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[Page 257]

Rabbis in Wyszkow

by The Rabbis of Wyszkow

Translated by Chava Eisenstein

R. Abba'le Z”L

As a child, I remember hearing about the great and pious Rabbi Abba'le Z”L. He lived in simplicity and poverty his entire life. He would chop and prepare wood for himself outside, in the yard. When people came to seek his judgement, or came to inquire about a kosher–related ruling etc., he would leave the axe and wear his rabbinic hat and capote, enter his rabbinate room, rule the law and go back to his work. He didn't receive payment and his wife, the Rebitzin, sold baking–yeast (heiven). In the rabbinic field he was well known, for he corresponded and wrote “Answers” to many great Torah figures at the time, he also kept up a yeshivah, where boys from the surrounding cities came to learn. He resided in Wyszkow around the years 1830–1865.

 

Rabbi Israel Ben–Zion Rosenbaum Z”L

“The Old Rabbi” he was called, in my childhood years. There was a great rabbinic look to him; High forehead, a long white beard adorned his face, a pair of brilliant eyes and a constant smile, with which he welcomed warmly each and every one. He ascended from a large ramified rabbinic dynasty. His brother was the Rabbi of Radzymin near Warsaw. Late in the night, we would hear him learning in a most beautiful melody, early morning he was already at the big synagogue where he attended prayers and collected charity for the poor; his salary, too, he distributed to the poor, and he himself chose to live in poverty. His wife, the rebbitzin, would complain and beg to receive part of his pay.

He left after lengthy rabbinical correspondence, which he held with the top rabbis of then, like his father–in–law the great tzadik of Bruk Z”L and Rabbi Joseph of Serock Z”L and the Lomza Rabbi, author of “Divrei Malkhiel” (see: Divrei Malkhiel, part 5 portion: 55, 180, 193, and 273), which discusses children who died upon circumcision, divorce issues etc. in which he refers to him: “To my dear friend and famous Torah giant etc. Rabbi Israel Ben–Zion, Rabbi of Wyszkow, etc.”

 

Rabbi Menahem Mendel'e Bressler ZTZ”L[1]

They called him Rabbi Mendel'e moreh–horaah (rabbinic authority). He was son of the great and pious man of Brok Z”L, and son–in–law of Rabbi Israel Ben–Zion Z”L, mentioned above. A pupil and pal of the Old Rabbi of Ger Z”L, author of the famous “Sfas Emes.” He was beloved and revered by all folks of the city with his brilliance and by issuing halakhic resolutions. He acquired many followers, even amongst opponents to Khasidism.

As he first came to Wyszkow, still being supported by his father–in–law, the rabbi, he learned with the best students of the city a daily lesson in Talmud and its interpreters. Being nominated as rabbinical authority of the city was followed by much dispute. The opponent representatives lead by Rav Manish, presented their delegate, a Lithuanian orator who possessed a lovely pleasant voice, but with not an outstanding Torah knowledge. In contrary, all the Khasidic shtiebels in the city backed Reb Mendel'e.

The quarrel rose that much until once, on the day of Hoshanah–Rabba, after the representative of the opponents conducted his speech in the great synagogue, a big commotion arose, which resulted into a violent fight. Four policemen came to set order, but did not manage to control the chaos, they called Russian soldiers (Cossacks) for assistance, they settled at the Senator Solovoy City Square, and then after dispersed the crowd while using force and locked up the synagogue until after the holidays. The aftereffects of these events left their mark for many years later. On the one hand, this caused the making of groups, and on the other hand – it caused all the groups to unite, and the launching of different “Khevrah's” (societies): the Khevrah of “Ein Yaakov” and their “enlightened” Reb Khaim Joshuah, who learned with them every evening tales of our Sages. The Khevrah “Torah” led by R. Mordekhai Kaufman Z”L. “Khok L'Israel” with Rav Zisha Kloski Z”L at the head. “Bikur Kholim” and “Linat Ha'Zedek” headed by Rabbi Moshe Goldsmith Z”L, and more.

After the dispute died down, the entire congregation recognized the greatness of Rabbi Mendel'e. His name became popular amongst the rabbis of that time with his response. In the book that the Lomza Rabbi put out “Divrei Malkiel” he quotes a number of rabbinical responses to him (part 5 portion 203 and 280, discussing witness forgery of debits etc.) where he refers to him with highly respected titles.

His grandchildren – residues of his family, live in Israel.

 

Rabbi Jacob Aryeh Morgenstern Z”L

After the departure of the Old Rabbi in 1907–1908, Rabbi Jacob Aryeh Morgenstern was appointed Rabbi of the city. This too faced earlier a strong disapproval. This time it was a quiet dispute amongst the khassidic shtiebels in the city. The Ger and Otwock followers wanted Reb Mendel'e, but the Radzymin and Amshinow khassidim backed Rabbi Morgenstern as the right candidate. The masses and the mitnagdim did not introduce an applicant of their own, thereby they were free to support any one of the presented nominees. Rabbi Morgenstern was rooted in a most prominent stately rabbinic family, a fifth generation of the revered Rabbi Mendele of Kotsk, son–in–law of the Old Rabbi of Amshinow, a brother–in–law of the Ostrov Rabbi and cousin of the Rabbi of Sokolov – son of the Lomza Rabbi and son to the sister of the Rabbi of Radzymin. The latter, the Rabbi of Radzymin, to whom also the city's mitnagdim came for counseling and blessings, opted for his brother's son, Rabbi Morgenstern.

