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[Page 175]

In memory of Chava and Yoyne Borovyk

My parents, Chava and Yoyne Borovyk, were known in the shtetl as people always busy helping others. My dear mother would go and visit well-to-do people to collect contributions for the poor, the sick and wretched in the shtetl. She would dedicate most of her time to that. When somebody in a poor family was sick she would call the doctor herself, buy medicine and so on. After a woman gave birth she would visit her and help her with whatever she needed. Many women would come to ask her advice. She would respond and help everyone. On Friday she would visit homes in the shtetl to collect food, clothes and so on, which she would herself distribute among the needy.

My father, whose house was always open, was also always ready to assist others. On Sabbath he would always bring home a guest, who would eat and spend the night in the house until the Sabbath had passed. For nearly twenty years my father was one of the collectors of the prayer-house.

He was also a member of the burial society. He always acted for the good of the public as much as he was able to and more.

My father was a religious Jew with all his heart and soul, an enthusiastic follower of the Karlin rebbe.

Whenever the rebbe visited our shtetl my parents were busy day and night in preparations and activities to welcome the rebbe and to make his visit pleasant. They would cook, bake, clean, arrange communal meals etc.

At the same time my father was also a devoted Zionist, imbued with a love of the Land. He was among the first contributors in the shtetl to Keren Kayemet


Chava Lifshes and Yoyne Borovyk


and Keren Hayesod[490]. His ambition, about which he spoke, was to make aliyah to Eretz Israel. But he didn't succeed. I remember when I parted from him he said to me: 'At the present time I am happy because I have hope that through your efforts and God's help I will also be able to make aliyah to the Land…' His hope was not fulfilled. He vanished in the great slaughter, along with all people of the shtetl.

I remember my brother Yekhiel, his wife Khava and their three daughters, three beautiful daughters. One, the oldest, Dina, was 19 and a half. The second, Lifshe, was 18 and the third, Khasya, was 16. The family was preparing to emigrate to America. They were killed in the middle of the preparations. The family had the 'honour' to be the first in the column as it went towards the grave.

My sister Khana shall be remembered here, 18 years old when she was killed, honest and innocent. Of all my family in the shtetl only my brother Nisan Borovyk survived. His wife Besil and their three children were killed in the great slaughter, along with the people of the shtetl.

May their memory remain in our heart for ever.

  Rivka Borovyk-Iger


  1. United Jewish Appeal, founded in 1920, the main international fund-raising organisation return

[Page 176]

Yikhiel Borovyk and his wife Chava and their daughters Dina, Khasya and Lifshe


In memory of the family of Yakov Feldman

A traditional Jewish home, a warm family nest. It was difficult to earn a living. By contrast love and devotion were plentiful.

The source of income: a grocery shop, a sort of miniature kolbo[491].

The authorities become more oppressive, taxes are heavy, policemen harass rudely. There are many rules and regulations. The life of exile is bitter.

A ray of light breaks through from the east. The era: the 30s of the 20th century. The youth is organised in Zionist branches. A network of kibbutzim spreads to all corners of Poland. My sister Chana is the first to find her path to training and arrives in Eretz Israel. I set sail after her to the land of the ancestors.

Contact by letters with home is strong. Those in exile draw all the strength of their spiritual existence from the Land, from us, their daughters here in our motherland. They live only with the hope to join us, to abandon exile and to achieve a life of freedom with us. Our one and only hope is to unite the family here and quickly.

But we didn't succeed!! The Nazi jackboot put an end to it.


My father, Yakov, son of Zelig Feldman

A pleasant outward appearance, endearing. Sensitive, cultured, quiet, generous, always smiling, joking, sociable, glad to give wise advice from his heart, honest and modest.

He studied and read a lot. If he read something good he would share it with others. He would chat and tell stories. And what talent he had for storytelling and explaining. We never tired of listening, just as he did not tire of relating.

[Page 177]

Father was extremely devoted to his children. He would tell us little ones stories or sing us songs in his pleasant voice. That has stayed for ever in the memory. He radiated a good educative and calming atmosphere on everything around him.

My father died immediately after the Russians entered the shtetl.


