Search
Print
Share
Your Selected Item:
Personality
Would you like to help us improving the content? Send us your suggestions

Menahem Mendel Dolitzki

Menahem Mendel Dolitzki (1856-1931) Poet and author.

Born in Bialystok ,Poland, he worked as a Hebrew teacher in various towns. In 1881 he witnessed a pogrom in southern Russia and his deep shock had an impact on some of his poems (Ha-Ikkar ve-ha-Nozah, 1884) and stories (Be-Tokh Levi’im, 1884, Mi-Bayit u-mi-Huz, 1891). Dolitzki joined the Hibbat Zion movement and wrote poems of longing for Zion. Between 1882-1892 he lived in Moscow and worked as a Hebrew secretary for the philanthropist K.Z. Wissotzky, whose biography he then wrote. In 1892, following the expulsion of Jews from Moscow, he emigrated to New York, where he published descriptions in poetic form of the persecution of Jews in Russia. Since he was unable to support himself writing Hebrew, he finally worked as a writer for a Yiddish daily. He died in Los Angeles, California.

Date of birth:
1856
Date of death:
1931
Place of birth:
Bialystok
Place of death:
Los Angeles
Personality type:
Poet
,
author
ID Number:
215101
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
Nearby places:
Related items:

Los Angeles, California

Located in Southern California, the city of Los Angeles has approximately 4 million inhabitants occupying 455 square miles of territory, making it the second most populous city in the United States and the largest in size in the world. By 1967, Los Angeles was home to more than 510,000 Jews, second only to New York City. Its current Jewish population is estimated at 662,000.

The origins of the city date back to the early Spanish colonization of California. Los Angeles was formally dedicated as a Pueblo on September 4th, 1781, with as few as 44 inhabitants. The accession of California to the United States in 1850, following the Mexican-American War and the discovery of gold, brought a surge of Jews from Western Europe and the Eastern United States. While in search of a quick fortune, the majority did not engage in gold mining but opened stores in many of the small towns and mining camps throughout Northern California. A Los Angeles census of 1850 revealed a total of 1,610 inhabitants of which eight were Jewish.

Jewish services were first formally established in 1854 with the arrival of Joseph Newmark (1799-1881). Rabbinically trained and traditionally oriented, he was the patriarch of the Jewish community until his death. Services were generally held in various rented and borrowed places until the first synagogue was constructed in 1873 at 273 N. Fort Street (now Broadway). Also in 1873, the Jews took the initiative in organizing the first chamber of commerce. Jewish business, which concentrated on wholesale and retail merchandising, was among the largest in town. In 1865, I.W. Hellman and Henry Huntington ventured into the banking business, becoming among the dominant financial powers in the state of California. With the arrival of the transcontinental railroad and as a result of a concerted program of promotion by the chamber of commerce, the population of Los Angeles rose sharply during the 1880s. The expansion of the railways through Southern California prompted the historic real estate boom in Los Angeles. The population, only 11,000 in 1880, multiplied five fold in just a few years. With the arrival of the large numbers of Midwesterners, the easygoing, socially integrated society began to change. Jewish social life became more ingrown and Jews began to establish separate social outlets including a young men’s Hebrew Association and the Concordia Club for their card playing parents.

At the beginning of the 20th century, large numbers of Eastern European Jews began to migrate to Los Angeles to begin in their turn, the ascent to prestige, status and security. In 1900, the population of Los Angeles was 102,000 with a Jewish population of 2,500. Twenty years later, the Jews numbered 70,000, out of a total of 1,200,000. The rapid increase of the population created, for the first time, recognizably Jewish neighborhoods. By 1920, there were three major Jewish areas in the central avenue district. The high percentage of Jews moving west due to health reasons made the establishment of medical institutions the first order of communal business. In 1902, the home of Kaspare Cohn was donated to become the Kaspare Cohn Hospital. It wasn’t long after that in 1911 The Jewish Consumptive Relief Association was established and began building a Sanitarium at Duarte. For the elderly, The Hebrew Sheltering Home for the Aged was established and in 1910, B’nai Brith became the moving force for the establishment of The Hebrew Orphan’s Home, ultimately becoming known as Vista Del Mar. In 1912, the Federation of Jewish Charities was established to unite all the fund raising efforts for the Jewish institutions. The Kaspare Cohn Hospital gradually transformed into a general hospital. It later moved in 1926 to its present facilities on Fountain Street near Vermont Avenue, and was renamed The Cedars of Lebanon Hospital.

The first decade of the 20th century was marked by a transition from charitable aid to social welfare. In 1934, several social organizations were established to serve the needs of a growing Jewish community. These included the United Jewish Welfare Fund, the United Jewish Community and the United Community Committee which had been established to combat anti-Semitism. The new community leaders were primarily lawyers and not men of inherited wealth. Men like Lester W. Roth, Harry A. Holtzer, Benjamin J. Scheinman and Mendel B. Silberberg who succeeded the Newmarks and the Hellmans. In 1937, the United Jewish Community was incorporated as the Los Angeles Jewish Community Council with the United Jewish Welfare Fund as its fundraising arm. The Federation of Jewish Philanthropies continued as a separate entity until 1959 when a merger was effected between the Jewish Community Council with its Pro-Israel interest and overseas concerns, and its orientation toward Jewish education, and the Federation of Jewish Welfare organizations embodying the earlier Jewish community, with its primary concern for local philanthropies.

At the end of World War II, nearly 150,000 Jews were living in greater Los Angeles, an increase of 20,000 since the war had begun. The major growth of the Jewish population in Los Angeles began after 1945 when thousands of war veterans and others along with their families moved west. By 1948, the Jewish population numbered a quarter of a million people, representing an increase of 2,000 people a month as Jews continued to move west in what became one of the greatest migrations in Jewish history. In 1951, there were an estimated 330,000 Jews living in Los Angeles and by 1965, the community had reached half a million, becoming one of the largest Jewish population centers. This vast increase in the Jewish population resulted in a proliferation of congregations, synagogues and religious functionaries. The national movement of religious denominations “discovered” Los Angeles as the United Synagogue established its Pacific Southwest Region, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations established its Southern Pacific Region and rabbis by the dozen wended their way west. By 1968, Los Angeles was home to 150 different congregations.

