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[Page 494]

Helen Grinblatt (Khayke Gersht) and her Bequest

by P.Dov (Tel Aviv)

Translated by Miriam Leberstein

Few Nowy Dworers remember this person, who had distant connections to Nowy Dwor and who did not remain there. Some will certainly remember that during World War I Nowy Dwor was excited over a rare guest who came to town from a faraway place, shrouded in fantastic stories about her huge wealth. She would come to visit her very religious brother–in–law, The Gere Hasid Reb Borekh Anker. She would stay in town for several weeks, appearing in the most expensive clothing and furs, adorned with precious jewelry, and she distributed charity right and left.

Having enjoyed herself with her home town and her large family she would then disappear again, off to distant places, which in the imagination of the small town, were in some mythical land. She disappeared, and no one knew where she was.

But, as our wise men said: “There are some who acquire their portion in the world to come in one hour…” and such a miracle occurred with our long–forgotten Khayke Gersht. After the years of horror of world War II, we in Israel learned from our energetic landsman in Los Angeles, Sam Bonstein, that Khayke Gersht –Helen Grinblatt –– had prior to her death in Johannesburg South Africa in 1947, written a will bequeathing almost 20,000 English pounds to the Jewish National Fund, stipulating that it be used to establish a settlement in the name of Nowy Dwor. She also directed that the streets be named after her and her relatives.

Her wishes might have been too ambitious in proportion to the sum she left. The most that the Nowy Dwor Committee in Israel was able to obtain from the stubborn Jewish National Fund representatives was the piece of land which the Fund gave us to build the Nowy Dwor housing in Holon.

May [Helen Grinblatt's] gracious deed earn her merit.

 

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Helen Grinblatt (Khayke Gersht)

 

[Page 495]

 

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The entrance to the cultural center
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Nowy Dwor housing in Holon

 

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The library in the cultural center

 

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Memorial plaque donated by our landslayt, at the entrance to the cultural center

 

[Page 496]

 

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In eternal memory of the martyrs of Nowy Dwor

 

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In Memory of Binem Hershl

 


[Page 497]

The Nowy Dwor Society in Chicago

by B. Rappaport, Chicago

Translated by Miriam Leberstein

The Nowy Dwor Society in Chicago was founded by Nowy Dworer who came to America at the beginning of this century. Our landslayt [people from the same town], had been interested in the political and economic problems of the time when they were living in the “old home,” and here in America they also displayed their activism and did not become indifferent to their brothers they left behind.

When World War I ended they sent aid for the children's schools in Nowy Dwor and for needy individuals. After World War II, when the Nazi murderers had annihilated all the Jewish communities and the issue arose of help for the few survivors, our Chicago society contacted our New York and California landslayt in order to join forces to bring help for the suffering. We sent food, clothing and medicine and also provided financial assistance to the survivors.

The establishment of the State of Israel also encouraged the Nowy Dworers in America to build homes in Israel for survivors from our town. With idealistic devotion, as in the old home, and inspired by the realization of the dream of the Jewish people, the Nowy Dworers in America stepped forward, despite all difficulties, to help found a community in Israel.

*

The Nowy Dwor Society in Chicago was founded in 1917 on the occasion of a wedding at Pesakh Gold's [Cohn?] attended by Nowy Dwor landslayt. Pesach Gold's son proposed the founding of a Nowy Dwor landsmanshaft, [organization of landslayt] to help the needy of the town. Everyone warmly approved the proposal and we soon assembled and formed an association named “Nowy Dwor Aid Society.” Y. Malarski was elected as the first president and ELiezer Rabinovitsh first secretary. The Society was legalized in 1918 and a new leadership was selected: Hyman Cohen, president; Kh. Malarski – Vice President; Max Miller (from Pomichow) – Financial Secretary; Nayman Kirshteyn –recording secretary; Eliezer Rabovitsh and B. Rappaport –Controllers of Finance.

