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[Page 229]

Poor Lives

by Sonia and Mendel Teitelman

Translated from the Yiddish by Hannah B. Fischthal, PhD

Edited by Howard I. Schwartz, PhD

©

Jewish families in our shtetls and the surrounding villages generally felt satisfied.

However, we remember very few people of whom we could say that they were truly happy with their lives. The very small number of Jews who were surviving without strenuous physical and emotional exertions cannot be compared to the happy Christian population.

For example, in the Mlynov area, there were quite a few so-called princes, counts, and similar aristocrats. That was a class of people who played a very prominent part in our neighborhoods of Mlynov, Smordva, Ostrozhets, and many other places whose names we barely remember.

 

Mly229.jpg
Fradl, [one of the] typical characters in Mlynov
From the photos of A. Harari

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Every one of us knows and still remembers how these people lived until 1939, in their beautiful palaces, with beautiful gardens surrounding them, with all the comforts that could be found, with servants, and with steady farmhands to handle the animals, the fields, and the forests. A number of Jews derived their livelihoods from the prince with his estate by handling production, and by buying and selling. It was not unusual for a Jew to be despised and humiliated in order to eke out his little livelihood. It was similar with various leases of the aristocrat's properties, like rivers, mills, and also with leases to catch fish, chop wood, and many other things that had a connection to business.

Income from Noble Estates

Count Chodkiewicz of Mlynov, until the beginning of the twentieth century, owned a large water mill together with the Ikva River. The mill was always leased. Jews had leased it for many years until it burned down in the first years of the century. People talked for a long time about the beautiful, large mill which, by the way, had generously supplied an income for several Jewish families.

A locksmith's shop, which had several hundred workers, was also on the Mlynov estate in those years; I don't remember any Jews working there. We used to say that on the one hand, they provide jobs for the Jewish population, and on the other hand, they would very often perpetrate damages and get drunk. A drunk Christian, in general, hit Jews. But what does a Jew not tolerate in order to earn some money? So, they accepted everything with love. Also, there was a Smoking Room[1] at the Count of Mlynov's estate. I do not remember if Jews had an income directly from the Smoking room or not, but anyway it counted as a part of the local large industry.

In Tsarist times, the whiskey factory was a monopoly; the entire fortune and the raw materials belonged to the Count.

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However, production was strictly measured by the Tsarist government, and a tax collector had control over every drop manufactured. Right after it was produced, it would be transported to the distillery center somewhere far from Mlynov, and from there poured into bottles. It was sold retail in the so-called Hurt [group] monopolies. A monopoly owner could only have been a Christian, not a Jew. A royal whiskey monopoly was in Mervits, also owned by Christians. A few Jews also kept liquor secretly and sold it in smaller quantities, such as in quarter-bottles and in glasses, and they received their income from that. I remember such a barkeeper in Mervits, Menditshekhe. In addition to selling quarter bottles to Christians, which was naturally not enough for her to live even in poverty, she had another supplemental income: teaching girls how to pray, how to read the Shma prayer, how to make the blessings. That was the highest education that a girl was permitted and could get in Mervits at that time. Even in the last years, teachers started to sprout. We can imagine the standards, but that was in the very last years, before the First World War in 1914. Usually there were individual exceptions to the rule, which was how our people grew up.

A good farm was located on a part of the Mlynov estate in Mervits. The field was hundreds of hectares large. There was also living inventory and an ox field; that was for oxen raised specially for meat, nourished with the malt grains from the distillery. The malt grains were stored in large barrels, especially for this purpose. Then it was taken from the distillery in Ozliiv,[2] through Mervits, to the Mervits estate. The oxen were harnessed two in the front and two in the back, and in the great mud of the unpaved road, the strong oxen would shlep masses with difficulty, and bring them to the farm.

Another livelihood provided by the Mervits estate was the leasing of a dairy farm. My wife Sonia's grandfather, Mordkhe Matis [Gruber], may he rest in peace, had maintained one.

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Mly232a.jpg
 
Mly232b.jpg
Futi   Leibish Preziment[3]
From the photos of A. Harari

 

Afterwards it was managed by my Uncle Yankev Gruber,[4] may God revenge his blood. The milk was brought by Oyzer (Tomish). In my grandfather's house, they kept the milk in primitive earthen milk-pots until they made butter and cheese, also primitively, and the products were brought to Dubno. As usual, the workers from the estate were also consumers in the Jewish stores. The farmhands also sold their poor products to the Jews. Even though they displayed their anti-Semitism whenever they could, still, in various times, among various families, there was an ideal of some trust and respect among the greatest part of the population. The relationship between Jews and Christians was still in some measure loyal, even honest. We cannot say that an anti-Semitic attitude was missing in our lives, because that was always there, but it was far from what it was just before the Second World War. The greatest anti-Semite and murderer would not have dared to use such a tone as did our Christian good friends in the last years.

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In short, lawlessness did not rule in the earlier years.

 

Fishermen

Another prominent livelihood that Jews had as lessees from the princes was fishing. Until the end of the First World War, the princes owned many of the rivers (during the Polish rule the rivers became nationalized), and the aristocrats used to lease them to Jewish fishermen for a certain time frame. The lessees of the rivers mostly caught their own fish and traded them; they would only rent help from time to time.

Mayer-Yankev and Zekhraye and others whose names I do not remember were fishermen in Mlynov. Usually, there were also Jewish fishermen in Mervits, who lived from that. Their grandchildren are today in Haifa and in Kiryat-Binyamen near Haifa. As to how many Jews from our neighborhood, businessmen and craftsmen, labored hard and bitterly for their piece of bread, is well known. But the Jewish fishermen labored much harder in their profession, summer and winter. The work was mostly night work, by the shine of fire. In the biggest snowstorms, when it was cold and windy, they remained in their boats on the river, searching for fish. The work made more than one sick. I remember also a tubercular Jew from Mervits, a fisherman, who died young from his job. And yet, volunteers for this difficult income were not missing. I remember how the neighboring Christians used to make fun of the fishermen when they would go to greet the Count at the New Year. They made fun of their appearance and expressions at the Polish blessings, because Polish was strange to them. Making fun of a Jew was a usual thing.

For the prince on the estate, in addition to business, there were carpenters, harness-makers, and so on. Also, animals needed to be taken to pasture for the entire summer, for a price. There were other various connections to an income with the counts and their goods, which the Jews in our area needed very badly in order to make a living. Even though the profits were not big, and even through the gains were not large, and even though they were often humiliated, still, necessity ignores everything….