Being The Rabbi, he conducted the community with a forceful firm hand. There were cases when he banned figures, thus causing an uproar in the city. When the rabbi opened his yeshiva, 50 students studied under the headship of Reb. Abraham'le Koszk'er, the Rabbi took custody and cared for its subsistence, the yeshiva neighbored him, for it was in the Radzoymin shtiebel.

The rabbi's family grew larger; nine sons and one daughter. His son Reb Israel Isaac was appointed rabbi in Serock. The latest rabbi of Wyszkow, was also his son, Reb David Shlomo Z”L. He was chosen when his father was still living, and after the passing

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of The Rabbi of Radzymin and was appointed as his replacement. His daughter – the sole survivor of his extensive family is the wife of the Rabbi of Amshinow, she and her husband merited to settle in Jerusalem and establish a yeshiva and a center for Torah scholars.

 

The Rabbi of Poremba, and Halakhic Ruler in Wyszkow

At about 1921–1922, after the departure of Rabbi Mendele, Rabbi Karelenstein, the Rav in the nearby town Poremba, was appointed as halakhic ruler in Wyszkow. He was an Alexander khasid and exceptionally well–versed in all Torah sections and commentaries.

Prior to when the khasidim of Alexander and Otwock offered him as candidate, they wished to allocate Rabbi Mendele's son, Reb Shalom, as the rabbinic ruling figure in the city. Nevertheless, in light of the candidature of the Old Rabbi of Poremba, who was known as a giant in Torah, the nomination was cut off.

The Alexander khasidim would gather around him at the third Shabbat meal, they sang together beautiful songs and clamored to hear his Torah discussions, and khasidic phrases. His custom was to invite over yeshiva boys who have studied in famous yeshivas, and request from them to tell him Torah novelties they know. He would always repeat the same Talmud topics with a renewed sharpened wit, which always surprised the people who heard them.

 

Rabbi Gedaliah Bukhler, Halakhic Instructor in Wyszkow

In 1932, after the passing of the Rabbi of Poremba, Rabbi Gedalia was appointed to serve as halakhic ruler. He was one of the khasidim of the Rabbi of Otwock. Being candidate, he was supported by the Alexander khasidim as by the opposing groups, against the nominee of the Ger khasidim. In his times, the city went through difficult financial times because of the “NARA” (a nationalistic, anti–Semitic organization in Poland).

He was busy day and night giving judgement according to Torah law for many people of the city that came to him with their disagreements. When Rabbi Morgenstern, who was appointed to replace his father (Rabbi of Lomza) left the city for a few months, he placed Rabbi Gedalia to function all by himself. This went on for a couple of years, until Rabbi David Shlomo Morgenstern became rabbi of the city, replacing his father in 1934.

 

Rabbi David Shlomo Morgenstern – Latest Rabbi of the Wyszkow Community

Rabbi David Shlomo was only 30 when he became rabbi. Many ordinary Jews loved him for his modesty, proficiency in the Talmud and its commentary. He was knowledgeable and involved in the issues of those times. The so–called Enlightened Jews saw him as a symbol of the progress of public life, as opposed to his father, the zealot, who, as a condition for his leaving the rabbinate, had to be replaced by the appointment of his son, Rabbi David Shlomo.

In his days, the great tragedy befell the city, when Wyszkow was destroyed. Together with him, in 1939, was gone forever the beautiful sanctified community, which blossomed for hundreds of years. Her children were led as sheep to slaughter and the city was mowed and burnt down in the Nazi inferno, its few remainders survived miraculously in incomprehensible ways.

May their soul be connected with the spirit of the Nation.

 

Honorable Men of Wyszkow

Reb Dov Berish, son of Shalom Zvi Ha'Cohen Wilenski Z”L

Mrs. Khaya Bejla, daughter of Jacob Yekhezkel Grapa Z”L

The two symbolized a pure and honest life, imbued with love and faith, and loyal to Jewish Tradition. They fulfilled all Torah commandments, regardless how simple or how difficult.

“No need to announce the righteous,” this is said about the righteous, the honest and purified souls, their memory is engraved in the memory of the folks who lived amongst them, and to them they are only missing in the physical sense, their soul stays with the memory of the nation. Not so when concerning the life of the martyrs, who sanctified the name of G–d solely by their death, a sacred death, together with the greater part of their community members. Only few survived to live. For them – we are commanded: “Remember,” “Do Not Forget.” It is we who are obligated to perpetuate their memory, and shall never ever forget them.

I do not have sufficient words to describe how great is the loss for our nation, the annihilation of the remarkable community Wyszkow. The city that was filled with Torah scholars, sacred, pure wonderful people, who acted on behalf of the public, gave charity and did kind deeds with humanity, those honest, innocent nice people, the thousands of priceless inhabitants and invaluable youth, large families, treasured Jews, mindful, spiritual individuals, precious souls, pure and innocent children that perished never to be again. Our heart aches when we reminisce of them and their death. We cry over them and do not find solace. Amongst them are my dear family members. May my words, which are in the name of my brother and other family members too, serve as a monument for their memory.

Our father Z”L, emulated the ways of Aharon Ha'Cohen, who loved and pursued peace. His face glowed constantly with a beauty of innocence and morality. Under all conditions, he would speak softly, whoever dealt with him trusted him immediately. He knew to stay away from any domineering position, being the son of the head of the community in his native city Stok, he knew all the ins and outs of public issues. Despite being engaged in doing business all day long, plus his involvement in many other troubles, yet, he permanently set time each evening for study, night after night he learned the common Daily Gemara Page, besides, whenever he had a chance he looked into a sefer. In the icy winter nights, he awoke at the last watch, and would lean over the gemara and learn quietly, humming a sweet tune to the shine of a candle, careful not to awake anyone from sleep. On the Shabbat and holidays, he practiced “Half for the Almighty and half for man” assigning considerable time for Torah study. Many families considered it an honor to invite him, being a Cohen, to a pidyon haben ceremony (redeem the first–born son), they gave him the expensive jewelry as a fee for the redemption, but he would always return it shortly, as a gift for the newly born. People loved him very much, being a living model for doing business with truth and loyalty.

