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)
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.
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Akiva Youth Movement||96|
|Poalei Zion members in 1932||97|
|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|
|Hazamir in 1921||120|
|Performance of Tuvia the Dairyman in 1928||123|
|Hazamir rehearsal on Beth Haam balcony||126|
|David Kerzstecher (Kez)||132|
|Founders of the Hashomer Hadati Kibbutz||135|
|Rabbi JL Hacohen Maimon visits Lanzut||136|
|Professors Stern and his wife||151|
|Farewell party for Michael Walzer on his departure for Eretz Israel||155|
|Michael Walzer, Sarah & Moshe Rosenblitt||158|
|Count Poticki, Lohomirski and Ephraim Goldman||160|
|Part of the market place before the Destruction||161|
|Moshe Flashen (Reicher)||169|
|Reb Hilel Shub||175|
|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|
|Receipt from the Jewish Relief Committee Lanzut District: a list of Jews who received potatoes free|
|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|
|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|
|In the Lanzut community wood of the Martyrs’ Forest||219|
|Map of the Lanzut District||220|
|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|
|The entry to the Palace||270|
|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|
|A group of Girls||308|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Exhumation of Jewish Martyrs||388|
|Part of a street||388|
|Reb Naphtali and Rachel Sternheim||398|
|The last road||399|
|The last days of the town – by Yossel Bergner||403|
|Benjamin Zauerhaft, president of the USA Lanzut Relief in 1963, with his family||406|
|Active Lanzut Folk in NY|
|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|
|Charles Buch; Dr Nathan Kudish||XV|
|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|
|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|
|Hayvim Levanon speaking at a reception for the guests Eliezer and Inga Stempl, Argentina and Isaiah Stempel, Jamaica||LIV|
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.
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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