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[Page 61]


They should be put to shame because they did something terrible, they were not embarrassed, they do not know how to be shamed, therefore they will fall among those that fall at the time of their punishment, they shall surely stumble says the L-rd.

(Jeremiah 8)

[Page 62]

Yosef the son of Moshe (Kabtzan)

by a friend

He was a native of Druzhkopol of Volhynia, from a well known Zionist family in the area, educated and well grounded in Hebrew and Zionist culture. (Many members of this family made aliya and were workers on settlements.) His father died suddenly when he was three, and his mother was left as a young widow with three children – he, who was the only son, and two young daughters. The widowed mother continued to educate her children in the family tradition. Yosef was sent to the Tarbut School in Luck (Lutsk). He was active in the Zionist movement when he studied at school. He returned to his city after finishing school. He organized the local “Hechalutz” chapter, and concerned himself with preparing the youth to make aliya to the Land. A new, heavy tragedy hit the family at that time. His two sisters died, and he was left alone with his mother. Yosef decided to actualize his plans: to make aliya to the Land and become a worker. Despite the weakness of his body, he immediately went to a Moshava and worked as a hired worker in Rechovot. When his sources of livelihood dried up, he went to visit his uncle in Kfar Yehosuha, and he was hired as an employee of cooperative shop.

When the disturbances broke out, he devoted himself fully to matters of local self-defense. On many evenings we would see Yosef on guard duty, and then the next morning, we would see him again in the store. He continued with the tasks that he was responsible for without tiring. When the guards were drafted, Yosef enlisted as a guard, and was very sorry that he was not given the possibility of being among the bearers of its shield. When guards were enlisted for protecting the fields, he was also chosen as a guard. His friends and relatives made an effort to influence him, on account of the many tragedies that befell his family, to not endanger his life. However, he would say, “Why am I better than anyone, every child is dear to his mother, even if he is not an only child, every person must go to a dangerous place.”

He was transferred to Gush Nuris, where help was required. On the night of the tragedy, he volunteered to go with a group, even though it was not his turn. He fell in a battle against a gang near Dvoria.

On Yosef! You went on your own volition to a place where the defense of your homeland needed you. You were a determined person, and you knew how to fulfil that which was placed upon you. A few days before your death, in a conversation regarding revenge and defense, you spoke with anger against those who broke through the fence, and you strongly preached about the need to guard the line in strong defense. Yosef, you fulfilled this with your own body. How can I be comforted, and how can I comfort your bereaved family? Perhaps with that legend that is woven before our eyes, “The Legend of the Guards”, of whom you are one of the weavers.

The sign of this matter: Alexander Zeid, the veteran defender of the land, and Yosef the son of Moshe, the youngster of the guards of Israel, were brought to eternal rest in the land of Emek Yizrael (The Jezreel Valley) at the same time. There is no great distance between their graves. But the path of 34 years, the path of blood and sacrifice, as well of conquest and creativity, is indeed long.

(A friend)

(From “Davar” that was published on the thirtieth day after his death.)
[Page 63]

Yosef Kabtzan [1] of blessed memory

by Avraham Boxer

{Photo page 63: Uncaptioned. Yosef Kabtzan.}

He was an important personality of the younger generation and its authentic representative, blessed with fine traits and handsome in appearance. He was the founder and leader of Hechalutz in Druzhkopol. He was beloved and esteemed by everyone. Many attempted to draw near to him. He was the glory of his family. He came from a family of intellectuals. Yosef was not born, apparently, with a coat of many colors [2].

Deep tragedy accompanied him from his childhood until the day of his death. He was orphaned from his father at a young age. His two sisters, Gitel and Dora, were very pretty and pleasant, such that there was none like them. They were blessed with exceptional talents. They also died at a young age, in the spring of their life, at age 21, one after the other. It is difficult to describe the suffering of the mother. In order to save her son Yosef, who was the only one of her family left, she agreed that he should make aliya to the Land of Israel, and perhaps there he would be saved from death. It was not to be. Fate was bitter to him. In 1936, during the days of the disturbances, Yosef enlisted as a supplementary guard in Kfar Yehoshua. In a combing operation of the British police, in which Yosef participated, he was shot by accident by the British. The terrible news fell upon our heads like thunder on a clear day. When his mother received the bitter news through the agency of the Polish police, her will to live disappeared, and she committed suicide by hanging herself. We will not forget Yosef. He is holy to us, and his entire family is holy.

(Avraham Boxer)

[Page 64]

Pesia Lifshitz

by Binyamin Ben Aryeh

I met Pesia Lifshitz on Hachshara [3], and there I got to know her from up close. The period of Hachshara on the Kibbutz where there were many young people from Druzhkopol is etched very well upon my heart. Pesia Lifshitz was among them. The adaptation was difficult – especially so for Pesia Lifshitz, the daughter of Reb Leibish, who never tasted work at all in her home.

