Aharon Gabriel HALBERSTADT about jewish Lublin, himself, his parents and their families, escape to S.U. during war and live there, stay in Poland after war and way to Israel
An English resume of an interview in Hebrew that took place in Israel as a part of the Polish Roots in Isarel Project. Interviewee name: Aharon Halberstadt
Aharon Gabriel HALBERSTADT was born in LUBLIN on 19.4.1919, in his father's house at 23 Lubartowska str. In Lublin before the war, there was a population of 120,000 inhabitants, of which 40,000 were Jews. Lubartowska street was the main street of the Jewish part of the city; it was a long street with big 3-4 floors houses, many shops, warehouses, schools, synagogues, charity institutions, the market, etc… in short, the heart of the neighborhood.
The relationship with the non-Jewish inhabitants was very good and Aharon doesn't remember any anti-Semitic acts; it is interesting to note that Aharon's grandfather's house on Lubartowska 38 (the number today is 44) was a police station under terms of lease until 1950.
His father, Josif, was born in Lublin in 1885 ; he was a very religious man (he used two kinds of Tefilin (phylacterics), alternatively: Rashi and Rabenu-Tam); he was a Radzyń hassid (pious man) and used to travel to the city of Radzyń for almost all of the Jewish feasts, to see and hear the Admor (head of a Hassidic movement) of Radzyń.
His mother, Esther, was born MELINIAK in Warsaw, in 1880.
Esther and Aharon had 6 children: Mordechai, Bluma Rosa, Perl Pola Penina, Aharon Gabriel (the interviewee), Abraham and David.
Josif, Esther and Aharon's 5 siblings died during the war.
When Aharon was still a boy, he was present at an event that had a strong impact on him: the construction of the Sages of Lublin Yeshiva, the most important and prestigious Talmudic school in the world, next to his home, at the 85 Lubartowska, on a donated piece of land of 20 dunams; when he was 5 he succeeded in being present at the magnificent corner stone ceremony ; 6 years later, in 1930, a crowd of tens of thousands participated at the opening ceremony of the Yeshiva.
At home they spoke mainly Yiddish and some Polish; the boys went to a
Jewish school "Torat Haim", at Szeroka street, where they had both general and religious education. The girls went to "Mandelker" school, at Lubartowska 24, in front of their home. Bluma went to a secondary school in Lublin and later to Warsaw University. Mordechai was a watch repair-man.
HALBERSTADT grandparents : Yitzhak Ytchele and Lea
MELINIAK grandfather : Moshe
Lea and Ytchele had 5 children : Aharon, a talmid hacham (religious scholar) ; Josif, the father of Aharon the interviewee; Chamay Chema, director of the Lublin Hebra Kadisha (burial society); Chifka, married to WAKZ Eliezer "Luzer", a very rich man, who was a manufacturer of milked margarine, owned several bakeries and the "Bank Powszechny" at Lubartowska 2 ; Meir, elected member of Lublin Jewish Community Board.
Grandpa Ytchele lived in a big house that was his property at LUBARTOWSKA 38, in a 3 floor building with 4 entrances, together with his daughter Chifka and her family, and other members of the family here and there – always in a typical extremely orthodox way of life. Besides the family, there was the police station and other tenants. In 1937 Josif and his family also moved to Ytchele's house.
Ytchele was a merchant in iron and other metals, together with his sons Josif and Meir. The whole family lived comfortably. Ytchele expanded when he opened the lottery LOS. In 1930 he went bankrupt. Josif started working with "Luzer", his brother in law, selling milked margarine – until the war. Meir started working at Luzer's bank.
All grandparents died before the war.
Ytchele had a brother, Yitzhak Herch, the owner of a big painting shop. His son Shlomo was the elected President of Lublin Jewish Community Board, for many years, and also the elected secretary of the Yeshiva.
In 1936 (1939?), Aharon lived in Warsaw and worked as technical supply worker ; when the hostilities started, he received a phone call from his father, instructing him to come home immediately – which he did. He remembers a silly picture of a (neighbor) policeman shooting his pistol at a German plane that was flying over the house, and the immediate bombing of the house, which was hit.
Aharon wanted to escape to Russia together with a couple of friends, but Josif strongly opposed; as destiny would have it, at that very moment the Rabbi Shlomo LERNER, was in Lublin, on his way to Włodawa; Josif consulted him and the Rabbi ruled that Aharon could go, but not further than the Ukraine (part of Poland). Aharon begged his parents and brothers to join him. They all refused. They all died.
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