During the years 57355745 (19751984)
And are memorialized in our annual gatherings.
|May their memories be a blessing:
From among the tens who survived the Holocaust and came to Israel, and also from those who succeeded in coming to the Land even before the Holocaust death has already taken no small number. Let us honor their memories and note their names, one by one, in order of their passing:
Berger, Yehudit wife of Aharon Yosef
Boas, Avraham son of David
Bornstein, Avraham Mordechai son of Yerachmiel
GotstatYakir, Chesia daughter of…
Meltzer, Yosef husband of Yocheved, nee Weksler
Globichover, David husband of Chana, nee Ickowitz
Landau, Yosef son of Rabbi Dov Landau of Stryków
Domnakwitz, Yaakov husband of Chaya, nee Cukier
FlamJozpowitz, Luba daughter of Yeshayahu Jozpowitz
Berger, David son of Aharon Yosef
Skosowski, Zeev son of Moshe
Klurfeld, Meir son of Avraham
FisherShmukler, Esther daughter of Avraham Leib, wife of Wolfe Fiszer
ShapanBori, Dvora daughter of …
Friedman, Sonia wife of Avraham
Konski, Shlomo son of Yeshayahu
HershkowitzYakir, Chaya wife of Avraham Yitzchak Hershkowitz
Zilberberg, YehudaLeibik son of Yitzchak Meir
|Blank, Menachem son of Moshe (in the United States)
Karpman, Simcha son of Shmuel, husband of Esther Sher
Baum, David son of Shmuel Avraham Abba
by Shimon Kanc
(Excerpts from a lecture at the annual Zgierz memorial gathering, 17 Tevet 5745, December 19, 1985, Tel Aviv)
It is not easy to describe in a memorial book the distinctness and uniqueness of one city or town or another. We always turn to the general that characterizes all other Jewish communities. There were cheders, schools, Beis Midrashes, Hassidic shtibels, youth organizations and libraries everywhere; but every city has something that differentiates and separates it from others. However, there is a difficulty in defining that which is characteristic specifically of that community. On the other hand, in Zgierz, one's eyes immediately go to what is unique. In the Book of Zgierz, one immediately sees the uniqueness of the settlement, both in the whole, and also in separate people, simple Jews from the entire year, and personalities.
What must one have to be a personality? The question relates quite well to Zgierz, a city that gave forth many personalities, Orthodox and worldly, famous in the world. However, there were many more nonfamous personalities, creative people in all realms. The element of creativity was especially characteristic of Zgierz Jews, and that is the test of the personality.
I am convinced that the future historian will unroll a wide canvass, a larger picture of Jewish life in Poland according to the example of one city from which one can learn a great deal. Whether it is a historian or a writer who wishes to create something from the world that has disappeared, I would hold up Zgierz as an appropriate example.
Zgierz embodied everything that characterizes Jewish life, from the Jewish reality of previous generations. In Zgierz, one could find the expression of all Jewish
forms of life, manners, and spiritual streams. This come to expression in all realms: in work and business, in education and culture. Jews in Zgierz were involved in all types of work, and ran largescale enterprises. They went with their merchandise to the farthest regions of Czarist Russia. They were overflowing with initiative and activity, from the smallscale handworkers to the large manufacturers. Thus, the Jews felt in their souls and spirit that Zgierz was their natural place of residence. The ways of life in the home and on the street, in the sacred and the secular, were throughandthrough Jewish.
The first volume of the Book of Zgierz, a heavy book of 800 pages, already presents a broad picture of that succulent Jewish life. One feels the vibrant and simultaneously modest and clean life. The second volume broadens the picture, presents new passages, portrays and tells about new people, but did the second volume already cover everything? No and this is to a large degree it is specifically after the second volume that the feeling is to strengthen that no creation, even of a thousand pages, can capture the greatness and beauty of Jewish life. When one reads the writings of Mr. Wolfe Fisher, both in the Yeshiva and Beis Midrash, and with the Zionist youth, the community appears before one's eyes like a spring of enthusiasm for high ideals, national and general humanity, as for scholarship in Hassidism, morality, and fine traits.
Zgierz gave forth geniuses, rabbis, and Rebbes, but also great writers who created treasuries of Jewish culture. I know of no other city that gave forth such a large percentage of intellectuals, as Zgierz contributed to the rich Jewishness of Poland. This is all brought down in both volumes of the Book of Zgierz. The work of Wolfe Fisher is especially unique, written with great talent and great love. His descriptions of the originality and regionality of the advancement of Zgierz especially stands out. That uniqueness is the contributor to the organic whole of the Jewish monolith in Poland.
In the process of editing the manuscripts, I had the opportunity to get to know well several participants, especially Mrs. Chaya Halperin, who was the most active in preparing this book. She left Zgierz when she was very young, and I was left with the impression that she possesses all fine traits
that are described in the book about the Jews of Zgierz: the chief qualities that characterized the Zgierz Jews are refinement and practicality, qualities which do not contradict each other. The Jews of Zgierz were practical with a longing for the additional soul. The Jews of Zgierz were known in the Jewish world for these dignified qualities, and were finely exemplified in the local ideal woman with so much initiative in her work.
In truth, the memory of how terribly and cruelly such a superb Jewish community was cut off rests sadly and sorrowfully upon the heart. Zgierz is no more.
Those who remain, the survivors, recite Yizkor and write books. At times, perhaps the doubt tears through the heart: will those for whom the books are written, the future generation, read them? These are sad thoughts that come upon those who have given up many days and nights to write and collect the means to print and publish the books.
To them, the people who have given parts of their lives for this purpose, I wish to point out the phenomenon that in Israel, more and more schools are adopting destroyed Jewish communities. This is done with the help of the Yizkor Books. The students study the Yizkor Books, and we are witness to the fact that they are amazed by the new world that appear before them; world about which they knew very little. It is worthwhile to become familiar with the work that is written by the students, and with the great level of respect they show toward the world of truly great Jewishness that unfolds before them.
There is indeed a mystique in the awakening interest of the third and fourth generation. Previously, it had seemed that we had not succeeded in piquing their interest in our horrendous experiences or with the high moral and cultural level of our parents and grandparents. It is good, therefore, that the memory books have the mysterious power to awaken the interest of the future generations in the cutoff lives of our forebears.
Through the Yizkor Books, we also recite our collective Kaddish for those who were murdered, for our nearest and dearest. Thus, both holy volumes of the Zgierz book serve as a Kaddish for Jewish Zgierz, accompanied with the ancient Jewish adage: through your blood you shall live!
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