We were young. Our hearts were enthusiastic and our faith warm and strong. We made aliya to the Land after years of preparation. Pesia Lifshitz was with us. She was in Kibbutz Itlit. Her state of health forced her to leave the Kibbutz. Prior to acclimatizing to life in the city, the Second World War broke out, and tidings of Job came to us from abroad. Her life was no longer a life on account of her worry for her parents and family. When she found out the bitter truth, the end of her life came. Pesia took ill with a serious illness that confined her to bed for many months in a hospital in Tiberias. She died there, and did not merit witnessing the birth of her homeland.

Avraham the son of Yosef Cantor

by Oran Shmuel

Avraham was born to orthodox, observant parents, from families or rabbis and shochtim (ritual slaughterers). However, he himself did not see his future as a religious functionary. He joined Hechalutz in Druzhkopol. He went out on Hachsharah, and made aliya as a member of Kibbutz Itlit, as did most of the pioneers of the “illegal immigration”.

For reasons that were independent of himself, he left he Kibbutz and went to live in Kiryat Chaim. He started to work at the port of Haifa, and was among the activists of the port workers. He won the hearts of his friends, and endeared himself to the community of port workers on account of his good spirit and pleasant mannerisms. He was dedicated with his full heart to the Haganah and was a confidant of the Haganah activists.

When a ship of Olim (people coming on aliya) arrived at the port, he assisted them with all arrangements, and participated in their joy of aliya.

Avraham knew how to build his family with personal integrity. He was a paragon of virtue and love of his fellow, and was a good friend. He left us when he was still full of energy and joy of life.

The port workers lost one of their most lost one of their most capable and dedicated workers. The movement and the organization lost a faithful and dedicated member.

He invited me to visit him in the hospital prior to his death. His final request was to enable his son Yossi to continue in his studies. His request was fulfilled.

Most of the residents of the town participated in his funeral, along with hundreds of port workers with whom he worked. May his memory be blessed.

[Page 65]

Moshe Wallach

by Oren Shmuel

I worked with Moshe on the same shift in the electric company for several years, and I knew him from up close. His merry spirit and constant smile left a pleasant impression upon all with whom he came in contact. He was loved by his family and by his friends at work. He was serious and diligent in his work, and he did not know weariness. He had an open heart, and was prepared to help his fellow. He was always happy with his lot. He built his home in Kiryat Chaim, and was active in the workers organization and sporting groups. He was a veteran of the Haganah, and one of the first workers of the electric company in Naharayim. He stood on his guard at work until his last day.

He was a native of Druzhkopol in Ukraine. He made aliya with the Third Aliya.

He left us before his time. Ten years have passed since we accompanied him to his eternal rest. The grief and anguish in his home, family and among his friends is as it was on the day of his death.

May his soul be bound in the bonds of the life of our nation.

Oren Shmuel
An employee of the electric company

Mina Horenstein

by Binyamin Ben-Aryeh (Shargil)

Mina was numbered among the Hebrew teachers. She already became involved in this holy task at a young age. Mina never became tired of teaching, and her energy was endless. She was one of the activists in the founding of the library, and in various other groups. She inherited the tendency to activism on behalf of the public from her father, Reb Shabtai.

Mina made aliya to the Land, and worked hard also here. She overcame all difficulties. Every letter that she sent to her town of Druzhkopol served as a support for the pioneering movements, and a call to aliya to the Land of Israel.

Her life in the Land served as an example of high spirit, dedication, diligence and meaning. She was close to everything that went on in the Land, and participated in the struggle for the establishment of the state and the expansion of the settlement.

Fate stuck her, and she was taken from us when she was still full of the joy of life, and the desire to live.

May her memory be blessed forever.

[Page 66]

On David who is No More

by Binyamin Ben-Aryeh (Shargil)

{Photo page 66: Uncaptioned: David Eisenberg.}

Like lightning on a clear day, we were informed of the bitter tidings of Job, that David Eisenberg died on an excursion in the Negev. I knew you David when you were a lad, and lived in Jerusalem. From them I heard only about your development.

Your parents were proud of you, and therefore the anguish is great and the loss immense. I spoke to your friends who joined you on this tragic excursion. They said that, “David died as he was saving friends”. They further related, “He was full of life, always with a smile on his face. He was happy. He fulfilled all that was demanded of him in the movement with complete understanding, satisfaction and joy.”

Then, he had the desire to see the Negev and settle there.

David was a merry person, who bore great responsibility, which he felt to be an honor. The ideas ceased being progressive thoughts to him. Rather, they became a natural, inseparable part of his essence. He scorned danger and knew it very well. He did not pursue it, but he also did not flee from it. He knew how to walk toward danger when necessary, and also to avoid it if it was only an adventure. “We have to be careful”, he would state.

David was straight of heart, straight in his path, and good-hearted. He loved his parents and his brother. He loved the countryside of his homeland, for which he fought and also fell. His family lost a dear son and brother, the joy of their lives. We and the movement lost a dedicated member. Thus relate his friends. I can add: Jewish good-heartedness and mercy, love of the truth, upright and just, who gave precedence to the welfare of his fellow over his own welfare. He expressed gratitude for every small detail, and was extremely careful not to harm anyone.

