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[Col. 251]

19. Curious Episodes

Sometimes curious episodes were related in the correspondence. These brief reports may sometimes give a better picture of the Jewish way of life than in much longer correspondence. For example, there is this correspondence from Krasnepole: A rumour spread that the rabbi of …. Had pronounced a charm against a threatening epidemic directed against children. He said that a scarlet silk ribbon should be bound around their necks and wrists. It is not known if this was a trick of the storekeepers but the stores were soon emptied of their silk goods…[1]

Here is an example of another curious incident: In Suwalk, the Chief of Police was an anti-Semite but he had a Jewish appearance. One night he took a walk and a gang of hoodlums attacked him and almost killed him thinking him to be a “Zhid”. After this 'lesson' the Chief of Police became more humane and said that now he knew who was behind the unrest in town : - the anti-Semites –[2]

There are just plain interesting little anecdotes too.

[Col. 252]

Yosef Yosifon, a scribe in Suwalk, sent a specially written scroll of Law to Baron Jacob Rothschild in Paris. The Baron sent him 600 francs for the gift.[3]

Eighty year old Elkanah Gladshteyn, who was blind, fell into a deep well. When he was pulled out, he was barely alive. After he was treated for the various injuries he had received, he began to see.[4]

The winner of the great lottery in 1888 was Mrs. L. Ahrnzan of Suwalk. She won 40,000 rubbles. And so on, and so on. Pieces of a beautiful Jewish life which lasted for a long time and went later up in the smoke of the crematoria of Auschwitz and Treblinka.


    1. “Hamelits” 1887. N°163.
    2. Ibid 1890 N°133.
    3 “Hamelits” 1865. N°31. 4. Ibid 1866 N°35.


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