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[Page XIX]

Period of the First World War

At the outset of the First World War, Sambor was taken over by the Russian army for one year. The Russians did not do anything against the local Jews. They acted otherwise in the small towns, and many of their residents fled to Sambor. For instance, in the adjoining town of Leuitebsk, forty-five Jews accused of assisting the Austrian army were tortured and sent to Siberia; the rest of the town's Jews fled to Sambor.

As a result of the war and the large number of refugees in Sambor, there were more orphans. In 1915, after the Austrians reconquered Sambor, two orphanages were built, one for boys and the other for girls, with 108 children in both.

The economic situation of Sambor's Jews continued to worsen, with more Jews in the city during the war than had been there previously. In 1917, of the 7,000 Jews, about 3,000 of them required aid. At the head of the assistance activities were three individuals: the head of the Community, Elimelech Goldberg, the local Rabbi, Rabbi Aharon Levin, and the Zionist leader, Dr. Fishel Rothenstreich. Funds were mobilized from the well-to-do in the Community, from former city dwellers then in Vienna, and from additional sources. A public kitchen was provided which distributed free meals.

In 1918, a nucleus of Hashomer Hatzair was established. At the beginning of 1918, a modern Talmud Torah was founded, with four classes for children aged six to fourteen, and in the middle of the year, a day Hebrew school with 500 students.

After the issue of the Balfour Declaration, on 2 November 1917, a "Society for the Settlement of Eretz-Israel" was organized, with 400 members. The members applied to Jewish land tenants in the vicinity of Sambor to train them in agricultural work, and not a few undertook to train ten to fifteen persons.

At the time of Austria's capitulation in November 1918 and the establishment of the Western Ukrainian Republic, in whose framework Sambor was included, and up to May 1919, a Jewish national committee of only Zionists functioned.

[Page XX]

Between the Two World Wars

When the Polish armies conquered Sambor from the Ukrainians, the Jews were accused of cooperating with the previous regime, of non-loyalty to the Polish state, and of assisting enemies. The Jewish officials of the Austrian regime were dismissed from their posts.

The anti-Semite Dr. Chotitcki was named mayor of the city, to serve with an appointed committee. Three assimilated Jews were appointed to the committee, but even they could not cooperate with the mayor and they resigned. The mayor cut off the city's allocation to the Jewish orphanage and the free kitchen. Some time later, the municipality's help was resumed and 2,200 daily meals out of 6,500 were allocated for the Jews. But this arrangement, too, was not maintained, the Jews in fact receiving on 1,400 daily free meals.

Assistance for the Jews came from the Joint Distribution Committee, and former Sambor Jews living in the United States also mobilized funds there. In 1922 an emissary of those Jews visited Sambor and brought with him sums of money, promising his organization's further assistance.

In 1922 a new appointed committee was named for the municipality, with 26 members, seven of whom were Jews. The new committee and its chairman treated the Jews fairly.

The Economy

The Sambor Jews continued to earn their livelihood from commerce, industry, crafts, agriculture, driving coaches and the free professions. In 1922, there were 190 enterprises in the city in the hands of Jews as follows:

Branch No. of Enterprises Those Active Owners of the Enterprises Family Members Working Total No. of Employees Jews of them Non-Jews
Masonry 3 1 1 7 6
Metals 8 6 6 4 18 7 1
Machinery 8 8 17 8 7
Timber 22 22 6 6 686 190 484
Leather 2 2 2 5 3
Textiles 2
Clothing 78 78 78 24 261 152 15
Paper 4 4 2 1 14 8 3
Food 37 37 35 189 86 21 12
Chemicals 1 1 1 1 2
Building 24 24 23 3 37 11
Graphics 1 1 1 11 9 1
Cleaning 8 7 7 2 19 7 3

From this table it may be gathered that all the Jewish enterprises, except for the timer branch, which comprised mainly sawmills, were small, employing chiefly Jews. (Only in the sawmills were there many Christians working). Jews comprised some seventy percent of all the workers, including owners and members of their families. In all the enterprises owned by Jews, forty percent of the hired workers were Jews.

The Jewish merchants set up their own association, and they even established a bank called "Merchants Credit Association." In 1925, 310 members were registered in this bank, in the following occupations: 49 artisans, 127 small merchants, 117 merchants and industrialists, 8 farmers, 13 miscellaneous. In that year, 448 loans were granted, in a sum total of 44,740 zloty. In 1939, the bank gave 1,500 loans in a sum of 500,000 zloty; its annual turnover was over a million zloty.

The artisans were organized in an artisans' union Yad Harutzim, headed by Mr. Fraindel and Mr. Dukatenzailer. They did not succeed in establishing a financial institution of their own, but were assisted by a benevolent fund which the Zionist leader, Dr. Fishel Rothenstreich, had established in the early 'twenties. This fund was one of the first of its kind in Galicia. In 1927 it granted to its clients in Sambor some 310 loans in a total sum of 10,000 zloty. In 1928 about 320 small merchants and artisans benefited from its loans.

Loans from Benevolent Fund in 1937-1939

Year 1933-34 1935-36 1937-38
Amount in Zloty 25,789 22,396 23,704
No. of loans 315 279 298

Occupations of those benefiting from the Benevolent Fund in 1936-37 were : 72 artisans, 153 small merchants, 32 farmers, 3 miscellaneous.

The two financial institutions received much support from former Sambor people in the United States, who sent money to them from time to time.

Sambor developed significantly in the years between the two world wars. There was active building going on which, in the main, supplied the needs of the relatively large local garrison and those of Polish officialdom. The supply of flats was greater than the demand, and the Jews benefited indirectly from this.

Furthermore, since Sambor was near the area of the oil fields Borislav-Drohobitz and was a district city, all the oil transactions occupied the courts in Sambor. Therefore a large number of lawyers were active, over fifty of them, among them many Jews. On the other hand, the majority of the Jews continued to live in great distress. Some members of the free professions, too, were impoverished, and for those an assistance fund was set up with a founding capital of 23,300 zloty.

Welfare Activities and Welfare Institutions

Social welfare activities in Sambor were financed party by former inhabitants of the city in the United States, and partly by local contributions. In 1929, 1,500 Jews, out of approximately 6,000 then living in Sambor, received financial aid. The Jewish Community also concerned itself every year to provide Passover alms and firewood for the winter for the poor.

Financial assistance to the needy was also provided by the Benevolent Fund. Avraham Krug and Zeiden were those principally engaged in this activity. Every Wednesday, the day preceding market day, they would apply to the well-off merchants, collect money and distribute it as loans to small merchants, who, in this way, would acquire grains, vegetables, fruit, poultry and so on, sell them on market day and thus earn something for the Sabbath and the rest of the week. After market day they would return the money, and if something occurred that made it impossible for one of them to pay his debt, the Benevolent Fund would cover it. In this way many were helped in time of distress.

The most important charitable institution was the orphanage, which, in the 'twenties and 'thirties, cared for some thirty children. Most of the time the orphanage was financially in trouble, and not seldom was in danger of being shut down. From time to time a financial contribution was received from former Sambor people in the United States, or a local campaign was launched on behalf of the institution. In the newspaper Chwila, which appeared in Lvov, this orphanage was mentioned occasionally with the comment that if it would not receive financial help, it would be shut down.

