Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund
The Artisans' Union in Będzin, which today is a division of the Central Union in Warsaw, was founded in September 1916 with its own statute as an artisans' club. The union was founded by the following people: Ch. D. Rudzyn, H. L. Goldsztajn, Sz. Klajner, D. Lustiker, Z. Wajnsztok, H. Jakubowicz, M. Bornsztajn, Sz. Elbaum, A. Bryner, Sz. Inowroclowski, A. Rodzynski, M. Aronowicz, L. Blumenfrucht, Dr. Rotsztajn, M. Hampel, Ch. D. Grosman, H. Retman, G. Aronow, L. Fuks, and others.
Not all of the artisans at that time understood the task of the union and that an artisans' union could be led by artisans themselves. Therefore, a large number actually looked for a chairman among the intelligentsia.
At the first meeting on the 16th of September 1916, Dr. Rotsztajn, the dentist, was elected as chairman; he was active in his office until the 17th of February 1917. After him, the chairmanship was taken over by L. Blumenfrucht.
H. L. Goldsztajn, Sz. Klajner, Dentist M. Sztrojsman, L. Szpigelman, M. Hampel, D. Lustiker, A. Bryner, Ch. D. Rudzyn, and others worked together in the managing committee at that time.
The union then arranged various readings with the participation of M. Aronowicz.
At the request of the members, the managing committee opened a tea hall where one received a glass of tea with sugar for two kopekes [kopeck, Russian coin].
A food cooperative was also founded that was of great use for its members. In order to benefit from the various privileges, many non-artisans also registered in the union.
The fact that the then Rabbi, Reb Jekutiel Zalman Graubart, registered as a member of the union can serve as an illustration of how great the sympathy was for the union on all levels of the local Jewish population. This fact is confirmed by the minutes of the 24th of September 1918. Rabbi Graubart strongly supported the Artisans' Union. For example, of the money he received to distribute, he sent the union 300 marks on the 27th of June. He also gave the union a portion of a wagon of sugar that was designated for the Jewish population in Będzin for Passover. In addition to income, this also produced great prestige for the union.
The decision of the managing committee meeting of the 10th of September 1918 serves as a second illustration, which says that If a non-artisan joins as a member, he must pay 500 marks registration money.
|The managing committee of the guild representatives
of the Artisans' Union in 1937
|1) D. Zilbergold||16) D. Lustiker|
|2) L. Fuks||17) Brandwajnhendler|
|3) Sz. Gutman (Israel)||18) H. B. Goldblum|
|4) Councilman A. D. Bolimowski||19) Sz. H. Rozencwajg|
|20) M. Sznal|
|6) A. J. Fersztenfeld, (vice president)||21) N. Welner|
|7) A. A. Blecharz||22) F. Bursztyn|
|8) J. Wajnryb ([female] secretary)||23) Ch. H. Zauberman|
|9) N. Meryn||24) L. A. Wiecentowski|
|10) D. Kilsztok||25) M. Aronowicz|
|11) J. Tuchsznajder||26) J. Buchbinder|
|12) J. D. Goldsztajn||27) G. Zaks|
|13) B. Aronow||28) J. Z. Czerner|
|14) L. H. Brama||29) M. Königstein|
|15) W. Welner|
They were represented in the second city council by Jicchak Rudoler, H. L. Goldsztajn and M. Sztrojsman.
H. L. Goldsztajn and H. Jakubowicz represented the local union at the Artisans' conference that took place in Łódź on the 24th of February 1918.
The Artisans' Union was one of the most respected institutions in our city. It was always respectably represented in the kehila [organized Jewish community], as well as the city council. H. L. Goldsztajn, the chairman, was an alderman at city hall for a long time and, as such, he also led the city summer colony for the Jewish children in Będzin.
On the 2nd of February 1927 the Będziner artisans celebrated the 10th anniversary since the founding of the Artisans' Union. This was a magnificent celebration in which thousands of people and delegations of Jewish communal institutions in Zagłębie and from farther cities, as well as representatives of the regime, city council and the kehila [organized Jewish community] took part.
At the celebration that took place in the hall of the Nowoszczi cinema, H. L. Goldsztajn was unanimously honored with the title, honorary chairman of the Artisans' Union, for his great service on behalf of the union.
But the directorate also did not live peacefully among themselves and this caused the undermining of the authority of the union in the eyes of the members.
It was first in 1932 when the leaders again took over: L. Brama, A. J.
Fersztenfeld, M. J. Frochcwajg, A. Blecharz, and Rudoler, with H. L. Goldsztajn
at the head, that the institution again was revived. Then the union came under
the statute of the Central in Warsaw and the listed guilds were also revived,
which are still part of the Artisans' Union to this day.
Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund
1) The Tailors' Guild:
The guild numbers 300 members and carries out widespread work. The greatest number of members consists of tailors of men's clothing, who work for stores; the smaller number consist of the tailors of women's clothing who work for stores, as well as men and women employed as tailors, hat makers, capmakers and corset makers and sewers of linens.
Foreman N. Meryn, Under Forman R. Winter, Secretary G. Sobkowski.
2) The Metal Guild:
Tinsmiths, locksmiths, blacksmiths, watchmakers, jewelers and engravers belong to this guild. The guilds together number circa 100 members.
Foreman L. H. Brama, Under Foreman A. D. Bolimowski.
3) The Carpenters' Guild:
Furniture makers, construction workers, lathe operators and carvers belong to this guild. It numbers circa 80 members.
Foreman Mosze Aronowicz Under Foreman Sz. Gutman.
4) The Butchers' Guild:
Butchers and sausage makers belong to the guild, which numbers approximately 50 members.
