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[Page 554]



Ostrowiecer in Argentina Erect a Memorial to Martyrs

by I. Branden

Translated by Pamela Russ

[ ] translator's remarks

The difficult life of the Jewish masses under the power of the lording military government in Poland, forced them between the First and Second World Wars, to migrate to other countries, particularly on the American continent. Just as from tens and hundreds of other cities, many Jews also left their birth city of Ostrowiec. The majority of them moved to American countries and they are now found widely scattered in South and North America. Nonetheless, they remain closely tied, as their history connects them, [as do] the traditions that they inherited from their forefathers, and their own stormy youth. During the last years, another important factor came about that united the landsleit [compatriots] of the city, and a feeling of togetherness grew. Whether close or far from one another, people felt that a similar thought brought them together and placed the responsibility to maintain their roots upon them. And this spontaneous position – and this is how it is to this very day – is the response to the Nazis, the will to uphold the core of the Jewish nation, both through


The editorial committee of the “Yizkor Book” that was published in Argentina

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strengthening the treasures of the Jewish culture and through upholding the folklore that has it roots in the town's springs. The activities of the landsleit societies are very important and they have important goals, an experienced and societal hand just has to better regulate their work, so that the initiative that arises should not be cheapened, and the energy of the activist should not go to waste.

The Ostrowiecer decided to set up a monument of their city not of granite, that should be a witness, but with time, this witness-bearer would become weaker, quieter, and more distant. They therefore decided that the monument that would honor the 16,000 from Ostrowiec who died, should be a written document that would tell the story of their city where Jews lived for four hundred years, the societal activities and evolution of the Jews in the city and the surrounding areas, from which one could see in general the involvement of the Jews of the development of Poland. In the end, the Nazi invasion and destruction of the settlement, which was an important component of the millions of homeless, and the heroic resistance of singular individuals, who expressed the pain and anger of the entire nation, and their fight against the Nazi beast was not an individual [fight], but a national one. The book “Ostrowiec” embodied it. In a series of works, written by ordinary people, there grew out a city that was destroyed by the vicious Nazi hands, and in a short time, regained its position in the important chain in the life of the Jewish settlements in Poland.

There are 35 works in the book of collections. The majority of them were written


The Askarah [memorial gathering] in Munich,
which all the Ostrowiecer from the entire Germany attended
Seated in the first row: Yair Tzimerman, Mottel Tzukerfein, Yakov Steinboim, Yeshiye Sherman, Isaac Beinerman, and Yechiel Maggid – Rosenberg

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by Ostrowiecer living in Argentina. Putting aside a few smaller articles, we have to underline that there is important material in this book of collections, that present historical documents and at the same time an accusation act against the Nazi criminals that destroyed and decimated Jewish life. The works of M. Piltzmacher, Yoske Apter, and of Ever Beinerman, complement each other, and through them all the many colors of the Jewish life are brought forward. Before you, you see a city which, in its very existence, conducted in miniature, a royal life in Yiddish, and it not only grew in size each year, but also in its depth. You read the details and you feel that the root of Ostrowiec could provide endless life to entire Jewish settlements of the American countries through a perpetual flow of people and it would still remain unchanged. That's how strong was the energy of Jewish life of the old and new Jewish culture.

Also, the other works of the book that are related to memories, step out of the narrow, personal lines into which it is very simple to fall, since people write about themselves and their loved ones. They are important societal descriptions that will serve the future historians to be able to see the Jewish town in many different aspects of the arguments, and the arguments that went on for clarity and for elevation. Even pictures of the distant past uncover the character of the Jewish person, and it squeezes out of them the healthy core that later came to be expressed in the modern Jewish culture.

In the section of the “Churban” [“destruction”], written by Urbas, Simon Lerman, and material which the editorial committee had gathered, the publishers tried to give an idea about the past Nazi criminals. These works, which take up 57 pages of the book, are not literary material or artistic descriptions; these are ordinary words from witnesses who were present, saw, and experienced on their own all these tortures which the Jews suffered under Nazi rule, and they gave this over as they saw and felt it. These materials will, without a doubt, serve as accusation material against the enemies of our people, and as material that will characterize the great resistance.

The editorial committee did not allow any words to enter about the traitors who collaborated with the Germans. These outcasts who are now in many different countries, and the major criminals – the Zaifman brothers in Brazil – individually and generally – were completely locked out by the Ostrowiecer from Jewish societal life.

In the book, there is also Opatoshu's [Yiddish writer; 1886-1954] story “The Ostrowiecer,” and also stories by Chaim Goldzats, which come from Ostrowiec, and the descriptions are truthful pictures of the mentioned city and of Jewish levels of life. Songs by Leibish Piltz, Kudlovitch, and Y. Urbas, with the theme of the “Churban of Ostrowiec.” This material complements the book, and it becomes a monument that will always demand revenge and always remember those who died by the hands of the bloody Nazis.


The first child that was born to Ostrowiecer survivor, Mottel and Mattel Feffer


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