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[Page 117]

Various Shades of Zionism

by Azriel Zamore, Haifa

Translated by Zvi Greenberg

Almost all variations of the Zionist organization were represented in Jezierna.; Those which became active across the whole Yiddish world found themselves popular in Jezierna as well. Now I would like to list a few female and male members of the organizations.

“Hanoar HaZioni” [Zionist Youth] – Afeka Chapter

Mrs. Olexyncer Batya, Altman, Mrs. Glass, Mrs. Henia Heliczer, Mania Hazelnoss, Schlomo Glass, Mrs. Herzog, Hirschhorn, Gottfried, Mrs Zalz, Teacher Chermoni, Jacob Zamojre, Tyncie Zamojre, Dr. Tenenbaum and his wife, Mordechai Marder, Reize Marder, Neski Paket, Fuchs, Mrs. Fuchs, Mrs. Steiger, Pepi Scharer, Abraham Scharer and his wife, Nunke Kellman, Wilhelm Klinger.

 

Supervisory Committee of Zionist Activities
(Jewish National Fund – Keren HaYesod)
Zisel Goldberg, Chaya Charap, Eti Pakiet, Dora Fuchs, Rifka Fuchs

[Page 118]

Executive of The Jewish National Fund:

Among Others: Pepi Spindel, Rina Hochberg, Berisch Charap, Abba Katz, Tzila Rosen, Nunio Paket, Dora Fuchs, Feiering, Freida Spindel, Josef Feiering, Itzi Paket, Avigdor Fuchs, A. Lachman, Sarah Katz, Chaya Czaczkes

 

[Page 119]

Revisionists, Herzlia, Betar:

Aaron Charap, Chaya Czaczkes. Malzia Schwager, Abraham Hochberg, Salke Fuchs, Nunke Kellman, Yekele Fuchs, Fruma Feierstein, Selma Schenhod, Jacob Paket, Josef Zilberman, Reize Paket, Helenka Fuchs, Nachum Katz, Pulwer, Gusta Hazelnoss, N.Fuchs, Chonke Fuchs

 

[Page 120]

The Revisionists in Jezierna were a large active group

A Curious Event with a Correspondent

His name was Naftali Charap and he wrote sensationalist articles for the 'Lemberg Tagblatt'. Sometimes they were about 'remarkable events', other times about 'womens' topics', etc. All the stories supposedly took place in Jezierna. When there appeared to be too many sensational stories happening is such a small town, it was understood that Naftali had taken the stories about women and men from American newspapers and signed his name at the bottom. He just 'changed' New York to Jezierna....
Thus the career of the correspondent was ended.

[Page 121]

United Poalei Zion, Ihud, Gordonia:

David Paket, Josef Feiering, Yizchak Charap, Schmuel David Schonhaut, Itzie Paket, Dr. Chana Litwak, Schule Fuchs, Schimon Kritz (the first president).

Members, among others:
Muni Blasser, Etil Pulwer, Latte Marder, Lusi Fuchs, Lipa Fischer, Jakob Fuchs, Avraham-Chaim Paket, Pesach Altman, Mosche Byk, Schmuel Bien, Moti Katz, Dezioni Zamojre.

 

Gordonia Executive:
Lipa Fischer, Avraham-Chaim Paket, Pesach Altman, Mosche Byk, Latte Marder, Etil Pulwer

[Page 122]

A group of members of the executive of “Gordonia” and “Hapoel”
A. Falk, Lipa Fischer, Nunke Kellman, Mosche Byk

 

M. Kalafer, N. Kellman, P. Lander

[Page 123]

The “Hatikva” organization in Jezierna celebrates its 25th anniversary
Yitzchak Zilfe, Jakob Fuchs, Heinich Czaczkes, Pesach Altman, Avigdor Fuchs, Avraham Herzog, Schimon Kritz, Wolf Fuchs, Zelig Feiering, Ire Kurzrok, Yitzchak Charap, Olexyncer, Jakob Zamojre, Mordechai Marder, Schmaryahu Imber, Avraham Hochberg, Schmuel-David Schonhaut, Nute Paket, David Czaczkes, Sender Shonhaut, Meir Paket, Avraham Danzer, and others.
(taken in 1929)

 

“Hapoel” and the League for workers of Eretz Yisrael in Jezierna:
M. Schapira, Sch. Bien, M. Byk, V. Gottfried, M. Altman, J. Fuchs, Z. Feiering, M. Harenstein, M. Pulwer, Sch. Gottfried, Kenigsberg, M. Katz, M. Gottfried, Sch. Kritz, G. Fuchs, L. Fischer, Sch. Fuchs (beside his young daughter), D. Gottfried, Dr. Ch. Litwak, L. Marder, A. Fuchs.
Holding the “Hapoel” sign: Michel Fuchs, Alesh Litwak


[Pages 124-125]

Pioneering Movements

Azriel Zamojre

Translated by Zvi Greenberg

Pioneering and training movements played a large part in Jezierna. Despite the differences in political and cultural opinions that divided them, among Jezierna householders and youth there was no disagreement on the subjects of pioneering and aliyah [emigration to Palestine]. There was productive competition, in which each party and group wanted to have the most members and supporters emigrate to the Land of Israel.

