His heart was attracted to doing good for his fellow, and he dedicated himself to communal affairs with his whole heart. He was a member of various committees in the community. He was one of the most active of the builders of the new hospital, in the Ezrat Aniim (Assistance for the Poor) committee, etc.
He did not merit in enjoying the fruits of his labor. The communal institutions to which he dedicated the best of his time were destroyed. He fell as a victim of the Holocaust.
May his memory be a blessing.
Avraham David and Faya Katz
Rivka Katz (daughter of Avraham and Faya)
He was one of the progressive members of the group of tradesman. He was a dealer in fine furniture. He was one of the leaders in this realm, and his products were in demand by those who appreciated modern style. He earned his livelihood for his eight member family in an honorable fashion, and he educated his children in a progressive national spirit. During his time, he was appointed as an adjured judge in the regional court. When he saw a group forming to make aliya to the land, he joined the group, but for various reasons, he was not among the actualizers. He responded to any national or local appeal in a generous fashion.
His children prepared to make aliya when they grew up.
His oldest son Itzik did not succeed in obtaining a certificate for aliya, so he immigrated to Argentina.
Later, three of the children made aliya. The parents made aliya in 1935, and the family was reunited in Hadera (except for their daughter Rivka who got married to a young man from Akkerman and established her family there.)
On account of the difficulties of absorption and the weak state of health of the head of the family, they had to go back.
They wished to establish themselves and live near their daughter Rivka, who gave birth to their first grandchild. However, fate was cruel to them, and Rivka and her family fell at the outset of the Holocaust, before they were able to escape from the enemy. The old and weary parents found out about this tragedy after they returned to Kishinev from their wanderings in the expanse of Russia. The disaster weighed heavily on them and they were not able to recover from it.
They died in Kishinev in 1945.
His son Avraham was graced with a similar sharp grasp and talent. He was educated in the national tradition, faithful to the nation. Avraham joined the Bund socialist movement in our city, and even served as its head. Avraham dedicated himself to this movement with all his energy and youthful enthusiasm. At times, the Jewish youth were lost in their way and were given over to the ideological confusion that pervaded the Jewish street at that time. Avraham knew how to guard the national values, and everything that took place in the Jewish community was dear to him. When he was once invited by the activists in our city to become involved in communal affairs, and was even asked to be in second place on the list for the elections of the town council, he responded positively. He displayed great dedication and ability in protecting the affairs of the Jewish community through a strong struggle with the Zionist reactionary forces in the Jewish community and the general community. Through his activities he was able to realize his error (regarding solving the Jewish national problem through autonomy in their places of exile), and he recanted. One day we found out in our city that Avraham was going to scope out the Land (in 1929). He toured its length and breadth for an entire month. His wonder knew no bounds. When he returned, he found various opportunities to tell about its social and economic achievements, and from that time forward he joined the ranks of the activists of the Zionist movement with his typical enthusiasm.
His home was a meeting place for anyone who entered. I recall the pleasant evenings that I spent in his home, the politeness, and his various statements that won him renown. I will always recall this fine spirit. It is unfortunate that all of this disappeared, and he is no longer Avraham and his noble family have been cut off.
May these lines serve as a discrete monument to these fine souls!
He was drafted into the Russian army at the outbreak of WWI. He was at the front. He excelled and received high recognition. Later, he finished the school for captains.
He went to Paris in 1920 where he was active in the Meeting Place of the Independents. Among other things, he drew the portrait of the Romanian professor Yorga and of the poet from his hometown David Knott. The portrait of the latter was displayed in the Autumn Meeting place in Paris with great success.
He arranged an exhibition of his portraits (80 in total) in the Osman gallery in 1932. He also exhibited at the large international exhibition in Paris in 1937. About a year later, his creations were displayed in the international exhibition in Chicago.
He gave some of his creations as a gift to one of the museums in Paris.
Arkadi was a faithful artist, but he kept separate from the group. He even refused to meet with his good friends, so as not to impose himself on them. Arkadi lived in poverty and straits, and did not want to arouse the pity of his friends. He did not want them to help him as he did not want to become a burden on them.
