WORLD COMMITTEE IRGUN YOTZEY PLOTZK
for the BE-ISRAEL
(Plotzker Association in
A HISTORY OF AN ANCIENT JEWISH
Vice-Chairman, Plotzker Association in
The English part is not a complete translation of the Yizkor book of Płock but rather a synopsis, summary, and should be treated as such. there are 684 pages in Hebrew and Yiddish but only 96 pages in English.
I have translated and added the titles and page numbers of articles which do not appear in the English summary. I added the code "H" if article is in Hebrew, or "Y" if in Yiddish.
I have added also the sub-chapters to the various articles, which are not included in the original Table of Contents. On many occasions I have added from the Hebrew and Yiddish parts of the book also names of people mentioned in the articles, when that was possible, mainly in the Holocaust chapters.
I have also added the names of people who appear in the photographs to the captions in English which did not include these names, see pages
I wish to thank the Płock Landsmanschaft who encouraged me and gave me and JewishGen the permission to post the Płock Yizkor book in the Internet.
It is my hope that this book will serve as commemoration to the Jewish ancient grand and holy community of Płock, exterminated by the Germans during the Holocaust.
Ada Holtzman April 18th, 2004 – Yom Hashoah , 27 Nissan, 5764
Until the foundation of the State of Israel
The activities of the organization in the State of Israel
The book of Płock
The first immigrants ("olim")
from Płock in Eretz
Memories of my father home
Eng. Mordechai Shoshani
Yaacov Tzidkoni (Rechtman) – a Folklore researcher and a collector
Itzhak Barak (Zeligman) z"l - IDF Lieutenant Colonel
Mordechai Licht z"l - man of Ein Vered
Josef Rosenfeld z"l - fell in Gesher Haziv battle
Eliyahu Kruvi (Kapusta) z"l
Itzhak Rosenfeld z"l
Uri Kinamon z"l
Hersh Cohen z"l - among the founders of "Neve Shaanan" suburb
Yechiel Avivi (Fliderblum) z"l – words about his image
Yaakov Fishman z"l – the Halutz (pioneer) and educator
Members of the committee in 1966:
Pres. – Geo. Seeman
V-Pres. – Dr. K. Bach and C. Okolica
Treas. – S. Bornstein
Fin. Secy. – H. Lipner
Rec. Secy. – J. Gomberg
Trustees – M. Weitzman, J. Bernstein, N. Fink
Several details about the Płockers in Argentina
Last Letter from Menachem Banach, 30.3.1942
Australia, England, Los Angeles, Canada
ASSOCIATIONS OF PLOTZK JEW ALL OVER THE WORLD
We have no details regarding the first immigrants who left Plotzk for Eretz Israel in the years before the Zionist movement was founded. Only one of them is known: Rabbi Tuvia Rubinstein came to Eretz Israel in 1875, and was known in Jerusalem by the name "Tuvia the Plotzker".
Julian Golde came to Eretz Israel in 1909, and joined the Kinneret group.
In 1925 there were already about 30 former Plotzk people in the country and in that year they held their first rally in Tel-Aviv. Although they did not establish a permanent organization, they used to meet, arrange parties and visit each other from time to time. Most of them lived in Tel Aviv, where the Shoshani home served as their centre.
Organizational activity started only in 1945, when survivors of the war began to arrive in the country. A Committee with members from Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem was elected that year. Its primary function was helping newly arrived Olim (immigrants to Eretz Israel) and sending money and clothing to the survivors in Plotzk, France, Holland etc.
The organization came into contact with former Plotzk people in the U. S. A., Argentine and elsewhere, asking them to render assistance to the survivors.
Once the relief work came to an end, the organization suffered a setback. Only after 1949 a group of members: Itzhak Ben-Shai, Eliyahu Eisenberg and others constituted themselves as an executive committee. Their main task was to help Olim to settle in the new State by granting loans, finding suitable employment and housing for them.
The 28th of Adar - on which the Jews of Plotzk were driven from their town by the Nazis - was proclaimed as a Memorial Day. On that day all Plotzker Landsleit in Israel convene every year in Tel Aviv with their families and after a memorial ceremony and the "El Male Rachamim" prayer, the committee reports on its activities in the past year and a new committee is elected. The 1951 convention was attended by Itzhak Grinbaum, and the establishment of "Irgun Yotzei Plotzk" (the Organization of Jews from Płock) was then formally announced.
