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[Page 354]

The Families of Tykocin {cont.}

Translated by Selwyn Rose

Levi Lev –“Levi the Talit–maker”. He was born in the famous town of Gur (Ger, Góra Kalwaria). At the age of six, he was separated from his father and mother and his close relatives took him to their home. They did not care about his education or his appearance and he went about in rags. One night he shouted out in his sleep and told his startled relatives that his father had appeared to him in his sleep and saw that he was poorly dressed and that his education was being neglected. The following morning his relatives dressed him and sent him to the Talmud Torah.[1] He later devoted himself to the study of weaving, learning it as a profession and when he became independent, he moved to Tykocin and began to make prayer–shawls.

Within a short time, his small factory expanded and his prayer–shawls became widely known for their excellence throughout the country and beyond including exports.

His wife gave birth to three sons and a daughter.

Yisrael Lev, also a master–weaver and a successful trader. Known for his rich voice and during the High Holydays he led the prayers in the Beit Ha–Midrash. He was well–known and liked by all, especially for his pleasant stories.

Pinḥas, the son of Yisrael Lev, a successful trader in Bialystok, perished in the Holocaust with his family all except one son who immigrated to the United States. Ya'acov, also a trader perished with his family in Skidel. Nathaniel and his wife perished in the liquidation of the ghetto in Bialystok. Yehoshua moved to Sokoły (Sokoli), where he perished with his family. Shalom, too perished in the Holocaust with his wife, Tovia and their son, Yisrael–Leib. Ḥaya married a son of the Levendik family, well–known in Sokoły; they too perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood!

Avraham–Naḥman the son of Levi Lev, dedicated his entire life to Torah and prayer. He dissociated himself from the experiences of day–to–day life and lived only for his view of life: the Torah and the keeping of the Commandments. After his marriage, he settled in Siedlce (Shedlitz) and was known just as a “righteous man”. He perished in the Holocaust with his daughter Hinda and her husband Avraham Oralski, Malka and Ḥanna. May G–d avenge their blood. His son Avigdor died in Russia during the war.

Ḥaim the son of Levi Lev moved to the United States.

Baila–Devora, married a graduate of the Mezrycz Yeshiva, Simḥa–Shmuel, the son of the leading rabbi, Rabbi Moshe–Gedaliah Shulman. Rabbi Simḥa–Shmuel was authorized to teach and was approved of by several rabbis and was even offered the Chair as rabbi in several communities but he settled in Tykocin and became a businessman.

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Ya'acov Levinson, son of Rabbi Ḥaim Mendel Halevi, the distinguished scholar of his era, who was a close friend of Rabbi Ya'acov Gesundheit, Father of the Beit Din of Warsaw. He left behind on his death about twenty books on Halaḥa but nineteen of them were burnt during the First World War.

When he was thirteen years old, Ya'acov married the twelve–year old Basha. After the marriage, he traveled to Kuna and studied Torah with Rabbi Yisrael of Salantai (Salant). There he joined a youth about his own age, Ya'acov of Choroszcz (Choroshtch). From a desire to deepen the fondness between them, the two came to an agreement that the son of one would marry the daughter of the other. Thus, it came to pass years later that Noaḥ, the son of Rabbi Ya'acov of Tykocin married the daughter of Rabbi Ya'acov of Choroszcz his friend from their youth.

The young man's intellect was conspicuous as was his fear of Heaven and in the Yeshiva he was nicknamed “Yankeleh the Righteous”. When he returned to Tykocin Rabbi Yisrael commanded his son Rabbi Leibel'eh, who was later Father of the Beit Din Choroszcz and prominently honored on Holy Days, to accompany Rabbi Yankeleh to the railroad station and carry his parcels.

All his life he was concerned with the concept of loving kindness to his fellow man. In particular, he was dedicated to the Yeshiva students of Tykocin; he ached for them. His figure became an inseparable part of the Tykocin scenery. He strolled round the town searching for generous donors, collecting Sabbath items for the needy or a dowry for a poor bride. On one Sabbath eve, while he was walking round town he entered the home of Rabbi Shimon Ber Enlik who was at the time Rabbi of Tykocin. The Rabbi's daughter, Raḥel Pam saw him and invited him to sit down and rest saying: “You must be tired and your feet hurting.” Rabbi Yankeleh replied: “My feet aren't hurting. They're not mine!”

