30.04.2016 | Redaktor

Testimony by Dov Landau (born 1928) and Janina Kaczmarowska (1914-2017); talk recorded in April 2016.

– Do you remember that wedding in Brzesko in 1935? Wedding of rabbi Teitelbaum’s son?

– No, I don’t, I studied in the university in Kraków back then.

– That wedding took place in 1935. This rabbi (Mr Landau shows Mrz Kaczmarowska the picture of rabbi Benzion Halbersztam from Bobowa; his father was rabbi’s student – A.B.)

Benzion Halbersztam

– Oh, I can’t believe it, I know him, and I will tell how it happened. My God, it was such an incredible story. You know, I lived at Głowackiego street and I was looking through the window. And I remember seeing this face. There was this carriage, a priest’s carriage móving along Głowackiego street.  I saw it clearly. Two prelates were sitting in the back, dressed in red. And this man from your picture ran out with two young boys, maybe 18 years old, they were holding him inder his arms. One of them had a burgundy velvet pillow in his hand and a large book on that pillow. I right away guessed that this was Torah, you know.

– Oh, it was surely not Benzion Halbersztam, rather Brzesko rabbi, Moshe lipschitz. He had his synagogue at Berka Joselewicza street, above Uszwica river

Hasid synagogue at Berka Joselewicza street in Brzesko, 1929, picture by Charles (Schaje) Weiss

– Yes, I know, later, during the war,  there was a hospital in that synagogue.

– So, Moshe Lipschitz was the rabbi of that synagogue.
– But he looked very similar to this picture, beard and clothes, chalat. And the face.   And you know what? He had that book on the velvet pillow. And these priests jumped off the carriage. And one of them approached the rabbi and kissed the book. And greeted them. How touching! It was the bishop visiting the parish. The Jew welsomed our bishop, and none of ours stood there. (Most likely it was Bishop Franciszek Lisowski, Archdiocesan bishop of Tarnów – commentary by Jacek Filip present at the conversation.) And these Jews were in such a hurry so that not to miss the cariage. They wanted to greet the bishop that way.

– When was it?

– In 1938 or 1939, shortly before the war.

– I see. Halbersztam came here in June 1935. His sister, wife of rabbi teitelbaum lived in Mały Rynek, and her son’s wedding was celebrated there. Rabbi Halbersztam came for his nephew’s wedding. He Stayed in our home for 2-3 days and blessed me and my brothers. Mr Goetz from Okocim (baron Antoni Jan Goetz, owner of Okocim brewery – A.B.) came to gree him at the railway station in Słotwina. He had this carriage with four horses and came so that to meet this rabbi from Bobowa. When the rabbi got out off the train, he bowed and kissed him. So many people came, catholic priests as well. It was such a greeting, you can’t imagine.

– High culture, you know. We lived in harmony.

Janina Kaczmarowska and Dov Landau, April 2016

Talk recorded by Anna Brzyska, 2016