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Esther Kaplan's Wysokie Album
Around the gravestone of Moshe Yehuda, son of R' Yisrael Pessakh Vitshulker, we see three solemn faces. We do not know their identities, but we can imagine they are Moshe's children, Vitshuklers come to mourn their father. Perhaps this photo was intended for family members emigrating to the U.S., to recall the gravesite they expected to never see again.
We meet Vishulker friends:
• The Goldfarbs, a prosperous-looking family who dedicate a Goldfarb family portrait to the Vitshulkers.
• A young man, Hershl Feldman, dedicates his portrait to the “young-lady” Zlatke Vitshulker.
• Perhaps this is the same “sister” Zlatke to whom a group of unidentified young men dedicate their outdoor group portrait.
• If Zlate is a dimunitive of Zlatke, perhaps this childhood studio photo of Alter Schwetz is dedicated to the same person as well.
• Ephrayim Epstein offers his likeness in a group of 3 handsome men as a keepsake to Zlate and Reizl Vitshukler. (Are Zlatke/Zlate and Reizel sisters? It seems likely.)
• Khayim Dikenaltz and unidentified young man appear in a photo dedicated to Reizl Vitshukler alone, mentioning his impending departure for Argentina.
• Noakh Razin (or Rozman) offers his photo in a montage of theatrical poses to Zlatke/Zlate and Reizel. Noakh and his friends clearly participated in the local theatre.
• Gitl (?) Epshtein is almost certainly among the actors in the Wysoke stage production of Troubles of Fathers and Mothers shown in a photo dedicated to Zlatke and Reizl.
We meet local political groups:
• The Poalei Zion.
• Youth of Zion members taking a Hebrew course, in a photo dedicated to soon-to-emigrate Motl Vitshulker from from her (biological or social) sister, Zlatke
• The Agricultural Group Trumpeldoria seated at a meal, offers a momento --very possibly to Zlatke Vitshulker-- signed S. Kessler.
We meet some identified figures, persumably also Vitshulker friends and relations:
• A woman dressed in a print over-robe.
• An older couple, perhaps Vitshulker grandparents.
• A well dressed trio of young people, perhaps friends of Zlatke/Zlate and Reizel.
• A group of six young women.
• An outdoor group photo of 28 young people.
• A photo of the Wysokie Litewskie Market Square, perhaps dating to before WWI.
Most of the photos were taken in the interwar period by two different photographers, J. (Judel) Bonder and M. Niemoj (pronounced Nimoy).
Thanks to Esther Kaplan for sharing her family history with us.
Translations and commentary by Hannah Kadmon.