Arkadi, the splendid dresser, lived the life of an ascetic. He did not smoke, ate little and spoke little. He was refined and he kept to himself. He died alone and was buried on October 9, 1941 in Paris.
From Yiddish by M. R.
From the book: Our Fine Artists, published by Hirsch Fenster in Paris, 5711 (1951).
Yechiel was orphaned at a young age. Nevertheless, he studied diligently and obtained wide knowledge in literature, especially in Yiddish literature. He even took to writing poems, and served as a writer in the Jewish newspaper in Bessarabia (Unzer Zeit).
Yechiel, full of suffering and orphaned in his youth, felt for the suffering of his fellowman and did the best to help anyone. When he was still in the fourth year in gymnasium, he volunteered to guide the working youth in reading and even to actually teach them. He had an open heart, understanding of the situation of impoverished students.
This fine and noble soul bore the burden of his orphan hood even in his adulthood. If only my mother were alive and I had grown up in her bosom and had benefited from her care, I would have been stronger physically and I would have been able to join the chalutz movement like many of my friends, and be among the builders of the Land he said. Yechiel was not a Zionist in the common sense of the term, but he was faithful to the nation, and aliya to the Land was in his opinion a good solution for the masses of Jews. Whenever he accompanied a group of friends on their way to make aliya to the Land, his eyes filled with tears and he parted from them with deep anguish. I did not merit being among those making aliya
He expressed his longing for the Land of Israel in his poems.
His weak body and refined soul were swept away in the storm of the Holocaust.
May his memory be guarded in our heart.
Moshe and Perl Lemberg (parents of Motel)
Motel Lemberg (son of Moshe and Perl)
My father Moshe the son of Mordechai Lemberg was born in Yampol in 1867. He lived in Orheyev from 1890. He served as the prayer leader for many years in the Great Synagogue and also in the Tolner Synagogue. He was one of the scholars of our town. He remained in Orheyev at the time that the rest of the family fled. He trusted that G-d would save him and the house of Israel. He was murdered along with all the residents in 1941.
My mother Perl the daughter of Leib and Leah Korenfeld (nee Ribokoli) was born in Rybnitsa in 1876. She lived in Orheyev from 1897.
During the time of the Holocaust, she fled with my brother Motel and my sisters Ester and Rachel. They reached Uzbekistan. She lost her son Motel during the war, and returned after the war to Orheyev with her sister, broken and crushed. She died and was buried in Orheyev on 24 Tammuz 5716 (July 25, 1954).
When he was still young, his parents moved to a village in the area of Orheyev, where his father accepted a job as an accounting director in a liquor factory. His father had to sustain and educate the family on a very meager salary. Itzele displayed his talents while still a schoolboy. His father later moved to the city, where Itzele completed the public school and was accepted as an apprentice in the office of the lawyer Gozshteyn at the age of 14. The refined, handsome boy with dark, brilliant eyes attracted the heart of anyone who came into contact with him. After some time, he moved to the home of the lawyer Moshe Ravich. Itzel endeared himself to the Ravich family and those who came into their home. He simultaneously continued to study in a private fashion. When the loan and credit fund for small scale merchants was created at the end of 1906, he transferred to work there. Milshteyn saw in this communal enterprise the seed of an important social institution and a wide field of activity for him, therefore he forewent the good conditions in the Ravich household and satisfied himself with little, so that he could study and understand from close up the field of communal work that was dear to his heart.
His first job in the loan fund was as the assistant to the accounting director. However, after several months, he entered into the depths of the matters of the loan fund, and when the director of accounting left the loan fund, Milshteyn was asked to fill the role of chief accountant. He displayed exceptional initiative and diligence, like a veteran and experienced professional. He maintained the accounting ledgers of the loan fund, and created interest tables that were used as templates by many loan funds in their work. His name became known publicly and he earned great public acclaim.
