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[Page 319]

Our Beloved Ones,
May Their Memory Be Blessed


Menachem Sossel z”l

by Sender Appelboim

Translated by Yocheved Klausner

Menachem Sossel was the son of Yitzhak and Breindl, from the village Lupisiki near Rafalovka.

The Sossel family was transferred to the Vladimartz ghetto, together with all the Jews from the neighborhood villages. On the day of the massacre, at the time of the mass- flight, Menachem and his younger brother escaped to the forest. His brother was caught by the Ukrainians and handed over to the Germans. Menachem remained alone.

A group of about 100 Jews, who had escaped from the Rafalovska ghetto and surroundings, gathered in the forest, near Hota Suftchovska. There I met Menachem for the first time. We lived in bunkers. The forest was full of marshes and at time of danger we ran from place to place. Menachem was my age and we became friends. He was a smart and industrious boy, and his greatest wish was to take revenge on the Nazis and their collaborators.

In 1942, when a group of Jews went on a mission to kill one of the collaborators, whose name was Suzan, from the village Dolgovola, Menachem volunteered to be their guide. I was wounded in my leg, and was sorry that I couldn't join them. The commander of the group was Yidel from Sopatchov, who had been a soldier in the Polish army. He had an old short-barreled rifle. In a shooting test in the woods he fired and hit the target. The group numbered ten Jews, who had, in addition to the rifle, other weapons: knives and axes. The Dolgovola villagers were known as murderers and collaborators with the Nazis. The group arrived at night to Suzan's house, aimed the gun but unfortunately it didn't shoot. The farmer's family was scared, but so were our fighters when the rifle didn't work, and Suzan managed to escape through the window. The Jews, disappointed, quickly left. But the rumor spread, that armed Jews were looking for collaborators, and this helped us: out of fear, many Ukrainians decided to help us. They realized, that now an avenging arm existed and they were afraid to inform on Jews. After this activity in the forest, Menachem and other Jews began to look for partisans who were ready to accept Jews among them. Menachem managed to join a choice group of partisans, which would sabotage trains transporting Nazi soldiers and armament to the front. Menachem excelled as a partisan and participated in many such sabotage actions. He fell in battle in the war against the Nazis, only seventeen years of age.

May his Memory be Blessed.

[Page 320]

The Aunt that I didn't Know

by Penina Besserglick nee Menin
Daughter of Rachel Menin and Mordechai, May he live a long life

Translated by Yocheved Klausner

Life was not easy in the home of the Zhok family. When the daughter Tzipora made Aliya in 1932, seven children remained at home.

My mother Rachel and her younger sister Chana were left with the heavy work, taking care of their young brothers. Both worked hard and missed their sister who was in Eretz Israel.

In 1939, Rachel married Mordechai (Motl) Manyuk. Chana, her sister, begged her parents to send her to Eretz Israel, to join her sister Tzipora.

The parents began saving money for that purpose, and since the sum was large they had to sell some things as well. When she had the travel ticket, she packed a few things in a suitcase and started her journey to the Romanian port; from there the ships sailed to Eretz Israel.

Chana managed to get on the ship, but it never sailed… WWII broke out, and ships stopped sailing.

Chana returned to Rafalovka full of indescribable pain; she had lost a great hope as well as a great deal of money, which was a burden for the entire family.

Chana was in the ghetto with her mother Pesil and 4 other children[1] – Shalom, Breindl, Yocheved and Hinda. She couldn't stand the shame. She posed as an old Gentile woman and tried to flee. But an Ukrainian sheigetz [Christian youth] recognized her and informed the Germans.

Chana was brutally tortured. The Germans would not spare punishment for someone who had been trying to escape. After the torture, she was sent back to the ghetto, so that the Jews “would see and fear.”

Chana was murdered with all the Jews in the ghetto. Together with her family she fell into the mass-grave.

This was the fate of my aunt, the young girl Chana, who wanted so much to live in Eretz Israel, tried and tried and did not succeed.

With her we were murdered: our grandmother, the other grandmother, uncles and aunts.

May her Memory be Blessed.


  1. The three other children had already left Rafalovka: Tzipora was in Eretz Israel, Rachel and Avraham escaped to Russia. Return

[Page 321]

My grandfather Isaac Meir Zuk

Pnina Beserglick née Manin[1]

Translation by Rachel Zetland

Donated by Jay Snider

The Germans gathered the Jews from Rafalovka the Town, from Zoludzk, Olizarka and the neighboring towns in Rafalovka the Station. It was very crowded. They declared it a ghetto, and the Jews could not leave.

My grandfather was very “fortunate.” He was allowed to leave the ghetto during the week and work for the Germans in the nearby villages. On Friday he would return to the ghetto to his family, his wife Pesia, and their five children Shalom, Hannah, Bruria, Yokheved and Hinda.

One day it became evident that the Germans were planning to kill the Jews of the ghetto. Hannah, Isaac's daughter, my aunt I never met, decided to try and save her father, if no one else.

She managed to collect valuable clothes and gave them to a goy she knew, hoping that he was trustworthy. She gave him a note and asked him to wait for her father at some distance from the ghetto and give him the note. It said:
“Father, don't come back to the ghetto, you won't be able to help us. We are being executed this Saturday. Try to run away towards the East and join your three children. Recount the horrors we went through - Hannah.”

My grandfather was shocked, and could not digest what he had read. How can a man leave his wife and children and save only himself? He started running towards the ghetto. Suddenly, he turned around and started running in the opposite direction. His daughter Hannah was right. He could not help his family in the ghetto, but he could take revenge against the Germans and maybe make it to his other three children. But where would he go? The Germans consider him a “number.” They won't rest until they find him, or else their secret will be revealed, the secret of their plan to murder the masses of Jews.

My grandfather ran away to one of the villages where a goy hid him in a “ditch” dug out below the pigsty. It was a small airless place and he couldn't move inside it. Above his head was a tin lid covered with hay. Here, in a pigsty, the Germans will surely not look for a Jew.

My grandfather ate potato peels thrown into the pit from time to time. He was a tall and strong Jew and weighed 100 kilos going into the pit. About month later he came out weighing only 45 kilos.

My grandmother and her 5 children were executed on the 15th of Elul together with the rest of the people of the ghetto. The Germans looked for my grandfather everywhere. After some time, he joined the partisans in the forests. There he took his revenge, and saved orphaned children in the most unimaginable conditions. He managed to make aliyah in 1949 after the establishment of the State of Israel and settled in Kiryat Haim. He erected a synagogue there and provided marble plaques to commemorate the beloved ones from Rafalovka, Olizarka and Zoludzk. My grandfather passed away in 1972, may his memory be blessed.

[Page 322]

In Memory of R'Yitzhak Meir Zhuk

by Arie Yadoshlibi

Translated by Yocheved Klausner

After the liquidation of the ghetto in Rafalovka, R'Yitzhak Meir Zhuk hid in the house of a Christian. He dug a pit in the cowshed, with the approval of the owner, and lived there six months.

