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[Page 374]

The Families of Tykocin {cont.}

Translated by Selwyn Rose

Tanḥum Sokolovitz – “Shmulke the fisherman” – trader of fish in the market. He returned to Tykocin with his wife, Mirke after a long exile in Russia. Their daughter Heshke (named for the grandfather) and her sister perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.


Shmuel Sokolovitz – manager of the congregation during prayers in the synagogue's Stiebl. He and his brother bore the burden of the heavy yoke of supporting the family.

Among his peers, owner of a wagon, he was conspicuous at every public and celebratory function producing happy rhythms from his drum.

It was Shmuel Sokolovitz who led Tykocin's Jewish community on its last walk to their death when forced to do so by the Nazis while the congregation was forced to sing the “Hatikva”. This time his drum brought forth only melancholy tones.


Shmuel Sokolovitz's wife Devora and her mother Ḥanna


He and his wife Devora née Kalipovitz, who bore him seven children, perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

Malka, the first–born daughter married a man from Kutno – Moskovitz who came to Tykocin from eastern Poland with a wave of refugees in 1940. Living today in Hertzliya.

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Yehezkiel – worked as a baker in Tykocin, arrived in Israel in 1948 as an illegal immigrant after having endured the traumas of war in Russia in the ranks of the Red Army. Now living in Hertzliya.

Fruma – A young woman who worked as a seamstress in Altar Katz's workshop. She perished in the Holocaust in Tykocin. May G–d avenge her blood.

Itka – Studied at the government and perished while still a young girl. May G–d avenge her blood

Sulka (Sonja) – Studied and perished together with her sister. May God avenge her blood.

Moshe and Hanna – while still little children they perished together with their parents and three sisters on the bitter untimely day when the Holocaust fell upon the residents of Tykocin. May G–d avenge their blood.


Avigdor Sorevitz – A tailor in Zambrow near Tykocin where he married Gittel the daughter of Rabbi Mordecai Lewinski. When his house was burnt down in 1900, he moved with his family to Tykocin where he continued with his profession until 1910 when he immigrated to the United States. Members of the family who remained in Tykocin subsisted on money he sent them from there as well as from supporters from the surrounding villages and from peddling. The villagers, living from the land, awoke within the children the ambition to do likewise but in the Land of Israel.

It had been Avigdor Sorevitz's intention to bring his family to the United States but his son Ḥaim had become an ardent Zionist and had succeeded in influencing his father who changed his mind and direction and in 1920 he arrived in Palestine. A year later, their father joined them.

Ḥaim – educated at the Zambrow Yeshiva at the age of thirteen decided to become a worker in the Land of Israel, left the Yeshiva and learned to become a carpenter. He became engaged in Zionist activities in the framework of the “Anfei Zion” movement. Later on, he became its leader.

Avraham–Yitzhak and Rivka immigrated to the United States.

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Ya'acov Sorevitz – “Ya'acov thé Englishman”. Born in Sokol, (Sokola) but settled in Tykocin with his marriage to a Sokol girl. Before the First World War, he went to England and returned to Tykocin in 1920.

He was a scholarly Jew and especially well versed in the Bible. He devoted time to the Torah and was diligent concerning the education of his children and their studies. He died in Tykocin in 1928.

His wife, Rivka the daughter of Israel Meir Cohen, opened a garment shop that she managed with the help of her husband. She was an intelligent woman with remarkable attributes. She perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G–d avenge her blood.

Yisrael–Meir a graduate of the Łomża Yeshiva he continued studying at the Rabbinic Seminar in Warsaw. He was a Zionist and successfully combined his Zionism with his religious principles and was a spokesman for Zionism in Tykocin. Alongside his Torah education, he also acquired a broad general education and mastered well the Hebrew language. He was among the first to speak Hebrew as a day–to–day language and dreamed of doing so in the Land of Israel. He found grace in the eyes of G–d and man.

He married Yocheved, the daughter of the Rabbi of Milovka. They and their children perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.


Yisrael–Meir the son of Ya'acov Sorevitz and his wife Yocheved

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Ḥanna–Raḥel, their first–born, was one of Yisrael Buber's pupils. Like her father, she excelled in her knowledge of the Torah and the Talmud. The family members and friends, her uncle Ya'acov, brother Yisrael Meir, Naḥum Choroshuka and Yisrael Meir Cohen (may he continue to be preserved for a long life), who studied together on the Sabbath in her father's house. She often offered up worthy interpretations of various passages that seemed beyond the understanding of the others. She was active in the “Young Zionists” group. She was married to Avraham Burstein and settled in his town of Ciechanowiec. They and their children perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.


Tzvi Sorevitz – the son of Baruḥ Sirkis, one of the notables in town and a member of the respected veteran family of Tykocin.

He dealt in skins, pelts and furs and saw much satisfaction in work, maintained a house of some grandeur and supported generously several charitable institutions in town. He perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G–d avenge his blood.

His wife, Bluma née Rubinstein, was a modest righteous woman maintaining the home in a queenly manner. Attentive to the education of her children in the spirit of the Torah and “Mesorah”. She perished in the Holocaust of Tykocin. May G–d avenge her blood.

Meir – Educated in the Yeshivot now living in Haifa.

Ḥaim – an active member of the Zionist youth movements in Tykocin, living today in The United States.

Moshe – a “graduate” of the “Ha–Shomer Ha–Tsa'ir” movement immigrated to Argentina.

Esther – While still a young girl, she perished with her parents in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G–d avenge her blood.


Avraham Sorevitz – A timber merchant and also a fur trader a praying member of the synagogue congregation, he donated a plot of land in Golden Lane to the town later building on it a cold–storage facility.

