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[Page 422]

When Jews were vulnerable

It was during those bitter days during the Polish-Bolshevik war of 1920. The town was burned down, and there was no food. So people had to plant in gardens and fields, and they lived on whatever the earth would give them. Of course, to cultivate the land you needed a horse, and my cousin Chaim (Moshe Leizer's) Epstein and I traveled to Yanova to buy a horse. After traveling a couple of miles, we noticed from a distance that two Polish soldiers were coming toward us. This stabbed me in my heart, and I said to my cousin, “I have a feeling we aren't going to get away easily from the Poles.”

        I was not wrong. The Poles checked us out thoroughly, and not finding any money, they took our permits. Then they ordered us to stand at a distance while they started rummaging through our wagon. We were sure they would not find anything suspicious in the wagon. However, we were absolutely amazed when the Poles found five unshot bullets that they supposedly found in our wagon. “Aha!” they said, “You are communist spies!” Our hands and feet started trembling, and we were sure we were finished. Who would believe us that the Poles had planted the bullets?

        We fell to our feet and begged the Poles to take us back to Drohitchin, where they would find out the truth about us. The fact that I was speaking Russian (I did not know any Polish) only made matters worse. I was most certainly a communist spy, and none of our crying and begging did any good. The Poles took us to Yanova with swords drawn. It did not look good for us.

        Suddenly I had an idea. Maybe money would help. We had some money hidden away, and my cousin Chaim started crying and begging the Poles that because he was a father of children they should take the money and leave us alone. After many hours of suffering and torment, the Poles took the money and let us go. We came home and thanked G-d that we had been saved from death. (See p. 359. D. W.)

Leizer Lev, Chicago

[photo:] Avraham Bezdzhezesky, Sergeant-Major (in the right-hand photo, from right, with the little hat, and in the left-hand photo on the left) is together with a group of Irgun fighters who attacked Jaffa on 16 Nisan [25 April], 1948 and captured it on 4 Iyar [13 May], 1948. Avraham [is] a son of Moshe and Chana Bezdzhezesky. See p. 148.

[top photo:] Leibe Peretz, killed, son of Moshe from Kobrin Street.

[middle:] Avraham Michel (Milton) Luria died on 24 Adar 1948. [This year had two Adars, one being March 5, and the other April 5]. He was survived by his wife Tila, a son Jerry, and two daughters, Ethel and Sheindel.

[bottom:] Fruma Leah Michalsky, wife of Chaim the Teacher.

[Page 423]

[box:] Yosef Heftman (Emanuel), writer, columnist, publisher of the publications Hatsfira, Hayom, Doar Hayom, Moment (Warsaw) and editor-in-chief of Haboker (Tel Aviv). He was born on July 23, 1888. He died on January 18, 1955 in Tel Aviv. See p. 138, column 2.

[top photo – gravestone says: Here is buried Chana, daughter of R. Chaim. She died on 17 Adar 5690 – March 17, 1930.] Liba (Argentina), Yaakov (New York) and Yenta (left) at the grave of their mother, Chana Goldberg, in the Drohitchin cemetery.

[box at left:] As an eternal memorial to the Martyrs of Drohitchin
From a group of émigrés from Drohitchin in Chicago:
Mordechai Ber and Mrs. Eisenstein; Shmuel and Janie Eisenstein; Morris and Mrs. Leison; Mrs. Potolsky; Yaakov and Mrs. Kohn; Eliyahu-Meir and Mrs. Shedrov.

As a memorial to Henach, son of Aharon-David Miller, New York.
Wife Chaya, and daughters Freida and Etcha Miller.

As an eternal memorial to the Martyrs of Kolonia
Binyamin-Yehuda and Esther Teplitsky, Chicago.

In memory of Pinya and Minda Siderov, brother and sister, may G-d avenge their blood.
Sons David-Mendel and Velvel Bloom, New York. See p. 326.


On the road between Pinsk and Brisk,
There was once a little town,
A name, a dot on the map of Russian Poland,
My town of Drohitchin, was one….

Today there are no more chassidim or non-chassidim,
shopkeepers, workers, young and elderly Jews,
No more scholars or businessmen,
Wealthy merchants, small ones, traveling to fairs…

Like a tearful mourner, with head bowed,
During the first thirty days of mourning,
Is stand with my eyes filled with tears,
And say the Kaddish prayer for the martyrs…
Shepsel Lev, Haifa, April 1951.

[photo:] Meir Lieberman, may G-d avenge his blood!
[photo:] Jews at prayer at the Western Wall in 1943. The soldier is Yeshayahu, brother of the draftsman. [D. W.]

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