After 1945, all three branches of Judaism had established schools of higher learning. The Jewish Theological Seminary established the University of Judaism, which in turn developed a Hebrew teacher’s college, a school of fine arts, a graduate school and an extensive program of adult Jewish studies. Similarly, the Hebrew Union College developed a branch in Los Angeles with a rabbinical preparatory school, cantor’s training school and a Sunday school teacher’s program. Yeshiva University established a branch specializing in teacher training and adult education. The Bureau of Jewish Education did much to raise the level of teaching and encouraged and subsidized Hebrew secondary schools. By 1968, the Los Angeles Hebrew High School, the largest, had more than 500 students. That same year, Jewish mobility had brought an end to the formerly Jewish Boyle Heights, Adams Street, Temple Street, Wilshire District and other predominantly Jewish areas and neighborhoods. Jews settled in the western and newly developed sections of sprawling Los Angeles.


Los Angeles at the start of the 21st century

Approximately five percent of the world’s Jews live in the city of Los Angeles. As of 2013, the region was home to more than 650,000 Jews, making it the second largest population of Jews in the United States and the fifth largest in the world. The Jews of Los Angeles account for nearly 17% of the city’s total population. The vast majority live in the city proper while the rest live in neighborhoods throughout the metropolitan area.

Throughout the Greater Los Angeles area are numerous organizations which serve L.A’s many Jewish communities. Some, like the American Jewish Congress, Anti-Defamation League, the Progressive Jewish Alliance and the American Jewish Committee, focus on national issues such as combating anti-Semitism and human rights. Other organizations are more community based such as the Southern California Council for Soviet Jews, Mercaz USA Pacific Southwest Region and the Jewish Federation Los Angeles. The National Council of Jewish Women, Jewish Family Services, the Jewish Labor Committee and the ETTA focus their efforts on families, worker’s rights and healthcare. Additionally, there are a number of Israel advocacy groups including Stand With Us, the Council of Israeli Organizations and the Promoting Israel Education and Culture Fund.

In nearly every neighborhood with a Jewish presence, there is at least one synagogue. Spread across Los Angeles are more than 120 congregations, representing four distinct movements within Judaism. The vast majority of these congregations hold services in their own buildings. By 2014, there were an estimated 61 different Orthodox synagogues, 33 Reform, 27 Conservative, 3 Traditional and 1 unaffiliated with any one movement. In addition to prayer services, many of these synagogues offer educational services for both children and adults. There are also more than 90 private Jewish schools. As of 2011, there were approximately 9 preschools, 24 elementary schools and 12 High schools located throughout Los Angeles. Together they enroll more than 100,000 students each year. While the majority of these are Orthodox (23) there are several belonging to the Reform, Conservative and Traditional movements. There are also Jewish colleges, such as the Hebrew Union College (The Jewish Institute of Religion), the American Jewish University and Yeshiva of Los Angeles.

With such a large population, there is no shortage of social and cultural programs for L.A.’s Jewish youth. Among them are the National Conference of Synagogue Youth Orthodox Union, the Los Angeles Girls’ Israel Torah, Camp Gan Israel and the Yachad Sports Program.

Los Angeles is home to many cultural centers and museums. Among the most well known are the city’s various Holocaust Memorials such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, USC’s Shoah Foundation and the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. Across Los Angeles are five different Jewish Community Centers and several education centers including the Jewish Learning Exchange, the Jewish Studies Institute and the Jewish Community Library. Also located in Los Angeles is the Southern California branch of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science and the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

The first Jew to settle in Los Angeles was Jacob Frankfurt, a tailor from Germany. Since his arrival in 1841, Los Angeles has experienced several waves of Jewish immigration from Europe as well as the Middle East. According to the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles, as many as 250,000 Israeli Jews live in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. While arriving steadily since the early 1950s, a significant wave of Israeli immigration is thought to have occurred during the 1970s. It was during this same period, that in the wake of the Islamic Revolution, tens of thousands of Persian Jews fled Iran to Los Angeles. The Jews of Iran are known for being one of the wealthiest waves of immigrants ever to arrive to the United States. According to the US Census Bureau’s 2010 Survey, approximately 34,000 Persian Jews live in Beverly Hills, where they constitute 26% of the total population. In 2007, Jimmy Delshad, a Persian Jew was elected Mayor of Beverly Hills. Due to their significant population and ownership of many businesses and properties throughout Beverly Hills’ Golden Triangle, the area has come to be known as “Tehrangeles.” During the late 1980s, thousands of Jews from the Former Soviet Union arrived to California. By 1989, Los Angeles had the second largest population of Soviet Jews in the United States.

By the 1960s, many neighborhoods throughout the Greater Los Angeles area became districts well known for their large Jewish populations. Fairfax and Pico-Robertson, two neighborhoods located in Western Los Angeles, are among the city’s most famous Jewish communities. They have also been a primary destination for Israeli and Soviet Jewish immigrants. Other Jewish enclaves can be found in Beverly Hills, San Fernando Valley, West Hollywood, Hancock Park, Encino, Westwood, Brentwood and Sherman Oaks. Located in and around many of these neighborhoods are numerous Jewish landmarks. The Fairfax, Pico-Robertson and Boyle Heights neighborhoods are themselves historic Jewish sites. The cemetery marker at the Hebrew Benevolent Society which dates back to 1855 is considered to be the first Jewish site in all of Los Angeles. The Breed Street Shul, also known as Congregation Talmud Torah of Los Angeles, was the largest Orthodox synagogue in the Western United States from 1915 to 1951, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. On a tour of Los Angeles, visitors will discover that many of the city’s famous buildings have a Jewish connection. Morris L. Goodman was the first Jew to serve LA County at the Los Angeles City Hall. S. Charles Lee, born Simeon Charles Levi was an American architect known for his design of the Los Angeles Theatre. In the city’s Terminal Annex Post Office are 11 murals made by Latvian-born Jewish artist, Boris Deutsch. The Holocaust Monument in Pacific Park was designed by Jewish artist, Joseph Young. Other well known Jewish landmarks include the city’s famous Jewish restaurants including Nate ‘n Al’s in Beverly Hills, Art’s in Studio City, Pico Kosher Deli, Canter’s, Greenblatt’s and Langer’s in MacArthur Park. Following an influx of Israeli and Persian Jews, several restaurants opened up, becoming famous for their unique and traditional foods. Places like Golan Restaurant, Tiberias, Nessim’s and Falafel Village offer authentic Middle Eastern cuisine.