Our dear mother Z”L, toiled all her life at home and with the business. All peoples of the city, Jews and Poles alike, preferred purchasing from her, for she had a very good taste and well understood the needs of her clients. People came to seek her advice about family matters, commerce etc. she was appreciated and admired for her open heart to people in need, and faithful counsel. She was a mother

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devoted and proud of her children who dedicated themselves to study Torah. She constantly strived to immigrate and live with her family in the Land of Israel, and contribute to its construction.

At the onset of the war, as the Nazis overtook the city, our parents, with our brother Mendl and sister Etke Z”L, fled to the forest together with many other Wyszkow Jews. They wandered from place to place until they came to the city Wengrow. They managed to rejoice, when their only daughter got married to a nice boy from a prominent family, the father, was fluent in Torah and served as the shokhet and poultry kashrut checker in Wengrow. In 1943, came the end to the holy community of Wengrow, where hundreds of our towns Jews found temporary shelter, with our dear parents, brother and sister Z”L amongst them.

O, how our heart aches the loss of them, may their memory be blessed forever!

 

Rabbi Yekhiel Wilenski

Member of the Rabbinic Court of Tel–Aviv – Jaffa district

Reb Moshe Wiater Z”L

All the houses at the length of Kosciuszko Street, at the right side, coming from Rynek Street – belonged to him. He donated the land for building the big synagogue, and he sponsored the entire construction of the mizrakh wall including the Holy Ark.

A few years later the synagogue was burnt by the “Striege.”(?) As a young boy, different tales were still going around about the old synagogue; that demons and ghosts dwelled there, and other various strange fairy tales which tossed horror in our young hearts.

The community leaders began to rebuild the big synagogue around 1870. They erected three very tall walls containing the women's section, a children's kheider and a yeshiva, the Rabbi's home and the committee offices etc. He, reb Moshe Wiater, built on his own expense the Mizrakh wall and the Holy Ark, which was beautifully decorated by wood carvings and artistic pictures of lions and tigers etc. Reb Moshe reached well into old age, he registered one of his houses as a gift to the “Rabbi” of Radzymin. By the age of 80, he remarried a young woman, the daughter of “Gisha'la” and she gave birth, months after his death, to a daughter she named Masha, for her father. Masha conducted trials against the family, who wanted to remove her from the inheritance. They were a large family, and before the destruction, they were huge in the grain trade. Only one family member survived, and succeeded to get to Israel.

 

Y. Budna Z”L

He was very well off, the wind mills were his, and he made lots of business in the field of grain and produce. One of his sons was son–in–law of reb David Zawiscinski (see below). Another son represented him in Warsaw where he made huge transactions. In Warsaw, it was said about him, that he makes his money quicker than it can be printed. The Russian government appointed him as supplier. In addition, he owned machine–equipped bakeries, etc.

At the time of Poland's Prime Minister Wladyslaw Grabski, he was a victim of a financial war the government conducted against him, and he was requested for much higher taxes than the norm. When he was invited by the Jewish community to Warsaw, and was asked to contribute an attractive amount to the pre–Pesakh charity fund, he responded: “many years I gave fees for charity from my profits; the previous year I gave a handsome sum from my capital; this year I am required to give from money which is not mine. Who knows, perhaps next year I myself will need to turn to you for assistance? …”

 

Reb David Zawiszinski Z”L

Served as expeditor and transporter of goods in the whole area, he had an armada of horse carts and was notorious for being a great host who backed Torah scholars. All of his sons–in–law were Torah persons, like Dan Greenzeig, a Torah scholar from the Alecsander Khasidim, sharp and witty, he was supported by his father–in–law a number of years, and went on to become a successful flour merchant, and representative of the main mills in Zegrze. His second son–in–law served as a Jewish adjudicator in the Warsaw rabbinical court. The third, reb Abba, the son of R. Abraham Hirsch, was a learned Torah scholar and a staunch khasid who would often travel to the “Rebbe” of Ger and for a considered amount of time, his son sustained moneywise the entire family.

 

Reb Joseph Jacobowitz Z”L

An esteemed and well–to–do merchant who was famous in the wood trade, he also owned a sawmill enterprise and a flourmill. R. Jacobowitz gave sizeable sums of money for charity, his heart was open for all needs of whomever turned to him for assistance. However, he mainly supported the Radzymin yeshiva. His daughter and grandchildren are in Israel.

 

The Brothers: reb Joshua and reb Borukh Sokol Z”L

Of the prominent figures in Wyszkow, aristocratic Khasidim of the Ger dynasty. They were both wood traders and partners in the wood mill. They came from extensive well–based families. Tens of their descendants live in America and in Israel.

 

Reb Moshe Ahron Olshker Z”L

A wonderful faithful community activist, he acted on behalf of the public for various causes, like managing the Jewish burial society and the mishnayot (Torah commentaries) organization. His dignified appearance was enhanced with an unceasing cheerfulness, thereby fulfilling the phrase in Psalms: “Delight by serving G–d” – as he would say. People loved and honored him. One of his brothers–in–law was reb Berisch Wilenski.

 

Reb Isaac–Itshe Olshker Z”L

He was a nobleman, a Ger khasid and a partner in the wood mill with his brother–in–law R. Joshua Sokol, R. Hanokh Kaloski and R. Yossel Spiro Z”L. Two of his sons live in South America and one son is in Israel.

