by AvrohomDovid Taff, Los Angeles
Translated by Pamela Russ
The speedy and vital help which we gave to our Wyszkower who saved themselves from Hitler's destruction in Poland and Germany, enabled our compatriots to enter Israel healthier, better dressed, in good spirits, and filled with hope, and knowing that they have a large family of compatriots in lucky America that feel their great pain and are prepared to help them get organized and become part of those who are building and strengthening the State of Israel and we haven't disappointed them.
We immediately established a loan fund which functions successfully under the directorship of a group of old, established Wyszkower who are devoted to the humanitarian work of helping the newlyarrived compatriots. Through this loan fund, many were assisted in becoming independently productive, so that they would not require further support. We sent over enough funds, and now the fund lends monies to nonWyszkower needy as well.
But our work is not yet complete. In our efforts to help those who survived, we also remembered our holy martyrs the thousands of Wyszkower who died by the hands of the Nazis simply because they were Jews and did not have any possibility to save themselves. Therefore, it was our holy mission not to forget them. We set up a committee for this goal, to help realize the project of establishing a center in Israel that would serve as a memorial for our holy martyrs and at the same time provide for the cultural, intellectual, and perhaps also the material interests of our compatriots. Towards this goal, we have already raised a significant amount of money, although not yet an adequate sum. This is a great and holy task and needs to be developed as a serious, holy undertaking for each Wyszkower Jew, wherever he lives, and that he give his support toward realizing this important project.
It is a great honor and pleasure for me to stand at the head of such a group, where each of its members, so willingly, freely, and eagerly, according to his strength and beyond, contributed to the success of our society, not only in the support which we have given, but also with our assistance in helping to evolve our society into one of the most beautiful and cultural in Los Angeles.
In the name of our membership, I would like to
|The Committee of the Society of the Wyszkower in Los Angeles|
send greetings to all the compatriots in Israel, especially to the executives of the loan fund who sincerely devoted their activities to reducing the needs of our Wyszkower. I also wish to greet our compatriots in Detroit, Chicago, Argentina, and Mexico, who contributed to the first aid as well as to the loan fund. I also wish to send a warm greeting to the New York building group, who a little late, but not too late, addressed the needs of our compatriots in Israel in an organized manner. I wish them success and hope that their contribution to the project will be a significant one.
by H. Muszkat, Los Angeles
Translated by Pamela Russ
Who was the first wanderer of the Jewish nation? One opinion is that it was the Patriarch Abraham who was the first. Obeying [God's command to Abraham] to Go forth from your land and from your birthplace [Genesis 12:1] he traveled to other places.
We, having grown and been raised in our beloved city, were forced to leave Wyszkow and travel to the far ends of the world. There were all kinds of reasons for this traveling. Some were searching for more freedom for themselves, more purpose in life, and more material opportunities for working their way up. We traveled so that once and for all, we could put an end to the situation of being refugees.
This happened 70 years ago. A group of young people organized themselves to leave the town. They knocked on the shutters of my father's home. He was supposed to emigrate with them. At the last minute, as we has saying goodbye to his wife and his newborn son, he changed his mind and decided not to leave them. So, in his later years, this son left his parents one dark night, and they waited to hear good things from him.
Our Wyszkower compatriots spread out to all the American cities. These were particularly of the Galveston group. There were no naïve Jews at that time, who would allow themselves to be convinced by the philanthropists of the time, who showed a great fear that Jews would not want to settle again in the large cities. So, they wanted to ease the immigration to the agricultural regions of the distant western America. Unfortunately, they did not find what they were looking for in the west. There was no business, not even for the local Americans. And if they did find work, it was slavelike labor, to which the Wyszkower were not accustomed. They left these new regions, therefore, and went even on foot, for hundreds and thousands of miles, and went to a large center where they hoped to find compatriots. But the main thing was that they searched for a livelihood … We also went to warmer places. And that's how Wyszkower came to Los Angeles and remained here.
For the Wyszkower residents, there existed an inner longing to live in a homey environment and to create their own landsmanschaft [immigrant benevolent society for hometown compatriots] such as the one in New York. At the first meeting of the Wyszkower in Los Angeles, the excitement was great when they saw the large number of those present.
In August 1946, it was decided to establish a landsmanschaft organization that would distribute aid to all the Wyszkower in the world. The society took on the character of a nonpolitical institution that takes care of all Wyszkower, without exception. An administration was elected, and they designated the honored officials, and the search for Wyszkower who survived the Holocaust, began.
In the Jewish newspaper that was printed in Lodz (Dos Neue Leben, The New Life), we placed an announcement saying that we were looking for Wyszkower who needed help. It did not take long and we received a letter from Poland with a list of 210 Wyszkower names. These were the survivors of the Holocaust who had saved themselves in Russia. In the letter, they described how their situation was terrible. They were naked and barefoot. They could not settle in Wyszkow because there was not even one house left intact. Second, they were told to go to Silesia where many houses were left after the Germans were sent out of Poland.
Our society, that comprised more than twenty people, went to work with great energy. We had to raise the necessary monies to buy all kinds of things. The work had many challenges. But we did this work with great commitment and selfsacrifice. We will never forget one specific episode: One of our women, who worked at preparing the packages, was not feeling well. She simply could not bend over. But she did not want to cease her work in these holy tasks, so even though she was ill, she carried out her role. She sat on the floor and moved herself from one box to the next in order to put in the things for those who were in need.
The men packed and tied up the packages, wrote the addresses and a list of the things that were put into each package. They also added a few warm words.
We received a letter from a teacher that they opened a school, but there is not one Jewish book for
the children. So we organized a box of Jewish books. We also sent away a box of Tu b'Shevat sweets [for the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shevat, celebrating the onset of spring, or The New Year of the Trees] for the children. This gift excited everyone because the children had never in their lives tasted such treats because they were born in the terrible times of the war years.
