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Shalom Kass, of blessed memory
Born the son of Henich and Fasia in 1923 in
As a child he excelled in his studies at the
grammar school where he finished
ninth grade. When he was thirteen years old he was sent by his parents to
study in a Yeshiva, and here too, he was among the outstanding pupils. He was
a member of the Mizrahi youth movement and his goal was to emigrate to Israel.
When he returned from the Yeshiva, World War II broke out and after the
Soviets occupied Polish Ukraine he continued studying on his own. He studied
Hebrew, Bible and history.
After the Nazis attacked the Soviet Union he
escaped into the Soviet Union and
during the five years he spent there he was drafted and worked as a tractor
operator and driver. When the war ended, he returned to Poland and joined the
Zionist youth kibbutz in the town of Schetzin.
Together with his friends from
the kibbutz, he crossed the border into Germany and stayed there for about a
year and a half.
He endured all of the tribulations of the
immigrant ship "Exodus",
which tried to sneak into then British-occupied Israel, and after many
wanderings, he arrived on the shores of Israel on March 12, 1948. He joined
the army immediately, even before he had a chance to become familiar with his
homeland. The army discovered his talent and he was sent to a course for
sharpshooters and served as a sharpshooter for his division and participated in
all the battles. His friends knew him to be a man of peace and a good friend.
He fell in the battle of Beit Naballah on July
He is survived by his sister Charna who lives in
May his memory be blessed.
Joseph Kilman, of blessed memory
(son of Paula Greenhaut)
Corporal Kilman gave his life for his country.
He fell in the battle at
Tel-Faher on Friday, the first day of Sivan 5727 (June 9, 1967).
Yoseph was wounded during battle, bandaged
himself, and despite his commanding
officer's order to stay behind, he advanced with his unit towards their
After his commanding officer was wounded, Yoseph
and some of his comrades took
the initiative and tried to enter one of the trenches in an attempt to cleanse
it of enemy forces. He fell in this battle.
We carry the holy memory of Corporal Yoseph
Killman always and he is forever
in our hearts.
May his memory be blessed.
Yigal Aldes, of blessed memory
Yigal was born on Aril 17, 1945 in Haifa. He
studied at the Urim grammar
school in Kiryat Eliezer and continued at the technical school of Beit Galim,
becoming a qualified welder. He was a quiet and introverted boy who loved
sports, particularly swimming and volleyball. He was easy to get along with.
He worked in the Israel shipyards before he was drafted.
He served for two and a half years doing regular
army service as a welder for
heavy tanks. He was a dedicated soldier. After he finished his regular army
service he was transferred into an infantry unit as part of his reserve duty.
When he was called up for special duty to defend
our existence on May 19,
1967, he was in bed with a broken toe. He had been given a month and a half
leave from work, but when he received the order he got up and packed his
things. When his mother said, "But you can't even walk in your
condition," he answered, "Mom, my foot might be injured but my arms
can sill hold a weapon."
On June 9, 1967, while storming the Syrian
Dardara bunker he was wounded by
machine-gun fire and died the following day in the hospital in Safad. He is
buried in Afula.
Yigal always took good care of his sick parents
and used to bring them his
salary. All he wanted was for them to be well.
He would write letters to them every day. In his
last letter of Friday
morning, only a couple of hours before he fell in battle, he wrote, "There
is really nothing to do here. I am safer than you are. I hope to be home
soon. The war is over." May his memory be forever blessed.
While the B Force was gathering on the road near
the Ashmura Bridge, the
force was attacked by a heavy burst of gunfire as it stood on the street.
Corporal Aldes, who was a gunner in the second unit, took cover along with all
the other soldiers. When he jumped, his helmet came off, and before he could
get it back on he was hit in the head and severely wounded. He was taken to
the hospital in Safad and died there on June 10, 1967.
Captain Yitzhak P., B Company
Daniel Neuman, of blessed memory
Born to Tzipora and Shimon on September 13, 1949,
in Haifa. He was a fifth
generation Israeli. He studied at the Be'eri grammar school and then graduated
from the high school, having majored in mathematics and physics. Daniel, whom
everyone called Danny, was an outstanding student, especially in the fields of
In early November Daniel was drafted to the
Israel Defense Forces and served
as a communications officer for a tank unit made up of reservists. This was
where he served when he became a reserve soldier.
When he was released from the army, he studied
chemistry at the technical
college near the Technion. He studied there from 1971-1973. After he
completed his studies with high grades, he was recommended for work in the
engineering department of the Technion as a chemical technician.
During the Yom Kippur War, his unit participated
in the battles to stop the
advancement of the Egyptian troops in the Sinai Desert. Danny served as the
commanding officer's communications officer. During the entire war he remained
calm and never left his radio equipment for a second. His commanding officer
stated that despite the difficulties, Danny never complained and even during
the worst shelling, he remained calm with a sense of security.
On October 19, 1973, he was hit during a
bombardment and killed near the
bridges which the Israeli army used to cross the Suez Canal. He was buried in
the military cemetery in Haifa. He was survived by his parents and a brother
May his memory be blessed.
Yoseph Gruber, of blessed memory
He was born in 1947 to Leah and Pesach in Haifa.
He studied at he Leo Beck
grammar school and then finished high school. In the army he served in an
engineering unit and participated in a number of border skirmishes. He also
participated in the Khrama Operation.
In 1970, he was released from the army and
prepared to continue his studies in
the Technion but his plans were upset by the sudden death of his father. From
then on, he became responsible for the livelihood of his family. He began
working for the Ministry of Defense as a building technician, supervising the
construction of bomb shelters on the Golan Heights and in the northern areas of
On January 1, 1972, while he was on the job,
traveling on the path the patrol
cars usually take, he was suddenly shot at by automatic weapons. He was killed
immediately. The shots were fired at the slow moving vehicle from a distance
of only about 3-5 meters. After he was killed, his murderers cut off his head
and took it with them over the border, apparently to show off their
Yoseph Gruber was 24 when he died and still a
bachelor. He is survived by his
mother Leah and sister Batya.
Second Lieutenant Dror Shesh, of blessed memory
He was born in Jerusalem on September 17, 1962,
to Nili and Shmuel. He
completed his studies as an outstanding student, majoring in computers.
Computers opened up the world of science for him.
To feed his soul, he played
guitar. He was inducted into the army in November 1980, and volunteered to
serve in the tank force. He underwent intensive courses which led him to
become a tank unit commander. On the week he was killed, he was to participate
in the ceremony for officers who finished a course and he was to be promoted to
the rank of second lieutenant. During his service, he excelled in his job as a
He was decorated for his actions during the war
Michael Weisser, of blessed memory
He served in the British Mandatory Police. He
was murdered in the Carmel
Forest by rioters in 1936 while in the line of duty.
Moshe Shechter, of blessed memory
Moshe Yitzhak Schechter was born in the town of
Podwolocyska on January 26,
1910 to Mordechai (Motti) and Bela. He grew up as an only child in the warm
and loving atmosphere of his parents' home. He was raised on the friendship,
mutual aid and love of others which were characteristic of the town.
In April of 1936, he obtained the much
sought-after certificate to move to
Israel from the Grossman Zionist movement and he moved to Israel.
On December 26, 1983 he joined his Maker after a
long illness. He is survived
by a wife, two daughters and two grandchildren.
He loved his friends from Podwolocyska until his
May his memory be blessed.
In Memory Of Hunchu-Hanan Jorisch, of blessed memory
Hunchu was one of the six children of Zvi and
Tzipora Jorisch. Zvi, his
father owned a carpentry shop. His mother, Tzipora, who was known as the
"Bird Queen" was known for secretly giving charity. It was a warm
home and the children received a proper Jewish education.
In 1946, Hanan married Miriam Ashkenzi Yeruslav.
They moved to Israel
illegally in 1948, with their only son Zvi. At first they lived at Kibbutz
Maagan Michael and then afterward in Haifa, where Hanan worked as a carpenter.
He died after a brief illness in 1985, at the age
of 75. He is survived by
his wife, son, and three grandchildren.
May his memory be blessed.
Pnina Barrer, of blessed memory
Pnina Barrer Suslik, a preschool teacher,
educator and charitable woman, died
at the age of 79.
Sometimes death removes the veil from the life's
work of modest people who
preferred to give to the needy without letting others know about it. Pnina
Barrer-Suslik was this type of person.
Known as one of the most venerable preschool
teachers in Petach Tikva, Pnina
was born in 1908 in Poland to a Hassidc father and Zionist mother. She was
educated in the Jewish school in the town and later studied at a teachers
college in Lvov. In the early 1930's, she moved to Israel and in 1935, she
opened the first pre-school in Petach Tikva. It was attached to the municipal
building and became renowned among educators, parents and children. Shmuel
Yavnieli and Moshe Avigal ("Beigel"), then the founders of the
socialist educational system, enlisted her help. She wrote in the founder's
book of the educational system, that more than once she took up a shovel to get
the place ready for children to come in.
She was paid a salary of six pounds a month,
which was often late in coming.
Aharon Yoeli, one of Israel's first pilots during the War of Independence wrote
of her, "She is a jewel like her name- a rare jewel, caring as an adoptive
mother, trains like an artist, radiates warmth, dedication and loyalty,
brimming with creativity as she sings and dances. I love Pnina the
For various reasons she was forced to leave the
field of education but she did
not give up her public service. She was active in the Organization of Working
Mothers and in teaching Hebrew to uneducated women and various other charitable
On the thirtieth anniversary of the state of
Israel, Pnina, along with the
mayor of Petach Tikva, Yisrael Feinberg and his wife Lena, decided to establish
a scholarship fund for a technical high school for girls in town. The Worker's
Council and the women's organization, Naamat, joined the effort. Later on a
similar fund was established in Tel Aviv. The fund still benefits the children
of Kfar Shalem boarding school in the southern part of town and the children of
Neve Taf in Tel Aviv. But this was not all, Pnina Suslik and her husband
Shaul, people of modest means, always believed that they must help others less
fortunate than themselves, so they always contributed to various organizations
in secret. When Pnina died, the former Minister of Labor, Ora Namir
wrote," I knew her well as a modest woman, who helped others and who was
composed of sensitivity and friendship. She took an interest in many areas and
I particularly remember her good taste."
May her memory be blessed.
In Memory Of Morris Rosenblum
Morris Rosenblum was born in 1917, to Basha and
Pinhas Levy (Pinyu). At the
age of 13, he apprenticed in carpentry with Rotter. He worked there for nine
years until 1939, when he was drafted into the Polish army in order to fight
off the German invasion. He then returned to carpentry, this time as an
instructor at a furniture cooperative, until the war between Germany and the
Soviet Union broke out.
During the war, he met up with his sister Clara
Landman and her husband Jack,
who had fled Podwolocyska with the retreating Soviet army. Together they spent
the war years in the Soviet Union, helping each other and others as well.
After the war, Morris returned to Poland and from
there went on to the
displaced persons camp at Baaden-Reichenwald in West Germany. Since he had
intended to go to Israel, he purchased furniture equipment and sent it to
Israel. He had been a member of the Gordonia youth movement and was an avid
Zionist. However, his plan to move to Israel fell through after the
"Exodus" incident and he decided to move to the U.S. instead. He was
joined there again by Jack and Clara Landman.
In New Jersey he set up a chicken farm from which
he made a decent living.
But then Morris and his brother-in-law, Jack, decided to return to their former
trade and they began making kitchen cabinets together. They were able to
combine their talents to streamline the production process to make a good
quality product at reasonable prices. Their factory grew and soon they were
marketing cabinets all over the U.S. and overseas as well.
Morris and his family made numerous charitable
worthy of mention is their contribution to the Adelphia Talmudic Academy in New
Jersey, which erected a building which bears the family name. Their
contributions have kept the talmudic academy going.
Morris died of a serious illness in the summer of
1987, at the age of 70, when
he was still in his prime. His wife Clara and son Barry along with his wife
and four children still live in New Jersey. They continue the family tradition.
Jack and Clara Landman have also continued to be
staunch supporters of Israel,
continuously working for and contributing to the Jewish state, as well as local
institutions. For this reason they have been invited to meet with various
Israeli leaders, including David Ben-Gurion, Menahem Begin,and Yitzhak Rabin
among others. They were also invited to the White House for the signing of the
Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel in 1978. Their daughter, Sharon,
who lives in Israel with her family, is the translator of this book. Their
daughter Beatrice, is a psychologist in New Jersey.
May his memory be blessed.
Baruch Goldshtein the chairman of the
Podwolocyska organization in the U.S.
for a long time. During his term as chairman, an ambulance was contributed to
Israel by the organization.
His poem was published in the Yiddish newspaper,
Journal" on May 21, 1982.
A Dream of Bread by Borekh Goldshteyn [Baruch Goldstein]
In those dark days of terror
The skies were leaden gray;
I sought a way to God
To sound my pain...
Nazi fiends inflamed my hurt --
A blood-red sunset;
My lust for life and bread
Became a dream...
Day was darker than night
When Ashmodai slaughtered children;
The sun was ashamed to shine,
The moon to give light...
Aloft in his blue heavens,
God kept still;
Maidanek's smoke swallowed
His forgotten children...
I could not praise You with joy,
For You did not hear me;
My faith was dismally slain
When the sword conquered wantonly
Yet dawn rose anew
And the sun spread its rays;
The dream I had spun
Had become a loaf of bread...
(Translated by: Leonard Prager)
In Memory of a Good Friend, Mishko Greenberg of blessed memory
by Dov Brayer
He was more than, he was like a member of the
family. We were born in the
same year, the same month, practically on the same day. We spent our childhood
and adolescence together, in our homes, in our yards, and the empty lot by his
house between the Katz the tailor and Zeidler the framer. We both went to
Birnbaum's "cheder", Rabbi Eli prepared us both for our bar-mitzvahs,
and we were in the same grammar school class.
Mishko was warm-hearted by nature. He was modest
and aware of what was
happening around him and he was always eager to help others.
I still remember the day we said good-bye, when
he left our town and traveled
to relatives in Leningrad before the war broke out.
The cruel war caught up with him in Leningrad,
which was besieged by the Nazis
until nearly the end of the war. After the German defeat, he somehow made it
to Toronto, Canada. There he established a new family although he was able to
bring over his only son, David, from the Soviet Union through great effort and
with the help of the Red Cross. In his new home, he did well financially, and
helped anyone who approached him.
Mishko and his wife, Eve, visited Israel twice.
Our meetings were very
emotional for him and brought tears to his eyes...
Three years ago he was stricken by an illness
from which he never recovered.
He left behind a wife and a son and a sister, Molly, who lives in the Soviet
May his memory be blessed!
Holocaust Survivor, Dr. Nathan Spiegel
I spent my childhood in Podwolocyska, until the
In 1942, we were expelled to the nearby town of
Skalat, where my mother and
brother were murdered. My father and I were sent to the Kamiunki labor camp.
In April 1943, we were escaped from the camp and hid in the forests near
Polopnovka until the Red Army liverated the area in 1945.
We set out toward Poland and arrived in the town
of Katovicz, moving on to
Germany later that year. That was where I finished grammar school and studied
In 1949, we moved to the U.S.
by Joseph Dor (Marder)
Dedicated to my dear children Pnina and Avi and
in memory of my parents and
sisters, may their memories be blessed. The monotonic chimes of my watch -one,
two, three- caused me to glance at it and there were two digits marking the
date, 22. The month was June and the year was 1941. Yes it is a sinister
date. Today, 46 years ago, Germany attacked her ally, the Soviet Union, with
whom she had divided up the loot, occupied Poland, for less than two years.
June 22, 1941, was a Sunday. Even so, I woke up
before sunrise. I lived in
Podwolocyska then, with my relative Dvora Bilbitz, who lived next door to a
synagogue called the "Hosiatiner Kloise". In my youth I had enjoyed
stopping in there to rest my head on a table and perhaps read a page of the
Talmud, maybe even enthusiastically, in the dim light. But now, as rebellious
youths tend to do, and perhaps because of the drones of the government, I had
turned a bit away from religion. I ceased to pray in the morning and was no
longer drawn towards the threshold of the synagogue. However, sometimes I
would peek out my window and watch the Faithful on their way to morning
prayers. It was the insecure march of people with bent backs, wrinkled
foreheads, burdened with worries and bothered by their thoughts. In awe they
would touch the mezuza by the door of the synagogue, and then be swallowed
inside in a flash. There they would wrap themselves in their prayer shawls and
plead with their Creator. And I, even though I was an apparent atheist, would
identify with the worshippers. More than once I felt the schism in my
I woke up early that morning, so that I could go
to the village of Nowe Solo,
which was about 20 kilometers away, in order to visit my parents and sisters
who lived there.
The village was still immersed in its slumber,
with no one moving about. The
procession of worshippers had not yet begun and the street was empty...
Riding on my bicycle, I found myself outside of
the town within minutes. The
granaries, which were once practically full of wheat and had provided a
livelihood for many of the town's Jews, stood desolate. Behind them were the
green fields and tree lined avenues, a tranquil landscape. The birds flew in
the breeze welcoming the rising sun with their song as the crickets joined them
in a harmonious hymn to the Creator...
The sun rose a bit, my body felt warm despite the
breeze, and the songs of the
birds accompanied me. Suddenly the sharp whistle of steel birds passing only a
bit over my head startled all of the songbirds. We had not yet gotten used to
The joy of meeting my parents made us forget our confusion for a moment. The
breakfast conversation was pleasant. Afterwards, my father went to his office
because he used to work on Sundays instead of Saturdays. While I was still
enjoying time with the rest of the family, my father returned home with the
terrible news. The Germans had attacked their Soviet ally. The newscaster's
voice resounded over the air waves, repeating Stalin's call for his people to
go to war against the enemy.
The joy of our meeting was dissipated. It was
replaced by confusion and worry
and fear of what tomorrow would bring. What would happen? How could we
preserve our warm nest? My mother's sobs, my father's silence and the words of
encouragement spoken by my sisters and me could not conceal our fear.
Saying good-bye was extremely difficult, although
I had not imagined that it
would be the last time I would say good-bye to the people I loved most in the
I got back to the town. I ran home and did not
remain in the street to see
what was going on. I looked out the window. A few Jews were in the synagogue,
not poring over pages of the Talmud, but rather sitting and talking, using arm
gestures to emphasize their explanations...
The next day I went to work as usual. The town
was in confusion. The armies
were beginning to move, some toward the east and some westward. People were
being drafted. Some planes flew overhead, and were shot at by nervous
soldiers. Rumors were flying, some were considering fleeing, others were
I had my last telephone conversation with my
parents on Thursday. The news of
Nazi penetration was spreading panic. The Jewish community did not know what
to do. They had no plans to flee, for the question remained - where would they
go? What would happen to them there? The main problem was that there were not
On Sunday the authorities started to load the
trains to take their families
back to Russia. A few Jewish families left with them. By Monday plans for
fleeing the area were coming together and I was convinced by friends at work to
join a group getting ready to leave. By Tuesday, July 1, I put my knapsack on
my back and arrived at the designated meeting spot near the farms, in Moshe
Hahn's yard. There is no need to explain what we felt that day. The thought of
leaving my parents weighed so heavily on my heart that I had to fight to keep
myself from sobbing. I followed my friends in a trance. I stayed near my
close friend Micha Tsweig (today he's Sass), and together we made our way
toward the border. However, the military convoys coming towards us blocked our
way. It took us a half a day to walk the one half kilometer to Volocyska, on
the other side of the border. By nightfall we made it to the other side.
Since it was forbidden to travel after dark, we made camp on the grass by the
Zbroch River and settled in for the night. But the night was not restful, due
to the continuous movements of the troops and mainly because everyone huddled
close to his bag and thought of what he had left behind.
