The Zambrów Yizkor Book
The English Translation

Courtesy of the United Zembrover Society

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The Split into S.S. and S.R.

It was Saturday towards nighttime, and in the White Bet HaMedrash the Maariv prayers were being recited and people were getting themselves ready to go outside and bless the new moon. At this moment, a claque of revolutionaries came into the Bet HaMedrash: Bercheh the Melamed, Mottl Shafran’s son, Israel-David, the son of the shammes, a son of Aharon Luks, Yankl Prawda, his father-in-law Moness, and more and more. A group of them went up to the podium, disrupted the prayer service, banged on the table and called out, "Whoever belongs to the S.S. should go over to one side, and those left, of the S.R.  should go to the other side..." They did this in the Bet HaMedrash during worship in order that the police not seize them. We, the children, did not understand the difference between these two “world-parties” and we believed that one was a command to eat (ess-ess!), and the second says: he should eat (ess-ehr!).

The two parties differentiated themselves in the street: S.R.165 wore a blue shirt over a white band that served as a belt, and the S.R.  with a red shirt.166

Incidents in the Cheder of Bercheh the Melamed

Each evening, workers, both boys and girls, would come to learn how to write in Yiddish from Bercheh the Melamed, and also learn to read Yiddish, while simultaneously prepare themselves for the great revolution.

On one occasion, a group of secret agents came and inspected all of the books of the White Bet HaMedrash to see if they had been [properly] censored. They found a few books, especially with religious content, without an indication of censorship, and they absorbed the cost, by permitting the books to be tuned over, thereby causing the responsible parties to be set free.

Butchers Get a Beating

Once, on a Saturday night at the onset of winter, a bloody fight broke out between the strikers and the butchers, the so-called penzhikhehs. The situation was as follows: when the Hazzan sang, and the butchers listened to him sweetly, Bercheh was carrying on a conversation behind the bima with his revolutionaries, loitering around the Bet HaMedrash, here and there. The butchers therefore gave Bercheh a slap for disrupting the davening.  His followers could not accept this, since it would have impaired their prestige, and because of this, they fell upon the butchers Saturday night, whose custom it was to gather on Saturday nights to settle their accounts.

Blood was spilt, the strikers were splitting heads....the entire city came running...

A couple of days later, Shlomchik the Butcher came to Bercheh in his cheder, with his head bandaged, and asked for Bercheh to forgive him for the insult. Peace then returned to the land.

The “Prom"

In those years, the government was building a new wooden bridge. The blocks were hammered into the earth, in the water using a baba – a heavy piece of iron, which was used to strike down on a [butcher] block. In working on bridges, a movable bridge, a “prom” was hammered in this way, so that people and wagons could ford the river. The strikers would requisition this “prom” each evening, and would go swimming in the river, as far as Pfeiffer’s water mill, singing revolutionary songs.

E. The Dance of the Angry

This happened in the year 1905. My grandmother, Rivka-Gitt’l, was at odds with her elderly makhatenista, Chaya Zukrowicz. She was not pleased with the arranged marriage of her youngest son, Berl, with Chaya’s granddaughter, Nechama, even though Nechama was also her grandchild, but it was to no avail. During the wedding of Berl to Nechama, the two grandmothers were supposed to make up with each other, and they made up with each other through the b’Roygez-Tantz, the Dance of the Angry, which they danced before the bride was formally covered with her veil (the badeken ceremony). My grandmother, Rivka-Gitt’l, a somewhat stout little Jewish lady, held herself with great pride. The other grandmother, Chaya, was a tall woman, thin, and had a delicate tread. And so the gathering stood around, in a dance circle. Rivka-Gitt’l stood at one side, full of herself, with her head cast down. The second, Chaya, dances toward her, floating, with a smile on her lips. The surrounding onlookers sing, along with the music:

Farvoss binst du b’roygez, “Why are you angry,

Ikh vays dokh nisht farvoss? I really don’t know why?

Gayst arum ongeblozn, You go about full of yourself,

Aropgelozt dem noz?” With your nose let down?”

Rivka-Gitt’l does not raise her head, but rather, draws a bit further away, going over to the other side. Chaya, however, chases after her, floating like a little feather towards Rivka-Gitt’l, with her little smile. The gathering continues to sing. Chaya extends her hand. Grandma Rivka-Gitt’l withdraws hers, not wanting to make up. So Chaya dances further, approaching from the other side. This causes Rivka-Gitt’l to soften a bit, and she places her hand over her heart and dances a little, from the other side, towards Chaya. So Chaya again stretches out her hand, and Grandma Rivka-Gitt’l shakes her head to signal, “no,” and dances back. The gathering becomes more enthused, and begins to sing, accompanied by the musicians:

Lomir zikh ibberbettn, ibberbettn, “Let us make up, make up with one another,

Di velt is dokh a kholem,  The World is but a dream,


Lomir zikh ibberbettn, Let us make up,

Lomir makh sholem!” Let us make peace!”

And so Grandma Rivka-Gitt’l dances again, forward, towards Chaya, and Chaya towards her. By this time, both are extending their hands to each other: The throng sings: zikh ibberbettn, zikh ibberbettn, and the musicians let themselves go: “ibberbettn, ibberbettn,” and so the two sets of hands become intertwined, and each takes the other in their arms, exchanging kisses. And the throng does not hold back, singing vigorously, and clapping with their hands: “Lomir zikh ibberbettn, ibberbettn!” The fiddle of a musician from Tyktin helps out with a sibilant sigh: “ibberbettn, ibberbettn,” and Goldechkeh’s son picks up the refrain on his violin. The “yaleshkeh” from Chaya’s husband ???, and Shimon the drummer drums along: “zikh ibberbettn, ibberbettn...” By now the two makhatenistas have broken out into a dance, each with a hand on the other’s shoulder... until their two husbands arrive. The groom places the veil over the head of the bride, and Sonya the Badkhan (Merrymaker) from Bialystok, gets up on a bench, and serenades the bride, accompanied by the musicians.

At the Grave of the Mother

Known as the "Son of Goldechkeh", a skilled musician and barber, one of the circle of intellectuals among working men, [in Zambrow], standing beside his mother's tombstone.

F. The Exceptional & Challenged

Each shtetl had its “poor souls.” These were people with some defect, crippled, mentally disturbed, etc. for whom fate had decreed that they would not possess all of the human capacities and prerogatives. The shtetl would support them, look after them, and sometimes also abandon them... part of them would become imbedded in the panorama of the shtetl, as for example, “the town lunatic,” like “khelbana” at one time, became an expression for a bad odor. However, without it, the High Priest in the Temple was not able to formulate and present the ketoret sacrifice167. I am now going to describe a number of these poor souls, from my memory, so that they too, are memorialized in this Pinkas of the city. I also ask their forgiveness for instances where I may have caused any of them embarrassment which was not my intent.

A. Alter Koty

On one fine morning, a cripple crawled into the Red Bet HaMedrash, leaning on his crutch. He looked like a pig on two feet, feigning human appearance. He immediately elicited a sense of compassion from everyone, and God-fearing Jews brought him something to eat. Children immediately sensed that they had for themselves an object of derision, and, from their side, began to toy with him. His name was Alter, and he was born to his parents, after several children died prematurely after birth. He was born frail in the village of Koty, not terribly far from Zambrow168. His parents died, and he was left alone. Good people would give him a sack with bread pieces, an onion, a bit of sugar, sat him in a gentile wagon that makes the trip to Zambrow, to the market, and the asked of the gentile that he be let off at the Bozhnitza, meaning the Red Bet HaMedrash. The gentile took pity on the cripple, and brought him up to the entrance. And from that time on, Alter Koty became a Zambrow citizen, looked after by the Bet HaMedrash, and was even counted towards a minyan at every session of prayer.

He was a whisperer, and would clam up when a conversation would ensue. However, he was intelligent and spoke directly to the point. Children would aggravate him. When he would limp along, leaning on his crutch with his round belly protruding ahead of him, the children would shout at him from all sides: Koty, Koty! He would then fall into a foul mood, raise his crutch, wave it about, wanting to hit them hard. However, he never succeeded at thissince there is no way he can chase [the children with their] swift, sure feet, and so he would take out his anger on innocent passers-by, and give one or another of them a whack with his stick. Sometimes, he would burst into tears, and out loud would proclaim in the middle of the street: “Was I born from a stone? Was I not had by a mother? Why do you torture me, why is it my fault that I was born, not like all other people? Why do I deserve thisseeing as my father and mother have abandoned me?” [At times like this] women would shed a tear, seek to calm him down, bring him out a white shirt so he could change, a pair of knitted socks to cover his bare feet, a plate of warm food, a small glass of tea with a piece of bread, etc. And did he have a mouth! He would curse by hurling such imprecations that only could be created in the fantasy of a writer. When he was calmed down and children did not bother him, he would be in a good mood, and would relate what had happened to him, about his family, or just plain tales that he had heard. His home, primarily was in the Hakhnasat Orkhim. He was then sidelined there, because he could not keep himself clean, and this was a place where other guests would lodge for the night. So, during the summer, he made himself a night resting place under the steps of the Women’s Synagogue, inside the Red Bet HaMedrash, over the shamos.169 During the winter, good people would give him a corner where he could sleep, or he would bed down in the Bet HaMedrash beside the oven.

During the First World War, the Germans took him out of the city and shot him ridding themselves of a cripple and freeing up a bread [ration] card. It was as if the Red Bet HaMedrash had become orphanedit was as if the permanent worshiper was missing. A tree had been cut down and out of the panorama of the shtetl....

B. Abraham Berl Klein

He was of middling height, went barefoot, sometimes having his feet wrapped in rags like the peasants would do, wrapped in a sack with a rope tied around the hips, a head of gray hair with a roundish gray beard. He would sit at the entrance to the White Bet HaMedrash and tell stories to the children, wonderful stories, about himself, about robbers and demons, and always full of humor.  One had to have a literary soul in order to conceive of such stories. He would not rest at night. He had an eccentric sense of humor. He would transfer clothing that hung in one yard over to a second street and hang it up there to dry. He would take and transfer boards that a homeowner might have bought to construct a sukkah, to some far, distant yard. He would switch the signs of one craftsman, or storekeeper, for that of another, etc. He always carried around lumps of coal beneath his bosom. And before dawn, just as it began to get light, and there was nobody to stop him, he would draw pictures of animals and people on the walls, small horses, dogs, cats and goats, and who knows what sort of story he was attempting to illustrate? Who knows what sort of artistic talent had lost its way inside this crazy person?

He would sit tranquilly and smile, sing, or be telling a tale. Only if someone, somewhere, would shout out: “Abraham Berl Klein” would he get up filled with a murderous disposition, and would run to hit or throw a stone.

At a tranquil moment, according to what he would tell, he was a recorder for people who would undertake road construction, and he would record the size of the gravel that the people, who smashed up rock, needed to produce. In order to determine how much to pay for their work, he would measure their pile of gravel with a triangle. As a result, he caught any number of people who at night would steal from the piles that had already been measured and transfer it to a new [sic: unmeasured] pile. So he caught and penalized the stone smashers, for which they threw a sack over his head, and beat him so badly, that he lost his mind... He wife was someone called Malkunya, whom the children would call “Malkunya the Slapper.” She divorced him. He was close to the butchers, and they would give him something to eat, and the change of a short, it appearshe was a family friend of the Pendzhukhehs. Children would run after him and tease him by saying:

Abraham Berl Klien “ Abraham Berl Klein

Nem dem tukhes un layf ahin!” Grab your ass and run over there!”

This would make him go totally berserk. Summertime, during the intense heat of Tammuz, he would manifest his insanity: he would chase after people, throw stones, cause damage, and it was dangerous to be in his presence. R’ Sender Sechkowicz tells of one time that he was working with his father, Itcheh Mulyar, at the premises of Lejzor the Baker, where there was a need to clean off a muddy area. So Abraham Bereleh was summoned to do the work. So he says: First, give me something to eat! So the wife of the baker gave him something to eat. Now, he says, I want something to drink! So he was given some sweet tea to drink. He then vanished. He had gone up into the attic, laid down and fell asleep. This caused Lejzor the Baker to exclaim: “You nut, is this the way one is supposed to behave?” You are, indeed, crazy, he replied, I conduct myself just like the refined gentry: having finished eating and drinking B you lay down for a nap... Stories circulated around the shtetl about him, just like the ones about Herschel Ostropolyer170. One time, he tricked a gentile, in the mikva, into emptying his sack of chopped up straw there. When the gentile became severely angry and began to curse all Jews, he was reproached: “Abraham-Berl, why did you do this? He replied, I wanted for this gentile also to immerse himself in the dirty mikva....

He either died naturally, or perhaps the Germans also shot him in the First World War? What were Jewish children to do without Abraham Berl Klein?