His wife Tzvia née Gold was active in public services, supporting charitable foundations…

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…performing much charitable work. Avraham and his wife perished in the Bialystok Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

Moshe – their first–born, active in Zionist movements in Tykocin and a representative of the Keren Kayemet, an excellent orator at Zionist meetings in town.

Forward looking in his views with a good education and the secretary of a local bank.

After his marriage, he moved to Bialystok where he and his family perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

Meir – he moved to Bialystok where he worked as a journalist for a local newspaper. He perished there together with his family in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

Miriam completed the seminar for teachers in Vilna and taught Hebrew in the “Tarbut” gymnasium school in the Bialystok. She perished there in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge her blood.


Yisrael Smorla “The Babiner” – He managed an inn on the main road to Tykocin in the village of Babin. At the beginning of the century, he moved with his family to Tykocin where he traded in leather.

A good–looking Jew, he prayed together with the “Mishnayot” group and regularly took part in the lectures of Rabbi Hirsh Flaks.

Yisrael Smorla and his wife died of a good old age and were buried in Tykocin cemetery.

Their five sons immigrated to the United States. Their young daughter, Fruma, married Ya'acov Koppel Swieczkowski. She perished with her family in the Holocaust in Tykocin. May G–d avenge their blood.


Anshel Podko – the partner of Moshe Kaddishes (Choroshuka) in his public services and was in partnership with Shaul Sorevitz in his welding–shop while his primary “partnership” was the focus and gave his life purpose and fulfillment and the other was often left idle and reduced to the minimum possible.

As an active “Sick Visits” member, he often left his work in spite of his “spirit of partnership” in order to rush the doctor to a sick patient.

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Yosef, the son of Anshel Podko


As a dedicated worker in the “Sick Visits” charity, he was often absent from his home for days and nights. On winter days, he and his “partner” in fulfilling the Commandments, Moshe Kaddishes, would collect blocks of ice and store them for the summer days for the needy sick. With all that he continued with other activities for the needy ones of Tykocin – he was also an active member of the Burial Society in Tykocin.

Their large house at the entrance to town was also the site of the forge and the Christians would bring all their tools and appliances there for repairs. It was also the home of the extended family – Anshel's parents, Avraham and Shayne Podko and his father–in–law Shlomo Ribekevitz

His wife, Pasha née Ribekevitz helped to sustain the home and was especially dedicated to care for her ailing father whose name was a byword as a distinguished scholar and was especially noted for his knowledge of the Mishnah.

Pasha also helped her husband in his public activities in the community relieving him of some of the responsibilities he carried on his shoulders, the nurturing and education of their five children. She and her daughter Ḥaya–Sarah perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

The father, Anshel and his two sons Yosef and Avraham fled to Bialystok. May G–d avenge their blood.

Moshe – a graduate of the Łomża Yeshiva. Later he became apprenticed to a welder, immigrated to Palestine in 1932 in the “He–Ḥalutz” movement. He lives today in Givat Rambam.

Meir – He was active in “Ha–Shomer Ha–Tsa'ir” and in “He–Ḥalutz”. He immigrated to Palestine as an illegal immigrant in 1933. Lives today in Tel–Aviv.

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Yitzhak Gedaliah Pinionzik – owner of a small factory on Czarniecki Street on the corner of the Market Square. Active in the “Sick Visits” group and other charities.

He married Raḥel, the daughter of Mottel Rozin. In 1903, he lived in the industrial city of Łódź where he was the manager of a textile factory. Three years later the whole family was living there. He nevertheless maintained his ties to Tykocin, including his trading contacts with Koppel Savislovsky.

Yitzhak Gedaliah Pinionzik and his wife died in Łódź.


Yitzhak Gedaliah Pinionzik


Ḥaya, their daughter and first–born married Gedaliah the son of Ḥaim Yitzhak Leib of Tykocin. They lived in Łódź. They and their children, Ethel, Raḥel. Ḥaim Mordecai and Ya'acov perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

Ḥanna (today Gelbard), lives in New York.

Malka married Moshe Reznik in Łódź and died in 1935. Her husband and daughter Meital perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

Their two other daughters are in Palestine and the United States.

Sarah, her husband Mordecai Luria and their three daughters perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

Falk Died in Vienna in 1931. His wife Rivka and their daughters Raḥel and Sheyndl are in Buenos Aires.

David–Shlomo is a watch–maker and jeweler in Łódź. He married Zippora (Tsipa) née Pinionzik of Bialystok. His wife and his daughters Raḥel and Ethel perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

David–Shlomo was in the Łódź ghetto and from 1944 in the extermination camp of Auschwitz and Friedland (Gro╬▓ Rosen). After the horrors of the war, he immigrated to Israel in 1949 with his daughter Khisha.

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Mordecai Pines – “Mordecai the Righteous”. Born in Bialystok the son of Ḥaim Shaul Pines who was one of the most conspicuous public figures in the Bialystok community.

He married Hinda the daughter of Shlomo Zalman and Rakhtshe Goldman of Tykocin and settled there in 1875 very quickly becoming a central figure in the public life and society of Tykocin.


Hinda, Mordecai Pines's wife


Among the seven leading citizens. Rich, scholarly, G–d–fearing, a lover of the Torah and respected by the rabbis. His house was a meeting room for the intelligentsia, the managers of the Gamaḥ (see above) committee and together with Rabbi Baruḥ Sorevitz, he dedicated himself to activities on behalf of “Supporters of the Fallen” – an extension of the Gamaḥ. In his home committee meetings of the management were held and on the Shabbat of the reading of the “Behar” chapter of the Torah – the Shabbat dedicated to “Supporters of the Fallen” – it was Rabbi Mordecai who selected those who were called up to the Torah for the seven sections from the members of the Society.

