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[Page 309]

The Families of Tykocin {cont.}

Translated by Selwyn Rose


Moshe Goldstein – A scholar who had absorbed Torah in the Seminaries of Lithuania. In Tykocin he successfully managed a business enterprise marketing building materials enabling him to maintain an estimable household and standard of living.

He was among the conspicuous worshippers in the Study House and his dignified and solemn appearance produced a much–liked personality among the residents of Tykocin. He perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge his blood.

He married Libeh, the daughter of Yesheyahu Lipshitz, of Tykocin, a noticeably intelligent woman who assisted her husband in managing the business. Libeh was the repository and guardian of the book of family trees of the notable rabbis of Tykocin.

Their son, Haim, a painter by profession, was educated in Seminaries, a regular worshipper in the Study House and during the High Holydays would visit other Seminaries in the vicinity. He married Pesye from Koło. They perished in the Holocaust of Tykocin. May G–d avenge their blood.

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Yesheyahu – A dealer in produce, he settled in Zawady (Zawad) when he married Bayle a resident of Zawady. They and their children, Michael and Dov–Berl all perished in the Holocaust of Tykocin. May G–d avenge their blood.

Reitze married a man from Wołomin and settled in Zawady with her husband. They and their children perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

Hanna – married to Tzvi (Hershel) Rubinstein from among the leading families of Kroshnivitz (Krośniewice). They, their two sons and two daughters perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.


Tzvi Isaac Golombik – An honest and straightforward man, G–d–fearing and avoiding evil. He was among the worshippers of the “Hevrat–Mishnyot” congregation and active in charitable organizations in town.

As a strict observer of the sanctity and holiness of Sabbath he vowed never to speak a foreign tongue on that day and because his spoken Hebrew was inadequate he remained silent for the entire Sabbath.

He made his living renting fruit orchards from Polish farmers and selling the produce.

His wife, Shprintsa who was one of the orthodox members of the community was never seen without the book “Ts'eina Ve–R'eina”[1] in her hand.

Arieh–Leyb (today Goldberg), Etke and two additional daughters are in the United States.

Kalman – and his wife Josepha of Zambrów (Zembrova), and their children Ze'ev Velvel, Haya and their baby daughter, perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.


Yehezkiel Grodzinski – he was much loved and known throughout his community by his nickname “Chezkel Berl”.

He was a brilliant scholar; however he did not confine himself to contemplation of the Law but went out among the Hoi Polloi and mingled in the life of all sections of the community without discrimination.

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From his first arrival in Tykocin from his home town of Jasionówka, he was a popular and well–liked personality by all the residents of the town and accorded unequivocal esteem and respect. His witty repartee and clever sayings became the talk of the town. He perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G–d avenge his blood.

His wife, Deborah, née Goldman a leading family in town, perished with her husband and her children: Hanna, Mordecai and Eliezer. May G–d avenge their blood.


Yisrael Ze'ev Grossman. A hard worker, a carpenter by trade, he worked from morning until evening but worshipping his Creator without missing community prayers. During the First World War he was mobilized together with other tradesmen to build the bridge ordered by the Germans. In spite of all threats he refused to report for work on the Sabbath.


Yisrael Ze'ev Grossman


He was among the regular donors to charitable organizations. He immigrated to Palestine in 1927. He passed away in Ramat–Gan in 1953.

His wife Tsirel, a gentle intelligent woman lives today in Ramat–Gan.

Haim–Tzvi, their first–born, educated in Seminaries. Today a teacher in Petah–Tikvah.

Josef among the first of the pioneers from Tykocin, immigrated to Palestine in 1926 and the whole family followed him. He lives today in Ramat–Gan.

Ya'acov, educated in the Seminaries of Hebron and lives today in Ramat–Gan.

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Faivel Grosman, “Barkass the Hat–maker” – a tailor and hat–maker by profession, he worshipped in the “Chevrat–Chumesh” congregation with his colleague artisans and tailors.

He was a quiet, serious man modest in manner and at ease with his fellow–man. He avoided involvement in public affairs, master of a respectable house, with his wife Sarah, industrious in the education of their children of whom one attended university. Faivel and his wife Sarah perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood. Their eldest son died while still young.

Yerachmiel, his wife and their two children perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood

Dov (Bertshe), educated in a Warsaw Seminary, young, talented and educated. He perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge his blood.

Menucha, a graduate of the School for Handicrafts in Wilna (Vilna, Vilnius, et al), she perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge her blood.

Chava. She died from a malignant illness before the outbreak of war.


Moshe Greenberg – He married Rachel–Hinda the daughter of Arieh Yozvitz of Tykocin. He was murdered by the Germans during the First World War.


