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[Page 211]

The Visit of Deputy Yitshak Grinboym[1]

by A. Klarman

Translated by Miriam Leberstein

At the initiative of the local Zionist organization, Deputy [of the sjem, the Polish legislature] Yitshak Grinboym visited Nowy Dwor, accompanied by his wife and Herr A. Klarman. As soon as the train stopped in Nowy Dwor, an orchestra played Hatikva as well as the Polish national anthem. The blue and white flag of Hashomer Haleumi fluttered with pride and honor and the chairman of the welcoming committee, Herr Kahn, greeted the guests on behalf of all the Jews of Nowy Dwor.

The train departed amid loud shouts in honor of the guest. There were tens of carriages carrying the town elite, many decorated bicycles ridden by young people, and hundreds of Jews, including Hasidim, pushed toward the carriage where Deputy Grinboym was sitting, to greet him.

The town was festive. The building in which the Zionist organization had its quarters was adorned with flags and pictures. In front of the building the guest was greeted by a line of members of Hashomer Haleumi. Deputy Grinboym was deeply moved and wholeheartedly thanked everyone.

He was then invited to the home of the veteran of the local Zionist organization, the well known activist Shimen Note Srebrenik, for a hearty welcome and a meeting of the Zionist committee with members from neighboring towns – Zakrotshin, Henrikov, Pomiechave.

The movie house where Deputy Grinboym spoke was filled to capacity and hundreds of people had to wait outside the entrance. Chairman Kaufman opened the program. The mayor, a Christian, heartily greeted the honored guest. The first to speak was Herr Srebrenik, the most senior of the Zionist activists, who, moved by the honor, greeted the guest on behalf of the Zionist organization. There followed greetings from the Zionist organizations in Zakrotshin by Herr Gash; from Henrikov, by Ladowski; from the kehile [organized Jewish community], by Levinshteyn; from the Jewish faction in the city council, by Yures; from the Jewish bank, by Rotenberg; from Mizrachi, by Shikora; from the teachers, by Klementanovski; from Hashomer Haleumi, by Shimanovski; from the Jewish National Fund, by Kartsovitsh; from Tarbut, by Fridman; from the handworkers, by Faygnboym; from the merchants' association, by Finklshteyn; from the Zionist organization in Pomiechove, by Boymovitsh.

A telegram was received from the rabbi of Nowy Dwor, Rabbi Neufeld, which read as follows: “Heartfelt greetings to the honored guest, and I wish him success in his work on behalf of the Jews in Poland and in Eretz Yisroel.”

Deputy Grinboym thanked everyone for their greetings and in his 2 hour speech analyzed the situation of the Jews in Eretz Yisroel and in the diaspora. The audience of over 500 people listened attentively to the very informative speech, and showed their gratitude with prolonged applause.

The chairman announced that the audience would plant ten trees in the name of Deputy Grinboym and his wife. The chairman of Hazamir presented the guest with a musical composition, a march, in Grinboym's honor.

Then, the members of Hashomer

[Page 212]

Haleumi performed dramatic sketches, readings and songs, under the direction of Yosef Shimkovitsh.

After that, a banquet was held in honor of Deputy Grinboym. There, he spoke further about the tasks of the Jewish National Fund at the current time, and he demanded that the attendees increase their efforts on its behalf. The gathering lasted late into the night, with singing and dancing. After the members danced a hora with the guest of honor, there came the moment of parting.

That festive day with Deputy Grinboym demonstrated how important it was for our leaders to visit the small towns. Their visits were the greatest of holidays. The Jews forgot then their daily worries and problems, and the boundaries between Zionists and non-Zionists disappeared. Even the leaders of Agudath [an Orthodox, anti-Zionist organization] brought greetings, albeit not directly in their name, but in the form of a contribution from a bank or another institution. So, too, did the members of the Bund [a Socialist, anti-Zionist organization] because the people wanted to see their leader and knew who their leader was. Afterwards, people said of Grinboym's speech that it evoked interest and honor, because Yitshak Grinboym was the defender of Jewish interests.

