The Mandel Brothers
The Mandel family of Tlumacz was in the leasing business. They had two sons Bronek, the older and Julek.
Bronek attended high school in Tlumacz and was a member of Hashomer Hatzair. After Wila Spierer left it, he took over the leadership of the branch. However, the branch was already facing collapse; when Bronek left for Cracow for his studies in philosophy, the branch went out of existence.
In Cracow, Bronek was among the founders of Emuna. Coming home for the summer vacation, he helped found Kadima and the Tlumacz branch of Emuna. At the close of his studies, he taught for several years in the Rohatin high school and later in Pinsk where he also headed the Brit Hachayal.
During the German occupation he was in the Armia Krajowa in warsaw, armed with Aryan documents under the name of Bozhetzki. After the liberation he worked in Warsaw as the general-secretary of Ichud. Later he went to Israel and worked for Amidar, until his sudden death.
Yulek Mandel, M.A.
Yulek, Bronek's younger brother, attended high school in Tlumacz, then went on to Lemberg where he finished his studies in jurisprudence. He worked several years in a law office. During the German occupation he worked in the Raw Materials Department and bore the emblem which allowed him to leave the ghetto, to go about the villages and gather rags.
Before the war Julek was active in Emuna and commanded the military training unit of Betar.
When the Buczacz ghetto was liquidated, Julek crossed the Dniester and, with the help of Aryan documents, hid out in the area, returning to Buczacz in 1944, under Russian control. However, the Russians withdrew and Julek found himself in the German sector near the front. As soon as they discovered that he was a Jew, he was killed.
Lonek Hartenstein, M.A.
Born in 1912 to an enlightened family, he completed his high school studies in 1930, then studied law in the Lemberg University. His father
Died in the prime of life and he had to provide for his mother and brothers. He married Ida Bloch in 1942, during the German invasion. His mother and wife decided to flee to Buczacz. Lonek intended joining them, but the women were caught in Palahicze, taken to the Tlumacz prison and thence to Stanislawow, where they were murdered along with many others.
Lonek, together with Fabek and a group of Jews working in the Wunder plant, began building bunkers in Kahawa. Lonek was trapped in one of the roundups and taken to the train headed for Belzec. On the way, between Tishmienitz and Hriplin, he jumped off the train and reached Buczacz. Here he found some of his classmates and Emuna members and joined their underground.
Several weeks before the extinction of the Jews in Buczacz, three groups went out to the forest to examine the area and prepare bunkers. After spending a week in the forest of Pyzhniki, Wadowa and Sokolow, they returned, much dispirited. It rained all the time they were in the forest, and Lonek saw no possibility of staying there any longer. He went out by himself to Dniester and maintained himself with some difficulty.
On the arrival of the Russian forces, he enlisted. How as he wrote to his sister Adele, he could avenge the blood of his family and the millions of murdered Jews. He fell in the fight for Berlin, weapon in hand.
Moshe Katz (Hoz)
He was one of those who refused to yield to the German beast. Raised in a pious and erudite family in Tlumacz, he also gained a general education, self-taught but amazingly knowledgeable in many branches of science.
He was still very young when he joined Betar, together with his brother Yitzhak. Soon he became a unit leader. He loved to discuss Jewish themes with his charges, and they loved him. He worked in a law office during the day, and devoted the nights to community service and further study.
In the early thirties he left Betar so as to prepare himself for matriculation, then enrolled in the Warsaw Academy of Commerce.
When the war broke out he returned to Tlumacz. His keep perception warned him of what was to come, and he decided to return to Warsaw, equipped with Aryan documents. He reached Warsaw, but as he was getting off the train he was recognized as a Jew. A Gestapo man shot him dead.
He was the son of a wholesaler and community worker in Tlumacz. When still a young boy he helped his mother in her small store; their own home had burned down during the Russian invasion of 1914. His father was recruited by the Austrian army, was captured by the Russians and didn't return until 1920.
Orcho's mother tried, with his help, to rebuild the store. He continued to work there even after his father's return from captivity. He worked hard and the store progressed. Still, he found time for public service. He was among the founders of the Hitachdut Party. He was quiet and far from extremism, liked to talk with people and was ready to admit to error. He supported the Gordonia and was active in the Drama Circle. Late at night he still went out to join his friends in their s trolls in the park. This was his mode of life even after his marriage.
When Tlumacz was taken by the Hitlerites, Orcho did not look for easy work with the Judenrat. He was caught in one of the roundups and sent to the Janowska camp. He was found physically fit and sent to work in Winniki, near Lemberg, on a farm.