After dealing with the main needs, we understood that it was worthwhile to organize constructive aid and to put the people on their feet. There was a great desire but little finances. At the same time, our compatriot Yisroel Asman, of blessed memory, traveled to Israel where he met with the Wyszkower. He called together a meeting and listened to everyone's complaints, especially from the new Olim [immigrants to Israel] who needed basic assistance to set themselves up in this country. We immediately sent over the first $500, which became the foundation for the newly established Wyszkower loan fund in Israel. We had to go through many great difficulties in order to raise $10,000 for the loan fund.
Our inside efforts were to: set up a memorial for the decimated Jewish community in Wyszkow, a center in the name of the holy martyrs of Wyszkow, that would be in the center of Israel were we would gather to meet. We are joyous that the dream has been realized.
by Beltche Taff (Yelin), Los Angeles
Translated by Pamela Russ
It's already a long time since I left my town of Wyszkow. But to forget the childhood years, which we all experienced in Wyszkow is impossible. With our own strength, we had to break through to a new road in life, acquire knowledge and wisdom, in order to be part of the struggle for existence. We searched for and we found all the different isms: in Bundism, folkism, Zionism, and so on. It happened more than once that our physical hunger was stilled with a beautiful presentation, with incessant discussions, in order to find the right way to freedom.
Difficult to forget this town!
Before my eyes stands the bridge across the River Bug, those quiet and calm evenings of our strolls there.
The Friday nights are unforgettable, when everything in town was enveloped in a sort of Sabbath holiness. From a distance, the Shabbath candles sparkled in the smooth river, that divides the town in half; or the Shabbath strolls in the nearby forest that embraced you with secret stillness.
We here, in Los Angeles, with trepidation, have received the horrific news about the Hitlerist murderers. We have begun to take an interest in the compatriots who survived the great catastrophe. Through our notice in the press, many Wyszkower responded, asking for help. As an organized landsmanschaft, we began to send over aid. With our first sum of money, the loan fund in Israel was set up for the Wyszkower needy.
We, in Los Angeles, meet often, and demonstrate activity in many areas: help for Israel (United Appeal), the Jerusalem University, the Histadrut campaign, and so on: and local Jewish problems.
We will not forget the memory of our compatriot Yisroel Asman, of blessed memory.
Aryeh Shtelung, Buenos Aires
Translated by Pamela Russ
The following report includes the organizational and social activities of the Wyszkower landsmanschaft [trans: Immigrant benevolent organizations formed and named after the members' birthplace or East European residence, for mutual aid, hometown aid, and social purposes Jewish Virtual Library] in Argentina over forty years.
In 1921, in Buenos Aires, a committee of Wyszkower was organized with the goal of helping their compatriots, new immigrants that came to Argentina in large groups. There were Wyszkower in Argentina much earlier, even before the First World War, but in small number. These were mainly men. Only after the war did families unite, and that's how the number of compatriots grew.
The lively energy behind creating a landsmanschaft organization in Buenos Aires was Yehoshua Dubner, of blessed memory. As treasurer, that was one of the most important positions at the time, he demonstrated great initiative as he founded the Union of the Wyszkower. The first meetings and gatherings of the compatriots were held in his home. Each newly arrived individual was welcomed into his home with fatherly concern and warmth, received a meal, and comfort in
his loneliness. His wife Faige, may she rest in peace, helped him greatly in these holy tasks.
In the year 1928, the immigration to Argentina increased. With the arrival of more compatriots, the committee was reorganized. A non-profit fund was established in order to distribute small loans to the immigrants. This work continued with small interruptions until 1939.
With the outbreak of World War Two, the Wyszkower in Argentina, who also felt the cruelty of the war, decided to help their compatriots practically on the other side of the ocean, when, as war victims, they would need the help and support. None of us could foresee the gruesome destruction of the Polish Jewry, and among them our Jewish Wyszkower. Clearly, during the war years we had no connection with our hometown, and we comforted ourselves with local activity. Also, here there were many unfortunate and sick Wyszkower who needed support. With the assistance of the loan fund, we distributed small interest-free loans.
From the first news that we received from the compatriots around the large world, we learned that our Wyszkow had been almost completely destroyed at the beginning of the war; that our near and dear ones died a horrible death. We did not even have any basic means of helping them.
We heard that many Wyszkower succeeded in saving themselves in Russia, but a large number of them were in exile and in very distant places. As soon as we received news from there, or found out an address of our compatriot a package was sent to him. Sadly, not every package reached the right address and we were very upset about that.
When the war ended we were of the first landsmanschaft organizations that responded to the needs of those who, as repatriates, returned from Russia, or came from the forests or the Aryan side, or saved themselves from the death camps. The tragic reports of the remaining survivors in Poland and Germany, gave us a clear picture of the tremendous tragedy that our Wyszkower experienced in the war years. We immediately mobilized aid on a large scale: packages of clothing to Poland and Germany, and financial support for the sick and for those incapable of work.
A large transport of clothes (195 kilo) was sent over to the Wyszkower in Lower Silesia. Much of the clothing was sewn by individual Wyszkower tailors in Buenos Aires. Later, we heard the news that about half of the transport of clothing, shoes, and linen, did not reach our Wyszkower.
When the State of Israel was established our organization could not remain indifferent to the great national problems of the State and of the Jewish People, and we participated in all the campaigns. In that manner, we gave the representative of the Haganah [Jewish underground paramilitary organization], Ruth Klieger, who visited Buenos Aires in the year 1948, a large donation and also took care that each Wyszkower
|Administration of the United Society of Wyszkow and surrounding areas, in Argentina 1957-59|
who came to the Land of Israel, would receive a food package and other forms of help.
All these activities were conducted with the accompaniment of frequent jolts in the administration from anti-national elements, which in the year 1949, led to a split. At that time, we named our landsmanschaft Union of Wyszkow and Surrounding Areas, in Argentina and also included ourselves in the Central Union of the Polish Jews and in the National Council.