In 1920 we learend from our friend Zaltsman that an Aid Committee had been founded in New York for the Nowy Dworers afflicted by the war and we immediately decided to join in its relief work.

In 1924, the NOwy Dwor landslayt in Chicago bought a piece of land for a cemetery, thanks to the significant aid of Friend S. Levin. In the course of the years to come we consistently made contributions to all local and national Jewish organizations. In 1928 we began to send monthly contributions to the children's school in Nowy Dwor, which was directed by Herr Rudovski.

In 1930, when America was going through the Depression, our society was also having difficulties. But our secretary N. Kirshtein inspired the members to continue their work and in this way helped to keep the society alive.

In 1936, the women Nowy Dworers founded a division called “The Nowy Dwor Ladies' Auxiliary,” under the leadership of President Ida Cohen (the wife of Mr. H. Cohen.)

[Page 498]

To assist the women's division members H. Cohen and M. Finklestein were appointed as directors, and Max Kaufman (Kosover) as treasurer. In 1937, the landslayt decided to change the name of the organization to “Nowy Dworer Progressive Society and Ladies Auxiliary.”

In 1943 the society lost its beloved secretary N. Kirshtein , who was devoted body and soul to his fellow townsmen. Everyone mourned the great loss. To replace him Max Miller (Mikhalski) was elected recording secretary.

In 1944 we learned from a New York landsman that the Nowy Dworers in New York had decided to raise a large sum to help our landslayt in Europe after the Nazis were defeated. We promised ourselves to join in the fund raising campaign, but regrettably we were unable to send aid directly to our landslayt in Europe. When we learned that the Polish Association in America had contacts in Lublin, we were able to work through them to send food and clothing to our landslayt.

Pursuant to a proposal by Sam Bornstein from Los Angeles, the relief committees of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago met to deal with the situationof the landslayt in Europe and to unify relief efforts. The conference was held on July 13–14 1946 in Chicago. It was decided to unite all three relief organizations and to raise $20,000 for relief work. The Chicago landslayt were assessed $7,000. New York was designated as the center for relief work.

At the same time, we sent packages of food and clothing to our landslayt in the [displaced persons] camps. In May and June 1947 we sent 248 packages as well as medicines. In August 1947 we sent 103 packages of food and clothing.

A conference on the relief effort was held in New York on November 27–28, 1947, at which Friend Zaltsman represented the Chicago landslayt. Due to the great achievement of the Chicago organization, it was decided to move the headquarters for relief work to Chicago. After the conference we again shipped 125 packages to the displaced persons camps and the Chicago Relief Committee also continued its financial support in the amount of $4,500.

Friend Zaydnberg [ck] took upon himself the task of maintaining contact among all the Nowy Dworers in America, Europe and Israel, and the relationships became ever stronger. In 1948 we sent 310 packages of food and medicine as well as financial aid to Israel. Friend Zaydnberg received a thank you letter from our landslayt and he continued to attend to request from the needy.

In May, 1949 we sent $25 for each new immigrant to Israel. The members there demanded more aid and we increased the sum to $50. We continued to send packages of food and great financial support. In 1945 Chicago sent $7000 but the Nowy Dworers in Chicago were not satisfied with this and also began to think about a more constructive project which would serve as a memorial and last for generations.

In May, 1950 Friend Zaltsman brought the news from New York that a Nowy Dworer woman in South Africa had left a bequest to build a home for Nowy Dworers in Israel. Our friend, the activist Sam Bornstein from Los Angeles, contacted

[Page 499]

the family about the bequest and Dr. Grinblatt, the husband of the deceased, told us that he was asking the Americans to contribute $25,000 to realize the goal [of building housing]. The Nowy Dwor Relief Committee then took on the task of raising $25,000 over 10 years, with New York raising $9000, California $7000 and Chicago $9000. But Dr. Grinblat also informed us that he was not assuming responsibility, but was turning over money from the bequest to the Jewish National Fund.