And all the street
By Michael Sass (Zweig)
Dedicated to my daughter Dina and my dear
grandchildren Guy and Shiri and in
memory of my father Moshe, my mother Bina, my brother Zeev and my sister Pnina.
May their memories be blessed.
As the Germans progressed towards our town, our
household became depressed.
My parents reluctantly allowed me to join a group of young people who had
decided to leave our homes and flee eastward.
Saying good-bye to everyone I loved most dearly
in the world was
"Oy vey! Oy Vey!! I'll never see him
again" wailed my mother in a horrific
voice. It was July 1, 1941, and she lay sick in bed. She hugged me and kissed
me and her warm tears flowed down onto my cheeks and mixed with my own.
"Oy vey! Oy Vey!" her departing works
resound in my ears always, whenever I
remember the farewell scene or dream memories of my father's house. I did not
imagine then that this was a final good-bye and that it would be the last time
that we would be together.
No, Mommy, no! I will not leave you. I will
stay home with you and Father, no
matter what." These words erupted from amongst the deep sorrow and tears.
I just wanted to console the mother I loved so much.
But my mother sensed the danger marching toward
our door and she screamed,
"No! No!" and her cry ascended to the heavens "Save yourself,
at least you!" as if she were a prophet.
Neighbors and relatives gathered at my house to
say good-bye to me. Among
them were my father's brother Yehoshua (Shaya) Tsweig and his children Munyu
and Sally, my mother's sister Yente and her husband Haim Weinstein and their
two daughters Dina and Perl. The house was overtaken with sobs. Another
good-bye, I get to the door and my mother wails "Just one more look, for I
will never see him again!" And I return to my mother's bed crying, choking
on the words, "No, no, Mommy, I'll stay".
This kept happening over and over agian.
Everyone cried together with my
mother Bina and my father Moshe, my brother Volvel (Zeev) and my sister Pearl.
We all felt as if we were at a funeral, as if we were escorting the dead,
Then my brother Volvel forced me out of my
mother's arms. Her cry of "Oy
Vey! I will never see him again" resonated in my ears from the house
until the corner where the Shneiderman house meets the township building. On
the way I said good-bye to neighbors, who all looked sad and depressed. Nathan
Shperling, a counselor at the "Bnei Akiva" youth group kissed me and
shook my hand uttering the group's greeting "Be strong" .
He was holding his two cute children, Moishele,
aged 5, and Ahrale, aged 7. I
loved these boys very much and I always remember them when I see children their
How could they dare to snuff out their lives, to
pick the most beautiful of
Yossele Gelber , Feivel the son of Yehoshua the
butcher and Feivel the son of
Haim the butcher shook my hand and escorted me to the end of the street.
My brother Volvel, who was carrying my small bag
which contained some clothes
and a bit of food, dragged me to the courtyard where about twenty young people
were gathering, unaware of the magnitude of the impending catastrophe, in order
to leave the town temporarily in the hope that we would soon be returning to
our loved ones.
That was how I, the pampered child, began my
difficult wanderings. The curse
of "And thou shalt wander" had become my fate.
Among the young people with whom I left town was
my loyal and true friend
Yossele Marder (today Yoseph Dor). We were the youngest in the group. From
the beginning, we clung to each other and we remained close for about a year.
We shared any bread we managed to get hold of, and we comforted each other
through the difficult sorrow and yearnings for our parents' home.
Our wandering brought us to the Stevropol
district of Kovkoz, and we
"settled" on a farm cooperative in the village of Nina. As the Nazis
moved toward the village, we were forced to leave and wander eastward again.
The local administration provided us with transportation in order to ease our
escape. They gave each of us a carriage with two horses because we wanted to
save two other Jewish families, refugees from Leningrad, and take them with us.
We started out, each with "his family".
Because of the traffic and
chaos on the roads, we could not stay close to each other all the time, and we
lost each other a few times. At last we decided that we could not travel
together and we decided to separate in order to make the journey easier. We
decided to meet up with each other near the municipal building in the city of
Kizlar, which was on the way to Astrikhan, our final destination.
We were indeed forced to separate. The next
afternoon, we approached the
bridge which was at the entrance to the town of Kizlar. But I couldn't get to
the town because the military police were stopping all vehicles and taking any
man under the age of fifty five. They informed him that according to the
special order of the supreme commander, he is now drafted into the Red Army.
And I was one of them.
With a heavy heart, I took my personal
possessions and handed the reins over
to one of the women in the family with me (there were no men), and bid them a
tearful good-bye, as if they were close relatives. They cried as well.
A few hundred men had been rounded up. I wanted
to look for Yoseph, but they
would not let me move about. After a while they loaded us onto transport
vehicles, and drove us into town, to Kizlar.
They deposited us in an enclosed courtyard, from
which no one could leave.
Again I began searching for Yoseph. I was certain that they must have taken
him before the bridge and brought him into the courtyard. I continued
searching for him into the night but I could not find him. I was saddened. I
feared the worst. I was in shock. I had lost my dear friend and the only
friend I had.
