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[Page XL]

The Society of Ex-Lanzut people in New York

by Morris Frieder

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The Jews of Lanzut started emigrating to the United States of America at the beginning of the 19th century. All the greenhorns (“greeners”) in those days worked in sweatshops. The majority longed for and missed their homes. Social contact and relations amongst themselves were non-existent. From this epoch, no documents or letters are available.

In 1889, a few of the Lanzut Jews gathered together in a restaurant and at a meeting, founded the Lanzut Jewish Organization of the U.S.A. Among the founders was the late Louis Tantz. In this manner the “Society of Lanzut Jewry in New York” was officially formed on 15th January, 1889. The first president was the late Louis Tantz and the following members were elected to the committee: Abraham Kesten (Vice-president), Isaac Greenman (secretary), Kalman Rosenblit (Treasurer), David Schlossman (executive secretary for monetary matters) and Mendel Kasse. This new society began its activities by establishing its aims. Their chief aim was the establishment of mutual aid and the maintenance of contact with the home country, aiding the needy immigrants and members of the Society's families.

In those days, the immigrants from Lanzut established themselves in a Jewish environment known by name as the Lower East Side. The first thing they did was to establish a synagogue of their own in which they prayed on Saturdays and Holidays. The synagogue was the meeting place, for many years, of the Jews of Lanzut in New York. There they inquired after one another's health and received new of those members who did not actually come to pray. They invited members to various celebrations and interchanged ideas and opinions on business. After a while, their society grew and their activities increased.

After years, they became “Americanized” and they celebrated parties, conducted meetings and behaved, in general, as “old timers”. On 19th May, 1901, they celebrated the 12th year of the Foundation of Lanzut Relief and the President of the Committee was Sam Preis. At the Jubilee Party, Professor Feder conducted a musical programme. From then on, it became traditional to celebrate banquets, anniversaries, etc.

These functions were publicized by means of illustrated booklets which were also a means of commercial advertising and of giving an account of the Union's functions. The Lanzuters put out an especially beautiful illustrated booklet on the occasion of their 35th anniversary – 18th January, 1925 and their 40th anniversary on 6th January, 1929. It is to be noted that during this period, the Society was most active. The following data explains their activities:

On the committee there were 12 members and in the Society itself, 307. In 1949, there were 10 meetings and 3 general meetings and on the committee, there were 10 members. In 1950, 21 meetings and 4 general meetings took place and there were 8 members on the committee. In 1951, 23 meetings and 2 general meetings took place and there were 8 members on the committee and 236 members in the Society itself.

Between 1949-1951, the Managing Committee was as follows:

Yitschak Greenman Honorary Secretary Beryl Merzil President Louis Shtizel 2nd Vice-President Nathan Goldstein Vice-President Arthur Seligman 3rd Vice President Harry Shefl Treasurer Sam Sauerhaft Secretary

In 1926, Mr. Charles Buch was elected President of the Society and Mr. Louis Shtizel, Vice-President.

In 1927, the Relief opened the Lanzuter Training Corporation.

[Page XLI]

lane041.jpg
Standing from right: Mrs. Sam Schipper, Julius Spergel, Harry Schwefel, Monie Fischier, Benjamin Goldblatt, Benny Godstein, Pres. Benjamin Sauerhaft, Max Spergel, Charles Buch, Joseph Zellerhaft, Martin Kraut, Jack Lauterfeld, Mrs Bernard Freed, and Harold Schipper
Seated from right: Mrs. Molly Schipper, - , - , - , Mrs. Morris Frieder, - , Mrs. Betty Buch, - , - , - , Mrs. Moris Goldstein.

 

Simultaneously and parallel to the Relief, the Ladies Benevolent Society was formed and almost all the women of Lanzut joined. Because of the work of these women, society life became more active and the members more closely-knit. They especially distinguished themselves by aiding the needy during the Jewish Holidays. It became a tradition (during the period between the two World Wars) to send to their home-town money for Pesach to the amount of a few hundred dollars. In performing this “Mitzvah”, individuals also took part aiding their friends and families. Until World War I, the activities of the Society were very energetic, owing to a most important reason. The majority of the immigrants had at first resided in the Jewish Quarter on Lower East Side – they were not scattered all over the great city. When their economic position improved, the Jews began to move and take up residence in other parts of the city where a non-Jewish population lived. There, I would like to stress a few activities in which our Relief distinguished itself.

