Shershev Yzkor Book – Chapter 6


The General "Gmiles-Khosodim" Fund in Shershev*





At the start of its activities, the "gmiles-khosodim" fund in Shershev developed its work very feebly. There was little money in the fund, and the number of loans distributed was insignificant.


Due to dissatisfaction with this state of affairs, a meeting was held on April 15, 1935 at the headquarters of the "Tog-heym" [day home], attended by 45 members. At this meeting the demands of those who were assembled were clearly expressed, vis-a-vis an institution of such first-class importance as the "gmiles-khsodim” fund; and that the situation that had prevailed up to now could no longer be tolerated in the future.


After quite a long discussion, it was decided to vote for a temporary organizational committee, which would last 3 months.


*This report on the Gmiles-khsodim fund in Shershev is also from the cited pinkus of "Yavneh". We also have here in the history of this institution of mutual aid, the list of members of at least 100 names and the kind of social help they received.  Incidentally, it can be seen from the list that some individuals belonging to the fund lived outside Shershev (Brisk, Pruzhany, Byalistok).


The following gentleman, in alphabetical order, were elected to the temporary committee: 


Family Name

Given Name

Family Name

Given Name






























Total: fourteen people, among them five from the previous committee and nine newly elected.  At the meeting to decide on the structure of the committee which was held right away on the same day, these people were elected:


As chairman – Yisrael Visoker
Secretary – Yoysef Kiselev
Treasurer – Yekhzekiel Krugman
Members of the Presidium – Avrom Koloditski and Yitskhok Lindin.

The loans committee - Mikhael Koziol, Shapsi Tenenboim, Iser Grikhman.

The audit committee – Yankev Kligerman, Mikhael Kozyol, Ruvin Kantorovits, Binyamin Sini.


The newly elected committee developed an activity of feverish intensity. At the meeting which took place immediately on the following morning (June 16), the chairman Yizrail Visoker suggested that the wealthy members of the board should on their own initiative, lend the Gmiles-khesed fund certain sums of money without interest.


Weighing the importance of the proposal, that is, that if the members of the board did not, themselves, want to help the institution with interest-free loans then the Gmiles-Khosidim fund could not exist – those preset showed an exemplary pattern of behavior, not only in fine words, but in deeds and decided that they themselves would give voluntary loans, without interest, to the institution they represented. The first to speak up was the author of the proposal, chairman Yisroel Visoker, with a loan of 100 gilden for a period of 6 months, without interest.


Then the following made their offers:

Yekhzekial Krugman 100 gilden
Iser Grikhman 100 gilden
Yoysef Pomeraniets 100 gilden
Mikhael Kozyol 50 gilden
Binyomin Sini 50 gilden
Ruven Kantorovits 50 gilden
Yitskhok Lindin 50 gilden
Shapsi Tenenboim 25 gilden
Avrom Koloditski 25 gilden


The rate of payment for members was fixed at 10 groshn a month. The chairman, Yisroel Visoker, having a full sense of the responsibility and seriousness of this matter, and wishing himself to serve as an example to other people, suggested that everyone present should pay his membership dues for a year in advance.


The suggestion was accepted unanimously and all the members of the committee paid their dues on the spot.  The amount of each members contribution was calculated at 5 gilden, which was divided into 3 payments: immediately upon paying out the first load, 2 gilden were substracted, and the rest in 2 amounts of 1.50.


The loans themselves were to be a sum of up to 40 gilden, and to be paid back within 5 weeks.  Loans are given out twice a week on Tuesday and on Saturday evening.


At a meeting, which was for the purpose of giving a report, and which took place on July 30, it was established that in the 2 weeks since the Gmiles-khosidm fund came into existence, 30 members had joined. 105, 50 zlotys were paid in contributions. Deposits: 575 zlotys. Members’ fees: 12,30 gilden.  11 loans were paid out at the average rate of 330 gilden.

On July 10 there was a meeting of the credit committee, consisting of Mikhl Kozyol, Iser Gikhman and Shapsi Tenenboym. They agreed on credit for 42 members, according to their financial standing, at an average of 1,695 zlotys.


Likewise, the audit committee, consisting of Yankev Kleynerman, Mikhl Kozyol, Ruvn Kantorovits and Binyumin Sini, audited the books on July 15 in the presence of chairman Yisroel Visoker and the treasurer Yekhzekyel Krugman and established that everything was in the best order.