With notable affection and dedication, he concerned himself with the education of the young students in the Yeshiva and it was with unbounded happiness that he succeeded in gaining entry to the Yeshiva for a young boy of a poor family whose parents had sent him out to work. One of them was Ḥaim the teacher who was apprenticed to shoemakers and Rabbi Yankeleh took him from there, cared for all his needs and even taught him on winter evenings.

His reputation as an honest trader spread far and wide also as a scholar. When by chance he was in Bialystok looking for donors, he called upon Raphael Yom Tov Lipman Halperin known for his work “Oneg Yom Tov”…

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…or to Rabbi Meir Simha Shedder – then in Bialystok. They received him with much honor and respect and entertained each other with discussing excerpts from the Torah and Halaḥa.

His whole life was spent caring and providing; the yoke of providing for the home fell upon the shoulders of his wife, Basha, an excellent woman with great marketing expertise for the specially blended colors as agent for the “Indik” company in Germany. After the death of her husband, she built a new house in place of the old one. She was also known for her piety and fear of Heaven. She also observed traditional fasting on Mondays and Thursdays[2] and she knew many books among them “Menorat Ha–Ma'or[3], “Kav Ha–Yashar[4], “Shevat Musar[5]. She also knew by heart the well–known Bible in Yiddish “Ts'eina Ur'enah”. She survived for a long time after her husband and at the age on ninety, she still had the strength to stand the entire Day of Atonement and to continue fasting throughout the Ten Days of Atonement.

David, their eldest son married Ḥaya the sister of Rabbi Moshe from Radom and his son–in–law, none other than the righteous Rabbi Zaḥaria, Father of the Beit Din in a town close to Shchuchyn (Szczuczyn, Shchuchin, Shtutchin) and Rabbi Meir Ababych, also Father of a Beit Din who was considered one of the greatest rabbis of his generation and wrote many commentaries on the Jerusalem Talmud although the only one published was the tractate on Shabbat.

Shlomo the second son of Rabbi Yankeleh and his wife immigrated to England and from there to the United States. The third son Noaḥ continued to follow in his great father's footsteps in Tykocin.


Noaḥ Levinson, Noaḥ Rabbi Yankeleh inherited his father's attributes and was full of good deeds of kindness in Tykocin. But unlike his father whose financial state was precarious and his works of kindness were from the financing of others, he was able to perform his acts of kindness with his own financing.

It was his habit during any one month, to donate all the loan monies returned to him from the Christians, to the “Gemilat Hassadim[6] organization. Money that he had loaned to poor Jewish people he never claimed back and many of them used the money to immigrate to the United States while he himself knew not to expect to have the loan repaid. When he was appointed trustee of the “Ḥevra Kaddisha[7] in 1912, he saw to it that the society stopped negotiating the fee charged to the mourning family but that every family paid what they could afford and as their heart and conscience dictated. In the framework of his position as President of the bank, he arranged that the Jewish people of Tykocin, especially women whose husbands were in the United States…

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…need not identify himself or herself to the manager of the post–office when money arrived for them from America but that confirmation from Rabbi Noaḥ was sufficient. Until then, everyone was required to prove their identity to the manager and at the same opportunity the tax due to the government was deducted, In 1916, Berl, the son of the widow Gischa, died in the German hospital in Neustadt Street of a plague.[8] The Germans, who were concerned regarding the potential spread of the disease, intended to cremate the body but when the intention became known to Rabbi Noaḥ, together with Rabbi Zalman Avraham and others, stole into the hospital in the dead of night, took the body and after cleansing it and ritually preparing it, gave the corpse a Jewish burial.

