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Sefer Vladimirets

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Moshe Burko

From: Sefer Vladimirets, 1963

Author: David Burko

** Webmaster Note: The following translation was generously provided by David's daughter, Yael Burko Glaser.  We have presented it here exactly as it was translated for us.

Moshe Burko

For a long time, my family kept the fact that my brother Moshe had passed away as a secret. They knew of my strong love, respect and appreciation for him. They were worried about the effect the terrible news would have on my health.

 I was a little boy when Moshe left home, but his heartwarming image always filled my soul. Whenever I thought about him, I always had warm feelings. For so many years I nurtured the hope that we would one day meet again, whether in the United States or in Israel.

Until the day I learned that he passed away, I used to savor every bit of information about him, every message he sent to me, every story people who knew him were able to tell me about him. People who knew him all appreciated his unique qualities.

I was proud of his good reputation. Hearing his name always brought to my mind a pleasant modest person, soft spoken, one who does not care about himself but rather cares for others.

I knew he did not have an easy life. He worked hard for a living. All he wanted was to provide a good education for his children. He loved his wife Esther, loved his family and loved the Jewish people. After World War II, he worked relentlessly for the survivors of our shtetl.

One of my friends from the Vladimirets, who spent some time in the USA, once told me, “Do you know what Berl Chizi told me about your brother?” He said that in the busy United States, in the country where everyone was running after respect and money, the one man he envied was Moshe Burko. Moshe was a man in whose house there was an enviable atmosphere. The fact that he had neither money nor wealth was unimportant. A man who had two children like Moshe had, a home where there was such love, such a man was worthy of envy. In our days, days where values are no longer important, days of a rat race after all that glitter, it was heartwarming to hear such things.

Moshe left our father’s home at the end of World War I. Those were times when young people were attracted to far away places. Moshe left the shtetl of Vladimirets seeking his happiness in the ‘big world’. He was twenty-two years old when he left for Argentina.

Like many others, he worked hard. He peddled merchandize from house to house, until he left Argentina with the help of some family members in Detroit, and went to the USA. His first steps were as a simple worker in a factory. He saved penny to penny in order to bring over his beloved Esther. It took years until she was able to join him, arriving by way of Canada.

Moshe remained a simple worker all of his life. As the years passed, his health started to fail him. Years of suffering fell upon him. He often expressed his suffering in his letters saying, “How I would have loved to leave the American big cities with their smoking chimneys, with their hustle and bustle. How I long to smell the scents of the open field and the woods in our small innocent shtetl”.

Moshe was devastated when the news arrived about the shtetl’s destruction and the demise of the family. He dedicated his days to help the survivors. He was one of the first organizers of the Assistance Committee in Detroit. He was the organization’s first secretary. Some of the Vladimirets survivors may still have some of his letters of condolence and encouragement – letters that promised that help shall come.

People who spent time with Moshe absorbed his kindness and benevolence, the radiance that shone from him. When they came to give me his regards, it was as if some of that radiance was reflected on me.

Moshe had much Naches from his children. They both acquired a name and fame in their respective professions, his son in medicine and his daughter in education.

After his beloved wife Esther passed away, Moshe was left sad and lonely.

You were dear to me, my brother Moshe, dear to all of us.

Your memory will be with us forever.


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