 

Reb Aharon Firestein Z”L

An enormous Torah scholar that weighed every word before it was uttered. Since he was prosperous, he devoted all his time for Torah study. The more talented Torah youths of the town would ask him to

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test them, with some of them he would have lessons several times a week on various subjects in the Talmud. His son–in–law was –

 

Reb Joseph Spiro Z”L

His father–in–law supported him a number of years, and he was free to study. He was an excelling genius with polished manners and was an esteemed khasid of Ger. When his family grew larger, he became partner in the wood mill with reb Isaac Olshker Z”L. His daughters received a traditional plus a universal education. He engaged in exploring Kabbalah issues, reincarnation etc., he went mad.

 

Reb Leib Walfish's Z”L

One of the community's prominent and well–off members. His son was reb Berisch Serka. In his younger years, he was considered a prodigy, later he went to Warsaw and opened a business of iron and he became very wealthy, he was wealthier of, Privess, the rich merchant, who was until then the wealthiest in Warsaw. He traveled to Egypt on business and settled there. When the Rabbi of Ger was in Egypt in the 1930's, he stayed in his house. The last year prior the war, he returned to Warsaw and was killed in the death camps.

 

Reb Borukh Zeitog Z”L

A great scholar and a Ger khasid. The best students of the Beit Midrash attended his lectures on gemara and its interpretations. His son R. Aryeh travelled once by train to Warsaw with merchandise, it was past mid–night and “NARA” gangsters tossed him out the window, it happened near Wolomin. In the morning, he was found dead near the railroad tracks. His son–in–law was reb Leibish Holtzkner, whom he supported for a couple of years, until the family grew and moved to Warsaw, there he opened an enterprise of manufacturing which made him very wealthy. He supported many family members, some were employed at his firm, and some received monthly sustenance. He even supported his brother–in–law's children, one of them, reb Kopel – grandchild of the so–called reb Boruch Kopel's, was an outstanding Torah scholar.

 

Reb Zakharya Koplowitz Z”L

One of the rich and influential men in the town. He gave away his house on Strajzatzka Street, near the small synagogue, and turned it into a prayer shtiebel for the Ger khasidim. This house became later a thriving Torah center for all scholars and Jewish youths. In its attic was the club of the Agudas Israel Youth and the library they owned, and there they worked on, and issued a periodical etc.

After his death his devoted wife ran the business (she was called “The Zaharya'likha”), and she married off all the children. One of her sons–in–law was reb Benjamin Winter Z”L. he was a well–educated young–man who was active on behalf of the community's affairs, served as overseer of the community's schools, a part of the bank management and other doings. Some of his grandchildren survived, and live in Israel.

 

Reb Khaim David Goldwasser Z”L

He was a respected representative at the municipality and of the community's board. Served as intendant of the Ger shtiebel and more. Chana–Basha Z”L, his wife, was an esteemed woman who ran the entire business: the restaurant that was always packed with clients, and the transactions in the capital, and more. He was involved with public matters, knowing he has on whom to rely. Two interesting points characterized his personality and the way he conducted himself.

When he was re–elected to city hall, his health was in poor condition, and his wife Khana–Basha tried her best to free him from public duty. She received a statement from Dr. Ribke saying that he is ill, and with the approval of the municipality, she sent a request to the bureau of the district governor in Pultusk, asking to free him of service at the municipality. She also promised to arrange a big party for the Ger khasidim if her request will be fulfilled. When exactly that happened, she prepared a “Kiddush” for the khasidim, where reb Itsche Meir Shokhet spoke and said: “How wonderful are you Khana–Basha, every other woman, and even if he would have a thousand women like King Solomon had, would prepare a “Kiddush” if her husband would be elected for delegating at city hall or any other honorable position. You instead, wave off honor, and make a “Kiddush” when your husband resigns from this prominent position.”

In 1919–1920, at the end of the war between Poland and the Soviet Union, upon their return to Wyszkow, the Poles arrested him together with other Jews, falsely accusing them for siding with the Soviets, and they were just about sentencing them to death. When his friend, the mayor of the city Pawlowski, heard about his arrest, he came to the cellar where they were imprisoned and wanted to free him, but reb Khaim David Z”L would not leave by himself, he would go only with all other prisoners. He yelled, “You know very well that we are all innocent.” His firm resistance helped to save the other prisoners too. After this ordeal, his heart weakened, and a half year later, he died.

From his family, one son was left, Israel, in New York. He organized drama classes in Wyszkow. His daughter, Pessy Orenstein, is with her family in Israel. They are from the founders of the settlement “Kfar Hassidim.” They were amongst the first to immigrate with the “Rabbi of Yablona.”

 

Reb Khaim Chaikel Hiller Z”L

A knowledgeable man, a scholar and a Ger khasid. He would welcome every one warmly, speak softly and cleverly, and was very understanding. Consequently, he was beloved and respected between most folks of the city. He earned his living from selling newspapers and books. In spite of the heavy burden of having to feed his large family, he still managed to have a constant smile on his face. He provided his children with a Jewish traditional and general education. His four daughters reside in Israel.

 

Reb Itshe Meir the Shokhet and Tester Z”L

The lively figure and one of the pillars of the Khasidic shtiebel of Ger. He had a lovely deep voice, and would sing at the rebbe's tisch (table), thus, imparting pleasure to all attendees. On the high holidays, he led the prayers, serving as cantor

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at the main synagogue. When he recited the prayer of the cantor “Here I stand, lacking act and achievement” with his powerful Brittany voice, a tremor would pass through everyone's heart, even the walls would reverberate. Many Khasidic comical gimmicks have been told of him. His son, Borukh Ziviak Z”L was head of the “Agudat Israel” and manager of the boys Kheder of the community. Residues of his family, his sons, and grandchildren are in New York, one grandchild is in Warsaw.

