My first home was in Izbica; this is where I was born. This was my inheritance – yerushe, as you say in Yiddish – my great-grandfather had built the house and passed it on to the following generations.
Even in terms of its landscape, Kazimierz belonged to the world of Polish Jews. It resembled a page from a women’s prayer book, a prayer book with shining, silver corners or old gravure which anonymous Jewish masters from a bygone era engraved with great piety on the Polish land, wanting to present vividly what Poyln means [...].
Kovel was the largest railway hub in the East and a direct connection Warsaw-Kovel was faster than today. The ride was less than 5 hours [...], and the trains [...] had three classes. The first was the most expensive. And there was even a saying that the Jews travelled in the third class, because there was no fourth one.
[We] had our own house – one storey, with seven rooms and a kitchen – some acres of land, chickens, two cows, a vegetable garden, a few fruit trees. So we had a supply of milk, and sometimes butter; we had fruit and vegetables in season; we had enough bread – which my mother baked herself; we had fish, and we had meat once a week – on the Sabbath. And there was always plenty of fresh air.
First mentions of the Jewish community of Navahrudak date back to 1529. In the 16th century, the Jewish community became an integral part of the town and an active participant in its social, economic, and spiritual life.