« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »

This material is protected by U.S. copyright law. © Rhoda Kuflik, 2022

[Page 10]


[Page 11]

First Part:

The life and work
of the Kittever Jews

[Page 12]


[Page 13]

Chapter I

Kittev and Its Landscape

Geographically, the city Kittev lies in the left-hand corner of Eastern-Galicia, near the Carpathian Mountains, not far from the former Polish-Romanian border. Nature bestowed on the city an abundance of beauty. Its landscape captures the human eye. Were an artist to undertake to paint a fantastic colorful landscape, he would, it seems, be unable to paint a more beautiful landscape than Kittev was in reality.

The city and its market-place, the shops and the Jewish streets lay on a hill. When one looked down from the hill into the valley, one saw the Dolina like a beautiful panorama in a thousand hues spreading its scattered bright houses around a green sea of aromatic flowers, gardens and orchards, with blooming and ripe fruit trees. At the foot of the Dolina there snaked the stormy mountain-stream – the Chermesh – which formed the natural boundary between Poland and Romania. The Chermesh was half covered by a belt of yellow-grey sands and green willows. From the green willows, the Kittever Moshe'lech and Shlome'lech used to cut Hoshanos, or willow branches, for Hoshanah Rabba. In the stillness of the night, you could hear in the city the rushing of the Chermesh waves and the stormy racing of its waters.

From the north and west sides of Kittev, a long chain of green forests surrounded Kittev and fell in places into the valley and then rose again so high that it looked as if the tops of the trees were touching the heavens.

[Page 14]

Above the road leading from Kittev to Toodiav, there rose majestically the “Oidiush” which, with its grey sandy mountain, looked like an unscalable wall. Its surrounding bare rocks looked like a fortress of walls defending the Garden of Eden Forest which loomed green over them. When one stood above, on the “Oidiush” mountain, one saw all of Kittev.

Every street, lane, houses, the big synagogue (shul) and the houses of study and also every blooming corner of the Dolina, the swift foaming Chermesh which stretched like a green snake and separated Kittev from Vizshnets. Far and wide, as far as a human eye could reach, one saw spacious blooming fields, gardens and orchards of Kittev and the nearby villages.

Above, over the “Oidiush”, there spread for miles the Garden of Eden Forest which blended together with the Kossover woods and the woods of the surrounding hill-villages.

In these forests, folk legend tells, the Holy Baal Shem would come to be in seclusion – to pray with the magical Nature, with the birds in the woods, with the grasses and herbs of the fields, and to pour together his soul with divine Nature.

At the foot of the “Oidiush” there was spread like a magic carpet, the mysterious “Levadeh”. This was a network of hidden paths and footpaths. Under a green “succah covering” of odorous flowers, there were hidden nooks, blooming orchards and hilly young woods. There did the longing youth of Kittev meet to spin their most beautiful youthful dreams. Couples in love would meet there and romanticize. Would the thick trees along the narrow footpaths be able to speak or sing, they could relate much or sing out magnificent heartfelt melodies of longing and youthful love, better and stronger than a human story-teller or composer.

[Page 15]

On the other side of the city, on the Sniatiner road, the “Zsharibiz” was located. This was a delightful resting place among odorous fruit orchards and green gardens. There, the Kittever Jews, especially the youth of the city, amused themselves in their free time.

A magical panorama surrounded the city. No wonder that the famous Yiddish poet, the master of the Yiddish ballad – Itzik Manger – dedicated to the magical landscape of and around Kittev, an inspired ballad. The ballad is called: “Between Kossev and Kittev”.

Between Kossev and Kittev,
Stands a golden well.
In its deep clear water, I found a sun.

Toward the night and grey mountains,
I carry the sun;
In its clear golden brightness,
All the roads bloom.

I am a simple tailor's
Wild lost child.
Gave up my youthful years
To wandering and wind.

Now I have found it.
Now it is forever mine.
The light of the darkened roads.
The thin golden shine.

[Page 16]

The bright word upon the lips.
The golden shine in the hand.
I am the last apostle
Of the newly revealed land.

Between Kossev and Kittev,
Stands a golden well.
In its deep clear water,
I found a sun.


Chapter II

The History of Kittev

The general history of Kittev and the history of its Jewish settlement began in the year 1715, after the then owner of all the Kiev estates – the Polish general and Kiever, Count Josef Potocki, granted Kittev the right to be a city and with it, he also gave the Jews more rights and even certain privileges. Then, the Jews, among other privileges, also received permission to build a synagogue which was free of tax payment. Thus, the first Kittever synagogue was built early in the 18th century. At that time, masses of Jews settled in Kittev.

For the right to settle and live in Kittev at that time, Jews had to pay the famous “head-tax”. It is known that in the year 1719, Kittever Jews paid 330 gulden head-tax. In 1736 they paid 400 gulden and in 1739, 550 gulden head-tax.

The increased head-tax payment did not scare off and stop the stream of Jews into Kittev. Month-to-month and year-to-year, the number of Jews in Kittev increased. The Jews built houses, established and built up various artisans' workshops,

[Page 17]

opened stores and began to deal with the peasants in the nearby villages.

In the year 1765, Kittev numbered 360 owners of houses. Of them, 166 Polish and Ukrainian: 70 Armenian and 124 Jewish home-owners. There were at that time 136 families of tenants so that, in the year 1765, 972 Jews were living in Kittev.

In the year 1771, Kittev and the nearby villages of Kuti-Stareh, Slabudka, Kabaki, Rivna, Tudiav, Rozen-Mali, Rozen-Vielki, Rastaki, Bialaberezka, Bervinkova, Charatsova, Dolhopol, Hohopol, Hrinova, Yablonitsa, Krasnaila, Perechresna, Polanki, Stebne, Fereskool and Ustsierki belonged to the Polish duchess, Ludvika Z'mnishkov Kashtelanova of Cracow. And from May 1, 1782, when all of East-Galicia including Kittev were incorporated into Austria, Kittev and the surrounding villages were added to the estates of Kossav and Pistin.

With the inclusion of East-Galicia into Austria, there opened for the Galician (Galitsianer) Jews and also for the Kittever Jews, a new era – a new time of a free life.

The Austrian monarchy with its Crown-City of Vienna, ruled over various lands and peoples and gave all her citizens and subjects, equal rights, not discriminating or limiting any people or minority. Thus, after the absorption of East-Galicia into Austria, there opened up, for the Kittever Jews as for all Galician Jews, easier living conditions and brighter perspectives. As citizens with equal rights, the Kittever Jews were able to send their children to the higher government schools to develop their abilities and talents in all areas of intellectual and free professions.

Then the Kittever Jews – equally with all other citizens – for the first time in their history, also got the opportunity

[Page 18]

to work in the municipal and government offices and they made use of this opportunity properly. Jews became teachers in the city's public schools, worked as “bureaucrats” in the city post office; even became judges and in general had access to every position.

The Kittever Jews began ever more to occupy positions in the free professions. They became doctors, lawyers, dentists, engineers and other similar professions. Little by little, Jews began to play a notable role in the social life of Kittev.

Enjoying all rights equal to all Austrian citizens, the number of Jews in Kittev grew. In the year 1849, the city of Kittev had 3700 inhabitants, and in the year 1890, it already had 6353 inhabitants – of them, 3045 Jewish residents.

At the start of the 20th century, in 1900, Jews made up 50% of the population of Kittev. There were then 3197 Jews living in Kittev.

Until 1918, Kittev belonged to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy under the reign of Kaiser Franz Joseph. After World War I, which lasted from 1914 to 1918, ending in the falling apart of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and the collapse of the Hapsburg dynasty, there was a regrouping of the small nations and countries which previously belonged to the great Austro-Hungarian kingdom. The Czechs became independent and founded the Czechoslovak republic. The Hungarians founded the independent Hungarian republic, and Bukovina became a part of Romania. Kittev and all of Eastern-Galicia were left without guardians and went through various changes. At the beginning, we had a Ukrainian government with a capital city, Stanislav. Then the Romanians took pity on us and occupied our

[Page 19]

area. Finally, the Romanians withdrew on the order of the League of Nations, and we became Polish citizens.


Chapter III

Kittev Between the Two Wars

With the inclusion of East-Galicia into the Polish republic, a great change entered into the life of Galician Jewry and naturally, the life of the Kittever Jews.

Notwithstanding the solemn promises and assurances of the Polish rulers that Polish Jews would enjoy equally with all other citizens the freedoms and privileges guaranteed by the Polish constitution, the Jews in reality were reduced to second-class citizens who had to fulfil all civic duties but had limited rights.

To start with, the Poles began to make their government offices “Judenrein” (devoid of Jews). Those Jews who were working in government offices from the time of the Austrian rule, were dismissed by the Poles. No other Jews were employed in their stead. In order to drive the Jews out of the free professions, the Polish rulers began limiting the rights of Jewish students creating the ill-famed “numerus clausus” which permitted only an insignificant number of Jewish students to enter the universities.

But the Poles didn't content themselves with this. They started a drive to drive the Jews out of their last and strongest position. They undertook to tear trade (commerce) out of Jewish hands. They did it in two ways: First, by making various

[Page 20]

limitations and all sorts of difficulties and second, by jacking up the taxes; and principally, by setting up against the Jewish trader a powerful competitor – a Polish commercial element that had government support and received help in the form of large loans and tax reductions, etc.

Such was the new situation under the new Poland and in such an atmosphere that the Jews had to live and struggle for their existence.

