The Czenstochower Synagogue in New York
Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund
All Czenstochower landsleit [people from the same town] from New York and other cities gathered together around the United Czenstochower Relief and Ladies Auxiliary. One of the addresses of the Czenstochower Jews is the Chasam Sopher Synagogue, 8 and 10 Clinton Street, New York in the very heart of the Galicianer neighborhood the well known Jewish philanthropists, Jacob Schiff and Lewisohn, helped to build the synagogue.
The Czenstochower Chasam Sopher synagogue on Clinton Street is now a Galicianer synagogue. It is among the oldest synagogues in New York. The synagogue was once almost like a reform synagogue. Dr. Stephen S. Wise's father was the rabbi and Dr. Stephen Wise had his Bar Mitzvah in the synagogue. The rabbi of the synagogue is now the Rabbi, Reb Mordekhai Meyer, a student from the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva [center of Torah study in Lublin, Poland], where the Piotrkower Rabbi, the Rabbi Szapira, was the head of the yeshiva [secondary religious school].
The officials of the school tell us the history of the Chasam Sopher Synagogue in simple words. Mr. Lieber Grill tells us that in 1886 a small synagogue with the name Chasam Sopher existed on Columbia Street that mostly was supported by Hungarian landsleit in memory of the great Hungarian gaon [sage] of the Chasam Sopher Yeshiva. The synagogue had 200 members. And when the synagogue [building] became too small, they began to look for a larger house of prayer. And they found favor at 8-10 Clinton Street. The then named Rodeph Sholom a real reformed synagogue in the proper manner: Jews and their wives came in carriages on Shabbos [Sabbath] and an organ played, accompanied by the boys and girls in the choir and so on. And even a younger Jew, did not dare to enter there and pour out his heart for God Almighty in a Jewish way. The house was bought after full negotiations and with luck renovated and immediately transformed into a real orthodox synagogue. But in the course of only two years the group split, not being able to support the great operating costs that a synagogue needs to have. More than 150 members left the synagogue and founded a lodge under the same name, Chasam Sopher Lodge. In 1890, the handful of members did everything to support the synagogue. However, it was impossible to honor the debt of the mortgage and the interest. The mortgaged was foreclosed on the house and Jews remained almost as if on the street without a synagogue. As in all other societies, there also were good-hearted members who carried more responsibilities than others. When ex-president, Sh. Glik who already is in the world of truth [died], saw that the house had been sold to speculators and they already had begun to pull the bricks from the walls to transform the house into a theater or cinema, he went to work and went into the street to the societies to look for partners for the broken building. In four weeks, he succeeded in saving the synagogue.
It is necessary to say that the congregation then only had 40 members.
On a secluded corner on Sherriff Street
existed a society with the name Czenstochower Khevre [Czenstochower Society], which consisted of 15 members. Two of them, the brothers D. Geizler and Yisroelke Broder, may they live long, had already been members of the society for 50 years. Despite the fact that Hungarians and Poles were never suitable in-laws, the match took place. The above-mentioned came to an understanding after several conferences with a few Jewish communal workers, such as the ex-presidents, the deceased Sh. Goldberg, H. Wilczinski and D. Geizler, may they live long; they are still members. Both societies merged.
With united strength they immediately threw themselves into worship and in addition to the joint assets, capital of thousands, they also collected contributions. As all of this was not enough, they went to Jakob H. Schiff and Lewisohn and they both donated up to 1,000 [dollars] on the condition that the society collect 25,000 dollars. They gathered penny to penny, even went through the streets with a handkerchief and visited societies and unions, which not only did not give anything, but they even, according to the old way in New York, did not even let the committee enter. The soldier with the bolt [of the door], the inner guard said, No. The general, the president with the hammer commanded no. Even the eulogies that were given in the synagogue on Shabbosim were of little help. However, after much effort the few members gathered the sum of 18,000 dollars and the remainder was covered with mortgages. They immediately began to rebuild almost the entire synagogue, which was broken into pieces and looked like a real ruin.
Now the synagogue is one of the most beautiful and oldest synagogues in the Galicianer neighborhood.
Czenstochower Young Ladies Auxiliary in New York
by A. Litman
Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund
The women took a large part in the work of the Help Union and Czenstochower Relief in New York the entire time. No ball, no other undertaking took place without their work and help.
In 1922, through the initiative of Friend Louis Szimkowicz and other friends of the Young Men, a separate women's organization was started under the name Czenstochower Young Ladies Auxiliary, with the goal of supporting the war orphans and poor children in Czenstochow with food and clothing.
The petition for a charter was signed by: Louis Szimkowicz, Bertha Bratman, Anna Wajskop, Zelkowicz, Katy Jackson and Rae Sobol.
The composition of the first Board of Directors consisted of: Celia Szimkowicz, Rose Wajskop, Dora Rozen, Helen Fridman, Anna Zelkowicz, Helen Lajcher, Ruth Hiler, Celia Jacobs, Rose Goldberg, Beatrice Zajdman, Gussie Jacobs, Rebecca Skowornek.
Later others joined: Lena Win, Yetta Korpiel, Anna Rips, Rose Adler, S. Foist, Minnie Korpiel, and Samuels, Gussie Lewensztajn, Wajnstajn.
Friend Louis Szimkowicz was elected the first President of the Czenstochower Young Ladies Auxiliary; Lina Win as Vice-President; Recording Secretary Rose Adler; Finance-Secretary Katy Jackson; Treasurer Rae Sobel; Representative - Anna Wajskop.
Their first large undertaking was the ball that took place on the night after Shabbos [Sabbath] on the 14th of January 1923 in the Park Palace, New York.
The second chairwoman of the Czenstochower Young Ladies Auxiliary was Mrs. Anna Samuels.