 

Collected: Yerahmiel Wilenski, Tel–Aviv

Told by: Leibel Rosenberg, Memphis, Bnei–Brak

Reb Mordekhai Kaufman Z”L

An Alexander khasid and a righteous Torah scholar. He would give his entire being for a fellow Jew. In the last years, he had a kheder and in the evenings he was the “Rebbe” in the “Torah Society” which was in the main synagogue.

Of his entire large family, only one daughter was left, she is in Israel.

 

Reb Jacob Blumstein Z”L

He was called reb Yankl Shokhet. A khasid of Ger. Pleasant, nice and respected by all. He delivered a learning session of the Daily Gemara page every evening, for 40–50 men in the Ger shtiebel.

He perished in the war together with his family. Survivers: One son in Belgium, and a daughter in Paris.

 

Reb Gedalia Tence Z”L

Served as slaughterer and overseer and a khasid of Otwock. A learned Torah scholar who feared G–d and was beloved by all, he served as cantor at the high holidays prayers. His entire family was wiped out during the war.

 

Reb Motl Joskowicz Z”L

Everyone knew him by the nickname “Motl Kowal.” He was a hard working blacksmith, actualizing the phrase “Fortunate be he, who toils for his bread.” He had a large dignified family, and he cared to give his sons a good education and to marry off his daughters to Torah scholars. His son Abraham Yossl Joskowicz studied Torah, and was a building contractor, he built many houses on Kosciuszko Street (The Warsaw Street) in Wyszkow. His oldest daughter married reb Yekhezkel Friedman, an Alexander khasid, well versed in Torah, who owned a store where he sold iron. His second daughter was the wife of reb Zisha Kloski Z”L, an Alexander khasid who was fluent in the Talmud tractate Kodshim (Holy Things). He delivered a daily lecture for the “Khok L'Israel” society. Upon his engagement, his father–in–law bought him a large set of Talmud volumes of the popular Vilna print. He supported him until his family expanded and he became a locksmith. He also worked part–time for the Wyszkow municipality, being in charge of the proper functioning of the water pumps in the city, for which he received monthly pay. He also knew to invent various iron frames and locks, upon demand. His third daughter married reb Leibish Peshtitski Z”L, one of the respectable men, an activist on behalf of the Zionists of the city.

The rabbinical court attendant, reb Isaac Jacob, lived at the home of reb Motl Kowal; he was very far–sighted, and therefore his eyeglasses were very heavy. Every day reb Motl would honor him by drinking with him a whiskey, and as it was told, he would use his finger to measure generously how much to fill the glass.

His grandchildren that came to Israel: Khaim Kovic and his sister. Hanya Peshtitski. Jehiel Kaluski, and their families.

 

Reb Zalman Grosbard Z”L

A noble Torah scholar. Was a wholesale dealer and an expeditor. At the synagogue, he read aloud the weekly Torah portion for the whole congregation.

Being business–involved with many people and a known figure in the city authorities, he was once elected as a municipality member of the United Zionist party and the crafts workers. This caused a lot of fighting in the Ger Khasidic shtiebel. The zealots, with reb Itshe Meir Shokhet and tester, at the lead, didn't allow R. Zalman to read from the Scroll and he was replaced by reb Abba Blum. In the middle of the prayers on Shabbat, reb Zalman left the shtiebel, accompanied by three young men, and the following week, they opened a “Ger shtiebel no. 2.” The founders were: reb Eliezer Lewiner, reb Chaim Kramer, reb Pessah Newmark, reb Zalman Grosbard, reb Lemil Rubin, reb Leibel Rosenberg, reb Itshe Meir Wysocki, reb Moshe Ostry, Jacob–Leib Holland, Zalman Koniasz, they were joined by reb Berisch Sapirstein of Alexander. They hired a shtiebel in the home of Moshe Berel Cynamon (Moshe–Beryl Stelmakh).

 

Reb Moshe Beryl Cynamon Z”L

He was one of the well–to–do businessmen, but with bizarre customs. He married off his daughters to Torah–knowledgeable men and provided them with dowry. From the 1920's Moshe–Beryl wandered in the world, he went to Israel and two years later, he left to New York and to additional countries in the United States – and then back to Israel. He made a living from trading with scrap, isolated and neglected and far from his family. He merited seeing the establishment of the State of Israel, and that's where he died.

 

Reb Itzel Radziminski Z”L

My father of blessed memory was honorable amongst his colleagues. A pious man that gave charity and was beloved and popular by many folks and circles. For a living, he owned a butchery on Kosciuszko Street. After the First World War, he left Wyszkow because of an event, which was unknown for years, and I will reveal it now:

It happened in 1910, a battalion of Cossacks led by their commander, passed by on Kosciuszko Street, exactly then, a huge flowerpot came down falling on the officer, wounding him severely. All tenants, including my father Z”L, were arrested. No one was permitted to go near or talk to them, because they were accused of attempting to kill the officer, or against holding an army of Cossacks in Poland. As it turned out to be, it was done accidently by one of the tenants (the Blind Aharon) who was sightless; When he heard the military orchestra playing, he went over to the window and opened it, when

