The Poaley-Zion Drama Club

by Naftali Kehler

The Poaley-Zion organization had 100 members and sympathizers. The thirst for knowledge was great and the spiritual food was compound only of periodicals like the party newspaper "Befreiung Arbeiter Stimme" or Warsaw's "Moment" or the American "Vorwärts". In order not to be depended on the Zionist Library we decided to organize a drama-circle and use the income for founding our own library, so our members and sympathizers will be supplied with the necessary knowledge.

To turn youngsters who had never left their native town and had never seen a Jewish theatre in action, into "actors"… was not an easy task.

But the drive for knowledge has brushed aside all difficulty. The first pioneers were 9 people: Elisha Grier, Naftali Gastwirt, Avraham Gross, Yosl Brand, Izchak Padower, Henoch Holzgrien and Naftali Kehler. Soufleur: Yechiel Brand. A small committee has been elected to decide about the repertoire. The play "Der Yiddisher Kenig Lear" by Yakov Gardin was chosen. A stage manager was hired for 20% of the net income.

The women characters were a problem as at those days a Jewish girl would not appear together with boys on a stage. Nothing worked to convince the parents; some of them threatened their daughters with all kinds of punishments. In the "Beyth Hamidrash!'. Jews talked about "Hilul Hashem." Such 'szkotzim', they would say, "they wish to become comedians!"

The girls had to give up, as mama-papa's words were holy. There was no other choice but to turn boys into girls. They made a great impression performing their feminine roles."
 

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Learning Hebrew

One of the tasks of the Zionist movement was the establishment of a Hebrew School. The school was engaged not only in teaching Hebrew, but presenting to the students subjects like Tanach, Jewish History, Geography of Eretz Israel (called then Palestinography) and Hebrew Literature. Though the School included different ages (12 – 23) the material for study was on the Elementary level. The period with Pinchas Lander (Elad) the teacher, today a known Hebrew poet in Israel, was a beautiful and interesting one for the Hebrew School. He simply was a master in his profession. He was admired by .the whole town; and educator par-excellence who drew admiration to himself and the Hebrew language. In a correspondence from the 6.9.1927 we read:

"The reorganization of the Hebrew School (self courses.) after many difficulties was put into the hands of the local Zionist committee thanks to the efforts of Chaver Sh. Eisenberg. It has been missed for quite a while and has now 50 students".

In a passage printed one month later we learn: "During a couple of days Dr. Hanoch Zilberman visited with us. He delivered an interesting speech in the Library on the subject "Rentgenology and its creator". In the nearest future the Hebrew School will be reopened, which was missed greatly. To head the executive committee were elected Mr. Spielman and Mr. Forschtenzer".

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League for the Working

Eretz Israel

"Officially this League was founded during the month of June – July 1933 though for KAPAY or P. A. P. (Palestine Arbeiter Fund) money had been raised before. Among the first money collectors I remember Rafael Ebenholz, Yitzchak Gold and Yantche Zucker (Poaley Zion). Usually on the 11th of the month Adar, the day of Trumpeldor's Anniversary money was always been collected. Members of the first committee of this League were Mendel Eisland, Ben-Shimon (Poaley Zion), Mendel Eisland the son of Yehoshua, Yechezkel Eisland, Naftali Pistrong and others. Further the League was presided by Mendel Eisland son of Yehoshua, Chaim David Wind, Yechiel Brand and David Peltz.

In "Nowy Dziennik" of the 22.6.1934 a piece of information about Radomysl's League is to be found:

"In Radomysl Wielki a protesting assembly of the League for Working Eretz Israel was gathered. Following the opening by Mr. Mendel-Eisland (son of Yehoshua, Hashomer Hatzair). Mr. Yechezkel Eisland (H. Hatzair spoke. So did Grunberger (Yichud Tarnow), Baruch Wind (Hashomer Hatzair) and towards the end spoke Dr. Emil Mertz of Tarnow's Hitachdut Poaley Zion. 

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The Hehalutz in our Town

(passage from Yitzchak Gold's essay)

The establishment of Hechalutz in our town took place in 1929. This was the year of the anti-Jewish riots in Palestine and probably the reason for its spontaneous arise. In spite of the fact that this partly was founded in 1929, some people left for Germany. From there they immigrated to Eretz Israel, becoming our town's forerunners and builders of the Jewish state.

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The Hashomer Hatzair in Radomysl

(passage from Baruch Wind's [Yechieli] essay)

"The establishment of the "ken" of Hashomer Hatzair in our town became an extraordinary event. A group of youngsters, boys and girls, left Akiva identifying themselves with the Hashomer and its ideology.

The group was not homogenous, therefore conflicting views met head-on within the group. As the group was formally part of its mother organization Akiva it preserved its original inner and outer unity. When the group left Akiva it was split into two; one remained still deeply attached to the Zionist "Chalutziyut".

The H. Hatzair was being ideologically crystallized, but stiff without the strength to establish a "ken" of its own. Meanwhile the members had not missed any opportunity to demonstrate its capabilities. On every public appearance the ideological closeness of the group was shown. As such it grew stronger until it become part of the youth movements of Radomysl.

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Mizrachi

"A group of youngsters, some coming from Beyt-Hamidrash, others from their parents stores, got together on Pesach 1928 in order to found a new organization by the name "Zeirey Mizrachi. The chief organizators were Mendel Eisland (son of Szymon) and Pinchas Betheil.

The first trail was done on Pesach 1928 when no other organization had yet been existing in town. The most important members were: Nute Natowicz, Rafael Brand, Zisze Birgayer, Shlomo Shnur, Isaschar Shechter, Rafael Ebenholz,
I. Blass-Horowitz and others".