The circumstances that caused the split are described in the following proclamation, that appeared in the Jewish press in Buenos Aires:
We, the undersigned members of the Wyszkower Landsleit Union, consider it our obligation to explain to the public about the behavior of the Union's administration. At the last General Assembly, on Saturday, the 30th of the month, we were forced by a majority of voices, to place on the daily agenda the question of the aid campaign for the State of Israel. But with great fuss and pandemonium, almost terrorizing those assembled, a decision was passed with a majority of only two voices not to support the United Campaign committee, but to remain neutral (a total of 25 members agreed with this proposal). Considering this decision as anti-nationalist, which is against the convictions of the majority of the members of the Wyszkower Landsleit Union, who are nationalist Jews and wholeheartedly wish to join all the Jews and the entire organized community in the holy work of helping the State of Israel through the only authorized and united campaign committee, twenty some members, in protest, left the assembly. Disregarding the fact that almost half of those present at the assembly had left, and therefore there was no quorum, the former administration conducted the meeting and also elected a new management. We, the undersigned, who are the majority of the membership, unauthorize the newly elected administration that we decide was not legally elected. We ask the former administration that within fifteen days they should call a new meeting in order to elect an administration. Until a new meeting is called, and a new legal administration is elected, there is no right for the illegally elected administration to take over management and the monies of the loan fund, and also the funds from the assistance fund of the Union.
We reserve the right to take on the necessary social resources in case the former administration does not fulfill our rightful demands.
Yakov Bronstajn Shia Rotbard Borukh Ismakh (Yismakh) Itche Gruszke
Mottel Gruszke Yisroel Czembal Y. Gruszke Yakov Shtelung Hershel Shtajman Velvel Rotbard Yosef Faktor Velvel Senderowic Avrohom Bramberg Avrohom Zgryzek Yakov Altmark Sender Holcman Yidel Rotbard Meyer Ismakh Shmuel Wjater Fishel Zgryzek Yidel Dzhyk Yitzkhok Maimon Mendel Wengel Yekusiel Altmark Moishe Shustak Yisroel Dajk Yakov Monkita Aron Czembal S. Sokol Yosef Papowski Shmerl Malczyk Simkha Krystal Moishe Malczyk Hershel Ismakh B. Goldfoder Avrohom Bernstajn Simkha Poskowicz Shimon Aronson Shloime Prager Avrohom Blaske Osher Mitlzbakh Leibel Wilenski Mordekhai Tandeter Yitzkhok Zlatonwiazda Aryeh Shtelung Yisroel Tenenboim Avrohom Dubner Hershel Rynek Khase Hutenski Yosef Nowominski Yekhiel Weiss Yitzkhok Baharav Eliyahu Shreider Mordekhai Ismakh Nakhum Grinberg
At that time, we also received reports from Israel that the reorganized landsmanschaft (Irgun Yotzei Wyszkow b'Yisroel) set its goal to help the new immigrants. Their first achievement was: to set up a loan fund as practical aid for the new immigrants. At an administration meeting, we decided to collaborate in establishing this important institution, and immediately sent over the necessary funds. To this day, we help individual Wyszkower in Israel and in Poland, while at the same time, managing a loan fund for the needy here in Buenos Aires.
When the question of a Yizkor Book was placed on the agenda, we decided in a most excited manner, and with our whole hearts, to support this project. Also, the idea of building a House of Wyszkow in Tel Aviv, incited us to new activity. We were delighted that for these two important projects of our landsmannschaften in Israel and in the world the Book of Wyszkow and the House of Wyszkow Argentina contributed its material and morale help. The $2,000, materials, pictures, and remembrances for the book, were a valuable support for the achievements of the Wyszkower in Israel.
Regretfully, I would like to underwrite that the Wyszkower of the second Union in Buenos Aires declined to participate in all the holy work and went on their own.
The activities and initiatives of the Wyszkower in Argentina, both in the framework of the landsmanschaft and in the general national organizations and institutions in Argentina, such as: the Sholom Aleichem schools, the Keren Kayemet organizations, the Central Union of Polish Jewish, the National Council, the Jewish Community, the Culture Center and more from Dr. Ringelblum, YIVO, and others.
According to our assessment, there are over 250 Wyszkower families in Argentina, including Rosario and Cordova two larger provincial cities. Our Society comprises about 200 members. In the first years, the central leadership was managed by our friends Yehoshua Dubner, of blessed memory, and Velvel Rotbard. When our Society was established, at the same time a Women's Committee was set up, which is active to this day.
With our initiative, a Wyszkower landsmanschaft was set up in Rosario as well. In the year 1959, we successfully created a landsmanschaft organization in Montevideo (Uruguay) that comprises about 50 families and is very active.
Several years ago, we held an event for the Forest of the Martyrs and collected a sum of 16,000 Pesos for this objective. We turned to the second Society of the Wyszkower in Buenos Aires
|Wyszkower Women's Committee in Argentina|
that they join us in planting a small forest in the Forest of the Martyrs they declined. They demonstrated a similar response when we approached them about collaborating on the publication of a Yizkor Book.
From our side, we elected a publishing committee in the persons of Yisroel-Moishe Czembal, Aryeh Shtelung, Borukh Yismakh, Yakov Shtelung, Alter Kapolowyc, and Moishe Kwiatek.
Our Efforts in the Years 1949-59
Administration in the year 1949: Borukh Yismakh President; Bronstajn secretary; Yisroel Moishe Czembal treasurer; Sender Holcman vice-president; Yakov Shtelung protocol secretary; Simkha Krystal acting secretary.
Loan fund: Velvel Rotbard secretary; Yekusiel Altmark treasurer; Avrohom Zgryzek, Yitzkhok Baharav, Mordekhai Tandeczazh, Aryeh Shtelung, Yitzkhok Najman, Yakov Monkito, Shimon Aronson administration members; Moishe Kwiatek, Hersh Rynek, and Shloime Prager review committee.
Women's Committee in the Society (established in the year 1949): president Hinde Prager; secretary Malke Rynek, Laya Shtelung; treasurer Hendel Rotbard; speakers: Eva Yismakh, Zlatke Bronstajn, Nekhama Berenstajn, Dvoire Wengel, Brokho Rynek, Khana Rajcik, Faige Baharav, Rokhel Czembal.