Yakov Feldman


Mother, Miriam, daughter of Borukh and Chana of blessed memory

Clever, energetic, full of life, organised, hard-working and skilled with her hands She was always working. We never saw her sitting with her arms folded. She didn't visit women neighbours a lot. She used every moment for productive work. If this was done while she was sitting she could then easily fit in a most interesting conversation on all sorts of subjects with the work she was doing. She was skilled in solving crosswords and all sorts of riddles. She would easily work out the most complicated calculations, without pen and paper.

She was sharp-brained and gifted with the wisdom of life. Many people would come to ask her advice. She was hospitable to all, encouraging and consoling them with regard to what was needed. She always remembered those in need. Her usual custom was to send food to poor homes. She was modest, humble, honest. In this spirit she endeavoured to raise her children.


My brother Asher of blessed memory

A prodigy. When he was still a small boy his teachers prophesied that he would be a genius.

He studied, took in and absorbed everything. He studied in yeshivot[492]. His last place of residence was Warsaw, the capital city of Poland. There, where he spent the last years of his life, he was head of a large yeshiva. All those who knew him respected and honoured him.

He was known for his immense genius. At the same time he was modest, sensitive and generous. These traits he inherited from his father.


My sisters, Freydil, Brokhe, Zelda and Breyndil of blessed memory

Quiet, honest, industrious. They were distinguished in their studies. They showed love and devotion to the whole family. My mother and four sisters were killed cruelly by the Nazi murderers. We shall remember them for ever.

  Esther Feldman-Negbi
Kiryat Ono


I remember, while I was in training in Klosova[493], after I had left home, Father wrote to me: 'My dear daughter, you did us a great wrong by travelling in secret. The parting was indeed difficult for us, but we understand your heart, for we are also fed up with the bitterness of exile. Perhaps, my daughter, when you arrive in Eretz Israel

[Page 178]

our day will also come to abandon exile and join you, for here every day is worse than the last. Anti-semitism grows from day to day. We are unwelcome guests here.' Although Vysotsk was a small, poor shtetl, the young people in it studied Hebrew, and parents would pay study fees out of their last pennies. My father would always say 'I am happy that my children are studying in a Hebrew school.' It was always his custom to check our reading books to see if they were suitable for our age.

All their lives my parents and their children aspired to abandon the bitterness of exile and travel to Eretz Israel. To our great regret the murderer beat them to it and destroyed all our dear ones, our parents, our sisters, our brother and his family.

The heart aches and there is no condolence.

May their memory be blessed for ever.

  Chana Feldman-Lifshitz
Kfar Azar


  1. 'Everything in it', the standard word for a small general store (e.g. on an Israeli kibbutz) return
  2. Religious seminaries (singular: yeshiva) return
  3. From 1924 until 1937 Klosova, a granite quarry dating from Tsarist times near the village of Klosov (now Klesiv), c.25 km. east of Sarny (itself c.50 km. south of Udrytsk, the nearest railway station to Vysotsk), was the foremost training kibbutz in eastern Poland return

[Page 179]

Rivka and Benyamin Shnayder, their sons Borukh and Aaron and their daughter Pesil


In memory of the family
of Benyamin Shnayder

My father, Benyamin Shnayder, was born in the year 1871 in Vysotsk. All his life he was a man of work, of trade. He worked in the building trade until his last days.

His first wife, Miriam, bore him three children: Sara, Moyshe and Dovl of blessed memory. His second wife - she was my mother Rivka - bore him five children: Aaron, Yoyne, Golda, Borukh and Pesil.

Aaron, Yoyne and Borukh perished in the great Shoah. May their memory be blessed for ever. Golda arrived in the Land before the Shoah. Pesil endured the horrors of war and the Shoah before arriving in Israel.

  Pnina Shnayder-Feffer

[Page 180]

In memory of Mother

My mother was not in the habit of visiting other homes other than to visit the sick. In spite of that the women neighbours would visit our house, especially on Sabbath afternoon. Also whenever there was a wedding, a circumcision and so on she would only call round to visit those who were celebrating in order to bring a gift, as was the custom in the shtetl. When people had a celebration at home you would send a kind of small present, a drink, fruit, a cake etc. on a Saturday afternoon. And what would the neighbours chat about when they visited our home? About everything: about the cantor in the synagogue, about the neighbours, about food, and generally a little bit of gossip.

