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Beit Marmaros (Marmaros House) in Tel-Aviv

The Management of Beit Marmaros

Beit Marmaros was dedicated on 27 Nissan 5733 (April 29th '73'), and since then serves as a central meeting place for the remaining Marmaros Jews in Israel and the Diaspora, and creates a bond between them.

The building consists of three storeys. On the first floor is a magnificent Synagogue where daily prayer services and Toray-study take place. On Sabbath, about 50-60 people attend, before the service is a Torah lecture and after prayers, a Kiddush is served by the Gabboim during which the weekly Portion is discussed. In the afternoon before Mincha, there is another Shiur, such as Pirke Ovos, and afterwards, Shalosh Seudos. Rabbi Shimon Frenkel, the son of Rabbi Yedidya Frenkel, the Chief Rabbi of Tel-Aviv-Yaffo, serves as the Rabbi and being an eloquent speaker, he has endeared himself to the congregants and local residents. Near the synagogue is the Memorial room. On the wall are memorial plaques for each settlement on which are perpetuated the names of the Holocaust Martyrs. In the centre is an impressive memorial stone on which are engraved the 160 Marmaros communities that were annihilated.

On the second floor is the Great Hall where the Annual Memorial Services are held, as well as occasional lectures and functions. On principle, no music is allowed in the house so as to preserve its characteristic as a memorial house for the Holocaust Martyrs.

On the third floor are memorial rooms, offices and library. In the rooms is a collection of souvenirs and pictures that symbolise Marmaros Jewry. The offices, which are open daily, are used to administer the various Loan Funds. Substantial loans are granted without interest and on easy terms of repayment. There are also Hachnosas Kallo and Bikkur Cholim Funds.

The income from the Book of Marmaros will serve these funds and also for granting stipends to deserving students.

On the walls of the staircase are pictures and photos of the horrors of the ghettos, deportations and destruction.

The house does honour to World Marmaros Jewry and we invite all Marmaros Jews and their families to visit the House and take an active share in all the wonderful good deeds that are performed there daily so that we can expand our activities in memory of our dear ones.

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A brief survey of the activities
of the Federation of Marmaros Jews in America Inc.

Before World War I, (i.e. in the 19th century) there was hardly any overseas migration of Marmaros Jewry. Only a few bold individuals took staff in hand and set forth to remote destinations. The main reason was that the Jews of Marmaros were all observant Jews, abiding by the Torah and the Hassidic way of life. Their garb and outward appearance was Hassidic and their spoken language was a rich Yiddish.

The Jews of Marmaros balked at wandering far afield where they would be in danger of departing from the path of the Torah and from the way of life to which they were accustomed and where they might not be able to raise their children in the spirit of the ancestral tradition.

There are know to have been isolated instances of individuals who travelled alone to America and afterwards returned home because it was in the nature of Marmaros Jews to be very devoted to their families and the way of life in their native land. They preferred to suffer poverty and wretchedness rather than leave their family.

After World War I, with the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 3rd decade of the 20th century when the map of Europe was redrawn, some “new winds” began blowing among the Marmaros Jewry too. They desired to alleviate their crowded conditions, to go out into the world.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire, of which the Marmaros province formed a part, had collapsed. The province was torn apart. The south-Eastern part, beyond the River Tisza, was annexed to Rumania and the north-Western part to the newly-arisen Czechoslovakia.

The Jews of both the Rumanian and Czech part of Marmaros who all had large families living in badly-overcrowded conditions, barely eking out a livelihood, proceeded to emigrate en masse. They first moved to other towns inside the state.

They then went on to cross the ocean to the United States of America. The Jews from the Rumanian part moved to the town of old Rumania (Ragat). The Jewish communities in the towns of Old Rumania were thirsty for religious officiants and these the Marmaros Jews on the Rumanian side were to supply in plenty, during the “twenties” to the communities in the towns of Old Rumania: religious teachers, ritual slaughterers, melameds, synagogue beadles, lecturers, etc. At the same time, there commenced a very thin trickle of migration overseas. The same development took place in the Czech part of Marmaros – first the move to the big towns inside the state, Prague and the other towns of Moravia and Bohemia.

We wish to dedicate the following lines mainly to the emigration of the Jews of Marmaros to America where they formed themselves into “landsmanshafts” in the custom of those times. We will not now dwell on the difficulties of emigration to the United States, or the seven degrees of hell in the “Islands of Tears' that the migrants suffered until they succeeded to set foot on the land of the “happy state”.

