Bielsk Podlaski

Chuna Tikotzky: We Will Not Forget the Bielsk that Was Destroyed

Chuna Tikotzky was a prominent figure in Bielsk Podlaski, dedicating himself to the well-being of the town and its people. He played a significant role in both the communal and civic life of the town. His involvement in educational, municipal, and ideological activities is written about in chapters of the Bielsk Podlaski yizkor book. Chuna took pride in maintaining and improving the town's appearance. Said to have been the sole contractor for the town, he was responsible for many public works including the first installation of electricity in Bielsk. The chapter About Chuna Tikotzky and his background says: "Chuna reached the peak of his satisfaction when he installed electricity in the city and when, for the first time in its history, Bielsk was added to the network of civilization and progress."

PDF of
              Chuna Tikotzky letter - August 14, 1945Having survived the Holocaust in Russia, Chuna returned to Bielsk Podlaski immediately after the war. Two letters he wrote from Bielsk were published in the yizkor book. The first, titled "In Bielsk after the Destruction," dated July 8, 1945, can be found on page 448.

The second, titled "We Will Not Forget the Bielsk that Was Destroyed," dated August 14, 1945, can be found on page 445. A photo copy of the original letter, apparently written on ledger paper, can be found in Yad Vashem's archive.1 To make the writing more legible,
the pages have been enhanced in a PDF file. Clicking the image to the left will download the PDF.

This second letter was also published in the Morgn Frayhayt (Morning Freedom) New York Yiddish language newspaper on page eight of the October 7, 1945, edition. An image of the page that the letter appeared on is below. Two photographs accompanied the letter. One of them, seen on page 389 of the yizkor book, had the caption: “The caption under the photograph reads: We are burying the murdered Jews at the Jewish cemetery in Bielsk....” The other photograph shows a row of 12 coffins with the caption: “Underneath the gruesome picture we read the words: We ourselves made the twelve aronim [coffins] for the martyrs, whom the Nazi murderers killed in Bielsk..."

A brief response from the United Bielsker Relief, written by Eliyahu Samuels, was published
in the Morgn Frayhayt at the bottom of the letter. It says that although the organization had not been able to establish direct connection with anyone in Bielsk, relief for survivors had been sent and a special meeting was to be held on October 21st to continue relief efforts.

An example of the relief efforts undertaken by the United Bielsker Relief is captured in this notice published in The Forward on February 28, 1945:

Notice of Br. 338 A. R. [abbreviation for Der Arbeter Ring, דער אַרבעטער־רינג, The Workmen’s Circle]

The United Bielsker Relief Committee, in which Branch 338 Workmen’s Circle is a member, lets us know that the campaign to collect clothes for our surviving sisters and brothers in Bielsk is in full swing.

[One of the member organizations of United Bielsker Relief was the Bielsker Bruderlicher Unterstitzungs Verein.]

A more detailed response to Chuna, dated October 11th, can be read on page 523 of the yizkor book.

The page in Morgn Frayhayt that Chuna's letter appeared on is titled “In the landsmanshaftn and societies,” with the letter centered just below the page header. Clicking the image below will take you to a digitized copy of Morgn Frayhayt in The National Library of Israel’s Historical Jewish Press online collection of hundreds of searchable newspapers in many languages including over 300 Yiddish newspapers.
Chuna’s nephew, David Farber-Argaman, wrote a biography on page 199 in the yizkor book titled “About Chuna Tikotzky and his background.”
In a chapter on page 478 titled "The Jewish Folk School in Bielsk – A Second Home," Chuna can be seen in a group photo taken in front of the Jewish elementary school in Bielsk. He is mentioned elsewhere in the yizkor book, including in “Victims of the Communist Idea in Bielsk” on page 363. One of the volunteers who translated Hebrew chapters of the yizkor book into English, David Ziants, found online records of Chuna’s immigration to and grave in Israel.

Chuna arrived in Israel on November 17, 1947. The immigration record is available for free from this page on the MyHeritage website. Transcription of the record reads: Name: חונה טיקוצקי    Chuna Tikotzky | Birth: year 1890 | Former residence: פולניה    Poland | Departure: מרסיל    Marcel | Arrival: November 17, 1947 | Residence: תבור 23, חיפה , Tabor 23, Haifa | Ship:מרטון   Merton | Relative Name:א טיקוצסקי   A. Tikotzasky (or E. Tikotzasky) | Relative Residence: Tabor 23, Haifa | Publication: 1947 | Page: 604

He died on November 1, 1963. A photograph of his grave can be seen on Gravez and on the website of the Hof HaCarmel Cemetery, Haifa, Israel. A transcription of the grave reads: Line 1: Here is buried; L2: the dearest person; L3: חנא (חנן) טיקוצקי Chuna (Channan) Tikotzky; L4: Son of reb Moshe Binyamin and Esther Mina; L5: 5653-5724

Source: Morgn Frayhayṭ - מארגן פרייהייט, 7 October 1945, from the Historical Jewish Press collection founded by the National Library of Israel and Tel Aviv University, courtesy of: The New York Public Library. This image is presented in accordance with the permissions of the National Library of Israel.

(1) Source:    Return to text above
Used in accordance with Yad Vashem's Terms and Conditions.
Item ID 4021434 - File Number 614
Record Group 0.75 - Letters and Postcards Collection
Date of Creation - 14/8/1945
Retrieved on: February 27, 2024

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Updated February 27, 2024
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