Warning! The text retains the original spelling of surnames and place names by an Israeli researcher; in many cases it may not be correct. Fragments that could contain current personal data have been removed from the interview.

 

Name of Interviewee: Chaya Leor;

Interview topic: Bella Wajcberg, nee Raj (The interviewee's mother) and her family.

 

Hanna Nozjsze [Nożyce] and Her Family

Hanna Nozjsze [Nożyce] was born in 1847 in the town of Wislica, Poland. She was the only midwife in the town and the entire surrounding area, and so all the townspeople had stories about her kindness and willingness to come to the aid of women in labor at any time; day or night. Hanna was also a very beautiful and well-groomed woman, who was the dominant figure in her family. Years later, Hanna's granddaughter, Bella, remembered how Hanna should not wear glasses while sewing , her eyes were perfectly fine, and even at the age of 89, she still had all her teeth.

Hanna was engaged at the age of 12 and was married shortly after. The interviewee told that the family never spoke of Hanna's husband, so she knows nothing about it. Hanna gave birth to several children:

Meir - Meir was the doctor of the town of Wislica. He had a son by his first wife, and after she had passed away he remarried. He had no other children. Meir was known as a very special person, who would treat the town's poor free of charge. His main livelihood came from the town's rich people, from whom he charged a full price. Meir was also the head of the Zionist Organization at Wislica, and he supported the town's Jewish youth movements.

Israel - Israel was the barber of the town and also dealt in dentistry, although it isn't clear whether he was a qualified doctor or not. Israel perished in Treblinka in 1942.

Dvora and Bloma [Bluma]- Both sisters immigrated to Toronto, Canada with their families.

Leiser - was born in 1912 and perished in Buchenwald in 1943. His name was found on a tombstone over a mass grave near Buchenwald.

Fruma - married Isaac Raj and moved with him to the city of Charkov, Ukraine. After Isaac was killed during World War One, Fruma remained alone with four children; so she decided to go back to her hometown of Wislica, where she had been born and where her family was living.

According to the interviewee, Hanna might have had other children but no information was found about them.

Fruma Raj and Her Family

After having returned to live in her hometown, Fruma ran a small haberdashery shop in Wislica. Her financial situation was difficult, and it was only thanks to the help she received from her family that she managed to survive. Tragically, Fruma perished in Treblinka in 1942.

Fruma and Isaac had four children:

Feigle - In her youth Feigle was a member of the Wislica theatre group. In 1927 she immigrated to Toronto, Canada, and from there she moved to New-York. Feigle lived a long and fulfilling life and died of old age in the 1990's.

Rivka - Perished in 1942 in Treblinka, along with her mother and the rest of their family that had remained in Wislica.

Isaac - Isaac was the youngest son, who was born after his father had passed away. His mother Fruma was pregnant with him when she was told of her husband's death, and Isaac was born after his mother had moved back to be with her family in Wislica.

In the beginning of the 1930's, Isaac immigrated to Toronto where his sister Feigle and his two aunts, Bluma and Dvora, (his mother's sisters) had already been living. Isaac passed away in 1974.

Bella - The subject of the interview

Bella Wajcberg, nee Raj

Bella was born to Fruma and Isaac Raj in Charkov. According to her I.D, Bella was born in 1913, but her family claims that it isn't the correct date but that she herself changed it for unknown reasons. According to Bella's family, she was born several years prior to the mentioned date. Bella's father was a doctor, who served in the army during World War One and was killed around 1915.

Following her father's death, she moved with her mother and her sisters - Feigle and Rebecca back to Wislica. The financial situation at home was very harsh since Fruma's work at the haberdashery shop was not enough to provide for her children, and she had to depend on her mother and other family members for help.

Bella attended a government Polish school and probably studied sewing. Immediately following her graduation she began working to support her family. At a young age she also joined the "Gordonia" Zionist youth movement, and was a very active member. Occasionally she would go on pioneer training with the movement (the training was the main operation of the Zionist movement, and it was aimed at establishing work farms and Kibbutzim, where Jewish youth would learn agricultural work and communal living as preparation for immigration to Palestine).

In 1936, Bella received her immigration certificate to Israel, after entering into a false marriage. This was a common practice at the time, since the British Mandate government in Israel limited the number of immigration certificates issues; it was very difficult to obtain one, and so many young people would enter into false marriage so that they could share one certificate.

The man Bella married was called Pinchas Luvianker (Lavon), and he was a native of Galicia and one of the leaders of the Zionist movement at that time. From a very early age, Pinchas Luvianker stood out in his Zionist activities and he was among the first to establish the "Gordonia" movement in Poland. He immigrated to Palestine in 1929 as the head of the group of "Gordonia" members, and together they established the "Chulda" Kibbutz. As the years went by, he changed his name from Luvianker to Lavon and became a "Knesset" (the parliament of the state of Israel) member, the chairman of the general organization, and even served as the Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Defense in the Israeli governments.

Bella arrived in Israel and settled in the "Kiryat Anavim" (Literally: "City of Grapes") Kibbutz. She was also one of the founders of the "Ma'ale Ha'chamisha" Kibbutz.

She met her future husband, Peretz Wajcberg, in Tel-Aviv, where she arrived after having left the Kibbutz.

Peretz Wajcberg

Peretz was born in 1914, in the town of Novy Korczyn, to Chaya and Mendel Wajcberg. The couple had two other boys: Herschel, who died of tuberculosis at the age of four, and Shaul.

Chaya and Mendel also died of tuberculosis when Peretz and his brother Shaul were very young; and so the two small boys were taken to the home of their grandparents - Fruma and Shmuel in Wislica.

Grandfather Shmuel traded in iron and construction materials, so he could support his family quite well. Grandfather Shmuel lived with one of his sons and his family in the house he had bought in 1856, and kept a very strict and religious household. As was the religious tradition, Peretz was sent to attend a "Chedder" and for his secular studies - he attended a government school. Being a rebellious boy by nature, Peretz refused to continue his studies, and his grandfather agreed under the condition that Peretz works and earns his keep. Thus, Peretz began to work in the textile industry, at a sock making factory.

Peretz's younger brother, Shaul took his brother's lead and also left school. Soon Peretz joined the Zionist "Ha'chalutz" ("The Pioneer") movement, since their religious home objected to any Zionist activity. Peretz immigrated to Palestine when he was twenty years old. At first he worked at agriculture, and then began working at the Lodjia textile factory, which was a trade familiar to him from his boyhood in Wislica.

Peretz met Bella Raj in Tel-Aviv, and the two married in 1942. The couple had one daughter named Chaya-Fruma; "Chaya" after her father's mother and "Fruma" after her mother's mother. 

Peretz passed away in 1969, and his wife Bella followed him one year later in 1970. Both were fortunate enough to walk their daughter to the Huppa [chuppah] on her wedding day, but unfortunately they did not live to see the birth of their grandchildren. May They Be of Blessed Memory.

 

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