Bridal Fund

When a girl was engaged and did not have the means to arrange a marriage, a "Bridal Fund" society, at whose head was Chaim Zecharia Meisels, saw to obtaining help for housing, purchasing furniture, etc.

Association for the Disabled

At the head of an association for aid to those disabled in the First World War was Dr. Hammerschild. The activities included mutual assistance and concern for government pensions for those meriting them.

Summer Camps for Children

This was a common effort on the part of all the city's inhabitants. In its framework, some two hundred Jewish children were sent to summer camps each year.

Children's Club

In 1936,WIZO [Women's International Zionist Organization] was founded in Sambor, with Lotta Menkes its president. It maintained a club in which children were provided with additional food, winter clothing, and also help in their studies. In 1938, some hundred children benefited from WIZO's activities. The organization also established a kindergarten.

Samopomoc (Self-Help)

The function of the society, which was called Samopomoc was to render financial assistance to Jewish students of little means, to enable them to continue their studies. Such aid was granted to students who succeeded in bring accepted to universities in Poland, and, in particular, to those who were not accepted for anti-Semitic reasons (numerus clausus practiced in Polish universities) and were compelled to move from the city and study in Austrian, Czech, Italian and other foreign universities. These students received a certain allocation each month. Anybody could belong to this society, but most of its members were academics. Since membership fees were insufficient, of course, to cover the society's needs, from time to time various public functions were organized, the income being devoted to the society's purposes.

As part of the society's activities, an amateur orchestra would appear as volunteers at its events. Among its members were: Dunek Begleiter (drummer), Shlomo Becker (violin), and Rudek Probst (piano). The society's committee included: Shimon Altbach, Dr. Y Eisner, Dr. A. Gelber, Klements Goldberg, Dr. Alexander Gross, Penina (Tzailer) Holtzman, Dr. I. Kreutzenauer, Avraham Linhart, Melech Shenkendorf, Z. Weber.

In 1938, when the Self-Help Society of Polish Jewry was founded, 2,335 Sambor people were registered in it. Klements Goldberg was elected chairman of this society in Sambor.

The Jewish Hospital

As stated previously, a Jewish hospital, with twelve beds, had been founded in Sambor at the end of the 19th century by Yehoshua Gothelf. During the First World War, the building was damaged and was no longer fit for use. In 1923 the former Sambor people in the United States resolved to restore it. It was decided to construct one building that would contain within it the hospital, the orphanage and the Jewish Community's offices. Up to 1929, the U.S. group had contributed $20,000. By 1935, $25,500 had been spent on construction, and then building was interrupted for lack of funds. In that year, the Sambor Society in America promised to collect another $56,000, on condition that the Jewish Community would raise another $4,000 from its source. By 1938, the Community had collected the $4,000 and the building's skeleton was completed. Carpentry work and plastering were begun. In February 1938 some of the electricity was installed and it was assured that part of the building would be functioning in that year. Continuation of the work was made possible by a donation from S. Medlinger, who had left in his will a plot of land for this purpose which the Jewish Community sold for 60,000 zloty.

Bikur Holim

The Bikur Holim, a charitable institution established in 1907, was headed by Yitzhak Guter. The function of this institution was to help sick people in need. In 1937 it had some 300 members. They paid doctors' fees and purchased medicines for poor ill people. Serious help was rendered this charitable institution by pharmacies (of five pharmacies in the city, three were owned by the Jews Kalman Goldberg, Yaakov Zelinger, and Avraham Linhart). Members would also visit the sick and, not seldom, provide them with various products.

[Page XXIV]

Education and Culture


The majority of the children who received only traditional education studied in the modern Talmud Torah which Rabbi Aharon Levin founded during the First World War. In this school the children also studied secular subjects, conforming to the Compulsory Education Law. In 1926 a complementary school for girls Beit Yaakov, was added.

In 1921, a Hebrew school, Tarbut, was founded by Dr. Fishel Rothenstreich, with 144 pupils attending in 1922. This school played a decisive role in imparting the values of national-Zionist education and a knowledge of the Hebrew language; it also served at a hotbed for the pioneer youth movements. Fisher, Frankel, Komorovski and Shuminer taught there. After the free compulsory education law came into effect, this school could not longer be maintained for budgetary reasons, and it became only a complementary school. Adjoining it was a kindergarten.

Public Schools

Most of the Jewish children received their basic education in the city's public schools. Some of them also continued their studies in the two local gymnasia. At first the Jews were accepted freely in them, but towards the end of the period their acceptance was restricted, and in 1939, in their last year of school, of 31 receiving graduating certificates, only five were Jews.

Commercial School

The commercial school founded at the end of the 19th century by Yehoshua Gothelf later expanded its activities. In 1931 it became a commercial gymnasium recognized by the authorities and one of the four schools of its kind in Poland. This school was outstanding not only because of its able directors, such as Eisler, Gertner, Kahan and Ulrich, but also due to its excellent teachers, a dedicated staff with much experience in their profession. Pupils from all over Galicia attended this school. It turned out model accountants and managers of commercial companies. Seventeen graduated from it in 1937 and twenty-six in 1938.

Attached to this school was a trade-industrial school for girls, which had been established in the early 'twenties. This was a high school, in which, in the afternoons, the girls also studied trades, such as sewing, millinery and artistic handwork. The school was not granted government recognition, so that its graduates were compelled to be examined in the Cecilia Klaften girls' school in Lvov. Each year, 15-20 girls graduated.

Boarding School

Since children from outside Sambor were enrolled in its schools, a boarding school for Jewish children was set up called Bursa, a continuation of the institution established at the beginning of the 20th century.

Agricultural Course

Because of the worsening situation of the Jews in Sambor, an agricultural course was conducted for the intelligentsia among them. Registered in it were fifty adults, among them persons who had studied the basics of agriculture and foreign languages, chiefly English. The objective was to aid not only those who were preparing for emigration to Eretz-Israel, but also those who were ready to emigrate to any country granting them the right of entry.

Adult education

Connected with the commercial school, courses for adults were conducted in which merchants studied the basics of accountancy. Also functioning was a popular Jewish university; lectures on various subjects were given every Friday evening.

[Page XXV]


Dramatic-Musical Club

Before the First World War there had existed in Sambor a dramatic-musical club called Kinor (violin) where various artistic performances were given and musical evening held. In the period of Polish rule, the club was called Lutnia (harp). But the change to a Polish name did not lead to a change in the club's purposes. Dramatic performances in Hebrew and Yiddish continued to be given. Various directors would come from Lvov to prepare a group of 20-30 boys and girls for these performances as well as for operettas. In the course of time, a permanent dramatic group crystallized. Up to 1937, the performances took place in the Polish Sokol building, but in that year Sokol refused to rent its club for performances in Yiddish.

Connected with the dramatic-musical club there was also a choir, conducted by Brauner, which appeared on various occasions in public events; and a mandolin group, established by the Weisman brothers in which, besides them, Herschderfer and Ida Berelfine played. The Fidler brothers' orchestra would accompany the club's musical performances. Among those directing the club were: Ida Berelfine, Dunek Begleiter, Dr. Eisner, Z. Stein, V. Traustein, the Weisman brothers, Oscar Zimbler, Zukerman.

Jewish Social Club

The assimilationists who had been rejected by the Poles in the years of Polish independence organized a society of their own called "Jewish Social Club," led by Dr. Kreutzenauer. The members were the more prosperous merchants and included many members of the free professions. Their club house was magnificent, containing a reading room and a meeting place for social recreation.

