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[Page 105]

Beloved Person {Cont.}

I came to Israel together with a group called Hakovesh. We arrived in Petach Tikva during the very hot summer days. These were very difficult times. There was much unemployment, and most of the agricultural work was done at that time by the Arabs, and owners of orange groves in the area traditionally gave all the jobs to Arabs who were experienced and worked for modest compensations. Since we wanted to get those jobs, we had to work very hard to compete with the Arabs. We had to acclimate ourselves to jobs that were not familiar to us in Poland, in a very hot climate that we were not used to, working many hours for very small rewards.

Every Saturday we would walk to Tel Aviv. There was no public transportation yet. We walked through the sand; there was not even one road. Not only that, but we couldn't even hire a horse and carriage to take us because we couldn't pay for the trip. So, this way we walked in the sand, barefoot, with our clothes tattered, and hungry.

Ephraim, who came with his family, was able to purchase a home in the community of Trumpeldor, which is now the main thoroughfare in Tel Aviv, Dizengoff Street. He worked in the field of music. The house of Ephraim Kramer became like an island of Kurenets in the midst of Tel Aviv. Every Kurenetser who arrived in Tel Aviv would come to him, and he would receive us with extreme warmth. Since we were all new to Israel and everything was so foreign to us, Eprhaim Leib's house where everyone was invited to sleep and to eat was a haven to us. The house was always filled with guests. It seemed like every day there were new arrivals from Kurenets, and everyone would gather at Ephraim's house.

There were times when the new immigrants were not able to find shelter when they first arrived, and they would stay with him for many days. I will never forget our regular visits, every Purim we would come to Tel Aviv and we would feel like a big happy family when we walked together through the streets of Tel Aviv.

Some weeks after Ephraim Leib arrived in Israel he got a good job in Tel Aviv and was able to support himself. Dizengoff, the mayor of Tel Aviv, liked Ephraim very much, and wanted to give him a very respectable job in his cabinet. Ephraim refused to accept the appointment, saying that all the "respectable appointments" he wanted to leave behind him in the Diaspora of Poland. Here he came to Israel to live the life of a hard-working pioneer.

Amongst the family members who came with him was his aunt Nechama Dina, who was like a mother to all of us. She seemed to have unlimited energy. She always prepared our favorite foods for us. She was a pious woman, and in all her actions was dedicated to the youths from Kurenets.

In 1934, I left the area and transferred to Afula, and my visits with the rest of the Kurenetsers became limited because the distance was too great. But still, once in a while I would visit the Kramers. At some point, Ephraim moved to Ramat Ha'Sharon, where he established a most impressive agricultural farm. At that time, Ramat Ha'Sharon was truly an out of the way place. His house stood alone between Ramat Ha'Sharon and Hertzlia. His economic situation was very good and he seemed very happy…

…One day, I opened the newspaper and I started shaking. I read an announcement for the memorial of Ephraim Ben David Kramer in the cemetery in Hertzlia. I immediately went to the funeral and stood in shock by his grave. My heart filled with pain when I saw his mother Sarah Hinda. You could hardly recognize her. It seemed as if old age overtook her because of all her pain. This small Kurenets Island was overcome by waves of grief…

kur105a.jpg [25 KB]
Hachalutz in Lebodove

The family of Avraham Aharon as told by his son Reuven

My father, Avraham Aharon Alperovich was born in Kurenets, his father was Yehoshua, son of Noach Zalman. His mother was Rivka. Rivka was related to the Gurevitz family. My father was one of the first Kurenetsers to come on "Aliah" to Eretz Israel in 1925. In 1927 my father was sent from Eretz Israel to a Zionist congress in Vilna. Commonly, when unmarried Zionist who had passports that allowed them to live in Eretz Israel visited Poland they volunteered to fictitiously marry local Zionist girls so they could bring them back to Eretz Israel (Visas were almost impossible to obtain otherwise). A girl from Moldechno from the Gutkovich family wanted to go to Israel, after they met for the fictitious marriage they fall in love and marriage became real.

kur105b.jpg [10 KB]
Avraham Aharon
and his wife

They came to Israel to farm the land. They first settled in Gan Chaim, a community that had others from Kurenets as members (translator' note; My mother, Rachel nee Gurevitz, was born there in 1929). Kurenetsers in America financed the establishment Gan Chaim. The family of my mother (her mother with six of her half siblings) followed my mother to Israel a year later. My mothers' father lived to the age of 105. He had three wives and with each one he had some children. After his first wife died he married a widow by the name Mrs. Axelrod. Mrs. Axelrod had a son from her previous marriage by the name of Max Axelrod who immigrated to America and became very well off. Max who was never married, was a Zionist and philanthropist and gave money for many causes. He was the one who financed the immigration of the third Mrs. Gutkovich with the six kids. Max sent the family many new gadgets from America, amongst them was an electric iron. Electric irons were not common at that time and the Third Mrs. Axelrod never used one before. She misused it (the cord was in water?) and died on the spot. The kids were dispersed amongst family members and boarding schools. She was about 42 years old when she died. The entire family is still very attached to us. In the 1930s Max had a strong premonition of the tragedies that the Jews are about to face in Europe. He went back to Poland in 1938 to beg his half sister (also sister to my mother) to immigrate to Israel. The sister who was married with children and well off refused to go and the family perished in Molodechno three years later. After Max retired he came to live with us in the large farm he purchased for us in Afula. He diligently worked the farm until he died at age ninety. He had a great influence on my life. My brother Amos and I followed in the footsteps of my parents and uncles and we both have farms. My farm is in Nir-Banim. My son Yehoshua (named after my grandfather) runs the big farm while I have traveled around the world as an adviser to farmers. Yehoshua has four children. My son Nir has an important job in the high tech industry in Israel. He is a father of three children. My daughter works as a researcher in pharmaceuticals for the American company Pfizer in their Israeli branch. She has two sons. A few years ago I visited Kurenets and Molodechno. I was joined by my relative Pesach Gutkovich. In Kurenets a local official guided us and showed us a few memorials that were erected for the Jews of Kurenets. One was for the more then 1000 Jews who perished in 9-9-1942. Shalom Yoran financed the memorial. Shalom with his family were refugees in 1939, fleeing the Nazis who took over their hometown in the western region of Poland in September of 1939. They arrived in Kurenets were they lived until 9-9-1942. His parents perished on that day with the Jewish residents of Kurenets. Shalom and his brother escaped with other Kurenetsers and joined the Soviet partisans to fight the Germans.

The Soviet authorities erected another memorial. It is for the "Soviet citizen" who were killed on Simchat Torah of 1941 (it does not say that all 54 of them were Jewish). My fathers' brother; Asher as well as my grandparents; Yehoshua ben Zalman Noach and my grandmother Rivka perished on that day.

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