Translated by Ala Gamulka
A Frightening Murder in Bendery
Yoel Kogan, from Kishinev, disappeared suddenly while he was under arrest. He had been suspected of Bolshevism, and he was found dead in an open field near Bendery. There were two other corpses next to his two men and a young woman. The victims of white terror in Bessarabia were: Dwoskin, Shechsman and Tamara. The latter had been detained some time ago. After a short investigation, following the lines of the Inquisition, she was freed. In other words, she was found not guilty. A few days later she was arrested again to continue the interrogation.
Yoel Kogan, Dwoskin, Shechtman and Tamara were taken from Kishinev to Bendery. The reason for this was to compare them to other accused people. However, in the same night, when they were brought to Bendery, agents of the Secret Service placed the four in chains and took them to the Dniester. As they were being transported, the four threw themselves on the ground and refused to move. Their screams were heard in town. The agents pushed them with their revolvers. An agent then killed all four on the bank of the Dniester by shooting them in the head. Their chains were then removed and they were left lying there, to give the impression that they were smugglers who were caught crossing the border.
Passersby found the four bodies the next day. One of them was still alive, but he died on the way to the hospital.
The Shekel Campaign
The work of our branch was recently reorganized. Every member had to reregister and a new Committee was chosen: D. Fistrov President; Z. Drobetsky Vice President; M. Noikhovitch Treasurer; Rachel Shotman Secretary; members A. Finehertz, Goldenberg, I. Soltanovich, Sarah Slepoy and Krutiansky.
We opened a reading room where all Zionist and general Jewish newspapers are available.
Four members were designated to collect funds for Land and Labor.
We are also intent on planning the Shekel Campaign.
Help for the Poor in Bendery
On Sunday, May 3, a general meeting of the Help for the Poor was held in the assembly room of the City Hall. It spanned the time between Jan. 1, 1931 and April 16 of that year. The meeting drew many residents. The President was chosen by a secret ballot and he received a clear majority. He is Asher Nutov. Secretaries are Sh. Weiser and A. Krasnov.
The Treasurer, Z. Kaushansky gave a financial report. After a short debate and after the President, A. Nutov read the report of the Revision Commission, the sum of 229,806 lei was accepted. The committee was thanked for its enthusiastic work.
Member Kahana tried to interrupt the proceedings, but he did not succeed. We began the election of eight members of the committee to replace those who lost out by lot. A. Derbaremdiker, Zvi Schmaltz, Shlomo Shmulevitch, G. Krasnov replaced the outgoing A. Alexandrov, H. Volovetz, A. Abramovitch and Z. Kaushansky. Those had willingly given up their positions.
A motion was made by chairman of Help for the Poor, Avraham Alexandrov, that members Derbaremdiker, B. Abramovitch, B. Bendersky and Z. Schmaltz be elected unanimously. He was leaving due to his old age, and he wanted his work to continue. He was certain that these four men would act for the good of the institution. Once more, Kahana tried to disturb the proceedings, but again, he was silenced. However, when A. Kogan wanted to say a few words about outgoing chairman Alexandrov, he was interrupted by Kahana, again. The patience of the assembled exploded and they began to shout Enough, terrorist! When the audience calmed down a motion was made to exclude Kahana from Jewish Bendery societies. The motion was passed unanimously. After that they immediately turned to the agenda. Alexandrov's motion was also accepted unanimously. In addition, the following joined the committee: M. Shaposhnik, M. Fishov, Shlomo Krasik and B. Kaushansky. The Revision Committee members were: Shlomo Koplevatsky, Abramovitch, Frantz, Fistrov and Krasnov. The chairman, H. Nutov, thanked, in the name of those assembled, members Alexandrov, Abramovitch, Volovetz and Z. Kaushansky for their energetic and devoted years of work for the good of Help for the Poor. They were all now retiring of their own accord. He also suggested that Alexandrov would be the Honorary President forever. This motion was also accepted unanimously and with long lasting applause and everyone left happy.
Sanitorium and Children's Colony
The Help for the Poor in Bendery has, this year, accepted more than 40 people into the Sanitorium in Borisovko. They all come, understandably, from the poorer section of society. These people need a new atmosphere and fresh air. It is hoped that the sanitorium will, this year also, provide the patients with new strength and a chance to go back to their daily lives. This, in spite of the big crisis.
It was not expected to organize the Children's Colony as in previous years, but thanks to the Joint it did open in Borisovko. There are 60 children from poor families in the Jewish community. The committee secured funds from AZA and cooperating members and the children are provided with all their needs.
Our recently opened AZA is functioning well. The Jewish community understands better the needs of AZA. It is hoped that, in time, it will be even more successful.
