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[Page 675]

Organization of Brest Descendants
in Israel (Irgun Yotzei Brisk)

By A. Shtrickman

Translated by Dr. Samuel Chani and Jenni Buch

For us, the Briskers in Israel, the idea of a Landsmanschaft was a foreign concept. We did not represent any activity or identify with the social structure of the “Old Country”. It was our intention to put down roots in Israel and to contribute to the creation and character of this new Israeli nation.

Until the Great Holocaust occurred. In 1944 a group of Briskers decided to call a meeting with the aim of establishing an organization that would gather any news of our town. A committee was elected which consisted of: Winnikoff, Ludski, Kastrinski, Dlugin, Zweiboim, Shtickman and Kachel. At that first meeting we decided to publish the “Book of Brest”.

The first activity of the board was to collect and gather any information about the fate of the Jews of Brest, with the assistance of the Jewish Agency and any other means, also to provide food parcels for the needy.

In May 1945, we received the first letter from a surviving Brest Jew, Asher Zisman, who described in detail the destruction of the Jews of Brest. On the 17th June 1945, we held our first commemoration service, and it was decided to establish the 6th Cheshvan (15th October) as our memorial date. Then the first of the Brest survivors arrived in Israel and we tried to assist them with settling in Israel. Contacts were established with Brisker Landsmanschafts in other countries, with the Brest Relief in New York, Australia, Argentina and France. The closest links were with the Brest Relief in New York, which until today is the most active of all these organizations. The organizations of the other countries concentrated on helping Brest survivor refugees where they were located in Poland, Germany, and France. Therefore our requests did not find a receptive response.

In the great wave of post- war immigration, we helped the new migrants to find housing and work. We did not receive any assistance from abroad until 1948, when the first help came from the Brest Relief in New York specifically for the refugees from the British camps on Cyprus.

Over the course of time we met with many Briskers from abroad that were visiting Israel. From Argentina - Chaim Finkelstein, P. Gingold from Chicago, H. Kossovski from New York, H. Neuman from Chicago, Dr H. Freiluk and Pomerantz from New York, members of the Brest Society from Paris - H. Shushkin, Minc, and Lerner. N. Tenenbaum the chairman of the Brest Relief in New York, H. Yungerman from Argentina, Diana Yanov and Freidlis from New York. Thanks to those meetings an ongoing and lively contact was established with the Brest organizations abroad. At the Brest Relief conference in New York, our member H. Trubovitch represented us.

The Israeli committee took on the task of perpetuating the memory of our city and made great efforts towards the publishing of the Brisk D' Lita Yizkor book. We were in constant contact with the Brest organizations of various countries. A committee was established especially to collect material for this book – this committee consisted of: Dlugin, Chinich, Kastrinski and A. Levinson.

In New York, Jonah Ganzer headed their book committee. When Chaim Barlas visited the U.S. the matter of publishing the book in two languages was agreed on - Hebrew and Yiddish. We must note the great voluntary effort and dedication of Nachum Chinich. This member of the book committee painstakingly collected and prepared the material before it was sent for publication by the Encyclopedia of the Diaspora.

With the visit of H. Tenenbaum, Chairman of the Brest Relief in New York, a Loan Fund was established which helped many Briskers in Israel.

These are the members of the Brest Committee in Israel:

Honorary Chairman - Rabbi I. Y Unterman, the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and Jaffa. Committee members from 1944-1950: Y.L. Winnikoff, Chairman. Aaron Ludski, Avraham Shtrickman – Secretary. B. Kastrinski, Shlomo Dlugin, Eliezer Fein, Fania Artzi – Pomerantz and Bat-Sheva Segal.

In 1957 the committee members were: D. Zisman, A. Shtrickman, M. Neumark, M. Zamichovski, B. Kastrinski, and S. Shwartz. The editorial committee for the Yizkor book: Dr. S. Orchov, S. Golubovitch, Engineer P. Barkai and M. Breinhendler.

The Briskers and their descendants are spread throughout the cities, settlements, and kibbutzim of Israel. According to our estimates they number about 1,000 families.


Organization of Brest Descendants in Israel 1950

Seated R-L Y.L. Winnikoff, Rabbi A.Y. Unterman
Standing R-L: A. Lutenberg, A. Pomeranitz, A. Dolgin, N. Chinich,
M. Neumark,A, Ludski, A.Shtrickman, B. Kastrinski


Organization of Brest Descendants in Israel (Irgun Yotzei Brisk)


Members of the Haifa Committee

R-L: M. Breinhendler, S. Rubin, H. Kachel and S. Zmichovski


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