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[Page 300]

The people of Kutno in the building
and the wars of Eretz Israel

 

The First Ones — and Those Who Followed Them

Among the first immigrants to Eretz Israel, among the sons of Kutno was Rabbi Gaon “Zeit Raanan”[1] ztz”l. He immigrated to Israel at the end of the 19th century, settled in the Old City of Jerusalem and established a yeshiva there. He devoted his entire life to the Torah education of the boys of Israel. He died in Jerusalem and was laid to rest on the Mount of Olives.

 


Kutners near the occidental wall — before the creation of the state...

 

Yaakov Meir and Walcman, who immigrated to Israel as a small child, was also one of the first immigrants from Kutno. He settled in Jerusalem and was the undertaker of the burial society. Y. M. Walcman was killed in riots in Jerusalem, by Arab rioters.

With the second aliyah to Eretz Israel, the two brothers Azriel Yosef Elberg and Eliyahu Eliezer Mordechai Elberg, who was a member of HaShomer, arrived there.

Dr. Avraham Glicksman, who was a member of the Warsaw “Haynt” publishing house, immigrated to Israel in 1910. The author Issachar Dov Frajer (Bar-Drora), also a son of Kutno, immigrated in 1910. He was one of the editors of “Do'ar HaYom” which appeared in Jerusalem and the weekly of the farmers' association “Bustanai[2]. Died in Israel.

During the First World War, many of the people of Kutno left their city and began to migrate across many countries, and many of them eventually arrived in Israel. Many of the following pitched their tent there and took root in the country but many others, due to absorption difficulties, returned to Kutno. The descendants of Kutno

 


The first Kutno pioneers

 

who settled in Israel were: Ludwar, who, as narrated in the book “History of the Defense of Tel Aviv” (p. 35), was killed together with Yosef-Haim Brenner in the events of 1921; Hirsz-Yosef Plocker; Chaim-Yonah Offenbach, who was among the first settlers in Afula; Rauer, who was one of the first founders of Raanana. He died in Raanana and left a large family.

The sons of Kutno arrived in Israel with the third wave of immigration: Shlomo-Franz Wallensztajn and his brother Yosef z”l and his wife Golda (née Kalman). They were among the first contractors to build the Neve Shalom[3] houses in Tel Aviv; Osowski (Eli “Dundik”) settled in Jerusalem, was a bookbinder, worked hard to free his son Yaakov, who was a political prisoner in Stalin's days and desperately wanted to immigrate to Eretz Israel (see his letter from prison on p. 487). Osowski the father, succeeded at having his son Yaakov's daughters make aliyah, his granddaughters. In 1923, the Avraham Klingbajl family came to Israel and settled in Tel Aviv in Neve Shalom. In Israel, members of this family were plumbing contractors. Their house served as a hostel for the descendants of Kutno.

Immigration to Israel was not a bed of roses. Moshe Lustigman, who immigrated to Israel in 1924, together with Menachem Kolski, says that when he reached the Romanian border, he was arrested by the Romanian police. From the prison, he turned to Rabbi Yehuda Yitzchak Trunk ztz”l for a letter of recommendation to receive a certificate, because without a certificate it would not have been possible to enter Eretz Israel. Rabbi Trunk z”l complied with his request and obtained him a letter of recommendation from the Rabbi of Chernivtsi[4]. Thanks to the recommendation of the Rabbi of Chernivtsi, he was released from prison. He received a certificate and immigrated to Israel. In Israel, he met with other Kutno residents, including: Herszel Feder, Shiya

 


Kutners in Jerusalem, in 1925, in Purim disguise

 

[Page 301]

 


Certificate of liberation of Moshe LUSTIGMAN from prison in Romania

 


Recommendation of Rabbi TRUNK to liberate Moshe LUSTIGMAN from prison

 

Szpajer, Props and Shmuel Weingart, who was a member of kibbutz Givat Hashlosha[5], Abraham Klingbajl in Neve Shalom and more.

The former Kutner then worked in jobs that were typical of Israel; in the building, on the roads, in the orchards, etc. They worked — when the work was found, but the situation was not always satisfactory. The Yishuv — and the descendants of Kutno within it — knew long periods of unemployment, and they began to migrate from place to place, from settlement to settlement looking for work. M. Lustigman goes on to tell of that period: “When the working situation worsened, I and Weingart moved to Jerusalem. The Kutno group was formed there together with the Leczyca. Among the descendants of Kutno were: Chaim Elbaum z”l, Shmuel-Lajb Weingart, Shija Szpajer, Menachem Kolski and myself. Expatriates of Leczyca — Yitzhak Synrodin and Zvi Rabinowicz. We then paved the roads in the Beit HaKerem and Beit Vagan neighborhoods of Jerusalem. Here we met Yaakov Meir Walcman who joined us as a day employee. Although he was extremely ultra-Orthodox, he took on all the hard, physical work. He was killed in the 1936-1939 riots, trying to save a Jew from the uniforms of the Arab rioters. Hard days passed for us, we lived a common life and we put our wages into the group's common coffers. After the group disbanded, each one went his own way and luck.”

However, some returned to Kutno due to absorption difficulties, among them were: Lamski, Joel Steinfeld, Arbuz, Elberg and others.

In the 1930s, immigrants began to arrive in Eretz Israel again. Among the people from Kutno came Shalom Landau z”l, Yehoshua Apelast, Dov Bigelajzen, Daniel Szapira, Chaim Zeidner, Azriel Szymonowicz, Menachem Gvircman, Mr. Shlomo-Aharon Elberg and his family — the Honorary President of the Kutno organization in Israel, Yaakov Zeidner, Yehoshua Elbaum, Yechiel Falc, Roizman, Yechiel Lipski and more. Many of the Kutno people stood out in various areas of life in the country, lots settled in kibbutzim and dedicated their lives to building the country. Such was Nathan Tiger z”l. In the days of “Wall and Tower”[6], kibbutz settlements were established overnight, in a hostile Arab environment. Some of the descendants of Kutno, such as Simcha Frumer, Avraham Lustigman, Yechezkel Bagno and Moshe Lustigman, enlisted in the Notrut (Jewish auxiliary police for the defense of the Jewish settlements during the 1936 events against the Arab rioters). Bagno fell in battle with the Arab gangs. From Krosniewice, Yaakov Klingbajl, Lolek Weinstein and others participated in the defense of the Jewish settlements. Even in the field of party activism, or at the nationwide level, the Kutners, such as Yaakov Riftin and Simcha Babe, stood out. There was also a great contribution from Kutners in the ranks of the “Hagana”, Etzel[7], Lehi[8], and finally in the IDF.

But even earlier, during World War II, with the establishment of the Jewish Brigade in the British Army, the people of Kutno enlisted in the war against the murderers of their people - the Nazi enemy. Among them were: Epstein, Zeev Rusk, Yaakov Fernbach, and Raszbacik, Nachman Falc z”l, Mendel Erdberg and more. Rabbi Y. Gil (Lifshic), in his book on the Jewish Brigade, wrote these words about the late Zeev Rusk.

