Return to Dolhinov Home Page

Return to Dolhinov Stories Menu

The Sandler family from Dolhinov from Hertzel Gitelson' writings

Matityahu Bar Razon wrote about Shimshka Sandler on page 23 of the Dolhinov yizkor book;. Shimshka waged war against the horrible practice of some leaders of the Jewish communities; They would kidnap poor and orphaned Jewish boys thus they would serve in the Russian Czar’s military (Czar Nicholas I (1825-1855) ordered that a certain number of Jewish boys would serve in the military for a period of 25 years) They were substitute for Jewish boys from more respected families who were called to serve.

In page 30, Hertzel (Gitlson) Ben Tov wrote about his grandfather; Eidel Sandler. Eidel told him that in 1886 there were pogroms in the area. At one point all the Jews in Dolhinov were told to stay home and lock the doors until the "storm" will pass. Eidel and the rest of his family hid in their house. Their home was located in the central market area on top of the store that Eidel owned. Eidel noticed that a farmer, who was a good friend of his, was coming toward his store holding a hatchet. Eidel opened the second story window and yelled to his friend "What are you doing to me? We are good friends!” The farmer said, "Today I know no friendships" He robbed the store with other farmers.

Another story that Eidel told was about an attempt of "blood libel" in Dolhinov.

One time at a late night hour a group of Christian men were playing cards. A brawl commenced and one man was fatally stubbed. The men decided to transfer the body to the home of the Rubin family (it was located at the corner of the Christian street in Dolhinov) and claim that the Jews killed him in for his blood to bake Matzos for Passover.

In the middle of the night the wife of Rubin woke up and told her husband that her departed father came to her in a dream and told her “You must search the basement”.

She did not let her husband go back to sleep until he, together with their sons, searched the basement.

They discovered the body and threw it in the river. In the morning the police arrived, however when they did not find a body, they ignored the blood libel. Eidel believed that it was a miracle.

Hertzel wrote, “Grandfather Eidel Sandler was a tall man with a pleasant _expression and easygoing style. His wife Chaja was very energetic, full of common sense and with sharp sense of humor. She was always in good spirit. We, the grandchildren, loved visiting them. We enjoyed grandfather’s stories of times long passed and grandma humorous tales and wise epithets and her wonderful sweets. Grandma Chayka died in 1927 at age 60.” Hertzel was 14 when she died.

Eidel and Chaja Sandler had three sons and one daughter; Sheina-Guta, Hertzel's mother died in 1935. He also mentions an uncle Isar Sandler who in 1905 was involved in the failed revolution and had to escape to the U. S. since he was facing a trial and a long sentence. The other brothers (Yakov and Mordechai Chaim) lived next to their father in the 1930’s. Eidel Sandler owned a store for leather goods to be used for shoes. He was also a builder. He built his own two-story house. It was put together with red bricks. At the first level there was a store and a kitchen with huge stove. On top were the bedrooms.

He also built the homes of his children; Yaakov Sandler had a large cowshed and storage room and also cold room.

His last project was building the Synagogue for the shoemakers. He became the gabay of that synagogue. Hertzel said that Eidel Sandler was “lucky” to died of old age shortly after the German took control of the area. He was more then eighty years old. He had a funeral and was buried with respect unlike most of his family who perished during the next year.

Hertzel Gitelson left Dolhinov in 1934. He was a member of “HaShomer Hatzair” a Zionist socialist youth movement and he was able to receive a visa to immigrate to Palestine. His mother was already very sick when he left and he promised her to come for a visit. He visited Dolhinov in 1937 but at that point his mother was already dead. During his visit he realized that the situation for the Jews in the area has gotten very bad. The polish government was anti-Semite and they encouraged the local population to shop at stores that are owned by people of “their own kind”. On top of it taxes were very high and many Jews lost their business. Hertzel’s father begged him to let him come with him to Palestine but Hertzel did not think it was a good idea since jobs were very hard to find for an older man in Palestine.

Gota Batya, the daughter of Mordechai Chaim Sandler (Hertzel’s uncle), immigrated to Palestine in 1936. The rest of the family; Mordecai Chaim Sandler with wife Sarah Rivkah perished in Dolhinov in 1942.Their children; Yosef Yehuda, a rabbi (died in Russia from typhus after escaping there in 1939) Eliezer Yitzhak and Chava perished in Dolhinov in 1942.

The other son of Eidel; Yaakov Sandler (wife Rosa(Raizel)), their children Alter and Sheina Devorah also perished in Dolhinov;

Yaakov (Jacob) had a tragic life. He was drafted to the Russian army during World War 1. At one point he became a Prisoner of war of the Germans and when they retreated from Lithuania at the end of the war he was left there in the shtetl Sosla. Since Dolhinov became part of Poland he was not able to get back. He was very lonely. He contracted typhus and was gravely ill. A young woman took care of him despite the danger of infectivity. They fell in love and married as soon as his health improved. Eidel Sandler wrote many letters in behalf of his son to the prime minister of Poland and finally they let the family (that included at that point the son; Alter) to come to Dolhinov. A daughter; Sheina Devorah was born in Dolhinov.

The children of Sheina-Guta nee Sandler and Shmuel Beynish Gitlson;

Eliyahu Gitelson was the pride of the family. He was a very talented and learned boy. First he studied with Eidel Dockshitzi, and later took private tutoring and was accepted to the six level in High school in the city of Vilnius. He graduated high school in Vilna with many awards. He decided to become a physician but first he had to study chemistry since they did not let him in medical school for being Jewish. Together with Eliyahu Ashkenazi they were the first boys from Dolhinov to attend a university. After graduating he was accepted to medical school as all his professors wrote great recommendations. He paid for his studies by himself by tutoring. At nights he watched a clothing store for a small pay. He would sleep in the store. He was also involved in plays that the university produced and since he had staring roles his pictures and revues appeared in the students paper (He once played king Lear).

