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Old News Articles about Wysokie-Litewskie
What do these articles tell us about Wysokie and our Wysokie ancestors? By category, in no particular order:
This article gives a unique overview of the town and its condition in 1902.
Aliya to the land of Israel
[to be added]
[to be added] Three examples, here.
We know that at least part of the time there was a more or less resident newspaper correspondent of sorts, named M. Warshavsky.
The earliest article, dated 1875, describes an allegation that a rabbinical appointment in Wysokie was obtained by an unethical payment to the community.
The Criminal Element
The murder of a local his benefactor by a ne'er-do-well is described here, here, and here.
In 1885, a local man warned of an imposter-rabbi claiming to work miracles, and collecting money from the credulous.
The Russian Influence
The 2nd oldest of the articles is dated just after the assassination of Tzar Aleksandr II Nikolaevich, at which point a large number of Wysokie Jews crowded into the shul to pray for his spirit. The next day the town swore allegience to his successor, Tzar Alexander III, and an out-of-town Rabbi delivered a sermon expressing high hopes for him. Today, our history tells us that their sorrow for the murdered Tsar was genuine, as he was indeed a friend of the Jews. But his successor was a disaster for the Jews.
In 1886, Russian dignitaries and royalty visited Wysokie, including the Emperor -- presumably the currently reigning Tzar Alexander III. The local farmers --which may or may not have include many Jews-- gave him a warm welcome at the railroad station north of the town.
Religious Practice and Contention
We find that in 1882 the ancient synagogue in Wysokie, presumably the oldest, was called the Old Wall.
In 1882, apparently, a near-riot occurred in the ancient synagogue as some men entered the women's section during the Simkhat Torah observance. (Mentions of inter-sectarian contention in Wysokie are otherwise unknown.)
This article reports a 1931 dispute between the teachers and administration of The Religious Hebrew School in Wysoke.
Fire devasted families and the community: In 1884, part of a family in a nearby village was killed by an apparently very fast-moving fire. Another fire in 1889 destroyed some 140 houses and made homeless 400 families. Somewhat less horrifying results in this article.
This article from 1884 implies an anti-Semitic motive of townspeople of a nearby village, who watched passively as a Jewish home burned, with resulting casulties.
The Regional Towns
The subjective geography of Wysokers may be inferred by towns mentioned in the articles:
Wigoda (Vigode), said to be “close”; so close that bones of fire victims were carried to Wysokie for burial.
The Wysokie Railway station, from which the Czar and his party rode in a horse-drawn carriage/wagon to Wysokie.
Bodki, from which contributers helped victims of a major fire.
Brisk (modern Brest) is by clear implication nearby: in this instance a local murder case was tried there. In this mention of conscription, Wysokie was described as close by. Contributors from Brisk helped victims of a major fire.
Bielsk, from which contributors helped victims of a major fire.
Bialystock, from which contributors helped victims of a major fire.
Kamenets, from which contributors helped victims of a major fire.
Semyatitz, from which contributors helped victims of a major fire.
Kleshtzel, from which contributors helped victims of a major fire; also the location of a departing local rabbi's next post.
Milytzitz, from which contributors helped victims of a major fire.
Volchin, from which contributors helped victims of a major file.
No distance given or implied:
• Melitopol, district Mavri,location of the next position of Rabbi Gaon, Mordekhai Aharon Rabinovitz from Visoki D'Lita.
• Klimov, district Tzernigov, the current residence of the Gaon Rabbi Khayim Shlomo Vishnegrad, born in Visoki D'Lita
• Vilna, from which a well-wisher sent Mazel Tov on a wedding in Wysokie.
• Warsaw, from which a well-wisher sent Mazel Tov on a diffrent wedding in Wysokie
Polish Stature under the Russians
The visit of the Tzar to Wysokie in 1886 included a stay at the Patocki Estate.
Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Hirsh Sagal, described by this article as a Mo-re Tzedek --or Posek-- and a Dayan residing in Visoko D'Lita. Yaakov Shaul D'Tz had an unspecified connection to Wysokie, sufficient to co-sign an appeal for help following a major fire.
Political Movements and Social Groups
Khovevey Zion, headed in Wysokie by Dr. B. Feinshtein.
The Odessa Committee, endorsed in Wysokie by RM"M Shifrel.
Khalutz (Pioneer) Movement, of which Wysoker Zalman Solnitzki was a member.
Histadrut, of which Wysoker Zalman Solnitzki was a member.
The Association of the Landsleit of Visoki-Lit and Volchin in Israel, of which R' Moshe Efrati was a member.