Rachel–Hinda Greenberg, her son Avraham–Gedaliah, her daughters Etke and grandchildren


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Rachel–Hinda was a hard–working and industrious widow struggling against a bitter fate since the death of her husband. She reared and educated her six small children in spite of the extreme economic difficulties facing her. She perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge her blood.

Avraham–Gedaliah – A tailor by profession, he toiled to keep himself and his widowed mother. He was murdered by the Nazis while travelling from Bialystok to Tykocin. May G–d avenge his blood.

Rachel–Etke – was married to Shlomo Geler. They and their four children: Marsha, Tsirel, Avraham and Arieh perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.


Eliyahu Doitsh – “Eli the Teacher”. He was an orthodox Jew, praying regularly with the “Righteous Stiebl” community of the Righteous of Gur in Tykocin joining them when he moved from Chorzów after marrying Rachel, the daughter of Ze'ev Wiloga (“Velvel the Miller”).

In his “Cheder” he assiduously taught Torah to the children of Tykocin and prepared them for further studies in Gemara. He spent his days and nights in sanctifying the Torah.

Mendel their son married a woman from Bialystok and settled there.

Miriam was married to Binyamin (Neuma?) Vendelovitz, a tinsmith from Tykocin.

Bluma the youngest was educated and grew up in her parents' home in Tykocin.

Not one soul of the family survived. May G–d avenge their blood.


Yeruham Fishl Dan – A Righteous of Gur closely associated with Our Master, Teacher and Rabbi. A member of “Agudas Yisroel[2] center, the author of books and a gifted orator. But above all he was a great Torah scholar excelling in his wonderful capabilities.

He married Chava, the daughter of Rabbi Shmuel Leyb Shapira, one of the respected residents of Tykocin, and was associated with his coterie; and dedicated to Torah and work. As one of the conspicuous activists of the “ Agudas Yisroel” movement he was the party spokesman in Tykocin and introduced into the Lithuanian village the concept of the “Beit Ya'acov[3] founded by Sarah Schenirer of Galicia.

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He was accepted into the “Community of Excellent Young Men”[4] in Łomża and although he was the only orthodox member won the hearts of the Rabbis and the “Mitnagdim[5] with his generous qualities, dedication and good humor.

He officiated as Rabbi and Father of the Beit–Din in the communities of Vishneva (Wiszniew) and Kosów where he lectured on Torah, focussing on the youth, pioneered assistance for needy refugees who streamed into the town from the surrounding area and was, in effect, the spiritual leader of the entire area. His wife Chava, who was not happy as the Rabbanit, was a loyal and faithful helper and it is said that since her arrival in Kosów the numbers of poor and needy in town had increased simply because she became widely known for her good heart and home which was open to all in want.

During the Holocaust Rabbi Yeruham Fishl Dan had the opportunity to save both his and his wife's lives but he declined to do so and preferred to stay with his community and with them, during the Ten Days of Penitence 1942 he perished. May G–d avenge their blood.


Avraham Horwitz – He was the sexton of the Study–House and with a deep, penetrating voice was the cantor for morning prayers on the Holy Days.

His excellent qualities and modesty endeared him to everyone in Tykocin. He was self–effacing and avoided the limelight and arguments. He loved and sought only peace. He was the personification of the edict of Simeon, the son of Rabbi Gamaliel: “I found nothing better for my body than silence.”[6]

Rabbi Avraham was the first of Tykocin's martyrs. In 1941, when the Germans left Tykocin and before the entry of the Russians, polish ruffians sensed the atmosphere of lawlessness and broke out into hooliganism in Tykocin catching Rabbi Avraham by surprise and beating him up mercilessly. After suffering for two weeks he passed away.

His wife, a most worthy woman, Leah, née Choroshuka, took upon herself the management of the house and his business affairs, freeing her husband to devote his time to the Torah and worship. She perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G–d avenge her blood.

Their elder daughter Peril lives in America.

Tzvi, Yocheved, Hanye and her husband perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

[Page 315]

Herlshtein Simcha – was erudite and of a good family, well–read and scholarly. He was G–d–fearing, worshipping his creator with all his might and at the same time liberal and tolerant towards his fellow–man.

He was a regular worshipper at the Study–House but his daily lessons in the society on the Gemara he gave in his house.

While Simcha Herlshtein maintained a modest home his wife Pesye née Rozenblum an eminent family from Mezritch (Międzyrzec), was an energetic woman deeply involved in public life and society in the town. Many benefited from her wise advice and more than once she was instrumental in settling disputes between friends, neighbours and couples. She was also the right–hand of her husband in managing their clothing– and shoe–store. She lives today in Holon.

