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‘Hashomer Hadati’

By 19th May 2017November 1st, 2018Friendship, Jewish life in camps, Religion, Zawiercie


“From the “Torah Vodaas” school we continued into the “Shomer Hadati”… Shortly before World War II, the “Shomer Hadati” was considered the largest youth group in town.

At the Mizrachi headquarters there was also a large library which contained almost the entire haskala literature in Ivrit; Yiddish literature and many general literary classics.

For a short while I was the assistant librarian, together with Zvi Rubinstein. As assistant librarian I often used to take books to the town rabbi, Rabbi Shlomo Elimelech Rabinowitz. The truth is, as a child I felt antipathy towards Rabbi Shlomo Elimelech, due to the well-known controversy about the rabbinate. As a child I aligned myself with the supporters of the Koziglever Rov out of a feeling of fairness. When my father took me on the eve of Rosh Hashanah to Rabbi Shlomo Elimelech, the town rabbi, I grudgingly and in a not very friendly manner, stretched out my hand to him to wish him “a good year”. I could not forget the controversy, as well as the injustice done to the children of the Koziglover Rov, who walked around in threadbare clothes and about whom people in town said that they were literally starving. As a child I could not easily forgive the Kaminsker (i.e. Rabbi Shlomo Elimelech) this injustice and this was the cause of my childish antipathy.

However, later when I used to bring to Rabbi Shlomo Elimelech books from the Mizrachi library – my attitude to him changed completely because from the short conversations that I had with him I discovered his refined nature and kindness. In 1945 I met him again in a camp, just before his death.”

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