C. Myshl the Cripple

He had a large head of black hair, with deep, knowing eyes, a good grasp of things and a sharp mind, and spoke Russian and Polish. He had the body of a child with no feet. He was the son of a poor melamed. This was a very fine, but poor family. The father immigrated to America, but did not acquire any significant wealth there. The wife remained alone with a houseful of children, intellectually endowed sons and daughters. But what is to be done with Myshl the Cripple? He made the decision that he should be placed sitting at the vacant location, on the road to Lomza, where he would sing, and the officers, soldiers, gentiles and Jews, who would be passing by will give him some sort of a donation. He would normally beg only from the gentiles, and especially from Russian officers: “Daitye kopiechku biednomu kalyiku!” Please give a bit of a kopeck to a poor cripple! He would sit there for years on end. He knew everyoneeven if they had passed through that street only once. Children could be found sitting around him all the time listening to his stories, his witticisms. His brothers and sisters loved him body and soul. If it started to rain, they would run to him, regardless of where they happened to be, to take him home, or some sort of umbrella to keep him covered.

A time came when an older son in America sent ship tickets for everyone. They did not want to make the trip, because how would it be possible to leave Mysheleh alone? After all, he would not be allowed to come into America. In the end, a means to get around this was found: to have him admitted to an institution for invalids in Bialystok for a specified sum of money. In that location, he fell sick out of a longing for his own family and his home town, and he died. Others told: In Bialystok, they wanted to have him put into a circus, to show the world this sort of phenomenon. With is sharp memory and intellect, his singing, his storytelling, he died of emotional aggravation.

D. Bayrakh the Mute

There were several mutes in Zambrow, one was the son of a carpentera handsome lad, with black, knowing eyes that projected sadness. One, a daughter of Podalczuk the Butchera picture [of a] beautiful and intelligent girl. So, the father returned from America with money and made a match for his daughter with Khizok’s grandson, a boy without means, and took them all back with him to America.

Bayrakh the Mute was a porter. He was a strong man who had grown tall, with a broad back, and a dark blond beard, a broad visage, with a pair of understanding eyes. A smile was always “pouring out” over his face, and a consistently pleasant disposition along with that. He understood everything. He would come to worship in the White Bet HaMedrashjust like someone who could speak normally. Hot having any trade skill, and being as healthy as a horse, he became a porter. He would transport the heaviest loads and boxed. And his house grew: a home full of children, daughters and sonsgood-looking and capable, but poverty exacted its toll: how could a porter support such a family? In the city, he was treated with respect.

He understood how to comport himself. He observed the mitzvot, the Sabbath and Festival Holidays. In the Bet HaMedrash, he would sway back and forth, with his tallis over his head, just like everyone else. He would typically be accorded the honor of Hagbah – and he would pick up and raise the Torah scroll high into the air, look carefully at the lettering on the parchment, and turn with it to the left and right with a great deal of satisfaction. I can recall one time when the shammes approached him and called him to the Torah. The reader, a short man, a Jewish fellow who was enlightened, who would lean on the tips of his fingers and do a little bit of a dance while he read (he was therefore called “the dancer”), called out: “Ya’amod R’Bayrakh, br’ Jekuthiel... and the mute man was joyous. With great pride and happiness, he touched the edge of his tallis to the scroll, gave it a kiss, and mumbled: Muhuhuhu. The reader then recited the blessing, and the mute man mumbled after him... everyone felt that the gabai had done a tremendous thing, a beautiful gesture...

On time, towards Saturday evening, he dozed off in the Bet HaMedrash, with his mouth open. A bunch of inconsiderate pranksters shook some tobacco snuff into his mouth. He awoke with a start, and with damp eyes, he mumbled: Muhuhuhu, as if one were to say: Why did you do this to me? I am exhausted from a whole week, and I grabbed a nap, is this a reason for you to embarrass me? The balebatim took his side, apprehended the pranksters, and began to beat them. Good-naturedly, he waved them off with his hand, as if to say: let them go, they are just kids, and what do they understand.... After much wandering, one of his youngest sons finally came to Israel.

E. “Katchkeh”

There was quite a character in the city: somewhat taller than average height, with a large head, his face overgrown with a sparse beard, intelligent, penetrating eyes, [who] would go walking to the left and the right, like a duck (“katchkeh”). That is why he was given the name “Katchkeh.” He was something of a shlimazl in his life, constantly at work, exerting himself, from which he derived nothing and had no talent for anything. His father, Chaim Shmuleh Levinsky, a decent wagon driver, lived at the Rabbi’s house, over the “Hakhnasat Orkhim,” across from the Red Bet HaMedrash. First off, Chaim Shmuleh had a covered wagon, and after that he ran a passenger carriage on the Czyzew Tract171. Chaim Shmuleh was a quiet man, always having a good-natured smile on his face, he would give charity, and would often transport the clergy and religious personnel, such as maggidim, distinguished guestsall without charge, and dreamt of traveling to the Land of Israel to die there...

His oldest son, Yossl, was killed in The First World War, on Yom Kippur of 1914, at the battlefields near Narew and Lomza. He had other fine children.

“Katchkeh” however, was an exception. His mouth kept going like a turning screw, and he would verbally abuse and curse everything in the world, and his mouth would get full of foam. Nevertheless, he was good-natured and would immediately commence to smile. Swearing was his sole ammunition to use against the difficult people who exploited or made fun of him. He would constantly be found mingling about among the wagon drivers, giving the horses drink, and cleaning up after them. Occasionally he would be trusted to be the driver and convey passengers. Very early before dawn, his voice could be heard being carried about, when he would go wake passengers for their journey, telling the wagon drivers when was the highest time to travel with the passengers. Not to miss the “mail bag” that goes from Czyzew to Warsaw or Bialystok, and from Czorny Bor. Later on, he became the “expediter” of the soda-bottles, which he would distribute to businesses and private homes. When he was in a good mood, it would be possible to confer with him for advice, and take his opinion seriously. He was a decent sort, and would share his meager pennies with the poor. 

The City’s Daughter-in-Law

By Meir Zukrowicz


It was summer, and the year was 1893.

God’s wrath poured itself out over our Zambrow when cholera ran through Russia and Poland. Accordingly, we didn’t sit by idly: we engaged in repentance, we arranged for cessations of work, recited Tehillim for the entire dayand none of this helped.

We began to explore alternative means: we created a “Massage Committee,” [consisting] of healthy young men, who would rub down the sick with spirits, with hot water, and ply the sick with whiskey, etc. If it helped, then it was good. 

photo, left: Meir Zukrowicz

If it didn’t help, and the illness became more aggravated, the sick person was transferred to Moshe Schribner’s windmill on the Ostrow Road. A sort of hospital was set up here for those who were seriously ill, and mostly for those who never came back again. Apart from this, the kettle in the “Hakhnasat Orkhim” was heated continuously throughout the day, and hot water, along with spirits and whiskey were always ready at hand, as well as other medicaments that had been procured at no cost. It did not seem to affect the “Massage Committee”, even though their wives wept bitterly, fearing that their men would become infected. On Yom Kippur, the Rabbi authorized an announcement in all places of worship: whosoever feels weak may eat. Also, it was represented that one should not sit shiva for a deceased personone also should not go to comfort the bereaved. No minyan should assemble in the home of the deceased, etc.

When we young people saw that none of this was helping, and people were falling like flies, we decided to carry out an important act: on foot at night, they went off to Sendzewa, and silently attacked the water mill, tore up the weir, permitting the water to flow vigorously, and they said: with this flood of water, let the cholera be driven away! They took along the door to the weir, returned to Zambrow in the middle of the night, and buried it in the cemetery....

This too did not help, and the cholera ran rampant through the city.

Accordingly, stronger measures were then employed: all the discarded remnants from prayer books (shamos) were collected from the various houses of worship and study and from private houses, they were packed into containers, and a big funeral was organizedto take these shamos and bury them in the cemetery. Israel David the Shammes led the funeral cortege.  We went at night with ??? to the cemetery. Everyone tore kriya and wept. One person recited the “Kaddish” when the shamos were buried. Charity was donatedand still it didn’t help.

At this point, we ran to embrace a new approach on how to combat the cholera in the city: there was a pauper girl in Zambrow, an orphan, who was crippled, by the name of Chana Yenta. It was decided to marry her off to an older bachelor, also some sort of a cripple, who lisped, by the name of Velvel.  He would beg from door-to-door. And so, a wedding match was arranged between the two. At community expense, they were both decked out in the best finery172: new clothing, new shoes, a small residence was rented for them, completely furnished. The most dignified of the balabustas organized the wedding, baking rolls with oil challah, cooking fish and meat, and the wedding canopy was set up in the cemetery. The throng was lively and energetic, and they danced on their way back from the cemetery, and made merry for the bride and groom, just as it is supposed to be.

And so God saw our distress and caused the plague to desist. This lightened the heart.

From that time on, Chana Yenta was called the city’s “daughter-in-law.” The community decided to give them a permanent post from which they could make a living: she became the municipal water carrier, and he obtained a concession to go from house to house for solicitations, without being interfered withto a hundred and twenty years.

Chana Yenta, the city’s "daughter-in-law", was thought of for many years in the shtetl, and was considered as one of the “religious people” among us. She was always spoken of with respect, because many believed that she did something substantive in deterring the plague...

She herself, often enlarged her own reputation, and traversed the houses with the feeling that the city has something for which to be grateful to her.

A Story About A Convert

By Israel Levinsky

Ay, Ay, Ay, AyMyshekeh is Going Away...

Moshe Granitsa (Nachman Shammes’ son) takes leave of his friends,
as he goes off to military service (during the time of the Russians) to serve in the Czar’s army.

Near my home, in the house of my father-in-law, there lived R’ Yitzhak Leib Ozdoba, with his wife Chaya Itkeh. R’ Yitzhak Leib was a grain merchant, a very decent Jewish man, one who would accommodate guests in his home. Each and every Sabbath would find guests taking a meal at his table.

His wife, Chay Itkeh, was tall in stature  – and thin, with a nose like that of a little bird. She was R’ Yitzhak Leib’s second wife. A son, an only son from her first husband, was called Fishl Chaya Itkeh’s. When a distinguished guest would happen to come to town, a rabbi or a distinguished speaker, such a guest would take meals for the Sabbath at the home of R’ Yitzhak Leib, who was punctilious in his observance of the mitzvah of Hakhnasat Orkhim, and did not let a Sabbath go by without one or two such guests.

One time, a young man of gentile appearance was noticed in the Red Bet HaMedrash, who spoke a broken Yiddish like a gentile. He said that he had been born a Christian to wealthy parents, but convinced himself that the Jewish faith is the better one, and he became a Jew. So his father threw him out. Since then, he wanders about, learning what he can about being a Jew. He was given food and drink, and righteous women brought him a white shirt, a pair of socks, and he would sit in the Bet HaMedrash, observing how Jews behave. Well, you can appreciate, that when the Sabbath arrived, this guest was honored with a place for the Sabbath at the home of R’ Yitzhak Leib Ozdwoba. He was given the best and finest of everything. On the second Sabbathhe again came to eat at the home of R’ Yitzhak Leib. During the week, the balebatim, and young folk, drew close to the convert, teaching him the [Hebrew] alphabet, laws, and they even insisted on making an attempt to have him called to the Torah for an aliyah. On that Sabbath morning, when all were at worship, only I sat and read, because I would always pray before dawn with the first minyan. I heard some sort of a sound on the other side of the wall. Initially, this was not clear to me, but later on I thought it to be either a cat or a goat. When we returned from synagogue, Chaya Itkeh shouted out: Gevalt! I have been reduced to destitution! The armoire had been torn open: linens, jewelry, utensils and money, 250 rubles, had been taken out...

Suspicion first fell on the female gentile house servant who tended the house on the Sabbath, and later we became aware that the convert had vanished... we later found out that this convert was a well-known thief, being sought by the police. Having been among Jews, he had learned a little Yiddish, and also Jewish customs and ways, and played the role of a convert...

Kometz Aleph Aw!

By Mendl Cybelman

(Describing his Teachers in the Zambrow of Yore)


The Brokker Melamed was my first rebbe. He lived at the horse market, near the houses of Lubin on one side and Moshe-Shmuel Golombek on the other side. Itcheh Kossowsky was a student along with me. The family of the rebbe was refined. He had a son who was a revolutionary and was one of the founders of the S.S. in Zambrow. He would hold forth with fiery speeches in the forest. Suddenly, he vanished off to somewhere: he married, and acquired some face in the process...

photo: Three Elderly Ladies Reading from “Tzena U-Re-ena173

Abba Leib who lived directly across from the White Bet HaMedrash was my second rebbe. He also had an intelligent son who took up residence, I think, in Finland, where he served in the military. Abba Leib was a well-prepared teacher, who also taught Hebrew from a pamphlet, and the children loved him.

Abraham’eleh Melamed was my third rebbe. His cheder was behind the Red Bet HaMedrash, by the Lomza Road. He was good-natured, a scholarly Jew, and God-fearing. He had talented children among them, Myshl the Cripple (who is described elsewhere). His wife was named Elkeh’leh, and was well-known in the shtetl. In order to make a living, Abraham’eleh went off to America.

Klutsky was my fourth rebbe. He was observant and spoke only in Hebrew on the Sabbath. He would teach us using humor: “So you think he is Myshl the Shoemaker, no, he is Moses our Teacher! So you thought he was Ahar’eleh Nozhlak, Ahar’eleh Frontz, Nohe was Aaron the high Priest!”  His cheder was located on the premises of Lejzor Zaks.

