Sapozhnik, the son of Todres, was born in Drohitchin in 1897. Even before World War I he completed the Russian gymnasia in Warsaw, and enrolled in the faculty of medicine at the University. Shortly thereafter the war broke out (1914), and Moshe became a student at the music school in Poltava, thereby remaining at home.

        Under the German occupation, Moshe was the head of the regional hospital in Drohitchin, and participated in community affairs in town. He fought for Jewish honor, moral and self-respect, and mocked the frivolous Jewish women who flirted with the Germans. For this he barely escaped being sent to jail by the German, but thanks to the head physician of the hospital, he avoided the punishment.

        In March, 1917, when the Germans took over Ukraine, Moshe enrolled the University of Odessa. With the outbreak of the Russian Revolution (1917), Moshe joined the revolutionary forces, and was appointed commander of the Kherson garrison. He participated in the battles against the Black Hundreds: the Varngeltsas, Hetmantsas, Skoropodskys, etc. who made Jewish blood flow like water! During the battle near Sevastopol at the end of 1920, Moshe was killed; he was buried with full military honors as a hero of the People on the most beautiful boulevard in Sevastopol.

        For 16 years his brother Yonah hid the secret of Moshe's death from their parents.

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