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Memorial



[Page 599 & 601]


Memorial to a tortured community

by Juda Londner

Translated by Avi (Abraham) Stavsky


With a shaky hand and an afflicted heart, we close and sign this, our Memorial Book, an anthology of pages written by our townspeople, whose conscience troubles day and night, not giving them any peace, lest those misfortunes and the death routes which passed over this community might be forgotten and the efforts of Jew-baiters in this town will be facilitated in blotting and rubbing out the radiant life of Jewry in Dąbrowa Górnica during a span of more than one hundred years.

These pages, sealed by us are called by our people “Book”. For us [however] they are cuttings of parchments from our Torah, in which were engraved the laws about our community's ways of life, upon the dark waters of the Przemsza River.

No geniuses nor rabbinical teachers emanated from there, nor any famous scientists who bought their eternity by granting innovations to humanity, but [rather] honest Jews, each who carried G-D within their heart, truthfully and faithfully, and set their eyes upon distant Rabbinical teachers; warmed themselves in the shadows of their beams; breathed, lived and absorbed their inspired spirit; and upon their return home, repeated to others their sayings [so that] in this manner distributed the Jewish community from the spirit, which they brought [home] after basking in their holy images.

Jews who yearned to the awakening and renewal of Zionist nationalism were carried in the stream as if in a mighty wave, whose echo began at the start of our century, [and who] knew well how to link the doctrines of the young and old values.

Jews who were awake to territorial social changes, which were brought by the Emancipation period; [the] ideas of the world, a new and cultivated society, the foundation of the working class of Dąbrowa Górnica serving as a fertile soil for its growth.

Proud Jews, who knew how to stand at the gate against the Czarist regime, which enacted stifling decrees for the Jewish settlements in the surroundings. They were particles of the Jewish strata, each particle woven into the community of Dąbrowa Górnica.

The town was not glorified by old fortified castles wherein legends were current. The whole town at its beginning was a large swamp, inundated by the waters of the river Przemsza. For thousand of years there grew [only] massive oak trees which until 1776 was bereft of those wanting to work or develop it.

The wonder of human advancement did not reach Zagłębie and especially Dąbrowa Górnica, until humanity began its sailing ships, steam railways, and [the need for] manpower in industry changed from horsepower to steam, [when they] started digging into the depths of the earth of Dąbrowa Górnicza, to find therein that which was needed by humanity: the black coal. Upon this discovery, began to sprout an urban settlement from the swamps and between the ancient oak trees.

The history of the Jews in that area begins already in 1526, from the time that Staszow received municipal status. From the beginning there existed organized counties, which belonged into a frame of Jewish autonomy: the Cracow Sandomir. To this unit there belonged apart from Cracow the districts of Aft, Szydłów, Chencin, Pińczów, Wodzisław, the community of Staszów included in the community of Szydłów, Tarnów, Rymanów, Żmigród, Nowe Miasto, Chmielnik, Pacanów, Oleśnica, Dąbrowa, Połaniec, Wiślica, etc.

From these towns Dąbrowa Górnica nurtured aspirations to communal development; from these towns Jews came to Dąbrowa to settle there and start the foundations of a community life. If we talk about the development of the community of Dąbrowa, it cannot be compared to the development of other communities in the towns of Poland. Before the Second World War, its development was not strewn by roses. Different factors arose to destroy it while still in its infancy, [and] hidden obstacles and perversity accompanied the [foundation] of their roots in this piece of land. Despite these conditions there developed educational and cultural institutions, as well as religious ones. The community life was democratic, [while] the Zionist youth in all its manifestations were the [Jewish] vertebrae, [as well as a] penetrating love to Jewry and Israel. They were the first ones to raise in our town the standard of self realization and leaders of the camp.

In this workers' town, tens of Jewish workers suffered in the prisons for a democratic, socialistic Poland; for the equalization of each human being wherever he is, they went to the people, carrying out cultural-educational activity for the improvement of its educational standard and development of its economic situation, [and] disavowing specific Jewish problems.


[Page 600 & 602]


In this workers' town where the workers carried daily the slogans of equality and love of nations, the Jewish laborer was prohibited from entering the heavy industries or the coal mines, and all the beautiful slogans shattered into splinters once there was a need to employ a Jewish worker into the industry.

During the anti-Semitic Sanazi instigation before the outbreak of the 2nd World War enemies arose, who cut off the livelihood possibilities of the Jew in this town, who in any event earned his living in a hard way. Such instigation narrowed down his economic possibility, and not a single organized labor group stood by to defend the Jew. Quite the opposite: they stood aside and enjoyed such misfortune.

We, the survivors, we have a major account to settle with this [so-called] workers' town and its laborers, while the Nazis reigned over the town. When the blood of the Jew became licentious, many Polish citizens became active partners in the annihilation of the community, in the dispossession of Jews from their houses and property. “You murdered and inherited”, we the survivors wherever we are, will remember this and shall until the end of generations not forgive.

These passages we now write won't be used as a silent memorial to the community of Dąbrowa Górnica, murdered and not brought to Jewish graves; they won't be a memorial to a dark past, but a memorial as to what can be the fate of a community, and how they were sinned against. It shall be told from father to son for all generations, so that our resolve will be strengthened and that this should never be repeated in Jewish history.

Upon the closing and signing of this Memorial book and the eulogy of the dead; of the martyrs who went on their last road with anger on their lips, we shall remember to note them who we mention and those who remained alive. We beg their forgiveness and pardon that life requires us to move and live a daily and festive life. As long as we shall walk upon the earth, their memory won't leave us and will [cause us to] emit the great cry: why was your blood shed unnecessarily!?