Also in 1950, the Nowy Dworers in Chicago began to conduct memorials for our martyrs. During 1950, the Committee sent $6000 for a loan fund in Israel and in 1951, $4000. We also sent aid to Nowy Dworers in Europe and to those who had immigrated to Canada.

When Friend Zaltsman came back from New York in 1952 and reported on the meeting where it was decide to help construct a community for Nowy Dworers in Israel, all the Chicagoans, with a few exceptions, adopted the idea enthusiastically. Friend Zaltsman convinced everyone that the dream could be realized and it was decided to invite the friends from New York and California to a conference in Chicago to deal with the project. The conference was held on August 20, 1952, with the participation of Herrs Segal and Helen Rappaport from New York, Rubin from California, Herr Cohen, Zalstman, Abe Zaydnberg and B. Rappaport from Chicago.

At the conference we selected an Executive Committee consisting of Friends H. Zaltsman –President; Abe Zaydnberg – Recording secretary; B. Rappaport –Financial Secretry; H.Cohen –Treasurer. Chicago was chosen as headquarters for the Executive Committee.

The Committee contacted the leaders of the Nashelsker landsmanshaft which had experience building homes in Israel. Friends H. Zaltsman, Abe Zaydnberg and B. Rappaport invited the Nashelsker Friends Mr. Korn and Mr. Bendit to speak about their experiences. The Committee decided to contact the Rasco Society about the project to build 20 apartments in Israel and to contribute $1000 for each apartment. The residents would be obliged to pay 800 pounds per apartment in monthly installments. In order to raise the $20,000, each city pledged a certain sum: New York $7000, Los Angeles $4000 and Chicago $9000. Later, when it turned out that the $20,000 had not been raised, Friend Zaltsman reached an agreement with the Rasco Society to reduce the amounts assessed to $5,500 for Chicago, $7,750 for New York and $2000 for Los Angeles [sic].

In the spring of 1954, Friend Zaltsman participated in the laying of the foundation for the Nowy Dwor housing in Israel. In his presence, it became clear that the number of apartments was too small and it was decided to build 4 additional apartments. Friend Zaltsman returned from Israel full of enthusiasm.

The Chicago landslayt received his report gratefully and enthusiastically and were content with the results of their efforts, that a dream had become a reality. In 1955, when it turned out that the residents of the housing were unable to pay the monthly rates, the Executive Committee in Chicago assumed those obligations.

A conference was held in Chicago in September 1955 with the participation of Clara Bronstein from Los Angeles and H. Cohen,

[Page 500]

L. Schlesinger, Sam Goldstein, A. Zaydnberg, B. Rappaport from Chicago, at which the issue of the housing shortage in Israel was again raised. The Committee unanimously decided to build an additional 12 apartments. Chicago's contribution was to be $7000 and Los Angeles' $5000 over the course of 5 years. Chicago was again chosen to be the location of the Executive Committee. [ck re ny]

After the great celebration of the golden anniversary of Friends Morris and Isa Cohen, there came days of mourning in our landsmanshaft when our beloved friend Sam Levin died in October after a long illness. We all felt the great loss. Sam Levin had been active in our organization from the first day of its existence.

In January, 1956 we decided to erect a memorial for the martyrs of Nowy Dwor. We sent $1000 to Israel to erect a cultural center in the Nowy Dwor housing complex. Los Angeles contributed $400 and New York and Chicago $300 each. At the same time, we learned from some landslayt in California and New York that during their visit to Israel they had become convinced of the need to continue with additional construction of Nowy Dwor housing. The Committee therefore negotiated with the Rasco Society about construction of the cultural center and 11 additional apartments.

In the meantime we sent aid to comrades in Israel who did not have the means to contribute their portion for the apartments in Nowy Dwor housing and we also sent money for a certain family that was in difficult living conditions.

IN 1959 Friend Zaydnberg received an appeal from Israel about publishing a yizkor book. The Executive Committee decided to call a conference of all Nowy Dworers in February, 1960. Friend Zaydnberg contacted the organizations in New York and Los Angeles. The conference, however, was postponed for certain reasons.

