Unveiling of Ostrowiec Monument in Toronto-1966
Based on translation from Yiddish written by Eber (Albert) Beinerman.
Pages 526-527 Yizkor Book 1971
In the year 1959, a group of devoted activists, who are grouped as part of the Ostrowiec New York Society, came out with welcoming words of an initiative. To a certain extent inspired by the Landsleit Society in Buenos Aires – this was to turn to all the Ostrowiec communities around the globe in an appeal to put up a monument for the 18,000 martyrs who perished, that is those from the Jewish community in Ostrowiec.
On November 8, 1959, a conference took place, in which delegates from all the Ostrowiec unions took place (the author of these lines at that time represented the Ostrowiec compatriots from Argentina and Brazil). At the conference, there was also the question of creating an orphanage in the state of Israel and to publish the works for the Yizkor book, in memory of holy Ostrowiec, in Tel Aviv.
The delegation of the Ostrowiec Landsmanshaft [brotherhood] at the conference in New York consisted of the following delegates: Dovid Zisholtz, Harav A. Bleiberg, Eliezer Kuperman, author of the book “Amulige Doros” [“Former Generations”], and Wolf Weiss, of blessed memory, who was one of the initiators of this conference.
These activists participated in these discussions: Shuchman, Fleishman, Avrohom Brikman, Y. Glad, Streitman, Fachler, Moshe Fish, N. Grosman, and Baumstein (of the Women’s Division).
The initiative to put up a monument came from the Ostrowiec Society, along with the Ostrowiec synagogue and Ladies’ Auxiliary (Women’s Division), a monument of granite, which should be a worthy memorial for the fallen Ostrowiec martyrs during the Nazi era.
A committee of the following people was created: Chairman: Shaya Zweigman, Secretary General :Eber Beinerman, Treasurer: Shmuel Friedman, Finance Secretary: Hendel Linson, Hartzke Kudlovitch, Max Stern, Yakov Rapaport, Mendel Velman, Yisroel Zisapel, Shloime Steinhart, Izzy Friedman, Harry Fiedler, Louis Starkman, Volf Felman. From the Women’s Division: F. Grosman, Sh.G. Waxman, R. Neszi, R. Zhabner, A. Singer, Sarah’le Friedman, Sh. Weisglas.
On Sunday, October 23, 1966, in the Jewish cemetery in Toronto, the solemn unveiling of the memorial took place. There were more than 500 compatriots from Ostrowiec, along with government representatives, from the local municipality, from the Jewish Congress, from the Histadrut, from the New York Ostrowiec Society, and a delegation from Detroit. At this solemn event there were also representatives from the press, television, and radio.
The ceremony of unveiling the memorial was done by Chairman Shaya Zweigman, who managed the entire program. Six candles were lit to commemorate the six million Jews who died during the dark, Nazi era. Each candle was lit by two people: The first candle was lit by Streitman and Sarah’le Lax (Rosenman); the second candle – Leibish Rosenman and Bashke Kerbel; the third candle – Mottel Zukerfein and Malke Mushkes (Angenicki); the fourth candle – Hershel Kudlowich and Yehudis Neuten (Czernikowski); the fifth candle – Avraham Starkman and Lodzhe Apelstein (Mitzmacher); the sixth – Yechiel Alter Raczimore and Devora Stern (Rapaport).
While unveiling the memorial, the four oldest Ostrowiec compatriots were honored: Velvel Sherman, Isaac Beinerman, Bunye Hofman (Fridlewska), and Faigele Cohen (Eilkichen).
The floral wreaths on the monument were placed by the following representatives:
In the name of the Ostrowiec Society in Toronto: Chairman – Louis Starkman; vice chairman – Wolf Folman.
In the name of the Ostrowiec synagogue: Chairman – Izzy Friedman, Yukel Smolner.
In the name of the Women’s Division of the Ostrowiec Society: Chairman - Dobra Grosman; Vice Chairman – Sarah Gittel Waxman.
In the name of the monument committee: Shmuel Friedman, Hendel Linson.
In the name of the Ostrowiec Society in New York: Moshe Fish, Nathan Grosman.
For speeches during the unveiling of the monument, there were government representatives, members of the community, and from the delegation of the compatriots in New York there was Pesach Shuchman. For the major speeches, there were also the local activists from Toronto – Shaya Zweigman and Eber Beinerman.
The eulogy for the decimated Jewish community in Ostrowiec – was held by Rabbi Rosenzweig, and the “El Moleh Rachamim” [prayer for the departed], was recited by cantor Cooper.
The fixed monument and the conducted ceremony left a huge impact on everyone.