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Written by Survivors


Woe is to Me for Those Who Perished
In Memory of My Family – Obliterated in the Holocaust

by Itzhok Berglass

Millions of our brothers were annihilated. However, the sorrow for the millions does not soothe the pain of the individuals for their close family members who were among the victims. The pain hurts even more because almost my whole family could have survived if not for the mistake of my sister and brother–in–law. Also for reasons beyond their control, my wife's family could have survived.

My sister and her husband acted humanly, but their mistake was ascribing to the enemy any human feeling and that the brutality of the Nazis would be beyond comprehension.

My brother–in–law, Reb Yacov Itzhok Bernstein, who was Nechama my older sister's husband, left Strzyzow on Thursday, September 7, 1939, with his three children, David Dov, age seventeen Elimelech, age fourteen, and their daughter, Bina, age six. He reached Dynow his birthplace, and stopped at his parents' house where his mother and his brother–in–law the assistant Rabbi of the city, Abraham Shorr, lived. During the whole day, Friday, he could not find transportation in order to continue his escape. Only at the end of the day, as soon as the Sabbath closed in on them, did they find an opportunity to continue. Most refugees, learned, pious people, Rabbis and scholars among them, traveled on the Sabbath, recognizing the life threatening situation. But my brother–in–law, the fearful and the pious one, refused.

He remained in Dynow until the Germans entered the town. He survived the bag massacre when the “Knights” killed two hundred and thirty men. At that time they did not touch women and children. Thereafter, he returned to Strzyzow to my mother and sister by horse and carriage which was sent for them by my sister. They lived in Strzyzow relatively quietly for a short time. This was during Commandant Keller's rule. Later they suffered together with all the townspeople until the bitter end.

The family was killed in the vicinity of Rzeszow because it was not worthwhile for the Nazis to deport my old mother Yocheved to an annihilation camp. She was killed locally, like all the old people, together with the rest of my family. Who refused to be separated from her.

The younger sister Chaya Sarah Feivusz, lived in Sanok, with her husband Abraham Itzhok, and two children, Yacov and Ruth. In order to get rid of the Jews who lived near the newly established German–Soviet border, the Germans expelled all the Jews to the other side of the San River, before the Russians arrived. Only a few Jews went into hiding to wait until the storm of the expulsion would be over. My sister's family was among them, despite the fact that at the beginning, they did plan

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to leave. They were packed and just waited for a horse and carriage to take them to the other side of the San River.

At the beginning of the occupation, they too lived a relatively quiet life until the annihilation began. When they felt that the peril was nearing, they built themselves a bunker together with the baker owner, Diller, who was the son–in–law of Reb David Dembitzer from Strzyzow. They built the bunker in a big oven in the baker and lived there a few years under excruciating conditions, constantly afraid of being discovered. They lasted almost until the liberation of the city by the Red Army, but a few months earlier the Nazis discovered the bunker and killed all of them.

The circumstances of the survival for the eight people of my wife's family could have been different. They were going to be exiled by the Soviets like us but, for some reason were not sent away and were killed during the Holocaust.

My father–in–law's family, refugees from Sendziszow, had expressed their desire to return home as we did and, therefore, would have been exiled on the same Friday, at the end of June 1940, when we were arrested to be sent away. But my father–in–law became ill and was operated on in Zolkiew. Therefore, he, his wife, Frieda, and son Eliezer, were spared from exile.

A short time later after the operation, my father–in–law passed away, and my mother–in–law along with her son remained in Zolkiew until the occupation by the Germans after the outbreak of the Soviet–German war. They were among the first to be killed before the others were sent into the ghetto.

My brother–in–law, Reb Abraham Taube, the husband of my wife's sister Chana, in whose house we lived before our exile to Siberia, was a very rich man. Almost all the rich people in town were sent into exile by the Soviets to places where the Germans had not reached. My brother–in–law was sure that he too would be exiled with his family and, for a long time was packed and waited. Unfortunately, the Soviets did not touch them.

He was a goodhearted man, benevolent to the needy, even to those who later collaborated with the communists. The soviet authorities did not know the local population and, in order to distinguish between the average people and the rich, they received advice from those whom my brother–in–law helped. These people remembered their benefactors among which my brother–in–law belonged, and they saw to it that my brother–in–law was left alone.

That is why my brother–in–law remained in his house, worked in his specialty, managing the big forests which were nationalized by the Soviets, until the German occupation.

My sister–in–law Chana, with her brother and their mother, were soon killed. My brother–in–law jumped off a train which was transporting Jews to the annihilation camp. He was shot at and died in horrible pain. Their two sons, Joseph, age seventeen, and Moshe, age thirteen, were tortured to death in the Janow camp known for its disgrace.

My wife's older sister, Leah Millstein, was an active public servant

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in women's charitable organizations and in the Free Loan Society, in Lwow. She was the wife of a rich manufacturer, a partner in the famous beer brewery in Kalisz. She did whatever was possible to escape the Soviet exile. During the Nazi occupation she reached Warsaw on Aryan documents, and there she disappeared without a trace.

The only member of my wife's family who had no chance to survive was her brother and his family. He was a timber merchant and, during the annihilation, he escaped with his wife Bilha, into a village where they were hidden by a forester, a Christian acquaintance. He exploited them as much as he could, and then handed them over to the Nazis.

Of all my family and my wife's family, only those who were exiled by the Russians, survived, since they were out of reach by the Nazis.

My Family

by Shoshana Ginsberg nee Scheffler

My father Shimon Scheffler, and my mother Sheindl, were religious people, as were the majority of the people in town, and, in that spirit we children were raised.

Even though our parents were very religious, they did not put obstacles in our paths when we joined the pioneers of the Zionist Youth Movement, and aspired with all the others to immigrate to Eretz Israel. Our parents understood our feelings that we, the youth, could not continue to live in the Diaspora, in an atmosphere of hostility, deprivation, and frequent pogroms. They themselves hoped some day to join us.

To our regret their aspirations of joining us did not materialize. They sanctified with their deaths the divine Name, together with my brother Moshe and my relative Shoshana Gelbwachs, who was adopted by my parents just before my sister and I immigrated to Eretz Israel.

My brother David survived the German concentration camps but his health was ruined going through so much suffering. When he arrived in France after the liberation, he died after a prolonged illness. G–d shall avenge their blood.

My Mother

by Pinchos Klotz–Aloni

The well–known folk song “Mein Yiddishe Mame,” always reminds me of my mother. Everyone knows his mother. Mine was just like yours, like everyone's mother. And when I happen to think about another cordial song, “A brivele De Mamen,” I feel that I have sinned, I have written very few letters to my mother.

When I left my mother, more than thirty years ago, I left with the enthusiasm of a twenty year–old man with the thought of discovering a new world, and, if not, to help build a new world. I thought very little about the fact that I left at home such a dear mother who longed for me

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and waited for a letter. Now I would gladly write to her, but where is she? Where is my mother?

In the past, mothers were brought to a decent burial, and everyone knew their burial place. They had a gravestone which carried their holy names. But my mother do I know where her blood was spilled? Maybe her blood was not spilled at all? Maybe she was gassed to death in a gas chamber? Or, maybe she went to the ovens alive? Therefore, the pain is much heavier when you do not know what happened to her, where her bone disappeared.

And from my memories I draw pictures about my childhood when my mother showed so much love to me, when she protected me from my strict father's punishments. She was always covering up for me, taking the blame herself, because she knew that the things my father considered mischievous were not mischievous at all. All I wanted to do was to go to the river for a swim or run to the woods to play and, when I became older, I wanted to read a book. My father refused to recognize all these things. According to him, a Jewish boy ought to sit in cheder or Beit Hamidrash, study Torah, and not spend time foolishly.

However, my mother understood well these “foolishness” but I did not know to appreciate her greatness, her good–heartedness. Now, when I do understand it so well, she is not here anymore. Regretting does not help, and neither does beating my chest. All that is left in my memories is the vision of her, her bright portrait, which I will never stop revering and respecting as long as I live.

You see, my dear mother, these few lines that I wrote as a tribute to you are a tribute and a Kaddish for all the Yiddishe Mames, because they all were alike, they all possessed the same merits, the same attributes. May the radiant vision of the “Yiddishe Mame” appear before us from the tragic past like a light tower in a stormy sea to shine upon our paths in our present life.

