Sunday 20 September 2015


AYZIK GRAYEVSKI (early 1896-September 1941)

            He was born in Święta Wola, near Kartuz-Bereze, Poland, into a poor, pious household.  He studied in religious primary school and in the yeshivas of Noveredok (Novaradok), Gomel, and Bialystok where he received ordination into the rabbinate.  He was one of the leaders of the Musar movement in Poland and one of the more prominent activists in the yeshiva system.  He lived until 1933 in Bialystok, where he was a leader in the local yeshiva and a member of the Jewish community council.  Until June 1941 he served as rabbi of Narewka, near Bialystok.  He published articles on Jewish issues and on education in the Yiddish and Hebrew Orthodox press in Poland.  He was a regular contributor to the weekly newspaper Dos vort (The word) in Vilna (1925-1939), and he contributed sporadically to Naye lebn (New life) in Bialystok.  On June 22, 1941, after the Germans took Narewka, he underwent great suffering, was harshly tortured, and comforted the frightened Jews in the town, encouraging them not to give up hope.  At the beginning of September 1941, during the liquidation of the ghetto, Grayevski walked at the head of the Narewka Jews to Treblinka, and there he was murdered as a martyr.  The poet Chaim Grade immortalized his memory in the poem Musernikes.

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