Pages From The Zabludow Yiskor Book:

Zabludow; Dapim Mi-tokh Yisker-Bukh , editor: Nehama Shavli-Shimush, Published by Former Residents of Zabludow in Israel, 1987 (Hebrew) Translation from Hebrew by Ziva Rosenhand
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Tilford Bartman's Memorial Web Site: Remember Zabludow !

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The Old Synagogue of Zabludow: 1635-1939, a Model by Moshe Verbin, Kibbutz Yakum

Holocaust Chapter


Expatriates of Zabludow in Israel
Akiva Glarstein - Kibbutz Ramot Menashe, 1986

In every typical Jewish town in eastern Europe that the tradition, the Halacha, and the faith were a base for existence, and the community organization- the vision and the ambition to make an aliyah to Eretz Israel never ceased, and was an eternal dream.

Zabludow, as a very old town with past and Jewish tradition also had that dream of making an aliyah to Eretz Israel. In reality, everything stayed as a dream that doesn't get fulfilled, though, in the beginning of the century (1880-1914) few families and some individuals dared to go to Israel in all kinds of ways. Most of them came back after wandering, and because of absorption difficulties in difficult conditions that they found in the small, and poor settlement in Israel.

With this dream a considerable part of the part of the people left Zabludow. They immigrated to America and Argentina, which then offered a better and brighter future. After the first world war when the Zionist movement spread in Jewish communities and Zionist organizations, youth movements and the 'Chalutz' were established, there were temptations from youth and families to make an aliyah.

We know about some families that succeeded to make roots and stay in Israel. On the other hand some of those temptations were failures and many youth came back disappointed and frustrated.

During the years of 1920-1939 there were signs of organizational youth to make an aliyah, these youth are motivated by an inner impulse and ideology carrying in their heart a vision of changing the harsh reality that filled the town, and that is how students and some families arrived to Eretz Israel as pioneers, and they were lucky enough to be saved from the Holocaust and from the destruction.

Only after the second world war when most of Zabludow's community perished in the death camps and only a few were saved they started to arrive in Israel, in the framework of the second aliyah, and the absorption of the Holocaust survivors. These were the first ones that brought the bitter news about the destruction of Zabludow.

The veteran immigrants and the survivors got organized in the framework of 'the organization of the expatriates of Zabludow' that took care of them, and helped them and also kept in touch with our people around the world.

The organization, since then, is having an annual memorial gathering for the memory of the town in which the expatriates of Zabludow are gathering. The initiator and the active person in the first years was Shmuel 'Muli' Bernshtein, Z.L. As a Holocaust survivor that got to be in Zabludow after the destruction, Shmuel Bernshtein devoted himself to search out for every citizen of Zabludow. Took care of every new immigrant, and hosted every Zabludow expatriate tourist who came to visit. He was the one who initiated meetings and warm receptions. Muli, may his memory be blessed, also wrote poems and stories that once in a while we were privileged to hear, on Memorial days, and friendly meetings.

With the immigration of the family of Sara and Eliyahu Glarstein, may their memories be blessed, from Chile in 1953 the organization experienced a boost and renewal. The home of the Glarstein family, first at Varmisa St, then at Tarsat St, in Tel Aviv, became an address for every Zabludowian in Israel and abroad. Eliyahu Glarstein, may his memory be blessed, became a point of contact for every Zabludow expatriate, wherever they are, but especially from America and Argentina. The first mission was to establish a memorial for the martyrs of Zabludow in the Holocaust foundation [basement] at Mount Zion in Jerusalem where the list of all citizens of Zabludow who had perished in the Holocaust resided.

The next mission was to establish a Kupat Gmilat Hassidim [a charitable foundation] from a donation fund in the United States. The fund made available years of help and services and loans without interest.

The important mission was to publish the "Yizkor" book on Zabludow in Argentina. This goal was met with big success after a 10-year effort and in 1961 this "Yizkor" book was published and distributed among all Zabludowian expatriates in the world.