After six months, he arrived in the forest to us, and was astonished to see, that in the woods and among the partisans there were still Jews, alive.

As was his custom always, even in the forest he couldn't live without working. As a builder, he built in the forest an oven for baking bread, for the partisan group “Porotchnik Bogolski.” Unfortunately we didn't have a chance to use the oven even once, because we were forced to leave the place for fear of the Ukrainian gangs in the neighborhood. Before that, he used to build roofs for the Christians' houses, in collaboration with Gershon Gruber and Yoske Brezniak, who were his helpers. They would chop wood in the forest and make wooden tiles called “dranitzes” – and this was how they earned their bread honorably. They were famous in the neighborhood as roof builders, and all residents would “stand in line” and wait for their work.

In March 1944, as we were liberated by the Red Army, he was employed by the Russians as responsible for the wool-knitting machines in Rafalovka. Later he relocated to Poland and from there he went to Eretz Israel, bringing with him two Torah-Scrolls, which he saved from the Rafalovka synagogue. In Israel he settled in Western Kiryat Chayim. In his courtyard he built a synagogue, in memory of the martyrs of Rafalovka, Zhlotchek and Olizarka, who perished in the Holocaust.

He died on 20 Elul 5732. May his merits protect us.

Rabbi Isaac Meir builds a 'small temple'

Translation by Rachel Zetland

[ a synagogue and place of learning]

Haim Fikersh[2]

It was a difficult walk for the revered man making his way on the sandy path across the veterans' neighborhood in Kiryat Haim. It was a strenuous effort, but it was worth it. Ever since he heard the echoes of the Rosh Hashanah prayer and the sound of the shofar being blown, he was caught up in an emotional turmoil and his soul was restless to hear the songs and prayer from up close.

He marched heavily but paid no attention to it. He thought about his father's home and the holy life that took place there, the landscape of the town, the Hassidic life he loved so dearly, and from which he had strayed so far…

Caught up in these disturbing thoughts the honored man suddenly found himself at the entrance of the small synagogue surrounded by a group of praying men wrapped in tallith and white kitls, raising their heads to the God in Heaven and singing the hymns of Rosh Hashanah with supreme devotion.

[Page 323]

Wondering about this exalted moment, his eyes fell upon one of the men who was standing in the Western corner praying excitedly. From time to time he would walk up to the others and warmly shake their hand and wish them a Shanah Tovah. He approached the respected man and stretched out his arm to bless him.

Their eyes met. They knew each other, but did not remember where from… Later the revered man was suddenly overwhelmed by emotion. He sneaked out of the synagogue and wandered around, lost in deep reflection.

Yes, he remembered, this praying man was no other than Rabbi Isaac Meir. About 6 months ago he had stood before the judge's bench with beseeching looks, asking to justify himself against the verdict he had just been served for having built the foundations for a synagogue in his home in the neighborhood without a permit. The respected man, having been the local judge in that case himself, remembered; he fined the construction of the synagogue he himself prays at 25 Israeli Liras.

Ever since this surprising encounter the judge's consciousness bothered him. He could not find peace and walked the streets for the entire day, refusing to share his inner turmoil with his friends.

At the end of the holiday he stood before Rabbi Isaac Meir's door. The rabbi greeted him and wanted to welcome him into his home. Rabbi Isaac Meir also recognized the judge, but before he could confess, the guest took Rabbi Isaac Meir's bony hands and gave him a wrapped bundle. He asked for forgiveness and slipped away.

When Rabbi Isaac Meir opened his hand 25 Israeli Liras fell on the table… he could see the judge walking from the entrance of his house. He followed him with his eyes and uttered thank you in his gentle and pure voice.


“slept outside to keep guard…

The local judge recognized the pure intentions of Rabbi Isaac Meir who wanted to build a synagogue in the yard of his house and for some reason did not know to follow procedures and obtain a permit.

Rabbi Isaac Meir's neighbors, on the other hand, hampered his progress from the beginning. They objected and said the synagogue does not fit in with the surroundings, populated mainly by people from the Labor [Ha-Avodah] Party who want to work in their yards on Saturdays and the synagogue might “bother them.” These neighbors initiated the legal suit and even threatened to tear down his work, which he had erected with his own hands.

When Rabbi Isaac Meir heard that the neighbors were planning to destroy the foundations of the synagogue despite his requests, begging and pleading, he came up with the naive idea - to leave his warm home and sleep every night between the half-built walls of the new building.

And so he did. Every night, after the evening arvit prayer, he took his thin mattress and two covers and went to sleep in the construction site, near a pile of gravel.

[Page 324]

Rabbi Isaac Meir could not fall asleep for a long moment. He was bothered by sad thoughts revolving around only one question:

'Why are the neighbors not allowing him to build the synagogue?'

Early in the morning, before dawn, he would wake up with dewdrops decorating his blanket. His wife was already standing next to him holding the glass of warm milk. Hedva's heart filled with compassion at the sight of her husband and his 'sleeping arrangement', suffering from the night's cold and the mosquito bites. She too asked herself, 'Why are they determined to wreck what is so important to her and her husband Rabbi Isaac Meir?'


The catastrophe that beget the idea

“The neighbors would surely have a different attitude if they heard the story of Rabbi Isaac Meir and knew his pure character,” said to us a man from the Navy, while he lead us to his house in the veterans' neighborhood in Kiryat Haim at the beginning of last week. Excited, he described how Rabbi Isaac Meir, with his na.vet., good heart and simple ways had won over many of the neighborhood residents, including himself. They began supporting him in his struggle and even helping him realize his project.

Later on we found ourselves sitting with Rabbi Isaac Meir, an elderly man, a man of labor[3]. He is a tall and strong man, despite his age. When we presented ourselves to him he smiled generously, because he had thought at first that we were from the municipality….

His smile disappeared as we began talking. He crossed his bony hands and started telling us how he decided to see the establishment of this synagogue in his yard as the consolation for the troubles and calamities that happened to him in the past.

It was in 1941. Rabbi Isaac Meir was walking with a meager bundle on his shoulder. He had just run away from Rafalovka, a small town in Poland. He ran away on his own. His family did not want to leave with him and even laughed when he thought “something bad was about to happen.” Rabbi Isaac Meir guessed the calamity, but he did not imagine its magnitude. One morning the Germans raided the town, killing its residents, including his family, wife, brothers and young children. He himself continued to roam the forests. After a few days he found shelter with a Polish goy who was concerned about him and offered to let him dig a pit in the cowshed and stay there till things cooled down.

Rabbi Isaac Meir stayed in the pit for 6 months and only his endurance and faith helped him survive the sufferings of life in a pit dug in the ground. The goy's good heartedness also helped him a great deal. Every morning he would drop a skin water bottle and a basket of food into the pit. Doing this, he would hear Rabbi Isaac Meir's hymns coming up from the pit in a moving voice full of pain.