Orcho's brother, Dr. Alexander Schwarzbard (now a physician in Petach-Tikva), who went back with the remnants of the Polish army to Rumania, still received letter from Orcho. He also managed to send several packages of food to his brother in Winniki. But when one of his letter to Orcho came back unclaimed, Dr. Schwarzbard understood that the common fate had also overtaken his brother.
He lost his parents while still a child. His father, taken into the army at the outbreak of the First World War, fell at the front, and his mother died shortly afterwards. The boy grew up in the home of his grandfather, the Religious Magistrate Rabbi Notte-Shmuel, and learned much Talmud. He taught himself the Hebrew language and acquired broad general knowledge. He was among the founders of Hitachdut, but also delved in the ideologies of the other currents. His tolerance was inherited from his grandfather the Magistrate.
Shortly before the Second World War, Ducho Kreindler married and went to live in Buczacz. The fate of the Jews did not pass him by. He lost his life in one of the first roundups.
by Munio Wurman
Reference has already been made to the attitude of the non-Jewish population, the Polish and the Ukrainian toward the Jews. The weakness of the latter was all the more evident because of the environment. The Jews felt this hostility even before the incursion of Hitler's forces. There were attempts to drive the Jews out of the town. Many in the villages of the province were murdered or drowned in the Dniester. The Jews driven out from Carpatho-Russian were also slain. The Nazi laws merely gave official approval to the crimes already committed.
The local population, indifferent to the Nazi atrocities to begin with, was please by the way the Jewish problem was being solved. Generations of Jew-hatred, pent up for centuries, were now given free rein. The non-Jews helped the Nazis with the roundups; they ferreted Jews out of their hiding places, practiced extortion, and joined in the manhunt. This was done not only by the underworld element but also by highly placed Polish and Ukrainian officials. The Ukrainians did dthis both to become rich and to please their masters.
Here and there, individuals held out a helping hand to the Jews. The clergyman Tabathckowski, a known anti-Semite, nevertheless issued Aryna certificates to a number of Jews. He reportedly paid for this with his life. A few Christian families, like the Hoffmanss in the Hof estate, near Wunder's place, dared be helpful. Mina Rotenstreich recalls the help given her by the Tesla family. Max mentions, in his memoirs, that he and his sister escaped to Buczacz because the engineer of the train slowed down before pulling into the station to allow Jews to jump out. The Blond-Sprechman group remained alive because of the help it received from a very poor family living near the Jackowka forest Stanislaw and Hanya Ksheminski and their two daughters. Flesher's group was hidden in the hamlet by Kazimezh Dwojak and his family.
The Tlumacz-Buczacz group was greatly helped by a villager, H. Kaminski. He provided food and medicines, refusing to accept money for it.
When the Germans came the second time, Kaminski was murdered by Bandera's gang. The group was also helped by a family of Seventh Day Adventists, and Zdrahal the supervisor of the Wadowa forest.
Special mention should be made of the village of Horigladi, on the Dniester. Not a single person in the village shed a drop of Jewish blood. The Herman-Weitz family once lived in this village. The villagers didn't inform on the Weitz family even when a dozen Tlumacz Jews, fleeing to Buczacz, took refuge in its home. They hid the Weitz family for a long time and save it from deportation until the Russians arrived.
The villagers of Wojczehowka, in the Buczacz Province, knew that Eliyahu Greenberg was hiding among them, but no one informed on him. Thanks to the decent farmers, the following escaped with their lives: Sima Herman of Olesha, Moshe Gutstein, Yehiel Mintzer, Julek Mandel, Lonek Hertenstein, Shlomo Ritzer, Lonche Lepold, Elsa Fischer, Yidl Feier, Chaim boltoh, Moshe Inzlicht and his two children.
Man of those who were saved by Christians met their death later.
Max Hartenstein mentions several others, in his memoirs, Poles and Ukrainians: the agopsowicz family often sent food into the ghetto in Tlumacz. Max also tells about the help given by the families Tuzinkiewicz, Wronski, Bapnowski the carpenter, Matushinski. Shlomo Ritzer mentions the Plish family Winyarski. Few and far between, these humane families stood out in the sea of hatred and hostility.
by Shlomo Blond
Zvi was morn on May 16, 1926 and made his aliya in 1934. Early in 1943, at the age of sixteen and one-half, he left his home and went to a Palmach camp.
He said to his parents in parting, We the youth belong neither to our parents nor to ourselves, but to the homeland. I am sure that you won't stand in my way. Father, you re an old time Zionist .
He joined the Palmach and remained there until 1946. He never spoke about his duty. For a long time he was in Ramat Rahel. Later he worked as an electrician, but every once in a while he went for military service without his family's knowing where he went.