As we have already hinted, the Jews of Marmaros are, by nature, very sentimental, good-hearted, deeply devoted to their families and eager to help one another. Thus, it would not be over-stating the case to say that the main reason motivating them to emigrate was their deep desire to help other members of the family; parents, brothers and sometimes a wife and children who, meanwhile, had remained at home. These were the sentiments the Jews of Marmaros took with them when they emigrated to America. So, in spite of the tremendous difficulties experienced by one and all until they secured a job in the new country, the land of unlimited opportunity, the new immigrants began to organize themselves, almost as soon as they reached America, with a view to helping those of their number that had remained behind.

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The Federation of Marmaros Jews In America, Inc.

The foundation of the Federation of Marmaros Jews in America was laid in 1924. The idea was to extend help to immigrants newly arriving in America and to send financial help to family members and other needy individuals remaining at home. Within a short time, the Federation had made a name for itself as one of the most active “landsmanshafts” in the United States. They built a synagogue on the “East Side” that was more than just a place of prayer and Torah, it was also the centre of organizational and social activities. They also founded a subsidiary organization known as “Jungman Marmaros” for mutual aid and for local needs, and they quickly formed their own Hevra Kadisha (burial society).

The wonderful deeds of this Federation found full expression especially after the Holocaust when Holocaust survivors, the last living remnants, were scattered in various camps all over Europe. The Federation then proceeded to a wide-ranging enterprise of assistance. It sent parcels of food and clothing and also financial aid to those survivors in the camps originating from Marmaros. Particularly praiseworthy were the lady members of the Federation who laboured indefatigably at collecting and making up the parcels with their own hands and worked night and day to expedite the shipments to the Holocaust survivors.

The founders of the Federation in America, as we know them, were: Louis Fox, President; Rabbi Popovitz, secretary general; Harry Kunitz, Max Glaser, Isidore Farkash, Leib Tessler, Barnet Hans, Philip Goldberg, Jack Berg, Tobias Herstik. The later Presidents of the Federation were: Harry Kunitz, Max Glaser and Sam Kaplowitz. The Secretary was Mrs. Bessic Engelman and M.L. Kreiner.

We must be excused if any names have been left out since we were unable to obtain a complete list. Serving as President of the Federation today is Mr. Chaskel Klein and the Secretary is Mr. Morris L. Kreiner who, with great devotion, are carrying on the work of the Federation.

With the founding of the State of Israel, when mass immigration to the fledgeling state began, and the Holocaust survivors began to arrive, the new-born State was confronted with one of its most difficult problems, and that was how to provide a roof for the new immigrants. The Federation in America, in cooperation with the Israeli committee, went energetically to work to construct the greatest possible numbers of housing units that the Federation in America could put up the money


The committee of the Marmaros Federation in the 'fifties'
Seated left to right: Louis Pearl, Max Hans, Rabbi Yosef Popovits, Max Glaser, Louis Fox, Chairman and his wife, Betty Engleman, Secretary
Standing left to right: Sam Koplowitz, the Hans Brothers, Harry Kunitz, Harry King and others

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for, so as to house at least the most urgent social welfare cases, families with small children, the sick and the elderly.

It was a most courageous move on the past of the Federation to undertake this mission at a time when its resources had been drained to the limit by the massive aid that had been sent to the camps in Europe. The Federation got in touch with the “Mishkenot” Company and with Mr. Yosef Rotenberg of Sighet, and with Mr. Zvi Tabak of Slatfina who had lived a long time in this country and who represented the committee in “Israel”. Sixty-five apartments of various sizes were quickly put up in Beni-Braq, in what was to be known as “Shikun Marmaros”. At the time, these apartments were a veritable salvation for the new immigrants who had perforce to spend a long time in the tents or in huts in the transit camps. And again, the Federation of Marmaros Jews in America was the pioneer in this field, by contrast with lots of other “landsmanshafts” that were operating in America.

The apartment construction project was completed and the most urgent “cases” had been housed. The urgent need now arose to render assistance to the new immigrants until such time as they could find work. The late Mr. Zvi Tabak, of blessed memory, and Mr. Yehuda Kahana, initiated the founding of a charitable fund out of which loans could be given to the needy. At the end of 1950, a letter was sent to the Federation of Jews of Marmaros in Los Angeles, of which Mr. Martin Zeizel was then the President, explaining the importance of the charitable fund for the new immigrants. It was not long before a first cheque arrived in the amount of $10,000 at the address of the late Mr. Zvi Tabak. This was a most substantial sum of money, so much so that it even received a mention in the press. The foundation went into operation at the beginning of 1951 in a special office that was rented for the purpose at 40, Reines St., Tel-Aviv. For 14 years, the foundation was administered by Mr. Yehuda Kahana until it amalgamated with the foundation set up by the Federation of Marmaros Jews in New York.

Parallel with the Federation in America, there was founded in early 1950s' the “Israel Committee for the Jews of Marmaros”. First to head this committee was the late Mr. Joseph Rutenberg of Sighet, a prominent personality and a born community worker. Later, the committee was headed by the late Mr. Zvi Tabak of Slatfina, who also became chairman of the Charitable Foundation of the Federation of Marmaros Jews in Los Angeles. The committee in Israel handled the distribution of the apartments and the granting loans from the charitable foundation.

In 1957, the Federation of Marmaros Jews in New York sent a grand contribution of $30,000 for the founding of another charitable foundation since the one that had been founded by the Federation of Los Angeles could not meet the many applications that reached the office. In this way it was possible to divide the applications and give loans from both funds. In 1975, the two funds amalgamated and the amalgamated fund is still in operation today, issuing loans in an orderly manner and in large amounts. Heading the charitable fund on behalf of the Board of Directors in Israel is Mr. Ezra Nesher and the Secretary is Mr. David Mor (Marmor) who do their work diligently and devotedly.

It should be noted that following the “devaluation” of Israeli currency, the Federation is to this day channelling considerable sums of money to the fund so as to balance its capital so that it can continue to be of assistance with sizeable loans and also to increase the size of the loans when necessary.

Heading the Charitable Fund committee in America today is Mr. Max Hans, one of the first members of the Federation and one of its foremost workers. Mr. Hans invested a great deal of his time and energy in raising contributions for the fund from among the members of the Federation in New York and especially from various sources outside the frame of the Federation. Loans are thus able to be increased in size and also the real capital value of the fund can be maintained.


The Beit Zikaron Marmarosh Building

At the beginning of the “sixties” the idea was mooted of erecting a monument in memory of sixty thousand Holocaust victims, one hundred and sixty Jewish communities that once flourished and were destroyed in the province of Marmarosh on the two banks of the River Tisza, the Rumanian part and the Czech part. This is not the place to go into a detailed description of all the difficulties, the hardships and the vicissitudes that best the path of the founders of this Beit Zikaron, the Marmarosh Building. The archives of the Marmarosh building contain a wealth of

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material about the negotiations and the exchanges of correspondence that went on between the committee in Israel and the Federation in America, until, with God's help, the idea became reality.

Heading the Israeli committee for the founding of a Beit Zikaron was Shlomo Yaakov Gross who, for many years, was a Knesset member and the deputy of the late Mr. Zvi Tabak. After a great deal of perplexity, a lot was purchased in south Tel-Aviv for $30,000 by the Federation in America. After protracted and laborious negotiations, the cornerstone was finally laid for the erection of the Beit Zikaron on 13, Kislev 5730 (23rd December, 1969) An imposing deputation of the Federation in America arrived for the laying of the cornerstone, headed by Mr. Max Glaser, Harry Kunitz, Harry King and others, as the picture shows.

The then head of the Federation was Mr. Sam Kaplowitz and head of the Building Committee was the late Mr. Max Glaser. Mr. Glaser was also one of the biggest contributors. He donated a substantial sum out of his own pocket so that the building could be erected and completed. He wanted, thereby, to commemorate his parents.

Large contributions also came from other members of the Federation and considerable sums of money were also raised to cover at least one third of the cost of the building by the Chairman, Mr. Gross from Marmarosh Jews in Israel and abroad. The members of the Building Committee in Israel were: MK S.Y. Gross, Chairman, long may he live, the late Zvi Tabak, deputy, Yehuda Kahana, Secretary, David Apel, the late Ben Zion Gottlieb, Ezra Hesher, Mordechai Neuwits, Simha Leib Stern, Moshe Loeb Berkovitz, Yosef Rat, Israel Shiyuvitz and Menahem Netivi.

After construction had been repeatedly suspended on account of disputes with the contractor, with respect to extra remuneration, he was demanding because of the rising costs of construction over a period of time, we finally merited to celebrate in all magnificence, the dedication of the house on 27 Nisan 5733 (29th April, 1973).

