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Those That Passed Away


In Memory of Mother of blessed memory

by Chana Frydman 19 Kislev 5709 (1950)

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Today marks the conclusion of one month from the day that mother of blessed memory passed away. It is strange, I am not a young girl, but the impact is so great that it is difficult for me to be comforted. Perhaps this is because I lived together with her until the last moment, and I suffered with her. She suffered greatly from the murder of her eldest son, the pride of the family, in Poland. The siege of Jerusalem broke her completely, and she was not able to find comfort. And now the house is empty! Apparently it is only one soul, however in every corner something is missing. The completeness of the family has been damaged, and it so difficult to get used to the thought that mother is not here anymore. How great is the lack. Woe unto our loss, and we will not forget. May her fine soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life.

19 Cheshvan, 5710 (1951)

The first yahrzeit has arrived. A year has passed, a year of sorrow and mourning. I have just returned from the grave, where a small bush grows near the head. The bush is small and modest, just like the life of mother of blessed memory. In moments that I unite myself with her memory, I see her as in the last day of her life, alive as she was before that bitter day. She fought with her last strength against the bitter death, and she was not able to overcome it… her heart weakened; however the glow on her face was sublime. As the sun prior to sunset, we see and feel the approaching sunset and then the thread is cut and detached forever, this was mother! Dear mother! She is no more! Blessed be the true judge! G-d gives and G-d takes, may his name be blessed.

6 Cheshvan 5712 (1953), thirty days after the passing of father of blessed memory

A month has now passed from that terrible day when I became completely orphaned. With the passing of mother of blessed memory three years ago, he comforted me. A father remained in the house, and the completeness of the family was damaged, but not destroyed. Now the house is completely empty, for the glory of the house has been removed, and mourning encompasses it.

How quickly did this all happen, for he was only ill for a few days. We were together with him until his last moments, and we suffered with him. From the time that he found out about the death of his eldest, illustrious son, of whom there are not many like him, during the Holocaust which afflicted Polish Jewry, and furthermore, there was no remnant of his own family, he was not able to be consoled. He often wept bitterly over this, when nobody was looking. When he knew that somebody was around, he regained his composure quickly and swallowed his tears, so that nobody should see him in his weakness. He found some small comfort by studying his books, for he inherited the literary tendencies of his son, however his sensitive and pained heart continued to weaken until it broke completely.

Father of blessed memory was one of the rare personalities of our time, of those Jews who are complete in their faith, with all their resources and soul. He did not know any aberration or compromise. He was pure and upright, his entire life being dedicated to the service of the creator. He made his nights like days and set aside time to study the Torah. He never missed going to the Beis Midrash, whether in wind, rain, or snow, and even during the times of mortal danger during the siege of Jerusalem. Everyone admired him there since he always awakened people for prayer, and he inspired them with a love of Torah. He was willing to do anything on behalf of those who studied Torah, even to serve them, due to his boundless modesty and humility. Even in the house, every moment was dedicated to study, fulfilling the adage: “and you shall study it day and night”. He was diligent in fulfilling the commandment of visiting the sick, as well as arranging for the funerals of those who passed away in our neighborhood, even when it was already difficult for him to walk due to his weakness. In addition, father of blessed memory was very charitable. In order that he should not be lacking any coins for this purpose (he would not take any money from his daughters for this purpose, but would only take from the fruits of his own labor), he supervised the physical order of the Beis Midrash for a small salary.

I will never forget how father of blessed memory welcomed the Sabbaths and festivals. He prepared the first Chanukah candle, cleaned and organized the Chanukah menorah, prepared the wicks, and poured only the finest oil that it was possible to buy. He did this all with devotion, with holy awe and great concentration. I enjoyed so much standing before father of blessed memory at such moments, enjoying his splendor and warming myself from the holy fire that was within him. I enjoyed hearing his enthusiastic singing, and his stories about the miracles and wonders that took place at that time, in this season. He would then sigh and add: “without the miracles that the blessed G-d performs for us at every moment, we would not be able to live. How could we stand up before all of the dangers and tragedies, if it were not for his great kindness.”. Those feelings returned at every holiday and appointed season. He prepared for Yom Kippur with great awe and fear – even though he himself was pure and upright, and would not even hurt a fly on the wall, he was so afraid of the judgement. I could not understand this.

All of the sublime traits were found in father of blessed memory, and perhaps these stood in his merit as he left life, for his holy and pure soul left him as he was standing in prayer, enwrapped in his prayer shawl, on the Sabbath day of the 6th of Tishrei, 5712.

His holy memory will be deeply engraved in our hearts, with love and longing.

Woe unto our loss! We will not forget! May his soul find bliss, and may the clods of his earth be sweetened.


Aharon Ish-Shalom (Frydman)

by Y. P.

Translated by Jerrold Landau

He was the son of Menachem and Sara (nee Ashenheim). He was born in 1896 in Sochaczew to an activist, popular, Hassidic family. He was the grandson of Shalom Tzvi Frydman. He joined the active Zionist movement when he became an adult. He was one of the activists of the People's Library, and he dedicated himself with all his might to the communal activity that was placed upon him. He filled his public duty in the city until he made aliya to the Land.