The number of Jews living in Kittev after the city became a part of Poland was 2605 persons and amounted to 47.5% of the population. And yet, despite the large percentage of Jewish citizens, the Poles did not allow a single Jew into a government or municipal position.

In Kittev, there were two public schools of 7 grades – one for boys and the other for girls. In both schools, there were employed over 20 permanent teachers and auxiliaries – but beside the one Jewish teacher for religion, the Poles did not admit a single Jewish teacher even if the Jew had much better qualifications than their own Polish teachers. The same with the Kittev Circuit Court under whose jurisdiction, 22 surrounding villages fell. The court employed a sizeable number of judges, clerks, bailiffs, guards and other workers. But among all these positions, not one Jew. In the post office there were also no Jews except a couple left over from the Austrian time. The new Polish masters chose to pension off those Jews after dismissing them, just to not allow them to work in a government institution.

It was hard to find a Jew in the other city departments, as for example, in the tax bureau, in community management, in the police, etc.

[Page 21]

With their taxes, the Kittever Jews covered more than 70% of the city's municipal budget; Yet, the municipal council did not allow a single groschen for Jewish institutions such as the orphan's home, synagogues, libraries and similar establishments. In the municipal council itself, where Jews – based on population and taxpayers – should have been in the majority, they would get an insignificant number of representatives through an artificial election-regulation. And the Jews were powerless there against the overwhelming number of Polish, Armenian and Ukrainian representatives.

Let us now take a look at the economic standard and living standard of the city. In general, it was a backward standard that found itself in a stage of development. Kittev had no system of piping, and water had to be drawn from the city wells. In the city, there were professional water carriers who brought the water to houses. The water carriers mostly used two wooden buckets, hanging on a wooden “yoke” which they carried on their shoulders. The more advanced water bearers were transporting the water in a barrel with a hand-faucet, and at every house where they stopped, they would measure out the water into the buckets.

To light the houses and the streets at night, it was necessary to use kerosene lamps. It was only in the year 1935 that we obtained electric light. Ice boxes, heaters, gas or electric kitchens were not available. We also did not know of central heating and would heat the oven with wood in specially bricked cooking and baking ovens.

The sanitary conditions were also primitive. Kittever Jews built the only bath-house at their own expense and maintained it themselves. The Kittever bath-house was famous with its steam-baths. There were also a couple of wooden bathtubs and, naturally, two mikvahs – one cold and one warm.

[Page 22]

Gradually, even under the Polish regime, Kittev began to make progress, improve its appearance and begin to look like a modern European town according to the style of that time. There was a Polish hall built where every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, various Polish and foreign films were shown. From time-to-time, there were also theatre performances, among them many Jewish ones. Beside the local Kittever amateur group, various famous Jewish theatre troupes would visit Kittev: Sigmund Turkov, Ida Kaminski, Jonas Turkov, Joseph Kamen, Moritz Lampe, Shoshana Rabinowitz, the Stanislaver Goldfaden, etc. There were concerts, lectures, balls and other entertainments and amusements. Weddings and balls were also held in the halls of Shtetner and Plaviuk.

The roads around Kittev were improved; the main streets in the city itself were asphalted and lengthened at both ends. In short, the town assumed a decent appearance. Trees were planted, sidewalks were widened, and life became more comfortable.

Only Jews lived in the city center and at the market-place in the nearby main streets. The longest and most beautiful streets of Kittev, the Sniatiner and Kossover streets as well as the Tudiaver, were only partly inhabited by Jews. In the Dolina, very few Jews lived with the exception of a few Jewish tanners.

Relations between Jews and their Christian neighbours were generally friendly. This was natural because they had grown up together, gone to school together and met every day.

Also, in the sphere of transportation, train connections in Kittev made progress. Swift “fiakers”, large and comfortable auto buses, connected the city with neighbouring cities and train stations. From 1932 onwards, we had a direct train connection from Kittev

[Page 23]

through Romanian transit territory – with Sniatin-Zaltusheh in Poland. The Kittever railroad station was located on the Tudiaver road near the Chermesh. But the train was mostly used for transporting freight to and from Kittev. Through the train, Kittev had a direct connection with all of Poland and this greatly helped toward the blossoming and development of the city.

But the main factor in the development and progress of the city were the Jews. With their energy and diligence, they transformed a backward town into an industrial and trade center which was known throughout Poland.


Chapter IV

Historic Personalities and Spiritual Leaders

Kittev – like all other cities and towns in pre-war Poland, had various classes of Jews. Hasidim and Misnagdim, Orthodox and free-thinkers, Maskilim and Apikorsim (atheists), great scholars and famous teachers, educated Jews and ignoramuses. There were also rich people, middle-class and poor. In general, however, the Kittever were reputed as scholars, good workmen, capable businessmen and also as sensible Jews with a sense of justice. When traders and other Jews from neighbouring cities had a Din-Torah (lawsuit) or a difficult and complicated trade issue, they would come to the Kittever Rabbis, or refer the matter to an arbitration court of Kittever men of affairs.

When one writes about the life and achievement of the Kittever Jews, one must first mention the great Kittever Rabbis and Rebbes (Hasidic), who inscribed themselves into Jewish history with their works and good deeds.

Kittev had a series of great Rabbinic authorities. From

[Page 24]

the time when Kittev first became a Jewish community until the final destruction, eleven Rabbis sat on the rabbinical chair of the holy community. Eleven generations of famous Gaonim (eminent authorities), capable and talented leaders and righteous men (tsaddikim). Three of the eleven truly immortalized the name of the city because they were called “Kittever”. Under this name, they were immortalized in the Jewish world. These were, in the 18thC, R. Gershon Kittever; in the 19thC, R. Moshe'le Kittever; and in the 20thC the old Kittever Rabbi R. Chaim Gelernter.

Kittev is also known as the city of the holy Baal Shem Tov. Before the Baal Shem was revealed, he supposedly lived for a considerable time in Kittev – in the Kittever environs. His brother-in-law was Reb Gershon Kittever who was born in Kittev and passed away in Jerusalem in 1760. He was a great Cabbalist and observed fasts the greater part of his time. How famous Reb Gershon was among the scholars of his time is attested by the Gaonim R. Yechezkel Landau, the “Noda B'Yehuda” and R. Yehonasan (Jonathan) Eibeshitz of Prague, author of “Luchos Ha-Eidus” (Tablet of Witness). Both Gaonim wrote with respect about R. Gershon and praised him as a Cabbalist and rabbinic authority.

When R. Gershon first became Rabbi of Brod, his sister Hannah, daughter of R. Ephraim Kittever, married R. Israel Baal-Shem who then was living in Kittev. After the father-in-law R. Ephraim passed away, the Baal Shem with his wife moved to the brother-in-law's in Brod.

But the Baal Shem could not stay long in Brod because his brother-in-law, the Gaon R. Gershon, considered him an ignoramus and simply drove him out of the house.

The Hasidic fantasy spun a whole legend of how the Baal Shem became R. Gershon's brother-in-law and how the Broder Dayan (rabbinic judge) drove him back to the Carpathian mountains. The poet, Menachem Boreisho, immortalized the legend in his epic poem: “The Walker”. This is entitled: “R. Gershon Kittever”:

[Page 25]

“At R. Gershon Kittever's round the Beth-Din table,
Sit men of affairs with a lawsuit.

Laying out their claims, noisily they argue,
But R. Gershon Kittever keeps thinking of his father.

What happened there, and who is this Israel
That before his death Father should write with him T'naim? (Betrothal contract).

Just plain Israel, not Rabbi or Our Teacher!
How could he betroth his daughter to such a one?

The door opens and before his eyes, there stand
Some sort of person in a torn fur pelt.

Reb Gershon rises to hand him a coin,
The guest whispers: “I need to tell you something”.

“If you need so, tell. It's just between us two”
And he leads him into a separate room.

That one digs in his breast pocket, pulls out the T'naim:
I've come to take my wife, my name is Israel.

Barely did they revive the Dayan from his faint:
“Father in heaven, do I deserve such shame”?

He wails to his sister: “How do we get rid of him”?
But she answers: “Dead men don't renege”.

[Page 26]

The wedding takes place and poor Reb Gershon
Sits as a school-teacher with his brother-in-law.

But the head is dull as a non-Jew's, lehavdil.
Barely he recites the words of the prayers.

His sister goes out to dig clay from the pits:
Seven years pass and the husband is ever dearer.

So you see clearly: it's a curse from God.
“So let him work here as my coachman”!

He harnesses horse and wagon and gets stuck in mud.
He's not even human - - just a wild Tatar!

“Now I've done my duty toward God and toward world.
Go where you wish and live with him as you like”.

The story tells further how R. Gershon comes to Brod for his son's marriage and there he reconciles with his brother-in-law who was suddenly revealed as a Tsaddik. R. Gershon becomes a follower of the Baal Shem and starts to spread his Hasidic teaching throughout the world. And this is how Boreisho concludes his poem about the Baal Shem's being revealed:

On a summer day there's excitement in Brod.
The city goes to meet a “Good Jew” (a Rebbe).

Someone found him in in a forest,
And his teaching, they say, shines like seven suns.

[Page 27]

From a far distance, in such heat,
From branches they weave him a chair to sit on.

He starts speaking Torah, plain good speech.
Hearts are filled up with love and joy.

And Reb Gershon Dayan's dancing in the midst
With all the coachmen and blacksmiths of Brod.