Our house was always full of visitors. The young Bundist[494] 'proletariat' would come to us. There were only a few of them in the shtetl. They would visit our house on Sabbath evenings. This was the 'proletariat' in the shtetl (although members of the 'Khalutz' and Poalei Tzion[495] were also workers). They would sit until late at night, dancing and having fun. These were young men who for some reason remained outside the pioneering Zionist framework in the shtetl.

At the age of fifteen I went to Brisk[496] to study in the technical school. When I came home to prepare for aliyah I immediately visited the club of the branch, but it was not the same branch. I hardly met any comrades in the club apart from on Sabbath eve. I asked what this meant. I was told that they wanted to go off for training but because there was no training available there was no branch, and as there was no training available they just sat there for a long time which meant there was no aliyah. The desire for aliyah was strong and widespread. Our youth was famous for its pioneering spirit, for its Hebrewness, for the numbers going for training and for making aliyah to the Land. People used to say that Vysotsk was an Eretz Israel shtetl. Some time later Arie Fialkov visited the branch from the headquarters. There were meetings, questions and answers. The meetings were stormy; there was a universal demand for training.

Nobody survived from our family. I was a soldier in the Second World War. I was in Europe and kept looking for relatives but didn't find anybody. I remained the only one of all my family here in Israel.

  Reuven Treger


  1. The Bund was the main non-Zionist Jewish socialist movement, founded in 1897 to represent Jews in Imperial Russia. It ceased its activities in the Soviet Union in 1921 but remained active in Poland return
  2. 'Workers of Zion', an independent Zionist-socialist party, divided into Left and Right return
  3. Brest, Belarus (formerly Brest-Litovsk) return

[Page 181]

Yona Asher Borovyk



He was born in Vysotsk in the year 1896. From his young days he was a teacher of Hebrew in the villages in the neighbourhood of Vysotsk. In 1914 he was called up to the First World War, in which he fell into German captivity.

After his release from captivity at the end of the war he lived for some years in Berlin and was active as a Zionist in the farm agricultural organisation, a sort of kibbutz for agricultural training near Berlin.

In 1921 he got ready, together with his friends from the training group, to make aliyah to the Land and came to Vysotsk to say goodbye to his family, but for family reasons he was detained and didn't make aliyah.

From 1921 he lived in Slupcza[497], a little shtetl in Congress Poland[498]. He continued in his Zionist activities until he met his tragic death at the hands of the Nazi monster at the time of the Shoah.

May his memory be blessed and remain with us.

  Sara Borovyk-Tasher
Tel Aviv


  1. Just north of Sandomierz in south-eastern Poland return
  2. The Kingdom of Poland established in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna enjoyed extremely limited autonomy within the Russian Empire return

[Page 182]

The family of Chaim and Chana Khaznchuk

Our father Chaim, son of Reb Itzhok, was known as a simple and honest man, gracious and reverent. In spite of the fact that he suffered from severe asthma he would get up early in the morning for shaharit 'dawn' prayers in the synagogue in minyan[499]. He made sure he prayed in minyan also in minkhe[500] and maariv[501]. He loved to study a passage of Mishna with the Mishnaot society which was founded in the shtetl at that time.

After being continuously ill our father of blessed memory died on the 24th day of Kislev [Nov./Dec.] 1922. Sorrow and distress prevailed in the house. Our dear mother, Khava daughter of Zelig, took upon herself the heavy burden of supporting her five little children. She laboured from morning till late at night, with the sole aim of making sure that, heaven forbid, her children should not lack anything. The children studied in the Tarbut school and with private teachers. They were obliged to learn the Hebrew language.


The Khaznchuk family
From right to left, standing: Bila, Avram and Shleyme Khaznchuk, Borukh Barkman, Moyshe, Tzvi, Aaron and Esther Khaznchuk
Sitting: Khaykl Sheynman, Asher, Frida and Malka Khaznchuk, the child - Zelig son of Itzkhok Khaznchuk


The children grew up. Beyla married Sheynman. They established an exemplary family home. Two daughters and a son were born to them. The other members of the family, Esther, Malka and myself, faithful to pioneering Zionist education, made aliyah to the Land and arrived at the centre of our desire. We are contented. All our efforts to bring our dear mother and our dear young brother Aharele came to nought. We were too late.

