by Eliezer Lavi (Yazkirowitz)
Translated by Selwyn Rose
At the Gate
I do not aspire here to write a historical document on those communities for I am not qualified for such: neither is it in my mind to write about the events that occurred during those years of the Shoah my family and I left Miechów six or seven years before the Second World War and arrived in Palestine late in the summer of 1934. But I cannot preclude myself from bringing to these pages some of the memories honoring and thus perpetuating their memory, in the very book dedicated to that cause.
The communities of MiechówCharsznica were not among the longestablished communities in Poland: It was founded only 100 years ago in the years 186466 and until that time only a few Jews would come there for trade fairs. Towards evening, the Jews would be obliged to return to their own nearby communities: Kshoynzh, Wodzislaw, Działoszyce, Wolbrom and Olkusz, all of which were ancient and longstanding. I remember, about 40 years ago they found a Jewish grave in the old cemetery of Kshoynzh dating back 600 years. In the folklore of residents of Kshoynzh and Wodzislaw they would relate from generation to generation that the first Jews who settled in Krakow described the town as Krakow, near Kshoynz or near Wodzislaw.
From the time the Jews received permission to settle in Miechów and Charsznica the town expanded and they began to establish their own community. The Jews created small businesses and industries, traded with the local landowners, engaged in banking, construction erected windmills, indulged in logging in the surrounding forests and opened shops to which the local populace was drawn from the entire area which was rich with the produce from field and garden. The biggest windmill in Miechów, built to the latest technical standards was erected by Jews (Mordecai Greitzer, Alter Warshawski and Yosef Friedman). The windmill was also used to generate electricity and licensed by the authorities to supply all the municipal and government institutions and all the town's residents. It is interesting to think that it was therefore given to the Jews to illuminate the town and its streets. Somewhat later, another large windmill was built (by Mordecai Greitzer), in Charsznica.
The economic standard of the first Jewish settlers was stable and assured and they forthwith addressed themselves to organizing their community life. The Jewish community of MiechówCharsznica was superior in its organizations and institutions compared to all the surrounding communities.
The First Settlers in Miechów and Charsznica
(Family names in Alphabetical order).
As one who functioned as community secretary from 192233 and administered the membership lists, I take it upon myself to perpetuate the names of the first settlers whose families and grandchildren donated much to the development of the community. The number of souls in 1933 reached 2,600 and they are:
Adelist, Shmuel Leib; Olschewsky, Avraham Yosef; Olschewsky, Moshe; Eisenstein family; Issrowski, Shmuel; Itskovich, David; Buchner, Herschel; Borenstein, Michael and sons; Blum family; Blatt, Ya'acov Yitzhak; Brumer family; Brukner, Yosef Baruch; Bryn, Alter Ezrael; Bermann family; Brenner family; Goldberg family; Goldkorn, Dov Barish; Goldkorn, Moshe Schmelke; Ginsberg, Leibusch; Grossfeld, Aharon; Gertler family; Greitzer, Baruch and his sons, Mordecai and Yesheyahu; Greitzer, Yosef; Grynbaum family; Grynwald family; Gerstenfeld, Eliezer and Aharon; Horowitz, Yitzhak David (Itschel) and his son Avraham Mordecai; Huppert, Wolf; Hershliokowitz family; Weill, Moshe Yosef; Weissfeld family; Weizmann family; Wischlitzky, Elimelech; Waldliwerand, Zelig and his brother Reuven Shlomo; Wetfreund(?) family; Wanchdlowski(?) family; Wroclawski Simcha; Warschawski, Alter; Zelikovich family; Salzburg, Yoel and his son Shalom; Naphtali, Herzl and Haim; Jama, Avraham; Yaskiel, Herschel and his sons Yosef and Menahem Monish; Katzengold, Schmelke; Lederman family; Levitt family; Londner, Shimon; Lucki family; Liebermann, Emanuel; Lehreich family; Liesha, Avraham and Ya'acov; Langer family; Landsberg family; Lachs, Leib; Lishmann, Yehuda; Molstein, Mordecai and Yosef; Malinarski, Haim and his sons Menahem Manier and Yosef; Solewicz, Shlomo; Sukenik, Moshe; Stollik, Yehiel; Swirsky, Eliezer; Skowron family; Sereni family; Sercaz, Yehezkiel and Yisrael; Federman Eliezer; Fogel, Meir; Polski family; Posluszny, Avraham and his son Yitzhak; Feigenboim Bones and his sons David Yehuda Ya'acov and Haim Lev; Feigenblat, Alter (Charsznica); Feigenblat, Mendel and Moshe; Feureisen, Avraham Ya'acov and his sons Gedaliahu, Pinchas, Haim and Ze'ev Wolf; Pinchowsky, Shimon and his sons David Yehuda and Ya'acov; Pasternak, Avraham; Pacanowski family; Friedenberg, Shmuel; Zukerman, Aharon (Charsznica); Ziegler family; Zimmerman, Rabbi Moshe, ritual slaughterer and examiner; Koppelowitz, Fischl; Kupchik family; Kurland family; Kornfeld family; Katzurin family; Kaiser, Hanoch Ha'anich; Kleiner family; Klinger, Yudell; Knobel family; Rosen, Avraham; Rosenbaum, Yosef; Rosenblum family; Rosenberg, Alter; Rosencrantz, Kalman (the cobbler); Schechtman, Mordecai David; Sternfeld family; Scheinold(?), Elimelech;
Rabbis, religious leaders and cantors for the Miechów and Charsznica communities.
The first Rabbi installed as community Rabbi arrived in town in 1864. He was Rabbi Yesheyahu Scheinfrucht, the son of Rabbi Ze'ev Scheinfrucht (ZL) a disciple of Gaon Rabbi Ya'acov Gesundheit (ZL) the Rabbi of Warsaw. He was recommended by the wellknown orthodox Rabbi of his generation Rabbi Shlomo HaCohen Rabinowitz (ZL) the author of The Splendor of Solomon just before his death on the eve of the month of Nissan, 1866.