Prior to his being revealed, before he became famous, the Baal Shem lived in a small village between Kossev and Kittev and supported himself by digging clay which his wife, Hannah'le carried to Kittev by horse and wagon to sell to the poor people to coat their floors for Sabbath.

There in the village, not far from the Carpathian Mountains, the Baal Shem lived in seclusion for seven full years. Day and night he would wander through the deep Kittever forests and meditate on the deep secrets of God's nature. There he discovered God in Nature, in all creation. There he comprehended the pantheistic and mystical idea that everything that happens above in the higher spheres, is connected in a harmonious unity – is one with the world below, with the earth and its creatures. Here in the endless Kittever forests, he learned the language of bird and worm, the secret of the trees and the grasses. Everything from a cedar in the forest to a tiny grass, does the will of the Creator – everything sprouts and grows with duty and with joy. Here in the magical landscape “between Kittev and Kossev”, the Baal Shem would pray to God with joy and devotion. Here was born to him the great idea of Hasidism – to serve God with love and happiness – with pure motives – with love to the Torah and to every Jew – to the scholar as to the Psalm reciter, to the plain man of the people as to the Tsaddik (saintly person). These were the main

[Page 28]

foundations of the great Hasidic movement whose founder and creator was Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov.

A talented Yiddish poet of Easter-Galicia, Baer Horowitz, who gained fame through his poems on Hasidic themes, gave shape in a poetic-artistic way to the folk-legend about Baal Shem and his wife digging and transporting clay to Kittev:

And I, my Hannah'le, tell you,
The hut is the prettiest home –
Pure gold you carry to Kittev,
Not a wagon of simple loam.

And I, my Hannah'le, tell you,
That yellow Indian corn meal
Is dearest manna from heaven.
There is in it no lack.

And I my Hannah'le, tell you,
That there isn't in all the world,
One rich enough to purchase
Even part of my pleasure of soul.

Not to torture myself have I come here,
Not to fast week after week.
I've run away from God's splendour,
from the dull day-by-day yoke.

Here I must ripen, dear wife mine,
Solidly anchor my joy,
That I should be able to carry
To brothers far and wide.

[Page 29]

How, smashing will be my message!
I'll press into hearts and hands
The great, the joyous fire
Which pent in my bosom burns…

The time is not far off, O wife mine!
To the valley you with me will come - -
With me, the helper, reviver
Of the people Israel.

(The Baal Shem Tov in the Mountains)

R. Gershon Kittever went off to Erets Israel around 1840 and studied Torah taught by the Cabbalist R. Chaim ben Attar in Jerusalem. Afterward, he settled in Hebron. He later became the leader of the Midrash Hasidim which was founded by Yehuda Ha-Hasid. R. Gershon was the first Hasidic pioneer to make Aliyah to Israel.

A second historical personality was the famous Tsaddik R. Moshe'le Kittever whose name is legendary not only in Kittev but everywhere that his name reached.

Among the many wonders that are told about the Rebb R. Moshe'le z”l is the following story: Once, Erev Yom Kippur at Kol Nidre, in the Great Synagogue where the Tsaddik davened – it became crowded – a crush – an actual danger to life. R. Moshe'le ascended the Bimah and commanded all the daveners to cast aside their taleisim. As soon as they took off the taleisim it became roomier in the synagogue and they could proceed with the prayers. Since then, they established the custom in Kittev not to bury the dead in taleisim but in white shrouds.

This story is presented as a historical fact and as confirmation of minhag (custom) in the book “Oneg Chaim La-Shabbos” by the Kittever

[Page 30]

Rabbi, the Gaon R. Chaim Gelernter z”l, which was printed during his lifetime in Munkatch.

R. Moshe'le's grave is on the old Kittever cemetery. Over the grave stands an Ohel (structure usually marking an important person's grave) where Jews would come in a time of trouble to pour out their troubled heart and pray for good health and sustenance.

The tenth Rabbi on the Kittever Rabbinical chair was the Gaon R. Chaim Gelernter who was famed not only as a deep scholar, but also as a good preacher and author of several important books on Halacha (Talmudic law) and Aggada (Midrash) which interpret and explain difficult matters in the Talmud and Shulchan Orech. The titles are: “Oneg Chaim La-Shabbos, Simchas Ha-Chag, Pri Eitz Chaim”. These works are discussions about laws and religious problems.

At the beginning of the 20thC when R. Chaim Gelernter became Rabbi in Kittev, a contention flared up. There was an opposing party against the Rabbi who were called the “Levi'yukes” because the group consisted mostly of Levites from the families Huterer, Orenstein, Tillinger and others. They moved heaven and earth that a different Rabbi R. Yanke'le Shor should occupy the Rabbinical seat of Kittev. Naturally, R. Chaim also had his supporters who defended him at every opportunity. They were ready to fight to the end of their strength for their beloved leader, R. Chaim Gelernter. The Levi'nikes were not too picky in their struggle against the old Rabbi – all means were Kosher and the old Rabbi endured plenty of vexations and indignities from them.

R. Chaim was by nature very modest and peaceable. He always sought to avoid arguments, ignored his enemies and tried not to give them an opportunity to cause him shame and disgrace. But once, on a Sabbath, the Levi'nikes went over the line and received their well-deserved punishment.

[Page 31]

It happened on a Sabbath after prayers. The old Rabbi R. Chaim with a group of his supporters was at the house of an admirer of his where they had been invited for Kiddush. A bunch of Levi'nikes burst into the house, led by Meir Huterer, and shamed the old Rabbi by throwing stale eggs at him. The Rabbi's followers defended their beloved Rabbi. A fight ensued, and the Rabbi could no longer bear the Chillul-Ha-Shem (desecration of God's name), and he shouted at the Levi'nikes: “God blessed be He will requite you for this insolence!”. He turned to the main leader of the group and said: “You know Meir, what is says in the Siddur—Hameir La-aretz”? it didn't take long and Meir Huterer fell deathly ill and died. (explanation: the two Hebrew words mean: “Thou bringest light to earth”. But they can also be translated to: “Meir into the ground”).

A second trouble-maker, who was one of the leaders at the Kiddush, became paralyzed. Then fear and trembling befell the whole group of Levi'nikes. They came, one-by-one, in their stocking feet to beg forgiveness from the Rabbi. With that, there came an end to the great Rabbinic controversy.

After the decease of the old Rabbi R. Chaim, the Kittever kehillah received as Rabbi the R. Leib Yetches, who despite his youth, was full of Torah. R. Leib was the last Kittever Rabbi and perished on Kiddush Ha-Shem with his entire community of Jews.

Known throughout the whole Kittever region was the Scribe, R. Dovid'l. His scribal work was famous. A pair of tefillin or a Sefer Torah that R. Dovid'l wrote, was accounted as a precious rarity. If a Jew managed to obtain a pair of tefillin, a mezuzah of R. Dovidl's holy work, he kept it as the greatest treasure and left it as an inheritance to his children.

The Kosher ritual slaughterers of the last generation, R. Meir Shochet-Schechter, R. Leibish Cohn and R. Rafael Schechter were great scholars and God-fearing people beside being rare prayer-leaders. R. Meir was a patriarchal personality and often substituted for the Kittever Rabbi and Dayan in answering ritual questions and solving difficult problems of Torah laws.

[Page 32]

It would take too much space, perhaps a whole book, to describe the various types of Kittever melamdim (teachers of children in cheder) and also the “rebbitsins” with the various “helpers” in the cheders – the role that they played in the lives of their pupils. I will, therefore, limit myself to a few brief outlines.

The Kittever cheders, houses of study and Talmud Torahs, were also education-institutes for the Jewish children of the surrounding towns and villages. Jewish parents who, to make a living, had to live in the villages among Ukrainians and didn't want their children to grow up among non-Jews, would bring the children to Kittev and enrol them in the cheders and also with private melamdim, where they lived all year.

Among the teachers of the smallest children the outstanding ones were: R. Meir the Red Wolfish and his wife the “Rebbitsin” Sosheh. When she gave a hiccup, not only the children would get scared but the “Rebbe” himself became terrified and awoke from dozing. Other dardakei-melamdim were: Moshe Chaim Tsach and Zalman Hammer.

Among the intermediate-level Chumash-melamdim, the outstanding ones were R. Abraham Mauerer, R. Chaim Zwiebach Bershtelmacher (brushmaker) and R. Leib'ele Horb (hunchback). The melamed Chaim Zwiebach, or Bershtelmacher, when he got angry and fell into hot wrath, would call the pupils dog souls. Leib'ele was known by the name Horb for two reasons: first because he had, God preserve you, a little hunch and second, near his Cheder there was a hill where the children would skate and sled in the winter days. This hill was called “Leib'ele Horb's hill”.

Among the high-level Gemara-melamdim, the outstanding ones were R. Abash, R. Itzikel and R. Meir Yupiter with his son Yossel, as well as R. Micheleh Horner. R. Micheleh was already a modern melamed; Beside his knowledge of the Gemara, he was also versed in the modern Hebrew literature and language. Let me also mention my former Rebbe

[Page 33]

R. Chaim Shatner who was accounted among the best Kittever teachers. He mostly taught privately with individual students and later he also conducted a Kittever Talmud Torah.

The Kittever dardakei-melamdim had their “helpers” whose job it was each morning to bring the little children to the cheder and at noon, to bring each child food from home. Naturally, the helper would first taste the child's food and often his “tasting” meant eating up the biggest portion. In the cheder itself, the helpers would also do “light” work such as saying blessing with the children, teaching them Krias-Shema (the reading of the Shema) and generally taking care of them. In the meantime, the melamed's wife would “borrow” the helper to bring her water, chop wood, go to the market on an errand, carry a chicken to the Shochet, etc. The helper would also help the rebbitsin do business with the children and sell them various candies and other nosh.