Among the regular members of the Study House, he spent all his spare time studying the Torah and conversing with the wise scholars gathered there. He persevered with all his might “to learn, to teach, to safeguard and to perform”. He set aside much time for the Torah and between the afternoon and evening prayers would convey a lesson on Halaḥa clarifying debatable issues of the Law to a regular group of listeners.

He was one of the more successful businessmen in Tykocin concentrating mainly on importing and exporting wool and produce. He remained trading with Germany and Russia.

His wife Hinda was his faithful assistant in his business and in caring for the Jewish home. She was his right hand in his profitable businesses and was a successful hostess for the rabbis and notables of Tykocin and beyond who visited his house.

Their first–born Shlomo was also a conspicuous member of the Tykocin community, a wise scholar, tall and G–d–fearing possessing many admirable features. He married Simḥa–Hinda the daughter of Rabbi Shmuel Leib Shapira. They perished in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.

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Naḥum – he learned in the Ḥaderim of Tykocin and in the Zambrow Yeshiva. At the age of 16, he went to Łódź where he worked as a clerk for his uncle and after his uncle's death managed his business. He was an honest and forthright man and God–fearing, among the regular students in the “Shas” group, a successful and fair, charitable trader. He considered settling in Palestine and even bought a home here but the Second World War broke out and he was caught in the Łódź ghetto. Six months before the liquidation of the ghetto – he died. His wife Devora née Rajski from Bialystok was trapped in the ghetto with her husband. May G–d avenge her blood.

Yehezkiel, Shraga–Faivel, Paula and Moshe, the children of Naḥum and Devora, perished with their families in the Holocaust. May G–d avenge their blood.


Eliezer Pines and his wife Malka Leah née Shapira


Eliezer studied in the Ḥaderim of Tykocin and worked with his father in his produce business and married Malka–Leah née Shapira of Zabłudów and became an independent and successful timber trader. He was one of the prominent members of the Tykocin community and among the regular members of the Study Hall congregation contributing generously to all the charitable organizations. He was especially concerned with providing flour for Passover for the impoverished. He and his wife perished in the Holocaust of Tykocin. May G–d avenge their blood.

Their son Ya'acov died while still young from an illness; Micha'el lives in Haifa.

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Yosef Pines – Yosef was educated in the Łomża, Telz, Radin and Slabodka Yeshivot. Until the outbreak of the First World War, he was in Łódź busy with various agencies and even founded a small Yeshiva.

Fearing mobilization into the army, he began wandering around Poland and Russia visiting Bialystok, Vilna, Minsk and Kharkov and as far as Tbilisi in the Caucasus Mountains. In 1917, he founded a Yeshiva in Tallin, the capital of Estonia and as its head, his obligation to the military was annulled.

He quickly became spokesman for the Tbilisi community and the synagogue manager. After the Balfour Declaration, with the rise of Zionist fervor he decided to immigrate to Palestine and did so taking many additional pioneers.

Yosef Pines became friends with Dr. Streicher, among the leaders of Zionism in Caucasia and a teacher named Peikin and they declared themselves the official representatives of the Jewish State that seemingly arose after the Balfour Declaration and in its name even printed passports. The local Italian Consul accepted them as fact and stamped the “Israeli Passports” with valid Italian visas. Many tens of Jews from Russia and the Caucasus immigrated to Palestine with those documents.

In 1924, he immigrated and today functions as one of the heads of the orthodox Jewish community in Tel–Aviv.

He married Devora the daughter of Rabbi Pinhas the admired rabbi of Tykocin. She gave birth to Ḥava the wife of Rabbi Bezalel Cohen one of the leaders of Hamizraḥi.

When his wife died young, he married Leah née Rozenzweig of Bialystok who was of great support to him. Today she is treasurer of League of Equal Rights for Women and a public activist.

Yeraḥmiel Mordecai's son, perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G–d avenge his blood.

Ḥaim–Shaul was a graduate of the Słobódka, Telz and Brańsk (Braynsk) Yeshivot. He travelled to his three brothers in Łódź but with the outbreak of war retuned to Tykocin where he was active in the Zionist movement and in organizing the youth to give assistance to those in need, organizing a soup–kitchen for the needy, an amateur theatrical group and the “Tarbut” library.

He married Ḥanna–Rivka the daughter of Ze'ev Gold and moved to Bialystok where he opened a haberdashery shop.

In 1925, he immigrated to Palestine but after two years returned to Tykocin. In 1934 he again immigrated and since then is living in Tel–Aviv.

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Shlomo Pines – the first–born son of Rabbi Mordecai Pines, among the leaders of the Tykocin community.

Like his father, he was also one of the community's leading activists and a learned respected scholar, G–d–fearing possessing noble attributes.

He was a dedicated member of the “Shas” party. On Friday evenings he would “mount guard” in the Study Hall and even during the week would be “the first to come and the last to leave” studying the Torah day and night.

As head of the congregation, he was entrusted with the finances of the community including donations from the United States. He himself also donated as a wealthy man to the needy and was careful to do so anonymously. He sometimes sent a check from Bialystok so no one would identify its source as Tykocin, or sent his young daughters with necessities for the Shabbat at night so no one would see them.

He was known for his welcoming of guests. On Friday evenings, he was the last to leave the Study House in order to invite a Shabbat guest. He had a large room that was used for special parties and festivals, especially for brides and grooms. Even though Fridays were market days in Tykocin weddings were arranged for that day and his room was always available and placed at the disposal of the celebrants.


Shlomo Pines and his wife Simḥa–Hinda, daughter of Shmuel Leib Shapira

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Reitcha Guttman née Pines
Rivka Katz daughter of Basha née Pines


Shlomo Pines was a trader in produce, wealthy also managing a grocery store in the market place with the help of his wife. He was known for his honesty and fair–mindedness in his dealings with people.

