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[Columns 295-296]

The Orphanage, Hospital, and Nursing Home

Tranaslated by Moshe Kutten

The Orphanage

The orphanage was established before World War I. The Jewish community, which amounted then to about 7000 Jews out of a total population of 18,000, took on itself a divine obligation: to support, to the best of its ability, the poorest of the poor, which constituted a large percentage of the Jewish population. About 20 boys and girls under the age of 16, were educated at the orphanage. Youths older than 16, were sent to work as apprentices with various artisans. The contacts with the former students were never severed and the graduates came back often to visit the institution after graduation. According to the agreement, the graduates worked as apprentices for about three to four years, and later they would settle down as independent.

Mrs. Belter headed the institution and devoted all of her time and effort to it. She left for London in 1916, where her son lived. However, she never forgot about the orphanage. After a stay of about two years, she collected money and clothing for the institution, and returned to Zloczow. She immediately invited an eminent educator, who took care of the students and elevated the level of the institution to a great level. Mrs. Belter was deeply loved. She managed to instill the need for supporting the orphanage, in the hearts of the residents

it interesting to note that the orphanage existed all these years without any government or municipal support. Except for the perpetual contributions, Mrs. Belter would solicit contributions for the orphanage in every festive occasion such as circumcision, bar-mitzva, or a wedding.

Mrs. Belter passed away in 1935, a few years before the Germans' invasion, at the age of 63. A large crowd of Zloczow residents participated in her funereal to pay her their last respect.

Engineer Berl took over when Mrs. Betler passed away. Together with the educator, the wife of physician Dr. Rozenbaum, he invested all of his effort to maintain the orphanage. The engineer worked tirelessly until the eruption of World war II when he was transferred to Russia. When he returned to Warsaw after the war, he established a active committee that helped Zloczow's survivors. About 150 Jews survived the Holocaust. Most of them survived due to the assistance of residents of Zloczow.

Some people agreed to host the students when they reached 16 years old. Mrs. Kreger, the sister-in-law of Frida Kreger, took a boy and a girl to her home until they learned a profession. The girl later moved to Lviv for further studies, where she learned to build lampshades. Later on, she married and established a family.

Engineer Berl made Aliya and continued his work in Israel as an engineer. He passed away in Israel.

 

The Municipal Jewish Hospital

In addition to the orphanage, there was also the Municipal Jewish hospital. The hospital had about 14 beds. Dr. Hertznik, Dr. Reikhert, and other physicians managed the hospital. All of the physicians worked there voluntarily.

 

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The building of the Nursing Home named after Barukh

[Columns 297-299]

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Summer camp for the orphanage students

 

The hospital relied on contributions to supplement its public municipal budget for its survival. The hospital was one of the best hospitals in the area and therefore served not only the poor. Unfortunately, all of the physicians that worked at the hospital perished in the Holocaust.

 

The Nursing Home

The Nursing Home was located near the hospital. It consists of 4 rooms, two for men and two for women. The municipality helped in supporting that institution. Most of the residents in the nursing home were from among the poor of Zloczow, and some were people who did not have children. There were 18 beds in the nursing home.

And finally, we should also mention the Soup Kitchen. The soup kitchen was headed by Mr. Tenenbaum, a merchant and a public activist who devoted himself entirely to that institution. The Soup Kitchen also relied on contributions, which consisted of money and food (mainly meat and bakery items). Mrs. Frida Kreger often took care of supplying all sorts of products to the Soup Kitchen. Some of the needy would come and take the dishes home. Some would eat in the kitchen.

Dr. Heshif's wife, Mrs. Heshif, came to the kitchen every Friday night to oversee the festive meal. The meals began with lighting the candles and concluded with Shabbat Singing.

In the summer, Mrs. Heshif used to manage the transfer of children and adults to neighboring villages of Zetzila and Zhalkovi and ensured to supply all of their needs.

 

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Summer camp at the building of the orphanage

[Columns 299-300]

The Zionist Movement in Zloczow

by Dr. Yosef Shatkai

Translated by Moshe Kutten

I spent the vacations I received from the high school in Lviv with my family in Zloczow. My parents moved to Zloczow because of their business – leasing and building paper mills and sawmills. In my visits, I came to know the studying youth. We found the situation wide open for Zionist activities. These were the years of Zionist mysticism.

If we compare the strength of the Zionist movements between Brody and Zloczow, Brody would come on top. I knew the Zionist movement in Brody well. The Zionist movement in Brody was well organized. It was headed by public figures, famous merchants, respected house owners, and famed Hebrew teachers. In Zloczow, only a small group of house owners were members of the Zionist movement. Among them, Rabbi Avraham Yaakov Kigel, an owner of properties and an enlightened person, Yitzkhak Buchacher, a merchant and a contractor, Tzvi Rosenboim, an owner of a store and an agent for the wines from Baron Rothchild's cellars, Yaakov Reis, a clerk in the large fabric store of Leon Offer, Bentzion Lehrer, Zeev Rosen, and others.

