Translated by Sara Mages
Simcha Mordechai, son of R' Nachman the ritual slaughterer zl, was the grandson of R' Izik Mendel the ritual slaughterer who was one of the dignitaries of the city of Ostrowiec from the old generation.
Simcha Mordechai was a student at Beit Yaakov, the yeshiva of the Musar movement in Ostrowiec, and a student at Beit Meir yeshiva founded by the Rabbi of Ostrowiec, our teacher the rabbi R' Yechezkel'e ztl HaKadosh [the holy].
The death of his father at a young age forced him to stop his studies at the age of 17, and take on the burden of providing for his mother and her six young children.
He was among the fighters against the dictatorial anti-Semitic regime that prevailed in Poland before the Second World War. For this activity he was arrested by the Polish authorities and sentenced to three years in prison.
At the outbreak of the Second World War he was released by the Poles and immediately fled to Russia to seek refuge there.
He actively participated in the war against the Nazis when he joined as an officer in the Polish People's Army of Wanda Wasilewska, and was among the conquerors of the city of Lublin.
After many difficult years of wandering he arrived in Israel in 1949. His absorption in Israel was very difficult, but he came to terms with all these difficulties in the hope that he would be able to build his home in Israel. And indeed, years later he succeeded and prospered in his life and started a family in Israel.
When he was on the verge of establishing himself financially, he suddenly passed away on Saturday, 7 Kislev 5731 (3 December 1970) when he was only 52 years old.
O for those who are gone and cannot be replaced! May his memory be engraved on the tablet of our hearts forever.
Translated by Sara Mages
In a party held by the Society of Ostrovtser Jews in Israel in Israel for the distinguished guest, chairman of the Book Committee in Toronto, the lawyer Louis B. Zucker, we witnessed an exciting meeting between two lawyers: the chairman of the Society of Ostrovtser Jews in Israel the lawyer Yehezkel Ereli (Erlich and the lawyer Louis B. Zucker, whose friendship between is a continuation of the cordial friendship that existed between their grandfathers, Yosef Perelmuter and Meir Zucker. In the discussion that took place about the progress of publishing the book, the two grandsons brought up memories of their grandfathers, who, as mentioned, were close friends.
R' Meir Zucker, grandfather of Louis B. Zucker, was a wise Jew whose words of wisdom, which circulated in Ostrowiec and its surroundings, are known even now among the former residents of Ostrowiec. He served as one of the community leaders and devoted himself to public needs.
Also Yosele Perelmuter, grandfather of Yehezkel Ereli (Erlich), was known as a smart and sharp Jew, and both created a couple that was always seen together in the city streets or in public activities. Yosele Perelmuter was the confidant and adviser of the city's gabbaim, the Heine brothers, who did nothing in their private and public businesses without asking his advice.
As the leader of the city R' Meir Zucker had the privilege of presenting the rabbinical script to HaRav HaGaon, R' Meir Yechiel Halevi Halstock, on behalf of the community. During all the years of his life the rabbi didn't bless the wine on the eve of Shemini Atzeret without R' Meir Zucker sitting at his table. This matter, which has become a tradition, originated from this: Immediately after he was appointed rabbi, R' Meir Zucker met the Gaon who was very worried because he had no guest for the holiday. R' Meir volunteered to be his guest and this has became a tradition until the passing of R' Meir in the year 5673 (1912).
R' Yosele Perelmuter, despite being a God-fearing Jew, also appreciated the importance of general studies and helped his grandson, Yehezkel, to overcome his father's opposition when he wanted to enter a high school in Lodz. R' Yosele passed away in the intermediate days of Passover 5659 (1899).
The parents also continued the tradition of friendship and now - this friendship rolled to the third generation.
by [Shaya Zweigman, Albert Beinerman]
Translated by Pamela Russ
Toronto. - At the local Toronto Mutual Benefit Society, a special committee was set up whose objective was to perpetuate in a common grave, under one common tombstone, the holy martyrs, Nazi victims from Ostrowiec. It was decided to put up a memorial for this purpose.
In conjunction with this holy project, the monument committee of the Ostrowiec society published the following remarks:
Twenty-five years have passed since that gruesome time, when Jewish blood flooded settlements without limit, among which was also our hometown Ostrowiec, and a large part of the Jewish population was murdered in the most barbaric, sadistic way. Among those [who died], were the fourteen Jewish partisan youths, who fought so heroically against the armed enemy, the Nazi beast.
May their memory be blessed!
Ostrowiec contributed its part to the martyrs of our nation and to the heroic sanctification of God's name in the fight, in the tragic moments of our history. With the last breath on their lips, our holy martyrs left behind a task for us: not to forgive and not to forget! Because of that, we have to carry out this holy mission during our lifetime. We will do this by putting up a monument in their memory.
For us the survivors, there is a responsibility to guard in sanctification the beautiful name of the Ostrowiec Jewry. We summon all the Ostrowiec compatriots, wherever they may be, to participate and eternalize their fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, through this historical memorial. We owe this to those who paid for our freedom with their blood.