He was extremely learned in the Torah and known for his righteousness, nobility of spirit and soul. He officiated as Rabbi of the community for more than 56 years and died at a good age in the spring of 1922 and buried with great honor in Miechów.
His replacement was his own son, considered a genius, Rabbi Hanoch Ha'anich, who had previously ministered to the community of Charsznica. He was among the most recognized of Poland's distinguished teachers, wise and learned in the ways of life of the world and its customs and was referred to as an arbitrator throughout the region in major disputes between traders. His wife, Malka (May Gd avenge her blood), was the daughter of Rabbi Ya'acov Koppel Zukerberg (ZL) originally from Przemyśl and the soninlaw of Rabbi Alexander Mendel Sender (May his Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing), the eldest son the Holy Cabbalist Genius Rabbi Yitzhak Isaac of Komarno (May his Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing), the soninlaw of Rabbi Avraham Mordecai Horowitz Komarno (May his Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing), from Pińczów. He therefore was the brotherinlaw of the Righteous Genius Rabbi Alter Shalom David Zukerberg the last old Rabbi of Komarno (May Gd Avenge his Blood).
The Rabbinic genius Rabbi Hanoch Ha'anich married his only son, my dear friend, Rabbi Ya'acov Koppel (May Gd Avenge his Blood), with the daughter of the famous Rabbinic genius Rabbi Haim Posner (ZL) a member of the Rabbinical Committee of Warsaw, who functioned like all the rabbis of the committee, one month of the year as the Chief Rabbi of the Warsaw Jewish community.
Rabbi Hanoch Ha'anich conducted his Rabbinate to a high degree and improved upon it by his participation, investing so deeply, that it could be said of him: When a Man's ways please the Lord he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. (Proverbs 16:8), and all the parties and organizations respected him thus preventing much dissention within the community.
He perished in the gaschambers and crematoria of Belzec towards the end of 1942 together with most of the community (May Gd Avenge their Blood).
B. Spiritual Leaders
Rabbi Joseph Kleinfeltz (ZL) a great Torah scholar from among the Righteous of Radomsk; he died in 1924.
Rabbi Shlomo Ze'ev the son of Rabbi Ezriel Alter Bryn. He possessed a scintillating intellect and was considered a genius. He was a disciple of the master of the tractates Agley Tal and Avnei Nazar. He was associated with the Righteous of Gur. He functioned as Rabbi and expounder in Charsznica after the death of his predecessor, the above mentioned first Rabbi and his uncle the second of the community's Rabbis mentioned above selected as the Rabbi, and Father of the BethDin in Miechów itself. He perished in the Holocaust with most of the community of Charsznica, May Gd Avenge their Blood. Of his family two sons survived Avraham and Moshe Bryn and they live in Israel.
Also considered a genius was Rabbi Ephraim Fischl, the son of Rabbi Aharon Borenstein an Expounder and auxiliary Rabbi in Miechów. He was an expert in the Mishna and knew the six tractates by heart. He was a family member of the Holy Rabbi of Sochaczew, the author of the abovementioned tractates Agley Tal and Avnei Nazar, May his Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing. (His grandfather, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Borenstein (ZL), was the brother of Avi, the Holy Genius of the abovementioned Sochaczew); He perished with all his family in the Holocaust, May Gd Avenge their Blood.
C. Ritual Slaughterers and Inspectors
Rabbi Elimelech Spiegel (ZL), a great scholar owner of many gifted attributes, from the The Good Jew of Neustadt and afterwards the Righteous of Khentshin,
Rabbi Moshe Zimmermann (ZL), of Radomsk counted among the righteous of that community, of memorable demeanor, endeared by all and of a smiling disposition, righteous and just in all his dealings;
Rabbi Aharon (Urisch) Greenboim (ZL), a learned scholar from among the Righteous of Gur, soninlaw of Righteous Rabbi Ephraim Fischl Borenstein mentioned above. May Gd avenge His Blood;
Rabbi David Burstein, distinguished scholar, a disciple of Rabbi David Goldman from Kalish May his Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing, a man of many noble attributes and a noted prayer leader May Gd Avenge his Blood;
Rabbi Eliezer Wohlgelernter, (ZL). He was the Patriarch of the family of famous Rabbis known throughout America, Canada and Israel. David was the fifth generation of the author of Mishmeret Itamar and a visionary scholar from Lublin. A preacher from Kshoynzh and the Holy Jew of Przysucha; May his Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing.
Rabbi Ya'acov Yosef Lieberman a learned scholar from Radomsk, he was the grandchild of Rabbi Moshe Zimmerman the ritual slaughterer and inspector mentioned above. He was also an excellent prayer leader. May Gd Avenge his Blood;
Rabbi David Fuchs, a scholar and disseminator among many, a recognized, precious Gdfearing soul from among the Righteous of Gur, May Gd Avenge his Blood. One of his sons Rabbi Yosef Fuchs survived the Holocaust and settled in B'nei Barak. He was an exemplary Gdfearing scholar, and a visionary and sponsor to our son. He died suddenly on 8th October 1965 and is interred in Kyriat Shaul close to TelAviv;
Rabbi Leibusch Rabinowitz, a scholar, the offspring of the author of Tiferet Shlomo and the soninlaw of Rabbi Alter Rosenberg the head of the Burial Society, May Gd Avenge his Blood;
Rabbi Shmuel Issrowaski HaCohen (ZL) the Chief Cantor, spent his whole life occupied with the Torah and Hassidism, a polite and a pleasant conversationalist, among the elders of the Hassidim of Khentshin. He raised his son and daughters in the spirit of Torah and good deeds;
Rabbi Yisroel David Burstein, Ritual Slaughterer and Inspecto; survivors of his family include sons and grandchildren living in Israel and abroad;
Rabbi Ya'acov Yosef Lieberman, Ritual Slaughterer and Inspector;
Rabbi Tzvi Herschel Goldberg (ZL), a Gd fearing man from among the Righteous of Gur. He was the soninlaw of the auxiliary Rabbi Yosef Kleinfeltz (ZL) considered a genius. Of his family a son survived, Avraham Goldberg, Living in Israel (Haifa).
