PRUZHANY YZKOR BOOK
By Forer Dovid
We dedicate a section of the Pinkas to the Landsmen Organizations all over the world. The people of our town who used to live far from their homes, because of their job as traders or other reasons, had to change their place of residence to other cities in Russia and later in Poland. Others emigrated to several countries in Europe, Eretz Israel or America, and they felt the influences of their experiences they had at their home town. It's hard to say how many Jews emigrated from our town, and when the emigration started. Surely the number of emigrants was high, and we need to emphasize that, before the outbreak of WWII in 1939, the number of emigrants wasn't lower than the number of inhabitants in the villages.
In the article entitled "Multifaceted Hydra", by N. Tzukerman, published on the newspaper "Pruzener Lebn" in February 26th, 1932, the number of Jews emigrated from Pruzhany since the end of XIX century until about 1931 was 3000, which means 75% of the regular Jewish inhabitants of Pruzhany. This calculation works for other villages of the same Pinkas.
Most of the Jews who emigrated, about a half of town's population, kept their relationship with their relatives and families living in their home villages. In 1930 opened two weekly papers on Pruzhany: "Pruzener Lebn" and "Pruzener Shtime". Besides keeping individual relations, other relations began with those who came back from the countries they had emigrated to, or those who still lived in their emigration places. They would publish in the aforementioned papers their travel experiences, and tell about the customs and lifestyle of the places they lived in.
L.YELSKY, a teacher who came back to Pruzhany from Argentina, published a story in the Pruzener newspaper, entitled "Under the heat of Argentina's sun", a description of the emigrants lifestyle. L.CHOMSKY, who had also emigrated to Argentina, told his impressions about the trip and during the time he lived in Argentina. Also M.VOLANSKY sent such an impressions to the paper.
Frequently, Pruzener Lebn published tales of Pruzhany Jews emigrated to USA, by MOTEL POLAK, and about the experiences of emigrants to Canada, by the Popular School teacher M.RAPAPORT. Certainly people wrote from Eretz Israel too, but we can't provide real references since we don't have any.
These relationships were expressed as well in material aid, and it all had influence on the home towns, in economic, political and social matters. This is confirmed in the Pinkas, in both the first chapters and the later. In order to explain what the material aid was like, we'll mention just some characteristic cases: the Shereshev Jew MARKL, after a long wandering, came to far places in Russia. There he became rich but he never forgot about his home town Shereshev and he left in his will a big fortune for the community's needs (see Pinkas page 533)
ZERACH BIRENBOIM, from Shereshev too, was living in Petach Tikva, Eretz Israel. During one of his visits to Shereshev, he deposited a big amount of money in the Social Aid Box, as a interest-less loan for the poor (see Pinkas page 551).
MAX KRONSHTAT was a USA outstanding activist of culture from Pruzhany. He achieved, through big effort and his financial aid with ORT mediation, to organize "Job Schools" in Pruzhany for young Jews education in specialized professions.
The Relief Work, carried out by many landsmen in USA for the good of village poor people, is well known by us. In times of Pesach festivity, money for flour purchase would arrive in regular way, as well as aid for religious and social institutions buildings for libraries and books, and money for "Talmud Torah" and Hebrew and Yiddish Schools in Pruzhany, Bereza, Shereshev, etc. Besides the help flowing all the time, in certain periods it would support hundreds of families that hadn't any other source of aid but the USA's.
After WWII and the cruel extermination of so many Jews, the few hundreds of our landsmen living in Europe received help without exception, from all our landsmen organizations in USA, Canada, Cuba, Eretz Israel and Argentina. From all this we infer the reason of the constant contact between Pruzhany and the landsmen, and the material dependence from abroad that had an influence on the lifestyle of many homes in Pruzhany.
At the same time we have to tell the history of those who settled in their new homes and never forgot about their former homes. They took with them the melancholy and affection expressed by their help to their brothers and sisters in "normal times", and after the destruction the concern and worry for our survivors.