1950: President Borukh Yismakh; vice-president Moishe Kwiatek; secretary Yakov Bronstajn; protocol secretary Yakov Shtelung; acting secretary Simkha Krystal; treasurer Yisroel Moishe Czembal; pro-treasurer Aryeh Shtelung.
Loan fund: Velvel Rotbard, Yekusiel Altmark, and Yosef Papowski; speakers: Shlomo Prager, Mordekhai Yismakh, Shmuel Rajczik, Avrohom Zgryzek, Sender Holcman, Simkha Paskowic, Anshel Rubinowyc, Yakov Monkito.
Women's Committee: same as in the year 1949.
1951: President Yisroel Moishe Czembal; vice-president Anshel Rubinowyc; secretary Aryeh Shtelung; protocol secretary Yosef Papowski (also acting secretary); treasurer Moishe Kwiatek; protocol treasurer Mordekhai Yismakh.
Loan fund: Yekusiel Altmark and Velvel Rotbard; speakers Yakov Shtelung, Borukh Yismakh, Sender Holcman, Elias Schreiber, Yakov Bronstajn, Nokhum Grinberg, Sender Wengel, Shloime Prager, Alter Koplowyc, Yakov Fluda.
Review Committee: Simkha Krystal, Avrohom Zgryzek, Simkha Paskowyc.
Women's Committee: same as in the year 1949.
1953: Chairman Yisroel Moishe Czembal; vice chairman Velvel Rotbard; secretary Aryeh Shtelung; protocol secretary - Alter Koplowitz; treasurer Moishe Kwiatek; protocol treasurer Shmuel Rajczik; acting secretary Yosef Papowski.
Loan fund: Treasurer Mordekhai Yismakh, Sender Wengel, Yekusiel Altmark. Speakers: Borukh Yismakh, Anshel Rubinwyc, Betzalel Rubinowyc, Yakov Bronstajn, Yitzkhok Gruszke, Leybel Wilenski, Yakov Monkita, Avrohom Rubin, Avrohom Bernstajn.
Review Committee: Yakov Shtelung, Yisroel Sokol, Simkha Paskowyc.
Women's Committee: President Eva Yismakh; secretary Laya Shtelung; treasurer Tama Brenstajn, Dora Wengel, Khana Rajcik, Zlata Bronstajn, Rokhel Czembal, Sarah Altmark, Hendel Rotbard, Felicia Rubinowyc, Rebecca Rubinowyc, Ette Zgryzek.
1956: President Aryeh Shtelung; vice-president Shmuel Rajcik; secretary Alter Koplowyc; official treasurer Moishe Kwiatek; pro-treasurer Sender Wengel; acting secretary Yosef Popowski; speakers Yisroel Czembal, Borukh Yismakh, Yakov Shtelung, Mordekhai Yismakh, Avrohom Berenstajn, Carlos Rubinowitz, Yekusiel Altmark, Yitzkhok Gruszke, Yoel Gwizdolski.
Review Committee: Velvel Rotbard, Yakov Paljukh, Yosef Przesczelenjec.
Loan fund: Mordekhai Yismakh, Alter Kaplowyc, Yakov Zgryzek.
Women's Committee: President Eva Yismakh, Dora Wengel, Khama Berenstajn, Khana Rajcik, Dora Gwizdalski Felicia Rubinowitz, Zlate Bronstajn, Lyuba Koplowitz, Rokhel Czembal, Lieba Dajk, Hendel Rotbard, Leah Shtelung.
1959: President Borukh Yismakh; vice president Y.M. Czembal, Moishe Postolski. Secretary Yosef Papowski, Alter Koplowyc, Hershel Rynek. Treasurers Aryeh Shtelung, Sender Wengel, Mordekhai Njedwicki. Speakers Yakov Levin, Avrohom Berenstajn, Yoel Gwizdalski, Shmuel Rajcik, Meyer-Leyb Holcman, Leybel Lisowicki.
Loan Fund: Mordekhai Yismakh, Alter Koplowyc, Yakov Zgryzek, Borukh Yismakh, Meyer-Leyb Holcman, Moishe Kwiatek, Aryeh Shtelung.
Review Committee: Yakov Shtelung, Moishe Kwiatek, Leybel Lisowicki.
Women's Committee: Same as in the year 1956.
Other Activities of the Wyszkower Landsleit According to the Jewish Press in Argentina
July 28, 1953, with the attendance of a large number of members, the annual General Meeting was held under the chairmanship of President Y.M. Czembal. The pro-secretary, Y. Papowski, read the minutes of the previous meeting that were approved. The secretary, Aryeh Shtelung, gave a detailed report of the activities of the entire period and underlined that for the landsleit in Israel food packages were sent for the sum of 22,000 Pesos, they helped the landsleit with immediate needs with the sum of more than 6,000 Pesos, they supported schools and cultural institutions with more than 2,000 Pesos, for Israel funds 2,000 Pesos. The balance of the fund was read out by the treasurer M. Kwiatek, and he showed, with numbers, the distinguished work done for that period. A. Rotbard gave a report of the loan fund. Forty-one loans of 500 Pesos were distributed.
Also, a written report was read, sent by the Organization of Wyszkower in Israel about their work during the first five months of the year, that was done on a grand scale with the assistance of our Society. Their loan fund distributed loans to 107 people for a hundred pounds, totaling 10,700 pounds, 500 pounds was from the fund for the needy for aid. After the review committee concluded that the books were in order, the suggestion of A. Zgryzek to greet and express the loyalty of the outgoing management for their past work, was unanimously accepted.
A membership fee was agreed upon at two Pesos per month as minimum. As was customary, the one candidate list presented by the permanent committee was accepted, with the following participants:
Y.M. Czembal, A. Shtelung, M. Kwiatek, A. Rubinowitz, A. Rotbard, B. Yismakh, A. Kopljowitz, Y. Papowski, M. Yismakh, Y. Berenstajn, K. Altmark, S. Wengel, Sh. Rajczik, B. Rubinowitz, Sh. Wolinski, Y. Monkita, Y. Gruzhka, and A. Rubin. Review Committee: Yisroel Sokol, Yakov Shtelung, and Simkha Poskowitz.