In 1909, fate offered him an experience that seemingly became a decisive factor in his life. The New York international insurance agency set up branches throughout all areas of Russia. Milshteyn took it upon himself to direct the branch in our city, and put in the best of his abilities and initiative. At that time, the company conducted a competition to study more effective organizational practices in the matters of insurance in Russia, and promised eight prizes for excellent work. 19 year old Milshteyn participated in the competition and won first prize.
Yitzchak ben Avraham Milshteyn
He was drafted to the army during WWI in 1914, and received a medal of excellence.
In 1916, Milshteyn was invited to the city of Yekatrinoslav by the committee for the assistance of refugees in Russia in order to organize the assistance for the refugees of the war. Simultaneously, he arranged cooperative shops for the needs of the Jewish communities in the region of Yekatrinoslav, and also stores for the sale of wheat to the Russian army. He also fulfilled the role of director of the loan funds in those settlements through the agencies of the Y. K. A.
In 1917, the committee for the assistance of refugees organized a committee whose job it was to organize assistance through credit and productive work for a number of areas outside the Pale of Settlement. Milshteyn was invited to Moscow to direct this important activity.
Milshteyn returned to Bessarabia in 1920 and joined the active committee that was headed by Nachum Roitman of blessed memory, a particularly prominent personality in the Jewish communities of Bessarabia, to organize a union of Jewish cooperatives in Bessarabia. Milshteyn researched and examined every loan fund that was still functioning, searched and gathered material from remote forgotten archives, met with past and present activists, and organized and reestablished the destroyed loan funds.
The communal work in the Jewish communities of the center and south of Romania was conducted primarily by philanthropic organizations. With his leadership talents and persuasive abilities, he succeeded in transferring the assistance which was fundamentally philanthropic to the realm of independent and mutual assistance. He gathered the best of the activists around the idea of cooperation. Through his leadership, loan funds were set up in the cities of Bucharest, Iasi, Botosani, Harlau, and others. He also played a significant role in the founding of loan funds in the cities of Cluj and Sighet in Transylvania.
Thanks to his initiative, the active organization of national loan funds and the accounting division were organized, and independent loan funds in various localities were established. He conducted a comprehensive census among the Jewish farmers and artisans. Toward the end, he conducted successful work in improving the status of the loan funds that had endured the difficult depression of 1929-1932.
Milshteyn excelled in his ability to express himself clearly and persuade people both orally and in writing. While he was still young, he published articles on various economic and cooperative topics at the invitation of the editors of the Russian economic publication Vestnik Znani. He also published many articles and feuillitons (ed. note: short stories that are published as serials) in the Yiddish Dos Cooperative Vort.
Despite his prime activities in his responsible role as director of the foundation, the Joint asked him to direct its social institutions in Bessarabia and Romania. He dedicated a great deal of his time to the ORT and Azeh trade schools in Kishinev, and summer institutions for children and teachers. He worked at all of these without expectation of remuneration. He did not desist from assisting charitable organizations and individual needy people. He extended goodhearted and generous assistance to them.
Indeed, our city merited to have a sublime person who was born into a family of workers, and grew up and became a man who forged paths as he directed cooperatives for Jewish workers throughout Romania.
He was a refined, goodhearted man who dedicated all of his days to the improvement of the society, the society of workers and the oppressed. He was uprooted from his family and from the society to which he dedicated his entire essence and sent to Siberia, where he died
May these lines serve as a monument to a dear man, a man of great action, whose wonderful and honorable name will be guarded in the hearts of Orheyev natives forever
It is not easy for me to write my memories of Yitzchak Milshteyn. This will not be about Yitzchak Milshteyn himself, for who knew Yitzchak Milshteyn? Isaak Abramovitz was the name by which he was known to everyone. He was accepted, honored and loved by all circles in Jewish Bessarabia and all circles outside of that with whom he came into contact.