The link between our landsmen and their homes in their home country also had an influence on the lifestyle in the countries they emigrated to. They had the aim of staying together and join in several organizations. That's the way the "Branch of Workers Ring" was established, etc. All these organizations helped very much the new emigrants to create a family environment to be able to fit in the new life conditions, but, as we said before, they paid attention to the way they used to live in their former homes. All this is reflects in the Pinkas. Another reason to picture our landsmen is the history of our movements and landsmen organizations all over the world, considering our little villages no longer exist the way we used to know them. Jewish life disappeared, and we are the natural heirs, although it's just an unilateral inheritance. The nazis, together with our "good neighbors", inherited the material goods. Even what remained was used by the gentile population, with the permission of those who imposed the order and justice. Yes, they all enjoy our goods, but we don't. We're the heirs of moral values, and no one can take it away from us, so we must take care of it. Through our landsmen organizations, we represent in a small extent what is so dear and holy for us.
IN THE LIMITS OF THE COUNTRY[i]
In several cities and most of the biggest of old Russia and Poland, settled a big part of our Jews. Many stayed living definitely there and others transitorily. These were who studied at the Yeshivas, the teacher seminars or other education institutions, traders, officials, etc.
Sometimes they turned up in town after many years, even some of those who departed for ever. They had a good financial situation, and they distributed some money to the poor in order to show their welfare off. Others became famous because of their knowledge, or as writers, like N.PRUZHANSKY, who was born in a village near Pruzhany, or like the famous Jewish writer KADIA MOLODOVKY, born in Bereza. People of town was proud of their famous fellow-citizens. We have to point out those who arrived from abroad, and helped to spread new ideas and intellectual movements, starting with the "illuminism", "Chibad Sion" (Zionist movements), revolutionary parties, even Hebraism, Yddishism, etc.
There were cases of those who returned from big cities and organized chorus, drama circles, and self-education circles. Something like this happened in Bereza, when SHLOMO VAINSHTEIN came back from Warsaw to Bereza during first German occupation, and participated in the social activity organization. We show isolated cases, but we're sure there were many more that influenced the town's lifestyle in social matters.
After the destruction in 1945 some families of Pruzhany and surroundings moved to Lower Silesia, an area added to Poland after WWII. Many of them emigrated to Eretz Israel and others live there now. We have real data of NEIMAN family from Pruzhany, an old couple constituted by ZALMAN and HODES, and their daughter teacher SARA, who live in Brotzlav city. In the same city lives a repatriated named N. TZUKERMAN, who was a teacher in Pruzhany and Pinkas editor in 1931. Also ZARACHOVICH family, from Bereza, living in Tshetshin.
There are 30 or 40 Jewish souls living in Pruzhany now, some natives of Pruzhany and other villages, that returned from Russia or were partisans. There isn't any social activity there.
IN WESTERN EUROPE
Some of our landsmen emigrated as well to Western Europe. We don't know when this happened, nor the number of emigrants, but the Pruzener Lebn indicates that, in the beginning of current century, many emigrated to England, France and Germany.
In England lives the Pruzhany Jew BEREL LIAZTKY, MOSHE LIATZKY's brother. In Berlin, Germany, lived for many years a Pruzhany inhabitant, SHMUEL URIEVITSH. When Hitler came to power in 1933 he left Germany. He was in Pruzhany and he declared against Hitler's arrogance, in an open assembly. He also published a sequence of articles in Pruzener Lebn in 1933/34, in which he describes rights loss by German Jews, and the barbarism of the nazi killers in those times.
Another family from Pruzhany lived in Leipzig, but we don't know their surname. Another family from Pruzhany named ROZENBOIM lived in France. We don't know since when, and if they are still living there. These are the facts we know, and certainly there were more, but we don't know about it. Many of the survivors moved to Western Europe since middle of 1945 until 1950. They were at several camps in Germany, Austria and Italy. Some went to Sweden, Norway, etc. About how they arrived in the camps, in what number and during how long they stayed, it's extensively described in other chapters of Pinkas. During the time they were at the camps, they stayed together and they helped each other until they emigrated to Eretz Israel, USA and Argentina.