Not long after settling in Los Angeles did members of the Jewish community begin establishing hospitals and healthcare facilities. By the 1980s, many of L.A.’s best medical centers were those which had been founded by Jewish leadership. One of the most well known is Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Others include Jewish Women’s Health, Jewish Free Loan Association for Short-term Health Care, Gateways Hospital & Mental Health Center, Aviva Family & Children’s Services, Bikur Cholim Healthcare Foundations and the Los Angeles Jewish Home for Senior Care.

The Jewish community of Los Angeles has often been recognized for its philanthropy. Many of the largest Jewish organizations in the United States have local branches in Los Angeles. There are also several advocacy groups which raise funds for Israeli universities. Organizations such as the Tel Aviv University American Council and the American Associates of Ben-Gurion University both educate individuals about the schools and their academic achievements. Major sources of funding and community support come from groups such as the One Family Fund, Jewish Community Foundation, the Shefa Fund, Yad b’Yad Los Angeles, the Jewish National Fund and Mazon –A Jewish Response to Hunger. There are additionally many charitable organizations which support Israeli medical research including Friends of Sheba Medical Center, the Israel Cancer Research Fund and the Israel Humanitarian Foundation.

The city of Los Angeles has a wide selection of news and media outlets. Among them are many independent periodicals which serve the Jewish community of Los Angeles. The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles is one such newspaper. It was established in 1985 and originally had been distributed by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. As of 2010, it had a readership of 180,000, making it the largest Jewish weekly paper outside of New York City. Other Jewish newspapers include the Jewish Journal, Shalom L.A., The Jewish Observer Los Angeles, The Jewish Link, and Israeli papers –Shavua Israeli and Ha’Aretz. Two of the largest publishers of Jewish media in Los Angeles are TRIBE Media Corp. and Blazer Media Group. On radio are stations Israla, an Israeli music channel and Aish Talmid of Los Angeles.

Bialystok

A district capital town in northeastern Poland

Jews settled in Bialystok while it was still a village, encouraged by the Count Branicki who owned the local lands. They were affiliated with the Jewish community of Tiktin (Tykocin) and contributed to the village developing into an urban settlement. In 1745 the Bialystok Jews became an independent Jewish community, and in 1749 its leaders participated in the elections to the local government. In 1772 there were already 3,400 Jews living there.

The situation of the Jews in Bialystok took a turn for the worse with the division of Poland at the end of the 18th century, when the region passed briefly into the hands of Prussia, and later came under the rule of Czarist Russia. Bialystok returned to the jurisdiction of Poland only in 1921, about three years after the end of the First World War (1914-1918) with the re-establishment of an independent Poland.

Many Jewish refugees came to Bialystok between 1825 and 1835, and in 1845 (following the "Jewish Law" of 1804, which led to the expulsion of Jews from the villages and deprived them of their means of earning a living). In 1856 there were already 9,547 Jews in the city out of a total population of 13,787. Many Jews among the refugees were without shelter and means of support, and the community came to their aid in the form of charitable organizations and mutual aid societies established for that purpose.

Under Czarist Russian rule, in addition to the traditional "heder", a "modern heder" (in which secular subjects also were taught) was opened. There was also a Jewish elementary school and a school for girls. While the language of instruction was Russian, the Hebrew language was also taught. In 1910 the Jewish community also opened a kindergarten; and it was only after the First World War that additional schools were opened in Bialystok, among them the elementary and secondary school "Tachkemoni", trade schools, a religious school, "yeshivot", the Yiddish secondary school, the Hebrew elementary school of the "Tarbut" network and a Hebrew secondary school. The Hebrew secondary school was noted for the high level of its studies, and its graduates were accepted by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the "Technion" in Haifa without entrance examinations. Among the graduates of the Hebrew of health in the government of Israel during the second Knesset; Yitzchak Shamir, prime minister during the 11th and 12th Knesset, and Knesset member Chaike Grossman.

There were several synagogues in Bialystok, and prominent among them was the "kar shul", the choral synagogue, which had its own choir in which many well-known cantors participated.

Among the community's rabbis were Arye Leib, son of rabbi Baruch Bendit, who officiated from 1815 to 1820, author of "Shaagat Arye" ("Lion's Roar)"; rabbi Yom-Tov Lipman Halperin who officiated in Bialystok from 1849 to 1879, and rabbi Shmuel Mohliver (1824-1898), one of the great rabbis of Russia, a leader of "Hibat Zion" and a founder of religious Zionism, who held office as the Bialystok community's rabbi from 1883 to 1896, and who after his death was buried in the city's cemetery. On 3 Kislev 5751 (November 10, 1991) his remains were brought to Israel to the cemetery in Mazkeret Batya.

In 1883 Eliezer Halberstam came to Bialystok from Germany, and became the motivating force of the "Haskala" movement in the city.

With the transfer of the area to Russian rule the economic situation of the Bialystok Jews worsened, but they quickly discovered the advantage of being within the western boundary of Czarist Russia, and they developed diversified trade with its markets, becoming importers of tea and other luxury items. During those days Jews also made a living as purveyors to the army. At the beginning of the 19th century , when craftsmen specializing in spinning and weaving settled in the city, the local Jews built workshops for them, supplied them with raw materials and saw to the marketing of the finished products. In 1804 rabbi Aharon Halevi Horowitz opened the first printing press in the city.

In 1850 two Jews established a textile factory and trained Jewish workers in all branches of spinning, weaving, knitting and dying cloth. In 1860, 19 of the 44 textile factories in Bialystok were owned by Jews and in 1898, 299 out of 372 were in Jewish hands. Almost 60% of the workers in the textile industry were Jews, and almost 50% of the profits to the city's textile industry were earned by Jews.

In 1895 there were 47,783 Jews living in Bialystok (out of a population of 62,993). In 1897, out of a total of 3,628 shop-owners in the city, 3,186 were Jews. In 1921, when the district of Bialystok became part of independent Poland, Jews comprised 93% of the city's businessmen, and 89% of the city's industry was under Jewish ownership. Subsequently, the percentage of Jews in business decreased, and in 1928 stood at only 78.3%.

In 1932 there were 39,165 Jews in the city out of a total of 91,207 inhabitants.

Bialystok as an industrial city with most of its workers Jews, was the stronghold of the Jewish working class. In 1897 many Jewish workers joined the "Bund" movement, and clandestinely printed the newspaper "Der Bialystoker Arbeiter" ("the Bialystok Worker"). Yaakov Pat was leader of the "Bund" in Bialystok. The movement's activities during the days of the Russian revolution of 1905-1906 aroused strong reactions of repression on the part of the authorities, who also encouraged the pogrom which broke out on June 1, 1906 and continued for three days. Seventy Jews were murdered and about 90 seriously wounded. Jewish property was destroyed and looted. An investigation committee of the "Duma" (the Russian parliament) placed the responsibility for the disturbances on the police and on the city authorities. The great destruction in the wake of the pogrom caused a temporary crisis in the city's economy.