His wife Simḥa–Hinda, was the daughter of Rabbi Shmuel Leib Shapira and was a righteous woman, fearing Heaven. On one of the Sabbaths during the First World War, when all the traders were ordered to open their shops, she, too, was forced to do so but immediately with the termination of Shabbat, she hurried to the home of Rabbi Pinḥas with redemption in her hand dedicating it to charity. She died of an illness while still young.

Rabbi Shlomo dedicated himself to the education of his six children diligently instilled within them the spirit of the Torah and the love of all creation. He perished in the Holocaust of Tykocin. May G–d avenge his blood.

P'nina (Pearl), immigrated to Palestine in 1925, married Mordecai Pinḥasi and were among the first settlers of Kfar Saba and were the diggers of the first well and planters of the first citrus grove. Their son Simḥa fell in the name of the State at the Battle of Latrun in the War of Liberation. May G–d avenge his blood.

Basha (today Katz), immigrated with her husband within the framework of the “Agudas Yisroel” movement and lives in Kfar Saba. Her daughter Rivka drowned in the sea at Tel–Aviv at the age of 12.

Eliyahu – immigrated to Palestine with his sister in 1925 and lives in Tel–Aviv.

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Reitcha and her husband Eliezer Guttman and their two daughters, Esther and Feyga perished in the Holocaust in Tykocin. May G–d avenge their blood.

Sarah–Gittel – she immigrated to Palestine in 1935, married Rabbi Arieh Zhukowitski, rabbinical teacher of the “Heiḥal Talmud” (“Temple of Talmud Study”) in Tel–Aviv.

Menuḥa – a graduate of Beit Ya'acov in Krakow. After suffering the hardships of the war, she immigrated to the Holy Land and married Rabbi Tzvi Palley, the inspector ant the Hebron Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Shlomo Percowicz (Pikervitz) – a talented builder who prayed together with his brother artisans in the “Mishnah Group”. He married a local Tykocin resident, Leah née Shakowitz.

Perla married Shmuel Baitman and with him moved to Bialystok. At the time of the first “Aktzia” in the Bialystok ghetto, Shmuel, together with Eliezer Percowicz, David Teshtzinsky, the tailor Batke, all originally from Tykocin, hid in an attic, were caught and shot. May G-d avenge their blood.

Perla and her five children returned to Tykocin and perished there. May G-d avenge their blood.

Hinda perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G-d avenge her blood.

Eliezer and his wife Golda, the daughter of Ḥezkel “the tall one” moved to Bialystok. Golda and her two children returned to Tykocin where they perished in the Holocaust. May G-d avenge their blood.

Raphael and his wife Rivka (Aliza), née Landsman and their two children immigrated to Palestine in 1926, and are now living in Tel Aviv.

Bilka married Altar Deutsch the tailor. On that evil day, Bilka escaped from the market square with her three children and crossed the bridge over the river where they were caught by Poles and returned to the market square. May G-d avenge their blood.

Her husband Altar escaped to the fields. After the chaos of war, he immigrated to the United States.

When Shlomo Percowicz's first wife died, he married Shayne, of Tykocin who also gave birth to his five children.

Shlomo Percowicz, his wife Shayne and their children: Sarah, Yosef, David and Meir immigrated to Palestine in 1928.

Their daughter Huma spent the horrors of war in Russia.

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Avraham Kikervitz (Percowicz, Pikervitz) – the son of “David the Circumciser”, was also a builder by trade and lived in the street called Holy Lane. He prayed with the “Mishnah Group”. He perished with his wife Leah-Yahiya née Chomontowicz of Łomża. May G-d avenge their blood.

Their daughter Perla was married to Tzvi (Hershel) Sernivitz (or Zaniewicz), a welder of Tykocin. They moved to Bialystok and the day the ghetto was closed, they returned to Tykocin where they perished with their children: Frieda, Sheyndl, Rivka and Moshe. May G-d avenge their blood.

Ya'acov continued with his construction work and married Feygl the daughter of Itche Mottel from Buchan. During the war, they hid in his sister's house in a small village. Feygl the three children were caught and killed in Lapy. May G-d avenge their blood.

Ya'acov, who was not in the house at the time his family was taken, was killed towards the end of the war. May G-d avenge his blood.

Shabtai at first learned tailoring but later he too took to the building trade. He moved to Bialystok where he married Leah a resident of Sokoltabisk. On the day that the walls of the Bialystok ghetto were established, Leah gave birth to her son and she named him “Gitto”. Leah and her children Moshe and Gitto were transported to the extermination camp of Auschwitz, May G-d avenge their blood.

Shabtai was mobilized into the Polish army and posted to the Front where all trace of him was lost.

Yirmiyahu and his wife Esther of Łomża, perished in the Holocaust of Tykocin. May G-d avenge their blood.

Koppel married Leah from Bialystok and there he stayed until the establishment of the ghetto when he returned to Tykocin with all his family.

His wife Leah and their children Esther, David, Naḥum and Ya'acov perished in the Holocaust in Tykocin. May G-d avenge their blood.

Koppel himself managed to escape from the market square and survived the many perils of war and immigrated to Israel in 1948. Since then he has lived in Jaffa.

Shmuel lived in Bialystok after his marriage. In 1940, he was mobilized and joined the ranks of the Red Army. At the end of 1944, he arrived in Bialystok with the liberating forces, shed his uniform joined with other Holocaust survivors and made his way towards Palestine. He was arrested in Rumania and returned to Poland. It was only in 1957, with a new wave of immigration that he eventually arrived in Israel.

His wife and his two year old son perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G-d avenge their blood.