In 1919, an aliya group was founded consisting of four young men: Aharon, Avraham Yitzchak Weinberg, Tzvi Lewin of blessed memory, and Maroz Mlodaz, may he live long. I helped them steal across the border. They dressed up as Polish youths and succeeded in absconding to Germany. When they got there, they went to work in a coal mine in order to earn money for the journey. They were caught at the Italian border. Tzvi Lewin remained in Germany, and the rest of them were returned to Poland. Weinberg and Maroz were conscripted to the army, and Aharon was freed, since he was below the age of enlistment. In the summer of 1920, Aharon went on his journey again, and succeeded in reaching the Land for the festival of Shavuot. He immediately went into the agricultural preparatory work in Dileb, which is today Kiryat Anavim, and from there he went to Petach Tikva, Tiberias, and he returned to Jerusalem, where he remained until his last day.

{Bottom of page 756 – a newspaper from the Keren Kayemet of Israel in Sochaczew, dated the second day of Sukkot, announcing that an academic guest is coming to visit from the Land of Israel, Aharon Ish Shalom (Frydman).}

He was a man of Jerusalem, and served it in all facets. He worked at many jobs, in particular in building, and he founded the “Yerach” building group in the new city of Jerusalem. This group built the first houses in the neighborhoods of Beit Hakerem and Bayit Vagan. Afterward, they went to Mount Scopus and fixed up the old buildings for the future university.

{Photo page 757, Aharon at the grave of his father on his visit to Sochaczew in 1937. The grave is of Mendel Frydman the son of Shalom Tzvi, who died on the 5th day of Tammuz 5693 (1933) when he was 64 years old.}

They built Kiryat Moshe. He was one of the founders of the Haganah and was active during all of its years of existence. He was one of the founders of Hapoel, and one of the protectors and leaders of the Histadrut house. He transferred to the advisory board of the builders of Jerusalem, and to the union of building workers. From there he went to a contractors office, and finally to Solel Boneh, where he worked until his death. Whoever came in contact with him through work or communal matters, whether they were workers, contractors, or building owners, valued his fine demeanor, his faithfulness, and his dedication to the institution and to the Histadrut house. On occasion, the contractors offered him a position for a high salary, and he refused. He also was a weapons supervisor for the Haganah outside of Jerusalem (in the Borochov neighborhood), and was one of the defenders of Jerusalem. He filled many roles also during the War of Independence.

His spirit was almost broken during the defense of Gush Etzion, for his son Amnon was also one of its defenders. His joy was great when his son returned from prison in Transjordan, however this matter left its mark upon his health. He continued on with dedication in looking after his family, his business ventures, and his communal work, and he merited to witness Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.

He was an example of uprightness and faithfulness in all his endeavors, including in the political area (Mapai), and for the workers of Jerusalem, whom he served with love and leadership for 33 years. His name is perpetuated on the field of Hapoel in Jerusalem.

He died at age 57 of a heart attack on the 5th of Tishrei 5714 (1953).


Tzipora Baum (Albert)

by Y. P.

Translated by Jerrold Landau

{Photo page 759 – Tzipora Baum}

Tzipora Baum, or as she was known in our town – Feiga Reshil, was born in 1894 in Sochaczew to her parents Reb Zalman Albert and Tova Leah (nee Fleischman).

Her father was an orthodox Jew, and the owner of a store for iron utensils. He was known to everybody as Reb Zalman the visitor. He dedicated his time to healing the sick of the impoverished people, and he was diligent in this for many years. Even during the time of the First World War, when there were refugees from Warsaw, he expended great efforts in healing the sick of the refugees. The local pharmacies would accept his prescriptions, which were signed with his initials.

The days of Tzipora's youth were in the first decade of the century, during the time when the youth of the cities of Poland, as well as the Maskilim and workers were tossing about with new ideas. Tzipora was one of those who were taken by the new ideas, and she began to dream about going to the wide-open world.

When she was fifteen, a tall and slender girl, she suddenly told her parents that she wished to obtain general knowledge. Her father saw this as a deviation from tradition, however her strong stand caused him to give in. She spent day and night in her studies, which included the best of Polish, Russian, and German literature. She was especially fond of Yiddish literature and Jewish folklore, even after she made aliya. In a short time, she became proficient in the Hebrew language. Hebrew became the language of her daily use.

In those days, she established connections with the workers and poor people who lived in her parents' neighborhood, and she would visit them, learn about their lives, and play with their children. She remembered their personalities, characters, sayings, and mottoes for her entire life.

Tzipora became involved with the Poale Zion movement, and she joined the group that had recently been established in the city, and became active in it. She spread her ideas among the youth, in particular among the well-connected youth. As can be understood, she came in conflict with the influence of the Bund. However, her work paid off, and her influence infiltrated into the homes of the Hassidim and general populace. The parents took objection to this, and alerted the Rebbe's courtyard, and strongly castigated her father Reb Zalman, claiming that he does not stand up to this. He was forced to promise the Rebbe that he would take steps against this. He attempted to influence his daughter in a gentle manner, but it was to no avail. The domestic peace was broken, and her parents began to oppose her and oppress her. At that time, she decided to leave her parents and the city. She packed a small bag of her clothes and slipped away from home.

Her sudden disappearance shocked her family and caused a commotion in the city. They attempted to trace her footsteps in order to appease her and return her to her home, however all investigations were for naught. After a certain time, her parents received a letter from her with a postmark from Lodz, in which she requested that they forgive her for the pain that she inflicted upon them, and explained to them that she could not continue on in that situation. However, she did not reveal her address.

