** Webmaster Note: The following
translation was generously provided by Lior
Mordechai Burko. We have presented it here exactly as it
was translated for us. Notes for clarity or
explanation have been provided in brackets.
I LOVED YOU SO!
I loved you so, my beloved town, with all
my soul I was tied to you, to this day I carry your memory with
I was not born in you. Also my childhood
days were not spent in you, and yet you are dear to me, very
dear. For the grace of folksiness and good spirits were bestowed
upon you, and even foreigners, who came to you from afar, were
caught in a web of love to you, as if you were their Mother, and
as if they saw the light of day for the first time.
I was born in the town of Ulusk in Volyn,
and I came to you with my brother Aharon Friedman and his family
and with my brother in-law Moshe Waldman and his four children.
It was 1920, we were survivors of [Symon] Petliura’s and
Belechovich’s [?] murderers looking for a safe haven, and this
is how we came to you, good and compassionate Vladimirets.
My brother was the foreman of wood cutting
in the nearby forest for a large company, and the Jews of my
town benefited from that both directly and indirectly. My
brother too loved you like I do. My brother was a pleasant man:
his house was always open to any poor man, and he helped any
needy person, either by good advice or by actual help. We also
brought our father, Zalman Friedman may he rest in peace, from
Russia, and he too connected with the town’s people and made it
his home. Pinchas Gorzik and Zelig Tsherniak were his closest
friends, and in their company he would spend his days, either
for hours in shul over a page of Gemara, or talking Torah and
singing Hassidic songs.
Thus we lived pleasantly and comfortably –
until Polish Police found out my brother was not a Polish
citizen. They started bothering him constantly. He was forced to
leave you, and move to Paris. But he kept with his the magic of
living in you for all his days, until he was perished by the
Nazi murderers, together with his wife and two sons.
I remember, oh how I remember your Sabbaths
and your yontifs, Vladimirets, and especially so Simchat Torah.
How beautiful were those days… Here again I see my brother’s
image, who would pass in Shul in front of the Bima, serving as
cantor for his beautiful voice. Here, Shul services are over,
and the entire community, old and young, go out dancing and
singing to the town’s streets, and especially audible was the
song A Good Year (“A gutter yahr. Ay… ay…”), the voices
of the children, the holy lambs, joining the voices of the
adults, singing and dancing throughout town, going from house to
house to enjoy the feast’s delicacies.
How beautiful were those days! Each one as
if as forgot the worries of livelihood and the heavy burden, and
with happiness and joy they used to glorify the yontif, for most
of the township were Chassidim, and who could glorify a yontif
better then Chassidim? The joyous spirits would overtake
everyone, and make the entire town united. And so… until the ax
of the murderer was carried over you, and until the reaper went
over you, and your wonderful life was cut off to ashes.
You were pleasant to me, Vladimirets my
Jewish Shtetl, and your memory is very dear to me. May your soul
and the souls of our dear ones be bundles with the living.