So, all the Ostrowiec compatriots are called forth, those for whom our Ostrowiec martyrs are holy and dear, to be partners in this task of carrying out this noble and worthy project of putting up a memorial through which the names of our dear and beloved ones will be eternalized.
Shaya Zweigman, Chairman
Albert Beinerman, Secretary
by Eber Beinerman
Translated by Pamela Russ
On November 8, 1959, a conference took place, in which delegates from all the Ostrowiec unions took place (the author of these lines at that time represented the Ostrowiec compatriots from Argentina and Brazil). At the conference, there was also the question of creating an orphanage in the state of Israel and to publish the works for the Yizkor book, in memory of holy Ostrowiec, in Tel Aviv.
The delegation of the Ostrowiec Landsmanshaft [brotherhood] at the conference in New York consisted of the following delegates: Dovid Zisholtz, Harav A. Bleiberg, Eliezer Kuperman, author of the book Amulige Doros [Former Generations], and Wolf Weiss, of blessed memory, who was one of the initiators of this conference.
These activists participated in these discussions: Shuchman, Fleishman, Avrohom Brikman, Y. Glad, Streitman, Fachler, Moshe Fish, N. Grosman, and Baumstein (of the Women's Division).
The initiative to put up a monument came from the Ostrowiec Society, along with the Ostrowiec synagogue and Ladies' Auxiliary (Women's Division), a monument of granite, which should be a worthy memorial for the fallen Ostrowiec martyrs during the Nazi era.
A committee of the following people was created: Chairman: Shaya Zweigman, Secretary General :Eber Beinerman, Treasurer: Shmuel Friedman, Finance Secretary: Hendel Linson, Hartzke Kudlovitch, Max Stern, Yakov Rapaport, Mendel Velman, Yisroel Zisapel, Shloime Steinhart, Izzy Friedman, Harry Fiedler, Louis Starkman, Volf Felman. From the Women's Division: F. Grosman, Sh.G. Waxman, R. Neszi, R. Zhabner, A. Singer, Sarah'le Friedman, Sh. Weisglas.
On Sunday, October 23, 1966, in the Jewish cemetery in Toronto, the solemn unveiling of the memorial took place. There were more than 500 compatriots from Ostrowiec, along with government representatives, from the local municipality, from the Jewish Congress, from the Histadrut, from the New York Ostrowiec Society, and a delegation from Detroit. At this solemn event there were also representatives from the press, television, and radio.
The ceremony of unveiling the memorial was done by Chairman Shaya Zweigman, who managed the entire program. Six candles were lit to commemorate the six million Jews who died during the dark, Nazi era. Each candle was lit by two people: The first candle was lit by Streitman and Sarah'le Lax (Rosenman); the second candle Leibish Rosenman and Bashke Kerbel; the third candle Mottel Zukerfein and Malke Mushkes (Angenicki); the fourth candle Hershel Kudlowich and Yehudis Neuten (Czernikowski); the fifth candle Avraham Starkman and Lodzhe Apelstein (Mitzmacher); the sixth Yechiel Alter Raczimore and Devora Stern (Rapaport).
While unveiling the memorial, the four oldest Ostrowiec compatriots were honored: Velvel Sherman, Isaac Beinerman, Bunye Hofman (Fridlewska), and Faigele Cohen (Eilkichen).
The floral wreaths on the monument were placed by the following representatives:
In the name of the Ostrowiec Society in Toronto: Chairman Louis Starkman; vice chairman Wolf Folman.
In the name of the Ostrowiec synagogue: Chairman Izzy Friedman, Yukel Smolner.
In the name of the Women's Division of the Ostrowiec Society: Chairman - Dobra Grosman; Vice Chairman Sarah Gittel Waxman.
In the name of the monument committee: Shmuel Friedman, Hendel Linson.
In the name of the Ostrowiec Society in New York: Moshe Fish, Nathan Grosman.
For speeches during the unveiling of the monument, there were government representatives, members of the community, and from the delegation of the compatriots in New York there was Pesach Shuchman. For the major speeches, there were also the local activists from Toronto Shaya Zweigman and Eber Beinerman.
The eulogy for the decimated Jewish community in Ostrowiec was held by Rabbi Rosenzweig, and the El Moleh Rachamim [prayer for the departed], was recited by cantor Cooper.
The fixed monument and the conducted ceremony left a huge impact on everyone.
Speech from the Chairman Shaye Zweigman
Translated by Pamela Russ
We have come to honor the martyrs of Ostrowiec and the surrounding areas, who were murdered by the Nazi beasts. We do not know where their remains are, if maybe they are in a mass grave, where they were buried alive, or maybe the ashes from their burned bodies are still floating around somewhere. Was it Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek, Sobibor, Birkenau, Dachau, or other ugly death places which planted and spread death, devastation, and destruction, particularly for our Jewish nation.
When we, the survivors of the Holocaust from our Ostrowiec, returned from the horrific hell, we immediately undertook a project of exhuming our holy martyrs who were spread in the city and outside of the city, and brought them to their burial in a mass grave in the Ostrowiec cemetery.
We did not put up a tombstone.
|Ostrowiec memorial committee near the symbolic gravesite
Planted and Spread
That is why, we are here today to uncover the tombstone. We will come here every year, to unite with our dear ones, recite the Kaddish, and pour out our tears for their and our better fate.
