English עברית
Chapter 1: Pruzhany my hometown

 I was born in 1925, in the Polish township of Pruzany, to parents who had moved there at the turn of the century. My parents - Tzira and Moshe Frydberg - came from nearby villages, whose population was a mixture of Jews and Gentiles. The latter would harass their Jewish neighbors with acts of robbery and the occasional murder. With the passage of time, most of the rural Jews flocked to the towns and cities, where they were safer and enjoyed a better livelihood. Accordingly, Pruzany’s Jewish community grew steadily until it numbered 6,000 out of the township’s overall population of 8,000. Of the other townsfolk, most were Byelorussions; a minority were Poles despatched by the government to staff administrative posts.

Pruzany was founded in the fifteenth century by Gentile Poles. Various legends were present as to the origin of the name: most probably it was derived from the river Pruzanka, whose course traverses the township on its way to the river Muchavetz. Following closely on the heels of Pruzany’s Gentile founders, Jews moved into the town, where a synagogue is known to have existed in 1463.
Pruzany’s Jewish population grew steadily. Its 2,575 Jewish citizens constituted 64.5% of the population in 1873. In 1921, the town’s Jews numbered 4,152, 65.6% of the overall population. The ratio dropped to 55.2% in 1931.
Pruzany lay near Brisk (known to Jews as Brisk DeLita, it was the same Brest-Litovsk where, on March 3, 1918, towards the end of World War I, Germany and Russia concluded a separate peace). Other neighboring towns were Kobrin and Pinsk, likewise populated by large Jewish communities.
My father was not a Zionist, but my mother, who was active with charitable groups and other community associations, was drawn to Zionism. However, there was never talk at home of fulfilling the Zionist ideal by alia to Eretz Yisrael. The language spoken at home was Yiddish, but Mother had my brother and myself registered at the Hebrew school.
My brother and I initially attended Yavneh, the Hebrew elementary school, going on to the Tarbut ‘gymnasia’. Both schools were walking distance from our home.