However, he did not display any special inclination to his studies, and his father brought him to work in the printing press while he was still a youth. With time, he became fully involved in the work and mastered all matters of printing.
He was in contact with the national movement from the time of his youth, and he remained faithful and dedicated to it until the end of his days. He moved to Chernovitz after he married Sara Muchnik (from Kishinev). After a brief period of time, he returned to Orheyev and took over the printing press. The printing press took up all of his time. Nevertheless he dedicated some of his time to the movement, and participated in almost any activity that was arranged by the Zionist movement.
Like Idel Yagolnitzer, he did not like to appear at lectures and in the community, preferring to dedicate his power and his will to actual activity. He was the secretary of the Keren Kayemet and Keren Hayesod, and he sometimes organized other activities from the movement. He was the instigator and living spirit in them.
Yosef ben Yoel and Ina Pagis
The anti-Semitic guard ruled Russia during the years 1906-1907. This guard was felt in particular in the public school, whose entire purpose was to prevent the Jews from attaining higher and also middle education. Yosef ben Yoel failed the exams many times. He remained in Orheyev and occupied himself with teaching Russian language and other subjects in the Talmud Torah and in private lessons.
At that same time, around 1907-1908, the office of the government appointed rabbi (Rabbi Mitaam) was open, and Yosef ben Yoel Pagis was chosen to fill that role. From that time on, he showed himself as an active communal force of great value, representing the affairs of the Jewish population to the government with force and national strength. He demanded budgets for Jewish institutions from the korovka (meat tax) and from the regional treasure (zemstova). Despite his official status, he did not disdain smaller things. He continued to work with dedication in the various institutions. He represented the underprivileged strata in the loan fund of the middle class, increased his activities in the Zionist movement, and appeared at every meeting and made his views known. Despite the fact that his command of Yiddish was imperfect, interspersed with entire sentences in Russian and at times grating on the ear, his content was filled with heartfelt enthusiasm and attracted the heart of any listener. The meetings at which Yosef B. Y. appeared were always packed with people.
He was quite involved in communal affairs and participated in many institutions, whether as a delegate or when specially invited to give advice and express his opinion. For him, the communal council was the center of his life, to which he dedicated the best of his time and energy. The council was composed of representatives of most of the communal institutions. Every institution had its worries, problems and affairs, and at times there were complications, obstacles and difficult situations. Yosef ben Yoel bore the yoke and delved into each issue no less than the member who was directly responsible for the particular institution, even though this was not his task. He was a typical communal activist with his integrity, diligence in all matters of the community, with clean hands and a pure heart, honored by both the Jewish and gentile population.
When the Romanians took over Bessarabia, Y. P. felt the lack of the government language, which he was used to using in his role as government appointed rabbi when he appeared before the government. He attended the University of Iasi and studied law despite his advanced age (he was 40 years old then).
After he completed his studies as a lawyer, he did not work in the profession, for this was not in accordance with his spirit.
When Bessarabia was conquered by the Russians in 1940, Yosef ben Yoel was sent to Siberia, where he died of hunger and cold. Throughout his entire life he gave of himself to his fellow, to Zionism and to change the orders of life. All was for the benefit of the public, and he himself was trampled under the stormy wheels of the time
Asher and Feiga Fisher
Asher Fisher was modest in his demeanor and pleasant with his fellowman. His integrity and good heart won him the respect of both Jews and non-Jews.
He was active in the Jewish defense (Samo-oborona) in our city, and the cellar of his house served as the storehouse for weapons of defense.
He was captive to the Zionist idea from his youth, and his precious dream was to make aliya to the Land and dedicate himself to agriculture. He was among the first in our city to obtain shares in the Colonial Bank. He paid his shekel (token of membership to the Zionist movement) and donated regularly and generously to the national funds.
His wife Feiga was an intelligent woman, active in the Zionist movement in our city during her time. She was among the first who took off her jewelry and gave it over to the Keren HaYesod.
Her progressive ideas and Socialism that she drew from Russian and Yiddish literature intermixed well with the Zionist idea, and she raised her two children, Leah and Moshe in this spirit of Socialist Zionism.
She was an enthusiastic supporter of the settlement of workers, and was one of the activists in the Hechalutz movement. Her home was a meeting place for the young Zionist generation.
Both of them were murdered as they fled to Ukraine at the last minute.
May their memories be blessed.
Leah (Liza) Fisher
She was born in 1896. Her parents' home was filled with the Zionist atmosphere, and Leah absorbed this atmosphere. She studied Hebrew and Bible, and was fluent with the language. She completed the government gymnasium at the age of 15 with a gold medal, and went to Odessa in 1916 where she studied agronomy at the university. She intended to complete her studies and make aliya to the Land.
She was active in the Hechaver Zionist student organization in Odessa, and was a member of the local Zionist council of southwestern Russia.
