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In memory of Solly Patrontasch

We were greatly saddened when we heard of the untimely death of Solly who fought for his life like a tiger for so many years. Read more

The Salvaged Torah Scroll

By: Yosef Tzvi Buber, told by Michael Melman. Read more

ZOLKIEW & Mosty Wieli’s International conference

Thanks to all participants

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Yosef Hirschhorn, 1920-2001

My father, Yosef Hirschhorn, was born officially in 1920.
His father, Aryeh Hirschhorn, and his mother, Yehudit Hirschhorn, were from the Gabel family. My father had three sisters: Shoshana Hirschhorn, who was older than he and who was highly active in Zolkiew’s Zionist and Jewish organizations (Hechalutz). After the war, she and her husband Ignatz traveled to Kenya and in 1952, the year of my birth, she died during open heart surgery in Paris.

My father’s second sister, Mina, was his twin. She married Yitzhak (“Itsche”) Greenwald after the war, moved to France in 1971 and immigrated to Israel. She died in 1981.

Her younger sister, Adela, married Moshe Ladman after the war and has lived in Paris ever since.
When she was still young my father’s family left the city to earn a living and then returned to Zolkiew several years later.
While he attended the municipal grade school, he also studied Torah in a “cheder”. At about the age of 14 he worked as an electrician. He also learned the furrier’s trade.

Following the Ribbentrop-Molotov agreement part of Poland came under Russian control. When he reached the age of 21 he was drafted into the Red Army. He served as an officer with the combat engineers on several fronts: the Japanese front and the Finnish front and he also fought in Stalingrad and Leningrad.
When the Germans abrogated their agreement with Russia, knowing that Yosef was in Russia his family decided to leave Zolkiew and move in the direction of Russia. This decision saved their lives, since they were able to board the last train from Zolkiew. Also on the train was Oscar Shvebel
At the end of the war, by virtue of his position as a high ranking officer in one of the Russian armies, my father managed to get his family to Germany, to a camp near Bad Reichenhall.

Yosef joined the family in Berlin, in 1948.
Before the war, some of the Zolkiew exiles came to Paris, where they worked in the fur trade, which they had learned earlier in their home town. My father joined them, worked day and night to earn a living and, when he had saved enough money, managed to move his family from Germany to Paris, where he married Dora Spielman, my mother.

In 1951, my sister Helen was born and I followed after, in 1952.
In my view, my father was an astonishing, multi-faceted person. During the time he lived in France he was one of the main pillars of the Yiddish language newspaper, “Unser Vort”.
He was active in most of the Jewish organizations in France. He did volunteer work for the Jewish Agency and with the organizers of vacations for groups of young people, within the framework of the Zionist movement in Israel, in Nitzanim.

Yosef was among the organizers of activities for the Jews of Russia and one of the organizers of the demonstrations for Israel, in 1967, and a host of other activities.
In addition, he served on several occasions as the representative of France at the Zionist Convention in Jerusalem.
All of which he did on a purely voluntary basis. He was a Zionist in every bone of his body and the realization of immigration to Israel was one of his most ardent wishes.

When he finally reached israel, in 1970, he set up a fur manufacturing plant and continued his Zionist activities, within the framework of French Zionist organizations. His door was always open to new immigrants who needed his help with the process of adjusting to life in Israel.
He was active within the framework of the Yiddish movement in Israel.

For many years Yosef Hirschoorn served on the Zolkiew committee, which was the most important thing in his eyes.

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