Founders, Activists, and Executives of the "Hashomer Hazair" Youth Organization in Turisk.

Ethel Yirsyok
The founder of the "Hashomer Trumpeldor faction in Turisk was Kalman Liss. In 1924 Liss began recruiting the youth of the area. The activities were usually evening meetings, and discussions in order to convince the young generation to join the movement. Several groups became members and were active among the Jewish youth proclaiming, "Immigration to Palestine is the only solution for Jews". When Liss went to Palestine the activities stopped. Only in 1927, the Turiscian born student of the Middle Tarbut school in Kowel Yeshaayahu, Wainer(Shayke), while on a summer vacation in Turisk met the groups and reinstated the groupís activities. Shayke was the first leader and instructor of the eldest youth group and served as a teacher at the "Tarbut" school. He was very active in the "faction", until he joined the "Hahshara (training) at Tel Hai. His brother, Moshe Wainer a student at the Technion and a Young "Zofim"(scouts) leader took over for him and became the leader of the organization and instructor of the adult Groups, who were preparing for "Hahshara" (training). In about a yearís time Moshe Wayner left to join the Hahshara" and immigrated to Palestine. He joined Kibbutz Amal to establish Kibbutz Rouchama in the Negev. Leading the cultural activities of the organization were all the adult group members, headed by the activist Ethel Yirsyok. Yirsyok was the only daughter of one of the oldest and proud coachman family who owned a carriage company and whom were very influential in the trade. Ethel was a member of the managing activist committee since graduating the "Zisha" Yiddish school, and until she left with Moshe Wayner, to join the Hahshara" and go to Palestine, where she joined Kibbutz Shaar Hagolan. She married Benjamin Shefer and had they had two children, Zehava and Yizhak. She died in ----.

Following Moshe Wayner in leading the organization Aaron (Arke) Greenstein was appointed. He previously served as the instructor of the adult scouts and coordinator of the "Hahalouts" in Turisk and the neighborhood. Greenstein was the last member of his group to remain and led the activities on the request of the movement. A couple of months before the German invasion Greenstein was called to Thenstohova to prepare for immigration to Palestine. While there he was recruited by the Polish army and joined the forces three days before the German invasion experiencing great defeat and destruction of the Polish army. The defeated Polish army was retreating to the eastern border to Russia. He managed to reach Turisk when the Red Army entered the town. Greenstein, an active Zionist was forced to leave Turisk. Together with a group of activists they illegally crossed the Lithuanian border. They wandered for many months until they came to Palestine. In Palestine Greenstein joined the Hagana underground to fight the British forces. After the Israeli War of Independence he settled in Kfar Ata and was active in the Histadrut (trade unions) and was among the main activists of the Mapam socialist party in the region. He was elected member of the city council and was decorated with Greenstein married his wife Batia and had two daughters, Esther and Yael. He passed away in 1993. In 1937, the younger generation took over the leadership of the organization. Dubit Ben Arzi (Bar)a member of the managing committee and youth leader of the girlís groups, was nominated to replace Greenstein as leader of the organization in Turisk. A group of five girls left for Bialystock to join the Hahshara and prepare to immigrate. Among them were Fruma Feterboim, Sara Segal, Sara Langer and Sara Tenenboim, the only one to leave for Palestine, before the beginning of the German invasion. The others went back to Turisk, already Russian

All Zionist activities at that time were forbidden. The members who returned from the Hahshara decided to continue In spite of this and began underground activities. Because Turisk was a small city and whereabouts known to many they were in constant danger. They contacted the underground center in the region and were advised to leave for Vilna, Lithuania. A group of 8 people left at the end of December1939 and after months as refugees managed to immigrate to Palestine. Among them was a Hakovesh member, B.Wainer. Together with other Hahshara members who came from Vilna, they founded Kibbutz Hazerem to establishing a new Kibbutz in the Hefer Valley.

The next groups to go to Hahshara in 1938 were preparing for Bialystock at the beginning of June 1938. The Turisk group was scheduled to join the "Hakowesh Hahshara" by the end of 1939. They were scheduled to stay in order to prepare their followers in leading the movement in Turisk. Many members were advised to leave for Vilna as a possible way to immigrate to Palestine. The German invasion forced most of the refugees in Vilna to join the Russian army in their retreat to the east regions of Russia. There they lived as Polish refugees during the very hard years of the war. The majority managed to survive the war. After the victory they left for Poland, and took part in the struggle against the British forces for free immigration to Palestine. All of them were lucky enough to join their Hahshara friends in Israel and settled together in Kibbutz Bet Zera in the scorching Jordan Valley where they had a warm and friendly welcome.

For almost three decades, between 1917-1942, the "Hashomer Hazair" Jewish youth organization was an integral part of the growing Jewish population in Eastern Europe. They decided to become leaders and spearhead the education of the Jewish youth fostering the Zionist idea of a nation in the land of Erez Yisrael. All over the Polish territory tens of training bases were erected to prepare and train the youngsters to become professionals in all trades necessary in establishing a nation. Hundreds of organizations were established in the towns and shtetls of Eastern Poland. In the Wohlyn region alone more then 44 such towns and shtetls with a Jewish majority existed. Most of them were affiliated with the Hashomer Hazair organization leading the way, nurturing the youth with Zionist ideals and to proud and fighting Jews. And others followed From the First World War until the Holocaust the Hashomer Hazair was active in ancient Turisk originally founded by Jewish settlers in 1094-97. During the years of activity the adult members established four training centers, preparing many youngsters for immigration. All over the towns and shtetls where they were active they were the center and leaders of the ideology, culture and morality. They were a ray of light for the suffering Ghetto population and were among the first to raise their meager weapons against the Nazi and collaborators- To the end