R’ Sender Seczkowsky describes his teachers of yore, over sixty years ago (transcribed by R’ Israel Levinsky):

My first melamed was Abraham Moshe the Gravedigger. He would bury the dead. But the most significant influence on we children, was his dealing with stillborn babies. He had a special board, as large as a tray, on which he would lay down the little body, wrapping it in burial shrouds, and then carried it through back alleys directly to the cemetery. And we, the children, would be sitting in the cheder, without the rebbe, carrying on or annoying him, as he was carrying the tiny deceased child. Abraham Moshe was of middling height but broad-boned with a pointed gray beard and heavy eyebrows. From time-to-time, he would instill fear in us, and in grownupsdespite the fact that he was not a bad person and did not hit anyone.  The balebatim accorded him respect, perhaps because they knew that, sooner or later, they would fall into his hands... I studied for several school periods [sic: semesters] under his tutelage. This was against my will, because my father, Itcheh Mulyar, lived not far from the street where the synagogues and study houses were, and Abraham Moshe the Gravedigger lived across from the Red Bet HaMedrash, in the large courtyard where the “Hakhnasat Orkhim” could be found. Not once did I run away from cheder, heading to wherever my eyes lookedand the rebbe, who was in the city more times than in the cheder, caught me not only once either grabbing me by the collar and dragging me like he was dragging a corpse, back to cheder. He never hit. One time, I became sick and was bedridden for several weeks. After getting out of my sick bed, I finally took stock, and went off to a different cheder, to the son-in-law of Motya, R’ Mendl Olsha, who was known to be a good teacher, and was beloved by the children and his students truly were able to learn proficiently. Mendl Olsha gave me a pat on the cheek, and said to me: your father didn’t discuss your situation with me, but if you want to learn here, then sit yourself down, and in the meantime, audit what it is that the other children are learning. So I sat, and repeated what all the other children were saying. Suddenly, I felt a hard, hairy hand had grabbed me by the collar, had picked me up, dragged me off the bench and out of the cheder. I struggled like a fish out of waterbut it was to no avail. The new rebbe went ashen, and didn’t utter a word. All the children fell silent. This was my rebbe, Abraham Moshe. He, also, didn’t say a word, but just kept dragging me...

This was the story: when he had returned from a funeral, after burial, the little boys told him with relish that Sender, Itcheh Mulyar’s [son] is no longer a student with him. He already is attending the cheder of Motya’s son-in-law. Well, he became enraged, such a disgrace, such a betrayal! He went off and brought me back, looking at the other children with a look of triumph, and he said to me: “You will remain here and not go off to any unfamiliar teachers!” To this day, a shudder runs through me, when I recall that scene. [I remained there] until God came to my aid and my father relocated to another street, and in the coming semester he enrolled me in another cheder.

The new rebbe lisped, and he would stutter whenever he would explain something.  But he was a good teacher. In his class, boys and girls studied together. He taught us Svarbeh, meaning the twenty-four booksthe Prophets. Also, a teacher came in to teach us Russian for an hour a day. Because I had a good grasp and learned quickly, the rebbe gave me a “Nograda,” a mark of distinction: I was to rock his two baby daughters, twins, who would always be crying out that they wanted to be rocked. So I once rocked them so vigorously that I overturned the cradle with the children. So an outcry ensued, and the sound of running feet was heard, and “the boy isn’t there, – I fled from the cheder out of fear and never came back. After many years had gone by, when I came to visit my father in Jerusalem he told me that this very same rebbe is living in Jerusalem, with his two daughters, the twins. It appears that they survived the episode of the upended cradle.

My third rebbe was Herschel Kooker. It was with him that I began to study Gemara. However, a gentile interfered in this and disrupted my study. A gentile named Kowicki lived in the same house, who made coffins. He knew Yiddish as if he were Jewish, and even knew blessings by heart. When he would get liquored up, he would grab children and put them in a coffin which was decorated with crosses, and prevented them from getting out. The children would cry, and writhe in fear and he would roll with laughter.

So I transferred to learn in the elementary school yeshiva of R’ Yehoshua Gorzholczany. He was a good rebbe, a wise Jewish man, and he could project his influence with merely a glance. Later on, I was taught by a melamed from Wysokie-Mazowiecki and the Overseer was R’ Moshe-Michael, a tall, handsome Jewish man who was strict, and who oversaw the study of the Yeshiva students with a cane in his hand. Once, he dozed off at the lectern, and his long beard got tangled in the lectern. So we grabbed sealing wax, warmed it up, and poured it onto his beard. He took out his anger on all of us. His long cane flew over our heads, without pity. In the last stage, I went off to study at the Yeshiva in Lomza. I would get a package every week from home: underwear, socks, kichl, etc. But then the “fifth year” arrived. In the yeshiva, a strike broke out against the leadership which disbursed too meager a “weekly stipend” to the young men of the province. One time, when the headmasters came to give a lesson, they were refused admission, but instead shouts were made to their faces: you take away the best and the most attractive for yourselves, and all you do is throw the bones to us! They became frightened and summoned the police. The yeshiva was then shut down.

Accordingly, the out-of-town youth from the province dispersedeach to their own home. My father then saw that I had no particularly strong affinity for study so he said to me: Well, you won’t become a rabbi but at least be a decent and honest working man....

 The Political Parties



The Active Workers of the Keren Kayemet, Organizing the 6th Bazaar of 5696 [1917]


The Zionist Movement

The Executive Committee of Keren HaYesod

A. Before The First World War

An illegal Zionist organization existed in Zambrow, even before the First Zionist Congress. In the first year of selling rafflesapproximately sixty to seventy raffles were sold in Zambrow. Also, the “aktsiehs” of the Colonial Bank, which cost ten rubles apiece (over sixty years ago), more than a few were sold in Zambrow. R’ Shlomo Blumrosen stood at the head of the Zionist endeavor. With him were: Benjamin Kagan, Abcheh Rokowsky, Israel Levinsky, Fishl Danilewicz, Yaakov and Meir Zukrowicz, Yaakov Shy’eh Kahn, Hona Tanenbaum, Ephraim Surowicz, Yitzhak Levinson, Greenberg (a leather merchant), David Smoliar, Jaluka, Yom Tov Herman, Fishl Chaya Itkeh’s (Ozdoba), Meir Meisner, Yaakov Shlomo Kukawa, the brothers, Itcheh Fyvel and Lipa Blumrosen, etc. Young people also were drawn to Zionism: the brothers, Berl and Abba Finkelstein, Alter Greenwald, Fyvel Zukrowicz, Yaakov Karlinsky, Yaakov Hershel Zukrowicz, Ziskind Sokol, Benjamin Tanenbaum, the brothers Yochanan and Chaim Feinzilber, Chaim Skocinadek, Fyvel Rosenthal, Yeshaya Rekant, the brothers Pinchas and Zelig Bronack, Shlomkeh Golombek, Leibl Slowik, Israel Rokowsky, Bezalel Rosenbaum, Mordechai Yerusalimsky, Herschel Adashko, Abba and Noah Graewsky, Zusha Brzezinsky, et al.

Twice a year, gatherings would take place at the homes of Shlom’keh Blumrosen and Benjamin Kagan, work was done for Keren Kayemet, etc. When the Fifth Zionist Congress in the year 1902 decided to establish Keren Kayemet, and to distribute charity boxes [sic: pushkas] into the houses of active Zionists, R’ Israel Levinsky, and R’ Fishl Danilewicz the Melamed, could not wait for the pushkas to arrive, which were supposed to come to Zambrow from Berlin by way of Odessa, so for their own account they commissioned Leibusz Garfinkel the tinsmith (who was himself a Zionist) to make one hundred pushkas, with a Jewish Star of David etched into the side, and nailed them up in Zionist homes, and took care to see that they were periodically emptied until the original blue pushkas arrived after two yearsthat were then turned over to that dedicated Zionist, Yaakov Karlinskyto deal with their distribution.

Young people would come together on the Sabbath for study sessions under the supervision of Mr. Israel Levinsky, [in] Hebrew literature, and knowledge, reading journals, etc. We would affix Keren Kayemet stamps to our letters. On being called for an aliyah to the Torah in the White Bet HaMedrash, pledges were made of donations for the benefit of the Yishuv in the Land of Israel. On the Eve of Yom Kippur, pairs of members were sent out in tens to all synagogues and houses of study, also to the women's prayer rooms, to set out “platters” near the entranceway at the time of the afternoon [sic: Mincha] prayers “for the benefit of the Yishuv in the Land of Israel.” A national celebration was organized in the White Bet HaMedrash at Hanukkah time with the participation of the hazzan and the Tyktin musicians, and sometimes also a military orchestra. In the cheders, the teaching of Hebrew, using principles of grammar was instituted and also writing of articles for the Hebrew children’s periodicals. In Bialystok, Alter Greenwald learned how to do the “Hatikvah Dance,” and it was agreed that he should teach this to others, so they could dance it at weddings. Activity continued with full vigor. There were even instances of people from Zambrow traveling to the Land of Israel and this help to raise the level of enthusiasm further.

This went on until the dark clouds of 1914 drew nigh. Then World War broke out. Part of the group was mobilized. Political party activity was disrupted and halted.

B. Zionist Endeavor Renews Itself



The Youth Committee of Keren HaYesod

Standing:  Aliza Weinberg, Shlomo Rosenthal, Chaya-Sarah Jablonsky, Mikhl Jabkowsky
Sitting:  Esther-Matt’l Golombek, Zvi Slowik, Chaim-Yossl Shafran


Hol HaMoed Passover 1926

The “Keren HaYesod” Committee of Zambrow

During the German occupation, 1916, the Polish Zionist Central Committee was born in Warsawafter Polish Zionism had been dependent previously on Odessa, the Russian center. Zambrow was one of the first of the towns that affiliated itself with the Warsaw Central Committee. It was accomplished with the support of the staff member of “Haynt,” Mr. Goldberg, who would come to Zambrow to visit his elderly father from the homeless of Brisk.

The first meeting at [the house of] Shlomkeh Blumrosen, was attended by Benjamin Kagan, the brothers Aharon Leibl and Yaakov Karlinsky, Fyvel Zukrowicz, Chaim Skocinadek, Fishl Chaya Itkeh’s, David Smoliar, the brothers Yochanan and Chaim Feinzilber, etc. The young people were represented by: Yitzhak Gorodzinsky (Chava’s son), Leibchak Golombek, and Abraham Baumkuler.  The work for Keren Kayemet, the sale of raffles, collecting membership dues, and land taxes, etc., was renewed. However, the young people were sparingly involved. Then the teacher Obkewicz from Warsaw arrived, the husband of Esther Kagan, and he founded the “Tze’irei Tzion” group, manned by these very young people. The first interim [leadership] committee consisted of Leibchak Golombek (Chairman), A. Baumkuler, Yaakov Jabkowsky, Israel Konopiota, Tuvia Tennenbaum (Secretary) and Matess Gorzholczany. Gatherings usually occurred in the school of Fyvel Zukrowicz, which was open for every form of Zionist endeavor. Later on, it went over into its own premises in a cellar, at the house of Shlomo Tuvia Sziniak. They established a cooperative under the direction of Israel Konopiota made up of the active members. During the Bolshevik invasion in the year 1920, the Poles plundered the cooperative.

Tze’irei Tzion played an important role in Zionist activity, and was the central source of all the Zionist undertakings in the city. [It encompassed] the Halutzim movement, cultural endeavors, [worked on behalf of] the library, national demonstrations, sport and theatre. During the time of the Bolshevik invasion, several of the Tze’irei Tzion members “insinuated themselves” into the municipal action committees to try and rescue something and to stand guard. L[eibchak] Golombek, the Chairman of Tze’irei Tzion, and of the sport club, “Maccabi” – assumed the mandate of acting as the chief of police in Zambrow.174

 The Tze’irei Tzion movement elicited much sympathy in the circles of Zionist youth.

 Tens of young people who went to Israel can be attributed to it, and thereby saved themselves...

Youth Parties

By Shmuel Gutman

A. Poalei Tzion 

[This organization] once existed in Zambrow in the “fifth” year [sic: 1905]. Now it had renewed itself. At its head stood the enlightened and educated Yehoshua Domb (today in Israel). Domb was a Hebrew teacher, a good orator, a man of the people, well-educated, and intelligent. With him [were] the teacher, Nathan Smoliar, Pini Baumkuler, Garfinkel, the son of the tinsmith, [and] among the first of the Poalei Tzion from the year 1905, Sarniewicz, Zabludowsky, Bercheh Sokol. Among the female members: Shifra Lifschitz, Elka Guterman, Tila Sarniewicz, Menukha’keh Sokol (today in Israel) and others.

The debates that took place in their club were attended by large crowds. They would also invite in prominent speakers, such as Zerubabel, Moshe Erem175 and others. They established a youth labor organization called “Jugend” with the help of students and former yeshiva students, among them: Mendl Baumkuler, Herschel Smoliar, Israel Herman, Shmuel Gutman, Yitzhak Saraczkewicz, and others. Later on, they were joined by: Nahum Sokol, Chaya-Sarah Rekant, Rachel Greenberg, Peshkeh Smoliar, Moshe Heitzer, Lifschitz (Shifra’s sister), Faygl’eh Friedman, Chana Burstein, Chaya Zeitman and others.