[Page 234]

Financial Relationships with Christians

There were also a smaller number of well-to-do Christians with whom Jews always had negotiations, as for example Pakhiluk from Perverediv[5] who also had a small fortune in Mervits, and similar one in Dorostoy,[6] and so on. Regarding the Christian Pakhiluk, it is appropriate to remember him as one of the Righteous Among the Nations, who should not be deprived of praise, which he earned quite kosher. There were, however, suspicions of ugly behavior from his grandchildren in the time of our great tragedy. Pakhiluk had a tradition of sending packages every Passover to poor Jews who had sat practically the entire cold winter without possibilities of earning an income. Pakhiluk did this until the end of his life. He also made a few Jews happy with an inheritance; one of them lives in Haifa. Jews in the area had trade relations with him–he himself was clever, he had been a Justice of the Peace, and he knew outstandingly well the Jewish situation. He ruled according to his own understanding and not according to the governmental laws. And that was really the best assistance, for he humanely and nicely supported Jewish needy families.

There were also lesser aristocrats in other villages, who were also in various connections with Jews, but I do not remember any good deeds they may have performed…

 

Czech Colonies

In our neighborhood there were a few villages that were populated entirely by Czech people. It is also appropriate to stop here too, and to say that the largest part of these Czechs deserve praise for their behavior in the time of our tragedy. These Czechs started to wander into our neighborhood in the beginning of the 20th` century. Their development started with a very intensive colonization, beginning with buying fields with forests. Coming from poor Austria which became Czechoslovakia, they settled in poor huts the first year.

[Page 235]

They worked hard and sold trees to exist. They took out the stumps themselves. They made brickyards and made their own bricks, and they constructed beautiful houses with them. Thanks to their efforts, their value of the houses rose every year. My father, may he rest in peace, financed them until they stood on their own feet. Through all the years, he had a good trade relationship with them.

In our area of Lutsk, Dubno, and Rivne, there was a heavy Czech colonization. Under Polish rule, there were a quarter of a million Czechs, with a Czech Consulate in Kvasiliv near Zdolbuniv.[7]

As better people from the western lands, everyone listened to them. In the war, we can openly say that thanks to the Czechs there was still a small trace of Jews remaining.[8] For those few Jews who survived, it is thanks to their help. There were a few exceptions, because they also had a few bad people, but a small number.

* * *

Regarding the general Christian population with whom Jews came into financial contact, some were better, and some were worse. That means in general there were a few Christians who were decent, and the Jews working for them earned money and they were happy. But the larger part of the Christian population, even in the good times, was not decent to Jewish merchants or craftsmen.

So many Jewish craftsmen, from all branches, gave the Christians credit in order to have them as customers. It was very difficult to collect the money from them. They made all kinds of excuses in order to not repay their debts to the Jews, who badly needed their payments to exist.

The Jewish craftsmen, like masons, carpenters, joiners, and others, received most of their earnings from the surrounding villages.

[Page 236]

With great effort they labored long hours in the day at their difficult tasks. It can be said that the larger part of their salary for their hard work still remained with the Christians, who used various excuses again and again to not pay.

 

Struggle for the Piece of Bread

I remember the hard labor of the toiling merchants and craftsmen in their difficult conditions in the village. Poorly nourished, partly for reasons regarding keeping kosher, and working from dark to dark, resting in the farmer's barn in dirt and in dust; and then, after finishing his hard work, the Jewish craftsman's pay was postponed until the end of the summer, when the farmer would be free of his fieldwork. When it was already winter, when the poor craftsman had no work to do, he used to run around to his debtors, and with great difficulty collected portions of the debt. As long as there would be dough for Shabbes to make bread--

When I remember all the particulars with which I was well acquainted, my heart cries within me. Dear God: Jews lived like that from generation to generation, and never examined their poor, shameful lives, not striving for anything better. How painful it is to remember that life of the Jewish merchant and craftsman, how many days and weeks they and their children sat around actually with no bread, without a piece of wood, to warm their apartment! And that is how they suffered their entire lives, from generation to generation. In the meantime, they had to swallow the treatment from their clients, from better to worse. I remember the majority of such families whose entire lives were a struggle for that dry piece of bread. Little, very little, brightness shone in these houses. Every day, up until today, I see them in front of my eyes.

* * *

And when a mental account is made of those lives up until the catastrophe, the account is terrible. It is unfathomable. What kinds of sins did those people do to be so tortured all the days of their lives?

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I could reckon long columns of such abused people, who in their entire lives did not see a light shining and, in the end, were still so tragically murdered.

As an example, we will bring here a few families, and from them we will be able to imagine the lives of the supposedly better-off families.

In poor Mervits lived Menashe Shteynshnayd. A clumsy Jew, a son of a water carrier, himself an undertaker, and more such. Had once a wife, but then became a widower. After the First World War, he returned to Mervits with an illiterate son and a hunchbacked daughter. They lived the first years in an earthen hut. A few years later they built another hut, with quite recognizable patches. The son had his father's trade, but certainly with even fewer blessings. In addition, he was an animal driver. And from all the work he was able to save enough for a calf, in order to have a little of their own milk. The son married, and he continued with his trade. The daughter was a housewife until the catastrophe. She fed the cows, and in addition, a few chickens. Year after year, sometimes they were happy. They never felt that they lacked anything. If one can call this a life, even this very life, the murderers of the world took it away by force. The victims had kosher souls and kosher bodies.

And now another image, a little clearer. There was a Jew, with the name Shaye Nudler. He was called Shaye Eli Mordkhe's,[9] may he rest in peace. The father Eli Mordkhe was a basement-digger, and possibly a house painter, and in addition to these two jobs, for Passover he would bake matzas in his house. How this very Jew could afford to have a house, even one like that (with a straw roof), I do not know, but he had it. In this very house sons and daughters were born. Practically all had one source of income: they were masons and seamstresses; we can say they were skilled artisans. The son and his brothers worked for good artisans in Lutsk, and they were first class in their profession. All the brothers and sisters married, and led separate lives, all similar.

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I was closer to Shaye's children; a few were practically my age. They were working people, good artisans, and laboring under the same conditions mentioned above. And in the winter, there was not enough bread in the house to satisfy them. They had a house full of children. All learned skills. A few of them, up until the Holocaust, were already independent and good artisans. The measure of distress, they all together and each one separate lived with, cannot be described! And in the end, all murdered, unprotected by their honors and by the fact that they built up the entire area, built the best houses. Many of them were never paid until this day. What artisans would now rebuild the ruined world, from which our enemies would surely profit? And the same question comes up, why?? Whom did this family hurt??