The Jewish "Haskala" (enlightenment) movement was accepted in Bialystok from its very inception, when the city's Jews were in contact with the Jews of Germany during the short period members of the Zamenhof family, including Dr. Eliezer Ludwig Zamenhof, creator of the Esperanto language; Avraham Shapiro, author of "Toldot Yisrael Vesifrato" ("the history of Israel and its literature"); Yechiel Michael Zbludovsky, author in 1860 of "Ruach Chaim" )"the spirit of life"); and the poet Menahem Mendel Dolitzky.

There were many supporters of the Zionist idea in Bialystok, and their numbers increased over the years. A group of "Hovevei Zion" ("lovers of Zion") had already been established in Bialystok in 1880, under the leadership of rabbi Shmuel Mohliver and Yoseph Hazanovitz. The first of these to immigrate from Bialystok to Eretz Israel participated in the founding of Petach Tikvah, Kfar Uriah and Ekron (which is Mazkeret Batya). Subsequently, those who settled in Israel from Bialystok were among the founders of the textile industry and of the rope and twine industry in Israel, and they included the Yerushalmi family (Yeruzolimsky). From the beginning of the Zionist movement there were branches of it in Bialystok. The rabbis who officiated in the city from the end of the 19th century supported the Zionist movement.

In the period between the two World Wars, branches of all the Zionist parties were active in Bialystok, and all the Zionist youth movements were represented there. Jewish public and social life in the city centered around the Zionist movement; in the community center there were clubs, lectures, performances, literary discussions and Hebrew lessons for adults; there were also libraries in all the languages spoken by Bialystok Jews, including Hebrew, and newspapers were published in those languages. Nahum Zemach, founder of "Habimah" theater, comes from Bialystok.

Among the active sports associations were "Maccabbe" and "Shomriah". The chairman of the last Jewish community council, who was holding office when the second World War broke out, was the attorney Tsvi Clementinovsky.

In 1939 there were 60,000 Jews living in Bialystok. The population of the city at that time was 120,000.


The Holocaust Period
Following the outbreak of the second World War (1 September, 1939), the Germans conquered Bialystok and held the city from September 15th to the 22nd. Later, in keeping with the agreement between Germany and the Soviet union (the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact that was signed in August of that year), the city was turned over, as was the whole eastern strip of Poland, to the Soviet Union.

On June 27, 1941 (after their attack on the Soviet Union which opened on June 22), the Germans conquered the city. The next day, which was subsequently named "Red Friday", the Germans burned the great synagogue with about 1,000 Jews locked inside.

A few days later thousands of Jews from the educated classes were taken out of the city and shot to death.

On July 26, a "Judenrat" was established headed by rabbi Rosenman, but the moving spirit and contact-man with the Germans was the engineer Efraim Barash.

After August 1st, it was forbidden to leave the ghetto. During the first year, the German harnessed the labor-force of the ghetto, men and women between the ages of 15-65, for the needs of the war effort. They were employed under conditions of exploitation and terror within the walls of the ghetto and in German plants outside of it. The Judenrat employed 2,000 persons to carry out its various functions, including 200 people in the "Jewish police", but Barash placed the main emphasis on industrial production, in the hope that its great usefulness would delay and even prevent the ultimate extermination of the Jews, about which he had authentic information. Most of the ghetto people shared this illusion.

In November 1942 all the Jewish communities in the Bialystok district, comprising about 200,000 persons, were murdered. All of them were concentrated in the camp of the 10th batallion (formerly of the Polish army). The place was known as "Umschlagplatz" (a concentration center for Jews prior to their being sent to the death camps), where acts of great cruelty took place, where they were piled on trains and sent to the Treblinka death camp.

Between February 5 and 12, 1943, the Germans implemented the ghetto and 10,000 were sent to Treblinka. The local German authorities were interested in the survival of the ghetto for economic reasons, but the opinion of the upper echelons in Germany prevailed, and the time for the liquidation of the ghetto was set for August 16, 1943.

The underground movement in the Bialystok ghetto began to take definite shape in November 1942 with the arrival of Mordecai Tannenbaum (Tamiroff), an emissary from the Jewish fighter's organization in Warsaw. After the first "action", preparations for engaging in battle were intensified, attempts were made to contact partisans in the vicinity and three small groups even succeeded in reaching the forests. In July 1943 the underground severed its connections with the ghetto leadership, and its various ideological factions consolidated in an organization which supported Tannenbaum's point of view that the national struggle against the Germans must first of all be fought within the confines of the ghetto and not in the forests. On August 16 the underground entered battle with the Germans, who broke into the ghetto fighters, who had gathered in a bunker intending to make their way to the forest, were discovered and killed except for one. Exchange of fire with the Germans continued night after night for a whole month.

It seems that the leaders of the rebellion, Tannebaum and Daniel Moskowitz, committed suicide at the end of the battles. The rest of the leaders were Hershel Rosenthal, Chaika Grossman and Yisrael Margolis.

The Jews of the ghetto, 40,000 in number, were sent to Treblinka and Maidanek; members of the Judenrat were the last to leave. The fighters who succeeded in joining the partisans eventually united as the "Kadimah" group, and were absorbed into units of the Soviet partisan command.

After the war (1945) 260 inhabitants of the ghetto survived, and in Bialystok itself, 1,085 Jews, of whom 900 had been inhabitants of the city before the war.

In addition to their large numbers in Israel, former members of the Bialystok Jewish community are living in the United States, Argentina, Mexico, Australia, Uruguay and South Africa. The "Bialystok Center" in New York coordinates the activities of former "Bialystokers" throughout the United States and aids in the establishment of health and welfare projects in Israel. Several sons of Bialystok, who had settled in the Soviet Union, immigrated to Israel in 1991 and 1992. In the city itself, during the same period, there remained nine Jews.