Such are the pure human foundations nestled in the heart of this refined youth. The purity of his traits and the pleasantness of his mannerisms will not be forgotten from all those who knew the youth David.

The heart stopped suddenly. May the clods of the earth of the homeland be pleasant for you, dear David.

Binyamin Ben-Aryeh (Shargil)

[Page 67]

Yaakov the son of Chaya and Avraham Boxer of blessed memory

{Photo page 67: Uncaptioned. Yaakov Boxer.}

Eleven years have passed since we accompanied Yaakov of blessed memory on his final journey. The image of Yaakov at times appears atop the waves that stream forth and carry the burden of the years. He was a handsome youth, with a smile on his face. His fiery gaze exposed and also hid the treasures of his inner life.

He was a young student, who had not yet reached the epitome and desires of his life. He moved among the tribulations and aspirations of his age. He climbed to the peaks. He always stood up to the test, and came out of it forged and consolidated.

He learned a great deal. He dedicated his free time to reading and to fiery dreams of the joining together of dreams of a working life and creativity. Then, suddenly, the cruel end came to the love pangs of the young heart, to the desire for far-off, enchanting vistas, for the thirst for life and experiences.

He was born in Druzhkopol on November 11, 1930. He found his final rest in the soil of Israel on January 1, 1948.

Yaakov did not fall in battle, but he did fall in defense of the homeland. He displayed his entire splendor and strength of character in his final moments. During his death throes, he agonized that he did not fall in battle. His heart stopped before its time.

His sun was bright for his parents and friends, and it was crushed before it set in the west.

May your memory be bound in the great wreath of the many dear and revered youths, forever.

Yaakov left us when he still was in the prime of his life. He fell, and he is no longer. There is no replacement for the painful loss.

[Page 69]

It is hard to hold the pen and write about the people of our town, friends and acquaintances among whom we lived and from whom we learned. It is sevenfold more difficult to accustom oneself to the thought that these people are no longer alive. They perished in tragic and cruel deaths at the hands of the lowly murderers who were human deviants. We survivors, whom fate favored to number us among the few whom remained alive, merited to witness the fulfillment of our ideals. Upon us rests the duty to perpetuate the names of our dear ones, whose memory will not depart from our midst.

The Rabbis of the Town

Rabbi Wilicker of holy blessed memory

by B. the son of Avraham Leib

Rabbi Wilicker of holy blessed memory received the rabbinical seat as an inheritance. He came to Druzhkopol from Belz, where he studied Torah and became illuminated in Torah, as well as imbued with generous character traits. Both the Hassidim of Turisk and Olesk revered him, subjected themselves to his authority, and regarded him as the spiritual leader of the town. They appreciated him on account of his upright heart and purity of thought. He not only preached well, but also fulfilled well. The people of the Beis Midrash learned lessons from his words that came from the depths of his heart, filled with statements of the sages and fear of Heaven. He received everyone in a friendly manner, and thereby brought the masses near to the fear of Heaven. Many studied Torah from his mouth. He never wanted to be the only judge in rabbinical judgments, and always invited advocates from both sides. There were permanent advocates in the town, who were also invited to other towns, such as Reb Yechezkel Furman, Yehuda Hirsch Kipper, Yekutel Boziciwer, David Guterman, Hirsch David, my father Avraham Leib Shargil, and others.

It is told that during the time of the Second World War, the Germans made him work at backbreaking work. His end was bitter, as was the end of all of our townsfolk.

Rabbi Wilicker was a personality from the era of rabbis and Gaonim. He was imbued with Jewish grace, was honest with his Creator, and upright in his actions. It is difficult to come to terms with the fact that he once was and is no longer. It is seven times more difficult for those who studied Torah from his mouth.

May his memory be distinguished and blessed.

Rabbi Yentis of holy blessed memory

by B. the son of Avraham Leib

Rabbi Yentis of holy blessed memory was born in Druzhkopol and received the rabbinical seat in the town of Turisk. It turned out that there were two rabbis in Druzhkopol – Rabbi Yentis was the rabbi of the Hassidim of Turisk, and Rabbi Wilicker was the rabbi of the Hassidim of Olesk.

Rabbi Yentis studied Torah from the greats of the Gaonim. He conducted himself with holiness and purity, and afflicted himself with all sorts of afflictions. He would perform the Tikun Chatzot service [4], in which he would recite dirges for the destruction of the House of Israel and the scattering of the Jewish people in the exile.

My uncle, Reb Shalom Schnider of blessed memory, told us, his students in the Cheder, that Rabbi Yentis “did not leave such a great matter as the Chariot, and a small matter such as the debates of Abaye and Rabba, that he studied the entire Talmud and works of the decisors of Jewish law, and could recite by heart everything that was written in the book.” [5]

He would sing in a sweet but sad voice when he passed before the Torah.