Take my brother Yankev Yoysef Teitelman,[10] may he rest in peace, and family, and my sister-in-law Chaika Shikhman,[11] may she rest in peace, and family, and many similar to them. Until the First World War they were raised in so-called richer houses. They married. Then the First World War came, and they had to wander around, homeless. When they returned at the end of the war, they were already without wealth. They struggled to make a living; they labored hard and lived in poverty; but they raised very successful children. Nobody could have given their children a better education with their resources. They barely finished public school, and the children grew up needy, but smart. And their end? Bitter and sad. Their good relationships with the surrounding neighbors in the villages did not help; just the opposite: the neighbors helped to murder them.

We could publish here a large list of various merchants and artisans from Mervits and Mlynov and from the area who seldom complained about their suffering. Old men and women, honest, who were impoverished their entire lives in spite of working hard. And all were killed so tragically with their children, who had never seen anything good in their entire lives. A few of them–the so-called grain and animal merchants, who possessed horses and wagons, then the means of communication, formed a class of strong people who knew much and toiled hard.

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And they did that–they labored hard. They were very competitive; they rushed and worked long years. Woe on all of them in their lives…

We could, understandably, mention very many names in assorted occupations, but you will see in all of them the same pictures and the same kind of life, in practically all details the same, with small differences. The end was also the same for everyone…. Take, for example, the Mlynov tailors, shoemakers, carpenters, joiners, and blacksmiths. We portrayed these craftsmen earlier, whose work was in the area, seldom at home, and how difficult their lives were. And yet, they were satisfied with their arduous work. Now the artisans who worked at home, as much as I can remember, used to work 12-15 hours a day. And how did they benefit from it? Who from his toiling had the possibility to live better? And in more comfortable apartments? To give children a better education? Or afford to go on a two-week vacation, which was necessary for all of them for their health? Except for Moyshe Zider, may he rest in peace, and his older son Zelig, that is how it was with all craftsmen: they worked hard, and their lives were hard.

Regarding the storekeepers, with small exceptions, most worked hard, long hours. They were as competitive as they could be, and more than they could be. They satisfied themselves with small earnings, as long as they could exist. Additional competition came from a giant store founded with the Ovshem[12] title, established not so much to earn money, because that was unnecessary, but to ruin the Jews. To maintain a client, one had to work long and hard, and earn little. How in those times could one think about improving one's life?

Grain merchants, wagon drivers, and innkeepers–if each one would be mentioned with his details, it would make a thick book. The wagon drivers–Yoysef Vortsil, Kalmen Fishman, Arke Nudler,[13] Fishl Kritser, Yekhezkel Liberman, and Yitskhok Kozak[14] –they also worked 18 hours a day carrying heavy burdens on their backs!

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With the paths and bad highways, I think that today none of us would be able to make such journeys. They shook more than the lulav… and what did they gain from their efforts?

A few from Mervits came to them, Ahrn Kalir and Mayer Vortsel, not even talking about those like Borukh Likhter, Arki Shamesh, or Fishl Kleyburd, who officially had a different income. This was additional income, when the other was insufficient. I only remember their hard labor and impoverished lives, even though there was happiness sometimes also. Naturally, nobody could hope for better.

The Mlynov hotels–a chapter by itself. They were a continuation from old times, when nothing was motorized yet, and people with their loads could move only by horse and wagon to other places. On the journey, the horses needed to rest and eat. In Mlynov Khayim Berger and Yehuda Leyb Lamden,[15] may his memory be a blessing, had such inns for people and their horses. For that purpose, they had large houses, with a few rooms, as well as large barns for their horses and wagons. That lasted until the Second World War, although towards the end there already were a few buses. How the inns earned enough for existence, I do not understand up until this day.

There were some celebrations for holidays; we danced a freylakhs happy dance at joyful occasions. On Simchas Torah, who could equal our joy? We felt we could be happy until eternity. A plague on our enemies! Did they have Hanukah, Purim, Simchas-Torah?

Yes, a satisfied but a poor, very poor life.

 

Translator's and editor's footnotes:
  1. We have been unable to determine the meaning of this word since it is not a Yiddish word. The translator suspects is may Ukrainian, Куралньє, Kuralnye, meaning smoking room. Other descendants suspect it may be Polish for hill country (górzysty) and refer to hilly areas in the Count's estate where non-Jews labored.--HS Return
  2. Ozliiv, Ukraine is only 4 km east of Mlynov.--HS Return
  3. Leibish Preziment is the son of Yankel Preziment and his wife Chana-Gitel (Gelberg/Goldberg) daughter of Labish Gelberg and Eta (Schuchman). Leibish was apparently named for Chana Gitel's father. A photo of the family appears on p. 473 of this volume and Leibish is the young boy in that photo. The list of martrys (p. 437) reads as follows: Preziment, Jacob (=Yankel), Chana Gitel [Goldberg] his wife; [their son] Leibish and their daughters. Assistance with research provided by Joyce Jandorf. Return
  4. The identity of Yankel Gruber is not clear. In this essay, it is Mendel who is speaking in the first person. It therefore appears to refer to his uncle. As far as we know, Mendel didn't have an uncle by the name of Yankel Gruber, though he did have an uncle named Yosef Gruber (who had married his father's sister, Shifra Teitelman). Return
  5. Pereverediv, Rivne Oblast, Ukraine, 8 km west of Mlynov today.--HS Return
  6. An alternate name for Puhachivka, Rivne Oblast, Ukraine.--HS Return
  7. Zdolbuniv is 62 km (39 m) east of Mlynov today. Return
  8. Several Czech families helped the Teitelman family survive as documented in https://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/Mlyniv/documents/The_Asher_Teitelman_Story.pdf--HS Return
  9. This probably refers to Yeshayhu (“Shaye”) Nudler mentioned in the Mervits list of martyrs (443). No other information is known about him. Return
  10. Mendel's brother.–HS Return
  11. Or Khayke Shikhman/Schechman was the sister of Mendel's wife, Sonia, and born Chaika Gruber. Chaika married Yaakov Schichman/Schechman. The story of Chaika is included in the survival story of the Teitelman family https://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/Mlyniv/documents/The_Asher_Teitelman_Story.pdf--HS Return
  12. In the 1930s, the anti-Semitic Polish government successfully impoverished Jews through boycotts and more violent means. The official response was Owszem, meaning “yes, indeed.” The authors are no doubt referring to the government supported Christian cooperatives established to compete with Jews.--HBF Return
  13. Arke Nudler (1888–1948) was the husband of Masha Eatta Polishuk (1898–1942). They had five children: Moshe (Morris) Nudler (1919-2004), Yechiel (Harold) Nudler (1918–1992), Etke (Helen) (Nudler) Fixler (1927– ), Iszhok (1924–~1943) and Feigale (1930–~1943). Moshe and Harold survived WWII in the Red Army. The rest of the family escaped the Mlynov ghetto. Only Helen and her father survived the shooting of the family in the Smordva forest. Arke later died of a routine surgery in the Pocking displaced person camp.--HS Return
  14. See the essay by Itcik Kozak below, 354. The Kozak family escaped the Mlynov ghetto and survived intact and later came to Philadelphia to live. Return
  15. Well respected father of poet Yitzchak Lamdan. Return