 

Rusk ZEEV z”l
(Excerpt from page 299 about the Jewish Brigade by Captain Y. Lifszic)

“He fell on the eighth day of Nissan, March 19, 1945, during the attack of the Third Battalion in broad daylight, in which the first German prisoners were taken, a victim of the first frontline victim of the army.

Born in the Polish city of Kutno in 1914, he studied at a yeshiva and later at the Mizrachi school. From an early age he joined the Zionist movement and was an active member of the Mizrahi Histadrut in his hometown, entered

 


Kutners as construction contractors and workers in Eretz Israel

 

[Page 302]

a training farm in one of the Polish towns, and from there immigrated to Israel in 1934. He was anxious about the fate of the settlement and the land, and was aware of everything that was happening in them, responding to every call of the institutions. And when the draft order appeared and he volunteered for the army.

Quiet and humble, clever and joking, his jokes always brought a spirit of life among his friends, kind to his company, friendly, loyal and devoted.”

 


Abraham LUSTIGMAN in the War of Independence

 


Simcha FRUMER, policeman in the days of Mandate Palestine

 

And not only outside the borders of Israel, did the “sons of Yehuda learn the bow”[9]: the people of our town also took an active part in our homeland, in the Haganah, in Palmach, in Etzel, in Lehi and finally in the ranks of the IDF, even the highest ones… Isaac Joshua (Etzel) was promoted to the rank of Lt. Col. in the IDF (he died in 1966). Shmuel Laron, Major Pilot, and Shmuel Weichselfish, Major.

Also, Yehoshua Elbaum, Azriel Shymonowicz, Leah Elberg, Simcha Fromer, Avraham Lustigman, Menachem Kolski, Yaakov and Eliyahu Klingbeil, Moshe Kruk, Nachman Neszer, Moshe Lustigman, Yehezkel Bagno, David Metal, Nissim Walcman, Lyuba Turbowicz and others. In Palmach were the brothers Szymonowicz, Moshe Plocer z”l, Zvi Szapiro z”l. Shmuel Weichselfisz was the commander of the 5th Battalion in Palmach, now a major in the IDF.

But the period of the war against the Nazis was also the period of the struggle against the “White Paper” of the British Mandate government. And many from Kutno and the surrounding area took part in this struggle in the ranks of the “Hagana” in weapons and combat training courses. At the same time, the “National Military Organization” was established, and many of the city's residents also participated. Among the first were Yaakov Zeidner and his brother Moshe, Israel Walter, Moshe Wigdorowicz, Shlomo Walcman, Yechiel Lipski, Sami Falc, Nachman Falc Chaim Fisz, Mendel Erdberg, Abba Warszawczik, who underwent military training in Etzel and Lehi.

After the surrender of Germany, the remnants of the Holocaust began to arrive in the country from the people of our city. And many of them enlisted in the Haganah, Etzel and Lehi. Weichselfisz, Shmuel Laron, Israel Fast, Avraham Goldsztajn, Meir Lobert, Felek Teichner, Pasirsztajn, Plotkin and others enlisted in the National Military Organization. Israel Walter, Efraim Firstenberg and his wife Chana and Epstein and others enlisted in Lehi.

After the war, our people actively participated in the smuggling and illegal immigration of new immigrants to Israel. Many of them received a certificate of excellence from the Jewish Agency for their dedication to their jobs, and these were: Mordechai Zandberg was in charge of the Szczecin point on the Polish-German border. Felek Teichner was in charge of the Czechoslovak-Polish border. With him worked Yaakov Schwartz, a member of kibbutz Ayalon, Efraim Wajchselfisz worked in the escape center in Poland and later in the ones in Austria and Italy. He bought ships and smuggled immigrants to Israel. Among the emissaries from Israel were Zvi Asz who worked in the training staff of kibbutz HaArtzi HaShomer HaTzair. Tula Stuczynska (Putterman) z”l worked at the escape point in her vehicle. Israel Lobert was sent to the “Escape” by Agudat Israel and worked in Germany. Pinchas Hirszberg was one of the “Irgun HaBreicha” activists and worked at the youth center. With a group of Warsaw children, he came to France and from there immigrated to Israel. Efraim Dekel[10] mentions in his book about his action among the youth of the border smugglers.


Translator's footnotes

  1. Rabbi Mosze Yehuda Lajb Zylberberg Return
  2. Hebrew for “Orchardist”. Return
  3. not the mixed village but an area of old Tel Aviv, just north of Jaffa. Return
  4. Chernovitz, in Ukraine. Return
  5. Near Petah Tikva. Return
  6. period of fortifying the settlements during the Arab Riots 1936-1939 and later. Return
  7. aka “Irgun”. Return
  8. aka “Stern Group”, after the name of its leader Abraham Stern. Return
  9. Biblical. Return
  10. In “Survivor of the Word”. See article on Yaakov Schwartz, on p.309. Return


True Charity

by The WELCMAN family

In memory of the blessed Mr. Yaakov Welcman who was murdered in Jerusalem on the 23rd of Menachem Av 5698 (20.8.1938).

We tend to remember and pay tribute to the people who in their lives occupied respectable places in various areas of life — in society, culture, politics, etc., who were leaders of their community and their mentors. But no, such was not Mr. Yaakov Meir z”l. He did not value public honor, did not pursue awards and publicity. His work was done modestly, not in order to receive an award. With all his heart and soul, he devoted himself to every person in distress. However, he saw the essence of his destiny in the last grace preparing the deceased before burial, the grace of true charity.

If there was a lonely and childless person, when he falls ill and there is no one to feed him in his sickness, talk to him, hear him, encourage him and take care of him — Mr. Yaakov Meir would help him with everything he needed. Then, Mr. Yaakov Meir would forget himself and his family, hurry to the patient, make friends with him, eat at his bed and stay for a moment until the ill was relieved, that he was not lonely anymore, that someone cared about his health. At midnight, in heavy rain and in cold, Mr. Yaakov Meir hurried through the dark alleys of Mea Shearim[1], while everyone was deeply asleep, towards the home of the lonely sick, the lonesome person. But when he arrived near the house, heartbreaking cries and bitter cries were already heard. Then Mr. Yaakov Meir would enter the house of the deceased, comfort the mourners, ask them to lie down and rest and himself would sit next to the dead and recite psalms until the morning light.

At the outbreak of the events in Eretz Israel in the years 1936-1938[2],

 

Letter of appreciation and thanks from MK M. Surkis, one of the leaders of the “Escape”, to the “Escape” activists from Kutno

[Page 303]

he was not careful for his soul, entering every remote and dangerous corner, in order to bring the blessed of the nation to the tomb of Israel. He brought them to the grave of Israel on the Mount of Olives[3] and did not obey the orders of the authorities to bury them in a mass grave, because of the emergency, by the light of the Moon he dug a grave for each of them. In his mind, only one mitzvah — the sanctity and honor of the dead.

