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[Page 184]

Our Families[1]


Translated by Jerrold Landau

The Family of Michael Egolnik

Michael, the son of Avraham Moshe, was an intelligent man, who was also concerned with the education of other townsfolk. He was one of the founders of the Tarbut Hebrew Gymnasium, to which he dedicated a great deal of his time, and one of the activists of the Keren HaYesod in Ruzhany. He was an astute communal activist, with generous traits. His primary desire was to make aliya to the Land, but did not succeed in doing so.

His wife Freda, the daughter of Meir Moshe, was very dedicated to her family, and always concerned herself with the education of her children.


The Family of Abba Chwojnik

ruz184.jpg - Chaitsha and Abba Chwojnik
Chaitsha and Abba Chwojnik

Abba the son of Chaim David and Beila Chwojnik was the owner of the tannery on Milner Street next the Zlawa River. He was a gabbai of the Ever Hanahar synagogue, and a prayer leader. He was the chief activist of the Chevra Kadisha (burial society). He was active for the Keren HaYesod. His wife Chaitsha (nee Roschowsky) loved giving discreet charitable gifts to those in need.

[Page 185]

The Family of Yosef Michnovsky

His wife Yehudit (Itka) Michnovsky
Yosef Michnovsky and his children Bluma and Getzel


Yosef, the son of Moshe-Yaakov and Chana Bunia Michnovsky, was a father who did everything in order to provide food for his children. He was a quiet, scholarly man, but modest and discreet. He would divide the hours of his workday between his store in town and studying a chapter of Talmud.

His wife Itka (Yehudit) was a modest, kindhearted woman. She was a loving and dedicated mother to her children with all strands of her soul.

They aspired to make aliya to the land, but they perished in the Holocaust before they could do so.


The Family of Eliezer Rubinowich

ruz185c.jpg - Eliezer Rubinowich and his wife Bielka
Eliezer Rubinowich and his wife Bielka

The modest image of Eliezer Rubinowich, who was dedicated to teaching, without doubt lives in the hearts of many of our townsfolk. He attempted to introduce new methodologies in the study of reading and arithmetic. He taught geography and nature with the help of stories. He colored the long school day of his students by reading sections of marvelous literature with artistic talent. He educated us, his children, in the spirit of the Haskala and labor. How great was his joy when his eldest son Shmuel was certified to make aliya through Hechalutz. He also encouraged me, his only daughter, to make aliya and study agriculture. In the recesses of his soul he harbored the hope that the day would come when he would join us and spend the rest of his days as a farmer in Israel. However, fate did not have it thus.

My mother Bielka the Teacher was a goodhearted woman who empathized with the suffering of her fellowman. The daughters of people whose luck was hard received an education in her school with no fees.

[Page 186]

The great tribulations of raising children did not pass over our house. My brother David, the pride of the children, was taken in by Communism. When he was 17 years old he was sentenced to four-and-a-half years of imprisonment. He fulfilled his sentence in the infamous Brisk fortress. (His brilliant speech that he gave at the time of his trial was disseminated in booklet form throughout Poland.) When our city was conquered by the Russians, David rose to greatness. Nevertheless, the authority and the honor did not remove him from his levelheadedness. As in the days of degradation and torment in prison, during his days of greatness he remained strong in spirit and clean of hands, all the way until the bitter end. How did he perish? News arrived that he met his end during the bombing of a bridge during the Nazi rule. Another version states that he was a partisan leader, and was murdered by a gentile partisan on account of his Jewishness a few days before the liberation.

ruz186a.jpg - David, Yaakov and Yosef Rubinowich
David, Yaakov and Yosef Rubinowich

My brother Yaakov, the third son, was loved and well accepted by his many friends and buddies. He was a member of Hashomer Hatzair, served in the Polish army, and fell into Nazi captivity along with other Polish soldiers. He was imprisoned in a camp in Lublin where he perished.

My brother Yosef, the youngest child, was more talented that the other children. He received a scholarship during the Russian era. He shared the bitter fate of our parents and perished along with the rest of our townsfolk, while still young and tender.


Yekutiel Sherman

ruz186b.jpg - Yekutiel Sherman
Yekutiel Sherman

He was one of the young activists in Ruzhany. He was a very talented man, of great action. Prior to the world war, he was the head of the firefighters in the town, a member of the town council representing the workers, and a member of the directorship of the Kultur Farein and the Peretz Library. With the entrance of the Russians to the town, he was deported to Siberia where he died in 1942 in the city of Kyzyl-Yurt. His wife Peshka (nee Lerman) was a member and talented actress in the dramatic club. She perished in Ruzhany along with their two children.

[Page 187]

The Family of Moshe Itzkowich

ruz187.jpg - The Itzkowich family and their relatives after the marriage of Chaya Abramowich to Leibel Dumovsky
The Itzkowich family and their relatives after the marriage of Chaya Abramowich to Leibel Dumovsky

The photo includes the young activists of Ruzhany in the latter period, including: Yekutiel Sherman, and Shimon Turn -- a teacher and activist (who was taken out to be killed by the Russians when they entered the town.
Standing in the row on top: Epstein the daughter of Zidel, Klebensky, Dumovsky, Maruchnik, Dumovsky, Kuklicha, Dumovsky, Maruchnik.
Second row: Yekutiel (died in Kutels) holding his son, Dumovsky, Lipovsky, Gershon, Pia, Wilensky, Lerman the daughter of Leib, Klebensky. On the side, the brother-in-law of Fuksman.
Third row sitting: Dumovsky couple, Shlomo, his wife, and child with his daughter-in-law Abramowich. Meir-Hirsch and Shitel-Chana.
Fourth row: Libe Lerman, Klebensky, Lerman, Wilensky, Shimon Urn, Abramowich -- 2 female guests

Dvora Itzkowich writes the following, among other things:

My father Moshe Itzkowich was an intelligent, practical Jew. He was known in our town as “Moshe the Schwartzer” (Moshe the Black), and owned a large haberdashery business. Only the nearby business of Stein was larger.