[Page 241]

The Two of Them

by Eliyahu Gelman[1], Netanya

Edited and Translated by Howard I. Schwartz, PhD with Hannah B. Fischthal, PhD

©

I want to record memories of two people of our small town who perished in the Shoah. Two who left our town for the enlightened[2] Odessa[3] but came back and put down roots in her.

The first:

Bentzi (Bentzion) Gruber[4] — he and his friend from Mlynov, who later in life was the well-known poet Yitzhak Lamdan, were students of Bialik[5]. Later they said that Bentzi preceded his friend – the poet of the future — in writing stories that were sponsored by Bialik but which nonetheless he did not publish, and they remained handwritten in his possession. He returned to the small town and settled there. He married the beautiful Genia Margulis and his life was no different from that of other people of the town. He was a grain trader. But I always saw him as the classic enlightened Hebrew man (maskil), a man of much knowledge, in Tanakh and its interpreters, in Hebrew and Yiddish literature, Russian and general [subjects]. He was brighter and sharper than all the others.

Why did he stay and not get carried away with the aspirations of his friends [to go to the Land of Israel or other educated individuals]?

This is a mystery that has no answer.

The second:
Hersch Leib Margulis[6]. Hersh Leib was completely different. He went to Kiev to teach in a Russian school. The winds of revolution also swept him up in their orbit. And in the first days of the October Revolution, he was appointed a judge in the new regime.

But he also left Kiev and returned and settled in his birthplace. What moved him to do so — I do not know. But he was so very different from the other people of the small town, in his mannerisms and clothing, in his behavior and humility.

He was first to greet the elderly and young, with a smile full of good will that lit up his face.

May their memories be a blessing.

 

Translator's and editor's footnotes:
  1. Eliyahu Gelman (19132008). A photo of Eliyahu with his family appears on page 473 of this volume. Notes on the author and family appear above in the poem by the same author, “To My Little Town”, p 207. Return
  2. The Hebrew term “Haskalah” can mean “educated” and have more of a technical meaning of involved in the Jewish enlightenment movement that was embracing secular literature and studies. Return
  3. Odessa was a port city on the Black Sea and a center of Jewish cultural activity in the period. In his essay about sending Yaakov Yosi to the Land of Israel, p. 219, Shmuel Mandelkern writes that it was a three day ride at the time by coach from Mlynov to Odessa. Return
  4. The two men described here appear with their families in the photo on page 457. Ben-Tzion Gruber (19001942) was born in Mervits, the son of Yosef Gruber and Shifra (Teitelman). He was a brother of Rachel (Gruber) Teitelman and Sonia (Gruber) Teitelman, both contributors to this volume. “Bentzi” was remembered elsewhere in this volume as a teacher in Mlynov. His wife, Gitel Margulis, was the sister of Hersh Leib Margulis, who is described next. Ben-Tzion and Gitel and daughter Yehudit perished in Lutsk. Return
  5. Hayim Nahman Bialik (18731934) was a pioneer of modern Hebrew poetry also born in a small town in the Russian empire and raised in Zhitomir. Bialik left for Odessa at the age of 18 where he studied Russian and German languages. He lived in Odessa until 1921 when his publishing house Moriah was closed by Communist authorities. Return
  6. Hersch Lieb Margulis and his wife Reizl (Margulis) Naishtein (19101942) appear in a photo on page 457 with notes. They are listed among the martyrs of Mervits (p. 442). Return


[Page 242]

Portraits

by Yosef Litvak[1], Jerusalem

Edited and translated by Howard I. Schwartz, PhD, with Hanina Epstein

©

 

Mr. Yehuda Leib Lamdan[2], may his memory be a blessing

A learned man, God-fearing, righteous, a lover of humanity and beloved by all, shy of accolades, but esteemed by the people of the town, including the Christians.

Until the First World War, he made a dignified living, more or less, with a convenience store, that was managed by his stepmother and his daughters; the store was destroyed and burned during the War. In the period between the two World Wars, he earned a livelihood with greater difficulty from his home serving during market days as a restaurant for the Jewish merchants who came from elsewhere.[3] Periodically, a “guest” would come to stay overnight during non-market days.

During the First World War, one of his sons [Moshe] was killed by the gangs of General Denikin[4]. His second son, Yitzhak Lamdan, made aliyah. With him in his home – he had become a widower in 1917 – was a married daughter, with her husband but no children.[5]

All his life, he was dedicated to the work of the Creator. At 4 o'clock in the morning, — in summer and in winter—he would rise and begin by reciting Psalms and [the section of morning prayers called] “Korbanot”[6] after which he studied Gemara. At 8 am, he would go to the synagogue for morning prayers (shacharit) and remain there in prayer and study until 12. After a meager midday meal, he grabbed a nap for a short hour and again returned to his studies. Afterwards, he would return to the synagogue for afternoon prayers (minha), evening prayers (maariv) and group study. At a late hour he would return home, eat a light meal, continue in his study[7] (mishnah) until midnight. Only when he was confined to his bed would he not visit the synagogue. Otherwise, nothing deterred him, not even the worst weather – hard rain and snow storms, mud, and dark nights in the town that had no lights or sidewalks—from walking to the synagogue, which was relatively speaking far from his house, he being older than 70 and frail.

He led the congregation in prayer (shaliach tzibur) and read the Torah (baal korei) all his life without thought of compensation. His prayer and singsong Gemara reading were full of feeling, pleasing to the ear, and sacred trembling would penetrate the heart of those who heard it. Despite his challenging troubles and personal suffering, he never complained, and he lovingly accepted his lot. No one was happier than him during [the festival] Simchat Torah. His sincere joy infected and inflamed the congregation, and no one compared in spilling sincere tears and merit through [the prayer] “Tefila Zaka”[8] and in the recitation of “Lamentations” (Eicha) during Tisha B'av.[9]

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Many preferred to go to him with “questions” in matters of kashrut [the Jewish dietary laws] and with requests to resolve disputes. The elderly gentiles also honored him and thought him a holy man. He was nice to everyone, adult, child, very religious and nonreligious, ally and non-ally. He served as a supreme moral authority, and he would render decisions periodically in public matters and between one person and another and he would pursue and make peace.

