Compilation of Memories (Memoirs)
Part 37

Election to First Zionist Congress

In 1897 I took part in the election for a representative to the first Zionist Congress from Kolomyea. I was a member of the Zionist Committee even though I lived Yablonov. Dr. Shlomo Rosenhack, the president of “Chevrat Zion”, was chosen. When he returned from the Congress, where about 200 people assembled from all over the world, he reported the decisions made to the Zionist members. There was a decision to renew an old tradition, to obligate every Jew to donate a “shekel” every year. This was equal to ten Austrian Kreutzer. This shekel gave a person the right to vote for a representative to the next Congress in two years.

Dr. Rosenhack reported that in addition to the representatives to the Zionist Congress, there were many visitors from all over the world as well as many students from the college in Berne close to Basel. Among the visitors were two Yeshiva students dressed in long silk coats, velvet hats and polished shoes. They seemed to have come from a known family in Eretz Israel. They made a strong impression on the students from Berne who had never seen Jews dressed like this. When they heard that they came from Sadagora in Bukovina, the students asked to visit them in their hotel to answer questions. Their request was granted. The students had heard about a Tzadik in Sadagora that does wonders and cures the sick, heals the bline, etc. What education did the Tzadik get and in which college did he learn how to do this? The Yeshiva students said that it was true that there is a Tzadik that performed wonders and he received his instructions from Torat Israel and is busy studying them day and night. His great strength is like that of the holy prophets of their time. The Berne students said that they had heard of a cult of Chasidim in Sadagora and asked, are they half man and half animal? Where do they live; in the bathroom, in the sea, in the sewer of the Mikvah? The Yeshiva students and Dr. Rosenhack did not know.

In the year 1898, I sent money that totaled 13.50 Austrian Reinish to Vienna for the purchase of 135 shekels that I had sold. I received the receipt with three signatures, which has been in my possession since 31.5.1898. At the same time the Zionist Congress decided to found the “Colonial Bank”. I tried get people from Kolomyea, R’Jacob Beidalf, R’Jonah Kissler and another Zionist, to join me in buying some shares in the bank.

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A terrible incident happened at about the same time. An officer of the army cavalry came into the hotel of R’I. Suchar, and demanded from the owner’s son, that he immediately be given a beautiful furnished room. The son, N. Suchar, who was the secretary of Chevrat Zion, gave him a negative answer. The officer pulled his sword out of the scabbard to attack him. Suchar ran into the street. The murderer chased him, caught him, cut his head and he fell down dead on the spot. The officer was never punished. “A Jew who does not fill the wish of an army officer, is be killed.” תנצב'ה

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Zabolotiv, Ukraine

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Updated March 2013
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