[Page 603]

Memorial to a tortured community

by Jehuda Londner


With a shaky hand and a mournful heart, we terminate and sign the writing of our Memorial book, a compilation of pages written by our town people whose conscience rebuked them day and night, not giving them any peace, but those misfortunes and the route of death which passed over this community, will be forgotten and go down into forgetfulness, and the work of Jew-baiters in this town will be lightened to blot and rub out the sparkling life of Jews in Dąbrowa Górnica above a 100 years.

These pages which are sealed by us are called by our people "Book". For us they are cuttings of parchments from our Torah, in which were engraved the laws, about the ways of life of our community upon the dark waters of the Przemsza river.

No geniuses nor rabbinical teachers grew there, nor famous scientists who bought their eternity by granting innovations to humanity, but honest Jews, each one carrying in his heart, truthfully and faithfully, carried their eyes to Rabbinical teachers in the distance, warmed themselves in the shadows of their beams, breathed, lived and absorbed their spirit – inspiration, and upon their return home, they repeated to others their sayings and in this manner was spread out one of the Jewish community from the spirit, which they brought after staying in their holy image.

Jews who yearned to awakening and renewal of Zionist nationalization, were carried in the stream, like a mighty wave, whose echo started echoing at the start of our century, knew well the doctrine of the young and old values, and how to link them.

Jews who were awake to territorial social changes, which were brought by the emancipation period, ideas of the world, a new and cultivated society, the foundation of the working class of Dąbrowa Górnica served as a fertile soil for its growth.

Proud Jews, who knew how to stand at the gate against the Czarist regime, which enacted strangling decrees for the Jews settlements in the surroundings, they are particles of the Jewish strata, each particle were altogether woven into the community of Dąbrowa Górnica.

The town was not glorified by old castles of fortifications – wherein legends were current. The whole town at its start was a large swamp, the waters of the river Przemsza inundated it, during thousand of years there grew there thick oak trees until 1776 nobody wanted to work nor develop it.

The wonder of human advancement did not get over Zaglembia and especially over Dąbrowa Górnica, since humanity started sailing its ships, railways by steam, since manpower in industry was changed from horsepower to steam, they started digging into the depth of the land of Dąbrowa Górnicza, to find therein, the dearest which was needed by humanity, the black coal, upon this discovery, started sprouting out of the swamps and between the ancient oak trees an urban settlement.

The history of the Jews in that area starts already in 1526, from the time that Staszow received municipal status. From the beginning there existed organized counties, which belonged into a frame of Jewish autonomy, to the Cracow Sandomir, to this unit there belonged apart from Cracow the districts of Aft, Shidlov, Henchin, Pinszuv, Wodislaw, the community of Staszow wa included in the community of Shidlov, Tarnow, Rimanow, Zmigrod, Nove Miesto, Chmelnik, Pazenow, Oleszniva, Dąbrowa, Polanitz, Wiszlica, etc. From these towns Dąbrowa Górnica sucked the aspirations to the development of its community, from these towns Jews came to Dąbrowa to settle there and start the foundations of a community life. If we talk about the development of the community of Dąbrowa, it cannot be compared to the development of other communities in the towns of Poland. Before the 2nd World War, its development was not strewn by roses. Whole stood up to destroy them when still in its infancy, subterranean obstacles and wickedness accompanied its pulling up their roots in this piece of land, in spite of these conditions it developed educational and cultural institutions, as well as religious ones, the community life was democratic, the Zionist youth in all its variegations were the most alert vertebral column and penetrating love to Jewry and Israel. They were the first ones to raise in our town the standard of self realization and leading the camp.

In this workers town, tens of Jewish workers rotted in the prisons for a democratic Poland as well as a socialistic one, for the equalization of each human being wherever he is, they went to the people and carried out cultural-educational activity, for the betterment of its educational standard and explanation of its economic situation, and they disavowed specific Jewish problems.

In this workers town where the workers carried daily the slogans of equality and love of nations, the Jewish labourer was boycotted from entering the heavy industries or the coal mines, all beautiful slogans which were carried, broke into splinters, when there was a need to enter a Jewish worker into the industry.

During the anti-Semitic Sanazi instigation before the outbreak of the 2nd World War enemies arose, who cut off the living possibilities of the Jew in this town, who anyhow earned his living in a hard way. This instigation narrowed down his economic possibility, we mention the tact, that there was not organized a group of labourers who will stand by and defend the Jew, just the opposite they stood aside and enjoyed that misfortune. We, the survivors, we have got a big account to settle with this workers town and its labourers, when the Nazi reigned over the town. When the blood of the Jew became licentious, many Polish citizens became active partners in the annihilation of the community, in the dispossessing of the Jews from their houses and property: "you murdered and inherited", we the survivors wherever we are, will remember this and shall till end of generation not forgive. These passages, which we are writing won't be used as a silent memorial to the community of Dąbrowa Górnica, which was murdered and not brought to its Jewish grave, they won't be a memorial to a dark past, but a memorial as to what can be the fate of a community , an how they were sinned against, and shall tell from father to son to all generations so that our will shall be strengthened and that this should never be repeated in the Jewish history.

Upon the termination and signing of this Memorial book and the eulogy of the dead, of the martyrs who went on their last road with anger on their lips, we shall remember to note them who we mention and those who remained alive. We beg forgiveness and pardon that life's order, orders us to move and live a daily and festive life. As long as we shall walk upon the earth, its memory won't leave us and will give out a great cry why was your blood shed unnecessarily!?


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