Compilation of Memories (Memoirs)
Land swindle continues
(Grandfather has underlined the following page as not being interesting because it is about land)
We received the notification that Keren Kayemet decided to buy the land of Kfar Metzer. This land belongs to a Jewish institution in Haifa that has 2,200 dunam. I and my friend Dov Weiss approached KKL to buy our share of 109 dunam that was listed in my name in the Tabu in Beit Shean in 1925. With great effort, we managed to make a profit of 210 lei and split it between us and Mr. Moshe Hochman. It cost each of us 50 lei. In addition, the share of Moshe Katz and I.L. Freifelder, owners of the field, was registered and then passed over to Z.N. after they died. The number in Tabu was 421/141.
There was 700 dunam of land in Kfar Metzer that we took from the Egyptian Count for Caspi and the American Company, according to Caspi’s manipulation. We invested about 1,000 lei and a larger amount that we received from the Count, stolen from the mortgage on my name and those of Moshe Hochman, Schechterman and Pinchas Margalit. In order to take this land out of our hands, they got a thieving negotiator from Haifa called Edmund Levy. Levy took the land from the Count, perhaps without payment, and sued us, the owners of the land, in the court in Haifa for about 1,600 lei.
After Hochman and I invested 250 lei each, Hochman got out with pennies. Hochman and I got out of this disastrous business as with every other land business run by the known cheats, Levy and partners. I received 10 lei and Hochman a similar sum before the date of the trial. Levy, the owner of the land, withdrew his complaint, and we each gave up our share of 170 dunam. They sold the land to KKL for a higher price than we received.
All this happened after fifteen years of work and ownership of this land. We did not protect our business venture or our efforts. We had hoped to do a good deed for ourselves and our friends in Stanislau, to establish a Moshava. We fell into a net of thieves and con-men and all our work and money led to disappointment and we lost everything.
Comment I: After some time, the KKL office in Haifa, bought the land of our group in Stanislau and paid, instead of 2 lei which we might have gotten from Joseph Weitz, KKL gave us 16 pence a dunam. Even though we lost the land that was worth about 1,500 lei, we got pleasure and satisfaction that a Jewish Moshav was built on our land.
Comment II: The Thieving Count; In Europe the nobles who owned land were earls and dukes and knights and other ranks. In Egypt, the land owner was called “Count”. This Count owned land in Europe and Egypt. He was in business contact with Edmund Levy who lived in Alexandria or might even have been born in Egypt. Edmund Levy contacted this Count to buy land in Eretz Israel. He wanted to make a land deal and make big money. They bought a large plot of land in Zemach and afterwards in Kfar Metzer. The land in Kfar Metzer belonged to the Turkish Sultan, Abdul Machmud. After The World War and England conquered Eretz Israel and the land of the Sultan, the High Commissioner, Herbert Samuel, passed over 20,000 dunam of land of Kfar Metzer to the Arabs, at the price of 1.250 lei a dunam with payment over ten years. The Count with or in partnership with Levy bought and paid 500 mille (half a lie) a dunam and the remainder would be a mortgage. From this, they sold us land at the cost of 3.500 lie and afterwards they added another 750 mille. We paid one lie per dunam and the remaining 23,500 lie as a mortgage to be paid in gold with an interest of 9% a year. When the land passed over to Edmund Levy, he demanded that we pay the mortgage, all the expenses and the interest that would cost each one of us 500 lie. Levy had checked our background and knew we had no money. His plan was to take the land from us without giving us the amount of money we had invested.
(This finishes the page about land. It is not clear about the amounts of money. We translated but did not fully follow the numbers. DK)
In 1944 (.ג כסלוו תשד) my nephew, Joseph, son of my aunt and uncle, David and Bila Meltzer died at the age of 86. Joseph came to Eretz Israel in 1934 (תרצד) with the help of his grandson, Dr. Chaim Shieber, a specialist. He lived with his father-in-law Shmuel Shieber and his wife Edel in their house with honor. When his father-in-law died, and his daughter Edel died, he went to live with his grandson Benjamin Sheiber and after that with his sister, the wife of A. Greenfield. These grandchildren, like the wife of Benjamin, Devorah, the granddaughter of the famous Rabbi R’Moshe Babad, the main Rabbi of Lvov זצל cared for him with great respect.
The grandchildren, Benjamin and his wife Devorah, gave Grandfather Joseph, a beautiful room with all the facilities. They provided everything. They did not have a succah and for grandfather, they built one and decorated it according to his wishes. He died peacefully in his bed the same day after dinner and an afternoon nap. At his funeral, there were about thirty people, his grandchildren and their families as well as the Admor of Tchartkov. The deceased was one of his important followers. There was also the Rabbi Grossman of the Beit HaKnesset “Herrman”. R’Israel Sperber from Chernovitz, a relative, spoke at the grave. Most of his days, he dealt with Torah, Charity and Prayer. May his name be blessed. תנצבה (May his soul be written in the book of life) The good relationship of the deceased to me and my mother is described on page 29 of this diary.
The years come and go and we come to Pesach of 1944. Once again I received great honor from the Admor of Sadagora. His messenger, A.D. Flintenstein brought me two Matzoth Shmurah, which he baked. (Pesach Matzoth that were baked with great care and Kashrut. DK) Mr. M. Schlein also sent me similar Matzoth that night. Everything was ready for the holiday and included a refugee from Stanislau that was invited by my son Jacob to the Seder. Is it possible for the Jews to be happy at this time? This Pesach is the fifth Pesach of this horrible war. These are five years of worldwide bitterness, especially for our Jewish brothers. Our people, who are experienced in suffering for thousands of years, have never gone through such torturous days. The murderous tyrant Hitler has killed most of the Jews in Europe. We do not know of those who have survived but we do know their number is small.