Russian forces and Jewish partisan managed to get Rabbi Isaac Meir out of the pit. He saw the light of day again, but it was a different, dimmer light…

[Page 325]

Rabbi Isaac Meir returned to the town and started to look for the remains of the family. He found no one. Everything was destroyed and nothing remained of the beloved town. Everything lay in ruins, the houses, the vegetable gardens, and even the synagogues and their special atmosphere. That day Rabbi Isaac Meir walked and walked, crying ceaselessly, looking for a remnant of all that once was there.

Rabbi Isaac Meir would scan the town's streets, burrowing through the garbage and searching in the cowsheds. Here he found Torah scrolls soaked with the blood of Jews. He gathered them up and hid them and carried them with him on his long journey through many countries until he came to the Holy Land.

Rabbi Isaac Meir wanted to commemorate his family and his destroyed town and did not know how. He met his wife, Hedva, while she was also looking for her family. She immigrated to Israel with him and they got married. When they moved to the veterans' neighborhood in Kiryat Haim they began to contemplate the creation of a synagogue in their yard, which they would name after their families and dear ones.


The synagogue- before completion

As mentioned before, there were many factors that hindered Rabbi Isaac Meir's project, but finally the honest will of the Rabbi, his wife, and their devoted minyan [a group of ten men needed for prayer, R.Z.] prevailed.

They would gather everyday between minha and ma'ariv, pick up the working tools, and continue building under the professional guidance of Isaac Meir, and so they completed the 'small temple', course upon course.

When the large hall of the synagogue was completed Torah life began emanating it. The number of worshipers grew. Torah lessons were held daily and the neighborhood filled with Sabbath hymns and Hassidic melodies that were once sung in Rabbi Isaac Meir's dear town. His wife, Hedva, did not spare effort and would bake and cook different kinds of Sabbath dishes to distribute among the worshipers. Even the neighborhood children began visiting the synagogue. Initially they were drawn to the place by curiosity, but with time they developed a special kind of love, planted there by Rabbi Isaac Meir himself, who would gather them from the streets into the synagogue every evening, sit them down and give them presents. The kids, their eyes sparkling with mischief, would listen attentively to Rabbi Isaac Meir while he told them tales from the Torah. Their parents laughed to themselves, seeing their children in the synagogue. 'The adults changed their attitude towards me,' says Rabbi Isaac Meir, 'thanks to the little children.'

Aryeh Yadushlivy, from the neighboring town of Kiryat Shmuel, told us about the special atmosphere in this synagogue, with such an abundance of worshipers there is not enough room for everyone. He too prefers to schlep over everyday despite the great distance, in order to come to this synagogue “where simplicity reigns and prayer is pure.”

Rabbi Isaac Meir is very busy with the preparations for Yom Kippur but he does not complain. On the contrary, his heart is overcome by great pleasure and satisfaction fills his soul, because, thank God, he succeeded in realizing his greatest dream.

[Page 326]

The remnants of the town who live in Israel, some of them respected men and public figures, recognize this synagogue as a true memorial to the town's people. They come here every year in order to commune with their dear ones. This encouraged Rabbi Isaac Meir in his endeavors.

Rabbi Isaac Meir accompanies us through the streets of the neighborhood. Before we bid him farewell he tells us in his captivating way that he has an odd sense that the souls of the town's people are hovering inside this 'small temple'. It seems to him, he says, that they are joining in the prayers. And it is this thought that renders Rabbi Isaac Meir's efforts worthwhile.


  1. [מנין] ,[בסרגליק]. Return
  2. This is most likely an article that appeared sometime in the 50’s or 60’s. It is written by a journalist [ חיים פיקרש ]. The story of the escape differs somewhat from that given by Rabbi Isaac Meir’s granddaughter (on p. 321 of the original book). I chose to end the translations with this moving piece about commemoration. Return
  3. This is probably a play on words, meant to bring Rabbi Isaac Meir closer to his Labor Party neighbors. Return

In memory of my grandfather Yakov Bass z”l

by David Brill

Translation by Sara Mages

Passed away on 20 Heshvan 5748 - 22 November 1987

When a person's life cycle ends, it is customary to eulogize him with words of praise and glorification in a manner known and customary by all.

It is hard to say words in memory of my grandfather Yakov, difficult and complicated. The heart refuses to believe that the man dearest to us is no longer with us. I cannot express in words what grandfather was to each of us and the entire family.

Grandfather's biography is intertwined with the major events of the Jews in the twentieth century, before and after the Second World War. He witnessed the pogroms against the Jews in his immediate area, and heard about pogroms on the Jews in far-off places before the Second World War. He went through days, and moments, of scenes of horror when his family was taken by the Nazis together with all the Jews of Rafalovka Ghetto - to the Valley of Slaughter. He managed to save his son David z”l, and his daughter Rivka may she live a long life. He saved human lives, Jews and none Jews, in the partisans' camp in the forests.

With the end of the Second World War my grandfather wandered in difficult routes through Poland and Italy and arrived in Eretz Yisrael.

The son, David z”l, was among the defenders of the Lower Galilee and fell in the War of Independence.

Grandfather z”l did not succumb to the decrees of fate, he fought, established a new home in Israel and a loving family.

For us, the grandchildren, grandfather was a symbol of a good man, a righteous man, who assisted every person in his distress, in every way possible, within the framework of his profession as a pharmacist, and outside of his official role.

In his last years, grandfather derived pleasure from his family, which was scattered in several places, but united and cohesive. Fanya, may she live long, the beloved wife of grandfather Yakov z”l, Irit, Yonatan and the grandchildren live in adjoining houses. Their daily closeness was his support and source of happiness and strength, There is no doubt, that this situation strengthened grandfather's spirit, added will and strength, and contributed to the continuation of his work in his profession and, most importantly, in providing help to others.

Grandfather died a painless death, a right that is only given to the righteous.

I was rewarded to be next to my grandfather, together with my mother, in his last moments. Also when it was difficult for him to breathe, and he felt that his strength is running out, he kept his lucidity and talked to us on current affairs.

The parting from grandfather Yakov, the noble loving and dedicated, is difficult for all of us.

We will remember our grandfather forever.

David Brill, son of Rivka and Yosef Brill, grandson of Yakov Bass.

[Page 327]

My brother David Bass z”l

by Rivka Brill

Translation by Sara Mages

David, my brother, was born in 1927 in Vladimerets. When he was a baby our parents left his birthplace, Vladimerets, and moved to the town of Rafalovka. Here, David went through a happy childhood with the family. He was a beautiful and smart boy. He finished his studies at the elementary school and with hope looked forward to his future.

And now came the days of war and Holocaust. The Nazi occupation put an end to his youthful dream, and like everyone else he knew hardships and suffering. When he was with the forced laborers outside the ghetto he was able, along with me and our father, to be saved from the hand of the murderers. On the day of the slaughter of the Jews of Rafalovka, our beloved mother Zelda and our beloved brother Natan also perished.

He traveled with us on the mourning roads of the villages and forests and knew hunger, cold and disease until he joined the ranks of the partisans. He was still a boy, but his stature and body structure helped him to be accepted as one of the fighters. With a weapon in hand, he fulfilled the revenge order and eliminated those who destroyed his people and family.