Foreman H. B. Goldblum, Under Foreman Ujazd, Active Member G. Zaks.
5) The Bakers' Guild:
Bakers, confectioners, chocolate and waffle makers, as well as candy makers, belong to the guild. The guild numbers circa 45 members.
Foreman Wolf Welner, Under Foreman Jicchak Buchbinder.
6) The Painters' Guild:
The guild numbers 25 members.
Foreman M. Kenigsztajn, Under Foreman Ch. Ch. Zauberman.
7) The Shoemaker' Guild:
Shoemakers, gaiter makers, hairbrush makers, harness makers, upholsterers and satchel makers belong to the guild.
Foreman J. Tuchsznajder, Under Foreman D. Kilsztok, Secretary S. Halpern.
8) The Hairdressers' Guild:
The Hairdressers' Guild was founded in Sosnowiec in 1918 as a private guild of Jews and Christians. From then until 1936, the following people: Barenblat, Fersztenfeld, Krawiec, Rudoler, Sztern and Worcman represented the Jewish master hairdressers in the mixed guild, The Jewish members carried out intensive activity that particularly came to expression with the founding of a bank for all artisans without distinction as to nationality and belief. And no distinction was made in giving loans to Jews and non-Jews. However, the "Aryan paragraph," which was introduced in the mixed guild, brought an end to the productive work and the Jewish hairdressers were forced to found their own guild because of this.
The provisional managing committee of the guild consists of A. J. Fersztenfeld, P. Barenblat, J. Rudoler, Sz. H. Worcman, Fajman, A. Golenzer (Będzin), Herszkowicz, A. Krawiec, Sztern (Sosnowiec), Londner, Tajchner (Dąbrowa).
Foreman A. J. Fersztenfeld, Under Foreman Jakob Rudoler.
|The managing committee of the Artisans' Union
in 1934 at the departure of chairman Rudoler for Eretz Yisrael
Today the Artisans' Union is represented in the city council by H. L. Goldsztajn, A. D. Bolimowski and H. Jakubowicz. H. L. Goldsztajn is the representative in the executive committee of the Central Artisans' Association as well as the managing committee of the artisans' office and Daniel Kilsztok in the council of the artisans' office.
The union also is represented in the worker's court, in the Izba Skarbowa [tax office], in the ORT society and so on. It carries on widespread work in the area of legalizing Jewish tradesmen, apprentices and master artisans, and supports courses where Jewish artisans are educated and prepared for master craftsman exams.
Two support funds exist at the Artisans' Union, which provide loans to their members.
In 1937 a managing committee of the following people stood at the head of the
of the Artisans' Union: H. Goldsztajn (chairman), A. J. Fersztenfeld (vice
chairman), Frochcwajg (treasurer), L. H. Brama, A. Buchbinder, Sz. Blecharz, J.
Meryn and J. Rudoler.
Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund
In 1932, five members of the Kielcer kibbutz [settlement] came to Będzin in order "to conquer" Zagłębie. At first the local Jewish population reacted to the initial group of chalutzim [pioneers] with mistrust and reserve. But in time, thanks to their perseverance, the pioneers succeeded in winning the sympathy of a large part of the Zagłębie Jewish community. Later the kibbutz here was strengthened and it sent out pioneers to the entire area where pioneer hachshara points [agricultural training areas for future émigrés to Eretz Yisrael] were created.
Thus arose the Zagłębie-Silesian-Western Galicianer region with 13 divisions and more than 600 members, of which a large number were employed in Jewish undertakings in Zagłębie and Upper Silesia.
The most difficult problem for the kibbutz in Będzin was the bad living
conditions. The small house outside the city was not suited to the needs of
70-80 pioneers. Besides this, the constant danger that hovered over the
isolated kibbutz in Gzichów did not lead to any rest for its members.
But the well-known ambushes of the kibbutz that took place in 1936 woke the
conscience of Będzin Jewish society, which had to ponder seriously the
fate of the pioneers. Thanks to the initiative of the active communal workers,
Chairman Sz. Firstenberg was successful in creating a Patronat [worker's
organization] of the most prominent Zionist and communal workers, which helped
the pioneers to create their own comfortable meeting premises in the center of
the city. Firstenberg's achievements in this were immense.
Today the kibbutz numbers around 180 members (in the course of six years around 150 pioneers emigrated to Eretz Yisrael). Of the 180 people, 65 percent are employed outside of the kibbutz. They mainly work in the following enterprises: in Firstenberg's factory, Polskie Zakłady, in Potok's factory, Potokol, and in Jakob Gutman's ironworks and many of those remaining in the [home-based] workshops, such as: carpentry, shoemaking, tailoring, mechanical laundries, secretarial services and so on.
The principle of the eight-hour day applies everywhere and everyone is judged according to the instructions and decisions of the general population, which takes upon itself the highest authority in all matters that have a connection to life in the kibbutz. Many members are organized in professional unions (construction, transport and others).
The cultural work is led by a special commission. Much effort and time is given on behalf of learning the Hebrew language and following the new literature from Eretz Yisrael. The kibbutz possesses its own library of more than 1,000 Yiddish, Hebrew and Polish books as well as a reading room that is provided with daily newspapers, weekly publications and literary publications in various languages.
Gymnastic and sports exercises take place after a difficult workday according to a given sequence.
The kibbutz is a constant donor to Keren Hayesod [Foundation Fund &150; financed development and settlement in Eretz Yisrael] and its part is very visible in all Zionist organizations and all communal actions.
This situation gave rise to strengthening the economic, cultural and sanitary
life of the kibbutz. During the summer of 1937 a rest sanitarium was erected in
Olkusz and recently a dental office. The doctor representing the Palestine
Office, Dr. Toraszejski, provides much help with this.
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