In Jerusalem, a barren and old Jew died. The man lived alone, with no relative or caretaker. Neighbors who felt the foul odors rising from the old room refrained from approaching it and peek inside, and even a doctor who was called refrained from entering. Then Mr. Yaakov Meir broke down the door, opened the windows, moved the corpse to the cemetery and there brought it to the tomb of Israel. But he refused to accept payment for his trouble, lest the mitzvah be violated.

Mr. Yaakov Meir objected to accompanying the dead driving and even from very distant places from the cemetery and even if it was a newborn baby, he was brought to burial according to the mitzvot of the sages and righteous of men of Jerusalem as they did in past generations, who observed the mitzvah of honoring the dead, accompanying only by foot.

 


Mr. Yaakov WELCMAN z'l

 

Mr. Yaakov Meir was a simple Jew, righteous honest and honest with God. Resident of Jerusalem for over thirty years, one of the first workers to pave the road to Yemin Moshe[4]. Then there was a break. However, he abandoned his art and devoted himself entirely to “Chevra-Kadisha” affairs. With great urgency he provided for his multi-faceted family. At the outbreak of the plague in World War I, in Jerusalem he volunteered to bring the plague victims to the grave of Israel and even on Saturdays and holidays he did not stop his holy work — all for the honor of the dead.

Mr. Yaakov Meir was born in 1888 in Kutno, Poland. He studied at a yeshiva and his desire was to immigrate to Eretz Israel. And indeed, this dream was fulfilled. When he came to Israel, he settled in Jerusalem near the Western Wall and from there moved to Warsaw Houses[5]. On the last Friday of his life, he said goodbye to his family and kissed everyone, and when they asked him to explain the matter, he replied that his heart foretold him evil. Indeed, on his way back home from the Western Wall he was shot and seriously injured by the Arabs on St. Paul Street. Eyewitnesses said that he called out to the people who passed by and returned: “Do not go down to Musrara[6], the Arabs are shooting at the Jews!”. He was brought to Hadassah Hospital, where he had surgery, but the next day, on Shabbat, he felt unwell, said a confession and even gave the blessing of the beginning of the month of Elul. On midday Shabbat, he recited the Shema-Israel prayer and his soul departed after saying the word “one”.[7] He was fifty-year-old when he died.

May his soul be bound in the bond of eternal life.


Translator's footnotes

  1. ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem. Return
  2. beginning of the Arab Revolt against British rule, in order to prevent Jewish emigration and creation of Israel. A number of terrorist attacks were targeting Jews. Return
  3. where the oldest cemetery in Jerusalem is. Return
  4. one of the first neighborhood of Jerusalem outside the Old City, named after the benefactor Moses Montefiore. It was established in 1892. Montefiore windmill is still there. Return
  5. ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Jerusalem, also called Nahalat Yaakov, near Mea Shearim. Return
  6. Arab neighborhood at the Damascus Gate exit of the Old City of Jerusalem. Return
  7. The last word of the first sentence of the Shema Israel prayer Return


Issachar-Dov BAR-DRORA (FRAJER)

by David TIDHAR

Son of Moshe — born in the city of Kutno on 9th of Adar 5643 (16th of February, 1883). His father was a merchant, related to Rabbi Dov Mizlesh of Kraków-Warsaw, and the Rabbi of Kutno, author of the book “Fresh Olive. He studied in the “Cheder” and later in the “Yeshiva”, and after he developed his intelligence, he became an “extern”, he knew languages and sciences well.

In his youth he came to Warsaw, where his childhood friend Szalom Asz introduced him to I. L. Perec, who had not yet turned 17, but had already worked in the newspaper systems: “The Siren”, “The Flood” and “Der Veg[1]. In these systems, the editors (Sokolov[2], Ludwipol[3] and Zvi Prilucki) recognized that the young and modest young man dressed as a “Chassid” would become a writer in Israel, because everything he wrote was clever and witty.

In 1906 he arrived in Israel and immediately took his place among the men of action. He went in to work at the Anglo-Palestine Bank, became a friend of M. Dizengoff[4], and was one of the first participants in the construction of Tel Aviv by participating in the founding of the “Nahalat Binyamin” neighborhood. From time to time he was published in the press.

In 1909 he entered the political committee of the settlement, which was established immediately after the declaration of the constitution in Turkey. On the committee were besides him: Meir Dizengoff, Eliyahu Sapir[5]; Shimon Rokach[6], Aharon Eisenberg[7] and Yosef Luria[8]. At that time, he was a participant in the Hebrew press in the Diaspora (“The Time” and “The Siren”).

After the British occupation, he went to work at the great civil newspaper, which was founded by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda — “Mail Today”, and for ten years, with breaks (1936-1920), he worked for this newspaper and was also its editor-in-chief for several years.

For three years he edited and published the weekly “Yishuv” (1925-1928) with the participation of the best writers, founded the settlement company “The Planter”, which established Netanya and Even Yehuda, and the bank “Bnei Binyamin”, participated in addition to the excellent weekly of the Farmers' Association, “Gardener”. In the above-mentioned weekly, he would publish two reviews a week (Eretz Israel and “In the Diaspora”) and also a feuilleton.

With the closure of the “Mail Today” (1936), he began working in “The Morning” where he would publish his feuilleton: “The Other Side of the Coin” every week.

His articles and feuilletons made a great impression, as he was able to write about any local matter out of authoritative knowledge and with great and comprehensive expertise. His words were always short and clear. His diaries in the daily newspapers were concise and clear.

After the outbreak of World War II, the press shrank — there was no room for his articles and his feuilletons and rarely, he published short articles in “The Morning” and “Yedioth Ahronot”.

His health condition deteriorated greatly during the war years. In the meantime, he became seriously ill, and the severe health condition adversely affected the development of his illness. On the 7th of Adar, he suffered a severe heart attack, as a result of which he died a sudden death that day, and was buried in the old cemetery in Tel Aviv.

Descendants: his daughter Rachel Drori, wife of Moshe Ginzburg; his sons: Amnon and Avshalom (all in Pardes Hanna).

(David Tidhar — Encyclopedia of the Pioneers of the Yishuv, Tel Aviv, 1952, p. 184).