This was a splendid celebration, attended by rabbis, public personalities and our brethren, originally from Marmarosh who arrived from all parts of Israel. From America, there came a distinguished deputation headed by the President of the Federation, Mr. Sam Kaplowitz, and the Chairman of the Building Committee in the


The laying of the cornerstone of Beit Marmaros, 13th Kislev 5730
S.L. Stern, Benzion Gottleib, Obm., Luis Pearl, Harry Kunitz, Max Mendel Glaser, Rabbi L.B. Halpert, S.Y. Gross: speaking: Zvi Tabak, Ezra Nesher, Yisrael Shoyovits

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The Aron Hakoidesh in Beit Marmaros donated by Family Shlomovits
Laying of the Foundation Stone of Beit Marmaros
In the picture: Rabbi L.B. Halpert, Max Glaser and his wife, Zvi Tabak


Dedication of Beit Marmaros
Seated left to right: Pinchas Shineman, Rabbi L.B. Halpert, S.Y. Gross
Speaking: Sam Kaplovits, M. Glaser
Standing left to right: Y. Kahane, Benzion Ungar, Harry King
The last on the right is Max Hans

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The dedication of Beit Marmaros, 27th Nissan 5733 (1973)
Seated left to right: Rabbi Moishe Herstik, Rabbi Mordechai Herstik, Rabbi Moshovits, District of Poalei Zedek Synagogue, Pinchas Shineman, Chairman of Religious Council, Rabbi L.B. Halpert, S.Y. Gross speaking
Standing left to right: Mordechai Noyovits, Ezra Nesher, Yehuda Kahane


Federation, the late Mr. Max Glaser, Mr. Isidore Farkash who donated a Torah scroll with a silver crown and shield that he brought with him from the United States. He also contributed the rostrum and the huge chandelier above it. Also to be commended in the Shlomovitz family who contributed the spending Ark. The first set of Mishnayot was contributed to the synagogue library by the President of the Federation, Mr. Sam Kaplowitz. Mr. Sam Glaser donated a mural in memory of his family.

The first Sabbath after the dedication of the house, was an exceptionally festive one. Prayers were attended by the rabbis and cantors, Rabbi Mordechai Herstik and his son Rabbi Moshe Herstik. There were also many guests from Israel and abroad. A “Kiddusha Raba” was, of course, conducted after prayers.

The Marmaros House in Tel-Aviv is now a centre for all Marmaros Jews in Israel and elsewhere in the world. Almost every tourist of Marmaros extraction visiting Israel finds an opportunity to come and visit Marmaros House. All yearly ceremonies in commemoration of the Holocaust victims originating from Marmaros are held at Marmaros House. These memorial ceremonies are also a fine opportunity for get-togethers by family, friends living in all parts of Israel and also for the tourist from abroad to meet with many friends and acquaintances from his native land. Many tourists from abroad, therefore, time their visit to Israel to coincide with the memorial season.

The splendid synagogue in Marmaros House daily serves for study and for prayer. The “house-owners” quorum constitutes a “kolel” and they sit every afternoon and devote time to the study of the Mishnah, in memory of the Holocaust victims.

As soon as the House was inaugurated, Rabbi Shimon Frankel, who earned great popularity with the worshippers, became Rabbi of the synagogue. He gives a lesson on the weekly reading every Sabbath, in the morning before prayers, and speaks on current affairs during “kiddush” time after prayers. He also lectures on the Ethics of the Fathers and on festive occasions.

In the house is a “communion room” (“heder hityadut”) central to which stands a breathtaking impressive monument on which are etched

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the names of 160 Jewish congregations that once existed in Marmaros. The surrounding walls in this room are divided into large plaques, a special place being assigned into each community in accordance with its size in the past. The big plaques are divided into small plates, engraved with the names of the martyrs of that community. Generally speaking, all Holocaust survivors from that province, living in Israel and abroad, deem it their sacred obligation to perpetuate the memory of their loved ones in Marmaros House.


In the Memorial Room stands the Memorial Stone to perpetuate the 160 Kehilos Kedoishos that were destroyed. In the background on both sides are Memorial Plaques in Memory of the Martyrs.


The house is open daily to the visiting public and to those applying for a loan from the Fund or for support from the “Bikkur Holim and Hachnosses Kalle” Fund (sick visiting and bride-dowering fund). This was founded by Mr. Mordechai Meirovitz.