Mrs. Yetta Lenczer was elected chairwoman in 1924. Vice-chairwoman - Martha Korpiel; Recording Secretary Yetta Korpiel; Representative Broder; Finance- Secretary and Treasurer remained the same.
Starting in 1928, the Ladies Auxiliary organized the yearly balls in partnership with Czenstochower Aid in New York.
In 1928 Mrs. Anna Samuels was elected as chairwoman, Anna Broder as vice chairman.
The arrangements committee consisted of the following ladies: Anna Nirenberg, Celia Szimkowicz, Yetta Lenczer, Martha Korpiel, Molly Gotlib, R. Moskowicz, Malka Fridman, Celia Lewental, Chana Fajersztajn, Fanny Fajersztajn, Mary Lefkowicz.
Anna Wajskop chairwoman, Molly Gotlib vice chairwoman, Katy Jackson recording secretary, representatives Florence Nirenberg, Celia Szimkowicz, Anna Broders [previously recorded as Broder] were elected as officers in 1929.
Yetta Lenczer Chairwoman, Rebecca Skwornek [previously recorded as Skowornek] Vice Chairwoman were elected in 1931. The remaining officers were the same.
The organizing committee consisted of Chana Manuszewicz, Anna Samuels, Sara Singer, Celia Lewental, Mary Lefkowicz, M. Hiller, Martha Korpiel, Gussie Pitman, L. Skowronek, Chana Fajersztajn.
After Czenstochower Relief in New York ceased to exist, the Ladies Auxiliary for a long time alone carried on the aid work for Czenstochow, first in order to support the Y. L. Peretz Library. Friends Louis Szimkowicz, Sam Korpiel, Sobol and Charlie Lenczer always worked with the Ladies Auxiliary. In the end, the Ladies Auxiliary, too, ceased its activities and was reorganized into a new organization with United Czenstochower Aid in New York.
The renewed Ladies Auxiliary in United Czenstochower Relief began its activities in 1936.
Until now the ladies have worked together
with Relief and had their representative, Yetta Lenczer, as vice-chairwoman.
The first officers were:
Yetta Lenczer, Chairwoman; Fanny Fajersztajn, Vice-Chairwoman; Celia Jacobs Finance-Secretary, Sura Senzer, Recording-Secretary; Glantz, Treasurer; Gussie Gelber, Chairwoman of the Activities Committee; Rae Kaufman Treasurer of the Activities Committee; Martha Korpiel, First Representative; Kep, Second Representative.
The founding of the Ladies Auxiliary in 1922 begins its history in the Czentochower Landsmanschaft. Many wives whose husbands were members of various organizations belonged to the Woman's organization. The Ladies meetings often were larger than the meetings of Aid. The leaders of the Young Men participated in large numbers in the meetings of the Ladies: Friend Louis Szimkowicz, Marks Korpiel, of blessed memory, Sam Korpiel, W. Sobol, of blessed memory, Charlie Lenczer.
The most important work of the women's organization is shown by the monies sent to Czenstochow for the children's homes and folks schools that were raised by the Ladies Auxiliary itself,
Sitting from right to left: Gutsha Gelber, Sadie Senzer, Celia Jacobs, Yetta Lenczer. Fanny Fajersztajn, Martha Korpiel.
Standing from right to left: Reila Frajmoyer, Esther Kep, Celia Levy.)
besides the sums that were transferred to the Aid for the building of a house and other purposes:
In the course of just five years a total sum of 4,945 dollars was sent.
The women and friends of Young Men who worked with the Ladies Auxiliary during the time when no aid organizations existed deserve separate recognition. The remaining members of Czenstochower Aid in New York had partly abandoned their activities because they had the ability to work together with the Ladies Auxiliary. The Ladies Auxiliary remained the only aid organization in New York that not pay attention to the severe Depression in America and the discord in the Czenstochower organization in New York and continued to perform aid work.
The newly reformed women's organization was already more closely connected to United Czenstochower Relief than before. The meetings took place in the same hall on the same evening. The Ladies Auxiliary must be recorded as doing the larger part of the work for Relief, even as both organizations jointly carried on the undertakings.
Often the joys and sufferings in the lives of Czenstochower landsleit found reverberations at the meetings and get-togethers of the Ladies Auxiliary, just as with Relief. If a member of Relief or the Ladies Auxiliary had a wedding for a child, a certain sum was spent by Relief and whiskey and hors d'oeuvres were brought to the meeting, and there was rejoicing and the parents were wished mazel-tov [good luck]. The same when a child or a grandchild was born. Just as on such an occasion, the fathers and mothers in the old home treated those praying in the synagogue or Hasidic shtibl [one-room synagogue] with cake and whiskey. If someone got sick, or God forbid, left this world the sisters and brothers visited the mourner in his house and mourned along with him and suffered the misfortune that had been met by the Czenstochower family.
The Ladies Auxiliary also directed aid work among the landsleit in New York who found themselves in need.
Mrs. Anna Samuels was the first president of the Ladies Auxiliary. In later years she was again elected as president and to other offices. She was born in America, but was always ready to do everything in her power for the aid work for Czenstochow.
Yetta Lenczner, today as 30 years ago, is the most active and energetic Relief worker. She surpassed everyone with the number of years as president of the Ladies Auxiliary and there is no equal to her in the work that she gave for Czenstochow and harmony among the Czenstochower landsleit in America.
Katy Jackson, the English speaking recording secretary, in the course of many years, always added charm and energized the members of the Ladies Auxiliary.
Helen Fridman, the financial secretary of the First Ladies Auxiliary for the entire time of its existence, is the best heir of our old mothers who embodied the maternal love and goodness of the entire world.
Let us also remember the active and devoted activity of Anna Broder, as vice president and in other offices. Among the officials of the Ladies Auxiliary during recent years, Sara Senzer, recording secretary, is particularly worthy of being remembered. She excelled with her folksy Yiddish, which she brought with her from Czenstochow.