The senior members, such as Y. Domb, N. Smoliar and P. Baumkuler, enhanced our level of awareness, and directed [educational] courses and a drama studio. We put on a performance of “Dorf’s Jung” in which Sarah Sokol and Herschel Smoliar gave outstanding performances.  After the performance, the entire leadership committee went up on the stage and gave Sarah Sokol a kiss and a present a book.

B. Tze’irei Tzion

A group of Tze’irei Tzion with their chairman, David Rosenthal, in the middle.

They occupied an important place in the city. Mostly they came from the ranks of the families of balebatim, who had a proletarian world-view. At their head stood: Leibchak Golombek, Abraham Baumkuler, the brothers Yitzhak and Chaim Gorodzinsky, David Rosenthal, Yankl Jabkowsky, the Gottliebs, Shafran, Zukrowicz, Kaplan, and others.

Their opponents, the Bund and Poalei Tzion, would attack them often: how can this be a proletarian party that has no workers in its ranks... this was a strong argument on their part. That is, until God came to their rescue, and my brother Mordechai, a needle trades worker, and Simcha Stern, a miller who worked in his father’s mill joined their ranks...

Out of there ranks, there emerged: “B’nai Tzion,” “Pirkhei Tzion,” and later on, “HeHalutz,” the latter being responsible for carrying out a very practical and important work on behalf of the Land of Israel. They are to be thanked for the tens of olim who were saved by having come to Israelin the difficult years. Among these young people, the following stood out: Zvi Zamir-Slowik, Benjamin Kszisusker, Feciner, Michael Jabkowsky, Noah Zukrowicz, and others. With all the partisan conflicts, and often sharp attacks of one upon the otherwe would nevertheless live peacefully with one another, and would undertake specific Zionist endeavors jointly.

C. The Bund 176


The Zionist-Socialist Organization (Tz. S.) (1926)


The Bund also existed at one time in Zambrow, in the year 1905. Now it [too] had renewed itself: at its head, stood Herschel Sendak, a former yeshiva student;  the husband of Pyeh Sziniak; the pharmacist, Szklovin, who was tragically and murderously killed by the Poles and others. The Bund would stand guard, combating clericalism, fighting against assimilation, but most vigorously fighting against Zionism in all of its forms, both left-wing and right-wing. At times, we would engage in discussions, on the eve of the First of May, during a union action, and other such events, but by and large we would be antagonistic and strongly fight one against the other.

The drama studio under Bund auspices was fully developed, and was in possession of very good talent. They demonstrated the ability to expend a great deal of work in connection with the Yiddish library, which was forcibly taken out of their hands...

D. Communism

A communist party function illegally here as well. At its head was a certain Fishman, who worked for Kaufman the pharmacist and became his son-in-law. Fishman was very circumspect for a long time, and the police were unable to catch him [red-handed], that is, until the cord was torn... The principal communist activity was being carried out by a few of the gymnasium students, of which Herschel Smoliar stood out. XXX [note to jack—check if there is some text missing here] who was studying at Goldlust’s gymnasium, and who was transformed from being a young Poalei Tzion member into a fiery communist with a substantial reputation in the entire Bialystok Voievode. He spent a number of years in the Lomza Prison (Czerwoniak)177. Later on, he went off to Byelorussia, where he served with partisan units, being wounded a number of times. He is today the Chairman of the Central Committee of Polish Jews.

The “Bund” Labor Party

A Group of Young Workers, with S. Gutman in the Center

The Active Members of “Poalei Tzion”


A Group of Amateur Theater Players

In the “fifth year” meaning: the year 1905, labor youth in Zambrow had differentiated itself into the S.S. and S.R. and into the “Bund” and “Poalei Tzion.” Additionally, “anarchists” could be found in Zambrow, and ironicallyamong placid young men, who were pleased with anarchy, with the disorder that was to be brought into the country, by the military, the police, and others, as a means to remove the monarch [Czar] Nicholas [II] from the throne.

Who were these Bundists of the year 1905 in Zambrow? To this day, it is difficult to remember. Back then, it was said that the revolutionary parties had certain symbols: a black shirt with a blue sash with blue epaulettes (???) would be one party: a black sash with black epaulettes  a second party; one side lock, the left or the right, slightly longer, like a side-whiskerthat would be a third party, etc.

If one party gathered with the priest in the woods, the other would “take over” a Bet HaMedrash and, sorry to say, force the pious Jews to listen to them conduct their meetings. Because of this, the police could never apprehend them. And so, a third party would “co-opt” the “prom”, a moveable wooden bridge on the water, which would serve as a link with Ostrowa, Szumowo, and other places on the other side of the river, while a new bridge was being constructed. What they would do is feign a “sports-outing” – however what they really did was to transport their party comrades, male and female, to some field for a discussion, to engage in song and perhaps just to keep each other company until late into the night... The general name applied to all these parties was “striker” because even if they engaged in conflict with one another, carried on discussions, and sometimes threw each other’s transgressions at one another – to the outside world they were united and took up a defense of the interests of workers wholeheartedly. The principal tool of operation was the “strike.” This would continue to such a time that they would make Nicholas a head and years shorter, for which purpose they would call for a strike, by the boot maker, tailor and shoemaker unions, by the bakers. On one occasion, they wanted to organize a strike by the water-carriers. So Reikhl, the lady water-carrier did not carry water for a day, and her husband, Meir “the revolutionary,” sat in the Bet HaMedrash and recited Tehillim. The balebatim of Zambrow then did without Reikhl, and personally went down to the creek with a bucket in hand... on the following morning, Reikhl again carried water, for the same price: two buckets for a three-piece. A few gave her a raise: two buckets for a four-piece...

The principal “strikers” were the Bundists. They identified with the present plight of the workers. From time-to-time, they would invite speakers from Bialystok, Lomza, and even Warsaw. Several young people from Zambrow worked in Warsaw and would come home, decked out for a holiday, bringing with them an air of life and enthusiasm, bringing new songs with them, and in the evening, teaching them during a promenade on the roads. I remember one particularly well, because his mother lived over the cheder of Bercheh Sokol, where I studied, and his brother Abraham’keh was my friend who would teach me his brother’s new song that was Shmuel-Nissl (or Shimon-Nissl) Lifschitz: a needle trades worker, picture perfect in handsomeness, and all decked out in his black jacket, and his black hard hat, and his lacquered cane in hand. One of his feet was a bit shorter than the other, and for this, he wore an elevated shoe. Girls who did tailoring were seamstresses, sewed socks, and ordinary girls around the house would impatiently await the Sabbath or the Festival, when Shimi-Nissl would arrive from Warsaw. It was said that it was in the home of Mordechai Lifschitz the wagon-driver that the Bund Committee assembled for its meetings, and the leaders were: His daughter (also who walked with a limp)an enlightened girl who read books and made a living from making cigarettes (her son, a pious young man came from Russia, and is now in Israel), a son of Aharon Luks, a fiery young man, with black eyes, elegantly clothed, and loved to make jokes. As best as I can recall, the leader of the Bund (I was only six or seven years old at the time), as “The Gypsy Warrior” – a broad-boned healthy young man with black gleaming eyes, a full broad face, and long black locks. He was a harness maker who made saddles, halters and reins for horses. He came from some Hasidic shtetl or another, and didn’t wants to take off his Hasidic cap. He loved to make jokes, and had a great influence on the working youth, which is why he was given the nickname of a “warrior.” However, since he was as swarthy as a gypsy, he was also called a “warrior from the Gypsies”....

I remember several times, the police conducted a search at his location, arrested him, but afterwards let him go. They would gather at the location of Bercheh the Melamed in the evenings, to learn, read, and write, reading literature and take care of the labor-oriented brochures...

With the failure of the Russian Revolutionthe “strikers” dispersed and fled. Part of them married, somewhere in an [obscure] shtetl, and carried on a normal life without the revolution. The larger part fled to America. Arranging the trip was not particularly difficult. “Agents” would transport the “Yedinkehs” [sic: Edinkehs], (the illegal travelers), across the border to Prostken178, the first German town, and would get ship ticketseither bought or sent by a relative, and then transit through Hamburg, Antwerp or Bremen, to America. A small part of them, later returnedfinding themselves longing for home. The larger part of them put down roots either in Brooklyn or Chicago, in Philadelphia or The Bronx, and they laid the foundation for the Zambrow branch of the Workmen’s Circle, of a Help Committee for the poor back in the Old Countryeven before The First World War... up to recent years. It was [important] to them that every new immigrant from Zambrow would come, and he was helped like a brother, with employment, with a residence, with the acquisition of citizenship papers, etc.

A. The Rejuvenated Bund

A Group of Left-Wing Workers Being Addressed by Herschel Smoliar


Young Men’s Socialist Movement


A Group of Left-Wing Poalei-Tzion Members

In the years of the German occupation, 1916-1917, the “Bund” reconstituted itself in Zambrow. A member of the “Groser-Klub” arrived from Warsaw, called together a group of workers and members of the intelligentsia, among them the previously mentioned Shimi-Nissl, the pharmacist Zalman Szklovin, Herschel Sendak, and his wife, Paya, the lawyer, Czerniawsky (from the Maccabi leadership), Joseph Savetzky, the three talented brothers: Eli, Abraham’keh and Itzl Rothberg, Szepsl Lifschitz, Elkhanah Lifschitz (today in Argentina), Yitzhak Strocz, Zelik Bakshir, and others. These immediately subscribed to the periodical “Lebens-Fragen,” received brochures authored by Medem179, and rented premises for their “Zukunft”-Club in the house of Abcheh Rokowsky.

They were very exacting and carried out the labor program with which they were tasked. The primary initiative was cultural, to educate the masses. Accordingly, they had was very exacting in evening courses for workers, in the Yiddish school, and especially the [sic: Yiddish] library, into which they put in no small part of their heart and soul. Later on, the library was transferred to the Tze’irei Tzion, who had become a majority in the shtetl. The Bund had a youth group called “Zukunft,” that would educate the children of the working class, by teaching them, imbuing them with the spirit of the party, and enlightening them. Apart from this, a drama club prospered under Bund auspices for a time. From time-to-time they would put on a play with success, both in morale and financial terms. The principal activists of the drama section were again, the previously mentioned Shimi-Nissl Lifschitz, Joseph Savetzky and others. The party gatherings, discussions, and literary evenings would attract a respectable audience. During the elections to the Polish Sejm, the Municipal Council, the community leadership, in professional or social unions, or social institutionsthe Bund would garner a meaningful share of the votes and had a solid position in the shtetl.

Polish harassment, military obligations, unemployment, need and isolation all conspired to disperse the Bund, just like all the other parties were dispersed. What little youth there was fled. Whoever could, saved themselves by going to Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and other locations. Very few were ably to directly reach the United States. The nationally inspired young people chomped at the bit to get to the Land of Israel. All of these linked themselves to the chain of the Zambrow Help Committee activities and continue to carry on with this sacred work of assistance, as we saw on the eve of the [Second World] War, and after The Catastrophe.

A significant part, the largest, of all members of these parties together, tragically met their end before their time: in the battlefields, in the ranks of the partisans, in the ghettos, and in the gas-ovens of Oswiecim...

The Labor Movement 

The Poalei-Tzion Movement

By Pinchas Broder

A Group of Poalei-Tzion Members, with
Yehoshua Domb, their leader, at center


Young People (not identified)


A Group of Young Workers

Standing: Herschel Smoliar, Sokol, Sarniewica, Gutman
Sitting:  Sokol, Mordechai Baumkuler, Menucha Sokol

During the time of the German occupation, in the year 1917 approximately, the Poalei-Tzion party founded itself in Zambrow, first as a general party that consisted of workers and intelligentsia, and laterit split, as was the case in all of Poland, into a right and left-wing entity. The left-wing Poalei-Tzion party dominated, at the head of which stood Yehoshua Domb-Zucker (today in Israel), who was a Hebrew-Yiddish teacher, Zabludowsky the Barber, Nathan Smoliar the Polish-Yiddish teacher (martyred in the Warsaw Ghetto), Pini Baumkuler, Gorfinkel, the son of the tinsmith, Sarniewicz, and others. The Poalei-Tzion party did much to enlighten its membership, dedicating itself to education and bringing them up, providing substantial explanation of the political and partisan situation, and affording the member an opportunity for development, to find a good social milieu, and to be able to spend every evening, Sabbath and holiday in a very homey atmosphere of comradeship, having a glass of tea, which the lady member Shifra Lifschitz would prepare. We would forget all of our economic needs when we would get together there. Under the direction of Bercheh Sokol, the spiritual leader and teacher of folklore, the young workers learned to write Yiddish correctly, Yiddish history, geography, etc.