Rabbi Noaḥ Levinson indeed sought assiduously to provide loving–kindness and firmly stamped the same qualities on the hearts of his sons. When his sons came on vacations from the Yeshiva, he paced a sum of money in their hands saying: “While you are in Tykocin make yourselves known and everyone will know you are in town.” Through the years, he had saved a fair sum of money as a dowry for his daughter Esther. On the tenth of Tevet 1913 the father–in–law Rabbi Avraham Hirsch of Eišiškes (Eshishuk, Ejszyszki), the brother–in–law of Rabbi Noaḥ came and when Rabbi Noaḥ opened the drawer of his desk, where he had hidden the money for the dowry, there was nothing there. Apparently, the previous evening he distributed all the money to the “Gemilat Ḥassadim” for an urgent cause and only by real toil was he able to borrow the required sum – 1200 rubles.

Toward the end of his days, his assets gradually dwindled but he never complained at the lack of resources only regretted that he was unable to help his fellowmen. He perished in the Holocaust of Tykocin with his wife. May G–d avenge their blood.

His wife, Zippora–Bilha, the daughter of Ya'acov of Zabłudów (Zabłudaŭ, Zabludove), a scion of a long dynastic line of righteous geniuses, was born after the death of her father and was reared and educated on the knees of her grandfather, Rabbi Yossele. She too, like her husband sought to do kindness to all and to help others.

Rabbi Noaḥ Levinson and his wife had sixteen sons and daughters; only seven survived:

Esther married the Torah scholar Rabbi Yosef Weidenberg of Eishyshki (Eyshishok, Eišiškės). They perished there with their children on the Fast of Gedaliah 1941. May G–d avenge their blood.

Yaḥa–Niḥa, her husband Rabbi Avraham–Shmuel who was the fourth generation descendant of the Gaon, author of “Pillar of Fire” Father of the Beit Din of Eishyshki and Raszyn, and their children also perished on the Fast of Gedaliah 1941 together with the Jewish community of Eishyshki. May G–d avenge their blood.

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Rabbi Yankeleh Levinson and his son, Ḥaim Mendel


Yosef, his family, his father–in–law, Rabbi Avraham Zack, Father of the Beit Din of Alsėdžiai (Ol'siadi, Alshad, Alsiad), near Telz, Dinah and her husband Shmuel, perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood. Sarah (Atkin) the daughter of Yosef Levinson lives today in Israel.

Ḥaim Mendel among the excellent students of the Chemnitz Yeshiva was exiled to Siberia with the Yeshiva and died there from starvation on the second day of Ḥanukah. May G–d avenge his blood.

Ḥaya–Gittel and her husband Rabbi Reuven bar Ben–Zion of Skidel, their son Avraham and their daughter Basha perished with their parents in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.


Moshe Luxemburg – “Moshe motor–cars”. A successful produce dealer, tall with a short well–trimmed beard, pleasantly mannered, caring for his appearance, expressing his forward–looking views. During weekdays he began to pray with the Mishnayot group that was close to his produce store–house, On Shabbatot he walked to the Beit Ha–Midrash, where he usually joined…

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…group–reading of the Psalms. The welcoming of guests was a well–known attribute of his and a guest was never missing from his table on Shabbat. He perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge his blood.

His wife Sheina–Tova, a modest, giving woman, helped her husband sustaining the home, stretching out her hand to whoever need help in difficult times. She perished in the Holocaust with her husband. May G–d avenge her blood.

Their eldest son, Meir, his wife Taivel and their four children: Menaḥem, Aharon, Elke and Ḥaya perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

Yosef, a graduate of the Slonim and Stolbets Yeshivot was active in the Tykocin “Mizraḥi Ḥalutz”. He and his wife Ḥaya perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

Zelda (today Feldman), immigrated to Palestine in 1934 in the framework of He–Halutz

Her message was influenced by the education and upbringing she had received in her parents' home.


Naphtali Linchewski – Naphtali the scholar, one of the noted scholars of Tykocin. He settled in Tykocin when he married Rivka–Feygl the daughter of Ber Leib Glickman the scholar.


Rabbi Naphtali Linchewski next to Rabbi Avraham Kalinowski Rabbi of Tykocin

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He belonged to the Hassidim of Gur. He dedicated all his efforts and sacred teaching to the study of the Torah and to spread it teaching among the youth. Good–hearted and full of grace, he was pleasant to his fellow men bringing them closer to the Torah. He followed the development of his students and welcomed them pleasantly even if they turned aside from the path he directed them to follow. He was responsible for checking the validity of the “Eruv[9] and every Friday would survey the boundaries to confirm their fitness.