On December 8, 1947 he went to serve his homeland. This was at the beginning of Israel's struggle for independence. It was only in January of 1948 that his family learned that he was manning a post in the JNF building in Bet-Dagan.
Later he served in Jerusalem and attended a four-week course of military training. He took part in the battle for the approaches to Jerusalem, then went on to Hulda.
During the first armistice he was in Kfar Hadarom, then around Ruhama. He was in the first jeep of sappers operating along the Beer-Sheba road.
On December 28, 1948 he was killed in an air attack on his jeep, some 70 kilometers south of Revivim. He was buried in Revivim.
(Dampim, the periodical of the Givati Brigade, dated September, 1949, said the following in memory of the defenders of the JNF building in Bet-Dagan): A special Order of the Day issued by the Brigade commander, The defenders of this house were among the most intrepid men in the many battles fought by the Brigade. Most of them are no longer with us. The history of the people, on its road to liberation, is written with their blood.
by Ephraim Schreier
Itzik is remembered by us as a comrade in the Hasomer Hatzair unit and one of the leading spirits of the Hashahar group. He was with us on trips and campfire chats.
He was cordial and gracious, devoted to the ideals of the pioneering movement. In 1929 he fulfilled his dream, leaving Tlumaca and settling in Kibbutz Mizra in the land of Israel.
When the community became embroiled in armed conflict with the
Mandatory Government, Yitzhak was an instructor in the Hagana. As he was demonstrating the use of a hand grenade, he noticed that the pin was out and that the grenade was about to explode. He ran to the open window, ready to throw it out, but then saw children playing below. In order to prevent injury to the others in the room, he threw himself on the grenade that blew up under him. He was taken to the hospital in Nahalal and died there, in great pain.
|Reception for Zisie Haber and his wife Leitshe in Israel
(fourth and fifth from right)
by Munio Wurman
Public service in Tlumacz meant, for many community workers, a step toward even wider communal activity in the region and beyond.
Some of the individuals listed below have already been presented at greater length. This list is not complete, consisting only of the names about which some information has been made available:
by Munio Wurman
Tlumacz, says N. Rinzler, is hardly to be recognized. Almost everything that used to be is no more. What is left is a shriveled memento of the past. The local train is no longer in operation.
Of the houses on Market Square only two are still standing: Pinye Riesel's and Sisso Schwarzbard's. Opposite Gottlieb's inn a four-story school building has been put up. The scenery is one of desolation. No trace of Mexic. In the distance one can see only Jashinski's house.
A part of Shankowski's pharmacy has remained. From there a vacant lot stretches as far as the Polish school, still standing. The Sokol has been rehabilitated, but the part is neglected. Slowacki Street is still there, also, in part, Wizhbowa. The Catholic church is in ruins, but the small Catholic chapel on the corner, between the Schweffelgeist and Orlowski homes, is still intact.
The Main Synagogue is still standing, but it is occupied by workshops. There is no trace of the old Jewish cemetery. The new one is in ruins. The tombstones are now the pavement of Slobowa Street. The names on the tombstones are still legible. Kolonicka Street and the new Greek Orthodox church are still there.
But this is all that has remained of Tlumacz of the past.
by Shlomo Blond
Moshe was born in Tlumacz in 1919 to a respected and tradition-observing family.
The general and Jewish religious education he received led him, already in his adolescent years, to activity in the Tlumacz branch of the Mizrachi.
When the Soviet forces entered Tlumacz in September 1939, he was named by Soviet authorities to manage Pessia Zeifer's nationalized business, where he had been employed.
During the Nazi occupation he was in the ghettos, labor camps and the forests. When liberation came he went to Germany for a brief period, then immigrated to America.
When I visited America in 1967 he came to me to learn how the surviving Tlumacz Jews were doing in Israel. He was particularly interested in the project of a memorial volume, sponsored by the Tlumacz Association in Israel. He promised to raise funds for it among the Tlumacz townspeople in America, and he kept his promise.
He visited Israel several times and each time he brought with him funds which he collected among the townspeople who had settled in the United States after the disaster.
Shortly before his death, he saw to it that the Tlumacz Association of old timers should set aside a substantial amount for the memorial volume and thereby assure its publication.
Regrettably, Moshe passed away several weeks ago, having suffered a heart attack, leaving a sorrowful family of his wife, children, brothers and sisters, and all the townspeople of Tlumacz. He did not live to see this Memorial Volume, which was part of his life's dream. May his memory bless us all.
Israel, June, 1976.
|At a banquet on the occasion of the golden wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bass|
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