Rabbi Yentis was revered by all the people of the town.

The following should have been written upon his gravestone, “Here is buried a G-dly man, who revealed the depths of secret, hidden matters.”

He is the type of person that one calls a holy man. Many of his students, who studied Torah from his mouth, are in the Land today.

The natives of Druzhkopol will not forget the rabbi of their town, who married them under the chupa (marriage canopy) and give us his blessing when we made aliya to the Land.

His holy and revered memory will be guarded in our memories.

B. the son of Avraham Leib

[Page 70]

Yossi Boxer

He came from a poor family, and was a shoemaker by profession. He himself concerned himself with his education and learning. He knew how to study Mishna. He was imbued with a wisdom of life that only few are graced with. He toiled hard to support his family. He dedicated himself to activism in Druzhkopol with all his heart. He was an aide in the joint communal council with Berestechko, along with my father of blessed memory, Moshe Hirschfeld of blessed memory, Yechezkel Furman, Leizer Boziciwer, Hershel Safra, and others. He played an active role in the Jewish National Fund, Bikur Cholim, and Gmilut Chasadim. He did not desist from any social activity. All of these good deeds did not stand in his stead before the Master of the Universe, and he was murdered along with his family in the Druzhkopol Ghetto. May their memories be blessed.

Ezriel Shatz

Ezriel was a scholar and an intelligent man. He was one of the founders of Agudas Israel in our town. He obtained his religious knowledge from the teachers of Druzhkopol. His uprightness and pleasant manners were inherited from his father Reb Motel Shochet. He himself became a modern style teacher in Bnos Yaakov. He was dedicated to social institutions in the town, and all of them honored him for his dedication to the public.

[Page 71]

The Teachers of our Town

I studied with three teachers of our town, and I wish to recall their memory in a few lines. I recall my iniquities today. I caused them no small amount of difficulty. May my words be a merit for their pure souls.

The candle of G-d is the soul of man.

Our sages have stated – the grace of a place is upon its inhabitants. Indeed in Druzhkopol, the grace of the place was upon each and every one of its inhabitants.

Reb Shalom Abba's Schnider

It is difficult to understand today how such people as my uncle and Rebbe Shalom Abba's of blessed memory existed in the world. He was as far from the trivialities of the world as east is from west. He dedicated his entire life to the service of G-d. The verse that we studied from him, “Eat bread and salt, and drink water in measure, and sleep upon the ground” [6] was fulfilled by him.

Reb Shalom instilled in us, his students, love of G-d, love of man, and observance of commandments. On Fridays, he would send us to examine the Eruv [7] that we ourselves tore, so that we would be sent to fix it and thereby be freed from cheder for a number of hours. During the summer, we would run to bathe in the river.

Reb Shalom was orthodox, and imbued with love of Jews.

May his memory be a blessing.

Reb Shmuel Yankels Goldstein

I studied Gemara with Reb Shmuel. It was not easy to get to Reb Shmuel. The sons of the wealthy studied with him, and I was not one of them. However, the relationship that existed between my father Avraham Leib of blessed memory and Reb Shmuel made it possible for me to be accepted to his cheder on the condition that I not be mischievous, for I was known as a “shegetz” [8].

Reb Shmuel was a quite Jew, tender as a pure dove, a great scholar and an enthusiastic Hassid of Turisk. He lived in a very meager and restricted fashion.

He spent his life at all times in the cheder with his students, with a Gemara opened before him as he studied and taught. I never heard him yell at his students. He would never even debate with adults. When his opinion was sought on a matter of Torah, he answered in a quiet and convincing manner.

He was also a prayer leader. People would come from the Beis Midrash to the Kloiz to hear his prayers. He recited the Musaf services there [9]. He perished in the Holocaust along with everybody. May his memory be blessed forever.

Reb Mottel the Shochet (ritual slaughterer)

by Pinchas Adiri

He was modest, discrete, and feared Heaven. He occupied himself with Torah day and night. He started his prayers himself in the morning. During this time, two minyans (prayer quorums) completed their prayers. Reb Motel stood for this entire time near the over in the Beis Midrash, with his eyes closed, repeated each verse, each word, Baruch… Baruch… Baruch… Atah… Atah… Atah… with pure intention and devotion. This as not prayer, but rather a conversation between him and the Master of the World… He would be like a pillar of fire at that time.

Each day, until 3:00 p.m., he would breathe the smell of old books and the air of candles. This was his world in which he was immersed. It was a world of Talis, Tefillin and prayer. What use was to him, the scenery, fields, and the aroma of spring, and the songs of birds…

His home was the second one after Itzi Smuks, which had so much Torah. Even the girls worshiped every day.

None of this stood for him, Motel the Shochet, on the bitter day. It would seem that prayer was coming from his mouth even as he walked to the grave.

Our town merited having such fine Jews as these. The tragedy and agony is great!

May his name be established forever!