[Page 213]

now213a.jpg
Haskshore kibbutz “Landau” of Hechalutz Hamizrachi

 

now213b.jpg
The Hakhshore of Hechalutz Hamizrachi

[Page 214]

now214a.jpg
Hazmir [musical group] at a celebration of the opening of Hebrew University

 

now214b.jpg
Betar [Zionist group] of Nowy Dwor
From right to left, first row: Nisn Tik, Moyshe Kalvariski, a leader from Warsaw
Second row: Zelig Kenigsberg, Kosover, Yehoyshue Griner


Footnote

  1. From a contemporary report. Return


[Page 212]

The kibbutz of the Torah and Work Movement

by Yehuda Perlmuter / Tel Aviv

Translated by Amy Samin

In 1932–33 I was in Nowy Dwor at the training kibbutz [farm] of the Torah and Work movement. There were about 20 members, men and women, and we worked at various jobs that came up on a daily basis.

This training kibbutz had been started in 1931, and the problems that kept those who were in authority occupied were employment and salaries for the members.

At the start of 1933 organized groups from the Bund organization and the communists tried to kill our members, and we also received warnings and alerts, along with threats.

The members of Hamizrahi [political party] in Nowy Dwor, to whom we appealed for help, were powerless, and the center for Torah and Work was certainly unable to help us. At a meeting of the members of the training kibbutz, we debated whether or not we should leave. After an argument we decided not to leave our training location. We viewed our remaining in place there as a struggle for the triumph of Hebrew labor. The attacks became more frequent; they attacked the house in which we were living, and they attacked the members while they were working. While we did not want the help of the Polish police, they arrived during gatherings and clashes, and they arrested a few of the attackers for a couple of hours or a full day, but even after that the attacks didn't stop.

After member Chaim Zukerfine, who worked in basement draining, suffered an attack which continued until he lost consciousness and was taken to the hospital, the police filed a claim in court. Even though the Bund sent some of their leaders to act as the attorneys for the attackers during the trial, a verdict of guilty was brought against three of the attackers, who received a sentence of six months' probation. Even after that the attacks on members when they were alone did not stop.

I, as the secretary of the kibbutz, decided to approach member Menasche Kohalski, who was the leader of the Poalei Zion [Workers of Zion] political party, and who was close to the Bund groups in his city. He was also part of the pioneer movement, and he understood us. At the second meeting – after contact with the threatening groups – he reassured me. He described the difficulties involved in arranging the matter, but also told us that we could stay where we were. From that day on the attacks on our members stopped.

Our contact with Menasche Kohalski, who was the son of one of the prominent families of the Gur Hassidim, revealed to us his excitement over the national and socialist idea of the Jewish nation. He was always ready to offer his help to the pioneer movement regardless of affiliation.

He, who had moved to Eretz Yisrael in 1925 at the time of the economic crisis, was forced to acquiesce to the numerous pleas of his mother, a widow with five children, that he return to Poland. He hoped every day to return and make aliyah [immigrate] together with his wife, the gentle Sheindel…

When the Second World War broke out, he moved to Warsaw, and was active in the underground until he collapsed and fell. May his memory be avenged.


[Page 215]

The First Immigrants to Eretz Yisroel from Nowy Dwor

by Dov Berish First

Translated by Miriam Leberstein

 

Reb [respectful form of address] Asher Zelig Blum

In the first volume of the Encyclopedia of the First [Founders and] Builders of Israel by David Tidhar, Tel Aviv, 1947, there is a lengthy entry about a Jew from Nowy Dwor who settled in Israel in 1878. I present it here, in somewhat shortened form, in Yiddish translation:

“Asher Zelig Blum was born in Nowy Dwor, near Warsaw, in 1848. His father Reb Zev Wolf, was a Hasid. He received a strict religious education. While still a child he travelled with his father to visit a rebe [Hasidic rabbi]. When he was 15 his father married him off to the daughter of a wealthy Hasid. At 17 he left with his wife for England, so that his younger brother, as the sole remaining son, would not have to serve in the military.

“After a year in England, he, his wife, and their son who had been born there, travelled to America, where they settled in Chicago, and after two years, went to Cincinnati. There, he and a partner opened a large clothing store, which was very successful. After learning that his partner was doing business on the Sabbath, he broke up the partnership and went to work in a shop for a private entrepreneur. He later opened another clothing store, this time without a partner.”