The “rebbitsins” would go to the homes and , teach the girls Hebrew (reading the Siddur), say blessing with them and recite the Shema. There were also in Kittev writing teachers who taught, especially girl pupils, to write in Yiddish. Among the writing teachers were Yudl and Velvel the writer.

In the field of Hebrew education system, Kittev truly made a contribution and could serve as an example for other cities. Even before World War I, Kittev possessed a good Hebrew school led by the modern Hebraist and Maskil, R. Jacob Shatner. His students and girl students, first among the Kittever Jews, popularized the Hebrew word and the modern Hebrew literature thereby laying the foundation for the later Hebraization of
the Jewish youth.

After World War I, there came down to Kittev a young talented Hebrew teacher, Issachar Shpiegel who helped to modernize and organize the Hebrew school in the city. Thanks to his pedagogic

[Page 34]

talents and his broad knowledge, the school grew and made progress and became a modern Hebrew center in miniature.

It must be recognized that the Kittever Jewish youth had Issachar Shpiegel to thank for their Hebrew knowledge. They often mentioned their teacher's name with great love and respect. After Issachar Shpiegel left for Erets Israel, private teachers took over the Hebrew School and attempted, in the same building and according to his system, to go on with the work but without success – not because they were bad pedagogues but because the Hebrew language was then already a living tongue. It had conquered the Jewish street, and the students and girl students increased in number. It was necessary to have more teachers and a thorough revamping of the old school system; there was a need for a larger normal school and a kindergarten to satisfy the requirements of hundreds.

We then had perhaps the finest epoch of our life. The national consciousness of the Jewish youth had awakened and reached its highest peak. The Jewish youth had the will to live in a Jewish environment using the old-new Hebrew language, through Hebrew song and “Hora” dances. A partial revision in the education system was called for, which would be adapted to the new generation. It was necessary to replace the crowded, stale Cheder by a large, bright and airy normal school with trained and modern pedagogues. It was necessary that the Jewish youth should, beside the “Tanu Rabanan” (our Rabbis taught) and the “Daf Yomi” (daily page of Gemara) become acquainted with the modern and secular Hebrew creators and literature – with the values of the Haskalah and the great Zionist leaders – the modern prophets who taught us about the great Return to Zion movement, about Jewish renaissance in our old-new land. We needed to be the pioneer-chalutzim, pointing the way

[Page 35]

for a new generation which would be able to go up to its own land and live there as a free and independent people.

There was then established in Kittev a citizens' committee in which were represented all the Zionist parties. We also founded a large four-class “Tarbut” school with a big kindergarten supported by the tuitions paid by the well-to-do parents. We rented a large building with the necessary number of classrooms, a garden for the kindergarten and most important, we brought in trained and modern Hebrew teachers and important pedagogues who made it possible for the Kittever Jewish youth to get a hundred percent Jewish national education.

From 1930 onwards, Kittev also had a Beth-Jacob school, a religious school for girls conducted by trained Beth Jacob teachers from Warsaw. The Beth Jacob school took the place of the old Cheder with the melamed. As already mentioned, Kittev also had a Talmud Torah where most children of poor parents who couldn't afford tuition went. The income of the Talmud Torah came from support, from monthly free-will contributions and also from a subsidy from the Kittever religious community. The Kehillah was an independent institution, an autonomous body – anyhow it was supposed to be such – and it was supposed to manage the Jewish funds, be in charge of education and generally, coordinate and assist the organized Jewish religious and social life in Kittev.

Each year, under the supervision of the district government, there were elections held to the religion council and naturally there were elected only such councilmen as were kosher in the eyes of “Starosta” (governor of the province). If it happened through an oversight of the government that the will of the people found expression and a Jewish national people's representative was elected,

[Page 36]

his speeches did not resound in the ears of the rulers. A national representative would usually explain that the community should not just concern itself with the Rabbi, Kosher-slaughter or cemetery. It should also deal with the daily problems of the community such as Jewish education institutions, the national funds and social problems of a broader nature. Such explanations did not please those in power and they would find ways to get rid of such a representative and appoint a government commissar to run the religion council until “new” elections.

The regular income of the religion council came from the religion tax – a levy that everyone paid according to the council's decision – from Kosher slaughter, from the cemetery, the bath-house and similar. From this income, the community covered its budget, paid wages to the Rabbi, the Shochtim, Dayanim (judges), cantors and other religious functionaries and also employed a permanent staff of people who worked in the office and directed its various divisions.

The Jewish community in Kittev, that is the official organized Kehillah with its long-term president, the assimilationist Dr. Savarin Hartenstein, did not redound much honor on the Kittever Jews and was of little use to them. Besides being an obedient tool in the hands of the Polish headman of the district, he accomplished very little in the social, organizational or cultural areas.


Chapter V

Kittever Synagogues and Houses of Study

The Kittever Great Synagogue, its houses of study and the various prayer-versions which were used there, form a separate chapter in the history of the city.

[Page 37]

The Great Synagogue was the largest and most beautiful building in town; around the synagogue there was a spacious area that served as a gathering place for the Jewish youth at various local and national gathering and celebrations. On Sabbaths and holidays, the place would be filled with worshippers from the Synagogue and the nearby study-houses who gathered and discussed things there during the Torah reading, removing the Torah from the Ark and before and after prayers.

The architecture and structure of the synagogue building, the large, broad interior columns on which the colossal structure was supported and also the magnificent paintings in the most glorious colours and hues, aroused a reverence, a holy trembling in everyone who entered the magnificent holy place. The Kittever Great Synagogue was accounted as the most beautiful synagogue in the entire district and was able to take in all the Jews of Kittev.

From two sides, north and south, stairs led up to the women's balcony of the Great Synagogue. This was so constructed as to resemble a deep and handsome balcony in a large modern theatre. At the front of the Great Synagogue, at both sides of the main entrance, there were two small synagogues: at the right – the butchers' synagogue and at the left the tailors' synagogue. And as the Great Synagogue was “cold”, it had no ovens and very few worshippers would daven there in the frosty winter months. They would daven in the nearby smaller butchers' and tailors' synagogues.

Not far from the Great Synagogue, opposite and around it, were located the other Kittever houses of study: the Chasidic bet-midrash, the high bet-midrash and the peltsen (fur-pelt) bet-midrash. Not far away was the Kossover

[Page 38]

house of worship (kloiz)[2], the new bet midrash and the Visznitser kloiz.

Between the Court Street and the Tailor Street was located the Chortkover kloiz. The Kittever Rabbi also had his own minyan which was in his own quarters in the house of the religious community. The Kittever Rebbe (Hasidic) also had his own minyan.

Nearly every kloiz and bet-midrash had its permanent gabaim, prayer leaders and singers. At this opportunity, I wish to mention three Kittever batei-midrashim (houses of study) and their prayer leaders and singers:

The finest gentleman and permanent gabai of the Chortkover kloiz was my father–in-law, R. Shmuel Liebergall, may his memory be for a blessing. He was a religious aristocrat, a great scholar and one of the best prayer leaders and singers of the preceding generation. He was endowed with a sweet and hearty voice. Whoever had the privilege of hearing his sweetness-filled prayers and songs, on holidays and days of awe, will remember him always. Till this day, my memory retains his heartfelt renditions of the “Yaalos” (a piyyut sung after Kol Nidre), his “Avodah” (during Mussaf on Yom Kippur), his “Va-yeesov kol l'avodecha” and the other prayers, piyyutim and chapters of the Machzor and of the High Holidays (days of awe) prayer service. The leading people of the city used to come to the Chortkover kloiz and during the service, would listen with the greatest reverence and with bated breath to the sweet prayers and heartfelt singing of R. Shmuel Liebergall.

The permanent gabai of the Visznitser kloiz, also a splendid prayer leader and singer, was R. Zaide Hutterer. Those who davened at the kloiz and his friends respected him like a rabbi. He was a great learned man and worldly Jew. When his youngest child Ephraim Hutterer died in his early youth and R. Zaide would stand at the cantor's desk on the High Holidays, and with a tearful voice sing out the “Ha-ben yakir li Ephraim”, all the daveners wept rivers of tears. (“Isn't Ephraim my beloved child, - in Yom Kippur Mussaf).

One of the finest gentlemen and the permanent prayer leader of the New Bet-Midrash was R. Yeshayahu (Isaiah) Bergman. Not only was he himself a good singer but the talent was inherited by his two younger sons, Berel and Leib'ele. Often on a Sabbath or holiday,

[Page 39]

the neighbours would stand themselves under the windows and listen to Yeshayahu Bergman's heartfelt songs and z'mirot, accompanied by his sons and daughters.

Among the prayer leaders and singers of the last generation, I want to recall R. Rafael Shochet and his only son, the Talmudic genius (eelui, in Hebrew) – Shmuel'ik and last but not least (he uses the Hebrew expression meaning “the last is dearest”), Yakir Knall, the only one of the Kittever singers who was saved from perishing and is now in Israel. Yakir Knall was the last song-master and also the elegizer of Kittev. Going together with Kittever community on her final way, he sang out mournfully the Neilah prayers of Yom Kippur.