Translator's footnotes

  1. in Yiddish, “The Way” Return
  2. Nachum Sokolow: January 10, 1859, Wyszogród, Poland – May 17, 1936, London, United Kingdom Return
  3. Abraham Ludwipol (1865, Novohrad-Volyns'kyi, Zhytomyr Oblast, Ukraine – May 3, 1921, Tel Aviv, Israel) Return
  4. Meir Dizengoff: February 25, 1861, Echimãuţi, Moldova – September 23, 1936, Tel Aviv. Founder and first mayor of Tel Aviv. Return
  5. Elyahu Sapir: July 8, 1869, Jerusalem – September 1, 1911, Petah Tikva. Return
  6. Shimon Rokach: June 10, 1863, Jerusalem – 10 February 1922, Vienna, Austria. Return
  7. Aharon Eisenberg: November 14, 1863, Pinsk, Belarus – September 23, 1931, Rehovot, Israel Return
  8. Yosef Luria: Pumpenai, Kovno district, Lithuania 1871 – December 3, 1937, Jerusalem. Return


[Page 304]

Dr. Abraham GLIKSMAN

Born on November 19, 1883 in Kutno, Warsaw province, into a wealthy Hassidic family. He became friends with Szalom Asz, endured persecution with him as the first “heretics”[1] in the city and, together with Asz, he came to Warsaw in 1900. In 1901, he published in “Almanac Ahiasaf” his first literary sketch “Let's Go Rejoice”. Then, he left for Berlin and was cut off from the Jewish environment for a full 19 years, with a short break when he was in Warsaw and published articles in “Strahl” (under the pseudonyms “Searcher and Recipient”, “Common Sense”, “Dr. Hampelicz” and others), “Our Life”, “Today”. He completed high school in Berlin, commercial school in Leipzig and later studied political economy there. He received the title of “Doctor” in Zurich, then continued to study philosophy and social sciences in Jena, Paris and elsewhere. He was ill during 8 years, traveled throughout Western Europe, was for many years a Zurich correspondent for the “Frankfurter Zeitung” newspaper, and for some time also worked in the newspaper's editorial office as editor of the Commerce Department and assistant to the feuilleton editor. He also appeared in other German and Swiss periodicals, having worked during the war for the English magazine The Economist in Zurich. Since 1920 in Warsaw, he began again to write in Yiddish and Hebrew, published articles mainly on philosophical topics, in “HaTzfirah[2], “Moment”, “Today”, “£ódŸ Daily”, “Almanac-Moment” (“Antisemitism as a Socio-Psychological Phenomenon”), “Book World”, 1924 (“About W. Nathanson's 'Spinoza and Bergson'”), “Literary Pages” (ed. about Emmanuel Kant, 4-7, Sigmund Freud, 17, 20, 25-27, 31, Dr. Ch. Zhitlowski, 21, 29) and others. In manuscript – a series of socio-psychological essays titled “Nation and World”, a larger work on Piotr Kropotkin and others.


Translator's footnotes

  1. “Epicureans”. Return
  2. Hebrew, “The Siren”". Return


Dr. Yehuda Meir BROMBERG-BAVLY

Born in January 1902, in the city of Kutno. In July 1920, he immigrated to Israel. In 1919, he graduated from the gymnasium in Poland. In 1922 — course in Sanitation, Hadassah Medical Organization, Jerusalem. 1924-1929,

 

 

received the title of “Doctor” for his research paper on the “Mandate for Palestine”. In 1929, he was crowned in Poland with the title of “Doctor of Social Sciences” for his research on “The Life of the Jewish Minority in Poland”.

He was one of the founders of the Hashomer movement and one of the activists of the Zionist movement in his city.

Job holdings: 1920-1921, assistant at the Pasteur Institute, Jerusalem. 1922, sanitary inspector at Hadassah organization.

1922-1924, assistant at the laboratory for the study of malaria in Haifa. 1926-1927, assistant in the Department of Hygiene at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

January 1925-December 1926 and October 1927-June 1929, assistant lawyer in Naples, Italy. He served as secretary of the executive committee of the Hadassah organization. He wrote in the following languages: Hebrew, English, German, Italian, Russian, Polish, (French).

 

Dr. Y. L. MAGNES: Obituary in his memory

Three years that the members of the Hadassah Emergency Committee were privileged to work together with Dr. Bavly, and I come today to testify in public that if the committee has to some extent been able to serve Hadassah and the public, it would be to the credit of the deceased. When you go through the list of varied and ramified matters that were before the committee for consideration and decision, you are amazed to see how many of them had a decisive factor, in its vast knowledge, or in the invention of factual material, or in its supervisory influence, or in its willingness to always carry out every decision. There was not a remote corner in all of Hadassah's many areas of operation that he did not control. Medical operations, the restaurant foundation, run by his wife with special grace and kindness, vocational education, Hadassah's new field of work, relations with institutions, the National Committee, HMOs[1], the Jewish Agency and more, study at “Leo Politi” and the social sciences at the University of Naples.

He loved his job. “The man went out to his tasks and work until evening.” And in the morning, he would get up and devote himself to his duties. Difficulties were created for him, so that he could overcome them. He loved reality, and processed the factual material out of affection and love. And on the basis of the facts he would construct his conclusions. Ecclesiastes said: “And I hated my labors under the sun” and Dr. Bavly would say the opposite: “I loved my work under the sun”.

He had a profound love for life. He had desire, taste and joy for life. He had a joyful and creative life, joy out of a great soul. The top of his joy was his blessed family life whom he loved so strongly like fire that cannot be extinguished by water.

In King David's last words, it is written that he called one of his heroes “a living multifarious active person”. Similarly, one of his most dedicated friends called Dr. Bavly in these days: lively, fresh and multifarious active person in spite of his short life.

When I got to work with him, I saw his rise in spirit and intellect. Slowly and surely, he purified his thoughts, striving to complete his knowledge and purifying his relationship to every human being. Especially lately he has discovered the immense forces that lay within his psyche. I have no doubt, if his bitter fate had given him several more years, he would have been a public leader as few can match.

We miss him and in time we will feel his lack more and more.

It is difficult to find the words we need, to understand his cruel fate and give ourselves some comfort. Dr. Yasky, friends, doctors, nurses, officials, workers, public activists: God will comfort us in the rest of the mourning of Zion and Jerusalem.

And you, Mrs. Bavly: walk with this force, in this power that you have shown all these difficult days,

[Page 305]

and educate your children in this spirit, and bring a blessing on them as you bring a blessing on the tens of thousands of the children of Israel.

May his soul be bundled in the bundle of eternal life.


Translator's footnotes

  1. Health Maintenance Organizations. Return


Eliyahu-Eliezer-Mordechai ELBERG

by David TIDHAR

Born in Kutno, Poland, on the 25th of Kislev 5651, (13/12/1890), the youngest son of his father, Mr. Zeev Zvi, and his mother, Esther, daughter of Menachem (Menche) Prync. (He was named Eliezer-Mordechai after his father's brother, who was a rabbi in S³u¿ewo, Aleksandrów Kujawski and Ciechocinek, and his father added the name Eliyahu because he was born on Saturday night, when his father sang the song in hymns (“Elijah the Prophet”). His brother Mr. Aharon Szlomo (Rosha Vol. IV, p. 1685), received a national-religious education and was known from childhood as a sharp-witted and fast-paced accountant. He worked as a bookkeeper in Bromberg bank and then in the bank of Emanuel Hirszberg.

During the First World War, he was recruited by the German occupation leader to serve in the municipal offices, and was appointed to the tax department, and his influence was great in the other departments as well. He often helped and benefited the residents, and especially the Jews, who approached him in matters related to municipal government. During the Passover deployment in 1917, when the Allied naval siege forced the Germans to severely reduce the rations of food for the residents, he complied with his brother's request to run affairs in the community, and the wheat flour for Passover matzah was doubled. The German government learned of this. And he sat in jail until near the end of the war, when the Germans stumbling on the Western front were forced to withdraw from Poland as well.