In Jezierna, an agricultural training center was established on the estate, which was managed by the administrator and agronomist, Wilhelm Klinger.

Others who worked at the estate also helped the pioneers. From time to time, party member Berl Schtok (today Professor Dov Sadan) would visit from the central organization.

Not only about pioneering and training were all levels of Jezierna's society united. The same unity was also found in so-called 'local politics' - whenever there was an issue about anything relating to Jewish interests, whether economic or cultural.

The young people treated their elders with respect, whether they were religious or free-thinkers. They would even observe the traditions on their own, and more than once protested against negative trends on these matters.

A group of Pioneers
Motel Byk, Naftali Charap, Sender Schonhaut, Avigdor Fuchs, Benzion Bleich, Leibusch Gottfried, Jakob Schwamm, Shimon Kritz, Shlomhele Gottfried, Jakob Fuchs
They said farewell to the head of their group Yitzchak Charap on his departure to Eretz Yisrael (in the year 1925)

 

3 Pioneers:
Yitzchak Charap, Shmuel-David Schonhaut, Josef Feuering (1924)


[Pages 126-128]

Schools in Jerzierna

Yizhak Charap, Haifa

Translated by Maya Avis, great–granddaughter

In Jezierna there were two schools; a public school and the Baron Hirsch school that was only for Jewish children. After its forced closure, only the public school was left.

In the town there was a thirst for knowledge. There wasn't a secondary school, but many Jewish youth took the “school–train” to Tarnopol to study at the gymnasium [high school] there.

There was also an attempt to organize enrichment courses of the type that prepared students for the gymnasium or for its entrance exams. These courses were organized by Grubber, a Jezierna secondary school graduate, who later became a pharmacist. His son emigrated to Israel after the war, and was killed in the War of Independence in 1948.

Every morning one would see many boys and girls at the train station. Their destination, as we have already said, was Tarnopol for their studies at the gymnasium. Thus, thanks to this, many youth in Jezierna gained both a secondary school education and also a university degree.

***

On the school–train that ran from Zborov to Tarnopol, there was one carriage that bore the sign “Jezierna”. In this carriage the students from Jezierna would regularly travel, both girls and boys. Who were among these passengers? – Moshe Sharer, Motel Spindel, Yakov Katz–Fuchs, Aharon Charap, Leah Barer, Malcze Schwager, Lotte Marder, Andzi Marder, the Haselnuss sisters, Munya Steiger, Wolf Laufer, Nisan Katz, Nuchim Katz, Ezyo Gersten, Schmuel Gersten, Yossi Fuchs, Lipa Fischer, Rosenfeld, Kalafer, Natan Kellman, Moshe Altman, Margulies, Muni Katz, Shlomit Katz, Brania Scharer, Freda Scharer, Yosef Hoch, David Czaczkes and others. In the station at Tarnopol the two Heliczer sisters and Henia Klinger waited.

These studied away from Jezierna: Beno Steiger, Munyo Zamojre, Nisan Bernstein, Reuven Kellman and others. At the seminary [teacher's college] studied: Rena Katz, Devora Gottfried. A young woman, the daughter of the milk–seller Schonhaut, won a scholarship and studied in Lemberg (Lvov), at Doctor Klaften's Art School. There she married a teacher. They were both killed in Jezierna.

On Saturdays, everyone used to remain in Tarnopol, so as not to travel on Shabbat. At school they also refrained from writing on Shabbat.

***

The “Jezierna carriage” was full of life and laughter. It was customary to tell “secrets”, daydream, sing and even, off in a corner, review words in Latin or prepare mathematics homework. The conductor would enter and greet the passengers: “Jin Dobreh, Jezierna” [Polish: Good morning Jezierna], and in chorus everyone would answer: “Jin Dobreh Pani Conductor!”. He refrained from checking the tickets. He knew everyone – these were his daily commuters.

There were three public gymnasiums for boys in Tarnopol, and one (privately owned by Lenkewicz) for girls. The third gymnasium specialized in mathematics and physics, and the mathematicians studied there – the aim of these students was to become math teachers or engineers or economists. There was also a vocational school.