She lived in the home of friends, and she worked as a seamstress and pattern maker's assistant in a large women's clothing factory. Very quickly, she began to enjoy her new surroundings, and she made connections with the Poale Zion group, as well as other groups. The period of Lodz forged her character.

Finally, her parents found out her location in Lodz, and one day, her mother appeared. This was an emotional meeting. However all of the pleas and tears of the mother did not influence Tzipora to return home. Only after her father visited and promised her that she would be given complete freedom in the home to act as she pleased, did she agree to return home.

After her return, she already had different mannerisms, and she was full of self-confidence. Her group of friends and associates listened to her words with respect and seriousness.

In the spring of 1911, she organized a small group of youth to make aliya to the Land of Israel, including David Baum from the town of Leczna, Rafael Shotland from the town of Bielany, Pinchas Graubard from Sochaczew, and others. Tzipora maintained a correspondence with her two friends Baum and Graubard. The latter, after living in Israel for a few months, returned to Sochaczew disappointed. At that time, the connections between Tzipora and David Baum became stronger, and they agreed that she would make aliya. David returned to his town in 1913 for that purpose. He visited Tzipora in Sochaczew. Tzipora's parents did not object to their journey, on the condition that they would get married prior to leaving. Therefore, after she married David Baum, they made aliya to the Land in the spring of 1914.

Their first place of sojourn in the Land was Chavat Kinneret. David Baum was invited there by his friends that he had made while he was working in Degania and Kinneret. He hoped that Tzipora would be accepted as a student in the agricultural school of Chana Meisel, however the teachers refused, saying: “It is too bad David, I don't have any faith that the fine and delightful girl which you brought with you will be able to be a farmer in the land”… She became ill in Kinneret, so she moved with her husband to Hadera. The community of workers and guards in Hadera accepted Tzipora enthusiastically, and she felt herself to be in a good position. This was until the First World War broke out, and the Jewish settlement was subject to the whims of the Turkish government. Many of the community of workers in Hadera decided to leave by ship to Egypt and from there to America. This included many close friends of Tzipora and David. David had money in the Ango-Palestine Bank, which his father transferred to him to purchase land. However his greatest concern was for her lot. She declared: “No David, don't worry about me. I will not leave here, and I will not flee from the land. The lot of the Yishuv (Jewish settlement) will be my lot.” Tzipora and David remained in the land. They were forced to become Ottoman subjects. David was conscripted into the Turkish army. When she was alone, she suffered from hunger, loneliness and illnesses. She was forced to change her place of living on occasion, however she accepted all of her tribulations with love, and she supported those who were in similar straits.

After her husband deserted the army, they lived in Metulla, and attempted to set up a small farm. She began growing vegetables. At that time, men and women were snatched for army service, however Tzipora did not pay attention to that danger.

After the land became free, she and her husband became part of the Tel Chai settlement, and there her first daughter Ariela was born. During the time of troubles, she took her daughter, covered her in a coat, and with the help of A. Hertzfeld, she left the place and succeeded in arriving safely to Rosh Hanikra. David served at that time in the mounted police with veteran members of Hashomer, and was far from home. However, her spirit did not abandon her.

Tzipora and her husband were among the first conquerors of Emek Harod in 1922, and among the first families that settled in Kfar Yechezkel.

In 1933, she answered a call from the council of workers and the central agricultural organization to come to assist the farm of the workers in the Borochov settlement for one year, for agricultural affairs were lax. It was not easy for her to leave her family and her own farm that she had built. After deliberation, she responded to the request. She gathered all of her energy to set up this important institution for new immigrants. She succeeded. Instead of one year, the work continued until 1941, for they did not want to release her from her position.

When she came home, despite her weariness and many pains, she again became involved in farm work. However her health took a turn for the worse, and she was forced to abandon the farm. They moved to Haifa, and she continued her life there for only a few years, however they she was also very dynamic and active until her last day. She suddenly passed away while she was visiting with friends in her home. The earth of Kfar Yechezkel received again, after her death, the faithful and dedicated member from the day that the farm was founded, who worked its land with her blood and sweat.

Our first Halutz (pioneer) died, the member of the Second Aliya from Sochaczew.


Tzipora Baum

by Yisrael Rozen

Translated by Jerrold Landau

About her personality, and in her memory.

Sochaczew – 1912.

It was a small town in Eastern Europe. Apparently, it was a town like any other Jewish town, and like any other small town in the world in any era, in which it was never thought that anything worthy of attention would occur. It is clear that the peace and quiet, the gray monotony, the poverty and limited horizons, the state of being closed off from the outside world were all only external, only seen by someone who looks in from the outside. From within, there was effervescent life, which was punctuated on occasion by dramatic moments. Under the Jewish veneer there beat a warm human hart, the heart of youth who were engaged in youthful activities, who hoped for freedom and redemption. They pined for love, purity, truth, and in their imaginations they traveled to a better world.

Who can count the thousands of Jews who came from such towns who made history, who forged new paths and changed the face of the era? They acted discreetly and quietly, everyone in his own area. As a result of their blessed efforts, life began to build toward the future.

There was one of these types of people in our own town, Tzipora Baum of blessed memory who died in the midst of her activities, struggles, trials and tribulations.