Celia Jacobs, finance secretary, Celia Szimkowicz, trustee, Anna Wajskop, chairwoman in 1929, Florence Nirenberg, trustee, Anna Nirenberg, Gussie Gelber, chairwoman of the enterprise, Rae Kaufman, treasurer of the enterprise, Kop, trustee, gave much energy and life to the aid work.
Czenstochower Br. 261 Arbeter Ring
[Workman's Circle] in New York
by A. Litman
Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund
Thirty-seven years ago (in 1909) a group of 28 Czenstochower young people, who had settled in chaotic New York, founded a branch of the then still young workers' organization the Arbeter Ring.
These young people were the children of the poor streets of Czenstochow, whose parents toiled in the workshops or traded in the market. The fathers and mothers dreamed that their children would, perhaps, find something better and with broken hearts they said goodbye to their children and accompanied them to the train station, from which they traveled beyond the sea, to the end of the world to the unknown, distant America
On arrival in the giant city of New York, the young Czenstochowers searched for a corner in which to pass the time, to come together and discuss the problems of home and the world.
True, they had then already heard that here all sorts of organizations and societies exist where landsleit [people from the same city or shtetl] come together and one feels at home. The religious Jews built synagogues in which to pray and to study a chapter of the Mishnah. The ordinary non-religious Jews founded lodges, societies, groups of friends that were concerned with help for the sick, preparing a grave after over 120 years [Translator's note: It is customary to wish that someone live until 120] These groups of friends grew like mushrooms after a rain and they confused the circles of newly arrived immigrants in New York.
What did the new immigrant who in Czenstochow had been an artisan a tailor, a cabinetmaker, a hat maker, an upholsterer, a baker think of this? Here he fell into a sweatshop where they suffered and slaved from morning until late in the night, lived in the tenement districts, in the crowded, stuffy little rooms, without air and sun. Strikes would break out. The strikes would be bloody and long. The workers often lost the strike. Returning to the shops, they did not lose their courage and they did not give up hope of bettering their bitter condition.
Then the Czenstochower immigrant workers in noisy New York came to the decision that an organization must be created that would be interested in their condition, help the workers organize unions, defend their interests; at the same time, they were looking for a progressive, friendly environment. They heard the song of the poet Y. Adler (B. Kovner) who had published the song about the founding of the Arbeter Ring that was then only nine years old. This song resounded in the Jewish workers' neighborhoods with a fiery enthusiasm. The song was entitled Undzer Boim [Our Tree] and was sung as follows:
The following twenty-eight young people were the first ones to conceive [of the idea] of founding a Czenstochower branch of the Arbeter Ring: Leon Fridlender, Avraham Montag, Morris Rozencwajg, Harry Szerman, Harry Frejman, Dovid Faucht, Louis Goldman, Ruwin Fajerman, Yisroel Inzelsztajn, Pinkhus Gotlib, Max Szajer, Sidney Glazner, Heimy Gotajner, Moshe Bornsztajn, Sam Silversztajn, Louis Besser, Avraham Warmund, Louis Eizner, Louis Rafalowicz, Harry Brzezinski, Shmuel Lewkowicz, William Grin, Moshe Kraus, Louis Upner and Aba Kaufman.
They came together on the 8th of February 1909 in Mrs. Szajer's house at 712 East 6th Street, New York, where the founding meeting was held.
The history of the Arbeter Ring Czenstochower branch 261 is actually the history of each branch of the Arbeter Ring in general.
The founders of our branch, 36 years ago, were influenced by the same ideals and dealt with the same problems as our mother organization that was then already in existence for nine years.
The Arbeter Ring and Branch 261
There was a time when our branch breathed with communal life. There was a time when the branch carried out various plans whose purpose was to better the material condition of the members at a time of economic need and in case of an illness. A fund was created for local health benefits that paid three dollars a week at the start and later was raised to four dollars a week. We also created a loan fund and a fund to pay the bills of such members who could not do so because of need; a fund for the old that was to pay the bills of members who could no longer work. In general, the democratic spirit rules in the branch and friendship of one member with the other and everyone was one family
Czenstochower Branch 261 Arbeter Ring
Sitting from right to left: Av. Litman, S. Richter, Y. Szubin, M. Fajner, A. Goldfinger, H. Brzezinski.
Standing from right to left: M. Wilinger, M. Sztern, P. Szwajcer, A. Kap, M. Kap and M. Gotlib
A Civil War Breaks Out in Our Branch
Every dispute in an organization has a destructive effect: its growth stops; it cripples its activity; it demoralizes the members and the hand of destruction gets the upper-hand
When the branch split, 36 members officially left it. However, the storm carried away a greater number of members who were lost to the Arbeter Ring and fell into bourgeois societies.
The branch would, perhaps, have gone into a state of complete helplessness and feeling of loss if it had not found several of the older
active members and the younger members who stood on the side and were not active in the branch at the time of the dispute, but after the split again became active with the wish to revitalize the branch and renew its activities. However, they were greatly hindered by the economic crisis that then began to be rampant in the country.
The Branch Begins to Revive
We began several plans in order to revive our branch. Two of the plans were: first, that our meeting place would move to the Bronx instead of downtown because two-thirds of the members lived there; the second plan was to merge with another branch of the Arbeter Ring. The first was done immediately. The second was postponed until later
As is evident, the changes worked. The members began to attend the meetings; we took in a number of new members; we also took a number of wives of our members into the branch. With joy, we record that they do good work for the branch. During the course of the past few years, the branch has carried on cultural work and holds lectures on various problems. The branch has a theater undertaking for the benefit of the sick fund and finally the branch is again in the position to pay local sick benefits. Three years ago, the branch moved into a downtown apartment, on 14th Street and Broadway.