IN ERETZ ISRAEL AND THE STATE OF ISRAEL
The influence of Eretz Israel on the Jewish inhabitants of our town was different to other countries, because to our ancestors even before they stepped on our village's ground, it was only a transitory stage in the millennial wandering, and they only wished Eretz Israel to be their true and only fatherland. They had ancestral links and beautiful memories of the past, and the messianic hope of a better world, the diasporas Jews redemption, the suffering, the liberation from slavery and the subjugation would rise them around all the people. They remembered Zion and Jerusalem, while studying, praying, either in festive and work days. Every Jew was linked to Eretz Israel not only as a country from a distant past, but a country of future. Every day every time, in a festivity or, God forbid, a misfortune, Jew would remember "Yerushalaim". Eretz Israel, Zion, Jerusalem, were the ray of light that accompanied our fathers and ancestors all their lives. This was the spiritual link, but the physical one was different. We don't know anything at all about our landsmen, hundreds of years ago, reaching that country so close spiritually but so far away physically . We think there must have been from days of old, in some of our villages, soaked in Judaism and ruled by the famous desire of dying in Eretz Israel. This eagerness of adult people was to be able to reach the Holy Land, through great difficulties. The Jews of our circle were not different than those, this is our appreciation. Even before WWI in 1914/18, we don't have much information about our landsmen in Eretz Israel. Surely they were already there, possibly somebody knows about it, but we don't have that information.
In the famous policeman detective TEHEDAR's memories, we read he was born in Eretz Israel at the end of the last century, but his parents were native of Pruzhany. We also know about a visit to Eretz Israel in 1914, by an outstanding social activist named OSHER POMERANIETZ. After WWI and Balfour Statement, most of Jewish population of Pruzhany, specially youth, turned to the Zionist movements. They traveled to Eretz Israel, both from Pruzhany and other villages of the district. The emigration never stopped until the outbreak of World War, although it was limited due to the immigration requirements imposed by the British mandate.
One of those who traveled in order to settle was OSHER POMERANIETZ, who emigrated in 1925 to Israel, and he was a pioneer of the beer industry there. Some years later he and his nephew IOSHE POMERANIETZ patented a honey-based drink called "Tzuf". They got associated with "Tumba" central (a collective market in Israel) and built a factory.
Among the famous social activists, traveled also the Hebrew teacher and leader of Tzeirei Tzion from Pruzhany ELEIAHU GELMAN, the teacher DOVID GOLUBOVITSH, and the Hebrew writer DOV CHOMSKY. Also tens of young "chalutzim" and "chalutzot"; and all our Landsmen Organization, helped to build and develop the country. Our Landsmen Organizations were together there, as far as possible.
We have more information about Medinat Israel after WWII (1939-45). We received this information through the visits of our Argentinean landsmen in Israel. In both "Memorial Bulletin" published by the "Organization of Pruzhany and surroundings descendants", we found important references. The first Bulletin was published in the first half of 1945, and the second, at the end of 1945 or early 1946. They're both dedicated to the memory of Pruzhany and surrounding martyrs, murdered by the inhuman nazi killers. The title says: "In memory of Pruzhany martyrs and their sons, exterminated by the inhuman nazis", in Shvat 24th and 27th 5704, which is January 30th-February 2nd 1943. This information goes to show that before WWII there was a significant number of landsmen in Israel, and there was a "Landsmen Union" there, but we don't know the date of its foundation.
As we all know, our contact with the old home was interrupted since September 1939 until the last months of 1944. Our landsmen in Israel tried to get in touch with those from our little villages, they sent letters and telegrams through the Red Cross and neutral countries, to Pruzhany and Moscow, but they never got an answer. Just in January 1945 was received the first letter from Dr. OLIE GOLDFAIN, with the tragic information of our villages total destruction, and not long later another letter arrived, with the report about 29 survivors of Pruzhany. After receiving the first letter from Dr. GOLDFEIN, met members of a group of five friends from Pruzhany and surrounding area, and they decided to send the first aid to the survivors, consisting of ten parcel posts, and to tell Dr. GOLDFEIN our availability to help the survivors and ask for details of what happened to our close and dear brothers.
They decided to make a convention of all Landsmen living in Israel. The Organization Committee of the five friends sent the corresponding invitations to the Landsmen all around Israel, and in March 1st 1945 the meeting took place in Tel Aviv.
Landsmen from Tel Aviv, Haifa, Petach Tikvah, Kfar Ata and Rishon le'Tzion were there. Also kibbutzim and farm settlements members from North and South, near and far. From every corner of the country, descendants of Pruzhany, Bereza, Shereshev and Malech came over, to join in the memory of the martyrs and help the survivors. At Bet Ha'tfutzot hall, the large audience, with their hearts oppressed and a feeling of pain and impotence, heard ELIAHU GELMAN's words about the awful tragedy of our homes. ARIE HADAR read Dr. GOLDFAIN and ELIAHU POMERANIETZ letters and articles of several newspapers about Pruzhany Ghetto. Mr. REUBEN WINOGRAD, OSHER POMERANIETZ and YEHUDA SERLIN informed about the task accomplished and about plans for further activities. Mr. RUDA said a prayer for the deceased and the traditional Kaddish.
At the meeting, the following points were approved:
1. To collect 500 Israeli pounds as immediate aid for Pruzhany and surroundings survivors. In this task, all the landsmen collaborate according to their financial situation and what their consciences told. The minimum was 3 pounds.
2. To bestow the absolute power to the elected committee to settle the contributions.
3. To organize subcommittees in those cities where the largest number of Landsmen were settled.
4. To get in touch with the landsmen through pamphlets, letters and circulars.
5. To summon every year in January 28th-30 a meeting with all the landsmen in order to honor the memory of the martyrs.
6. To remember eternally the exterminated in Pruzhany and to publish a Memorial Book of the martyrs as witnesses of the crimes committed against us by the filthy nazi people, the enemy we'll always hunt to take revenge.
At the meeting, a committee was elected, composed by nine members: OSHER POMERANIETZ, ZERACH RUDA, two posts for Pruzhany and surrounding areas, ELIOHU GELMAN, ARIE HADAR, REUBEN WINOGRAD, YECHIEL ZOTA and TZI LIUBOSHITZ. These last five men would be the Executive Committee. After this convention the Council approved the following points:
1. To send a report about the convention to all the landsmen, a compilation of letters and newspapers about Pruzhany and surrounding areas.
2. To stay in touch with the natives of Pruzhany and surroundings living in USA.
3. To send more parcel posts to precise and existing addresses.
4. To establish subcommittees in Haifa and Jerusalem.
5. To organize a way to collect funds with the contributors help.
6. To open an account in the Saving and Loan Bank in Yaffo-Tel Aviv.
Signed by ARIE HADAR and TZVI LUIBOSHITZ. (Organization of Pruzhany and surrounding areas descendants).
7. To distribute the posts of the executive committee as follows: Chairman ELIOHU GELMAN, Secretary ARIE HADAR, treasurer TZVI LIUBOSHITZ.
8. To use the technical collaboration from the contributors.
THE FIRST SURVIVORS ARRIVE IN ERETZ ISRAEL
During the summer of 1945 more information about the survivors and their whereabouts began to arrive. The Committee got in touch with them, helped them materially, and also tried hard to get the documentation for their entrance in Israel.
The relationship between Landsmen Organizations in Israel and the survivors was very positive and influential, thanks to the friends of Israel brigade, that fought with the Allies. When some information arrived about a survivor living in Paris, the Committee would use all its means to allow them to enter Israel, and this time they achieved it. The first group to reach Israel shore, in September 1945, were: ABRAHAM BRESKY, EPHRAIM ZAITMAN, MENDEL and BARUCH AVERBUCH brothers, YAAKOV VOLOVELSKY and YOSEF BERESTOVITZKY. The meeting was emotional and dramatic!
The Committee and the survivors organized the 2nd Convention of Landsmen Organizations, in October 11th 1945, at the Bet Ha'chalutzot Hall, in Tel Aviv. All the Committee members were at the opening ceremony: ELIAHU GELMAN, ARIE HADAR (POMERANIETZ), REUBEN WINOGRAD, YECHIEL ZUTA (KLEINERMAN), and TZVI LIUBOSHITZ. The Chairman ELIOHU GELMAN, in his opening speech, expressed the wish to receive in Eretz Israel all the surviving landsmen spread around the world.
Addressing to the newcomers he said: "Dear brothers, there aren't words in human language to express our misfortune, and there's no consolation for such a misfortune. We are as dejected and sad as you are, and just like you, we hope to be comforted. We welcome you with the traditional "BRUCHIM HA'BAIM" (welcome) and we say to you: Brothers, we are with you, here you'll find your home and we don't want you to feel strangers."
Addressing to people present, he said: "All of you, who came to meet our survivors, be strong to hear the terrible tales of suffering from our families, children and elder, women and men. We'll never forget their blessing memories. In Europe, tens of surviving brothers still wait for our help. Stretch out your hands to save them and receive them in Eretz Israel. We mustn't rest until we achieve our aim".
After Chairman GELMAN's words, of which we transcribe a synthesis, Secretary ARIE HADAR transmitted a detailed report of the activities. He emphasized that the Committee had contacted some survivors and received news from them. Some news were contradictory. One time they sent to Pruzhany - for the first time- 12 parcel posts and then another 16 for Shereshev survivors in Warsaw. They didn't receive any confirmation of these dispatches, so stopped all the sending, but some people thought it had been received. About 200 survivors were in extreme poverty and Jewish Brigade soldiers helped them as far as possible, but they couldn't solve the situation. We must remember and praise the soldiers ITZHAK KARSHENBLUM and ISRAEL BZESHEZINSKY.[ii]
Letters arrived from the Pruzhany Landsmen Organization in Havana, Cuba, with some addresses of survivors. We sent to Landsmen in USA and Argentina the stuff we had, in order to accomplish a joint mission. We must thank Mr. KANTOROVITZ from Paris, for his effort in our survivor's good. After ARIE HADAR's report, a money collection for the survivors was organized. The collection had satisfactory results.
After a short break, survivors talked: were ABRAHAM BRESKY and YAKOV VOLEVELSKY. VOLEVELSKY told about the delicate preparation for the uprising of the Pruzhany Ghetto, and BRESKY told the shortages suffered at our home town, since the beginning of war in September 1939 until the tragic end. At the end of the Convention, the following points were stated:
In the first meetings of the "Organization Committee", they decided to publish the second bulletin. In this, the complete report of the Convention was released, as well as the letters received in October 1945 from Dr. GOLDFAIN, YOSEF BOBMAN and SHEMRL ELMAN. It was also established to publish a list of Jewish activists in Pruzhany and a certain number of pictures. This Memorial Bulletin and the previous one, would be used as material for the Pinkas dedicated to Pruzhany and surrounding martyrs. Since then, many of the survivors from our towns, who were in several refugees camps in Europe, emigrated to Eretz Israel. This emigration process ended with the establishment of the State of Israel, when the country gates were opened like welcoming arms. Certainly, the new emigrants became integrated into the Jewish economy, like everyone else.
Our landsmen in Israel were in a different situation than those in Argentina and USA, where most of the landsmen were concentrated mainly in one or two cities, but in Israel they were spread all over the country. The tendency to a "diasporas melting pot" makes harder the activity of the Landsmen Organizations, but the activity goes on against all odds. A few years ago, an initiative emerged from Bereza Jews in Haifa, to publish a Pinkas about Bereza, therefore special circular letters were sent. Every year between Shvat 24th and 27th, memorial meetings would take place, with the audience of all the Landsmen of the country.
In Argentina they began to collect material to publish the Pinkas, and some of our Landsmen in Israel helped a lot, among them ABRAHAM BRESKY, DOV KIRSHNER, YOSEF BOBMAN from Pruzhany, YAKOV GORALY (GAZSHALKA) and ELI MOTE BOKSHTEIN from Bereza. The aforementioned men sent material and photographs . DOV KIRSHNER asked the Landsmen through the radio in Israel and the newspapers to send their collaboration for the Pinkas. Our fellow citizens in Argentina often got in touch with the Landsmen of Israel in their frequent visits to this country. Some of those visits were accomplished by our honorary Chairman ISRAEL KEILER and his wife DVORA, and the Union Chairman MOISHE TZVIKLITSH.
About 300 landsmen from Pruzhany, Bereza, Malch, Shereshev and surroundings that were living in Argentina, emigrated to Israel. Among them were MOISHE CHOMSKY, KOPEL NISELBOIM and ZELIG KLEINERMAN families, three families of 14 people. As "chalutzim" emigrated SHULAMIT and LEAH POMERANIETZ, DAVID POMERANIETZ daughters. LIPE FRIDMAN, YUDL FRIDMAN's son, MOTL BOGOMOLSKY, ABRAHAM BOGOMOLSKY's son, DAVID LOSHEVITZKY, PETERZ LOSHEVITZKY's son, CHAIM GLOTZER, YAKOV GLOTZER's son, SHLOIME CHOMSKY, CHAIM CHOMSKY's son, LINKOVSKY, MEIR LINKOVSKY's son, and ZIGER, REITZE LINKOVSKY-ZIGER's son. In all, 23 people emigrated. The State of Israel is currently the center of the greatest activity of our landsmen. Since the State establishment, our landsmen contributed with $20.000 for the "Martyrs forest" to plant 1000 trees in our home towns memory.
Together with the Credit Cooperative "Friendship", we sent an ambulance for the "MAGEN DAVID HA'DOM" (TN Israelis Red Cross), as well as considerable amounts for the "Joint Campaign" and the KKL. In the annual festivities for Israel Independence Day, the contribution for KKL became a tradition. Most of times the amounts were bigger compared to other institutions.