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Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Pinḥas – Was the esteemed Rabbi of Tykocin, a Torah great, righteous and noble spirited.

He was born in Nowodvór in the county of Łomża. In his youth, he studied Torah under Rabbi Moshe Trop of Grodno and Rabbi Mordecai Gimpel of Raseiniai (Rasayn). Moving later to Eišiškės (Eshishuk) where he studied together with Rabbi Yoel Herzog, the Rabbi of Łódz and Paris and the father of the Chief Rabbi of Israel (May his name be remembered for his righteousness.


Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Pinḥas


He married Ḥaya-Gittel the daughter of the Gaon Rabbi Yitzhak-Moshe of Bialystok. He found that the Torah flourished there and the glorious Volozhin Yeshiva. He was conspicuous for his diligence and his great abilities. He became affiliated with Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Ha-Cohen Kook, may he be remembered for his righteousness, who was destined to become the Chief Rabbi of Mandatory Palestine.

He earned the respect and esteem of the leading personalities in the religious life of Palestine, such as the Gaon Rabbi Ḥaim Soloveitchik, the Gaon Moshe Bezalel Luria. He was ordained at a young age by Rabbi Naphtali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin.

As a young Yeshiva student, he returned to Bialystok and immediately earned for himself a reputation for his sermons on the Torah and fear of heaven. In 1886/7, he was called to officiate as Rabbi in Kuptsovo and in 1901, as Rabbi of Seirijai (Serei). Out of concern for the better education of his children in an atmosphere of Torah study and fear of heaven, he relinquished his seat in Seirijai in order to transfer to Ostrołeka (Ostrolenka). After the regional

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minister, the Baron Kurtz refused to confirm his nomination because of his “Lover of Zion” affiliations, he accepted Tykocin's offer to serve on the rabbinical council there.

In Tykocin, he found a wide audience for his lectures and talents. He was especially dedicated to the education of youth, sending about seventy of Tykocin's youth to the great Yeshivot and many of Tykocin's girls to the Beit Ya'acov[1] seminary in Lublin.

The First World War, which brought with it poverty and scarcity, provided him with a further extensive field for his activities; He travelled among the local towns cities and villages, organizing accommodation for refugees, levying taxes on fish destined for export in order to fund bread for the mouths of young children.

Rabbi Pinḥas led his congregation gently and his name spread out as one of the important rabbis of Poland.

Throughout his life, he argued in favor of immigration to Palestine and in 1920 sent his two sons and daughter there. At the age of 65, during the 1929 Palestine riots (the Buraq Uprising)[2], he fulfilled his lifelong dream and immigrated to the Land of Israel.

With great emotion, the residents of Tykocin parted from their much-loved and esteemed Rabbi of twenty years. The day of his departure became a National Holiday in his honor and virtually the entire congregation from the youngest on upwards accompanied him to the outskirts of town.

He settled in Tel-Aviv and integrated himself into an atmosphere permeated by Torah studies. He put into writing his commentaries on the Torah and devoted himself to charitable activities.

On the 21st of Tevet 5704, (January 17th 1944) his pure soul returned to his Maker. He was eulogized by the leading rabbis and interred among the graves of Gaonim on the Mount of Olives.

His wife, Haya-Gittel, a descendant of the family of the holy Rabbi Yeshayahu Halevi Horowitz died in Tykocin in 1914.

Their first-born, Yitzḥak-Leib remained close to his father's home and the teachings of the Lithuanian Yeshiva and was influenced by the Zionist movements. He was active in the “Mizraḥi” movement and spoke at their conference on 20th Tammuz.

He immigrated to Palestine in 1920 and was a founding member of several cultural, educational and charitable organizations. He was among the founding members of Tel Aviv's Great Synagogue, an orphanage the “Torah and Craftsmanship”, the Yeshiva and other institutions and neighborhoods, among them today's B'nei Barak.

He married Tzila née Pelkowitz, the granddaughter of Rabbi Yom-Tov Lipmann Heller the author of Talmud commentaries. Now living in Tel Aviv.

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Shraga-Feiwel (Pinkas) – A rabbi whose name was known throughout the United States.

Moshe Mordecai – among the early pioneers of Tykocin, in Israel.

Devora – Married to Rabbi Yosef Pines among the religious leaders in Tel Aviv. She passed away while still a young woman.

Marsha – Married to the Gaon, Rabbi Avraham-Leib Shor, among the important rabbis of Chicago. She died at a young age.

After the death of his wife, Rabbi Avraham Tzvi married Pinḥas Tzila née Zalman of Bialystok. She was a noble-spirited woman and a loyal and faithful helper to her husband in Tykocin and his right-hand support in his illness in Palestine. She now lives in Tel Aviv.

Avraham Yitzḥak Pektzerz “the candy-maker” among the conspicuous and fiery proponents of religious Zionism in Tykocin.

He was born in Wysokie Mazowieckie and married Esther-Miriam née Friedkowski of Dąbrowa (Dombrova), settled in Grodno and opened a business in watch-repairs and sales. He transferred to Bialystok and opened a candy manufacturing business. In 1901, he settled in Tykocin and opened there also a candy factory.


Avraham Yitzḥak Pektzerz and his wife Esther Miriam

[Page 391]

While still a Yeshiva boy, he became a fervent Zionist. He also supported the revolutionary movement but his love of Zionism was the driving force in his life. He stood at the head of the religious Zionists in Tykocin and was connected with the Movement's center in Bialystok. He was also one of the “authorized” people who, without his signature, a certificate to immigrate to Palestine was unobtainable. He was especially prominent for being steadfast in his opinions. He didn't hesitate to carry the war to the gates of the derisive Mitnagdim, in their conflict with the Ḥassidim.

