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[Pages 686-687]

People From Kolbuszowa in the State of Israel

By Aharon Diamond

Translated by Tania Susskind

Although there had been Jews from Kolbuszowa in Israel for many years already, the group was organized only in 1952 (5713). Our organization is known as the Organization of People from Kolbuszowa and Environs. The organization's purpose was twofold: 1) to eternalize the memory of the holy martyrs of Kolbuszowa, may the Almighty avenge their blood; and 2) to establish a financial instrument for assisting the remnant of refugees arriving in Israel, so they could establish themselves here.

As for the first aim, we installed a memorial plaque in the Chamber of the Holocaust on Mount Zion to commemorate the destroyed Jewish community of Kolbuszowa for all time. On the 11th of Iyar, 5719 (1959), this monument was unveiled in the presence of almost everyone from Kolbuszowa, who came together to attend the ceremony. On this date, the 11th of Iyar, many of the Jews of Kolbuszowa were killed, as is well known. The ceremony made a strong impression on all who attended. It was simple but enveloped in an atmosphere of sanctity.

When the organization was founded, it had also been decided that we would assemble annually to remember the holy martyrs of our town, and, in fact, the people from our town and its environs meet every year. We talk about the generations of Jewish life in our town and its vicinity, and recall memories from the years of the holocaust and the great catastrophe that befell our generation.

Among the endeavors to commemorate the holy communities of Kolbuszowa and environs, was the publication of the Kolbuszowa Memorial Book, which the people from our town in New York took upon themselves. Many of our members here in Israel contributed to this important effort with articles as well as funds, in accordance with our limited means.

An important accomplishment of ours is the Gemilut Chassadim Fund, which was established in the name of the holy martyrs. This fund was an urgent necessity at the time the organization was founded, and without it we could not have managed. Many members contributed to the fund, and so we were able to extend our assistance to the new immigrants from Poland, Germany and elsewhere, so they could get a foothold in the Jewish State and begin their lives anew. The loans were long term and without interest, providing all who sought them with constructive assistance, but as needs exceeded the sums at our disposal, the organization decided to turn to the people from our town in America, requesting financial support for our free loan fund. Our friends in New York did not make us wait long. Material assistance began to arrive frequently from the funds of the Kolbuszowa organizations in the United States, and this increased our capability to provide financial support.

This fund has been in existence for about twenty years already. All our members appreciate the value of its operation. The loans are given amicably, and everyone knows that the door is always open and that kind greetings and swift arrangements await him. It may also be noted, in recognition of the people from our town, that the loans have been repaid in full and on time, and the fund has borne no losses over the years. In establishing this financial instrument we have commemorated the names of the holy martyrs of Kolbuszowa and environs, and, at the same time, we have helped those who survived the holocaust and the destruction to get by and to establish themselves in Israel, the land of the future.

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