The Jews of Marmaros are proud of this commemorative project they have merited to establish. Few “landsmanshafts” of European Jewry have contrived to commemorate their Holocaust victims in such impressive style.

Rooms in Marmaros House were purchased by members of the Federation as follows:

Gemilut Hassadim room; The Hans family, Office; the Glaser family, Library; Morris Feig, Reading room; “Jungman” Marmaros, Conference room; Sam Fox, Archives; “Anshei Marmaros”, display room by the Slatfina and Kraetshnif landsmanshafts.

It should be noted that in the early 'sixties', when immigration from Rumania and communist C.S.R. resumed, after ten years during which emigration was prohibited, there reached Israel as immigrants, many of those who had remained behind after the Holocaust in Marmaros, or Marmaros Jews who had gone to live in other towns in Rumania. The Federation in New York thereupon telegraphed tens of thousands of dollars so as to provide initial assistance for each immigrant, in accordance with the size of his family. To this day, the Federation continues to send, twice a year, previous to Pesah and the High Holy Days, a large sum of money to be distributed to the needy, and especially for the sick and the elderly, to supply their necessities for the festivals. Also, two ambulances have been donated to Red Magen David in Israel. One was the gift of the Federation and the other of the Glaser family.


The Book of Marmaros

Once the project of the erection of Marmaros House had been brought to successful fruition, there resurfaced the idea of publishing a “Book of Marmaros”. In the years preceding the construction of Marmaros House, the committee members had been unable to agree as to which project should be attended to first. What was more important, first to put up the “House” or first to publish the “Book of Marmaros? So now that the building had arisen, they proceeded to the second project: the publication of the “Book of Marmaros” wherein to enshrine, with an iron pen, the memory of the martyred communities, their rabbis and their leaders, the heads of the communities and their socially prominent members. To commemorate those ordinary, innocent Jews, the

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The ceremony of Hachnosas Sefer Torah donated by Izzy Farkash. In the picture are seen the guests from America and Israel.


The two Magen David ambulances donated by the Marmaros Federation in America, and the Glaser Family.

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simple folk (“Amcha”), the Jews of Marmaros who lived a life of Torah and mitzvoth, and abided by the faith of the righteous. Jews who lived by the sweat of their brow, who laboured to provide their children with the bread of affliction, Jews who dedicated themselves heard and soul to raising their children to be good Jews, having roots in the ancestral tradition, Jews to whose lot there had fallen poverty and distress but whose soul remained whole and innocent, Jews in whose home's gladness reigned even though their livelihood was meagre and hard come by.

He who has not seen the Jews of Marmaros in their rejoicing on holy days, at the Rejoicing of the Law, on the last day of Passover, at Purim, does not know what rejoicing means. Theirs was a natural joy deriving from a profound faith out of the trust in the Lord. Our forefathers in Marmaros had perforce to content themselves with the very least of this world's goods, and all had large families but deep in their hearts, they were happy. They were happy because they were believing Jews. Never, even at their hardest hour, did they abandon their faith in God, and this was the wellspring of the joy that attended them throughout their lives.

In Marmaros, our mothers raised large families in tiny apartments. No child, heaven forbid, was unwanted and it never occurred to them to “plan” the arrival of the next child. All upheld family purity, all shaved their heads in exemplary fashion and all wore modest and simple clothing. All worked hard to raise their children and every new baby was a new “treasure” in the home. In our mind's eye, we can see these mothers, their heads bent towards the paraffin lamp on a Thursday evening, mending shirts. They did this without cavil or complaint. They worked joyfully, wanting only that their husband and children should be dressed in neatly mended white shirts in honour of the Sabbath. Much remains to be told in praise of the mothers of Marmaros, but we do not have the space to recount all that the heart remembers.

We dwell on the part that is written in the holy tongue, in the eternal language of the Jewish people, in the language in which our holy books


The ceremony of handing over the two ambulances to the Representative of Magen David Adom
Seated left to right: Ezra Nesher, S. Glaser, Y. Kahane, S.Y. Gross
Speaking: Rabbi S. Frenkel, the Rabbi of the Synagogue, two representatives of Magen David Adom

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were written, the language we all learned in “heder”.

In memory of our martyred fathers and mothers, we present this book to the remnants of the Jewish community of Marmaros, and in it, we have enshrined the memory of our once-flourishing Jewish communities that are no more. We present this book humbly and reverently in acknowledgement of the pain that is buried deep down in the hearts of every one of us.

May their holy memory be an everlasting blessing!

S.I. Gross,


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