Fires in Bendery
(Details about the great fire in the center of town a second fire in Borisovko)
In addition to the telegraphic report about yesterday's fire, I can add the following details:
The fire was noticed at 5:45 am from the roof of bakery owned by Yitzhak Gelfenbein on Gogol Street. It was in the house of Moshe Resnik, in the center of the marketplace. The fire had very quickly spread to the right and to the left. In a short time, it engulfed the entire block between Lermontov and Sovorne Streets. Burned down were the dress manufacturing of Shinkar, Mordekovitch, Groisman, Rashkovsky,
Taxir and Sudit and Chaplik; grocery store of Chasin; paint store of M. Resnik; harness maker Balabaner; pharmacy of Ferdman and the bakery of Gelfenbein. Also, the apartments of Bilenkis, Kiner, Rashkovsky, B. Wertheim, L. Wertheim, M. Resnik, Chasin and Gelfenbein.
Thanks to the fact that the fire broke out in the morning, all the store owners were in their shops, and they were able to begin to save the goods. The owners did not escape without any damage. Many goods textiles, paints and groceries were flooded, dirtied and spoiled. Those who suffered the most were: Ben Zion Rashkovsky, Chasin, Ferdman's pharmacy, Moshe Resnik, Bilenkis and the Wertheims.
Only Resnik and Rashkovsky had insurance for their apartments for 100,000 lei each. All the others were not insured. Total damage came to about 3 million lei.
As soon as the fire started, the prefect Stamatov, the prosecutor and several commissioners and military officers arrived. They guarded the goods that had been rescued.
About 8 of the 30 firefighters had to go to another fire burning in Borisovko.
It was thanks to fire chief Kolesnichenko that by 10 am the fire was tamed. By 1 pm the fire was localized.
The fire created great panic in the community since it had been a long time since something like this had happened.
Grandiose Election Rally in Bendery
(A fight is provoked by Zifshtein's agent the complete failure of the Zifshtein drink success of the meeting)
On Wednesday at 7 o'clock in the evening, the representatives of the Jewish elections in Bendery called for a large meeting in the Old Shul. The meeting was chaired by Israel Blank, the candidate on the Jewish List.* There were about 800 people at the meeting and order was exemplary.
The first step was taken by Israel Blank who presented the audience with the candidates on the Jewish List.* He explained the importance of the list and asked that no Jewish vote should be lost. As he was ending his speech, in came Moshe Zifshtein with his drunken followers and he began to disrupt the meeting. The audience demanded quiet and Moshe had to acquiesce.
The next speaker was Yosef Lerner. He brilliantly described the Romanian Jewry and the success of the Jewish National party. Everyone listened intently to Yosef Lerner. Moshe Zifshtein did not like the speech and began again to disturb the meeting. His followers and Blackists with whom he had an understanding started their work. Their noise did not succeed. The entire audience was so enthusiastic about the Jewish List that Drink Zifshtein had to stop. When Lerner began to speak about Warsaw, Zifshtein clutched his heart and stopped Lerner by hitting him. This left a bad impression on the audience who had almost all decided to vote for the Jewish List. Blank and Lerner adjourned the meeting and the police kept the scandal quiet. When Zifshtein felt his solitude, he went on stage and asked those assembled to not make him miserable. He wanted them to vote for the Tsarist List for parliament. If not, the Tsarists, Moldovans and Gagazis will not vote for him for the Senate. He will then, be penniless, without an income. When the crowd heard this, they knew that Zifshtein was not
* There is a chapter in the Yizkor Book The Jews in Bessarabia: Between the World Wars 19141940 on Jewishgen.org: The first elections in 1920 and the success of the Jewish list.
to be trusted. This is how Moshe became a failure and the Jewish votes went to the Jewish List.
Outside it is dreary. There is a damp mist. It is a cold wetness. The snow is dirty, wet and over abundant, mixed with dirt, on all the streets. It is a real, frightening mud. Rivulets of dirty water are running down.
I am striding together with the chairman of the Hunger Committee in the Jewish street to check the needs of the desolate. We have so many of them in the last few years.
Familiar pictures of home. Tiny houses looking like graves. Small holes filled with rags to replace windows. Tiny, hunchbacked walls are covered with pipelike icicles. There are no closets, no tables, no beds, not a stick of furniture. There is only a broken chair and nothing else. No bedding!
Why did a Jewish family live in such poverty? Not even bedding.
What kind of Jew does not even have pillows?
Their life is so terrible and bitter that they even sold their last pillow.