With a feeling of great respect, honor, piety, and reverence for this day, which is dedicated to the martyrs of Ostrowiec, Konin, and the surrounding areas, to our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, wives and children, friends and acquaintances, an entire city of Jewish life, an entire city of Jewish toil, Jews who died in honor of G-d's name under the ruling barbaric altar, which was called Nazism. May those thugs be cursed in every corner of the globe, wherever their bones may be found!
It is already a quarter of a century that separates us from the time when the toxic flames of hatred burned in the first lines of Eastern European Jewry, and wiped them out. When I say Eastern Europe, I mean to underline the areas where a strong Jewish life thrived. Which gave us the famous classics, Mendele, Sholom Aleichem, Peretez, Ash, Weissenberg, and also the two incomparable giants of Jewish spirit the Vilna Goan and the Ostrowiec Gaon. And all this is no longer here.
At the same time, the enormous tragedy has separated us from: the beloved and beautiful Ostrowiec, our splendor and glow, our pride and jewel, which has exhaled its soul. Jewish Ostrowiec is no longer, that means: that none of us will ever hear again the musical voices from the shul, houses prayer, study halls, schools, libraries. Never again will the sounds of the sweet voices of the Sarah'les, Avrama'les, Moishe'les, and Shloime'les reach us. Who had the right to slaughter them so mercilessly? No more will there be any debates between the right-wing Poalei Tziyon and the left-wing Poalei Tziyon, Hashomer Hatzair, Hashomer Haleumi, the communist workers, socialist workers, Agudah, Mizrachi. A settlement was destroyed, torn up by its roots, demolished by its stem. A religious Jew in my place, would say: Nafla ateres roshno, the crown fell off our head. Ki hayinu lil'agu'lekales begoyim, we became embarrassed and a mockery for the nations. Jewish life became lost, an Ostrowiec people's expression: Jewish blood ran from doors and gates. They could do anything they wanted with the Jews. Worse, the entire world knew of our tragedy, but the entire world remained silent!
Therefore, I turn to you, my fellow survivors of the Holocaust, and to you, fortunate Jews of the continent of America, who physically did not experience all the Seven Gates of Hell, which we will give over to our children, and our children's children, until the end of all generations, what the German nation did to our people.
May they be cursed and erased from the surface of the earth, and may they have no rest, even after their death. May the holy Mother Earth not accept them, not forgive them, and not forget them!
A Speech by Secretary Eber Beinerman
Translated by Pamela Russ
My heartfelt blessings to the memorial committee, for the Ostrowiec Society nd its Ladies' Auxiliary (women's division), and the Ostrowiec congregation (shul), who contributed a lot to perpetuate our decimated Ostrowiec Jewish settlement with a grandiose monument as a memorial of our martyrs, who died in the Name of G-d, in a horrific manner, murdered by the barbaric Nazi beast.
This memorial will be a symbol and motivation that each year, as we should remember our beautiful origins, and our martyrs who paid with their blood for our freedom.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express with a few words my deep appreciation for the esteemed activists who, alongside with me, worked actively day in and day out, so that this monument, where we are now gathered, should be a worthy memory of our heroic martyrs.
Shmuel Friedman and all other committee members.
It is also important to mention the dedication of the chairman of our committee, Yeshaye [Shaya] Zweigman, to his relatives and dear ones. We carry their memory deeply. And the finance secretary Heindel Linzman, of the treasury, his parents, his sisters and brothers, until the end of our days.
There is no one left in our old home, that place which contributed greatly to our heart's achievement, and we will carry this towards putting up this monument beside the heavy tears that will pour on their graves. No one, other than us, will remember them. With deep agony and pain, we remember that horrific autumn of 1942, when the axe of the Nazi lepers was released onto the heads of our close and dear ones in Ostrowiec and the surrounding towns.
I went to visit Ostrowiec after our nation's destruction and, with my own eyes, I saw our nation's disaster. In the Ostrowiec Jewish cemetery, of all the trees, only one tree remained, a large old one, which symbolizes with it loneliness our terrible tragedy, the tragedy of decimated Jewish lives. That is the tree that stands at the gravesite of the great Ostrowiec genius and tzaddik [righteous Jew], Harav Reb Meir Yechiel Halevi Halstock, may his memory be blessed.
We should also mention here, with great reverence, the heroic resistance of our 14 Ostrowiec Jewish partisans, who were cruelly killed by the Nazi henchmen.
May their memory be honored!
It is difficult for us to find a comfort after the gruesome destruction of one third of our nation. At best, it is expressed by our unforgettable writer Z. Segalovicz in one of his songs:How do we comfort you, my residents,May the memory of the decimated Jewish settlements be sanctified, [also] of the eradicated Jewish communities upon which the rage of the Nazi barbaric enemy was poured out.
There is no comfort in our times
How distantly helpless we are
And maybe even farther than far,
There is no comfort.
We call for revenge on their murderers from our slaughtered brothers and sisters on their final, painful road, their final cry before death:
Do not forget us, do not forget!
We will heed this holy command until the end of all generations!
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