Ruthenian: Vysni Bystry
[Ukrainian: Verkhniy Bystryy]
Since this settlement was not administratively independent, no statistical details about the population of the village in and of itself were usually published. The residents of Ober Bistra were generally included within the published statistical data on the neighboring town Maidan. Even so, in the census of 1830 (as quoted in the book by Fényes) it is mentioned that there lived in the village 350 Greek Catholics and 20 Jews. But even in this source, it is noted that the settlement was considered part of Maidan. This same fact is also mentioned in the census that was taken by the Hungarians in 1941, where the total number of individuals living in the village is given as 874. According to the information that we were told by survivors of the Holocaust from Ober Bistra, there lived approximately 60 Jewish families in the village [before the war]. This number seems to us to be somewhat exaggerated. According to our estimates, there were approximately 35 Jewish families totalling about 200 individuals living in the settlement.
There are a number of householders from Ober Bistra who appear as pre-publication subscribers to various sefarim published between the years 5540-5570 (1880-1910). Many of them only appear in the prenumeranterin [pre-publication subscription lists] with their given names [i.e., without a family surname], and with the name of their mother. The names listed are:
R' Yehuda Leib the son of Rivka,In the above listing, two family surnames stand out the Weiser family, and the Hoifman family.
R' Chaim Gedalia the son of Sara,
R' Aryeh Leibush Rubinstein,
R' Tzvi the son of Chaya Branya,
R' Tzvi the son of Faige Weiser,
R' Aaron Menachem Weiser,
R' Yisroel Menachem Hoifman (the surname also appears as Hoiftman),
R' Yoel the son of Surki Yente,
R' Shalom the son of R' Tzvi Weiser,
R' Nata Weiser,
R' Hersch Hoifman,
R' Shalom Goldinger,
R' Shlomo Hoifman,
R' Tzvi the son of Rachel,
R' Mattisyahu Stahl,
R' Yitzchok Isaac Weiser,
R' Nosan Anshel Kraus the son-in-law of R' Tzvi Hersch Hoifman,
R' Shmuel Tzvi Rott [or possibly Roth],
R' Tzvi Freilich,
R' Shalom Heilpert,
R' Aryeh Leibush Grossman,
R' Chaim Gedalia Fixler.
The Weiser family were almost all wealthy Torah scholars, who made their living as lumber merchants. They were Zidichov chassidim, and were related by marriage to the tzadik R' Elazer Lipa the son of Yitzchok Isaac from Zidichov, for R' Elazer Lipa married the daughter of R' Eliezer Weiser.
One of the important Torah scholars from the Weiser family was R' Shimon Yitzchok the son of Tzvi Hersch Wieser. Besides being a Torah scholar and chassid of great stature, R' Shimon Yitzchok Weiser was extremely close to both the author of Imrei Yosef and to his son the author of Chekel Yitzchok [i.e., the author of the Chekel Yitzchok was the son of the author of Imrei Yosef, and R' Shimon Yitzchok Weiser was close to both of them]. R' Shimon Yitzchok was an adept writer. He led the High Holiday services in the synagogue and was a sought-out private teacher in Bistra.
Upon the outbreak of the First World War, when Kossacks penetrated into Bistra, R' Shimon Yitzchok Weiser fled to the city Mihályfalva, where he continued teaching older students in Gemara [Talmud] with the commentaries of the Tosefos. After the war he returned to Bistra, but died in a typhus epidemic at the age of approximately 50 years old. His wife, Fruma Rachel, also lived an elevated spiritual lifestyle. From the death of her husband she did not sleep in a bed nor did she eat meat, with the exception of on Shabbos and Yom Tov. She knew many stories of the Tzadikim of the Zidichov and Sepinka chassidic dynasties. She was the daughter of R' Shmuel Tzvi Fixler, who had originally come from Munkacs. R' Shmuel Tzvi was the son of R' Feivish Fixler from Munkacs, who was a student of R' Uri the seraf [fiery angel] from Strelisk. R' Uri the seraf from Strelisk was the son of R' Shmuel Tzvi, who had served as the shochet for the tzadik R' Yitzchok Isaac from Kalev, who was the paternal grandfather of R' Shmuel Tzvi Weiss, who served as the Av Beis Din of Munkacs and was the father of the author of Imrei Yosef from Sepinka.