During the first period, it gave aid to “Bnei Lanzut (Sons of Lanzut”) who had come to the States. The English language came into use. All the material was advertised in English – invitations, accounts, booklets, etc. In this way, informative material was collected.

In the year 1939, in the month of January, the Benevolent Association celebrated the 50th anniversary of its existence. In commemoration of this date, the Association published a magnificent album containing material on the Lanzut Relief of N.Y. Letters of congratulations were received from the Governor of N.Y., Mr. Lehman; Louis Tanz, the first President of the Society (1889-1929); Sam Preis, chairman of the Jubilee Committee; and also a congratulatory letter from the Polish Legation was received on the occasion of the 50th Jubilee. Two events took place which both greatly influenced the Relief and enlivened their activities: a) The outbreak of World War II in 1939; b) The establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

In September 1939, Poland was invaded and

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conquered by Germany and our sisters and brothers fell into the hands of the Nazi. During the years of the war, our contact with Poland was severed. Our hope was that many Jews, including the Jews of Lanzut, would be able to save their lives by crossing the River San into Russian territory. In the first years of the war there was absolutely no possibility of helping. It was only after a few years had passed that we were able to dispatch parcels of food and clothing to Russia through the Red Cross. In this way, many parcels were sent by our Association and by individuals to their relatives. Only at the conclusion of the war were we made aware of the terrible catastrophe!

Out of 2753 Jews in Lanzut in 1939, approximately 300 families were saved by escaping to Russia. The majority of these families made their way, after a lot of difficult adventures, to the Land of Israel. On their way back, they stopped – some in Stettin and some in the Refugee Camps of Germany. In 1943, the Association of Lanzut in Israel informed us that the first refugees of Lanzut had arrived from the Far East through the Polish Army of General Anders.

During the years of the Great Aliya (1949-1951) 250 families of Lanzut arrived in Israel. These refugees arrived in a state of listlessness, worn-out after years of hardship and wandering – lacking everything and even without a roof over their heads. It was the duty of our “Friends of Lanzut in Israel” to send the first helping hand to our brethren. We also acquired information as to the whereabouts of individual survivors who had immigrated to Latin America.

After a few years, the People of Lanzut in Israel and all over the world felt that it was necessary to commemorate the name of the Martyrs of Lanzut. The society of Lanzut in Israel offered a suggestion…

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Active members of the Lanzuter Society

Standing from right: Nathan Malter, Morris Frieder, Charles Buch, Benjamin Sauerhaft, Rabbi Rokach, Bernard Freed, S. Blitzer, and Louis Rosenblum. Guest
Seated from right: Sidney Fliegel, Max Gartenhaus, Sam Sauerhaft, Sam Kestecher, Sam Wiener, Benny Merzil and Sam Schipper

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Top row: Benny Merzel, Bernard Freed, Katie Freed, guest – guest – Jack Frieder, Benjamin Sauerhaft, - guest
Second row: Sam Kestecher, Mrs. Morris Frieder, Sam Sauerhaft, Gertrude Ross, Phyllis Sauerhaft, Sylvia Sauerhaft, - guest, - guest, - guest, Benjamin Turteltaub
Bottom row: Mrs. Sam Kestecher, M. Ross, S. Ross, Saul Sauerhaft, Neil Ross, guest – guest – Morris Goldstein, and Morris Frieder

….that a forest named the Forest of Lanzut should be planted in Israel to commemorate their holy names. On 15th December, 1957, we gathered together at a special meeting for this purpose. The Chairman elected to the Committee of the Forest of Lanzut was Abraham Gans and the Secretary, Bernhard Freed. The Committee collected 300 dollars and paid this sum to the Keren Kayemeth in N.Y. for a forest to be planted in the Hills of Judea in order to commemorate the names of the fallen Martyrs of Lanzut.

Though we have all found great consolation in the establishment of the Jewish State, nevertheless, we have not forgotten our native town and its martyrs. We assemble and conduct meetings in order to commemorate and mourn the Martyrs of Lanzut and, at several of these meetings, the holy fallen were eulogized by the Rew. Shalom Rubin, the son of the late Rabbi of Lanzut, David Rubin. It is to be noted that our brethren in Israel were not contented only with the planting of the “Forest of the Martyrs” but wish, by means of a Yizkor Book, to help alive the memory of the Lanzut community as many communities in Israel do.

