Translated by Janie Respitz
He was among the first in the Zionist movement in Radom, one of Reb Yisroel Frenkel's outstanding students, one of the most knowledgeable in bible and Jewish history. From early childhood he actively collected money for the Odessa Committee, distributed Jewish National Fund stamps at a time when it was forbidden, illegal and could have faced harsh punishment.
He was tall and broad and did know from fear, always displaying courage. When he was obliged to serve in the army he did not permit his parents to bribe the authorities and served in the Czarist army. When he returned home he went into business. He was clever and oriented himself quickly. His reputation in the leather business was of an exact and honest man of his word and generous. He was a member of the Jewish community council, elected by the Zionist organization. His desire to live in the Land of Israel was stronger than the pleasures of business and honours.
He arrived here in 1933. He came alone with the hope of soon bringing his family. But that is when the bloodiest events took place. Construction was stopped and he no longer had a livelihood. (Earlier he worked for out townsman Reb Dov Diament of blessed memory). Then the Second World War broke out except for his son Mikhal, no one from his family survived.
Yisachar faced difficult times, but he accepted everything with love. He identified with everything going on in the Land, suffered with those who were suffering and celebrated their joys. He lived to see the establishment of the State and took great pride in his son: his son volunteered in the Jewish Brigade and later, the I.D.F., and fought for the independence of the Land. He is not only a devoted son who makes his father proud he would say, He is also my friend. Not everyone is privileged to say that his son is also his friend.
The last year of his life he worked in the post office and he was happy. It is a pity that my family did not live to see how I can earn a living in our own country with my own hands
He got sick and suffered for three months. No matter how weak he was in his last days, he was aware and never lost interest in what was going on in the Land. It is hard to know what he was thinking or feeling, but to others he was gushing with knowledge a joke and humour.
His energy left him on the 19th day of Sivan 1949. He closed his eyes for eternity and passed away.
He was one of the great industrialists in Poland. His great initiative, energy and zest brought him success in business and industry.
When he was young and returned from America he worked in wholesale of coal and invested his capital in factories. In Tchelodz near Sosnovitez he opened the ceramic factory Yuzepov which was then the most eminent ceramic factory in Poland. He built a second factory as well as a crude oil refinery in Katovitze, a stock company in which he owned the majority of stocks and was the director.
At the outbreak of the Second World War he was in Zurich and from there came to the Land of Israel. Yekhezkl Norimbersky was learned in Torah and a good friend. In his youth he was the founder of Young Zion in Radom and always remained connected to the Zionist movement to which he donated generously.
Far from his family, his wife son and daughter who he left behind with the Nazis, he died in Jerusalem.
He died suddenly. In death as in life, he was never a burden to anyone. It was as if he disappeared.
These few lines certainly will not include all the praiseworthy deeds of this man who was so well loved and respected. Let us at least try to point out a few qualities of this noble personality.
I knew him through our work together in the party (The General Zionists) in Haifa. He was an exemplary worker who took upon himself every
task, every assignment, without conditions, self interest or looking for honour. During the elections to the first and second Knesset (Israeli parliament) he was responsible for a few regions of the city and the head election committee in Maccabi House. Since he was pedantic by nature, he did everything in a pedantic, detailed manner without defects.
Yakov Abramson belonged to the type of idealistic pioneers which were seen less and less in this generation. He loved the people of Israel and the Land of Israel with all his heart. He immigrated to the Land of Israel with the well known Group of 105 and worked on the roads. He contracted malaria and had to leave the area. Then he worked in a British army camp in the south, near Kantara. His friendly attitude toward the British help him get weapons and ammunition from them for the Haganah which was so badly needed in the events of 1920-21. Later he moved to the city and built a house. He worked hard and experienced a lot but he thought more about the movement for which he always had new plans.
His second hobby was the League for American Israeli Friendship where he was the permanent honorary secretary and treasurer. He excelled here as well with his pedantic perfectionism.
Few of his friends knew he played the violin, but everyone knew he loved art, literature and music. He rarely missed a serious concert or performance. He had a rich library in his house. It was always good to be in the company of this gentle, intelligent man, dear Jew and rare Zionist.
He will be missed by all his friends. His death created a void that will be difficult to fill.
Dr. Yakov Yisrael Sobol
Dr. Sobol was an eye doctor, however it appears that when he looked in the eyes of his patients he looked much deeper: he saw the person, his heart, his soul. This ignited the desire in him to help people, children, and the orphaned neglected youth. He devoted his last years to this sacred task.
This naïve kind-hearted man had an idea: to set up a fishing village which would be built by neglected youth in the Land. Why exactly a fishing village?
He explained it in writing and verbally: these hopeless youth who will be attracted to criminal adventures can also be grabbed by constructive creative adventures: the sea and fishing. This can be a source of spiritual moral healing and a blessing for these youth who did not have appropriate communal supervision and were neglected leading them to debauchery and crime.
Dr. Sobol chaired a communal committee to realize this plan. Because of this he neglected private matters knocking on the doors of offices and government personnel, writing memoranda, demanding and requesting something to actually be done to lift these neglected youth from idleness and degeneration to a life of work and fruitful productivity. He even wrote a few dramas dealing with this complicated problem.
The last few years he practiced as an eye doctor in Akko and the residents of both the old and new town respected him very much.
