The Kadima Sport Association
After the war between Poland and Russia, in 1920-21, Jewish youth began to show
interest in the Zionist nationalist ideology. Zionist parties, WIZO, a choir, a
library, and a sports club, Gwiazda (Hakochav), were founded. The founder
was Ferdinand Wulkan. In 1921, the club changed its name to the Kadima Sport
Association. Its chairman was the attorney, Dr. M. Goldberg. To begin with
there was only a soccer division, and subsequently there came into being
gymnastics divisions with 30 participants. I moved from Dziedzice to
Oshpitzin in 1924 to assume my appointment and joined Kadima as a supporting
member. The financial status of the association was in dire straits. There was
hardly any outreach, nor was there a particular desire to expand the
association, since the Zionist parties were earnestly competing with each other
in attracting young
to their parties. Dr. Goldberg resigned his chairmanship in 1925, and a
general meeting was called in the hall of the Hertz Hotel. All the leaders of
the parties participated, each with a view to taking advantage of the
opportunity to exploit the sport association for its own purposes, which
endangered the very existence of the association. I was elected by a majority
to chair the meeting, and after strenuous debate between the parties I was
elected to chair the association as well.
At the first meeting of the committee it was decided to expand the sports
activities by acquiring a hall for gymnastics, a sports field, and a hall for
the association. The leaders of the divisions and those responsible for the
activities were chosen. At the first meeting of the Jewish National Fund,
headed by Mrs. Lieberman and Mrs. Adler, it was decided that the Kadima
Association was non-partisan, and that its sole function was to engage in the
physical education of Jewish youth. It was also agreed that children and youths
of the association without paying membership dues and be issued training
clothes free of charge, and that the
of all the parties could be members of the association. On this basis, within a
short time, there were 200 gymnasts. There were three groups of 30 lads each,
two groups of girls, and two of children, all of whom trained three times a
week between 6 and 10 PM. As a result, many parents contributed money; yet
there still was a deficit. We joined the world association of Maccabee in
Warsaw and the Silesian soccer league at Bielsko. In a short time, Kadima found
its place in the second league of Silesia.
In order to provide the minimal requirements for the boys to play with a will,
I was able to obtain contributions for the considerable expenses of the soccer
division. The team caused me much anxiety. Impatiently I waited for their
return from competitions in Silesia, Tyczyn, Zywiec, etc., to ascertain that
they returned in good order. The Kadima team was the only Jewish team in the
second league, and due to anti-Semitism the crowd would throw stones at them
and plot against them in various ways. Prior to each out-of-town game, I turned
to the administration of the second league in Katowice, requesting that they
send an observer as well as police, at our expense, in order to prevent
We provided ping-pong tables, chess sets, etc. There was a steering committee
meeting every week, and in order to raise money we conducted entertainment
evenings which allowed us to rent three rooms for the Kadima membership, where
reports on the activities of all the divisions were submitted and future plans
discussed. All of our appearances were well attended, and many guests also came
from the surrounding area. Special mention should be made of the ladies of
WIZO, the Jewish National Fund, the Keren Hayesod, and
of Kadima, who worked diligently towards the success of our events. Our
entertainment evenings soon became popular. The major events were under the
sponsorship of Dr. Lezer of Krakow, who supported Kadima as a Maccabee
subsidiary. The Maccabee in Bilice helped us as much as they could.
We progressed constantly in organizational and technical aspects. We sent two
instructors (coach-trainees) for courses in Troppau, and on their return they
served as district inspectors. We were charged with the organization of new
branches of Maccabee and we sent, for this purpose, some of our best boys to
Chrzanow, Trzebinia, Zywiec, etc., to organize the branches and to run the
sports activities. In this manner we were in close touch with all of the Jewish
sports organizations of the district. I left Oshpitzin in 1933, and my active
participation in Kadima came to an end. Following me, and elected to the post,
were Dr. Przeworski, Dr. Sternberg, Dr. Druks, and others. I want especially to
mention that during my tenure, Pinek Leitner [?] served as secretary, and that
much of the success of Kadima is attributable to his energetic and dynamic
The tenth anniversary celebration of the Kadima Sport Association of Oshpitzin
was held on June 28-29, 1932. Dr. Reich, the deputy mayor, provided access to
two school buildings to house the out-of-town teams and guests. The Leibler
family, owners of the Hertz Hotel, allocated a large hall for the festivities
and a number of other rooms. The railroad stationmaster, superintendent Max
Blumenstock, instructed the station orchestra to be at the service of the
organizers for the two days. The director of the cargo department at the
station, Morris Ferster [?], loaned equipment for the stage at the sports field.
Dr. Przeworski saw to the first-aid requirements, and the Sola Soccer Club
provided its soccer field.
Sportsmen from Krakow, Trzebinia, Bedzin, Sosnowice, Katowice, Bilice,
Dziedzice, Chrzanow, Szczakowa, Tyczyn, and Zywiec came and participated in all
the events. The festivities began with a parade of all the sportsmen, which
left from the little marketplace and proceeded through the big marketplace and
the main street to the sports field. The tallest boys, carrying 12 blue and
white flags of the association, led the parade. They were followed by
delegations of the municipality, of the
and of all the Zionist parties, and by out-of-town guests. On both sides of the
street the Jews of the town cheered them on, pious Jews with beards and
among them. The opening commenced with the singing of Hatikva and the Polish
anthem. The opening speech was delivered by the chairman of Kadima, N.
Then came a display of gymnastics by all of the sportsmen, and a ballet by the
children closed the opening festivities. A race by sprinters followed and then
a soccer game between Kadima and the Krakow team of Maccabee. A well-attended
evening of entertainment was held at the Hertz Hotel. The following day there
were competitions in all of the branches and prizes were awarded to the winners
at a public ceremony in the evening.
Mmes. Lieberman, Adler, Druks, Loew, Ferster, Weinheber, Leibler, and
Kleinberger, among others, provided much assistance towards the successful
festivities, and all the committee members of the association devoted their
full energies during the two-day period. Messrs. Geller, Ferster, Leitner,
Koenigsberg, Kleinman, among others, were especially outstanding in the
The Jewish soccer team named Kadima was founded in Oshpitzin in 1922, taking
the name of the town's Jewish sports association. Quite painful birth pangs
preceded its arrival, since apart from the youth who knew how and wanted to
kick the ball, there were no resources to acquire equipment, to rent a field
for practice and play, nor to finance the ongoing expenses. Every player had to
somehow acquire his personal equipment and to solicit contributions for Kadima
in order to be able to rent a field for practice and dressing rooms.
The stadium where the team began to train was the Targowica, a
field that was used for selling cattle and horses, but which stood empty most
of the days of the week; there we practiced with enthusiasm and stubbornness,
young sportsmen who came from all strata of the population. This was quite a
small group to begin with, expanding and progressing until it was officially
accepted into the second league of the Polish soccer organization.
Parenthetically, the great devotion and active participation of Dr. Goldberg,
Dr. Przeworski, and Mr. Kleinberger, in the running of Kadima's general
activities should be mentioned here. Their particular interest in the soccer
division led to welcome successes.
After two years of practice and competition, the division achieved impressive
results. It competed with well-known teams, had successes, and reached the top
of the second league roster. There was much joy in the Jewish community as they
observed the victories and advancement of the Kadima players.
At the 10
anniversary celebration of Kadima in 1932, there were public sporting events
in which our team excelled. I remember the race from the railroad station to
Jagiellonska Street, when our colleague Ami Hess took first place, and the
record achieved that day by the soccer team when it defeated its famed rival,
the Maccabee team from Krakow. The boys were roundly cheered in admiration and
The team began to fall apart in 1934 due to a lack of players, since a number
of them had left town in search of jobs as the economic situation worsened. The
Andek [?] party, notorious for its battle against Jews, entered the political
arena and the Jews were the first victims.
In conclusion, it is worthwhile noting the great importance of Kadima in the
lives of the young and in the community. Many of the town's residents regarded
it as a source of Jewish pride
The organizers and leaders of Kadima were: Ferdinand Wulkan, Dr. M. Goldberg,
N. Kleinberger, Dr. E. Reich, Moshe Leib Hannenberg, and Mr. Tevel [?], who
stored our equipment.
The Jewish Youth Organizations
I begin the article with the activities of Hashomer Hatza'ir because I was a
member for many years, as a trainee, then as a group-leader, and later on, the
leader of the branch until I left my birthplace in 1930.
The Jewish tradition of bringing a 13-year-old to the synagogue so he can be
called to the Torah and recite the Haftorah transformed me into an adult. I was
in a state of great fright when my truly pious mother cautioned me that from
that day on I was obligated to observe all the mitzvot and be personally
responsible for my sins. From her viewpoint, my models of piety and honesty
were to be both my grandfathers: the Bochner rabbi, R Yudel Tzinger [?] and the
celebrated Oshpitzin preacher, R Michel, the
magid. The path that had been outlined by these two God-fearing
chachamim, whom I deeply loved, should have served as guidelines for my future lifestyle.
The inner sparks that had been ignited while I recited the Haftorah began to
blaze in a totally different direction.
One pleasant springtime evening, two young ladies stopped me on the street and
suggested I should join the ranks of Hashomer Hatza'ir. They coaxed me, and I
became convinced. I will never forget these two fascinating young ladies. I
suddenly felt that my adolescent years were bestowed with obligations and
rights. I had a right to sing, dance, and jump. My eyes were permitted to stray
and look into a book by a thinker, a poet, or a scientist.
Those two girls were the founders and leaders of the Hashomer Hatza'ir
organization in our city. Both live in Israel: Ziga Siegman in kibbutz Bet
Alpha, and Bronka Gruenbaum in Beer Sheva. My group leader, Nionka Steinmetz,
had a weakness for literature. She tried to influence her charges – and she
succeeded. Every book that she read she would recommend to us, and we, one
after another, also read it and discussed it.
One of the most important tasks that Hashomer Hatza'ir called for was the
learning of Hebrew by the trainees. This undertaking was the province of a girl
who knew the language perfectly, the pioneer in this area among all the women
in town; her name was Bella Frisch. This girl displayed an iron will and a
troubled soul. Raised in a strictly pious home, she nevertheless joined the
ranks of Hashomer Hatza'ir. She devotedly carried out all the assignments she
was given. From her viewpoint, the struggle of Hashomer Hatza'ir for honesty
and social justice in the international proletarian sense was too feeble. She,
with her fighting spirit, was prepared for much more. She therefore started out
on a long path of searches. She was arrested for illegal activity. Later, you
will find her among the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and after the
war she became one of the main figures among the party leaders of new Poland.
Almost all of the organizational work of Hashomer Hatza'ir was done by women.
That great friend of young people, the talented Zlamek Goldstein, unfortunately
fell ill, and his participation was limited. He died in Italy on the way to
Shmulik Lerer, who for a time was our group leader, left to study at the
Politechnikum [Technical Institute] in Lwow and there became infected with a
modern political disease. He perished during the war. The organization also had
its Jewish mother as a patroness. The prominent and dynamic Mrs. Lieberman
displayed much concern and gave much attention to the organization. When we
arranged for a flower day, she put her well-tended garden at our disposal and
picked the prettiest flowers herself and gave them to us. I then came to learn
that flowers speak volumes.
Of the members of my group, there is today in Israel Moniek Siegman, who made
before the war and lives in Kiriat Eliezer; the late Hanie Hass came after the
war. Lonek Goldstein, Ziga Turner, and Hermek Weinheber perished in the Shoah.
The writer of these lines decided to leave the trodden path of Hashomer
Hatza'ir and to wander off to the socialist paradise. Only in 1957 did I fully
open my eyes and come to understand that for any Jew, from right to left, there
is only one homeland that is the State of Israel.
The role of mobilizing the youth, children of the rank and file, was filled by
the Gordonia youth organization. Its two founders, Alter Ferber and David
many years ago. Alter worked for many years at hard physical labor, and David
was employed by the national theater Habimah [both deceased].
I want to mention another leader of Gordonia, my dear and unforgettable friend,
the late Heshek Laulicht, one of the greatest intellects of our town. He was
warmhearted and amazed us all. Heshek, formerly a yeshiva
, was a prodigy who in only six months prepared himself for entrance to
university and who, in very short order, attained three doctorates at the
Krakow University: law, philosophy, and philology. He also was fluent in 12
Heshek Laulicht expressed disapproval of Hashomer Hatza'ir which, through its
Marxist training, caused a great proportion of its youth to experience
conflicts and ideological dilemmas that led to their being swept up in the arms
of the Communist Party. In opposition, he molded the pro-Eretz-Yisrael
education of Gordonia. History later proved how right Heshek was. Nearly all
of Gordonia made
before and after the war, while a great proportion of the Shomer youth made
detours, only to later become bitterly disappointed.
Members of the Gordonia organization now living in Israel are: Sala Silbiger,
Mina Scharf, Yetke Goldstein, Salka Gruber, Sala Goldberg, and others.
The Hechalutz organization was the pioneer of Zionist activity and
in our town. Its activity during the course of two generations was
multifaceted and fruitful.
I can recall some of the names of the
of the first generation who made
: Yosef Kuperman, Sarah and her brother Elek Jakubowitz, Avrahan Lieblich,
Eliezer and Cilla Gleitzman, Dora and Berek Weinheber. Yisrael Shmuel, Malka
Bochner, Yakov Braun and others are still living.
A number of those of the second generation that made
, together with
from Wadowice and Bielsko, founded Kibbutz Avodah in Nes Tziona. Of this
group, the following are now in Israel: Rozhia Jerud, Sheinde Braun, Pesia
Sigman, Yosef Mandelbaum, Reuven Lamm, Chamash and others. Nina Stein, Shlomo
Silbiger, and Motek Lamm died in Israel.
Yehoshua (Ziga) Feiler lives in Tel Aviv and is one of the activists of the
The founder, theoretician, and leader of the Akiva organization was Hans Loew,
one of the most well-liked people in town. He had a pleasant, interesting
personality, and he treated his political opponents as he did his best friends.
Hans Loew and his coworkers Selma Schachter, Zurek Steuerman, Shmilek Reicher,
Chaike Galitzer, and Sabina Wulkan were able to organize a youth group and
inspire them with national pride and civic ambitions. In praise of this
organization, it must be said that the doors of Akiva were open to children of
the lower classes.
The following leaders of Akiva are living in Israel: Zurek Steuerman in Haifa
and Sabina Wulkan in Holon. Chaike Galizer is an active member of WIZO in
[wisest of men] and standard bearer of Zionist activity in our town, the
unforgettable Dr. Uri Druks, was the founder and head of the Betar
organization. With the founding of Betar, for the first time there openly
appeared in our town a youth that was prepared to go to Eretz Yisrael in any
way possible and to fight in armed conflict against the British occupiers.
Who would have believed that such a handsome bocher, with such a gentle appearance as that of Moniek Frister [?], would change
into a heroic fighter in Eretz Yisrael? He devoted the best years of his life
to that struggle.
While we were studying in cheder and sat bent over the Gemore, a boy with long
sneaked out of the cheder, and there he would carve wooden rifles, and during
recess he distributed them among us and taught us how to shoot. It
seems that already then he dreamed of becoming a fighter. Wolf Kempler (that
was his name) realized his dream in the ranks of the battle groups against the
An interesting oddity: the Betar activist, Otek Radziwiler, became an important
functionary in the Communist Party of the People's Republic of Poland after the
It was a pleasure to see youngsters in long coats and round velvet hats spend
Shabbat afternoons on the green fields together – with girls. They conducted
activities there, and long discussions were held on various problems. This was
one of the multifaceted activities of the religious-national youth
organization. I remember the names of three of the girls: Tanka Hollander, Dobe
Scharf, and Chanke Schneider, and four of the boys: Avrohom Wasserberger,
Avrohom Grubner, Glass, and Avrohom Zlotarow.
A second oddity: the God-fearing Avrohom Wasserberger was able to win the trust
of the highest functionaries of the Communist Party and take up a very
important key position in the economy.
The pious and modest Beis Yakov girls met from time to time in order to study
chapters from the Tanach, Jewish history, religious laws and customs, Jewish
philosophy, etc. It would, however, be a mistake to think that they had narrow
horizons. I often had the opportunity to become convinced that they had read
the best classic works and that their general knowledge was broad and profound.
The acuity, lightning-like grasp, and depths of soul of the diminutive Malka
Schlesinger-Gross were acknowledged by all the youth. I recall several names of
these well-brought-up and easy-going girls: Rozha Englander, Esther Schnitzer,
Chava Hamelsdorf, Freida Zwerling, Ruchtche Bombach-Halberstam, and Mina
Blumenfrucht. Only two of them survived the war: Rozha Englander lives in
Haifa, and Chava Hamelsdorf lives in Holon.
The Youth of the Communist Party
These were people who set aside their personal lives, distanced themselves from
their families, refrained from pursuing careers, etc., and stood ready to serve
all of mankind. They truly believed that the theories of Marx and Lenin were
about to become reality (wishful thinking for 100 years hence). They paid
dearly for their naive beliefs through long years in prison and deterioration
in health. Bilhah Frisch, Hantche Wulkan, Doba and Gusta Gruenfeld, Serna
Fertig, Sala Ebersohn, Ilek Barber, three sons of Gimpel Bornstein, and
Rochel'ke and Bilhah Silbiger survived the war. They are scattered all over the
world. Karola Jerud, Rega Fertig, and Rozka Priver perished during the war.
Kadima Sport Club
The following three founders and activists of the Kadima Sport Club are living
in Israel today: Amek Hass, Siga Feiler, and Maniek Geller. Three more live
elsewhere: Herman Goldberg and Heshek Mansdorf in the United States, and Motek
Bergman in Brazil. Brunek Geller, Feivel Ferster, Emil Goldberg, David
Leschner, Beitche Jakubowitz, Pinek Leitner, Shimek Barber, Mendel Fleischer,
Shimon Hirsch, Ferdek Wulkan, and Yissachar Bernstein perished during the war
or died since then.
The Kadima soccer team developed into a power after many years of activity and
capably measured up to foreign teams. There were 50 boys and girls who
participated in the gymnastics division. Nearly all the members participated in
the ping-pong division. The Kadima Jubilee was celebrated with a grand parade
in the main streets of the city. The procession of sportsmen included all the
Jewish sports teams of the district and was accompanied by a huge orchestra.
The jubilee celebration elicited much recognition from the Jewish and Polish
In short, the Oswiecim Jewish youngsters were productive and ambitious and
exhibited a great deal of national [Jewish] and personal pride.
Beis Yakov and B'nois Agudas Yisroel
Subsequent to Mrs. Sarah Schnirer's inspiration and her proposal to establish a
network of special schools to teach girls the entire gamut of Jewish learning,
the foundations of Torah, Jewish thought, etc., and successfully carrying it
out by establishing a number of Beis Yakov schools, a number of the
prominent Balebatim of our town met and chose an organizing committee whose
goal was to establish a
Beis Yakov school. Heading the committee, which in the course of
time became the school administration, were the communally-minded and
well-known Messrs. R Eliezer Sternschuss, R Avrom'tche Gross, R Moshe
Wulkan, R Shimon Danzig, R Zalman Meisels, R Menashe Blaugrund, and R
In truth, the lack of a school for girls had been felt for some time, since
boys, after all, were sent to Cheder from the age of three, where they learned
the Alef Beis and later to read and write Hebrew and Yiddish. Girls, on
the other hand, began only at age six to attend public school, where they
learned general subjects in the Polish language. In order to avail the girls of
some knowledge of the Hebrew letters so that they could read a bit and be able
to pray and write Yiddish, they were sent to the wife of R Avigdor Melamed,
where they learned very little.
Since the girls spent most of the hours of the day in the public school or in
an environment which was primarily Polish, it had come to the point that many
of the girls not only knew very little about Jewish basics, as far as Hebrew or
Yiddish culture was concerned, and could barely read and write Hebrew. In their
homes, too, the spoken language was slowly becoming mostly only Polish. When
the news of the planned Beis Yakov school was heard, there was an
actual rush of enrollment and applications to be accepted in this school. True,
there were some extremists who opposed the very idea of teaching Torah to girls
and they expressed their opposition in tangible concrete ways, which caused
quite a bit of distress to the parents who sent their children to Beis
Yakov. In the synagogue of the Admor R Elazar Rosenfeld, for
example, no one who had sent his daughters to Beis Yakov was
permitted to lead the prayers or to be called to the Torah. This was like a
This attitude changed completely after a few years when the school had proved
itself as a producer of a generation of fine and earnestly pious girls, who
continued the ancestral tradition, on the path of Torah and deeds, and not
merely by rote, but through profound understanding and clear conviction.
The beginning was small and like all beginnings beset with great difficulty. An
apartment was prepared and the first classes were housed there. The appointment
of Mrs. Sarah Wolf as the teacher of these lower grades was very fortuitous,
since Mrs. Wolf had a broad education and had much knowledge of Jewish thought,
was a marvelous educator, expressed herself marvelously with powerful
most importantly had a charming personality, all of which influenced the pupils
to excel and set the tone for their attitude towards the school.
In a short period, more and more classes and pupils were added, but in spite of
all the efforts of the committee and its secretary, R Kalman Bornstein, it was
difficult to find accredited teachers. The Krakow Seminary produced a cohort of
new teachers every year, but they were too few in relation to the much greater
demand. Accordingly, at the beginning they were helped by graduates of the
school who led various study-groups in the study of Hebrew, Tanach, history,
Yiddish and general literature, as well as groups for drama, song, art,
embroidery and handicrafts, cutting and sewing, etc. There was also much
activity for Aliyah preparation, the Keren Hayishuv, summer camps, and more.
This laid the foundation for the B'nois Agudas Yisroel, and capable
girls were given the opportunity to show their mettle and display their
talents. The first group-leaders were Sarah Frisch, Esther Schnitzer, Malka
Gross, Zisel Rosenberg, Esther Schindel-Frei, and others who gave much of their
time and effort in their devoted work for Beis Yakov and received a
proper reward for their toil when they were privileged to see their charges
grow into group-leaders of the lower grades coming after them, and even as
teachers in the same school.
After many efforts and no few personal interventions, the center for graduate
teachers at the Beis Yakov Seminary in Krakow, sent us Mrs.
Goldfaden, Mrs. Halberstam, and Malka Gross, and since then the school grew
apace. In the last few years before the war, the number of pupils reached many
hundreds, and they reflected glory on all responsible.
Every year a cohort of around 100 students completed their course of study at
the school for girls and nearly all of them practically automatically went on
to join the B'nois Agudas Yisroel. Here they found a warm reception
and continued in their cultural, social, and practical activities.
The girls who led the organization of group-leaders were very talented and
active. They organized various activities for the members and maturing girls
such as handicrafts, song, drama, and various courses. There were lectures on
various and sundry topics. They also worked with great energy for Eretz Yisrael
by raising money and propaganda efforts towards Hachshara and Aliyah.
A most important aspect of their work was doing for others. Mutual aid and work
was accomplished without fanfare and publicity, but with devotion, with heart
and soul. This was the help given to the needy, and supplied to everyone
requiring it in the form of loans to the families and gifts to the children.
Most especially they provided prepared Shabbat and holiday meals; Challah and
wine, meat and fish and side-dishes for the genteel, formerly well-to-do who
had fallen on hard times, but would not ask for assistance. The Shabbat meals
were delivered to the homes of the needy by a small group of girls who were
privy to the secret operation, headed by Rochel Halper and Yetka Ringer. A
major portion of the foodstuffs that were distributed were contributed by Mrs.
Feigel Halper as secret gifts.
In the years before the war, the B'nois Agudas Yisroel had become
the largest youth movement in town in terms of numbers and were known for their
good qualities and good deeds, everyone of them.
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