Each day conversation always turned to the teachers, especially the Jewish ones among them. The math teacher, Franczos, was once a yeshiva student and more than once would interrupt in a gemara–chant [sing–song]: “Where's your X, Landeh? Where's your Y, Landeh?”. Numerous students would write a little Yiddish in their German homework. The German teacher, Doctor Teiwim, would discover this and ask where the Odessian Deutsch came from.

***

Something about the cheders [Jewish elementary schools] and their teachers: All the boys also learned in the cheder, so that after a hundred and twenty years [optimal lifetime], they would be able to say the kaddish prayer, learn a passage from mishnayos [oral laws], and other traditional readings [recited after the death of a parent].

The rooms were cramped (the children already started to learn at age 3). There was a beginners' teacher, a chumash and Rashi teacher [Torah and commentary], and a gemorah [rabbinic discussions] teacher. The star pupils studied with the Rabbi, with diligent Torah scholars, or went to study at a yeshiva. There were Jewish scholars who struggled to earn a living and earned a bit more by teaching a couple of children.

The beginners' teachers were: Yakel Melamed, Henzel Steiger.

[Page 128]

There were also assistants: Aharon–Yizhak, Iche Shorr and others. Their role was to carry the small children to the cheder on their shoulders.

The Chumash and Rashi teachers were: Binya Byk, Lazer Byk, Eliakum, Avraham Reis.

The Gemorah teachers: Peretz Schwartz, Hirsch–Leib Stokhamer, and Yakov Schochet. They taught at the Beis Ha–Midrash [synagogue study hall] or in their own private homes.

In addition, Itzeh Paket, a yeshiva graduate, taught the older students for free. Visiting teachers were also occasionally invited for a zman [semester] or two.

In the cramped shtiebel [little house] of the beginners' teacher, about twenty small children sat around the table; squashed and jostling one another. The teacher had a large siddur [prayer–book] for the children with extra–large fonts, such as are printed for the blessing of the moon prayer. Apart from this, he would search in the siddur for instances where the letters were especially large. The rebbi–teacher would say: “kametz aleph, kametz beis”– and the children would answer in chorus. The teacher and children “repeated the words again and again” – like it is said in the well–known song – until the teacher felt sure that the children knew the words.

The teachers obviously did not have a pedagogical knowledge, but through experience they constructed their own methodology, (cheder–methods) from the group to the individual usage. Using a titel [wooden pointer], they would point to each letter. The Chumash–Rashi teacher also used this method, as well as another one. He would point with his finger from place to place, (called the ‘nail method’). Every Sabbath the students would be taken to learned Jews , for a ‘farheren’ [hearing]. – This was to test the students' comprehension.

The Gemorah teachers had a different method. The student would read the text alone, as well as the interpretations, and the Rabbi would only help where it was required. Today this would be called ‘independent learning’.

***

It should be mentioned that the first Hebrew teacher was Shmaryahu Imber, and after him, for many years, the teachers were Yeshayahu Yavetz and David Chisdis, from Rovna. By the time they left Jezierna, there was already a group of their students who were able to replace them and continue their work until the start of the Second World War.

In 1924, there were chalutzim [pioneers], who came to Jezierna to Hachshara [pre–Aliyah agricultural training program]. They would also teach the children Hebrew. Among these was Zvi Hermoni (Weisselberg), who lives in Israel in Kibbutz Usha.


[Page 129]

A Few Memories from Our Town Jezierna

by Devora Gilad (nee Fuchs), Hadera, Israel

Translated by Ornit Barkai

Jezierna, which had about 180 Jewish families before the First World War, was reduced to 120 families after it. During WWI, which took place right along its perimeter, all the Jewish families moved to the center of the country, fearing the enemy troops who targeted primarily Jews. By the end of the war a number of the families were scattered around the world and the Jewish community was small.

In spite of these circumstances, our town was among the most developed, both in its level of education and especially for its Zionist movement, which was founded by Shmaryahu Imber, of blessed memory, whose brother wrote ‘Hatikva’. An official Zionist association and a Hebrew school already existed prior WWI, at Imber's initiation. The association had the best people and youth working together for Zionists causes, and also owned a private function hall.

