The Revisionist Zionist Movement in Ostrowiec
Translation of article written by : I. Birnzweig
Yizkor Book (1970): Published by the Society of Ostrovtser Jews in Israel
Like in every Jewish town in Poland, Ostrowiec was also home to various youth organizations and movements from all streams, yet the different branches of the Revisionist Movement particularly excelled in their public activity, such as the Brit HaTzohar [Union of Revisionist Zionists] and Brit HaHayal [Revisionist Zionist Association]. The lectures held every Saturday at Brit HaTzohar by Adv. Friedenthal, who is now in Israel and by the late teacher Rabinovich, May G-d Revenge his Blood,, were renowned among the youth movements and many came to hear them.
Among the figures who stood out the most in these organizations activities, were the Chairman Yisrael Rosenberg, May G-d Revenge his Blood, Shmuel Zussman, who represented the movement before the municipality and the community's committee and Secretary Moshe Goldfinger, who is now in Israel.
The Jews of the town experienced an exceptional experience when Zeev Jabotinsky appeared in Ostrowiec. The film theater was too narrow to hold all the masses that came to hear the leader and the nearby streets were filled with Jews listening to the speech from speakers installed especially for the occasion. Mr. Friedenthal had the tremendous privilege of receiving the distinguished guest and opening the lecture. Y. Rozensweig had a big part in the success of this event, after investing numerous hours preparing it. The lecture was followed by a party with festive tables at the home of Mr. Heine, the richest man in town and father-in-law of the Rabbi from Gur, who offered him his spacious and luxurious apartment. We sat there with the great leader until the early hours of the morning, listening to his words without feeling time pass.
Brit HaTzohar was established in 1927 by a group of youngsters headed by Yaakov Orbach. It evolved into an active and strong body that took part in the town's cultural and political activities.
Two years later, Shmuel Grossman and Eli Mintsberg established the Beitar Movement, which quickly developed and included most of the town's youth within a short time, mainly thanks to teacher Rabinovich, who contributed valuable cultural contents to the movement's activity, many ran to the lectures and cultural balls that he hosted. Beitar also organized summer camps, defense sports training, trips and more. When members of Beitar walked the town streets wearing their uniforms, they were considered by all as the start of the Hebrew army.
After the Nazis began WWII in 1939, an underground Command Center was established by the honorable Messieurs P. Shar, Rabinovich, K. Waldman, S. Goldman, Bluma Grossman and Rachel Steinbrat. Brit HaHayal was organized thanks to Captain Yakir Goldberg (Har Zahav), who came especially from Warsaw for this purpose. He managed to gather a number of young Jews after their service in the Polish army and lectured to them about the purpose of Brit HaHayal. Adv. Tzisel agreed to assume the role of commander and together with the rest of the Command members – Yaakov Zeltser, Eli Levi and others – managed to infuse the acknowledgment that all military veterans should take advantage of their military experience to benefit their brothers, wherever they may be and should protect Jews and their property from Antisemitism. However, they considered getting to the Land of Israel as their main goal, whereas at the time it was closed to Jewish immigrants. Many of them came to the Land of Israel as part of the Aliya Bet [illegal immigration by Jews], which was organized by Mr. Zaitsik from the Center and took part in protecting the Jewish settlements from Arab thugs.
The Nazi evil put an end to this vibrant life and our precious youth was destroyed.
Let these lines serve as a memorial for all the members of the movement who did not live to see their idea victorious in free Israel. May their souls be bound in the bond of life.
Translation from: I. Birnzweig