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Lubaczow, Poland
50 10' / 23 08'
Remembering the Jews of Lubaczow
Other names: Libatchov, Libechuyv, Liubachev, Lubachov, Lubatchov, Lubichuv

1920's and 1930's
 
Joshua Heilman:
Political Activities of the Jewish Community in Lubaczow

The leadership of the community always tried to support the political group that was in power, in order not to antagonize those who could harm or protect the community.
Before elections the rabbis and leaders called on the community to support the governing party. This was done by sermons in synagogues or in private leaflets. But the younger generation organized itself and aimed to dispatch Jewish delegates to the Polish parliament. There were in the early twenties almost thirty Jewish members of parliament of different Jewish parties, including some who supported the ruling party.

My father Shraga Feibel Heilman was a prominent member of MIZRACHI. Before the last elections in 1939 he was arrested in order not to intervene with the support of the rulers. There were also other groups - supporters of Jabotinski and Begin, supporters of the labor HISTADRUT and the communists. This last organization was outlawed, therefore they covered their activities by organizing cultural activities centered around the library. They called themselves Peretz Bibliotek Verein after the Hebrew Jewish writer Jehuda Leib Peretz. The authorities had spies and if anybody was suspected of conducting communist activities or propaganda, he or she was put in jail.

My cousin Lipa, to the detriment of the family, was an active communist. He was even jailed for a while. Family bribes saved his skin.

Lipa, fed up with his life in the shtetl Lubaczow and having secretly read communist propaganda, decided to leave for the Soviet Autonomous Jewish Republic Birobidzan. You could not travel directly to the Soviet Union, so he traveled to Paris where he joined a Jewish group and with them he emigrated to the Soviets.

When he arrived in Moscow, the Soviets had other plans for him. They put him to work on the Moscow subway, which was at that time in the process of construction. The leaders arranged for him a place to sleep in a corner of the railway station.

Lipa was expecting what in Yiddish is called "Meshiaches Zeiten" - the times of Messias - and this was something he did not imagine. He spent long days underground in back breaking work. In spite of his rejection of religion, he still was influenced by the stories of the magical time when Messias will let the Jews eat of the magical fish Leviatan which surrounds the world and keeps the earth floating and keeps the earth from crashing into the abyss. The Moscow underground did not come close to the times of Messias.

Lipa decided that a new action was in order. First he had to gain the confidence of his supervisors. He worked hard and scolded the workers for their laziness. The supervisors liked his behavior and promoted him. He even got longer vacations and became a STACHANOWIEC, an exemplary communist worker.

The vacation he got, took him to the Polish border and there, despite the existing laws and prohibitions, he succeeded to bribe the guards. He managed to cross the border. When he arrived in 1939 in Poland, he was jailed, but soon the war broke out and he escaped.

This time he was afraid of the Germans because of his communist past and his Jewish present, and he was afraid of the Soviets because of his communist desertion.

Lipa crossed the Romanian border and arrived in Palestine as an illegal immigrant. He was jailed and later released. He lived in the Jewish land happily ever after.





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