The testimonials below collect various descriptions of Bircza and the members of its society are an attempt to recreate the atmosphere of the Bircza qehīllāh (community) and can be divided into three sections. The personal recollections include testimonials from survivors from Bircza and town residents, the modern descriptions consist mostly of comments by researchers and visitors to the area, and the historical and official accounts contain scholarly reporting, statements by various governmental and non-profit organisations, and other third-party remarks on Bircza and its area. The index on the right may help you browse through the testimonials. If you or anyone you know, are from (or have visited) the Bircza area, please contact me. Any information would be gladly appreciated in this effort to preserve forever the memory of the Bircza pre-1941 Jewish community.
Apologies; this section has yet to be completed.
I would like to mention the person of my grandfather Antoni Rudawski, who was a well-respected citizen of Bircza. His contributions to the life of that community were tremendous. It is not only my opinion, but of people who still remember him. His life was linked with Bircza for over forty years, when he worked as a teacher at Bircza’s school, and for many years he held the position of school headmaster. He is recalled as a perfect educator of many generations of people, who used to carry on hard welfare work and a skilled painter (before the Second World War he was a student of the Warsaw Academy of Arts, unfortunately the war hardships disturbed him from continuing his studies). What I want to emphasise is the fact that he was a person of great heart who was free of any racial prejudices. This feature brought him much respect from the members of three communities inhabiting Bircza: the Polish, the Jewish and the Ukrainians. Before the war he was always invited to celebrate the Jewish and Ukrainian holidays, and he never refused. He was in deep mourning after the extermination of hundreds of the Jewish, which happened in the fields of Stara Bircza (by the nazi). These were the principles that he and his wife Teofila inculcated into my mother, and later into me.
I have got some pictures of Bircza’s surroundings painted by my grandfather (the majority of them were unfortunately burnt together with my grandparents’ house in 1945 - which was the result of the UPA’s (Ukrainian Uprising Army) strongest attack on Bircza. …
I myself don’t remember so much of my grandfather (I was a small child when he died), but what struck me then was his flair for story telling. I remember that being 5 years old I heard a story of “Krzyżacy” (Cross Knights) from him, and after a couple of days I was able to retell the whole story-word by word. I have always been willing to hear anything about him. I admire his pictures- unfortunately the best of them were totally destroyed during the fire of their house in Bircza. The ones painted after the war were given as gifts to many people since anybody who visited my grandparents asked for a picture. I have got few of them here in Warsaw, some are at my parents’ home and the rest of our family have also got a few. … My mother remembers her father mentioning the fact of painting a portrait of a beautiful Jewish girl (he was charmed with her beauty), but it must have been burnt.
Warszawa (Warsaw), Poland
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