All of us are proud of the State of Israel and its accomplishments, of the generation of pioneers and workers of the land, workers and defenders, of the Jezreel Valley which is dotted with towns that are developing, such as Nehalel and Kfar Yechiel. Such towns were founded through the efforts and struggles of hundreds of pioneers, including our Tzipora!

Twenty-three young people conquered the land of Kfar Yechiel with their blood and sweat. Tzipora was not only one of them, one of the founders of the village, but she also lived in the village for decades. She was not only a pioneer and a farmer, the owner of a farm, but she was also an activist who found time and energy to work in social and educational work. She dedicated herself to the agricultural education of the young generation. She was a pioneer who influenced a generation of pioneers!

She never looked for the easy way out; she did not swim with the current but rather against it. She searched out new ways, and was always one of the first. She was active, and influenced others to be active. She was energetic and imbued others with energy. In her hometown, she started a fundamental revolution due to the new influences. She was convinced of her path, which she set out upon while she was still a young girl.

Already in Sochaczew, in her youth, she displayed an independent and revolutionary spirit, rebelling against the norm.

Her contemporaries related that while she was still a young girl, more than fifty years ago, she set up a meeting hall in the city, a room which served as a meeting place for the progressive youth, those who were freethinkers, those who were though of as 'revolutionaries' in those days. This was for those young boys and girls who felt constricted in the traditional homes of their parents, who were exacting and parochial. They eventually felt that there was no way out. Tzipora suffered from all these things. She was a refined and feeling person, with an open and understanding heart. She showed the youth of our town, fifty years ago, that not all paths were closed off, and it was not necessary to accept one's fate; that another world existed. She introduced the “other world” to the youth at first through books that she gave them to read. She gobbled up these books and obtained them with dedication and diligence. She had many books, a veritable library, private books that she obtained at great monetary cost and with the opposition of her parents. These books granted some sort of salvation to her tormented soul, and they established her world of the spirit.

When young boys or girls, whose eyes were already opened, could no longer continue their lives between the two worlds, the narrow, gray and sad world of the town, and the world of their imagination portrayed in the books – books by Tolstoy, Dostoyevski and Gorki; or when a young boy or girl fell in love and the parents did not agree at all to the mate, or the parents of the mate, lest the family pedigree be tainted (if for example, the mate was a tailor or a simple artisan…); – in such cases Tzipora would offer advice to the young people. She would say to the young girl: “you can forgo your dowry and do what you want, however you must become independent by entering a trade, by working in order to establish your own power, and then you will be able to leave your home and do as you wish… When your parents realize that you are no longer dependent on their support, they will make peace with your desires and chosen path at the end.”

Thus, many young people went, through the influence of Tzipora, to large cities such as Warsaw or Lodz, without the approval of their parents, in order to learn a trade, to work, and to marry those whom they desired. Tzipora herself also left, even though she did not require work in order to exist, and even though she enjoyed a large degree of independence in her home, for she had learned over the years to “educate” her parents to respect her will and ways. She achieved this through her diligence and stubbornness.

Tzipora decided to make aliya to the Land of Israel. Why? Because this was the most difficult, most revolutionary thing she could do!

She lived in the Land of Israel for approximately fifty years, and throughout all these years she continued in her manner, for her life was a continuation of the strong path and living out of the dreams of her youth.

Thus was Tzipora Baum, and thus will her memories remain. We miss her. May her memory be blessed.


Yaakov Frydman of blessed memory

by Yisrael Rozen

Translated by Jerrold Landau

(About his personality)

{Photo page 765 – Yaakov Frydman of blessed memory}

Only very few of us knew Yaakov Frydman when he was still in Sochaczew, prior to his aliya. A few of us met him here in the Land, however, most of the natives of our city who are now in Israel first met Yaakov not in Sochaczew, and not here in Israel, but on the journey, that is to say when they were wandering around as refugees from the holocaust in Russia or Siberia, in far away camps and places of exile, or as survivors who were lived in hiding in such places, among the gentiles.

Yaakov Frydman searched all of this out, and these people received their first greeting from a different world from him – from a world of freedom, a world that was not destroyed.

The name Yaakov Frydman was more than a name – among us holocaust survivors from our city of Sochaczew which once was and is no longer; this was an address or more accurately “the address” or focal point to where the scattered ones of our city were gathered, and from where they hoped for a warm and encouraging word. They received such words from him.

Yaakov left our town approximately forty years ago, when he was still a youth. He only spent a small period of his life in our town. He left and made aliya – to the desolate land which “eats its inhabitants”[1], in order to realize the dream of his life. He showed the way for his charges in the first pioneering Zionist youth movement of our town, Hashomer Hatzair.

He left the city for exalted reasons, but he did not leave it permanently. He left, and there, far away, he set up a sort of settlement for our city. He left, and took the name of our town with him. He was among the first to make aliya, however he knew that even though he was among the first, he would not be alone there. He did not make aliya merely to improve his lot, not to have an easy life – for he could have found an easy life in any other place other than the Land of Israel, for the whole world was open, even enchanting America – but rather he and his wife Rachel, may she live long, chose our small and poor land, perhaps because this was the most difficult route, which required the most sacrifice, and which promised the least reward – hard work (when there was work), sweat, partial famine, disease, and a life of danger due to the enemies, as well as almost unbearable natural conditions. He lived in a small hut in the Borochov neighborhood, which was a neighborhood of workers, of which Yaakov was a founder and builder. He gathered and organized the first immigrants from our town, who came after him. He set up a builders union for them, and concerned himself with getting them settled in the land. When the axe was set upon the Jews of Poland, and the fate of our hometown Sochaczew was sealed, Yaakov established for himself the objective of rescuing whomever he could: he did not rest, he made contact in various manners with those that remained alive – until he succeeded in finding all of the exiles from our city. He maintained correspondence with them in order to encourage them; he concerned himself in sending them necessities. For many of these people, the letters of Yaakov and his loving care restored their faith in mankind, the faith that “Israel will not be abandoned”, the faith that “the nation of Israel lives”. They realized that they were not alone – they have a relative, an address – and that is Yaakov.

