[in photo:] Over a cup of tea of chapter 401 of the Drohitchin Émigrés Association, September 28, 1947.
[photo:] Mrs. Rachel Spetman, wife of Rabbi Yehoshua Spetman of London, England, and daughter of Rabbi Yehuda-Noach and Chana Braver (for 30 years he was the rabbi of Barnov near Lublin, and died in Jerusalem in 1939). She died on 2 Tammuz [15 June], 1953 in London. She was survived by a son Yisrael (Bessya) Spetman and two daughters: Sarah (Rabbi Ezriel) Tarshish (London) and Chana (Dov) Warshavsky, Chicago. 284.
During those fateful days
It was in October 1920 when we were fearful about the partnership between the Poles and the murderous Balakhov gangs who were coming to Drohitchin. One early morning I took a look through my window (we were then living in David Eisenstein's brick house), and saw two Balakhov thugs tormenting and beating our neighbor Shmulik Milner into telling them where the rabbi lived. Later on the two thugs banged on my door and ordered me to bring them the rabbi. One of them showed me a knife and said There is a whole train-full of Balakhovists waiting at the Nagoria station for our orders.
I felt deathly scared. My husband, Rabbi Noach Cohen, was not at home at the time, he was hiding somewhere. With no choice, I went over to my husband and told him about the threats from the Balakhov thugs, and prayed that the merit of my saintly father, Rabib David-Mordechai, would protect us from the terrible danger.
When my husband came out of the cellar he was white as chalk from fear. However, he worked up the courage and greeted the thugs, who welcomed him with a cigarette, with a smile. The officers told him that if he wanted to save a town full of Jews, he should go with them. So he went along, but they would not allow me to accompany him.
An hour later my husband returned carrying a sheet of paper with writing on it. The thugs ordered the town to present them with 25 calves, 10 cows, 25 cases of cheese and 5 bags of salt by the next day at 10 am. They said that if these items were not provided, they would massacre the town.
My husband and some businessmen in town (with the approval of the terrorists) went around all night, and were just barely able to come up with what they could get. The animals were brought over to our courtyard, and they waited for the executioners. It was almost 10 am, then 11, and then 12 noon, and the thugs had not yet appeared. At 1 pm someone riding a horse arrived from the Zakazelia estate and told us the terrible news that they had killed seventeen Jews in Zakazelia. Those thugs had kept their word and quenched their thirst with Jewish blood elsewhere, not in Drohitchin. The train with the Balakhovists left for Pinsk after their massacre was completed. (See pp. 128, 131. D. W.)
Mrs. Etka Kohn, Baltimore
[photos:] Hershel Steinberg, a son of Meir-Yitzchak (Zeidel) and Henya. He was born in Drohitchin, and moved to Palestine in 1922. In 1930 he arrived in the United States, and died in Chicago on March 27, 1943 at the age of 40. Hershel left behind a wife Beatrice and two children, Leon and Bernie, in Chicago. Steinberg was a Zionist all his life, and provided alot of assistance in the development of Palestine. See pp. 239, 294, 312 and 330.
A group of pioneers from Drohitchin before their departure for Palestine in 1926.
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