(Senasis Daugėliškis, Lithuania)
Translated by Anita Frishman Gabbay
On a piece of land, OldDaugelishak was a very tiny shtetelah on the road between Braslav and Vilna. 3 kilometers away was the new shtetl NewDaugelishak.
These 2 shtetls were linked by lush fields and it was pleasant to go for walks from one shtetl to another.
In the last years, very few Jews remained in the Old part, not more than 10 families. They were mainly involved in small trade and craftmanship.
The economic situation for the remaining Jews was difficult. The Jewish worker (tailor or shoemaker) had to rely on the impoverished peasant folk, that were so poor themselves they couldn't even afford a new piece of clothing or pair of shoes. There was also an antiSemitic agitation in the region, that the peasants should not give the Jews an opportunity to make money from them.
All the Jews from old Daugelishak, barely made a living. They were forced to endure many hardships and could barely make ends meet. These were poor and honest Jews. One of them was Moishe Sharfstein , the tailor, but in this town he was known as Moishe the Big One. His wife was called Yehudit, an over worked Jewish woman. Their children left for different parts of the world, life was very difficult for them. Their youngest daughter married and lived in New Daugelishak.
Moishe and Yehudit were left alone, like we used to say, Gone, bye, bye! until they were faced with death and destruction by Hitler's mighty forces!
Moishe the Tall One, was another Jewish neighbour of ours. On the other side of us, another Jewish tailor lived, Meir Sharfstein, a very interesting person. Always with a smile, always happy.
When he worked, as he had such a pleasant voice, I would come just to listen to his singing and his songs.
A little further away from us was the house of Motl Postavski, who lived with his sister Taiba. Both of them were deaf ‘like the wall’ and spoke between themselves, but with us only with a wink.
Next to them there lived a shop keeper, Rabbi Yakov Shlomo. His wife was a sickly woman and she always lay in a dark room. With great difficulty she managed the household chores.
On the way to Sventzian lived the widow Sprintza with her daughter Pesia. Spritza had more children but in those days, they were all scattered. She was left alone with Pesiala, who was a sick girl and Sprintza had little nachos from her.
On another street, which led to Ignalina, lived Moishe Yakov with his family. He spent many years in Estonia. How he used to tell us, he was so home sick, that he vowed to return home to Daugelishak.
Later his sons left him and immigrated to distant lands, only Meir stayed with his father.
They had a workshop where the hammering continued from early morning till late at night, where sparks were flying in all directions: this was a testament to the hard and difficult labour of a blacksmith.
Yitzhak Postavski, the cabinetmaker, had a beautiful house in our shtetl. His children did not stay at home and only came for the holidays.
Hillel Katz was a tailor, but he looked like a Rabbi.
The shochet also had his own house. An entire day he would sit and read the ‘Gemara’. His wife Sheina Rochel was always sick. He had a difficult life, barely made a living, and depended on support from America.
This is a brief description of almost all the inhabitants of OldDaugelishak. For many years they lived in harmony with their Lithuanian peasants. All spoke good Lithuanian and we were all friends.
For years we bartered together and entertained each other. They were invited to our simchas.
Nobody foresaw, that our friends and neighbours would turn against us, become robbers, murders and wild sadists.
As soon as Hitler's forces arrived, our friendly Lithuanians were transformed and life for us was never the same. In every attack, robbery, murder, they took an active role. They became Hilter's willing and able executioners.
The small Jewish OldDaugelishak community was erased from the earth.
Remember and never forget our beloved brothers and sisters!
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