This week's Yizkor book excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page


Bruce Drake
 

Poverty was a constant in the shtetls of Europe. Many were born to it, others fell into it. The latter was the case for Reb Benyamin the Tailor, a specialist in sewing by hand who was once overloaded with work until the arrival of tailors with sewing machines. But the poignance of this excerpt from the Yizkor book of Czyzew-Osada is the pain he felt about the grim situation that befell a family with no money and in debt. “What will happen to them?” asked his wife, holding in the tears and pointing to the two boys, shriveled, with small, pale faces who stood near her holding on to her dress and the nursing child in her arms. “There is not a groshn of money in the house, not even a piece of bread.”
But Reb Benyamin could not hold back the tears as he trudged to the nearby villages to see if he could find some sewing work among the peasants. Suffering poverty was not new to him, but “a man can only cry like this under oppressive need when the heart melts looking at his hungry and naked, shriveled small children.” 


Bruce Drake
Silver Spring MD

Researching: DRACH, EBERT, KIMMEL, ZLOTNICK
Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel 

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