At a world conference of former Bialystok inhabitants held at the "Bialystok Center" in New York in 1949, it was decided to establish in Israel "Kiryat Bialystok" (Bialystok town) that would serve both as a site for commemorating the glorious past of the Jewish community of Bialystok, and as a project for the absorption in Israel of the survivors. The town was built near Yahud, and comprises over 200 family homes, synagogue, school kindergartens, public institutions, community center and industrial area.
our Open Databases
Jewish Genealogy
Family Names
Jewish Communities
Visual Documentation
Jewish Music Center
Personality
אA
אA
אA
Would you like to help us improving the content? Send us your suggestions
Menahem Mendel Dolitzki

Menahem Mendel Dolitzki (1856-1931) Poet and author.

Born in Bialystok ,Poland, he worked as a Hebrew teacher in various towns. In 1881 he witnessed a pogrom in southern Russia and his deep shock had an impact on some of his poems (Ha-Ikkar ve-ha-Nozah, 1884) and stories (Be-Tokh Levi’im, 1884, Mi-Bayit u-mi-Huz, 1891). Dolitzki joined the Hibbat Zion movement and wrote poems of longing for Zion. Between 1882-1892 he lived in Moscow and worked as a Hebrew secretary for the philanthropist K.Z. Wissotzky, whose biography he then wrote. In 1892, following the expulsion of Jews from Moscow, he emigrated to New York, where he published descriptions in poetic form of the persecution of Jews in Russia. Since he was unable to support himself writing Hebrew, he finally worked as a writer for a Yiddish daily. He died in Los Angeles, California.

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California

Located in Southern California, the city of Los Angeles has approximately 4 million inhabitants occupying 455 square miles of territory, making it the second most populous city in the United States and the largest in size in the world. By 1967, Los Angeles was home to more than 510,000 Jews, second only to New York City. Its current Jewish population is estimated at 662,000.

The origins of the city date back to the early Spanish colonization of California. Los Angeles was formally dedicated as a Pueblo on September 4th, 1781, with as few as 44 inhabitants. The accession of California to the United States in 1850, following the Mexican-American War and the discovery of gold, brought a surge of Jews from Western Europe and the Eastern United States. While in search of a quick fortune, the majority did not engage in gold mining but opened stores in many of the small towns and mining camps throughout Northern California. A Los Angeles census of 1850 revealed a total of 1,610 inhabitants of which eight were Jewish.

Jewish services were first formally established in 1854 with the arrival of Joseph Newmark (1799-1881). Rabbinically trained and traditionally oriented, he was the patriarch of the Jewish community until his death. Services were generally held in various rented and borrowed places until the first synagogue was constructed in 1873 at 273 N. Fort Street (now Broadway). Also in 1873, the Jews took the initiative in organizing the first chamber of commerce. Jewish business, which concentrated on wholesale and retail merchandising, was among the largest in town. In 1865, I.W. Hellman and Henry Huntington ventured into the banking business, becoming among the dominant financial powers in the state of California. With the arrival of the transcontinental railroad and as a result of a concerted program of promotion by the chamber of commerce, the population of Los Angeles rose sharply during the 1880s. The expansion of the railways through Southern California prompted the historic real estate boom in Los Angeles. The population, only 11,000 in 1880, multiplied five fold in just a few years. With the arrival of the large numbers of Midwesterners, the easygoing, socially integrated society began to change. Jewish social life became more ingrown and Jews began to establish separate social outlets including a young men’s Hebrew Association and the Concordia Club for their card playing parents.

At the beginning of the 20th century, large numbers of Eastern European Jews began to migrate to Los Angeles to begin in their turn, the ascent to prestige, status and security. In 1900, the population of Los Angeles was 102,000 with a Jewish population of 2,500. Twenty years later, the Jews numbered 70,000, out of a total of 1,200,000. The rapid increase of the population created, for the first time, recognizably Jewish neighborhoods. By 1920, there were three major Jewish areas in the central avenue district. The high percentage of Jews moving west due to health reasons made the establishment of medical institutions the first order of communal business. In 1902, the home of Kaspare Cohn was donated to become the Kaspare Cohn Hospital. It wasn’t long after that in 1911 The Jewish Consumptive Relief Association was established and began building a Sanitarium at Duarte. For the elderly, The Hebrew Sheltering Home for the Aged was established and in 1910, B’nai Brith became the moving force for the establishment of The Hebrew Orphan’s Home, ultimately becoming known as Vista Del Mar. In 1912, the Federation of Jewish Charities was established to unite all the fund raising efforts for the Jewish institutions. The Kaspare Cohn Hospital gradually transformed into a general hospital. It later moved in 1926 to its present facilities on Fountain Street near Vermont Avenue, and was renamed The Cedars of Lebanon Hospital.

The first decade of the 20th century was marked by a transition from charitable aid to social welfare. In 1934, several social organizations were established to serve the needs of a growing Jewish community. These included the United Jewish Welfare Fund, the United Jewish Community and the United Community Committee which had been established to combat anti-Semitism. The new community leaders were primarily lawyers and not men of inherited wealth. Men like Lester W. Roth, Harry A. Holtzer, Benjamin J. Scheinman and Mendel B. Silberberg who succeeded the Newmarks and the Hellmans. In 1937, the United Jewish Community was incorporated as the Los Angeles Jewish Community Council with the United Jewish Welfare Fund as its fundraising arm. The Federation of Jewish Philanthropies continued as a separate entity until 1959 when a merger was effected between the Jewish Community Council with its Pro-Israel interest and overseas concerns, and its orientation toward Jewish education, and the Federation of Jewish Welfare organizations embodying the earlier Jewish community, with its primary concern for local philanthropies.

At the end of World War II, nearly 150,000 Jews were living in greater Los Angeles, an increase of 20,000 since the war had begun. The major growth of the Jewish population in Los Angeles began after 1945 when thousands of war veterans and others along with their families moved west. By 1948, the Jewish population numbered a quarter of a million people, representing an increase of 2,000 people a month as Jews continued to move west in what became one of the greatest migrations in Jewish history. In 1951, there were an estimated 330,000 Jews living in Los Angeles and by 1965, the community had reached half a million, becoming one of the largest Jewish population centers. This vast increase in the Jewish population resulted in a proliferation of congregations, synagogues and religious functionaries. The national movement of religious denominations “discovered” Los Angeles as the United Synagogue established its Pacific Southwest Region, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations established its Southern Pacific Region and rabbis by the dozen wended their way west. By 1968, Los Angeles was home to 150 different congregations.