It came to our knowledge that a few active and conscientious members of the Lantzuter Organization in Israel had prepared the first stages towards the publishing of a Yizkor Book. The living spirit of this holy work is our friend Michael Walzer. He neglected his private interests and also contacted many sources such as various institutions as well as Polish historians and spared neither time nor effort in finding and collecting all available material to make possible the publishing of the Yizkor Book.

A result of the interchange of correspondence between our friend Michael Waltzer and us was the founding of the Committee for the Book of Lanzut. The following members elected were: Kalman Buch, chairman; Eliezer Rozenblaum; Morris Frieder; Max Krug and Benjamin Sauerhaft.

The appointed Committee called a General Meeting on 20th May, 1960 and collected the first donations in aid of the Book but the final decision in taking active part in the publication of the book

[Page XLIV]

Was the trip to Israel of our chairman, Mr. Kalman Buch. The latter transferred the sum of five hundred dollars to the Book Publishing Committee and informed the Committee that the Relief would take upon itself to provide the paper needed for the book.

The Committee requested of the Lanzut community in America the donation of contributions for the publishing of the Book and that is how we finally became equal partners to the book that commemorates to eternity the names of our holy community.

In recent years, our President, Kalman Buch and his wife visited Israel as did Leib, the son of Eliezer Shapiro, Joshua Wiener and his wife; Esther Nisan Marder; Abraham Mohl and his wife; Moshe Ben Mordechai Flashen and his wife; Sigmund Blitzer and the Reverend Shalom Rubin who is the chairman of the Society of Rabbis (Israel Hatzair) and his wife, the Rabbanit Chana Rubin. All were warmly received with great hospitality by the Society of Ex-Lanzut People in Israel.

All our friends that visited Israel were deeply impressed by what has been accomplished there and with great enthusiasm expressed their wonder at the life there. They also informed us of all the activities performed by the Society of ex-Lanzut People in Israel. Now that the book is in our hands and our spiritual need expressing our emotions has been fulfilled by the Yizkor Book so dear to us – we shall continue to cherish our love for Israel.

And these are our aims which we have in mind. Our native town and its people are gone and our contact with them severed forever! We, therefore, pledge ourselves to strengthen our ties with Israel and especially the Jews of Lanzut who live there. Those who have visited Israel and come into contact with ex-Lanzut people saw their effort to revive again their lives and to renew their world which was so cruelly shattered by the Nazi in the war of Extermination.

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Unveiling of Mass Monument to the Lanzut Martyrs at the New Mount Carmel Cemetery, N.Y. October 20th 1963
Standing from right to left: Benjamin Sauerhaft, Bernard Freed, Sam Sauerhaft, Fliegel, Benjamin Mersel, Morris Frieder, Charles Buch, Rabbi Shalom Rubin and Lipe Gartenhaus

[Page XLV]

Our pride in our brethren in Israel is great and compensates partly for our great sorrow in those who are lost to us. We should erect a monument in N.Y. to our fallen brothers but we should also help these – the living!

Life in Israel is not easy. Many of the ex-Lanzut families are in need of material help such as accommodation, employment and tools to practice their trade, etc. It is necessary to establish a Big Help Fund (Kupath Gmilath Chasudim) in Tel-Aviv that would be able to help the Lanzut people in their needs. We, the ex-Lanzut people that live in N.Y. do not share their needs but we can imagine the plight of those in a difficult position. Besides this, we should keep in contact with Bnei-Lanzut the world over!

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Executive of Lanzuter Farband in N.Y. 1963
Standing from left: Rabbi Hirsch Melech Rokach; Sam Sauerhaft; Benjamin Sauerhaft (President); Zelerkraut; Charles Buch (past President); Louis Rosemblum (Vice-President); Benjamin Merzil and Bernard Friends

[Page XLVI]

Greetings extended and addresses given by our prominent Presidents and Members on the occasion of the 35th (1889-1925); 40th (1889-1929) and Golden Anniversary (1889-1939) of our Lanzuter Benevolent Association.

*

Greetings of our President.

Dear Sisters and Brothers,
        I am grateful to our Heavenly Father for allowing me to be here tonight to greet you all. I want to tell a little of our history of the past.

In the year 1889, this organization was called into life and we named it the Lanzuter Benevolent Society in honour of the town where our cradle once stood.

Among the organizers, we had not only young men, men of mature age and of the highest type of mankind and of education.

I had the honour of being chosen the first president of this organization, and we pledged ourselves to exercise Unity, Brotherly love, Charity and Benevolence, principles which we are practising today not only among our members and their families but toward mankind at large.

