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[Page 83]

Jewish Paramedics and Midwives in Zelow

by Sura Miriam Kipper

Donated by Paulette Turner

Among the Jewish personalities who excelled and were known for their humanitarian aid work for settlements, were undoubtedly the medical workers (paramedics) who lived at the time when Zelow did not yet have a doctor. (A (real) doctor had to be consulted) They carried out important and responsible work for the benefit of the population in general and for the Jewish community in particular. The Jewish community and especially the Jewish midwives, with their devotion and dedication, were appreciated by the entire population of the town and by the surrounding rural area.

Some details, definitely not exhausting ones, I will try to point out.

* * *

The first Jewish feldshers (paramedics) and Jewish midwife, was my grandfather Shayi-Ber Kipper and my grandmother Leah ('Leah the paramedic'), arrived in Zelow in the early nineties of the last century. (19th). They descended from Zoloshin (Dishalashin) by accident. once while at a wedding with the Zoloshin Rabbi, a certain Zelchuv (person) of Zelow was present and he suggested to my grandfather that he settle in Zelow, as they were in need of a Jewish feldsher (paramedic). From the very beginning they settled in Zelow. They attracted honorable respect for their great help. Baba Leah, who took over the midwife profession from her mother Hinda who was a famous midwife in Zoloshin, was especially very popular. Grandmother used to deliver babies for Christians too in the town and in the surrounding villages as well. With this devoted work she was busy till the last moment. She died at the end of World-War-I...

Coming home from a Brit [circumcision ceremony]. At the funeral hundreds of candles were lit by children that she was their midwife.

Grandfather Shia-Ber died prior to grandmother and by his request he was buried in Zoloshin.

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Leah the Midwife

[Page 85]

My mother Esther continued the tradition of Grandmother Leah and great-grandmother Hinde carrying on the profession of a midwife.

Seeing that there [was no future] without an education, my mother went through the university exams in a very short time and passed together with 4 other girls out of 38 candidates at the famous Waffelbergl Mountain Clinic in Warsaw and graduated as a midwife with a diploma.

Unfortunately, a harsh sickness tore away our mother from us and at the age of 35 years, she left us forever.


Zussman Kipper   Esther Gittel Kipper

[Page 86]

Six years from the death of our mother till the death of Grandmother Leah, we, the children, were raised there.

Father Zussman besides being a barber was also a feldsher and at his barber shop hung three brass plates - a symbol of a feldsher.

Also, mother's sister, aunt Hena Brand, was known as a qualified midwife and also as a devoted and heartful woman. She helped a lot the poor postpartum women. Not only did she not take a fee for her work but also brought them free of charge packets of clothing for them and the newborns.

At the time of the big Holocaust, together with the rest of the Zelow Jews, she died on martyrdom, my father Zussman who died in year 1941 as a result of the Hitler terrorism as well as the children of my sister Priva and Itsche Jacobowitz who left to Argentina and temporarily left the children with grandfather and because of the war outbreak they didn't have the opportunity to unite with their parents. The children Shmuel Avraham died in one of the Pozen camps and Esther Gitel was killed in Chelmno. Aunt Hena died in the ill-famed Chelmno camp together with my sisters Hinda and Chana Faiga.


Hena the Midwife

[Page 87]

In January 1935 I left our beloved town where I took my first steps and also got married and moved to far away to Australia.

My departure was big news to my family and to the great circle of close friends and acquaintances, because I was one of the first who left so far away.

With my departure I had for a goal at the first opportunity to be able to get my surviving family out of anti-Semitic Poland

Unfortunately, despite all my efforts and my husband's, we did not succeed, because of material circumstances. Now after close to forty years later, it's still in front of my eyes the freezing... I felt dreadful.


Sarah Myriam Kipper in 1934

[Page 88]

In January 1935, when the Jewish town said goodbye to us

I burst into tears, remembering the last handshake, the last tulle of my surviving family, which for many years shared the fate of the rest of the family.


Zussman Kipper with his grandchildren


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