Father Said: Do Not Remain Here

by Shulamit Grinwald–Hasenkopg

I arrived in Eretz–Israel from Frankfurt, Germany, at the end of October 1938. How much I longed for that day, but how bitter were the circumstances through which I finally merited to immigrate. For years I belonged to the Zionist Pioneer Youth Movement, and I was getting ready for a life of realization in Eretz Israel. My emigration documents arrived on Rosh Hashana 1938. The formalities were all arranged. The crates with my baggage were already sent and my suitcases were packed and ready. My mother was crying about the fact that our family was being torn apart, but I was joyful. I was looking forward to my departure. It was customary that on a day when a group of Zionist youth departed, relatives and friends came to the railroad station, singing Hebrew songs, dancing the Horah, not paying attention to the hostile looks of the Nazi onlookers. Thus my day of departure was approaching, it was set for Monday, November 3, 1938.

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And behold, on Thursday, my uncle came home with bad news. He had heard that Jews of Polish origin were expelled from nearby Wiesbaden. We were filled with anxiety. My mother, as usual, had already prepared everything for the Sabbath. We anxiously went to sleep. At five in the morning I was awakened. I heard a voice from my parents' room. “Get dress immediately! The whole family! You are being expelled to Poland,” I got up and went into the next room. Two German policemen and one secret policeman in civilian clothes were standing there. “Oh! Here is one more Jewess.” A policeman said. My father pleaded with the not to chase out such small children in the street in such a cold and rainy morning. There were three little brothers in our family. But to no avail. On the insistence of my father, they postponed my expulsion for three days because of my emigration papers. The whole family was ordered out. We were stunned. We woke the brothers. I helped mother to pack a few things. I went up to the attic where the wet laundry hung. It was frozen stiff because of the cold night. I still remember to this day the packing of the wet and frozen laundry. My little brothers were told that they were going for a train ride, and this, understandably, made them happy. In one half hour we were ready because the policemen kept rushing us. They were pressed for time. They had a lot of work to do expelling all the Jews from Frankfurt.

I embraced my family, and the policemen locked the apartment. I was allowed to take my suitcases with me. The policemen escorted my family to a transit station. It was five in the morning. I a sixteen–year–old girl, was left alone in the street in a pouring rain, a suitcase in each hand. I was perplexed. I did not know where to turn. I was sure that all my relatives were expelled. Suddenly, two Christian women passed by. They did not even see my face, but one said to the old in a happy voice, “It is really a nice day. They are throwing the Jews out in the street.” Only then did I begin to cry in that gloomy morning. Bitterly crying, I took the two suitcases, and went to the “Pioneer House,” to my instructors. They were still asleep, and I woke them up. I told them what happened. The immediately woke up the youngsters who they thought were designated to be expelled. They packed their belongings and provisions, including warm blankets. When the police came, the youngsters were taken away, leaving the food and the warm clothes behind.

The Sabbath passed in depression. I was supposed to leave Germany Monday. On Sunday I met my father. The Poles did not let him cross the border and he was returned to Frankfurt, Germany. The police gave him back the keys to the apartment. I met him in the street and silently embraced him. We were speechless. We walked home together. He opened the door and, in the kitchen, the food for the Sabbath was still on the shelves. All the beds looked as if the people had just slept in them. Suddenly my father began to tremble, a cold sweat covering his face. He began to vomit and he fainted. I pulled him, my strong, husky, and tall father, into bed. He then broke into a spasm and said: “Do not remain here! Go away from here quickly. We are all doomed. Only you have a chance to survive.” Those words were a prophesy.

On that Monday, three youngsters, all by themselves, went to the

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railroad station. The station was empty. We sat in a corner and cried.

In Munchen the train filled up with emigrants, but the depression did not fade away. Only when the train passed Rusbach, the border station, and left the German land, did a sudden change of mood overcome us. Everybody began to sing: “Masel Tov Jews, we are going home.” This was a song which came from the heart, never to be forgotten.

The Bitter Account

by Shlomo Yahalomi

This is not a day for singing
Rather take a sheet of paper and write an elegy
(Reb Yehuda Halevi)

It happened the second day of Shavuoth 1947, in a Displaced Persons Camp, in Ferenwald, Germany. The synagogue was filled to the fullest capacity, actually overflowing. Outside the synagogue, hundreds of worshippers who had survived fire and frost, men, women, and orphans, waited to say Yizkor. They were getting ready to pour out their sadness and bitterness before the Master of the Universe. I was standing on the pulpit immersed in my thoughts, wondering how I would be able to fulfill my obligation and memorialize so many untainted martyrs, and also those who passed away of natural causes. I was duty bound to memorialize my parents, grandparents, my wife of my youth and our children, my sister and family, uncles, aunts, and so many colleagues who disappeared without a trace. And I did want to remember them all. Who would if not I? My heart was shrinking from pain and sorrow, my head weighted heavily upon my shoulders as if a huge mountain was pressing it. How can I roll these rocks off my chest? And suddenly, I remembered a heart–warming story about one of the ancient Rabbis of Strzyzow, Rabbi Elimelech Shapiro. And this is how the story is told:

Once during the High Holidays, the Rabbi took his prayer book in his hands and approached the pulpit to chant. The Rabbi chanted all day, but the prayer book remained open on the same page where he had opened it at the beginning of the day. When the Hassidim saw it, they were puzzled and asked him for an explanation. The Rabbi responded with a story. That in the days of the Baal Shem Tov, there was a Jewish man who was a tax collector for the master of the village. The man had a wife and one son. When the parents of the boy passed away, the master took him into his home and raised him as a Christian. Years later, when the boy found out that his parents were Jewish, he decided to run away and return to Judaism. When it became known to him that Yom Kippur is a day of pardon and forgiveness, the boy escaped to the nearest town and went to the synagogue. This was just before “Kol Nidrei.” He saw that most people wore white, and prayed with tears in their eyes. He was very moved. He took a prayer book in his hand and, with tears in his eyes, he said: “Lord of the Universe, I do not know how to pray, I do not know what to ask for. Take this prayer book and read what it is

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appropriate to read because you know it all.

Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech paused for a second and continued: “So did I. I took the prayer book in which the prayers are according to the holy Ari's version. It is full of mysterious and wonderful secrets which I absolutely do not understand. Therefore, I opened it and put it before G–d, without turning the Pages, and said: “Master of the Universe, you have before you a prayer book according the holy Ari's version, and you know everything.”

This is the story that came to my mind which relieved me from my confusion. Like that boy who returned to Judaism, I meditated, “You, G–d, knows everything at a glance.” Suddenly a shriek escaped my mouth: “Yizkor Elohim,” (Remember O G–d).

From that time on, every time I say Yizkor, I recall the above story. And that is how I memorialize all the souls. Also now, I intend to list with blood and tears all the victims that were sacrificed on the altar of the Nazi inferno, I know that I cannot remember everyone. But I rely on the Almighty who knows and remembers everything.

I will not write about my parents who died in the prime of their lives because they died of natural causes and I wrote about them in another place in this book. Here I will tell about those who were killed for the sanctification of the divine Name. First let us remember my companion, the wife of my youth, the enlightened, talented, and clever, Leah, the daughter of Reb Eliezer Licht from Brzostek, near Jaslo, in Western Galicia. The Licht Family was a well–respected family, and my father–in–law was an enlightened, and pious man. He established and led an exemplary Jewish home. All his sons and daughters were known for their education and exemplary behavior. My wife was the youngest of them all, and she was called “The brains of the family.” After our marriage in 1936, we settled in Brzostek, and lived there for three and a half years, a life of happiness and tranquility, until the outbreak of the Second World War. The war brought an end to all our hopes and destroyed our home.