His home was the meeting-hall of Zionist preachers. There it was possible to find Hebrew newspapers and the latest news of Zionist activities and their forthcoming activities in Tykocin until a “Central Command” was established by the Tykocin residents.

Avraham Yitzḥak was respected in Tykocin. He arose each morning to study a page of the Gemara. He loved nature and raised angora rabbits at home and in 1940 actually won a Stalin award.


Tovia Raḥel, the daughter of the candy manufacturer, and her husband David Geller


When the Germans ordered all the Jews of Tykocin to assemble in the market place he was quite aware of their satanic intentions and a few of the young people of town who had fled to the forests remember him standing outside his home wrapped in his prayer-shawl and phylacteries, urging everyone to flee. “Run my children, they are not leading you to work-camps they are leading you to your death,” he shouted. Together with his congregation, he perished at the hand of the evil ones. May G-d avenge their blood.

His wife, Esther-Miriam, was a faithful and loyal “aide” in all his public endeavors and also in supporting the household. She shared all his experiences and feelings and encouraged all his activities. Together with him, she took upon herself to become active in the sanctuary. She died in 1928 from pneumonia.

After her death, Avraham Yitzḥak Pektzerz married Sarah from Wysokie Mazowieckie and together with her perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G-d avenge their blood.

Toiva-Raḥel, a quiet modest girl was married at a young age to David Geller, a teacher

[Page 392]

who later moved to Suchowola where he dealt in watches. He was also actively engaged in Zionism and was the secretary of the Foundation Fund of Israel in town. They and their children: Golda, Moshe, Yehoshua and Esther perished in the Holocaust. Toiva-Raḥel was taken to Auschwitz with her daughter Golda and son Moshe. Golda breathed her last in the arms of a Tykocin resident who was also imprisoned in Auschwitz. Moshe was thrown into the ovens. May G-d avenge their blood.

Sarah-Bashke (today Bat-Sheva Brill) a member of the “He-Ḥalutz” movement, who immigrated to Palestine in 1925 from Zionist fervor, is married to Falk Brill among the founders of the “He-Ḥalutz” movement in Tykocin, now living in Tel-Aviv.

Yehuda died of Diphtheria in 1908.

Menaḥem Fritz - A business man like his father. Most of his time was spent in his prolific Zionist pursuits. At the forefront of his activities was the Zionist idea; he was one of the leaders of the “doers” and “accomplishers” of actions for the Zionist ideals in the city and was a member of the group “Flowers of the Golden Students” as they were called in Tykocin. He dreamt all his life of immigrating to the Land of Israel and imbued his children with the same ambition. But death preŰmpted the fruition of his plans and in 1917, when he was still only 29 years old, he died. His wife Yaḥa née Lipschutz was a modest person, intelligent and perceptive. She continued to rear her children in the spirit of her late husband.


Yaḥa, Menaḥem Fritz's wife and her daughter Bluma


Her sons, Eliezer and Arieh attended Ḥeder[3] in Tykocin, including the “Ḥeder Metukan[4] of Yisrael Buber, studied at the Yeshivot[5] and afterwards joined training camps and were active in the framework of the Zionist movement. After passing through the fears and perils of war, they immigrated to Palestine, living today in Israel.

The daughter, Bluma – the “Good Soul”, like her mother, full of life and hopes for the future, perished with her mother in Tykocin. May G-d avenge their blood.

[Page 393]

Mordecai Perko – Born in Sokola and settled in Tykocin in 1910. He found a respectable living in his workshop repairing carts and wagons, employing three workmen.

He was a quiet reserved person, home-loving, apparently uninvolved in public activities. He acted as collector of dues for his synagogue. He prayed with the congregation of that synagogue in one of the side rooms and regularly attended lessons with the “Mishnah Group” under the tutorship of Dayan[6] Rabbi Altar Hirsch Falkas.

His wife Fruma, from Wizna (Vizhna), was deeply involved with people and was an aide to her husband in all his activities in the “Entry of the Bride”[7] and a great activist in her own right. Fruma Perko it was who organized a cup of warm milk and bread-roll each morning for every child in the school at the commencement of lessons and on winter days a portion of hot fruit-juice was available to everyone.


Mordecai Perko, his wife Fruma and son Shraga


Fruma Perko spared herself no effort when it came to providing for a needy bride or organizing a carer for a sick person in the framework of charitable organizations. All her activities were notable for their gentleness and nobility and the Rabbi would send impoverished wagon-masters whose horses had perhaps died and she would organize a collection to reestablish them and get them on their feet again.

Mordecai and Fruma Perko and their son Altar, perished in the Holocaust after having escaped and hidden in a granary and been caught there. May G-d avenge their blood.

Their son, Shraga (Faivel), survived the horrors of war roaming the forests and Auschwitz. He now lives in Ramat-Gan.

[Page 394]

Menaḥem Koblinski – “Mendel the Baker”. In his youth, he worked in his father's bakery –Arieh Leib, the baker – and after his marriage opened a grocery store on Kaczorowo Street.

A lighthearted man, good hearted and known in town for his good spirits and generosity even though his own financial status was fragile he did whatever he could to assist the needy.

He married Golda née Sabba of Ciechanowiec (Tshekhanovits). She too was goodhearted like her husband and generous in her anonymous donations.

In 1933, they sent their son Ya'acov to Palestine and three years later, they joined him.


Menaḥem Koblinski


Their eldest son, Moshe, educated in the “Haderim” and the small Yeshiva in Tykocin and a member of the “He-Halutz” movement. His resonant voice could be heard in the Ḥazan's choir and even on the boards of Tykocin's amateur theater. He and his wife Dana, née Shtzinky (or Shtzinsky), their son Arieh-Leib and their small daughter were hidden by a Polish acquaintance. Three months before the liberation of Poland, he left his hiding place, was caught and killed. His wife was unable to cope with the bitterness of her fate was also caught together with her children and killed. May G-d avenge their blood.