It is worth mentioning that Dr. Sobol was a close friend of Yekhiel Frenkel, a friend and supporter of the Organization of Jews from Radom.
He left us prematurely in 1954 in Haifa. Taken from us was a spiritual, gentle community worker, a devoted friend, a respected and beloved doctor and a poet whose life's poem was ripped apart in the middle.
Dr. Yosef Pamrak
Was born in Radom on September 12th 1894. He was a descendent of the Hebrew writer Y.L Katznelson. His father Hersh Volf was a merchant. While studying in the medical faculty in Warsaw he was active in the Zionist Student Union. During the First World War he served as an army doctor in Poland and later practiced dentistry in Warsaw.
Dr. Yosef Pamrak immigrated to the Land of Israel in 1921 and settled in Tel Aviv. He married the daughter from the well known Shalosh family and devoted himself to communal work. He was active on the committee to build a business centre and develop it. He participated in founding the Organization of Dentists in Tel Aviv where he served as chairman. He published professional articles and edited a collection Research for Dentists. He was also a delegate to international dental conferences. He was a cofounder of the Organization of Homeowners in Tel Aviv and the entire country and represented them
on city council from 1928 -1932. From 1935 until his death he was a member of various municipal commissions and chaired the commission for licences and taxes. He did a lot for the poor masses, for invalids and the mental hospital in B'nai B'rak.
Dr. Yosef Pamrak passed away on April 27th 1942. After his death a clinic was opened in his name (in his house on Ahad Ha'am Street in Tel Aviv) where the underprivileged would come for dental care.
His brother Yakov who also was a doctor died in Haifa.
Dr. Yosef Pamrak left a wife and two children.
Aharon David Bilander (Hameiri)
He was one of the founders and builders of Hapoel Hamizrachi, his large historic work in the Land of Israel. Aharon David emigrated from Radom in 1921 and was in the first Mizrachi work groups which built the road from Tabcha to Tiberius in the Galilee. Later he moved to Jerusalem and worked in Solomon's Pools. Then he moved to Petach Tikva and from there to Tel Aviv where on the 7th of Shvat 1921 founded the division on Hapoel Hamizrachi. He was one of the leading figures in the worker's conflict in Tel Aviv (in the Matzah bakery in Neve Tzedek and others), which caused a storm among the Jewish community and the entire religious Zionist movement throughout the world. He was one of the two arbitrators who put an end to the conflict in favour of Hapoel Hamizrachi. The second arbitrator was David Ben Gurion who spoke about the clever opponents with respect.
From 1924-1931 Aharon David was a member of the moshav Kfar Chitim in the Galilee.
Throughout all these years he carried the idea of cultivating cotton growth in the land, and even when mocked by other members, he started a small cotton plantation performing small experiments.
He loved Torah, respected Torah scholars and was honest. However, when negotiating with opponents he was tough. He was audacious and devoted, qualities which others respected. He had a revolutionary nature and was rigid. Only his love of Torah controlled him.
At the age of 17 he rebelled against the Hasidic synagogue in Radom, against his father, the most distinguished Hasid in town and moved to the Religious Zionist camp and helped to found the branch of Young Mizrachi in Radom.
He lived a difficult troubled life. For many years he suffered from destitution but found comfort in creating and devoting himself the work of the Religious Worker's Movement in the land.
Aharon David Bilander of blessed memory left behind a wife and three daughters. One is a teacher in a religious school in Tel Aviv, one is the wife of a well known ritual slaughterer in Manchester England, and the third is still a student. He died in Tel Aviv on the 20th of Kislev, 1960 at age 65.
N. Aminoach, Hatzofeh
Born in Radom in 1870 in a Hasidic family. Studied at Yeshiva but devoured books of the Jewish Enlightenment. As a young man he was chosen by the government to be Starosta (village elder) in Pshitik. He devoted a lot of time and energy to communal work. He provided his five sons and seven daughters with a Jewish education. His son Yosef studied in Warsaw at Tachmoni under the direction of Rabbi Sloveytchik and Professor Balaban. From there we went to university in Jerusalem. Today he is the secretary of The Farmer's Collective in Hadera and a contributor to HaBoker.
Reb Meir Bennet settled in Hadera in 1936 and did all he could to bring over the rest of his family. However the sudden death of his son Shmuel depressed him. The lawyer Shmuel Bennet was a historian and a well known publicist in Warsaw. He worked with Professor Balaban, Shur and Shipper.
His other sons and daughters were killed by the Nazis.
Reb Meir died in Hadera at the age of 73. He left behind his wife, two sons, four daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
He was not a man of ideologies and could not understand why they had to discuss Zionism. For him Zionism was the soil of the Fatherland where one stands with both feet. A perfect Jew, free of diaspora complexes and an enemy of idle communal activity. When Shprinzak and Shoykhat came to Radom to hold a Zionist meeting, people feared of the authorities and were afraid to organize a gathering for these guests. Vaysbord organized the gathering in his home. When they had to secretly print Jewish National Fund posters for all Russia, once again it was Vaysbord who printed them in Mordkhai Grosfeld's print shop in Drilzh. He came to the Land of Israel in 1912 leading the first pioneer group. He was stationed in a defense position between Afula and Merchavia where he scared the gangs of the region.