With the collected money, many members of the Landsmen Organization were registered in the KKL Golden Book, and most of the Ladies Committee members too. Just like Eretz Israel was for our ancestors a ray of light in the long way of Diaspora, that's Medinat Israel for us today, the column of fire lighting our lives, giving honor and nobility to us and the next generations.
The emigration from our little villages to USA started about the 80's of XIX century. We don't know about our landsmen being organized in groups at those times. On FISHEL VAINER'S memories, during the first years in USA in 1906, he remembers there were groups of landsmen from 20 years ago, mostly religious Jews, who founded synagogues, helped each other in case of illness, loaned money and benefited the deceased's families.
The first Landsmen Organizations we know about, is the BEREZA LANDSMEN ORGANIZATION founded in 1895 with 25 members. In 1938 they already had 150 members, 5% of them born in USA and 2% non-Landsmen. The meetings used to take place twice a month in Yiddish language. In 1938, with the BEREZA YOUNG MEN ORGANIZATION, they collected 7000 dollars for our old home, besides of building a hospital, a synagogue, and helping other institutions by 600 yearly dollars. Y. BEREZOVSKY was the Secretary. In 1953 H. LIPMAN was secretary, and B. RABINS the Chairman.
The KARTUZ BEREZA YOUNG MEN BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION was founded in 1905 with 25 members. In 1938 they had 195 members, among them 2% American citizens and 2% non-landsmen. They had meetings twice a month in Yiddish. Their activities were the same than other organizations, and Y.BEREZOVSKY was the secretary.
The SELTZER BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION was founded in 1901 with 60 members. In 1938, it already had 135 members, 15% American citizens; the meetings took place twice a month in Yiddish language. Their activities were: mutual aid, assistance to ills, benefits in case of death, loans, help to poor people, help to "old home" and local institutions. The secretary was B. LECHT.
The MALTZER - LODZ 561 A. A. BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION was founded in 1903 with 50 members. In 1938 it had 210 members, 12% American citizens and 25% non-landsmen. The meetings took place twice a month in Yiddish and English language. They helped local institutions. Its secretary was D. GUNIK.
The PRUZENER WORKER UNION- BRANCH 244, was founded in 1908 with 40 members. In 1938 it had 300 members, 25% American citizens. The meetings were twice a month in Yiddish. They carried out cultural activities, workshops, and leisure meetings. They published bulletins, helped "birth home" (Pruzhany) and local institutions. Its secretary was NATAN POLAK.
The PRUZENER WOMEN WORKER UNION- BRANCH 244 was founded in 1930 with 32 members. In 1938 it had 125 members, 10% of them American citizens and 5% non- landsmen. They had two meetings a month, in Yiddish. They organized classes, leisure, concerts, books and literary pamphlets publishing, and helped the "old home" (Pruzhany) and local institutions. Its secretary was HENIE VINIEK.
The PRUZENER YOUNG CLUB WORKER UNION -BRANCH 244 was organized in 1938 with 20 members and later had 50. It consisted of workers and students, all of them were American citizens. They had workshops, offered amusements, and met twice a month. The activities English-speaking. Its secretary was ROZE GOLDBERG.
The MISHKAN ISRAEL ANSCHE PRUSIN, SELTZ AND MALCH was founded in 1913 with 25 members, all of them religious. In 1938 they had 80 members, workers and traders. A little number were American citizens, they met on Sundays to have lunch and they spoke Yiddish. The aim was to pray, to make mutual aid, to help the "home place" (Pruzhany) and local institutions. The Chairman was Y.FINKEL.
The CHEVRA BNAI JACOB ANSHEI SHERESHEW was another religious landsmen Organization, founded in 1927 with 20 members. In 1938 they were 55. From them, 3% were American citizens and 5% non-landsmen. They spoke Yiddish and their activity was centered on synagogues, they helped the origin home (Shereshev). Its secretary was NATAN POLI.
The UNITED PRUZINER RELIEF COMMITTEE IN NEW YORK was founded in 1935. Since its foundation and until the outbreak of WWII in 1939, the Committee would help financially the origin home (Pruzhany). When WWII was over they helped the survivors and contributed with considerable amounts of money to build a clinic in Israel named after our home town. The Chairman was FISHEL VAINER.