These are the members of our family for whom we weep: our father Chaim Khaznchuk, our mother Khava, our sister Bila (Sheynman) and her family, our brother Aarele.

May their blessed memory remain alive.

  Tzvi, Esther and Malka Khaznchuk


  1. Quorum of ten men necessary for reciting prayers in the synagogue return
  2. Afternoon prayer return
  3. Evening prayer return

[Page 183]

Reb Nisn,
son of Reb Meir Lopata of blessed memory

On one rainy, muddy day as I was returning with him from the synagogue, he said to me: 'In the house of the Lord we shall walk with feeling'. 'With feeling' meant: hail, wind, rain, snow, i.e. in any situation and in all conditions. And he did indeed carry out what he said.

As is well known, he was poor, working his hands to the bone so he could feed his family. Every day before dawn he would come to the prayer-house and finish all the psalms, and on Sabbath he would wake up the people of the shtetl to psalms. In all weathers he would go out at night reciting: 'Israel, holy people, shteyt oif [Yidd.: Get up] to worship God' and would add: 'Arise, wake up, present yourselves to worship God, for that is what you were created for.'

He would come up to each house, knocking on the window: 'Reb Dovid shteyt oif for psalms…' and wait a moment and come up to the window again: 'Reb Dovid ir hert?' [Do you hear?] Until he heard the answer 'I hear' he would not move off. At Purim[502] Jews would go from door to door to collect alms for the needy for Pessach. Nisn would then wear a hat, a kind of kapelusz[503]. Together with the others he would go into every house singing a Purim song, Nisn emphasising in particular: tzole, tzole[504] that is, pay up, pay money.

His daughter Malka died all of a sudden. In her memory he took upon himself the task of repairing the Sefer Torah[505] that had been torn by a mentally ill person. In a short time the money was collected by Nisn. The Sefer Torah was repaired. A celebration to mark the end of the repair work was arranged in Nisn's house. Many people were present when the Sefer Torah was brought into the synagogue with great joy.

May his memory be blessed.



  1. A festival that takes place on either the 14th or 15th day of the month of Adar (usually late March), marking the victory of the Jews over their Persian oppressors (see Book of Ruth) return
  2. Polish: hatreturn
  3. Yiddish: tzoln, to pay return
  4. Book of the Torah (Pentateuch/five books of Moses) return

[Page 184]

In memory of Father

The Khaznchuk family was known as a family of khazans[506]. I remember that my father of blessed memory told me that his father, Itzhok, had also been a famous cantor. Here I want to recall that at least once my father also served as cantor. The story was such: in Yamim Noraim[507] almost all the people from our shtetl were praying in the large synagogue, apart from followers of Brezne. Sometimes they would even hire a cantor from another town, although generally they would also serve voluntarily as cantor in Yamim Noraim. Sometimes in morning prayer my father, who prayed in the large synagogue, would also have the honour to pass in front of the ark, but usually he would travel to Stolin for Rosh HaShana[508] to the rebbe Reb Isroelke, bless his gracious memory. After the death of the Stolin rebbe Father became one of the followers of Reb Elimelekh of Karlin de Pinsk[509], bless his gracious memory.

Then on one occasion it happened that Father was asked to pass in front of the ark in the prayer house for a fee in Yamim Noraim. Father responded to the request and prayed as cantor at Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur[510]. The prayer indeed passed successfully, except that the 'evil eye' struck him. On the Sunday after Sukkot[511] he became blind in both eyes. He could not see anything. After consulting his friends, followers of Karlin, among them Meir Katzman, we travelled with Father to Pinsk for an operation. Afterwards his sight returned and did not leave him for the remainder of his life.

  Avraham Khaznchuk
Tel Aviv


  1. Cantors (in synagogue)return
  2. 'Days of Awe', the period between the New Year and the Day of Atonement return
  3. New Year return
  4. Karlin, a suburb of Pinsk (now in southern Belarus) return
  5. Day of Atonement return
  6. Feast of Tabernacles return


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