Tel-Aviv: Irgun yots'e Gorzd be-Yisra'el, 1980. Item #42656
1st edition. Original printed green boards, 8vo, 417, 79 pages. Includes illustrations; 25 cm. In Hebrew and Yiddish with 79 page English introduction. Includes tipped in manuscript letter from the Gorsder Society in Israel from year of publication
Gorzd (Garsden in German) was “One of the old Jewish communities in Lithuania. Gorzd Jews who were responsible for collecting the border duties were mentioned in historic documents from the end of the 16th century.
These were just individual Jews; the kehile began to develop at the beginning of the 17th century. In 1639 the Polish king, Stanislaw the Fourth, gave the Jews in Gorzd a charter that guaranteed them citizenship. The shuls and the cemetery were exempted from taxes.
In the last quarter of the 17th century Gorzd was evidently already an established community. At that time the vad medines lite [Jewish Council of Lithuania] was mired in debt. Therefore in 1676 it was decided to transfer a debt of ‘one thousand gold rubles to Reb Gershon of Gorzd’ – a huge sum in those days.
At the time of the Polish rebellion in 1831, the Gorzd Jews suffered from both the warring sides. The people of the community were forced to make a vow not to help the rebels against the Tsar and that ‘we will deliver no secrets to the enemy….’
Gorzd was one of nineteen communities that did not respond to the ukase from the Russian government in 1854, that all Jews must leave their places of residence and go to designated areas deeper in Russia if they were less than 50 kilometers from the border.
Gorzd was a wealthy town. Its prosperity came from its strong trade with neighboring Prussia, which was also a near and welcoming market for both their own meager manufactured goods and also for imported merchandise from other parts of Lithuania. The entire economy of the town was dependent on Prussia.
For years Jewish corpses were brought from Memel to graves in the local cemetery.
In 1847, 648 Jews lived here; in 1897, 1455; in 1923, 1,037; and before the Holocaust about 800. One year before the Holocaust most of the town was destroyed in a fire.
Gorzd is connected to the story of Boruch-Bendet Podkever, a refugee from the 1648 pogroms in Ukraine. He was so completely occupied with his sharp-minded study and erudition that one of the wealthy Gorzd Jews gave him his daughter in marriage….
Gorzd was one of the few towns in Lithuania where the haskole (enlightenment) already struck roots in the years 1880 - 1890. That was a result of the fact that the local Jews, who lived next to the border with Germany, were economically integrated with German society. Besides that, Gorzd was then a main channel for the transport of enlightenment publications.
Gorzd was also very involved in the work of khibes-tsion and Zionism. It would be hard to find a town of Lithuania of the same size that had so long a list of contributors to the rebuilding of Erets Yisroel in the Hebrew press of that time in Europe. For Jews suffering want there is a list of contributors from Gorzd in 1872. The main collector for Erets Yisroel was Yekhezkel Zusmanovitsh; for general Jewish need, Nosson-Eliezer Ziv, and Dr. Aronson” (Translation of “Gorzd” chapter from“Yidishe Shtet, shtetlekh un dorfishe yishuvim in Lite: biz 1918,” edited by Berl Kagan, published in New York, 1991).
SUBJECT(S): Jews -- Lithuania -- Gargz?dai. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Ethnic relations. OCLC: 17034798. Very Good Condition. (YIZ-23-1-+-’e).