His wife, Rivka–Feigel, a modest gracious woman managed her large home under stressful conditions of near–poverty.

They and their sons, Menaḥem–Mendel and their daughters, Malka, Breindel, Dova–Ḥanna and Libah perished in the Holocaust of Tykocin. May G–d avenge their blood.

Mina married the Rabbi of Tykocin, Rabbi Avraham Kalmanovitz and living today in the United States.

Gittel married Rabbi Ulschwing, today in Jerusalem.

Yosef a survivor of the Holocaust lives today in the United States.


Yosef Lisanski – “Yossel the Painter”, the owner of a textile dyeing business and a shop selling dyes and paints. Among the worshippers at the Beit Ha–Midrash, he was known as an active participant.

An active member of the “Sick Visits” society, he was a charitable, generous supporter of the poor and needy and attentive to the call of the Torah.

His wife Tzirel née Glickman was active in nursing societies, good hearted and helpful to others.

Their daughter, Meital studied at the government school and was a member of the He–Ḥalutz movement. She immigrated to Palestine, married Shalom Leib and now lives in the United States.

Ḥaya–Leah – a graduate of the Tykocin branch of He–Ḥalutz, perished with her husband and their children towards the end of the war. May G–d avenge their blood.

Naḥman – Perished together with the community. May G–d avenge their blood.

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Fischel Olsztejn, his wife Haya–Leah née Lisanski and their children


Tzirel Lisanski, her daughter Sheina Golda and her grandchildren

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Miriam – immigrated to Palestine in 1928 within the framework of the He–Ḥalutz movement and died in Tel–Aviv.

Shmuel – an excellent student; already as a young lad was recognized and an object of wonder and surprise because of his capabilities. He died of an illness. His brother, Avraham, also sickly, also died young.

Noaḥ – a member of He–Ḥalutz in Tykocin lives today in Tel–Aviv.


Avraham Lipchitz – A highly active secretary in the Tykocin community, deputy mayor in charge of the “Gamaḥ” and “Aid to the Fallen” charity treasuries.

During his public stewardship of his various functions, he concentrated in his hands all the books of the community including the official “journal” and the financial activities of the community – salaries to the Rabbi, the ritual slaughterer, the prayer leader and others. He recorded and reported on the various financial dealings and economic situation of the community and was responsible for the distribution of monies received from America. It was said of him that “the whole community was found in his documents”.

Rabbi Avraham Lipchitz was very straightforward and fearful of heaven and performed his duties faithfully. A wise scholar of the Talmud he dedicated his time to study of the Torah while at the same time remaining aware of and in tune with the world. He earned the full trust of Tykocin's community and on many occasions his help, experience and opinions were sought after.

He prayed with the congregation of the Beit Ha–Midrash where he studied every day before dawn. During the High Holydays, he prayed with them in the morning and the Eve of the Day of Atonement with the “Mishnayot” group.

Rabbi Altar (Avraham), his wife Ḥaya née Kalinski of Łomża and their children Yeshayahu, Raḥel, Basha, Yosef and Pinḥas, perished with the rest of the community of Tykocin. May G–d avenge their blood.

Their daughters, Sima (Caspi), and Devora immigrated to Palestine and were killed in a bomb–blast in Tel–Aviv during the Second World War.

Their son Ḥaim is in Israel and their son Meir is in Russia.

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Yosef Mairovsky – Born in Sokolka he moved to Tykocin at the time of his marriage to Ḥaya, the daughter of Hirsh Isaac Golombik. At first, he managed a workshop stitching shoes but later together with his wife, he dealt in preserves.

He was among the regular congregation of “Ha–Mishnayot” and even took part in lessons that took place there especially Shabbat Eve.

Yosef Mairovsky and his wife, Ḥaya perished in the Holocaust of Tykocin. May G–d avenge their blood.

