Shmuel Tinari (Tabulitzky)




The elders of our town Kartuz Bereza, when gathering at the synagogue for evening prayers, used to come out to the balcony in front of my house, as I was listening to the tales about our family that was one of the founders and builders of Bereza, at the end of XVII century, and its descendants lived in there until the bitter end.

In the 20's, I used to hear tales from the elders and specially from my father's lips. On Av 9 (TN: Fast and withdrawal day after the destruction of both temples in Jerusalem), I would join my father in the old cemetery on Sditva street (Babitz lane) in order to visit ancestors graves, and we also visited the new cemetery on "Beit Hachaim" street (Cemetery street) and there again I heard the stories about his family, and past generations.

Our family came to Bereza from the area called Tabulitz. When Russian authorities demanded citizens of Great Russia to adopt a surname, the end "ky" was added to the city's name and we got the surname "Tabulitzky".

These are the members of our family, according to the generations: The first one known according to a document in my hands, and buried on the old cemetery on Sditva street (Babitz lane), was named ZVI and was born about 1750. ZVI's son was YACOV URY born about 1790 (he's buried on the new cemetery). YACOV URY's son was ELIOHU YOSEF, born around 1821. ELIOHU YOSEF's son was AARON YEHUDA, born around 1851. AARON YEHUDA's son is my father MOISHE, born around 1878. My father MOISHE, my mother ZAHAVA BLUMROSEN and my sister RACHEL (May God take revenge on their blood), were murdered by the nazis and their local helpers (may their names be erased), on Ghetto's annihilation on Av 1st, July 15th of 1942, in Brona Gura.

YACOV URY TABULITZKY was a pious and God-fearing Jew, and an entrepreneur. In the middle of XIX century, he worked on the paving of the main rout Warsaw-Moscow. The elders of town used to tell the application for paving took place a Saturday afternoon in Saint Petersburg. The regime officials demanded YACOV URY to sign the statement, but he refused to profane Saturday (Shabbat) and left the application office. Anyway he was called again from Russian Inner Affairs Ministry and he received the contract for rout paving, one of the bigger development works in  Russia of those times.

The construction was carried out thanks to the help of thousands hands, for authorities satisfaction. As a proof of their gratitude for his work, tsarist regime transferred to YACOV URY's inheritance two large agricultural farms: farm "Lusasin" beside Ruzhany on a 4500 Russian hectares area, which is about 45000 dunam, and farm "Avirantzitz Linowo", beside Pruzhany on a 1700 Russian hectares area, which is 17000 dunams. This deed permitted to enlarge the limits of Jew settlements in more than 100 farming settlements, that became into urban settlements. Regarding to this transference of two farms to YACOV URY, there was a commitment to share it between the three religions: Russian orthodox, Catholics and Jews in order to install praying houses, cemeteries, cultural and social institutions as well. The farm "Avirantzitz Linowo" developed as a town and part of its lands were given to religious representatives. The farm was sold by my father's intermediate, at the end the '30's of this century's. The farm "Lusasin" was annulled by polish authorities who ruled the area since 1920. These polish authorities said their peasants had priority because they collected branches from farm's wood, therefore they prohibited to cut wood trees saying this activity would expel those who weren't able to collect branches.

After many trials in several instances of  polish tribunals, we had no choice but to continue paying the high taxes on the farm's area, not enjoying our rights, or else we had to deliver the property to polish government and get rid of the high duty of taxes and the risk of impounds. We finally gave the property to polish government.

This was an usurpation from an anti-Semite government from its center in Warsaw, and its aim was to deprive Jews of all their farming goods in the whole territory! Our family, in vast tsarist territory, was one of the few that owned a big number of farm properties.

YACOV URY TABULITZKY built in Bereza  synagogue "of the rich", on main road, and another in one of his properties, with capacity for 60 men and 60 sitting women. He also supported a group of ten Jews paid for taking part of the three daily payers ("minian"). Among them was AIZIK MOLODOVSKY, teacher URKE and PINY the shoemaker. I heard this from them when I was 8 years old. YACOV URY also developed community institutions, built the public bath house and the double line of stores in the market.

The money from their rental was set aside for  charity institutions expenses. He built many houses along the main road for his relatives, near his own residence place. During a long time, before October revolution, most of his descendants moved to live in great cities like Minsk, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Only my father and family stayed in the town. My father was won by Zionist ideology. When national Zionism appeared at the end of last century, he learned its culture at famous Yeshiva of Volozhin, with his older brother ITZHAK TABULITZKY, who later settled in Lomze, and leaded the religious community there.

My father was a constant Zionist activist on the "Center Zionism" group. He took part in the famous Minsk council, and had interviews with Zionist activist from Russia, at his brother's and sister-in-law place (CHANA DVOIRE and YECHIEL ASKENAZI) in Minsk.