E. Community Leaders in MiechówCharsznica during the years 19051933
Rabbi Simcha Wrotzlowski. It is thanks to his great toil a synagogue, theological college and additional Hebrew classes for children were built that were later used as a school (to replace the original huts that burnt down). These buildings were completed about 1906. He was murdered by robbers while travelling, May Gd Avenge his Blood;
Rabbi Mordecai Molstein functioned as community head up until the outbreak of the First World War, 1914;
Rabbi Yermiyahu Blum functioned as community head during the First World War for about three years;
Rabbi Avraham Friedrich was community head for about six years from 1917 until 1923/4;
Rabbi Avraham Sercaz functioned as community head from 1924 until 1939, until the outbreak of World War Two. During his term of office, the community acquired two additional houses, close to the synagogue buildings, from the above mentioned Rabbi Mordecai Milstein and from the family of Haim Bar Elyakim, Getzil Lewit (ZL), with the intention of expanding the institutions, and many other activities for the benefit of the community that had been neglected for several decades. Community property, which was registered in the names of guardians, was reregistered to the name of the community. It is worth noting that during the administration of the last two community leaders (Friedrich and Sercaz), that major community institution accepted with respect and esteem the decisions of these two functionaries.
F. Members of the Community Management
Avraham Mordecai Stern; Aharon Brenner; Aharon Leib Adler; Asher Antil Koppelowitz; Dov Barish Goldkorn; Haim Feureisen; Hanoch Ha'anich Kaiser; Yitzhak Fussloschni; Mordecai Greitzer; Moshe Koppelowitz; Nathan Borenstein; Reuven Shmuel Kleiner; Shmuel Fogel; Shmuel Leib Adlist; Shimon Dov Yerushalmi, May he be spared for a good life. Ya'acov Tzvi Nittler, living in Tel Aviv.
G. Secretaries to the Community (in order of their administration).
An ideal personality and a staunch warrior for order in the community and the first of the community secretaries of MiechówCharsznica, was Mr. Ya'acov Blum, the son of the head of the community. He began his appointment from 1917; until then the Secretariat had been run by a Christian official from the city council. Mr. Ya'acov Blum labored to organize the life of the community in an ordered and suitable fashion.
With his emigration to Palestine in 1920, his brother, Ephraim Blum was nominated and functioned, together with his second brother, Shmuel Blum a known artist living today in France until the end of July 1922. All the troubles and woes and fears of the Holocaust fell on Ephraim Blum and he survived and settled in America. He visited Israel thinking to resettle here but eventually decided to move to America and died in New York.
The writer of these lines was secretary of the community from August 1922, during the administrations of Friedrich and Sercaz until his own emigration to Palestine in September 1933;
My replacement was a dear student of mine, the noble spirited and gentle soul, Mr. Yona Bar Yosef Blatt who took over after he had completed his studies at the Tachkemoni school in Warsaw as a excellent student. After a few years, he suffered a heart attack while at work in his office at the community center. It was Wednesday 23rd August 1939, nine days before the outbreak of World War Two. May he be Remembered for a Blessing;
He was followed by Mr. Ya'acov Kornfeld until the Holocaust in which he perished. (I will have more to say of him below). The bursar of the community was Rabbi Avraham Liesha, the auxiliary Rabbi a Sochaczew Righteous Jew May Gd Avenge his Blood.
H. Community Institutions
The synagogue was financed on behalf of the community by the highly respected Avraham Goldberg and Shlomo Feigenboim who worked endlessly towards creating a fine synagogue for the community. During their period in office the community invested much money for repainting and refurnishing the synagogue. The wall and ceiling paintings of the synagogue were created by the artist Mr. Shmuel Blum. All the institutions of the community and those supported by it were centralized in the community buildings and its offices.
I. Charities and Help Societies
The Burial Society was run by Alter Rosenberg (Chairman); Avraham Goldberg; Avraham Mordecai Stern; Yosef Baruch Bruckner; Yehiel Stollik; Yermiyahu Blum; Yisroel David Burstein; Mendel Goldberg; Pinchas Feureisen; Shlomo Meir Sheinfrucht the eldest son of our first Rabbi (ZL) and my brother, the last Rabbi, the above Rabbi Hanoch Ha'anich, May Gd Avenge his Blood. And may they be spared for a long life: Rabbi Ya'acov Leib Manele, today a senior official in the Tel AvivYaffo Burial Society and the writer of these lines, until his emigration to Palestine.
1. Religious Seminaries
In 1917 a few young, learned scholars of the Torah, arrived in Miechów, married there and settled themselves in with the Gur Righteous group in the Community building. These young men gave group lessons in Torah mornings and evenings. At the head of the group stood Rabbi Moshe David Waxberg (ZL), a noted Talmud scholar and a profound thinker. He had previously been one of the managers of the Zavirtcha Seminary and it was on his initiative that the Seminary was founded for students who had completed diverse study classes in the town. Every day one or other of the group (all of them without thought of recompense) lectured to the
students and among them the writer of these lines. The students were obliged to deliberate on the lessons and learn by themselves a tractate decided upon by one of the group. Every Shabbat the students were examined by group and Torah scholars of the town. The Seminary developed and students came from other nearby towns. In 1919 a tenured and salaried head of Seminary was installed: the above noted Rabbi Moshe David Waxberg. The Seminary existed until the outbreak war between Poland and Russia in 1920, when all the scholars and some of the students were mobilized and inducted into the army.
