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[Columns 1445-1446]

My shtetl

Its Houses and Streets May Be Plain But It Is Splendid

By Tsilia Matskin-Tsiblin

Translation from Hebrew by Dr. Sonia Kovitz, with appreciation for the assistance
of Itzhak M. Itzhaky and Eilat Gordin Levitan

Donated by Irene Mauber Skibinski

Tsilia Matskin-Tsiblin

Photographs of Tsilia (above) and of her brother Borukh and his wife
Reina Matskin (below) were contributed by Bronya Matskin Brauman

My trip to Lintup after ten years

        Lintup is a typical shtetl. In the autumn, the mud sticks to your shoes. When the first snow falls, people are happy that everything is covered with a clean white blanket. Later in the freezing cold, everyone impatiently longs for spring.

sve1445c.jpg Lintup in Winter [25 KB]
Lintup in Winter

Photograph taken and contributed
by Ilana Milikovski Hochbaum

        The layout of the shtetl, surrounded by a forest with streams, is picturesque—so beautiful that you would think an architect designed it. But the Jews' lives were gray—they worked hard six days a week running after parnosse [making a living]. In the beys hamedresh on shabbos the bitterness of a week of quarreling was lifted from their shoulders. Every Tuesday farmers would come from all over to the market, and the noise was overwhelming. At the end of the day everyone would sit at home and calculate how much they and their neighbors had made.
        I made aliyah to erets yisroel in 1924. Ten years later, in 1934, I came back to Lintup for a visit. Nothing had changed, except that many friends who had been Zionists dreaming of making aliyah to erets yisroel were now Communists and sitting in jail. I went to visit three of them. They were surprised since they didn't know I was coming, and were amazed to see me. The Polish guard treated me with respect.
        The antagonism of the Christians toward the Jews was widespread. Wild slander and provocation by speakers full of hatred and venom was heard in the market. At night the Jews were afraid to go out, and hooligans would throw rocks at the windows of Jewish houses. Despite all this, a group of boys and girls from the Christian school visited me and even brought me and my daughter all kinds of gifts. When I remarked on how much the times had altered the relations between Jews and non-Jews, they replied, “Not everyone here has turned into an animal.”
        Rabbi Prutovitz had seven children at home and his salary was barely able to support them. One after the other they left Lintup to go to Vilna. Of all of them, only one son survived. Mikhal lives in Haifa; one daughter, Esther, lives in Kfar Mala; and the second sister, Sarah, lives in America.
        In the family of the shokhet Zilber, there were three sons. One of them, the older son, Bentsion, survived and lives in Lud.
        Of the four Gilinski brothers and three sisters who lived on Sventzian Street, two survived: one brother is in Israel and one sister in America.
        Of the family of Mordekhai Kentsianski [Max Khenchynski], his wife and children perished in the Shoah. He came to Israel and died in Sfat.
        My family—my father Sholem Matskin, my brother Borukh and his wife—died in April 1943. My brother Borukh's daughters are in Israel; his only son is in Warsaw.

Borukh Matskin and his
wife Reina Matskin
Sister and Brother Bronya
Matskin Brauman and Mikhal Matskin

        Of the Katskovitsh family, I don't know their exact fate but they are gone—two brothers and two sisters and their families. One of the sons survived and is in Lintup.
        Of the Rudnitski family, two daughters survived.
        Of the Sarafan family, not one survived.
        Of the family of Yudel Mauber, the mother and daughter survived. The daughter studied medicine in Russia.
        Of the Kharmats and Khaimovitsh families, not one survived. The two Yavitsh families (my uncles) perished, with their sons and daughters and grandchildren.
        Of the Leyzerovitsh family, two of them live in Israel.
        Of the well known Shapiro family, one son survived and is in France. The rest perished.
        Of the Shteynhart family, not one survived.
        Of the Levin family, their daughters and sons with their families perished, and many many more.
        Regarding the suffering that these people went through, we must write about this with our blood and let the blood endure in the light.

Addendum to the above two translations

By Irene Mauber Skibinski (July-August 2005)

        It is interesting that the two accounts, one by Mordekhai and the other one by Tsilia, give us two different views on Jewish social life in Lyntupy.  She left in 1924 and probably things had changed over the years.  The names of the rabbis are different too.  Maybe there were two rabbis.
I did not attend Medical School in the Soviet Union.  I could not even if I had wanted to. I graduated from high school in 1954, a year after Stalin's death.  That was the year of extreme anti-Semitism and some institutions of higher education were not accepting Jews.  I graduated from the Herzen State Pedagogical Institute in St. Petersburg (at that time, Leningrad). 

I know the two Matskin sisters,Lyuba and Bronya, and their brother Mikhal.  Both sisters were in the same group with my two brothers retreating with the Red Army.  One sister, Lyuba, lives in South Africa; the other, Bronya, in Israel. 

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