After 1945, all three branches of Judaism had established schools of higher learning. The Jewish Theological Seminary established the University of Judaism, which in turn developed a Hebrew teacher’s college, a school of fine arts, a graduate school and an extensive program of adult Jewish studies. Similarly, the Hebrew Union College developed a branch in Los Angeles with a rabbinical preparatory school, cantor’s training school and a Sunday school teacher’s program. Yeshiva University established a branch specializing in teacher training and adult education. The Bureau of Jewish Education did much to raise the level of teaching and encouraged and subsidized Hebrew secondary schools. By 1968, the Los Angeles Hebrew High School, the largest, had more than 500 students. That same year, Jewish mobility had brought an end to the formerly Jewish Boyle Heights, Adams Street, Temple Street, Wilshire District and other predominantly Jewish areas and neighborhoods. Jews settled in the western and newly developed sections of sprawling Los Angeles.


Los Angeles at the start of the 21st century

Approximately five percent of the world’s Jews live in the city of Los Angeles. As of 2013, the region was home to more than 650,000 Jews, making it the second largest population of Jews in the United States and the fifth largest in the world. The Jews of Los Angeles account for nearly 17% of the city’s total population. The vast majority live in the city proper while the rest live in neighborhoods throughout the metropolitan area.

Throughout the Greater Los Angeles area are numerous organizations which serve L.A’s many Jewish communities. Some, like the American Jewish Congress, Anti-Defamation League, the Progressive Jewish Alliance and the American Jewish Committee, focus on national issues such as combating anti-Semitism and human rights. Other organizations are more community based such as the Southern California Council for Soviet Jews, Mercaz USA Pacific Southwest Region and the Jewish Federation Los Angeles. The National Council of Jewish Women, Jewish Family Services, the Jewish Labor Committee and the ETTA focus their efforts on families, worker’s rights and healthcare. Additionally, there are a number of Israel advocacy groups including Stand With Us, the Council of Israeli Organizations and the Promoting Israel Education and Culture Fund.

In nearly every neighborhood with a Jewish presence, there is at least one synagogue. Spread across Los Angeles are more than 120 congregations, representing four distinct movements within Judaism. The vast majority of these congregations hold services in their own buildings. By 2014, there were an estimated 61 different Orthodox synagogues, 33 Reform, 27 Conservative, 3 Traditional and 1 unaffiliated with any one movement. In addition to prayer services, many of these synagogues offer educational services for both children and adults. There are also more than 90 private Jewish schools. As of 2011, there were approximately 9 preschools, 24 elementary schools and 12 High schools located throughout Los Angeles. Together they enroll more than 100,000 students each year. While the majority of these are Orthodox (23) there are several belonging to the Reform, Conservative and Traditional movements. There are also Jewish colleges, such as the Hebrew Union College (The Jewish Institute of Religion), the American Jewish University and Yeshiva of Los Angeles.

With such a large population, there is no shortage of social and cultural programs for L.A.’s Jewish youth. Among them are the National Conference of Synagogue Youth Orthodox Union, the Los Angeles Girls’ Israel Torah, Camp Gan Israel and the Yachad Sports Program.

Los Angeles is home to many cultural centers and museums. Among the most well known are the city’s various Holocaust Memorials such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, USC’s Shoah Foundation and the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. Across Los Angeles are five different Jewish Community Centers and several education centers including the Jewish Learning Exchange, the Jewish Studies Institute and the Jewish Community Library. Also located in Los Angeles is the Southern California branch of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science and the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

The first Jew to settle in Los Angeles was Jacob Frankfurt, a tailor from Germany. Since his arrival in 1841, Los Angeles has experienced several waves of Jewish immigration from Europe as well as the Middle East. According to the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles, as many as 250,000 Israeli Jews live in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. While arriving steadily since the early 1950s, a significant wave of Israeli immigration is thought to have occurred during the 1970s. It was during this same period, that in the wake of the Islamic Revolution, tens of thousands of Persian Jews fled Iran to Los Angeles. The Jews of Iran are known for being one of the wealthiest waves of immigrants ever to arrive to the United States. According to the US Census Bureau’s 2010 Survey, approximately 34,000 Persian Jews live in Beverly Hills, where they constitute 26% of the total population. In 2007, Jimmy Delshad, a Persian Jew was elected Mayor of Beverly Hills. Due to their significant population and ownership of many businesses and properties throughout Beverly Hills’ Golden Triangle, the area has come to be known as “Tehrangeles.” During the late 1980s, thousands of Jews from the Former Soviet Union arrived to California. By 1989, Los Angeles had the second largest population of Soviet Jews in the United States.

By the 1960s, many neighborhoods throughout the Greater Los Angeles area became districts well known for their large Jewish populations. Fairfax and Pico-Robertson, two neighborhoods located in Western Los Angeles, are among the city’s most famous Jewish communities. They have also been a primary destination for Israeli and Soviet Jewish immigrants. Other Jewish enclaves can be found in Beverly Hills, San Fernando Valley, West Hollywood, Hancock Park, Encino, Westwood, Brentwood and Sherman Oaks. Located in and around many of these neighborhoods are numerous Jewish landmarks. The Fairfax, Pico-Robertson and Boyle Heights neighborhoods are themselves historic Jewish sites. The cemetery marker at the Hebrew Benevolent Society which dates back to 1855 is considered to be the first Jewish site in all of Los Angeles. The Breed Street Shul, also known as Congregation Talmud Torah of Los Angeles, was the largest Orthodox synagogue in the Western United States from 1915 to 1951, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. On a tour of Los Angeles, visitors will discover that many of the city’s famous buildings have a Jewish connection. Morris L. Goodman was the first Jew to serve LA County at the Los Angeles City Hall. S. Charles Lee, born Simeon Charles Levi was an American architect known for his design of the Los Angeles Theatre. In the city’s Terminal Annex Post Office are 11 murals made by Latvian-born Jewish artist, Boris Deutsch. The Holocaust Monument in Pacific Park was designed by Jewish artist, Joseph Young. Other well known Jewish landmarks include the city’s famous Jewish restaurants including Nate ‘n Al’s in Beverly Hills, Art’s in Studio City, Pico Kosher Deli, Canter’s, Greenblatt’s and Langer’s in MacArthur Park. Following an influx of Israeli and Persian Jews, several restaurants opened up, becoming famous for their unique and traditional foods. Places like Golan Restaurant, Tiberias, Nessim’s and Falafel Village offer authentic Middle Eastern cuisine.

Not long after settling in Los Angeles did members of the Jewish community begin establishing hospitals and healthcare facilities. By the 1980s, many of L.A.’s best medical centers were those which had been founded by Jewish leadership. One of the most well known is Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Others include Jewish Women’s Health, Jewish Free Loan Association for Short-term Health Care, Gateways Hospital & Mental Health Center, Aviva Family & Children’s Services, Bikur Cholim Healthcare Foundations and the Los Angeles Jewish Home for Senior Care.