The house, – pleasant, emanating warmth and noisy with children – influenced by the personalities of the grandparents Rabbi Shimon and Haya–Dina Herlshtein on whose knees seven grandchildren were raised.

With his noble image emitting an abundance of love and good–heartedness Rabbi Shimon Herlshtein influenced the entire surroundings; he was especially loved by his grandchildren


Simcha Herlshtein
Shimon Herlshtein


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who remember him until this very day standing in the courtyard of his house with pigeons flocking round him pecking at the bread–crumbs from the cupped palms of his outstretched hands. For that was his daily habit when he returned from morning prayers in the Study–House – that he should first feed the pigeons before feeding himself, thus fulfilling God's own commandment “…for I have given fodder in thy fields – and thou shalt eat and be satisfied.”

The Zionist ideal found resonance in the Herlshtein household and when news arrived about the immigration to Palestine of her mother's parents, Pesye née Rozenblum of Mezritch decided their place, too, was in the land of their forefathers. And indeed in 1934 Simcha Herlshtein and his wife arrived in Palestine, while her children hid from her the knowledge of their daughter Sarah's illness lest it would interfere and delay their immigration.

They had seven children: Miriam, Yesheyahu, Sarah, Hinda, Tsippora, Dov (Berl) and Libeh.


Sarah, Libeh and Berl Herlshtein


Sarah was a teacher in Bialystok and married Moshe Bagon(?) there. May G–d avenge their blood.

Berl worked as a salesman in a Bialystok store. In one of the ghetto Aktzias of 1942 together with thousands of other Jews he was transported in the direction of the extermination camp. He succeeded in hiding a sharp chisel among his clothes. During the journey he managed to prise open one of the planks from the wall of the wagon with the help of the chisel. While the train was passing through a forest, he and a few of the others in the wagon managed to wrench the planks away and one after the other jumped from the wagon disappearing into the darkness of the forest. The Germans who noticed what was happening opened fire. Berl, now unable to jump, remained with the rest and arrived at the camp with the rest of his brethren. May G–d avenge their blood.

Libeh was also in Bialystok and occupied in teaching at the “Beit Ya'acov” school. Her dream of immigrating found expression in every one of her letters to her family in Palestine. Some of the preparations were made and her dream stood ready to be fulfilled but war broke out and all roads to fulfillment became blocked.

Miriam, Yesheyahu, Hinda and Tsippora are in Israel.

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Selig Hershtein – A tailor and his nickname “Man of the Psalms” stuck to him because he was always singing or humming excerpts from the Psalms all day long in every spare moment, especially while roaming the local Christian villages touting his trade to the villagers.

He was a G–d–fearing simple and honest man. He prayed every day in the Stiebl of the tailors in a side–room of the Great Synagogue – the “Shul

His wife Marsha née Nowina of Sokolka, was a modest, self–effacing housewife. They, their daughter Mindl and their son Menachem perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

Fishl – A survivor of the Holocaust, he was in the Bialystok ghetto and later hid in the forests. After the war he immigrated to America.


Ze'ev Wiloga – The first sight one obtains on approaching Tykocin is that of the four sails of the windmill of “Velvel the Miller” erected on a knoll at the very entrance to Tykocin. And as his home was conspicuous among its neighbors, so was he conspicuous among his fellow–men.

As one well–versed in the sayings and Mishneh of our wise men he personified their teachings that “Study is greater than deeds”[7]. He was a righteous man. He never missed a day studying a page of the Gemara and was a generous and regular donor to charities. His door was always open to the hungry and needy. The poor of Tykocin and the surroundings knew that at “Velvel the Miller” it was always possible to get a portion of flour for Shabbat and he was well–known as a good–hearted man, benefitting his fellow–man, loved and respected by all who knew him.

In spite of the fact that he didn't identify with any of the Zionist movements in town he did not object to his children joining the movements and acting for the Land of Israel. He himself hoped to immigrate, a hope that was not fulfilled. He died in 1935.

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Standing from r–l: Shimon, his sister Esther, Miriam Doitsh, David Wiloga
Sitting: Josef, his parents Mordecai Hirsch, Mindl Shadelsky, Ze'ev Wiloga, his daughter Rachel, her husband Eliyahu Doitsh, their daughter Bluma
Sitting on the ground: Esther, Laybl and Babe'le Shadelsky


His first wife, Sarah gave birth to four daughters:

Rachel – married to Eliyahu Doitsh, a Tykocin tutor. They perished in the Tykocin Holocaust together with their children and in–laws. May G–d avenge their blood.