Yaakov's letters were very long, and full of emotion. He did not only write as the chairman of our organization. His letters were not official, but rather intimate and personal. The survivors of our city longed for those type of letters, and not terse, dry, official letters.

The organization of Sochaczew émigrés was not the only of its kind in Israel. There were many like it. However, Yaakov gave our organization its uniqueness, and made it stand out from the other organization. The other similar organizations saw it as their duty to help their brothers who survived the holocaust, for it was for that reason that they were founded – however there is help, and there is help. It is possible to give a person a bank draft along with a wish of good luck, and with that finish one's “care”! On the other hand, it is possible to give to a new immigrant a small bank draft, however to establish a warm relation with that person, who is taking his first steps in a new land, to help him form friendships, to allow him to open up his heart, to listen to him, to comfort and support him, to invite him to your home immediately, to host him, to go with him and ease his dealings with the offices and institutions, to accompany him as he searches for accommodation and later work – and afterward – to remain close with the new immigrant as he becomes accustomed to the land, to his work, to his living quarters and his new community.

Yaakov did all this, along with his faithful wife Rachel, may she live and be well. Is it possible to assign a value to such personal care? Is it possible to equate this with the granting of an official check, as was customary among the other organizations?!

I remember, during one of my visits with Yaakov and Rachel, they told me that a few days ago they visited “the children”. They did not mean their own children, but rather the children who Yaakov had discovered while they were still in Poland among the gentiles. He concerned himself with bringing them to the Land of Israel. Is it any wonder that they saw the home of Yaakov and Rachel Frydman as their own home, and visited them constantly, just as one would visit actual parents?

I saw these “children” among the group that accompanied Yaakov to his final resting-place. I also saw all of the residents of the Borochov neighborhood, with whom Yaakov had walked for forty years, from the time he lived in a poor hut until the neighborhood became the center of an important city in Israel – Givatayim!

It was symbolic that the funeral procession went from his house that was near this hut to the city hall – in order to emphasize that this city did not arise on its own. Only thorns, thistles, and other wild plants grow on their own. However, with regards to a tree, one must plant it, and tend to it with love and dedication. Yaakov was one of those who “planted” the neighborhood, and “tended to it”. Next to his home, he grew trees and tended to them (and in his last years he looked after the “Magen David Yarok”[2]. He also raised his own children to love the country, work, defense of the land, and pioneering.

There are those that felt that Yaakov's communal work was old fashioned, not modern, and even somewhat “inefficient” – but nothing could be further from the truth. In truth, which other communal activist would inconvenience himself to travel to a far off Kibbutz, an elderly and not well man, along with his wife, in order to represent our town at the circumcision ceremony of one of the new immigrants who had no other relatives? Which other modern communal activist would inconvenience himself to travel to Kibbutz Negba every year in order to visit the grave of a young person from our city who fell in the War of Independence?! Which other modern communal activist would trouble himself to make regular visits to every new immigrant – at least once a year – in order to see how they are getting along and acclimatizing? Indeed, only an “inefficient” person would do this! However, these types of “inefficient” people built the land, these types of “inefficient” people gave us our country, for the “inefficient” people are always the salt of the earth who give meaning to life.

I remember my first meeting with Yaakov. It was in 1942 or 1943, when the world was still suffering from the tribulations of the Nazis against our people, and it was clear that the holocaust was rapidly approaching. Even at that time, Yaakov spoke of the danger that our town was in, that it may be wiped out without a memory, Heaven forbid. He said that we must act immediately and gather information. He wished to obtain details about the extent of the holocaust, about everything that preceded it, about our town prior to the war, and our town in previous generations. We must gather facts about our town, and its Jewish community in particular, in order to gather them and perpetuate the town in a book which will serve as a monument to our town, which was about to be wiped out, so that it will not be forgotten that it was an important Jewish city, part of the glorious Jewish community of Poland; data about the town that was popular, well rooted, struggling, and effervescent.

Yaakov nurtured the idea of the book of Sochaczew and worked for it. He wrote a great deal, he prodded others into joining the effort, so that they should write and perpetuate their memories – so that we will not forget.

The book became the prime goal of our organization, and it became the prime work of his life, and the crowning achievement of all his years of work for our organization.

Yaakov would say that the Book of Sochaczew is the monument for Sochaczew. He said this, but did not realize that he was also building a monument for himself. His personality and activity for the book and for our organization remain engraved on this book, just as his memory will never be erased from our hearts forever.

Those who are proud of his accomplishments in the Land throughout the past forty years mourn the passing of this unique person. Many are indebted to him so much for their work, their efforts, and accomplishments.

The life of Yaakov Frydman was a life full of activity and content.