We have continued to do this for a full thirty-five years and in these years of our existence, we have suffered many hours of darkness and sorrow when our Heavenly Father took away from us, during that period into his everlasting abode, some of our dear Sisters and Brothers – in number for whom we have mourned deeply. Tonight, we will observe Memorial Service in their glorious names.

With pride we say that we brought them to their last resting place according to our Jewish ritual and rites.

Our doors have always been open to help other worthy Charitable Institutions in this great city of ours.

Yes, let me go one step further and thank you all for your great help in so willingly giving your money to the amount of thousands of dollars to help our war-stricken people in our hometown Lanzut, that they may not perish from this earth.

As to our financial standing, I am fully convinced that we are 100% solvent. We have cash in banks and property to the value of $30,000. Besides this, we have a wonderful membership.

I also want to thank you for your kind cooperation and for the respect you have shown me in the many years I have spent in cheerfully serving this organization.

A few words to our Sons. We look to you, my dears, that you may come and assist us in our work. It is up to you to see that the work of your dear fathers may not be in vain. It is up to you to relieve us of that burden of responsibility. I am sure that you all possess enough power and energy to continue our good work. I hope and trust that each and every one of you will heed my appeal. I close, wishing you all an enjoyable evening and hoping that this organization will continue in the future as in the past with Unity, Brotherly love, Charity and Benevolence.

Fraternally Yours,
Louis Tanz, President.

Greetings !

In the year of 1889, a few immigrants from Lanzut came together and decided to organize a Lanzuter Verein. A meeting was called for Saturday night, June 15th and it was held in the rear of a store which was owned by our dear departed brother, Joseph Schlossman. An election was held that same night and the following officers were elected:

President : Louis Tanz
Vice-President: Abraham Kasse
Rec. Secretary : Isaac Greenman
Fin. Secretary: Kalman Rosenbluth
Treasurer: David Schlossman
Trustee: Louis Fruhling
Trustee: Morris Lilian
Trustee: Chaim Leib Ringel
Trustee: Mendel Kasse
Serg's at Arms: Samuel Stegman

The banquet lasted until Sunday morning and on Monday, we applied for a charter. The charter was granted and we started to collect some more money from the members and a committee was appointed to purchase a Seifer Torah. Our good members, Mr. and Mrs. Joel Erenstoft, may they rest in peace, asked us to have the place of prayer in their home and same was accepted.

[Page XLVII]

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Ex-Lanzut People in New York

[Page XLVIII]

We have continued the good work at all times. The spirit of 1889 became stronger from time to time; that is in Love, Respect, Friendship, Charity and Benevolence – and this is the history of our past.

And now my dear young friends, the history of the Future is in your hands.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I give you my heartiest greetings at the 35th anniversary of the Lanzuter Unterstutzung Verein of which I have the honour of being the chairman of the Arrangement Committee.

Words cannot express my feelings to see you all assembled tonight with your sons and daughters to celebrate our great success which was made possible only thru the faithful efforts of the Arrangement Committee together with your united cooperation.

To have the honour of greeting my fellow-officers and brothers is indeed a great privilege and it will remain deep in my heart forever.

Wishing you all a pleasant and entertaining evening, I am yours,
MAX KRUG
Chairman of Arrangement Committee.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen:

With pride and joy do I come to greet you at your 35th anniversary which I hope you will find very pleasant and entertaining.

As I quote these words, my mind goes back to the time when this organization was merely a stripling and I visioned the hard work which the officers and members went through to cause it to attain the great heights which it has arrived at today. When I think of the enormous brotherly aid given by this glorious society, I feel very proud to be called a member of the Lanzuter Unterstutzing Verein.

A good many organizations of this kind have been formed but few have survived. Ours is a success only because of the endurance, intelligence and goodwill of our offices and members.

In closing my greeting, sisters and brothers, I wish you all an enjoyable evening and I hope to see you at our next anniversary.

HERMAN B. OFFNER
Ass't. Chairman of Arrangement Committee
Our Treasurer.

 

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

I am very thankful to you for the honour you have bestowed upon me, that of choosing me president at this 40th anniversary of our organization. With your cooperation, I have been able to carry out the fundamental ideals of Brotherly Love, Charity and Benevolence. These ideals which were laid down by our organization in the year 1889 have grown greater with the advancing years.

It is my earnest wish and desire to be able to continue to do my share toward keeping our Lanzuter Benevolent Association the successful organization that it has become.