My mother Rivka was a quiet, modest, goodhearted woman who loved her corner. She left this world before the clouds had darkened the skies.

My older sister Chaya, wise and upright, raised a fine family of five children. They all perished during the Holocaust. My second sister Hadassah, diligent and full of life, established a wonderful family. She had two children. The evil hand murdered them. My youngest sister Sonia, refined and modest, had to take care of the household, consisting of my father and a brother, after mother's death, while she was still young. Later she built her home with Yechezkel. The storm uprooted her with her young child in her arms.

My dear brother Avrahamel, where are you? You walked among us like an upright tree. You studied in the Tarbut Hebrew School, and I dreamed that we would see each other in Israel. You would come, build up, and be built. Then the storm came and uprooted the tall tree. When? How? Where?

[Page 188]

Where are They?

I wish to utter a great, bitter scream until the heavens and earth shake. But the years passed, and the earth did not shake from the slaughter of millions. People continue in their lives, and I also continue here. The command of life is to live, and to life. In your deaths, you commanded us about life. However, the heart bursts from grief. The soul is tormented. My dear ones, where are you? I, the daughter and sister, the remaining survivor from a large Jewish family that was cut off from the earth by the cruel hand. The monster of the 20th century wiped all that was dear to me off the face of the earth.

I am a brand plucked from the flames, who was saved by chance from the terrible fate of my family. Perhaps fate wanted me to live so that there would be somebody to remember the beloved, dear souls, so that somebody would remain to bear the hatred of the despicable nation who murdered millions of my brethren and had no mercy on the elderly or children. The heart bleeds. The tears have dried. However, the deep grief rests in the heart. What became of my father's household? Where are you, my dear ones? Where are you, oh community of Ruzhany? Where are you, Jewish communities?

The Breznitzky Family

Liba Breznitzky   David-Binyamin Breznitzky


ruz188c.jpg - David-Binyamin Breznitzky
David-Binyamin Breznitzky

Moshe (Alter) Breznitzky was born in Ruzhany in 1887 to his father David the son of Leib and his mother Liba, a G-d fearing woman who was dedicated to her fellowman. He was educated in Yeshivot, and was knowledgeable in Torah. He served as the gabbai of the Mauer Beis Midrash, was a member of the Chevra Shas (Mishna study group), an activist in the Chevra Kadisha (burial society), and active on behalf of Keren HaYesod. He made aliya in 1934 and settled in Ramat Gan. He was an active member of the organization of Ruzhany natives, and a gabbai in the Tiferet Bachurim Synagogue in Ramat Gan. He taught classes at the Chevra Mishnayot. He merited to see the laying of the cornerstone of the expanded Tiferet Bachurim Synagogue, on behalf of which he worked, but he did not merit to see it fully built, for he died on the 20th of Nissan 5714 (1954).

[Page 189]

His son David Breznitzky, may G-d avenge his blood, was born in Ruzhany in 1920. He studied in the Tarbut Hebrew School. He made aliya along with his parents, brothers and sisters in 1934. He was a quiet lad, refined and admired by people. On the 18th of Tevet 5706 (1946), as he was traveling through Tel Aviv at midnight at the corner of Maza Street and Petach Tikva Road on the way to his home in Ramat Gan, he was arrested by British policemen from Sharona and was beaten to death. (This was the time of the underground Irgun actions against the Mandate government.)

ruz189a.jpg - Hadassah Breznitzky
Hadassah Breznitzky

To differentiate between the dead and the living, there is Hadassah Breznitzky, a good women, loved by people, and an exemplary, dedicated mother. After her beloved husband was cruelly beaten to death, she fled from her place of living and settled near her daughter in Tel Aviv.


Yocheved Sokolovsky

ruz189b.jpg - Yocheved Sokolovsky
Yocheved Sokolovsky

Her husband passed away before his time, and she concerned herself with her family's livelihood. Her busy workday was divided between her store in the town and the Dutch cheese factory in the village of Yundilovichi. She succeeded in making aliya to the Land along with most of her family, and continued with her diligence in searching for sources of livelihood for her family. She also did not keep back from performing good deeds, such as collecting donations for the Yeshiva of Rabbi Podolsky, working for Hachnasat Kalla (support of poor brides), and others.


Yitzchak Rudetsky

He was a native of Ruzhany. He studied in cheders, in the Yeshiva, and on his own. He was a flour merchant, but he dedicated his free time to attending classes in the Gershonowich Beis Midrash in the town. He made aliya to the Land. He lived in Afula and was active in communal affairs there. He was the founder of the charitable fund among other things.

Translator's Footnote

  1. There is a footnote in the text here, as follows: In keeping with our announcement at the memorial meeting of last year that every Ruzhany native is welcome to provide us with information and details about their families in order to publish in the book; we are publishing those notes which the families provided us. It is unfortunate that not many people responded to our announcement, and it is not our fault that this chapter is not complete. return


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