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[Page IX]

Write this as a Memorial in a Book
(Exodus, XVII, 14)

I shall give Him
An everlasting name
That shall not be cut off
(Isaiah, LVI, 5)

[Page X]

Foreword

It is with a sense of awe and a deep feeling of sanctity imposed on us in commemorating the Lanzut congregation and community as it existed and was destroyed, that the members of the Editorial Committee offer this Memorial Volume to people from Lanzut in Israel and the Dispersion, as a record of our community which was destroyed and exterminated in the catastrophe of European Jewry.

We did not have all the sources and archives from which it would be possible to obtain full material and so give a complete and faithful picture of the Jews of our town during earlier and more recent generations.

The material included in the volume was gathered together by a handful of Lanzut folk in the course of many years. It was accumulated drop by drop and item by item, by consistent, obstinate devotion, by dint of great effort and in spite of many difficulties and limited resources.

We had two objectives in publishing the volume: The description of the community in its life and in its destruction.

In these pages will be found an account of the Lanzut Congregation with its magnificent past and save and sudden end. We wish to illuminate the life of Lanzut Jewry with the light of love and gentle affection; that life in all its manifestations and transformations, and all that happened there.

By publishing this volume, we raise a memorial over the grave of our community whose burial place is unknown, and kindle a soul-light in memory of a congregation which was famed by reason of its rabbis, writers, scholars and sages.

This is a memorial to the wardens, communal workers, rank and file, everyday folk, rare youth and glowing pioneers who gave their hands and set their shoulders to the building up of the Land of Israel; and to those of Lanzut Jewry who gave their lives for the restoration of Israel.

It is an everlasting memorial to our institutions, organizations, enterprises and societies, our national, social, religious, public, cultural and economic life.

The volume is published by the Organization of Former Lanzut Residents now living in Israel and in the United States, and with the aid of sons of Lanzut in Europe and elsewhere.

* * *

We wish to thank all organizations and individuals who have helped us to issue this volume. In particular, we wish to thank all those former members of the Lanzut community, wherever they may be now, who encouraged us and aided us with counsel and guidance in publishing Sefer Lanzut in memory of our Holy Congregation.

The Editors


[Page XI]

Photographs

Part One – Hebrew
Title Page
Map of Lanzut
The south side of the market square 16
 
A. Lanzut History
 
The Old Town Hall 22
Count Potocki’s Palace 24
Part of the new cemetery 26
The north side of the market place 27
Interior of the Great Synagogue 30
The Synagogue, part of the west side 32
The Synagogue, north-east side 33
The Shamashim (Beadles) of the synagogue and the Beth Hamidrash 34
The front of the Synagogue with the Beth Hamidrash 35
Joseph Meir Rosmarin 38
The railway station; the post office, the hospital, the Court 39
 
B. Torah and Hassidut
 
The Rabbi, Reb Eleazar Shapira (The Second) 59
Reception to King Ferdinant of Rumania by the local notables 60
The daughters of Reb Eleazar Batsheva Firze and Ziporah Glukop 61
Reb Hayyim Shapira, the Rabbi 62
The sons of Reb Eleazar, Reb Joseph and Reb Aryeh, Leib Shapira 62
Forced labourers, Reb Zeev son of the Rabbi Reb Joshua Pennig 61
Third of May street 68
A group of forced labourers 77
 
C. Zionism and Upbuilding of Eretz Israel
 
Dr Abraham (Dolek) Drucker 80
Zvi Hirsch Ramer 80
The Hashahar Committee 82
Halutzim of the Third Aliya 84
Seals: the local Committee of the Zionist Organization, Jewish National Fund: Hehalutz 85
The Hehalutz organisation in 1924 86
Hazamir Amateur Orchestra 86
A group of Poalei Zion members 88
The Womens’ Circle of Poalei Zion in 1920 89
Poalei Zion members in 1927 90
Mizrahi and young Mizrahi 91
Local Mizrahi leaders 92
Agudar Israel members 94
WIZO members 95
Akiva Youth Movement 96
Poalei Zion members in 1932 97
Sports Club 98
Gymnastic group of Bnot Trumpeldor 98
Members of the Revisionist Org 92
Hashomer Hatsair Members 1919 101
Members of the Youth Association 102
District Convention of Poalei Zion in 1928 105
Poalei Zion Dramatic Troupe 107
Poalei Zion & Freiheit Committee 108
A group of “Hehalutz” members 109
Local leaders of Shomer Hatsair 111
Group of “Hashomer Hatsair” members 112
Shomer Hatsair summer camp in Hossow village, 1928 112
Writer Daniel Persky with members of the Ivria Society 114
Girl pupils of the Elementary School 115
Government secondary School building 116
Teacher Abraham Lederman 117
Teacher Zeinvel Hammersfeld 117
Pupils of “Bet Yaakoh” Girls’ School 118
Community seal 119
Hazamir in 1921 120
Hazamir orchestra 122
Performance of “Tuvia the Dairyman” in 1928 123
“Hazamir” rehearsal on “Beth Haam” balcony 126
 
