I have recently learned of the death of Klara Minzberg Ma'ayan at the
age of 96, in October 2011, in Tel Aviv. Mrs. Ma'ayan was, for many
years, president of the Rzeszow (Reisha, in Yiddish) Landsmanshaft.
Rzeszow (pronounced zhe-shuf) was in the former province of Galicia.
Mrs. Ma'ayan was born in Rzeszow, and was a Holocaust survivor.
Mrs. Ma'ayan's extraordinary devotion to preserving the memory of
the lost Rzeszow Jewish community took several forms. Mrs. Ma'ayan
maintained contact with hundreds of former residents of Rzeszow,
both survivors and those who had emigrated before the War, in Israel,
Europe, Australia, Canada, the United States and South America. She
welcomed visitors to her home and put people in touch with cousins
and friends when contact had been lost. I met a previously unknown
cousin due to Klara's knowledge of his family.
She arranged at least three gatherings of the Landsmanshaft,
attended by former Rzeszowers then living in Israel and around the
world. For the last gathering, in 2000, Mrs. Ma'ayan arranged to have
the former mayor of Rzeszow, then a senator, travel to Israel for the
event, and he was a guest at a dinner in her home. The grandson of
Rzeszow's last rabbi, Nathan Lewin, read >from his grandfather's book
at a ceremony at Beth Hatefutsoth.
Mrs. Ma'ayan was a member of the Editorial Board for the Rzeszow
Yizkor book, written in 1967. In 2000, she gladly gave her signed
permission to JewishGen to have the Yizkor book translated into
English as part of JewishGen's Yizkor Book Translation project.
Mrs. Ma'ayan maintained relationships with various non-Jewish
residents of Rzeszow, enabling her and other Landsmanshaft
members to plan a memorial site in the Glogow Woods, site of mass
graves for Jews of Rzeszow and nearby towns who were murdered
there by the Germans. The mayor of Rzeszow, other officials and
academics cooperated with the Landsmanshaft in building a beautiful
memorial site. The ceremony dedicating the site took place in June
1995, with approximately 200 attendees, including former residents
of Rzeszow and their children, then living around the world. Speakers,
in addition to Mrs. Ma'ayan and other former Reisha residents,
included the mayor of Rzeszow and a Catholic priest. A Polish Army
band played somber music.
When I met Klara in 1994, she immediately brought me into the
Rzeszow family by introducing me to many of the Landsmanshaft
members. She became my mentor and teacher about the Rzeszow
Jewish Community. I am saddened by our loss.
The Rzeszow Research Group