With the hope that such occasion as this will occur for many years to come, I bid you all welcome.
CHARLES BUCH, President.

 

Dear Friends,

It give me extreme pleasure to be present here tonight celebrating with you our 50th Golden Anniversary. I appreciate the honour conferred upon me by our worthy President Louis Tanz, in appointing me Chairman of the Journal Committee. I look forward to serve under him again at our 75th Diamond Anniversary.
SOL BRONSTEIN
Chairman, Journal Committee.

 

Just a word to the non-active members from the incumbent President.

When you joined this Lanzuter Benevolent Organization, you made it your sacred and permanent dwelling but since then, you never came even once to see whether the pillars are weather-worn or missing, or tried to help those few that do come to meeting after meeting and struggle to keep the dwelling from falling. Is this fair? To repent is NEVER too late; from now on, please make every effort possible to come to the meetings as regularly as possible and help build a greater, stronger and richer organization for the benefit of all. Assuring you a very warm and cordial reception,

Yours for progress,
SIGMUND BLITZER

 

Dear Members,

This is to me the most momentous occasion of my life. As Chairman of the Banquet Arrangement Committee, I have seen this, the 40th Anniversary Banquet, the crowning effort of the Lanzuter Benevolent

[Page XLIX]

Association. This is also the peak of my ambition for as charter member of the organization, it has befallen me to carry out the precepts of the organization, that of accomplishing everything I have undertaken.

In my constant and continuous association with the other members of the Banquet Committee, the conviction has strongly been confirmed in me that our brothers, individually and collectively, are at all times ready and willing to give their time, money and energy in order to further the interests and to assure the success of all the Society's undertakings.

I take this opportunity of thanking you all for your whole-hearted cooperation and I sincerely hope that in the near future, we shall all of us again be assembled in a similar festivity and it is my urgent wish that our organization continue to a happy and permanent existence.

BENJAMIN GREENMAN
Chairman of Arrangement.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my sincerest wish that our Society may hold many gala occasions like the one this evening, and it should have a long and prosperous existence.

LOUIS STUTZEL
Treasurer.

 

Upon the completion of five decades of benevolent service, the Lanzuter Benevolent Association has come here tonight to regale and enjoy the festivities. The Golden Anniversary Committee extends a hearty and most cordial welcome to all who have come to celebrate with us tonight.

It is my zealous desire and hope that our efforts may be rewarded by your complete enjoyment of the festivities arranged for you by our committees and that your participation in the merriment will be of continuous pleasure.

May I at this time extend my sincere appreciation and thanks to the members of the Golden Anniversary Committee who have tirelessly exerted every effort to assure the success of this eventful evening.

JACOB FLASCHEN
Chairman of the Banquet Committee.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With joy and pride, I greet you this evening. I hope you will all have a very pleasant time.

It is my prayer that we all be gathered again to celebrate the Golden Wedding of our Society at which time I hope to aid in the arrangement of the gala occasion. I am sure the combined efforts of all the members will further the success of our glorious Verein.

Again, wishing you a happy and entertaining evening, I am yours

LOUIS ROSENBLUM
Secretary of the Lancuter Verein.

 

My dear Mr. Bronstein,

The Ambassador desires me to thank you very much for kindly inviting him to the Golden Anniversary of the Lanzuter Benevolent Society to be held on January 15, 1939 at the Commodore Hotel in New York City.

The Ambassador deeply regrets that previous engagement make it impossible for him to attend this anniversary and he has requested me to extent to you his best wishes to Mr. Louis Tanz, the founder and organizer of your Association and its present president, as well as for the further successful continuation of the splendid work carried on by your Association.

Yours sincerely,
For the Ambassador:
M. BUDNY
Attaché of Embassy.

 

Dear Friends,

I deem it a particular honour to have been accorded the privilege of publicly voicing my sentiments to my beloved friends through the channels of this Banquet Journal.

As a member of the younger element, I am proud to say that my accomplishments are indicative of the diligent work that can be put forth by the sons and daughters of our members. Not only have I been Secretary of the Banquet Arrangement Committee, but I am now the secretary-elect of the organization.

My sincere wishes are extended to all here tonight and it is my greatest hope that each and every one of you will help towards the permanent establishment of the Lanzuter Benevolent Association by constant participation in its activities.

ABRAHAM GARTENHAUS
Secretary of Arrangement Committee.

 

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