Jewish Sports Club

At the end of the 'twenties, a Jewish Sports Club was founded in Sambor (Z.K.S. Zidowski Klub Sportovi) with Dr. Avraham Berger chairman. The club became famous mainly by virtue of the football team it developed. The team's appearances served as a sort of Jewish demonstration of strength, especially in games with rival teams in Sambor and other cities. Among its players who excelled was the goalkeeper Fredek Garfunkel (today [1980] Dr. Garvitch – a gynecologist in Haifa). Thanks to his talents as a sportsman, he was later accepted as a professional player in the Hashmonai team in Lvov, which was in Poland's League A, and which was numbered among the best football teams in Polish Jewry. Thousands flocked to its games.

The chief competitor in the Jewish football team was the Polish team in Sambor, Korona, which also included the Jewish players Dushek Steurman, Fredek Garfunkel, Orenstein, Berger, and Bruno Werter, who was later taken over by the Jewish football team Hashmonai in Lvov.

[Page XXVI]

The Jewish Community and its Administration

Until 1923 there were no elections in the Community and the administration that had served before the First World War, led by Elimelech Goldberg, continued to serve. In the first elections in the days of Polish rule, the results were as follows: Zionists – 5, Hamizrachi – 5, Agudat Israel – 1, Artisans' Union – 2, personal lists – 11. Dr. Fishel Rothenstreich was elected president of the Jewish Community; his deputy, too, was a Zionist.

In 1930 the Community administration was dissolved. Non-party Shlomo Margulis was appointed "commissar," and he cooperated with the Agudat Israel. The Zionists who had been named to the administration resigned from their posts.

In the elections which too place in 1934, the General Zionists together with the Hitachdut received five mandates, the Mizrachi with the Revisionists – two, the Belz Hassidim – two, non-party – two. The Zionist Isaac Knepl was elected head of the Community. At first he was a member of Hitachdut; later he went over to the General Zionist camp. During his term of service, the Community's administration succeeded in balancing its budget, repairing the old synagogue, expanding the poultry abattoir, making proper arrangements in the cemetery and building a new purification room.

In 1931, Rabbi Eliezer Mizes was chosen Rabbi of Sambor. The Zionists opposed his appointment because of his connections with the Agudat Israel. The Zionist youth decided to demonstrate on the day Rabbi Mizes was to reach the city, when the Community leaders had decided to arrange a splendid reception for him. The demonstration did take place, and it was with great difficulty that Rabbi Mizes made his way to the synagogue where the reception was held.

Rabbi Mizes was a great scholar, had acquired a secular education by himself, and had received a government matriculation certificate. His two brothers, too, were famous. One, Rabbi Joseph Mizes, was the Chief Rabbi in the Polish army with the rank of colonel, while his second brother, Mattityahu, was a historian, doing research especially in the origin of Polish families among whom, in his opinion, there were Jewish fathers.

The Zionists declared that the appointment of Rabbi Eliezer Mizes was a temporary one and that when the Community's administration would be in their hands they would cancel it and appoint a rabbi acceptable to them. They published an announcement in this spirit in 1936 signed by Isaac Knepl, who was then head of the Community. The Zionists indeed appointed a committee for the election of a rabbi and as a candidate suggested Yaakov Levin, the son of Rabbi Aharon Levin, who was a native of Sambor and a graduated of the University of Lvov in philosophy and law. But the Polish authorities did not approve this proposal, and Rabbi Mizes remained in his post until the liquidation of the Jewish community.

[Page XXVII]

The City's Attitude to the Jews

Three times elections were held in the city of Sambor between the two world wars. The results of those held the first time, apparently in the middle of the 'twenties, are unknown. In 1930, the city administration was dissolved and an appointed committee was installed. In the elections which took place in 1934, the Jews received six out of 24 mandates and the Jew Joachim Ferstendig was elected a member of the city administration.

In 1939, one agreed list was submitted, with four Jews included. Dr. Joachim Ferstendig was re-elected.

The Sambor municipality supported the Jewish institutions only to a small extent. It denied the Jewish suburb of Blich services due them, such as a road or a sidewalk to the Jewish cemetery. In 1929, it issued a decree against the coach and cart drivers (most of whom were Jewish) compelling them to leave the city center and move to side streets, thus affecting their earnings adversely.


The anti-Semitic tradition was maintained in Sambor throughout the period. In 1920, a Jewish family was murdered in a house near the army barracks. A similar incident occurred in 1930 in the suburb of Kalinovka. An entire Jewish family, including the maid servant, were shot in their sleep and finally killed with an axe. Apparently robbery was involved.

Polish merchants distributed proclamations from time to time in which they called for the boycott of Jews, which made it difficult for Jewish merchants to compete with them. Jewish employees were not accepted in the municipal savings bank. Some teachers in the public schools incited against the Jews.

When the decree against Jewish ritual slaughter was approved by all the committees of the Sejm and the Senate (March 1936) and went into effect, and many of the Sambor Jewish butchers did not receive permits, the other butchers mobilized to their assistance. Imposing a tax of ten grush on every kilo of mean purchased, they handed over the money collected to those butchers who, as a result of the decree, were left without means.


After the pogrom in Pshitek (September 1936), which shocked the Polish Jews, the pogrom in Brisk (May 1937), and the riots in other cities, when anti-Semitic feelings in the state were inflamed and the slogan "beat the Jew, it will help" appeared, at the end of 1937 a rumor spread in the city that Christians in the vicinity were organizing to descend upon the Jewish quarter of Blich.

At that time, one of the emissaries of Hechalutz, who was a member of Hagana in Eretz-Israel, came to Sambor on a visit. This visit was exploited to arrange a meeting in the synagogue Roite Kloiz of representatives of all the Zionist youth movements in the city. There it was decided to organize self-defense in the event of a pogrom. And, indeed, on the morrow there were to be seen in the city large gatherings of Ukrainians and Poles, large groups of whom approached Blich. A warning signal was given at once and the members of the youth movements and the Jewish coachmen began to organize to ward off the rioters. The gentiles began to attack the Jews, but, absorbing heavy blows themselves, were pushed back to the center of the city. There, however, they received much reinforcement; they had the upper hand and the Jews began to retreat. Then the young Jew Zeiler pushed forward, and, holding in his hand a club, began to hit out left and right, being almost the only Jew in the fight. Thus, however, he gave the signal for a renewed attack. The Jewish youth who had been retreating returned immediately and the Christians were pushed back. But when the Ukrainians and the Poles were at a disadvantage, the police appeared and began to arrest – Jews!

Population of Sambor

Year Total Population NN Number of Jews Jews
1762 3,486 510
1880 13,586 4,417
1890 14,324 4,080
1900 17,039 4,900
1910 20,257 5,418
1921 19,417 6,068
1931 22,269 6,275
1939 25,000 8,000

[Page XXIX]

Parties and Movements

Practically all the Jewish parties, of all trends, that were active in Poland were represented in Sambor.

Anti-Zionist Parties

Agudat Israel

Agudat Israel was founded in Sambor in 1922. Rabbi Aharon Levin was not among its founders, but subsequently he became a senior representative of the organization in Poland. In 1922, he lectured in the synagogue in connection with the approval of the British Mandate for Eretz-Israel and spoke in warm terms of the activities of Weizmann and Sokolov.