There were smaller Landsmen Organizations as well, and some disappeared, both in New York and other cities. Such an organization was founded tens of years ago, in Chicago, named PRUZINER SHERESHEV UNION and its chairman was A.FRIDENSHTEIN. They worked with the Relief Committee in New York.
There was another similar in Philadelphia with DAVID ROGOVITZ as Chairman.
The Landsmen Organizations would publish special editions from time to time, specially on the anniversaries. Such editions appeared in 1924 on the 30th anniversary of KARTUZ- BEREZER SOCIAL AND BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION, and in 1935 on its 40th. Y. BEREZOVSKY, A.ZAKIN and A.YUDEVITSH worked there. In 1926, during its 20th anniversary, the KARTUZ BEREZER YOUNG MEN BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION published a 28 paged bulletin. The PRUZENER WORKER UNION BRANCH 244 published in 1938 a souvenir journal in occasion of their 30th anniversary. In 1948 the same branch named PRUZENER MAX KRONSHTAT UNION BRANCH 244 WORKER RING, after its founder, published an anniversary journal for its 40 years. The editors were FISHEL VAINER, NATAN POLAK, NATAN SPARK and FANNY POLAK.
The UNITED PRUZINER RELIEF COMMITTEE published in 1949 a Memorial Journal with a summary about the aid committee's activities, memories of the original home and about its destruction. FISHEL VAINER, PHILIP KUNIK, B.KIRSHNER, LENE NAIDUS YUDEVITSH, A.ZAKHEIM, Z.URIEVITSH, ABRAHAM TREGER, SH.PERELSHTEIN, CHAIM BERKMAN, Y.DELEVSKY and Rabbi BENIOMIN ZEEV GREENBER collaborated there. Greetings were sent from Argentina, from the Landsmen Organization of Pruzhany, Bereza, Malch, Shereshev and surrounding areas.
Regarding to the relations between our Landsmen Organizations in Argentina and USA, they're expressed in the résumé "Our Landsmen in Argentina". All the activity for the Pinkas is described there, as well as the members of the "PInkas Committee" in New York. This relation between our Landsmen in Argentina and USA were very positive, due to the frequent mutual visits they made. Since the end of WWII a number of Landsmen were visiting USA and we name them next:
ISRAEL and DVORA KEILER,
SHIMON and MINDEL GOLDBERG.
MOISHE and GOLDE FRYDMAN,
CHAVA and YOSEF ZAIONTZ,
Some of them got in touch with the Landsmen living in USA and the organizations.
The Landsmen of USA went to Argentina too, among them:
MOISHE and BRACHA FORER,
and others. This visits created a close relationship and a greater approach. We want to emphasize that, almost finishing the Pinkas, our landsmen in USA promised to spread this book as far as possible. Every day more reports arrived about the activities of our Landsmen in USA, about the later works achieved by the co-founders of the organizations.
Some years before WWI (1914-18) some of our Landsmen were already in Canada. In 1920 were added other that traveled from our native towns in the frame of the benefits granted by immigration laws of Canada of that moment, or with documents of the relatives' call that already resided there.
The quantity of immigrants is unknown, and - by the way - they were not organized until approximately 1945, when we received the first reports about its activity with the name of "Help and Information Committee for the survivors of Pruzhany, Malech, Bereza, Selcz and Shereshev" with address in Toronto. The objective was to carry out a combined task for the benefit of the survivors of mentioned towns.
The members commission , or as they were called in Canada "the officials" were the following: President SHABETAI RAPAPORT, Relations Secretary HERSHEL POMERANETZ, Protocol Secretary YAKOV KLEIN (KLEINERMAN), Treasurer GOLDE MASLOW.
It was very painful for the Committee, Landsmen and family, the premature death of the President of the committee SHABETAI RAPAPORT. Their death was regretted by whole Jewish society in Canada, because RAPAPORT was an outstanding teacher, educator, and very dear cultural activist in all the social circles. A quantity of activists together with groups of the Workers Ring integrated to the US Labor Federation published a book in his memory.
By the end of WWII, our Landsmen Organization in Argentina connected with Landsmen in Canada, and those from all over the world dedicated to the effort of helping survivors, and later for the task of publishing our Pinkas.
During the visit to Canada by members of our Commission SHIMON (in that moment President) and MINDL GOLBERG, the Landsmen YAKOV KLEIN, HERSHEL POMERANETZ, etc., stimulated the idea of making popular the publication of the Pinkas and to incorporate memorial stones as well as to pick up solidarity contributions.
