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[Page 269]

Since he was no simple Jew, he always used a verse from the Torah or the Prophets. On one Sabbath in the “Polish Synagogue,” while Hershel the Shoemaker was listening to an emotional speech from one our speakers, he jumped on the platform and cried, “Jews, you should know that we are indeed in messianic days because the verse 'All trees of the forest shall sing' is being fulfilled. You are able to hear how a simple Jew, a shoemaker like me, can be so bold as to come up on a platform and speak to the public. This is a sign that the Redemption is near, and that we should move to Palestine. Let's not keep silent, Jews, we are in messianic times.” It goes without saying that his entire brief speech had a strong impact on his listeners. All of Drohitchin treated R. Hershel the Shoemaker with great respect. Shortly thereafter he and his family moved to Palestine. These lines should serve as an eternal memorial for that Jew and our friend, R. Hershel the Shoemaker, who lived out his years in Jerusalem, the Holy City, and died in old age.

        I would like to mention of the rare individuals in Drohitchin, Shachna the Synagogue Caller. He was a really poor person and made his living from working as a synagogue custodian and wood chopping. However, he was always among the earliest supporters of the JNF and the person who people turned to. When there was a tools project in Drohitchin on behalf of the kibbutzim in Palestine, Shachna was the first to bring his new axe, and with a blessing offered it to the committee. [See pictures on pp. 41 and 69 – Editor].


        After San Remo the central Zionist committee in Poland called on everyone to be ready for a post-war Zionist convention. Our committee decided to sell enough shekels to justify sending two delegates to the convention in Lodz. We couldn't even dream of being able to send more than two. Drohitchin sold more than 500 shekels and send the two delegates: Shmuel Schub and Shmuel Fishman.

        Both of us, the two delegates from Drohitchin, were surprised when Yitzchak Greenbaum announced Drohitchin as an example to the other delegates of a community that proportionate to its population sold more shekels than any city or town in Poland. So we were the heroes of the convention, and many prominent Zionists warmly greeted us and shook our hand. When we returned home after the conference, we gave a report about it to a large audience.

        In the beginning of 1922, the central committee appointed me as general secretary of the entire Polesia region, and with great regret my wife and I had to leave our beloved Drohitchin, where we lived and carried out our work together with many other friends, and moved to Pinsk.

[Page 270]

Naturally, I remained in close contact with my Drohitchin, and enthusiastically followed the growing Zionist movement.

        In the summer of 1923 fate dictated that I give up my Zionist work in Poland and move to the United States. The first years there I still heard good news from Drohitchin from time to time, and derived great pleasure from the Zionist activities that were growing there, as well as from the various Zionist parties that Drohitchin was blessed with in the same way as all the other leading cities and town in Poland. I eventually lost contact with Drohitchin, and unfortunately I am unable to write about events after 1923.

        Hopefully, there are other friends who will expand on my review of the Zionist movement from 1923 until the Holocaust in 1942.

Note: Additional information about the Zionist Movement in Drohitchin is on pp. 46-49 [editor].

[box:] A sacred memorial to our dear and unforgettable

Batsheva Peshkovsky
Younger sisters
Feigel and Chasha Peshkovsky
who perished at the hands of the murderous Balakhov gangs
in Zakazelia, near Drohitchin
3 Cheshvan 5782 – [this corresponds to Nov. 4, 1921]
and our brother
Yehuda Leib Peshkovsky
died on 3 Cheshvan 5782

Sonia Feins
Meita Greenwald
See p. 101 and 102

[photos:] A group of young members of Freiheit from Drohitchin.

         Betar. Standing from right: Peretz Goldman, ----, Leibel Kravetz, Berl Gottlieb, ---, and Avraham Mishovsky. Seated from right: Yosef Rubinstein, Zvi Levack and Menachem Steinberg. Below from right: Meir-Motya Hausman and Mordechai Gottlieb [see p. 246].

         Photostat of the Drohitchin Betar seal.

[photo:] The left-wing Hashomer Hatsa'ir [Young Guard] of Drohitchin. Standing from right: Mordechai Buder, Leizer Warshavsky, Bodya Friedenberg, Yosef Buff and Shalom Beich. Seated from left: Hershel Schmid, Waldman, Reuven Warshavsky, Yaakov Rosenbaum and Yaakov Warshavsky. Bottom: Yisrael Schwartz, Yaakov Orliansky and Miriam Tsirel's grandchild.

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