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Aguda, Zeirey Agudat Israel


In a notice from the "Dus Yiddishe Tugblat" from the 6-1-1933 we read:

"Mielec, Galicia. Lately a "Melave Malka" was celebrated in honor of a house warming in which Z. A. Y. of Radomysl took part. Spoke Chairman in Radomysl Kohn and Chaverim Nord and Gold.

Aguda in Radomysl was the founder of the Yeshiva Ktana (small Yeshiva) which was established in our town a few years before the holocaust."

Another Radomyslite correspondence:

"The visit of Moshe Rosenberg, a member of the presidency in our town had brought new life into the youth circles. A new administration was elected with the Chaverim: Elimelech Kohn, Moshe Nord, Moshe Wolf, Menachem Fish and Moshe Kornfeld. The new administration organized evening classes and Shabbat lessons and was active in every field."

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Library

In a correspondence of those days taken from Nowy Dziennik we read:

"Radomysl Wielki, 8.8.1924. The National Library.
The only efficiently functioning cultural institution in our town is the National Yiddish Library. It contains about 600 volumes and thanks to several people it works all-right."

In a letter from the 7.6-27 we read about the elections to the Administration of the National Library.

"In cultural life. Lately an assembly of the local library was gathered. A new administration was elected in the following compound: President – Mr. Naftali Weis. Vice President – Mr. Herman Gold. Secretary – Miss Gittel Garen. Librarian – Miss Rivka Bizgaier. Treasurer – Mr. Shmuel Spielman. Members of the administration: Rajca Dienstag, Ester Dorf, H. L Forschtenzer, Aharon Kartaginer and M. Pistrong. Control Committee Mr. M. Weinberger, Y. Mahler, Y. Horowitz."

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The Theater Shows

So we read in the Nowy Dziennik Of the 21-3-1926:

"Radomysl Wielki. Own correspondence. In honor of Purim a show has been put on by the members of the Library, by the name: "The wild man" by Y. Gardin, under the management of Mr. Fogelfang. A male-choir was part of the show under the directing of Mr. Eisenberg. To be distinguished were: Mr. Honig, Schraub, Wind and Wengrzyn. It is important to point out that the event took place at the local Casino, with a full participation of the local intelligencia and of many Christians. The income was dedicated to the Library.

Not long ago two lectures were given by Mr. Friedman from Wadowice about Jehuda Halevi and Peretz"

In Nowy Dziennik from 25.8.27 we read:

"Radomysl Wielki. Own corresp. Thanks to the committee for raising funds for a "Beyt Haam" (community hall) in Radomysl Wielki headed by Mr. Herman Gold a theatrical show has been performed under the title: Herzele Meyuches" written by Mr. Richter. A distinguished performance was given by Miss. A. Leibowitz, Miss. P. Geldzeiler, Miss P. Kartagener, Miss R. Gross, Mr. Y. Wind, Mr. A. Kartagener, Mr. Y. Trop and Mr. D. Peltz.

Mr. Gold deserves a special "thank you".

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Sport

from an essay by Avraham Schraub

The first football club in our town was founded in 1924. The founders were: Avraham Wengrzyn, Moniek Kaufman, Yechiel Brand and Jankel Gross (Schraub) (now in France). Those four have organized games and established the club "Maccabi". The players were Rafael Hand, Hershel Hand, Shmuel Hand, Moniek Kaufman, Alter Koch, Zalman Storch, Itche Wind, David Pelz, Saul Mechlowicz, Kannengieser and Jankel Gross (Schraub), the goalkeeper. Avraham Gross son of Szymon was a great sympathizer and supporter of the team. Avraham Wengrzyn was the judge during the games. Very often players were borrowed from Mielec to strengthen the team.

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Economical Life

The Hat-Makers of Radomysl

by Joel Mastbaum

The prominent Jewish author Joel Mastbaum visited the town of Radomysl during the years 1931 – 32. What he saw on that journey was published in Varsow's "Moment" A passage taken from his article:

"To the very day, Tarnow carried the history of hats and bonnets. There was always a difference in shape; the round narrow plate of the Chasidim of Bobow wasn't like the round and broad "kepkes" of Krakow, as there was no comparison between the round black velvet hat of the West-Galicia Jew and the twisted untidy "kapelush" of the one from the East.

The hat-symphony in Galicia variegated; Tarnow was the headquarters. The different fashions were being shaped accordingly to the various fashions and colors required by clients. Radomysl had always been like a little sister besides the older one; its hats were a well-known thing. Before the war, whenever a Jew ordered a hat from Tarnow he stressed: "via Radomysl". Radomysl was a family of a couple-hundreds families doing the same thing. Why shouldn't everyone know how to make a hat? Indeed everyone know how to bend the "round" iron a "denke" and cut a "dashek"?

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The Craftsmanship Party

Passage from and article by M. Eisland

The Craftsmanship body was founded in 1928 just before the city-counsel elections in Radomysl. For many years had the Jewish craftsmen shared with the non-Jews the "Cech". With time more and more Jewish "Baaley-Melacha", especially hat-makers, opened workshops without being able to get a permission from the "cech". The presidential decree from the 6-7-1927 to normalize the craftsmanship- law in Poland, stated that those who had work shops ere to the publication of the law, have the right to get craftsmanship permits, practice their crafts but not train students. This brought on to the formation of the craftsmanship organization in town, which was to take care of difficult problems of the Jewish craftsman.