With the return of the Jews to Jezierna after WWI, the school was reopened and the activities of the Zionist association were renewed. I remember that during the war between Poland and the Ukrainians, when Petlura and his troops were encamped at Jezierna's train station, we established “Agudat Bnot Zion” (Daughters of Zion Association). On Saturdays the cultural elite and youth all gathered for readings of interesting Hebrew literature (which was illegal, of course). And there, in one of the meetings, the door opened – and in came a Petlura soldier… no words can describe how we felt at that moment… When he saw our fear and confusion he said: “Shalom, I am a Jew, I heard about you, and came to take part in this too”…

At the end of the wars between the Ukrainians, the Bolsheviks and the Poles, and since the Poles had the upper hand, they slowly brought life back to normal, and we returned to our routine Zionist activities. We established a few committees, such as the Keren Kayemet (Jewish National Fund) committee, and the Pikuach (Supervising) committee. Every once in a while we held gala events and dedicated the funds we raised to Keren Kayemet (JNF). Later, after the Ukrainians built a large function hall, a drama club was organized under the helm of Fancia Blaustein. Our performances got rave reviews in a place where theater, or even a cinema, did not exist.

I remember that it was problematic to get a permit before each play. Of course, this had to be done under false pretenses, for the good of the charity organizations. Chaya Charap knew how to trick the authorities in order to obtain a license. The funds, of course, went to the Keren Kayemet for Israel. We should mention here the skirmishes with the Orthodox Jews who opposed the “moral looseness” –– they dubbed us ‘the comedians’. This caused bitter conflicts in many homes between the youth and their parents.

As I said, the Hebrew school already existed prior to WWI. I was among its first students. After teacher S. Imber, of blessed memory, left town, teacher Yaabetz of blessed memory replaced him. One of the top educators, he too left after a number of years, and then we – the senior students – took it upon ourselves to continue to manage the school until a new teacher arrived.

In 1924 a kibbutz group arrived in Jezierna for hachshara (training). A few local youth joined them. This inspired the youth to make aliyah (move to Eretz Yisrael). Among the first olim (immigrants) was Aba Katz, who went as a tourist. Discussions started and inquiries began on how to make aliyah. At Fancia Blaustein's initiation, we decided to establish a group for girls, ten of us all together. Each of us had to put in a sum of money and then emigrate together as a cooperative. Out of the ten only three immigrated. Following our correspondence with the Aliyah Center we finally received our certificates. Chaya'le Charap went first. I, who was married by then, gave up my certificate, because my husband had received his at the same time and I was able to join him as his wife. It should be noted that it was very difficult to receive certificates at that time, due to the British desire to control our moves as much as possible and to prevent Jewish immigration to Eretz Israel.

 

Some staff of the Hebrew school in Jezierna

 

[Page 131]

The Jewish Youth of Jezierna Thirst for Education

by Lipa Fischer

Translated by Simon Godfrey

The Jewish youth of Jezierna thirsted for education, general education, not only in high school, but also in the university. As it was difficult to study in Poland because of various restrictions, many studied abroad.

Shalom Francas, a child from a religious school studied in Vienna. He graduated from the university (mathematics) and became a mathematics teacher in the high school. The two Jewish doctors in Jezierna were born in the neighbourhood. Dr. Chana Litvak came from Zborow, a village near Jezierna, studied medicine and settled as a doctor in Jezierna. Dr. Tennenbaum, who came from Polowce near Jezierna, completed his medical studies and settled in Jezierna. Dr. Nissan Bernstein graduated from the Jewish Gymnasium [upper school] in Lemberg [Lviv], completed his medical studies in France, obtained his license in Cracow and settled in Chenstakova [Czestochowa].

Others who studied in France: Aharon Charap (did not finish his studies) Yaacov Fuchs–Katz (textile technology), Moshe Katz (returned to Jezierna in 1935 and afterwards emigrated to Eretz Yisrael Israel). Those who studied medicine: Walke Steiger, Nissan Katz, Lala (Yossi) Fuchs.

In Belgium studied: pharmacy – Mosche Scharer; he lived in Brussels.
In Italy studied: medicine – Izio Gerstein, Doski Charap.
In Germany: economics – Reuven Kellman; he received his doctorate and lives in Israel.
In Czecho–Slovakia: pharmacy – Channah Klinger (Duhl), Sofia Heliczer (Anderman), B. Spindel. Medicine: Josef Mosczysker, grandson of David Blaustein.
In Lemberg University: Malzia Schwager – humanities.

Those who completed high school but did not continue to study:

Azriel Zamojre – emigrated to Eretz Yisrael; and is now supervisor of the department of mail and telephones.
Yosef Fuchs – lives in the USA.
Two Gottfried sisters.
Zila Heliczer – now living in Switzerland;
Manek Margulies, Leah Barer–Korngold – now in Haifa.
Aimek Falk – now in Poland, a colonel.
Nunke Kellman.

Those who also studied medicine but did not finish: Walke Laufer and Mondek Steiger. Azriel Zamojre is an engineer at the postal company.

 

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