Women's Committee: Eva Yismakh, Khana Rajczyk, Nekhama Berenstajn, Dora Wengel, Laya Shtelung, Zlatke Bronstajn, Rukhtzhe Czembal, Ette Zgryzek, Emma Rotbard, Felicia Rubinowitz, Sarah Altmark, and Rebecca Rubinowitz.
Decisions by the Administration
On July 15, the first meeting of the newly-elected administration was held, with the following constituents:
Y.M. Czembal president. A. Rotbard vice president. A. Shtelung secretary. A. Kopljowitz pro-secretary. M. Kwiatek treasurer. Sh. Rajczyk pro-treasurer. Y. Papowski protocol secretary.
For the loan fund: M. Yismakh treasurer; S. Wengel and K. Altmark.
Women's Committee: Eva Yismakh president; Khana Rajczyk secretary; Nekhama Berenstajn treasurer. After confirming the incoming registrants as members and taking out loans, the correspondence was read and two delegations were formed: one for the evening honoring the artist Leon Brest for his retirement; and a second for the celebration and evening of departure for the poet A. Sutzkower.
To those addresses sent by the Organization of Wyszkower in Israel a transport of thirty food packages of ten kilo was sent.
Our committee members felt their duty towards the United Campaign and summoned all the Wyszkower to fill their obligations as quickly as possible to the State of Israel. In the central office of Puero-Don 667, there were activities for this goal every evening.
The administration was preparing a memorial gathering at the cemetery in Tablada for the Sunday before Yom Kippur, September 13, at the monument of the holy martyrs, to commemorate our parents, sisters and brothers, and friends who were killed by the Nazi murderers in sanctification of God's Name and the Holy Nation.
First Family Gathering
With great success, the first family gathering that took place on August 16, organized by the newly elected Women's Committee with the president at the head being Eva Yismakh. It took place at the house on Terada 4421.
Despite the fact that it was cold and rainy all day, some 60 members assembled, men and women.
The event was opened by Eta Zgryzek, a member of Women's Committee, and the hostess of the home that provided the tea. This was an opportunity to celebrate the birth of a grandson. At the suggestion of the Keren Kayemet activist A. Shtelung, the grandfathers A. Zgryzek and Y. Monkita paid the sum of 200 Pesos to inscribe the newborn child into the Sefer Hayeled [book of birth records], and the father Fishel Zgryzek contributed 100 Pesos to the Society. The assembly was dedicated also to officials that were taking over, and was primarily conducted by president Y.M. Czembal who spoke so beautifully at that event about the deeper meaning of a landsmannschaft organization and about friendly gatherings. Friend Y. Shtelung spoke about future work, and about the State of Israel M. Yismakh. Member Aharon Czembal delivered the greetings. The president of the Women's Committee, Eva Yismakh, had the final words, as she thanked all those present who came to the first Tea of the Women's Committee.
Song numbers were performed by our beloved friends Sh. Aryeh, Kh. Moishe, and P. Yosel. The assembled left behind a nice amount of money for the Society's fund. In the end, Mrs. Kaplowitz announced that she offers her house to the Women's Committee in honor of the Society's aid work.
At the meeting of April 28, chaired by vice president A. Rubinowitz, a large amount of correspondence was read that was comprised of letters from various local social institutions, such as: DAIA [Delegacion de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas; Argentine affiliate of the Latin American Jewish Congress and World Jewish Congress], literary and journal unions, Keren Kayemet l'Yisroel, center of landsmanschaften, and letters from North America and from the State of Israel. All the letters were dealt with satisfactorily. The secretary gave a report of the first four months of the year 1953. He remarked that even though during this period there were months of the so-called cucumber [pickle] season, still we could note a reasonable time of activity. First, the film project that took place in January was noted, which thanks to the responsibility of the entire administration, was a great success and enabled us to help the needy with thousands of Pesos. The second project was the departure gathering for the administration members Borukh and Eva Yismakh, for their visit to Israel, that took place in the month of February. Regardless of the great heat, a large crowd was present that filled the salon of the confiteria [sweetshop] Tel Aviv; among those represented were a great number of institutions. This act was a very great event, because besides the respect and acknowledgement for those who were leaving, the bond between our Society and the Land of Israel was expressed through all the means of work for Israel. The third task was sending out a transport on the first days of March, of thirty food packages at ten kilos for the landsleit in Israel.
During this time, the loan fund gave out a large number of loans of 500 Pesos. They visited members who were sick, and took great interest in their situations. The Society was part of the farewell gathering for the leader of the Keren Kayemet l'Yisroel, friend M. Graiwer and his wife, for their Aliyah [immigration] to Israel with a delegation.
At the invitation of YIVO [Yidisher Vissenshaftlekher Institut; Institute for Jewish Research], we called upon the entire administration and all our members to be present at the celebratory event of the opening of the collective exhibition of pictures and sculptures organized by the division of sculpting art, in memory of our national martyrs, in connection with the tenth memorial day of the uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto. We were represented by a delegation at the social conference about publishing the hundredth book of the series The Polish Jewry. Our members were at the important event on the 27th of Nissan, to commemorate the heroes of the uprisings in the ghettoes. The event was organized by DAIA and landsmanschaft centers. The Society participated in the celebration of the 30th year jubilee of the literary and journalistic writers' union. H.D. Nomberg was present at the banquet along with a delegation. A delegation comprising Czembal, Shtelung, and Kwiatek visited the office of Keren Kayemet l'Yisroel. They gave a large sum towards putting up a tombstone for the Wyszkow community in the Forest of Martyrs. With the secretarial direction, during that time, the administration members collected a sum of 8.274.50 Pesos at various festive events, for Keren Kayemet l'Yisroel. We delivered to the administration of the journal Dos Nayeh Vort [The New Word] a list of about one hundred addresses of subscribers. In the meeting of the United Campaign that took place, three administration members were present as delegates.