The Jewish community of Los Angeles has often been recognized for its philanthropy. Many of the largest Jewish organizations in the United States have local branches in Los Angeles. There are also several advocacy groups which raise funds for Israeli universities. Organizations such as the Tel Aviv University American Council and the American Associates of Ben-Gurion University both educate individuals about the schools and their academic achievements. Major sources of funding and community support come from groups such as the One Family Fund, Jewish Community Foundation, the Shefa Fund, Yad b’Yad Los Angeles, the Jewish National Fund and Mazon –A Jewish Response to Hunger. There are additionally many charitable organizations which support Israeli medical research including Friends of Sheba Medical Center, the Israel Cancer Research Fund and the Israel Humanitarian Foundation.

The city of Los Angeles has a wide selection of news and media outlets. Among them are many independent periodicals which serve the Jewish community of Los Angeles. The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles is one such newspaper. It was established in 1985 and originally had been distributed by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. As of 2010, it had a readership of 180,000, making it the largest Jewish weekly paper outside of New York City. Other Jewish newspapers include the Jewish Journal, Shalom L.A., The Jewish Observer Los Angeles, The Jewish Link, and Israeli papers –Shavua Israeli and Ha’Aretz. Two of the largest publishers of Jewish media in Los Angeles are TRIBE Media Corp. and Blazer Media Group. On radio are stations Israla, an Israeli music channel and Aish Talmid of Los Angeles.

Bialystok
Bialystok

A district capital town in northeastern Poland

Jews settled in Bialystok while it was still a village, encouraged by the Count Branicki who owned the local lands. They were affiliated with the Jewish community of Tiktin (Tykocin) and contributed to the village developing into an urban settlement. In 1745 the Bialystok Jews became an independent Jewish community, and in 1749 its leaders participated in the elections to the local government. In 1772 there were already 3,400 Jews living there.

The situation of the Jews in Bialystok took a turn for the worse with the division of Poland at the end of the 18th century, when the region passed briefly into the hands of Prussia, and later came under the rule of Czarist Russia. Bialystok returned to the jurisdiction of Poland only in 1921, about three years after the end of the First World War (1914-1918) with the re-establishment of an independent Poland.

Many Jewish refugees came to Bialystok between 1825 and 1835, and in 1845 (following the "Jewish Law" of 1804, which led to the expulsion of Jews from the villages and deprived them of their means of earning a living). In 1856 there were already 9,547 Jews in the city out of a total population of 13,787. Many Jews among the refugees were without shelter and means of support, and the community came to their aid in the form of charitable organizations and mutual aid societies established for that purpose.

Under Czarist Russian rule, in addition to the traditional "heder", a "modern heder" (in which secular subjects also were taught) was opened. There was also a Jewish elementary school and a school for girls. While the language of instruction was Russian, the Hebrew language was also taught. In 1910 the Jewish community also opened a kindergarten; and it was only after the First World War that additional schools were opened in Bialystok, among them the elementary and secondary school "Tachkemoni", trade schools, a religious school, "yeshivot", the Yiddish secondary school, the Hebrew elementary school of the "Tarbut" network and a Hebrew secondary school. The Hebrew secondary school was noted for the high level of its studies, and its graduates were accepted by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the "Technion" in Haifa without entrance examinations. Among the graduates of the Hebrew of health in the government of Israel during the second Knesset; Yitzchak Shamir, prime minister during the 11th and 12th Knesset, and Knesset member Chaike Grossman.

There were several synagogues in Bialystok, and prominent among them was the "kar shul", the choral synagogue, which had its own choir in which many well-known cantors participated.

Among the community's rabbis were Arye Leib, son of rabbi Baruch Bendit, who officiated from 1815 to 1820, author of "Shaagat Arye" ("Lion's Roar)"; rabbi Yom-Tov Lipman Halperin who officiated in Bialystok from 1849 to 1879, and rabbi Shmuel Mohliver (1824-1898), one of the great rabbis of Russia, a leader of "Hibat Zion" and a founder of religious Zionism, who held office as the Bialystok community's rabbi from 1883 to 1896, and who after his death was buried in the city's cemetery. On 3 Kislev 5751 (November 10, 1991) his remains were brought to Israel to the cemetery in Mazkeret Batya.

In 1883 Eliezer Halberstam came to Bialystok from Germany, and became the motivating force of the "Haskala" movement in the city.

With the transfer of the area to Russian rule the economic situation of the Bialystok Jews worsened, but they quickly discovered the advantage of being within the western boundary of Czarist Russia, and they developed diversified trade with its markets, becoming importers of tea and other luxury items. During those days Jews also made a living as purveyors to the army. At the beginning of the 19th century , when craftsmen specializing in spinning and weaving settled in the city, the local Jews built workshops for them, supplied them with raw materials and saw to the marketing of the finished products. In 1804 rabbi Aharon Halevi Horowitz opened the first printing press in the city.

In 1850 two Jews established a textile factory and trained Jewish workers in all branches of spinning, weaving, knitting and dying cloth. In 1860, 19 of the 44 textile factories in Bialystok were owned by Jews and in 1898, 299 out of 372 were in Jewish hands. Almost 60% of the workers in the textile industry were Jews, and almost 50% of the profits to the city's textile industry were earned by Jews.

In 1895 there were 47,783 Jews living in Bialystok (out of a population of 62,993). In 1897, out of a total of 3,628 shop-owners in the city, 3,186 were Jews. In 1921, when the district of Bialystok became part of independent Poland, Jews comprised 93% of the city's businessmen, and 89% of the city's industry was under Jewish ownership. Subsequently, the percentage of Jews in business decreased, and in 1928 stood at only 78.3%.

In 1932 there were 39,165 Jews in the city out of a total of 91,207 inhabitants.

Bialystok as an industrial city with most of its workers Jews, was the stronghold of the Jewish working class. In 1897 many Jewish workers joined the "Bund" movement, and clandestinely printed the newspaper "Der Bialystoker Arbeiter" ("the Bialystok Worker"). Yaakov Pat was leader of the "Bund" in Bialystok. The movement's activities during the days of the Russian revolution of 1905-1906 aroused strong reactions of repression on the part of the authorities, who also encouraged the pogrom which broke out on June 1, 1906 and continued for three days. Seventy Jews were murdered and about 90 seriously wounded. Jewish property was destroyed and looted. An investigation committee of the "Duma" (the Russian parliament) placed the responsibility for the disturbances on the police and on the city authorities. The great destruction in the wake of the pogrom caused a temporary crisis in the city's economy.