Yitzkhak Vaysbord decided to buy his own property in the Land of Israel and returned to Poland to raise money for this purpose. He went to Yedlinsk where he taught the peasants agricultural theory and received practical experience from them. He worked in photography where he actually earned money, returned to the Land of Israel and purchased land in Afula. He built a house and a farm at the edge of town where he gladly hosted guests from his hometown and friends.
Berl (Dov) Diamant
The chapter Radom in the Third Aliya would not be complete without the section from Berl Diament.
He arrived in Radom at the beginning of the First World War from the Kielce region where he was a lumber merchant and a member of the P.P.S. In Radom he joined the Zionist movement to which he devoted all his energies and organizational talents. The movement grew and the work was done at such speed it surprised the old Zionists. Diamant grew and advanced together with the movement. He was sent as a delegate to the International Zionist Congress in London where he supported Weizmann and Ussishkin. However, when he was held over in Vienna on his way to the Land of Israel he switched his support to Judge Brandeis.
Diamant wrote many letters from the Land of Israel where he laughed at the Zionist work in the diaspora, where people were standing for election in the Sejm and having political discussions: instead of collecting for the national fund it would be better to organize mass immigration and private initiative. He always swam against the stream which made him bitter. Even when he was elected to Tel - Aviv city council he was unhappy. He did not find the free work field he dreamed about.
His private life also did not go well. He was among the first tannery industrialist in the Land together with Levkovitch. However, like every pioneer he experienced difficulties and only paved the way for others. He influenced the immigrant flow from Radom in the Fourth and Fifth Aliyot, which saved them from death.
Berl Diamant holds an honourable place in the history of the Zionist movement in Radom and in the establishment of the State of Israel.
Natan (Nosn) Kestenberg
Natan Kestenberg, Naftali Zvi Zhabner and Mikhal Hoppenheim are considered among the communal workers in the circle of Reb Sholem Diament, Adolf Tzuker, Palti Mushkatblit and Yekhiel Frenkel based on their education and pedagogic approach. These three friends also made important inventions: Nosn Kestenberg, a patent to produce children's shoes, Zhabner, an invention in the printing trade and Hoppenheim, in machinery. They were all passionate Hovevei Zion (Lovers of Zion) who devoted their entire lives to these pursuits. Kestenberg would travel with Reb Sholem Diament to the surrounding towns to propagandize Zionism. All three tried to realize their dream and settle in the Land of Israel (after the First World War) but only Kestenboym [Kestenberg] laid down roots in the Land. He emigrated with his eldest son with the Group of 105 temporarily leaving his wife and two daughters in Radom. He returned to Radom twice and in 1934, with his whole family settled in the Land and built a small factory for children's shoes on Shabazi Street. The factory was later moved to Yitzchak Elchanan Street and is now run by his younger son.
Nosn Kestenberg lived to see the establishment of the Jewish State. He died two years later of a heart attack leaving behind his wife, two daughters and two sons. His eldest son died in Berlin before the Second World War. Nosn Kestenberg was in contact through letter writing with Dr. Herzl and received many important letters from him. However these letters were lost during Cossack raids in 1905.
Meir Knafey (Fliglman)
He was young and full of life, filled with hope and the finest dreams when death took him under its black wing.
During the First World War when he was not quite 15 years old, he was already active in Hashomer. He learned Hebrew and prepared himself for Aliya. He left on the dangerous path with the Group 105, arrived in the land and went to work with a farmer in Yanael. Later he joined the group that wanted to create the new settlement of Degania Gimmel, but he was not fated to realize this dream: a brief illness put an end to his beautiful dreams and his young life. He was only 19 years old and his grave is among the first graves in Degania, near the graves of Yosef Busl, A.D. Gordon and Moshe Barsky.
Shmuel Taykhman was born in 1892. His father Reb Yoshke was devoted with heart and soul to religious Judaism and his son Shmuel, to the revolutionary movement. His father could always be found in the Dziershkover House of Study and his son, at communal socialist work. In Work for the Creator and Work for the Revolution each one felt at home, but neither was present in their own home. Both predicated and lectured passionately, but at the same time, they were both mild mannered kind Jews.
At the age of 14 Shmuel joined the P.P.S and belonged to the Boyuke carrying out dangerous conspiracy work. Had the provocateur Yakov Hershel not denounced him he would not have been caught. He was tortured horribly in jail to make him denounce his comrades but they were unsuccessful. Police went to his mother warning her to influence her son to save his life but this observant naïve woman answered: Better to die than betray! He was tortured in jail for years until his trial. Had he been older he would have certainly received a death sentence, but thanks to his young age he received only ten years forced labour in Siberia. During the Bolshevik upheaval he excelled in battle against the Whites. But he quickly became disappointed in his Polish socialist comrades when he became aware of their chauvinism and anti Semitism. He was disappointed in the revolution and even though they gave him important tasks he returned to Radom, began to read Zionist socialist literature and was transformed.
Shmuel Taykhman joined the Labour Zionist Movement which was revived thanks to his dynamic energy. He became its spokesperson, its tribune. He would often speak at mass gatherings in the streets and was an extraordinary political cheerleader. On synagogue Street on a fence, on Voel, among the leather shops or near the priest on a crate, on a strip, he would stand and speak to the people, calling them to battle, to free themselves from the yoke and immigrate to Palestine he was among the boldest councilmen on city council where he demanded rights for Jews and the working masses. In the hardest economic times he did not want to be a paid party functionary. His work was sacred and he was the first to do what he demanded from others: leave the diaspora and immigrate to the Land of Israel.