At the conclusion of the war between Poland and Russia Agudat Yisrael and the Mizrachi organizations were founded each one in Community buildings.
A. The Foundations of the Torah school of Agudat Yisrael
Its managers were: The much respected Yisroel Eliyahu Krimolowski; the writer of these lines (from the summer of 1922 until he took the position of Community Secretary); Rabbi Moshe David Waxberg (ZL). The members of the school committee were: My Master, Teacher and Rabbi, Rabbi Ya'acov Yitzhak Elhanan Rotenberg, May his Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing and May Gd Avenge his Blood (he later transferred to replace his father Rabbi Shalom, (May his Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing) in Chenstochov); Bezalel Harmatz; Moshe Avraham Melman and Moshe Mordecai Rosenblum May Gd Avenge his Blood.
Similarly, Bet Ya'acov school for girls came into being in the Community buildings. It was founded by the Haredi businesswoman the distinguished Mrs. Sarah Shnirer (ZL). She came to Miechów especially for that purpose.
B. The Mizrachi School
The managers were: Yesheyahu Shmuel Hirshenhorn; Tzvi Kleinfeltz; Yitzhak Tzvi Weiner; the writer S.N. Kahanofsky; Yitzhak Hafter; Tzvi Yudkovitz (at times a teacher of the Mishna and Talmud in the school), and two hours each day the writer of these lines).
The school committee members were: Avraham Spiegel; Avraham Ya'acov Nyberg; Aharon Leib Adler; Gershon Gimlakwitz(?); Ze'ev Feureisen; Haim Feureisen; Hanoch (Handl) Zalmanowitz; Yehoshua Koppelowitz; Yehiel Shmuel Abramowitz; Ya'acov Gitler; Ya'acov Liesha; Yitzhak Tangwurtzel Yitzhak Schweitzer; Yisroel Spiegel; Moshe Yosef Spiegel; Shmuel Leib Adlist; Shmuel Fogel.
Absorbed by the Mizrachi was a school especially for girls under the management of Mrs. Fassia Teitelbaum, in which the students studied Judaism in Hebrew.
C. Teachers of Religion
The community concerned itself that there should be a teacher of the Jewish religion in Government schools for Jewish children. The first teacher was the writer S.N. Kahanofsky. On his death in 1926 his successor was the writer of these lines, in addition to his post as community secretary. With his emigration his successor was Mr. Ya'acov Kornfeld a graduate of the teachers' seminary headed by the wise researcher Dr. S. A. Poznanski (ZL) of Warsaw.
All the above institution received the warm support of the community which similarly supported the students who travelled out of town to study at senior religious schools.
Professional Organizations and Unions
All the above organizations also have offices in the Community buildings.
At the head of Mizrachi Youth stood: the respected Yitzhak Bar Shlomo Meir Sheinfrucht (citrus fruit); Yosef Gross; Yesheyahu Burstein; Naphtali Hertzki(?), Bruckner; Pinchas Bryn May Gd Avenge his Blood; Haim Ze'ev Yuma, living in France; Eliezer Burstein, living in Canada; Yehuda Burstein and Avraham and Arieh Bruckner, living in Tel Aviv.
At the head of Mizrachi Girls Bruriah were Handel Yazkirowitz (neé Saltsburg) living in Jerusalem; Chaya Feigenboim; Feigel Unger (neé Yaskiel) and Miriam Gross May Gd Avenge her Blood.
At the head of HaShomer HaDati stood Yitzhak Meir Shenker, graduate of the Tachkemoni in Warsaw; Meir Liesha; Meir Grunewald; Shlomo Kleinfeltz; Kalman Jama.
Both of the above organizations and their youth offshoots, set up lessons for its members and supporters in Torah and lectures different historical topics and developed many public activities in all areas of life in our town.
This organization founded a library with Mr Ya'acov Blum at its head, in Miechów with the name of The Nightingale. It contained several thousands of books for reference and also for lending out. They also occasionally invited lecturers from out of town (Krakow, Warsaw). At the head of the library stood the respected lawyer Yerechmiel (Mitchell) Isskowitz, Ya'acov Buckner and Tsvi Lewicki an accountant. There was also a branch of The Zionist Movement in Miechów. Its staff included Haim Isskowitz (Chairman); Elimelech Friedrich; Moshe Pinchowsky, May Gd Avenge his Blood; Hanna Zyngerman (neé Feigenboim) and Yehezkiel Dror (Friedrich), living in Israel.
The Young Zionists in Charsznica: The first activists were the highly respected Yesheyahu Bar Mordecai Greitzer and Zerach Bar Shimon Gretler (the writer Yisroel Zarchi (ZL)), who went for training together to Grochowy and emigrated to Palestine as pioneers; After them came the brothers Eliezer, Aharon and Fischl Zukerman and they founded together a training school in the home of Rabbi Yesheyahu Greitzer (ZL) in preparation for emigrating to Palestine and joining a Kibbutz. They also were concerned that the members of the group
All the above organizations were extremely active especially during election times for the Community and the town, and the Zionist and Mizrachi organizations also during elections for the Zionist Congresses.
It is worth mentioning that all these activities took place in an orderly fashion with courtesy and relative quiet, without untoward behavior. Every one of the organizations was given the opportunity to express opinions from the Community platform without interruption.
B. Professional Organizations
Jewish Representation in the Miechów Municipality
As a Jewish Community, Miechów was united with Charsznica and the local villages, although the Municipality was independent of them and separate. The Jewish population of Miechów was approximately 40% of the total population. Understandably the authorities didn't see that situation favorably and attempted from timetotime to annex neighboring villages where there were no Jews in order to lessen the Jewish representation of the Jewish community on the Municipality. Nevertheless, the representation of the Jewish community on the Town Council was 30%. In the Council elections all the Unions and Organizations that I have mentioned above were represented on the Council.