How can I describe what my eyes have seen? One should write a whole book about the great needs in which some Jews found themselves in the last few years. We are the poorest nation in the world. We never stood out in our good health in the diaspora. We were always sickly, wheezing, asthmatic, afflicted with lung disease, heart ailments, etc. It is easy to see what a destruction this needy hunger has fraught on the Jewish nation. One can see the misery. Everywhere I go I see the hunger in the cellars. In these houses like graves I find sick men, sick women and sick children. Instead of beds they lie on the bare floor on some straw and rags. They lie and moan, feverish and cold. They have a special request from those still alive: have pity on them and send death their way.
Suddenly my eyes see in these gravelike houses in Bendery:
An old lady is lying sick. She is skin and bones a skeleton. What is left of a person! She is lying on a few rags. Her eyes are vacant and she moans and begs for the Angel of Death to come. He is always on time, but not now, when she wants him. He is dawdling to liberate her from her hell.
Also sick are her daughter and soninlaw. They wear torn shoes, without soles. They do not have warm clothes only rags. Five little children are crying, one smaller than the other wearing torn clothes or completely naked. All full of pus and sores. They are eaten up by parasites and their complexions are waxy. They are ill with jaundice, are feverish and have the flu and tuberculosis.
The door to the gravelike house is open and there is no heating. It is cold and slippery in the darkness of the cemetery, in the tomblike dwelling. They are alive? It seems like it, but according to these conditions, they should have been dead.
Actually, another woman, in a similar dwelling, told me, almost casually, that three weeks earlier, her fiveyearold daughter had died of Typhus. A week ago, another child died of Scarlet Fever.
I remember that she had not told me her story directly, but in a roundabout way. She confirmed a rumor, in a calm way, as she was praying that God made me according to his will. She said that she had had three children, and two were taken away by God. The third child is naked and shoeless and falls frequently. She does not have shoes for the child, and it is very, very cold in this hovel.
An acquaintance told me about another village in the starvation area. There, he found a Jew who, only a few years before, had been wealthy and had a beautiful home. He was poverty stricken. God gave him another gift crabs. My acquaintance found this Jew shivering from the cold. The Jew suffering with crabs apologized saying: I know that I will die. I am not so ignorant that I would live much longer with this cancer, but I would prefer to die from cancer than from cold.
The need and the hunger destroyed Jewish health. Epidemics of Typhus and other diseases did not happen by chance when there is hunger, no clothing and shoes or washing, living miserably in a broken, low, wet unheated home.
In the chairman's house, there is a hardworking young man. He is still very young. The need and the troubles have made him old, before his time. The young man is crying and begging for compassion:
I do not want to be a shnorer. I do not need riches. My horse has died. Give me, no, lend me, 1,000 lei so I can buy a new horse. I pray to God the poor, prematurely gray, young man clapped his heart I pray to God that I will return the money to you myself.
Again, the subject arises: why do people shy away from begging and are prepared to die of hunger and thirst?
A Jewish woman whose husband is not earning anything, a socalled broken kopek, has six children at home. The oldest girl, a dressmaker, has no work. The oldest boy was, until recently, a clerk, but the store was closed. The others are young children with the youngest, a nursing baby, only five months old. What do you do? There is not even a crust of bread in the house. To the committee the man says he will not live another hour if he asks them for help. They are hungry, but the mother's heart cannot stand to see her children suffer. They have sold everything possible from their house and there is nothing left. The mother has become, secretly, a wet nurse for another baby four times a day. For that she receives 200 lei. She has to walk on several streets and she must do it in such a way that her husband and children do not find out. If they do they would be terribly ashamed.
What can a starving woman give a child, never mind two of them?
This starving woman goes, four times a day, on schedule, for two hundred leis a month to nurse a child, in addition to hers.
One needs nerves of steel to listen to these tales of woe.
I must not say that I saw only sad cases. I did have some good news.
My heart was so happy when I saw these starving children from these hovels receive a breakfast or a hot meal.
Here are the children with torn shoes, almost barefoot, in their pants full of holes, sitting at long tables. The women of the committee are serving them. Every chid receives a piece of bread, a bowl of soup and a bit of meat. Their faces are blazing and their eyes are shining with happiness. Every bite adds color to their faces. The children from the Talmud Torah, from the Religious School, children of those who are hurting, sit at the table and eat. They are of all agestwelve, ten, eight…even three. The little threeyearold, with his ragged pants, climbs up to the bench and Mrs. Kishinevsky shows me: see, look at the beautiful black eyes. How I love him. How adorable he is.
I look at this little guest his eyes are shining because he is sitting in front of a bowl of soup. What does he need? Only a bit of soup.
Little boy, what is your father's name? I ask his older brother, a young man of seven.
The boy stutters:
I do not have a father. I am an orphan.
Nu? and your mother?
My mother's name is SaraRiva.
What does your mother do?
My mother works in the daytime. My brother and I he points at the threeyearold stay at home.