When after 1957 scores of Plotzk-born families arrived in the country, the association increased its activities and the newly established Loan Fund (based on the legacy of the late I. G. Burshtyn) made it possible to grant interest-free loans to all the needy arrivals.
The committee passed a resolution to publish a Memorial Book of Plotzk. Although two such books in Yiddish already appeared, one in the Argentine and the second by the late Shlomo Greenspan in New York, it was felt that a book in Hebrew was needed, since Hebrew is the language of all Plotzk people and their children in Israel.
Eliyahu Eisenberg, the Vice-Chairman of Irgun Yotzei Plotzk, was appointed as Editor and he worked together with an editorial board, consisting of Messrs Moshe Rubin (Chairman' of the organization), Itzhak Ben-Shai, Itzhak Tinski, Benyamin Galewski and the late Shlomo Greenspan.
The Committee found several other suitable ways to commemorate the Plotzk Jewish Community. - A forest of 2.000 trees was planted in the "Martyrs Forest" of the Jewish National Fund near Jerusalem. The funds for the planting of these trees were collected from landsleit in Israel and in U.S.A. A memorial plaque was put up in the Martyrs Chamber on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.
ITZHAK BARAK (ZELIGMAN)
Born 1893, a founder-member of "Maccabi" in Plotzk and gymnastics teacher at the Jewish Gymnasium. From 1923 on one of the leaders of "Hehalutz" in town, he went with wife and daughter to Eretz Israel in 1925. Continued in his profession and became active in the Hagana, where he was put in charge of the underground arms production. He foiled many attempts by the British to discover arms and ammunition, and was very popular with members of the Hagana. Was given the rank of Lt. Col. in the Israel army, and went on several missions to various countries, in order to purchase arms, although his health, and that of his wife Clara, had suffered during the time of the underground. Was active in the Plotzk Association and always tried to help those in need. Passed away in 1954.
Born in Plotzk, educated at the Jewish Gymnasium, where he interrupted his studies to go on Hachshara. At the age of 18 he went to Eretz Israel, worked first in Rishon Lezion and joined afterwards, with his wife and their two sons, the Moshav of Ein Vered. He devoted all his strength to the development of his farm under most difficult circumstances. During the disturbances of 1937 he was ambushed and murdered together with three friends by Arabs on their way home from the fields.
Born 1926 in Plotzk, was brought to Eretz Israel by his parents at the age of eight. Worked as a mechanic in British army camps and joined the Hagana in 1943, where he carried out several important tasks with great devotion. Was sent together with another 14 people to destroy a road bridge in Western Galilee – "Gesher Haziv" - where the whole group found their heroic death. He will always be remembered as one of the freedom fighters of Israel.
ELIAIIU KRUVI (KAPUSTA)
A member of Hehalutz in Plotzk went on Alyia in 1938. Worked at carpentry in Rishon Lezion, where he was socially active on behalf of his fellow-workers. Was killed in the bombing of Rishon Lezion during the War of Liberation (1948).
Came to Eretz Israel from Plotzk in 1925. Worked at a metal plant in Haifa. Was killed in the air-raid of the Tel Aviv Central Bus station in 1948.
Son of Frida, ne'e Makower, and Josef. Born 1935 at Kfar Hess, he received in his parents' home an education which led him to a life of pioneer ideals and agricultural work. Serving in the Israeli Defense Army he was among the members of a new border settlement, Amatzia. He lost his life on duty in 1956 in the Negev.
A wealthy merchant in Plotzk, which he left in 1921 together with his family to settle in Eretz Israel. He experienced great difficulties of adjustment, but stayed on in spite of many crises. A horse, gone wild in the streets of Tel-Aviv, caused his death.