“In the meantime, his family grew to five children and, worried about their education, he sold his business in 1878 and left with his entire family for Eretz Yisroel. He arrived in Jerusalem, where he met the first founder of Petakh Tikvah, where he settled and built a house, which fell apart as soon as the rains came. (A crooked contractor had built it.) He built a hut, where he would have liked to remain, but because of the children, who became ill with malaria, he returned to Jerusalem and settled in Mea Shearim.”

The entry includes more information about his further experiences:

“He later travelled abroad with another founder of Petakh Tikvah to encourage rich Jews, especially Baron Binyomin Rothschild, to help with the continued development of Petakh Tikvah. The mission failed and he returned to America to make money. After two years, he sent for his wife and children to join him in America. His wife had already married off their oldest daughter Khaye Sore, who was 14, to Aron Leyb Makhnes and had given her a portion of their land in Petakh Tikvah. She left her two sons with the oldest daughter and went to America with her other two daughters to join her husband.”

“After 7 years in America they again returned to Eretz Yisroel with the intention of settling in Petakh Tikvah and cultivating their land there. But because of the wife's illness they settled in Jerusalem. There he dealt in houses, and lost his money in that business. Meanwhile, his wife died and he remarried, to the daughter of Moyshe Leyb Levinson, also one of the founders of Petakh Tikvah. ”

“Then it turned out that some swindler, whose name they could never find out, had sold Asher Zelig's land. So he went back to America to make money, but this time he didn't come back. He died in Chicago on the 3rd day of Nisan 1925. His oldest daughter spent her whole life in Petakh Tikvah, and bore 7 sons and 4 daughters, raising them with love and attachment to the

[Page 216]

land [of Israel]. She died on the 20th of Adar 1918 at the early age of 50.”

That is all that there is, of this Biblical story of Vayetze and Vayeshev [Torah portions recounting the life of Jacob: “And he went out” and “And he settled”] about one of the Nowy Dwor forefathers from the first Hasidic emigration to Israel, Asher Zelig Blum.

 

Avraham Borekh Roznshteyn

Avraham Borekh Roznshteyn was another of the Nowy Dwor forefathers in Eretz Yisroel, of a very different sort, whom many of the older generation in Nowy Dwor used to talk of as an ardent Zionist. I found a short entry about him in The Book of Personages, Masada Press, Tel Aviv, 1933. This brief entry reads:

“Borekh Avraham (Roznshteyn Avraham Borekh), Doctor of Philosophy, born 26th of Teveth, 1882 in Nowy Dwor, Warsaw District, son of Eliezer Itsik, a wood merchant. Lived in Eretz Yisroel from 1910, teacher of math in Hertzl Gymnazium. Delegate to the 8th Zionist Congress. Longtime chair of Histradrut and for many years member of the Tel Aviv city council. Published many scholarly works on physics and math.”

That is how this terse article sums up the great personality from Nowy Dwor, our Doctor Butsye Roznshteyn, about whom I heard so much in my early youth from my teacher, the Zionist Shimen Note Srebrenik. He talked about him with great enthusiasm, about his attachment to Eretz Yisroel, and as one of the most ardent Zionists when Zionism was still in diapers. Dr. Roznshteyn is no longer in the land of the living, but as someone who delves into everything he can about Nowy Dwor's past, I want to add some details about the Roznshteyns.

The Rozenshteyns were brought to Nowy Dwor by the very wealthy Avraham Faygen, a military contractor who employed them as bosses over the many businesses he conducted in the Modlin fortress. The Roznshteyns were known as “the khazayes,” the Russian word for bosses. This became their name and was passed on from generation to generation. Eliezer Yitshak, the father of Dr. Rozenshteyn, later became very rich and provided his children with a modern higher education in the nearby capital city, Warsaw. Dr. Roznshteyn changed his first name Borekh to Yisroel and took Borekh as his last name, and in Israel he was known as Dr. Borekh. His sister Madame Biezhinski also lived in Israel and was a teacher of French in the Herzl Gymnasium. She received an award from the French government for her pioneering work in teaching French in Eretz Yisroel.

 

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