Even with the liberation of our area by the Red Army, David did not part from his weapon, and as a volunteer participated in the extermination of the murderers who walked freely in the streets even after the Nazi defeat.

David set out with us on the escape routes and illegal immigration and arrived in Italy. There, he was recruited by the soldiers of the Jewish Brigade into one of the kibbutzim in Italy. There' weapons were concentrated for the Jewish settlements in Israel that were in a bitter struggle for their existence and independence. Together with other young men he packed the weapons and prepared them for shipment. In 1946, David arrived in Israel and joined Kibbutz Ginosar. Also now he continued his military operations in the ranks of the “Haganah.” He joined the “Palmach” and spent most of his time standing on guard.

David was loved by all who knew him. He hoped to build his life as one of the pioneers. However, fate eliminated his hopes

In 1948, on January 1, when my brother left on a patrol with other members to secure the Tiberias-Safed road, they encountered an Arab gang. David was severely wounded in the battle and was taken to a hospital in Tiberias. He knew that there was no hope for his life and in his last moments he asked them to send his greetings to his father and sister, and tell them that it is easy for him to die feeling that he has fulfilled his role as a faithful son to his people and his country.

May his soul be bound in the bond of everlasting life.

[Page 328]

Shaul Katz – the preacher at the gate

by Yitzchak Brill

Translation by Sara Mages

Shaul Katz was the central man in the life of the Zionist movement in Rafalovka-Station and one of the wondrous characters in it. He was one of the town's dignitaries. His occupation was in the forest trade. In his spare time he engaged in activities for the Zionist movement and in talks with all circles of the population, from young to old.

The issues mainly revolved around the problems of our national existence and the problems of time and place. People liked to talk to him and wherever he stood a circle of listeners was formed. He was smart and intelligent. He knew to give a correct answer to those who asked for his opinion, as well as to give a good advice. He was affable, friendly and instilled a good atmosphere around him. He had a sense of humor and knew how to defeat his opponents without insulting them. Therefore, he was accepted by all the people in town, and even by his political opponents.

Shaul Katz was one of the loyal followers of Yitzhak Gruenbaum, and the representative of “Al HaMishmar” party in town. Everyone admitted, Shaul is a loyal and dedicated Zionist and does for the Zionist idea, and Eretz Yisrael, more than any other person in the town.

He was in contact with the central institutions of the Zionist federation in Warsaw, spoke at the synagogue on current Zionists issues, organized the elections for the Zionists Congresses, and coordinated the activity of Keren Kayemet in the town.

In his conversations Shaul Katz repeated the argument that the Zionist goal would be achieved only by building an infrastructure for the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael, by immigration and settlement, and opposed political adventurousness. His motto was “we must immigrate to Eretz Yisrael.” For that reason he was the patron of the pioneering youth movements in town, “HeHalutz” and “Hashomer Hatzair.” Their graduates left for hakhshara to prepare for immigrate to Eretz Yisrael. He met the instructors, encouraged them in their activities, and lectured at branches on current Zionist issues. He helped a company of Kibbutz Klosova to establish itself in the town and get a job in the sawmill.

However, he wasn't only active with the youth. Shaul Katz was close to all the strata of the local population, and the only person in town who conducted propaganda for immigration to Eretz Yisrael. His conversations with people in the synagogue's yard, on the street, in the shops, at any time and at every possible opportunity, were mainly about the political situation and immigration.

I remember, that already in the mid 1930s, Shaul spoke about the invasion of the Red Army to annex the eastern territories of Poland to the Soviet Union as an event that would surely take place in the near future, and that the Germans would not accept it in silence.

When the economic situation of the Jewish settlement in Eretz Yisrael improved in the 1930s, with the beginning of the immigration of German Jews to Eretz Yisrael, and it was difficult to get an [immigration] “certificate,” Shaul turned to the wealthy merchants and shopkeepers and offered them to sell their property and immigrate to Eretz Yisrael as capitalists. Those who had one thousand pounds sterling could enter Eretz Yisrael without restriction.

On this subject he argued bitterly and harshly, with his interlocutors and attacked their indifference and their assertiveness. “How long” he would ask, can you own your property in Poland? When the Russians come they will take everything from you.

“Listen Yehudah,” I heard him saying to a rich grain merchant: “one of these two - either the neighbor will come from the east and take all these sacks from you, or the neighbor from the west will come and take your soul too!” Now you can save not only your family, but also your property and money.”

Shaul had no money to immigrate as a capitalist, but he was convinced of the truth of his opinion and belief, and preached it to others. Shaul managed to leave Poland before the Second World War and immigrated to Brazil where his daughter lived.

Shaul Katz arrived in Israel, to the country of his dreams, when he was very old and lived in Haifa on the Carmel. I traveled to visit him and managed to see him before his passing. He maintained his sanity and his sense of humor. May his memory be blessed.

[Page 330]

Yosef Gadish z”l

Lines to his image

Translation by Sara Mages

Yosele - that's what everyone called that energetic young man who came to Kibbutz Yagur in the mid-1930s. His first steps were in the vineyard. He had great aspiration to expand his education, and when this aspiration also suited the kibbutz's need for teachers, Yosele was sent to study at the Kibbutzim College of Education. He later added a year of study at the Hebrew University. He was a quick learner and had excellent organizational skills.

With the split in HaKibbutz Hameuchad, Yosele left Yagur and took on himself the management of the religious school in Acre - a city of immigrants. Thanks to his activity among the immigrants, and his tireless dedication, he was elected mayor. Since Acre was a mixed city of immigrants and Arabs, Yosele saw the need for a more thorough acquaintance with the problems of the Arabs, and indeed, he studied Arabic well and was later appointed director of the Arab Education Department in the Ministry of Education.

His organizational talent was expressed when he was elected deputy mayor of Jerusalem, a position he held until his last day.

May his memory be blessed.

Beit Yagur
Participates in the mourning of
Sonka Gruber and the family members

For the death of her brother - Yosele Gadish

[Page 331]

R' Mates Gayer Sheines of Olizarka z”l

by Lipa and Leibel Goz

Translation by Sara Mages

As we recall our beloved town Rafalovka the two small towns, Zoludzk and Olizarka, which resided next to it and were an essential and integral part of the picture of life in the economy, immediately rise up and connect to this picture.

These two small towns were located a distance of about six kilometers from Rafalovka.

Rafalovka was the economic, commerce, cultural and religious center, both to the Jews and the gentiles who sat around it. In terms of way of life they were as one body - the same customs, the same cultural values and the same views of life. The unity was not only external, every person, and every family, was connected to the local people. The joy of the individual was the joy of all and if, God forbid, a disaster came, it was the disaster of the entire public.