The founders of Agudat Israel in Sambor were Isaac Schneid and the Religious Court Judge Rabbi Hertz Bombach. The party's leaders and main activists were: L. Dranger, L. Finsterbusch, A. Lamet, W. Lindenwald, I. Schneid, S. Shuminer, H. Tzan; and there were some others.

Agudat Israel conducted a sharp struggle against Zionism and the Zionists. In 1937 they were accused by the Sambor Zionist Organization of libel against the Zionist leaders. The matter reached the courts, but the results are not known. (Chwila, 22 August 1937).


The Bund was founded in Sambor after the First World War by Adolf (Avraham) Sandauer. One of the Bund leaders was Zigmunt Stein, who later went over to the Communist Party. Other central figures were: Dr. Gottlieb, Chaya Holtzman, Dr. Sirop and Leon Welker. The Bund cooperated with the Polish Socialist Party and participated in May first parades and demonstrations.

Communist Party

A Jewish Communist Party existed in Sambor under the disguised name of "Allegemeine Yiddische Arbeitz Partei" (General Jewish Labor Party), one of whose founders was Zigmunt Stein, who later headed it in East Galicia. After a few years, it merged with the Polish Communist Party, but even after the merger it bore a Jewish character. It was an illegal party, many of its members having been condemned to prolonged periods of imprisonment for their activities in it.

Zionist Parties and Movements

General Zionist Party

This party was involved in all the activities of the Jewish Community and the municipality, including those connected with social welfare and culture. In the 'twenties, Dr. Fishel Rothenstreich was its president. In the 'thirties, Isaac Knepl led it. Among its outstanding activists were : A. Goldberg, Dr. Halprin, Kleinhaus, David Kalter, Nehemia Langinger, Maltz and A. Shor.

Hamizrachi and Hapoel Hamisrachi

Mizrachi, the National Religious Party, was founded after the First World War; among is leaders were Shalom Dir, Avraham Gottesdiner, Avraham Krug, and Shmuel Metzger. A considerable number of the religious belonged to this party, and they took an active part in all Zionist activities in the city. Hapoel Hamizrachi was established in the 'twenties, led by Zvi Dorenberg, Zvi Tilman, among others. After some years of its existence, it organized the religious pioneering youth movement B'nei Akiva.

The Revisionist Party

This party was founded in Sambor in 1926 by the students David Koch, Alexander (Olek) Lieberman, Zigmunt Reichman, Yehoshua Rothenstreich and Moshe Strausman. They established a society of academics called Hashmonai, which had a clear revisionist program. They were active mainly among high-school students, whom they encouraged to participate in courses for military training connected with the schools. Their youth movement Betar came into existence later; it was headed by Israel Altbach.

In the last years before the destruction of the Jewish Community, Dr. Moses Frischer was head of the Revisionist Party.

The Zionist Labor Party Hitachdut

A branch of the World Union of Hapoel Ha'zair and Zeirei Zion, which had been founded in March 1920, was established in Sambor in 1923. This was a large party and it was active in all phases of life in the city, from struggling to have the lead in the Jewish Community to elections to the municipality. It had a club of its own, among whose members were many of the active intelligentsia. Membership meetings were held every week. Diversified Zionist activities were conducted, public lectures arranged with speakers from the city or from the outside, its youth movement Gordonia was assisted, and so on.

The most outstanding personality among those who founded and led the party in Sambor was Michael Fromm, who was the recognized leader of Hitachdut.

United Zionist-Socialist Party Hitachdut-Poalei Zion

At the end of February 1933, Hitachdut in East Galicia and the district organization of Poalei Zion united and established the United Zionist-Socialist Party Hitachdut-Poalei Zion. But branches of Hitachdut and Poalei Zion did not merge in all the cities, among them Sambor. Only in 1937 was a branch formed in Sambor of the united party. Until then the two parties existed separately.

Results of Elections in Sambor to the Zionist Congresses

Year General Zionists Mizrachi Hitachdut Poalei Zion Revisionists Radical Zionists
1927 86 115 123 26
1931 90 130 300 110 54
1933 350 118 401 115
1935 102 35 425 1 12
1939 132 155 407 145

[Page XXXII]

Youth Movements

Hashomer Ha'zair

The Hashomer Ha'zair movement arose from two sources – the Scout movement Hashomer, which had come into existence in Sambor in 1912, and the youth movement Hatchiya. The latter developed parallel with the first Zionist youth movement Zeirei Zion and afterwards merged with it.

In the period of the First World War, there were still the two parallel movements, Hashomer and Hatchitya, in Sambor. Their members established the nucleus of Hashomer Ha'zair only in 1918. The first Hashomer Ha'zair group to emigrate to Palestine, in March 1920, numbered ten who called themselves Bilu; they were among the founders of Kibbutz Beit Alpha.

Sambor – Cradle of Hechalutz Ha'zair in Galicia

In 1922, Yitzhak Cherouti founded the nucleus of Hechalutz Ha'zair in Sambor; it was the first branch of that movement in Galicia. It absorbed youth from the working classes and the poor. In 1926, a union was achieved between Hehalutz Ha'zair and Hashomer Ha'zair in Galicia, and also in Sambor.

Sambor – Cradle of the Hanoar Hazioni Movement

The Hanoar Hazioni movement, which on its founding in Sambor in 1927 by Yitzhak Steiger, was called "The Hebrew Scout," was the first branch of that youth movement in Galicia; from it the world movement of Hanoar Hazioni developed later. Sambor, therefore, was the cradle of the Hanoar Hazioni movement.


The youth movement Gordonia, named after A. D. Gordon, was founded in Sambor in 1929, after the bloody events in Eretz-Israel. Its founders were Aryeh Ben-Yosef (Shuminer), Motek and Buzu Shahar, and Aryeh Taustein. Shmuel Maltz, Shulamit Porath (Stefan Finsterbusch) and Natan Rothenstreich, members of the Sambor branch of Gordonia, left for Lvov after some time, to do active work in the movement's center there.

Also active in Sambor were the Association of Jewish Women, and the Ezra Society. The latter succeeded, in 1924, in financing emigration to Palestine of 95 halutzim (apparently most, or some of the, refugees from Russia).

In 1935, a coordination committee of all the Zionist youth movements in Sambor was established which was called Youth Center.


Jewish Community of Stari-Sambor
Sambor (Altstodt)

In the section on the history of Stari-Sambor and Sambor, we learnt that Stari-Sambor, which had been founded in the 12th century, served as a nucleus for the city of Sambor. After Stari-Sambor was destroyed by the Tatars and burnt down in 1241, some of the inhabitants, mainly the weavers, moved to Pohonicz, which, from then on, began to be called Novi-Sambor, or the new city, so as to distinguish it from the old city, which began to be called Stari-Sambor (Stare-Miasto). There was an uninterrupted connection between the two, and they had a common political and economic fate.

Sambor and Stari-Sambor and their surroundings were at first under the rule of Russia; in 1340 they were annexed to Poland.

In the opinion of the Polish historian Alexander Yablonovski, there were only 105 inhabitants in Stari-Sambor in 1568.