Approximately 14 years have passed since I last saw him. I came to Kishinev in response to his urgent request for consultations on matters of the central bank and cooperative institutions in Romania institutions of the Foundation in Kishinev that was directed by both of us. These were the days of WWII, and the atmosphere was tense. Nazi vassals ruled Romania, and in Bessarabia, they waited each minute for the entry of the Russians. At the end of our meeting, Milshteyn expressed his regret that I must return to Bucharest, where trials and tribulations under the anti-Semitic government that is drawing close to Nazism await me; whereas he will remain in Bessarabia where the Russians will come and everyone will be free
First and foremost, Milshteyn offered his own contribution generously. His great experience, his outstanding intelligence, his understanding of how to deal with people, his work ethic and talents everything that was within him he dedicated to the needs of the Jewish community. People heeded his words, paid attention to his reasoning and his conclusions were often accepted even by his opponents, and of course by his followers and admirers. He knew how to break down matters to their fundamentals and to place matters in their proper perspective. He knew how to convince those assembled, if not by straight logic then by brief targeted parables, if not by proofs then by single-sentence sharp witticisms. A compromise down the middle, a speech of a disputant, a light witticism that elicited general laughter would weaken all effects of opposition and often decide the status of a dispute. He was quick in both his decisions and actions. He knew how to forge a compromise in difficult circumstances. He knew how to assist those in need at the time of difficulty both in deed and with advice. The masses paid attention to his advice which was full of wisdom, insight and foresight. When he stood at the crossroads of life, when his fate and the fate of his family required quick and decisive action, the wise and experienced Isaak Abramovitz who was full of foresight did not know what was forthcoming. He remained in Kishinev full of hope, certain of his future.
Milshteyn engaged in the activity of reviving the Jewish cooperatives in Bessarabia after WWI with great dedication and diligence. He ran from city to city in his search for human and physical material to establish the cooperatives. He brought out activists from their alleyways, camps and workplaces, forced them to forget their own daily worries, and appointed them to head the cooperatives the centers of general concern. He brought out books, documents and papers from cellars and storehouses, dusted off the cobwebs, cleaned the dust of years from them, and restored them to new life. He was one of the first and the most active of the people who renewed the cooperative movement of Bessarabian Jewry after WWI.
He was one of the founders and chief activists of the supervisory committee of the Jewish cooperatives of Bessarabia that became with the passage of time an example for other parts of Romania, as well as for other countries such as Poland, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, etc.
While he was still busy with his work of strengthening the supervisory committee in Bessarabia, the Foundation and the Joint appointed him as their delegate. He became the delegate for the assistance money for the Jewish community that was arriving from America and England. However, he never ceased being the spokesman for the Jewish community and its institutions to the worldwide assistance and productive help organizations.
As a representative of the Foundation, the role of Milshteyn was great in the organization of the cooperative movement in other parts of Romania. As in Bessarabia, he did not know what difficulties and obstacles were, and did not begrudge his time and energy to attain the goal. Similarly, at a later time, he dedicated himself to repairing the cooperative in Czechoslovakia. We saw him act with the same dedication in organizing assistance to the victims of floods and droughts organizing assistance for the refugees and supervising the day to day activities of the communal institutions and populist endeavors of all forms.
The Russians entered Bessarabia a few days after our parting. Isaak Abramovitz was imprisoned a day or two later. He endured a long journey from Bessarabian Kishinev to far off Siberia, where he passed away alone and forlorn, far from his family, friends and acquaintances, far from the cities and towns of Bessarabia and their residents to whom he dedicated most of the days of his life and a significant part of himself.
In far away, cold Siberia, without a warm environment, without friends and acquaintances, isolated from society, this man of life and society Isaak Abramovitz Milshteyn spent his last days and months. Who knows what his final journey was that ended his life and who accompanied him. However, his memory remains alive among Bessarabian Jewry. Every historian, every chronicler of days gone by who tells about life in Jewish Bessarabia during the first half of the 20th century must give an honorable place to Isaak Abramovitz Milshteyn, who lived his life in such a manner and participated in no small manner in forging that life.
To his wife and two children in Israel, to his friends and admirers in Israel and the Diaspora, may the knowledge that the man did not live, act and suffer for nothing serve as a comfort.
Jerusalem, Tishrei 5615 (October 1954)
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