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The Gmiluth Chasadim Fund

passage from Berich Iceland's letter
to his brother Reuven in New-York

"As you know our Gmiluth Chasadim. Fund has been founded with the help of the Joint and is fluently subsidized by it. But the joint is not ready to go on as the fund carries the name of Surat. We do no not know what to do. On one hand we have not wished to loose the Joint and on the other Surat. Meanwhile we have managed to receive an O. K. from the Joint in a form of a letter from the 12th of August. The letter states that the Joint is not against the adopting of the name of Mrs. Surat as she has donated a great amount of money to it. Report of the state of the Fund during July VTBR

Income:
1) Remnant of July 1st 4546.05 zl.
2) Payment by members 51.I
3) Regular donations 50.54
4) Different. donations 68.50
 
Loans: 794
7 Refunds of Loans 1824
total 7334-09
 
Expenditure:
Giving of Loans during the year 7035
Payment of debts 240
Different expenses 13
Remnant up the August 1st 46.09
total 7334.09

 

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Writers and their Works

Reuven Iceland


In the first volume of the "Lexicon of New Yiddish Literature", published in 1956 by the World Yiddish Culture Congress, affiliated with Zika, New York, the following notice appeared:

"Iceland, Reuven (April 29, 1884 - June 18, 1955) was born, in Radomysl Wielki, West Gal" and studied in Chadarim, Kloyz and Beit Hamidrash. He began writing poems in Hebrew in 1900 ("Snunit", Jerusalem) and in Yiddish 1904 (Daily Herald N.Y.) in September 1903, he arrived in America where he published stories and poems in: "Zukunft", "Literatur", "Schriften", "Die Insel!"

He was editor of "Literatur and Leben" together with Mani Leib of "Die Insel" (March 1925 – June 1926). From 1918 he was a regular contributor to the "Tag" and later of the "Tag M. Journal!'. In the form of a book; 'Fun Main Zumer" Poems, p. 72; "Dos Gezang fun Hirsh" , poems, N.Y. 1944; "Fun Undzer Friling" memoirs and essays, Miami Beach, 1954

He translated the whole series of poems '"Tzfon Yam" and four volumes of Heine's prose; "Un a Faterland!", novel 1920, p. 363. Also the novel Frateli Badinaj N.Y. I919 p. 55 by Herman Bang. Poems by Richard Dehmel, Nietzsche, Stevenson and others; the Chinese poets Tse-tung-po, Tsang-tse and others. He also wrote a drama "Reb Asher Cahana".

Iceland was one of the founders of the "Yunge" group. He was a well-known poet in modern Yiddish lyrics, especially in the quiet, clear lyrics rather than in the emotional lyrical phase. During his last years, Iceland was an ailing man, he withdrew from active journalism and retired in Miami Beach where he died in 1955."

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From "Unzer Friling" - Memoirs and Portraits

by Reuven Iceland

Growing Hurts


I began publishing poems in 1905 but only in 1912 did I feel my rhyme had ripened. Almost every poet hesitates in his early years, I and my friends were no exception. It took me longer than the others to fight my way through to my poetical pattern because I had a heavy load to unburden. My religious Hassidic childhood world was old fashioned; I did not go through any revolutionary period which could build up my way towards a free perception of things.

The first literary influence which I had great trouble in freeing myself of, was outdated and for me the most harmful. My first poets were the German romantics and Leiblingen-Eichendorf in America. (Two very fine poets, but the motives and style were poison to a young dreamer such as 1.) The border between lyricism and sentimentality is a narrow one. In my early years I was always on the border. In those years I wrote a great deal but published very little; whatever I wrote brought me little joy. I was always my own most severe critic. Anything I did not like I destroyed and burnt. Negative criticism is very painful to a young poet; my self-criticism was no less painful. Every amateur poet has his own style, every period its pattern, which directs and reaches him before he even finds his own path. Therefore a constant struggle goes on between the young and old. That is why every school of art is stronger in revoking its predecessors than in its own new approach. The weak points of the previous generation are so easily discerned by the young; it is much more difficult to plan one's own way. When we, the young ones felt what was rotten in American Yiddish Literature we did not know yet what it was we actually wanted ourselves. At that time we were not even a closely knitted group. The only thing we knew definitely was what we did not want. That was the first thing which bound us together; the rest followed by itself.

The note "Nits" shows that even then, though our wings were not fully grown yet, we were ready to grasp what others had not; it is not the borrowed contents which makes a poem. Every good poem presents its own poetical worthwhile contents.

My grandmother Matele had a voice as clear as a bell. When she spoke softly in her shop her voice could be heard on the other side of the market. My mother used to turn pale when she heard her mother in law's voice When on a summer Shabbat taking a walk, she would make too much noise, as she was always accompanied by her daughters, daughters in-law and grandchildren. Together they would fill the whole sidewalk. When my mother went walking she would walk alone, together with her only child – big enough to act as a "guard" but not too big to disturb. She would turn off the road towards a side path in the field and silently walk and walk – bending down from time to time to look at a blade of grass, a herb or a bush.

She also applied the same quietness to her reading the Taysh Humash (Bible in Yiddish), to her praying and to her clothing even when she was in high spirits. It was that quietness which I strove to express in my poems and it was this stillness which I thought I had found in David Königsberg.

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A Sensational Literary Book

by Melech Rawitsch


Melech Rawitsch, the well-known critic and essayist wrote the following note which appeared in Tel Aviv's "Letzte Nays' on Friday, October 21st 1955 concerning the last work of Reuven Iceland "From Our Spring".