He had a beautiful singing voice and could play the Guitar and Mandolin. When he was a young child during the later years of the First World War the Soviets headquarter was located in the Gitelson’s house. Some officers were from Kavkaz and they perform music recitals for the kids and showed them how to play. When they left the area they let the kids have their instruments. Eliyahu was very talented and learned a lot from those officers. In later years when he came to Dolhinov during school vacations he would participate in theater plays. He was also the conductor of the Choir in Dolhinov.

After the Soviets took control of the area in 1939 he became a Doctor in Lida. Hertzel received a letter from him in which he wrote that he had a good position and he is able to help their father who at that point had no income. The Soviets punished him for being “a well to do capitalist”. Eliyahu must have perished in Lida.

Sister Feiga (also known as Pyetsha and Fania) nee Gitelson Flant; A young woman with abundance of energy. Vivacious high-spirited and filled with enjoyment for verve. She was very active in the drama club and preformed as a singer in celebration around the town. In 1933 she was married to her childhood sweetheart; Lebel Flant. They were in love since she was fifteen years old. He served in the Polish army and they married sometime after he finished his service. They had two daughters. When the Soviets took control of the area in 1939, the Soviet authorities named Leybel the head of the fire fighters in the district. On the first day that the Germans came to town in 1941 they gave Leybel a death sentence. He was able to escape first he was hiding in Radoshkovichi and later in Kurenitz with Shiniyuk. When someone found out and told the police in Dolhinow , they were warned and escaped to the ghetto in Sole. Later Lybel was in ghetto Vilna. He joined the Partisans and escaped the Ghetto. He fought as a partisan against the Germans until the war ended. Feyga was alone in Dolhinov with the daughters; Chayale’ and Sheinale’. They were killed in the second actzia in Dolhinov during the spring of 1942. Leybel Flant wrote about them in the Yizkor book for Dolhinov.

Brother Yaakov Gitelson; just like the rest of the family, Yaakov had a talent for leading and organizing social and civic causes. He was the head of the fire fighters in Dolhinov and played in their orchestra. He was also very involved in the drama club and had some staring roles. He became very involved with “Hachalutz Ha tzair and was getting ready to make Aliah to Eretz Israel. He realized the military training would be advantages for later time in Israel and he joined the Polish “Stashlz” he was train and received the rank of sergeant major. In 1939 Yaakov was enlisted in the army as soon as the war started.

He was at the front in “Modlin” and fought forcefully against the Germans. The Germans kept coming at them with a huge force of tanks and the battle was lost. He became a prisoner of war but shortly after was able to escape and go back to Dolhinov that was now under Soviet rule with the partition of Poland. Yaacov married Bracha nee Alperovitz and settled in Vilejka. They lived peacefully for a short time. The German invaded the Soviet Union in June of 1941. When the Red Army left the area there was a train to be used for political people that left Vileyka deep to the Soviet Union territory. Yaakov, his wife and her sister; Sara, attempted to get on the train. The soviets let Bracha and her sister go on the train but not Yaakov. He went back to Vilejka and on the way met his sister; Nina with her husband who also lived in Vilejka. Nina and her husband did not listen to him when he said that they are not letting any more people on the train. They all went back to the station and were able to secretly jump to another train that took them passed the front into the Soviet Union. Yaakov started a long search for his wife and her sister. He put notes in different newspapers and was finally able to locate them.

Yaakov did not have the needed papers to travel in the Soviet Union and could not get on a train to reach them. He only had summer clothes and time passed and it was the middle of winter and his wife had his warm clothes with her. He decided to snick into a train. On his way he met a Russian farmer who was also attempting to get on the train. It was a long walk and at night the snuck on a fright train and hid under lumber. They traveled for some hours but a snowstorm started and Yaakov was freezing. He knew that he would die if he continued and he left the train in its first stop.

It was a late night hour. Yaakov came to the little house of the railroad security guard.

The kind wife of the watchman let him in despite of the late night hour. She gave him some blankets and a place by the fire in exchange for some sugar, salt and dry bread. In the morning he was able to go on a train that took him all the way to his wife.

There he found a job as a book keeper in some factory and his wife and sister in law were also able to get a job. They lived there until the end of the war.

Sister Nina As soon as she arrived with her family in the Soviet Union her husband was taken to serve in the Red Army. Nina’s husband was wounded and was sent to the hospital. In the end of 1943 or the beginning of 1944 he was called back in the army to serve in Leningrad and later in Riga. Nina was left alone with a baby, and her husband wrote to Yaakov about the Situation. Yaakov traveled to her location and broghout her with her daughter to his place. Her husband was killed shortly after.

When the war ended Yaakov and his wife, Nina and her daughter as many others from Dolhinov went back to Poland and from there to Austria (Yaakov and Bracha had a son Shmuel in Austria) In 1947 the family came to Israel.

Nina died in Petach Tikva, Israel on 10-27-1977 Yaakov died in Petach Tikva, Israel on 12-13-1980

Hertzel’s father was Shmuel Beynish son of Yitzhak Moshe Gitlson from Globoki. Only two of Shmuel Beynish’s brothers survived the war; Meir Gitlson who was well off and was sent to Siberia when the Soviets came to the area in 1939. He immigrated to Israel after the war. Another brother; Binyamin with wife Sonia and daughter Chaia escaped to the forests and Binyamin joined the partisans his wife and daughter were taken by small aircraft passed the front line to Russia. They moved to the U.S after the war.