haron and Breine Bernzweig

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About Meyer Greenberg and the Translation of this Letter 


Meyer Greenberg was a grandson of Aharon and Breine Bernzweig.  His mother, Blanche Bernzweig Greenberg, was their daughter.  After graduating from Yeshiva College, he studied spent the year 1937-38 studying at Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, one of the first Americans Jewish students to do so.  He frequently visited his widowed grandmother Breine Bernzweig during that year as a regular Shabbat visitor. A mural composed of photos which he took during that year is below.

Meyer Greenberg went on to serve as the Hillel Director at the University of Maryland from 1946 to 1977.  He also initiated and headed the Hebrew Program at that university.  He and his wife Evelyn moved to Jerusalem's historic Yemin Moshe neighborhood in 1979 where they had built a home.  Upon the deaths of his parents in the 1980s, Meyer Greenberg came into possession of this letter and began the process of having it transcribed and translated from the original Yiddish to English.  A Hebrew translation was also made.  Meyer Greenberg also researched the history of the Hebron massacre and developed the introduction and historical notes which accompany it.  His research covered much material from the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem.  The initial translation from Yiddish was done by Helen G. Meyrowitz, a Yiddish expert at Yad Vashem.  Meyer Greenberg then edited the translation and added the historical notes, an introduction, and appendices.

In 1989, on its 60th anniversary, the Hebron letter of Aharon Bernzweig was displayed at an exhibition on the Arab Riots of 1929 at Bar Ilan University's Wurzweiler Library (where Meyer's daughter, Bryna Epstein, is a librarian).   On August 18, 1989, The Jerusalem Post Magazine published an extensive article about the letter, the Bernzweig and Greenberg families, and the history of the Hebron massacre along with an earlier edition of the English translation.

The letter has been read at a number of gatherings of Bernzweig descendents including a large one held in Toms River, New Jersey, organized by Meyer's sister Ruth Schwartz.  

After Meyer Greenberg passed away in 1994, the Hebron letter and related material passed into the hands of his son Saadia Reuven Greenberg.  He is using this web site to disseminate this piece of family history and to publicize the miracle of the escape of Aharon and Breine Bernzweig.. 

The Meyer Greenberg Mural  - Photos of Israel, Europe and the Middle East - 1937-38  [click on each thumbnail image for a larger image]





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