One of the quietest and gentlest poets in modern Yiddish literature has written one of the most sensational literary works. Readers who wish only to read a sensational and nerve-wrecking book will not be rewarded. But readers who are acquainted with and love Yiddish literature and who are also acquainted with its problems will breathlessly read this book page by page. This book is one of the best and clearest donators to modern Yiddish literature. It is a key period. Not just an ordinary, but a magic-key. It is only a pity that my words can reach the author only in the form of radio-telepathy, as he is already in another world. The author is Reuven Iceland, who was born in Radomysl Wielki in Galicia in 1884 and passed away on June 19 1955 in America. Iceland has published only small collections of poems. During the years of his creativity he identified himself with the "`Yunge" group in America who appeared in Yiddish literature in N.Y. during the years 1905 – 1940 – This has never been a strictly disciplined circle, and therefore it dissolved''

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Moshe Gold


Moshe Gold was born in Radomysl Wielki in the year 1909 He was the son of Aharon Gold, a wheat merchant, a member of the ramified Gold family. Moshe studied in the Polish elementary school in the townlet. He excelled especially in his knowledge of Hebrew. When only a small boy (ages 12 – 13) he attended a Hebrew course together with boys of 16 and 18 years of age. For a certain period together with other boys he studied with the Rabbi of Radomysl, Rabbi Haim Engel. Later he studied at the Radomska Yishive in Krakow. He returned to the townlet and enthusiastically studied at the Beit Hamidrash and from time to time published some of his literary works. In the late 30s' he married Miriam Wolff, daughter of Pinchas Wolff and opened a bicycle spare parts shop. When the Germans invaded Poland he escaped to Lemberg. But he returned to the townlet and together with the whole Jewish community of Radomysl was exterminated.

Moshe was attracted to writing autobiography. Even as a very young boy he was a permanent reader of the "Haynt" and in the "Provincial Mirror", printed the first humoristic jottings about the townlet in the years 1925 – 1926.

In the "Anthology of Religious Stories and Poems" (writings by authors murdered in the years of the Jewish holocaust in Europe) under the Editorship of Moshe Prager (from which we have the Psalm Sayer) we read the following about him: "Moshe Gold born in Radomysl (Galicia) died in the years of the holocaust. He was one of the organizers and active members of the Orthodox Movement "Young Agudat Israel" in Galicia and participated in its conferences. He began writing in the Warsaw Orthodox daily "Das Yiddische Tagblatt" with a series of sketches depicting the Jewish experiences during the Nazi regime in Germany. He also participated in the "Poalei Agudat Israel", organized "Die Yiddishe Arbaiter Shtimme", with writings based on social motives. At the same time he also wrote in Hebrew. His sketch "The Psalm Sayer" Was translated from the journal "Darkeynu". What became of him in the holocaust is unknown.

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Extract from the Psalm Sayers

by Moshe Gold

(Personalities of the Townlet)


He did not belong to any Burial Society because such a society did not exist in our townlet. And if one had watched his behavior in. the Beit Hamidrash every morning – there would be great doubts as to whether he covered his daily quota of psalms – and yet our townlet stuck him with the nickname: The psalm sayer!

When someone in the town mentions the "Psalm Sayer" – then everyone knows that tiny Reb Leiblen is being referred to and no other. He is tiny, so tiny in fact that every Bar-Mitzvah boy is taller. There is hardly a hair in his "beard". The little beard is strewn with silver, not, heaven forbid, because of old age… but what then? Just so… it has a silvery color that's all. His forehead is waxen, but of course, there are no wrinkles to be found. His little eyes give evidence, that with every hour and every minute a well of joy flows within this tiny, shriveled body.

It is not an exaggeration to say that he is quick. He does everything in a hurry. After all time flies so quickly, he only rushes so to keep pace with fleeing time. He does not run through the shadowy streets, he flies in the air. Only his tiny feet indicate that he is really running.

His little house stands on the edge of the townlet. It is small and narrow. More in the ground then above it. The straw roof is so black as soot. Wild green leaves had grown around the roof and reach out above the house A single tree stands in front of the house, thin and miserable – like a poor watchman of this old dwelling.

He trades in – old shoes. Bundles of cast off shoes lie on the floor and it seems as if old, moldy shoes sprout from the cracked ceiling and from the black peeping walls.

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The reminiscences of Joseph Margoshes

The author Joseph (Eliezer) Margoshes was not born in Radomysl but for many years he lived in the town and in its neighborhood. But despite the fact that he was not born in the town he has earned a place in our Book of Remembrance through his article "Reminiscences from my life" published by Max Meisal, New York 1936.

R' Joseph E. Margoshes was born on the 16th of November 1866 in Lemberg and died in America on April 10th, 1955. He came from a family of scholars who counted among their forefathers R' Shlomo Lurie. For a while he was studying in Tarnow. When he was 16 years old he became son in law to R' Mordechai David Stieglitz, a Jewish landowner in Radomysl and in turn he too became a landowner in the Radomysl district. He immigrated to America in 1903 and there he began writing. He wrote in Morgan journal "Die Zukunft", as well as in many provincial and foreign publications. He wrote mostly on historical subjects, on which he also based his most important works : "The Ten Tribes", "Jews in far-away lands", "Great men in the Chassidic world", etc.. He considered writing to be a "family fault" as he put it in his book "Reminiscences"'.

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Radomysl

by Joseph Margoshes


Radomysl which is three and a half miles from Tarnow and two miles from Czarna railway station was a jolly little town. And in many details quite different from other towns in that area. In nearby towns like Szczucin, Przeclaw and others, Jews led a life similar to those of the non-Jews. Every Jew who was even slightly well off owned a cow or a few other animals and perhaps his own piece of land or a piece which he had rented, from which he derived the greatest part of his livelihood.

These Jews would take their cows out to the generally used pasture every morning and were not ashamed to feed and water their cows two or three times a day and even to milk them themselves. Behind their houses they had a kitchen garden in which they grew their own vegetables. Each Jew, together with his wife and children would garden these plots and get out of them everything necessary for their existence.

It was however quite different in Radomysl. The Jews here, and especially in my time behaved like city folks. Hardly any Jew in Radomysl owned an animal or a garden. They were occupied with trading, and this gave them a far better standard of living than those enjoyed by the Jews in other townlets in the district. Radomysl was the only town in the district which had a number of well to do and rich Jews.