He arrived in the land in 1921 with his wife Perl. This was a difficult time. For many years they lived in a shack with five other people without enough bread. He was happy with a day of hard work and was in love with the Land. He did not want to leave as many pioneers did. Here as well he devoted himself to communal work, joined the Worker's Council in Tel Aviv, the elected Labour Union, the Central Committee of the movement and served as a delegate at the Zionist Congress in Basel in 1939. He was constantly busy with meetings, consultations, gatherings. He was never out for himself, only the collective, the movement. He was also a member of the Member's Court of the Worker's Council.
He was also among the first active in the Association of Jews from Radom, a member of the committee and chairman of the council. He had compassion for the survivors and helped the new arrivals get settled.
Shmuel was filled with love for his family, friends and party members. In his last difficult days in hospital he did not complain about his own troubles, rather he encouraged and comforted his wife and every visitor:
Don't worry, this crisis will pass like all others
The crisis passed and Shmuel was gone. This was Saturday the 14th day of Sivan 1955.
Born in Radom in 1902 to a well off family which was also active in communal life. His father Reb Tankhum was a well known merchant and respected established man. He was an active member of the Burial Society until the last days of his life. His brother was Rabbi Yekhezkl Roznboym Shoshani. His sister was the daughter in law of Rabbi Poyzner of Warsaw.
As a young boy he was active in the pioneer movement and he immigrated with the Third Aliya which began right after the First World War.
He worked at the hardest jobs suffering from hunger and malaria. He qualified as a construction worker and became a builder.
In difficult years of struggle against the British Mandate authorities, and the time of Arab unrest, Pinkhas, together with his wife Leah and two sons were active in the underground movement. On more than one occasion the British police surrounded his house searching for weapons and appeals. One of his sons was imprisoned in the famous concentration camp in Latrun.
His youngest son Yosef was killed in the War of Independence during a battle for the town of Ramle. After this blow, Pinkhas was severely depressed and didn't recover for a long time.
Pinkhas was one of the first and most active members of the Association of Jews from Radom in Israel. He served as a committee member for many years and day and night tirelessly carried the burden of the Association's activities until the final day of his life.
He was among the most devoted and active members of the Revisionist Movement.
He died on Shavuot, 1961.
When he returned from the Land of Israel he was a sensation in town. People watched him in the street. He was unusually handsome. He had a carved face and the hair of a poet. He wore sparkling white shirts tied with a silk string and book under his arm, a la Gorky He had his regular bench in the New Garden where he was always surrounded by male and female admirers. When he spoke, everyone swallowed his words. Everything was interesting to hear: he spoke about art and love, about the Land of Israel and Jewish literature. He recited Peretz and quickly burst into song. He knew a tremendous amount of heartfelt, sentimental folk and romance songs but his favourite song was:
Take your guitarHis greetings from the Land of Israel, the magnificent, colourful descriptions of the landscape, pioneer life, evenings on the beach in Tel Aviv captured people's breath and awakened a longing which gnawed at their hearts until it hurt. Influenced by Zayfman's greetings from the Land of Israel, which was pure song, pure poetry, more than one packed for the journey and me and my friend Nokhem Plotzky actually emigrated.
And play me a song,
Play and sing for me
And do not tire!...
Later I would meet him there, where he remained the same, in love with every corner of the Land of Israel. He would say there was no place a bright as here, you can't find more beautiful nights anywhere and a Jew cannot sing so freely anywhere else and then he would burst into song:
How beautiful are the nights in Canaan..
In his garden (near Rehovot) the most beautiful flowers grew as well as tropical plants and the best fruits. You could watch the most beautiful sunrises from his garden and the most magnificent colourful sunsets. All at his place in his Land of Israel He remained the same lover who sings his song and does not tire until the last days of his life. Moishe Zayfaman was an only child whose parents gave him all he desired. He was born in 1896, studied in a Polish school and befriended non Jewish boys. Later he went to Warsaw where he studied in Vavelberg's Trade School, wore the nicest school uniform with gold buttons, epaulettes and a rosette. The high school girls called him Venus and chased after him. However, in Warsaw he came into contact with the enlightened Jewish youth and joined socialist, Zionist and literary clubs. He entered a whirlpool of ideas and slogans: Palestine, revolution, Jewish culture and Borokhovism. Finally, he took off the little uniform with the gold buttons and put on the shirt with the silk string, left school and the easy life at his parent's and left for the Land of Israel (one of the first young people from Radom), to work the land, plow with sweat of his face and build the Jewish land
He returned to Radom to convince his parents to go to the Land of Israel and buy land. In the meantime the First World War broke out and he too had to remain. His sojourn in Radom was a blessing for the youth: he brought them his song and dance, dreams and love. He founded the Labour Zionist Organization in Radom where he was the most active committee member until he returned. He was one of the best Yiddish teachers in the Labour Zionist School and evening course and the organizer of all literary events.
Moishe Zayfman the esthetic, the poetic soul who was in love with the colours of a sunset, the spoiled only child, deliberately chose the difficult hardworking life of a land worker and he did not tire of singing his worker's song, until that Saturday morning, the 13th day in the month of Cheshvan, 1955. His loving eyes did not see that sunset
Born in Radom in 1905. His father, Khaim Yoyne was Torah scholar and a fiery Alexander Hasid. His mother Gitl Khane excelled in her honesty and warmth. Mordkhai received his religious education in Heder, then after in the Radom Yeshiva. He received his general education in Temerson's Gymnasia and Yazhinsky's Trade School.
After graduating he took the post of director of the Jewish Bank in Shildovtze. Returning to Radom he worked as an independent bookkeeper in private businesses and a few years before the First World War, in the tannery of his uncle Reb Yisrolke Goldberg.
Still in his youthful years he joined the Zionist groups and when Jabotinsky
founded the new Zionist Organization he switched over. He was among the active members of Betar and for a time he was the commander of the branch. Thanks to his initiative the Betar Orchestra was founded which became one of the best orchestras in town. Together with the tortured Jews of Radom he experienced all seven stages of hell under Nazi rule, and during the large deportation in August 1942 his wife Khane (from the Malkhisman family) and their children were killed.
He was one of the most active members on the Bread Committee in the small ghetto, providing bread to the starving forced labourers in the weapon factory.
After liberation he was one of the founders of Radom Centre in Stuttgart. There he married a woman from Radom, Regina Langer, and stove to realize his old dream, to immigrate to the Land of Israel. He had the honour to come to the Land, but his weakened heart could not endure and stopped beating on the 1st of Sivan 1954. Since his arrival in the country, Mordkhai Gertner was a devoted member of the board of Irgun and was especially devoted to the broadening of the Interest Free Loan Society Fund.
Simkha Bunim Potazhnik Shaham
He was the grandson of Yisroel Yitzkhak Naydik and a great grandson of Bunim Tzuker. He studied in Heder, Yeshiva as well as secular studies. An esthetic and pendant in speech and writing. Until his immigration in 1934 he wrote a lot and published in the Radom press. He was an active worker in the Zionist organization and its institutions.
He was not fated to be raised in a joyful homey atmosphere and enjoy the love of parents. His parents separated and this embittered his young years. His own family life also ended unhappily with the premature death of his wife who left a young orphan. He gave everything to this child his whole life.
He continued to rise at his job until he became a top employee at Bank Leumi of Israel and for many years ran various branches. He was a member of various important commissions and he was highly respected by his coworkers.
After a difficult illness he died on the 30th of Nisan 1960, leaving behind his only son Yair.
In his will he left 2, 500 pounds as a donation toward building Radom Hall in Tel Aviv.
It is hard to imagine, how in the years 1924 1925, this small group of pioneers from Radom felt in sandy Tel Aviv. They arrived with enthusiastic passion, however the unclear situation, the unknown tomorrow filled them with unrest and fear. This is when they needed a kind word and a friendly glance.
In those days Rivtche (Rivka) Ratishmore Katz helped to create an illusion of home: the feeling, that they were one family, sisters and brothers with one goal, with the same difficulties and hopes, with the same tasks and rights. Her devotion provided comfort and encouragement.
The years passed. The pioneers built families and their own homes, but the home of the Katz couple was always filled with guests, old pioneers and new immigrants. Everyone from Radom found a home and warm environment, courage and comfort as well as concrete help. People came to them to celebrate the Sabbath and holidays and Rivtche beamed with joy when she had the opportunity to serve the finest and best. And suddenly, horrible news:
Rivtche was no longer.
Rivtche died tragically.
This news hit all her friends throughout the land like thunder.
Together with her husband and children they mourned this painful loss.
by Yehuda G.
Translated by Janie Respitz
May God protect you, my child!....My mother's suppressed voice still rings with these words in my ears as her tear still boils on my cheek.
My youngest brother shouted from behind the closed door:
Mama! Don't let him go, he will never return and we'll never see him again! Mama, don't let him!...My little brother shouted what we were all feeling but did not want to explain: that I will never return and who knows if we will ever see each other again.
Mother shivered. She hugged me hard and we said our goodbyes again and again. We parted and, a dark night spread between us.
When I think of my mother I see her face wrinkled from grief and suffering and eyes filled with sadness and pity. I can still hear the melody of God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob which she would chant Saturday night before Havdalah in a dark corner of the room by the light of the red flames of the sunset. I can feel the warmth and joy of our shared Sabbaths and holidays when she was free of worries and the yoke of earning a living. Stretched out she would listen to Mapu's Love of Zion and wipe away tears at Wandering the Paths of Life and she would beam listening to the children sing songs of Zion.
She loved to receive guests and gatherings would often take place in our home, especially when father would go to his Rebbe for holidays. The walls were decorated with fabric and the floor sparkled with freshly sprinkled yellow sand. A copper bowl stood on the table which mother donated to collect money on the eve of Yom Kippur in synagogue and money for the Jewish National Fund. She participated in counting the money as it was a very important task. Her face was very serious during this important work
So many years have passed, so many rivers of Jewish blood have flowed prematurely and, these scenes are alive before my eyes.
by M.D Gisser
Translated by Janie Respitz
|A boy from Ruland
Longingly wandered by foot and train for weeks.
After long months of steppes and taiga
He crawled to Poland.
