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jaslo connection

The Temmy Latner Forest Hill Jewish Centre’s home is a landmark that helps nurture Jewish identity through inspiration.

The architectural design is modeled after the Great Synagogue in Jalso, Poland, which was built in 1905 as a centre for all facets of community life.

On September 15, 1939, the Nazis set the Jaslo Synagogue ablaze with the intention of burning the beautiful edifice to the ground. The Nazis’ plan failed when firefighters came and extinguished the flames.

Tragically, the arsonists returned five days later; they gathered the local Jews, along with the heroic firemen, and forced them at gunpoint to set the building ablaze again. The Great Synagogue then became just one of many symbols of Judaism destroyed in the Holocaust.

Yet, the traditions it represented have survived. And enthusiasm for continuing these traditions is now expressed at the Forest Hill Jewish Centre.

A permanent home for the Temmy Latner Forest Hill Jewish Centre will help ensure that the legacy of the Great Synagogue is never forgotten.

Please visit www.jaslo.ca to learn more about the Jaslo Synagogue.

 


 

 

Edward Bonder`s Story, from Jaslo to Staten Island, N.Y.

Written By: Josie Glazer

 

Born to a family of two girls and six boys, Edward Blonder was the family’s sole survivor of the Holocaust. Fortunately for us, he documented his story, which his daughter Mindy forwarded to the centre. It is hard to leave out any of the horrific conditions and events which took place, so I encourage you all to read his memoirs at length.

The Blonder family resided in a two room apartment in Jaslo. Faivel Blonder, Edward’s father, distributed welfare notes from the adjacent storefront kiosk (although most businesses were owned by Jews, many families were poor). When the Germans invaded Poland, Faivel Blonder in order to safeguard the Chevra Kadisha (men were afraid to attend religious services), decided to move his family into the Shul.

Conditions worsened. Jewish contributions of money and furs were enforced, and all Jews between ages the ages of 15 and 55 were to be “on call” to heed Gestapo orders. Jewish homes were invaded in search for hidden valuables. Torturous beatings, overall suffering and hunger comprised the status quo.

In spite of the fear and persecution, morning and evening prayer services were held daily, including on the Sabbath. Two Torah scrolls were kept in hiding.

In the winter of 1941, Jaslo’s Jewish population was confined to a 12- block ghetto. All tradesmen were ordered to register with the Gestapo.

Edward subsequently spent the majority of his time doing maintenance work at Gestapo headquarters, among other jobs. Any opportunity to pocket food while guards weren’t watching, was impossible. Edward lost 15% of his hearing from being beaten for no reason.

People were being killed at the slightest provocation. Edward and his father were responsible for digging Jewish graves; Abe, Edward’s brother, was ordered to bury 35 Jews, some of whom were still alive. Young men were sent to death camps, among them Edward’s brother Abe. People who weren’t born in Jaslo were evacuated to the forest and shot.

On August 22, 1942, of the approximate 2000 Jewish families in Jaslo, 150 able bodied people were sent home, while the remainder were shipped to the Belzec gas chambers. While Edward was one of the select 150, his grandmother Gittel, aunt Mala, younger brothers David, Zvi, Sol and Nathan, and sister, Ita, did not make the cut. Edward was unable to say goodbye as he marched by them for fear of being shot at.

The few remaining Jaslo Jews were shipped to the Przemysl ghetto, where Edward worked in a carpentry shop. Jaslors weren’t greeted warmly by the Jews there. In fact, they turned in the 150 Jaslo Jews to the Polish army, reporting poor work ethic. The Jaslo Jews were subsequently shipped away by train; Edward, who was on that train, jumped and escaped back to Przemysl.

Wed, November 22 2017 4 Kislev 5778