The Branch Supports All Worker and People's Organizations
During the course of 36 years the branch supported the following institutions and organizations: Jewish Children Schools; Arbeter-Ring branches; Young Circle League; unions and strikes; orphanages; sanitaria; convalescent homes; Old Jewish Homes; day nurseries and hospitals; Socialist Party and its press, both in America and in Europe; the Yidisher Visnshaftleker Institut [Jewish Scientific Institute YIVO]; ORT; the Jewish Worker Committee; HIAS [Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society]; orphanage in Czenstochow; political prisoners in America and Europe; Bund in Poland; Romanian workers; Spanish People's Front; Czenstochower Relief; Jewish children's schools in Poland; cooperatives; worker lyceums; Young People's Socialist League; Deb's Fund and yet more organizations.
There was a bakery worker in Czenstochow who emigrated to England and lived there for 10 years. He helped found the baker's union in London. He came to America in 1907, immediately joined the local bakery union local 305 where he was active for many years and a delegate for the union. He was respected and valued by the members for his idealism and readiness to struggle for the masses. He fought for unionism, picketed and went on strike, although there was no bread in his house for his wife and children he was torn away from his activities in the workers movement at the age of 54 and died at his post in the fight for bakery workers.
Our Branch in the Struggle against Fascism
A long time before the world was ignited by the Nazi barbarians in 1939, our members understood that the Fascists across the world were gathering to drown the workers movement in blood. We, therefore, supported the underground struggle against both Fascism in Italy and the half-Fascists in Poland. And when the bloody struggle broke out in Spain, our members supported the Loyalist struggle with life and soul.
When the world conflict with Fascism broke out in 1939, our branch immediately threw itself into the struggle. Our branch can with pride show that although we were only a small family of 78 households, we gave the American Army and Navy 80 young fighters on all fronts and bought war bonds for 50,000 dollars.
The members of the Czenstochower Branch 261 have inscribed a beautiful chapter in the activities for the old home for Czenstochow. Our members were the founders and builders of Relief. All of the great work for Relief were successful thanks to the fact that the members of our branch did their part.
Arbeter Ring Branch 261 did not only give financial support to Czenstochower Relief, but also leaders and guides. The secretary-treasurer of Relief, Josef Kaufman who served the organization these past years with devotion and loyalty, is a member of Arbeter Ring Branch 261. Rafael Federman, the secretary of the book committee and editorial member for the book, Czenstochower Yidn [Czenstochower Jews] has been a member of our branch since 1941. A series of other workers for Relief, such M. Fajner, Max Wilinger, Sam Richter, M. Gotlib. Av. Hershkowicz, the late Meir Rembach and others also worked with Relief. The present finance-secretary of the branch, M. Sztern, although not a Czenstochow landsleit [person from the same town] (he is from Tomaszow), in the course of the six years he has been in office, has helped everyone in the work of Czenstochower Relief. The writer of these lines, Avraham Litman, who has been active in Relief since arriving in America, also took on the special task of waking the landsleit through the press that they should not forget Czenstochow, their home city.
When sorrowful reports arrived from Czenstochow in 1937 that hooligans rampaged and carried out a pogrom on the poor Jewish population, murdered five Jews and wounded several hundred, our member, Avraham Litman, appealed to the Jewish Workers' Committee in the name of Czenstochower Relief, that it should come to the aid of the victims. The Jewish Workers' Committee then granted the sum of 500 dollars for the suffering Jews in Czenstochow.
It should also be recorded here that Branch 262 of the Arbeter Ring also particularly helped the orphan's home in Czenstochow and virtually financed the orchestra of the school in Czenstochow.
In the present historic hour the Czenstochower Branch 261 Arbeter Ring, of course, does everything it can to help in the sacred work of revival of the survivors from Jewish Czenstochow.
The Czenstochower Patronat in New York
(Committee to Aid Political Arrestees in Poland 1931-1939)
by D. Tanksi
Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund
During the 1930's bleak information began to arrive from Poland. The fascist regime, which held the country as if in iron pliers, robbed the masses of every right and every possibility of existence. There remained no trace of freedom. Only fascism reigned free. The pogromshtshikes[those carrying out pogroms] frolicked freely; anti-Semitism was free. The ruling clique wanted to save itself from the rage of the people by throwing blame for all of the anguish, pain and suffering of the masses onto the Jews, by inciting pogroms, by crushing democracy in the country. However, the masses did not let themselves be deluded by false, fascistic slogans and struggled bitterly against the regime. The struggle brought many victims.
However, the Polish guard was not satisfied with torturing the arrestees. They would shoot worker activists in the street, without any trial or warning. Adek Landau, the well known Czenstochower activist, was murdered in this way. The police shot him in the street, quietly buried his body and did not even tell his family about this. Jail terms were dispensed with a generous hand. Here a sentence was given against a group of Czenstochower: Frenkl 15 years in jail, Knapik 15 years, Brajtman 12 years and Olszewski five years. The Polish civil press furnished the following terrible statistics: From the First of May, 1926 to the First of May, 1936, 1,534 anti-Fascists were murdered without a trial; 2,400 were wounded and 125,000 sentenced to jail. During that time the courts gave sentences overall in the amount of 50,000 years.
It was not a surprise that Jews, the most persecuted, also provided the largest number of political arrestees. The Jewish arrestees also suffered more than others: they were tortured as Jews and as political [activists]. The Jewish masses in Poland sought help for their struggle and turned more than once to organized Jewish society all over the world. They demanded that we, immigrants from Poland, stand up publicly to the Polish government, provide actions of moral support and financial help for the victims of fascism. Why are you silent? the American Jews were often asked.