On the first day of the war, the enemy bombers appeared in the skies over our town. The fright was enormous. Many of the residents told me that, “Jews like you” meaning men known for their wealth, should escape because they will be the first victims. People were also convinced that the Nazis would not hurt women. Therefore, in order to spare the wife and the children, it was advisable for the men of the house to leave. Even my clever wife had begged me to go, first to my birthplace, Strzyzow, where my brother Heschel the head of the Kehillah was living and, later to escape together wherever we would decide. After much hesitation I left Brzostek, and a week after the outbreak of the war, I reached Strzyzow. This was September 8, 1939. I did not find my brother in Strzyzow because he had left a few hours before my arrival. While I was standing and regretting that I did not find him, the door opened and he walked in. It appeared that on his way, somebody told him that I was on my way, so he immediately returned. He wanted us to plan together what steps we should take. My brother was lucky to secure one seat in the car of Count Bilitcki, a Christian estate owner. He owed money to my brother and,

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therefore, he offered him a place in his car to travel to Lwow. My brother insisted that I should take the seat and he would somehow manage to find transportation. I refused. I was sure that he was endangering his life and finding a seat, even in a horse drawn cart, would be next to impossible. Finally, he surrendered. We separated with hugs and kisses, hoping to meet soon after Hitler's defeat.

Saturday night rumors spread that there would be heavy fighting between the Polish and German armies in the vicinity of Brzoztek because of the hilly topography. I decided without hesitation that I should not be here in Strzyzow while my wife, who was pregnant, was on the front line. Early next morning I returned to Brzostek. And, simultaneously, the Nazis occupied the city. I spent two months under the Nazi occupation. I will not go into details of my experience during these two months. Ultimately, my wife and I, and my relatives, concluded that the Nazis did not hurt women and children and I must go away. And so, on October 31, 1939, I was on my way. And here again I am skipping over many details about my wanderings and prisons in Lwow, Odessa and Charkov, hard labor in Siberia, and on and on. I received a letter and then a package from the wife of my youth. Despite the horrible situation in which they found themselves, she successfully ended her pregnancy and bore us a son.

“Life” in the Nazi inferno turned into hell. The sufferings have increased day after day. The savage German animals began to hurt women also. Everyone felt that the end was imminent, but still a spark of hope flickered in the hearts of the hunted and the tortured. My wife who possessed a lot of energy and was known as a clever woman refused to sit idle and wait for the bitter end. When the “actions” began at the end of 1942, she escaped from Brzostek with our daughter Sarah to the Krakow ghetto. (The infant son Joseph Chaim had died before because of the horrible living conditions.) She bleached the little girl's hair blond and, whoever did not know her and saw her golden curls, thought she was Aryan. After a short time in the Krakow ghetto, she escaped to the Bochnia ghetto where her sister was living. In time, she found out that there was a way of obtaining emigration papers for a large sum of money by taking the place of another woman. She was able to pay more than the other woman was willing to pay. (This woman survived although at that time, she was unwilling or unable to pay such a large amount. Still she did manage to survive notwithstanding the suffering she went through.) My wife obtained the much sought–after travel papers and, with a few more “lucky” people, she was put on a train which was supposed to take them abroad. Instead, the train arrived in the infamous Plaszow camp. Soon after their arrival, the cursed Nazis murdered all of them. May G–d favor their memory with all the rest of the untainted martyrs and avenge their spilled blood.

My sister Eta, was one of the attractive, educated, clever, and polite daughters of Strzyzow. When she learned she remembered. Whether this was our Prophets or the “Pan Tadeusz” (A famous Polish poem by Adam Mickiewicz), she knew it all by heart. Even though she was a little more educated than other girls, they never envied her. They loved her with their souls. It was all because of her gentleness and good–heartedness.

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She was easy–going and loved everybody. She strictly adhered to the Fourth Commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother.” After my father passed away, she watched over my mother as if she were the apples of her eyes. She married a good man with a heart of god, as the saying goes. He was an enlightened man with many virtues. His name was Reb Aryeh Leib, the son of Reb Benjamin Beinish Halevi Federbush, from Dzikow. The Federbush house was a house of Jewish glory. Both my sister and her husband were very charitable. A woman survivor from Dzikow has told me that my sister had sent back to Strzyzow her entire hope chest to a poor girl friend who was going to be married, and bought herself an entire new wardrobe. If there was in town a poor Bar Mitzva boy, she used to provide all the food for the festive meal. And the way she behaved, so did her husband. Despite being busy in his business, he always found time to spare to do something for the poor. He chaired the Food for Poor Committee and distributed the vouchers for lunch or dinner to the poor, as it was customary in many Galician towns. And G–d had blessed them with prosperity and with a lovely dear son whose name was Joseph Chaim, after my father. The boy astonished everybody with his looks and charms. What can I say in conclusion? That my sister and her husband's house was a rich and happy home. They gave charity, practiced kindness as befits a true Jewish home, where G–d's Torah and good deeds was their pedestal. And then the horrible war began.

The Nazis occupied Dzikow a few days after the war began. Dzikow and its vicinity was considered by the Nazis an important area and they ordered the Jews to leave town. On Sukkoth 1939, all the Jews were expelled, my sister among them. They went to Radomysl and then to Lwow. In Lwow they suffered greatly both materially and because of my sister's illness. Still they worried about me and as soon as they found out that I was sentenced to hard labor and was sent to a remote labor camp in Siberia, they managed to send me a few packages. Later I found out that, not only did they send packages to me, but also to other relatives. What a food package meant in those days knows only he who suffered as we did. I also received a few encouraging letters which strengthened my spirit. Despite my sister's sad and bitter situation, her letters were a work of thought and style. I was astonished at her ability to do such writing in days of such hardships. Her last letter was imbued with sorrow and sadness on one hand, and cheerfulness on the other hand. Ending her letter she signed off with, “Eta the daughter of Dvoira who needs a complete recovery.”

Soon after the outbreak of the Soviet–German war, when the Nazis marched into Lwow, they committed excesses and massacres on the Jews. My brother–in–law, my sister and child escaped, and returned to Dzikow. There they stayed until August 1942. On the fifth day of the month of Av, they were expelled to Baranow. They were forced to march on foot, men, women, children, old people and infants. In Baranow my sister's in–laws were murdered. From there they were taken by train to Dembice. In Dembice they took away my sister's son, Joseph Chaim, and killed him right there before his parents eyes. They refused to do my sister the “favor” of killing her first. In the camp of Dembice, the Nazis

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concentrated 58,000 people. On the seventh day of the month Av, they selected 600 men. One hundred were sent to Rzeszow, one hundred and fifty to Tarnow, two hundred to Pustkow, and one hundred and fifty back to Dzikow. My brother–in–law was in the last group. My sister was late killed with the rest of the fifty eight thousand. Only about fifty people survived the Holocaust.

After all that my brother–in–law went through and what he saw, he became dejected. He constantly held his little boy's clothing under his arms. He worked slave labor in Dzikow. In addition to all the tortures, he was forced to sing Polish and Yiddish songs for the cursed and the wicked because he was an excellent singer. Ultimately, he was also murdered. Before his death, he handed to somebody his son's clothing and told them to watch over his son.

See G–d and look. See my pain, sorrow, and broken heart while I write these stories, avenge their spilled blood.

My heart shrinks from pain when I begin to continue the bitter account memorializing the victims that my brother Heschel sacrificed on the altar of the Nazi inferno. He too lived a respectful and happy life. He lived as the majority of Jews lived throughout Poland and Galicia. The Holocaust destroyed his house and ruined everything he owned. But it is my duty to name the victims.

My sister–in–law, my brother's wife of his youth, Hinda, was the daughter of Reb Joseph Saul Halevi Weidenfeld, from Limanow, a well–known noble family. After my brother was forced to escape to the Russian side, his wife with their two sons, the beloved Joseph Chaim and Isaiah Itzhok, remained in Strzyzow. My brother's wife, Hinda, was a fine, good–hearted woman. Her relationship with our mother Dvoira was spotless. She revered her like her own mother. After my mother passed away, my sister and I lived together with my brother. She treated us motherly and cordially. That fact was known in the whole town. For a certain period, the situation in Strzyzow was bearable. It even reached the point that all the wives whose husbands were on the Russian side, secretly asked them to return home. Hinda too had written my brother and asked him to return. However, my brother refused to abandon me as long as I was an inmate in the Russian jail. He hoped that he would be able to do something about it. He remained in Lwow and, due to that fact, he remained alive. If he would have returned, he would have perished in the Holocaust. It did not take long and the situation in Strzyzow became bad. The persecutions became worse day after day, and in the bitter end, they perished together with the whole town in Belzec. May G–d remember them favorably and avenge their blood.

