Wyszkow, Poland Yizkor Book

from SEFER WYSZKOW, ed. D. Shtokfish, 1964, Tel Aviv, pp. 161-162. Translated by David Goldman.



My father, of blessed memory, was one of the most respected men among the members of his profession. He had a butcher shop on Koshchushko Street. He owned a large house and was highly respected by his fellow men in the widest circles. He had fear of G-d and gave charity. One of his daughters was married to a rabbi. He [Itzel] left Vishkov after World War I because of an event that is worthy of being eternalized in a book since the reason for it came to be forgotten over the years.

It happened in 1910, when a regiment of Cossacks and its commander passed through Vishkov. As they went along Koshchushko Street, a large potted plant fell on the officer and he was badly injured. All the residents of the building, including my father, were arrested, and no one was permitted to approach them to speak with them because they were suspected either of  an attempt on the life of the commander or of opposing the stationing of the Cossack army in Poland. It was later revealed that this event was caused by one of the residents known as Blind Aharon, who was in fact blind. When Aharon heard the sound of the military band, he went over to the window of his apartment and caused the pot to fall.

The guards wanted to take advantage of the situation to squeeze money from everyone, and wouldn't even let the blind fellow open his mouth. Everyone was poor except for my father, who was considered wealthy. After a few days, seven of the prisoners worked out among themselves that they would all denounce my father for being the cause of the incident so that they would all be freed. They were convinced that my father had the money demanded by the Cossacks for the Jews to be freed temporarily. Indeed, during the questioning they all declared that my father was the one who threw down the potted plant. They were all freed, and my father was taken away to the "fortress" in Warsaw.

During the pre-trial investigation they put together the strictest case against him. The prosecutor told the judge that this crime either deserved the death penalty or in the event the commander recovered, it deserved a lighter sentence - exile to Siberia. In town, no one knew where they had taken my father, and the police were forbidden to publicize it until the investigation was completed. There were rumors that they would take him to St. Petersburg and have the trial there; others said that he was no longer alive.

 It happened that my father was able to throw down from the Pavyak [prison] a note on which he wrote his location and the whole story of his tragic situation. He promised that whoever would give over the note would be rewarded. The Jew who brought me the note received his reward. I immediately traveled to Warsaw, and for a large amount of money I was able to get to him and speak to him with the assistance of a lawyer; with a bribe of a few thousand rubles for one of the senior commanders I was able to arrange that the commander assure that the trial be postponed for a full year and that the lawyer would submit a request to let my father out on bail. On the way out of the court, it was arranged with the police that my father would go into the corridor by himself, and from there would disappear. The commander stipulated a condition that my father never return to Wyszkow. Everything was arranged to get him out and set him free.

When my father returned some time later to Wyszkow, we had to bribe the police commander not to report my father's arrival in Wyszkow and arrange that the commander would get his bribe every month. The commander promised that if there were an inquiry into the matter he would tell us ahead of time, and my father would be able to escape. I was the only person in our family who knew about this situation. We were always living in fear, and prepared to travel to America. This plan took several years to accomplish, but we finally got to the land of freedom and liberty - New York.

His family was large. One daughter was married to a rabbi, and they emigrated to America in 1928. In late 1959, near the end of his [the rabbiís] life, when he was already paralyzed,  he moved to the Land of Israel and died in Ramat Gan in 1961.

Itzlís son, Zev Radziminsky lives in New York together with his wife Rachel née Frieder. They built a large family and have been involved in community work for many years. They are the leaders of the Wyszkow Society. They were responsible for sending funds to Talmud Torah and yeshiva institutions for several decades. In recent years they have assisted new immigrants to Eretz Yisrael with Maot Chitim [Money for Passover], and after his visit in 1959, he was responsible for sending several thousand dollars for the Gemilut Chesed [Charity Assistance] Fund and the establishment of Beit Wyszkow [Wyszkow House] in Israel.

Michael Tobin
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