At the head of the Jewish representation stood Mr. Avraham Sercaz and all the members acted in full harmony and took part in all the committees. The delegates influenced the choice of Mayor and the Council and on the election of Chairmen of the various committees and their members.
Jewish members of the Town Council were: The highly respected Avraham Sercaz; Avraham Friedrich; Aharon Berger; David Isskowitz; Haim Feureisen; Yermiyahu Blum; Lemel Katzengold; Mordecai Muhlstein; Moshe Koppelowitz; Nathan Borenstein; Tsvi Herzl Lubchi(?); Reuven Shmuel Kleiner and Shmuel Leib Adlist.
This writer was a member of the Education and Culture of the Municipality and also acted as Chairman of the Election Committee for the Town Council elections.
The Pogrom in Miechów Charsznica
After the Passover festival of the 2nd and 3rd May 1919, a pogrom broke out against the Jews Miechów, on the eve of the intermediate Saturday of the festival and on the Saturday itself in Charsznica. During that pogrom my great uncle, the brother of my mother's father (ZL), Rabbi Naphtali Herzl Salzburg, May Gd Avenge his Blood and dozens were injured some with serious wounds from which they never fully recovered.
Members of the Community and Jewish members of the Town Council, headed by Avraham Sercaz and Shimon Dov Yeruzalimsky from Charsznica, made strenuous attempts at the local and area level to get the authorities to stop the violence since there was a great danger present for all the Jews of the community. At the end of the Sabbath, Mr. Yeruzalimsky travelled to Warsaw and made contact the Jewish faction of the Sejm. They immediately tabled an interpolation on the situation. An Investigation Committee was dispatched to Miechów and Charsznica in which the lawyer, A.M. Hartglass of the Sejm faction took part. The Poles, of course, claimed the Jews were at fault. No words can describe the efforts made by Mr. Sercaz and Mr. Yeruzalimsky to prove the lie of the Polish claim. They accompanied the Investigation Committee the whole time the committee was in Miechów and Charsznica and visited all the injured people. In Charsznica Mordecai and Simcha Greitzer, Mordecai Tsvi Zukerman and his sons Joel and Isser, Motel Steinberger and Alter Feigenblott were all badly injured. Mr. Feigenblott broke down when visited and being questioned by the Committee, saying: I have lived in this place many years, I beg you to invite all the Poles in the area and ask them if I have ever done anything wrong to any one of them during all my life; I'm already an old man, why did they beat me so cruelly and why did they spill the blood of my fellow Jews and myself? We are not guilty of anything! The Hartglass faction said: Please, members of this Committee, which one of you will answer the question posed by this injured old man? Their faces reddened but they said nothing…
Afterwards, Mr. Yeruzalimsky led the Committee to the home of Mr. Dov Barish Goldkorn and showed how his home had been destroyed his furniture and household goods, etc., etc. Finally Mr. Yeruzalimsky turned his face to the Police commander in Charsznica and pointing to him, said to the Committee: If you want to know who is guilty for all this, here is the man! He came to every house after the rioters had finished their work…including the home of my soninlaw, Mordecai Greitzer, who had Government fuel stored in his warehouses: according to the contract with the Government, the Police were obliged to secure Government property when it may be endangered and provide active police protection. Although my soninlaw sent a message to him that there was a developing danger and indicated the legal reference on the contract itself, he took no action whatsoever. Even after the rioting began and my soninlaw and his neighbors were already injured, he promised to come immediately, and he did come but only after the rioters had completed their work. The Police commandant said not a word…The only result of the Investigation Committees visit was that the Police Commander was transferred to another post; a few rioters were arrested for questioning, but not one person ever stood trial.
After the Committee finished its work, Miechów town council convened a meeting at which Mr. Sercaz tabled a motion condemning the rioters and vindicating the Jews from all guilt in the matter; the motion was passed unanimously. At the time it was a great victory against the antiSemites. It was achieved thanks to the hard, unrelenting work and dedication of Mr. Sercaz, May Gd Avenge his Blood, and Mr.Yeruzalimsky (ZL).
Palestine a Pillar of Fire to the Community of MiechówCharsznica
Every occurrence that was connected with Palestine created a resounding echo in the community. Every happy event or festival, every negative edict from the Mandatory authority, found expression and a reaction in special sessions of the Community management, in cooperation with the delegates in the town Council, the Union managements and other organizations and also from the pulpit of the synagogue. Attempts were also made to take an active part in the life of Palestine by sending telegrams and petitions as seems appropriate and as directed by the highest national institutions.
The results of our drives and collections for Palestine by Miechów and Charsznica were an example to other towns.
In celebration of the dedication of the Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus, the Community sent the Chairman Mr. Avraham Sercaz as our delegate to the ceremony; he carried in his hand a laudatory epistle written on parchment, composed by the author S.N. Kahanofsky (ZL), and was signed by all the notable personalities of the town (see the article in this book by Mr. Yeruzalimsky).
About the same time, a delegation under the auspices of ‘Kibbutz’ Miechów headed by Mr. Mordecai Greitzer and Haim Feureisen, visited Palestine in order to purchase land for an agricultural settlement and the establishment of commercial enterprises. The delegation purchased a large tract of land in the vicinity of Afula for an agricultural settlement, from the American Zion Commonwealth (For the names of those who acquired plots of land seethe article by ShimsonDov Yerushalmi).
These are the names of those who settled in Palestine during that period:
Rabbi Yesheyahu Greitzer (ZL), Yosef Berger and Mordecai David Schechtman (May he rest in peace), and may the following be spared for a long and good life: my uncle, my mother's brother) Rabbi Ya'acov Saltsburg. Two of the purchasers, Rabbi Michael Wexler of Charsznica and from my family (my brother's brotherinlaw) Rabbi Moshe Spiegel immigrated to Palestine intending to settle there but the project didn't materialize. They returned to Poland where they perished in the Holocaust, May Gd Avenge their Blood. Both of them had sons and daughters who live in Israel.
