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by Levik son of Mendel and Gitel Alperovitch


The story that I am about to tell you took place when I was still a very

young boy not yet studying in the Cheder.  From those days, I was left with

deep yet imprecise memories of days of fear and tension in our shtetl. I

remember that the adults kept saying the word "pogrom".  I didn't know what

that word meant but that word made me very fearful.  Fearful from the sound

and the statement people had when they said the word.  It was at the

beginning of winter, a few days before Hanukkah, the sky was very gray, and

the weather so cold that it chilled your bones.  In our house we had double

windows, although it was very cold, it still wasn't cold enough that the

frost would cover them.   I stuck my face to the glass, as most kids like to

do and looked at the market.  In those days, we lived at the house of Israel

Itze the Shochet.  The market had patches of frozen snow on the ground white

spots of snow covered the dark earth hay that were left by the farmers who

came with the horses and wagons to sell their produce.  I still remember the

snow falling covering the dark ground.  All of a sudden, a large group of

Kozaks riding horses came roaming by the houses.  Mixed with that image, I

remember that my father Mendel Chetzkales' (Son Of Yechezkel, son of Binia

Alperovitz), and my uncle Zalman Chazkeles'  Hurriedly left the house. They

went to the yard. I swiftly ran to the other side of the room and looked

through the window facing the yard, to see what they were doing.  Cognizant

that they seemed extremely worried I watched them approaching a heap of logs.

 They pushed the snow Aside, they took the logs one by one and put them

against the gate so no one could enter as if there was impending danger

coming.  Then they returned home and whispered to each other as if they were

looking for some solution, shortly after they left our home.  I still

remember when evening time came.  On the table, there was a little candle

with flickering light.  I remember my father and uncle sitting around the

table with other people whispering to each other.  I could hear words like

"sticks" and "iron gloves" and "rods" to be prepared to "scare off" someone.

Years later when I matured, I was curious about those memories.  I started

asking questions trying to clear it for myself my frightful memories.  I was

told that in the year 1905.  Many young men and women would gather in the

forest near our town and they would plan how a revolution against the czar.  

There were many Jews from the town amongst them. Some of the Christian people

of the town and the surrounding area wanted to harm the Jews who they claimed

were all revolutionaries.  Just before Hannukah we always had a huge event

called "Hanes" where people from the surrounding town would come to buy and

sell,  (a big festive Swapmeet.)   The heads of the Jewish community in

Kurenets were very fearful since they heard that on swapmeet day, some of the

villagers planed to harm the Jews.  So they sent a committee to the governor

of the area and they gave him a "bribe" so he would help.  He sent the Kozaks

to defend the town, but the Jews still knew not to just rely on the Kozaks.

so they organized in secret their own army of self defense.  To finance this

army, they taxed the Jewish community.  Some Jews of the community didn't

want to accept the tax and they had to enforce it by using threat and

sometimes-physical force.  The weapons the mainly gathered were rods with

spikes and iron gloves and sticks with nails.   They hid the weapons in a

large hall that was dug in the cemetery.  The same winter, on a Saturday

morning, a policeman was found dead.  The policeman was found on the highest

bench in the steam room and logically people thought his heart weakened from

the heat but truly, it was very different.  This policeman was known in town

as a "Staraznik" someone who works for the czarist government an informant.  

He found out about secret army. Therefore, the Jews gave him a lot of alcohol

before he entered the steam room.  Then while he was lying there, they made

the room very hot, so hot that it caused him death.  When the swapmeet came,

the Jewish defense patrolled the town.  Each patrol unit had about four

people, ready for any trouble.  The swapmeet turned to be very peaceful other

than isolated cases of stealing baked goods from the salespeople.  


translated by Nir , Levik's grandson.