However, most of Zloczow's Jews were indifferent to the Zionist movement. There were a few Jews, here and there, who were attracted to the Zionist idea. However, they hid their views from the extreme assimilators within the community. Many Jews received various licenses from the authorities. A whisper in the authorities' ear could have caused them to lose their livelihood.

I recall a fascinating meeting with the chairman of the community's steering committee, Yosef Guld. We decided to hold a memorial service for Herzl on 20th Tamuz. The most appropriate place to hold the memorial was the large synagogue. We turned to the gabbai, Mr. Yekhiel Blumenblat, and asked to receive the keys. However, he had probably already received an instruction from the chairman of the community steering committee not to hand over the key for any reason. He, therefore, refused and referred us to Yosef Guld. We met with Mr. Guld. He immediately began to give us a lecture and preach to us about morality. He claimed that we were distorting the views of the great leader and dealing with “ghetto-like politics”. After all of that, we did find a way to get the key for the synagogue. The memorial was held with a large crowd in attendance.

As discussed, the professional intelligentsia people were all radical assimilators or people who were indifferent to their Jewishness. Among the Jewish physicians Dr. Guld, the son-in-law of Yosef Guld, was a radical assimilator. He was elected as the representative to the Austrian parliament in Vienna. He also served as the chairman of the Zloczow municipal management team. He was elected by the majority of the Jewish votes. However, he renounced his Jewishness and served in the parliament as a Polish citizen. He even refused to circumcise his sons. However, in this matter, the older Guld had the final say, as he feared the religious Jews who would not have allowed him to continue in his position

 

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The Zionist Youth

[Columns 301-302]

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A group of the organization “Ha'Noar Ha'Tzioni” [“The Zionist Youth”], 1938

 

as the chairman of the community steering committee. Other assimilators included Dr. Mitelman, a lawyer and the vice-chairman of the community steering committee, Dr. Hesel, and others.

The Zionist movement brought about a change in the values. A new generation grew out of the young Jewish intelligentsia. The large organization of “Bar Kokhba” was established. Its activists began to organize the Zionist operation with a fresh style and vigor.

The youth that studied in high school was organized by counselors. Let us mention some of the names of the students: Yekutiel Shuster, the brothers Zeltkis, Yaakov Vigil, Bentzion Shtriker and his brother Herzl Shtriker, Moshe Schorr, Khanan Deutsch, Shmuel Shirtz and Shmuel Epstien.

The first Hebrew school, “Safah Brurah” [“Clear Language”] was established. Its first teacher was Naftali Zigel. Indeed, there was a Hebrew teacher before him, Mr. Broida – a Russian native. However, he taught private lessons according to the [old fasion] style of “Limud Metukan” [Enhanced study or Enhanced Kheder”], which was customed in Russia at that time. Trips to neighboring cities, such as Sasiv and Holohory [Gologory], were organized. These trips were accompanied by lectures about Zionism. There were also special clubs for starting students. Dr. Khaim Zelkai, who made Aliya to Eretz Israel, was among these youths. In Israel, he became the editor of the medical journal of the physician union, but he passed away in the middle of his career.

There were families in Zloczow for whom Zionism was the center of their lives. Among them, the family of Rabbi Yitzkhak “Beniber” Schwadron. He was a pious Jew who dreamt all his life to build a perfume factory in Israel. He owned several large businesses, including the firm “Binovka”, which was very well known throughout Galitsia and Austria. Despite his profitable businesses in Zloczow, he was keen on building a factory in Eretz Israel. He had the secret of spicing liquor, which made it very tasteful. He sent his son, Avraham Schwadron, to study chemical engineering at a university in Vienna so that he could, one day, manage a factory in Israel. However, World War II broke, Rabbi Schwadron passed away, so the whole idea was never implemented.

In 1914, during my trip to Eretz Israel, I met with Rabi Yitzkhak Schwadron and he told me about his plans. My father, Rabbi David Schweig z”l, dreamt about Eretz Israel his entire life. My grandfather was fortunate. He decided one day, to abandon all of his businesses. He followed up on his decision and made Aliya to Jerusalem, bought a property, and lived his last years in Eretz Israel, with my mother.

In Zloczow, Zionism began to strike roots among the house owners and craftsmen. Dr. Aidelberg and Dr. Groskopf, both of them Zionists, were elected to the community committee. From among the young lawyers, Dr. Tzvi Hirschhorn who was an outstanding speaker excelled in attracting people to the movement. The city residents loved him because of his philanthropic attributes. He first demanded more of himself before he did from others. Hebrew speaking clubs were formed. Dr. Vepel and Dr. Simkha Bumim Feldman participated in these clubs. The wife of Dr. Hirschhorn (nee Tratkover), participated in the Hebrew speaking clubs. I devoted a great deal of time to lectures and debates in these clubs.

 

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