There are no exact historical sources pointing to the date of the arrival of the first Jews in Stari-Sambor. Since, however, in 1519 the Polish King Zigmunt the First informed the Starosta of Sambor, among other district governors, that the Jews were permitted to live in any place they chose, it may be assumed that they began to settle in Stari-Sambor as well, constitution part of the Sambor Jewish Community. This history of the little Jewish Community of Stari-Sambor was from its beginnings bound up with the history of the Jewish Community of Sambor, for better or for worse. The same events that occurred in the Sambor Community in the days of the kings of Poland, in the Austrian period and in the period of Polish independence between the two world wars occurred also in the Stari-Sambor Community, separated from Sambor by only eighteen kilometers. During all those years, there was close contact between the two Communities. For instance, there was no hospital in Stari-Sambor – the one in Sambor served also Stari-Sambor; there was no high school in Stari-Sambor – the Jewish youth there attended the Sambor school. Sambor was a kind of older sister of Stari-Sambor.

Not only a common history united the two Jewish Communities in Poland, but also destruction and a common grave, dug for them by the Nazi oppressor in Radlovitze and Belzitz [Belzec].

Origin of the name “Sambor”

The work "Bor" in Russian means "a wood of pine trees," and the word "Sam" means "by itself," that is, in the place of a "wood of pine trees only" a settlement was founded. (In Polish the word "Bur" means "a thick wood," and "Sam" means "only, alone.") The Jews called Stari-Sambor Altstodt (the old city). In the Austrian period, the place was officially called, in German and in Polish, "the old city" and this name also appeared in the city's seal: AltstadtStare-Miasto.

One long street crossed the entire city. In its center was a square from which side streets branched off.

[Page XXXIV]

Jewish Population in Stari-Sambor
and its Surroundings

In the period of Polish rule, Stari-Sambor served as a district center, to which were affiliated some sixty villages and townships, such as the townships of Chiruv, with about three hundred Jewish families, and Stari-Sul and Felstin, each with several scores of Jewish families. There was also a considerable number of Jews in some villages, such as Stzilki. In fact, there was hardly a village in the area in which Jews did not dwell. Many of them also engaged in agriculture. Galicia was one of the few countries in the Diaspora in which Jews settled not only in the cities and towns, but also in the villages, constituting there a substantial percentage of the population.

Every Jew in the villages was in contact with the Jewish Community of Stari-Sambor, and with its rabbi.

In the years preceding the First World War, Yitzhak Horowitz served as head of the Jewish Community. In the 'twenties, 500 Jewish families lived in Stari-Sambor and by that time some 500 additional families had already managed to emigrate to the United States. Approximately ninety percent of the inhabitants were Jews, eight percent Ukrainians, and two percent Poles.

There were some well-to-do Jewish families, rich in possessions, such as the families Lamm and Averdam, who, during Austrian rule, had the concession on entry to the city which they had leased from the government.

(For entry into the city, the coaches had to pay a fee.) The Lamm family also had a private synagogue in a house of theirs in the center of the city, which was known as "Lamuvka." The judge, Dr. Yosef Lamm, member of the First Knesset, was a descendant of this family.

A Jewish Mayor

In the late Austrian period, a Jew, Aharon Averdam, was mayor of the city; he served until the First World War. During the war, he moved to Vienna, and when it ended he did not return to Stari-Sambor; ruined financially, he settled in Sambor.

When the Poles came to power, there was an appointed Polish mayor. So as to reward his friends who had helped him attain this post, he leased them kiosks in the city square opposite Christian shops, and those kiosks hid the Christians' shops. The latter applied to the courts claiming that at the time they rented the shops the Jewish mayor, Aharon Averdam, had promised them that they would face the front in the city square, and Averdam testified in their favor. The Polish mayor argued that, with the change of regime, the new regime had the right to act as it wished, and that arrangements that had been in effect in the period of Austrian rule could not apply. Then Aharon Averdam declared that, according to the law, he was still the legal mayor, since elections to the municipality had not yet taken place. He said: "I am the mayor and no one will rob me of this title."


Two big fires wrought havoc in Stari-Sambor. One occurred in 1912. The one in 1925 consumed half the city, some eighty Jewish families being left without a roof over their heads. The Sambor Jews rendered invaluable assistance to the Jews of Stari-Sambor. The fire broke out one day before the eve of Yom Kippur. On the morrow, two carts arrived laden with chaloth, poultry and other foods, sent by Sambor Jews to ensure that nothing would be lacking on the eve of the Yom Kippur fast for those harmed by the fire. In this fire, the synagogue, too, went up in flames.

[Page XXXV]

The First Beginning of the Zionist Movement
and the First Olim

In 1910 the foundations were laid in Stari-Sambor for a "Safa Brura Society," [1]which established the local Zionist Organization, a Hebrew library, and a Hebrew school in which Hebrew was taught in the afternoons. The founders were: Zlata and Yehoshua Fishel, Horowitz, Eliezer, Shimon and Yaakov Neuman, and Weisman, and it was they who started Zionist activity in the city. Later the following joined them as active workers: Avraham Brat, Chana Henish, Aharon and Zvi Richter and David Waltz, Eliezer, Shimon and Yaakov Neuman, and Weisman, and it was they who started Zionist activity in the city. Later the following joined them as active workers: Avraham Brat, Chana Henish, Aharon and Zvi Richter and David Waltzer. In order to promote the spread of the Hebrew language, they brought in Roni Reiter and Aharon Richter to teach Hebrew. They introduced activities on behalf of the Keren Kayemeth l'Israel, founded an amateur theatre, organized lectures and evening assemblies, and formed a football team.

In 1918 a branch of Poalei Zion was set up; its members began to prepare themselves for aliya by arranging work group for training.

The first oleh from Stari-Sambor was Menachem Greulich, who emigrated to Eretz-Israel with the Second Aliyah in 1911. He was among those who surrendered to the Turkish Government in October 1917 in order to ransom the workers in Petach Tikva. He and two of his companions, Shmuel Streifeld and Isaac Mehring, were tortured to death by the Turkish police in a cell in the Damascus prison when the refused the demand to reveal the names of Jewish spies and shomrim in Petach Tikva. The collective settlement Givat Hashlosha is names after them.

Baruch Schechter was the next oleh from Stari-Sambor, in 1920; he was one of the first workers in Jaffa port and one of those who fought for Jewish labor in the port.

Avraham Bek was one of the first to settle in Afula. For forty-six consecutive years he worked as a medical orderly, responsible for the Kupat Holim clinic in Afula. His son, Uriel, fell in the War of Independence in 1948.

In 1925 Yosef Halprin emigrated to Eretz-Israel, and in 1926, David Waltzer.

Youth Movements

In 1928 a branch of Hashomer Ha'zair was founded in Stari-Sambor by members of this movement from neighboring Sambor. The madrichim were: Furman, Buma Gertner and Mordechai Richter. Some twenty boys and girls joined. In 1930 Ha'noar Ha'zioni, numbering about 50 youth, came into existence. In the same year, the Zionist Labor Party Hitachdut was founded by Michael Fromm, who headed this party in Sambor, and in 19331, the youth movement Gordonia was founded on the initiative and with the help of Hitachdut.

Among the founders of Gordonia were members of this movement in Sambor, Aryeh Ben-Yosef (Shuminer) and Mordechai Shahar. A gathering of youth that they had announced beforehand would take place was attended by 30-40. But at the start of the meeting, police appeared, claiming that it was illegal, since a permit had not been obtained. After a long and exhausting argument, the police finally allowed the meeting to proceed.