The list is not complete yet. I am duty bound to memorialize the martyrs related to my present wife, may she live until a hundred and twenty. Her name is Dvora, the daughter of Reb Menachem Mendel Eisen from Wielopole.

My father–in–law, Reb Menachem Mendel, was born in Ropczyce. He was a grandson of Reb Shmaryahu, a pupil of the famous Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Frenkel from Wielopole, who once said to his Hassidim, “During my absence you can ask Reb Shmaryahu for a blessing.” My father–in–law

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inherited from his grandfather the purity of belief and his piety. He gathered in wanderers and the book of Psalms never left his hands. He was active in the Visit the Sick Society. Survivors have testified that he was no less G–d fearing and possessed as many good virtues as his brother Reb Shlomo, the Assistant Rabbi in Wielopole, to whom even gentiles came to litigate. My father–in–law and his brother perished in the Holocaust. G–d shall avenge their blood.

Also my mother–in–law Chana, their children: Yacov Shmaryahu with his wife Miriam and their children, Abraham, Bina and Shragai Feivel; Rachel with her husband Mordechai Pinchowski from Strzyzow, their children: Eliezer, Chaya Pearl, Frieda with her husband Itzhok Weiser; their daughters Miriam and Breindl. The son Isachar, and also the son Aaron David, who escaped to Russia, but disappeared without a trace and was never heard from. Beside my wife, another son and daughter survived and are now in the United States. They all were scholars and observant Jews.

In addition to all the dear ones from my immediate family, many more martyrs perished from the big families of Diamond, Kanner and Eisen. Aunts and uncles, among them my uncle Reb Nathan Kornreich from Bukowsk, who was my mother's brother and his wife Gnendl, who was killed by the Poles as soon as the Nazis came. The list would probably reach in the hundreds. Many whom I remembered are listed in the list of the martyrs at the end of this book.

I want to express my gratitude to the one who is above us in heaven, for my survival. My wife Dvoira and I have two daughters who are dear to us. So did my brother Heschel merit to make a new home and he has a lovely wife and two sons who are following in G–d's ways.

My Father Reb Chaim Itzhok Kalb
The Son of Reb Tanchum Yacov of Blessed Memory

by Ben Zion Kalb

Who has the perception and the pen to record the history of our generation, a generation born, raised and educated in a shtetl, at the end of the past century, and was swept with the torrent of the First World War into the West, became integrated with that new world, and with the ascent of Hitler, his name shall be obliterated forever, has made aliyah and settled in Eretz Israel? Who could have been able to withstand such powerful storms which this period bore but an outstanding scholar? Only he who absorbed the inner dynamic of the living Judaic Torah, was able to withstand all those changes of life. And such a person was my father, Reb Chaim Itzhok Kalb.

He was the son of Reb Tanchum and Sarah. Reb Tanchum was the shochet in Strzyzow, an enlightened man who was revered by all the people. He spent his childhood in abject poverty. To avoid being recruited into the army, he went to Hamburg, Germany, to stay with a relative. In Hamburg, he gave Talmud lessons to the rich Orthodoxy. The way of life there which was so different from his small town, had deeply impressed him and bore in him a yearning for values with which Judaism was blessed.

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On his return home, he married his wife Rachel, had two children, and soon the global storm placed him in Bohemia. There he established himself in the business world and became the founder of the Orthodox Kehillah in Teplice. His spouse and he were not spared sadness and sorrow, when three of their children were taken away from them as a result of different diseases.

Soon his cleverness was publicly known and, when any dispute occurred, whether legal, personal or material, the townspeople turned to Reb Chaim Itzhok for advice. How else can you signify an outstanding scholar if not by his ability to translate his knowledge in practical daily use? He mixed well with people and he was especially beloved for his chanting. He preserved his clear voice until the last days of his life.

When Hitler came to power, my father was well–established economically, he branched out into many businesses and was a wealthy man. He managed to salvage only a fraction of his wealth, before it was too late, in order to start a new life in Eretz Israel.

He was seriously injured as a result of a car accident. He lived four more years, thanks to his considerable energy and love for life, defying all medical prognoses. He died on is eightieth birthday.

The People of Israel Shall Live!

by Leah Loos

How many Jews survived the Holocaust in which six million perished? Not many tens of thousands, one from a town, maybe two from a family. Without using the word “miracle” to describe the manner of the survival of each Jew, hundreds of volumes would not be enough. This was an enormous event unknown in world literature because mankind had never experienced such a Holocaust until the appearance of Asmodeous–Hitler.

I would like to describe here, within the limited frame of this memorial book for the martyrs of Strzyzow, the history of one survivor, a remnant of a family close to one hundred people.

My mother Sarah's family of the Holles Dynasty, had lived for many generations of Strzyzow and its vicinity. My father Eliezer, of blessed memory, came from a little place near Lancut. His large family lived in Strzyzow and Rzeszow. During the Holocaust my parents and my brother Elazar remained in Strzyzow. Also my cousins, my mother's brother and his family, my father's nephew, Reb Ephraim Kneller with his family, remained in Strzyzow.

From this entire family only one person survived, my older sister's son, Joseph Reich. How they all perished is already told in this book. I just want to tell how this single remnant survived. During the selection, when the Nazis separated the young people into two groups, those to be sent to forced labor and those to be sent to their annihilation, both my older sister's son and daughter were selected to be sent to a labor camp, my sister's son, Joseph, left his parents, but my niece, Henia, refused to separate from her parents and went with them to the

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annihilation. My brother Elazar, was sent to a labor camp. He went through all the hardships in the ghetto and camps. Although he broke an arm, he managed to stay alive. In Theresienstadt, after the liberation, he contracted typhus. His body overcame this disease too. However, his mind was damaged and he became depressed. He managed to contact me. I was then in the service of the Allied Forces in Italy. He received my encouraging words and the news about our nephew's survival. He expressed his wishes to come and settle in Israel. But the British ruled our land and the fate of the Jewish survivors was in their hands. In order to make aliyah, they had to obtain permission from the British. This disappointment depressed him even more and until I was able to take some steps to speed up his illegal aliyah, he put an end to his life. I erected a gravestone for him in Landesberg, Germany, and this is the only gravestone in our family.

My cousin, the son of my mother's sister, Meir Holles, lives in the United States. During wartime, I was in constant contact with him. In every letter he expressed fear about the fate of our family. He deluded himself with false hope that perhaps somebody from his family will survive. His spirit broke after he found out the bitter truth that no one from his family escaped the inferno. He too put an end to his life. He was lonely. From his family, the Fradels and the family of Elazar Wurtzel, six children with their own families, no one survived.

My sister Vita, left her residence in Dynow after the first massacre. She with her husband, Mordechai Popper, and son Aryeh, who was four years old, moved to Przemysl. There, while crossing the San River, my sister met her death from a Russian or German bullet. She wanted to bring provisions for her family. My brother–in–law stayed in the Przemysl ghetto with his little boy and my nephew, Joseph, the son of my other sister. They worked and managed to hide the child for some time. When the last action began against children, my brother–in–law gave away his little boy to a Christian family for a sizeable sum. The boy was five years old, and he himself chose a non Jewish name “Tadek.” I was told about the amazing instinct he had to preserve his life. Like all of the actions, he felt what was happening around him, so he ran away and hid in a huge soup barrel in one of the food–serving places. He remained there until the danger passed, and then he returned on his own to his father.

I have no information about the fate of this child. The only survivor, Joseph, my nephew, does not know the name of the Christian family or their address. All of my efforts and searches brought no results. Did the Christians hand him over to the Gestapo? This question is constantly on my mind.

During the final liquidation of the ghetto in Przemysl, my brother–in–law and my nephew were loaded into a train which supposedly was destined to go to Auschwitz. They have hidden in their boots some break–in tools with which they broke open the car and jumped off the train. About one hundred Jews were killed by German bullets. Joseph and another man survived and reached the forests near Tarnow. The other young man

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was injured in his knee. For a week they roamed around in the woods, alone, hungry and depressed, until they reached the point of apathy and unwillingness to live. One day they noticed a pair of horses in the woods. Joseph's companion who was a village boy knew that at noontime the owner of the horses was bound to appear to water the horses. They waited for him. When the owner came, Joseph appealed to him to give them food and shelter, especially to help his wounded comrade.

