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[Page 366]

Reb Yossel Kovel

by Eliahu Bullman

Translation donated by Harriet Brown

Yosef Inventash, or Yossel Kovel, as he was known, was the only person, one can say, who was the most admirable and excellent blacksmith of all others in the town. His outstanding blacksmith skills brought him widespread fame and prestige among Jewish wagon drivers (coachmen), the town's farmers, and even among the greatest and richest landowners from the surrounding area.

Jews from Pultusk, his hometown, used to relate that Reb Yossel was truly an artist in his trade. He would design and create iron doors for the houses of landowners and palaces. It was, therefore, natural that the association of Christian blacksmiths took him in as a member of their organization. And this was at a time in which there was almost official sanction of anti-Semitism in Poland.

Aside from his efficiency and skill in his craft, he had a warm Jewish heart. He enjoyed doing favors and he had much respect for a Jewish scholar, a kind-hearted person.

When the Hitler forces took over the town, they tricked and deceived the Jews, and they used Yossel and his skills – until he was murdered in a bestial way. A short time after, the Jews were driven from the town.

An honest and proud Jew was Yossel.

Let us remember him in blessed memory.

[Page 367]

Reb David the Woodcutter

by Eliahu Bullman

Translation donated by Harriet Brown

There is a big question, whether any of the Pultusker Jews – and this includes his neighbors – if any of them knew his real family name. For those who knew him, he was called David Woodcutter. And this is because his "profession" was woodcutting for Jewish bakers in town.

Not everyone understood the secrets of this craft. Reb David knew and had a feel for this work and the intimacies of every splint of wood – and he carefully prepared every piece that would be fed into the baker's oven.

Whether it was a hot summer day or in winter during a frost, Reb David was not deterred from his work, while he inserted an original verse or an interpretation of the life of Adam that he learned at school from a preacher or from one of the teachers in town.

There was a special harmony in this unlucky folksy Jew. His soul was weighty with a genteel spirituality that went hand in hand. He was killed by the Nazis.

The Rebbe (Jacob Hirsch Kukva)

by Eliahu Bullman

Translation donated by Harriet Brown

The correct name became Jacob Hirsh Kukva. For many years he worked in my parents' bakery. Nobody ever called him by his name, especially us, the children of Reb Tsalel the baker. We called him the Rebbe, a name that he earned. He was easygoing and respectable, he walked with measured steps, moreover his patriarchal beard, which drew envy, made him appear as a "righteous good Jew." He had a way of repeating words attributed to rabbis about "good Jews" and, in fact, earnestly attempted to predict the "finding" of hidden objects and, for example, what type of child a pregnant woman will have – a boy or girl.

Notwithstanding the fact that all those years he was a dedicated, hardworking laborer (a common, simple baker-boy as it was called years ago). He was steeped in Yiddishkeit and his clothing was in harmony with his being and his work.

In our house he was much like a family member. He was happy in this setting and was joyous and warm toward all ten children of Reb Tsalel the baker (from my oldest sister to me). It was no wonder that there was a close bond of friendship.

At the onset of Hitler's destruction, this devoted and wonderful Jew died.

An honest man, devoted worker, and marvelous man.

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