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[Page 207]

Zechariah Schmid

[photo:] R. Zechariah and Pesha Schmid with their grandchildren

        Zechariah Schmid, son of Zalman, was born in Drohitchin in 1865. He was known as a man of exceptional abilities, and under better circumstances had he spent time in studying, he would have become a great person. However, he didn't continue his studies beyond kheder and the Talmud Torah, and took up a trade, helping his father with his blacksmith shop.

        Zechariah's abilities, however, didn't limit him to his blacksmithing work, and he began to become involved in community affairs. In his youth, he was aggressive, battling against the revolutionaries of his time, i.e. the Brother and Sisters Organization. This activity earned him many opponents, but as the years went by he cooled off. His sharp intellect, deftness and speaking ability forced everybody to pay attention to his words, and he eventually became one of the so-called tenured leaders of the community.
He was also one of the advisors of the rabbi, and attended all community meetings. He was one of the leaders of the burial society and many other Jewish institutions.

        A special field of endeavor was his involvement in the cooperative savings bank, the Folks Bank, in which he served as a director and head manager for approximately thirty years (until he passed away), developing an expertise in finance. Educated bank directors would seek his advice about complicated financial issues. Dr. Shoshkes, the head of the Cooperative Society in Poland was one of his closest friends.

        R. Zechariah was a member of the Talmud Study Group, and a cantor in the Old House of Study. There is no confirmed information about the circumstances surrounding R. Zechariah's death. One story is that he died of natural causes in 1939, while another states that he died of unnatural causes under the Bolsheviks in 1940. A third version suggests that Zechariah was killed by the Germans in 1942. Unfortunately, we don't know which story is correct.

        Zechariah was the brother of grandmother Chaya Ita. The Schmids had five sons: Yudel Schmid (killed with his family in Drohitchin in 1942); Yehoshua (the husband of Rasha Leah Lev) who died in New York; Yisrael (perished with his family in Drohitchin in 1942); Chaim Zalman (died in 1908), and Ephraim (who [lives] in New York).

Tuvia David Warshavsky

Tuvia David Warshavsky, a son of R. Shmuel Leizer, and brother of R. Zusha, was born in Drohitchin. He received his education in kheder and with private tutors. He also studied under the great scholar R. Pinchas Michel in Antapolia, as well as in yeshivas. His wife, Sarah Leah, was the sister of R. Tuvia David Lev of Horbacha.

        R. Tuvia David was a business partner with his brother, R. Zusha, though was involved very little in the business itself. He was a quiet man who spent his time in study. Most of the time he was studying on his own, and also taught those who attended the Old House of Study. As a good cantor, he would always lead the prayers (free of charge) for the Mussaf prayers during the High Holy Days in the Houses of Study in Drohitchin, and was highly respected and admired in town.

        In 1924 Tuvia David and his family moved to Palestine, settling in Rishon Le-Zion, where he owned his own hotel/guest house. He died in 1947. R. Tuvia David had 4 daughters and one son: Perl (who perished with her husband Zeidel and her children in the Drohitchin ghetto); Zlata (Yitzchak), who [is] in Canada; Eliyahu, Bashka and Rachel [are] in Israel.

[Page 208]

Zusha Warshavsky

[photo:] Zusha Warshavsky

        Zusha Warshavsky was born in Drohitchin in 1868. His father, R. Shmuel Leizer, was one of the notables in town, and was a great-grandson of R. Dovidel Yaffe. Zusha's mother Basha was also from a fine family. R. Zusha studied in kheder, Talmud Torah, and with private tutor; he also studied general subjects and languages.

        Zusha served in the Czar's army for four years, and because of his linguistic knowledge he was able to do his military service as a writer in administrative offices. He never ate non-Kosher food, and was able to bring money home. In 1894, Zusha married Chaya Frieda Pinsky in Motele, and they settled in the village of Horbacha, where his father Shmuel Liezer had a brick factory, and went into the lumber business with his brother, R. Tuvia David. R. Zusha was very adept in his work, and was very successful.

        It didn't take too many years for Zusha and Tuvia David to become owners of their own large forests, lessees and owners of estates such as Klementova, Zamosh, etc. They owned three beautiful houses in Drohitchin. R. Zusha was the business representative in dealings with army officials, generals, governors, barons and highly influential noblemen who valued Zusha's business skills and honesty as a Jew and as a person. They realized that R. Zusha was religious, and they forgave him whenever he had to excuse himself in the middle of an important meeting to pray. Zusha frequently made use of his important contact to do favors for other Jews.

        In 1907, the Warshavsky brothers moved to Drohitchin. The “Horbacha brothers,” as they were called, soon became renowned in Drohitchin for their fine Jewish homes, that came to be the places where charity was distributed. In 1911, they bought Nachum Shevinsky's leather factory, built it up, and eventually it became involved in marketing in distant areas of the country.

        When the German army occupied Drohitchin in 1915, they lost all their property. The houses and leather factory went up in smoke during the fires that broke out during the battles. The Germans confiscated all their timber from the forests as well as the remaining leather in the factory, and took over the estates, which they staffed with Germans. They stole everything and took it off to Germany. During the War, the Warshavsky brothers lived in Klementova and Horbacha.

        In 1918, the Warshavskys got back their estate, and they started working on it again. However, things didn't go as well as they did under the Czarist regime because the Poles sought every opportunity to interfere with Jewish businesses. R. Zusha, who returned to Drohitchin, then became more deeply involved in community affairs. He was the advisor to Rabbi Kalenkovich, and set the tone for all local meetings. R. Zusha also served as an arbitrator and mediator for various disputes pertaining to inheritances, arranged marriages, etc. He also interceded on behalf of those who got into trouble with the authorities. R. Zusha was a long-standing custodian of the Old House of Study, a devoted leader and contributor of the Polish Yeshiva Committee; he hosted visitors and provided charity anonymously. R. Zusha personified the typical Jewish intercessor and leader of the previous generations. His wife Chaya Frieda was the same way. She would always quietly assist the poor, anonymously sending them challah bread and other foods for the Sabbath. She taught this attitude to her children.

        In July, 1941, R. Zusha, his wife and children (Berl and Zlata Miriam and their families) were exiled by the Bolsheviks to Russia, where his sick wife died in 1943, and was buried in a Christian cemetery. In May, 1946, R. Zusha and his family were sent back to Poland. In December, 1948, his daughter Rachel brought him over to the United States, and from July, 1949, he [lives] in Israel, where he [was] well cared for by his daughter Rachel and son-in-law Velvel Mazursky (of New York), who [were] prominent philanthropists.

        In addition to Rachel, R. Zusha had two other sons and a daughter: Mordechai (Zissel) and Berl (Rachel) in Israel, and Zlaata Miriam (Yeshayahu) in Canada.

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