Eliyahu Glarstein, Z"L, who edited the book invested much effort and money to this goal. He was in constant contact with the exiles of Zabludow and took an active role in balancing the interests of the USA and Argentina expatriate communities regarding who would publish the book. The book consists of 500 pages, is considered today one of the highly regarded books among many books dedicated to hundreds of Jewish communities. The book contains original material and deep historical research on the generations of Zabludow and surrounding towns and much accurate information on the Holocaust period.

As times passes the population of the Zabludow expatriate community is shrinking in a natural biological way. Dear and committed people passed away and a few active young people from the town are taking their place. The memorial gathering that takes place annually was and still is a meeting of friends from the same town who gather from all over the country. The sadness in the memorial ceremony of the town that no longer exists blends somehow with the joy of the gathering and discussion among friends.

The meeting and the religious memorial ceremony was not a sufficient force to attract most of the Zabludow expatriates and there were some meetings that had poor attendance. This situation needs a new initiative.

Muli Bernshtein (Z"L) first, together with Nechama Shmush-Shmueli and the Glarstein family; Mina, Batya and Akiva, tried to change and give a new face to the memorial gatherings; - that the contents of the memorial service becomes, not just an expression of mourning for a perished town, but a meeting place to bring up memories and stories about people, places and special events of which the town was blessed and which characterized it.

The meetings took place consistently in a respected place in "Bnai Brit". The first part of the meeting was dedicated to the memorial ceremony and included: lighting of six candles and mentioning of the names of Zabludow expatriates who had passed away in Israel. For a few years, we had the pleasure of having the cantor Samech (Z"L) as the host of the ceremony, himself a Holocaust survivor. With his beautiful voice he recited a special "Yizkor" embellished with psalms and poetry that added honor to the event. With the passing of cantor Samech (Z"L), Avishai Dolinsky, a fellow from our town, accompanies us always in those ceremonies. Despite his ill health he makes great efforts and year by year he keeps the traditions of the ceremony.

After the religious ceremony, tea is served with some desert that the women prepare for this evening. This period is used for friendly talking and changing of addresses. The grandmothers show pictures of their successful, beautiful children.

The second part is mainly folklore and is dedicated to memories, stories and descriptions. In this section, it is worthwhile to mention the original descriptions of Eli Zesler from Haifa who would sometimes walks us through the streets and alleys of Zabludow, passing and peeking at every house, bringing up stories of each and every resident and describing their character with charm and emotion. Also, Nechama Shmueli, the living spirit of these meetings, contributed to the success of the get-togethers by describing the different types and personalities of Zabludow. Her excellent memory helped her describe in juicy Yiddish characters from the town that had been forgotten.

In these memorials we also had receptions for guests who came to visit in Israel. I should mention Yitzchak Zesler, the editor of the 'Yizkor book' in Argentina, Shmuel Zesler and his wife, the great teacher that we all remember from Tachkemonie School, that always provided us with poems that he wrote. We had the pleasure of hosting Batsheva Goldvasses, Shmuel Zesler's daughter, that together with her family settled in Israel, and many times we had the taste of her reciting her father's poems in Yiddish. We also hosted Pinia Korovski, Norton (Norsitz) family, and the Shmus family. They all contributed nicely to finance the publishing of the Zabludow book in Hebrew.

In the last few years we were blessed with the presence of 'Dooda', David Zabludovsky, that came to Israel from Argentina, the actor and the famous announcer from Zabludow-Bialystok. We had the pleasure of unforgettable nights of listening to Jewish folklore in reading and acting, especially parts from Shalom Aleichem that are always fresh and actual, and we hope to enjoy 'Dooda' for many more years.

We are trying to look for different forms and content in order to bring the young generation closer to its roots. Zabludow can be an origin of pride and honor to all of us. 'The pages of Zabludow ' in the Hebrew translation are one of the steps to fulfill this goal.

The Holocaust generation conceals in each and everyone's heart a cemetery, and each one of us has to battle with this inheritance according to its emotions and memories. We need to be able to separate from the cemetery that is in the heart- the sadness and the pain of a world that was ruined and doesn't exist anymore- with the beauty, the happiness, and the unique culture that characterized our town, that will never be forgotten.

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