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Isidor Reisman Collection

Identifier: MSS 0619

Scope and Content

The Isidor Reisman Collection contains articles and instructional materials produced by Isidor Reisman. Also included are newsletters from the "Cleveland Jewish Teacher" newsletter which regularly featured artwork by Reisman. The collection also includes articles written about Isidor Reisman, Jewish education in general, correspondence, and information on the Cleveland Jewish School. A copy of Isidor Reisman's book Bilke Remembered: Testimony of the Bilker remnant: A Holocaust Documentary can be found in the library catalog and is available in the Judaica Suite.


  • Creation: 1971 - 2020



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Isidor Reisman was born in 1920 in Bilke, Czechoslovakia (present day Ukraine). He was the oldest of ten children. One of the children died in childhood. His father had several small businesses, some of which were seasonal, in order to provide for the family. One of the businesses, monument engraving, later played a role in protecting the health, and possibly the life, of Isidor Reisman.

In 1939, Hungary took over Bilke. In 1941, when Reisman was 21 years old, he was inducted into the Hungarian Army in a unit made up solely of Jews. This unit was a labor battalion attached to the army to provide workers. As a Jew, instead of being sent to fight, he was sent to a work camp primarily to build railroads and then moved to a work camp in Budapest to help with airplane repair.

After the commander asked the members of the unit who among them could prepare signs in Hungarian and in German, Isidor Reisman reasoned that since he had learned to chisel Hebrew letters in stone at his father's monument engraving business, he could certainly paint signs in Hungarian and in German.

He told the commander that he was able to do so. As a result, much of the work that he did took place indoors. This work gave him protection from some of the harsh weather endemic to the area. He also performed other assignments, such as digging holes for the insertion of tree trunks to be used as telephone poles. [Source: Deborah Branse]

In March of 1944, Germany occupied Hungary. After Passover, Reisman's family and all the other Jews in Bilke were deported to a makeshift camp at the Beregszász-Berehovo train station with other Jews from nearby locations. As the frontline moved closer, the Jews forcibly encamped at this train station, including the members of Reisman's extended family, were made to board a train. After several days of travel, the train arrived at the Auschwitz death camp.

His parents and grandmother and six of his younger siblings were murdered that day in the gas chambers, together with most of the Jews from Bilke. Reisman's two surviving sisters–teenagers–were put to work in the warehouse containing clothing and other personal items that had been confiscated from Jews who had been deported to Auschwitz from all over Europe, including even such far-flung communities as those in Greece. (His sisters, Tamar Rath and Idi Lion, survived the war and made Aliyah in 1949.) [Source: D.B.]

Towards the end of 1944, the division of the Hungarian army to which Reisman's forced labor battalion was attached was set to move further west. The Russians, however, had encircled Budapest and there was no way out of the city. He was then sent to a Jewish ghetto where he spent time working as an emergency volunteer (firefighting etc.) and hiding from Hungarian Nazi militia squads. In January 1945, the ghetto was liberated by the Russian Army. In 1947 Reisman immigrated to the United States. At first he lived in New York City where he worked as a monument engraver. He moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1952.

In Cleveland he taught at various religious schools, served as principal of the Lander Road branch of Cleveland Hebrew Schools, and developed educational materials. He drew notice by teaching children with special needs to read Hebrew. In the 1960s special needs education was virtually non-existent and Reisman's ground-breaking ventures in the field attracted much attention.

He created educational materials using innovative arts techniques to produce study aids for children with various obstacles to learning, such a near-total lack of hearing. [D.B.] He also authored many articles for local Cleveland newspapers.

In 1997 Reisman retired and he and his wife, Annie (Zaremsky) Reisman made Aliyah.They lived across the street from their son and daughter-in-law in Petach Tikva. Isidor Reisman passed away in 2004. Mrs. Reisman passed away in 2007. They are buried in Petah Tikva.


Oral History Interview with Isidor Reisman - United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection

Dettelbach, Cynthia. “Isidor Reisman, a visionary teacher remembered.” Cleveland Jewish News, 8 Jan. 2004,


.21 Linear Feet (1 Box)

Language of Materials



Articles, instructional materials, correspondence, and newsletters produced by and about Hebrew teacher, calligrapher, and Holocaust survivor Isidor Reisman.


University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Donated by Gloria Einstein in 2023.

Related Materials

Oral History Interview with Isidor Reisman - United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection

Reisman, Isidor. Bilke Remembered: Testimony of the Bilker remnant: A Holocaust Documentary, Cleveland, I. Reisman, 1995.

Cleveland Hebrew Schools Records - Western Reserve Historical Society

A Guide to the Isidor Reisman Collection
Finding aid created by Matt Kruse
April 2023
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America