I did not sleep at all that night. I marched
back and forth among the people
spread out on the ground, sleeping soundly. Maybe I would find Yoseph among
them. But my search was in vain. Yoseph was not there. By early morning I
became exhausted and lay down on the ground to sleep, with my body trembling
and my teeth chattering. Again I recalled the separation from my family a year
earlier and again the voice of my mother echoed in my ears saying, "Oy
Various thoughts sprung into my mind. Will I
never again see Yoseph, who had
been so close and yet had suddenly disappeared? We could have traveled
together in the same wagon, saving ourselves the agony of the separation and
we would still be together. I was certain that Yoseph was searching for me
wherever he was, and that he felt as tormented as I did. However, the way we
had been raised had made it imperative that we do anything we could to save the
two Jewish families.
That night, my torture began anew: loneliness,
insomnia, terror, nightmares.
A few days later they divided us into groups,
gave us food for a four day
journey, which sufficed for only two days, appointed a commanding officer, and
commanded us to march toward the city of Grozny in the Kafkaz, to the city of
oil. We got there a week later. I began my military service. With a heavy
heart I was forced to discard my personal possessions which I treasured,
because they reminded me of home. I secretly kept two shirts which my mother
had sewn herself. The service was difficult, training day and night and hard
work in the trenches. A while later I found a note I had hidden which contained
the address of a Jewish doctor who lived in the city of Tashkent in central
Asia. The doctor's relatives had been refugees at the farm cooperative for a
while and were supposed to travel to him in Tashkent. That was what they had
told me when together we conducted a symbolic Passover Seder in a strange land.
That night Yoseph and I had cried when we remembered the Passover Seders which
were held in our homes.
Then I wrote a letter to the doctor in Tashkent
describing what had transpired
and asking him to inform me if he knew anything about Yoseph. How happy I was
when a few weeks later I received a letter from him with a letter from Yoseph
enclosed. It turned out that he had written to him with the same request
regarding my fate. As it turned out, he had not been drafted, because the
guard station by the Kilzar bridge had been set up after the general draft
order had been given, after he had already entered the town. Now he was
living in the city of Sverdlovesk in the Ural. That was how we got back in
touch with each other. Due to the Red Army advance westward beyond the borders
of the Soviet Union, and the difficult conditions, we again lost touch with
However, Yoseph did not remain idle, and he
personally contacted the
commanding officer of my unit to find out what had become of me.
The officer gave the postcard to me and we
renewed our correspondence. His
postcard, from 1945 remains with me to this day. I traveled through all the
Balkan countries with the army and reached the province of Graetz in Austria.
Any place I went, I always asked about the fate of the local Jewish population
and tried to locate survivors. When the war was over, our unit was stationed
in the city of Galatz in Romania for a long time. There were many Jews living
there who had survived the Holocaust. I became friendly with a Jewish family
which lived in the courtyard opposite our camp. Their young son introduced me
to a young girl from the "Bnei Akiva" movement, which was still
I was overcome with yearnings for the movement in
our town, and I felt a ray
I would wait impatiently for the each meeting of this group.
They told me that many Jews were going AWOL and
sailing to Israel by way of
Treist. I liked the idea of realizing my lifelong aspiration and that of my
parents to emigrate to Israel. Within the next few days, the discipline in the
unit became very strict and they did not allow anyone to leave the camp. The
reason for this was that a Jewish soldier from my division had gone AWOL. A
few days later I saw the soldier being brought back in a jeep by his commanding
officer, in handcuffs, accompanied by two armed guards. With great sorrow I
watched as he was brought to the gate of the camp.
I trembled as I thought of the fate which awaited
him. I became depressed. I
felt that something horrible was about to happen. A few days later they began
interrogating me often .I paid a dear price for my Zionist activities. It
included torture, deterioration of my health, terror and despair. In the end I
was sent to prison for six years. Three years later, after surviving
indescribable hell, I was released after I had appealed the sentence. During
my incarceration, I had not had any correspondence with Yoseph.
I have only briefly described my wanderings in
the farm cooperative, the army,
prison. I could write a book about my life, and my torment as a Jew. and the
torture I endured after my release from the K.G.B. in the town of Rostov, after
I was already a husband and a father. But how could I describe this, knowing
that it was nothing compared to the horrible torture which my parents and
family endured along with the remaining members of my town, led by the holy
Rabbi Yehuda Leibush Babad, before their martyred souls were taken? In
September 1949, I was released from prison and I did not know where to turn. I
was overcome with a desire to visit the town and see for myself the dimensions
of the horrible Holocaust which had befallen our people. Therefore, I traveled
to Podwolocyska. From the train station, I ran like a madman toward "my
home" until I reached the Shneiderman house. I met no friends on the
street this time...I returned along the same route I had taken when my brother
Volvel had escorted me after I had bid farewell to my parents on July 1,1941.
I ran to my house while recalling it in my mind.
Soaked with sweat, I fell to
the ground. My legs kicked the place where I had been born and raised, and
from where I left each day to go to school, to synagogue, and to the youth
movement meetings. I broke into heavy sobs.