May his memory remain forever!


Moshe Eliezer Bornsztejn of blessed memory

by M. B. Stein

Translated by Jerrold Landau

A monument in his memory

{Photo page 769 – Moshe Eliezer Bornsztejn of blessed memory}

Moshe Eliezer was the son of the Admor Rabbi Shmuel of holy blessed memory, and the grandson of the Admor Rabbi Avrahamele. He was born in Sochaczew in the year 5655 (1895). He was educated and grew up until the time of his Bar Mitzvah in the atmosphere and environment of the Hassidic court of his illustrious grandfather, in whom Torah and Jewish wisdom were found in one bundle.

When he reached the age of Bar Mitzvah, at the command of his grandfather, he went to study with the Gaon Rabbi Yaakov Aharon of blessed memory, the Rabbi of the city of Konstantynow, which was close to Lodz. Rabbi Yaakov Aharon conducted a Yeshiva there for older boys.

When he returned to Sochaczew, in his sack he had a notebook of his own Torah innovative ideas, and he continued to study in the courtyard of the Rebbe, while at the same time becoming active in the city. He was particularly interested in the various special personalities who came to the Hassidic court, as well as the average people of the city.

After his wedding, he underwent a change of outlook, and during the First World War he moved to Lodz, and later to Warsaw. There, he became associated with the literary group of Y. M. Weissenberg, who influenced him greatly with his literary style. He collaborated in writing with other people, and he wrote essays and stories. His play “Himmel un Erd” (“Heaven and Earth”), which portrayed the Rabbi of Kotzk, described the deep personality and character of the Rabbi of Kotzk. He also published the play “Di Churba” (“The Ruin”), which was also on the topic of Hassidism in Galicia.

Moshe Eliezer had a constant internal struggle, and he expressed this in his saying: “Anyone who is drawn to the writers pen, carries with him his package. The package of Hassidism is drawn after me, and it is doubtful if I can ever discard this burden.”.

During the world war, he stayed in Warsaw, and suffered from the Nazi rule. He succeeded in reaching Vilna, and from there, after many difficult tribulations, he reached the Land in 1941.

There, he established himself. He was for a short time the secretary of a Yiddish literary group, and he also participated in various publications. In the latter years, he was the editor of “Das Vort”. He played an active role in the editing of the Yizkor Book in memory of our town.

He was involved with the people of our city, and he was the chief writer of the events of the city, which was destroyed.

He died in Jerusalem, and was buried on the 13th of Shevat, 5721 (1961).

The people from our town will always remember him with reverence and honor, as a good person, and a friend.

May his memory be blessed in our midst.


Chana Kaplan (nee Greenberg)

by Yerucham Ines

Translated by Jerrold Landau

A tear over her fresh grave

{Photo page 771 – Chana Kaplan}

Chana was the lone survivor of a large family. Alone, she saved herself from the frightening claws of the Nazis. Her father, Reb Eliezer Greenberg, her mother Mindel Toiba, her sisters and all members of the Greenberg family numbering dozens of souls, as well as her husband and her young son – all were killed. She remained alone as the lone survivor of her family, and a witness to the terrible tribulations.

She attempted to reconstruct her life after the war. She remarried, and her entire desire was to make aliya to Israel and to raise her only daughter in the Land, among Jews.

She succeeded in arriving in Israel with her young daughter in 1956, and after some time her stepdaughter also arrived and joined them. Her wish that her husband would liquidate his business in Poland and come to Israel, so that they could all live together and build their family anew was never realized.

Chana was a proud woman, and despite her weak health, she went to work in a factory in order to support herself honorably. However the difficulty in adapting caused her illness, which she had already contracted during the holocaust, to worsen. She valiantly fought for her life, for the sake of her young daughter the hope of her life, but in vain. On the second day of Rosh Hashanah 5721 (September 12, 1961), she succumbed to her cruel illness. She was only 51 at the time of her passing.

May her soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life.


Those Who Fell in the Battle for the Homeland

Translated by Jerrold Landau


Shmuel Avraham Bornsztejn

He was the son of Aharon Yisrael and Rivka (nee Morgenstern), and a grandson of the Admor of Sochaczew and Sokolow. He was born on the 4th of Adar 5688 (1928) in Sokolow, and made aliya to the Land in 5694 (1934). He completed the Bilu School and Haskala high school in Tel Aviv. He worked in a textile factory, excelled, and reached the rank of technician. He intended to continue his studies in the United States. He was a member of the cadet corps from age fourteen, and later on, of the Haganah. He interrupted his work and activities in the Haganah twice due to drawn out illnesses, however, due to his dedication and capabilities, he quickly made up what he missed, excelled in his studies, and gained thorough knowledge of both Hebrew and general literature. He had extensive knowledge of music and its literature.

{Photo page 774 – Shmuel Avraham Bornsztejn}

He intended to travel to study in the University of Philadelphia in 1947, however with the worsening of the national situation, he did not want to leave the land. He said: “the concern for the public is more important than my private concern”. At the time of the announcement of the U. N. partition decision, he was in the hospital with a serious illness, and when he was released, he enlisted in January 1948. He concealed the remnants of his illness and his weakness from the physicians, and he entered into full duty. He completed the sergeant's course, and he was in charge of new conscripts. He cut off his connection with his childhood friends due to their evading of military duty. He participated in the battles of Mishmar Haemek, and was appointed as company commander. He refused an opportunity to serve behind the lines, and chose to be with his men on the front line. He fell in battle along with his group while protecting the harvesters in the fields of Tel Adashim on Lag Baomer, the 18th of Iyar 5708 (May 25, 1948). His body was brought from Nazareth to Tel Aviv, and he was brought to rest in the Nachalat Yitzchak cemetery on July 30, 1948.