B. Smoliar, the correspondent from the New York Tog [Day a Yiddish newspaper], openly warned that if American Jewry did not force the Polish Panske government to restrain the appetites of anti-Semitism, the Polish Jews would be doomed. It was a question of simple human feeling to extend a fraternal hand of anti-fascist solidarity to the masses in Poland and our national
debt to help the Polish Jews in their struggle. Support for the political victims of Polish fascism was the commandment of the hour.
Patronat was created in 1931 in order to organize the recommended help.
At first, the Patronat emerged to fight against the atmosphere of indifference that reigned in the landsmanschaftn [organizations of people from the same town]. If the interest in the old home found a reverberation among the local landsleit [people from the same town], it was expressed in philanthropic relief work. But this work, too, was carried out on a very small scale. Splits and divisions made each vigorous action more difficult. The news from Poland was not brought to the attention of the Jews in America. The wide public was not angered and seized with the events in Poland because the leaders of American Jewry did not find it necessary to arouse the Jewish masses against fascism in Poland. When persecutions against the Jews in Poland took on such proportions that a broad strata of the landsleit began to demand action, a conference was called together, wrote a resolution in chosen words and the matter ended with this. Even in the later years, when fascism threw off the mask of democracy and freely threw itself into action on the backs of the Jews of Poland, here, in America, concern for the most part was expressed with words and not with deeds. Only the Jews of Poland boldly and spiritedly expressed their protest against the Polish hangman like the free Jews in America. In 1936, Dr. Margoshes, the editor of Tog, had to warn the local landsleit that the relief work must take form and that the moral aid that was strongly neglected until now, is of tremendous value and must be given much faster
The work of Patronat was very difficult under these conditions. A great deal of effort, energy, consistency and patience was demanded in order to cultivate the landsmanschaftn to eliminate all prejudices and win the trust and support of the landsleit. They had to be interested in the bloody struggle in Poland, in the ruthlessness of Polish fascism, in the need and in the suffering of the Polish martyrs.
On the other side [of the ocean] connections had to be established with the arrestees in the Polish barracks, maintain contacts, send the assembled money, receive authentic reports from there, despite persecutions and disturbances by the Polish guard.
But the work was crowned with success. A small group of founders of Patronat was created of not widely known people, simple workers, without high social positions, without bags of money, but to whom the struggle against fascism was close. In time the Patronat became strong, won prestige, weightiness and recognition by the landsleit. Even the stubborn opponents had to change their opinions and took a positive stand to the devoted work and self sacrifice of the Patronat workers. In the end they had to understand the necessity of fighting Polish fascism. One had to agree with the historically important purpose of the Patronat.
To implement its program, the Patronat turned its entire energy to acquaint the landsleit with the terrible terror that reigned in Poland and with the struggle that was being carried out by the masses. The Patronat spread all of the news from the old home, collected money for the political arrestees and helped to create the so much needed unity among the landsleit of various directions for the struggle against the political Sanacia regime. We must underline with pride that the landsleit reacted well to the appeal by Patronat and supported it generously. All landsmanschaftn organizations, such as the Young Men's Association, the Ladies' Auxilary, the Arbeter-Ring [Workman's Circle] branch 261 and the International Worker's Order branch 11, were always represented in all undertakings of Patronat and supported its work. There were very close connections with the relief organization. It is really hard to show where the relief work began and where the work of Patronat ended. Both worked for the welfare and freedom of our brothers and sisters in the old home. As the relief was impartial and progressive, Patronat also became a center for all progressive Czenstochower who were interested in overthrowing Polish fascism. Each action on behalf of the Jews in Poland was recognized and actively supported by Patronat, no matter who took the initiative in the action. Each
arrestee was given help, as much as was possible, regardless of his or her party membership. The Patronat was an integral part of landsmanschaft life and a stronger instrument to forge the landsmanschaft unity. Whoever was present at the well-attended Patronat meetings and banquets truly felt the joy that unity can create and the sympathy that the Patronat engendered for the political arrestees.
Since 1936, both organizations Relief and Patronat have carried out joint balls each year and a portion of the income has been designated for the political arrestees. Each ball has been a manifestation against Polish fascism and an expression of love for the brothers in Poland.
The Czenstochower Patronat in New York organized a division in Los Angeles, California, that in time became an important factor in the life of the landsleit there. It organized public protest meetings against Polish fascism and also various undertakings on behalf of the political arrestees. Groups were also created in Detroit, Canada and South America. At the initiative of the Czenstochowers, a Noworadomsker Patronat was created which became a respected member of the Patronat family. In praise of the Czenstochower Patronat, the fact must be underlined that it was among one of the most important instigators of the central Patronat organization. Among other accomplishments, it succeeded in persuading the already existing two Patronats, Nowodworer and Bialystoker, to unite all their strengths to found the central organization, which would have the task of building new Patronats, and in general spreading the struggle against Polish fascism.
The rise of the central organization was of very great significance. The struggle again Polish fascism took on a broad national character. The central organization was able to popularize the Patronat among the landsleit, undertook various activities on behalf of the political arrestees in Poland, deepening the work and preparing the soil for joint appearances [with other organizations].
In a short time the central organization created 35 Patronats in which all of the important landsmanschaftn participated. Each Patronat had autonomy, but all worked together under the leadership of the central organization. Tsu Hilf [To Help], the journal published by the central organization, on average had a circulation of 5,000 copies. The Czenstochower Patronat sent its best workers to the central organization and, in general, was responsible for a large amount of the work.
1936 was a year of great, intensive activity. That year a new wave of anti-Semitism flooded Poland. Pogroms against Jews were a daily phenomenon. The reaktsie [right wing reaction] raged unbearably and the number of arrestees rose immensely. Official Poland threw away the pretense of democracy and rolled into the arms of Hitler, both in its external and its internal politics. The Polish regime shamelessly ascended completely on the road of open and brutal fascism.