When mentioning brotherhood and mutual concern, the exemplary figure of R' Mates Gayer Sheines from Olizarka, who was called by all “Der Tzadik,” immediately rises. He was one in his generation. He served as an example to others in his deeds and pure Judaism. For good reason he was considered in the eyes of the locals to be one of the “Lamed Vav Tzadikim” [“36 righteous ones”). R' Mates Gayer was poor but rich in knowledge. Full like a pomegranate with Torah and wisdom. He cared for all people whose lives were deprived, the needy, the widows, the orphans and the like. The housewives knew they had to set aside for the needy from the pastry they bake in honor of the Shabbat and Yom Tov. R' Mates walked from to house to house with a sack on his shoulder, and collected rations for the poor. He distributed them to the houses so that the town's poor would not be ashamed when the Sabbath came. His activity was not limited to these three towns. He was in close and constant contact with many yeshivot in Poland and Eretz Yisrael. He also sent donations and gifts to various people, to encourage them and to fill their heart with faith and joy also in times of distress and crisis.

I remember that after I immigrated to Israel in 1936, a bearded man from Tiberias came to visit me with a letter from of R' Mates in his hand. In his letter he asked how I was doing and was interested in my situation in Israel. Such was the righteous, merciful and loving like a father, and like him were the people of our dear towns.

[Page 332]

To Chaim Bratt z”l – a member, brother and friend

by Yitzchak Gurfinkel

Translation by Sara Mages

Words next to his grave on 8.5.1989

On your fresh grave, Chaim, a few words from a member, brother and friend, in my name and the names of all your friends, who have accompanied and walked with you almost all the way.

I am not convinced, and not even sure, that the obituaries were to your liking. However, I must say a few words at this occasion that will describe your character and the lines that characterize you. This is for those who will live after you, continue your legacy and carry your name with honor. In a eulogy, it is customary to glorify, exalt and tell of the events in the life of the esteemed deceased, about medals, decorations and acknowledgements given to him in his life.

But, what to do? Modest and shy you were in your life and these are your virtues. This is how we got to know you, and as such we will remember you. You did not push to the head of the line and you were not quick-tempered: a honest, good mannered man who was very active not in order to receive a reward.

It can be said with confidence that wherever a person was needed, and it was necessary to lend a hand - they found you there. The list of places, important events and deeds, in which you participated as one of us, is long.

Your survival as a child, there, in the Valley of Slaughter, on the road of hardships until your arrival in Israel constitutes an adventure story in itself. However, even when you arrived in Israel, you did not disappear, as someone who has already given his share. You volunteered to the “Palmach” and participated in all the chapters of heroism that your elite unit has written to establish the country and defend it.

And even when the state was established, and set out to accumulate years, history and momentum, you were with it, as part of it, in the reserve service and every site, with no problem and evasion. You gave your full share - and a little more.

You started a family and raised children who continue, and will continue, to walk in the the path you have paved for them. It seems that the angel of death also treated you with respect and courtesy, and when he visited you when she was ill, he left you and gave you time to attend your beloved daughter's wedding. You derived pleasure when you saw her and her husband at the beginning of the journey, as independents building their own life.

And then, only then you were called to join and dwell in a place where only the righteous dwell. With all your meager strength, with your nails, you clung to life. Until your last day you tried to work and help others. But your strength ran out, the terrible disease devoured you and you were silenced.

To Shoshana, Dubi, Shimon and Yael, the daughters-in-law and son-in-law, the grandchildren, the sisters, and the entire extended family, there are no consolations for the untimely departure of the beloved and dearest of all.

[Page 333]

My wife

by Natan (Neta) Dov Velman

Translation by Sara Mages

In memory of my beloved wife, Feiga Zipora Velman z”l, daughter of
Bella and Chaim Drezner, who passed away on 24 Shevat 5748

At her parents' house they were content with little. A simple life, material poverty but, on the other hand, an inexhaustible spiritual wealth, full of content, full of hope and a lot of faith. They were seven children. Her father, Haim, was an outstanding soldier in Tsar Nikolai's army in Russia. At that time the service lasted twenty-five years. He managed to escape and build the family. He was an agile and diligent tailor in his work. He found his livelihood by walking through the villages and sewing for the peasants in their houses. For kashruth reasons he took a special cooking pot from his home. The father sewed new clothes for each of his children. He wanted them to be respected outside according to their clothes, and that no one will notice the economic situation at home. In doing so he prevented frustrations for his children.

Her mother, Bella, was a woman of velour in her work at home. She took care of seven children. In addition, their grandmother (on their father's side) lived in their home and one brother, Yakov, was ill for a long period of time. Their mother woke up every day before sunrise to do what was needed around the house. At that time, everything was done by hand, baking and cooking, and all other household chores. The tasks were difficult and heavy. My wife's parents excelled despite the difficult situation and financial hardship. They made sure to give their children, including the girls, a good education at “Tarbut” school. As we know the language of instruction was, Hebrew. The parents paid the tuition. At home they instilled virtues, good values and manners. The mother was from a privileged family and was careful to run the house in accordance with law and custom.

When the war between Germany and the Soviet Union broke out, the authorities provided rail cars to everyone who wanted to escape to Russia. My wife's family did not leave their place of residence because they were afraid to start a nomadic life.

My wife left and took her young brother, Eliezer, with her. He sang in the cantor's choir in the synagogue.

In 1942, my wife, who was a practical nurse for the kolkhozes in Uzbekistan, left to obtain food for Eliezer. When she returned on the next day she has been told that he died of exhaustion and starvation and they buried him.

Her parents Bella and Chaim, her brother Noah and his family, her sister Dvora and her family, the brothers Efrain and Asher, perished in the Holocaust, and she, Feiga, remained lonely and lonesome.

Feiga-Zipora, with women's wisdom, built a home with me.

My wife has passed away and I feel her absence, and I feel that many also feel her absence.

[Page 334]

The life story of Yakov Shmuel Wiener z”l

by Ziva Wiener née Resher

Translation by Sara Mages

Yakov was born in a small town named Olizarka on 3 Shevat 5674 - 28.2.1914. He received religious Hassidic education in “Hadarim” and in Lutsk Yeshiva. He also studied at the Hebrew gymnasium in Kovel and at the Teachers' Seminar in Warsaw. In college he took a journalism course from the greatest journalists of his generation such as: Hillel Zeitlin, Noyekh Pry³ucki and Yosef Heftman.

When he was still a youth he taught the town's children. In 1933, Yakov z”l was the secretary general of “HaNoar HaZioni” [Zionist Youth] movement in Rivne, Wolyn Volvodeship. He was very successful and established many branches in the surrounding towns. He was a good speaker and a talented writer, and published many pamphlets and booklets for the movement's instructors. His reputation preceded him and in 1934 was asked to join the movement's center in Warsaw. He worked there until his immigration to Israel. He visited towns and was received in every place with love and admiration. Thanks to him many members immigrated to Israel.

In 1935, he immigrated to Israel with his wife, may she live long. He tried to live in Kibbutz Ramat HaSharon, but he was not used to the hard work in agriculture, so he settled in Tel Aviv.

Yakov did not loathe any work until Dizengoff z”l, the mayor of those times, gave him a job in the municipality as tax collector.

His home was open to all members of the group who immigrated to Israel together with him. The members met every Saturday evening. Yakov led several couples of his friends to the Chuppah and derived pleasure from them.

