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Isak Saleschutz

Dubas, Poland

Isak was one of seven children born to devout Hasidic Jewish parents living in Dubas. By 1900, all of his siblings had emigrated to America; Isak remained in Poland due to his strong religious convictions. Through an arranged marriage, he was wed to Ester Berl when he was 18. They settled in Kolbuszowa, a small town near Dubas, where Isak ran a successful wholesale general store.

1933-39: On September 9, 1939, the German army occupied Dubas. They hanged two Jews to demonstrate the consequences of not cooperating with them. Isak's business came to a halt; he was not able to receive any new shipments of merchandise. The situation worsened when the Germans wrongly suspected that he had been hiding coffee beans, a prized commodity. German soldiers came to Isak's store and confiscated all of his merchandise.

1940-42: The Gestapo commandant was offended by the beards of religious Jews and demanded that they be cut off. In all his life Isak had never cut his beard--it was a violation of Jewish law. When the barber arrived, he sat somberly as his beard was cut, thinking that now he had felt death. One afternoon the Gestapo came for him. When they pounded at the door, Isak ran to the backyard to hide but was seized, forced into a shed, and shot twice. Wounded, Isak yelled, "Pigs, executioners! Revenge! Take revenge!"

Isak was shot five more times and died. He was among 22 Jewish men executed on April 28, 1942. Isak was buried in Kolbuszowa by two of his sons, in a grave next to his father.

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