In the summer of 1936 the Czenstochower Patronat took an active part in the creation of the People's Committee to Combat the Pogroms on the Jews in Poland that undertook a number of actions. Thousands of signatures with protests against the wave of pogroms were sent to the Polish ambassador in Washington.
The Patronat also participated in the large and impressive street demonstration organized by the People's Committee against Anti-Semitism and was represented in the delegation that was sent to the Polish Consul in New York.
The impressive historic march on Washington, organized by the same People's Committee against Anti-Semitism must also be mentioned. Thousands of delegates who represented around a quarter million Jews, 30,000 Ukrainians and hundreds of landsmanschaft organizations took part. Our Patronat was also represented with a delegate. Senators, members of Congress, writers and communal workers, Jewish and non-Jewish, endorsed the march. Senator Thomas led the delegation to the President who was presented with a detailed memorandum. This was the first time that official Washington heard the cry of pain of Polish Jewry.
On the 11th of July, 1937, our Relief, with strong assistance from Patronat called a meeting against the pogroms in our home city. This was a great demonstration of our landsleit. All landmanschaft organizations were represented. The speakers
denounced the Panske government in the strongest manner and demanded immediate abolition of every discrimination and persecution against the Jews. Each action, each event in Poland, in general, and in Czenstochow, in particular, found an echo in the activities of Patronat.
The Czenstochower Patronat declared in its last report to the central organization:
we had great difficulties reaching the landsleit who belong to various organizations. Many misunderstandings and denunciations reigned among the organizations. But thanks to our untiring work and efforts, we succeeded in convincing the landsleit that it is necessary to unite all forces for the struggle against Polish fascism, which is the father of the pogroms against Jews. Today we have united Relief, which raises aid for those suffering from need in Czenstochow and also for the political arrestees Understand, since the war, Patronat no longer exists. Only Relief remains. As earlier, all former Patronat workers are active in it. They remain devoted to their sisters and brothers in Czenstochow who need more help now than when [Patronat existed].
The Patronat wrote an impressive page in the struggle against Polish fascism. Many of the former Polish arrestees, whom Patronat supported, fell as heroes on the barricades of the ghettos; many were partisans,and those, who survived are helping to build a new Poland that will no longer need any Patronats for political arrestees.
The following landsleit and friends were member of the Czenstochower Patronat:
Altman, Rose and MaxThe following landsleit and friends were founders and supporters of the Czenstochower Aid Union and the Czenstochower Relief Committee. The two organizations were supported through their help and devotion:
Berger, Izzy and Eva
Berger, Rubin and Bela
Buchner, Morris and Sophie
Beira, Shimeon and Fela
Gliksman, Khone and Fradl
Gerichter, Karl and Regina
Gotlib, Pinkhas and Mali
Goldberg, Lou and Annie
Gotlib, Dovid, may he rest in peace
Handelsman, Lou and Rose
Wilinger, Sam and Gussy
Wilinger, Willie and Blanch
Wargan, Karl and Helen
Tenski, Dovid and Ellen
Monowicz, Shlomo, may he rest in peace
Frajman, Hershl and Leah
Kuczminski, Max and Ester
Rozenblat, John and Bela
Rubinsztajn, Joe and Minnie
Ruk, Shlomo, may he rest in peace
Szlingbaum, Shlomo and Miriam
Szwarcbaum, Avraham and Leah
Gerszonowicz, Dovid Leib*
Silver, Yehoshaya Eliezer
Silver, Yakov Ber
Fajertog, Yehuda Hirsh
Swarc, Chaim Leib
by J. Gliksman
Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund
The founding committee came together in the house of Friend Y. Gliksman on the 25th of December 1925. Taking part in the deliberations were Y. Gliksman, F. Fajertag, N. Richter, M. Starszum, H. Yoskowitz, Max Grosberg and A. Grosberg.
A mass meeting took place on the 1st of January 1926 at the home of Friend H. Yoskowitz and 30 members joined.
The following officers were elected:
M. Fradelski, chairman, M. Grosberg, vice chairman, P. Gliksman secretary; M. Starozum recording secretary, H. Shumer (Szmulewicz) treasurer; executive: M. Fradel (Fradelski), T. Halberg, Y. Gliksman, A. Birnholc, H. Yoskowicz, H. Shumer, M. Starozum, A. Grosberg, A. Jacobs, A. Fefer.
During the existence of the Union, it supported the nursery and the Professional Unions in Czenstochow, as well as TOZ [Society for the Protection of Health], with considerable sums of money and we also helped a number of national and local organizations here in this country [the United States].
The Union was dissolved on the 14th of October 1928.
Czenstochower Regional Union
The Czenstochower Regional Union in Detroit was organized on the 23rd of February 1935. The organizing committee held its first meeting in the house of Friend Sam Halberg, with the participation of: Y. Gliksman, N. Richter, S. Halberg, R. Luks, B. Kalin, T. Halberg, A. Winter, Haimy Yoskowicz (deceased), A. Birnholc, H. Halberg.
The mass meeting was held in the assembly hall.
The following officials were elected:
Chairman S. Halberg, vice-chairman Haimy Yoskowicz, finance-secretary Y. Gliksman, recording-secretary A. Winter, treasurer B. Kalin.During the 10 years of its existence, we supported the following organizations with a sum or $14,263:
Executive T. Halberg, R. Luks, A. Birnholc, A. Leser.
Czenstochower children's homes, cultural office of the professional unions, and divisions of TOZ in Czenstochow, the Federation of Polish Jews, Allied Joint Campaign, H.I.A.S., IKOR [Organization for Jewish Colonization in Russia], trade union campaign, National Fund, Khesed Shel Emes [Good Deed of Faith organization for arranging burials in the Orthodox tradition], the Red Cross, War Chest, Los Angeles Sanatorium (Detroit division], Denver Sanatorium, USO, Russian War Relief, Chinese War Relief and dozens of other organizations.