D. Fighters and Defenders
 
Michael Sternheim 127
Shraga Herr 130
Asher Shleifstein 132
David Kerzstecher (Kez) 132
Zvi Goldblatt 133
Isaac Katz 134
Founders of the Hashomer Hadati Kibbutz 135
Rabbi JL Hacohen Maimon visits Lanzut 136
Israel Harr 140
 
E. Memories
 
Isaac-Sheies Weiner 146
Professors Stern and his wife 151
Moshe Rosenblitt 154
Farewell party for Michael Walzer on his departure for Eretz Israel 155

[Page XII]

Title Page
Shimon Rosenblitt 157
Michael Walzer, Sarah & Moshe Rosenblitt 158
Count Poticki, Lohomirski and Ephraim Goldman 160
Shimon Weltzer 162
Part of the market place before the Destruction 161
 
F. Characters and Types
 
Getzel Drucker 165
David Yost 167
Yehiel Nussbaum 168
Moshe Flashen (Reicher) 169
Kalman Walkenfeld 170
Eight comrades 171
Shmuel Greisman 172
Reb Hilel Shub 175
Abraham Katz 181
Michael Shiper 182
David Hatt 183
 
G. The Destruction
Circular of the Lanzut Relief Committee 1941 187-188
Workers compelled to sweep away snow in the streets 189
Letter from the Jewish Council 1942 191
Common grave in Lanzut 192

[Page XIII]

Title Page
Receipt from the Jewish Relief Committee Lanzut District: a list of Jews who received potatoes free 198-199
A Notice 200
Letter from the District Jewish Council 201
The graveyard destroyed by the Nazi 204
Photos from a paper: where Jewish Girls were murdered: prison courtyard where Jews were murdered 205
Moshe Freider 207
 
H.  Lanzut People in Israel and the Dispersion
 
Lanzut landsmanschaft Committee in USA 208
Lanzut landsmanschaft Committee, USA 1929 209
Mordechai Krug, Kalman Buch, Eliezer Rosenblum 210
Eliezer Stempel speaking 212
Kalman Buch speaking 213
A memorial meeting attended by Rabbi Isaac Yedidia Frankel and Rabbi Shalom Rubin 213
Lanzut folk in Argentine 214
Page from a manuscript by Reb Aryeh-Leibuch 215
Active members of the Lanzut Association in Israel 216-218
In the Lanzut community wood of the Martyrs’ Forest 219
Map of the Lanzut District 220
 
Part Two – Yiddish
 
Lanzut in 1915 221
Dr Isaac Schwartzbatt 223
Seal of the Tomhei Aniyim (Society to Aid the Poor) 258
Reb Isaac Zawada with his three sons in the Austrian Army 260
Dr Abraham Chomer 261
Seal of the Municipal Council 264
District Governor’s building 265
Shimon Walzer 269
The entry to the Palace 270
Moshe Kneller 271
Reb Wolf Kneller 272
The Lanzut cemetery in 1945 274
Zvi Simha Leder 275
Going home from Synagogue 281
The Paster family 294
Leaders of Lanzut Hehalutz 295
Womens’ section of the Trumpeldor Sport Club 278
Table-tennis section of the Trumpeldor Sport Club 278
“Poalei Zion”, 1923 301
“Freiheit” Youth Movement 1930 303
Active members of the Young Mizrahi 305 305
Agudat Israel Hachschara (training for Israel) Group in Lanzut 306
Aaron Kerner 307
A group of Girls 308
Childrens’ Society 309
Members of “Hashomer Hatzair” 310
Halutzim at Hachshara, Lanzut, 1933 312
Shomer Hatzair members, 1930 313
Lanzut Shomer Hatzair group, 1931 314
Poalei Zion members in Lanzut 316
Football team, Shimshon Sports Club 318
Haoved Org Lanzut “Poalei Zion” 319
Active “Freiheit” members in Lanzut 320
“Father, Mother – Trouble” actors in the performance 321
Freiheit Youth Movement of the right-wing Poalei Zion 322
Members of the Yehudit Group 323
Members of the Devora Group 324
Akiba (two photos) 325
Akiba in 1930 326
Childhood in the village; picture by Yossel Bergner 328
Reb Berish Melamed (Einhorn) 329
A group of pupils 330
Amateur actors present “Day and Night” 332
Participants in the performance of “Mirele Efros” 333
Hanukka party for Youth 334
Hazamir orchestra beside the large Bet Hamidrash 336
Seal of the Hazamir orchestra 337