His heart led him
Home to his town, to his own people.
He arrived at the home of his father
Where he was overcome with grief.
A Pole stood at the door of his house
And stared at him with murderous eyes:
If you want to live, leave!
And he was hit in the head by a stone.
He left the house in pain;
Blood spilling on all the stones.
Behind him he heard the Pole,
Mocking him, locking the door.
Feeling betrayed by the Pole
He went to the synagogue and found a prayer book,
And said Kaddish for his father.
He said the memorial prayer for his brothers and sisters
And cried bitterly for his mother.
Above him, a silent bloody sky
And the glow of ignited flames.
by Leybl Rikhtman
Translated by Janie Respitz
The Organization of Former Radom Residents in Israel was founded in 1942 with the initiative of a small group of townspeople from Radom in Tel Aviv who were shocked by the horrible news about the annihilation of Jewish communities in Poland.
This was the first piece of information that came from a source they could no longer doubt: from a few families that came from the Radom ghetto in the framework of an exchange treaty between the German and British governments.
The founders of the organization were: Zvi Katz, Yisrael Zveygnberg, Yitzkhak Fliglman, Zvi Glat, Chaim Hochman, and others. In November 1942 they called for a grandiose memorial and protest meeting in Yasha Heifetz Hall which was attended by a large crowd and representatives from communal institutions. The following gave eulogies and protest speeches: Dr. Zvi Heller, chairman of The Association of Polish Jews in the Land of Israel and former deputy of the Sejm in Poland; Dr. Horvitz, plenipotentiary of the Polish government in exile; Mr. Danieli, representative of Jewish combat soldiers in the British Army; Yekhiel Frenkel and Yisrael Zveygnberg. The chief cantor from the great synagogue in Tel Aviv delivered a moving memorial in memory of the martyrs.
A few days later, at the initiative of Yisrael Zveygnberg, a grandiose protest rally took place under the open sky which spontaneously transformed into a street demonstration with appeals and black flags.
The demonstration was driven away by the British police to the building of the city administration.
On December 31st, 1942 in the home of Zvi Katz, a provisional organizing board was elected comprising of the following members: Zvi Katz, Yisrael Zveygnberg (Ben- Zvi), Yitzkhak Fliglman, Matati Ben David (Zaydnveber), Khanina Margolit, Dov Kriger, Chaim Hokhman, Moshe Bakman, Moshe Vaynshtok, and Mrs. Miriam Shotland. The elected chairman was M. Ben Dov, secretary Y. Fliglman, treasurer Zv. Katz.
The first concrete activity of the committee was making contact with refugees from Radom who succeeded in leaving Russia for Persia where they were concentrated in the capitol Teheran. The committee sent them packages of food and clothing.
The committee also began an energetic effort to receive travel permits from the British Mandate Authority for the refugees from Radom who wanted to settle in the Land of Israel. Despite the enormous difficulties faced by the committee they succeeded in bringing many of these refugees to the Land.
The first refugees from Teheran arrived before Passover 1943, and the first public meeting with them took place on April 21st in the Worker's Hall in Tel Aviv. Their appearance left a crushing impression. The committee did everything possible to help them settle into their new home, the Land of Israel.
The first official general meeting of the organization took place on March 4th 1944 in Strauss House in Tel Aviv.
After hearing the report from the provisional board, a committee was elected comprised of the following members: Zvi Katz, Yisrael Zvyegnberg, Matati Ben David, Avraham Goldshteyn and Yitzkhak Fliglman. The substitutes were Khanina Margolit and Mrs. Miriam Shotland. The organization unanimously elected Yekhiel Frenkel as honorary chairman.
The meetings took place in the residence of Malka and Shmuel Margolit at 46 Rashi Street.
The newly elected committee worked out a wide diverse plan for future activities. Among other things, financial help to Jews from Radom who arrived with Anders' Army through Persia. Those who deserted in order to remain hidden received legal and practical advice.
The organization also helped those who arrived legally and illegally in 1944-45. Those who miraculously survived the German concentration camps quickly acclimatized to life here.
The organization also provided an important national service leading an initiative among its townspeople to enlist in the British Army (while the national institutions in Jerusalem were calling for mobilization in order to infiltrate Europe and try to save the remnants of Jews from Nazi hell). The first people from Radom to enlist were: Yisrael Zveygnberg, (Ben Zvi), Zvi Tzuker, Pinkhas Khayt, Yitzkhak Rotenberg, Eli Ber Vaysman, Ovadia Moshe Margolit, Yitzkhak Ben David (the son in law of Dishke Margolit), Shmuel Tzuker Noam, and others.
The majority of those mobilized took part in battles against the Nazis. Yitzkhak Rotenberg, Zvi Tzuker and Pinkhas Khayt were taken prisoner in Greece. Yisrael Zveygnberg fulfilled his military service here in the Land.
On September 12th 1945 the General Meeting of the organization tool place in the Worker's Hall in Tel Aviv with 170 members in attendance. In the chairman's report he specifically stressed the broad support given to the Radom refugees from Teheran, soldiers from Anders' army and the concentration camp survivors who arrived. He also reported on the attempt to contact survivors who were in D.P camps in Germany, Austria and Italy and Jews from Radom who repatriated from Russia to Poland. The board was also successful in making contact with the Central Jewish Aid Committee in Warsaw, with other Jewish aid organizations and with the Radom associations in America, France, Australia and Argentina.