YECHIEL AVIVI (FLIDERBLUM)
Born in Plotzk, educated at the local high school, joined "Hehalutz" and immigrated to Eretz Israel in 1926. A founder-member of Kibbutz Givat Hashlosha, afterwards worked in the building trade and with the Railways, where he was elected to the Workers Committee. Later on took a job in Haifa port. After the establishment of the State of Israel he founded a Histadrut company for the handling of imported goods which he headed till 1953, when he established the "Maritime Company" for Customs Brokerage. For many years chairman of the Customs Brokers Organization in Haifa and active in communal work. A serious illness brought his life to an all too early end.
A leader of Hashomer Hatzair in Plotzk. Studied at Warsaw University and was a teacher at the Prilutzky Hebrew Gymnasium there. Went to Eretz Israel at the end of the thirties, worked hard in building and porterage, but eventually returned to teaching. For many years Director of the Elementary School - in Bet Chanan, he educated the local youth with great love and devotion. A serious illness caused his death in 1966.
By Harry Lipner – Secretary
In the last few years of the 19th century many Plotzk Jews left Poland and emigrated to the United States of America. Because of economic necessity, and a desire to keep their social contacts with their fellow landsleit, they organized themselves into a society, under the above name, in the year 1893. The early leaders of this. group were A. Sanitsky, L. Langman, S. Kaufman, M. Heyman, I. Raphael and J. Safian.
The primary functions of the Society were to provide financial assistance when necessary, Sick and Sheva benefits, funeral allowances to the families, and Death Benefits to the widows of deceased members. In later years the Society took a great interest in general and national Jewish organizations, and is making annual contributions to the United Jewish Appeal, Histadrut, Hias, Ort, and Federation of Jewish Charities of Greater New York. Throughout its history our Society has been one of the most active and respected branches of the Federation of Polish Jews in America.
During the depression years of 1929-1930 many of our members were out of work and in great financial need. Through the generous contributions of some of our members a Loan Fund was quickly established. This fund took care of all our members in distress, and has been functioning satisfactorily ever since.
After the First World War our Society, together with a group of Plotzker landsleit, raised a fund of several thousand dollars to help our brethren in our home town. We also sent a sum of money to the Jewish Hospital in Plotzk, to establish a. ward in our honor.
After the Second World War we, together with our Ladies Auxiliary, again raised a fund of over $ 9000.00 which we distributed in cash, clothing, food packages, or machinery, to our surviving landsleit in Plotzk, DP Camps in Germany, Sweden, Canada, United States and Israel. This timely aid helped many individuals and families to start their lives anew, and to tide them over the initial difficulties of readjustment to post-war conditions.
With the establishment of the State of Israel we raised a substantial sum of money to help our landsleit in Israel establish a Loan and Relief Fund; plant over two thousand trees in the Plotzk section of the Martyrs Forest in the Judean Mountains, and prepare and publish a Memorial History in honor of the Martyred Dead of the Plotzk Jewish Community. During the past ten years the Society purchased over $ 5000.00 worth of Israel Government Bonds.
A few years ago, when the Society purchased new cemetery grounds, an impressive Memorial Gate was erected at its entrance to honor the memory of the Martyred Dead of Plotzk Jewry.
Throughout its long history the Society has been - blessed with able and devoted leadership. Among those who have already passed to the Great Beyond, besides those mentioned above, were the late Ex-presidents H. Domb, J. Wollman, D. Goldberg, L. Davis, I. Wisla, B. Dolman, M. Roberts, A. Rosenthal, S. Iron, and J. Gluckson.
The living Ex-Presidents, who have given much of their time and. efforts for the welfare of the Society, are S. Bornstein, Sol. Hyman, H. Lipner; L. Bomson, S. Sturman, M. Levy, J. Gomberg, S. Steinberg, B. Kosh, and M. Magnes.
At the present time the officers of the Society are"
Pres. - Geo. Seeman
V-Pres. - Dr. K. Bach, and C. Okolica
Treas. - S. Bornstein
Fin. Secy. - H. Lipner
Rec. Secy. - J. Gomberg
Trustees - M. Weitzman; J. Bernstein, N. Fink
Looking back at the record of the Society, extending over a period of seven decades, we see a record of many great accomplishments. We are proud of this record. The only sad note in this story concerns the ever-dwindling numbers in our membership. With the complete annihilation of the Jewish Community in Plotzk, and the complete stoppage of immigration to the United States, the main source of new membership has been destroyed. The younger people born in America consider themselves as American Jews only, prefer to join national Jewish organizations, and do not see any reason for continued existence of a traditional attachment to the memory of a Jewish community that exists no more. The active and older members of the Society can hardly 'find any fault in this attitude when we see a considerable number of refugees, born in Plotzk and now settled in the United States, turning a deaf ear to our appeals to join our Society.
