Chashke Graievsky-Kaval


During 1934 authorities of Polish government imposed sanctions to Yiddish schools of Poland. The aim was to ruin them. This sanction couldn't be avoided by Yiddish school of Bereza.

In Bereza there were four schools: Talmud Torah, Tarbut Hebrew School, Yiddish school belonging to "Tsisho" (Central Yiddish School Organization), and the Popular School supported by Polish government. The Yiddish  school was the most methodical and nicest. This was achieved thanks to all Jewish community's collaboration. The high level of studies in these schools was like a "splinter" in Polish authority's eye.

One day before school year was ended, arrived from Brest's zonal education authorities a commission, and resolved that buildings were not suitable as schools. If classrooms weren't renewed according to authorities' indications before beginning next school year, they wouldn't allow them to continue teaching.

The people shuddered and addressed to Central Bureau of Jewish Schools in Poland. The "Tsisho" was concerned about other similar sanctions in other schools of the country, and left the fate of Bereza schools in local activist's hands. These activists summoned to an assembly and decided to go on with the school, no matter what happened. They elected a Commission, which decided to call people to work several days without compensation. Many workers contributed with working days. Carpenters fixed doors and windows. Locksmiths did their work as volunteers. Cart driver transported materials and bricks, and many people helped according to their possibilities, to save school prestige.

Even school children were summoned to this hard work. Holidays were only two months, and main works carried out by volunteers used to take place during evening and night, when workers came back from their jobs. They used to work 'til midnight, and enthusiasm was nice.

When the reshaping was ready, inauguration took place under direction of SHLOIME VAINSHTEIN, who concentrated all building's activities.

During a festive meeting, a "chain" was made: if somebody donated a certain amount of money, somebody else was invited to do the same. Thus 8000 zlotys were collected, and later assigned to buy furniture and teaching stuff.

A delegation composed by SHLOIME VAINSHTEIN, N. ZAKHEIM and NIOME SHAPIRO went to Warsaw to invite authorities to check reshaped building. When government authorities and the "Tsisho" arrived in town, they inspected the building and were impressed . Polish representative congratulated activists, emphasized the fact that a great deal was accomplished in a short time, and signed requested school permission.

This piece of news "flew off" and spread all over population, and the town of Bereza was glad and satisfied. To our regret, it wasn't for a long time.