Pinchas Adiri

[Page 72]

Reb Shmuel Kipper of blessed memory

by Pinchas Adiri

He had a fine beard, spectacles, and the image of an intelligent man. He was imbued with knowledge and was a pleasant conversationalist. He knew foreign languages. He was known to have deep nationalistic understanding.

It was always possible to find a Hebrew book in his house, to feed the thirsty soul. He was a veteran Zionist. He educated his children to good deeds, and to love Jewish tradition. Indeed, three of his children made aliya to the Land.

He was chosen to serve as Soltos (mayor) at the time of the entry of the Poles. It should be pointed out that he successfully directed the city business for the benefit of the public.

There was no shortage of difficult decrees from the government. He always issued an announcement up front and urged people to be prepared. He related with honor to everyone who turned to him, for he had a soft temperament. His home was always open to everyone. His wife, the noble Miriam, supervised the home. Peace and tranquility pervaded in that home. They believed that they would make aliya to the Land where their children were, but they did not merit such. It is a pity.

May their souls be bound up with the life of the nation.

P. A.

{Photo page 73 top: Reb Avrhaam Shaya Shochet and his wife of blessed memory.}

{Photo page 73 bottom: Reb Shmuel Kipper and his wife of blessed memory.}

[Page 74]

Hershel Hirschfeld

He was the son of Reb Moshe Hirschfeld, a scion of a wealthy family. He obtained his education outside the city, in Luck. He was one of the founders and directors of the bank. He warned the Jews to remove their money while there was yet time, before the bank went bankrupt. He lived in wealthy conditions. However, the family was declared to be Kulaks [10] during the era of Russian rule, and they were evicted from their home. Their end was together with the rest of the people of the town.

Abba Schnider

His father, Shalom Abba's was a teacher, and his mother, Rivka Chaya Dvora's ran a small store to sustain the family. Abba obtained his Hebrew knowledge through self-study, and from his sister Dvora and brother Leib. Abba was active in Beitar. He was the leader of the chapter in Druzhkopol, and the representative of Beitar in the national funds of the town. He educated the youth in the nationalistic spirit. As a leader of Beitar he prepared for illegal immigration to the Land along with Shimon Warnica, Avrahamche and Yechiel Batlan, Izak Turczyn. They were not able to do so, and they were murdered along with the rest of the people of the town.

Zelda Groiser

The following passage appeared once in the daily new of one of the newspapers: “Partisan Zelda Groiser, one of the Ghetto fighters, was brought to burial”. Someone who knew her added: “Zelda merited to meet her death in the bosom of the homeland. She witnessed the realization of her desires with her own eyes.”

Her relatives wept bitterly that death claimed her, for who could reminisce and tell us about the “deeds of Amalek” better than Zelda.

Perhaps because I knew her well, and heard from her mouth about our town that “went to its eternal way”, and details about how she was saved from the talons of the murderers, the memory of her modesty and discreteness is etched inside of me. It is difficult to “affix” the title of “fighter” to Zelda. Her entire essence was gentle, and her qualities were of a mother and educator. She was pure, but strong in her opinions and emotions.

As I stood silently by her fresh grave, I felt the holiness of the site.

Even though Zelda did not leave behind any children, we, the natives of the town, remember her along with all of our dear ones who gave their lives in the battle for freedom and liberty. May her memory be blessed.

[Page 74]

A Monument to Members of Hechalutz and Hechalutz Hatzair

by Binyamin ben Aryeh (Shargil)

This was a group of friends who were dedicated to the Zionist-pioneering ideal. They were activists and workers for the Land of Israel. They desired aliya, but they did not merit such. They perished in the great Holocaust, and were buried in the communal grave in our town along the way to Ochlopov.

These are their names:

Mendel WrocynaSara WronycaTova Hirschfeld
Pesia TeitelbaumHerschel Krimerthe Hochberg sisters
The Deutschman sisters Sonia SchniderThe Batlan brothers
Shmuel PechmanShmuel PechmanEsther Fishman
Batya Warnicathe Mirocznyk brothersRachel Eizman
Yekel GelmanYitzchak Teitelbaumthe Wahze brothers
Mania Zuckermanthe Lokita sistersthe Nudel brothers
Moshe Kloczthe Gershfeld brothersMonia Boxer
 The Geiher brothers

And many, many more, pleasant and beloved, dear and darling souls, who toiled, desired, and did not merit. The Holocaust descended upon them in the midst of the days of happiness, and they were murdered in the Ghetto along with their families.

Dear friends! He who writes of their memory is your friend Buni Shargil. Your image will remain etched in our hearts and memories. We will remember how you were brought up to the fire by the German murderers and lowly Ukrainians. Your dreams were shorn, and are no longer. Your memory will remain forever

Binyamin the son of Aryeh (Shargil)

{Photo page 75: Y. Boxer, D. Giterman, A. Yentis, A. Shatz, M. Warnica, S. Kipper. Standing: Izak, Y. Fishman, G. Gurinberg, Y. Batlan.}

[Page 76]

A Candle for my Family

by Rachel Mirocznyk-Walshber

I took the pen to my hand, and my eyes are already shedding tears, and my throat is choked. I wish to refresh my memories of my childhood and youth, an era that was splendid.