This meeting elected a new council consisting of the following members:
Yekhiel Frenkel, Dr. Yekhiel Zalitzky, Shmuel Taykhman, Matati Shafir, Avraham Goldshteyn, Yisrael Zveygnberg, Zvi Katz, Khanina Margolit, Shmuel - Aron Naydik, Moshe Margolit, Dr. Yakov Sobol, Leybish Tzuker, Moshe Pomrok, Moshe Zayfman, Zvi Glat, Shalom Stravchinsky and Mrs. Daynovsky.
Elected to the committee were: Yekhiel Frenkel honorary chairman of the organization; Dr. Yekhiel Zalitsky chairman; Shmuel Taykhman vice chairman; Matati Shafir secretary; Avraham Goldshteyn treasurer; Zvi Katz, Yisrael Zveygnberg, Khanina Margolit, Zvi and Pinkhas Roznboym.
The following were elected to the committee in Haifa: Yisrael Grintz, Moshe Pomrok, Shalom Stravchinsky, Moshe Gutman, Erenberg, Abramson and Mandelman.
The newly elected board reached out to all people from Radom in the country to donate for their newly arrived brothers and sisters. The appeal had positive results as many donations poured in.
The tasks of the organization increased with the establishment of the State and the opening of the gates to the Land. New immigrants streamed in day and night. However, few of them had their own means to settle themselves. The majority came without anything. This is when an urgent plan began to help quickly, especially to put a roof over their heads. With the help of the old timers who were there and particularly help from Radom societies in America and other countries, the organization, for the most part, was successful in providing emergency constructive aid. The organization helped the new immigrants set up workshops in their trades and found work for those unqualified.
The organization also helped to take care of various formalities in the national institutions and government offices, thereby facilitating the acclimatization process of the new immigrants.
After a while the organization founded an Interest Free Loan Society in the name of the destroyed Radom Jewish community. This fund serves as an important financial tool for aid activity until today.
The honorary chairman, Yekhiel Frenkel was the living spirit of the organization and was active until the last day of his life. Ignoring the heavy burden he carried as a communal worker and his own financial worries, he donated his best time and energy to the organization.
In the most difficult times in the organization's existence, when the fund was empty and the amount of needy was astonishing, Yekhiel Frenkel knew how to encourage the members and convinced them to continue their work and find new sources of income in order to provide the needy with aid.
Our member Moshe Rotenberg, as soon as he arrived in the Land in 1947 also served the organization and became the devoted deputy of his teacher and mentor, Yekhiel Frenkel.
The same goes for Leyzer Fishman. When he arrived in the land in 1950 he threw himself into the work of the organization and for a time served as secretary. We must give full credit to the successful exhibition arranged by Fishman in The Zionist American House to mark the 10th anniversary of the destruction of the Radom Jewish community. The exhibit consisted of numerous pictures, documents, newspaper clippings, appeals, lists, books and diagrams which to a certain extent portrayed the history of the Radom Jewish community from its blossoming days until its destruction. The exhibited works from the Holocaust period played an important role, particularly original Nazi orders against Jews in Radom.
The exhibit made a deep impression on all who attended and was praised in the local press.
The organization went through many difficulties from its founding until it obtained its own space.
The activities were carried out under very hard conditions without a fixed address. The committee meetings took place in coffee houses or in member's homes. There were also financial and other difficulties but they did not weaken the determination to help our brothers and sisters who were saved from the Nazi hell.
After the death of Yekhiel Frenkel the organization took over his apartment at 6 Y.L. Goldberg Street where the deceased lived until his last day. This was possible due to the generous donations from members and admirers of this Zionist veteran to perpetuate his memory.
With the transformation of his residence into the locale, activities took place undisturbed and the library Frenkel left and the archive of historical documents from the destroyed Radom Jewish community were found. Yekhiel Frenkel's memory was perpetuated.
With time, the organization found they needed to not only grant loans and support but also run cultural and communal activities to remain in contact with its members in Israel.
One of the activities was organizing a Minyan (quorum for prayer) every year for the High Holidays in a large hall in the centre of town. The initiator of this idea was the unforgettable Yekhiel Frenkel. It has been more than ten years since our townsfolk have been gathering on the Days of Awe and the Penitential Prayers to pray as they did in Radom, and remember during the memorial prayers the souls of our nearest and dearest. We also remember our boys who fell in the War of Independence and the Sinai Campaign as well as all those who passed away in Israel. The Torah reading is done from a Torah which was saved and brought from Radom. The cantors and all others religious functionaries are from Radom, members of the organization fulfilled these tasks without any prize money.
We should mention Pinkhas Roznboym, of blessed memory, who until the last day of his life was the living spirit of the Minyan and one of the most active and devoted members of our organization.
Every year the organization organizes a memorial on the anniversary of the destruction of the Radom Jewish community, most of the time at The Zionist American House. Many of our townsfolk gather, coming from near and far, from cities and villages, kibbutzim and settlements to join together to memorialize our martyrs.
At the thirteenth memorial evening a film was shown depicting life in Radom before the Holocaust made by the well known relief worker from New York, Jack Dimant. It is superfluous to stress how surprised the audience was to see the streets of Radom on the screen, where they were born and spent the best years of their youth, as well as familiar faces, personalities, communal institutions, schools and others.
