We Remember Bialystok, a Town and a Mother of Israel!
Translated by Eli Lapid, courtesy of the Bialystok Landsmanschaft ("Vaad") in Israel
From Bialystok to Kiriat Bialystok
Whether you are new or old to Bialystok, you are probably curious to the origin of the name Kiriat Bialystok and who are the names behind the streets of the city.
Well, here are the facts in brief. There used to be a Jewish city named Bialystok; a huge reservoir of Jewish cultural and industrial creating power (established in North-East Poland in the 15th century). The city's Jewish settlement was almost completely erased in the Holocaust. The purpose of Kiriat Bialystok is to symbolically perpetuate the continuing existence of the exiled city. In contrast to the large city- our small town (Kiria); In contrast to a large existence- our existence and actions; in contrast to about 100,000 Bialystok Jews- our families here. It's only right that each one of us come to this place instead of the thousands there and the more prosperity that the town will gain and the higher its social-cultural level will rise- thus, the commemoration work will prove its righteous destiny. A Jewish existence shall not be erased in the world, for it will never find successors. Moreover, the memories of the deceased reinforce the lines of the successors.
Kiriat Bialystokis a neighbourhood located in the municipal jurisdiction of the Yehud local council. From the beginning of its establishment in the early 1950's, its establishing was possible due to American charity funds from Bialystokers. The money was given as loans for the settlers in the suburb and as donations for the establishment of public institutes and infrastructures such as: synagogues, community centers and more.
Presently, the Kiria is in the process of internal expansion. A neighborhood of private houses or two-family houses; about 46 square meters of residence space intended to develop an agricultural farm (small holding) has transformed in the past decade into urban building areas and hence, populating and building areas that had for a long time now, seized to be small holding farms.
Even the population has been significantly varied, because in addition to houses of sons building in their parents' grounds, house and lots were sold to any person willing to pay the price.
The Kiria extends over 14 streets and alleys; from Ben-Gurion Street, which extends against the plots and orchards of the Moshav Magshimim cooperative settlement through Kaplinksi Street, which connects to the comprehensive high school in the North and all the way to Weitzman Street in the west. The Kiria is bounded in the south by Alpert Street.
Avigorous public activist who acted extensively for the good of Israel from his home in New-York; one of the founders of the trust funds for the establishment of Kiriat Bialystok; a contributor and a fund-raiser; his contributions established two kindergartens in a street that carries his name.
Moshe Hassid Street
Named after Moshe Hassid, David Lubin's grandfather, who wished to honor his scholar and righteous grandfather, whose memory he preserved and nurtured. David Lubin was a man of considerable achievements from Bialystok; one of the founders of the trust fund for the establishment of Kiriat Bialystok in the 1950's. He diligently worked for the advancing of the Kiria as a contributor and as a fund-raiser. The monument in the square against the synagogue was built with his donation funds.
Named after Dov Chazanovitz (1844-1919), a Bialystoker physician of considerable achievements and especially the physician of the poor; attended their illnesses and poverty and fought for their living conditions. He was a delegate in the Zionist Congresses. He transferred his immense Hebrew library to Jerusalem. The books that he contributed constituted the core for the foundation of the National Library near the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. We should see his devotion to the salvation of the Hebrew books in the Diaspora and their bringing to Jerusalem as his purpose in life; for this purpose he sacrificed his private life and happiness. He died of hunger as a refugee during World War I.
The streets of Tenenboim, Melamed and the Bialystok Ghetto Warriors are tightly connected to the uprising on the verge of the toal last liquidation, which broke out in Ghetto Bialystok on August 16th, 1943.
Mordechai Tenenbaum, a shifting commander of the Jewish fighting force; moving from Ghetto to Ghetto and organizing resistance forces, weapon hidden bunkers, intelligence networks and a route for smuggling food and weapons. He probably died in the bunker on 13 Diwla Street, but there are also other versions. Even the heroism of the desperate- the heroism of Mezadah- is a great heroism. Therefore, Mordechai Tenenbaum is a distinguished resistance hero and is admired even in the eyes of the fighting and triumphing Israel.
Itzhak Melamed symbolizes the heroism of the individual and it is unfortunate that he could not set an example to all of the helpless imprisoned individuals in the Ghetto. In the days of the first deportations to Treblinka on February 2nd, 1943, Yizhak Melamed resisted the S.S. men who tried to force him out of his home. He sprayed sulfuric acid in the eyes of his assailant. The blinded German shot and killed his German colleague. Yitzhak Melamed was forced to hand himself over to the Germans following an ultimatum given by the Germans to execute 5000 Jewish hostages. He was hung in an empty square opposite his home while verbally defying his executioners.
This is the longest and most populated street in the Kiria and it is named in honor of Rabbi Shmuel Mohaliver (1824-1898).
Rabbi Shmuel Mohaliver was one of Russia's greatest Rabbis; one of the founders of the Hibat Zion movement and one of the forefathers of the religious Zionism. He possessed a comprehensive Torah education and called for the involvement of scholars in the Jewish Nation through the Shivat Zion enterprise. He praised the unification of Torah and wisdom. Also, he encouraged Jews "no to detest handcrafts". From the very beginning he supported the initiative of the Hovevey Zion movement to institutionalize immigration associations to Eretz Israel and even influenced, together with others, Baron Rothschild to support the first settlements.
With the influence of Rabbi Shmuel Mohaliver, the Bialystok Jews settled in Petach Tikva. He is also responsible for the establishing of the Mizrahi Movement (the spiritual center in 1893).
The street is named after Eliezer Lipa Sukenik, a great Bilalystoker (1889-1953) and the father of Yigal Yadin. Eliezer Lipa Sukenik was known as an archeology professor and one of the founders of the archeological research in Eretz Israel since 1912. Sukenik was devoted to teaching and served in the Hebrew Regiments who fought in the World War I. After the war he completed advanced archeology studies in Berlin. Many sites in Israel were excavated under his guidance and management. Among those excavations are the remains of Beit Alfa Synagogue, the third wall in Jerusalem and more.
Yigal Yadin is his eldest son and successor in the scientific field; he left after him many scientific publications.
Named after Shlomo Kaplinsky, another well-known Bialystoker; an engineer and an outstanding leader of the Zion Workers Party. Kaplinsky was able to get the consent of the Socialist International to the joining of the Zion Workers' treaty. Kaplinsky was one of the first activists for cooperative agrarian settling in Eretz Israel and was one of the founders of Merhavia. He was a member of the Zionist management and the manager of its settling division. From 1932 and until his last day in 1950 he was the president of the Technion in Haifa.
As you can judge for yourself, we are looking at a wide variety of people of considerable achievements; amothem aremeas Professor Sukenik and Shlomo Kaplinsky; Men of vision such as Rabbi Mohaliver; rebels such as Mordechay Tenenboim and Yitzhak Melamed and with them a physician of the people and a fighter for the Hebrew writing.
Up to this point we have seen the basic data. However, there is much to add and if we have managed to arouse you curiosity- try to find out more details.
These are some of the names possessing Bialystok uniqueness, which name streets in Bialystok together with streets such as Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, Ha'Etzel, Ha'Shalom and others. These street names were set by the local council in memory of the nation's great people.
The Hall of Bialystok
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Last Updated October 8th, 2003