Yakov was loved by all who knew him at the city hall. They soon discovered his talents and he was transferred to the position of secretary of the property tax department. In this position he retired in 1975.

Yakov was elected principal of “Ohel Shem” [high school] which prospered when he was its principal. He also organized many performances and prayer evenings. He was also entrusted with the management of “Nahmani Hall” where he also stood out for his talent.

Yakov, immediately after his arrival in Israel, became active in the General Zionist party. In the evening he was active in the House of Polish Immigrants for new immigrants. He was also among the founders of “Beit Wolyn” together with Avtichi z”l from Rivne. Over the years he participated in meetings and deliberations of “Beit Wolyn” management.

Yakov was active in many Histadrut institutions as a member of the Likud [party]. He was loved in every place like: in the Council of Kupat Holim [HMO], the Histadrut Council, and as a judge in the authority of “Beit Brenner.” He was a member of the National Retirement Council, the Elderly Pensioners Committee next to the Welfare Department of the Tel Aviv Municipality. Since 1969, he was a cultural coordinator at “Beit Tabori” where he held folklore evenings, parties and banquets on Purim or Hanukkah.

When the workers' organization moved to the municipality building he organized a monthly cultural show, and for the past five years was chairman of the culture committee of the city's pensioners. He wrote and published dozens of pamphlets which were sent to all members.

[Page 335]

He had no stage fright, and when he stood on the stage it became quiet because the audience liked to hear his words and his catchwords that he used to integrate between the performances of each artist.

Yakov helped to establish the Workers' Organization of the Liberal Party, was chairman of the Liberal Workers 'Council and one of the organizers of the Liberal Workers' Council. Throughout the years he worked with devotion and was the driving force in it.

Before each Independence Day he organized the distribution of scholarships to students so that they could continue their studies. He made sure to raise funds and set up a fund for it. Eventually he established a well-known non-profit organization.

Yakov was member of the “Haganah” in the “Civil Guard.” During the War of Independence was a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces and served as a welfare and culture officer. He helped each soldier separately and during the High Holidays, instead of going home to celebrate with the family, he remained with his soldiers. He obtained a shed and set it up for prayer. He received a Torah scroll and led the prayer as a cantor for those who stayed.

Yaakov was secretary of the Liberal Party in Givatayim and later in Yafo where he taught Hebrew to the Bulgarians. Before each Passover he distributed basic necessities to the needy with the help of Mrs. Puzis z”l, who was chairwoman of the party's women's organization. He organized the distribution of clothes and shoes to children, and conducted a Passover Seder for children. His whole life was dedicated to others.

Yakov organized the members of the towns, Rafalovka, Zoludzk and the vicinity, and held conferences, meetings and parties. He was the driving force of the organization. Every year he organized a memorial service for the members of his town and many came to attend it from all corners of the country.

Yakov edited a number of books in memory of people and towns in Wolyn which were annihilated in the Holocaust. The book in memory of the people of the town of Trochenbrod was archived in “Yad Vashem.” The newspaper “Davar” praised the editor for the editing style of the book “The tree and its roots” in memory of the victims of Trochenbrod and the surrounding area.

Yakov edited pamphlets in memory of the soldiers who fell in the Israeli wars.

My beloved Yakov was an exemplary husband, a brother and a soul mate. There was a great understanding between us. Sometimes one expressed what the other thought. We always went out together and toured the country with friends.

Yakov was a father who loved his children, played with them and spent his free time with singing and joy. In every “Isru Chag” he took them on trips and spent a whole day with them.

The love of the country and Zionism were ingrained in him since the dawn of his childhood. He loved his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren. He loved them with all his heart and always had a story for them. With a smile on his face he put them on his knees, stroked them and hugged them. They returned his love. To this day they remember and regret that he left them forever. They mention him at every moment because they miss his loving heart. The eldest great-granddaughter asks why he left and when he will return.

Every holiday we invited not only the family, but also individuals and couples, for a holiday meal, especially on Passover. He conducted the “Passover Seder” properly and many guests sat around the table. He was loved by people because he always helped his fellow man.

[Page 336]

Yakov was among the founders of the Great Synagogue in Yad Eliyahu neighborhood, and was one of its operators. The rabbis considered him and valued his wisdom. He was a man of tradition. Every Shabbat and holiday he went to pray. When he was called up to the reading of the Torah, his voice echoed throughout the synagogue and in the last two years he has been the gabbai.

He did this activity voluntarily. He was an advocate to everyone in need, and his door in the municipality was open for every person in need.

After the municipal workers organization published a monthly booklet called “Shearim,” Yakov regularly wrote articles that stood out in an excellent literary style. Many called him to thank him for his literary work, and this was his reward.

When he fell ill, he had a hard coping with the situation because he could not be active. It adversely affected his health until he collapsed and returned his soul to the Creator. There are no consolations for me and the whole family.

We would never forget him.

May his soul be bound in the bond of everlasting life.

His wife, Ziva Wiener

R' Michel Bebchuk z”l

by Yakov Wiener

Translation by Sara Mages

Words on the thirtieth day [from burial]

Michel Bebchuk died on 5 Shevat 5733 - 8/2/1973

It is very difficult to stand by the grave of a beloved townsman I have known since childhood. The heart shrinks from sorrow and pain, because when Michel Bebchuk was taken a fertile, fresh tree with many branches was cut off from us.

Michel Bebchuk had a sensitive and kind soul. Simplicity and modesty characterized his speech and actions. After all, the man was the most important in his environment and he demonstrated leadership ability in times of need for the Jews of Rafalovka.

Our townsman, Eliezer Gruber, his old, devoted and loyal friend, tells us: screams of fear were heard in the town. Rioters, ready to destroy and kill, appeared in the town and coveted the meager property of the Jews.

Michel Bebchuk was the only person in Rafalovka who volunteered to protect the town's residents. He climbed on the “woda-kazeka,” the water tower, fired a machine gun at the rioters and drove them away.

Later, Michel Bebchuk organized the Jewish defense in the town and, more than once, the local haters of the Jews felt the vigorous beatings of the members of the defense.

Death that uproots a person from the bosom of his family - from his wife, his daughter, his brother, his relatives and his townspeople, has the most terrifying drama in it. Although every person's life ends sooner or later, there is nothing crueler than the reality that it has been thirty days since the noble soul of Michel Bebchuk Yakobi was taken from us.

It is still hard to come to terms with fate, that the friendly smile will no longer be seen, it is still hard to believe that a man who was full of mercy for all who suffer, is no longer with us. Bebchuk was the subject and the object, he showered upon you innocence and tenderness. The man of intelligent bustling conversation was silenced. His eyes, which expressed love and humility, purity and serenity, closed for ever.

Michel left a sense of loss with his wife Sonia, distress on his daughter, darkness at home, and gloom among the former residents of Rafalovka.

The chair in his house is orphaned, its duties ceased. Suddenly it is uprooted from is contents, like a mountain that has been uprooted from its place and a flat and open plain remains.

We will not say much on the thirtieth day, because we still cannot appreciate all the virtues of Michel Bebchuk.