From time-to-time discussions would take place with other parties, like the Bund, etc. The members would actively participate, and would always learn something. From time-to-time, we would also organize “live news events,” speakers, parties, literary evenings, in which the membership found a great deal of interest. Quite often we would be visited by members of the Central Committee, such as Gershon Dua, A. Sh. Uris, Taubenschlag, Kroll, and later on Mr. Moshe Medem, and others. Members from Lomza would come often, as well and from Wysokie-Mazowiecka.  One time, before Passover, Mr. Zerubabel was to come and give a literary presentation. For this, we rented the fire-fighters premises, printed up placards, sold all of the tickets in advance, and we all prepared to receive him very heartily. The entire city awaited him with anticipation, and... in the end, a telegram arrived from Warsaw: Comrade Zerubabel will not come. This news struck us like a thunderbolt. It subsequently became known that Polish hooligans had assaulted him in Warsaw at the train station and wanted to cut off his handsome beard. He refused to let them do this and fought with them. They beat him badly, and he was unable to travel. Zerubabel, however, kept his word, and later on, he did come to us, and had a colossal success.

Our party took part in the municipal elections, and the elections to the [Polish] Sejm, as well as to the Jewish Community [Leadership].  It always was successful, and was substantively represented at open gatherings and meetings.

We worked a great deal on the professional frontexplaining things to the worker, fighting for his rights at work, and for a better salary and working conditions. The Poalei-Tzion party founded a professional union and indeed, appointed me to publicize it and engage in worker registration.

I was compelled to leave Zambrow in 1919 because of the Polish military mobilization, when it blundered into conflict with the Bolsheviks, and I went off to America.

An Addendum

By Sh. Gutman 

At the initiative of the Poalei-Tzion party, the organization “Jugend” was founded in Zambrow with the help of a group of students and former yeshiva students, in which the following took part: Mendl Baumkuler, Herschel Smoliar, Israel Herman, Shmuel Gutman, Yitzhak Saraczkewicz, and later, the following joined: Nahum Sokol, Shlomo Scheinkopf, Sarah Sokol, Chaya-Sarah Rekant, Rachel’eh Greenberg, Peshka Smoliar, Moshe Heitzer, Lifschitz (Shifra’s little sister), Faygl’eh Friedman, Chana Burstein, Chaya Zeitman, and others. A level of cultural activity was thus initiated among the young workers with the more senior members of the Poalei-Tzion intelligentsia overseeing this activity, such as: Domb, Pini Baumkuler, and N. Smoliar, who themselves were teachers, and were generally involved with education in the cityin the form of the very familiar evening courses.

A also existed among the Poalei-Tzion youth, which would put on small presentations quite frequently, one-act plays, and would organize literary evening get-togethers. On one occasion, they put on [the play] “Dorf’s Jung,” with great success. Sarah Sokol and Herschel Smoliar stood out in this regard. The Poalei-Tzion party, together with “Jugend,” had a very nice headquarters location, with a warm ambience.

The Zionist Youth Movement

By Zvi Zamir (Slowik)

A. Pirkhei Tzion

Committee of the United Poalei-Tzion

It is 1917, the year of the Balfour Declaration. The Polish Jewish community is full of excitement by the promise of our own national homeland. The believe in the salvation of the people enveloped masses of peoplethe hope that the Jewish people would be able to build its homeland as a free nation, among the peoples of the earth, penetrated into all sectors of the populace. In Zambrow, a huge public assembly was convened in the synagogue. Throngs of the aroused marched to that premisesand on the bima inside, there stood the Messrs. Abraham Mizrach from Lomza, Fanusz from Kolno. With great emotion and trembling, that spoke of the people’s future. A fund-raising for the redemption of the people was announced. The donations were profuse. Women took off their jewelry and donated it to this fund. Little boys and girls brought their meager savingsand donated them to the fund.  Zionist fervor enveloped almost all of the residents of the city.  Youth organizations were opened, such as “Poalei-Tzion,” in the home of Hona the Butcher, “Tze’irei Tzion” – in the home of Aryeh Golombek180, and others. I was a lad at the time. I was studying in the cheder of R’ Yehoshua. From morning to evening, we swam in the sea of the Talmud, but the atmosphere of Zion penetrated even to us, the young students.  Aged 12we began to visit the Zionist meetings in the citywe felt that it was incumbent upon us to become partners in this national endeavor to achieve the redemption. A wondrous idea grew in the hearts of many of the young people: let us raise up an institution of young Zionists. A meeting was called, and the “Pirkhei Tzion” group was established, primarily of 12-13 year-olds. The children of the balebatim streamed to this organization, which etched on its banner the ideal of effort on behalf of Zion. A young people’s library was established for both Hebrew and Yiddish. Lectures, meetings and parties were held, and from time-to-time, a Questions and Answers meeting. During their study of the Talmud, the students of R’ Yehoshua began to sing Zionist songs, and they even brought Hebrew books into the cheder. There was an extensive sense of awakening. The temerity of these young people aroused the ire of the ultra-orthodox ranks, most of whom were “opponents of Zion.” A battle ensued. Parents were summoned to the Rabbi, and to all the “Institutional Clergy” according to their station, in order to exert influence leading to the dispersal of this group. It was R’ Alter the Maggid who was tasked to do thisand during his sermon that Sabbath day, he spoke in the following language: whether you are Zionists, or non-Zionistswhether you are Pirkhei Tzion, do not be those who befoul Zionthis was directed in opposition to desecration of the Sabbath, promenades, and gatherings of young people. However, all of these attempts at opposition were in vain, and day-by-day, membership in the organization grew.

B. Herzteliya 

The Adult Members of “HeHalutz,”
1926 in Zambrow, In Honor of a pending Aliyah

The second event that drove our hearts into a storm was the Russian Revolution. The reverberations of the revolution encouraged the youth of the city that held a faith in the liberation of the working classes. A schism took place among the ranks of the young people: the dominant majority went over to ‘Jugend,’ and “Poalei-Tzion,” and part to the communists. They concentrated a substantial number of the working class youth. The young people’s library was transferred to them. We continued with the work of institutionalizing Zionist youth, without adding anything to our agenda. Our “Pirkhei Tzion” organization continued to function for two years. At the end of 1919, before Simchat Torah, the name was changed from “Pirkhei Tzion” to “Herzteliya,” and, in so doing, we affiliated ourselves with the central Jewish youth group in Poland by that name.  We established a connection to the center in Warsaw. Our movement continued to grow again. We would join in efforts under the aegis of “Tze’irei Tzion,” and they dedicated considerable energies and attention to the direction and management of the young people. Yitzhak Gorodzinsky and Aryeh Golombek would lecture us, as well as many others. A Drama Group was organized. Many members of the group began to study Hebrew, under the tutelage of the teacher, Alter Rothberg  – already beginning to think even then of making aliyah to The Land, to settle there, and live. Our “Zionism” was non-partisan. We especially established our base on the educated youth. In the year 1920, we sent a representative to the Third Conclave of Herzteliya, in the person of Mr. P. Bovarsky from Kolno. We also organized the young people of the area around us. In the name of our branch, I went to Wysokie-Mazowiecka, and after an effort of three days, a “Herzteliya” group was organized there. After the Bolshevik conquest, Aryeh Golombek, Yitzhak Gorodzinsky, and several other members of Tze’irei Tzion, made aliyah. The letters from Yitzhak Gorodzinsky were full of ardor, in his description of the ambience in The Land, and were passed from hand-to-hand among the ranks of the young people, and bolstered our faith in Zion. I will relate here, an incident that occurred involving me, at a memorial service held in memory of Dr. Benjamin Herzl in 1921 on the eve of 20 Tammuz,  [Tuesday, July 26].  We were standing in the street: Chaim Shafran, Shmuel Golombek, Aryeh Levinsky, and others, and we were selling tickets to cover the cost of the memorial event. Suddenly, a police officer, Plawczuk, attacked us from the side, seized the tickets and forbade us to sell them, accusing us of communist activity. Everyone was let go, except me, because I assumed all of the responsibility for this activity. He threw all sorts of serious accusations in my face for this communist initiative. I was all of 14 years old at the time. All of my explanations were to no avail in trying to convince him otherwise.  “A young communist,” is what he called me, and with the escort of a policeman, I was taken like a person who was a danger to the public, to Lomza. I sat for three days in a police jail cell, along with other people who had been accused of communist “transgression,” until I was brought before the judge. After explaining to him, and proving that in Lomza such an organization also existedI was released. They returned all of the confiscated materials to us. My arrest did not instill fear in my comrades, and the work did not cease. We participated in all of the initiatives of the adults, in Keren Kayemet L’Israel, and especially in the activities relating to the national education of the Jewish child. We participated in putting on a show for Hanukkah, in the school of Yaakov Tobiasz, at the Golombek home, on the day of 25.12.1921, in which children appeared to sing songs, offer declamations, and readings and presentations on the purity of the Hebrew language. This show left a very strong impression on the young people, and spurred us on to continue our endeavors.  We participated in the work of Keren HaYesod, in donations, and collecting donations, and we even set up a youth committee to deal with this matter withing the youth group, into which the following joined: the writer of these lines, Malka Greenberg, Chaim Shafran, Rivka Zilberstein, and my brother. We held youth group gatherings, and we distributed explanatory information around the houses. Mr. Tobiasz traveled, as a representative to the Keren HaYesod Committee in Warsaw, in the year 1922, who, together with Ravikov and Meir Zukrowicz, stood at the head of that committee in the city.

Our work for Keren Kayemet was one of the central activities among the others. Our Keren Kayemet “corner” was decorated, and arranged with all manner of good things, and there was a permanent exhibit there, and in it, you could see the progress of the KK"L, its land acquisitions, tables showing its income and activities. A special place was allocated for tables that displayed the competitions that were periodically organized between the various groups, in connection with increasing the income of the KK"L.  Each and every evening, when I entered the branch premises, I would go over to this board that displayed the competitionsto see which group was leading in generating revenue for the KK"L. We were able to take first place in this activity to raise money for the KK"L for many years in the size of our revenue generation, ahead of all other youth groups, and we took great pride in this.

All of this is the legacy of a past day. These things reflected the life in the Diaspora, and foretold a degeneration and a finality, but none of us could foresee that our sense of the future would be realized so rapidly, and with a cruelty so fundamental.

C. The Tz. S. Youth Organization



Delegates of the Lomza District, to a “Herzteliya” convention held in Zambrow

The schism in Tze’irei Tzion, into a right and left wing, had an influence on the sentiment of the young people. Various attempts at definition, and explanation of ideas were initiated, difficult conversationsthe concept of the liberation of the human being, the synthesis of Zionist-Socialism. Reverberations from what was going on reached us, as to what was going on in the ranks of the labor movement in Israel the founding of “Akhdut HaAvodah.” We decided, in a stormy meeting in Sziniak’s garden (on the Bialystok Road), based on a compelling majority, after a very difficult conversation among the responsible parties, to implement a change in our movement, with me at the head, and among those following this tackto set up a Tz. S. Youth Organization (in its first year, it was called “Herut”). The minority continues for a time with “Herzteliya,” until it fell apart.

A new era was initiated for the group. New concepts penetrated our midst: socialism a Zionist-Socialism, a working Land of Israel, a labor movement in The Land. Working youth joined usneedle trades, and workers from different professions. We ceased being a movement drawn from the balebatim. These new ideas did not weaken the ardor that we had for work on behalf of the Land of Israel. Publicity was distributed about our group among the Tz. S. youth movement in Poland, as was clarified in the first national conference (10.11.22) in the central hall (on 11 Dzika Street) in Warsaw, in which I participated as a representative selected by the Zambrow branch. As our movement grew, we rented a headquarters. The list of our supporters grew: David Rosenthal, Krupinsky, and others, and we exerted ourselves to organize walks, performances, celebrations, and gatherings for Q&A. We participated in the elections to the organizing assembly in Poland with great vigor. We organized a Hebrew corner, where Moshe Burstein was, as one of the leading workers. The objective of this corner was: Hebrew conversation, Hebrew song, and Hebrew reading. We subscribed to “HaTzefira,” and “HaYom”, – the Hebrew newspapers. An unfamiliar area of endeavor entered our ambit of concern: professional organization. Our members were selected into professional sections. Let us remember here, Mikhl Jabkowsky, who invested both his blood and energy into the work of the organization as its representative to the municipal library.  On 1.5.23, the First of May celebration took place, with the joint participation of all the socialist organizations: Bund, Tz. S., Tze’irei Tzion, Poalei Tzion, and communists in a forest outside of the city. When news of the severe economic depression in The Land reached us: hunger, unemployment, the abandonment of The Land by people from our city, and emigration to Americahaving two of our city scions go insane in The Landwe reacted by being aghast. We walked about with a sense of oppressionhad The Abrogator ascended over our dreams? We intensified our work on behalf of the funds for The Land of Israelthe gathering of working tools for the labor fund, and Yaakov Jabkowsky stood at the head of this initiative, and we gathered 180 thousand marks.