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the flowerpot fell downstairs. However, the guardians wished to take advantage of the incident and extort money from them all, so they didn't allow the blind man even say a word. A few days passed and the seven prisoners quietly conferred amongst themselves and decided to put the blame on my father and say that he is the one who did it. Since they were all poor, except for my father Z”L, who was considered wealthy, they figured that that's how they will be freed, and my father, will surely be able to afford to release them temporarily. That is what happened; at the investigation they claimed it was my father who flung the pot, they were all released, and my father was taken to the “Castle” in Warsaw. At the early investigation, they concocted heavy charges against him. The prosecutor told the judge, that his crime is one that deserves death, if by chance the officer will recuperate, and there will be extenuated terms, he will be sent to Siberia. The people in the city didn't know where he was taken to, and the police was not permitted to say anything until the process is over. Rumors spread that he will be transferred to Petersburg, where he will be put on trial, or that he isn't living any more… By chance, my father managed to toss a note from “the Pawiak” prison on which he wrote his address, the whole story and his tragic state, plus a promise for reward to whoever will deliver the note to the family. The Jew who brought me the note was paid. Immediately I traveled to Warsaw, after paying a handsome sum, a lawyer managed to get me to meet with my father. After paying a bribe of thousands of Rubles, I succeeded to get to one of the highest–ranking commanders in chief, and it was agreed, that he would arrange the trial to be postponed for another year, and that the lawyer will ask to get him out on bail. On the way back of the court, it was arranged with the policemen that my father will walk out by himself to the foyer and from there he should disappear. The commander in chief made it under the condition, that he never returns to Wyszkow. All preparations were made for the mission. And after a while, when my father came back to Wyszkow, we had to bribe the chief of the police, not to report my father, for being in the city. He received a monthly bribe, promising, that in case of an inspection, he will let us know beforehand, and my father will have to run. No one of our family knew about this entire arrangement, only I was in on it. We lived in constant fear, and then we began to prepare to go to America, which materialized a few years later, when we came to the land of freedom – New York.

We had a large and extended family, one daughter was married to a Rabbi, they immigrated to the USA in 1928. As an elderly, at the end of 1959, being crippled and paralyzed, the Rabbi immigrated to Israel, he died in Ramat–Gan in 1961. His son, reb Zeev Radziminski is in New York with his wife Rachel nee Prider. They are a big family and are active for years on behalf of communal affairs, they stand at the head of organizations for Wyszkow landsleit. Thanks to them, many annual donations have been sent over the years, to assist charity matters, like a kheder and a yeshiva. In recent years, they also assisted poor people amongst the immigrants by supplying them with Pesakh staples. After his visit to Israel in 1959, he sent thousands of dollars to set up a Loan Fund and a “Wyszkow Home” in Israel.

Zeev Radziminski, New York

 

Reb Pinkhas Pieniek

My father Z”L made a living from his store where he sold leather and all necessities for shoemaking. He was a khasid of the Otwock Rabbi, a great scholar and a pious Jew, that was careful with each and every commandment, he loved to help a fellow Jew, and if anyone was in need for a loan, he knew the way to my father Z”L – the store near the plump. That's where the house was too. He was known as a clever and friendly man, people came to him with various problems to seek advice, and he was a member of the community board and vice–attendant at the burial society. On the eighth day of Sukkot – Simkhat Torah, he arranged every year the festive “Kiddush” for the burial society in our home. He offered barrels of beer and schnaps, platters of finest cakes, legumes and fruits. The men drank and sang passionate beautiful khasidic harmonies.

My father cared for the poor people, they should be able to enjoy Shabbat meals, he would also see to the needs of the guest–visitors from other places that came for a day or two. He gave his boys a traditional Torah education, he sent his son reb Simkha Bunim Z”L, to study at the Lomza yeshiva. His wife Chaya Z”L, nee Wigoda, was his faithful right hand, she brought up the children and provided them with a general education too.

They perished when Wyszkow was destroyed, together with two sons and a daughter. From the family were left, two sons in the USA, and two sons in Israel.

 

Reb Isaac Ber Rosenberg Z”L

A Torah scholar and an exemplary public activist with an unending smile on his happy face, a lengthy white beard made his fatherly figure seemed to display an inner divine presence. He was a member of the community in general on behalf of the Otwock khasidim, and a colleague at the community's board of education. He took great interest in the youth, who he would approach on a personal level, and influenced them positively. When he would pinch a boy lovingly on his check, the boy would feel a special holy tremor pass through his whole being. He was welcomed and greeted by everyone in the street. For a while, he served as attendant at the burial society, and the joke went around, that if he is to remain the attendant, the burial society will have to go bankrupt, why? Because even when rich people died, he didn't demand from their families high fees, for they would complain that they were left with too little money, and are in need of money to provide for wedding expenses, etc. within the family. He believed them, reasoning, that since the family is interested in their own honor, there is no reason to not agree to their claim.

When he reached old age, after marrying off his children, and remaining alone with his wife Sara nee Wigoda, he dedicated all of his time to Torah study; he would awaken at midnight and learn, and go on until early morning, then he would proceed to morning prayers. His wife controlled the manufacture–shop they owned.

 

Reb Henokh Rozen Z”L – the “Torah–Teacher” of Lodz

Near the Bug River was his kheder with students who just began to study the Gemara. He was well versed in Torah and was also familiar with universal studies. His daughter assisted him by delivering lessons in Hebrew to the students,

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and by controlling the boys who were very wild and took advantage of his poor eyesight. Many accounts were told about the pranks the boys played over him. There barely was a student in Wyszkow in the 1920–1930's that did not attend his kheder. He was very harsh and lashed out at the kids. If his daughter coincidently wasn't present, he would always incorrectly hit the truly innocent, instead of those boys who truly misbehaved.

From his family, one daughter lives in Israel.

