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[Page 293]

The Families of Tykocin {cont.}

Translated by David Goldman

Nota Altshuler – A very G–d–fearing man who belonged to the Ger Chassidim, prayed his entire life at the “chassidim shtibel” synagogue, and even volunteered to ensure the supply of wood to heat the shtibel during the cold winter months. He supported his large family in a respectful manner from his successful lumber business.

His wife Sheyna (maiden name Tomkevitz) was born in Wysokie Mazowieckie , and was also very G–d–fearing. She was especially devoted to the religious education of her children and grandchildren, and was involved in social welfare activities in town.


His wife, Henya, and her son Natan–Nota   Alter Altschuler


Their eldest daughter, Chaya, married Avraham Mantchik. They settled in Poltsovizna near Warsaw, and died in the Holocaust.

Mindel married Pesach Cohen, and emigrated to Mandate Palestine in 1935 following her son, Yisrael Meir, and settled in Tel Aviv.

Alter – an activist in the Zionist movement in Tykocin, who was well–educated in the Talmud. He moved to Vilna and worked there in the “Vaad Hayeshivot” [Council of Yeshivas]. He married Henya Rosenbloom from Mezhyrich. They and their sons Nota and Dov died in the Bialystok ghetto.

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Mendel – a graduate of the yeshivas of Russia, a great scholar who became ill during the war and did not recover. He returned to Tykocin in 1920 and died two years later.

Aryeh Leib, Yaakov, Mottel and Bluma all died with their families in the Holocaust.


Yisrael Buber – was born in Wysokie Mazowieckie and a graduate of the yeshivas. He arrived in Tykocin at the beginning of the 20th century and became one of the principal personalities in town.

As soon as he arrived he established the “Improved Cheder Elementary School” in Tykocin where he taught in Hebrew which became a spoken language among many people. He became involved in Zionism and established the Mizrachi association of religious Zionists in Tykocin. He was effectively the leader of Zionist activism and ideology in the town.

In the synagogue he regularly attended he sat at the “businessmen's table” with Kopel Switzkovsky, Arye Katz, Noach Levinson and other town leaders.

After the war he was hired as a religious teacher at the “Shkola” government school and earn an honorable living.


Israel Buber and his wife, Riva Sibek Buber


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His wife Riva, the daughter of R. Yosef Sibeck, was a modest housewife who died one year before the Holocaust.

Yisrael Buber was taken at the head of his brethren to the murder spot next to the Lopochova Forest, may G–d avenge their blood.


Alter Burstein – he was born in Stavisk and was an expert kosher slaughterer. He received the finest approbation and approvals from the most important rabbis. Thereafter he became a teacher, and ultimately he became a carpenter and wood engraver in the Tykocin marketplace. He was the chairman of the small craftsmen's professional association and represented them in the town council.

As a great Talmudic scholar he prayed regularly at the local synagogue where the cream of local society prayed as well. He was drawn to the Hibat Zion [Lovers of Zion] ideology, and was an active member of the Tykocin branch of the religious Zionist Mizrachi movement. He died in the Holocaust.

He married Pesha Gittel, the daughter of Shlomo Zalman and Yospa Tannenbaum, who bore him: Zelda Merris, who was an outstanding teacher at the Beit Yaakov religious girls' school who married R. David Klinsky. The died in the Holocaust.

Shlomo – a graduate of the famous Mir Yeshiva who escaped with her to China. From there he ended up in New York, and finally settled in Uruguay. He married Shoshana, the daughter of the local kosher slaughterer, R. Avraham Yehoshua Sapir who originated in Tykocin. Today, Shlomo is the head of the yeshiva and principal at Yeshivat Rav Kook in Montivideo.

Following the death of R. Alter's wife, he married her younger sister, Esther, who became the mother of his children and bore him six children of her own:


Liba Borstein


Liba – completed the Beit Yaakov seminary

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in Krakow, demonstrated unusual talents and drew the attention of the major rabbis who had great hopes for her. R. Baruch Ber Leibowitz even had her teach the children of his own family.

Writers were intrigued by her writing, and her poetry were greatly admired. She became engaged to one of the major students at the Radin Yeshiva, R. Shalom Treck. They were killed in the Holocaust.

Sheina – her name means “beautiful,” and so she was. She was very beautiful and charming, as well as an outstanding teacher at the Beit Yaakov school. She died in the Holocaust.

Zvi–Dov – he died while still a young student at the Mir Yeshiva.

Rivka Yosef–Meir and Minda were “captured” by the enemy in their youth. May G–d avenge their blood.


Rabbi Gimpel BursteinBera Gimpel the Teacher

One of the small chassidic groups in non–chassidic Tykocin. He prayed at the chassidic shtibel synagogue his entire life. He was also involved in the life of the community where many of the population received their earliest education at the religious elementary school cheder that he ran at his home and at the home of R. Moshe Zakim.

The children who studied the alphabet, Bible with the Rashi commentary in his home enjoyed the view through the windows: to the east was the synagogue; to the west and north was building of the great central synagogue in town.

R. Dov Gimpel died in 1921 at the ripe old age of 95. His second wife, Keyla (Fruma) was a descendant of a family of Talmudic scholars who were known in Trzcianne.

His children Chana (Goodman), Golda and Chaim emigrated to the United States.

His son Yechezkel, a dedicated scholar and graduate of the Mir Yeshiva, was a well–known Zionist activist. He and his entire family died in the Holocaust in the town of Knyszyn.

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Dov Gimpel Burstein and his wife, Keyla Fruma   Avraham Borstein (rear left) just after arriving in the Land of Israel in 1917 as a soldier in the Jewish Brigade


His son Avraham raised his family in Tykocin. In 1912 he traveled to the United State while his wife Gittel and their two children, Kulya and Nachman remained in Tykocin. Avraham Borstein was imbued with a traditional and faithful education and a scholar. He was an enthusiastic devotee of Zion and in 1917 volunteered with the first Jewish Brigade organized in the United States. That same year, together with soldiers of the Brigade, Yitzchak Ben–Zvi and David Ben Gurion under the command of Sergeant Dov Yosef, immigrated from Los Angeles. As soon as he arrived he arranged for the immigration to the Land of Israel of his family in Tykocin.

His two children, daughter Kulya (today Kulin) was a doctor who completed her studies in Italy, and son Nachman, serving in the British army and then a senior officer in the Israeli army today is one of the managers of Mekorot, the national water carrier, who is doing well and comfortably.


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