This does not mean to say that there were no poor Jews in Radomysl. There were more than enough of these. There is a specific chapter in the Bible which says: 'The poor will never cease'. But the poor or in Radomysl were not such beggars as in other places. But Radomysl had some extremely rich families and these transacted big businesses. They traded with whole Galicia. There were also cattle-traders who spent thousands of guilders each week and took their animals to Krakow or Vienna to the cattle markets. The Jews of Radomysl were also money lenders.

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Dr. Shmuel Margoshes

by Melech Rawitsch

(From the series "My Lexicon")


Dr. Sh. Mar. was born in 1887 in Jozefow, now near Tarnow, West Galicia, lived in America from 1905 on and died in 1968.

Three times a doctor and once a Rabbi and always a 'Galicianer', which is also some sort of title, in addition to this he was during years, chairman of President of the powerful Zionist Organization of America.

We, the Jewish writers – for many years knew him as the editor of the "Tag" in New York

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Prominent Citizen R' Moshe Salz

by A. Forshner, Tel-Aviv


I feel it is my obligation to contribute to this important book by writing down a few early memories of my life. I have, as well, taken on myself to write about a very important person in our town, the late Soffer, (Salz).

He is well known and his personality is quite worth discussing. The question arises how people have known and understood him, since he was recognized by the majority as a Soffer (script copier) and a very religious and devoted Jew. Only his intimate friend knew the person within him. His surname was Salz though he was called Soffer for people were named according to their profession. For me he was not only a copier of scripts but a highly talented writer. He was known all over for his rarely beautiful clean handwriting; everybody was interested in his work. He wasn't a simple man; he was sharp and brainy and a fine scholar. He was a scientist, astronomist and philosopher. He could talk about planets, orbits, etc. He knew of many Rabbis, great scholars, writers, philosophers and scientists.

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About the son Shmuel Salz

It is also my wish to tell of his son Shmuel, now living in New York as a famous artist. By using his extraordinary talent he was able to provide for himself at the age of 15. When 12 years old, a Cheder boy, he was already well known. When 16 he felt he could use his talents better by leaving Radomysl even against his father's wish. He went to Krakow to study art and was very successful. Shmuel did not complete even 6 grades of Elementary School in Radomysl; he even didn't start because his father was as poor as any Soffer Stam could be; Nevertheless he dared to enroll into the Academy of Beautiful Arts in Krakow (Akademia Sztuk Pieknych). Into that high institution only High School graduates were admitted but our Shmuel was allowed to stay after short examination in drawing and painting. He excelled and developed into what he wished him to be.

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The Treasures of Sam Salz

"Realite", the excellent monthly periodical, visits an eminent collector and art-dealer Mr. S. Salz. Parts of that interview are brought here to throw light on this great personality and art-dealer. We, the people of Radomysl, are proud to be able to have Sam Salz among us. "Realite" – June, 1965

"Salz is an art collector and dealer who buys paintings by old masters from European collectors at high prices, then resells them to rich collectors or to museums in America. Well known to the greatest collectors and museum curators, but virtually unknown to the public, Salz has reigned efficiently and discreetly over the American art market for thirty years"…

… 'When did this treasure hunt begin? In 1920 as the result of a painful setback. For Sam Salz set out in life with the idea of painting pictures, not selling them… "Ever since I was fifteen, I had decided that I would be a painter and nothing else. I studied painting and the history of arts at the Fine Arts Academy in Vienna"…

But as he compared his work with that of his friends, a doubt begun to prey on him, growing with it was transformed into a horrible certainty: "I was producing bad pictures, I knew that I would always be a second-rate painter"…

…"Too proud and too sincere to accept mediocrity Salz put his brushes away. Since he needed money he made up his mind that, if he could not paint good pictures, he would at least try to sell them"…

…"And there I was lucky right from the start. Some dealer friends like Gaston Bernheim de Villers and Ambrose Vollard helped. Painters like Derain and Vlaminck trusted me and gave me pictures to sell and I begun to buy Utrillos and Chagalls".

"He only buys what he likes. He likes Cézanne, Degas and Renoir, as well as Monet, Sisley and Pissarro"… He admires Van Gogh Seurat and Lautrec"… 'The paintings of his personal collection are hung in his private quarters but not all of them …" "There are paintings that I never dare hung because I am afraid that people will pester me until I sell them. That was how a Matisse odalesque was extorted from me; I have never gotten over it"…

"Now seventy, Sam Salz is thing of sentiment. …"The kind of paintings that I love are no longer being done, and they're becoming harder and harder to find. I think that I have finished my professional career. Now I would rather be a collector."
Tannequy de Quenetain


Note of the Committee of the Memorial Book:
Sam Salz is not only a gifted dealer but also a generous donator. He helped us very much to have this book published.

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Benjamin Cohen

by J. A. Mahler


Benjamin Cohen was a leader of "Poalei Zion" in Krakow and West Galicia and a founder of the "Youth movement" of Poalei Zion in 1904 – 1905. He was born in Radomysl in 1889 His life may be divided into three parts – his childhood until 1904 in Krakow until 1932; Erez Yisrael – Tel-Aviv until his death in 1965

Benjamin – son of R' Napthali Cohen (Kohn) called R' Napthali Harebeleh the writer, son of a religious family, lived under great discipline in his younger years, discipline which did not permit the usual initiative of a young man.

In the period of 1904 – 05 there was already in the town a group of learned young men, pupils of Kloiz. Yiddish literature had not yet reached them but they were well acquainted with German literature such as that of Goethe, Schiller etc. They learned this material as if they were studying a page of the Gemorrah. The young man, Yoma Cohen became very close to them and listened to their conversations.

In the years of the revolution 1904 – 05 he showed initiative and left to stay with relatives in Krakow in order to learn a trade. In those days well-to-do Jews refrained from sending their sons to learn "vulgar" trades. If the sons did insist on learning a trade – then a "clean" one was chosen, such as watch-repairers, book-binders, etc.