D. HeHalutz



Zambrow Halutzim at the Agricultural camp “Simcha,” near Szczuczyn

We read about the experience in the training by HeHalutz in Lomzaand also in the midst of our comrades, the recognition matured, of the need for such training prior to making aliyah. At that time I was a student at the gymnasium. At a meeting of the four friends: Joseph Slowik, Joseph Srebrowicz, Yehuda Szklovin, and the writer of these lines, on 29 Sivan 5684 (1924), we founded HeHalutz, in our home, beside the flour mill. We publicized the sign up. Young people, among them many who before they participated in public lifesigned up full of the zeal and will to prepare themselves for life in the Land of Israel. We brought all of these who stood for membership into a general meeting, and selected a HeHalutz leadership. I was selected as the Chair, and Noah Zukrowiczas the secretary. We got in contact with the central HeHalutz organization, with the HeHalutz branch in Lomza, and we commenced activity. By and large, the parents were not in concert with the idea that their children would transform themselves into agricultural workers in the Land of Israel, but in the end, they did agree, especially in face of the strong stand of their own children. We held the first public meeting of HeHalutz in the library assembly hall. Pinchas Rashish came as a representative of the central organizationtoday, he is the head of the town of Petakh Tikva.  On a Friday, in the depths of a frost and cold, was when Mr. Rashish arrived in a wagon full of wood from Czyzew. His presentation attracted a large crowdyoung people and old alike. After his speech, additional members signed up from various walks of life.  My room was transformed into an office of the branch. Evening upon evening, the members would come for discussion, clarification, song and dance. The Christians that passed by would stand bewildered: what are they so happy about, and what facilitated these sorts of meetings? We had evenings of song, Oneg Shabbat parties, discussions about Hebrew literature, history, experiences in The Land, on Kibbutzim, and collective community life. Most of the participants did not know Hebrew. We dedicated ourselves to the study of the language. We participated in Keren Kayemet and Keren HaYesod, and in the Committee for Aliyah to the Land of Israel, in the League of Labor in The Land of Israel, and others.

E. Training

The city residents divided themselves into two camps in regard to their attitude and relationship towards us. One group was a group that was supportive, believing in our mission, and being respectfuland another group that was derisive of the tribulations of those, believingthat we would quickly return from the difficult labor we found in The Land. Mordechai Jaffa from Ganigar ???, who had a beard, came to visit us. At a gathering of the membership, he told about The Land, the relationship to the Arabs, and the future of the movement. Mr. Jaffa’s personality left a strong impression on all the members. We organized “HeHalutz HaTza’ir” headed by Mr. Aryeh Ratszowicz, and its offspringHeHalutz HeKatan.” [It was for] little children who wanted to associate with us and work with HeHalutz, like: Nahum Srebrowicz, Moshe Jabkowsky, Noah Zamir, and others. The work of indoctrination proceeded with full vigor, under the guidance of tens of volunteer members.  From the central organization in The Land of Israel, we received the newspapers and the important publicity materials, and we would immerse ourselves into the pioneering and labor movement in the Land of Israel. In 1925training facilities were established on property belonging to people in the Scucyn area, Dolong, Tarki, and others. Our branch received notification on the taking of our members for training. We knew that this was the corridor in which they would be trained to become pioneers in the Land of Israel. The following were signed up for training: Ahuva Greenberg, Noah Zukrowicz, Isser Jablonka, Moshe Burstein, Joseph Slowik, Gabriel Marmari, Daniel Kozhol, and others. Among the Zambrow residents, a major upheaval in sentiment took place. The derision toward [manual] labor ended. The future of the sons was seen to be in The Land of Israelthis was the talk that dominated the street. It was not only once that I heard the sounds of laughter on the occasion of departure for training. There were escorts with song and dance. When I visited the training camps, I found our members tanned, working from the break of dawn to sunset. They lived in inhospitable dwellings, the food was bad, and despite this, the spirit was good, and there were many cultural activities that they engaged in after work.

F. Implementation



A Tze’irei Tzion Group at a Farewell Party for their Member, Tzivan, Immigrating to Argentina.

In the year 1925, the first of the Halutzim were fortunate enough to make aliyah to The Land. [These were: Aliza Weinberg, and her brother Yekhezkiel. We put on a party at our premises, with the participation of all members of the branch, the organization, parents and friends. We drank toasts of L’Chaim, danced, and escorted them with their parents and a sizeable portion of the city residents to the train station. From there they traveled to Czyzew. In 1926, our members returned from their training, and were also fortunate enough to make aliyah in that same year, going to the working Kibbutz at Petakh Tikva. Our work was not in vain. The majority lived off the land, was tied to it, and was faithful to the tenets of the movement. Others passed on. Since that time, forty years have gone by, and I am pleased to be able to bring closure to a specific chapter in our lives.  That is, the era of the youth, of yearning and vision. Even after we made aliyah to The Land, HeHalutz continued its work in Zambrow.  However, the economic depression in The Land took its toll. The movement was choked off, and only a few loners carried on. At the head of HeHalutz stood Zvi Goren. Chaim Zilberstein and Abraham Ratszowicz led and directed the effort. The work of HeHalutz, and HeHalutz HaTza’ir did not cease for a single day. Nahum Srebrowicz, Moshe Rokowsky and others continued with this endeavor up to the day the Nazi scourge entered the city.

The Founding of the First HaShomer HaTza’ir

This was at the end of the German occupation, more or less in 1917. Nathan Smoliar, the ingratiating and enthusiastic teacher, put on [the play] “the Little Hasmoneans,” by K. L. Silman. I provided no small amount of help. The lead part of “Judah Maccabi” was played with great success by his younger brother Herschel.

This very Herschel, of warm disposition, energetic and spicy, came to me after a while on a Saturday afternoon, together with a friend, who was a youth of the same age as him: they wanted to discuss something important with me. I had not yet finished the main Sabbath meal yet, and my father sat and was still chanting the Sabbath zemirot. They waited a short while. When I finally turned to them, the young Herschel conveyed to me with great ardor: In the entire country, a major movement is coming to life... young people are organizing themselves, it has been committed to doing missions .... and also with us: it is a bit of Maccabi, a bit of library workand then it ceased... the older group and the mature members of the community are sitting on their hands... it is necessary to get ourselves organized, and there is work to do: we must organize a “HaShomer HaTza’ir.” I was far from HaShomer HaTza’ir at that time, and this was before it took on its left-wing character. However, I could not withstand Herschel Smoliar’s enthusiasm, and so we founded HaShomer HaTza’ir, the first in our city.

Seven ???? ....

By Ben-Zion Sendak

(At the Founding of HeHalutz HaTza’ir)

They were seven youngsters, almost children... on one Saturday afternoon on 15 Iyyar 5688 (May 5, 1928), at a time when all the young people were passing the respite of the Sabbath in walking, play or sleep seven young people girded themselves, leaving the table of their fathers and mothers, after the zemirot, and went out into the field, over the bridge, beside the priest’s woods. They were preceded by three adults, from the ranks of HeHalutz, A. Raczowicz, P. Kaplan, and Z. Gorzholczany. At their destination, the youngsters sat down on the grass, and they were: Y. Golombek, B. Zaltzberg, Kh. Tobiasz, Noah Slowik, Ben-Zion Sendak, Kh. Kalsznik, and A. Kagan. Stormy exchanges had been taking place among these for several days now.

On of the members from Bialystok, Heilperin, wanted, with all deliberate speed, to establish a branch of “HaShomer Leumi” here. We took the upper hand, and in the end, we set down a foundation for HeHalutz Hatza’ir.  Witness to this were the waters of the Jablonka River, that flowed languidly, and the trees in the woods, that nodded with their heads. It was then that we made the covenant with those working by the sweat of their brow in the fields of Israel. Not much time passed, and we went off to training at Gorkhova to Klosowo. Our comrades were not in their fields of expertise: onea gymnasium student, one a student at the trade school in Bialystok, on a student of “Takhkemoni” and one dyer, one worked in agriculture, and two helped out their parents. However, there was a common concept that had captured their imagination: to get out of here quicklyto be able to create, to fulfill one’s self, to the Land of Israel!

Productive Work 

Year after year, this was a neglected and overlooked place. Garbage was thrown there, and rags and remnants were scattered about, the pigs and dogs took over the place, and they rooted about and uncovered bones. The place was malodorous and reeked.

We, the members of “HeHalutz Hatza’ir”, decided to demonstrate our capacity in the city, our desire to transform a wasteland into a flowering garden. And so we descended on this repulsive parcel we removed all of the stones, cleaned it up, whitewashed it, and cut rows into the ground side-by-side. We planted flowers and vegetable seeds. We drove poles into the ground and put a fence around it. We befriended the gardeners from the Bialystok Street, and he gave us direction. As it turned out, this was the first example of our productive work. The garden yielded produce: carrots, beets, radishes, onions, lettuce and cabbage. And so, the organization of “HeHalutz HaTza’ir” arose in the city. Even those who opposed us, respected us, and even more our intent. Let us go up and forward and succeed.

The Events of 5689 (1929)

By Aryeh Kossowsky



A Group of Working Youth of “The Banner of Youth” Organization

Zionist Zambrow was steeped in mourning. One news bulletin came on top of the other: Haifa was destroyed, Tel Aviv was under siege, in Jerusalem there were dead, etc., etc. “The Opponents of Zion” raise their heads: they want to emigrate away from hereafter all, America is open, and what will they attain in The Land of Israel? Can they stand up to and face millions of Arabs?

A memorial service is being arranged in the White Bet HaMedrash. It is in memory of those who fell, being killed in The Land of Israel. The congregation weeps. The Hazzan, wrapped in his tallis, reads from the verses of the tehillim.  He recites the Kaddishchoked with tears. Bereavement settled on the place. However, from behind the bima, suddenly a powerful voice is heard:

“Tekhezakna yedei kol akheinu, hamekhonenim   “Strengthen the hands of our brothers, renewing

Afarot artzeinu ba’asher heym sham!"181  The soil of our land, being there.”

HeHalutz, the Zionist youth [group] did not cry and did not give up. Its hand was made even stronger. And the blacksmith from the Ostrowa Road raises his coal-blackened hands and shouts: Come, let us make aliyah, let us travel to The Land of Israel. We will make war in the gates, and if we fallwe will know what it is we fought for, and where we gave battle!

The “HaShomer Hatza’ir” Chapter

By Yehuda Srebrowicz-Kaspi



        Members of the HaSneh Brigade of BETAR (Brit Trumpeldor),
at the time of the aliyah of Abraham, 1936.




The Trumpeldor Branch of HeHalutz HaTza’ir



The Adult Committee of HeHalutz HaTza’ir in Zambrow (1926)


A Group of Young People

Standing: Rivka Zilberstein, Chaim Joseph Shafran
Sitting: Zvi Zamir, Zehava Kahn, Malka Greenberg



Young People



A Group of People from Zambrow in Israel

Standing: Noah Zukrowicz, Feldman, Moshe Burstein, Mikhl Jabkowsky, Zvi Zamir
Sitting: Berger, Yekhezkiel Zamir, Kawior, Gabriel Marmari, Tova Jabkowsky, Stepner


In a city of approximately 5,000 Jews, no less than 500 young people were organized in youth movements, with about 150 in HaShomer HaTza’ir. The atmosphere of The Homeland pervaded everything in the life of this HaShomer chapter. Beginning with the songs of The Land, and the greeting of “Khazak v’Ematz,” and ending with a basic study of the origins of the workers movement and the geography of the Land of Israel. For the young people that studied in the schools, run by the Polish government, the various highways and byways of the Land of Israel were more familiar than Polish geography. The more relevant content to us was the “Chapter,” its songs, dances, and the discussions we would have about life in The Land and what we studies about it. Everything elselife at home and in school were excess baggage. It is no surprise that we neglected our studies. We saw no utility in them. The central thing was to get out to receive training for aliyah, and afterwards to get to The Land and to live on a Kibbutz.

The opposition of parents was to no avail. Harassment by the officials of the school had no influence. The attraction of the “nest” was more powerful than all of them. In three tiny rooms, about one hundred and twenty of us children were crowded in. And the sounds of joy and the happiness of youth would suffuse the otherwise stultified air in the vicinity. In the largest of the room, a stormy Hora dance would break out, involving a chain of tens of young boys and girls, dancing with an unbridled enthusiasm, and not stopping for hours on end. At the same time, different groups would enter the other rooms, along with their leaders, to discuss life in The Land, life on a Kibbutz, or activities in connection with preparing fro a celebration, play productions, or a trip to the camps. The camps were the good days in our lives: preparations began many months before going out to the camp. First and foremost was the battle that took place at home: the worried complaints of the parents were a constant din: this isn’t the right time, the spread of anti-Semitism intensifies with every period, incidents of attacks on Jews, and even very serious assaults, and acts of murder, almost as a daily occurrence. Every time we asked permission to go out to the camp, in the village, without “adults,” our parents would get all shook up. And after these miseries, the preparations began: laying in a full inventory, an HaShomer shirt, a scarf, eating plates, a knife, sacks, tents for each group, basins, etc. For many of us, hunger was a permanent guest in our homes, and it was not easy to get a hold of the few coins needed to fund the camp expenses. We donated here to the cooperative funds that were established for this purpose.  Each child made a donation in accordance with his/her means, and in this way needs were provided for in accordance with the requirement. The will was strong among all, and it overcame all obstacles. Commonly, 100 percent of the entire group would go out to the camp. And the weeks that we spent at the camp were like one long holiday. The order of the day was replete with walks, team games, sports, discussions, study, and swimming in the river, followed by evenings of song, and parties dedicated to various subjects having to do with life in The Land, the Labor Movement, and the Zionist Movement. The spiritual nourishment, and the experience that suffused us, gave us momentum for the rest of the days of the year, and kept us on our chosen path.