Chapter VI

Jewish Livelihoods in Kittev after World War I

During World War I, in the years 1914-1918, Kittev and all Eastern-Galicia was occupied by the Russian armies. The majority of the Jewish population, fearing the Cossack hordes, took flight to Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Austria before the Russian army came in, and there they remained until the end of the war.

When they returned to their former homes, the Jewish inhabitants of Kittev found everything utterly laid to waste. Not only were all the stores emptied by the robbers but even the doors and windows of the houses were torn out. Generations of Jewish effort and toil, the Russian occupiers robbed, tore apart and destroyed. Every Jew had to build himself a house anew and work to assure his survival.

There were Jews who, in view of the great destruction, considered if it was worth to begin rebuilding on an uncertain base or to emigrate. The far-sighted ones began to emigrate at that time. A sizeable emigration

[Page 40]

to America and other lands across the sea began. By the way, there were already Kittever landsleit in America who had immigrated there before the first World War.


World War I

Still, most of the Kittever Jews quickly forgot the War and its dreadful results and again addressed themselves to rebuilding the ruins and creating new sources of livelihood. Jewish shopkeepers stood themselves at their tables in the market-place and sold their wretched goods; Jewish wagon-drivers and carriers began to carry on push carts sacks of flour from the Kittever mills to the stores and the houses of the city and the surrounding town. Jewish tanners began, in a primitive way, to produce thick leather from which Jewish shoemakers sewed boots and shoes. New textiles were not available so Jewish tailors sewed clothes out of military cloth and made suits and coats. In short, every Jew according to his trade and profession and, under the most primitive conditions, began to find a source of livelihood, and they made progress.

Jewish work and Jewish energy and diligence once again brought the expected good results. After a couple of years of strenuous Jewish labour, Kittev was built anew even more beautiful and modern than before the War. Commerce in Kittev began to bloom like never before. Jewish tradesmen rebuilt fine businesses and filled them with the best goods. The wagon-drivers threw away their push carts and bought large wagons with strong horses and carried goods from and to Kittev. On the Kittever plaza now stood a row of new, gleaming fiacres (hackney coaches), hitched to hee-hawing horses, swift as eagles which connected Kittev with the surrounding cities and villages. In time, the Jewish coach-men sold their horses and wagons and hackney coaches and acquired autos and taxis and established a regular motor traffic from and in Kittev which

[Page 41]

functioned with exemplary punctuality, departing and arriving at the scheduled hour and minute.

In and around Kittev, the Jews built a large number of sawmills which gave employment not only to a large number of Jews and non-Jews in Kittev, but also to the Poles and Ukrainians of the nearby cities and villages. The finished material from the sawmills was sold for the surrounding cities and villages and a large part of it was exported abroad and shipped through the Polish port of Danzig.

The large Kittever mills which were also in Jewish hands, used to sell their flour for the surrounding cities and villages which had no mills of their own.

The Kittever Jewish fruit dealers used to buy up all the produce of the orchards from the Kittever peasants and the peasants of the surrounding villages, which they would then sell the various famous Kittever fruits all over Poland and thereby created a good and steady market for all Kittever fruits.

Beginning in the year 1930-1931, Kittever Jews developed a large new source of livelihood, the rug industry, which brought much profit and prosperity to all Kittever Jews and also to many non-Jews from the surrounding villages.

The rug industry first developed in Kossev, about ten kilometres from Kittev. From there it spread to Kittev and the surrounding area, in the cities and villages. The carpets were woven from wool on large wooden looms in a very primitive manner, all by hand, not mechanized. Hundreds of Kittever families made a nice living from the rug industry, and many of them became rich and their wealth grew from day-to-day.

In connection with the rugs and carpets that Jews produced,

[Page 42]

there sprang up a new, until then unknown trade. Large warehouses opened which sold a variety of wools and strings for rug-making. Kittever artisans quickly learned the skill of building weaving equipment and worked day and night to deliver more and more looms for the manufacturers. Non-Jews also learned the trade and became experts. In time, the rug industry branched out so that nearly every Jewish house in Kittev was directly or indirectly involved and drew profit from it. Kittever Jewish young men would go forth all over Poland as agents and peddlers of rugs and handwoven items such as tablecloths, bedcovers, curtains, etc.

The working class in Kittev also made progress. There arose an organized Jewish worker who began to play a role in the public life. There was founded a professional organization of the rug-workers which fought for their interests and carried out a successful strike in 1935. As a result of this, other workers – those of the mills, sawing and tanning industry were also organized and in time won better conditions and higher wages for their members.

At that time, there was also founded in Kittev a government fund for the sick from which the workers and their families would benefit. Through the sick-fund, one received free medical help, dentists and doctors; even the medicines in the apothecary shops and prescribed by doctors were obtain free by the workers. Besides this, workers who were sick received a stipend from the fund which enabled them to support their families during the time of illness when they could not work.

In the last years before World War II, Kittev gained a reputation as a good watering place, a pleasant vacation spot. In the summer months, thousands of guests would come to the city

[Page 43]

to enjoy the air and spend their summer vacations. In and around the city, a large number of guest-houses were built as well as beautiful villas for the cure-seekers which also, naturally, enlarged the source of income for the city and its inhabitants.

In conclusion, it is worth remarking that, in general, commerce, industry, trades and the free professions were almost entirely in Jewish hands. This has to be ascribed entirely to the energy and abilities of the Kittever Jews who transformed the city into an industrial center and thereby raised the standard of living of the Kittever population and that of the surrounding cities and villages.


Chapter VII

Jewish Life in Kittev After World War I

The Jewish community life in Kittev after World War I, until the great Hitler destruction, mirrored, in miniature, that of the overall Jewish community in Poland. Kittev like all Jewish settlements in Poland, possessed a multicolored life with all shades of color. An important role in the forming of the Jewish life was played by the Jewish youth and the national conscious Jewish intelligentsia which grew up on the one hand in an atmosphere saturated with anti-Semitism aiming to degrade the Jews and rob them of human and civil rights and on the other hand, grew up in the years of Jewish national awakening – after the Balfour Declaration, when the great Zionist movement began to captivate the Jewish masses and taught them to become the generation which would be “the first to redemption and the last to enslavement” to realize the 2000-year aspiration, the dream of the Return to Zion.

[Page 44]

The first and oldest Zionist organization in Kittev was the General Zionists, which was founded before World War I and was led by such Kittever personalities as Dr. Menasheh Mandel, Moshe ben-Chaim Gottlieb, Dr. Marcus Alesker, Wolf Mer and others. The founders and leaders of the first Zionist party in Kittev were the pioneers of the Haskalah movement who wished to fulfil the Haskalah slogan: “Be a Jew in your home and a human being outside”. {This slogan is given in Hebrew}. They demonstrated that one could be a Jew with a warm Jewish heart even without beard and side locks, and one might go to Shul (synagogue) without a fur-cap and long coat , but dressed in modern European clothing; that one could study the Bible and a page of Gemara (Talmud) not only on the hard bench of a Bet-Midrash but also in a modern Hebrew school, and that one may also learn and study the general sciences.

The founders and leaders of Zionism in Kittev were the first standard-bearers of Herzl's thought and thereby laid the foundation for a great Zionist movement in the city which branched out after World War I and took in the majority of the Kittever Jews.

When writing about the earliest Zionist activity in Kittev, one must mention the personality of the beloved and recognized leader of Kittever Jews, Dr. Menasheh Mandel who was, not only the leader and ideologue of his party, but always found in the front line of the struggle for Jewish honor and Jewish rights.

This fighter for Jewish interest in every time of trouble, R. Menasheh Mandel, was a talented speaker, a seasoned polemicist and debater, a Talmudist and a modern Hebraist, and in general a proud national Jew whom everyone who came in contact with him, respected.

The first Zionist youth organization in Kittev was “Hashomer Hatsair”

[Page 45]

and it was also the first group of the Halutzim movement in Eastern Galicia.

However, the strongest and dominant Zionist youth organization in the city was the Zionist-Socialist youth movement, “Gordoniah” founded in 1926.

The writer of these lines was a member of the Committee of Gordoniah and led its Secretariat until the last day of its existence.

In Kittev, there was also a strong Poalei-Zion (Labour-Zionist) party which, after the world-wide merging of Hitachdut with Poalei-Zion, also united with Gordoniah and together formed the “Echod” party. Among the meritorious members of Echod, I want to mention the names of our presidents who perished for the sanctification of the Name and sanctification of the Nation: Hillel Gaster, Elathar Buller and Isaac Grebler.

In the years 1930-1931, Chaim Gottlieb and Joseph Leib Urheber founded the Zionist-Revisionist youth organization, “Betar”, which subsequently developed and attracted a sizeable number of young people.

Also active in Kittev there was a Zionist women's organization, “Wizo” which carried on the charitable and educational work of the women and greatly helped in conducting the various Zionist fund drives for Jewish National Fund and others.

In the local committees of Keren Kayemet (Jewish National Fund) and Keren Ha-Yesod, all Zionist parties were represented as well as the Women's Zionist Organization, Wizo.

The headquarters of Keren Kayemet and Keren Ha-Yesod in Lemberg would establish yearly quotas for the cities and the local committees would conduct collections. Every month, they emptied the K.K.L. collection boxes which were found in nearly every Jewish home. Besides this, there were special collections which were mostly held on Hanukkah, Purim, Pesach, Lag B'Omer and 15th day of Shvat. Also, synagogue pledges (nedarim) and Yiskor contributions were dedicated to the Keren Kayemet.

[Page 46]

Additional income for the Zionist funds came from the dances and other entertainments which brought in certain amounts.