At that moment I again saw before me the
neighbors and relatives who had
gathered together to bid me farewell and again heard my mother's words echo,
"Just one more look....".
When I found out that Shantzi Glass and the
family of Aaron Jarchower were
still living in town, I went to visit them. With great sorrow I listened as
they related the oppression which our town had endured during the Holocaust.
We went together to our parents' graves, which were not there. How sad I was
to see the sidewalks paved with tombstones, and in the cemetery, only a few
tombstones strewn about. Then we passed the Rabbi's street where the ghetto
had been, and went on to Feitel Hill, where, behind the cross, most of the
young people of our town were hurled into the grave which they had been forced
to dig for themselves.
It was not because I had seen what was coming, or
because I had been smarter
than the others, that out of all my friends from school and the youth movement,
I had survived. I would like to mention them here: Nahum Epstein, Yisrulik
Goldshtein, Shaike and Luzer Shperling, Yoseph Pickholtz, Volvel Bomze, Mottel
Goldshtein, Motti Vildnigger, Muni Shpindel, and more friends, may their memory
I was fortunate to have survived the hell and
realize the dream we had woven
together in the youth movement- to live in Israel. I reached a safe haven.
G-d had given me my life as a gift, and I thank him for that. I had been on
the verge of death a number of times, and he kept me alive.
My ambitions had been realized. I arrived in
Israel. I built a home, began a
new generation, that would be a continuation of my parents, who are responsible
for my life. How sorrowful I am that so many young people from my town never
got to do that. They include my brother Volvel, who had trained at the
"Poel Mizrahi" kibbutz in the town of Kosov and in our town, and
never got to realize his goal of living in Israel. The tower which he had
built in his dream, became a bubble in reality.
The Nazis and their collaborators, may they be
damned, arrested him together
with other young people from the town and incarcerated him in the ghetto in
Kaminunki, where they forced them to do hard labor in the quarries until they
starved, or died of tortures and beatings. None of them remained alive. May
G-d avenge them! May their memory be blessed!
After I moved from the Soviet Union to Poland in 1958, I got in touch with
people in Israel and I found out who from our town had survived. Yoseph was
among them! I was happy to find out that some of my relatives had survived and
were living in Israel. Among them were my uncle David Valdinger and me cousin
Yentel Drimmer (today Dagan), and my cousin Shmuel Avivi (previously Helboim),
who has since passed away. After I moved to Israel with my wife Rita and my
daughter Dina, we met all of the survivors of the town with joy and sadness and
I was reunited with Yoseph.
Herzlia, Israel, 12 Heshvan 5748 (1978) - Memorial Day
A letter to
Kastenbaum, Chairman of the "Helping Hand for the Sick"
We have published a letter received by
Chava Kastenbaum, nee Greenhaut, from
the Helping Hand for the Sick organization, in recognition of her contribution
to the needy.
June 1, 1986
Dear Mrs. Chava Kastenbaum,
Mother of all people! I often ask myself how
your parents knew to name you
the great historical name of Chava (Eve)!
You are Chava for besides being a wonderful
mother to your own family, you
have numerous "children", sick, wounded and handicapped. Since the
Six Day War, you have become their concerned mother.
With your excellent connections and because of
the respect people show you,
you have personally supplied the hospital and the sick with advanced medical
equipment which helped speed their recovery.
You often recommend to your friends to
memorialize their departed loved ones,
or their own memories by purchasing a room or an important piece of medical
equipment in order to immortalize their names. They bring and honor to
themselves and provide important assistance to the hospital.
We are all, the sick and healthy alike, proud of
you and your deeds, and your
use of your courage and strong spirit to do what is right and beautiful in the
eyes of G-d and man will always hold you upright.
We love you Chava!
Chairman of the
Helping Hand for the Sick at
from Josef Horowitz
This is a letter of Josef Horowitz, a Holocaust
survivor, who died in 1966 in New York. After his death, the letter was found
among his papers. The letter is dated March, 1945. The war in Europe was
nearing its end and the bleeding heart of my husband and his grief for his lost
parents found its outlet in this letter.
letter was written in Polish and I translated it into English.
the only son of his parents, couldn't forgive himself their deaths. The
sophisticated lines of the letter and those that reflect the cry of his heart,
make kind of his will for coming generations. A teacher by profession, a very
educated person, he was born in Podwolocyska and lived there until WWII broke
June, 1996 Klara Horowitz, his wife, a Holocaust survivor
Mother!.. Father!.. A vain call. Never more will
I receive an answer from you... Never more will I see your faces, never more
will I hear the mindful words: "What do you want, my son?" A
vehement spasm makes my heart bleed. There is a tight lump in my throat... Not
so long ago was our farewell. I receded into the unknown far-away leaving your
so lightmindedly to fall a prey to the fascist henchmen. We parted so fast, so
thoughtlessly, easy, as if for a short period of time. The next day the horses
ran away with me into my wandering life. Swiftly passed I the streets of my
native town. And suddenly I noticed you, Father. I felt like calling you, but
you made some tragic gesture and limping walked fast away. May be at sight of
me you realized an imminent fate and decided to do something against it.