After the liberation of Poland, he resigned from his position in the municipality, handed over matters to the new superiors and helped them with advice and guidance and then turned to the grain and bran trade, his brother's business, and succeeded in it. For a time, he sat for his trade in Bydgoszcz (Bromberg) in Pomerania, which was annexed from Prussia to Poland, and there, too, he was liked by the inhabitants.

In the Kutno municipality elections, his brother was elected at the top of the Mizrahi list and he was at the top of the Poalei Zion list.

He married Rywka living in a twin house in Wloclawek.

When his brother immigrated to Israel in 1855, he also tried to immigrate out of longing for redemption, but he was not helped[1]. In 1890, he came to Israel as a tourist, with the idea to remain in the country illegally, and as a visa, he paid a third bail at the British Consulate in Warsaw as a guarantee he would return to Poland. In Israel, his party members advised him to return, lest he lose his bail, and promised to obtain a legal immigration permit for him and even give him an honorary position when he came back. But because of the outbreak of World War II, he could no longer come and died and was buried in the £ódŸ ghetto.

(David TIDHAR - Encyclopedia of the Pioneers and Builders of the Yishuv, Tel Aviv, 1951952, p. 2145).


Translator's footnote

  1. by Poalei ZionReturn


Azriel Yosef ELBERG

by David TIDHAR

He was born in Kutno, Poland, on 23rd Nisan 5648 (April 4, 1888), to father Mr. Zeev–Zvi (an enlightened chassid, from a family descending from King David) and to mother Esther, daughter of R. Menachem (Menche) Prync. He received a traditional–national and general education. As a teenager, he helped his father and his brother Aharon–Shlomo (Rosha Vol. IV, p. 1685), worked hard to continue his education and even obtained the written consent of the late Rabbi Yitzhak–Yaakov Reines from Lida to accept him in his yeshiva. On his way from Warsaw onwards, because in the unrest of the Russian Revolution then (in 1905), the railway strike broke out. After walking for a few days in Warsaw, he was forced to return home, swept into the whirlpool of parties until he found his permanent place in the Poalei Zion.

In 1909, he immigrated to Israel with the consent and support of his brother, despite his mother's tears and opposition. He worked hard in agriculture and orchards and later joined HaShomer and served in the Galilee colonies in the armed security core of the settlement, without hesitation about the dangers. In the summer of 1914, he went to visit his mother and family, and because of the outbreak of World War I, he could not return to Israel.

Dedicated vigorously to public work in the Diaspora. In 1918, he married Ayala[1], daughter of Yechiel Netanel Bitter from Łęczyca. He fought hard for a job as a breadwinner, and after receiving a job in the Polish government, he was deprived of it, among other Jewish officials, due to antisemitic tendencies in power. He went to Belgium with his family to work and save money for the needs of immigration and settlement in Israel. But the success at work and later in trade delayed him to remain longer in Brussels and add to his savings for investment purposes in Israel, until the Nazi Holocaust came upon the Jews of Europe, and in the spring of 1943 he and his wife were taken to an extermination camp[2].

After them, their daughter Perel, the wife of Melech Koenig (a furrier) and their son Yechiel Ze'ev, remained in Brussels.

(David TIDHAR – Encyclopedia of the Pioneers of the Yishuv and its Builders, Tel Aviv, 1952, p. 2126).


Translator's footnotes

  1. Hinda Estera according to Yad Vashem testimonies.Return
  2. probably Auschwitz–Birkenau, in November 1943 according to testimonies in Yad Vashem: “Josef ELBERG" and “Hinda Estera ELBERG”.Return


N. TIGER – His Way and Life

by N. MOSZKOWICZ, A. BERDICZEWSKI, Y. RIFTIN

Nathan Tiger was born in 1901 in the part of a new era of secular Judaism – that period of upheaval and impulse that shocked and shattered the frozen order of life of the masses and gave a huge impetus to the search for new ways, way of life and new content. A member of a devout and traditional family, which stemmed from the cracks of the new time. His older brother

 

 

Mosze–Chaim was already in the ranks of the warrior camp for a fairer world and also for secular–modern Jewish culture. There is no doubt that this had a considerable effect on the renunciation and abandonment of Nathan, who in those days was a yeshiva student, studying Torah.

Kutno, his hometown, is also feverishly undergoing a process of plundering values, the old being pushed by the new, the social polarization beginning and exacerbated. Among the other parties organized in the city, the Zionist–Socialist movement, the Poalei Zion party, led by a man of extraordinary intellect, a man of passion and devotion, stood out in particular – N. Tiger. For a relatively short time he managed to gather around the party flag most of the city's youth and intelligence. In traditional

[Page 306]

costume – a long hood and a Jewish hat – he visited the towns in the vicinity of Kutno, such as Gostynin, Krośniewice, Koło, etc., and lectured there on current literary and political issues. He also acquired there, thanks to his tumultuous temperament, his deep thought and the power of persuasion, his own, that of his friends and fellow travelers and that of the movement.

His favorite subjects in the field of literature in those years were: Ch. N. Bialik, Sz. Asz and H. Lajwik. In particular, he devoted his time to explaining the works of art of his great compatriot – Szalom Asz, whom he admired as one of the greatest in world literature. Many of the types and characters in Sz. Asz's works were familiar to Tiger – one might say – personal acquaintance, for from his surroundings in Kutno, the city they developed and grew.

In the early 1920s, when he managed to educate cadres for the party and left the party in his city in loyal hands, he moved to Warsaw for central action. There he coordinated with a few other members the political–party action, edited and wrote in the movement press in his name and some fictitious names like N. Taram, N. ben Y. Meir (named after his devout father Yicze Meir).

*

When I immigrated to Israel in 1950, I met with him after a long separation of two decades. We sat for many hours and I told him about all the atrocities of the Holocaust that I had witnessed up close, and he asked me in pain about our friends and mutual relatives who perished in the Holocaust and those whose fate had improved and survived.

With Tiger's death, the socialist Zionist movement lost a loyal and unflinching fighter. With respect and admiration, we bow our heads in his memory. For us, the former Kutno people, he will forever remain the symbol of the great idealist, a warrior and proudly a flag bearer for a liberated world.

Pity the lost…

N. MOSZKOWICZ

The Discussion Man

N. Tiger, a thoughtful and educated man, a gifted orator, with intelligence and intellectual ability, – was among the most prominent activists of the Zionist Socialist camp and the Poalei Zion, the Zionist Socialist party in Poland.

A native of Kutno, a member of a very devout family of Gur Chassidim. A yeshiva student with a sharp mind and considered a prodigy – Tiger was caught up in the Zionist idea and left to God his father's hopes that he was destined to be a rabbi and one of the great in Israel. Still wearing a capote, Jewish hat and long sidelocks, he joined, as the representant of one of his townspeople, the Zionist Youth Association, founded in Kutno in 1914, as the “Little Bnei–Zion Association” and soon became the spiritual leader of the youth in his city and surrounding cities.