[translator's note: this paragraph, as originally written in Sefer Marmaros, is somewhat unclear. I have slightly rearranged the paragraph structure from that of the original Hebrew in order to improve the clarity and natural flow of ideas in English. In doing so, I have made the assumption that the daughter of R' Shmuel Tzvi Fixler, who was mentioned as being the wife of R' Shimon Yitzchok Weiser, is one and the same person as Fruma Rachel, mentioned as being the widow of R' Shimon Yitzchok Weiser.]
The wedding of R' Yitzchok Isaac Weiss from Sepinka, the author of Chekel Yitzchok, took place in Ober Bistra in approximately 5652 , in the house of one of the members of the Weiser family. The bride, the daughter of R' Yiskar Ber Eichenstein from Veretzky (author of Malbush L'Shabbos V'Yom Tov) grew up in Bistra after the untimely death of her mother.
Of the Hoffman family [note: In this paragraph the Hoifman family surname is spelled Hoffman], we mention the brothers R' Shlomo and R' Tzvi Hersch Hoffman, who were lumber merchants, Torah scholars, and followers of the the Komarna chassidic dynasty, and their uncle R' Yaakov Hoffman, who owned many forests and who was the wealthiest individual in Bistra.
R' Gershon Miller was an outstanding Torah scholar and a Vishnitz chassid. He was the son-in-law of R' Shalom Gudiner, who was a Belz chassid. R' Gershon was a beloved student of the author of Arugas Habosem. He decided halachic questions about kashrus in Bistra. As a young married student, his mentor [the author of Arugas Habosem] wrote to him a responsa on the laws of Nida (in responsa Arugas Habosem, part Yorah Deah, section 167, undated): To his honor, my student, outstanding in Torah and fear of heaven, wise and complete, our teacher, Rav Gershon Miller, may his light shine, of the village Ober Bistra
The majority of the Jewish residents of Ober Bistra were followers of the Dolina-Zidichov-Sepinka chassidic dynasties. A minority were followers of the Vishnetz, Sziget, and Belz dynasties. A significant number of the residents were Torah scholars, who learned both in their houses and in public by way of participating in Torah classes which took place every evening in the synagogue.
Those Jewish residents of Ober Bistra who had not been deported in 1941 were transported to the Iza ghetto, near Chust, on 25 April 1944. About six weeks later, in pouring rain, they were brought to the train station at Chust. From there, they were transported to Auschwitz.
Today, there are no Jews living in Ober Bistra.
Greenwald, Rabbi Moshe; Responsa - "Arugas HaBosem" section Yorah Deah, part 2, (Szatmer 5686 ), responsa 167.
Testimonies in Yad VaShem archives: 015/138; 015/1712.
Translated and edited by Moshe A Davis. This translation is dedicated to the memory of my grandfather Benish Davidovits (in America, Bennie Davis), to the members of his family (family surnames Davidovits, Markovits, and Katz) from the village Leh (Szeleslonka, Shirukiy Lug) in Marmaros, and to the memory of my grandmother Chaya Chaimovits (in America, Helen Hayfer), and to the members of her family (family surnames Chaimovits and Zelminovits) from the village of Drahiv (Kövesliget, Drahova) in Marmaros. Most of their family members were murdered by the accursed Nazis and their accomplices. Hashem Yenakam Damam!
In this translation, I have endeavored to maximize ease of readability and the grammatical flow of the material, while keeping true to the spirit and the content of the information contained therein. To this end, in many places I have taken the liberty of rearranging the sentence and/or paragraph structure from that of the original Hebrew in order to improve the clarity and natural flow of ideas in English. Also, in many places I have slightly expanded the material, in order to clarify ideas or to define concepts which may not be familiar to readers who lack background in traditional Jewish customs and who are unfamiliar with Jewish Law. My own additions I have set apart by enclosing them in square brackets .
Please note that many of the original sources used by the authors of Sefer Marmaros were written in languages other than Hebrew, which is the language of the text of Sefer Marmaros itself. Those original sources were not available to the translator, and thus many of the surnames and/or place names as transliterated here may in fact have been spelled somewhat differently in the original source.
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