Tremendous painful feeling pierced through the depths of my soul.
I got the impression as if you would seek an
opportunity to run away from the deluge despite the normal bonds that forged
you onto the place. The ill fate caused Mother's disease and she could not
undertake a long wandering. Despair and fear were written all over you. Your
figure carried in itself much deadly tragedy, that when I remind myself of it
all the cells of my body vibrate. The picture engraved deep upon my memory,
persecuted me everywhere - day and night- and I will grieve over it to the end
of my life. They say you, Mother, died a natural death. To all other
misfortunes, I am sure, a morbid yearning for your only son emerged.
I was everything to you and such a separation
killed you. And you, Father, were put to the Gehene of torture, that only
imagination of the bloodthirsty Hitler beasts could develop, a trip in freight
cars to Belzec and a succession of sophisticated torments and eventually put to
death, a horrible death, by using the most licentious methods to kill. Oh,
irony of fate. All your life you dreamed of brotherhood of peoples, you
instilled in me the lofty idea of altruism, you taught me to rate a person only
on the basis of spiritual value and you yourself fell victim to atrocious
hatred of racism. Bereaved grief burns deeply at my soul.
I wish I could run, roar and rock the conscience
of mankind. How could it be? Why? Revenge!... Revenge!... But on whom?
Whether again to shed innocent blood that runs in the veins of an unfortunate,
who by Nature, not even being asked, came out of the womb of a nation, that
carries the responsibility? No, this would not be according to your will,
Father. To burn to uproot the Nazi pest, to liberate humanity of the dangerous
degenerates, sadists and vermin, whose nourishment is murder and continual
dissuasion of hate.
best way to commemorate you, Father and Mother, if I shout to the world:
"Destroy the authentic culprits of the present cataclysm, exterminate the
fascist thugs to the last. Let the millions of catacombs be the last victim
laid to compassionless Molochof the international war, collective tombs of the
tortured, will be a warning for the coming generations, as eternal monument to
the forever gone barbarity.
those, who still have their fathers and mothers among the living, do not
deprive others of this fortune. You, who share with me the deep mourning
follow also the voice of my heart!
the fields, moistened with blood of the murdered and fertilized with the ashes
of the cremated, give life and blossom to a wonderful rose of universal love
P.S. Josef went from the Ukraine to the Polish town of Przemyl after the
(To my father Moishe Segal) by Susan Segal
It is very difficult for me to write about my
father. It is hard to write without beginning to cry what seems like a flow of
endless tears. I miss my father so much - it sometimes seems unbearable. My
father was - and will always be - the love of my life. He was not only my
father, but my mentor, my best friend, my soul mate, my teacher, and he taught
me everything that has enabled me to live an ethical, fulfilling and happy
life. He spoke so lovingly about his family in Podwolocyska - that died so
tragically. I know he left home at 13 years of age and never saw his parents
or any of his 8 brothers or sisters again. He gave me the hand embroidered
shirt that was given to him by his mother. I wear it on Yom Kippur and
Passover - when I lead the seder that we had led together for so many years. I
can still hear him "davening" proudly, or speaking the 8 different
languages he spoke fluently.
My father was loved and admired by everyone he
met - he was truly the most wonderful and insightful person I have ever met. A
day, and sometimes even a moment, does not go by that I don't think about my
father, and all the sacred memories that live inside of me. In my eyes, my
father was a "tzaddik".
Although I do not know many of the details of his
life in Podwolocyska, I know he lived every moment of his life with a zest for
living and an unending love for the Jewish people. As his daughter, I strive
to live my life with the same ideals he had, and to continue to honor the
memory of his family.
by Dr. Yaacov Gilson
For them, whose names I have not mentioned,
For them, who I have not forgotten,
For them, who I never knew,
For them, with whom I spent my youth-
For all of those who lived in a small town
Who were lost, leaving no traces behind them,
Only the shadow of Death, where once shone the light of Life.
For them, in whose memory we light a candle
On the day that the prayer of mourning is recited in synagogue,
On the day which the Holocaust is remembered,
Even Hell pales in comparison,
The survivor stands alone with his memories.
On the street the horns are honking all around,
He stands and remembers his beloved relatives,
He remembers the incinerated ones going up in smoke
Trembles in his tempest, storms in his anger.
In his country all movement freezes
In all the streets, in all the passages,
In the settled homes, on the major arteries,
The heart hurts badly, the soul is mournful.
The land of Israel remembers and reminds
The entire world of its loss
And to its people it reminds in its pain,
That we are but Jews and that is our "crime".
David's strength will vanquish any Goliath.
By using our mind to command our hands
We will overcome poverty and hardship
But there will be no more murderers, no more gassers.
And if an innocent Jew shall die,
No matter where his blood is spilt,
His murderer will not be cleansed of the blood,
For a court will perform justice on him.
The Guilty will be tried before the world
He will be hung like Eichmann was,
He will no longer say "This is murder? I had no idea!"
He will not the deed as Cain did to Abel his brother.
One who spills blood anywhere in the world
He will meet his just punishment...
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