We Remember Bialystok, a Town and a Mother of Israel!

Translated by Eli Lapid, courtesy of the Bialystok Landsmanschaft ("Vaad") in Israel

In Memory of the Burnt Ghetto We Built Here a Life Monument that Will Never End
Collected and Written by Ilana Ya'acobi, the Bureau Manager of the
Municipality of Yehud

Out of the thousands of Jewish communities that were destroyed in the Europe during the Holocaust, the Bialystok survivors are the only community that succeeded in perpetuating their destroyed community with a beautiful and lively neighborhood with cultural and educational institutes; a culture hall with commemoration rooms filled with books, pictures, testimonials, documents and letters regarding the communal life in the past and its history in the Holocaust; an elderly club, a library, synagogue music center and an impressive monument for the people who perished in the Holocaust.


The Hall of Bialystok, Yehud Israel

All of the streets commemorate outstanding public personalities of virtue who were active in Bialystok such as: Rabbi Mohaliver, Professor Sukenik, Alpert, Moshe Hassid in addition to the heroes that rebelled and fought the Nazi oppressor such as: Tenenbaum, Melamed, The Ghetto Warriors and more.

Kiriat Bialystok of today is a neighborhood in which a 2nd and 3rd generation to the Bialystok survivors were raised; generations that are partners to the initiative of the seniors, who continue the legacy of the glorious heritage of the Bialystok Jewry.

In 1950, only a few years after the Holocaust, the Yehud council complied with the Organization of Bialystokers in the United States and set aside land for the establishment of a new neighborhood. This neighborhood is Kiriat Bialystok in Yehud; a living testimony to a 60,000 people community that was almost completely destroyed.

In the Jewish city of Bialystok lived Jews who wished to preserve their heritage and to develop Jewish cultural life. Bialystok produced artists, lawyers, writers, actors, archeologists, industrialists and education people.

  1. A Hebrew gymnasium was built there that was a Zionist educational institute, which struggled for its existence and survived distinguishably under a hostile rule and during 20 years between two world wars; it acted as a creation home for Jewish youth that streamed into the Land of Israel. The city also had many other Jewish schools.
  2. It hosted an extensive amount of activity for training Jewish youth for immigrating to Eretz Israel through the Zionist movements.
  3. It developed Jewish Industry and more...

The great privilege of the people of the City of Bialystok is that throughout the city's history, they took a very active role in the fulfillment of the Zionist idea and the establishment of the State of Israel.

The survivors of that glorious community organized in 1949 and raised donations from their Jewish brothers throughout the world in order to establish a new neighborhood in the Land of Israel, which will intercept the remainders of the few survivors and will serve as a living monument for the community that was destroyed. After they received the land in Yehud, they built 220 houses, which homed the survivors of the City of Bialystok in Poland and along with them they built cultural, educational and religious institutions. Today, the Kiria (Kiriat Bialystok) holds 450 houses surrounded with vegetation and well-groomed gardens.

In the 1950's the Bialystok Organization established an industrial building "Arlitex" (today's name) with the purpose of supplying employment to the new residents that come to the Kiria. Later on, the Organization was forced to sell the building due to operational problems.

Since the establishment of the Organization of Former Jewish Residents of Bialystok and its Surroundings in Israel, it acts consistently and intensively in any way to commemorate the community that was annihilated.

The organization established 20 years ago a social club for senior citizens. Many senior citizens come to this club and take part in many different cultural activities.

In 1993, the organization established over the remaining relics of the Jewish cemetery in the Ghetto, a monument for the fallen in the Bialystok Ghetto uprising, who were killed by the Nazis. This cemetery was allocated to the Bialystok Jews when the Ghetto was built because it was not possible to bury the dead in the Jewish cemetery that was left outside the walls of the Ghetto.

The change in the political situation in Eastern Europe opened an opening to the creation of a connection between Kiriat Bialystok in Yehud and the City of Bialystok in Poland. In May 1994 a delegation from the City of Bialystok including the Mayor of Bialystok and the governor of the Bialystok district visited Yehud. The connection that was established and the visit enabled to reconstruct and nurture several Jewish sites that were destroyed in Bialystok, Poland during the war and after it.

In 1995 it was possible to build a grand monument in Bialystok, Poland in memory of 2000 Jews that were imprisoned by the Nazis in the great synagogue on June 27th 1941 and were burnt alive. This day will forever be remembered by those who survived the inferno. These survivors tell that on the first day of the German soldiers' breaking into the city, all of the men who could be caught in the streets or taken from their homes, were gathered and brought to the great synagogue at the center of the city and the Nazis burned the synagogue with all of the men inside.


The Memorial in Bialystok with the only remain of the grand synagogue

The Hall of Bialystok
17 Tennenbaum St.
Kiriat Bialystok
Yehud 56210
ISRAEL
Telephone:
: 00-972-3-5360037
The Organization of Former Jewish Residents of
Bialystok and its Surroundings in Israel ("The Israeli Landsmanschaft "Vaad")
Jakob Kagan, Chairman, Telephone: 052-5243896 Email:
y.kagan1@gmail.com

 

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Last updated November 2nd, 2010, (originally posted on October 8th, 2003)