By Bezalel Okolica
Shlomo Greenspan, one of those who helped us in obtaining material for this book, died unexpectedly on November 5th, 1966. He devoted many years of his life to the collecting of everything bearing any connection to Jewish life in Plotzk in the past. He frequently published articles on Plotzk's history in Yiddish journals in the U. S. A. and Canada, as well as a book on this subject.
The Scientific Institute in Plotzk decided after his sudden death, to award him a posthumous medal.
Shlomo Greenspan made arrangements to settle in Israel, but unfortunately he did not live to see the realization of his life-dream.
May his soul rest in life eternal.
The emigration of Jews from Plotzk to the Argentine started after the First World War and increased especially during the years of the Grabski crisis (1924-25). During those years the Plotzk people in the Argentine did not yet organize themselves, and only with the beginning of the Second World War were permanent activities started.
A temporary Committee was elected at a meeting which took place on November 10, 1939, at the house of Mr. N. Lerman, consisting of Messrs. M. Magnes - Secretary; S. Leibgot – Treasurer; N. Lerman and M. Lutenberg - organizers. The first General Meeting was convened in January 1940 and it elected a Standing Committee under the chairmanship of S. Pencherek. A hall was rented and a loan-fund for needy Plotzk immigrants established.
When the full impact of the Holocaust, which had wiped out the Jewish Community of Plotzk, became known, former Plotzk Jews in the Argentine did their utmost to extend assistance to the survivors. Funds, clothing and medical equipment were sent to the survivors jointly with the Plonsk and Nowy Dwor landsleit. The proceeds of various meetings and shows were also earmarked for this purpose.
Cultural activities were carried out in Buenos Aires, where a library was established, mainly through the efforts of the Hon. President of the Plotzk Association in Argentine, Mr. Israel Schreiber Halevi, who contributed many of his books to it.
A 246-page Plotzk Memorial Book, edited by Mr. Josef Horn in the Yiddish language was published by the Association in 1945.
More than 70 families who hail from Plotzk, mostly employees, artisans and some merchants, live today in the Argentine. Two of these have settled in Israel.
By Hanka Zimmerman
Scores of former Plotzk Jews lived before the second World War in Paris, where they studied and eventually settled down.
At the outbreak of the war some of them joined the anti-Nazi underground movement and found their death in the fight against the oppressors or in the annihilation camps.
The small group of Plotzkers, who survived, established there the "Association of Jews from Plotzk and vicinity", with the purpose of helping survivors financially and morally.
A touching last letter of a Plotzk Jew named Menachem Banach, who, before being put to death in Drancy concentration camp, wrote to his wife and daughter asking them to carry on and wait hopefully for a better life in a new world of peace and happiness, is quoted in the article.
About 30 families from Plotzk live in Australia, mostly in Melbourne. The activities preceding the publication of this book arose their interest and they raised monies and contributed material. At the head of this undertaking stood the well-known Mr. I. M. Oliver (Ilover), assisted by D. Kowal, R. Strzyg, G. Szwarc, S. Rechtman. Regular correspondence with the Plotzk Association in Israel has been started.
Five families from Plotzk live in London and vicinity. The contact with them is weak and actually only Michael Zylberberg, who occupies an important position in the Jewish cultural live of England, is taking an interest in the commemoration of the Plotzk Jewish Community and has supplied important material for this book. His visits to Israel and various European and American countries have enabled him to meet with many of our landsleit.
Approximately 15 former members of the Plotzk Community live in Los Angeles. They have met several times during the last two years thanks to the initiative of Benjamin Grey (Graubart), who has made great efforts to raise funds and assist us in our endeavors.
Ten families, who hail from Plotzk, live in Toronto and Montreal. Mr. Harry Koren (Korzen) maintains contact between them and the Plotzk Association in Israel.