They did not expect a positive answer. They were sure that the gentile would report them to the Gestapo for the reward of a kilogram sugar or salt. To their great surprise, not only did he not report them, but he returned from his house with a basket loaded with precious food and cigarettes which his wife had prepared for them. These people should be remembered for generations to come. The name of the peasant family, these gentle souls, was, Michael and Maria Wlodek, from the village Lenkowice, near Tarnow. These farmers hid the boys in a bunker under the threshing floor. They fed and clothed them for a year and a half until the liberation. Even though they were very discreet about having Jews under the house, their lives were in constant danger, because their house was swarming with S.S. men, and the neighbors could have reported them at any moment or even their own children or servants. If only there would have been more Poles like these farmers, many more Jews would have survived. After the liberation, my nephew, Joseph Reich, went to our house in Strzyzow, to his parents' house in Jaslo, with the illusion of finding someone alive. He found no one. Nothing interested him anymore in Poland. He contacted the Jewish underground organization to help him reach Eretz Israel illegally, knowing that I, his aunt, lived there. I was in Italy at that time as a volunteer in the British Army. There I heard about his survival and found him in a Displaced Persons camp in Padua, Italy. He immigrated to Eretz Israel via Aliyah Bet, settled there, established a family, and his two children will be the continuation of our family. The people of Israel will live!!!

In Memory of My Parents
Who Perished Somewhere in Poland

by Dr. Chanan Lehrman, Rabbi of West Berlin

My parents were simple, humble and unpretentious. T heir only aspiration was to live a decent, straight life in the spirit of the Ten Commandments, and to implant the same principles in their offspring.

My father, as evidenced by his last name, came from a scholarly, rabbinical family, going back many generations. He refused to use his Torah knowledge as a tool to earn a living. Therefore, he became a small–caliber merchant. My father was always happy with what he had and lived from day to day being grateful to G–d for each day. Several hours a day he devoted to study the words of the Torah which he also taught to his children, fulfilling the commandment, “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children.” He did not leave the task of teaching to the professional teachers.

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Such were his ideals and his virtues. His heartiest honesty was accompanied by his alert cleverness and intuition which had kept him away from frivolity. My father was blessed with an endless resource of good–heartedness and with a sense of humor which did not leave him in his most difficult moments.

He found a helper in the person of his spouse, my mother, who was energetic, strong–minded, and sharp–witted in her practical life. Her devotion to others which had no limitations was known to everyone. Her appearance, her stature, and her alertness, in spite of her shaky health, stood out in endless vitality and left a deep impression on whoever had a chance to meet her. To raise nine children, each of whom had a different character, was for her a simple matter. Even to feed them from her own labor during the years of the First World War, when my father was mobilized, was not too difficult for her. She still had time left to help her neighbors, help the sick, and console the poor. Not only with words, but with deeds. When someone brought into the house one, two or even three poor people to be fed, she welcomed them with a smile. “Nothing to it. One more mouth, one more spoon of water to add to the soup.” Because of her belief, she could move mountains. Such belief is what we intellectuals arrogantly call extremism. Was it not extremism when, at the height of 1914–1918 War, she did not even once conceded the lighting of the Sabbath candles, one for each member of her family?

She was always able to obtain these candles which had become increasingly scarce. And every time, after she finished the candle lighting ceremony which was for her a symbol of renewal of the covenant with G–d, her heart was filled with joy because she considered t his covenant the destiny of her family. And, if a child's life was in danger, she felt certain that her love for G–d would not disappoint her and it will be the source of her rescue. Her perseverance was so strong that even a Commandant of a concentration camp could not withstand it. When one of her children was in t hat camp, she managed to free him without money and without “contacts,” only by the power of her tears. When my parents, two elderly people, were expelled from Germany to Poland together with their youngest child, she managed to get the child out from that miserable country which later turned into a gigantic valley of death. G–d kept his covenant which my mother had made with him during the Sabbath candle lighting. My parents fulfilled their obligation toward G–d. They blessed their children and taught them ethical virtues and they knew that their children were on safe shores, although scattered throughout the four corners of the globe. This was their last comfort when they approached their tragic end. Behold, here they were again lonesome, hiding in a cellar beneath a factory, with potatoes their only provision. Only one food package out of five had reached them from abroad. They continued to live only by the strength of hope that the day would come that their family would be together again.

The suffering continued. The winter of 1941–42, the last before the terrible slaughter, had brought them to the brink of despair, without heating, clothing, or food, in a stage of complete weakness, a critical shriek escaped from their mouths, with greater bitterness than

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the shriek of Job. But this was only a momentary weakness which flashed upon us with a blinding light, revealing the situation they were in, which they kept covering up with calming words not wanting to disturb us.

The last postcard was dated July 1942, which doubtlessly was smuggled out, simply notifying us in a few words written in haste and with a trembling hand, that they were transferred to a place without a persona address, but not to worry about their fate. From then on, we did not receive any communication. Their pain, like the pain of thousands of others, ended. Only now are we beginning to familiarize ourselves with their sufferings. Their destiny was the destiny of many millions and I would like to ask your forgiveness for telling this personal story which nowadays is nothing but a banal problem. Our imagination is not capable of grasping the awe and the dreadfulness which giant numbers symbolize. The image does not react until the event is personal. I would like to ask your permission to revere my parents' memory by which you will become participants in memorializing all the victims from all the nations. The custom of Jewish tradition demands that on the remembrance day of death of one's parents, “Kaddish” should be recited, a prayer that praises and exalts the will of G–d, candles should be lit to symbolize the power passed on from father to son and spread the spiritual light which might bring peace to the world. I doubt if I will ever find out the exact day of my parents' departure, but my lectures beginning today and hereafter, will be about the relation between logic and belief and it will be given in a traditional spirit. This will be my humble contribution to the collective light and all this is because of the spark that my parents lit in me. (The last section of this article is an excerpt from my lecture on November 9, 1944, at the Lucerne University in Switzerland, on the subject of “Jewish thoughts in the History of Philosophy.”)

The author of this article is a grandson of Reb Moshe Krantzler from Strzyzow who, at that time, was a lecturer in the above–mentioned university.

Memories from My Father's House

by Seryl Fishler–Mandel

Oft times when I walk in the street and come across a man wearing a beard with sidelocks, on a gentle face from which the radiance of the divinity shines, a shiver goes through my body. The vision of my father, of blessed memory, appears before my eyes.

My father was a G–d fearing man. All his faculties were immersed in studying and teaching to others the Holy Torah.

The small business which my family owned after the First World War, suffered very much because my father treated it very lightly, feeling that the store was not worthy of devoting too much time. Therefore, the burden fell on my mother's and children's shoulders, and we derived very little livelihood from the store.

The daily program of my father began at three in the morning. At

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this early hour he got up and went to the Beit Hamidrash. He always stopped on his way at the mikva, and soon after, he sat down to his studies.

The sound of his humming was heard all around him, and everyone knew that Reb Chaim Mandel is studying already. He taught the Talmud to young men, Mishnayoth to the adults, merchants and tradesmen. His sweet voice and the Sassov traditional songs filled the vacuum of the Beit Hamidrash when he chanted on the Sabbath and holidays.

My father of blessed memory, used to make pilgrimage to the Rabbi from Munkatch where he taught Torah to the Rabbi's son–in–law who is now the Rabbi of Holon, Israel. He sat in as an arbitrator in much litigation, being known for his acuteness.

After the passage of Rabbi Moshe Leib Shapiro from Sassov, who live in Strzyzow, my father of blessed memory, together with Reb Yeshayahu Mandel, Reb Samuel Moshe Groskopf, and Reb Chaim Yacov Nuremberg, all of blessed memory, continued the Rabbi's traditions and his court was preserved under the leadership of Rebbetzim Chana, until their son Rabbi Nechemiah returned from Vienna and inherited the Rabbi's place.