During the course of six war loans, the members of Czenstochower Union bought 65,000 dollars worth of bonds through the organization.
Our members have 38 children in the
The executive of the Czenstochower Regional Union in Detroit
First row, sitting from right to left: Mrs. A. Birnholc, Mrs. A Zbarow, Mrs. M. Richter, Mrs. M. Fein, Mrs. J. Holcberg.
Second row, sitting from right to left: S. Zbarow, B. Wratslowski, M. Fein, R. Federman, J. Halberg, T. Halberg, N. Richter.
Standing, from right to left: J. Wiatrok, S. Richtman, A. Birnholc, Ch. Halberg, A. Goldsztajn
American Army. During the three years of war, we were in constant contact with the children in the army and each was sent a package every three months
We worked with all members of the Federation of Polish Jews and sent a large number of packages to Lublin.
Even in the past, the Czenstochower Regional Union in Detroit took an interest in our old home city, Czenstochow. We had collected a large fund for this purpose. The income from the banquet in honor of its 10th anniversary that took place on the 25th of February 1945 was designated for this fund.
The Czenstochower Regional Union in Detroit celebrated the second annual anniversary with a beautiful concert and banquet on Sunday, the 22nd of January 1938, in Carpenter's Hall.
For the short time of its existence, the Czenstochower Union managed to develop energetic activity in various areas, which was expressed in the tasks the Union set for itself at its founding.
The Union also stood on watch and did everything possible to help its own members who at times were in need of fraternal help.
The fact also should be recorded that the Union did not remain indifferent to the local city communal life and took an appropriate part in the large people's movement to build a house in the Los Angeles sanatorium in the name of Detroit Jewry and also joined in several national and state administrative bodies with annual contributions. In general, the Union answered very fraternally every appeal of our friendly organizations.
Simultaneously, the Union took care of its cultural tasks, so that in the course of two very successful years, concerts, literary family evenings and other similar cultural ventures were carried out.
All of the important tasks that the Union seriously and sincerely endeavored to serve made the Union a communal factor in Jewish life in Detroit and also drew the attention of many non-landsleit [people from the same town] who volunteered their help to the Union in order that the work be more successful. The result of this was that several important people joined as members.
Understand that all of this was in great measure thanks to the deep devotion and self-sacrifice of a very large number of active members, who brought life and activity into the work and into the tasks of the Union.
The charter was given to the organization as a gift from Eleizer Gliksman.
The following officials left their offices in 1944. Chairman Fine, vice chairman A. Halberg, finance secretary B. Wiatrak, recording secretary a. Birnholtz, treasurer B. Wraclowski, hospitality (men) J. Wiatrak, hospitality (women) R. Halberg, executive N. Richter, Sister G. Richter, Sister Helen Sbarow, T. Halberg.
Newly elected officials for the year 1945:
Chairman Isidor Gliksman, vice chairman S. Rechtman, finance secretary B. Wiatrak, recording secretary J. Czudnow, treasurer B. Wraclowski, hospitality (men) J. Wiatrak, hospitality (women) Jenny Wiatrak.The Czenstochower Regional Union opened its activities with a banquet on the 14th of October at the Jewish Culture Center, 2705 Joy Road.
Executive A. Birnholc, T. Halberg, Lizzy Halberg, S. Halberg, A. Winter, Helen Sbarow, N. Richter and Sister G. Bajtner.
The banquet was dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the long time [greeter] and esteemed worker, Joe Wiatrak. The campaign for the Victory Loan also was opened that evening.
Thanks to the capable leadership of the Czenstochower Union in Detroit, there were significant results in all relief and communal undertakings of the Union during the course of the last years.
The Czenstochower Union excelled in the sale of War Bonds and received a citation from the War Department in Washington that was reported on the radio.
The Detroit Union delivered the sum of one thousand dollars to Czenstochower Relief in New York for aid purposes.
The Union took an active part in the campaign of the Jewish Committee for Russian Relief, collecting a significant sum of money. The leaders of the Czenstochower Union in Detroit
produced a series of plans for communal actions.
The Czenstochower branch 620 Arbeter Ring [Workman's Circle] was installed on the 23rd of December 1928.
The following officials were nominated:
R. Luks finance secretary.The branch led cultural work and supported many local and national bodies.
Y. Gliksman recording secretary.
W. Yoskowicz treasurer (died).
B. Kalin hospitality.
Executive: Panksi, Kenigsberg, F. Fajertag, Willis, Abe Wenger, N. Richter, Y. Gliksman and R. Luks.
The branch was dissolved on the 30th of July 1932.
The founding meeting of the Czenstochower Patronat [organization that supported Jewish political victims in 1930's Poland] in Detroit took place in the home of Friend Y. Gliksman on the 18th of November 1937. In attendance were: Y. Gliksman, B. Wraclowski, S. Rechtman, Fajerman, Ritsh, B. Kalin, N. Richter. Chosen were: provisional chairman B. Wraclowski; Y. Gliksman finance secretary.
During the six months that the Patronat existed, we succeeded in carrying out several undertakings, supported the Patronats with a sum of more than $150 as well as distributed the Patronat publications in great numbers.
Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund
The Czenstochower Union in Los Angeles was organized with the help of the president of the Joint Czenstochower Relief in New York, Friend Avraham Senzer, who spent several months here and with the participation of Friend Rafal Federman during his trip through the larger cities of the United States.
Yeta Grey (Grilak), H. Epsztajn, Harry Grauman joined the temporary committee that was founded in December 1944.
The committee immediately began its activities and their work was crowned with great success.