We were five children in the home, three daughters and two sons. My eldest sister Shifra was blessed with many virtues. She was pretty, graceful and intelligent. She sang with a pleasant voice, was always alert, dancing, bubbly, and full of life. She read, and knew a great deal. One could always hear her voice in the group of friends. My dear sister Sara was beautiful and refined, traits that she inherited from Mother. He hand was open, and she was prepared to come to the assistance of everyone. She helped her friends prepare their lessons, for she was a good student. Many friends gathered around her. She was an active member of Hechalutz. She went to Hachsharah, and prepared to make aliya. Who would have imagined that her dream that she wove in her young soul would have been cut off in such a fashion.

My brother Mendel was handsome and intelligent. I was so connected with him. After he concluded his studies, he dedicated himself completely to business and was successful. He had a head for business, and my father always took his opinion into account. At times it seemed that the boundaries of the town were too narrow for his great energy, for his powers spread beyond its borders. He was polite and a pleasant conversationalist in the house and also in the group of friends. Our parents had great contentment from him, for he was dedicated to them with his heart and soul.

My young brother Chanoch was of a different character than Mendel. He loved life. He was also a businessman, but his approach to business was different than that of my brother Mendel. He was original is his approach to live. He occupied himself in business only as a means. He was satisfied with a little. He was always jolly, dedicated to his group of friends, spiced his words with jokes, and was happy with his lot.

The radiant image of my mother, and her concern and dedication to us, will not be forgotten from my heart. Our home was noisy and tumultuous, but my mother never lost her cool. She would issue her request quietly, “Children, please be quiet”. She had friendly relationships with her neighbors, and all of them valued the purity of her heart. She would offer a shoulder to anyone in need, she trusted everyone, and spread light in the neighborhood. I cannot remember my mother ever being in a bad mood. She was always refined and good. Women would often come to her asking her to write letters for them, and she always responded willingly. She was involved in discreet giving to those in need. How did she deserve such an end?! She believed in prayers, and fulfilled all of the commandments. She never complained. She accepted everything with love.

My dear father Yaakov came from a family of merchants – grain merchants and cattle merchants. My father was involved in the cattle business, and later in the meat business. He was a great expert in his field. I recall that in our town, most of the Jews had a cow for milking. A cow was considered to be half a livelihood… When a cow took ill, they would call my father, despite the fact that there was a Russian veterinarian in our town. My father had greater knowledge than he did, and my father was often called after the Russian veterinarian had examined the cow, for it was dangerous to rely on the decision of a gentile. The gentiles would also call my father to assist a sick cow. They all esteemed the goodness of his heart and his dedication. There would often be a guest for the Sabbath in my father's home. He was radiant with joy when he saw a guest in his home. My father had a great deal of experience, and above all, his own opinions. A young soul dwelled in his powerful body. Years of toil did not leave their mark upon his body. He made peace with everything, good and bad. He never complained. He saw the time go by, but my dear father did not know that the times were becoming cruel and merciless. His life was snuffed out along with all of the people of the town.

I will never forget how I returned home after four years of Hachshara, before I made aliya to the Land. My sister Shifra came with her son Moshe to take leave of me. Moshe was then eight years old, and I remember his words to this day, “I wish I could go to the Land of Israel, where they certainly do not throw stones at children as they do in my school.” As I recalled his words, I decided to do what I can to save them, but to my distress, my plans did not materialize. I alone remained from the entire family. I did not merit seeing them. There is no comfort, and there never will be. I often conduct an introspection, and ask myself why was it I that merited to remain alive.

Let us hope that our generation and future generations do not forget the pure martyrs who were murdered in such a tragic fashion.

May their memories be a blessing.

Rachel Mirocznyk-Valshber of Ashdot Yaakov

[Page 78]

In Memory of Those Who Are Gone

Pinchas Adiri (Peltz)

Reb Avraham Yehoshua the Shochet!

He was a known and honorable person, modest in his ways. He was a scholar, weighed his words, and was dear to all who knew him. He educated his children in the tradition, as well as in Hebrew culture. His children studied in Yeshiva as well as in Hebrew and Polish schools. He was a modern man who guarded custom and tradition, with an intermixing of two cultures. He spent most of his time at his table, humming his tune over his page of Gemara, absorbing the spiritual treasures of our people, and on the other hand, conducting secular conversations in which he expressed his beliefs and opinions about the issues of the day and Zionism, about which he never ceased to ponder. His youngest daughter went to Hachshara and made aliya to the Land of Israel with his approval. Even his opponents held him in esteem regarding this. For all his days, he hoped to join her, to live in the Land, and to be one of the actualizers.