My mother, may she rest in peace, had suffered with great humility because of her worries for a livelihood. There was a houseful of small children. Only with the help of my grandparents was the family able to exist until the children grew up and helped in the store.

My younger brother Naphtali, of blessed memory, had intertwined Torah with ethics, and also obtained a broad, general enlightenment.

I, as a young girl, joined the General Zionist Association and my goal was to make aliyah to Eretz Israel. It is hard for me to describe how great my suffering was because of the negative attitude to Zionism in our home and, even my studying Hebrew was met with objection.

I was convinced that there would not be any possibility for me to make aliyah directly from my home to Eretz Israel. Therefore, I left my parents' house in 1931, and, just before the ascension of the savage, I reached Berlin.

The moment I entered Germany, I energetically concentrated my efforts to obtain a permission certificate. My efforts were fruitful and thanks to it, I am now able to write these memories here in Israel. I showed the way to my family which remained in the Diaspora. But only one sister followed me and is at present with me. My sister Mina, may she rest in peace, who also was an active Zionist, was supposed to have come from Warsaw with the last illegal group. However, she did not board the ship. She was apprehensive that the ship would not reach her destination. She was fated to remain with my family until the bitter end.

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My Holy Father the Martyr,
Reb Abraham Kalb the Shochet, of Blessed Memory

by Ben Zion Kalb, New York

My master, my father the teacher, t he martyr, Reb Abraham, the son of Reb Tanchum Yacov, told me that he was the grandson of Reb Kopel from Lykowa, a descendant of Rashi. On the gravestone of my great–grandfather, Reb Avremah'le Nobitnitzer, was inscribed as follows: “A holy and godly man who blew the shofar for Rabbi Hersh from Rymanow.” My father was holy and untainted while alive, before he was murdered by the Nazis. Torah and prayer, benevolence and devotion to G–d, had filled his life since he was first able to understand. He did everything with amazing exhilaration. Whoever heard my father express his inner soul during his chanting of the High Holiday prayers, “Malchuyot, Zichronot, Shofrot,” or “Kol Nidrei,” remembered it all his life. He did everything with holy fieriness and excitement, fulfilling the precepts of eating matzo, sitting in the Sukkah, lighting the Hanukkah candles, etc. He was like the “eternal fire which burned on the altar and never went out.” I never saw him go to bed or get up in the morning, even when he was tired. His mysterious melody at the midnight prayers was filled with yearning for the living G–d and it always woke me up in the middle of the night. His powerful belief in G–d was most convincing, more than all the logical and philosophical proof. He cleaved to the righteous and to Hassidism. He frequently visited the Rabbis: Rabbi Yechezkiel from Sieniawa, Rabbi David Moshe from Tchortkow, and his son, Rabbi Israel, also the Rabbi from Ostrowce, and other world famous Rabbis. He was attached to them with all the threads of his soul.

During the Holocaust, when, with the help of G–d, I successfully rescued over three thousand Jews, men, women, and children, I needed to sign all kinds of messages in order to organize such a holy task, I always signed “Ben Avraham.” I was sure that thanks to my father's merits who taught me to put my life on the line for our people, I was able to complete such a holy task successfully. The last time I saw him at the end of 1939, he told me to take with me the small Talmud that we possessed. When I told him that the Talmud is not very popular with the Gestapo, he responded with excitement, “Torah shields and saves.” I took it with me, and this is the only object left from my father. The Nazis murdered him near an open grave in the cemetery in Newmark.

My mother, Sheindl, was murdered together with my father. She was the daughter of Reb Bezalel who had been a shochet and Assistant Rabbi in Sczucin for fifty years. The simplicity with which she believed in G–d and her good deeds were well–known. When she gave charity, she did not want anybody to know. My sister Malka, her husband Moshe Halperin, a pious scholar, and their five–year–old son Bezalel, were all murdered.

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May G–d avenge their spilled blood. My older brother, the martyr, Menachem Mendel, was very charitable. He revered our father and mother very much. When the Gestapo came to take him away, my mother told him to jump out of the window and escape but he said, “And what about you?” He was afraid that if he would escape, they would kill our parents instead. He did not realize that our parents would be killed later anyway. That is how they were all killed. May G–d avenge their blood, and may their merit shield us and all of Israel.

In Memory of My Father and My Town

by Menachem the son of Moshe Kandel–Nuremberg

“I remember thee and I growl” about you my native town, which I left forty years ago. You were wiped off the face of the earth, and you are no more.

My town, my dear town, how can I forget you? You are fresh in my memories as you were on the day when I left you. I still remember the marketplace all the streets and alleys, filled with charm and beauty.

I recall in my memory all the revered citizens, the scholars, the simple and faultless folks, they all were people of faith, straightforward, innocent people.

It comes to my mind the remembrance of the old shul, the kloiz, and the Beit Hamidrash, which were filled with scholars, delighted young men and boys who diligently studied torah, and out of those walls the sound of Torah was heard. This effervescent life which so strongly pulsated was cut off by the cursed Nazis, savages in the form of humans. They all perished during the Holocaust in the fire which engulfed the entire House of Israel. And from my eyes tears are dripping for the destruction of our nation.

Let me commemorate my father, Reb Moshe, the son of Reb Itzhok Eisik Nuremberg, who was one of the outstanding people in town. He stood tall both ways, physically and morally. An outstanding scholar who knew Talmud, was an authority in the ritual rules and strictures. My father was well acquainted in the Responsa, and he was a teacher and instructor to Israel. Many people came to his house for advice and enjoyed his resourcefulness. He was a fiery Hassid of Rabbi Yechezkiel Halberstam from Sieniawa, and he also dabbed in writing and left manuscripts which have not seen the light yet. He ended his days as Assistant Rabbi in Keln, Germany. May his memory be blessed.

This article was written on the day of his yahrzeit.

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In Memory of My Family

by Ruth Kremerman–Russ

My father, Reb Aryeh Leibush Russ, and my mother, Rachel Yidis, were typical of the previous generation. They opposed my aliyah to Eretz Israel and I did it without their blessing. My dream to make aliyah materialized but my happiness was mixed with sadness because I had to leave my parents when they had not yet recovered from the loss of their only son, Abraham. My brother Abraham died when he was only twenty–three years old. My sister Sarah with her husband, Moshe Blau, was planning to follow me. My brother–in–law was supposed to immigrate as a Rabbi but the British Mandatorial Government had cancelled the Rabbinical privileges for aliyah and they, with their three children, remained in the foreign land. They were all annihilated by the Nazis, and I never merited seeing them again. May G–d avenge their blood.

In Memory of My Father, Sister with Her Family,
Why, O Why, Did It Have to Happen?

by Harry Langsam

My mother, Fruma Ryvka, of blessed memory, died at the prime of her life, leaving five orphans the youngest of which I was only six months old. Until 1939, when the horrors of the Holocaust befell upon Israel, I always envied other children for having a mother, and inwardly carried a grudge against G–d for taking her away at such a young age. But having survived the Holocaust made me realize that maybe G–d did it because she was a righteous woman and he wanted to spare her so much suffering.

My father, Reb Yacov, the son f Reb Tzvi Elimelech, was a tall, handsome man. His face was adorned with a dark, chocolate–colored beard, and the last time I saw him, in October, 1939, his beard was sprinkled with a few gray strands.

My father was a pious, deeply religious man, but not a fanatic. He understood that the world is moving forward, and one cannot stop progress. He himself was an avid reader of the “Yiddishe Toghlatt,” an Orthodox newspaper published by Agudat Israel. He never objected to seeing a child reading a Yiddish book or newspaper. But he never permitted any of us children to deviate, Heaven forbid, one iota from the basic religious principles or rituals.

My father was a Hassid and admirer of the Rabbi from Munkatch, and all the Rabbis from the Dynow Dynasty, with whom we were related through Reb Pesach Langsam from Jawornik, from whom the Dynow Dynasty originated.

When the Second World War began on September 1, 1939, I was working in Tarnow. My brother Simcha lived in a nearby town, Zabno, and my oldest sister Beila with her family, lived in Dombrowa, also not far from Tarnow.