In the meantime, we lost H. and G. Cohen, who had been active members in our society and these losses were deeply felt.

The conference took place on March 12, 1960. Participants were: From New York –Abe Goldberg, Tuvie Cohen and Joe Gertner; From Los Angeles –Meyer and Sophie Blake, Clara and Sidney Borenstein, Joe Blake, Phillip and Sarah Magid; From Chicago – Sol Schlesinger, Abe Zaydnberg and B. Rappaport.

Friend Zaltsman, the president of the Central United Nowy Dwor organization, handed over the chair for the evening to delegate Abe Goldberg from New York. After greeting the delegates, the chairman called for an increase in the work, while thanking all the Nowy Dworers in America from their tireless work until now, noting that a new Nowy Dwor was no longer a dream but a reality – a Nowy Dwor community in Israel with 47 apartments and a cultural center.

The delegates all agreed to meet the request from the Israel Committee for $2000 to complete the construction of the cultural center.

We held a memorial for our landslayt in Chicago – Sam Levin, Joe Cohen, H. Cohen, D. Pinker, and we condoled with Friend Zaydnberg on the loss of his father.

In August 1960 we lost the father of our associate Morris Cohen. He was the founder of the association and participated in every undertaking, leading his entire life with justice and kindness and with a progressive outlook on world events. His loss was deeply felt.

We also lost a good landsman

[Page 501]

S. Perlberg, who in an unassuming manner did a lot of work for the Nowy Dwor landslayt.

*

Our Chicago society has only a modest membership of 30, but their work was greatly respected in the Jewish world. The several most active members have accomplished a great deal:

H. Zaltsman gave so much time and energy to the realization of the construction project of establishing Nowy Dwor housing in Israel. We know that there is no sufficient way to thank him for his work.

Max Miller, our longtime secretary, who always participated in the administration, came to our meetings even when he lived far from Chicago.

B. Rappaport, our treasurer and the man responsible for our bank account, was one of the senior members, active since the founding of the society and we wish him a long life.

Ahron Liberman, one of the active Liberman family, who do their work with honesty and sincerity, was the treasurer of the relief committee

From our women's division we must mention:

Rose Zaydberg, the chairwoman, is active in the area of social work. She and her husband Abe are always enthusiastic about our work.

Lillian Schlesinger, secretary, is the daughter of our unforgettable secretary N. Kirshtein. She is active in all undertakings. She inherited her father's devotion to Nowy Dworers. Thanks to her, her husband Sol (not from Nowy Dwor) is also active in the society.

Helen Evenson, treasurer. We thank and respect her for her kindness and devoted work.

Rose Zaltsman, former president, wife of our president. Her dedication to Nowy Dwor is beyond measure. She and H. Zaltsman were full partners in all areas of life. We celebrate with them on their golden anniversary and hope to celebrate with them on many more happy occasions.

Ida Cohen the wife of the father of the Nowy Dwor society in Chicago has been active since the first day of the organization's existence. She has held the position of chairwoman many times. We all wish her health and continued participation.

The women's division not only contributed material aid, but also brought to the work of the men's organization a lot of enthusiasm. Our great achievements could only have been accomplished by working together.

*

We see our reports on all we have accomplished simply as an account, not a finale. Our work must continue!

The Nowy Dworers in Israel, who already have their own homes, are still not economically secure, and it is our job to stand guard and always be ready to help our landslayt everywhere.

[Page 502]

 

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The Central Committee of the Nowy Dwor landsmanshaft in Chicago
From right, standing: Chaim Zaltsman, Rose Zaltsman, Helen Evenson, Shron Liberman, Mania Liberman, Sol Schlesinger, Rosa Zaydnberg, Ida Cohen, Dora Levin, Lara Miller, Max Miller
Seated: Lillian Schlesinger, Abe Zaydnberg, Morris Cohen, Sam Goldstein, Ben Rappaport

 

now502b.jpg
The Central Committee in Chicago with a group of activists

 

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