He lived long and died at a ripe old age of 76, in the month of Cheshvan 5701 (November 1940), six months before the Nazi conquest. He was fortunate[10] to die in peace in his bed, before the invasion of the Nazi troops, and he went to his grave, accompanied by all the Jews of the town with crying and in bitter eulogy.

During the months anticipating death at the hands of the Nazis, many Jews of the town prostrated themselves on his grave and implored him to intercede to annul the evil decree, but the gates of mercy were locked.

 

Mr. Mordechai Meir Litvak

My father, Mordechai Meir Litvak[11], of blessed memory, (1881–1942) — educated, modest, a trusted community worker and active Zionist. Though he was weighed down by worries about livelihood, which came with great difficulty (a small fabric store), he dedicated a lot of his time to public activities.

In the first years after World War I, he organized and administered welfare activities in the town on behalf of the American government fund and the JOINT [American Joint Distribution Committee]. He set up a kitchen to feed children and to distribute necessities and he organized the committee for assisting orphans. After this, he set up and administered, without renumeration, “a charity fund” to help shop owners and tradesmen. Similarly, he set up a bank for the same purpose, which lasted only two short years. In the domain of Zionist activities, he managed the local Palestine Office[12] which organized the aliyah of the first pioneers in the years 1923–1926. He served as established chairman of the elections committee for the Zionist Congress, and he was one of the essential active members in all Zionist activities: the distribution of shekels[13], funds, culture and so on. His home served over the course of years as a center and as a home for the committee for the local active Zionist members.

During the period of the Nazi occupation, he was appointed as secretary of the Judenrat in the ghetto. He carried out this obligatory and wretched role, with integrity, dignity and decency. He was cruelly beaten a number of times by the Nazi rulers for his refusal to fulfill the extortive demands. He died a holy death, with my mother, of blessed memory, at the murderous hands of the Ukrainian police during their attempt to flee from the ghetto a few days before the mass murder of the community, near the end of the month of Tishrei 5703 (beginning of October 1942), and their burial spot is not known.

May their memory be a blessing. May their souls be bound in the bonds of everlasting life.

[Page 244]

R. Mordechai Chizik[14]

The teacher Mordechai Chizik z”l was the teacher with emphasis placed on the word “the.” And thus they called him R. Motel the Lerner (teacher). The fact that the youth and children of town all knew Hebrew, was due exclusively to great merit of Mr. Mordechai Chizik. It was he who imparted to them all the foundations of the language. Some continued independently with reading and study and reached a serious level of language mastery; others did not expand their knowledge. But thanks to the knowledge their teacher imparted to them in childhood, there was not one young person in town who didn't know how to read and write elementary Hebrew. For about 35 years he instilled Torah into the children of Israel and was fortunate to teach the children of those who had been his students. He didn't teach just Hebrew, but also Bible, the history of the people Israel, and Gemara. In large measure, his virtue should be credited with the Zionist atmosphere in the town. His two sons made aliyah to the Land [of Israel] as pioneers to the Kibbutz Beit Alpha. The younger son died in 1959.[15]

In addition to his educational efforts, he was also an active community participant and during his life served as chairperson for the branch of Tarbut (“Culture”) and as authorized representative of the Jewish National Fund (Karen Hakayemet of Israel).

May his memory be a blessing. May his soul be bound up in the bond of everlasting life.

 

Batya Mohel

Batya Mohel[16] (1906–1942), of blessed memory, daughter of kosher butcher and inspector, R. Eliezer Mohel, of blessed memory, — a moral and spiritual figure, refined and pure. She dedicated many years to the activities of [the Zionist youth groups:] The Young Guard (Hashomer Hatzair), The Pioneer (HeHalutz), and Tarbut. She served as the highest authority for the local Pioneer youth. They abided by her counsel and her guidance in public and in private matters.

Unfortunately, she was never authorized to make aliyah to the Land [of Israel], even though she had spent years in Pioneer preparatory training (hachshara), because of a physical deformity (she was lame). Because of this deformity[17] she was not able to join her two brothers and two sisters who succeeded in fleeing by foot from the town before the arrival of the Nazis.

She was cruelly murdered with her parents and two smaller sisters in their house trying to hide on the day of the slaughter.

May her memory be a blessing. May her soul be bound up in the bond of everlasting life.

 

Translator's and editor's footnotes:
  1. Yosef Litvak (1917-2001) was son of Motel Litvak and Dvorah (Lamdan) and one of the eight individuals on the committee that oversaw the Memorial Book. --HS Return
  2. The author's grandfather. A photo of the author's parents and grandfather appears on page 454. --HS Return
  3. A description of the house being used this way is included in Moshe Tamari's essay “In the Presence of Yitzhak Lamdan in Mlynov,” 32, recalling the poet's return to Mlynov in 1931 to visit his father. --HS Return
  4. Referring to Moshe Lamdan, whose photo also appears on page 454 of the photos. He was killed by the gangs of General Anton Denikin who led the White Army against the Bolsheviks in the Civil War following WWI. --HS Return
  5. Moshe Tamari, “In the Presence of Yitzhak Lamdan,” p. 33 recalls visiting with Reva Lamdan when he would go to the Lamdan house and borrow writings of her famous brother. --HS Return
  6. A section of the morning daily prayers devoted to recitation of legal passages relating to sacrificial offerings in the ancient Temple. --HS Return
  7. The Hebrew term used here can mean either “in his recitation of Mishnah” or “in his studies.” --HS Return
  8. A personal purifying prayer asking forgiveness traditionally recited after final meal before fasting for Yom Kippur.--HS Return
  9. Eicha is the first word in the biblical book of Lamentations, a series of laments over the destruction of the first Temple in Jerusalem. Eicha is read in synagogue on Tisha B'av, the 9th of Av, an annual day of mourning and fasting.--HS Return
  10. The Hebrew term zch can mean “fortunate” as well as “merited.” Both meanings fit here.--HS Return
  11. A photo of Mordechai “Motel” Litvak and his wife Dvorda Lamdan appears on page 454.--HS Return
  12. The Palestine Office (“Eretz Yisraeli”) was the name of local Zionist organizations outside of Palestine that were charged with the organization and implementation of immigration to Palestine.--HS Return
  13. Membership in the World Zionist Organization was open to all Jews, and the right to vote for delegates to the congresses was secured by membership dues called the shekel after the ancient Hebrew coin. Any person who turned 18 and acquired the Zionist shekel could elect delegates to the Congress for a year.--HS Return
  14. Mordechai (also called Motel Tzizik) (18821942). A photo of the family appears on page 457 with notes. Return
  15. The son Moshe, who had married Roza Berger from Mlynov, died from a poisonous snake bite.--HS Return
  16. Batya Mohel appears in the photo of Hashomer Hatzair youth on page 73 and with sisters in front of her house on page 411. Batya was the eldest child of the Mohel family. Notes on the family appear in “My Lamentations,” 408-409 written by her brother Yaakov Mohel and in “A Murdered Family,” p. 410-413.--HS Return
  17. According to the longer book length account by the son of Yehuda Mohel, one of Batya's brother, her brother Yaakov tried to convince Batya to join them when leaving Mlynov after word of the Nazi invasion. But she refused and decided to stay with her mother. See Dani Tracz (Issachar Mohel) Riva and Yehuda: Life Story of Trancman, Mohel, Tracz and Ben-Eliezer Families, 2015: p. 225.--HS Return