We will have another opportunity to publish the life story of Michel Bebchuk.

Beloved Michel, the unforgettable! Rest in peace and be an honest advocate for your loved ones, your family and your townspeople.

May your soul be bound in the bond of life for eternity.

[Page 337]

In memory of Yakov-Bar Zalzman

by Arye Yedushlivi

Translation by Sara Mages

Yakov-Bar Zalzman, brother of Rachel Yadushlivi, managed to leave the ghetto. He escaped to the forests in the vicinity of the village of Tyukavich since he knew the gentiles in the area. By nature, he was a brave and daring young man who helped the Jews who fled the ghettos of Rafalovka and Vladimerets.

He was among the first to join the partisan company, “Death to fascism,” which operated in the surrounding forests. It was a special fighting company and, among other things, its men were responsible for bringing the weapons that the Russians had dropped over the forests for distribution among the partisan companies in the area.

In January 1944, when the city of Sarny was already liberated by the Soviet Army, The partisan brigades in the area planned to occupy the city of Rivne and give it as a gift to the Red Army. A brutal fight was developed in the Tsuman Forests between the partisans and the retreating German army. In this battle Yakov was wounded in the knee, the partisans brought him to a hospital in Sarny where Yakov died from his injury. His brother-in-law Arye Yedushlivi, who was later recruited into the Red Army, happened to be in the cemetery for partisan fighters and there he found his grave. His name and surname were marked on it and at the end the words: “World praise to the partisan fighters who gave their lives for the socialist homeland.”

[Page 338]

Words in memory of our father, Yosef Goz z”l

by Ma'anit Levinger, Bracha Zilberstein and Nava Spenov

Translation by Sara Mages

Our father was one of the children of Mania and Moshe Goz, may Hashem avenge their blood. We, his daughters, who were born here in the State of Israel, only know some of his brothers and sisters because not all of them survived the Holocaust that befell the Jews of Europe under Nazi rule, and also because some of them died at a young age in a foreign land before we could meet them.

We did not know grandmother and grandfather Goz because they were murdered with their children and with other townspeople.

For us father was a strong man, a very devoted father, caring and educating. At times, he was meticulous no less than he knew how to laugh and be funny.

About his past, before he married our mother, Chaya z”l née Freiberg (also a Holocaust survivor), we knew almost nothing. Like many of this generation he tried to spare us an encounter with the horror he and his family went through. This chapter is definitely missing. Later, and a little too late, after his death, we have been told about him by people who knew and loved him, especially his sister Yentel, may she live long, who lives in the United States, and his nephew Shalom Meir, may he live long. According to them, our father was a man who invested all his physical strength, dedication and mental strength, to save whoever was possible from his family.

From all the testimonies, a picture of a brave and fearless figure appeared before us. He has done everything to survive and help those close to him stay alive with him.

These memories matched the man we knew - he clung to life, struggled if needed, and fought like a lion for those close and dear to him.

And for all these we cherish his memory with love, alongside the memory of our beloved mother. After her death he could no longer fight for life and walked away from them in great pain shortly after her death.

Daughters of Chaya and Yosef Goz z”l
Ma'anit Levinger
, Jerusalem
Bracha Zilberstein, Zikhron Ya'akov
Nava Spenov, Ariel

[Page 339]

My brother Moshe Dichter (Moshka)

by Sheindil Leiserov née Dichter

Translation by Sara Mages

The year 1939, the Germans invaded Poland.

Notices, on behalf of the Polish government, call its citizens who have served in the army to report to their units in their place of service.

Moshka, my brother, who served in Krakow, hurried to the last train leaving Rafalovka to enlist.

The parting was very sad.

A few days later, we received a letter from him that he fell in German captivity. With him was Bril Brat, son of Simcha Brat (from Rafalovka). Later, he was sent to Auschwitz, to the concentration camp. Moshka sent a letter to America, to our cousin Motel Bakalchuk, brother of Rachel Rosenfeld.

He asked him to get him an entry visa to America. When our cousin visited Israel he told us that he applied to the US State Department and received an answer that America does not interfere in German internal affairs.

Moshka sent a lot of letters home and we sent him packages. In one of the letters he wrote that he couldn't sleep at night. It was the day of his daughter, Riva'le, first birthday. He looked forward to the day they would meet. Moshka was still alive. He wrote a letter to our neighbor, the “gentile” Helena Pansyuk, asking her who was left of our family. At the same time I also sent a letter to that neighbor asking her who survived from our family. No more letters came from him.

My mother, Reizel Dichter, was murdered by Helena Pansyuk's husband. He took my mother to the cellar and tortured her to death.

My heart, my heart goes out to you my beloved.

[Page 340]

My wife Rachel

by Mordechai Menin

Translation by Sara Mages

With sacred feelings I want to eulogize my life partner, my wife, Rachel daughter of R' Yitzchak Meir Zuk, who passed away at such a young age, and she was fifty four. While telling the story of her life, it is possible to learn a lot about life in Rafalovka, about the worldview of the people and everything that happened to them in the years before, and during, the Second World War.

My wife's family, the Zuk family, counted ten souls, the father Yitzchak Meir, the mother Pesia and their eight children, six daughters and two sons. Life at home was difficult. At a young age the children were forced to go out to work in a wool factory at their home. In the summer the father wandered far, he worked as a plasterer.

Out of the entire family only three children and the father remained. Zipora, the daughter, traveled to Eretz Yisrael in 1933. One brother, Avraham, remained in Russia. My wife Rachel and her father, Yitzchak Meir Zuk, and I immigrated to Israel in 1949. Her father built a synagogue in Kiryat Motzkin in memory of the town's residents who perished.

My uncles, Yitzchak Lise and Yakov Dicker, built a synagogue in Kiryat Motzkin named “Tifereth-Yisrael,”

In her youth the daughter Rachel, my wife, worked very hard in her home. As mentioned, this was a family with many children. She worked for their living, helped the family and also took care of the young children.

I met her in 1934. In 1939, the war broke out, the Russians entered Rafalovka, and we were a young couple. The place was in a state of chaos. Many refugees came to us and it was necessary to establish order and find a place for them to live.

My wife Rachel started to work as a librarian for the Russians and also worked hard at home until 1941.

Hitler got closer. I was drafted into the Red Army, we separated and agreed that my wife would come to Russia, and so it happened. The separation and loneliness were unbearable. Many refugees fled east and the Germans, as well as the Red Army, fired at them. Rachel was in a settlement in Russia while I was in the Red Army, far from her.

For almost three years we did not see each other. My wife crossed the Russia's border with a group that included, among others, her brother Avraham, my brother Aharon, aunt Tamar Zuk, her husband and also Sheindil Leizrov.

On her way, my wife carefully inspected every hill on which was a mound of soldiers' graves. How can one describe in words such a desperate situation. A young woman, who has left her home and family, is searching for her beloved among the graves. It is, after all, an indescribable suffering.