In Kartuz Bereza my father created the group "Tiferet Bachurim" (nice teenagers) and got Zionism closer to religious youth; he succeeded. Among youth was YACOV GORAZALKY (GORALY) one of the most important leaders of Zionist ideology in Poland before outbreak of WWII.

My father also organized fund raising for the KKL, and spread the activity called "The Treasure of Jewish Settlement". This happened in 1900 when Dr. BINIAMIN ZEEV HERZL founded the Bank for Zionist Organization ("Histadrut Ha'tzionit").

In 1913 my father registered the Bereza Zionist Organization into Golden Book of KKL. During all Russian regime, and even during polish one, until outbreak of WWII, my father was official responsible for Zionist activities in town. On his hands lied the official stamp, guaranteed by the state authorities.

In the 20's my father refused to select the candidates to emigrate to Israel and thought should be helped every Jew who wanted to emigrate. Thanks to his help families ELIOVITZ and BERKOVITZ emigrated to Israel in 1913, and they were founders of the settlement (Moshav) YAVNIEL, as well as families SAPIR to Jerusalem and GERMAN to Ramat Gan.

In 1948 I visited my parents home in Kartuz Bereza. Then I was already an Eretz Israel citizen, and had in my hands a Britain passport. I knew that, in my parents house, occupying a half of it, lived Commandant of Great Polish Concentration Camp of Kartuz Bereza. According to my memories his name was KOLONAL GARFNER. He was from Tartar origin, from times of the great tartar invasion in Central Europe. He was a personal friend of military group ruling Poland. Every morning arrived ten political prisoners, and many of them were appointed to cleaning tasks, and other to work on the camp my father gave to Commandant.

One of those days of August 1938, Commandant invited me to a friendly meeting in the huge balcony. I was a foreign citizen, younger than 20, and he was the governing man with all power in his hands. He asked me many questions about relationship between Britain Mandate and its citizens, and their privileges. I told him that, under  power of Great Britain, every citizen had the right to discuss and criticize with no violence. Then he asked me: And how do you like our behavior here in Poland? I said that during my visit to this country I saw Jews being attacked, they were scared, and I thought the government actually hunted and oppressed Jews.

The next day the security police turned up, dressed like civil people, they took my passport away and stamped an expulsion order, because I was not a "pleasing person". They intimidated me to leave the country before 24 hours on September 7th, 1938.

I quickly left my father's home and returned to Eretz Israel in the polish ship "Poland", through  Constanza port. On September 7 I was in Warsaw, and my friend from Bereza, MEIR SHVARTZ, who was on his way to US, accompanied me to train station.

When the train headed to Lvov, I saw thousands Jews singing current Israel National Hymn , "Ha'tikva", and it was a miracle to me.

In first wagon I found a relative from Haifa, of my same age. He was returning from a visit to his parents too. We decided to pass to another carriage in order to find out why people were singing "Hatikva". We approached to first class, that was almost empty. In a corner was sitting ZEEV ZABOTINSKY who was writing on a typing machine. In front of him his assistant YOSER KLARMAN. We got closer, introduced ourselves, and said we were going back to Eretz Israel. Both ZABOTINSKY and KLARMAN shook our hands and congratulated us. ZABOTINSKY apologized for he had to finish the speech he would deliver to Jews of Lvov. That was the first and only time I saw ZABOTINSKY face to face.

And I am returning again to my childhood memories.

Our house was a Hebrew house. My parents spoke Hebrew and addressed to their children on that language. I was the first in town to speak Hebrew with his parents (this is confirmed by NECHEMIA SHTUKER in his book "Memories of Bereza", released in Yiddish in Argentina in 1958). The other kids became estranged because they didn't speak my language. Neighbors at the other side of the road made fun of me; one of them was studying with me at Tarbut school, in which Hebrew was taught. Time does its work, and little by little people got used to the language.

I want to remind an important deed, a pious act accomplished by NAFTALY LEVINSON, then Under Secretary of Bereza's Mayor, in favor of a cousin of mine, BARUCH BLUMROZEN, who had deserted from polish army at the beginning of 1920, and after a long way arrived in Bereza. He hid in my house on the kitchen garden, between the leafy walnut trees. My father addressed to NAFTALY LEVINSON asking him for help and advice. He, knowing he could be condemned to death according to  law, didn't hesitate and quickly changed his name for a Jew named ROZENBERG, who had passed away at the age of 20, and this way become a living person again. He extended the passport validity, stamped my cousins portrait, and certified its legality. BARUCH BLUMROZEN received his new identity:  become into ROZENBERG. Later my father joined him in Warsaw, got to pass through Vilnus and from there to Israel. Only after a few years in Eretz Israel he left his false name and returned to the original. NAFTALY LEVINSON risked his own life. Many, many years this was a top secret and no one knew about praiseworthy NAFTALY LEVINSON's attitude.