[Page XIV]

Title Page
At the opening of the Bet Haam,1930 398
At the closed doors of the Bet Haam 340
Festival of First Fruits for children at the Bet Haam 341
Trumpeldor Sports Club(5 pictures) 342-343
Eliezer stempel speaking 344
Engineer Abraham Spatz 348
The family of Hirsch Ramez 349
Eight comrades 351
Dr Wladyslaw Balicks 352
The destroyed graveyards in 1955 353
Freiheit children of the Bet Yaakov School 354
Last children’s party in Lanzut Bet Haam 355
Facsimile of a letter by the poet HLeivik 356
 
D. The Destruction
 
Yaar Hakedoshim (the Martyrs’ Forest) 361
A youth group 364
Sheindel Kesztecher (Frieder), NY 367
Mother and child 370
Shoshana Atlasovitch (Rozfeld) 377
The shield of David on their arms 384
Leah Wiener 385
Exhumation of Jewish Martyrs 388
Part of a street 388
Joel Puderbeitel 397
Reb Naphtali and Rachel Sternheim 398
Levi Sternheim 399
The last road 399
The last days of the town – by Yossel Bergner 403
 
E. Lanzut Jews in the world
 
Benjamin Zauerhaft, president of the USA Lanzut Relief in 1963, with his family 406
Active Lanzut Folk in NY 407-408
A group of Lanzut survivors 409
Yaar Hakedoshim (The Martyrs’ Forest) 411
DrNathan Kudish welcomes the guests, Charles Buch and his wife 412
Reception for Bezalel Sternheim and Leib Feigenbaum 413
Reception for Eleazar Stempel and wife 415
Lanzut folk at a Memorial meeting 416
Memorial for Lanzut Martyrs (Praesidium) 417
Memorial to the Lanzut Martyrs in Martef Hashoah 418
Memorial pages 419
 
Part Three – English
 
Charles Buch; Dr Nathan Kudish XV
Michael Walzer XVII
Yeshiva students XIX
Summer camp of Lanzut youngsters, 1928 XXI
Young Agudat Israel members, 1932 XXIV
Zionist youth in Lanzut say goodbye to Hayyim Hebenstreit when leaves for Eretz Israel Martef Hashoah, Mount Zion, Jerusalem XXXII
Memorial meeting for Lanzut martyrs XXXIX
Morris Frieder XI
Active members of Lanzuter Society XLI
Active members of Lanzuter Society XLII
Active members of the Lanzuter Society XLIII
Unveiling of Mass Monument to the Lanzut Martyrs at New MT Carmel cemetery, NY XLIV
Executive of Lanzuter Farband in NY 1963 XLV
Charter Members of the Lanzuter Ben Ass’n XLVII
Taken while the Rabbi Rubin and his wife were visiting Israel LI
Devorah Tuchfeld-Lipshutz LII
Hayvim Levanon speaking at a reception for the guests Eliezer and Inga Stempl, Argentina and Isaiah Stempel, Jamaica LIV


[Page XV]

There Once was a Lanzut Community …

Dr. Nathan Kudish

lane015.jpg
From right: Charles Buch, Dr. Nathan Kudish

There once was a Lanzut Community but it is no longer there. German murderers cut it off from the branchy tree of Polish Jewry. Its memory will pulse in the hearts of a few hundred survivors who are scattered all over the world, and most of whom have gathered together in the Homeland in the State of Israel.