In 1935, the Revisionist Party and its youth movement Betar were founded, led by Itzik Furman, Dr Greifinger, Krebs and Rappaport.

Religious Life

Among the rabbis of Stari-Sambor, special mention should be made of the distinguished Rabbi Chaim Yitzhak Yeruham, who made the name of Stari-Sambor well-known throughout the Jewish world. Of the Admorim there before the Second World War, was the greatly admired Alter Safrin, to whom Hassidim from the entire neighborhood would flock, especially from the villages. On Simchat Torah, crowds would gather to view and enjoy his enthusiastic dancing, with the Sefer Torah in his hands.

Each year, Aharon Friedmand, the Admor from Sadigura, would come to the recreation place Spaas, near Stari-Sambor. On the Sabbath, he would stay in Stari-Sambor and many Hassidim from Poland, as well as from outside the Polish borders, would flock to him. At the end of the Sabbath, Benyamin "Klezmer" Glick and his orchestra would play, and the singing and dancing would continue until early morning. And Stari-Sambor would rejoice and be merry.

The Free Professions

Among the few members of the free professions in Stari-Sambor, outstanding were the lawyers, who were more numerous than any other professionals. These were: Dr. Arnold, Dr. Yosef Bleiberg, Dr. Isaac Greifinger, Dr. Shmuel Landau, Dr. Pavel Lerman, Dr. Moshe Lerer, and Dr. Robinson. There were also two Jewish physicians: Dr. Fuchs, and Dr. Saltzman; and a dentist, Dr. Rahmer.

First Signs of the Destruction

As the wave of rioting against the Polish Jews mounted in 1936, and wild anti-Semitic incitement started, the economic boycott of the Jews began to be felt also in Stari-Sambor. Farmers from the neighboring villages who would come to the city on the market days, Tuesday and Thursday, were warned not to buy from Jews. A boycott was proclaimed of Jewish shops and guards were placed outside them to prevent non-Jewish customers from entering. Anti-Semitic slogans appeared, such as "don't buy from the Jews." With the sources of economic activity and the possibilities of earning a living blocked, and their existence thus imperiled, the Jews were in great difficulty. And this on the background of the general economic crisis in Poland, which was worsening. The economic boycott became more severe, and the process of impoverishment among the Stari-Sambor Jews proceeded rapidly, many being not only unable to earn a livelihood, but reaching the stage of lacking bread. This was a sign of what was to come, and which had not been foreseen.


Liquidation of the Jewish Community
of Stari-Sambor

The First German Occupation

The Germans entered Stari-Sambor, crowded with refugees at the time, in early September 1939, on Rosh Hashanah. Men of the Gestapo entered the synagogue, which was full of people praying, and threatening them with rifles and beatings, drove out all the worshippers to the market square, compelling them to clean the streets while still wrapped in their prayer shawls. The dragged off the lawyer Pavel Lerman and Mendel Dornbush, who never returned.

A few days later, they gathered together by force about a thousand two hundred Jews in the Stari-Sambor church, stood them up in rows of four, and led them to the village of Strzelbice, six kilometers from Stari-Sambor. There they made them enter the village church, where they remained for a whole night. In the morning, the Gestapo ordered them to dig pits, and a German officer informed them that they were to be shot. But immediately a rumor was spread among the Germans that the Russians were coming. They returned the Jews to the church and in the afternoon released them.

On the way to the village Ushziki-Dolne, the Germans met Jewish refugees from nearby towns and murdered some forty of them.

The Second German Occupation

On 3 July 1941, the Germans occupied Stari-Sambor a second time. They gave the Ukrainians a free hand during twenty-four hours to riot against the Jews and to do with them as they wished. According to the evidence of a Ukrainian doctor, Mrs. Levitski, and the Jewish dentist Eidman, a decision had been taken in the national Ukrainian committee to kill the Jews.

Armed Ukrainians overran the Jewish houses, rounded up Thirty-two Jews, gave them photos of Lenin and Stalin affixed to sticks to hold up and dragged them along the length of the streets to the Jewish cemetery. There the Ukrainian intelligentsia, with the priest at their head, and a large crowd from the neighboring villages were gathered. In view of all of them, the Ukrainians put on a show of bestial cruelty to the Jews. They tore off heads, hands and feet, opened stomachs and threw the bodies into pits.

Among those who were known to have been thus murdered were: Mordechai Glick, Itzik Greulich, Yaakov Greulich, Yaakov Hibner and his son, Shlomo, Mordechai Ratzman, Benyamin Reiter, Moshe Reiter, Asher Schwartz, Yehoshua Shpinner, and Zoles Hirsch.

In the first mass action on 4 June 1942, about a third of the Jews were evicted from Stari-Sambor, a hundred or so packed into cattle cars and taken to the extermination camps in Belzitz, near Lvov.

In September 1942, when the ghetto was set up in the Blich quarter of Sambor, Jews from Stari-Sambor as well were transferred there, and with the liquidation of the ghetto on 9 June 1943, they were to be found with the rest of the Sambor Jews in a wood in the village of Radlovitze.


Liquidation of Jewish Community of Sambor

From Occupation to Occupation

A few days after the outbreak of the war, Sambor was inundated with hundreds of refugees, who fled from the advancing German army. On 8 September 1939, the Germans reached Sambor and immediately began to round up Jews for manual labor and to plunder property. On 20 September the Germans left the city and units of the Soviet army entered it.

After having suffered under the brief German occupation, the Jews received the Russians with feelings of easement. But after a few weeks, with the consolidation of Soviet rule, there began to be changes in the life of the Sambor Jews. Wholesale commerce was stopped immediately and retail trading gradually decreased. At the beginning of 1941, only a few private shops remained. Private factories were nationalized. Administrative restrictions were imposed on formerly well-to-do Jews and on all political activists, and some of them met with difficulty in obtaining work. At the end of June 1940, Jewish refugees in Sambor who refused to accept Soviet citizenship were deported to the interior of the Soviet Union. Rich Jews of Sambor began to be transferred to Siberia.

The suicide of the pharmacist Rela Zelinger, with her husband and small daughter, from fear of being deported to Siberia, made a terrible impression. Deportation to Siberia frightened the middle-class people.

Life was grim, an atmosphere of dread and depression prevailed. People stood for many hours in line to receive food supplies the lack of which was very much felt.

On the other hand, many Jews joined city and government services. The Russians trusted the Jewish population more than the Poles and the Ukrainians, and, therefore, the higher posts were allotted to Jews. Because of that, the Ukrainians and the Poles became even more furious against the Jews.

A few days before the German occupation of Sambor in June 1941, the Russians arrested many leaders of the Ukrainian nationalists and murdered them. Their corpses remained in the prison.

The Second German Occupation

When the Germans entered, at the end of June 1941, the Ukrainians' hatred of the Jews was given expression immediately. The Ukrainians reorganized and obtained a free hand from the Nazis to riot against the Jews. They spread out in the streets, the courtyards and the houses, snatched up Jews wherever they found them, maltreated them, took them to the city prison and forced them to remove the already rotting bodies of the Ukrainians. They badly beat the Jews whom they managed to catch, some of whom fainted from their blows, some were badly wounded and some were murdered. This, the first time Jews were killed on the Germans arrival, greatly shocked the Jewish public.

At the same time, the Germans began to organize their own actions against the Jews. Their first command was that every Jews place on his right sleeve a white ribbon with a blue Magen David on it. Later, they ordered them to hand over their possessions, first furs, radio sets, silver and gold; anyone refusing would be shot.