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Friday, September 1st at eight o'clock in the morning, was a moment that I will never forget. The owner of the paper–bag factory where I worked, Reb Wolf Getzler, had just walked in and headed straight for the electrical box. He pulled the switch to stop the machines and said, “children, the war has begun.”

On Saturday, when I walked in the street with some friends from the Religious Zionist Organization, we were nabbed by Polish soldiers and taken to dig bomb–shelters. This was the first time in my life that I was forced to desecrate the Sabbath. A short while later, by the intervention of the Jewish community leaders, we were released, promising to appear voluntarily the following day to continue the building of bomb–shelters for the civilian population.

Sunday night, September 3rd, Tarnow was bombarded all through the night with destructive and incendiary bombs. The whole town was on fire. The next day, early in the morning, the entire population began to evacuate the town. People with worried faces, red–eyed from a sleepless night, and loaded with packs of their belongings, were going somewhere without a definite direction. There was total chaos.

I hurriedly joined the stream of refugees leaving behind my meager belongings, thinking that I would soon return. I went to Zabno, where my brother Simcha was working in a bakery. My intent was to bring him to Tarnow and from there to evacuate with all the others eastward, stopping in Strzyzow to see our father.

The road was swarming with evacuees, and every few minutes we had to ditch in to the fields because the German planes were machine–gunning the civilian population. When I arrived in Zabno, my brother was gone and I was told that he went to Dombrowa to join my sister's family. So, having no choice, I set out in the direction of Dombrowa. I walked a day and a night until I reached Dombrowa. I was happy to find my brother and to see my sister with her family. For three days we debated amongst ourselves what to do. We simply did not know how to handle the situation, whether to evacuate or not. There were all kinds of contradictory opinions. Older people who lived through the First World War were against leaving, pointing out, a) we could not run faster by foot than the motorized German army, and b) being a refugee is very difficult. Therefore, we decided to remain in Dombrowa. On Friday, September 8th, the Germany army marched in, and took the town. A dark night began for the Jewish people.

The High Holidays were upon us. The prayer houses were all locked up by decree. The Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur services were conducted secretly out of the Germans eyes. My brother Simcha and I had not heard anything from our father. Therefore, we decided that I should try to reach Strzyzow. Soon after the first two days of Sukkoth were over, dressed as a peasant boy, I started out on my journey to see my father. It was a distance of eighty kilometers, and a very dangerous journey. I had very little money and a few packages of cigarettes on me. Cigarettes had become a scarce commodity at that time. I arrived in Strzyzow on a Friday afternoon, it was Hoshana Raba. The first unpleasant welcome into town that I received was to see a group of Jewish young

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men working at forced labor under the supervision of the Sabbath Goy, Sibirca, who was among the first of the gentiles to take advantage of the situation and show his hostility towards the Jews.

Of course, my father was happy to see me and to hear about the well–being of my brother, my sister and her family. Only from my sister Golda had we not heard anything, nor did we know her whereabouts. A few days later, a mail smuggler brought a note from her which said that she was fine and was in Lwow. She hinted that we should join her. My father and I decided that I should return to Dombrowa and plan together with my brother and sister what to do next. Traveling for a Jew was very dangerous because Jews were forbidden to use transportation. Only angels watched over me and were my guardians. Soon after I reached my brother and sister in Dombrowa, I began to insist that the only thing to do is to escape to the Soviet side. My brother hesitated. He tried to find all kinds of excuses to hold me back. His main reason was fear of becoming a refugee. In the meantime, the Germans went ahead with their oppressive orders. They issued an order that all males ages 18 to 60 have to register. This convinced us both that the time to escape had come. We decided to go to Strzyzow first to see our father and, from there, to reach the San River on the German–Soviet border. Again, by sheer luck we had no trouble reaching Strzyzow. We told father about our decision and he gave us his blessing. Nobody suspected that it was as dangerous for the older people to remain under the Nazis as it was for the younger people, and nobody could even imagine that the Jewish people faced a total annihilation. Before we left home, our father told us: “As a father, how can I urge you to wander off into the unknown but, on the other hand, there is too much risk for you to remain here. Therefore, go with the grace of G–d and do not forget Him. But please try to be back home for Passover. I hope by then Hitler will be dead and we will celebrate the seders together.” We have never forgiven ourselves for not taking our father with us.

It was raining heavily. The hills surrounding Strzyzow were covered with low clouds and it seemed as though the hills were hiding their embarrassment for being forced to leave them. We said good–bye to our father, to our town, to our birthplace, with a trembling heart and tears in our eyes. We never saw our father again. Oh G–d! Please avenge his innocent, untainted blood

During the imprisonment in Soviet Russia, I received one postcard from my father in response to my letter. He wrote that he was not hungry, that Reb Mordechai the baker helps him with bread, and he was wondering why we were in a labor camp. He perished with all his brothers and sisters from Strzyzow, apparently in the annihilation camp of Belzec.

My sister Beila, her husband, Naphtali Einhorn, with their three little darling boys: Tzvi Elimelech, Itzhok and Yehuda Zev, who resided in Dombrowa perished somewhere in Poland. She was married into a big branched–out family, the Einhorns, and the Apples, who also lived in Dombrowa, but none of them survived.

Finally, I want to mention my aunt, Tova Feldmaus, who was my mother's sister, her three children: Hersh, Elazar and Gitel. Their young

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spilled blood should never be forgiven.

As I wrote before, a good angel watched over me, my brother, and my two sisters, four offspring of my father did survive. We all established families, bore children and grandchildren. As the Prophet said: “The perpetuity of Israel is infinite.”

Days and Years in Strzyzow

by Chana Schiff–Shmulewicz

First I would like to reminisce about my childhood, about the days of my attendance in the elementary school. From the scholastic point of view, I like the school very much, but being Jewish with Christians all around me had caused me much suffering. One particular incident which left a great impression upon me happened in school in history class. My teacher had asked me a question and I gave her the right answer. Soon thereafter, she asked a Christian student from an intellectual Polish family a question, but the student failed to respond. The teacher was shocked and remarked loudly that her heart ached seeing that Polish history flows from the mouth of a Jewish girl, but the Polish girl was ignorant and did not know anything about her own national history. This remark which contained so much anti–Semitism deeply impressed me. When I told my parents about the incident, they did not think that it was out of the ordinary. They advised me to get used to these facts and, in the future, not to get upset over such incidents.

That is how I spend my years in school, years of open discrimination by the teachers against the Jewish students. The Polish students did not stand passively by. As a result of their upbringing at home and school, t hey always looked at us disdainfully and most of them teased us and called us insulting names. But in most cases we kept quiet. Thus, in our hearts we had accumulated a bitter pain which influenced us in our future and guided us in finding something that contained a challenge and satisfaction. This was the Zionist Movement in our town.

After we graduated from school (seventh grade), we found ourselves in a vacuum. We were without a goal and with nothing to do. The only avocation in town was around the Visloka River. There we spent hours in Jewish company, we conversed and red books. I remember well the day when a few of the young sons in town, Elazar Goldberg and Joseph Schiff, (I did not know then that he was to be my husband.) asked us to join the Hebrew Youth. In that period, the membership of this movement was small and consisted mostly of boys. The home of that group was in the club of the Zionists, named “Hatikva,” which was located in the big house of Reb Shlomo Diamand, blessed be his memory. His grandson, Reb Shlomo Yahalomi (Diamand), is very active in the compilation of this book. The Chairman of the Zionist Movement was Itzhok Berglass who invested much time and effort in this book, and even now continues as the Chairman of the Natives of Strzyzow and Vicinity Society. Thanks to these two, this book which is so dear to us came into existence.

We soon became adapted to the movement. We found in it what we were

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looking for, namely, ideals. We began to work for these ideals and derived great satisfaction. Our main goal became now to make aliyah to Eretz Israel. Our first instructors were Joseph Weinberg and Pinchos Klotz and, from them, we absorbed the love for our land. We had many groups and one of them studied Hebrew under the guidance of Mr. Hersh Shapiro. After he made aliyah, we were taught by Libka Greenblatt, Mr. Elimelech Waldman, and others, whose names I do not remember. They all perished in the holocaust. May their memory be blessed. Later on, we ourselves began to instruct the younger members of the movement.