I can imagine what a fancy apartment they have. No mother looking after them, no food or drink and wearing ragged clothing. Who can appreciate the words of a child?
The starving children sit orphans, street children, lonely, poor, displaced, but a new skin is appearing on them. A bowl of hot soup and a piece of bread. Blessed must be those who are doing this work.
Such cleanliness here, but I would not want to give ordinary praise from us, the correspondents in the province. I do not wish to abuse this power, but, surely, the women who give such care have earned special praise.
Allow me to describe a great celebration which my own eyes saw.
The principal of the Romanian elementary school a Christian came to the Hunger Committee with tears in her eyes and begged us to buy shoes for the Jewish children. She could not stand the sadness when she saw them come to school shoeless. The entire Hunger Committee unanimously decided to buy shoes for the children. They even got a bargain 75 lei for a pair.
I saw, with my own eyes, when shoes were distributed in the community hall, how it was besieged by children and parents. Dozens of children wearing large, donated, twisted large shoes with holes, sloshed through the mud and were fortunate to receive a new pair of shoes. One can see a poor little girl, her feet wet, being washed and cleaned up. She now receives socks and is being measured for shoes. I look at the twinkling eyes, the shiny faces, the overpowering bliss in these children. Who is now equal to them? Who?
A pair of whole shoes, later placed back in the box, held near the heart and taken home to the hovel, while the feet are still with the torn shoes sloshing in the mud…
A few days ago, the Jewish Community of Tighina held a memorial service, in the New Shul, for the victims of the latest riot in Eretz Israel. All representatives of the national groups were invited to the memorial service. The shul was packed, and Cantor M. Cohen recited El Maale for the fallen. The speakers in the name of the Zionist organizations, were: Rabbi Yosef Wertheim (Mizrachi), A. Derbaremdiker (General Zionists), D. Fistrov (Poalei ZionZeirei Zion) and H. Yakhinson (N.Z.A.). The latter came with a speech with a conscientious slant pointing out that Jabotinsky [Odessaborn Ze'ev Jabotinsky, Jewish Zionist and founder of the Jewish SelfDefense Organization] had predicted the riots. On the other hand, all other Zionist representatives called on the audience to stand strong and to not be afraid of the provocation by the Arab extremists. They also spoke of the need to strengthen Zionist work with more energy and also to increase the income from the Jewish National Fund. This would enable a larger Aliyah and a quicker rebuilding of the land and the people. The large audience showed solidarity with this calling and left the hall with sadness.
A Memorial Service After the Death of Nahum Sokolov in Bendery
A few days ago, a memorial service was held in the New Shul for Nahum Sokolov. The large shul, including the women's section, was packed with people. Cantor Kh. Cohen recited the Maale and the large audience listened quietly.
The first to eulogize the deceased was Rabbi Yosef Wertheim.
Mr. Derbaremdiker spoke in the name of the General Zionists and D. Fistrov represented the united Poalei ZionZeirei Zion.
The speakers described the great achievements of the deceased leader. They urged those assembled to continue in the way of the brains of the generation Nahum Sokolov [Zionist leader from Poland to London, author, translator, and a pioneer of Hebrew journalism Wikipedia]. In this way, they would show their appreciation and loyalty to him.
The assembly was in deep mourning.
Keren Hayesod in Tighina
In the last few days we were occupied with happenings at Keren Hayesod [United Israel Appeal]. A large meeting was held in the big New Shul. It was opened by the chairman, Israel Blank. He introduced to those assembled the important guest, director of Keren Hayesod in Bessarabia, Sh. Pinsky. After him, Pinsky was also greeted by Rabbi Yosef Wertheim, Community Chairman Asher Nutov, Chairman of the General Zionists A. Derbaremdiker, the United Party D. Fistrov and Mizrachi S. Finkel.
After these greetings, Sh. Pinsky gave his interesting presentation The Present Situation in Eretz Israel. The audience listened with great interest and showed their appreciation by applauding for a long time.
After the scheduled meeting, Pinsky met with the leaders: I. Blank, A. Derbaremdiker, Mrs. S. Blank, F. Finke., D. Fistrov, etc. They discussed, with great success, practical matters. In spite of the late hour,
We must thank Sh. Pinsky and his ability to conclude matters.
Lecture by Poet Sh. Pinsky
Some days ago, the famous poet Sh. Pinsky, introduced a literary presentation in the hall of the I.L. Peretz auditorium (The Dead City, The Village, Bontche Shveig). The large hall was packed with people who listened to every word with great satisfaction and attention. The twohour presentation highly pleased the audience and it gave them a good picture of issues in the Jewish world at that time. It also illustrated important world problems. They warmly thanked Sh. Pinsky. It is to be hoped that, in a short while, Pinsky will read again for us in Tighina and we are impatient to hear it.
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