We Remember the Zawierucha Family of Wyszogrod!

H. Rabin:Vishogrod, Memorial Book
Former Residents of Vishogrod Organisation, Jerusalem 1971, 316 pages
Yiddish, Hebrew, English


By Bella Zawierucha-Gutman

Contributed by Lois Jolson

Hanka ne'e Zawierucha with Zajnwil ("Zavcho") son of Noach Zawierucha from Plock, departing from Chipa the wife of Yechiel-Mayer Zawierucha who left to America. Zavcho Zawierucha Hay"d perished in the Holocaust.

I see you in all the glory and richness of my earliest youth.Here you are, stretching alongside the Vistula river, on which we look down from our town-on-the-hill. The long way up from the Vistula leads to the rectangular market-place. From there extend all the side-streets, large and small. For me all of it is unique, more beautiful, more friendly, more joyful than anything else; the houses and cottages, the shops of different size and cellars, and the shopkeepers, men and women. I see each baker and his family, each tradesman, each storekeeper and villagebuyer, each orchardist and watercarrier, all the members of the community and the notables.

All, all of them were upright, decent people, high-minded, possessed of the Jwish "over-soul". Broad is the flow of our Vistula, where it converges with the Bzura. It rushes noisily, carrying with it, every now and then, fragments of the bank belonging to the town or to the castlehill that rises aloof, by itself, and about which we have so many tales and dreams...

The castlehill is very high, and we look up to it, and see in it more and more the enchanted castle of the King Casimir the Great, with his - our - Esther'ke. It's a long time, nothing has remained of the castle, but it's so good to spin out the legends; everybody likes the legendary and the fanciful.

In the wintertime, the Vistula is locked in by the frost and waits silently for the spring, when we will wonder at its surging up, when the ice floes begin to stir more and more, noisier, quicker, and the flow carries away trees, bridges and huts.

Uphill from the Vistula, you can reach the shoamekers' street, so near to my aunt Hendel's, my uncle Shiye's and my cousins Moshe and Israel.

The small street continues to the Rembova street, ending in a row of wooden, red-daubed huts, bordering on the big deep "paroves" (ravines) that follow the whole width of the town, far away, to the Vistula, in one direction, and in the other one, farther still, up to the "stegenes" (uphill paths), this magnificent walk alongside the Vistula. Because of those big deep ravines that cut the town in two, two streets are connected by a bridge. It seems to us so natural, such a stone bridge in the heart of the small town. We think, sure all small towns are built like that.

Once can also ascend from the Vistula to the town center by stairs, leading to the synagogue, lose to the house where we are living, and to the house of Sara-Toibele, Ya'acov Moshe Goldman's wife. This is the home of several families; each one in its inherited quarters, together with the married children. There was the drygoods store of Goldman-Selman, and the hardware store of Lipman, and the button factory of Maisdorf-Popowski. About this house alone you could write a history book of human energy, wisdom, piousness, kindness, and progress.

Our window facing the synagogue was occupied on all Shabbat days and holidays by my friends: Mania and Sala Weingart, Henele Rotbart, Hadaske Baum, Salra Malka Kirshenbaum, Eta Lichtenstein, Sima Gmach, Haya Libe Gutfarb, Eidel Krongrad. Also kept company with us Tove Ides and Blime Lea Goldman. We liked them very much and welcomed them gladly.

We look out at the synagogue. The stout thick walls, the large green double door and tall windows, looked all week long like an enchanted castle, fast asleep. On Shabbat and holiday the synagogue came alive. It was full with people, and round it colorful children with their parents in Shabbat finery; everybody moved towards the synagogue.

From outside the synagogue did not look very tall, because it was square, big, with a roof with cupolas; but whoever entered it was wonderstruck with its height. (People said that it had been built deep under ground level, because it was forbidden for a synagogue to be higher than a church). Therefore you had to go down from the entrance by stairs. And then you saw a magnificent great work of art, an object of wonder and interest to everybody: The Easter wall, large, marvelously carved, the great pictures on the side walls; on the entrance wall, the lions, one of them being so lifelike, that it seemed to look at you from any direction.

The center of the ceiling looked like open heaven, with Shor-Habor and the Leviathan round it. From both sides stairs led up to carved balconies, where we used to stand to hear the shophar blowing. In the large entrance halls, on three sides, there were spiral stairs up to the women's part of the synagogue. Near them, there were small rooms for those coming to pray early. In the middle entrance hall there was still the pillory chain, of the "kuna".