Ya'acov – educated at the Bialystok Tachkemony School and a counselor at “Hashomer Ha-Tsa'ir” in Tykocin and an active manager at the “Tarbut” library and a member of the dramatic group. He went for training and immigrated to Palestine in 1933 and prepared the way for his parents' and small sister's immigration; living today in Beit Yitzḥak.

Yosef – Educated in Tykocin and the Yeshiva in Brańsk (Braynsk). As a member of “Hashomer Ha-Tsa'ir”, he went for training and immigrated to Palestine in 1937. He lives today in Reḥovot.

[Page 395]

Moshe ben Menaḥem Koblinski and his wife Dana


Yitzḥak – Educated at the Yeshiva in Brańsk and a member of “Hashomer Ha-Tsa'ir” and a member of the dramatic society in Tykocin. He worked in his father's bakery. With the Russian conquest of 1940, he was mobilized into the Red Army. In 1947 he returned to Poland and joined the “Hashomer Ha-Tsa'ir” affiliated group in Katowice. He immigrated to Palestine with the illegal immigrant organization and lives today in Ramat-Gan.

Esther – (today Tsaftman) immigrated to Palestine with her parents.

Getzel Kurlanski (Korlinsky, Karlinsky). – A Tykocin teacher who barely made a living and only with extreme difficulty. Most of the day he spent in the Study Hall studying Torah and was considered one of the wise students of Tykocin. As a Ḥassid[8] of the Gur school he prayed with the congregation of the Ḥassidim Steible[9]. In 1925, he immigrated to Palestine and died there in Jerusalem in 1949.

Raḥel, his wife a righteous and modest woman, died in Jerusalem in 1920.

Their children, Zalman and David Yitzhak and their daughter Ḥaya live in Israel.

[Page 396]

Ya'acov Kapitza – He was a Gur Ḥassid and among the members of “Agudat Yisrael[10] in Tykocin. He was tall with a long black beard. He prayed all his life with the Gur Ḥassidim with his friends in the Steible.

His good-heartedness was widespread knowledge throughout town. On Passover night, he was late arriving home. When he eventually arrived, he told his worried family: “You should be happy that you have a father and mother but the children of Ḥaim Moshe the teacher have been orphaned and who will perform the Seder[11] in their home? Therefore I did it for them.”

In 1918, at the age of 42, he passed on, returning his soul to its creator.

His wife, Ḥaya-Ḥinka continued to manage her husband's bakery, educated the six children in the ways of the Torah and the spirit of Ḥassidut.

In 1935, she immigrated to Palestine and died in Tel-Aviv in 5715 (1954).

Their first-born, Miriam, her husband, Dov (Berl) Swislovsky, a trader in farm produce in Tykocin


Ḥaya-Ḥinka and her family

[Page 397]

and four of her children: Ya'acov, Hanna, Sima, and Moshe-Arieh perished in the Holocaust. May G-d avenge their blood.

Sarah, her husband Ḥaim Tykotzki a farm produce trader of Tykocin and their two children: Shoshanna (Reizler) and Ya'acov, perished in the Holocaust. May G-d avenge their blood.

Yosef, Shmuel, Esther and Noaḥ – in Israel.

Pessaḥ Kapitza – “Pessaḥ Naḥass” named for his mother Naḥa. He was not active in any movement or institution. His deepest interest was in his difficult business involving much work – the growing and marketing vegetables in the market. He also traded in whatever opportunity came to hand.

Pessaḥ Kapitza, his wife Yehudit, née Goldstein and their children Yisrael Liba, Shimon, Idka and Naḥa, while still children, perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G-d avenge their blood.

Avraham managed to escape from the market place, hid in the forests, was caught and taken to the extermination camp. He survived and is now living in Israel.


Pessaḥ and his wife Yehudit née Goldstein
Pessaḥ Kapitza and his mother Naḥa

[Page 398]

Ḥaim Arieh Katzervitz – “Ḥaim the Glazer”. He lived his life according to the Torah and his work. He lived by the sweat of his brow and performed his work conscientiously at the same time devoting himself to the Torah and aiding the various charitable institutions of the town.

He was a founding member and treasurer of the “Mishnayot” group where he prayed all his life.

His wife Tzvia-Feyga née Nowina of Sokola reared and educated their six children.

Yosef – with his marriage to Perle née Kukuy he moved to Wizna (Vizhna) and settled there. They and their six children: Zippora-Tzvia, Ya'acov, Gedaliah, David, Tzvi and Batya perished in the Holocaust. May G-d avenge their blood.

Ḥaya-Gittel – married to Shmuel Rivkovich the tailor. They, their sons Menaḥem-Mendel and their daughters Sarah-Leah and Yona perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G-d avenge their blood.

Marisha – married to Menaḥem-Mendel. They and their sons Yitzḥak and Tzvi perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G-d avenge their blood.

Shavtai died in Tykocin in 1922.

Menuḥa married to Yitzḥak Surazski of Knyszyn (Knishin). They and their children Tzvia and Ḥaim perished in the Holocaust. May G-d avenge their blood.

Ḥaviva (today Maylarowitz), immigrated to Palestine in 1932,

Moshe Krawcewicz (Kravetsevich, Katzervitz) – “Moshe the Tanner”, a G-d fearing Jew he served with all his heart. He prayed with the “Five Books of Moses Brotherhood” and was active with charitable societies in the framework of the Burial Society in town.

[Page 399]

He made a living with great difficulty from growing vegetables in his garden and selling them in the market. He received additional support from his close family.

