The small car races forward as though it was trying to gain mastery of the
wheel. It almost begs the driver to relinquish control and permit it to reach
maximum speed of eighty kilometers an hour. The relatively new engine is still
developing more power in order to reach the maximum speed and we have our
But, slowly our eyes notice the richest diamond in the Polish
crown, namely the area of coal and metal.
The city has a weekly Jewish paper and a daily Polish anti-Semitic paper. It
has sports clubs and stiff rabbinical fights; all the necessary elements that
befit an important community. My traveling companion describes the economic
situation of the Jews in the area. They are predominantly involved in small
businesses that provide the living necessities for the large working elements
that comprise thousands of miners in the area. Hundreds of Jews are
self-employed as peddlers in neighboring Upper Silesia. They peddle candy,
ready to wear suits, watches, and house items. Of course everything is sold on
We leave Sosnowiec along the highway that borders the old German border. Along
the Polish side, the road is still full of potholes. Before us is a road marker
with the inscription "Province of Silesia"; in other words, we cross
the old Russian border. Even a blind man can immediately feel that he entered a
different country for the road is smooth and tarred. The ride is smooth and
pleasant. The entire area of Silesia can be compared to a gigantic furnace that
breathes fire and melts metal into a river of liquid fluid that is then
distributed throughout the industry of the country.
The liquid metal eventually produces a host of products that range from bolts to locomotives. Countries that do not have such a furnace to produce these items are in perpetual "slavery", and must import these products from abroad. Here is a forest of 57 chimneys from the "Lacha-Huta" foundry. Industrial buildings stretch for miles. They occupy an area similar to the one that separates Bedzin from Sosnowiec. Huge cranes pivot about metal towers. They hoist a railway car loaded with coal as though it was a bag of feathers. Next to the foundry, one sees large black mountains of burned out coal that is piled up and hardened with time.
The city of Lacha-Huta is located next to the factories where thousands of
workers reside. The streets are paved, with nice municipal buildings, schools
and private buildings; the city has electricity and sewage. The tramways
circulate in the city as well as outside the city limits. As a matter of fact,
one can mount a tramway on the Polish side of the border in Silesia and travel
for forty-five kilometers into German Silesia. Each village is connected with
the tramway system. Each city has a sewer system (the city of Lodz still has no
sewer system). The smallest community has a school building.
Katowice is frequently called "Small Berlin" but this is a bit
exaggerated. Still one cannot take away from this city the bridges, the
tramways, the rich stores and the numerous banks. Every other house along the
main street seems to have a bank office. During the great speculation wave
between the German and Polish mark, the city was nicknamed
"Bankowice". When I saw cleaning trucks with brooms attached rolling
through the city and sweeping the streets, I was convinced that Katowice was an
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