Each time I was standing on the balcony to hear the shophar blowing, I used to wish to see that lion that used in former days to hand out the tora scrolls from the Holy Ark and let hear such a lifelike deep roar, it scared pregnant women. It proved necessary to take out the contraption which constituted its life. In my time, it was, unfortunately, dead.

Between the synagogue and the Beth-Midrash there was alarge square, where we, our crowd, used to play on workdays and set free our energy and skill.

Two gates were leading from the square into the yards of Weingart's and Rotbart's. There was the bakery, and Henele let us perform plays on the oven platform. Our first rehearsals were held there, and later on Shabbat afternoon we played in the Rotbart's drawingroom, before the whole family and guests, with great success.

We used to be much scared In the evenings when we were obliged to cross the dark house and the dark yard, where Gedalia Moshe, son of Yohere of the dairy, a handsome, tall, sturdy man, with magnificent black eyes, was standing quiet, deep in his thoughts, and from time to time let out with his loud, beautiful voice: -- I am Bar Kochba, where is Shulamit?

Every day at the same hour, the three roads to the Vistula come alive: the ship is coming, the only means of communication in summertime of the Plock-Warsaw route. On the landing pier, it grows lively with the arrival of the ship. Moshe Zlotnik gets busy. Porters get ready to earn a little money. Guests arrive and leave. Merchants bring goods from Warsaw. People see of guests.

On one of those beautiful summer days, when the ship was at the pier and some passengers on deck were poking fun at Jews, their joking wound up in betting, who of them would have the closest aim, with an apple, at a porter on the shore. And before long there was a tumult, loud shouting: the thrown apple has hit the broadboned porter Yitzhak Okovietz Rudlak. His broad, gray beard is covered with blood from his plucked out eye. Even before the German Nazis there were Polish hooligans.

In town itself, Jews and non-Jews live in peace side by side. Koblinski the Gentile says in Yiddish: " God save me from Gentile hands and Jewish heads". He also was rather inclined to go to law before a Jewish religious court than before a civil court.

The town draws its livelihood from the surrounding villages. At dawn, the village buyers, men and women, go out to the villages, in pursuit of their living. They buy up fowls, fodder, eggs, calves, cows. At nightfall they are seen coming back, tired, exhausted, one with a bundle, another driving a calf, another disappointed, emptyhanded...

There are some who do not go afoot; they have horse and wagon, and drive around like gentlemen-farmers. Such one, for instance, was Izie Lisser, son-in-law to aunt Malka - his whole appearance, too, was like a country-gentleman's. Izie and Hana had three beautiful sons, and like all parents, they very much wanted them not to follow their parents' profession, and wanted to push them further, out of the limited parochial p.

On market days, Tuesday and Friday, the farmers used to come to town and bring with them products for sale: fowls, fodder, eggs, fruits, calves, cows, horses, grain, hogs. There was a noisy commotion, of human voices, sounds of beasts; they areband selling, bargaining, running about. After the sale, each farmer made his own purchases, in turn: working and cookinutensils, foodstuffs, cloth, clothes. These are the important days providing the living for the whole week.

The Rembova street goes from the market place, continues out of town up to the highway, the Warsaw route turn, where Leibbish Gmach is living. Here one goes for a walk on Shabbat evenings. Here lives my aunt Malka and my uncle Itzhak. The whole large family gathers there for Shabbat tea: Zeinvel the son and wife, Hershl the son with wife Beile of the Kirshenshtein family and two children, daughter Feige with her husband Baruch-David Wisenberg, daughter Hana with her husband Ize Lisser and three sons, another son and daughter, aunt Hendel, uncle Shiye, Moshe and Israel, uncle Yukl with wife Malka.

Yukel Zawierucha, Wyszogrod

- - - - - -

My parents, Avraham and Yocheved Zawierucha, and the little children, none of them are left alive, all of them found their death as martyrs of Hitler's horrid mechanism.

Hershl Futerman was the victim of the earliest bombardment of the town; together with Menashe Grosdorf (Diabel's son), they sought shelter in a building, a burning bomb fell there, and they were both burned alive.

Some of the youth of the Lisser-Futerman family were martyrized in Nowy Dwor, the rest in the gas chambers.

We recall them, after they are dead.

Bella Gutman ne'e Zawierucha with family members

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Last Updated July 18th, 2003


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