Then followed searches of houses, curfew hours and no riding on trains. At the end of June 1941, a Judenrat was set up, with Dr. Simon Schneidscher chairman, and among his colleagues, Becker, Dr. Frei, Dr. Halprin, Lerer, Shnur, Dr. Zausner. A Jewish police force was also established headed by Stahl.

On 4 August 1942, the first mass action too place. Preceding it, Jews from the neighboring town had been brought in and compressed into the former stables of the Polish army, near Blich. Leading the action, which began towards morning in Blich, was Kriger, head of the Gestapo of Stanislavav. Shouting and screaming, the Jews were conveyed to the railway station in Sambor, whence they were driven, crushed together in cattle cars, to the death camp in Belzitz.

From the city center hundreds of people were brought to the sports square near the railway station. They were all lined up in fours, the old, women and children, without distinction. Since the cars were not sufficient for them all, the Germans divided the lines in half – the first half directed to the cars and the second transferred to the Polish army's stables. Some thousand people were crowded into this place, guarded from around it by armed Nazis and Ukrainians. On 6 August, all the Jews held in the stables were moved to the railway station and pushed into the cars which led them to Belzitz.

In the autumn of 1942, all the Jews living in the villages were ordered to leave their homes and move to the Sambor ghetto by 30 November. As thousands were bring transported in the cattle cars to the gas chambers in Belzitz, the slaughter being perpetrated by the Germans in Sambor was done with the full cooperation of the local population. The Poles and the Ukrainians saw to it that any Jew who fled would, through them, fall into the hands of the Germans. The railway station and the railways swarmed with Jew-catchers. To activate and encourage those cooperating with them, the Germans posted in public places placards in bold letters, in German, Polish and Ukrainian, announcing the grant of a litre of vodka and five kilograms of sugar to any one catching a Jew or indicating where he was to be found.

At the onset of spring, in April 1943, another mass action took place in the Sambor ghetto. This occurred when a large German army on its way to the Russian front and returning from it was temporarily in Sambor. The Gestapo used these army units to help it destroy and murder. Hundreds of soldiers, fully armed, surrounded the ghetto, and a large number entered it. Outside the door of each house stood three to four soldiers. Other groups broke into the houses with shouts, dragging out any who sought hiding of any kind. They pulled them out from cellars, from cupboards, from every possible hiding place – even from soot-filled chimneys. All those rounded up were pushed into prison cells.

On 14 April 1943, the Germans' trucks arrived at the Jewish cemetery to remove the clothes of the Jews they were to murder. Later, they led the Jews from the prison to the open grave which had been prepared for them by the Polish and Ukrainian collaborators. The Nazi criminals hurried on the Jews by foot – men, women and children, as well as women with infants in their arms – under heavy guard. The shooting began approximately at one o'clock in the afternoon and continued until sunset. The clothes of the murdered Jews were loaded onto the trucks by the Ukrainians.

It was not accidental that the April 1943 mass slaughter took place on Passover. The Nazis did their evil work on the Jewish holidays, so as to intensify the humiliation and the cruel treatment. The mass action in Sambor in October 1942, too, had been carried out on the Jewish holiest day, on Yom Kippur.

After the terrible slaughter of 14 April 1943, it was clear that the liquidation of the ghetto was approaching. But one evening in early June, it was announced that Dr. Zausner, deputy to the Judenrat chairman, would give a public lecture. In great tension, the Jews who still remained in the ghetto waited to hear what he would say. His speech was full of optimism. He said that the Judenrat's contacts had returned from the Gestapo's offices in Drohobicz, where they had brought gold, diamonds, furs and leather goods, in exchange for which they received a promise that the group of people still in the ghetto would remain alive and would work for the Germans "not only hand in hand but heart to heart!" The majority believed these find words, because they wanted to believe them. Tension eased in the ghetto, for the first time in a long time.

About two o'clock in the morning, men of the Gestapo and Ukrainian police surrounded the ghetto. In order to reveal those who had hidden, they destroyed houses, even burning down some of them. They dragged out the people from every hiding-place and concentrated them in the prison. At dawn on the first day of Shavuot (9 June 1943), they opened the prison cells and drove the remnant of the Jews of Sambor and the vicinity on their last way. In the trucks on which they were loaded, the Jews were ordered to bend their knees and raise their hands over their heads. In four corners of the trucks stood Ukrainian militia with rifles at the ready. Whoever dared to move or raise his head was struck by a rifle butt. The remnant of the Sambor Jewish Community was thus led to the wood near the village of Radlovitze and there murdered. The city was declared "judenrein." In the ensuing weeks, too, the hunt for hidden Sambor Jews went on. Those who were caught were concentrated in larger groups and brought to the Jewish cemetery to be killed.

At the beginning of August 1944, with the Russian army advancing, Sambor was transferred several times, during the course of the battles, from one army to the other. In those days as well, a number of Jews who had succeeded in hiding almost up to the liberation were denounced by the local population, fell into the hands of the Nazis and were murdered by them.

[Page XLI]

The Destruction – Dates

1 September 1939 Outbreak of the Second World War; many refugees arrive in Sambor.
8 September 1939 The German army occupies Sambor and makes plans against the Jews.
20 September 1939 The Germans retreat and the Soviet army enters Sambor.
29 June 1941 The Russians evacuate the city.
30 June 1941 The Germans enter Sambor.
1 July 1941 The Ukrainian population carries out a progrom in which some 200 Jews are murdered.
July 1941 A Judenrat set up, headed by the lawyer Dr. Shimon Schneiderscher.
December 1941 A decree issued compelling the Jews to wear a white ribbon with a blueMagen David on it and to hand over valuables.
January 1942 Jews prohibited from living in certain streets in the city.
March 1942 Start of concentrating the Jews in a number of streets in the Blich suburb.
4-6 August 1942 First mass action, in which some four thousand Jews led to slaughter in the Belzitz concentration camp, among them about a third of all the Jews of Stari-Sambor.
4 September 1942 A hundred old people taken to be annihilated.
17-18 October 1942 Second mass action; about two thousand Jews moved to Belzitz.
22 October 1942 Continuation of mass action.
November 1942 About 400 old and sick people taken to be killed.
1 December 1942 The Jewish quarter Blich turned into a closed ghetto, where all the Jews from the towns and villages in the Sambor district concentrated.
January 1943 Attempts at Jewish underground organization and acquisition of arms.
10-14 April 1943 Mass action in the ghetto; 1,200 men, women and children taken to the Sambor cemetery to be killed.
22-23 May 1943 Over a thousand Jews led to their end in the death camp of Belzitz.
9 June 1943 Last mass action. Final liquidation of the ghetto and the remaining Jews brought out to be killed in the wood of Radlovitze village.

Liquidation of the Remnant

23 June 1943 The last of those who had managed to hide, about 100 persons, caught and murdered in the Jewish cemetery.
6 July 1943 About forty Jews discovered and murdered by the Germans.
22 July 1943 About twenty-five Jews caught and murdered by the Germans.


[Page XLII]

Jews from Stari-Sambor in the United States

On 10 May 1898, Jews in the United States who had emigrated there from Stari-Sambor founded an organization which they called "Society for the Supporters of the Sick," to render assistance to persons who had come from their city to the United States.