May his soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life.


Shmuel (Shmulik) Jasinski

He was the son of Menashe and Dina. He was born on May 30, 1929 in Sochaczew. He ended up in the Warsaw ghetto at age 10, and he hid in the municipal sewer system and was saved from extermination. He suffered from the tribulations of hunger and wandering. After the war, he went to Germany and Italy. He went illegally to the Land of Israel[3] and was exiled to Cyprus. He was permitted entry as part of the Youth Aliya in 1947. He joined the Yosef Kaplan group, and began working in agriculture in the Negba. The tribulations of his youth left their mark. Even after he got used to the life of a free person, he remained quiet and closed within himself, however he finally became accustomed to the work. He particularly enjoyed working as a wagon driver.

He participated in the defense of the Negev, and he performed bravely and valiantly in battle, until he was shot in the head by a sniper of the Iraqi army[4]. He was buried in Negba on June 2, 1948.

{Photo page 775 – Shmuel Jasinski}

We had encouraged him to overcome his thoughts about the time that he went through the ghetto. We walked with him, and he eventually revealed his emotions. In once sentence, he said everything: “I have not yet recovered from the nightmare of the ghetto. I cannot forget the life in the sewer system. The odor of the sewage in the sewers remains in my nostrils even today… and furthermore, the horrible, tragic images.” This was the secret of his reticence.

He worked faithfully in the Negba Kibbutz, and he was affectionately called “Shmulik”. I received a short letter from him, with a photo, two days before his death, as if he had a premonition of what was to come.

A few years after his death, I found out that his sister had survived and lived in a remote village in Poland. He had been certain that she had been murdered along with everyone else after they had parted.

May his memory be blessed and holy!

By Y. P.


1. A reference to the difficult physical existence in Palestine at the time. This is a quote from the book of Numbers, when the ten spies referred to the land as being a good land, but one that eats up its inhabitants. Return

2. Literally, the “Green Magen David”, seemingly some sort of society for the care of nature. Return

3. This refers to the Haapala, or illegal immigration, which took place during the final years of the British Mandate of Palestine, when the British imposed quotas on the number of immigrants allowed in to Palestine. Return

4. Iraq was one of the Arab countries that sent its army into the newly founded State of Israel in 1948, even though it does not share a border with Israel. Return


Tzvi (Hershele) Lewin

He was the son of David and Chana. He was born in 1930 in Sochaczew. He was imprisoned in the ghetto by the Nazis at age nine, however he managed to escape, and lived in the home of Christian farmers as their child. After the conclusion of the war, he went to the Halinbok children's home, and left Poland with his friends to go to the Land of Israel. On the way, he was imprisoned in Cyprus for three-quarters of a year, and arrived in the Land on September 26, 1947. His desire was to settle on a Kibbutz. He went through his Kibbutz training in the house of pioneers (Beit Hachalutzot) in Afula, and at the conclusion, he joined the Palmach in May 1948. He fell during the course of duty in the war for the liberation of Jerusalem on July 17, 1948. On the 11th of Adar 5710 (February 28, 1950), his body was transferred to the Har Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem.

{Photo on page 776 – Tzvi (Hershele) Lewin}

Prior to his enlistment in the Palmach, he came to ask for his posting. I refused, and I requested that he finished his preparations, to regain his strength after what had transpired to him, and to learn the language. He promised to fulfil my request. After a short time, we received a letter from the Palmach training camp, in which he wrote: “You are my parents, my father and mother. You should think of me, and forgive me that I have promised and not fulfilled. Given that I have survived – I wish to help free Israel along with all the Jewish youth. I have told you everything, since you are my parents. I will keep in touch with you with any information.”

A short time thereafter, I received the official announcement from the Zahal representative: “Tzvi Lewin has fallen”. Prior to going out to the final battle, he informed us that you are his parents, and I am fulfilling his will and our duty – you should be comforted”. He left me the official announcement and left – we both burst out crying…

Several weeks later, a Palmach representative arrived and announced in sorrow: “Tzvi Hershele commanded before his death that we should give you his bag with his belongings. You should certainly remember him through it, and each year remember his memory.”

May his memory be blessed and holy!

Each year we go up to visit the graves of the two: Shmuel Jasinski and Tzvi Lewin.

By Y. P.


Meir Orbach

He was the son of Yitzchak, and the grandson of Mordechai Schlesinger.

He was born in 1909 to a committed and respected Hassidic family, the descendents of rabbis. His family moved to Warsaw during the First World War. Afterwards, his beloved mother died, and it was very difficult for him in the house with his stepmother. He moved to the home of his paternal grandfather, however, he could not find a common language with him, so he became closed and inwardly turned. His grandfather was a Maskil and a lover of Zion, and he educated his grandson in that manner. There, he found out for the first time about the books of Mapu, and studied bible. His studies in school were not orderly; therefore he left and started working to support himself. He had technical capabilities. He became active in the youth movements.