Mindl – married to Mordecai Hirsh Shadelsky from Vishkov (Wyszków). He came to Tykocin. He worked in his father–in–law's business and was an active member of “Mizrahi”. They perished with their four children: Josef, Baba, Esther and Arieh–Leyb. May G–d avenge their blood.

Malka – Died while still young.

Rivka – Married Avraham Gunsher and immigrated to Australia.

After the death of his first wife Ze'ev Wiloga married Raykhl née Swislovsky from Sokoli. Their children:

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Shimon – studied with tutors in Tykocin, and furthered his Torah studies in the Yeshiva at Mir. When he returned to Tykocin he took upon himself the management of his father's business and assisted in negotiations with clients. He married Brayne–Taybl née Kaplan. They and their two children perished in Tykocin. May G–d avenge their blood.

Esther (today Dryzen), graduate of the government school in Tykocin, a pupil of the Hashomer Hatza'ir movement, immigrated to Palestine in 1935, living today in Tel–Aviv.

Yona (Toybe) – Passed away while still young.

David – received a traditional education in Tykocin and continued his education in the Yeshiva in Lachowicze. He returned to Tykocin and devoted himself to Zionist activities. Among other things he was active in the framework of the Hashomer Hatza'ir youth movement. After he married Haya of Bialystok he settled there. They and their only son were burned alive in the Bialystok synagogue in the first Aktzia. May G–d avenge their blood.


Moshe Wiloga – The owner of the flour–mill on the main road to Bialystok. As a man of some substance he donated generously to several charitable organizations in town.

He prayed in the “Mishneh Brotherhood” congregation where he also attended the daily study class. He was a member of the “Mizrahi” movement and provided a religious Zionist education for his children. He perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G–d avenge his blood.

Sarah his wife, née Chesler who was born in Knishin (Knyszyn) ran the home and even found time to extend a helping hand to the poor and needy with money and flour.

Keyle – a graduate of the local school was a member of “Mizrahi” perished together with her family in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G–d avenge her blood.

Bezalel – Was a pupil in the government school and later joined his father working at the mill. He was a member of Hashomer Hatza'ir in Tykocin. During the war he hid in the Tykocin area after escaping from the Bialystok ghetto. He was among the first group to return to Tykocin after the Holocaust. He immigrated to Israel in 1950 and now lives in Kiriat Bialystok.

[Page 320]


Keyle Wiloga


Yehuda – Also a graduate of the government school and worked in his father's enterprise and was a member of Hashomer Hatza'ir. When the Germans entered Tykocin he escaped and hid in the surroundings with Ya'acov Cynkus. About three months before the end of the war he was betrayed by a Pole who knew his whereabouts and turned him in to the Germans. May G–d avenge his blood.

Rivka – While still a young girl of 14, a pupil in school she perished with her family. May G–d avenge her blood.

Nahman – Cut off in his prime. May G–d avenge his blood.


Arieh Hirsh Tzvi Visky – He was hard worker; all day concentrated on his work in the forge from which he scarcely made his living with much scrimping and saving. Nevertheless he was always content with his lot and his hardship didn't prevent him from charitable acts that he performed willingly and with generosity. He was a regular worshipper in the congregation of “Mishneh Brotherhood”. A quiet man, modest and somewhat introverted, but dedicated to the good education of his children. He perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G–d avenge his blood.

His wife Tsippora née Perko was nicknamed “Tsippi the Greatest” because of her dedicated work for various charities. And as treasurer and collector of the “Help for the needy” committee in town she would return every Thursday and Shabbat to visit the houses of donors and collect Challot for the needy in the community. In 1939 when Tykocin was flooded with refugees from Poland, she toiled to organize a resting place, food and warm clothing for them. Her genuine good–heartedness became a by–word in Tykocin. She perished with her husband in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge her blood.

Bilha–Fradkhe – married Ziskind (Zaidka) Chinski of Suchowola (Sochowola). They and their little daughter Shayne perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

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Shifra – Was a young talented and energetic girl. She helped her father in his forge and was the only woman in Tykocin who knew how to shoe a horse and repair a wagon. She married Moshe Lipshitz from Winów (Winówa). With the Nazi conquest she hid with her family in a bunker and even hid Fishl and Taybl Silberstein in the bunker for a while. In 1944 a few days before the liberation her son fell ill and she left the bunker to fetch a doctor and was discovered by Poles who burned her alive with all her family. May G–d avenge their blood.

Eliezer married Basha née Litawka from Rutke. His wife and son perished with all the community of Tykocin. Eliezer hid for a few days


Eliezer Visky


but was discovered by his neighbor Korsaki who stabbed him to death with a pitch–fork.

May G–d avenge their blood.