Reb Avraham Yehoshua came to us from the city of Turisk, and established himself in Druzhkopol as a Shochet. His first communal activity was to lead a class for the congregation of worshippers on commentaries of the weekly Torah Portion on Sabbaths and festivals. Many people from various circles came to listen. He excelled in his descriptions from the “Sefer Hayashar” which uplifted the heart. Its taste did not dissipate from the hearts of his many listeners throughout the week. It is impossible to hide the emotions, for it was very pleasant. For most of the worshippers of the synagogue, this was an escape from the mundane world. He was also the regular Torah reader on every Sabbath. He dedicated himself to this with all the warmth of his heart for all the years. The sound of his pleasant melodies uplifted the hearts of all.

No less than this, he was known on account of the night of Passover. The way he conducted his Seder ceremony gave him a name throughout the town. It was a tradition for the people of the nearby homes to go outside and listen to the lovely voices that emanated from the home of Reb Avraham Yehoshua. His six children, were sitting around like olive saplings, singing their songs. Reb Avraham Yehoshua lead them in song, as he moved at the head of the table, wearing his white Kittel, adorned with a splendid beard and the high forehead of a scholar.

Light and joy emanated from all of their faces. Those who continued this fine tradition wove into their souls to become the continuation of pure Jewish live.

And behold: a heavy cloud descended with haste and covered everything forever!

May his name be remembered as well among the martyrs of the People of Israel.

Pinchas Adiri (Peltz)

[Page 79]

In Memory of Leah Fuchs and her Family

Binyamin ben Aryeh (Shargil)

I do not remember Reb Sani. He died at a young age and left behind a widow with six children.

I wish to write a few lines in memory of his wife Leah and the family. After Reb Sani died, she – Sanicha as she was called – took over the running of the household. As an expert woman of valor who had great energy and dedication, she began to earn her livelihood from baking bread. She earned a meager livelihood from this. Despite this backbreaking work, she did not neglect her family. Thanks to her strong character, she raised and education her children, and was both mother and father to them.

Her eldest daughter Feiga traveled afar. Avraham made aliya to the Land, and immediately sent an “invitation” to Naomi. Leah remained with Yossel, Breindel and Shprintzale. Her great energy never departed from her. She was not broken even after the tragedy of Yossel, my good friend, who was shot and killed as he attempted to escape from the jail of Lustk (Luck), where he was imprisoned on account of his political activity.

About Yossel: He was one of the finest of the youth of Druzhkopol. His education was like all of the children of the town. He spent a year at the Tarbut School in the home of Reb Monia Gershfeld of blessed memory. Yossel continued with his studies. He was immersed in Talmudic study with Rabbi Wilicker of blessed memory. He excelled in these studies as well with his sharpness and diligence. He also studied Hebrew from the best teachers in town, such as Sara Boxer, Tzofia Kipper, and others.

When the pioneering youth movements were established in our town, Yossel was one of the activists. He participated in the young pioneering movement. The great and holy “triangle” that was “life” for him consisted of: 1) the nation 2) the homeland 3) the language. Everyone who knew him understood very well the embodiment of this triangle.

Yossel was a fine lad, a man of truth, a dear friend who was courteous to his fellow, a person of pure character traits. All of these were signs of his character. How terrible was it that in particular before he would have gone out to a Hachsharah Kibbutz and actualized his dream to make aliya to the land, he became attracted to strange ideas and foreign ideologies, and paid with his life along with his other friends: Wolf Danik, Yekutiel Bikov, and others. Once again regarding the mother Leah, she was not broken even then, for she understood the spirit of the time and the spirit of her son Yosef. What she did not understand – she perceived with the special sensitivity that is possessed by every fiery heart. Leah was a woman of noble feelings, and was dear to all who knew hear. Despite her great suffering, she knew how to enlighten faces and to share in the suffering and grief that were felt by those around her. Her house was open, and was always bustling with young people, for all of her children had friends.

When we, the young pioneers, were not able to pay rent for the premises we rented from Zvik, we would conduct our discussions in the home of Sanicha. We sung our first songs of the Land in her house. Hebrew was also heard in her house.

I went to take leave of Leah and her family just before I made aliya.

It was forbidden for me to publicize the matter of my aliya, for at the time, this was illegal immigration. However, Sanicha was the first to know about it. To this day, her words ring in my ears: “If only I would have been permitted to see Yosele off to the Land of Israel”. She did not merit…

I will conclude: She had a refined soul, a pure heart, an open hand, a sharp intellect, and a great deal of energy and initiative. Such was Leah Fuchs of blessed memory

Binyamin ben Aryeh (Shargil)

[Page 80]

Lipa Rubenstein of the Village of Pechikhvosty

He was a native of Druzhkopol. The name itself arouses in me feelings of bygone times – memories of parents, sisters, uncles, aunts, relatives and friends. At times, I am immersed in shining thoughts, as the people and events of our town, family members and friends with whom I grew up rise before my eyes. The heart aches from the thought that all perished, are numbered among the dead, and are no more.