Our Landsman and member of the Landsmen Organization ZELIK MAZUR, redactor and editor of "Argentinean Trees", during his visit to Canada met our Landsmen, and when returning transmitted us that the Canadian residents are united, and they continue with a lot of interest all that carries out Landsmen of all parts of the world .
IN LATIN AMERICA
The emigration from our origin towns toward CUBA, began in the years 20. It happened after WWI, when the possibility to immigrate to US slime strictly. Then our fellow citizens opted to emigrate to other countries like Cuba. Many traveled with the idea that later could go to US; some achieved it, but a great quantity is residing in Cuba. Others after remaining dozens of years, could trip to US.
Also in Cuba Pruziners stayed united and contained in a Landsmen Organization settled in Havana. Its name was "Pruzener Landsmansheft Farhein in Cuba". Of the news received, we knew that in 1946 was President of the Organization MANIE BEIZER (deceased in September, 1947), Secretary was ENACH TELECHANSKY and Treasurer YAKOV IZRAELIT. They were interested in the final destiny of our "origin towns", and they were busy with survivors. Just finished WWII, when it was known about the tragic balance, the Landsmen from all over the world communicated to aid survivors, and our Landsmen in Cuba were in contact with the US and Israel Help Committees, they sent lists of survivors, and they looked for means to alleviate their poverty. The Landsmen Organization in Cuba completed a fraternal function to bring all Pruziners together as it were a great family in the good moments and in the bad ones.
Other countries of Latin America apart from Argentina, have few Landsmen. Toward these countries began to immigrate during last decades.
Of MEXICO we know that there lived SHEINDL BERESTIZKY (she died some years ago); they possibly had others of which we didn't have news.
Of CHILE we only know about SENDER ZAKHEIM. He is a social activist, especially in the Polish Union. During the action addressed to help survivors in Argentina, he sent his contribution to Buenos Aires.
In BRAZIL there is a group of Landsmen, and their quantity is around 30 to 40 people. Among them there are coming from Pruzhany, Bereza and Shereshev. Most of them inhabits in San Pablo. Surnames we know are KARLINSKY of Pruzhany that is an outstanding teacher in San Pablo, VAINSHTEIN of Bereza, SHEINZAG, VAINSHTEIN, GORDON, BASIGET and HOCHMAN of Shereshev. Although they were not organized, anyway they sent their contributions to Buenos Aires during the campaign 1946/48.
In URUGUAY there are few Landsmen. Among them YERUCHAM and ROZE KRINSKY. YERUCHAM is an renown activist and member of the Pruzaner Workers Ring 244. In the first anniversary of his death, the Pruzaner Workers Ring 244 (a) and the Pruzaner Women Ring 244 (b) add his name to that of MAX KRONSHTAT. YERUCHAM was a well-known activist in the MAPAI Party of Uruguay. He is co-founder of the medical center, and worked in other institutions. ROZE collaborated in the WITZO (TN: Women Pioneers Organization). NECHAMA GERSHGORN was teacher of the ZSHITLOVSKY School in Montevideo, Y. M. EPELBOIM was teacher and writer, and collaborated in writing the Pinkas. MEIR YABLONOVICH, NOTE ZAPHIRSHTEIN and YANKEL TZUKERMAN, they are all of Pruzhany, except EPELBOIM that came from a village near Selcz.
Due to the vicinity with Argentina, they were very closely bound to our organization in Buenos Aires. They contributed to all help campaigns and their Landsmen Organization responded to all requirements of our Organizations in Argentina. After WWII they carried out another important function. They helped to transfer survivors to South America.
[i] In the historical section of Pinkas there's a number of pictures of female and male youths, who emigrated between both WW.
[ii] Read the stories in the section "Our Destruction"
[iii] We have extracted this data from the book "Landsmen Organizations in New York", published by the Writers Union named Y.L.Peretz in 1938.
[iv] In order to get more information about the Landsmen Organizations in USA, there are works by FISHEL VAINER, PHILIP KRUNIK and HENIE KRONSHTAT described later. There were possibly other Landsmen Organizations , but we don't know about them. Surely the number of activists in Secretary and Chairman posts was larger than what we name. To publish them all, we should have a complete list of those who were activists during tens of years in every organization. I was unable to get that list.