The community and its institutions generously supported those who immigrated to Palestine and were in need of financial assistance. The community budgeted each year for the national funds. A training ‘Kibbutz’ was based in the Community Buildings for those who were preparing for emigration. They received financial help, and places of employment, etc., the Community management and its institutions, HaMizrachi and the rest of the Zionist organizations. Many of them immigrated to Palestine and settled there.
These are the senior and elected residents people who excelled in their qualities and way of life, scholars, righteousness, practical men and those of outstanding attributes:
Avraham Sercaz, May Gd Avenge his Blood, talented businessman and a fearless fighter for the rights of the Jews.
Avraham Goldberg, May Gd Avenge his Blood, of the Righteous of Khentshin; he was always ready to help anyone either physically or financially with the utmost he had.
Avraham Goldsobel May Gd Avenge his Blood, a scholar of note, highly educated, possessor of nobility of spirit, eloquent.
Avraham Spiegel, May Gd Avenge his Blood, a precious soul permeated throughout with boundless love for Palestine and his fellowman.
Avraham Yama(?), (ZL), All his life he donated to charities anonymously.
Avraham Waldliwerand, May Gd Avenge his Blood, Scholar of renown, from the Righteous of Gur. He was afire with Torah and ceaselessly working for the annuities for the righteous.
Avraham Ya'acov Nyberg, May Gd Avenge his Blood, a highly intelligent scholar of renown from the Righteous of Khentshin.
Avraham Mordecai Horowitz, (ZL), he was the greatgrandchild of Rabbi Avraham Horowitz (ZL), known as the Sabah Kadisha of Pinchev, a man whose heart was dedicated to charity, benevolence and modest ways. He raised his sons and daughters in the ways of the Torah and good deeds. His offspring live in Israel and follow his ways.
Avraham Mordecai Stern, May Gd Avenge his Blood, a scholar of the Righteous of Kshoynzh, who gave his heart and soul for the good of institutions of charity and kindness.
Avraham Shimon Londner, (ZL), A scholar and researcher of S'fat Emess and the son of Our Master, Teacher and Rabbi from Gur, May his Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing; he was a benefactor to all men. He was generous to all who needed help and his home open to all. His forebears were all great Torah scholars. He raised orphans in his home and brought them up to the Torah and good deeds; he bequeathed them all his assets.
Aharon Grossfeld (ZL). A scholar. He knew the entire Mishnah Berurah by heart.
Aharon Berger May Gd Avenge his Blood, a courteous man and a model of dedication to his fellow man. He was the Chairman of the Bikur Cholim committee from 1933.
Aharon Zukerman (ZL). An honest, straightforward man, Gdfearing. He was the founder of the Charsznica synagogue.
Elimelech Vislitzky, May Gd Avenge his Blood, a great scholar of modest demeanor; the Master Teacher and Rabbi from Ostrovtse, May his Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing and his disciple also.
Asher Enzil Koppelowitz Rabbi Moshe Tversky, a scholar and possessor of many fine attributes from among the Righteous of Kuzmir and Rabbi Moshe Tversky of Lublin.
Benjamin Beinush Follman, May Gd Avenge his Blood, a great benefactor to his fellowman and an accomplished speaker.
Benjamin Beinush Horowitz May Gd Avenge his Blood, a scholar and possessor of many noble attributes; he comes from among the Righteous of Kuzmir.
Bezalel Weizmann May Gd Avenge his Blood, from among the Righteous of Kuzmir and afterwards the host of Our Master, Teacher and Rabbi Moshe Tversky
Dov Brish Goldkorn, May his Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing; his house was a house of charity and benevolence to all, from among the Righteous of Kuzmir and afterwards of Our Master, Teacher and Rabbi Mazurek, May his Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing.
David and his brothers, Nathan and Moshe Borenstein May Gd Avenge their Blood. Scholars from the Righteous of Gur, coming from generations of good deeds and noble spirits.
David Isser Eisenberg, May Gd Avenge his Blood. A member of a charity and an anonymous donor to the above Rabbi Avraham Yama, he came from the Righteous of Krimilov.
Haashil Horowitz, May Gd Avenge his Blood Bar Orian, Gdfearing from among the Righteous of Kuzmir and later of Lublin.
Zelig Waldliwerand (ZL), a survivor of the Righteous of Kotzk and later of Gur, a very old man but clear headed and openminded to alternative ideas.
Haim Salzburg (ZL), (my grandfather). A renowned scholar, from the Righteous of Gostinin and later of Gur, Studying Torah and performing good deeds, he lived in poverty. He was a recognized specialist at circumcision which he performed freely. He held group classes in Torah in the house of the Gur Hassidim, among whom was Rabbi Yitzhak Gitler (ZL), (His Name Will Live On). He also gave lessons after Sabbath prayers until late. I had the privilege of being examined by him on Rashi/ His image is always before me and brightens my ways. He was totally immersed in the Torah and righteousness, even during his last difficult illness. He had excellent ancestry.
Haim bar Elyakim Natsil Lewit (ZL). he devoted most of his time to the Brotherly Help and Bikur Cholim institutions, he was from the Righteous of Our Master, Teacher and Rabbi, Rabbi David Goldman of Kalisz. He had sons and inlaws who were men of Torah and learning.
Haim Bar Saul Lewit May Gd Avenge his Blood. His home was a hostel for noted Rabbis, and he was privileged to marry his daughters with noted men of the times.
Hanoch Ha'anich Kaiser (ZL). A scholar and a deep thinker of the Torah and righteousness from the Righteous of Gur.
Yehoshua Koppelowitz May Gd Avenge His Blood, possessor of fine attributes he received everyone pleasantly and with a smiling face.
Yudel Gerszonowicz (ZL). a man of great charity performed with heart and soul.
Yosef Yaskiel (ZL). A master of the Mishnah from the Righteous of Gur, faithful to his Rabbi's house, satisfied with a little in all things and a soulmate to all mankind.