In Krakow young Cohen joined the Poale Zion "Youth" movement and there found young people who worked as trade assistants (Handelsangestellte) but he was particularly attracted to the teacher-assistants of the Hederim (Habelferim). He invested all energy in organizing them, and tried to install new ideas and a new way of life suited to the changing times. From an advertisement of the "Yiddishe Arbeiter" of December 17, 1909 we learn that Benjamin Cohen together with Shachne Zagan were the leaders of Youth in Krakow at the same time.

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Haim Hoffstadter

by Rachel Kornreich


When I was very young and used to come to Radomysl to see his mother Mirel Hoffstadter who was already suffering from tuberculosis. Haim Hoffstadter was a university professor in San Francisco arid in Chicago.

Mirel Hoffstadter had two other children, a daughter Toiba and a son Yankel. They were our nearest neighbors and she asked my mother to permit me to sit in the invalid's room so that he would not be alone.

Once, while I was watching him he told me his whole life story: At the age of ten he left home. His parents objected, but he went to Hamburg. From there he traveled as cabin-boy on a ship to America. In America he worked day and night. But he also studied and eventually he become a Ph. D., and after that a professor at a university.

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Melech Neustadt (Noi)

by Shlomo Gal Velner


Was born in Radomysl Wielki and was of the leaders of Poalei Zion in Poland. He was a leader of the Trade Union in Israel as well as a publicist dealing with party and general questions. During the First World War he was a prisoner of war in Russia. After his release he went to Germany and became the leader of the newly formed Poale Zion Movement. He took an active part in the organization of Jewish workers in Germany and in the cultural life of the Jewish community in general. Cultural life among the German Jewish community was a very lively one thanks to part of the Jewish intelligentzia and some of the Jewish writers from Russia who had temporarily settled in Germany.

Melech Neustadt was the editor of the Poale Zion organ. Later he traveled to Eretz Yisrael. Here he continued his active work for the Poale Zion Movement He became the Secretary General of Poale Zion world Confederation as well as the organizer of the financial section of the Histadrut – "the Lishkat Hamass". He invested his strength, energy and talent in this institution, using his wide experience accumulated in Germany. This institution was and remained the foundation of the Histadrut till this very day.

With the outbreak of the Second World War, Neustadt began organizing help from members of the Poale Zion Z. S. –  Ihud Olami and sent parcels to the chaverim from Poland and Lithuania in the Labor-camps, kolhozes and Siberia, in order to give the chaverim the feeling that they had not been forgotten.

Letters received from the recipients as well as the thanks expressed by those who eventually came to Israel prove the importance of these activities.

With the first news from Poland after the German occupation, Neustadt traveled twice to Turkey and there met with delegations and organized financial help) He met a friend of the Jews. Shindler was informed about the real situation in the camp in Plaszow (near Krakow) as well as in other camps organizing the necessary help for them.

It is very difficult to evaluate the important work done by such a personality as Melech Neustadt. He died, in the prime of his life on September 15, 1959.

His memory is kept alive by his deeds and his books. The Central branch of Kupat Holim in Bat Yam is named in his honor.

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Dr. Moshe Peltz

Dr. Moshe Peltz, born in Radomysl, son of R' Jacov Peltz settled in Kielce. He was well trusted for his work as a physician.

Here are two passages about him taken from the book of Kielce, gathered by his brother David Pelz – Haifa.

"When Poland united into an independent State, many Jewish and non-Jewish doctors arrived from Galicia to Kielce. Some were Zionists others only community functionaries. Among them was the prominent Dr. Peltz. He reorganized the Jewish Kehilla introducing new order. He represented the Jewish community in different institutions, protecting its rights. As a man of great energy and enthusiasm, he tried constantly to improve Jewish life and fight anti-Semitism from outside.

Dr. Peltz was head of the Jewish Counsel under the Nazis. Once he was given orders to inject poison into the veins of exhausted Jewish patients. He refused and was arrested and sent to Ausschwitz. His exemplary behavior wasn't followed by others; the satanic order was obeyed by other cowardly doctors".

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R' Joseph Pfeffer (Altman)

by Israel Eidelman (vice Mayor of Petah Tikvah)

I first met R' Joseph Pfeffer (he was then called Joseph Altman) in Warsaw in winter 1934, when he came to arrange his aliya to Eretz Israel. I saw him more often at the Agudat Yisrael Center in 1935 when he came to demand his Certificate which had been promised to him after he had attended the training kibbutz of the Aguda and then we became befriended. Every day, as many others, ran to the office to receive our certificates for Aliya. It was when I learned to appreciate his character and his talents. I saw in him a clever Hassid full to the brim with knowledge of the Torah. And also when he was in Warsaw staying in the writer's Elimelech Steyer's tiny room he was punctilious in continuing his studies of the Torah.

With the establishment of the State of Israel, when work increased and tasks and positions had to be manned the Poaeli Agudat Yisrael movement called on R' Yosef Pfeffer to become the head of the movement and act as its General secretary which he did with great wisdom. Everyone loved him because he loved everyone. He succeeded extremely well in representing the movement before all the institutions. We shall mention only a few of the things he achieved and whereby the movement has been able to keep its position till this very day: Its integration in the General Labor Bureau; the agreement with the trade unions, the agreement with the central Lishkat Hamass of the Histadrut. He was welcomed at all the state institutions and his opinion was valued. The pinnacle of his achievements was reached in his work in the field of absorption and this work also gave him great personal satisfaction.

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Way of Life and Miscellaneous

Hannah (Moshe Joseph's) Mahler

by Yohanan Banker, New York

I feel it a beholden duty in commemorating of the this Jewish community which no longer exists, the Radomysl community, as it was during its lifespan and in the holocaust and to present to my townsfolk in Israel and in the Diaspora at least a small sketch of one of the citizens of this townlet who together with most of the community was a victim of the Nazis during the holocaust in Europe.