Life events in the home of my father of blessed memory, in school, in cheder, in the Young Pioneering youth group, pass by me like a movie. The period of my study in the Cheder of Moshe Shie's, Shalom Abba's, Shmuel Yankel's, the rebbes of our town, pass before me. I see them in their sorrow an joy, on festivals and weekdays, in shops and in the synagogue. The young people are all full of life and imbued with faith, dreaming and aspiring to make aliya to the land. How was it that their lives cut off in an untimely fashion?

I recall one of the activities of the Young Pioneers that was connected with a village Jew by the name of Lipa. I wish to write about this, and thereby memorialize pure souls. We required money in order to help a member travel to Hachsharah. We requested such from Uncle (my mother's brother) Lipa Rubenstein, who was the “Zhonyca” (superintendent) with Count Waniewicz. Lipa Rubenstein of blessed memory was a man of pure character, modest and honest, who had great faith in people – he was forged of these traits. We were accepted for work through the intercession of Lipa, and we dwelled on a farm in Pechikhvosty.

This was during the spring. We would go out to the field before dawn. We would hitch the horses to a wagon, upon which we would load a plow and a harrow, and we would set out to plow and work outside the village. The Poretz (landowner) would come to visit to check if the “Jews” were not working in the field, and if his “Zyd” Reb Lipa had not misled him. The gentiles looked upon us with derision and suspicion. We worked for many hours under such conditions.

We had to worship on the Sabbath in accordance with the request of Reb Lipa. There was a minyan (prayer quorum) in the village.

One day, Yechiel Stempel, the grandson of Reb Shmuel Yankel's of blessed memory was injured. His wife Tema and their children tended to him with exceptional dedication. After some time, Yechiel was transferred to the hospital of Mirkov, where the only Jewish family in the city, the Klein family, looked after him. They cared for him as their son until he recovered and returned to his strength.

The thought is stuck in my mind – why was the end of the Jews so bitter. Did they not attempt at all to rise up against their executioners? To our hearts' sorrow, nobody can give a clear answer to this painful question. This secret, that descended into the communal grave along with millions of martyrs, gives no rest to our wounded hearts.

If such was the case with the elders – this was the situation of the generation of the desert [11]. However our youth, who were educated through the best of the national revival movements, how were they tortured and murdered by the deviant wild boars – Ukrainians from the nearby villages. Was there indeed no opportunity to organize and resist. Indeed, this is a great mystery, difficult and painful!

All of good and righteous Reb Lipa's mitzvot did not stand for him. Not even the dozens of wagons of wood that he distributed to the poor of Druzhkopol for firewood. Not the sacks of wheat for the Passover matzos, and not the hundreds of pounds of potatoes. The good deeds, and the tending to guests did not help him.

His neighbors, among whom he lived for decades, were thirsty for blood and pursued him as one pursues a wild animal. The graves of he and his wife Tema were dug in a corner of the forest of Zgais. Regarding their son and four daughters, we do not even know what to relate…

There is not sufficient words to express the feelings of the heart and the magnitude of the tragedy that afflicted us. Any time that I see my children, it is impossible not to remember the pure children in general, as well as my sisters Dvora, Leah and Chancha of blessed memory, who knew no sin at all, and were murdered in cruel and unusual fashions by the impure and accursed evildoers.

The heart aches and the hand trembles from pain as I write these words. Nevertheless, it is our duty to remember and to relate to our children what happened to their grandfather, grandmother and all their family members, uncles, aunts and their children – so that they will know and recall that which “Amalek” did to them, and that their dear memory will never be forgotten from our hearts.

Translator's Footnotes

  1. In this section, the name is Kabtzan, and in the preceding one, it is Kaftzan. One of them would be incorrect – although both may be accurate renditions of the name as 'b' and 'f' sounds can interchange in spoken Yiddish on occasion. For consistency, I used Kabtzan for both. Return
  2. A reference to the Biblical Joseph. This phrase seems to mean that he earned his esteem. Return
  3. Programs for preparation for aliya. Return
  4. A non-obligatory service recited at midnight, lamenting the loss of the Temple. It is performed only by especially pious people. Return
  5. The Chariot refers to the vision of the chariot in the first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, and the mystical commentaries that surround it. More generally, it refers to Jewish mysticism in general. Abaye and Rabba are two Talmudic sages who often debate on the pages of the Talmud. Return
  6. A statement from the Mishnaic tractate of Pirke Avot describing the extent that one must go in order to acquire Torah knowledge. Return
  7. A Halachic boundary around an area that renders carrying within its bounds permissible on the Sabbath. Return
  8. A derogatory term for a non-Jew, but seemingly here a term for a mischievous child. Return
  9. The implication being the Musaf of the High Holy Days. Return
  10. From the American Heritage online dictionary: A prosperous landed peasant in czarist Russia, characterized by the Communists during the October Revolution as an exploiter. Return
  11. I am not sure what this means. Return

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