In 1943, I met her brother Avraham and my uncle Mordechai when I was on a truck in the company of soldiers. Then, I found out that my wife was in a kolkhoz in Uzbekistan.

We started corresponding and eventually Rachel came together with Tamar Zuk to the camp where I was located. Here they received food after the years of famine and disease in Uzbekistan.

It was not until 1944 that news began to arrive that all the families had been murdered, and that that none of our family remained.

In 1945, our daughter Penina was born in Chelyabinsk in the Ural. We named our daughter after her grandmother Pesia Zuk.

Once again we began the long journey towards Eretz Yisrael with the thought of reaching Zipora in Eretz Yisrael. Father stayed with the partisans.

On the way, in Poland, we were shot. My wife lay on baby Penina so she could stay alive and the bullets would not reach her. She shielded our daughter with her body.

From Poland, in an illegal way, we arrived in Austria. We stole borders, crossed the Alps at night with my baby in my arms, and later through Germany and Italy. Here our son was born and we named him Yakov after my father. In 1949 we arrived in Israel with two small children.

The period of austerity began in Israel. It was difficult to live with two babies in an immigrant camp. But the cleanliness that my wife maintained was not for nothing. She did not loathe any job that could help the family.

My wife passed away a year after the marriage of our son Yakov. Her life was short and full of hardships.

Her life was plucked and she did not reap its fruits. Rachel got to see her first grandchild. She was excited to hear every word he said.

On my bed at night I asked for my beloved, asked for her, and could not find her.

May her memory be blessed.

[Page 341]

In memory of Reizil Dichter

by Mordechai Menin

Translation by Sara Mages

Reizil Dichter z”l was a widow with four sons and a daughter: Sunia, Shikl, Moshe, Yosi and Sheindel.

I visited their home a number of times. They had a shop. Since I was an orphan, and my mother a widow, I have always felt a sense of solidarity with that family and appreciation for the great courage of Reizil Dichter.

My blood froze when I heard how she died. A malicious Ukrainian hand threw her from the cellar stairs in her house.

A modest and beloved woman, Reizil Dichter, is no longer alive.

May her soul be bound in the bond of everlasting life.

[Page 342]

In memory of my son

by Rivka Rozman née Schwartzblatt

Translation by Sara Mages

In memory of my son, Shlomo, who was born on 9.9.26 and fell in November 1944.

What can a mother write about a son who fell 40 years ago?

He was good, smart, talented and loved.

In my memory he remained as he had been in his life.

At the age of six, when he was smaller than boys his age, he went on his own to register to school and was accepted. I remember how amazed the teacher was at the questions he asked. I don't remember the questions, but they were probably were clever because the teacher told me about them. When he finished elementary school the Russians came and opened a high school. He was the youngest student.

Two years later we were already under German occupation. The schools were closed for the Jews and Shlomo left to make a living. He went to work as an apprentice to a carpenter and in a very short time learned the profession. He began to bring bread home, real bread, because the payment was in wheat and we were hungry. When they started sending the Jews to forced labor, Shlomo was also sent to work in a sawmill.

When the first rumors came about the liquidation of the ghetto, he fled to the forest. When we fled to the forest I did not recognize him when we met. He was dressed in peasant clothes and looked like a peasant boy. The joy of the meeting was great. He found himself a job as a shepherd for one of the farmers. Solomon already knew the forest, and the farmers, and helped us a lot in finding food and milk for his little brother.

We were together for a long time. Then, Shlomo joined a partisans unit named after Fyodor Chernigovsky, and he was 17 years old.

Once, as I was wandering in the forest searching for food, I approached the place where the partisans camped. In the distance I saw a partisan standing on guard. I thought that he would not let me pass. And behold, this guard was my son.

He was drafted into the Red Army, in the same year, in 1944, he fell near Krakow.

[Page 343]

My Brother

by Penina Shavit née Brat

Translation by Sara Mages

My beloved brother,

We gathered here today raise your memory. Your family members at all its branches, relatives, friends, acquaintances and comrades, have come here.

The heart refuses to believe that it has been a year since you left us. We miss our conversations and your advice.

You were a support to the whole family and to all of us.

Your young life has not been extremely easy. Your maturity has benefited you. The feature of your life has always been to help everyone. You created a family atmosphere around you, both in the immediate family and with your many friends, your friend in the army and at work. How did you treat your cousin, you brother? - No one believed you were not brothers. You always knew how to give a good advice, even though you were the youngest among us.

How you went to study at night, because during the day you had to work to exist.

You built a beautiful home in Israel, a magnificence family, two sons, daughters-in-law, a daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. You were already very ill but, despite that, you still ran to Bible classes at Bar-Ilan University. You were very proud of it. You told me how interesting it was.

You never complained about the terrible disease that attacked you. Maybe deep in your heart you hoped to overcome it. You fought heroically and you never said “it hurts.”

All my life I will carry with me the memory of the last day you were at my home. When you left you promised me that you will also come tomorrow. Unfortunately, there was no tomorrow for you.

You left quietly, and left us refusing to believe that you, the youngest among us, left first. Sometimes I think that you traveled somewhere and you will return. Many times I say, we'll go to Ziska, as if you are there. After a moment I say, no, no.

[Page 344]

Herzl Dudik z”l

by Penina Shavit née Brat

Translation by Sara Mages

Passed away 5 Tevet 5756, 28.12.1995

Last night I received the bitter news about your death, Herzl.

Herzl, I remember the date, 28.10.1945. By a difficult route I arrived in Milan. I asked the first brigade soldier I had met: “maybe you know Herzl Dudik?” He led me to you, or rather to Rivka, then your girlfriend, today your wife.

From that moment on, you were my guardian. The next day you took me to dress me because I arrived with nothing. On the same day you arranged a job for me. To you I owe my whole career.

In these few words I would like to tell your friends, acquaintances and comrades - this is the man!

I bid you farewell with appreciation.

We will remember you forever.

To Rivka, be strong and courageous.

Leah and Aharon Goz z”l

by Zipora Shazar, Sara Friedman

Translation by Sara Mages

Alone and lonely from their entire extended family - parents, brothers and sisters - our parents, Leah and Aharon Goz, immigrated from Rafalovka to Palestine of that time. They were young, in their early thirties, caring for two small children, and determined to live here and participate in the building of the new homeland.

Our father's deeds and his work were recognized and in 1980 he was crowned “Yakir Hadera,” the city where our parents lived almost all their lives.

He won the title, “Yakir Hadera,” for the his activities in defense and guarding, the establishment of a synagogue in Neve Haim [neighborhood in Hadera], his activity as chief gabbai for twenty years in the old synagogue in Hadera, and his activity in the absorption of immigrants.

Of course, all this could not have been done without our mother, an energetic and active woman, who stood by his side until her death in 1967. The sudden death of his son in 1988 was a severe blow to our father.

For us, the children, it was a warm, loving and supportive home. A home, which was run in an atmosphere of maintaining the mitzvot, with loyalty and love, when the emphasis was - “family” is a supreme value.


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Yizkor Book Director, Lance Ackerfeld
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Updated 12 May 2021 by LA