Chapter 107


By Sender

When you want to write about the Pruzhany Jews that composed the Judenrat, you don't know where to start. They were all respected and honored men. It's difficult to determine who was the most responsible for the sake of Jews in general. Let's start according to the post they held. They were 24. The Chairman was ITZL YANOVICH. Talking about big persons that devoted themselves with heart and soul to the good of everyone, we must remember a man of those qualities in Pruzhany. From 5AM to after midnight, he drove the heavy helm of daily life in the Ghetto. The post was not nice (to fulfill German demands, and to demand to Jewish brothers) Nevertheless, he showed intelligence and honesty and he won everybody's affection in the Ghetto. It's impossible to count all he achieved for his Jewish brothers. Small height, but a man of big appreciation and goodness to all his fellow citizens.

VELVEL SHRAIBMAN, Chairman's assistant. He was the first to give up everything he owned to the community, and we emphasize, it was everything. He was a clever man, with a palpitating Jewish heart, and together with ITZL YANOVICH he pulled the heavy yoke of the Pruzhany Ghetto managing.

ELIEZER SHAYN: he wasn't from Pruzhany. He was born in Bendin (near to Katovitz). He came to visit Pruzhany a few days before the outbreak of war. A man of extraordinary talent. He took the hard duty of General Secretary. The survivors will never forget about him, because of his devotion, and the way he risked his own life in order to save a Jewish citizen from Pruzhany, Byalistok and others. Under normal conditions in a normal town, a man like this would hold the highest state office, a statesman, blessed with intelligence, wisdom and language knowledge, and honesty.

ZAVL SEGAL: I won't say much about him, because he's one of two former Judenrat members that survived. He held the post of highest responsibility, which was to negotiate with Germans. More than once he risked his own life in order to snatch a Jewish victim from nazi killer hands. Besides I'll say he used to get to avoid severe sanctions imposed to jews of Pruzhany.

SHLOIME YUDEVITSH: The 248 members of his corps shaped a single positive power. From early to late at night, he would cross through the Ghetto to satisfy with food the hunger of some Jews. It was hard to believe how this calmed and silent man became into a single block of fire for Ghetto's Jews not to perish of hunger. In the same way I want to remember his assistant YOSEF KANEL, a butcher, a simple Jew, who accomplished his duty with honesty.

To present labor people to Germans, was one fo the hardest tasks and of highest responsibility for the Judenrat members. This was in LEIBL GOLDBERG hands, a popular man who was distinguished for his organizational skills. Always with a smile, he tried to satisfy the Jews appointed to forced works, and the bloodthirsty Germans as well. He never thought about his own benefit. He worked 10 hours a day, and carried the heavy yoke of being a responsible man. FAIVL GOLDFAYN and MOISHEL GOLDSHTEIN. One of them was the Chairman of "Kahal" (community) and the other was Chairman of the community in Bereza. They were friends, and they would hold the most unpleasant job at the Ghetto: to handle the indispensable, the indispensable stuff for poor, refugees and children. They had to help and provide housing for the thousands of homeless, firewood, food and medicines, milk for the children, the sustenance for the orphans and elders home, and supply of clothes and shoes for the naked and barefooted. They carried out their job with respect and honor.

The Ghetto's narrowness, the poor feeding, could cause epidemic. In order to prevent this situation, there was a Health Service, dependent on the Jewish Hospital. This post was accomplished by YOSEF STRAICHER. To satisfy all the German demands, which were many everyday, there was a special office: "Liquidation Section", which meant to take possession of the Jewish goods, and it wasn't nice to divest the Jews to give the Germans, but no one complained about the three leaders of this section: AVROM BRESKY, VEVE NITZBERG and ALTER FAYVUSHINSKY.

The Jews of Pruzhany knew they had to carry out their duties, with much pain. The Judenrat needed to get money. In charge of this was an man expert on finances: ELIAHU BIRENBOIM. His task was to obtain the money for the community box. Trade and labour was controlled by the Judenrat. Two experienced men held that office: MICHEL YANOVITSH and ITSHE KLENITIZKY. The lawyer LEVINHENDLER-LEVITZKY was an inspector at the court. He was an assimilated Jew, but in the Ghetto he showed so much humility and Jewish sympathy, that everyone respected and were fond of him.

The Jewish police was leaded by two honorable jaws: MEIR MOTIL and LIPE ZAKHEIM. Let's remember them with honor, for they always cared about all the Jews in the Ghetto.

There were two cooperatives of shoemakers leaded by AVROM BERGMAN and SHMUEL LEIB BOREISHO. The carpentry workshop was leaded by SHLOIMKE SERLIN.

The account book and its Direction were handed over to DAVID RASACHOVSKY and ZISHE SPECTOR. At their time, they controlled every duty to be achieved in order.

These were the 24 leaders of the Pruzhany Ghetto. Among them, 22 perished in Auschwitz crematoria, and two passed through hell and survived. One of them, ZAVL SEGAL, lives now in USA and AVROM BRESKY lives in Israel.

The survivors from Pruzhany remember with reverential respect their Ghetto leaders. Besides, the survivors from Heinivke, Byalistok, Shereshev, Malch, Kamenietz and other villages, remember the survivors and murdered that composed the Pruzhany Judenrat, with the greatest respect. Those who had the misfortune to be in Pruzhany Ghetto, will never forget the Judenrat members.