In deciding to sketch one of the characters of face which comes to my mind is that of my grandmother. For, in my opinion, she was the dearest and best grandmother in the world. But I know very well, that if I do succeed in describing her wonderful personality objectively I shall only succeed in drawing a picture of a Jewish woman in a townlet and not her special image – specific to her and her alone.

Shall I recount of her service to the Creator? A sick woman who rose early every morning and prayed for at least an hour. Shall I praise her for holiness righteousness and generosity and her hospitality, the honor she paid to the scholars? How she kept away from lies and slander and cared for the education of her grandchildren? All this would present a general picture… because she was part of all the others in the townlets in Poland…

Though it is difficult for me to bring to the reader all the impressions I have of her but I can still find things characteristic of her and her alone. Hannah Moshe Joseph's (the wife of Moshe Joseph Mahler, mother of Jaacov (Tel-Aviv) Abba Israel and Rivka (U.S.A.) was not just a "woman of value', who knew how to run her business and her home with wisdom and energy, but also had that special instinct for helping people in need in our town who were ashamed to beg openly or who had failed in business and their plight was not widely known in the town.

My grandmother did all she could to help these people without anyone being aware of the help she gave. I remember that every Friday before the Sabbath my grandmother would hide some "chalot" under her apron and stealthily distribute them to those she knew did not have chalot for the Sabbath, and without the recipients themselves being aware of who had brought them to them.

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R' Shalom Brand

by Jechiel Brand


My father R Shalom Brand my who was a prominent citizen of the community was a person of merit and great virtues.

My father was a Chasid of the Unger dynasty and the Rabbi of Zabno R' Mordechai David. They were great friends. So great was the friendship that when R' Mordechai Shalom David passed away my father said he also had to die as there was no place for him left in this world. At the R' of Zewna my father was granted great honor; he was the Baal-Tekiya on High Holidays. Whenever he did not go to see the Rabbi he was blowing the Shofar in the Kloyz. On the night of Yom Kippur he was praying the Kol-Nidrey.

My father was a man of charity, secretly and openly as well. He was giving alms and sending Mishloach Manoth to the Rov and to other religious ministrants on Purim, and before the Regalim. He would tribute Gmiluth Hasadim and was glad to help anyone. In spite of being a strictly orthodox Shomer Mizwoth he found a common language with the younger generation. After World War I a Jewish Committee was founded in our town (in other places named the National Council, Ed.). The Committee included representatives of the young Zionists of our town, like Melech Amsterdam, the Wurzel brothers, Berish Eisland and Yechezkel Kaufman. They asked my father to serve as Chairman and he agreed. When the Rov asked him why he did so he said: "They deal only with their business and do not interfere with Schita and Mikveh and Rabbis. (This was at that time when in Galicia, especially in the big towns the National Council replaced the Kahal).

I wish to stress that my father donated to Zionistic National Funds because of me. Once, when I hold a booklet in my hands of Shirey Zion he grabbed it reading the song 'On the crossroad'" he wept bitterly and said: "All this written in the song is true, very true, Zionism is fine but the leaders…' I answered by an example: "If not very nice match-makers come to a man with a fine decent match-proposal (Shiduch) would he not accept it? The leaders are not the core of the thing but the final goal of Zionism!"

He liked my answer and when people came to collect donations he gave with all his heart.

Let be his memory blessed!

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The Communist Party

by Rafael Ebenholtz

In the year 1931 the peasants in the surrounding villages began bitterly complaining about the heavy taxes imposed on them. The peasants organizations were not able to find a solution for the impoverished peasants in the district.

Contact with the peasants was not easy, it involved anti-Semitism. A legend was spread around that there existed a group of Jewish workers in Radomysl who could solve the peasant question. The peasants made contact with the group. Understandably the group was in contact with Tarnow and Dembica.

And this was the first community outcry against tariffs. They demanded 80% reduction. This was also the first victory – they obtained a 15% reduction. The outcry was made at the initiative of the group in Radomysl. The peasant who did in time come about in small groups and bore no anti-Semitic character.

At the beginning of 1932 a demand was made to reduce the tax-pay on sales of cattle. The demand was for an 80% reduction. The signature on this demand was: The Communist Party of Poland (KPP.,) Local Committee, Radomysl Wielki. Similar demands were then published by the local committees.

Under great pressure a 15% was granted. The Radomysl Communist achieved much in the village. With their help Communist cells were set up.

The activity was aimed at winning over the village and negating the influence of the Peasants' Party. This was achieved later during the peasant-marches on the district towns, as in 1933 in the peasant disturbances took on an anti-government character despite the fact that the peasant party wished to give it an anti-Semitic slant and make pogroms on the Jews. Much in this respect was done by the Radomyslite group with the help of the surrounding villages.

The peasant marches (at the beginning of the 30s') which were organized by the "Stronnictwo Ludowe", were directed at the towns – accompanied of course by anti-Semitic slogans, practically with the help of the Communist pamphlets. But with the help of the so-called Peasant committees it was possible to prevent a pogrom on the Jews which had already been prepared. Thanks to the Peasant Committee no pogroms were committed in Rzeszow, Dombrowa, Dembica, Mielec, Ropczyce and Radomysl.

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Memories of my Youth

by Wowek Gutwirth, New-York

As far back as during my attendance as a pupil of the Radomysl synagogue I already suffered from anti-Semitism. My teacher was Kamuda an evil man and a Jew-hater. He would not let me remain in the class during intermission; he ordered me out into the playground where the non-Jewish boys threw snowballs at us while we were forbidden to throw back.

One morning, when it was bitterly cold, I entered the class a few minutes late, my hands were literally frozen. He smacked my arm so hard that I thought it would fall off. It immediately became swollen and I suffered great pain for many weeks. My father came and protested, but Kamunda, the wicked, made faulty excuses.