Torah v’Avodah

By Zvi Khanit

Several students from the Yeshiva in Lomza enlisted in the Zionist effort, and BETAR, and they founded a religious Halutz-oriented organization, "Torah v'Avodah," in the summer of 1934. On Hol Hamoed Sukkot of 5695, the adherents of this movement entered the movie house of Gedalia Tykoczinsky, together with the members of the central office in Warsaw, and announced their initiative among young people, to create souls for a religious pioneering movement, and to take the young people out from under the influence of the left-wing Halutzim.  Thanks to "Torah v'Avodah," a national religious initiative was undertaken in the city, with young people going out for training, and a number of them were even privileged to make aliyah. to the Land of Israel. To our sorrow, many remained behind, such as Joel and Rivka Kowior, Aryeh Satran, and others, who were lost in the Holocaust.


By Yaakov Garbass



People from Zambrow, in 1922, who Made Aliyah to Israel

First Row:       A. Golombek, Abraham Baumkuler, Meir Epstein, Noah Tykoczinsky, Joseph Golombek, Yehoshua Golombek, Joseph Wrazhbowicz-Waxman, Davis Blumrosen.

Second Row:   Yitzhak Gorodzinsky, Malka Golombek, Zlatkeh, Zahava Blumrosen, the wife of D. Blumrosen.

Third Row:      David Blumrosen, Israel Konopiata, Shmuel Gutman, Mr. Gutman, Abraham Paciner



The “HeHalutz” Pioneer Group in the Year 1932

I am moved to recollect the following from the Zionist gallery:

Mordechai RowikowA dry goods storekeeper in the marketplace (the storekeeper from Brisk). He was sunk into Zionist work from morning to late at night. Nothing happened without him. Every meeting, gathering, consultation, banquet [depended on him]. He was especially punctilious with regard to the elections to the Zionist Congress, to the Polish Sejm, and the municipal government.

Yaakov Kawior An educated man who was self-effacing in his manner. Everyone respected him, and many availed themselves of the opportunity to pour our the bitterness from their hearts to him. With his refined bearing, and wise words, he would draw not a few to the Zionist cause.

Zaydl Rudnik He had a leather business at the Kuszaren. He was learned, both in Torah and secular studies, and advocated Zionism to the common people, who would come to buy in his business. He embodied both Torah and decency within himself. He was one of the best theoretical Zionists in the shtetl.

Zalkind Devoted to Zionism with his mind, flesh and life. He allocated part of his homethe second storeyto be used by the Zionist Society. That was where the Zionist prayer quorum met as well. He was the principal activist for Keren HaYesod, and the living breath of all Zionist undertakings.

Yehuda Koczior A talented public speaker. He would travel around to the cities and towns, at the behest of the Zionist Organization, and would give fiery speeches in support of building up the Land of Israel. It was sufficient to indicate on a publicity poster that Yehuda Koczior would be opening a meeting, or would, alone, be speaking at the Bet HaMedrash, assuring that the location would be full. Many of the olim to Israel from Zambrow have him to thank directly, or indirectly.

Gershon Henokh TenenbaumHe was one of the leaders of Mizrahi in the shtetl. He was one of the founders of “HeHalutz HaMizrahi.” He worked diligently in this capacity, and was privileged to come to the Land of Israel.

Zundl Taubman A son of the Mashgiach of the Talmud Torah in Lomza, and a son-in-law of Sendak. He was a dedicated worker for Zionism, and a role model for his members.

Yehuda Rubinstein A man full of the vibrancy of life, and a stalwart fighter for Yiddish and a strong supporter of Hebrew. He was highly visible in [community] life.

Yehuda Slowik The dedicated adherent of Keren Kayemet and Keren HaYesod.

Yekhiel RavinsonHe was “married to Zionism.” He would perform all the duties: agitation, distributing lottery tickets, distributing brochures, putting up placards, delivering letters, sending invitations, etc. He did all of this with his complete heart and soul.

The Tree Cut Down in its Prime


He was the son of Sarah Zorembsky.  He was raised without a father, and was nevertheless very capable. He was a man of many virtues, both spiritual and physical: he was tall, imposing, refined in his appearance handsome and clever. He was educated and was fluent in several languages, speaking perfect Polish, German, etc. He was a talented athlete, a good speaker and lecturer, and he was beloved both in Jewish society in all political circles, and in the non-Jewish world.

He completed the Volksschule in Ostrowa and gymnasiumin Zambrow. He read extensively and engaged in self-studyuntil he became a teacher in the Zambrow military school, where he prepared junior officers for their qualifying examinations. He was one of the first of the leading members of “HeHalutz HaTza’ir” and later, a commandant of Betar. In 1934, he completed a course, with distinction, for senior instructors in Zielanka near Warsaw, and returned as a prominent specialist in military matters.

Isaac Sukharewitz182


He read a great deal in more languages, literally swallowing up books, He would speak beautifully, always citing metaphors and excerpts from the world literature. He was expert in all matters pertaining to sport. He was the principal spokesman at many political and literary gatherings.

He did not believe that the World War was so imminent, and did not take advantage of the means at his disposal to flee Poland. This went on, until the Soviet authorities in Zambrow arrested him as a formerly active Zionist, and when they retreated they did not release him. The Nazis then “liberated” him, and later had him killed in Auschwitz.

Levi Poziner

By Aryeh Kossowsky

A tailor’s son, from a working family who was an elder in “HeHalutz.” He was ardent and committed to the ideal and was a master tailor. He sat and sewed, teaching the young people, incidentally, his sewing from being in “HeHalutz,” what was it realization. He fought in the battles for “HeHalutz,” knowing what to say to the older generation and the left-wing youth with an eye set on Moscow.

During the events of 5689 [1929] they entered the woods of the priest to take counsel and to make a decision: what awaits us further? And here is Levi Poziner, taking the right to speak, and with his entire might, he lights the flame of heroism, guarding the flame of The Homeland, so that it never goes outand all of us, apostles of that hope, break out into an enthusiastic Hora.

In the year 1930, when the aliyah to the Land of Israel came to a halt, and the ranks of “HeHalutz” turned politically leftward he asked that the archive of “HeHalutz” be turned over to himI, he said, will not sway from this path. I will guard this glowing ember. He facilitated many hearts this way, but himself was not privileged to make aliyah.



A Group of Pioneers

Abraham Hershel Kagan

By M. Burstein

He was born in Zambrow in the year 1915 to his parents: Bilhah (from the Burstein family) and Yaakov-Zerakh Kagan. He received his first education in the “cheder” of his father (his father, R’ Yaakov-Zerakh, was the school principal, studied Torah for his entire life, was an enlightened man, knew Hebrew as it was supposed to be, and was thoroughly versed in both religious and secular literature, as well as being suffused through and through with a deep nationalistic pride. In connection with these values, he educated generations of students, suffused with Zionist awareness, many of them privileged to attain completion [sic: through aliyah] going to the Land, and participated in the building of the State of Israel.)

He studied at the Zambrow yeshiva, transferring to the “Takhkemoni” school in Bialystok, but after two years, was compelled to return to Zambrow, where he was accepted in the local Polish gymnasium. His dedication to community endeavors in the youth movement prevented him from completing his course of study, and he left the gymnasium after completing the seventh grade, despite the fact that he was an excellent student. He ran afoul of the anti-Semitic spirit in the gymnasium and attempted to fight it with all his might. On one occasion, an attempt was made to collect funds from the students for a Polish institution called “Bratnia Pomoc183.” He refused to contribute, and to the question posed by the principal (a Polish priest), as to the reason for the refusal, he simply let it be known that his father does not want him to support an anti-Semitic organization. This knowledge created a stir: the principal threatened him with expulsion from school, invited his parents, because in this, he perceived a blatant incitement, and an attempt to malign a very distinguished institution. The parents appeared before the principal, and in their concurrence with an article that appeared in a Zionist newspaper in Warsaw, written in Polish in which the objectives of the organization were discussed, for which the purposes of the fund raising among the students was described, they explained their refusal.

The principal was dismayed to hear these things, and he chose to excuse the contents of the article, arguing that it was the product of a misunderstanding...The issue was dropped and the threat of expulsion withdrawn.

At the same time, he was engaged in indoctrination work among the Jewish students, and organized a group of students named “HeHalutz HaKatan,” that engaged in raising funds for, and the explanation of the goals of the KK"L.  He was one of the principal activists for “HaShomer HaTza;ir” in Vilna, and it was those [sic: in Vilna] that did not permit him to make aliyah to the Land of Israelbecause of the important Diaspora-based work that had been entrusted to him. He dedicated himself to the work in the “HaShomer HaTza’ir” movement, for which he was one of the founders of the branch in the city, and saw in it the realization of his soul, dedicating the best part of his energies and time to it, and stood at its head to his last days the days of the Holocaust, that befell the People of Israel there.

Mikhl Jabkowsky

By Tz. Z.

  He was the son of R’ Shlomo Eivnik of the Wodna Gasse, recognized as one of the pious of the town. He was born into a family without great means, burdened with many children, but into a home that was suffused with spirit of Yidishkeyt, Torah, faith in God and man, and love for the People and The Land, as well as a love of work. The children learned the carpenter’s trade  –  helping their parents to make a living. Mikhl entered the trade of carpentry at an early age with the intent of making a living from it in the Land of Israel, together with his brother Yaakov, to be separated for long life, striving diligently with his brother in working for the Zionist-Socialist movement in the city. He made aliyah to the Land of Israel in 1925.  He worked hard and bitterly, often finding himself unemployed, but always satisfied and loyal to the standard of Labor.  Even under duress, he remained dedicated and committed to “Akhdut  HaAvodah” and its institutions

He worked in a variety of sectors, in construction, road building, and whatever came his way never complaining, not growing bitter, accepting everything amicably. In 1929 he relocated to Petakh Tikva and started a family.  He later moved to “Kfar Azhar,” and worked very hard, together with his wife Sarah, to establish their business.  He fell ill, and after a difficult struggle, he passed away in a sanatorium in Hadera in 1940. He was eulogized by many at his funeral, who told of his many virtues in his voyage from the Wodna Gasse in Zambrow to the burial ground in Petakh Tikva.

Noah Zukrowicz

  Noah, the son of Meir Zukrowicz, was born in 1907 in Zambrow. He received his education at the cheder Metukan, and it was there that he imbibed his knowledge of Tanakh and Hebrew language, also studying Talmud. At an early age, he joined the Zionist-Socialist movement and entered the ranks of HeHalutz in the town. He made aliyah to The Land towards the end of the summer of 1926 as a nineteen year-old. He went over to Petakh Tikva to work.

He assumed the rather difficult circumstances that he encountered at work, from a Jewish orchard manager who was unsympathetic to Jewish labor, and was content with his lot. In 1929 he was a twenty-two year old. He enlisted in the Haganah. During the day, he worked at hard labor, and at night training with armaments, battle tactics, both underground and out in the open. In 1936, assaults against the Jews broke out. At night, Noah stood watch, in addition to his hard day’s work. He was lucky in being able to get his sister and parents into The Land. He exerted himself to try and extract other members of his family, though in vain.

He worked at “Nir” and established a distinguished family in Israel. Together with his wife, Sarah, from the Berlin family, may she be separated  for a long life, he mastered one step after another during his life, in Kfar Ganim, beside Petakh Tikva, educating his children with a love for The Homeland, and the full range of the culture and its tradition. From “Nir” he moved to Malvina where he was one of the outstanding workers: he reached a quota of making one thousand bricks in a single dayhe worked three normal days, and one day as a contractor. After twenty-five years of backbreaking labor, and he was forty-four years oldhis close friends saw fit to have him transferred to a managerial position to the office of tax revenue, and here as well, he rooted himself quickly into the scene and was a wonderful role model to all the staff in his pleasant demeanor. His aged father, a scion of a noble family in Zambrow, a man of the Torah and good deeds, was blessed in this son of his, who went in his ways, the ways of righteousness and honesty, working by the strength of his hands with an innocent heart. When he reached his fiftieth birthday, in the year 1957, his friends at work from the office put on a party for friends and neighbors that was full of heart during which everyone tried to emphasize his genial nature, his love of humanity, his affection for The Homeland, his commitment to the nation, the modesty that he showed during his life, as well as his other virtues. He possessed a good heart, loved to sprinkle humor into his speech, utilizing some pleasant parable taken from the wisdom of The Sages, literature and life itself.

His fate was suddenly cut short. He fell victim to an incurable disease, and passed away on 4 Shevat 5718 [January 25, 1958], and he was only fifty-one years old.

Yekhezkiel Zamir (Son of Aryeh Slowik)



Landsleit in Tel Aviv meet Mr. Zelig Warszawczyk from the U.S.A.