The senior son, Moshe (Menaḥem Mairovsky), after completing his basic education in the Tykocin Talmud Torah he continued his education in “Shlomei Emunei Yisroel[10] in Bialystok. When he returned to Tykocin, he worked in the Tarbut library, Ha–Shomer Ha–Tsa'ir and He–Ḥalutz. In 1937, he was drafted into the Polish Army. After two years, he fell captive to the Russians. In Russia, he joined the ranks of Anders' army and with them arrived in Palestine in 1943.

Sheina – educated at the “Skola” school and worked as a seamstress. She was married to a native of Bielsk and settled there. She, together with her family perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

Tzvi (Hershel) – studied electro–mechanics in Bialystok and was drafted into the Russian army. Since then all trace of him has been lost.


Tzvi Mairovsky

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Avraham Maizner – He was born in Stawiski (Stavisk) and settled in Tykocin after marrying Hadassah née Lifshack.

As one who had studied at the Łomża Yeshiva and acquired a Torah and broad general education, he found his natural tendencies drew him toward activities in the Mizraḥi movement. He ran the wide–ranging Zionist publicity division from within the walls of the Beit Ha–Midrash and Tykocin synagogues. He studied and read much, especially Hebrew and its literature.

In Bernardyńska Street, he managed a shop selling feathers and a grocery store from which he made a comfortable living.

In 1925 he immigrated to Palestine to prepare the ground for his family to follow him but after two years he returned to Tykocin because the hot climate too much for him. He perished in the Holocaust of Tykocin. May G–d avenge his blood.

His wife Hadassah, an intelligent educated woman, had an excellent command of both Polish and Russian, stood by his side and with his loss continued to manage the business. She perished in the Holocaust in Tykocin. May G–d avenge her blood.

Ya'acov – After finishing his schooling in Tykocin, he worked with his uncle in Bialystok. He perished there in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge his blood.

Yitzhak – An excellent student, he continued his studies in the Yeshiva of Lachowicze (Lechovitz). At the age of 17, he perished in the Holocaust in Tykocin while spending his vacation there. May G–d avenge his blood.

Yehoshua–Mordecai and Tzvi, still little children died at the hands of the evil ones. May G–d avenge their blood.

Raḥel – (today Ostrów) After completing her education in the government school of Tykocin, continued to study at the “Ort” school in Bialystok. On the eve of World War Two, she immigrated to Palestine and now lives in Tel–Aviv.


Yehuda Mike – arrived in Tykocin in 1897 with his wife and their first son who was born while they still lived in Wysokie Mazowieckie.

Yehuda Mike, an erstwhile student of the Łomża Yeshiva quickly turned his home into one of the most respected houses in town, a meeting house for the intelligentsia. In that house, Each Friday evening there was a group activity on the Pentateuch under the tutelage of Yisrael Buber. Within its walls, the Zionist ideas…

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…found a permanent residence while Yehuda Mike as the Mizrahi activist in Tiktin led what the movement thought and what it did.

At the same time, Yehuda Mike and his wife Hinda–Bayle née Pektzerz were dedicated to activities in the “Leinat Tsedek” organization. While Yehuda was busy with supplying ice to the needy and homebound, she was known throughout Tykocin as “mother” because of her readiness to give assistance and support to the sick, particularly those giving birth and children. She was also known for her activities in the Tykocin “Women's Society” whose meetings were also held in the Mike home.

In 1924, after 27 years in Tykocin, Yehuda and his wife, together with nine of their twelve children immigrated to Palestine, following their two sons, Ḥaim and Akiva who had gone on ahead of the family to prepare the way. In 1926, their first born Arieh–Leib joined them with his family.


Yehuda and Hinda–Bayle and their daughter


Yehuda Mike, was among the first settlers in the Shapira neighborhood of Tel–Aviv and conspicuous among the Tykocin community of the time, died at a good age in 1954.

Arieh–Leib – a graduate of the Horodok Yeshiva remained behind abroad after his family immigrated. He joined them in 1926 with his wife Haya–Mindl and since then have lived in Tel–Aviv. Their son Ya'acov fell in the War of Liberation in the battle for Latrun 15th Iyar 1948. May G–d avenge his blood.