We worked several years in the movement and, ultimately, we went to a training kibbutz which was required in order to be qualified for aliyah. The day of our departure was approaching. On one hand, our hearts rejoiced immensely at the prospect of making aliyah to Eretz Israel and, on the other hand, we were moved with the thought that soon we would have to separate from our families and colleagues.

On Thursday, January the 4th, 1935, in the early morning, a day wrapped in cold and snow, we began our journey. To the railroad station we were escorted by our parents, brothers, and sisters, and our comrades from the organization. My grandmother, Esther Hinda Berger, who was known for her wisdom, also came to the station in spite of her advance age She was the wife of Joshua Berger.

One year after my emigration, my husband's parents, Reb Levi Itzhok Schiff, and his wife Ryvka, also emigrated with their youngest son, David. Reb Levi Itzhok was one of the active leaders of the Kehillah in Strzyzow and a fiery Hassid of the Rabbi from Sadigora. My husband's older brother, Meir, who was very devoted to his parents, his wife Dvoira, and their little daughter, Chaya Leah, remained in Strzyzow and they all perished in the holocaust. They planned to follow us but they and many others like them did not make it.

My husband's house was known in town for its hospitality. Almost every Saturday night and holidays, the Hassidim used to gather in Reb Levi Itzhok's house to celebrate the yahrzeits of their Rabbis. The house used to fill up to the fullest capacity. The Hassidim used to tell Hassidic tales and enjoyed the festive meals prepared by my mother–in–law, Ryvka, who was a righteous woman. She was helped by her mother–in–law, Chaya Leah, and by Dena Brauner, the wife of Zalman Brauner. My in–laws have continued their traditional hospitality here in our land My father–in–law became active and was one of the founders of the Natives of Strzyzow Society in Israel.

Now I would like to commemorate my parents. My father Reuben Shmulewicz, may G–d avenge his death, was a G–d fearing man and easy–going with others. He did not seek reverence or money, only love for the Torah and love for his fellow Jews. He studied Torah day and night, and participated daily in studying Mishnayoth with Reb Shalom Schwartzman.

Yom Kippur in our house has left a deep impression in my memory; I remember that on Yom Kippur I did not see my father from the beginning of “Kol Nidrei” until the closing prayers “Neilah” the next day. All that time he spent in Beit Hamidrash, contemplating the holy books. My mother was a good–hearted woman, devoted to her children, and known for

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her charitable activities. Blessed be her memory.

I would like also to mention a few people from Strzyzow that were our neighbors, people of charity and good deeds, as my mother used to tell me. Like Reb Moshe Scheffler, known for his help to the poor and the sick. Reb Mordechai Schwartz, the baker known for his benevolence and whose bakery was open to all the hungry. Reb Mordechai's son, Eliezer, followed in his father's footsteps and possessed the same virtues. He lived in our land for many years and passed away a prolonged illness.

Of all the comrades of the Zionist Movement, only a few survived and they are here, living with us in Israel, thanks to the fact that they were fortunate to immigrate before the outbreak of the war.

We left behind in Strzyzow many comrades with hope to meet here in our land. These were boys and girls who contributed so much to the Zionist Movement in Strzyzow and they could have contributed much more of their energy and strength in the development of our homeland,. But, they were waiting for the entrance visas into our land, the cursed war broke out which prevented the materialization of their dreams. From among my girl friends, I would like to remember my best friend Leah Rosen. She was waiting to immigrate to Eretz Israel, and meantime her life was cut short by an untimely death. She was my best friend. This happened only a few months after my aliyah. I was deeply shocked and her memory never left me.

I would like to memorialize here a few more sons and daughters of Strzyzow. They all were cut down in the prime of their lives, by the savage Nazis: Miriam Zanger, Ryvka Kresh, Rachel Diamand, and many more boys and girls who were known for their talents. Their memory is always with me, and I will never forget them. May their memory be blessed.

Eta Hacker
(From the Landesman–Diamand Family)

by Shlomo Yahalomi

Eta was born to her parents, Reb Asher Leml and Miriam Landesman, in or about the year 1885. Miriam was the daughter of Reb Shlomo from Zyzow. Eta was orphaned at a young age. She was a very sensible and clever woman, with a gentle spirit and a delicate soul. Her life was not strewn with pleasantness. Before the Nazis came to power, she lived a modest and honest life in Vienna, Austria. Then, with the ascension of the Nazis, she was forced to leave Vienna and, after much wanderings, she arrived in the United States. Eta always remembered her parents, her origin, and the Jewish spark remained with her all her life.

After a prolonged illness, she passed away on the thirteenth of the month Teves, 1964, in New York. According to her will, she was flown to Israel and buried near the Rabbi Ashlag, of blessed memory. She left all her possessions to orphanages. May her memory be blessed forever.

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How I Found Out About
the Town of My Origin, Strzyzow

by Shlomo Neumann
From the Adest Family

One day when I was in the office of our kibbutz, I overheard a chavera by the name of Tenzer, mention that her family came from Strzyzow.

Strzyzow! – I jumped up surprised, that is the place where my father's family came from. Through her I got in contact with the Society of the Natives from Strzyzow in Israel and obtained the memorial book about the martyrs of Strzyzow. I was surprised to find that the name Neumann was not mentioned in that book.

This brought me to write what little I know about my family.

Our father, Reb Moshe Aaron Neumann, of blessed memory, was born in Strzyzow in the year 1882, the son of Shlomo Neumann from Strzyzow. To the best of my knowledge, our grandfather was a contractor who built houses. He also dealt with timber. According to my oldest sister Chana, who remembered my grandfather as a very old man, he lived to the age of one hundred and fifteen years. He passed away in 1920, after the pogrom in Strzyzow. Until the pogrom he is said to have been a healthy upright man with a long white beard. He is said to have been born at the time of Napoleon, and passed away after the First World War. He was heavily beaten during the pogrom, when the hooligans claimed that a Polish child had been murdered and he was suspected to being a party to the murder. Our grandmother was called Odess before she married, and was a teacher of young girls. Our father Reb Moshe Aaron Neumann, fought in the Austrian Army during the First World War, and was a prisoner of war. He married my mother Chaya, who was born in Rzeszow, and my three sisters, Chana, Toni and Gina, were born in Strzyzow. After the war, my family moved to Magdeburg, Germany, where I was born. Our father taught Jewish children and prepared them for their Bar Mitzva. He also was the founder and leader of a shul.

Our mother, Chaya, of blessed memory, passed away in 1933.

We stayed in Magdeburg until my father was transported by the Gestapo to Poland and interned in Zbonszin, on the Polish–German border.

My sister Toni, of blessed memory, who was in Poland at the outbreak of the Second World War lived in Krakow. During the war, my father lived together with her in Krakow and in 1942, they both moved to Strzyzow. This was the last time we heard of them…My oldest sister, Chana, of blessed memory, managed to get to England just before the war broke out. She and her husband, Fred, of blessed memory, are buried in England.

My sister, Gina, came to Palestine and settled in kibbutz Rodges. She later left the kibbutz to study nursing. In 1949, she was sent to France to work in refugee camps for displaced persons who were waiting to immigrate to Eretz Israel. Toni fell ill and remained in France where she married Abraham, who recently passed away. Today she lives in

[Page 305]


I succeeded to escape to England at the age of thirteen. During the war and until 1947, I was in a Youth Aliyah Hachshara Center, and from there I went to Israel on that famous boat “Exodus.” When I finally managed to get to Israel, I joined our chaverim from England and together we established Kibbutz Lavi. I was married in Lavi to my wife Rosi, and we have three children, two girls and a boy.

Bat Sheva, my oldest daughter, is married to Ronni, and they have two children. They live in Ranana where my other daughter Irit, also lives. She and her husband Motti have four children.

Our son Moshe Aaron, lives in Lavi, is married to Sarit, and has two sons.

The reason for my parents' immigration to Germany from Poland was the fact that my father hated Poland, as he told me the evening before he was expelled to Poland by the Gestapo.

My parents were Zionists. My mother's family who lived in the United States sent us tickets to go to America before Hitler came to power in Germany, but my mother, of blessed memory, would not hear of it. After this incident the family in the United States broke off all contact with us, even during the Holocaust.


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