{Photo page 778 – Meir Orbach}

His father's house and its business did not attract him. When he had the opportunity to visit a glass factory (his father was a middleman for glass products), he chose to remain there as a worker. He aided in publicity with the workers, and aided them in their organization. “I cannot not be a socialist” – he said – “just as I cannot not be a Jew”.

From the glass factory, he transferred to agricultural work and trained with weapons. These were his preparations for military duty. At age seventeen, he volunteered for the Polish army in order to train in the use of weapons.

When he made aliya to the Land in 1929, he served as a guard and watchman for the Talpiot district of Jerusalem. From that time on, he became very dedicated to the Haganah, and studied matters of security.

In his first period in the Land, he suffered from many difficulties. He worked in the groves of Petach Tikva, and suffered from shortage of work and hungry, however he never turned to his father for assistance. He trusted in the resourcefulness of the Hebrew worked in the Land in general, and on the Moshava in particular. He said about his friends that left the Moshava: “They left because they left themselves”. He always demanded a great deal of himself, and saw himself as an example, however he never demanded from anyone else more than he could do himself.

He transferred to work in the groves in the area of Ramat Gan. He served as a foreman and trainer. He always had his flute and broken harmonica with him, as well as his revolver. He trained in signaling, and became an expert signaler.

In 1933, he moved to Gan Yavneh, and was one of its builders and protectors. He struggled for the rights of the workers in the institutions of the Moshava.

In 1936, from the time that the troubles broke out, he did not leave Gan Yavneh even for a day, and especially not for a night. He dedicated himself completely to the defense of the place. The work during the days and guard duty at night had an ill effect on his health, and he weakened. When they urged him to travel to a sanatorium, he refused. His response to his father who requested that he come home for a visit was as follows: “It is not proper to leave the Land even for a short period, and to give up on its stand.”. He believed in the future, in peace, but he did not merit to witness it.

He and his friend Avraham Cohen traveled to Tel Aviv for urgent Haganah business and returned to Gan Yavneh in the afternoon. They sat on the first seat near the driver, and kept their eyes open on the roadway, ready to answer any fire. When the bus reached a grove between Pardes Warberg and Mishtarat Beit Dagon, the bus was suddenly shot a few times. Two bullets penetrated the walls of the bus and hit them both simultaneously – his friend Avraham in the head and Meir in the chest. Cohen succeeded in shooting one shot with his revolver, and then he fell, wallowing in his blood. Meir died immediately. Thus did the two fall, the two who stood on guard for the security of Gan Yavneh. They both gave their lives simultaneously while fulfilling their security duties. Meir was the right hand of his friend Avraham Cohen in matters of guarding and defense. He was 29 years old when he died. He left a wife who at that time was a teacher in Gan Yavneh.



by Yaakov Tzidkoni

Translated by Jerrold Landau

If a person dies, people pay their final respects, eulogize him, mourn for him, and place a monument upon the grave.

If the person is an average person, his community, and in particular his family, are saddened by his death. They arrange a funeral according to his status, recite the 'tziduk hadin' [1], and bring him to a Jewish grave.

If a Torah luminary or other illustrious person passes away, many come to pay their final respects, including honorable scholars, who speak about his praiseworthiness and lament his passing.

If a disaster occurs in a community, such as an epidemic, fire, or other such calamity, the event is recorded in the town's record books as an eternal record of the mourning.

… And there is no greater calamity in the annals of Israel than the terrible disaster that took place to us in our generation. Millions of Jews were slaughters, including people of Sochaczew.

If an entire community is destroyed, the records, council hall as well and the town annals are also burned. How can we now remember and relate to those who come after us, until the final generation, about the terrible holocaust that came onto us?

The reality gave rise to two customs that were accepted by the holocaust survivors.

An annual memorial day for the loss of the dear ones is observed by the town's natives on the anniversary (true or approximate) of the slaughter – and 'Yizkor books' are published.

At the time of the memorial gathering, which is like a collective Yahrzeit, we unite ourselves with the memory of our holy martyrs. We light Yahrzeit candles. Heartfelt eulogies are delivered, which penetrate the heart of the listeners.

The Yizkor book, which is a living monument for perpetuity, is different. The book is written by simple people who are moved by deep feelings from the soul. The survivors, who feel the pain of their community that was cut off, weep over the destruction and establish a memorial. On the one hand, it is good that the books are not published too soon, so that they can create a more removed perspective, which enables an appropriate evaluation of the terrible events. On the other hand, it is good that the publication is not pushed off too long, so that the opportunity does not pass, lest friends be forgotten.

Here we have before us a memorial monument, full of content and deliberations, which was set up with love and self-sacrifice by the natives of the city. Whenever we read it, we are carried by the locks of our ears [2] back to our town, and our eyes are once again filled with visions of the streets, alleyways and stores, and of those who lived there – whom we loved so much – and are no longer alive.

In conclusion, we extend a "yasher koach" [3] to those who helped in the publication of the book, to those who participated in the writing and editing, to the members of the committee of the Organization of Sochaczew Émigrés in Israel, and to those who extended financial help.


1. A funeral prayer in which the righteousness of G-d's judgement is acknowledged, even if we do not understand it. Return

2. A reference from the book of Ezekiel, when Ezekiel was carried in a dream by the locks of his ears from his exile in Babylon to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

3. "May your strength go forward", a traditional good wish extended to people who participate in a holy task.

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