His public activity in Poland in 1920–1930, until his immigration to Israel in 1932, was multifaceted, rich in action and full of struggles over working conditions and difficult life: teacher and educator in schools influenced by the party (Tel–Hai, SchulCult[1]), Tiger lectured on political and literary issues, went on missions for the party in various territories, was secretary of the party and editor of its press. But most of Tiger's power was in the conceptual debate. He was the discussion man in the sublime and broad sense of the term.

In those days, discussion was a heavy weapon in public struggles. The public was awake and attentive to the word in speech and in writing. In the Jewish street, there was a fierce struggle between the Zionist idea and the opponents of Zionism of all kinds. In particular, the struggle was intensifying between the pioneering, Zionist–Socialist camp on the one hand, and the influential “Bund” and the communist movement, which had deep roots among Jewish youth on the other. These were not quiet debates in chambers, but heated and exciting debates in referendums, in election wars, in conventions, on the street, in every city and town, in every Jewish home. And there was a valuable weight for a catchy word that clarifies the problem, crushes the opponent, increases the faith among the followers of Zionism and raises doubts and hesitations among the undecided public and even in the opposition camp.

N. Tiger treated the argument as a weapon that needed to be refined, renewed from time to time, sharpened, used effectively and aimed at the opponent's weak spot. Imbued with a belief in the righteousness of our way, equipped with the tenets of socialism and socialist Zionism, familiar with current issues in the life of the masses and knowing the psychology of the various strata of the people – Tiger would stretch his hips and leap into battle with all his turbulent temperament. He was among the most sought–after speakers, especially in the election war; He knew how to deal with the best orators of rival parties: his appearance at rallies always aroused interest, tension, in the rival camp, increased confidence among party members who would proclaim: “,Der tiger iz gekumen!,” that is, “Beware – the tiger has come!”

“It is better for a farmer to be a reactionary than for a precarious person to be a revolutionary” – that is, a farmer in the Land of Israel, even when he is not a revolutionary, is better off than a Diaspora Jew who claims to be a revolutionary. This catchphrase of Tiger would reveal to the listener all the anomalies in our social structure in the Diaspora and highlight the ridiculous situation of the Bund and Jewish Communism, speaking on behalf of the Jewish proletariat, on behalf of the revolutionaries and accusing the Zionist–Socialist camp of reactionary action in Israel.

*

N. Tiger was also among the main leaders and explainers inside the camp. It was a period of ideological formation and partisan organization, the party within the Zionist movement, in relation to the homegrown Zionism of factions and unions in the Diaspora and in Israel, of laying the foundations for policy and currents within the Israel camp: determining the party's ways in “today's work”; in the towns and communities, in school building, in the question of languages, in taking a stand on the basic problems, and the current problems within the labor movement and world socialism and about what is happening in the state of Poland in those days.

N. Tiger was an acute opponent in some problems. He was a man of principles. He did not stand the blurring of concepts. He was meticulous about the accuracy of the wording, claiming that negligence in the platform and wordings accepted in our movement and in the movement of workers in the world – may allow to deviate from the path. And although he sometimes erred in his assessments and approach to various problems, he always felt in his words an inner truth and deep self–thought and much came from him, in the ideological formation of the party in Poland.

*

When he immigrated to Israel, his voice fell silent. True, he would attend conventions, conferences; At times he enlisted in various activities, – but whoever knew Tiger “from those days”, his tumultuous temperament, his public awakening and the scope of his activity. – noticed that he was no longer the same man. Prominent among the party activists who immigrated from Poland, his place in public life in the country was not noticeable, he did not know and the others did not know how to use his talents, knowledge and intellectual ability and public experience in the reality of life in the country.

*

Out of ideological integrity and loyalty, N. Tiger was among the few party leaders in Poland who joined a kibbutz. It was not easy for him to adapt to the kibbutz lifestyle. Keeping to himself, a loner, the kibbutz also failed to find use for his ability and generate public activity in it, but he was aware of the kibbutz's problems until its last day.

He devoted most of his years in the country to teaching. He had extensive and in–depth knowledge of the social sciences, history and literature. He served as a teacher in high schools and in later years as a teacher in training

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– in “Oranim”, in the Teacher Training Seminary in Haifa and in the IDF Seminar. He was accepted as a teacher with an original, independent approach and many enjoyed his lectures. However, he did not always find satisfaction in this area either. It seemed to him that the degree of listening and the ability of the listeners to absorb were not at all commensurate with the great efforts he made to impart information to his students. A man rich in spirit, hard–working and hard–working, a loyalist of the labor movement and the kibbutz, passed away.

A. BERDICZEWSKI

In one camp

I did not meet closely with Nathan Tiger while he was in Kutno We each lived in his own world. He, a rising force in the local life of two parties. I – completely involved in the life of the pioneering youth movement. But, together with everyone, I knew and appreciated his talents. There was a good folk speaker, a sharp polemicist, a tribune. More than once in conversations with my father – who was at the center of Zionist activity in the town – we appreciated Tiger's great talents.

He then took off for national activity and his voice was among the popular voices in Polish cities and towns. Tiger specialized mainly in arguing with the Bund. And here in Israel, when I met him years later, when I found out about his membership in the kibbutz, I was very happy. In the vibrant Jewish town of Kutno, there was a place for everyone – for all currents and shades – even the most contrasting. And we were as if everyone was proud of the spiritual diversity in the life of our town. But, after the Holocaust – when the town was gone and we are so few ––– the modest but first line – the pioneering line – is infinitely more important. And for that I was glad that we were finally in a single camp.

In fragmented conversations I have had in recent years with Tiger, I have heard quite a few disappointments from the current situation and also quite a few longings for a loyal labor movement and a socialist warrior – here in our country.

Despite the uniqueness of Tiger's path in life – these disappointments and longings are not the property of the individual – which has gone from us, they are an integral part of the hopes of our generation.

Y. RIFTIN


Translator's footnote

  1. Association of Schools and CultureReturn


The RAUER Family

Late in 1913, Kutner residents Asher Rauer and his son Yosef emigrated to the Land of Israel. They were received by their uncle Simcha–Ayzik, who had settled in Eretz Israel years ago. Mr. Asher wanted to stay and take root in the land. He had a lengthy conversation about this with Ben Gurion, with whom he met at his uncle's house. They talked a lot about the future of the country. During the outbreak of the First World War, when the Turkish power in the country has ‘offered’ Turkish citizenship, many renounced the honor and traveled to the United States for some time.

In a few years, after returning to the country, (1923), while still in the American company “Real Estate”, he bought soil in Raanana. He settled in Raanana and began construction work in Tel Aviv.

The first building in the first Jewish city was erected by the Rauers, at Rav Aharonson St. 29 (the brothers Yosef and Franz Wolstein were the contractors). A number of Kutners were employed during the construction of the building.