Moshe Krawcewicz and his wife Rivka perished in the holocaust. May G-d avenge their blood.

[Page 400]

Yisrael – living in the United States. He did very well in business there and supported is family and sister, Bluma. He died in 1956.

Bluma, (today Semjatskie), immigrated to Palestine in 1937. She was recognized for her generosity of spirit. She lives today in Petaḥ Tikvah.

Avraham, his wife Devorah and their children – Basha, Libah, Fischl and Yitzhak perished in the Holocaust, May G-d avenge their blood.

Yitzḥak, his wife Shoshanna and their four children perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G-d avenge their blood.


Yitzḥak Garbarsch and his family

[Page 401]

Yitzḥak Kropovnitsky   Yisrael Kropovnitsky


Avraham Kropovnitsky and his wife Devorah

[Page 402]

Tanḥum Karlinski – among the respected scholars of Tykocin, G-d fearing initiator and active in the town's charitable organizations. Honored with a seat along the eastern wall of the Study Hall.

His wife Ḥaya-Mirka was an exceptional housewife, dedicated to the education of her children.

Ḥaya-Malka, their eldest daughter, was married to Ya'acov Meir Bryzman, a shop owner: their sons, Aharon and Ephraim immigrated to the United States. Shlomo and Ḥava and their families perished in the Holocaust. May G-d avenge their blood.


[Ḥaya-Mirka, (Tanḥum Karlinski's wife) and their daughter, Devorah]

Moshe and Hadassah moved to Bialystok and from there to America.

Mordecai, as a clerk with a timber merchant, managed the transport of rafts along the River Narew to Germany. He married Zippora (Feigl), the daughter of Nahum Levin of Bialystok, a good-hearted woman who stood at his side and performed many good deeds anonymously at every opportunity. She perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. My G-d avenge her blood.

Mordecai and Zippora educated their children in the spirit of loving G-d's creation and the “Love of Zion” movement. Their eldest child, Asher-Mendel studied in the “Heder” and assisted his father in running his business. He drowned in the Narew at the age of 21.

[Page 403]

Bubke'h (Sarah-Itke), studied in the government school and was married to Yeraḥmiel Danolovitz. Together with their four children they perished in the Holocaust. May G-d avenge their blood.

Tanḥum – on the day of the Tykocin Holocaust, together with Ziskind Olsztein escaped from the Market Square and hid for two years eventually ending up in the Bialystok ghetto where he perished. May G-d avenge his blood. His wife Shoshanna (Reizl), née Garbarsch and his four children perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G-d avenge their blood.

Ḥaya-Shifra (today Steinman), a member of the He-Ḥalutz movement, was active in collecting donations for various Land of Israel causes. She was also active with the amateur theater group in town.

She underwent training in Gush Tel Hai immigrating to Palestine in 1935. Today living in Tel Aviv working in the Ministry of Defense and among those active in the “Committee for ex-Servicemen”.

Devorah – She worked in the factory belonging to Kopel Savislovsky. While still a young woman she perished in the Tykocin Holocaust. May G-d avenge her blood.


Ya'acov Kremer – originally from Horodoc (Horodok, Gorodok, Grayding, Gródek), he settled in Tykocin after marrying Elka-?aya née Zolti, the daughter of Rabbi David and Raḥel Zolti.

Elka-ḥaya, the youngest of the Zolti family's daughters, managed the family bakery after the other daughters had left the family home to build their own homes. Even after her own marriage she continued her work and thanks to her determination and good sense, the business grew and succeeded and her economic situation was good. To her great sorrow she had no children but outwardly her mood and spirit was always cheerful.

The will to live was very strong within her. The first time she defied the Germans and refused to surrender. She succeeded in escaping from them but at the roadside a murderous German bullet found her.

Her husband, Ya'acov perished with the other Tykocin martyrs, Together with them. Elka-Ḥaya's niece, Ḥaya-Batya Cycowicz who lived with them also perished. May G-d avenge their blood.


Translator's Footnotes

  1. Beit Ya'acov, started by Sarah Schenirer in post-World War I Kraków, was at the time a revolutionary approach to Jewish women's education. It has since achieved mainstream status within Orthodox Judaism, with branches located worldwide in every Jewish community with a significant population. Return
  2. An excellent review of the roots of the riots can be found here:
    https://www.palestine-studies.org/sites/default/files/jq-articles/18_haj_Amin_2_0.pdf Return
  3. An elementary school for children found in every Jewish community throughout the world, especially in earlier centuries, where young children were taught the basics of Judaism and Hebrew, Return
  4. A later educational development to the above, beginning especially after the “Jewish Enlightenment”, but with the introduction of secular subjects as against purely religious themes. “Metukan” meaning “corrected” Return
  5. Yeshiva (pl. Yeshivot) – Institutes of higher Jewish studies often leading to ordination. Return
  6. Dayan – literally ‘Judge’ an honorific used to describe an exceptionally gifted and learned rabbi. Return
  7. Knissat Kala” – “Entry of the Bride” is a portion of the Talmud dealing with the importance of assuring the bride a dignified and appropriate accompaniment, both spiritually and materially in her approach to the marriage canopy. See:https://he-m-wikipedia-org.translate.goog/wiki/%D7%94%D7%9B%D7%A0%D7%A1%D7%AA_%D7%9B%D7%9C%D7%94?_x_tr_sl=iw&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=sc Return
  8. Gur - one of the great Ḥassidic dynasties,
    See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ger_(Hasidic_dynasty) Return
  9. A Steible is a small synagogue usually attached to the home of an exalted rabbi.
    See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shtiebel Return
  10. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agudat_Yisrael Return
  11. The Seder is the ritual meal carried out in the Jewish home on Passover evening. Return


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