The Loans of Zorekh Birenboim


After the Gmiles Khsodim fund had proved popular and beloved thanks to the tireless and exemplary work of the members of the committee, the news about the young much-needed institution reached the landslayt of Shershev abroad.  Then in a letter our fellow townman, the respected activist and worker for the community Zorekh Birenboim of Petack-Tikvah (Eretz Yisroel) offered to give the Gmiles-Khosidm fund an interest free load of 500 dollars for a period of 3 years.


The board of managers, which met on August 2nd considered Herr Birenboim’s proposal very seriously. After a lively discussion, it was decided for the time being to apply only for a loan of 300 dollars. As a guarantee for this amount, Birenboim was to be sent a promissory note for the general value of 1.600 zlotys.  Zorekh Birenboim however having full confidence in the committee did not wait for an answer and for promissory notes, but on August 17 sent to the address of Yekhzekiel Krugman for the Gmiles-Khsodim fund a check for 550 dollars. $500 as a loan & $50 as a donation to the fund.  Then the committee accepted the loan, with the condition that Zorekh Birenboim was to change the 500 dollars into Polish Zlotys according to the daily rate of exchange (5.25 zlotys); and decided to express their thanks to Zorekh Birenboim.  Of the 500 dollars, it was meanwhile decided to exchange only 50. The rest (450) remained, for the time being in effective dollars. In accord with a later decision, a further 100 dollars were exchanged for zlotys.


At the beginning of September, Szorekh Birenboim of Eretz Yisroel spent some time in Poland and visited his own native town of Shershev. On this occasion a celebratory meeting of the whole committee headed by the respected guest was held.  The Chairman, Herr Visoker, gave an exact report of the activities of the general Gmiles-Khosidm fund in Shershev. The number of members had grown to 75 borrowers – 46 loans given out: the general sum of 1,276 zlotys.


Every member could get a second loan three days after repaying the first. The size of a loan has been raised to 50 zlotys. The loan-office which was formerly open only twice a week is now active every day from 7 to 9 in the evening (in the house of Yekhzekyel Krugman).


The honored guest, Zorekh Birenboim, showed great interest in the work that had so far been accomplished. Following his suggestion, it was decided that in future sums larger than 50 gilden would be made also. He appealed to the members of the committee to take an interest and said that as many people as possible should benefit from the Gmiles-Khsodim fund.


As for the loan of the 500 dollars: since the money in the Gmiles Ksodim fund are given out and banked in Zlotys only, Herr Birenboim took cognizance of this and decided that the committee should change the whole sum according to the daily exchange rate. The debt was changed to the value of 2.625 gilden, and the committee obligated itself to repay the loan within 3 years. It was given as a warning that in the case of a change in the exchange rate, the management board must change the money in its loan-bank into dollars again.


"The management board of the Gmiles-Khsodim fund in Shershev hereby expresses its great gratitude to the respected activist and donor, Zorekh Birenboim of Eretz Yisroel; and we wish him in the name of all the members, happiness and success and his life, blessing and success on all the work of his hands!"


At the same time, an appeal was made to all our landslayt from Shershev in America and other places that they should interest themselves in such an important institution as the Gmiles-Khsodim fund, which helps with interest-free loans the ruined population of Shershev giving them the possibility of supporting themselves by their impoverished sources of income. May the blessings and wishes of the local Jewish inhabitants cheer their distant landslayt, and interest them in their home town and in its Gmiles-Khsodim fund, which alleviates and fights the dreadful impoverishment of the Jewish Settlement and may they succeed in all the work of their hands, as is the wish of G-d who will pay well those who partake in this important endeavor.


The Management Board of the General Gmiles-Khsodim fund in Shershev

Chairman – Yisroel Visokyer
Secretary Yoysef Kiselev
Treasurer Yekhezkl Krugman
Members of Presidium -  Moyshe Elyohu Zilbershtein,

       Yoysef Pomeraniets,  Fayvl Granat


Credit committee - Iser Grikhman, Mikhl Kozyol, Shapsi Tenenboim


Audit committee - Binyomin Sini, Ruven Kantorovitz, Mikhl Kozyol,

                                                       Yankev Kleynerman