I also experienced great anti-Semitism in the sweetshop which my father had set up and which I ran. There was always panic in the town when a commission came to check the state of hygiene. Everyone washed and polished everything but this was not enough for the Control Commission. The officer would inspect each chocolate box with a handkerchief checking for dirt. If, heaven forbid, he did find a speck of dust he immediately began noting it down. There was one stroke of luck, one could always buy his way out, at most it just meant money and a scare.

When I remember the troubles we underwent from our "good Goyim" I remember and wonder why the majority of the townsfolk did not escape from them in time. But where could one run without means and money.

A few years later some of my intimate friends, like Israel Melech Betheil (the son of Saul Betheil), Elye Brand (son of Yosel Brand) who had studied together at R' Naphtali Shnur, got married. My parents began telling me that I too, should follow my friends and marry. Then they began matchmaking for me, not only from Radomysl but from Tarnow, Kracow and other places. But I warned my parents that I planned to leave Poland and did not intend to marry there,

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Hersh Leib Forstenitzer

by A. I. Mahler

Jewish scholars said: "It is a misfortune for a man (a wise scholar) who has died and has not been honored by a fair eulogy which he has merited."

We could not eulogize our friend Hersh-Leib, he died after a short illness in America and was buried in Jerusalem.

A group of friends awaited his coffin in Lydda Airport and the next day we accompanied him to his burial place at Har Hamenuhot in Jerusalem. He is survived by his widow, Rachel, daughter of Rabbi Ulman of Antwerp. He left his daughters and two sons. About a year before his death his daughter married an Israeli boy and the wedding was held in Tel-Aviv in the presence of her parents.

Hersh-Leib left Radomysl about 40 years ago and went to Antwerp. He married there and with the coming of Hitler went to America. He was very successful there in the diamond trade. He kept a traditional Hassidic house.

Hirsh-Leib was a well educated and enlightened person. He was a man of quality and in the words of King David's psalms: "He was a man of integrity and sincerity, he disliked intrigue and did not harm his fellow men."

All his virtues he brought with him from the house of his father R' Pinchas, blessed be his memory.

R' Pinchas assisted by his son and his daughter Miriam, had been a very hospitable man. He had kept open house to all. The boys of the town made it their home. Here together with Hersh-Leib they held discussions on various topics and discussed the latest Yiddish and Hebrew books.

In his old age, R' Pinchas went to live with his children in Antwerp. He died at a ripe old age.

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“The Murder”

Reminiscences from the townlet

by Menachem Porath (Mendel Wolf)

His name was Yossel Shafer. He got up early every morning and went into the village, there he bought everything there was to buy from the peasants. Every evening he returned home and was never late. That day, his family sat and waited for him till late into the night, but he did not come. In the morning they informed the police. They immediately began looking for him in the various villages, where he had gone to visit. In one of the villages the villagers said that they had seen him the previous night on his way back to the town. There was a small wood on the way and as the police entered the wood they found him lying there… murdered.

The news spread quickly in the town and practically the whole population came to see the tragic spectacle. The murder made a strong impression and left the people speechless. The next day the coffin was set out by the Beit Hamidrash. The Rabbi, Haim Engel, eulogized the dead and read the chapter of “The Beheaded Heifer”.

The whole Jewish community answered 'our hands did not spill this blood and our eyes did not see."

After the murder, the people walked away in a state of shock. They were afraid to travel or to leave the town.

The murderer was soon found and he admitted the crime. He had seen that Yossel Shafer was carrying a great deal of money and this had tempted him to commit the murder.

They then remembered that there had already been a similar murder. It had taken place some years ago – two village peddlers, one of whom was called Hershele Yanish. Haim-Hershele Eisland, a village peddler had often visited the forest keeper Szewczyk. Once when he had visited Szewczyk he found him restless. He could not see the rifle, which usually hung on a nail on the wall. He began to tremble and immediately left. Shortly afterwards he heard that they found the two Jews murdered, on the way from Meiden. Haim Herschele felt in his bones that this murder was committed by Szewczyk. The latter immediately admitted his guilt, saying that money was not the motive, but that he was driven by the devil.

There were other village peddlers in the town, but after Yossel Shaefer's murder they stopped their visits to the villages. Only one Jew, Eliezer Flanzgraben, continued peddling. And it did not matter how often he was warned that he was committing suicide; he would not take heed. He answered: 'You need not worry about me, I travel at night and no one sees me'.

Once, Eliezer did not come home. The police were informed. But it took longer to find him than the victim of the previous murder. It seems that the murder was premeditated. After searching for a long time he was found – murdered. His coffin was brought into the town and was placed, as the previous on near Bet Hamidrash. Again the Rabbi eulogized him and compared him to the parable of “The Beheader Heifer.”

There were no trains in Radomysl. Transportation was by horse and wagon. Tarnow was the big town. The people of Radomysl used to purchase all their goods there and bring them back to town. A few Jews, headed by Haim-Saul Pistrong, got together and decided that it would be a good thing to buy an automobile that would take everyone to Tarnow.

It didn't take long and an action committee was formed, because in those times a car cost a great deal of money. A few Jews with Haim-Saul had once owned a mill driven by benzine.

They bought a tender and turned it into a vehicle for carrying passengers. They hired a chauffeur and paid him 500 zlotys a month. When everything was ready, they sent a cable to Radomysl that the automobile would arrive in the town towards evening. Hardly anyone in Radomysl had ever seen an automobile. The whole townlet turned out at the outskirts of the town at the time the automobile was due to arrive. It was quite dark, but they could see it from afar because it had two strong headlights. The car drove up to Ha'm-Saul's house. The headlights lit up the whole street. That was the night that the town's folk did not go to bed very early.

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