Shlomo his wife Haya–Esther née Yablonowitz

of Wizna and their son perished in the Holocaust.

May G–d avenge their blood.

Moshe–Haim, Haya and Esther, the children of Arieh–Hirsh and Tsippora perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

Shprintsa – (today Bilha Herskovits), a survivor of the Holocaust, was active in the He–Halutz movement in Tykocin and worked in the “Sukranik” candy factory.

She suffered the Nazis' “Seven levels of Hell”[8] in concentration camps and in Auschwitz. At the end of the war she immigrated to Palestine and lives in Be'er Sheva.


David Zolty – One of the elders of the town, an orthodox and G–d–fearing scholar. He prayed every day in the Stiebl and spent his life performing the commandments of charity and righteousness. He was a member of the Burial Society in town.

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His wife, Rachel née Saltzman of Wysokie Mazowieckie (Visoka–Mazovietzk, Visoki), managed the bakery from which they made their living.

Their children: Gitl, Sarah, Elke–Haya, Moshe–Arieh and Esther – established homes and continued the traditions of their forefathers after the deaths of their parents at an advanced age in Tykocin.


David Zolty and his family


Esther married Aviezer Tzitzovitz a Righteous of Gur, an established wine producer in Bialystok. They had seven children: Bilka, Moshe–Arieh, Haya–Batya, Rachel and Yitzhak all of whom perished with their parents in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood. Their daughters Ahuva (today Halevy Levine) and Hanna are in Israel.

Moshe–Arieh Zolty married Sarah–Rachel of Stavisk (Stawiski), settled in Bialystok and died there. His wife immigrated to Palestine with their five children: Esther–Leah, Hadassah, Bezalel, Michael and Josef.

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Yisrael Alter Zeitz – He was among the important men in town, with a seat by the eastern wall in the synagogue where he prayed on Sabbaths and festivals.

He was the only Jewish Lawyer in Tykocin and accepted by a wide constituency of clients whose petitions he brought before the Regional courts.

His splendid house was infused with the spirit of Zionism and used as a study center for the learned of the town a council room for Zionist activists and movements. He loved the language of our people and was subscribed to a number of Hebrew–language periodicals. He retained a Hebrew teacher in his home for his children. After his death, his entire family moved to Bialystok in 1920.

Menaḥem Mendel, his first–born from his first wife, was educated in Tykocin and was a confirmed Zionist from his youth, intelligent and well–read. He married Esther (née Neimark) of Siedlce (Shedlits), who bore him two daughters: Tsippora and Miriam, Esther dying in childbirth. Tsippora (today Karpel, in Holon) and Miriam (today Appleboim in Jerusalem), were educated in the Zionists Movements in Tykocin and immigrated to Palestine in 1935 to study at the Hebrew University. Menaḥem Mendel and his second wife Rachel (née Rejgrod), perished in the Holocaust (May G–d avenge their blood).

The second wife of Yisrael Altar Zeitz Shayne–Rivka, from Trestina, a woman forthright in her views and an excellent housewife, concerned herself with providing an enlightened home and a good education for the children.

Neḥama, like her father, was a lawyer, first in Tykocin and later in Bialystok. She immigrated to Palestine with her husband, Avraham Korney (Kurcgor), today living in Tel Aviv.

Kalman, (Zejdel) – studied in “Skola” and the Ḥaderim in Tykocin. He embraced Zionism as a youngster and was active in the “Young Zion” group. After his father died, he too became a lawyer, married Esther of Bialystok and immigrated to Palestine in 1926, living today in Jerusalem.

Leah (today Zifkin), followed her brother and sister to Palestine in 1930 and lives today in Hadera.

Miriam married her cousin, Zelig Zeitz, living today in Ramat–Gan.

Translator's Footnotes

  1. A book of guidance and prayer written in 1616 in Yiddish originally intended for women who generally understood little or no Hebrew; the book later came into general use. The name of the book is taken directly from The Song of Solomon: Cap 3 V. 11. “Go forth ye daughters of Zion and behold…[King Solomon]” Return
  2. A political party representing orthodox religious Jews originally founded inter bellum in Latvia later spreading throughout Europe and the world. Return
  3. School system for orthodox Jewish girls. Return
  4. An international group of independent associations dedicated to encouraging young men to take up and dedicate their lives to Torah studies: “Kollel Avreichim Metsuyanim” Return
  5. “Against” or “Opposition” an anti–religious movement that took root in the latter half of the 18th century. Return
  6. Ethics of the Fathers Cap. 1 v. 17 Return
  7. From the Babylonian Talmud – Kiddushin 40b Return
  8. A reference to Dante's “Inferno” Return


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