Mr. Asher's son Yehoshua, and his family came to the country in 1931, settled in Raanana, and endeavored with

 


Asher RAUER and his wife z”l

 

his father, planted and grew tobacco. In 1934, his son Yosef arrived in the country with his family and was involved in his father's business.

 


Yosef RAUER z”l

 


GOLDMAN z”l

 

In 1936, Asher Rauer's daughter came from the United States to settle in Israel with her husband and family (Goldman). The enterprise prospered.

The Rauers were among the first and important immigrants to Eretz Israel from Kutno. They have made a very valuable contribution to the construction of the land.


Shmuel Halevi LAZNOWSKI

by Efraim DEKEL

Shmuel–Halevi, son of Mr. Yitzchak Laznowski was born in the month of Tevet 5643 (8.1.1883). His father owned a mansion in Wolbrom and a manufacture of candles and soap. The mother of Mr. Shmuel–Halevi, Rywka daughter of Mr. Mosze Barmhercig, was also from a wealthy Jewish family, since Mr. Mosze Barmhercig owned estates and was known in his city and surroundings as a generous benefactor.

[Page 308]

Shmuel–Halevi Laznowski, like all the children of Israel in those days, studied in a cheder and in a yeshiva until he married Miriam–Ester, daughter of Avraham

 

Kut308a.jpg
 
Kut308b.jpg

Mordechai HaLevi and Miriam Ester LAZNOWSKI

 

Zvi (Hirsch) Walter, who was a mohel and perseverant[1], a descendant of the genius Rabbi Yehoshe'le of Kutno. Mrs. Miriam–Esther was a noble–minded and gentle woman, educated and fluent in many languages.

After his marriage, Shmuel Halevi Laznowski left the Beit Midrash bench and went out into the world of action. In his new path, his cleverness stood out and his sharp mind soon paved the way for his new life. He was fluent in several languages and this mastery helped him in negotiations with people, was successful in the sales of the manufacture and was also a partner in his father's business. He even marketed his father's produce (candles and soap) in his store he opened on Kr ólewska Street in Kutno.

Apparently, however, these businesses did not satisfy his soul and he did not find in them an interest that would bind him, so he detached himself from them. His attraction to Israel was greater than material success in a diaspora town. Indeed, as early as 1914, he immigrated to Eretz Israel with all his family, since one of his aspirations was to educate his sons in a national and traditional spirit faithful to the values of his people. After immigrating to Israel, he settled in Jaffa and since he was fluent in languages, he was accepted as a clerk in the Turkish government offices in the Jaffa district (in the “Syria” building). Rabbi Shmuel–Halevi was liked by all the officials of the Turkish government and even by the Turkish governor of those days, Hassan Beck, whose name was despised by all the country inhabitants, due to his tyranny and his hostile attitude towards country Jews. During the First World War, when by order of the Turks they began to expel the Jewish residents of Jaffa and Tel Aviv from the country[2], Mr. Shmuel Halevi took advantage of his many connections with the Turkish authorities to prevent the deportation of many Jews. He also helped many to be released from conscription into the Turkish army, imprisoned or severely punished for violating government orders.

But he himself was also forced to move to Haifa during the deportation (Nisan 1917), where his wife Miriam–Esther died on Friday, 6th of Nisan 5678 (March 19, 1918).

After the First World War he was already a veteran in the country and served as an address for all the new immigrants who began to reach the shores of the country. In their first steps in the new land he assisted them with advice and guidance, as he continued to do good and kindness with all who sought his help.

In the summer of 1938, he left for Poland to have his two twin daughters, Lea and Pnina who were born in Tel Aviv, make aliyah. Meanwhile, World War II broke out and they could no longer return to Israel. One day, Mr. Shmuel–Halevi went to visit his older brother, Mr. Brish Laznowski in Wolbrom, who was one of the leaders of the community there and a member of the Wolbrom municipality.

Yosef Welner, a Wolbrom man, tells of the death of Mr. Shmuel Halevi, in a book published in memory of the Wolbrom community. Y. Welner and Shmuel Laznowski were captured by the SS. And transferred to a labor company. One day, on their return from work, a sick Jew, who was in their company, fell to the ground. Mr. Shmuel Halevi and Y. Welner immediately rushed to a Jew who had collapsed beneath them, to lend him help. But the SS officer saw this. He handed them a gun and ordered them to shoot the sick Jew. Yosef Welner immediately left the sick and returned to his place in a row, while Mr. Shmuel did not abandon the poor man and continued to attend to him. This angered the Nazi killer who fired at both the sick man and Mr. Shmuel Halevi.

May his memory be blessed.

These are the descendants of Mr. Shmuel Halevi Laznovski:

Yocheved, wife of Yaakov Werner (pharmacist at Rambam Governmental Hospital in Haifa); Yona z”l, wife of Avraham Gradom, from Lipno. She perished in the Holocaust with her husband and two children: Bracha, the wife of Yaakov Rimon (poet, former secretary of the Tel Aviv municipality's Social Assistance department); Avraham Zvi–Halevi, (a teacher in the Beit Midrash for teachers in New York, poet and secretary of the Pen–Club there); Mordechai Halevi (philatelist in Tel Aviv), twins Lea and Pnina perished during their visit to Kutno during the Holocaust.

 

Mr. Yitzchak LAZNOWSKI

Mr. Yitzchak Laznowski was a God–fearing and faithful Chassid. A noble–minded man, whose house was open to all the needy. Admors[3] and rabbis, in passing Kutno were accustomed to lodge only with him. But not only them, all those having a difficult day and resentments would turn to his home for help. For his wife – Rywka née Barmhercig – was also known for her hospitality. Everyone who approached her, she supported generously because she knew their needs both in summer and winter.

It was an open house for all. Even ordinary yeshiva students would dine at his table, as was the custom in those days, to have “eat days”[4].

 


House of the RAUER family in Tel Aviv, built by Kutno workers

[Page 309]

A well–known Admor once stayed at his house for a month. The Admordid not come alone, but brought with him an entire “court” of devotees and servants. Upon learning of the Admor's stay at the home of Mr. Yitzchak Laznowski in Kutno, followers from all over Poland began to flock to his home. Each Chassid brought with him a “note” asking for help from the Admor. An entire floor was given to the Admor because of this, and the house hummed of Jews like a swarm of bees. However, it is not only these days that the house was full of Chassidim, since it had a synagogue and every Jew could pray in it and all–year round, the house of Mr. Yitzchak Laznowski served as an address for all Jews in distress.

 

Kut309b.jpg
 
Kut309a.jpg
Yitzchak LAZNOWSKI
 
Poet Abraham Zvi Halevi LAZNOWSKI

 

Descendants of Mr. Yitzchak Laznowski and his wife Rywka are: Brish hy”d; Sara hy”d (wife of Mr. Shlomo Freudman of Bedzin); Wolf; Ida hy”d (wife of Chaim Yaakov Walter hy”d from Kutno); Shmuel–Halevi hy”d; Henich hy”d; Natan hy”d; Ruza hy”d.

 

Avraham Zvi Halevi (LAZNOWSKI)

Born 29 Elul 5667 (September 8, 1907) in Kutno, Poland.

To his father Shmuel Halevi Laznowski and to his mother Miriam Ester daughter of Avraham Zvi Wertel (on his father's side: well–known merchants and industrialists, and on his mother's side: a family of rabbis).

First to study in the cheder and then in an improved cheder.

In 1914, the whole family immigrated to Israel and settled in Jaffa. He graduated from the boys' school in Neve Shalom and studied at the teachers' seminary for Mizrachi.

As a student, he edited student newspapers called: “Zikei–Naar”, “HaNitzutz” and “Shabririm”. He was active in the Youth Association for the Distribution of Hebrew Products, and participated in articles on this subject in “The Bell” and “The Good of the Land.”

He began writing songs at an early age, and in 1912 a collection of his first poems (in a hectograph) called “Sounds of the Heart” appeared in student publishing.

In 1924 he traveled to Brasilia and from there to the United States for further education. He graduated from the Tarbut Teachers' Seminary in New York, under the direction of the poet Dr. Shimon Ginzburg.

In 1929, during the events, he returned to Israel, worked in the valley and joined as a member of the kibbutz “Kiryat Anavim”. In the late 1930s he returned to New York and was active in the Professional Association for the Leatherware Industry. He served there as the organizer and director of strikes in New York and other cities.

In 1935 he immigrated to Israel again and began his literary work in poetry and control. His remarks were published in the “Davar” supplement and in the “Gilayonot”. Was among the organizers of the Young Writers Association and served as secretary. At the end of 1948, he traveled again to the United States via Poland and some European countries. In New York he published his remarks in the “Post,” “Book of the Year for the Jews of America,” “Batzron,” and “HaTkufa,” and continued to participate in “Issues.” In 1941 he was with the poet Shimon Halkin, Mordechai Newman, Reuben Wallenrod and another group of writers and activists from the founders of the Ohel publishing house, where he served as secretary for several years. Ohel Publishing was founded as a cooperative by the writers themselves and has published to date about 10 books in poetry, storytelling and critics. From 1942 to 1945, he was drafted into the United States Army, as a sergeant. He also continued his literary work in the army (he published articles on the Jewish Brigade in “Batzron” and in newspapers). When he was discharged from the army at the end of 1945, he continued his secretariat at the Ohel and in 1948 was elected secretary of the Pan–Ivri Club in New York, under the presidency of the poet Zalman Schneur. That same year, Ohel published a book of his poems “Out of the Bracket”, which gives expression to the concerns of a man from Israel in the American diaspora. A special section in the notable book is a series of poems on the New York volume. Also included sonnets called “Furnished Rooms”. For a while he published review pamphlets and participated in a regular section in “Batzron” called “Line and Weight”, which commented specifically on the literary work in the country. He signed the review articles under the name: A. Tzahal[5].

(David Tidhar – Encyclopedia of the Pioneers of the Yishuv and its Builders, Tel Aviv, 5712, p. 2347).


Translator's footnotes

  1. Perseverance or diligence in Torah study, is devoting full time to study without wasting time on other things.Return
  2. Because they were Polish or Russian, therefore enemies of Turkey. Some, who accepted the deal of taking Turkish citizenship, were subsequently conscripted into the Turkish army.Return
  3. abbreviation of “ADonenu, MOrenu, veRabbenu,” meaning “Our Master, Teacher and Rabbi”, honorific title given to scholarly leaders of a Jewish community.Return
  4. Yiddish “esen teg”, every landlord would feed a yeshiva boy, one or two days a week.Return
  5. Hebrew acronym for Abrahm Zvi Halevi LAZNOWSKI.Return


Yaakov SCHWARTZ

by Efraim DEKEL

“We moved all the trainees of the house – about a hundred children – to the regrouping point in Biały Kamień[1]. Near the city, the first summer session of “HaShomer HaTzair” was held, with the participation of an emissary from Israel. From there, we were taken to the preparation point of the ‘Escape’ before setting off and from there the walk began. Some parents who did not want to separate from their children were allowed to escort the transport. The children got along in pairs. With a hand holding a hand and in a long line, we set out into the dark night, an 8–10 km walk. The hired guide left us in the middle of the woods, after explaining which direction we should go, we walked until 3am. Keeping each child from falling behind and getting lost on the way, as the heart breaks

 


Yaakov SCHWARTZ at work in “Escape”, Kraków

 

to the sight of eight–year–old, who walked in silence and fell asleep tired, while walking, we finally reached, after this tedious walk, the road we estimate is already on the other side of the border and let – by precaution – the children in the ditch, so that they rest a little. Two hours later, we continued on our way and for a long time we did not know where we were. We, escorts, would occasionally go out in different directions, to tour and search for members of the ‘Escape’ from the Czech passage, who were waiting for us at the meeting point that we were having such a hard time finding. A short time later we came across a Czech Border Guard, who cooperated with our friends and his men received us appropriately and called the ‘Escape’ stations in in Nachod[2]. Cars were now brought in, with members of the Czech ‘Escape’ squad who drove us to the train station.

Our friends from the Czech Repatriation Department brought us hot food:

[Page 310]

After the children were satiated, they were put back in train carriages – which arrived after a journey of about twenty hours, to the border town of Bratislava on the other side of the Czechoslovak state. Everywhere the children and their companions were cordially received and treated as parents would treat their own children, an attitude which greatly affected the psyche of the children, who expressed their joy at it on many occasions. After a few days of vacation, the ‘Escape’ took them with fervor to a children's home in Germany for a long stay, until their turn to immigrate to Israel arrived.”

(From Efraim Dekel's book “Survivors of the Sword” p. 71, Published by the Ministry of Defense, Tel Aviv)

“When the train returned for the third time, a catastrophic incident occurred. The day before the departure, all the documents mysteriously disappeared and, to this day, it is not known if they were lost or stolen. We could not postpone the departure date anymore, as each train's travel times are predetermined by The Railway Authority and is also known to the border authorities. The paper department of the ‘Escape’ Center was tasked with preparing new documents, and Yaakov Schwartz, who headed the department, later recounted the legend of the long ‘Seder’ night, in which the certificates and documents were prepared for the three thousand passengers. All that night they wrote, printed and multiplied and ‘signed’ ; – without rest and without a break and whoever snatched a nap was awakened with a bucket of water. The train left, of course, at the known time and the day of peaceful farewell from the caravan was a holiday, indeed, we passed the test – the whole system and each man on duty who was entrusted with it. The joint effort was not in vain.”

(From “The Book of HaShomer HaTzair”, p. 419)


Translator's footnotes

  1. Galician village, near the Czechoslovakian border.Return
  2. written “Navod” in the original Hebrew, but no town of that name. Nachod is close to the frontier crossing point from Biały Kamień.Return

 

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