Y. Delevsky






Pruzhany's tragedy is the tragedy of my native town.  Pruzhany lived calm and happy when it was possible, but, suddenly crossed the earth the name of wickedness, the devil of death. Our dear town was caught in a valley of suffering,  become an extermination  and destruction place. Those that left alive were dispersed in different countries, and they can only cry the lost of their dear beings, tell the world about the sad destiny that happened in their homes, and the suffering they should support.  They remember those that are no longer. One should continue living. Life continuous, but somebody was left alive in Pruzhany?


I remember the town in which I was born, the society, the system of life specific of Pruzhany. There were four main streets: Kobrin, Seltzer, Shereshev and Neguidish. They looked toward the four cardinal points, and when I was a boy according to the address of the streets, already knew were where  East and West,  North and  South. Our house was located in  Kobrinska St. that ran from North to South. Besides our house was the Bet Medresh. The continuation of the street was the route that took to Kobrin.


During Saturdays, people of Pruzhany walked through the streets, and aspired fresh air of fields. The river, with its four bridges, crossed the route. The first, the second and the third bridge were over the river. Obvious, we arrived only until the third bridge, and I requested in vain to my mother and their friends my desire to walk a little more, to come closer and arrive to that place, there in the horizon, where melted sky and earth. Let us arrive, I said, until the sky....


Life in Pruzhany flowed calm and in peace. Our neighbors were the FISHMAN, MINTZ and CHAIM the blacksmith. We had other friends and well-known people: PINES, GOLDBERG, POLANOVSKY, VITENSHTEIN, PODLESHUK, GLASNER, BIRNBOIM, NITZBERG. Most of inhabitants were Jewish, specialized workers and merchants. Christian population, was mainly compound by employees. The relationships between  Jewish families and Christians were kind and normal. The relationships among  Jews were  intimate and close, because we were bound through religion and  inheritance of the past.


On Saturday evening, after evening prayer, visits met our house. They had tea and talked about  daily issues. The old watchmaker was a constant visit, and until today my sympathy lives with him. My father lived much time in St.  Petersburg and he told to visitors the marvels of this city, the "crown" of the state, and all listened with great interest. My father was a lawyer, and was  called LEIZE the scribe. He was interested of politics, read a newspaper in Russian, and  commented with visitors  political facts, and the perspectives mainly from Jewish focus. Conversation was in a very dynamic tone. This happened once a week, and government's authorities received  deep and severe critics...


Pruzhany, was in that time, end of last century (XIX), a city without any industry, without manufacturing workers. Only was one matches manufacture in the field behind the city . Pruzhany had intelligent people, people of high intellectual average level .  Without any systematic instruction, observant Jews were interested in political and scientific matters, and with a great sense of tolerance, they even listened those explanations that didn't coincide with their orthodox concepts. I remember, when I studied first years of High School, I demonstrated a mature Jew that the figure mentioned in the "Gemara" (treaty of post biblical laws ) about the formula that measures the circle "pi square radium", is not exact and it doesn't coincide with the exact definition of geometry.


On the other hand, in times of my childhood began to appear in Pruzhany learned youth . Jewish families began to send their children to State High School and other secular schools. I was the first male sent to study pre High School  in near city Brest. Later, other children studied in High School. Daughters also studied. Little by little was formed an juvenile circle, and when during  vacations we returned home to Pruzhany, we organized meetings and walks, we spoke about universal problems, and we simply passed good times. During High School years, I had a lot of satisfaction due to participation of  Rabbi's daughter in our meetings and discussions. But later began politics' period.... "Where dear friends are you now, where are those that lack and where those that left very far."


Last time I was in Pruzhany when returning of Siberia, almost half century later, was already there a new and young generation, another type of people. The previous generation seemed to be a legend. I found in Pruzhany "Bund" and of other youth movements. 


Our home was no longer in its place, it caught fire. With a lot of effort I could find the place where I enjoyed my early childhood. In Pruzhany were already few from that generation to which I belonged years ago.


I agree completely with those that say that Jewish women are the most beautiful, and I refer to  Jewish women of East Old Russia. Especially, our Jewish women of Pruzhany... 


Very few people of my generation are alive in Pruzhany. But later generations are very near my heart. It horrifies me to think about the martyrdom of last generation, the deported, the martyrs, those exterminated.