[Page 245]

The Goldsekers

by Boruch Meren[1], Baltimore

Translated from the Yiddish by Hannah B. Fischthal, PhD

Edited by Howard I. Schwartz, PhD

©

The Goldsekers[2] and their branches were well known in the shtetl and in the area. They were honorable people, and everyone respected them. Who did not know Hersh Goldseker, or, as we called him, Hersh Slobodar, since at one time he lived in the village Sloboda?

Each of the five brothers[3] had sons and daughters, as many as God would give. As it is stated in the Scriptures: “And they multiplied and increased” (Exodus 1:7). There were sons and daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. All followed the righteous ways of their parents. They accepted matrimonial matches, and they celebrated weddings. The wives had children while some of the men stood in the grocery stores and sold kerosene and salt to the Christians. Others dealt with grains. Business was not bad.

My grandfather, Hersh Sloboder, was a clever contractor. He employed bricklayers.

 

Mly245.jpg
Yankev (Yaakov) Holtzeker and his family,[4] may their memories be a blessing

[Page 246]

He worked mainly for the Count (Chodkiewicz). He was always repairing the two large palaces, which had been damaged in the First World War. The estate was the pride of the shtetl. It was surrounded with tall acacia trees as well as with angry dogs, who did not permit Jews to go inside. But the Count respected Hershke. If any Jews needed to see the count, it was my grandfather Hersh who was the messenger, the ambassador. If anyone needed feed or pasture for the cows in the shtetl, Hersh Slobodar handled it with the count.

All the brothers had nice, respectable houses, with yards and with orchards of fruit-trees. In the Trisk synagogue they had seats of honor with oak reading stands at the eastern wall. And they had influence! They also helped repair the Study House that was destroyed after the First World War; they erected a fence around the Holy Place (cemetery); and they fixed, pardon the comparison, the bathhouse.

By the way, I want to remember here two important established families, known in the shtetl and in the area: the Lipekhes[5] and the Bergers, who donated much money and advice to all the Jewish institutions in the kehilla. Khayim Berger was the treasurer of the synagogue, and his brother Yosl was president of the Jewish kehilla in the shtetl under the supervision of the Polish community–which was practically the government, and that is no small accomplishment!

 

Translator's and editor's footnotes:
  1. Boruch Meren was the son of Ben Tzion Meren and Miriam Goldseker. For more on his background, see his essay, “A Good Deed,” p. 149, fn 1. Return
  2. Descendants adopted variations on the English spelling of the family's surname including: Holtzeker, Hotzheker, Golceker, among others. Return
  3. The five Goldseker brothers refers to the sons of Abraham and Baila Goldseker: Hirsch, Moishe, Yankel, Shimon and Yoel. On the Sloboda connection, see also the essay of Moshe Fishman, “Mlynov in the Past,” pp. 60-62. Return
  4. Yaakov is one of the five Goldseker brothers mentioned earlier. Yaakov and his wife Risia are seated in the center. Their children around them. Several of the children made aliyah to Palestine in the 1930s and after. Tzippora Sulovsky-Holtzeker (1910–1986) stands between her parents with hand on her mother's chair and Baila (Holtzeker) Wildikan (1914–1990) stands with her hand on her mother's chair as well. Nachman stands between them. Hanoch is thought to be seated front left.
    Tzippora was involved in Hashomer Hatzair and made aliyah in 1933, followed by Baila in 1941. Nahman's date of aliyah is unknown. Hanoch (1930–1948) was a young lad when the Nazis invaded. He managed to survive and eventually make his way to Palestine in September 1947 after being retained in British camps in Cyprus. He joined his siblings in Kibbutz Negba. He tragically died May 25th 1948, defending Negba in the battle with Egypt. See Baila's essay, “Memory of My Dear Ones”, pp. 420-421. A photo of Hanoch as a young boy appears this volume, page 455 top left. Information courtesy of descendant Ayelet Shrem. Return
  5. Lipekhes or Lifekhes--HBF Return


Reb Noyekh-Moyshe[1]

by B. M. [Baruch Meren]

Translated from the Yiddish by Hannah B. Fischthal, PhD

Edited by Howard I. Schwartz, PhD

©

He was a quiet, decent Jew. A respectable head of the household in the shtetl. His sons and daughters helped him with the oil mill, which provided a good income; he was regarded as a wealthy man in the shtetl. He generously gave charity to all needy institutions. Poor people, who used to come from out of town to gather donations, received a good meal in his house as well as a good donation.

The entire family was murdered by Hitler, may his name be blotted out. The only one in the family who survived was Shloyme.[2] He died in Baltimore in 1969, leaving a wife and children.