Yosef Baruch Bruckner (ZL). A scholar and a man of noble virtues and attributes , from the Righteous of Gur; he was head of the Burial Society for an extended period.
Yehiel Shmuel Abramowitz, May Gd Avenge His Blood, a scholar, and an expert in investigative literature and Jewish philosophy of Judaism.
Ya'acov Zimberg (ZL). A scholar and a man of kindness and charity, of noble spirit, and the son of one of the wellknown families of Warsaw.
Ya'acov Czernikowski, May Gd Avenge His Blood. A scholar of noble spirit from the Righteous of Gur he poured his soul into his work and prayers.
Ya'acov Yitzhak Blatt, (ZL). A scholar and known as a keen intelligent arbitrator in commercial matters, the great grandchild of The Prophet of Lublin and he was named for him according to the Family Tree published in this book. He belonged to the Righteous of Khentshin.
Ya'acov Yitzhak Horowitz, May Gd Avenge His Blood. A Gdfearing scholar, full of good deeds, he was the great grandchild of the Saba Kadisha Rabbi Avraham Mordecai of Pinchev, May His Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing.
Ya'acov Tsvi Gitler, May Gd Avenge His Blood. A scholar and from a Jewish home full of grandeur, he belonged to the Righteous of Gur, a businessman he soul longed for Israel and he immigrated with his family to Palestine his heart's desire.
Yitzhak Hutner May Gd Avenge His Blood. A scholar. His entire person was the embodiment of respect and splendor, a member of the family of Rabbi Yehuda Sennal Huster (ZL), considered a genius, a member of the Council of Rabbis of Warsaw.
Yitzhak Posluszny, May Gd Avenge His Blood. He was a Gdfearing scholar who was a member of the Righteous of Gur.
Yitzhak Sheinfrucht, May Gd Avenge His Blood. An energetic businessman and a lecturer to the religious youth, he was grandson of the first Rabbi of Miechów
Yermiyahu Blum, May Gd Avenge His Blood. He was businessman, goodhearted to a fault, helping and financing all who were in need.
Yisroel David Spiegel,(ZL), a scholar from Khentshin. His children and inlaws were all brought up in the Torah and righteousness.
Lemel Katzengold (ZL). An advisor and help to all and of modest habits.
Meir Gitler, May Gd Avenge His Blood. A scholar of the Righteous of Gur, known for his generosity and grace. His wife, Yochaved, was the granddaughter of The Holy Jew, Remember the Righteous and Holy for a Blessing.
Meir Wallerstein, (ZL). A scholar and a Righteous of Amshinov, related to the family of the author of Tossofot LeYom Tov and one of the sons of Rabbi Moshe May Gd Avenge His Blood, a scholar from the Righteous of Gur, known for his charity and kindness, who was from the family of the Great and Holy Rabbi Mendel of Pabianitz May His Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing, May Gd Avenge His Blood.
Meir Fogel (ZL). A scholar of many noble attributes, a Righteous of Khentshin and the regular host on his visits to Miechów of Our Master, Teacher and Rabbi, first Rabbi of Khentshin, May his Righteousness Remembered for a Blessing. He was able to settle many disputes.
Mendel Rogovski, May Gd Avenge His Blood. An extraordinarily charitable and welcoming host. (Charsznica).
Mordecai Greitzer (ZL). A man of righteousness and kindness, wellknown as an honest and truthful man. He had connections, through marriage with the world famous genius Rabbi Moshe Nahum Yeruzalimsky, (ZL), from Kalish. He took part in arbitrations together with the Holy Genius from Ostrovtse. May his Righteousness Remembered for a Blessing and on occasion even got the upper hand in debate.
Mordecai Tsvi and his brother, David Zukerman, May Gd Avenge Their Blood, their main worry was to give help to the poor of Charsznica who were unable to fulfill the Passover rituals of Matzoth, etc, in particular which they did with dedication and faithfulness. Rabbi Zukerman succeeded in immigrating to Palestine his family, settled in TelAviv and died 12th April, 1942 and was buried with honor in the cemetery in Nahlat Yitzhak.
Moshe Yosef Weill (ZL). He was one of the first settlers in town and one of its important citizens. His sons and inlaws were men wellversed in the Torah and good deeds.
Michael Borenstein May His Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing. From among the first settlers and important residents of the town, from among the Righteous of Gur. He had eight children all well versed in the Torah and good deeds.
Moshe Yosef Horowitz (ZL). A straightforward honest man, he brought up his sons and daughters to the Torah and good deeds, he immigrated to Palestine with his family and died early morning, 3rd October 1965 and buried in the local cemetery of Holon.
Sandor Yosef Weintraub (ZL) of Kshoynzh, a great scholar, from the righteous of Rodzin, who all the days of his life were dedicated to the Torah and to Hassidism.
Fischl Koppelowitz (ZL). A great scholar and a Righteous of Chmelnik a resident of the town; his sons were Torah scholars and Hassidim.
Reuven Ziegler (ZL). Possessor of many fine attributes. With the development of the Jewish settlement in Charsznica, he founded a second prayerroom in his home.
Reuven Dov Spiegel (ZL). A scholar from the Righteous of Khentshin. His children and inlaws were Torah scholars. His son, Ya'acov Spiegel (my brotherinlaw), and other offspring, live in Israel.
Reuven Shlomo Londner (ZL). A scholar from the Righteous of Gur and among the important people in town (the grandfather of Rabbi Ya'acov Tsvi Gitler, May Gd Avenge his Blood).
