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Sefer Vladimirets

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The Old Home

From: Sefer Vladimirets, 1963

Author: Taibel Sandberg

** Webmaster Note: The following is a translation from Hebrew by Laia Ben-Dov as sponsored by George Zilbergeld. Additional clarifications are provided in parenthesis ( ).


The old home.  That is what we call you, city of our birth.  And our heart goes out to this home, to its memories, to the Sabbaths and holidays.  I return, certainly, to things that many others write about.  And this only proves how much truth there is in this fact and in these things, how they are engraved in our hearts.  Consequently, we will repeat this truth, the descriptions of the Sabbath and holidays, and we will not feel that it is a burden.

Yes, here I see, as many others certainly see, the return of my father from the synagogue on Friday night, his happy blessing, the Sabbath blessing, which emanates glory and exaltation.  I see my mother, with the white silk scarf on her head; the children standing around and hearing my father's Kiddush.  The challot.  The entire house was filled with a special spirituality, and even after midnight, father would still be sitting and learning in his pleasant voice.  Voices like these were heard in many homes.  I would awaken to this song; it would fill all of the rooms of my soul, and I would not be able to fall asleep again…

Here, I am looking at a photo of the parade on the day of the Balfour Declaration – it awakens so many memories.  And they are so very precious!  Old people, young people and children, all of them marching in the parade celebrating the news of the promise that a national home will be given to the Jewish nation – everyone's face is directed toward the community's synagogue, the most faithful witness of our longings for the Chosen Land, in which the deepest expressions and wishes for redemption are found every single day.    How wonderful this parade to the synagogue is!  But only a few of those seen in the picture merited to fulfill their dream and their longings – most of them were lost in the abyss of the Holocaust and the sufferings that the Oppressor of our generation cast over our nation with such great cruelty. 

How many were the manifestations of assistance and charity in our town:

During World War I, when the front was 15 kilometers from us, and the shortages in our town were great, we did not rest and we were not quiet. We established a committee to help the needy.  Many members registered in this organization, and each one paid a membership fee.  With this money, we helped the needy as much as possible.  The years of the War were also years of awakening.

I remember David Tannenbaum, Natan Tscherniak, Shlomo Goldberg, Avraham Garmarnik – all of them were dedicated heart and soul to Zionism, and they also were members of the first Zionist committee.  Its activities were many:  they organized the children of the town in an organization called "Children of Zion," gave evening lessons in Hebrew, established a library, a dramatic club and a reading room – all these were the activities of the committee and the Zionists of the town.  I was also among the participants in these activities.

Of a large family with many branches, only I remained.  I also knew so many heavy losses – my two precious sons, Hershele and Zelik'l, were lost in Russia…

We were a family of six sisters and one brother.  All of them were lost – of them, three sisters and their families, and my brother and his family – were lost in Vladimirets, the others in other places. 

We were a large family, and we celebrated the wedding of our little sister, the youngest, Mindel, for eight days.  We decorated the heads of our father and mother with wreaths woven of gold, and all of the children and grandchildren danced around them and sang the song "Di M'zinke Oisgegeben."  This sister of mine was happy.  The love of her soul became her life's partner, and their life was full of love.  And then the Oppressor came and tore their happiness into shreds.

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