Scions of Zambrow in Israel

He was one of the original members of HeHalutz HaTza’ir. He carried out all of the duties that surrounded this movementorganization, recruiting, disseminating publicity, distribution of “HeAtid,” expressing [the mission of] HeHalutz, etc. He was the first to make practical realization of aliyah, in the year 1925. Frail and solitary, he arrived in The Land and immediately threw himself into every sort of work that he found, choosing, rather, from among the difficult ones: smelting, building, carpentry, paving, and his letters were full of encouragement and zest for life, even if he was suffering to no small extent. When I made aliyah, a year laterI found him to be solid, radiant, participating in the “renaissance of socialism” and in the meetings of the Histadrut. During the Depression, he went over to Ness Tziona, where he was an agricultural worker, and afterwards as a director of the work in the orchards of ???. He excelled at his work. After a number of years, he returned to Tel Aviv and established a family there in the midst of the Jewish community. When work camps were established in the Negevhe moved there from the standpoint of participating as part of the “security” arrangements. However, the British suspected him and released him from this duty. He arranged for himself to obtain a position with the Histadrut, and with the rise of the nationin the communications office.  He became much loved by all of his friends both at work and in the community. However, a malignant disease struck him suddenly, and after an inhuman amount of suffering and strugglehe succumbed and fell, on 21 Iyyar 5721 [May 7, 1961].

Noah Zamir 

He was a dreamer from his childhood on. He was an independent laborer and worked for others. He read and practiced a great deal. He probed deeply into socialist and national issues. He joined HeHalutz HaTza’ir. He was full of the stuff of life: he wrote poetry in Hebrew and Yiddish, also he drew, loved the surroundings of nature, and would imbue himself with The Land of Israel. For some days, he gave up on the idea of the redemption of the Jewish people, and immersed himself in the idea of the redemption of all mankind, and it was here that he got involved with the concept of communism, and he committed himself to it with all of his soul. He was the chairman of the communist sports organization, “Gviozdo” and on one occasion, he was seized and sent to prison for two years in Lomza. After suffering through this, he was released and returned to the communist movement. With the invasion of the Red Army184, he became one of the leaders of the city. With their departure, he attached himself to them, but was murdered en route

The Ratuszewicz Brothers


Abraham and Aryeh came from proletarian stock, raised in poverty and want, but developed beautifully into the ways of Torah, and good character, because they thirsted for the lore of the Torah, read, practiced, and learned on their own and from their friends. Abraham studied at yeshiva and Aryeh at cheder. They affiliated themselves to the Israel Labor Movement at an early age, and oriented themselves to train for aliyah. Abraham married a woman from Bradzilow, settled down there and continued his Zionist work. Aryeh suffered until he reached The Land to live in it, and to rebuild it. He was unable to find a suitable companion. He was alone all his life. He was shy by nature and did not stand out. In the end, he managed to get himself a position as an army officer, but he was consumed by bitterness and was lonely. He constantly longed for the joyous youthful life he had in Zambrow. And one day, the news reached us, that he had died, alone, friendless, without a single comrade or confidant..

photo: Aryeh Ratuszewicz

Chaim Zilberstein

He was the son of R’ Yaakov the Hasid of Radzymin. From his childhood on he absorbed both Hasidism and Torah. He studied Talmud extensively in yeshiva, and along with this, he began to delve deeply into the realm of spiritual knowledge: the writings of Zhitlovsk, Serkin, and others. In the process of researching sociological questions, he arrived at the ideals of Zionism and Labor. He committed himself to the work of the KK"L to the point where the joke went around that he was “married” to the KK"L. His orations and discussions drew an audience of listeners, and there was always something new to be heard in them, and he always sought to base his words on something drawn from science and research. He was in a household of suffering and bitterness because his parents constantly objected to his chosen path, wanting him rather to be settled and become a family man, as was the “way of the world.” In time, he married a woman from Ostrow Mazowiecka and settled down there, but even here, he continued with the same ardor, in his soul, for national work. He prepared himself to make aliyah because his soul yearned for The Land of Israel but he fell into the hands of the Unclean Ones, and did not realize this....

Pessia Furmanowicz

By Tz. Z.



A Group of Activists in the Israeli Labor Movement 185

Standing:  Ratuszewicz, Yitzhak Jakula
Sitting:  Joseph Slowik, Chaim Zilberstein, Yankl Jabkowsky, Chaim Pinchas Golombek

She was born into a Zionist family to working parents (her father, a glazier, her mother, a seamstress), in the year 1919. As a ten-year-old, she affiliated with HeHalutz HaTza’ir. For lack of means, her parents could not continue to educate her. She was a joyful person, full of life. She did not have the opportunity to prepare for aliyah, because her oldest sister, a teacher, was there already, and her parents did not want to be separated from her. As a seventeen-year-old, she entered the HeHalutz HaTza’ir Seminary, and after this she joined the Kibbutz Tel-Chai that was in Bialystok. Her parents severed their connections with her. She suffered, bit by bit, [and] she got back on a normal path. In 1938, she was fortunate enough to make aliyah, but she asked to be able to do so with her friend Monik, who was active in the movement in Krakow, traveling there to him, but returning after side travel to Warsaw to the fighting Jewish organization, in the combat division of “Dror.” In September 1942, she was sent with a seventy-man partisan unit from the “Dror” combat battalion to the forests of Hrubieszow, and from there she never returned.




Towards the House of Prayer


A BETAR Group in Zambrow

(Bottom): Members of Maccabi; First on the Right:
Shepsl Lifschitz. First on the Left (Below): Joseph Savetzky


Brothers in Maccabi


Mash'keh of Korytk and Her Son, Benjamin Tenenbaum

 By Israel Levinsky

When a family is called after the woman of the house, it is indicative that she is a Woman of Valor. Mash’keh had a very impressive pedigree: on her mother’s side a grandchild of the Lomza Rabbi, Rabbi Benjamin Diskin, and the son of a sister to the Brisk-born Rabbi, R’ Yehoshua Leib Diskin, the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. Mash’keh would correspond with “Sonya the Rebbetzin” of Jerusalem, which, at that time, led the entire Jerusalem orthodox community around by the nose... On her father’s side, she was a grandchild of the great scholar and merchant, R’ El’yeh Rosenbaum, who lived in Warsaw. Mash’keh married a genteel young man from Kielce, Hona Tenenbaum. As a dowry, her grandfather gave her a parcel in the village of Korytk. However, they could not accommodate themselves to the “aristocratic country life,” so they sold off this treasure and relocated themselves to Zambrow. Hona Tenenbaum acquired a concession for selling petrol from his friend, the Russian petrol king, Chaim Cohen, together with [storage] cisterns, from which barrels could be filled with petrol in Czorny Bor. He needed to put up with a strong competitor in R’ Abba Rakowsky, who also had a petrol concession from another firm. Their house became a central point for charity-giving and social help: the sick, poor brides, orphans, and just plain needy people would make their way to Mash’keh for help. They had three daughters and a son, the latter being talented, Benjamin Tenenbaum. He studied Talmud and secular studies in Warsaw with his grandfather. He was a Hebrew-Yiddish writer and an editor of the small periodical, “Die Kopikeh.” The publisher, Sh. Y. Yatzkon, later founded the Warsaw-based “Haynt,” and ejected the editor Benjamin. So Benjamin opened his own announcement bureau, which was very popular in Warsaw. Benjamin Tenenbaum married Zelda, the Rabbi’s daughter. Despite the fact that the Rabbi was strenuously opposed to the match, because the groom was a non-believer, Mash’keh’s oldest daughter, Toyba, married Yom-Tov Herman, a retail clothing store owner. At the beginning of the First World War, the Russians exiled him to Poltava because he shared a confidence with his good friend, the commander of the gendarmes, that he was hoarding coins at the time when there was a shortage of them in the marketplace. The gendarme immediately detained him, and he was judged to be a “provocateur.” Herman never came back again. Mash’keh’s second daughter, Miriam, was killed in Berlin, and the third [daughter] Lieb’cheh, lives in Israel.


A Group of Young People

165   A typo B the intent was to say S.S.
166   The Hebrew version of the text suggest black shirts with red decorations. It also identifies a collective name for both as the strikers.
167   See Exodus 30:34. This is the Galbanum plant, and has a disagreeable, bitter taste, a peculiar, somewhat musky odor, and an intense green scent.
168   Roughly 12 km (7.2 miles) due north of Zambrow.
169   These would be discarded texts considered too sacred to be destroyed or burned. Some times a special repository, called a "Genizah"  was created for this purpose.
170   A prominent figure in the canon of Jewish humor.
171   Very likely Czyzew-Osada on the modern map of Poland, south and slightly east of Zambrow.
172   Employing the Yiddish metaphor of “honey and vinegar,” implying top-notch ingredients.
173   This is the Hebrew name (Go out and See) for the Pentateuch translated into Yiddish, called the "Teitch Chumash" in Yiddish. It was especially favored by the womenfolk, who sometimes were not trained in reading Hebrew.
174   Historical accounts, of this period, indicate that significant periods ensued, where a power vacuum due to ambiguous sovereignty, led to states of anarchy.
175   Moshe Erem (born Moshe Kazanovski on 7 August 1896, died 14 October 1978) was an Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset for several left-wing parties and factions from 1949 until 1959, and again from 1965 until 1969.  Born in Liadi south-eastern Belarus, in the Russian Empire, Erem worked as a high school head teacher in Kaunas. He made aliyah to Mandate Palestine in 1924, and worked in building and road construction. He joined the Poalei Tzion movement, later becoming one of its leading figures. 
176   The headings on page 420 in the original appear to have been inadvertently switched. They are restored in the translation to where they belong.
177   The True Lomza
    Remembering Lomza, Poland before its destruction in World War II - and a commemorative volume that violates the truth,
by Chaim Shapiro
    This article originally appeared in the Jewish Observer and is also available in book form in the ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications Judaiscope Series. It is reprinted here with permission
    From Prison to the Book 
    I keep on reading: there is a photo of Herschel Smoliar. Who is he? It turns out that, actually, he is not from Lomza, but from Zambrow (15.5 miles from Lomza - 25 km), but he spent a number of years in the famous Lomza prison for Communist activities. I guess that makes him a Lomzer. 
    But that's not all. There is more to his "Yichus." The party and the government of the Polish People's Republic appointed him as head of all the Jews in Poland. And in that capacity, like a faithful dog, he followed the party line to the letter, above and beyond the letter. The Arabs were "progressive elements" to him, Israel and its Jews a gang of Fascists. His campaign against Yiddishkeit and against Israel was the most vicious in all of Poland. He did all he could to stop Jews from leaving Poland. He threatened the few remaining Jews into staying to build the new Socialist fatherland. But no decent Jew would want to build a new life on a cemetery. (And what was Poland, if not a huge Jewish cemetery?) So they found a way out, in spite of Smoliar. 
    Most interesting: when things got too hot for the Jewish Communists in Poland, Hershel Smoliar forsook his "Socialist fatherland" and escaped to - of all places - his "Fascist" motherland - namely, Israel. And Mother Zion opened her arms to welcome her renegade sons, who had spit in her face for so long. All those Communists who were rejected by the party only because they were born Jewish, found refuge in Israel - including the widow of Berl Mark.  
    I keep on reading: there is a photo of Herschel Smoliar. Who is he? It turns out that, actually, he is not from Lomza, but from Zambrow (15.5 miles from Lomza - 25 km), but he spent a number of years in the famous Lomza prison for Communist activities. I guess that makes him a Lomzer. 
    Most interesting: when things got too hot for the Jewish Communists in Poland, Hershel Smoliar forsook his "Socialist fatherland" and escaped to - of all places - his "Fascist" motherland - namely, Israel. And Mother Zion opened her arms to welcome her renegade sons, who had spit in her face for so long. All those Communists who were rejected by the party only because they were born Jewish, found refuge in Israel - including the widow of Berl Mark.
178   Prostki (German Prostken) is a village in Elk County, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, in northern Poland. Before 1945 the area was part of Germany (East Prussia).
179   Medem, Vladimir Davidovich (1879B1923), political leader; Marxist theorist; Bundist. Vladimir Davidovich Medem was the main theorist of the Jewish Labor Bund, in Russia and in the Bund's early years in Poland, and arguably the party's most famous and celebrated leader.
180   In view of the "twinning" of Hebrew and Yiddish names, this very likely is Leibchak Golombek.
181   The anthem of Zionist Labor, from the poem, "Birkat Ha-Am" by Chaim Nachman Bialik.
182   Translator's Note: This name appears to be different from the name Zukrowicz.
183   Bratnia Pomoc (English: Brotherly Help), also known as Bratniak, is a popular Polish students= mutual aid organization.  The first branch of Bratniak was created in 1859 at the Jagiellonian University, thirty years later another branch was opened at the Warsaw University. Bratnia Pomoc was originally aimed at helping poorer students, providing them with loans, it also supported cheap cafeterias for those who could not afford more expensive places. Its members were also active in educating the population of Polish towns and villages, preventing them from falling prey to Russification and Germanization.
184   While no specifics are given, the context suggest the events surrounding the initial invasion of Poland at the outbreak of WW II in September, 1939.
185   Although not mentioned, it appears the order is from right to left, following Hebrew orthography. There appears to be a name missing for one of the seated gentlemen.



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