On this Saturday night of the Seder, we gathered around the prepared Seder table, I and my family, my wife Chaya, my son, David and his wife Rachel, their son Yair who asked the four questions, my son Jacob and the visitor from Stanislau, Weingarten and all is well. We told the story of the Exodus from Egypt and the punishment imposed upon the evil pharaoh. It is important to tell about the Holocaust that faces our brothers in Europe. The evil of our times is impossible to compare, the killing of women, children and old people continues without mercy.
Some time ago I received the news that my son Aaron and his son Menachim were saved from the Nazis in Stanislau and are now in Holland. His firm must have had some business contacts with him. He and his son may have been saved from death. What is the fate of his wife and young son? What is the fate of my only beloved daughter and her three children, Hadassah, Devorah, Joseph and her husband Benjamin? What is the fate of my family, friends and loved ones? At this prepared table, with these thoughts, how do we find a ray of light or a spark of joy from this Pesach? The blood of our brothers screams from the ground and demands revenge. Will we leave it to the God of the Jews to take this revenge? Heaven forbid, No and No. The God of justice will redeem the clean blood but that can wait. ארך אפיים הוא (God can wait for eons) At the end, they will receive their payment and there will be revenge. The news from the front gives us encouragement and hope that the Nazis will soon be defeated. They are receiving major defeats one after another. (The Hagadah that I have from my father Nathan lists the number of miles that the Russian Army had to reach Berlin, on the Pesach of 1944. DK)
During Succoth of 1944, I went up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Eighth Day and Simchat Torah in the Holy City. I went to the Western Wall to pray and stayed in the house of Dr.Chanah Shucher, visited Miriam Inti Blum and her family, as well as Abraham Shatner and Biela Bergman.
On the 12th of Kislev (יב כסלו תשה) 1944, a son was born to my daughter-in-law Rachel and my son David in Beilinson Hospital with Mazal Tov. Eight days later we celebrated his Brith. I sat in the chair of the Sandak as I did previously with their first son Yair, five years earlier. The Mohel was also Yechiel Halevy. The child was called Aviam after Rachel’s father R’Moshe Osterver who died or was killed by the murderous Nazis in Stanislau. There were about thirty guests, among them relatives, M.Schlein, Asher Bertler and his sister-in-law Esther and Chana my sister Taube’s daughter from Sadagora and many members of David’s cooperative HaArgaz, where he worked for thirteen years. May Aviam grow up with Torah and Jewish learning and be loyal to his people and his country. Rachel and her son are well and healthy and the child weighed four kilos.
The days of revenge and pay-back to the murdering Germans has begun. They are getting heavy blow after heavy blow from the Allied Air Forces on their own land. There are hundreds of thousands dead and millions of prisoners. The Allied forces are getting close to Holland and a large area of land is liberated. According to a report that I received last year, my son and his son Menachim are in Holland, if that report was true. I decided to take steps to save them and bring them to the country. I went to Jerusalem and appealed to the Jewish Agency, the Aliyah Department, for permission to bring them. The clerk responsible for such matters fulfilled my requests.
If they are there and alive, there is hope that we can still save the remains of the family from Stanislau and Dalatin. Unfortunately the news from there is so sad, heartbreak after heartbreak. The hands of the evil ones touched them and who knows about them. The fate of most of the millions of Jews of Europe is probably also their fate.
In the beginning of the month Nissan, I received a letter from the Jewish Agency that the steps I requested were taken. that the British Council ask Switzerland to save Aaron and his son from Holland. Maybe they will have pity.
There was no joy in the Pesach of 1945. The war that seems to be almost over did not end. More blood will continue to flow as rivers of blood of our murdered people. Similar to last year, we all were together and my grandson Yair asked the four questions. We got the special matzoth from the Admor of Sadagora from A.D. Flintenstein and from M. Schlein. My son David brought the eggs and the wine. This is the sixth time we are sitting at the Seder table with broken hearts and sadness at the fate our brothers, especially this year. We have a witness who brought us the news of what he saw with his own eyes, the murder, strangling, plunder, burying alive. East Galicia was especially empty, chaos, maybe one person in a village or one two in a family were left of our people. Was it possible to be happy on this holiday of freedom? The joy of revenge of these murderers, what is that worth?
On first of the month Adar 1945, when I was in Jerusalem to try and get permission for Aaron to come into the country, I requested from Keren Kayemet to get me a copy of my listing in the Golden Book. I paid 250 mille and I got a new certificate that was listed in 1922, the second volume. I also got five certificates for 25 trees that the cooperators of HaArgaz wrote in my name on my 75th birthday. Every member sent a special greeting and paid 250 mille per tree. All these documents were lost or stolen.
One of the names that appeared on the certificates of the 25 trees that were planted in the Herzl Forest was R‘Joel Baskin, an elderly secretary of the factory of HaArgaz and was written in English and Hebrew. The second name was Mr. Israel Lieberman, a neighbor of my son David and one of the beloved members of HaArgaz.
Content last updated Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 09:10 PM Mountain Daylight Time