 

Translator's and editor's footnotes:
  1. Referring to Noach Moshe Schechman/Schuchman. Noach Moshe was son of Gershon Schuchman and Shaindel Bluma. His siblings included Eta Leah (Schuchman) Goldberg, Joseph Schuchman, and Hanah (Schuchman) Golisuk. Noach Moshe married Faige Beshe Wolk and they had four children: Shlomo (1910–1969), Gershon, Zlotye and Shimon. Return
  2. Shlomo fought as a partisan in WWII and returned to Mlynov to help rescue hidden children. He met his wife Liza Zabirowicz after the War in Lutzk and their first-born son, Morris, was born on a train on the way to the displaced person camp Föhrenwald. The family eventually made their way to the US and after a stay in Waterbury, Connecticut, settled in Baltimore. In addition to Morris, they had another son, Ruben. Shlomo's photo is the furthest to left of the young men on page 227 of this volume in the essay, “My Hometown Mlynov,” by Yankel Holtzeker. Return


[Page 247]

Home and Youth Movement in Mlynov

Yafa Dayagi[1], Kibbutz Ramat David

Translated and edited by Hannah B. Fischthal, PhD with Hanina Epstein

©

I remember Mlynov starting in 1926, the year I entered first grade. Until then the whole family lived near our flour mill, which we expanded after the First World War. The place was called Mantyn, after the name of the village[2] nearby. Our house and the flour mill stood alone on a wide area with fields, grasses and water. In the beginning, we utilized the water to turn the flour mill, and later we used the water also for a fish pond. Parallel to the river rose mountains and hills that were partly covered by woods and vegetation. Truly, the place was beautiful beyond belief. During the summer the place was truly a vacation spot. As children we loved to hike in the forest, to gather strawberries, to gather flowers, and to dip on the warm summer days in the chilly waters. By contrast, life during the winter was hard; then it was as if we were cut off from the world by snow and rain. Mlynov was about 3 km [1.8 m] distance from us.

Along the road to Mlynov was the very small town of Mervits. My parents lived there before the First World War. After the War, a few dozen families returned there and established themselves. Their livelihood was typical of the traditional livelihoods of Diaspora Jews.

 

Mly247.jpg
A photo of children in the people's grade school in Mlynov (Class 7)
In the middle from the right Rabbi Gordon[3], the Russian Orthodox priest, the principal of the school, and the Catholic priest.

[Page 248]

The children continued in the path of their ancestors and thus from generation to generation. By contrast, Mlynov was completely different. The effervescence of the youth was like that of the larger world; later this awakening began in this smaller town of Mervits. The children began to attend the school in Mlynov. The youth began to participate in the [youth] movement and thus began the contact between the smaller number of youth in Mervits and the youth of Mlynov. I remember that when I first began to attend the Polish government grade school, we still didn't live in Mlynov and when I passed the town [of Mervits] I disseminated the news — the children of Mervits began to follow in my footsteps to the school [in Mlynov].

 

Mly248.jpg
A group of friends in Mlynov. Young Friends[4]
Original courtesy of Miriam Aharoni

 

Before then, Mervits children would go to cheder and to private teachers who, of course, were not certified. Given that we had a large family of children and all were of a young, educational age, we moved our residence to Mlynov. Our parents built a big, spacious house and during the course of the years it became a center of [the youth group] Pioneer activities. All the youth older than me belonged to The Pioneer (HeHalutz), except for [my brother] Tzvi, of blessed memory, who belonged to The Young Guard (Hashomer Hatzair). I belonged to the “The Young Pioneer” at the beginning of its formation. My sister, Miriam, took up the mantle of responsibility for The Pioneer and The Young Pioneer, devoting herself to the movement with fervor and dedication — later, when she passed it on, I assumed the movement's mantle of responsibility. This is what the atmosphere in Mlynov was like that influenced us. The youth were lively and tempestuous. The movement was the center of life, and perhaps even more than this – the Holy of Holies.

[Page 249]

The Polish government looked unfavorably on us. More than once the police chief called our father to warn him to cease the gatherings in our house. To them the activity looked like Communist activity.[5] On the other side, my principal at the Polish school called father — concerning why I belonged to the “organization” (the movement), and more than once he warned that he would expel me from the studies. The area where we lived was an area of Polish and Ukrainian gentiles which is where their “gmina” was (the regional council) and my grade school. It is not surprising, therefore, that we were always under prying eyes. But none of this prevented our home from being a center of activity. Our parents were willing to risk endangerment and they didn't want to hinder us.

Ultimately, the movement required self-realization. Two of my sisters, Miriam and Baila, and also [my brother] Tzvi went for preparatory training (hachshara);[6] Baila was in general the first of the Mlynov youth who went for preparatory training. A short time after they left – I was still very young — I also left my parents' house and went for preparatory training. This was before Rosh Hashanah. The work before the holidays was exhausting. I was not familiar with any kind of work, but the strong will gave me the strength to endure it. Later, I specialized in the saw and cutting wood. After a hard day of work, in very poor conditions which prevailed then in preparatory training, I was pulled into local social activities. My preparatory training was in Radyvyliv[7], near Brody in Galicia. I loved the location of preparatory training very much and leaving was hard for me when I was approved for aliyah in 1936.

The dream didn't materialize quickly. At that time, aliyah had ceased[8] and a significant crisis swept over the Pioneer and Kibbutz movement. The branches [of the movement] dissolved and preparatory training was finished and only a few of small central kibbutzim continued to function. I remained stuck in my parents' house and looking forward to aliyah for three years. The whole time I kept up a connection with the kibbutz in Będzin[9] that I belonged to. Every so often I prepared for aliyah, and each time they would be canceled due to a shortage of certificates. But I didn't despair. Many quit but I remained impatiently waiting for aliyah — in 1939 I was fortunate to make aliyah to the Land [of Israel] as part of Aliyah Bet,[10] exactly two weeks before the outbreak of the War.

The trip was one of a kind. About 6 weeks we were traveling on a ship carrying livestock, with a number of people that exceeded what it was supposed to carry. Instead of 180 people, there were at the start 800 immigrants, all members of the Pioneer movement, from Poland, from Lithuania, from Romania, and from Bulgaria. In the middle of the trip, in the heart of the ocean, another couple hundred immigrants joined us from Czechia, who had spent months scattered on the sea and in hospitals. I remember that night while I was standing on the deck, seeing a terrifying sight: in the middle of the night, in the middle of the ocean, they were transferring from ship to ship broken and shattered Jews — which is the moment I began to feel and see the massive tragedy of the Jewish people.

[Page 250]

On the boat there was an unbearable crowdedness with the joining of these immigrants. A person could not move from the place in which he or she was standing. There was no food or medical means. The consequences did not tarry. An epidemic of terrible dysentery broke out, the heavens and seas decided our fate. As a result, a female friend from Lithuania died in the middle of the sea, whose sister waited for her in Kibbutz, who I went to see in Tel Yosef. Another female friend [died] already within sight of the shores she longed to see with her own eyes…

And if these sacrifices of the epidemic were not enough, two young men fell from British bullets: The first during an attempt to reach the shore of the Land [of Israel] was attacked by a British guard. The young men were standing watch by the top ship officer when they fell. Later, after much suffering and hardship, our boat entered the harbor of Tel-Aviv and ran aground on a shoal, as planned. Of course, we were incarcerated by the British, and after many efforts from the Jewish Yishuv [settlement], we were freed after 10 days from the detention center.