The Keren Ha-Yesod had quarterly payers, a voluntary tax from every Zionist.

A charitable institution which was the pride of the Kittever Jews was the orphans' home. Right after World War I, when the impoverished population received a large number of orphans and the situation was heart-wrenching, a group of Jews, under the leadership of Dr. Marcus Alesker and Isaac Grebler, decided to help solve the tragic problem and succeeded – with great effort and exertion – to fund the Kittever orphans' home.

This orphans' institution was a comfortable home for the poor orphans and provided all their necessities. It gave them a suitable upbringing and prepared them to become good and useful citizens. The main income for the orphans' home came from the Kittever raternal organization of landsleit in New York and the rest was covered by the Jews of Kittev themselves.

A second important charitable institution from which the Kittever Jewish poor as well as the middle class benefited was the free-loan (gemillus chesed) fund which was managed by a committee in which all the Jewish parties were included. The fund would give small interest-free loans to artisans and small businessmen, and they had months and sometimes years to repay.

The Kittever Bikkur-Cholim (sick assistance) supported itself thanks to the monthly donations of the Jewish population and greatly helped the sick of the poorest classes. Kittev also had a Jewish people's bank beside the city bank which assisted the Jewish artisans and the small businessman.

The Jewish population made use of the Gordoniah library. Under Joshua Nachman and my unimportant self, the Gordoniah library

[Page 47]

grew to be the most popular reading institution in the city. The library had the newest Yiddish, Hebrew and Polish books.

The Kittever Hashomer Hatsair and Betar had their own libraries.

It should be emphasized that the Zionist parties of Kittev and their institutions were famed throughout Galicia. This was thanks to their socially and politically trained leaders and their high cultural level and the lofty national educational work which brought honor and prestige to the name of the city.

In 1925-1926, a Jewish chamber of commerce was founded in Kittev which took in all Kittever businessmen and artisans, from the smallest storekeeper to the great manufacturers and industrialists.

Founder and permanent secretary of the Kittever chamber of commerce was the capable and hard-working young man, Wilhelm Mach, who was also active in many other communal areas. Thanks to his organizational talents, the chamber grew and became the largest non-partisan organization in Kittev. The chamber always stood on guard to fight for the interests of the businessmen and artisans before the tax bureau and all other government bureaus.

The chamber of commerce would always inform and explain to the businessmen and artisans about government laws and orders. It would do paperwork and tax forms for them for free. This was of great importance for every tax payer.

Kittev also possessed sport groups. The first organized sport club in Kittev was the “Maccabi” founded by Butsieh Tillinger and Wilhelm Mach in 1925. The sport club had two football teams and a

[Page 48]

gymnastic division under the supervision of a trained instructor who would conduct various gymnastic exercises.

The Maccabi sport club attained the highest satisfaction and recognition in the years 1927-1930 when it defeated all sport clubs of the surrounding cities and thereby became the recognized football champion of Pakutsia.

In later years, the Kittever Zionist youth organizations, Gordoniah, Hashomer Hatsair and Betar also began to organize their own sports clubs and carried on various sport activities such as football, ping-pong and so on.


Chapter VIII

Sabbaths, Holidays and Life-Style

Sabbath and Yom-Tov in Kittev could be seen and felt in every street, house and in every nook and cranny. All businesses were closed, all workshops were silent, all transport and communication was halted and the market place was empty and cleaned up. The whole city rested and on everything and everyone, there was an outpouring of the repose and tranquillity of Sabbath.

The day before each Sabbath and Yom-Tov, the hairdressers were very busy, the bath-house was full. Jews went to the bath-house to immerse themselves, to steam themselves and to sweat. Erev Shabbos at dusk, the stores closed, and Jews hurried to the synagogues. The houses were neat and clean and though all the windows, there gleamed the candles and one could see the white-covered Shabbos tables with the Challahs and the goblets of wine.

On Sabbath morning, all the synagogues were filled with worshippers. As soon as prayers ended, nearly at the same time in all the houses of prayer, the streets were flooded with homeward-bound men,

[Page 49]

women and children. Many Jews provided themselves with newspapers. Some bought the “Heint” (Today), some the “Morgen” (Tomorrow), or the “Freieh Vort (Free Word, the “Moment” or the “Radio”. The semi or truly intelligent youth would provide themselves with the “Chvilla” – a Jewish paper in the Polish language.

On coming home, you would find the busy home-makers who would serve the delicious Sabbath foods. Everyone sat reposeful at the table and enjoyed the special dishes. Often there would be guests at the Sabbath table. After the relaxedly sung Zemiros (Sabbath melodies) the courses of food would be brought in. Kittever Jews did not know from any “diet”: we ate chopped onions, fish, soup, all sorts of meats, jellied beef-foot, various kugels and tsimmeses and after eating our fill, we napped for a couple of hours. And even though we lay down with a full stomach, we woke up healthy and fresh and ready for a glass of tea, Shalosh-Seudos (third meal of the Sabbath) and so on.

Among Kittever, Shabbos-fruit, sunflower seeds took first place. One could simply not imagine one Shabbos in Kittev without cracking seeds. There were Jews who specialized in drying the seeds and flavouring them with salt and oil. On Friday and Sabbath, these Jews had sustenance aplenty. The seeds were sold by measuring them out in a lass, at five or ten groschen per measure. The seeds posed a problem for the community management which was responsible for keeping the streets clean; but they were helpless and had to watch, gritting their teeth, as Jews, sitting on the benches in the market-place or strolling on the sidewalks, cracked the seeds and spat out the shells at every step. Kittever Jews got great pleasure out of cracking seeds.

On Shabbos afternoon, the older generation used to return to the synagogues and study-houses to recite Ethics of the Fathers and listen to a good discourse from the Rabbi or a preacher. The youth used Sabbath afternoon differently. During the summer time they went on outings to the

[Page 50]

surrounding woods – on the Oidiush, on the Levadeh or on the Shzaribish, and took pleasure in the Sabbath enjoying the beautiful Kittever nature. If the weather was not suitable for a stroll, the young people would gather in the various clubs and meeting-places, dance and sing or listen to a good lecture or recitation or participate in various political or Zionist discussions. Others played a game of chess or rummy. Those who preferred Olam Ha-Zeh (things of this world) to Olam Ha-Bah (things of the spirit) went to the women's society and spent time there with good looking, attractive girls and young married women.

Every holiday in Kittev had its separate charm and lustre. Anyone who grew up in Kittev and absorbed the traditional Jewish Days of Awe with their customs, the patriarchal customs, will never forget them. He will yearn all his life for those solemn days.

The Days of Awe (High Holidays) began with the Selichos – nights in Elul. Every Jew felt a trembling then, and even the greatest unbelievers felt it their duty to rise up for Selichos on those awesome nights. On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, all the synagogues were packed with daveners (people praying). It was necessary to place extra benches in every bet-midrash for the worshippers.

A couple of weeks before Yom Kippur, the market price of chickens had already risen. Jewish home-makers began to purchase sacrificial fowls (kappores) for their households. Especially high the price rose for white roosters and hens because every Jewish mother wished to buy a bright sacrificial fowl (lichtige kapporeh) for her husband and kids. When the time came for the ceremony (waving the chicken around the head) the poor ritual-slaughterers (shochtim) had to labour day and night to slaughter and pluck hundreds of roosters and hens.

Our mothers, of blessed memory, of bright remembrance, would make a point of personally preparing the large Yom Kippur candles that were lit in the synagogues. A couple of days before Yom Kippur, they would go to the wick-makers,

[Page 51]

women who would thread the wicks for the large tallow-candles.[3] This happened as follows: every Kittever home-maker used to make two large tallow-candles, one for the dead and one for the living members of the family. As the woman who put in or drew the wicks from the individual threads inserted each wick, she would call out the names of the family members – a name for each thread. And with it, the wick-drawer said various prayers and incantations.

The finished large tallow-candles were then stuck into wooden boxes or large pots filled with sand and set up in the synagogue Erev Yom Kippur before Kol Nidre.

Erev Yom Kippur at Mincha there stood long tables in the synagogue on which were arranged bowls with inscriptions: for example: House of Study, Shamess (sexton), naphtha, Bikkur Cholim (Help for the Sick), Talmud Torah, Jewish National Fund and more and more. Every Jew who came to daven threw his contribution into the bowls.

In a corner of the synagogue, the Shamess stood with a leather strap and waited for the penitents who would lie down on the synagogue floor and he would give them lashes.

Erev Yom Kippur, after the pre-fast meal, every Jew began to prepare for the great Day of Judgment. The older Jews dressed themselves in white robes (kittel) and white stockings. Before going to the synagogue, they would assemble the children and grandchildren, lay their hands on their heads and with great fervour, bless them with the traditional Jewish blessings.

Yom Kippur at Kol Nidre, all the streets appeared empty. Even non-Jews, on Yom Kippur night, feared the Jewish God and did not show themselves in the thickly populated Jewish streets. All kith and kin were in the synagogues for Kol Nidre. The girls who stayed home also did not engage in idle pursuits on this holy night – they understood the seriousness of the Judgment Day.

[Page 52]

The streets around the Great Synagogue and around the Houses of Study were strongly lit by the flames of the hundreds of large tallow-candles in the windows of the full houses of prayer. Inside it was hot and stuffy from the large crowd of worshippers. The air was thick and suffocating from the smoke and the tallow of the burning and smoking candles.