Greetings from Israel
The welcome that the Society organized for the administration members Eva and Borukh Yismakh for their return from Israel brought together a large crowd of landsleit who gathered around covered tables in the salon of the central, Poeire Dan 667, from one end to the other. Friend Shlinger generously provided tea and baked goods, and the crowd participated with song, led by our friend Kwiatek and Shtelung. The evening was opened by the president Y. Czembal with greetings for the returnees Borukh and Eva Yismakh. He underlined the joy that the trip went by peacefully and expressed his confidence that their trip to Israel would
give them more impetus to fortify the important and necessary work, of which they themselves were convinced there [in Israel].
After landsman Yankel Paliukh read his own piece especially written for this welcome, Eva Yismakh had the first words, bringing greetings from the Women's Committee of the Organization of Wyszkower in Israel, for all the Wyszkower women in Argentina, and asked that they help fulfill the promise that she gave in Israel in the name of the women in Argentina to raise the means for meeting their important aid work.
At that event, there was a meeting held for the newspaper Dos Nayah Vort [The New Word], and Borukh Yismakh delivered the words as he held the crowd attentively for over an hour with his descriptions of the Wyszkower and the great assistance work for the landsleit that the Irgun Yotzei Wyszkow was doing there.
There are five hundred Wyszkower families in Israel, of which 100 are newcomers. Almost all of them needed urgent help: some with urgent needs for daily life, and some for taking out loans from the loan fund to set up a home, to buy work tools, and so on. And above all, the morale help that the newcomer feels that he is not alone, that there is a body that is thinking of him without considering his political leanings. However, the means for helping are small in relation to the actual needs. To this day, help has been coming from Los Angeles, Detroit, and from our Society. The so-called progressive Wyszkower Union of Koning 122 did not respond to any of the projects of the Irgun Yotzei Wyszkow [Organization of Wyszkower]. Even the first list of 22 addresses of the seriously needy refugees, broken, and incapable of work, having sent food packages to them several years back they remained in the files, not attended to. Therefore, the obligation remained on our Society to increase the work and amass more means for the aid work. Also, the Wyszkower in Rosaria, Cordoba, Montevideo, and Brazil would not be permitted to remain idle, but must also increase means for aiding the landsmanschaft in Israel that takes care of the needy Wyszkower refugees, and must send aid through our Society, or send directly to the Irgun Yotzei Wyszkow b'Yisroel [Organization of Wyszkower in Israel].
With the attendance of a great many activists, on Wednesday the 27th of the previous month, a large meeting was held to put together a candidate list for a new administration and Women's Committee for the General Meeting that would take place on the 28th of this coming month. The following points were also addressed:
United Campaign: Until the General Meeting, all the members in the first list of new candidates, must have filled their obligations for the State of Israel. They can do that as part of the sub-committee, as well as in the Special Commission of the Central on Pueira 667. Without the receipt of the United Campaign, as resolved by DAIA, one cannot sit at any social table.
Keren Kayemet l'Yisroel: We had the meeting for puting up the gravestone for our town of Wyszkow in the Forest of the Martyrs. After giving over the first quota, new contributions came in, but only to give a greater sum to the second quota. Therefore, all the members, and all the landsleit in general, must pay their dues to the office or directly in the office of the Keren Kayemet l'Yisroel, for the Forest of the Martyrs of Wyszkow account.
Jewish Arts Stage: With great pleasure, we welcome the creation of the acting stage under the management of the registrant Dovid Likht. On the acting stage, we see a truly national-progressive company for theater. We are obligated to support it morally and materially. We ask the landsleit to participate in all their activities, and particularly in the performances of the center, with all their national landsmanschaften.
Culture Work: Since we do not have the capacity to run culture activities on our own, we invite the members to attend the culture evenings that the central office organizes for all its registered landsmanschaften and in the first lineup, the lectures of the public universities about Jewish culture and literature.
Help for Aliyah: At the presentation of a young landsman who experienced a hakhshara [training farm] and immigrated to Israel as a pioneer, a definitive amount of money was designated towards this journey.
Loan Fund: It was decided to begin an undertaking to increase the founding capital of the loan fund so that very soon they could give out loans of 1,000 Pesos.
At the administrative meeting on the 29th of September, four new members were confirmed, and some contributions towards loans. Some letters arrived from the Irgun Yotzei Wyszkow b'Yisroel with a report of this year's activities. They gave out 114 loans at a total of more than 15,000 pounds. From the urgent fund, 500 pounds were distributed to 28 people as a one-time aid. Also, there was a report about the trip of secretary Farbstajn to North America, which assisted in the collection of 5,000 pounds for the loan fund.
On Sunday, September 13, in the cemetery in Tablada near the monument, there was the annual collective Yizkor [memorial] gathering in honor of the martyrs of Wyszkow. There were about 150 landsleit present for their deceased ones. About the destruction of Wyszkow, in the context of a collective memory, Y.M. Czembal spoke of the Forest of Martyrs, as an eternal commemoration of those who perished. A cantor conducted the religious ceremony.
(on his 60th birthday)
by Y. Leiles
Translated by Pamela Russ
The activities of our landsmanschaft in Argentina are closely connected with the name of one of its most devoted friends Yisroel Moishe Czembal. Born to religious, hard-working parents, after World War One he is flooded with new thoughts that the world could be better and nicer. He helps establish the Poalei Tziyon, where extensive enlightened work takes place. Because of the war of Poland with the Bolsheviks, he has to serve in the army. His Party work, therefore, is interrupted. When he returns, he finds his Party split into the right and left wings of the Poalei Tziyon. He joins up with the latter and participates in the founding of the Society's evening courses for workers where great cultural work takes place, such as: lectures, library, sports, and so on. He works along with the administration of the large city library, delivers lectures in the youth organization circles. His home becomes the holding place for all the leading friends and representatives that come from Warsaw and Wyszkow.
When a Jewish People's School of the TZISHA [Central Jewish School Organization] was established in town, he is selected as vice-chairman of the school administration.
He participates as a delegate, or later as an invitee in various gatherings and discussions which the Central Committee of Poalei Tziyon invites to Warsaw. He participates as a delegate in the first Pro-Palestine Congress that for the first time in Poland's history, takes place in the meeting room of the Warsaw City Council. He is of the few provincial friends which the World Union put forth on the candidate list of the party of the World Congress for Labor Israel, that took place in Berlin, in the year 1927.
Over eight years (1925-1933), that means for two terms of office, he is the representative for the Jewish workers and general people in the Wyszkower City Council. He never stumbles. He always considers the interests of the workers and general population, and, accords to the lines of his party the leftist Poalei Tziyon.
Until he leaves Poland, he works as well in the general Jewish institutions, such as: the Jewish People's Bank, member of the Council, and chairman of the non-profit loan fund, that provides for 50% of the entire Jewish population.
His goal is to immigrate to the Land of Israel. As a skilled laborer (baker) he goes to the Palestine office for a work permit and takes the exam. But the certificate is not given to him because he is a leftist Poalei Tziyon member. That's how, years later, he is forced to immigrate to Argentina.
In the year 1936, he leaves Poland and comes to Buenos Aires, leaving behind in his home town, a wife and child. He has to take care of a livelihood and also bring over his family. Nonetheless, he immediately assumes Party work. He steps into the administration of the Sholom Aleichem synagogue, is elected as member in the Central Committee of the Party, is active in the former group Friends of the Workers of Palestine, and administration member for the league for workers in Israel. Today we meet him as a member of the Central Committee of the Party, executive member of the Center's Sholom Aleichem School, first vice-chairman of the sub-committee of Keren Kayemet l'Yisroel, of the sub-committee of the United Campaign, member of the plenum of the land-secretary of Keren Kayemet l'Yisroel, member of the plenum of Magbit [fundraising foundation for Israel]. He also works actively for the landsmanschaft of his home town Wyszkow, where he takes an active office in the presidium.
Today he is president of the Union of Wyszkow and the surrounding areas. He also helped create the National Council of the Landsmanschaften and was one of their vice-chairmen.
by Y. M. Czembal
Translated by Pamela Russ
Yankel Shtelung was born in Wyszkow to very Khassidic parents. His father, Reb Khaim Henokh, of blessed memory, was a Gerer khassid and worked as a writer in the wood business. He was one of the most honored businessmen in the town. Every year he was a voluntary reciter of Musaf [late morning prayers] on the Days of Awe in the Gerer shtiebel [informal synagogue].
Yankel was the fourth child (of seven), had a good head for learning in kheder [elementary religious school], and later in the yeshiva. His parents were certain that he would most definitely grow up and become a real Torah scholar. But at that time, different winds were blowing in Poland, and also blew into Wyszkow. Yankel Shtelung was the first in his home to bring these new winds into these establishments of khassidus.
At the age of just 15, we see him as the founder of the Poalei Zionist Youth Organization in Wyszkow. He immediately becomes the recognized leader, both ideologically and practically. He was delegated to the first country meeting of the youth that was in the year 1919 in Warsaw.
In the year 1920, when the Bolsheviks took over Wyszkow, friend Yankel joined the civilian military, and helped create RevKam (Revolutionary Committee), and was active in installing the new powers. When he left the city because of the Bolsheviks, he was later arrested
by the Poles outside of Wyszkow, and he was put before a war trial. He was sentenced to death, but thanks to much intervention and the fact that he was of such a young age, he was permitted to leave the prison walls after six months.
In the year 1921, after the split of Poalei Tzion, he was of the first and most active in establishing the youth organizations of the left Poalei Tzion. In the year 1921, he stepped into the party and remained the representative and head of the youth.
In the year 1922, he had to interrupt his socio-political activities, because he was called up to military service in the Polish army. His rebellious nature could not withstand the anti-Semitic behaviors in the army. When he went to see the Sejm deputies [Polish Parliament] about anti-Semitism in the military, the first to sign was Yakov Shtelung. There, it was said, that letters to soldiers, that were written in Yiddish, were ripped up and not given over to the receiver. For this act, Y. Shtelung was put before the inner court of his division and was given the highest punishment that they could mete out.
When he returned from military duty, he again became active in the movement, and was exceptional in the elections in the Community City Council. He was often a delegate to conferences and meetings in Warsaw. In the second term of office in the Wyszkower city council, he was already of age, and he was presented as a candidate in second place on the Poalei Tziyon list.
His efforts to immigrate to Israel were realized in the year 1925, going there illegally because the leftist Poalei Tziyon members, as was known, were not given travel permits. He reached Israel during a great crisis, but he fought with all his strength to organize himself and bring over his wife and child. As an illegal immigrant, he was unable to bring over his family and he was forced to leave Israel and go back to Poland.
When he returned to Wyszkow, even before he was working or before he was organized, he threw himself into the Party work as secretary, correspondent of the Party press. He was the Party address in the broadest sense of the term, for the local friends and for those who came from the Central.
He demonstrated great energy as he organized the porter-workers, and technical secretary, servicing them in whatever they needed.
The difficult economic conditions in Wyszkow urged him to emigrate this time to Argentina. In the year 1934, he came to Buenos Aries with his wife and child. The same thing happened here as did in his home town. Even before he was able to set himself up in the new city, he got in touch with the Party members, and helped build the Sholom Aleichem school in several regions of the town, worked on the school administration, and in the Party. He visited all the houses, in order to encourage Jewish children to come to the Jewish school. First, though, for a significant amount of time, a prolonged illness interrupted this fruitful community work.
It has already been many years that he has been a member of the Central Committee of the Left Poalei Tziyon, a member of the plenum of the Tzisha [Central Jewish School Organization], member of the culture commission of the Party. He had special merits in our Wyszkower Landsmanschaft Society when help was being organized for those who suffered in the war, refugees, and repatriates in Poland, Germany, and Israel. He was also active in the Central Agency of the Polish Jews in Argentina in the National Council.