Question: from where does the strength come to bear suffering like this and to overcome all obstacles? And the answer: Mlynov and other towns like these kindled in the heart of many of her young residents the great fire of faith in the Pioneer ideal and thanks to this we were fortunate to remain alive and be here. The heart aches that most of them, and among them our large family and extended family members, were not so fortunate.

And these are the names of my sisters, brothers, and parents who perished: (parents) Shimon, Tova; (brothers and sisters): Tzvi, Benjamin, Shmuel, Ester, Brendelah. And also my maternal grandmother Pesia, of blessed memory.[11]

Only one sister, Rachel, and two relatives, survived the nightmare of the eradication and were fortunate to come to the Land [of Israel] and rebuild their family. The wounds still will not heal forever. Only one comfort remains, that we fortunately have a State of Israel. And a prayer is on our lips for peace between us and our neighbors so that we are able to continue to build and be prosperous.

 

Translator's footnotes:
  1. Yafa Dayagi Dashut (19161998) was born Sheindel Fisher (also spelled Fischer) to Shimon Fisher (18711942) and Toba Guz (18791942), who were both born in Mervits. Sheindel was one of nine siblings. Three of the family's daughters, Miriam, Baila (Fisher) HaLevi, and Sheindel (i.e. Yafa) made aliyah, and a fourth, Rachel, survived the Shoah. The other siblings perished: Tzvi Fisher (19081942), Benjamin Fisher (19131942), Ester (19181942), Shmuel (19241942), Bronia (Brandla) (19261942). Tzvi Fisher had married Rivkah (Holtzeker), daughter of “Moshe Nahmanis” according to the martyr list and Yad Vashem records. After her aliyah, Sheindl married Avshalom Dayagi-Dashut in Mandate Palestine in 1943 and they had two children. Return
  2. Mantyn is just 6 km (3.6 m) north of Mlynov today. Return
  3. Rabbi Gordon's photo also appears on p. 453 below. Return
  4. Lipa Halperin standing on the left, a contributor to this volume, with several of his siblings. Next to him is Yosef (Gertnich) Ganon, who contributed the essay “Memories from Home,” 261-263. According to Lipa's daughter, Miriam Aharoni, who contributed the original, this is a photo of first cousins in the Halperin and Gertnich families. Sorke Shrentzel, the sister of Lipa's mother Miriam, married Moshe Gertnich. You can see other photos of these families on page 458. Return
  5. Reflecting the tension in the 1930s between Poland and the Soviet Union. Return
  6. Preparatory training involved living on a training kibbutz, learning agricultural and vocational skills to prepare for agricultural life in kibbutzim. Return
  7. Radyvyliv is 73 km (45 m) south and west of Mlynov today. Return
  8. The British, under pressure from the Arabs, curtailed immigration as the 1930s progressed and the certificates available to immigrate dropped dramatically. In this same period, for example, Aaron Harari, a contributor to this volume, recalls coming back to Mlynov in 1938 in order to fictitiously marry the sister of a kibbutz friend so that he can get her out of Poland. Return
  9. A town much further away from Mlynov, today about 580 km due west, past Krakow. Return
  10. Aliyah Bet is the Hebrew code name that refers to the clandestine immigration of Jews to Palestine between 1920 and 1948, when Great Britain controlled the area. Return
  11. Yafa's grandmother, Pesia, was born in Mervits with the maiden name of Fridman. She married Alter Guz. Their daughter Toba (Oz/Guz) was Yafa's mother. Return


[Page 251]

Poems[1]

by Sunny Veiner[2], Haifa

Translated from the Yiddish by Hannah B. Fischthal, PhD

Edited by Howard I. Schwartz, PhD

©

In the Whirl of Battle

In difficult days of despair and fright–
From where does the poet now get his poem? –
Evening twilight uncovered the silence,
How the horror and pain lurk.

Something happened today in the world.
A firebrand rolls from land to land.
People spill blood on the mother earth
When a brutal hand waves a sword and shame.

The day has not yet made an account,
Who remains alive and who dead.
Shattered and numb bodies lie around,
Lips whisper for help, water and bread.

May 1942

In the Chaos of Life

I accompany today.
Tomorrow comes to me.
Yesterday, which is gone,
Left traces on my paths.

Life is a storm-wind;
It runs quickly and all of a sudden stops…
The storm laments with strange tones–
And does not let me go further…

I remain standing alone in the whirl of life.
Many thoughts rotate in front of my eyes,
And accurately as a devil's-game,
And I do not know where to go.

[Page 252]

I feel a warmth is hugging me
And calling me–come, come…
Do not stay on one place - - -
This is not the last card…

June 1945

Fate In Dream

To you who strove and dreamt,
To you who changed my youth into dream,
With your light I will forge my future
And not allow more empty space to hang around.

The bullet will not scare me
That carries death with it.
My way will not be blocked
When enemy brings me need.

I discovered my eastern land,
In all its paths.
I will between light and shadow
Weave my dreams further…

1948

A Little Bird in the Early Morning

Today someone knocked
On the window of my room.
Someone brought me by mouth
Music and song of spring.

A little bird in early morning
Clearly sang,
Heartily, happily, without any worries
Jumping in my window.

In the blue morning
It made me drunk in my little room,
As though it would have said:
Sing also the song of spring…

 

Translator's and editor's footnotes:
  1. The poems were originally written in rhyme--HBF Return
  2. There are various English spellings of the writer's surname in online records: Veiner, Weiner, Winer. His full name from online family trees appears to be Nathaniel Sonny (probably Zyn in Yiddish) Winer (1918–1995). He was the son of Yaakov Veiner and Brendel (Freeman).
    The Memorial book list of martyrs, p. 434, has his other siblings as Abraham and Feiga/Tzipporah. Yad Vashem records filled out by Sonny's widow, Dina (Mikel) Veiner, seem to indicate there may have been other siblings as well: Mordechai, Henya (Anna/ Chana), Chaia Leah, and Rivka. It appears from other Yad Vashem records and the list of martyrs that Henya (Anna/Chana) Veiner may have been born in 1896, married and lived in Kursk, Russia (USSR), and may have had a daughter, Beracha, who married and had children, Hannah and Yehudah whose their families made aliyah from Russia to Israel. Return

 

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