Shabbos [Sabbath], the 22nd of December 1944, the first meeting took place in the Park Manor Hall. The appeal to all Czenstochower landsleit [people from the same town] had an appropriate success. Everyone gathered with warm fraternal readiness to help carry out the task that we stated as our purpose.
Friend Rafal Federman spoke before a meeting about the Jewish situation in Poland before and after the war. He particularly emphasized the situation of the Jews in Czenstochow that moved the gathering to tears.
After a short discussion, a temporary committee was chosen of Friends: Epsztajn, Grauman and Federman with the task of preparing a large meeting of all Czenstochower in Los Angeles and its vicinity.
The founding meeting of the Czenstochower Aid Committee took place at Clifton's Restaurant in Los Angeles on Shabbos, the 9th of December 1944.
The chairman of the meeting, Friend H. Epsztajn presented to the gathered landsleit the guest, Friend Rafal Federman, who described the destruction of Jewish life in Poland and explained the difficult task that stood in front of the Jews, in general, and our landsleit in particular, concerning their Czenstochower brothers whose hour of liberation and the throwing off of the Nazi yoke was approaching.
Gina Medem, the well-known journalist and lecturer, also greeted those assembled.
The following managing committee was elected at the founding meeting:
Chairman: Max PepperElected to the executive were:
Secretary: Harry Grauman
Finance Secretary: Izzy Berger.
Max Pepper, Izzy Berger, Harry Grauman, Philip Grosberg, Ahron Grosberg, Mendl Grosberg, Yosl Berliner, Dovid Miller (Malarski), Sheyndl Szuchter.How much energy and how intensively the Czenstochower Relief in Los Angeles worked is seen by the undertakings and sums of the receipts for six months of activity.
At her own initiative Mrs. Rose Klein also arranged a gathering that brought in the sum of 60 dollars.
Mrs. Marvin Gelber organized a lunch at which 195 dollars was collected.
The Czenstochower Relief in Los Angeles used every additional opportunity to strengthen the activity of Czenstochowers in Los Angeles. The liberation of Czenstochow by the victorious Russian armies provided such an opportunity. Seven thousand Jews in Czenstochow were saved from certain death thanks to the rapid march of the Red Army.
An event was organized in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Philip and Ester Grosberg on the 18th of February 1945 at which 187 dollars was collected. The president of Czenstochower Relief in Los Angeles, who began the collections, had entirely separate earnings. Mrs. Rose Klein had the opportunity to give the 60 dollars that she collected in her home at a lunch. The actress, Dekla Kapulasz, lent beauty to the evening with appropriate folksy readings and recitations.
On the 29th of April 1945, a meeting of all Czenstochower landsleit was organized in the house of the Berger family. A plan of constructive aid for the Czenstochow Jews surviving the Nazi-hell was worked out at this meeting. At this occasion 120 dollars was collected.
At this opportunity, Max Pepper, the president, introduced his son, Sheldon, who had returned from Italy where he fought as an American soldier against Nazi Germany.
The assembled greeted him heartily and
The Czenstochower Aid Union in Los Angeles, California
Sitting, from right to left: Dovid Malarski [Miller], Yitzhak Berger, Yitzhak Hersh Grauman, Meir Pieprz [Pepper], Yosf Berliner.)
Standing from right to left: Hershl Epsztajn, Adolf Landau, Chaya Berger, Yeshaya Yakov Menkof, Gitl Menkof, Philip Grosberg, Ester Grosberg, Toba Pieprz (Pepper), Ahron Grosberg
in order to honor the young hero, 183 dollars was collected for Czenstochow at the initiative of Mr. Grauman. The first to respond was Friend Yosl Berliner.
The last gathering brought the opportunity to send 500 dollars with the money from the previous collection for food packages through Czenstochower Relief in New York.
Not quite a month passed and there again was an opportunity to help our Czenstochower landsleit.
Friend Yosl Berliner celebrated the Bar-Mitzvah of his son Saran in a very inspired manner. Czenstochower and Radomsker landsleit met there and they sang old folksongs that reminded them of their old home. Friend Epsztajn, himself a Radomsker, called everyone to further aid work. Friends Davidson and Grauman greeted the group. Two hundred dollars was collected, which was divided among the Czenstochow and Radomsk landsleit.
[The idea of] immediate help penetrated the deep consciousness and the minds of all Czenstochower landsleit.
On Sunday, the 15th of August, the families shtibl [one room synagogue] in Van Nuys near Los Angeles arranged a picnic. On this occasion, 320 dollars was collected that was divided among the Czenstochower and Radomsker Jews.
On the 2nd of September 1945, Friend Berliner organized a victory party in his house in honor of the ending of the Second World War.
One hundred thirty-four dollars was collected and distributed equally among Radomsker and Czentochower Relief.
Relief also bought War Bonds for 50 dollars and had income from them of 100 dollars.
Sunday, the 18th of November, the Czenstochower Aid Union called a mass meeting in the Park Ville Manor at which Max Pepper, the chairman, pointed out the great task that now stood before American Jewry to help rebuild Jewish life in Poland.
Friend Grauman gave a report of the activity to that time and read a letter from the Czenstochower AJA committee that arrived in Los Angeles.
Three hundred dollars was collected to which Friends Berliner and Berkowicz added 100 dollars.
However, this is not everything the Czenstochower Relief in Los Angeles did. The plans for the near future show that Czenstochower Relief in Los Angeles has assumed the task of energetically helping our landsleit.
Relief reorganized with the following people:
President: Max PepperReport from the Treasury:
Secretary: Harry Grauman
Financial Secretary: Dovid Borzykowski
Treasurer: Yosl Berliner
Since the 17th of December $1,858.65 was collected; $1,240.11 was paid out; $618.54 remains in the treasury.
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