Raḥel – (today Gorwitz) immigrated to Palestine with her parents and today lives in the United States.

Ḥaim – immigrated to Palestine ahead of his parents in 1922 as a pioneer for the family. He was one of the builders of Tel Mond. Today lives in Tel–Aviv.

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Moshe–Yosef – already a young child displayed a musical talent and was the first Jewish member of the Tykocin Fire Brigade band. He immigrated to Palestine with his family and lives in Tel–Aviv.

Akiva – he too was one of the pioneers for the family immigrating with his brother Ḥaim in 1922 preparing the ground for the family's immigration. He lives today in Hadera.

Ḥanna – (today Krawiecki). She too, immigrated with the family, now living in Petaḥ Tikvah.

Dov – immigrated together with the family now lives in the United States.

Shmuel – acquired a musical education and today plays in the orchestra of the Israeli Opera in Tel–Aviv.

Shlomo, Zippora (Merey) and Elisheva (Shoḥet) – all immigrated with their parents, now living in Tel–Aviv.

Miriam (Greitzerstein), died in Israel in 1955.


Altar Melervitz – He was among the wealthy of the town and had a significant influence on the community. He was a successful trader in timber and owner of exclusive rights to trade in wines and spirits in the Tykocin area.

As a dominant figure, he represented the issues of the community before the authorities of the State and was the living spirit and driving force on behalf of the community.

Before the outbreak of war, he moved to Bialystok where he perished with his wife Idka and their children: Lila a member of “Ha–Shomer Ha–Tsa'ir” and one of the leaders of the ghetto uprising in the town, Iska and Lulka. May G–d avenge their blood.

Their daughter, Lanka is in Russia and their son, Avraham is in Uruguay. Polka is in Warsaw.


Micha'el Melervitz – a brilliant sharp–thinking scholar. He had a bakery but spent only a little time there turning most of his energies and attributes to fruitful public activities. He was especially active in getting young men released from conscription into the army and it was in this connection that he achieved his greatest and most significant influence with the strategies he employed, on the lives of the community.

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His wife Ḥava an intelligent and industrious woman, took upon herself most of the work of the bakery in order to free her husband for his public activism.

Their children: Shlomo (Z”L), Sara–Tzirel (Z”L), Bilha–Rivka, may G–d avenge her blood, Yisrael (Z”L), Duvka in Uruguay and Yitzhak in Israel.

When his wife died, Micha'el Melervitz married Sarah–Malka née Edlin of Mołczadź (Maytshet), a wise woman, fearful of heaven, an exemplary house–wife who preferred to spend her free time reading the Holy Books to any other activity. In spite of the economic difficulties and responsibilities after the death of her husband in 1915, she devoted most of her energies and even more so her time to caring for, nurturing and educating her children. She immigrated to Palestine in 1936 following her son. About two years later, she succumbed to a long illness and returned her soul to its Maker.

Ḥanna, their daughter and the first–born of Micha'el and Sarah–Malka, lives today in the United States.

Arieh – educated in Yeshivot and a brilliant student became enamored of Zionism and Haskala and drawn to continue his education in a Teachers' Seminar wrote articles for various magazines and appeared…


Sarah–Malka, wife of Micha'el Melervitz and her children: Micha'el, Shoshanna and Yehezkiel

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…at meetings of the Zionist movement. Because of financial difficulties, and his mother's influence he returned to study at the “Beit Ya'acovYeshiva of Mezrycz and dedicated himself to the study of Torah, seeing a blessing for himself in his studying and even functioned as the head of the Ludza (Lutsin) Yeshiva. He perished in the Holocaust of the Brześć (Brisk) ghetto with his wife Haya née Litman and their son Moishe'leh. May G–d avenge their blood.

Yehezkiel – Educated in Yeshivot and immigrated to Palestine within the framework of “Ha–Ḥalutz Ha–Mizraḥi” and was earlier the founder and activist of the Tykocin Branch. He married Ḥaviva née Katzervitz who was also a daughter of Tykocin. Today they are living in the Hapoel Hamizraḥi neighborhood of Tel–Aviv.