Following are the minutes of the founding meeting:

"The founding meeting of the 'Society of the Supporters of the Sick' of Oldstadt was held on 10 May 1898 at the home of Mr. Pfeffer at 81 William Street. Brother Louis Hartman opened the meeting. Those present proposed renting a hall immediately and calling a general meeting for the following week. It was also decided that each new member enrolled would pay twenty-five cents, and twenty-five cents as a membership fee.

The following undertook to bring to the next meeting the materials required for the meetings: Brother Louis Hartman promised to bring two hammers, Brother Sam Greulich a minutes book, Brother Leventhal a file and Brother Avraham Fuchs a rubber stamp.

The First Members

The first members were: Beri Bart, Harry Grad, Max Grad, Sam Greulich, Avraham Hartman, Louis Hartman, Wolf Hartman, Sam Hausman, Avraham Levina, Berish Rappaport, H. L. Shoenfeld, Idel Smith, Shaul Pfeffer, Isaac Taustein.

The First Officers

The following officers were elected: President – Louis Hartman; Vice-President – G. Weidman; General Secretary – Avraham Fuchs; Treasurer – Sam Greulich; members of the Control Committee – Max Grad and Meir Tischler.

Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration

In 1948 the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the first Stari-Sambor society was celebrated in the United States. The celebration was arranged by the United Aid Committee of former Stari-Sambor people in the United States. The Committee's members were : Abba Warsager – President; Max Yungman – Vice-President; Bernard Solomon – Chairman; Isadore Hausman – Secretary; Sylvia Hausman – Assistant Secretary; members of the Committee – L. Bart, S. Bart, H. Bauer, S. Bauer, Y. Flashenberg, S. Fuchs, B. Gottesman, G. Gottesman, M. Greulich, Y. Greulich, Dr. Gurfine, Ira Hausman, M. Hausman, L. Hirt, Abba Levina, A. Lubin, Dr. Nathan Reich, H. Richter, Y. Roth, Y. Salez, M. Spinner, Y. Taustein, Y. Weidman, L. Yaakov, N. Yungman, H. Zinger, S. Mildworm.

[Page XLIII]

Sambor Jews in the United States

The first Jews who emigrated to the United States from Sambor arrived there in 1882. In June 1884, they organized their first society, the Samborer Kranken-Unterstützungs-Verein (Sick Fund for Mutual Help). The first president was Max Teitelbaum.

With the arrival of more immigrants in 1889, the society was reorganized on a new basis, and its activities were expanded.

At the beginning of the 20th century, a new wave of immigrants reached the United States, the majority young people with higher education. Since the existing organization was not sufficient to meet the needs of the new arrivals, a parallel society was organized, on 15 September 1910, called the Progressive Sambor Society (Y.M.B.S.).

The main purposes of both organizations was to render assistance to their fellow Jews from Sambor arriving with the various waves of immigration, in the event of sickness or lack of employment, and also to maintain contact with the Jewish Community in Sambor.

After the First World War and the ruins left in its wake, the need grew for aid for the Sambor Jews still in newly-independent Poland. The organizations in the United States decided to rebuild and equip the Gotthelf hospital. Between 1919 and 1923 over #20,000 [sic] were collected. This money was sent from the United States to the Sambor Jewish Community through a special emissary, Mr. Ginsburg, a member of the first Sambor organization. In addition, a special committee was set up to render financial assistance to the Sambor Jewish Community's orphanage.

Thanks to the initiative of Berl and Shaindel Kamerman, a roof organization of the existing parallel societies was set up, on 30 January 1937, known as the United Sambor Relief Society for Mutual Help. Berl Kamerman was elected president, and he headed the organization for many years. In the period of the Second World War, the main contributors were: A. Begleiter, S. Begleiter, U. Begleiter, Z. Begleiter, Y. Gottlieb, Sam Saunders, N. Solomon and A. Zimbler.

In 1950, when quite a large number of Holocaust survivors from Sambor reached the United States, the newcomers took over administration of the organization. Max Dachinger, the president they elected, served for two years. His successor was Yehiel Hirsch, who is serving in that post up to the present [1980]. Naftali Ben-Shlomo Solomon is still its secretary.

Every year the United Sambor Relief Society holds a memorial gathering for the martyrs of the Sambor Jewish Community.

Members of the organization also make contributions to Israel. One of their most important activities on behalf of Israel was the planting, on 21 March 1977, of a grove, consisting of 2,500 trees in the Martyrs' Forest near Jerusalem.

Members of the present [1980] Executive Committee are: Avraham (Bunck) Weisbart, president of the community organization; Yehiel Hirsch, president of the united organization; Naftali Ben-Shlomo Solomon, secretary; Avraham Linhart; Oscar (Asher) Zimbler (former president); Max Dachinger.

Berl Kamerman

Of those who were outstanding in their activities on behalf of the organization and their devotion to the work was Berl Kamerman, of blessed memory.

With great reverence I honor the memory of the distinguished man Berl Kamerman, of blessed memory, a dear colleague and a loyal friend. He worked harder than any other person to help those who had come to the United States from his home town Sambor. His loyalty to them knew no limits. It was to him that anyone in distress and anyone requiring assistance turned. And he treated me as a brother.

In the meetings of the organization, during which there were sometimes fiery arguments, Berl Kamerman knew how to bring about compromise, how to make peace, and to arrive at friendship and love among the members.

Berl Kamerman served as president of the United Sambor Organization for many years. In 1950, when new immigrants arrived from our city, these younger people took upon themselves the administration of the organization. They elected Max Dachinger president, and he served very successfully for two years. He was followed as president by Yehiel Hirsch, who enlarged the number of activists, to include, among the most outstanding in their work and their devotion, Avraham Linhart, Avraham Weisbart, and Sam Geles. The latter was taken from us when he was still in his full strength.

Asher Ben-Israel Zimbler

Asher (Oscar) Zimbler

From the day he arrived in the United States, Asher (Oscar) Zimbler did not cease to work for the benefit of those of our city. He has been, and still is, the living spirit in the organizations working on behalf of people who had come to the United States from Sambor. He served as a volunteer in the two organizations for many years, first as secretary and later as president. He rendered great assistance to those who reached the United States, and there were some among the new immigrants whom he invited to stay in his own home until they got settled. Although his economic situation was not good, many have benefited from his generosity.

All this is true of his wife, Shaindel, as well. She distinguished herself during all the years in her activities in the special organization of Sambor women when it existed.

In rain and snow, Oscar Zimbler and his wife ran about Greater New York to collect funds for the Sambor organizations. No difficulties would stop them. To save expenses, the couple would arrange meetings of the organizations' committees in their own home. At times, they were hosts to several scores of people, preparing the refreshments themselves. And with all this, they always displayed modesty and humility, avoiding conspicuousness and publicity – they cared not for words of praise, they thought only of helping others.

Besides Berl Kamerman, of blessed memory, no other person did so much for the benefit of the Sambor people as did Oscar Zimbler with his wife Shaindel helping him.

Avraham Linhart

  1. In April 1893, at the first national convention of Galician Zionists in Lvov, during which, for the first time, the foundations were laid for a regular Zionist Organization in Galicia as well as in the whole world, and still before the Zionist movement was established by Herzl – it was decided inter alia, to found a society called "Safa Brura" for the spread of Hebrew speech and for founding Hebrew libraries. Return

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