19.07.2020 | Redaktor

Fischelberg family

Here is the story of another family of Bresko Jews. It will be a long, but important text.

A few weeks ago I came across some information in the book “The Children of Zion” by Henryk Grynberg. A single line: Aron Fischelberg, born in Brzesko in 1926, son of Paul and Erna, arrived in Erec Israel on February 18, 1943 and perished in the Israeli War of Independence in Bat Jam on March 25, 1948.

Henryk Grynberg “The Children of Zion”.
List of Jewish children who reached Palestine on February 18, 1943. Aron Fischelberg from Brzesko is #143.

That’s what I learned based on documents kept in Polish archives and Yad VaShem testimonies.

Some of Aron Fischelberg’s ancestors had lived in Brzesko at least from the beginning of the 19th century, and others moved to Brzesko from Wiśnicz in the mid-19th century. It was a large family, but almost everyone was murdered during the war

Wiśnicz-born Kiwa Fischelberg and Chawa Feldschreiber were Aron Fischelberg’s great-grandparents. Kiwa was a merchant, he sold flour. All nine of this couple’s children were born in Brzesko in 1861-1883, but five of them died at a very young age.

Marriage record of Aron Fischelberg’s great-grandparents, Kiwa Fischelberg and Chawa Feldschreiber. Photos come from szukajwarchiwach.pl website.

Aron’s grandfather, Jozef Mordche (Markus), was the eldest child of Kiwa and Chawa. In 1894 he married Hudes Rosenbaum, who also came from a large family (she had seven siblings). Hudes’ parents, Hersch Rosenbaum and Feigla Heller, were merchants in Brzesko.

Marriage record of Aron Fischelberg’s grandparents, Jozef Markus Fischelberg and Hudes Rosenbaum. Photos come from szukajwarchiwach.pl website.

Aron Fischelberg’s grandparents had 8 children. Grandmother Hudes died in 1926, and grandfather Jozef Mordche was murdered in the Bresko ghetto in 1942. He was 81.
That’s what I’ve learned about children of this couple:

– Joel (1888) was the oldest child. He married Feiga Brandstatter and lived in Brzesko. They were murdered together with their children Sara, Tzwi (1916), twins Chana and Kreindel (1918), Wadje (1920).
– I don’t know anything about the fate of another child, daughter Kreindel (1890).
– Gittel (1891) got married to Hersch (Tzwi) Gotlieb from Grybów. They lived in Grybów. Murdered during the war together with their children Ruchel (1912), Lea (1916), Feiga and Miriam. Children of Ruchel: Eli (1933), Yitzhak (1935) and Avraham (1937) also perished.
– Szulem (1893) married Pesia (I don’t know her maiden name), they lived in Kołbuszowa. They were murdered in 1942 in the Bresko ghetto together with their daughter Sara (1923)
– Chane (1896) married Isak Jakob Biron from Rymanów. Chana was the only child of Jozef Mordche and Hudes Fischelberg who survived the war due to the fact that together with her family she had left Poland for Palestine back in 1936. It’s her and and her son Tzwi who submitted testimonies to Yad Vashem about the fate of their relatives.
– Manele (1898) married Scheindel Fenichek, who lived in Tarnów. They were murdered together with their children Zygmund (1923) and Chana.
– Saul Natan (1899) was the father of our main character, Aron Fischelberg. He married Esther Zwetschkenbaum in 1925. They lived in Brzesko, had four children: Aron (1926), Hudes (1927), Kiwa (1929) and Gusta (1934).

Birth record of Aron Fischelberg’s father, Saul Nathan. Photos come from szukajwarchiwach.pl website.

All I know about this family is that Aron, after several years spent in the Soviet Union, ended up in Palestine in 1943 and was killed on March 25, 1948 in Bat Yam during the Israeli War of Independence. Maybe the rest of the family perished in the Soviet Union? This seems to be supported by the fact that only Aron got to Palestine with the transport of Jewish children. There were only orphans in this transport. I know that in 1939 some Jews, also from Brzesko and vicinity, fled to the USSR, hoping to survive there. Some succeeded, others failed.

– Sara (1901) got married to Yehuda Moses/Dranger from Brzesko. Spouses were murdered together with their daughter Estera Debora (1923) and son Hirsch (1928). I don’t know what happened to other children of this couple: Chiel Aron (1926), Jakob (1930) and Salamon (1935).

28 members of one family murdered in the Holocaust – and that’s only from the data I came across…

Here I would like to quote Grynberg’s book (mostly from Prof. Gutman’s afterword):

“Only 871 Jewish children were finally brought to Palestine from Iran… There was a lot of bitterness and regret during the evacuation of General Anders’s troops with whom these children escaped from the USSR… After a difficult journey to Krasnowodsk and humiliating conditions in the port of Pahlevi, the children arrived in Tehran in the second half of 1942. Here, in the civil camp No. 2, a Jewish children’s orphanage was established… The last stage of the journey, from Iran to Palestine, turned out to be more complicated than expected. Iraqi authorities refused to allow Jewish children to pass… Finally they were loaded onto a ship that took British soldiers to India… from where they headed in the opposite direction…
On February 18, 1943, after more than three years of persecution and exile, this group of rescued and tortured children finally reached Palestine…”

And here are testimonies of the children themselves:
– Where are my parents and brothers – I don’t know.
– I saw my mother and then my father die. They both starved to death.
– I had six brothers and three sisters, five of us fled to  Bolsheviks, three returned to Germans, now I am alone.
– I’m the only one from ma family who could make it to Palestine.
– There were seven of us at home, only I survived…

Aron Fischelberg survived the hell of war, but perished a few years later fighting for his new homeland. He was only 22 years old.

Aron Fischelberg, 1946

Due to research conducted by אפרת גולדיטש we know what happened to Aron after his coming to Eretz Israel. He applied for Palestinian citizenship in December 1946. Young smiling man looks at us from the picture kept in those documents.

Photos from the website https://www.archives.gov.il/archives/#/Archive/0b0717068002258e/File/0b071706856c33a5

Website of the state memorial project “Yizkor”, organized by the Ministry of Defense of Israel, proivides the following information on Aron Fischelberg https://www.izkor.gov.il/…/en_a67afa6ca273f03947abd36d6669a… 

“Private Aharon (Aharla) Fischelberg,
Son of Esther and Shaul-Natan, born on Monday, February 16, 1926, in Poland. World War II ended his studies in elementary school and the boy was swept away by the influx of refugees into Russia. In 1943 he immigrated to Israel from Tehran. He had one wish in life: to bring his father, who was waiting for his aliyah in Germany, to Eretz Israel.

He fell in the defense of his neighborhood in Bat Yam without being allowed to see his father, on in the defense of the neighborhood without being allowed to see his father, on March 24, 1948. He was laid to rest in the Nahalat Yitzhak military cemetery.”

Aron Fischelberg, 1948. Photo from the werbsite https://www.izkor.gov.il/
Nahalat Yitzhak military cemetery where Aron Fischelberg was buried. Photo from the website https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29089640

It means that Aron’s father, Samuel (Saul) Natan Fischelberg survived the war. Did he manage to get to Israel? Were there any other surviving members of Fischelberg family?

Efrat אפרת גולדיטש has found information about death of Saul Fischelberg, son of Josef Mordechai – he died in Bat Yam on April 2, 1952. So, Saul did come to Israel, but lived there only for several years. He met sister Chana and her family, but didn’t have a chance to see his son. He could only come to his grave.

Grave of Saul Natan Fischelberg at the Kiryat Shaul cemetery, Tel Aviv. Photo from the website https://billiongraves.pl/

© Anna Brzyska, 2020