Where is that stretch of land which soaked up the blood of Lanzut Jewry and contains their holy ashes? Where is a memorial to be found for them? Does it merely mean that the Jewish historian now has one more of the holy congregations which have been utterly destroyed across the pages of Jewish history?

Will the memory of this small Jewish town come to an end with the last of those survivors of Lanzut who was born there only to spend the latter part of his life somewhere else?

May these few lines be added to the memorial which is being erected for the Lanzut Martyrs through this present volume. Here were two crowded districts filled with houses, some tall and some low, surrounding two squares which served as markets from which a number of streets and alleys branched off. That was the little town which slowly grew, in the course of centuries, from a tiny hamlet of the middle Ages nestling at the foot of the mansion of some gentile nobleman.

It was one of the many Jewish settlements which took root across the plains of southern Poland, amid villages of peasants who thirsted for Jewish blood and property.

In the decades before its complete destruction, the Jewish community of Lanzut reached the height of its national and public vitality with all its lights and shades, with all the assets and liabilities which assumed form in the effort to achieve a Jewish life in Exile.

This small Jewish town, at first sight sleepy and quiet, was a lively cell in the large body of Polish Jewry and reflected all the manifestations of our people's life during the period immediately before the Holocaust.

During the last fifty years before the overwhelming of East European Jewry, epoch conflicted and intertwined with epoch to produce a concentrated period of Jewish history and life with cultural and spiritual values, national and social forms of life whose roots were sunk deep in the long centuries spent by Jewry in Poland.

[Page XVI]

Here was a Kabbalist whose like could doubtless have been seen hundreds of years ago in one of the Kabbalist centres of Spain or Safad. And here was the fervent Hassid whose way of life and aspirations remained identical with those of the Hassidim at the time of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, more than two hundred years ago. And again, there there was the shrewd Mitnaged, versed in the Talmud and the Halachic Authorities who might have stepped out of the Vilna of Rabbi Elijah the Gaon, a hundred and fifty years back.

Here you would find the young Hebrew intellectual walking about and debating in the streets of Lanzut just as his intellectual forerunners went about in the mid-nineteenth century, in the days of Smolenskin and Yehuda Leib Gordon. And standing apart from this small and colourful group, or so it seemed at first glance, were the half and quarter-assimilated Jews, just as their predecessors once stood in the assimilationist centres of Western Europe.

During the final decades, the Jews of Lanzut had been inspired and invigorated by all the many currents coursing through the broad channel of Jewish life in Eastern Europe. From the mighty current of the national, social and political movements of Polish Jewry, little tributaries and rivulets ran into Lanzut, reaching the most extremely observant as well as the cultural and political assimilationist.

Before our eyes pass a succession of types and characters. Here were the wardens and communal workers of the congregation; Rabbis and Dayanim; the various types of Hovevei Zion and Zionists; Beth Hamidrash students on the one hand and students of the Polish gymnasium on the other; the melamed or old-fashioned Hebrew teacher with his class; the more modern Hebrew teacher with his improved classes, and those who studied modern Hebrew in the various Youth Movements. Then there were the Socialists and the Communists who sought salvation among the gentiles in the outer world. And in addition, Lanzut swarmed with Halutzim and Zionists preparing to go to Eretz Israel where they sought redemption in their homeland.

Like the characters of Lanzut were its institutions. There was the gloomy Hekdesh (charity home), the Bathhouse, the Kloiz (small house of study), the Rabbi's prayer quorum, the House of Study and the magnificent and aged Synagogue, the charity institutions and Gemilut Hassadim (free loan) Fund, the new congregation, the Zionist Organization with all its various parties, committees of every kind, Youth Organizations implementing their aspirations; various enterprises of the national, social and public revival, artistic, cultural, economic, sports and other institutions.

This gallery of characters and institutions covered the entire spectrum of classes and groups within the community from the poorest of the poor and included the craftsmen, shopkeepers, merchants and householders and the members of the liberal professions.

Within the little town of Lanzut, they lived their full and ample lives, imbued with a yearning for human and national redemption. Their community was but one of the many that have been completely destroyed.

May this Memorial Volume be a tombstone in print on which are engraved the life and struggles of our Holy Congregation; in order that the survivors of Lanzut and their offspring who follow after may bear them in mind together with the whole House of Israel.

 

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