Dimant gave us the film as a gift.
As mentioned above, the organization also organized cultural events. It is worthwhile to mention a few:
Besides the events mentioned above we also held parties for Chanukah, Purim and Simchat Torah: welcome evenings for important people from Radom visiting from other countries, among others, the honorary president of Relief in New York and founder of the organization's Interest Free Loan Society named for his family, Jack Dimant.
Parties were also organized in honour of our members Moshe Rotenberg, Khanina Margolit and Leybish Tzuker who went to visit family in America and did some work for the organization there.
An impressive party was organized for the following members: Yisrael Zveygnberg for his 60th birthday, Khanina Margolit and Avraham Ayznberg for the fiftieth birthdays.
All the above mentioned evenings were marked by a friendly cultural atmosphere and beautifully set tables. To lift the mood Rabbi Dr. Sh. Traystman contributed with his rich words, Yisrael Tzegnberg and the writer of these lines with Yiddish folk songs and cantorial pieces.
Our townsman Tuvia Fridman took the important initiative to collect witness testimonies against Nazi war criminals.
Thanks to the accusations our organization sent to the Regional Court in Vienna (confirmed by the Austrian Consulate in Tel Aviv), the criminals received their earned punishments.
Our organization also made a list of Jewish forced labourers in the weapons factory who worked during the war under the direction of the well known Austrian automobile and weapons factory Steyr Daimler Puch. This list together with an appropriate demand for compensation were sent to the Austrian Prime Minister with copies to the World Jewish Congress in Vienna and the Vienna Jewish community. The matter was put in the hands of a lawyer from Radom. Unfortunately, until now, we have not achieved positive results. The Austrian government is refusing to pay such compensations.
Another important action carried out by our organization was providing the names of our Radom martyrs to the memorial pages of Yad Vashem. To achieve this we put out an appeal to all Radom townsfolk in Israel and within a few months, masses came to Frenkel House to inscribe the names of their dearest, killed by the Nazi murderers.
The organization's institutions like: the board, committee, revision commission and others are elected every year at a General Meeting with elections. Naturally, there are always changes in the composition of members, but most of the time members are re-elected and continue their work for the good of the organization.
The present members of the board are (alphabetically according to the Hebrew alphabet):
Alboym Chaim, Blatman Menashe, Banker Zelig, Gotlib Mordkhai, Goldshteyn Avraham, the lawyer Moshe Goldblum, Gutman Zev, Glat Zvi, Goldberg Shimon, Den Yosef, Veytzman Avraham, Vertzheyzer Rachel, Katz Zvi, Levin Yosef, Margolit Khanina, Margolit Shmuel Eli and his wife Malka, Shakedi David, Margolit Yosef, Naydik Shmuel Aharon, Fridman Avraham, Fridman Yitzkhak, Tzuker Leybish, Tzeygnberg Yisrael, Rotenberg Moshe, Reykhandl Moshe, Reba Feyvl, Reykhman Yitzkhak, Rikhtman Leybl, Shefer Rachel, Shtorkh Avraham; Eyznman Chaim.
The last was very active for many years in the Radom Association in Paris and settled in Israel in 1961.
The chairman of the board is the lawyer Moshe Goldblum; vice chairman Yisrael Tveygnberg and Yitzkhak Reykhman. Board secretary - Zelik Banker.
Leybish Tzuker stood at the head of the board for many years.
The present organization committee is comprised of the following members: Moshe Rotenberg chairman, Avraham Goldshteyn vice chairman, Feyvl Reba treasurer, Leybl Ricktman secretary. Khanina Margolit, Shmuel Aharon Naydik, Yosef Levin, Zvi Glat, Moshe Reykhnadel, Avraham Veytzman, Chaim Eyznman, Rushke Vertzheyzer,
David Mandelman (Shakedi) had been voluntarily doing the bookkeeping for a few years.
The members of the Revision Committee are: Shmuel Melkhior and Marek Feyngold.
Zvi Katz was elected as an honorary member of the organization in appreciation for his service.
Let us mention the names of our members who gave tirelessly and with complete devotion and were active for many years but were taken from us too soon: Mordkhai Gertner of blessed memory (passed away in 1953). He was especially devoted to the Interest Free Loan Society and always tried to accommodate the needy. A member with a warm heart and aware of the painful problems of new immigrants.
Pinkhas Roznboym of blessed memory, (passed away in 1960). From among the first and most active members of our organization. He gave his time and heart to those in need, his sensitive heart stopped beating while doing a good deed.
Rachel Varshoer Radevsky of blessed memory (died in Tel Aviv in 1958), and
Uliya Rotenberg (died in Melbourne in 1961). Both were active without boundaries and were beloved members. Their memories will never be forgotten.
Over the last two three years the organization has broadened its activity in various areas establishing friendly relations with Radom Societies all over the world as well as local institutions. It is worthwhile to mention a few:
by M.D. Gisser
Translated by Janie Respitz
|Longingly, Jews came to the Land of Israel
From thousands of places;
They arrived with deeds
Not with empty words.
From the hard soil
From deep abysses
With fever they were challenged
With blood and sweat on their limbs
This is it, the property of our forefathers,
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