Pinchas (Pincher) Eliyahu Gottlieb Bar Tsvi, born in Zarnovitza in 1897, the soninlaw of Rabbi Eliezer Gerstenfeld from Kurzeluv which belonged to the community of Kshoynzh. He was a Torah scholar and possessor of fine attributes. A member of the Community Council and Chairman of the Gemilut Chesed Fund, which was very active in supporting the needy. He disseminated Torah among many. Three of his children live in Israel; Haim Meir (in Be'er Sheva), Avraham (in Kibbutz Netzer Sereni), and Shmuel (in Rehovot). They changed the family name to Ahoviya.
Shlomo Yama May Gd Avenge his Blood. A Gdfearing scholar and the possessor of many fine attributes.
Shlomo Meir Sheinfrucht May Gd Avenge his Blood. A Torah scholar a welcome wise counselor and dedicated helper, modest in manner.
Shmuel Friedenberg, May Gd Avenge his Blood. His home was a house of righteousness and benevolence; he made anonymous donations an adherent of the Torah and those who studied it.
Shmuel Schmelke Katzengold (ZL). An exemplary donor, among the notable people in town and married his daughters to esteemed scholars of the Torah and the elite of town.
Shimon Dov Yeruzalimsky (ZL). The son of the noted genius of Kalish (see above), and the soninlaw of Rabbi Mordecai Greitzer (see above). A public figure and a vigorous fighter on behalf of the general public. He left Miechów and moved to Warsaw where he officiated as propaganda manager and publishing director of the central office of the Foundation Fund (the Keren Kayemet) in 1925. He resigned from that distinguished position in 1935 and immigrated to Palestine in order to rear and educate his children in the Land of Israel.
Schrage Feivel Chencinsky (ZL). A scholar from the Righteous of Gur; a businessman who concerned himself with needs of the public.
Schrage Feivel Lorek(?),(ZL). An ordinary person but straightforward and honest. He himself fulfilled the verse I will arise at midnight to offer Thee thanks. He was known as The Psalmist Jew.
Esther'leh: The wife of Rabbi Jonah Gretler (ZL) (Charsznica); excelled in good deeds which were performed with intelligence and wisdom.
Bluma: The wife of Rabbi Michael Wexler (ZL) (Charsznica); she was a mother to poor children, clothing them and providing shoes, thanks to the above average intelligence and understanding with which Gd had blessed her.
Chaya: The wife of Rabbi David Isser Eisenberg (ZL), (Miechów) a charitable woman who donated anonymously and beyond her means. Her charity, modesty and intelligence were known far and wide.
Hanna: The wife of Rabbi Avraham Goldberg (ZL). May Gd Avenge his Blood, a charitable woman concerned with compensation and pensions for retired teachers and Rabbis, etc. A great and modest woman.
FeigaLieber: The wife of Rabbi Mordecai (ZL). Performed charity and kindness anonymously and was a treasure to worthy families in Israel. Her father, Rabbi Shmuel Silberberg, (ZL), was the brotherinlaw of the Master, Teacher and Rabbi, Rabbi Avraham Eger, from Lublin, May his Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing, and her mother Mrs. Gittel (May she rest in peace), was the daughter of Rabbi Yesheyahu Lipchitz, May his Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing, from Ogrodzona(?) and later from Warsaw. From the family of Rabbi Moshe ChalfinLipschitz, inlaws of the noted Rabbi Yitzhak Meir, May his Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing, the author of Khidushei Rabbi Yitzhak Meir (The Updates of Rabbi Yitzhak Meir) and later of The Flying Seraph , our Rabbi Menahem Mendel May his Righteousness be Remembered for a Blessing, of Kolchak.
Fassili: The wife of Rabbi Shlomo Feigenboim, May Gd Avenge his Blood. The Chairlady of the Women's Society for Anonymous Help (see above Charitable Institutes and Societies ). She raised orphans in her home and supplied all their needs.
Kaila: The wife of Rabbi Menahem Maanieh Malinowski, May Gd Avenge his Blood, a shining example of righteousness and kindness, she was completely dedicated to helping others. She and her husband raised their children to good deeds and the Torah married their daughters to Torah scholars.
Raize'leh: The wife of Rabbi Avraham Shimon Londner (ZL), A totally righteous woman in all senses, in cooperation with her husband.
Rayel'eh: The wife of Rabbi Moshe Sukenik, May Gd Avenge his Blood, a noble soul involving herself in matters of charity and especially the needs of preparation of brides for their weddings.
On Closing the Gateway
I know fullwell that with the best of good intentions I have not extracted in this my tale all the glory of the notables of our communities, and it is certainly deficient in general and particularly so regarding the honor and respect due to Charsznica and Kshoynzh.
Many of my colleagues know that 15 years ago I suggested and even pleaded in meetings of our organization, to apply ourselves and fulfill the hallowed obligation to publish a Memorial Book of our town so that the remainder of us and our future generations will know the source of the tombstones, the pure treasure and honesty that is hidden in the archives of the souls of our fathers and our fathers' fathers; the nobility and purity of soul expressed in their faces and in their deeds. Unfortunately my suggestion has come to fruition only today. In the meantime serious illnesses have been my lot and several of the oldsters from our town, from whom undoubtedly we could have drawn much information, have gone the way of all flesh, and all I have written is only from memory. More than 36 years have passed since then and their memories and archives have gone with them and are no more.
I find it fitting to express my deepest thanks to the chairman of our organization in of recent years, Mr. Shmuel Berger, and to the rest of the members of the committee working without thought of reward, for their untiring efforts in saving what could be saved and bring it all to publication. They are the ones who encouraged me also to contribute my part in remembering our Holy Communities. Similarly, I must thank the Honorary President of our organization Mr. S.D. Yeruzalimsky (ZL), who read this work and offered several observations which have been accepted. I close with the following Commandment among those that are obligatory to perform:
|O, Earth, cover not their blood, and be not the place of their lamentation until the Lord looks down from the heavens and sees, and avenges them with His terrible vengeance; the vengeance for his People and for his Torah and for the blood that his servants shed like water, as Thou hast promised us: Rejoice O, ye nations, with his people: for He will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land and to his people.|
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