She succeeded in returning to Bessarabia after the revolution and dedicated herself to Zionist activity with her entire soul. As a member of the center of United Young Zion in Bessarabia and a member of the Tarbut Center, she participated in conventions and was elected to high institutions.
When she was in Iasi, she was active in the Jewish student union and fought with all her might against the Communist tendencies within this union. She founded the first chapter of Young Zion in Iasi.
During the later years, she worked as a teacher in the Jewish schools in Beltsy. She was very active in the field of Socialist Zionist education, and even led the pioneering youth in the Gordonia movement. She gave a great deal to the Haoved movement in Romania.
She was murdered by the Nazis in Beltsy.
May her memory be a blessing.
Yeshayahu found his purpose in life in working for the future of the activists of the world. He dedicated himself with youthful enthusiasm to this work, which was conducted clandestinely during the time of Czarist Russia.
In 1916, he left Orheyev and traveled to Odessa. There he found a wide field for his activities in the community of workers in a large weapons factory, where he was accepted for work as a professional.
He returned to Orheyev and continued his activities at the outbreak of the revolution.
He was arrested several times as a revolutionary at the time of the conquest of Bessarabia by the Romanians.
As a result of a mishap at work, he had to leave his professional realm and he moved over to business.
When he reached adulthood, he joined the Zionist movement and wanted to make aliya along with his wife Zila Fikhman.
He did not succeed in obtaining the desired certificate, and in the meantime tragedy stuck. His wife Zila died and he had to fulfill the role of father and mother to his young daughter Niura.
At the outbreak of WWII, he fled along with the rest of the Jews from Orheyev to the Soviet Union, where he was drafted into the Red Army as a professional. The last news from him came from far off Omsk in Siberia.
Like his older brother Moshe-Zalmina, who fell during WWI, he also fell victim in a strange land in a war that was not his
His daughter Niura remained in Kishinev, where she is studying at the university.
Mordechai (Gan Shmuel)
He was one of the first of the union of Hebrew speakers and one of the founders of Young Zion in our city. He educated his children in the national spirit. He was one of the initiators of Hebrew education and a member of the committee of the Tarbut School. He was one of the forces behind the Forer group that prepared to make aliya to the Land. He was a dedicated communal man who was modest in his demeanor, spoke little, and defended his opinions strongly with the aim of arriving at justice and truth.
Due to family reasons, he was not able to join the Forer group and make aliya to the Land. However, his desire for aliya never left him throughout his life. His last hope to join his daughter Penina and her family in Gan Shmuel while he still had strength came to naught. The Holocaust arrived, and he fled to far off Russia where he met his death.
Woe on the loss!
Simcha Kestlicher was a scholar, expert in Talmud and legal decisors (ed. note: renders legal decisions on Jewish Law), and comfortable with the new Hebrew and Yiddish literature. He managed the flourmill and wheat and flour business of the owners of the mills Yisrael Krasner, Aharon Fikhman and his partners. He was an experienced accountant, delving into the details, and a man of sublime personal qualities.
When he came to live in Orheyev, he earned the complete admiration of all who came into contact with him, both with regard to work and communal affairs.
He headed the general Zionists in our city for many years. He was the gabbai of the Chabad Synagogue until the outbreak of WWII. He also excelled with his special capability of forging a compromise between disputants, whether with regard to monetary matters or with issues that related to impinging on the honor of one's fellow. His decision was always just and logical, for he was intelligent and the ways of living were clear to him. He had another fine trait: the splendor of his countenance. With his splendid countenance and enthusiastic smile, he brightened up and added honor to anyone who stood before him.
Another benefit accrued to anyone who heard the utterances of his mouth: his humor, Talmudic statements, and general jokes that were on his tongue at all times.
Reb Simcha was well received by people from all circles. Even though he was not wealthy, and not even well-off for he lived by the toil of his hands, men of industry and business heeded his advice. He even won his acclaim among the craftsmen of our city. There was a case where a harsh dispute broke out in the community of craftsmen. The dispute was about the leadership of the loan fund of the craftsmen, and the disputants were divided into two camps. The more objective camp, dedicated to the matters of the fund, turned to the group of activists of the intelligentsia to ask them to take over the fund and take it out of its crisis. All of the members of the fund agreed to place Sh. Kestlicher at the head of this institution. Thanks to his dedication, the fund was returned to its stature, its success grew, and the credit activities progressed.
Sh. K. lived a modest life in the midst of his family, surrounded by the love and reverence of anyone who turned to him. He served the community faithfully and honorably. He assisted anyone who needed him to the best of his ability. He did whatever he did without any pretences and haughtiness. He was straightforward, upright and honest. At the age of 70, he was murdered with his wife in his home in the autumn of 1941 during the time of the German rule of Orheyev.
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