The Jewish "Haskala" (enlightenment) movement was accepted in Bialystok from its very inception, when the city's Jews were in contact with the Jews of Germany during the short period members of the Zamenhof family, including Dr. Eliezer Ludwig Zamenhof, creator of the Esperanto language; Avraham Shapiro, author of "Toldot Yisrael Vesifrato" ("the history of Israel and its literature"); Yechiel Michael Zbludovsky, author in 1860 of "Ruach Chaim" )"the spirit of life"); and the poet Menahem Mendel Dolitzky.

There were many supporters of the Zionist idea in Bialystok, and their numbers increased over the years. A group of "Hovevei Zion" ("lovers of Zion") had already been established in Bialystok in 1880, under the leadership of rabbi Shmuel Mohliver and Yoseph Hazanovitz. The first of these to immigrate from Bialystok to Eretz Israel participated in the founding of Petach Tikvah, Kfar Uriah and Ekron (which is Mazkeret Batya). Subsequently, those who settled in Israel from Bialystok were among the founders of the textile industry and of the rope and twine industry in Israel, and they included the Yerushalmi family (Yeruzolimsky). From the beginning of the Zionist movement there were branches of it in Bialystok. The rabbis who officiated in the city from the end of the 19th century supported the Zionist movement.

In the period between the two World Wars, branches of all the Zionist parties were active in Bialystok, and all the Zionist youth movements were represented there. Jewish public and social life in the city centered around the Zionist movement; in the community center there were clubs, lectures, performances, literary discussions and Hebrew lessons for adults; there were also libraries in all the languages spoken by Bialystok Jews, including Hebrew, and newspapers were published in those languages. Nahum Zemach, founder of "Habimah" theater, comes from Bialystok.

Among the active sports associations were "Maccabbe" and "Shomriah". The chairman of the last Jewish community council, who was holding office when the second World War broke out, was the attorney Tsvi Clementinovsky.

In 1939 there were 60,000 Jews living in Bialystok. The population of the city at that time was 120,000.


The Holocaust Period
Following the outbreak of the second World War (1 September, 1939), the Germans conquered Bialystok and held the city from September 15th to the 22nd. Later, in keeping with the agreement between Germany and the Soviet union (the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact that was signed in August of that year), the city was turned over, as was the whole eastern strip of Poland, to the Soviet Union.

On June 27, 1941 (after their attack on the Soviet Union which opened on June 22), the Germans conquered the city. The next day, which was subsequently named "Red Friday", the Germans burned the great synagogue with about 1,000 Jews locked inside.

A few days later thousands of Jews from the educated classes were taken out of the city and shot to death.

On July 26, a "Judenrat" was established headed by rabbi Rosenman, but the moving spirit and contact-man with the Germans was the engineer Efraim Barash.

After August 1st, it was forbidden to leave the ghetto. During the first year, the German harnessed the labor-force of the ghetto, men and women between the ages of 15-65, for the needs of the war effort. They were employed under conditions of exploitation and terror within the walls of the ghetto and in German plants outside of it. The Judenrat employed 2,000 persons to carry out its various functions, including 200 people in the "Jewish police", but Barash placed the main emphasis on industrial production, in the hope that its great usefulness would delay and even prevent the ultimate extermination of the Jews, about which he had authentic information. Most of the ghetto people shared this illusion.

In November 1942 all the Jewish communities in the Bialystok district, comprising about 200,000 persons, were murdered. All of them were concentrated in the camp of the 10th batallion (formerly of the Polish army). The place was known as "Umschlagplatz" (a concentration center for Jews prior to their being sent to the death camps), where acts of great cruelty took place, where they were piled on trains and sent to the Treblinka death camp.

Between February 5 and 12, 1943, the Germans implemented the ghetto and 10,000 were sent to Treblinka. The local German authorities were interested in the survival of the ghetto for economic reasons, but the opinion of the upper echelons in Germany prevailed, and the time for the liquidation of the ghetto was set for August 16, 1943.

The underground movement in the Bialystok ghetto began to take definite shape in November 1942 with the arrival of Mordecai Tannenbaum (Tamiroff), an emissary from the Jewish fighter's organization in Warsaw. After the first "action", preparations for engaging in battle were intensified, attempts were made to contact partisans in the vicinity and three small groups even succeeded in reaching the forests. In July 1943 the underground severed its connections with the ghetto leadership, and its various ideological factions consolidated in an organization which supported Tannenbaum's point of view that the national struggle against the Germans must first of all be fought within the confines of the ghetto and not in the forests. On August 16 the underground entered battle with the Germans, who broke into the ghetto fighters, who had gathered in a bunker intending to make their way to the forest, were discovered and killed except for one. Exchange of fire with the Germans continued night after night for a whole month.

It seems that the leaders of the rebellion, Tannebaum and Daniel Moskowitz, committed suicide at the end of the battles. The rest of the leaders were Hershel Rosenthal, Chaika Grossman and Yisrael Margolis.

The Jews of the ghetto, 40,000 in number, were sent to Treblinka and Maidanek; members of the Judenrat were the last to leave. The fighters who succeeded in joining the partisans eventually united as the "Kadimah" group, and were absorbed into units of the Soviet partisan command.

After the war (1945) 260 inhabitants of the ghetto survived, and in Bialystok itself, 1,085 Jews, of whom 900 had been inhabitants of the city before the war.

In addition to their large numbers in Israel, former members of the Bialystok Jewish community are living in the United States, Argentina, Mexico, Australia, Uruguay and South Africa. The "Bialystok Center" in New York coordinates the activities of former "Bialystokers" throughout the United States and aids in the establishment of health and welfare projects in Israel. Several sons of Bialystok, who had settled in the Soviet Union, immigrated to Israel in 1991 and 1992. In the city itself, during the same period, there remained nine Jews.

At a world conference of former Bialystok inhabitants held at the "Bialystok Center" in New York in 1949, it was decided to establish in Israel "Kiryat Bialystok" (Bialystok town) that would serve both as a site for commemorating the glorious past of the Jewish community of Bialystok, and as a project for the absorption in Israel of the survivors. The town was built near Yahud, and comprises over 200 family homes, synagogue, school kindergartens, public institutions, community center and industrial area.