Shoshanna (today Cohen) a graduate of the “Ha–Shomer Ha–Tsa'ir” and the “He–Ḥalutz” movements, she immigrated to Palestine in 1936 with her mother “by order” of her brother Yehezkiel. Now lives in Tel–Aviv.

Micha'el – A Yeshiva student who turned to the Haskala movement and finished his education as an excellent student in Bialystok, transferred to Vilna, continued his studies in a Polytechnic and graduated as a mechanical engineer. As one who had absorbed the literature of the Haskala he believed with all his heart that the ”Jewish Question” will be solved only by a change of governments in the world. In the end, he recognized his errors, wanted to immigrate to Palestine but didn't succeed. With his wife Ḥaya (the sister of his brother Arieh's wife) and their son, were trapped in the Brisk ghetto. May G–d avenge their blood.


Shlomo Melervitz – One of the conspicuous activists in Tykocin in respect of the various charity and Zionist organizations. A founder of the Ha–Gamaḥ charity and its treasurer for all its years. An activist in the “ Ha– Mizraḥi” movement and among the active members of Eretz Yisrael funds.

Rabbi Shlomo was supported and accepted by all avenues of the community and hosted meetings of the various charitable and Zionist organizations in his home.

As an active member of “Ha–Mizraḥi” in Tykocin, his life–long dream was to settle in the Land of Israel and in 1926, he fulfilled his dream and immigrated with all his family.

In Palestine, he also dedicated himself to public activity especially among the “Tykocin Settlement” in the Shapira neighborhood and was one of the founders of the “Poalei–Tsedek” synagogue.

When he separated from the Tykocin Congregation, they gave him a Torah scroll that is preserved to this day in the Poalei–Tsedek synagogue.

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Shlomo Melervitz and his wife Bayle née Kamecki


In Tel–Aviv, as in Tykocin, he made his living running a bakery with his wife and children helping.

Ḥaim – Educated in the Łomża Yeshiva. In 1924 he immigrated to Palestine ahead of the family as a pioneer. He married Miriam née Hellerstein, of Tykocin. Today living in Tel–Aviv.

Arieh, Ḥava (today Yudkowski), Tzila (today Eizenberg), Miriam (today Steindem) and Rivka (today Adel) – all in Israel.


Moshe Leib Savislovsky – “The Łopuchowo” He settled in Tykocin after the First World War after selling his farm and flour–mill in Łopuchowo. He lived from his savings and from money he received from his sons and daughter who immigrated to the United States. He keeps to the teachings of the Torah and its commandments and prayed regularly in the Great Synagogue.

He and his wife Sima were blessed with long lives and died in a good old age and are buried in Tykocin.

His son, Levi and his wife Bunye perished in the Holocaust in Tykocin. May G–d avenge their blood.

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Berl (Dov) – He married Miriam née Kapitza of Tykocin. They and their four children, Ya'acov, Hanna, Sima and Moshe–Arieh perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

Three sons and a daughter of Moshe–Leib Savislovsky immigrated to America.


Yitzhak Tzvi Savislovsky (Swieczkowski, Levine) – “Itche Kopless”, worked in the factory of Levi Lev making Prayer–Shawls and immigrated to the United States in 1898. Four years later, he brought over his wife Ḥaya–Eidal and his children Yosef, Gittel, Raḥel, Ḥanna and Ze'ev. His first–born, Ya'acov Koppel, who was already married, remained in Tykocin where he founded his own prayer–shawl workshop. Ḥaya Eidal died at a good old age in 1932. Three years later, on 22nd Av 1935 Yitzhak also returned his soul to its Creator.


Yitzhak–Tzvi and Haya–Eidal Swieczkowski


Ya'acov Koppel Savislovsky (Swieczkowski) – “Koppel the Tallis–maker” – the owner of the Prayer–shawl weaving shop. His prayer–shawls were of the highest quality and beauty and their reputation spread far and wide in Poland and abroad as “Tykocin prayer–shawls”. He employed about ten workers.

