Friday’s Yizkor book excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page #yizkorbooks #JewishGenUpdates

Bruce Drake

“Poles buy only from Poles.”
Jews did not only suffer pogroms and other forms of violence and repression in the years just before the Holocaust. The Poles with whom they had lived aggressively put an economic squeeze on them in the form of boycotts of Jewish shops, and many of those who picketed outside them were people who the owners had known. There were also young men from peasant families who came to town to try their own hands at business and grew jealous of the greater success of the more experienced Jewish merchants.
In “Wysokie on the Eve of the Holocaust” from the Yizkor book of that Polish town, these events helped convince the chapter’s author to depart for Israel. For a while, he wondered if it was the right thing to do, “fleeing from a sinking ship.” But as he heard more depressing reports of the decline of Jewish fortunes back home, he began began to view Wysokie differently than he had as a young person. “This was a romantic, unhappy Wysockie. I sometimes think that the blue–painted wooden houses are sinking, and shrinking, and I hear the cry of young people seeking emigration to the Land of Israel for creativity and a better tomorrow.”


Bruce Drake
Silver Spring, MD

Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel