Menu JTA Search

108 Year Old Jewish Veteran of Polish Independence War Asks for Pension Because He Can No Longer Sup

In the village of Molotchki, near Grodno, there is a Jew of 108 years of age, Moses Rogatchewski, a blacksmith by trade, it is reported here, who has been working till recently at his forge, and even now still sometimes will shoe a horse. The Polish estate owners in the district have always treated him with marked deference, and the peasants look up to him with respect.

He was not much given to talking, however, and he was particularly reticent when questioned about his past life, so people did not know that he was a veteran of the early wars of Polish independence. Now, however, he has been feeling weak, and realising that he is no longer able to support himself and his wife, who is about 20 years younger than he is, (they have no children), he has sent an application to the War Ministry through the district authorities, asking for a pension as a participant in the Polish Insurrectionary War of 1863, and producing documents in proof of his claim. Till now, he writes in his application, I have asked for no benefit in return for my services, and despite my age, I have been earning my own living. But now I am weak, and being a veteran of the Polish Independence Wars I do not want to be subjected to the humiliation of charity. It will not be for long that I shall want the pension, for death cannot now be far off, he adds.