25.03.2022 | Redaktor

13. Councillor Abraham Abe Lieber

Merchant Abe Lieber (1843-1921), son of Isaak Leib Lieber and Rifka nee Izbic, lived a long life and was one of the most respected Brzesko residents. He was a member of Brzesko’s town council for over 40 years (1877-1920), and from 1914 to 1919 he was the deputy mayor. He was actively involved in the reconstruction of the town after the great fire of 1904, when most of the town houses burned down, including his shop in the Market Square. In 1907 he supervised the construction of the new town hall and during the construction period he lent two rooms in his house for the municipality office.

Abe Lieber was an educated man. He corresponded in Yiddish and German and also knew Polish and Hebrew.

Postcards addressed to Abe Lieber in 1880s. The first card is written in German, the second in Yiddish. Postcards from the collection of Jacek Koszczan.

Being a Jew, Abe Lieber supported Poland’s pursuit of independence. Here is how Brzesko chronicler Jan Burlikowski describes the events of 1918: “A great national demonstration took place in Brzesko in front of the town hall on February 16, 1918 with the participation of delegates from the entire poviat, local intelligentsia and townspeople. The audience covered the market square and the entire street leading to the town hall, all the way beyond the Court building… Representing the citizens of the Jewish faith, Deputy Mayor Abe Lieber publicly sympathized with the demonstration, standing by the side of Dr Brzeski during his speech.” (Jan Burlikowski “Chronicles of the town of Brzesko”, vol II, p93)

In 1920, after Poland gained independence, Abe Lieber became a member of the local county’s State Defence Committee and participated in the rallies and demonstrations that it organized.

County’s State Defence Committee in Brzesko, 1920. Abe Lieber is seated first from left. Photo from Jan Burlikowski, Chronicles of the Town of Brzesko

Together with his wife, Leah née Klausner (1846-1924), he had nine children. Most of their descendants were murdered in the Holocaust.

The day following his death on 9 August 1921, the town council decided to honour his memory by distributing 1,000 Polish marks to the poor.

Matzeva of Abe Abraham Lieber

The epitaph on his tombstone is exceptionally touching:

Here lies

Avraham Aba Lieber

Son of our rabbi Yitzhak Yehuda of blessed memory

Deceased 5 Av 5681

Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years [Gen 24:1]

He came to the grave in old age

Most of his days he engaged with the needs of the people

On 5 Av his soul ascended to heaven from ashes

Lament from the depths of your heart

For an innocent and honest man

In faith and great strength he carried his business

May the light of his soul be bound in heaven in the bundle of life

(Translation of the inscription by Idan Livne)

© Anna Brzyska, 2022