The fifty years of the life of Yakov Shtelung (until 120!) means 35 years of rich activity for the good of the community, particularly for our Wyszkower.
by Sh. Grapa & Kh. Wenger, Montevideo
Translated by Pamela Russ
The Jewish migration from Poland after World War One, reached even Uruguay, one of the southern countries on the American continent
|Wyszkow in Uruguay|
and from the year 1933 from Germany. Clearly, even the Wyszkower Jews found their refuge here, fleeing the anti-Semitic Poland.After the end of World War Two, a group of Wyszkower in Uruguay gathered together at the landsman's Binem Bronstajn, where it was decided to establish a Wyszkower landsmanschaft. At this first meeting, H. Borukh Yismakh participated, as a special delegate of the Wyszkower in Argentina. Also, our second meeting took place with a delegate from Argentina Mr. Aryeh Shtelung. The goals that we set were very clear and precise: to support the Wyszkower landsleit everywhere they needed help; to perpetuate the memory of the deceased Wyszkower Jews through actively helping by publishing
the Yizkor Book. In a General Meeting of the Wyszkower in Montevideo it was decided to establish the landsmanschaft and especially to carry out the tasks for the Yizkor Book.
Then a committee was selected of eleven people, along with a Women's Committee of seven. It was also decided to organize internal, mutual aid and social activities, such as bikur cholim [attending to the sick], assemblies, and contacts.
The number of Wyszkower in Uruguay was not large (about 40 families). Nonetheless, we frequently organized gatherings at prepared tables, as well as presentations and culture projects. Among them a performance of Motel Peysi dem Khazan's [Motel Peysi the Cantor's Son, the last novel written by the Yiddish author Sholem Aleichem], in the novel of Sholom Aleichem Yohr [Sholom Aleichem Year]. Every year, in the [Hebrew] month of Elul [generally August/September] we presented the memorial act for our deceased brothers and sisters.
We also helped establish the House of Wyszkow in Tel Aviv.
by Cz. Apelboim
Translated by Pamela Russ
In the 1920s, there was a great emigration flow out of Poland. Because of the limited entry to the United States, the flow turned to South and Central American countries. Many Wyszkower left our town at that time and came to Cuba.
The social life in Cuba was not established overnight. This took years of pioneering and difficult work, in which our landsleit were exceptional in every area. In praise of our city of Wyszkow, it is also worth mentioning the work of our landsleit in building a new settlement.
One of our landsman helped establish the Agudas Yisroel [Orthodox community organization] and was the initiator for building a ritual bath and forming a minyan [quorum for prayers] for praying on Shabbath and on the Jewish holidays. We also took part in the directorship of the only respected culture union. We also assisted to bring in the spirit on Spanish Street, by organizing unions, struggling for rights and professional interests.
The founder of the Poalei Tziyon organization in Cuba was actually one of our landsman. He was a member of the Palestine office, he went to a conference as a delegate in the United States, and he organized for the first time in Cuba the ninth yahrzeit [anniversary of the death] of Ber Borokhow. He was also a leader of an independent education circle, was respected in many organizations, participated in many conferences, had his own creations, and so on.
There were about 80-90 Wyszkower in Cuba.
It was difficult to imagine the assimilation that drew in the children who were born in Cuba. Some ran off to larger Jewish settlements, such as Mexico, or to Israel, and the main place to the United States.
Today, in Cuba, there remains a small community. They have worked themselves up materially, but distanced themselves from one another, torn away from whatever ties they had with Wyszkower.
by Y.M. Kurt Kepel
Translated by Pamela Russ
(Reprinted from The Forward January 3, 1946. Article: The Survivors Are Alone and Need Help by Y.M. Kurt Kepel : In Wyszkow, out of 5,000 People, 100 Were Saved.)
Mr. Harry Burstajn, the secretary of the Wyszkower Benevolent Society, who lives on 501 West 189th Street in New York, received a tragic letter from several surviving Jews in Wyszkow. They write:
We Wyszkower that came from Russia, seven people in total, write to you that we found only non-Jews in our home town, and not one Jew. The Germans shot then burned our parents, brothers, and sisters. We are in no position to write it all. Another person would never believe it. We, being in Russia, did not believe this either. Blood is pouring out of our hearts as we are writing this letter to you. From a town such as Wyszkow, where there were 5,000 Jews, only about 100 remain. There are maybe 20 still in Poland, all spread out, and the rest are in Russia. We know about all of them. Whoever wishes, can write to us and we will reply.
Now we are in Germany, in the area that is occupied by Americans. A Mr. Yoskowitz is here, who is taking an interest in the Wyszkower. We came here from Poland especially because people told us that in the city of Weiden, Yoskowitz is asking about Wyszkower. We ask that you help us with whatever you can. We are roaming around like gypsies. Our home town of Wyszkow no longer exists. We visited Wyszkow. There is not one house there. Even the cemetery is destroyed. Wheat is growing there.
There is no place for us in Poland because the German generation is already planted in with the Poles. It happens that the few surviving Polish Jews are attacked and then the rest are killed. We have no home. We are with the Jewish Committee. We are sleeping on benches, as if we would never have had a home. In one word it can never be any worse in this world as it is for us broken survivors. We beg you once again, do not forget us.These are the signatories of the letter:
We ask you to search for Avrohom Najmark and Moishe Najmark. They live in New York. Shmuel Leyb Brzezhinski writes to them. They are his mother's brothers.
Poland is no longer a home for the Jews. Now, in Poland, there are Jews who are shot this is a daily event. The Jews are leaving or better said, fleeing from Poland. They leave everything behind because they have to sneak across borders. No one is letting us in. It happens, that at the border, they take away our last groshen [pennies]. Not one Jew lives in Wyszkow. A Jewish baker lived in Pultusk. At night, they shot him and his entire family.
Itcze Meyer Wysocki; Moishe Polek's son and his wife Shifra and two sons Velvel and Yisroel; Shmuel Leyb Brzezhinski; Elye Mikholke's and his wife Faige, daughter of Khaim Nisen; Gedalia Dobres, Shloime Gedalia's and Mordekhai Yosel's grandson.
Second row: Wengrow, Wysocki, Markuschamer, Postolski, Krauze
Third row: Sredni, Pakht, Szwarcbord, Wysocki
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