 

Henne Gaszelszani Z”L

A widow, she had a small shop for manufacture near the pub of “Kura.” She supported her two sons. Jehuda–Leib, who was one of the best youths in town, a khasidic intelligent young fellow, the chief of the Aguda Youth movement. Another son named Sinka, who was known for his wild mischievous conducts. They all perished at the outset of when the Germans shelled the city.

 

Reb Samuel Wigoda Z”L

A Torah scholar and pious Otwock khasid, whose outlook, feelings and opinions were holy and pure. The tzitzit he would wear were so long, that they protruded below his coat. When he walked, he held on to his tzitzit, as though to drive away evil “spirits” G–d forbid. He never disputed about ordinary matters, all his arguments were merely around Gemara debates. He scraped out a meager living by dealing with fabric, mainly on market days. He didn't ask for much and his wife Menucha Z”L made peace with their poor luck and didn't complain, somehow she managed to feed and clothe her three sons and three daughters. They perished at the onset of the war, only one daughter, Rachel, was spared, she left for Israel in 1935.

 

Reb Simkha Shnieg Z”L

A true Torah scholar, fluent in the whole Talmud and the analyses. He studied continually, every day he was in the Otwock khasidic shtiebel learning diligently, non–stop. In spite of being a highly regarded knowledgeable Talmudist, he was very humble and contributed lots of charity. He held a small bar near the bridge, on Rynek Street, which his wife managed, but he assisted her on market days. His eyes reflected the cleverness of a Torah scholar and his sorrow over the absence of the divine presence for Jews in exile. He and his wife were killed right at the first days of the bombardment of Wyszkow.

 

Youth that learned Torah Z”L

Most youths in our city were immersed most of their life in learning Torah. There was a yeshiva in Wyszkow since 1870. In our time, the yeshiva of the Radzymin Rebbe was famous, it was renewed in 1921 by reb Avrehm'le Kocker, and in 1928, the “Novradhok” yeshiva opened in Wyszkow, headed by the dean reb Simon Hefetz Z”L. the youth of the city formed an important part amongst the students in these yeshivos, who were primarily populated with yeshiva boys from all over Poland.

This youth was not going to make do with the local yeshivos, they aimed much higher, to learn in the famous yeshivos in Poland and in Lithuania. Doing so, they will also fulfill the saying in the Mishna “wander out to learn Torah”.

Many boys came from Wyszkow to learn at the famous Lomza yeshiva, some became outstanding students, and many of them immigrated to Israel. We will remember the sacred: reb David Bszoza, Khaim Isaac Krimlowski, Simkha Pieniek, Shlomo Taub, Zvi Oldak, Zvi Brukhanski and more. Some of who were aiming high and some were hoped to fill public positions and become social activists, being from the best and excellent figures with a broad understanding and optimistic belief in the future of the Jewish people. Reb Menashe Kaveh, who was considered a genius, attended the famous yeshiva of Lublin. Other youths traveled to several yeshivos that had spread in Poland, like Novardhok, Ostrow, Bialystok, Warsaw, and so on. My younger brother, Joseph Srebernik Z”L, was a brilliant assiduous student, he studied in Warsaw and was sent later to Riga by the Lubavitcher yeshiva, to start a circle of influential figures with Khabad theories.

The loss of this youth, some of who were alive and thrived at the youth parties in our city, a priceless treasure to the future of our people. We cry over this and wish to perpetuate their dear memory forever.

Menakhem Kaspi

 

The Wyszkow Bakers

Reb Shoel'ke the Baker

I remember that when he grew old he discontinued baking and his sons Dovid'l and Moshe became bakers. His daughter (“Khana the Baker”, or Khana Tyk), who was married to reb Khaim Yankel Tik, a Ger khasid, made him become a baker too. He was her second marriage. It was told, that her first husband, sat all day in the Beit Midrash and learned, and was not aware of any worldly possessions, he didn't even know how money looks like, when he returned home from his daily study, he would ask around “where does Shoel'ke the Baker live?”

Her son–in–law was a great scholar, his name was reb Chaim Meir Lis Z”L, he was a Lubavitch khasid, and circulated Khabad theories amidst the public. Although he was busy making a living, he gave his spare time to form groups that learn Khabad studies. His charming approach was capturing, he was a rare personality for his understanding character, and Torah knowledge. He was highly revered and beloved by everyone.

 

Dovid Leib the Baker

Was considered one of the 36 pious men for who's merits keep up the universe. All night he baked while humming tunes, at dawn he went to the synagogue, where he would say all 150 psalms, pray the Morning Prayer,

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thereafter, he would go around collecting money for the poor and distribute it to them. At noon, he finally came home, his wife Tova shouted and screamed at him, but he merely smiled and accepted his lot with calm and peace. However, his wife did all transactions regarding the bakery – buying the flour, making payments, selling to stores.

 

Yisroel Mendel the Baker

Reb Yisroel Mendel Markus was an expert in his work. His wife Meitah and their daughters helped him in the business. He would always tell stories of the war between Russia and Turkey, which he had participated. The bakery was in the cellar, at the corner of the streets Rynek and Pultuska. From time to time rain would flood the cellar, nonetheless, he was always happy and jolly.

Residues of the family: Two daughters in Israel, and one in the USA.

 

Reb Abraham Farbstein

“Avrehmel the carter” they called him. Tall, broad shoulders, well built, his large beard combed neatly, dressed tidily. In spite of his trade, he quite differed from his peers; with his soft speech, his manners, and being an observant Jew who prayed at dawn in the small synagogue of the “Tehillim” club. His only son Jacob studied with topmost teachers and was an intelligent, well–versed scholar, an open minded and good–mannered youth. His marriage took place in Radzymin, and he was supported for a number of years by his father–in–law. When he was on his own, he returned to Wyszkow with his wife Doba, a wonderful woman that in spite of her being busy feeding and educating her many children, she found time to help her husband in his work. In his last years, Avrehmel worked for the family of Khaim Dovid Goldwasser. He was entrusted with the keys of the restaurant and the cooling room of beer and beverages.