[Page 371] One of the managers of “Leinat Ha–Tsedek” (home visits and support for the sick and disabled), he kept some medical appliances at his home, disinfected and guarded them from every possible infection, ready for any need. As Shabbat ended the activists of Leinat Ha–Tsedek Avraham Yitzhak “The Sweetener”, Rabbi Arieh Katz and others, gathered together in his house and combined reports on the previous week and prepared their program for the coming one. Later on, he became the committee's and community's representative before the authorities.

His permanent place in the Study House was alongside Rabbi Arieh Katz. Every Shabbat afternoon he studied a lesson from the Mishnah with the “Mishnayot Group” with Rabbi Hirsch Flax.

He was one of the active members of the Mizraḥi movement in Tykocin. He instilled in his children the love of Torah and Ḥivat Zion. He dreamed all his life of settling in the Land of Israel but it failed to materialize for him.

On the day of the destruction of the Jewish community of Tykocin, he was not in town. When he returned, the Germans selected him to run the flour–mill. When he milled a farmer's produce without authorization, he became frightened and flew to Sokolka. After he escaped from there as well, he was caught in one of the searches and murdered by the Nazis. May G–d avenge his blood.

His wife Fruma, the daughter of Rabbi Yisrael Smorla, nurtured and educated her six children traditionally and in Zionism. With her encouragement, three of her children immigrated to Palestine in the 1930's.

Good–hearted and compassionate she never missed an opportunity for doing an anonymous good deed. She perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G–d avenge her blood.

David – He began his learning in the Ḥaderim and government school of Tykocin. He followed his father's trade and continued with it until today in Tel–Aviv immigrating to Palestine in 1924. In his first years, he imported his father's prayer shawls from Tykocin but today he exports them to many countries abroad.

Ḥaim and Yehuda – they received an education similar to that of their elder brother and they too entered the same trade as that of their father. They were members of Ha–Shomer Ha–Tsa'ir in Tykocin, immigrating to Palestine in 1927, today in Ramat–Gan.

[Page 372]

Ya'acov Koppel and his wife Fruma née Smorla] and…


of their two daughters, Devora (Brainski) and Sarah

[Page 373]

Devora – studied in the government school in Tykocin and was married to Yona Brainski. They and their two children perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

Sarah – studied in the Bialystok gymnasium. With the outbreak of war she returned to Tykocin. She was killed together with her mother and sisters.

Raḥel – Studied in Bialystok. She perished while still a young girl with her mother and sisters in Tykocin. May G–d avenge her blood.


Sarah and Raḥel Swieczkowski


Pinḥas Shlomo Sernivitz (Zaniewicz) – An iron–worker and welder by profession, he operated his own foundry in Kaczorewska Street close to the Polish district.

A G–d–fearing Jew, one of the officials of the “Mishnayot Group” in the synagogue of similar artisans.

Tzvi (Hershel), the first–born, busied himself with his father's artistry, married Perl née Pikervitz and lived in Bialystok. Before the war, they returned to Tykocin with their seven children where they perished. May G–d avenge their blood.

Yisrael (Shrulke) also worked as an artistic welder in Tykocin, built a family living together with his father. They all died in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

Translator's Footnotes

  1. A traditional elementary school for young pupils but varying widely in educational scope throughout the centuries depending on the period and geographical location. Return
  2. Maimonides: Yad. III, 9, v2. Return
  3. A rabbinical work by the noted 14th Century rabbi, Yitzhak Abuhav or Aboab. Return
  4. Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Kaidanover Return
  5. Rabbi Elijah ben Solomon Abraham ha–Kohen Return
  6. See footnote 3 above Return
  7. The Ḥevra Kaddisha organization is found in every Jewish community world–wide that undertook responsibility for organizing and carrying out the ritual preparation and burial of the departed. Return
  8. Translator's comment: the “plague” is not identified but there is a possibility of a misprint or error and that the year may have been 1918 in which case, it may have been the Spanish Flu. This is pure speculation on my part. Return
  9. The word means “mixture” but in this context is connected with the practice of orthodox communities to define and enclose an entire neighborhood as being one domain rather than as separate homes, thus allowing the community to move freely throughout the area in compliance with strict observation of the Shabbat laws. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eruv Return
  10. A religious denomination whose adherent consider themselves “Israelites of Wholehearted Faith” Return


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