After the Kol Nidre prayers, the older Jews remained in the synagogue until midnight and recited Psalms and Hymn of Unity (Shir Ha-Yichud). An impressive picture was the picture of the Musaf Avodah service on Yom Kippur. At the words: “They would kneel and prostrate themselves” – the worshippers went down on the floor, kneeled and recited the prayers. At Neilah time, the girls gathered outside the synagogues as they had fasted all day and were waiting for the Shofar-blowing so that they would not, God forbid, transgress the Law and eat before the time. Yom Kippur night after Maariv, if the weather was nice, all the Jews coming from the synagogues stood in groups on the street and blessed (renewed) the moon.

Right after Yom Kippur, they began to prepare for the joyous Succos days. On the Jewish streets, the self-built Succahs appeared covered with green branches and hung about and decorated with colourful covers and decorations. Sometimes, two or three families would eat in one Succah. When one family finished eating, another home-maker came into the Succah, blessed the candles and served her family the meal. There were also pious Jews who slept in the cold Succah regardless of the danger of getting a cold.

Not everyone could afford to buy an Essrog so the members of two or three synagogues would join together and buy an Essrog in partnership. After Hallel or Hoshanos, the Shamess would quickly carry the Essrog with the Lulav to a second synagogue. After the service, the Shamess or his wife would carry around the Essrog from house-to-house to allow everyone to fulfil the mitzvah of bentshing Essrog.

[Page 53]

For Hoshanah Rabbah, the poor Jewish boys would cut green willow branches which grew by the water and weave Hoshanos. These they sold on the day of Hoshanah Rabbah near the prayer-houses and synagogues to all the worshippers.

Simchas Torah was the happiest day, and the Kittever people celebrated it in a unique way. After noon on Shemini Atseres, there was already a Simchas-Torah atmosphere in the city. The worshippers gathered in their synagogues where the Gabaim had prepared beer and wine, various fruits, broad beans, kidney beans and cakes. All afternoon they enjoyed themselves; ate, drank and sang hymns until there came the hour of Hakafos (parading with the Torahs). At Hakafos, everyone was already quite tipsy and the dancing and singing could be heard through the streets. There were also respected gentlemen who invited the common people to their homes and prepared a royal spread for them. This custom was followed by my father-in-law, R. Shmuel Liebergall, may he rest in peace, and R. Zaide Hutterer. My father-in-law would invite the worshippers of the Chortkover Klaus and they celebrated at tables with roasted ducks, holubches (stuffed cabbage leaves – which we call prokkes) and other dainty foods. They sang hymns and the most beautiful prayers until late in the night. I shall always remember the jolly Simchas-Torah Kiddush that R. Laib'tshe would make (recite) Shemini Atseres night in my father-in-law's house. The Kiddush was a masterpiece! A mish-mash of words and Biblical verses where each phrase began with the last word of the preceding phrase. The Kiddush would start like this:

The sixth day …were finished the heavens[4] --- the heavens tell of His glory --- His glory fills the world. His attendants ask “Where[5] --- Where is Sarah your wife?[6] --- your wife is like a fertile vine in the precincts of your house --- your house and in your gates[7]--- It shall come to pass if you hearken diligently to my commandments which I command you today[8] --- today You will strengthen us, today You will exalt us[9] --- and so on and on.

Every phrase was sung with the appropriate tune of the prayer. The Kiddush lasted half an hour and fitted into the joyous mood of Simchas Torah. Not until late at night did we proceed, singing and dancing

[Page 54]

to the synagogues and the ardent Hakafos ceremony began.

The same went on in the Wizshinitzer Klaus. The worshippers would celebrate at the house of their Gabbai Zaide Hutterer until midnight, embrace each other and danced calling out “Long live our Rabbi and Teacher” (in Hebrew).

We, the Zionist youth, observed Simchas Torah morning in our meeting hall. The purpose of the separate minyan was to collect money for the Jewish National Fund. At every Aliyah, the person called up to the Torah would pledge (neder) for the Fund. The entire service was sung out and drew a large crowd. The prayers were led by the brothers Berel and Leibel Bergman who were noted as good prayer leaders and singers and a chorus of young boys helped them. After the service, the Committee treated every worshipper with honey-cake and whiskey, and everyone enjoyed themselves.

The Zionist youth also sponsored a ball on Simchas Torah evening at which we spent the whole night.

When Hanukkah came, the Jewish organizations would arrange Hanukkah evenings in various ways: A tea, a show about the miracle of Hanukkah and similar shows. Mainly, Hanukkah was a holiday of the young. There were lectures about the Maccabean revolt, about the heroic deeds of the Maccabees and the meaning of Hanukkah as a parallel to the present-day heroic deeds of the Chalutzim in the diaspora and in Israel.

When Purim approached, preparation began for this joyous holiday. In the streets, one would meet the professional Purim-walkers who disguised themselves and went to collect alms in the surrounding towns. On the Fast of Esther, at night, it was already lively and jolly in the city. There appeared masked groups who visited the homes of their friends disguised as various romantic figures. In the homes of their boyfriends and girlfriends, they sang appropriate songs

[Page 55]

and declaimed verses, or played theatre-scenes and every house received the masked visitors happily and treated them to drinks and snacks. In the Jewish houses, it was indeed joyous and bright, as it says in the Megillah: “The Jews had light and joy”. The houses were full of eager onlookers who wanted to guess who the masked ones were. When a girl's squeal was heard, you knew already that a young man had tried to guess who the girl was and had pulled the mask or the veil off her.

In all generations, Purim was a day for Jews to send Shalach-moness (Purim portions) and give Tzedakah. This custom was strongly observed by the Kittever Jews. In the morning at prayer service, they began to give out charitable donations. All day, until late in the evening, children and grown-ups disguised and not disguised, also representatives of local charitable institutions and pro-Israel committees, visited Jewish homes where they were received in friendly fashion and treated to tasty foods and liquors. All were given the Purim donation with a generous hand.

Purim afternoon began the process of sending Shalach-moness to relatives and friends, from groom to bride, to the in-laws and so forth.

In the streets, one would meet children with little covered baskets covered by plates full of Purim Shalach-moness. Oranges were a rarity in Kittev and they had to be brought from larger cities, so it happened that someone got a couple of oranges and used them to adorn the Shalach-moness package he was sending to his relative or a friend. The Kittever Jews were very polite and friendly and knew how to treat company. The never sent a tray or a platter back empty. The Kittever women were also good housewives and showed great skill in baking. Thus, you could see on the Shalach-moness trays and plates the most various sweet pastries that supplied

[Page 56]

the homes from Purim to Pesach. Fruit cake, honey cake and other sweet dainties which the Kittever women baked had a reputation.

The Purim holiday ended with the traditional Purim masquerade ball which was arranged by the city committee of the Jewish National Fund.

A popular figure in Kittev on Purim day was Chaim Peshe-Roize's. All year, he dealt in fruit making and made a living from it. He was a pious Jew and the permanent Shamess (sexton) of the Great Synagogue. Every Purim and for many years, Chaim made himself up as a gypsy with long hair and a dark face. He put a large sack on his shoulders and took a long thick stick in his hands and went out with a helper boy of his (also dressed as a gypsy) and all day he would visit the homes of the more prosperous Jewish householders and obtain sizeable contributions from them – mostly in the form of signed chits for 20 or 50 kilos of potatoes or matzos which he, Chaim Peshe-Roize's would distribute among the poor and needy Jews for Pesach. At each house, he was entertained with a couple of glasses of whiskey and something to eat so that by night time, he was very drunk and they had to bring him home in a horse-drawn wagon. Before he went home, Chaim made an appearance at the masquerade ball and danced the first dance while the music played his favourite melody: “Mein shtetele Belz”.

Shabbos Hagadol (the Sabbath before Pesach) in Kittev had a special character. If there were Jews who forgot when Shabbos Hagadol (the Great Shabbos) fell, they were soon reminded that today is the Shabbos of the bald men and the smooth-headed Jews were sent off to Egypt to heal their baldness. In truth, on Shabbos Hagadol, it was no enviable to be a Jew whom a Master of the Universe favoured with a bald spot.

The smaller “scabs”, with bald spots on their heads, got off relatively easily. It was worse with the older men. If a bald man came into the synagogue – and in every synagogue there were jokers – the jokesters surrounded him and began to kid at his expense. Firstly, they would give him a jovial “Sholom Aleichem” and then began to quiz him on how it went with his trip to Egypt and back – if the operation on his scalp went easily, and similar questions. Instead of answers, there were slaps in the face and there was no shortage of trouble.

[Page 57]

Worse yet, it went with the big-shots with large bald spots on Shabbos Hagadol. First thing in the morning, young jokesters would hang red flags on the roofs of their houses and blow trumpets. Often the police had to intervene and help take down the flags. It happened once that a Gabbai, a joker, honoured a bald Jew with an Aliyah – gave him the 5th Aliyah so the jokers all around would start to sneeze and smack their lips. The Gabbai had to insure his head (the meaning of “insure” in this context is unclear) there was nothing to envy him for and the prayer house lost a worshipper.

Shabbos Hagadol in the afternoon, the Kittever Rabbi gave a sermon to teach the people the laws of Kashrus of Pesach. During the week of Shabbos Hagadol and Pesach, the Jews would make great preparations for the holiday.