From his family, five grandchildren; three boys and two girls of his son Jacob Z”L, immigrated to Israel.

 

Reb Jacob Markuskhamer

A Torah scholar and a genius as a bachelor, people called him “Yankel Yisroel Gershon's.” He was a “Proprietor” of two houses on Rynek Street and owned a bagel bakery, and an oven, where Jews placed their chulent before Shabbat. His wife Khava Z”L took charge of all the matters. They did many kind acts for the community and donated charity. Khava managed the kitchen of the “Beis Joseph” yeshiva and cared for all the students' needs. They themselves had a large family, sons and daughters who were highly esteemed by the community.

Residues of the family are in America, both, their sons and daughters are social figures involved with public affairs. Thus, they continue their parents' tradition, in fit with our era. In their merit that the Wyszkow association operates successfully.

 

Reb Avrahmke the Teacher

Was one of the latest soldiers of the Czar's army, where he served for thirty years, managing to cross the entire Far East. He was a healthy portly man with a lengthy grey beard and a dignified appearance. His kheder was in the small synagogue of the “Tehillim Society” for boys from very young children, up to when they begin to learn the “Khumash.” Being a follower of the Alexander rebbe, he lodged at the khasidic shtiebel on Shabbat, for quite a few years. He would tell wondrous stories of his wanderings in China, Manchuria, Caucasus, Uzbekistan and more. Tales about Jews who made boundless efforts and went from place to place to teach Jewish soldiers the religion of their predecessors, he himself also reached out to save far–off brethren from falling out of our nation.

At the third Shabbat meal, he would always do storytelling, stories that took place in the 1870's.

From his family, his daughter, Shprinza, resides in Israel.

Leibel Rosenberg, Bnei–Brak

 

Reb Isaac Epstein Z”L

Was at the head of the Wyszkow community for several years, and a ckhasid of Ger. He saw to it that communal life should run smoothly as much as possible. He bore the burden of the society and its needs, and regardless of his public and political position, he was revered and admired by the entire community. He had a glorious appearance and a fatherly approach to his subjects, but at different occasions, when necessary, he knew to be assertive too. He conducted the community with serenity and forethought. He raised a large family. Two of his sons are in New York, and two daughters are in Israel.

 

Reb Zalman Felner Z”L

A revered Alexander khasid, well–informed and well–versed of Torah. One of the pioneers in the building industry of Wyszkow. He manufactured floor tiles, steps, and construction blocks, being the sole provider in the whole surrounding area. He employed his fellow Jews, giving them good terms, befitted to the perceptions of then… his daughters received a high–leveled education.

One son and one daughter live in Israel.

 

Reb Berisch Czervonogura Z”L

A Ger khasid and Torah master, who fulfilled every commandment to its most. A modest man in every way that was committed to study Torah, to prayer, and to his children's education. His wife Golda Z”L was a pious woman who managed the store. When the war broke out the family went wandering, until they reached Siberia. Reb Berisch died in Arkhangelsk. Golda, at late age managed to get to Israel, where she lived with her daughter in Tel–Aviv for a couple of years.

 

Reb Isaac Hirsch Rotbard Z”L

A revered Alexander khasid, served as a cantor by the prayers of the high holidays. He suffered deprivation and poverty all his life. Yet, he accepted his fate and relayed an illuminating face with a warm heart.

From his family, two sons and one daughter live in Israel.

 

Reb Shmuel Brama Z”L

A wonderful public missioner. He had a workshop and was busy laboring all day long; the evenings he devoted for Torah study, for prayer and for action for the many public affairs. He immigrated to Israel in 1936 with his family, and died in 1957.


Translator's Footnote:

  1. Zeykher Tsadik Levrokhe = may the memory of the righteous be blessed Return


[Page 265]

Founders and the Management
of The Lodovi Bank for Several Years

Translated by Chava Eisenstein

 

wys657.jpg
Public activists for improving the economy and commerce in Wyszkow

First Row, from the right: Avraham Marcuskhamer, Yaakov Pshemiaraver;
Middle: Fishl Bronshtein, Shmuel Brama, Moshe-David Yoskowitz, Nakhman Dobres, Eli-Mayer Goldman;
Top: E. Boorstin, Kzhan, Modekhai Winter

May they rest in peace!


Righteous Gentiles during WW II

by Stanislaw Wolski, Mayor

Translated by Chava Eisenstein

In 1930, Mr. Wolski was appointed to stand at the head of the municipality of Wyszkow. Despite that Mr. Wolski was an applicant of “Sanaczia,” the ruling party which Marshal Pilsudski initiated, which tended partly to deprive the minor Jews in Poland, he related to them properly and sympathized with their problems; and he bothered the municipality to impart decent life orders, and have proper social relations towards the population, of which the Jews too, enjoyed.

Mr. Wolski demonstrated his great courage and nobility in the horror days of the war. We are familiar with actions to save Jewish lives of Wyszkow. He himself hid two orphaned girls, daughters of Joseph-Yikhya Robinowitz z”l, and doing that, he endangered his and his family's life. At the end, he succeeded to transfer them, by having forged official papers, to work at a plant in Germany. The British freed these two Robinowitz daughters in 1945, and later they came to Israel.

S. Wolski died in 1946, the Jewish refugees of Wyszkow will forever remember the noble figure of one of the great righteous gentiles.

 

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