Kittev had no machines for baking Matzos – only a few modern individuals got Manishewitz matzos – most of the Jews were busy baking oven matzos --- Shmurah matzos and ordinary matzos. The Kittever Rabbi and Shochtim were very watchful that all should be done with the highest level of Kashrus. They took care of the large mill which ground white flour for matzos and koshered the special stones which ground the flour for the Shmurah. They also watched the wagon-drivers, who carried the flour, and saw to it that their wagons would be clean and would not, God forbid, carry Chametsdig flour together with the Pesach'dig flour.

[Page 58]

They took care the flour was well covered so it could not get wet, God forbid, by even a drop of rain!

The Rabbis and Schochtim also inspected the Kittever flour-merchants that sold flour for Pesach. They should have separate storage and they would see to it that the scales and weights would not have even a crumb of Chomets on them. But the hardest job which the religious functionaries had, was during the baking of the Matzos in supervising the Matzo bakeries so that all would be Kosher to the highest degree.

Kittev had no equipped Matzo bakery. Before Pesach, a few Kittever respectable householders such as Chaim Mendel the tailor, Sholem Rotter, Sarah the black, Chaim Peshe Roize's, Moshe Yankel Krendel's and others who had large kitchens with large ovens and big rooms, transformed their houses into bakeries. They hired kneading-women, heated the ovens to glowing red, set up a row of women who rolled out the Matzos and perforators who pierced the Matzos with a wheel and setter-ins who, for fourteen to eighteen hours, stood on their feet at the hot oven setting in and baking the Matzos. The rabbinic supervision over the places where Matzos were baked was under the strictest supervision of the Rabbi and the Shochtim. They saw to it that the boards on which the Matzo was rolled out were smooth and freshly planed; they saw to it that the helping-women wore clean white aprons; that the oven would be koshered and
that no one, God forbid, should stumble into a suspicion of the presence of Chomets during Pesach.

As previously mentioned, there were enough Jews in Kittev, perfect in the fear of Heaven, who guarded themselves against the tiniest transgression. Those Jews, with their own hands, brought the Pesach into the house. As an example, we will mention such a pious Jew as Joseph Rappaport who had a separate piece of field where he personally sowed the wheat; cut the ears and threshed the grain; personally picked over every grain for Shmurah and these people were the first to grind the flour on the koshered

[Page 59]

stones – first to bake the Shmurah-Matzo which they personally kneaded, rolled out and set in the oven.

Naturally, Kittever homemakers had Chomets'dig and Pesach'dig utensils, cans for water. Even the water-carriers used to wear white linen robes; a non-Jewish water-carrier was just not entrusted with drawing water from the well, but someone would accompany him and make sure that he didn't touch a piece of Chomets while carrying the Pesach'dig water.

The Jewish storekeepers and their employees, all Jewish artisans, tailors, shoemakers, were very busy in the pre-Pesach weeks and worked day and night to be able to fill the orders. It was the ambition of every Jewish mother and father that they, or at least their children should be supplied with a new garment for Pesach. When the Pesach days arrived and everyone would go out for the holiday stroll around the Synagogue and the prayer-houses, everyone looked over each other and admired his new wardrobe, the material, the tools and the workmanship of the tailor in sewing up and finishing the article of clothing. They also discussed the cobblers who sewed the shoes, and so on.

Lag B'Omer (33rd day of the Omer) was a holiday for the young people. All Cheder boys were off from school that day. The Rebbes and their helpers from the Cheders marched out together with their pupils into the woods and gardens around Kittev and thus, the Cheder boys got the chance to enjoy a few hours in the open air. The Cheder boys would jump and play and the Rebbes (teachers) would tell them the history of Lag B'Omer – about the life and accomplishments of the great Tanna (sage of the Mishna) Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai.

On Shevuos, all Kittev looked like one great aromatic green garden! The colorful flower gardens and the various colorfully blooming fruit orchards intoxicated with their fragrant odours. In honour of Shevuos, every Jewish home and the Synagogue and the prayer houses were decorated

[Page 60]

with odorous flowers and green Shevuos leaves.

Kittever Jews celebrated in their own specific way, not only the Days of Awe and all the Jewish holidays but observed even the national days of mourning in a responsible and traditional manner.

Tishah B'Av, for example, could be recognized at every step. On Tishah B'Av night, all the synagogues and prayer houses were dimly lit: the lamps were extinguished as a sign of sadness and mourning. The worshippers sat down on inverted book-rests, lit their books of lamentations with a small tallow candle, bowed their heads and listened to the mournful “How doth the city sit solitary” of the prayer leader. It never happened that on the night of Tishah B'Av they should play Yiddish theatre in Kittev or schedule any other entertainment. The Polish owners of the cinema hall, who did show a film on Tishah B'Av night, had an empty hall. In this national night of mourning, every Kittever Jew mourned with the entire Jewish people for the destruction of the nation and its land.


Chapter IX

Family Festivities of Kittever Jews

Kittever Jews lived out their lives in a unique style. Their happy occasions (simchas) and their funerals – everything bore the specific Kittever stamp.

When a male was born in a Jewish family, they celebrated a Sholem-Zocher

[Page 61]

on the first Friday night in the following way: After prayers, the Shamess stood himself on the platform or at the prayer-house table and announced “Ploni-ben-Ploni” (equivalent to John Doe) is giving a Sholem-Zocher this evening and all worshippers are invited. At the Sholem-Zocher, they served liquor, fruits, nuts, cooked kidney-beans and broad beans. On the 7th day, before the Bris, they held a reading of the Shema. The Rebbe, with the Cheder boys, would come into the room where the childbirth-woman lay with her new born and read the Shema as a protection against demons. Before leaving, the Cheder boys would get honey-cake and whiskey. The father of the new born would stand at the door with a bottle and glasses in his hands and give every child a swallow of whiskey. Another person would hand them honey-cake. The Rebbe's helper would receive double. The circumcisions were often performed in the same prayer-house where the father davened.

When a female was born, they would make a festive meal and children would take candies out of the little girl's cradle.

When a little boy began learning Chumash, they also made a little Seudah to which they invited the teacher and the older pupils. They dressed up the Chumash boy and put on him a watch with a chain. He then held his first speech for the assembled people. At the Bar-Mitzvah, the boy naturally was called up to the Torah and everyone was invited for Kiddush and to the Bar-Mitzvah festive meal.

At a betrothal (T'naim) a plate was broken to confirm that the coupe are bride and groom and after this, they struck hands and wrote the T'naim (articles of betrothal).

On the Saturday before the wedding, they held a Forshpiel (merry entertainment on the night of the Sabbath preceding the wedding”) – the bridegroom, at his home, and the bride at hers with her girlfriends. Sabbath morning, the groom was called up to the Torah. The women who davened in the women's section, would throw candies at the groom. After prayers, the groom would invite the worshippers for Kiddush. Also, in the bride's house, they held a Forshpiel.

Kittever weddings used to take place in a hall or a house, if one had a large house. Others held the ceremony (Chuppah) under the sky near the Great Synagogue. Often one would meet a

[Page 62]

wedding procession in the Kittever streets. The musicians went first playing a wedding march followed by the best man and bridesmaids with lighted candles in their hands. After them, followed the groom and bride and in-laws. They marched to the Great Synagogue where the Rabbi and Shamess and guests were waiting for them. In addition, Kittev had its own wedding tune: tra-la-la – with the Shamess sang while the in-laws circled the groom and bride seven times.

The Sheva-Broches party in Kittev was celebrated on the 1st Friday after the wedding. At covered tables, people would gather. At the head sat the newly married couple and everyone made merry.

In the case of a funeral, God preserve us, the Shamess would announce on the streets by calling out: “Go to a funeral obligation”! When he was stopped and asked, he would tell who the dead person was and when the funeral would take place. The funeral had its set route of march through the Jewish streets and would pass by the prayer house where the deceased used to daven. If the deceased was a scholar his bier would be carried into the prayer-house and was eulogized there. The bier was always followed by a member of the Chevrah Kadishah (burial society) carrying a large tin collection box (pushke) and everyone threw contributions into it. The (Chevrah Kadishah) Jew would constantly rattle the pushke and sing out in a wailing monotone: “Charity saves from death”! “And who doesn't want to be spared from death”! So, they threw into the pushke.

Kittev had no professional grave-diggers. But there was in the city a Chevrah Kadishah organization to which the Kittever artisans belonged and they carried out their work to perfection. The money they received from the wealthy families was used for the Jewish artisans' fund.

Thus, the Kittever Jews lived according to their customs and traditions at happy events and at funerals in sadness and in joy. The customs and traditions would pass from generation-to-generation and became as holy as the laws of the Torah.


Translator's footnotes:
  1. The Yiddish word “shafn” connotes work that is creative and productive. Return
  2. A shul is a synagogue. A bet-midrash is a small house of prayer and study. A kloiz is a small synagogue and study-house, frequently restricted to some occupational or social group. Return
  3. They made the wicks for the ritual candles out of the threads used in measuring graves. Return
  4. This first phrase is the start of the Sabbath eve Kiddush. Return
  5. From the Kedushah. Return
  6. From Genesis. Return
  7. The end of the first paragraph of the Shema. Return
  8. Beginning of 2nd paragraph of the Shema. Return
  9. Yom Kippur Musaf. Return

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »

This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
This material may not be copied, sold or bartered without JewishGen, Inc.'s permission. Rights may be reserved by the copyright holder.

JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material for verification.
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.

  Kuty, Ukraine     Yizkor Book Project     JewishGen Home Page

Yizkor Book Director, Lance Ackerfeld
This web page created by Lance Ackerfeld

Copyright © 1999-2024 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 2 Jun 2022 by LA